Almond Butter Oatmeal w/ “Caramelized” Bananas & Coconut Sprinkles

It’s getting cold outside in Chicago. Winter has reared it’s chilly head & won’t be leaving us again for months. Frankly, once the temperatures drop below 20 outside, the last thing I want to have for breakfast is an icy green smoothie. So instead, I’ve switched to oatmeal for my go-to morning meal.

Too bad my old favorite apple/cinnamon/date combo can get a little old when it becomes daily occurrence.

That’s why this weekend, I decided to mix things up a bit with almond butter, stove-top oats, and bananas sautéed in coconut oil. Top it all off with a few sprinklings of shredded coconut & I had a tropical-flavored breakfast with still plenty of warmth to send me out into the day. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

almond butter oatmeal with caramelized bananas & coconut sprinkles

For more yummy food photos, follow me on Instagram @michelleshea.


2 c water
1 c gluten free rolled oats
a pinch of salt
1 ripe banana, sliced
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp almond butter
approx. 1 tsp unsweetened, shredded coconut

In a small to medium saucepan, bring 2 c of water & a pinch of salt to boil.
Add oats to water & reduce heat slightly to avoid boiling over. Let cook for 10-20 minutes.
In a medium skillet, heat coconut oil until melted & evenly distributed around pan.
Over medium heat, add banana slices to coconut oil & sauté until soft.
[Note: this is my lazy-girl’s version of “caramelized” bananas, if you’re looking for the real thing, drizzle some agave…or honey if you’re bee-gan…on top of your bananas while they sauté.]
Once your oatmeal has cooked, add your almond butter & maple syrup while still over heat & stir until combined.
Place your cooked oats into a bowl, top with sautéed bananas & sprinkle your shredded coconut on top. Enjoy.


Make Something Monday: Gluten-free Blueberry Cinnamon Muffins

Sometimes it’s the simplest things that can take a recipe from “Oh, that’s good.” to “Oh My God!” Cinnamon is often one of those things. So, the other day when I was searching for a slightly healthy breakfast, but craving the slightly less healthy blueberry streusel cake, I decided to marry the two & make some cinnamon blueberry muffins [gluten-free, of course].

cinnamon blueberry muffins


2 c Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free all-purpose flour
1/4 c brown rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 c coconut oil
2/3 c maple syrup
2/3 c So Delicious coconut milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice or lemon extract
2/3 c blueberries, fresh or frozen

Optional [but delicious!] cinnamon topping: Mix together 1/2 cinnamon, 1/2 coconut sugar.

In a medium bowl, sift together dry ingredients [flours, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, xanthan gum].
In a separate bowl, stir together wet ingredients [coconut oil, syrup, coconut milk, vanilla, lemon].
Combine wet ingredients with dry & stir until smooth. Fold in blueberries.
Pour batter into prepared [read: greased or lined] muffin tins til 3/4 full.
Bake at 325 for approximately 30 minutes, rotating pan & sprinkling cinnamon topping on each muffin at around the 10 minute marker before returning pan to oven.
Enjoy with a little soy-free Earth Balance and/or naturally sweetened strawberry jam.

Health is Beauty Bonus: Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants which are all kind of good for your skin, protecting you from certain cancers, and keeping that healthy glow. Cinnamon, for it’s part is anti-inflammatory, helping to fight the body’s main cause of wrinkles, acne, & disease.

Make Something Monday: A Healthy Starbucks Iced Green Tea Latte [Vegan]

Last Wednesday was my 29th birthday, which meant a lovely dinner at Karyn’s on Green, followed by an evening of vegan desserts with friends and several rounds of Pac-man & Frogger at our local beercade. Needless to say, much fun was had.

But more importantly [or at least more relevant to today’s post], celebrating a birthday meant receiving a free drink from Starbucks thanks to my trusty rewards card.

starbucks green tea latte iced

As I watched the barista prepare my venti iced soy green tea latte, I observed how incredibly easy it looked: ice, soy milk, & Starbucks’ special blend of matcha powder & way too much sugar were added to my cup, followed by a vigorous shaking.

“I could do that,” I thought, “and with much healthier ingredients too.”

So tonight, I did. And it was delicious.

homemade vegan starbucks green tea latte

No soy. No sugar. Just healthy, green tea goodness.

1 tsp loose matcha powder
approx. 2 c. So Delicious coconut milk [or your favorite soy-free, non-dairy milk]
4-6 ice cubes
agave nectar to taste [I used 2 healthy drizzles, swirled around the jar]

In a 16 ounce lidded jar, combine ice, matcha powder and just enough coconut milk to fill container, leaving about an inch below the rim. Place lid on jar & shake vigorously until all ingredients are combined and a healthy foam forms at the top. If the matcha powder starts to clump slightly, stir about with a spoon until dispersed, then add desired amount of agave & shake one last time. Enjoy while relaxing at home with a baked good or re-place the lid & take it with you to-go [just like the real thing!].

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Quick Bite: Single-serving Gluten-free, Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie

One of my favorite films of all time is Stranger Than Fiction. Aside from being madly in love with the city it’s filmed in, I find the entire plot completely adorable. I particularly relate to Ana Pascal’s character, a connection that’s grown stronger over time. You see, when the film was released in 2006, the only baking I’d ever done was boxed mix brownies. I had no idea that flour came in different varieties and could never have foreseen that I would one day consider baking my absolute passion. Since going vegan [and eventually gluten-free], I’ve opened myself up to a whole world of ingredients, which means that the scene in which Harold gives Ana a box full of flours now makes me swoon more than roses.

i bought you flours.

