Grain-free Banana Bread with Cinnamon Cashew Butter

Grain-free Banana Bread with Cinnamon Cashew Butter

Grain free Banana Bread. I’m sure you’re not used to seeing or hearing of grain-free breads, understandably so as they’re a newer trend hitting food blogs everywhere (especially after the popularization of Paleo). Well I’m here to introduce, broaden your horizons, banish any fear of carbohydrates from breads, and rekindle your love of bananas. This recipe so simple to make using only all natural ingredients and it’s also incredibly delicious. JUST LIKE MAMA MADE (ha).

I went into making this recipe as a complete experiment with my pessimistic side saying “this is probably going to turn out too dry, too mushy, too sweet, etc.” Needless to say, while this bread was baking away in the oven, the aroma of classic fresh baked banana bread filled my entire house (who needs air freshener when theres baked goods?). When I pulled the bread out of the oven, sliced in and took a bite- it.was.heaven. I laughed out loud and said, “Wow, I can pull off baking?”


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Goal Setting 101


It’s already Spring! I can’t believe how quickly March has come and almost gone, but I’m ready for this Spring sunshine. Speaking of Spring, so how’s that New Year’s resolution coming along? If you’re blushing, shying away, or even have your head down in disappointment because the answer is “not coming along” ,”eehh…”, “what New Year’s Resolution?”, or “that was only a 2 week gym pass right?”, etc., then lets have a little chat about it.

Let’s talk goals. Goals are the foundation to make lifestyle changes, no.matter.what. Everyone has something he/she wishes to work towards in life, whether it’s completing a degree, finding a dream job, losing weight, improving health, being financially successful, quitting smoking, obtaining recognition for hard work, improving relationships, etc.

From the time I was in college, you could say I’ve been a “goal setter”. Whether it was getting an A on an exam, trying a new recipe, or even just making it to the gym. I believe constant and consistent goal setting in my life has provided me with the extra edge and platform to set myself up for success in achieving my personal and professional goals. Most people forget about this crucial step when taking on some new change in life. If you’ve ever found yourself challenged by achieving goals, it’s possible you’ve experienced (like myself, on many occasions) one or more of the reasons below.

Common reasons why goals fail: 

  • Unrealistic timeframe | ex. “I’m going to lose 100 lbs. in 1 month”
  • Unrealistic in general | see above example…
  • Lack of detail/vague | ex. “I want to lose weight”
  • Lack of a clear vision or plan
  • Lack of accountability and measuring outcomes
  • Lack of support

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How to attain goals:

  • Identify your support systems
    • Have a conversation with your support system (friends, family, community, loved ones, co-workers) that you’re on a mission to make some lifestyle changes and ask them to keep you accountable. You may also inspire them to get on board with you!
  • Identify your motivation and intentions.
    • Make a vision board, have visuals all around you that put your goal in the forefront of your mind, set alarms with mantras written in them to keep you on track, etc.
    • Ask yourself “Why is this goal so important to me?” “What will I gain out of the achievement?”
  • Focus on daily acts versus the due date or deadline of the goal.
    • This will keep your mind on progress and not allow yourself to get “lost” in the far future.
    • Daily acts | ex. I will walk every evening after work before dinner to increase exercise.
    • Deadline of the goal | ex. lose 10lbs. by the start of summer, June.
  • Have friendly competition with a friend, family, co-workers, or with yourself (set challenges, etc.)
  • Measure outcomes: logs, journals, pictures, excel sheets, diary of emotions, etc.
  • Journal current habits at the start of your lifestyle changes to refer to when you’ve made changes.
    • This provides a nice “snapshot” to see how far you’ve come or where you need to re-focus.
  • Reach out to your support systems when you feel you’re “sliding” off track.
  • Focus on progress not perfection!

In my opinion, goals come in a couple shapes and sizes; what I call quantitative goals and qualitative goals. Quantitive Goals focus on the quantity or number-driven outcomes. For example: inches gained/lost, lean muscle mass gain/lost, fat mass gained/lost, time spent in the gym, lab values (cholesterol, blood sugar, etc.), etc. Qualitative Goals focus on the quality outcomes. For example, more intellectual, emotional, characteristic based outcomes such as how you feel, successes you’ve reached along the way, daily habits integrated into your lifestyle, behavioral changes, mental thought regarding your goals, social aspects, etc.

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A peak into my own personal vision board (one of several) I have posted in my office for daily inspiration.


Goal Setting Breakdown:

Step 1: See and feel your vision. Meditation always brings me to visions and goals I have for myself in the future, but simply sitting quietly and closing your eyes (if you’re a visual person) helps get in the moment of envisioning your future “vision” and feeling what it will be like in that moment.

  • It’s important to have a “vision” of yourself, i.e. how you want to look, feel, and really take yourself mentally through what that experience will be like. This helps solidify the picture which allows better direction for planning a path to get there! Try this exercise to help you develop this vision:
  1. Sit quietly or lay in shavasana (my favorite yoga pose).
  2. Deep breathe; in for 4 counts, out for 4 counts.
  3. Focus on the breath until your mind is relaxed and focused on breathing.
  4. Now, start asking yourself such questions: “In the future (whether a year or 5 years from now), how do I want to feel about myself? What will my daily life entail? What is my physical health like? How am I nourishing my body with foods? How am I nourishing my mind, body, and soul with activity? How will I be managing my stress? etc.

