Nutella Banana Nut Muffins

I still can’t believe that Made In America is today!! I can’t wait to go to Philly for the first time, and I really can’t wait to see Beyonce! We have a long trip down there this morning, and I wanted to make a snack for the train ride. I decided to make banana muffins, which are almost healthy, right? I threw in some walnuts to make them a little more filling, and of course I swirled in Nutella. Why? Because Nutella makes everything taste like heaven. The ingredients included:

  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 jar Nutella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and combine with a hand mixer. Fill each lined cupcake tray 2/3 full, and drop1 tablespoon of Nutella onto the top of each muffin. Using a butter knife, swirl the Nutella around the top of each muffin. Bake the muffins for about 15 minutes, until the edges were golden brown. The size of your muffin tins and how full you fill them will also affect baking time, so baking time may vary.

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I chose to use a normal size cupcake tray, because my friends LOVE Nutella. However, it would be fun to make these in a mini cupcake tray. I taste tested one, and they tasted delicious. It was hard to only eat one!

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I think it’s safe to say the guys loved them 😀



Breakfast Pizza


Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. When I get to eat breakfast for dinner, it’s even better. This train of thought is what inspired dinner tonight. I used freshly-made, store-bought dough to make the pizza crust because I was short on time, but you can always make your own. The ingredients included:

  •  1 ball of prepared pizza dough
  • 1/2 cup cooked bacon, diced
  • 1 ½ cups grated mozzarella
  • 4 large eggs
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

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Start by preheating the oven to 500 degrees and flour the cookie sheet for baking. Spread the pizza dough out, onto the floured cookie sheet, until it evenly covers the entire sheet, remembering that the dough will contract slightly during the cooking process. Then sprinkle half of the cheese and bacon onto the dough, and let this cook. After about 5 minutes in the oven, take the pizza out and crack the eggs on top. Put the pizza back in the oven and let it cook for another 2 minutes. Once the two minutes pass, sprinkle the pizza with scallions, chives, and the remaining bacon and cheese. Finally, pop the pizza back in the oven for another two minutes. Once the edges are golden brown, pull the pizza out and let it cool slightly before serving. It’s important you serve the pizza promptly because the eggs will continue to cook from the heat of the pizza.

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I absolutely loved this dinner! I let the pizza cool a teensy bit too long, so my yolks weren’t as runny as I would have liked. But other than that, this meal was a home run!

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Vanilla Coffee Sugar Scrub

I’ve heard a lot of great things about coffee body scrubs, and I was intrigued. So I did a little research, and found that coffee really IS wonderful for your skin. Your skin absorbs the antioxidants, it is a natural exfoliate, it can help increase blood flow, and improve the appearance of your skin (since it’s a vasodilator). I couldn’t wait to try a coffee scrub on my skin, and gathered my ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coffee grounds
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 safflower oil
  • 2 tbsp vanilla


I mixed the sugar and coffee grounds in a mason jar, and then poured in the oils and vanilla. I made sure it was fully mixed, closed the mason jar, and put it in my shower.

I used it for the first time this afternoon, and it was AWESOME. I love the way this scrub smells, and it left my skin feeling incredibly soft. I can’t wait to use it again 😀

Homemade Bagels

The other night, at dinner, I listened to an animated discussion about bagels. People in NYC do not mess around when it comes to their bagels. They want them fresh, with just the right amount of chew, and a perfect crust. There is a belief that the water out here makes the bagels taste so good; but if you ask me, I’d say it’s the numerous old school, Jewish bagel shops that have perpetuated the tradition of making bagels the right way. Regardless, I realized that it was time to try to make my own bagels (following this recipe).


The ingredients included:

  • ⅔ cups Warm Water
  • ½ Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1-½ teaspoon Yeast
  • 1 tablespoon malt syrup
  • 2 cups All-purpose Flour
  • ½ Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • ¾ teaspoons Salt
  • 1 Tbs Baking soda

Poppy seed variation:

  • egg wash (egg white and a splash of water)
  • poppyseeds

Blueberry variation:

  • 1/2 cup Blueberry juice
  • 1 pint blueberries

I made the dough this morning after a long training run (a 16 miler…ahhh!). Start by combining the water, sugar, and yeast together, and let the yeast develop for about 5 minutes. Add the flour, vegetable oil, malt syrup, and salt, and knead until the dough is elastic but firm (15 minutes by hand, 7 minutes with a dough hook). You may need to add in a bit of extra water or flour if the consistency of the dough is off, but do it little by little. Let the dough sit and rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size.

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Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead again for a few minutes, before cutting it into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a smooth ball, and punch a hole in the center of each ball with your thumb. Stretch the ring out gently, until the hole is about 1.5 inches in diameter. Let the bagels rise for another 30 minutes in a warm area.

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For the second batch of bagels I made, I added fresh blueberries and blueberry juice, and kneaded the dough for another five minutes, until the blueberries were well incorporated into the dough. Because of the juice and the blueberries, I had to add an additional cup of flour.