But before that scene happens, this scene happens:

After a really awful, no good day didn’t your mama ever make you milk and cookies?

I think of that line anytime I’m craving warm & gooey cookies straight from the oven. The only problem is, it’s hard to eat gluten-free cookies straight from the oven. They tend to need a bit of time to cool and set up, otherwise they simply fall apart before they reach your mouth. Not to mention the fact that it’s only the first 2 or 3 cookies from a batch that can be consumed in their warm and gooey state. After that, you’re simply left with the fully cooled, properly set up remainder of the batch…still delicious, but more satisfying for the tea-dunking variety of cookie cravings.

That’s why I was so excited to stumble upon Topped With Cinnamon‘s single-serving cookie recipe. Since these cookies are prepared & served in ramekins, it no longer matters whether or not the gluten-free version has cooled and set. And because they’re individual servings, you’re always guaranteed that fresh-from-the-oven gooeyness.

single serving cookie

Serving Tip: I recommend serving these with a glass of So Delicious coconut milk. I’m not usually a huge fan of pouring myself a big ole glass of vegan milk alternative, but in this case, the combination is absolutely divine. I crave it.

So, after a really awful, no good day have some [coconut] milk & [vegan] cookies. 


1 1/2 tsp coconut oil, melted [+ more as needed to achieve desired dough texture]
1 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla [feel free to over pour ;)]
1/8 tsp sea salt + more for sprinkling
1/8 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp all-purpose gluten-free flour
1-2 tbsp Enjoy Life chocolate chips

In a small bowl, combine everything but the chocolate chips & stir until thick & doughy.*
*If dough appears slightly flaky, add up to another tsp of coconut oil to moisten.
Fold in chocolate chips & smooth into an oven-safe ramekin [I used a creme brulee dish].
Top with a sprinkling of salt for extra flavor.
Bake at 35oF for 7-10 minutes, or until golden brown.
Serve with coconut milk & eat it hot, straight from the dish.

Make Something Monday: Banana Cinnamon Muffins [A Gluten-Free Redeux]

Do you ever stumble across a recipe that you like so much that you eat it nearly every day for a week? That’s what happened the first time Nick & I had my banana cinnamon muffins. But then we sort of forgot about them…I started using my bananas more for smoothies than for baking and Nick slowly stopped requesting them every other morning. Then last week, a sudden craving arose just in time for a few non-frozen bananas to start browning. That’s when I decided it was time to give our favorite muffins a gluten-free, sugar-free makeover. The results were even better than I could have expected: they tasted just as I remembered.*

*The only difference being that the gluten-free version of this recipe [like most gluten-free recipes] tends to dry out quickly. I recommend storing them in a covered container to retain their original moisture overnight.

So, here you go: Banana Cinnamon Muffins – The Gluten-free Redeux! 

gluten removed, deliciousness remains.

gluten removed, deliciousness remains.


For muffins:
1 1/2 cups So Delicious coconut milk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 2/3 cups Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose gluten-free flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon, divided
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup applesauce, unsweetened
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large bananas, mashed

For topping:
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

In a small bowl, mix the milk and vinegar, let sit until curdled.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt, and 2 teaspoons of the cinnamon.
In a seperate bowl, whip the coconut oil and maple syrup with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the applesauce, milk mixture, and vanilla. Beat until mixed well. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until just incorporated.
Fold in mashed bananas.
In a small bowl, mix together the coconut sugar & cinnamon. Set aside.
Spoon the batter into greased or lined muffin tins until 3/4 full.
Bake at 325 F for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the cinnamon/coconut sugar mixture on top of each muffin.
Return to the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool. Enjoy.

Make Something Monday: Clementine-Carrot Juice Pulp Muffins [Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free]

Long time no see, dear readers! After a whole week of travel preperations followed by another week without internet on a Caribbean cruise [more on that later], I’m back to blogging and full of new ideas.

But first, here’s a well deserved, brand-new recipe to reward you for your patience in my absence. Technically, it’s two recipes in one: a sunny, homemade juice & a gluten-free muffin recipe to use that leftover juice pulp. Enjoy. ♥

Clementine-Carrot Juice

sunshine in a glass.

After a week of non-organic buffet dining at sea, Nick & I returned home to our own almost spoiled, organic produce. So, being the hippie, conservationists that we are, we made juice to avoid wasting a whole bag of clementines.


6-8 clementines, peeled & pulled apart as needed to fit your juicer
2-3 handfuls of baby carrots

Break out your juicer & let it do it’s thing.

Clementine-Carrot Juice Pulp Muffins

when life gives you juice pulp, make muffins!

I’ve been meaning to make a juice pulp recipe ever since I started juicing regularly this summer. However, most of my juices tend to be such a hodge-podge of flavors that I wasn’t sure how they’d taste in a baked good…until this clementine/carrot combo. The result: incredibly moist muffins with all the fiber a girl could need.


2 c Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose gluten-free flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 c maple syrup
3/4 c coconut milk
1/2 c coconut oil
1 tbsp vanilla
2 c clementine-carrot juice pulp

In a large bowl, sift together dry ingredients.
In a medium bowl, stir together wet ingredients [including pulp].
Combine wet & dry ingredients together in the larger bowl.
Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes, until golden brown, or until toothpick comes out clean.