Step 2: Write, write, write (or draw, draw, draw). Pen and paper or a sketch book works perfectly, but if you like a more organized approach head over to Word or Excel. The point here is to capture the ideas, thoughts, and visions in your mind and put it out there for the world to see (or just yourself of course). This helps solidify your vision and starts the process of planning.

Step 3: Prioritize. If you have a goal or future vision that entails many changes, pick one that is most important at this time and work towards that; chances are the rest will fall into place (that’s the beauty of it).

Step 4: Planning: As stated above, it’s about focusing on the daily schedule and lifestyle choices which progress you into  becoming one step closer to that overall vision of yourself in the future. Start by planning out your day to day schedule, then week by week. This will make your plan tangible and give you a road map!

Step 5: JUMP IN! That’s right, just do what you planned to do and take action.

Step 6: Measure your outcomes (both qualitative and quantitative). Keep a food journal/online food diary, fitness calendar or journal, measurements taken before, during, and after, before/after photographs, etc. Record these “measurements” for a reference a way to keep accountable, not to mention notice if something is working and what’s not working for you!

Step 7: Tweak it out. Make small “tweaks” or necessary changes based on your findings in your measurements/outcomes after you’ve been making progress with your goals. How can you improve? What were your challenges or barriers with achieving your goal 100%? What does the next day, week, or even month look like? etc. 

Step 8: STAY POSITIVE. Don’t let the negativity or remarks of others about your new lifestyle changes/goals, get the best of you. Brush them off, get rid of those “energy vamps” and walk on my friend, just walk on. If anything, use the naysayers words as encouragement and motivation to show them you can and will succeed! View challenges along the way (because you’re bound to encounter at least one) as steps where you can re-group and grow from that experience.

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What helps you set goals? How do you keep yourself accountable to the things you want to accomplish in life? I’d love to hear your comments below :)

With love and positivity,



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Massaged Kale Salad

Massaged Kale Salad |

Meet my favorite way to eat raw kale, the Massaged Kale Salad. I bet that title caught your attention… In my previous post I shared the concept of batch cooking and mentioned a couple of my staple batch cooking items; one of them being massaged kale salad. Massaged Kale Salad is one of my weekly if not daily salad go-to recipes. It’s full of fiber, nutrients, antioxidants, and incredibly satisfying from the king green itself, kale. What do I mean by massaged? Stripped | this recipe is super simple, made from only very few clean ingredients. Massaged | well, because the kale is massaged.

Why massage kale? Kale is a fantastic leafy green because of it’s texture, which lends to a wide variety of ways to work with; whether it’s steaming, sauteing, adding it to soups or stews for a more hearty mouthfeel, finely chopped in a salad, or of course blended in a green smoothie. Massaging basically is a process of breaking down the kale to make it more easy to digest. Think of it in this way, digestion starts in your mouth and kale has a very rough texture, which takes a lot of mastication on our parts before we can swallow it (without it feeling like a forkful of grass, ew.). Massaging prior to eating is like pre-digesting the kale. Give your kale some love, go ahead, massage away! Your jaws and tummy will thank you.


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Batch Cooking 101

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Have you ever heard of Meal Prep Mondays, meal prep, batch cooking, or bulk cooking? Surprisingly, some of you may not have a clue what I’m referring too, well this is a secret I want to share with all of you today. Today I’m sharing Batch Cooking 101 as a guide. I’ve been batch cooking or doing some form of meal prep for my entire week ever since I was a freshman in college. Back then, my busy schedule of jumping from one class to another, internship, work, and maintaining a social life, primed me for the future of a busy schedule. Undoubtably, batch cooking helped me tremendously and still continues to be a life saver in reaching my health goals and saving time, all while keeping the enjoyment when cooking.

What is batch cooking? Basically, it’s preparing most or all of your meals and snacks for the entire week on 1 day out of the week. Simply make a date with your kitchen for about 1-2 hours, 1 day every week (in my world, it’s on Saturday’s right after I finish my grocery shopping haul in the mornings/afternoons) and have some fun cooking! No freezing required for any of your batch cooking as you’ll be eating this throughout the week and cycle this every week.


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Dark Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Dark Chocolate Avocado Mousse, vegan, gluten free, avocados, berries

Dark Chocolate Avocado Mousse has a not-so-secret ingredient, but one that sure is unique when it comes to desserts, the avocado. This is a non-dairy vegan friendly mousse will all the great qualities of traditional mousse- it’s thick, creamy, velvety, rich in flavor, and pairs perfectly with ripe fruit. It’s full of healthy fats, fiber, and nutrients in comparison to most mousse recipes, not to mention it’s absolutely delicious!

As I mentioned in my first tribute recipe to St. Patrick’s Day in the previous post, here is another recipe tribute to St. Patrick’s Day. Now I know what you’re thinking, “McKel, this isn’t green…”. Ah ha! But it is made with something that is green, the avocado. Ode to the avocado, I truly have a thing for avocados. From the dinosaur looking thick skin on the outside, to the moment you slice the diameter of the avocado to reveal that absolutely beautiful natural ombré of green to yellow. The comparison to their exterior to interior is actually quite poetic to their soft and delicate nature inside (am I getting too hipster for you here?).


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