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After the second rising phase, bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a heavy-bottomed pot. When the water was gently boiling, add a tablespoon of baking soda. Place 2 bagels into the pot at a time, and let them cook for 45 seconds on each side. Once done boiling, remove the bagels and place them on paper towels (to take off excess moisture) before letting them cool on a baking sheet. Repeat these steps with the remaining bagels. Brush the tops with egg wash and top them with poppy seeds.

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Bake them in the oven at 425ºF for 18 minutes (turning them over after 10 minutes).

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We took a trip down to Russ and Daughters (an AMAZING “Appetizing Store,” more of a deli really, on Houston) to get cream cheese and lox. We decided on horseradish cream cheese, vegetable cream cheese, pastrami salmon, and Scottish lox. The fresh, warm bagels, with that delicious cream cheese and fresh lox was a winning combination. I can’t wait to try making new flavors…I’m thinking cinnamon sugar, multi-grain, and everything bagels.

Nutella Crepe Cake

It was my good friend Abdul’s birthday, and I knew exactly what cake I wanted to make for him. Is that because we started discussing cake ideas over a month ago? Maybe…Regardless, this Nutella Crepe Cake had his name written all over it! I gathered my ingredients for this colossal cake and began:


-1/4 cup water

-1 1/2 sticks cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus extra to melt in pan

-8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped finely

-1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

-1/3 cup sugar

-1/2 tsp salt

-2 1/2 cups whole milk, room temperature

-6 large eggs room temperature

-1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Nutella Cream Filling:

-2 1/3 cups heavy cream

-3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

-1 13-oz jar Nutella at room temperature, divided use

-1/4 cup finely chopped candied orange peel, or zest of 1 orange (optional)

Chocolate Glaze:

-1 1/4 cups heavy cream

-1 Tbsp light corn syrup

-10 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

-pinch of salt

-1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts (garnish)

I began by making the crepes. The best part of this recipe is that you can make these ahead of time! Since it takes about 32 crepes, this part of the process can be time consuming. You can always make these a couple nights before (let the batter sit overnight) to make the process a little more manageable.

I began by bringing a quarter of a  cup water to a rolling boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. I then added the butter, 1 piece at a time, and whisked the mixture to combine thoroughly after each addition. Once all the butter was added, I removed this mixture from heat, and stirred in chocolate until it was completely melted.

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I then set this aside and whisked together the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. In as separate bowl, I whisked together the milk, eggs, and vanilla. I gradually added the milk mixture to the flour mixture, and whisked until it was smooth. The last step was to add the chocolate-butter mixture. I poured this mixture through a sieve into an airtight container to discard lumps, and refrigerated the mixture (at least 2 hours) overnight.

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The next evening I made the crepes. I coated a nonstick skillet (use a crepe pan if you have one) with melted butter. It’s a bit harder to make uniformed crepes in a non-stick skillet, but it is possible. I heated the pan to a medium heat, and then removed the pan from heat. I poured about 2 tablespoons of batter into the pan, and swirled it around to cover the bottom. I then returned the pan to heat, let this cook until the edges were golden (about 30 seconds per side), and flipped the crepe to cooked the other side.

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After I made each crepe, I slid them onto a plate. I repeated the above process until I had used all the batter, coating pan with butter as needed. I covered my crepes and refrigerated them until they were cool.

Then I made the Nutella Cream, and assembled the cake. Using an ice cold bowl that had been thoroughly chilled in my freezer, I whipped up the heavy cream with my hand mixer for 5-7 minutes (until stiff peaks form). I then gently folded in the Nutella, cocoa, and orange zest until they were fully incorporated.  The orange zest is an optional ingredient, but the hint of orange really brightens the flavor of the cake, and pairs beautifully with the dark chocolate glaze. I highly recommend adding the zest! Plus, you can snack on the orange after you zest it…it’s a win-win situation in my mind.

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I began the assembly. I built the cake on the tray I intended to serve it on, and spread each layer of crepe with about 2 tablespoons of the Nutella cream. I repeated this process until I had used all of my crepes (I made 30), ending with a crepe on top. I let this set in the fridge until it was firm, which took about 15 minutes.

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Then it was time for that rich, smooth, chocolate glaze. To make it, I brought the cream, corn syrup, and salt to a boil in a medium-heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. I then removed the mixture from heat and added the chocolate. I swirled the pan to cover the chocolate pieces completely with cream, and let this stand about 5 minutes. I then stirred until the glaze was smooth, and let it cool.

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Once my glaze was completely cooled, I spooned 1/2 cup of glaze on top of the cake, spreading to edges. I spread the remaining glaze around sides of cake, coating it completely. I garnished the top with the toasted, candied hazelnuts.

I cut the cake immediately, because all of my friends were eager to try it, but I HIGHLY recommend letting this sit in the fridge until the the cake has set  (about an hour). It was very difficult to cut, and slid all over the place when I served it. For presentation and logistical purposes, this cake should be thoroughly chilled.

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It tasted just as good as it looked! It had a rich, smooth texture that had me going back for a second piece. This cake took a bit of extra work, but by spreading the process out over a few days, it’s much more manageable. I couldn’t have been more please with how it turned out, and I think Abdul would agree with me 😀

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No-Bake Energy Bites

We have a long car ride to Vancouver ahead of us for the LuluLemon Half Marathon tomorrow, so I decided to make a healthy snack for the trek. These no-bake energy bites are simple, easy to make, and tasty 😀 Did I mention they’re also gluten free? The ingredients include:

-2 cups quick oats
-1 cup crunchy peanut butter
-2/3 cup honey
-1 cup ground flax seed
-1 cup chocolate chips
-2 tsp. vanilla

Yield: 60 bites

Per bite nutrition: 75 calories, 2.2 g protein, 1.5g fiber, 6.5g sugar

Pour all ingredients into a large bowl, and heat the mixture in the microwave for about 20 seconds. This makes it easier to stir everything together, and also melts the chocolate chips.

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I personally like this, because it allows the chocolate to be more evenly distributed throughout the bites. However, if you want the chocolate chips to maintain their shape, you can skip this step.

Roll  the mixture into 3/4 inch balls, and let them sit in the fridge overnight.


These tasted great, and they were the perfect pre-race snack 😀

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Bacon and Cookie Dough Cinnamon Rolls


There’s nothing I love more on a Saturday morning than brunch. I think it’s one of my favorite things about the weekend. I’m a big fan of cinnamon rolls, and have seen a lot of tasty looking variations lately. I decided to try out two twists on the classic cinnamon roll – cookie dough cinnamon rolls, and bacon cinnamon rolls. I used the same dough and filling for both types, which is a Cinnabon copy cat recipe. It included:

3/4 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast {use the fast acting kind!}
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 egg
1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
4 1/2-5 cups all purpose unbleached flour

1/2 cup softened margarine
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup softened margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon corn syrup
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

Add ins:

1 lb bacon

cookie dough (I used my favorite recipe, and made it the night before)


I was really excited about these cinnamon rolls, so I got up early (yes, I’m a morning person) and made the dough. In a large bowl, I poured the in water, yeast and 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar. I stirred this around and let it proof for about 5 minutes. Once mixture looked bubbly and frothy, I poured in the remaining sugar and salt. I mixed it at a low speed for about 15-20 seconds. In a separate bowl, I added the buttermilk, oil and egg. I whisked the ingredients together until the egg was incorporated with the other ingredients. I poured the contents into the water and yeast mixture, and stirred for another 20 seconds with my hand mixer. I then poured in 2 of the cups of flour and stirred on low until everything was incorporated. Then I sprinkled the rest of the flour in by 1/4 cup increments until the dough cleaned the sides and bottom of the bowl. The dough should be sticky but not sticky enough to stick to your hands when touched.

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Once it had reached this stage, I kneaded the dough by hand on a lightly floured surface for about 10 minutes. I then greased the large bowl I had previously used and set the dough inside to proof. I covered it with plastic wrap and a dish towel, and let it rise for about 2 hours (until dough had doubled in size).

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While the dough was proofing, I made the filling. In a medium size bowl,  I stirred together the brown sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch until combined.I floured my large cookie sheet liberally with flour, and lightly floured dough as well. I made a sample batch first, just big enough to make 4 cinnamon rolls. However, if you want to make all the cinnamon rolls at once, roll the dough out into a 20×30 rectangle while moving dough around to ensure it’s not sticking to the surface. If it’s a little short or uneven, you can always cut off the edges to even it out. I then spread softened butter over the dough, leaving a 1-inch strip untouched on one of the longer sides of dough.

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I dumped the brown sugar mixture onto the middle of the dough and spread it out with my hands, creating an even layer over top of the butter, still leaving a 1-inch strip of dough untouched. I lightly pressed the sugar mixture into the butter using a rolling pin, and then added the bacon and cookie dough. I cooked the bacon for 2-3 minutes, so that it was partially cooked but still pliable. I rolled out the cookie dough into a very thin rectangle (1/4 inch thick), and placed it on top of the cinnamon sugar.

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I rolled the dough up into a tight log, finishing with the plain dough on the bottom to seal the log together. I scored the log every 2 inches and then sliced the rolls using those marks. Make sure to use a sharp knife. I put the rolls into a pan lined with greased parchment paper, leaving about an inch between each roll. I let the cut rolls rise for another hour, until they  had risen almost double. I made the frosting while the rolls were rising, and whipped the cream cheese and butter together. Next I stirred in the vanilla, corn syrup and lemon juice, and then mixed in the powdered sugar.

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The cinnamon rolls took about 30 minutes at 350 degrees to start to brown, and I frosted them immediately once they came out of the oven.

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As good as the cookie dough cinnamon rolls were, the star of the show was the bacon cinnamon rolls. In my mind, nothing beats a salty sweet combination.

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