Skinny Banana Bread Muffins

Although I’m open to trying just about anything once, bashfully I can be pretty picky when it comes to banana flavored anything. Honestly I’ve never been a big fan of banana bread, but that all changed when I met these Skinny Banana Bread Muffins!

a skinny banana bread

Skinny Banana Bread Muffins
(12 muffins or 1 loaf)

1/2 cup pitted dates
2 bananas, peeled and mashed
1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
1/2 cup fat free or low fat cottage cheese or Greek yogurt
1 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips or nibs(optional)
DSC01681
1.) Cover pitted dates in grade A maple syrup or honey, microwave about 2 minutes, allow dates to plump 5 – 10 minutes, then puree with a blender or chopper.
DSC01660
2.) Whisk all ingredients together until smooth and creamy.
DSC01668
3.) Fill prepared loaf pan(s) or 12 muffin cups with a half cup of batter each.
DSC01672
4.) Bake muffins about 25 minutes and loaves about 55 minutes or until golden brown.
DSC01673
5.) Cool bread for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack or enjoy immediately.
a skinny banana bread
A sprinkle of walnuts before baking or a pinch of mini chocolate chips or nibs after baking make gorgeous garnishes up on top Skinny Banana Bread Muffins.
DSC01680
Muffins can be kept at room temperature or refrigerated for up to a week. They can also be frozen immediately for great warm-over grab and go breakfasts, quick snacks or ready-made dinner appetizers. Skinny Banana Bread Muffins or baked goods in general also make great gifts.
DSC07301
A couple of old bananas and the birthday of beautiful (youthful!!) Aunt Ellen inspired the creation of this cozy comfort food recipe. The muffins that wouldn’t fit in the gift tin disappeared immediately and left us with a hankering for more.
a skinny banana bread
Cheers to aging as gracefully as Aunt Ellen and to delicious, nutritious Skinny Banana Bread Muffins!

How To Donate Hair To Locks Of Love {My Hair History}

I aim to create awareness by sharing how to donate hair to Locks of Love, what inspired me to get involved and the history on growing out my hair.

a how to donate hair to locks of love

Donating is as simple as dropping a ponytail filled envelope into the mail.

 IMG_2234 IMG_2253 IMG_2232

The hardest part is gathering the courage to chop off your locks.

a before cut

Having been told the falsification that dyed hair can’t be donated, I grew out my mane extra long. Three years long. Belly button long. Out of control long.

   IMG_4187 IMG_4203 IMG_4213 IMG_4214

As the inevitable bad hair day is to be expected, there have been highlights and low lights throughout my hair history.

IMG_4192IMG_4211

I’ve mixed it up, that’s for sure.

IMG_4190

From bangs and braids to bobs and blowouts, my hair has seen a lot of different looks.

IMG_4182 IMG_4185 IMG_4199 IMG_4221

After a childhood friend and college roommate laced my locks with blond highlights our Junior year at Virginia Tech, I continued to color my hair for about a decade.

IMG_4217The DIY color kits would often turn my strands orange-ish instead of coveted blond, so shortly after graduating and getting on my feet I switched strictly to salon color.

652235162206

As life got busier I began to loath the long salon visits required to maintain the look and decided to spend my time and money on better things (like travel!). Besides, abstaining from dousing my brain in chemicals every couple of months must be a bit a healthier, right?

IMG_2571

 About that same time I saw some girlfriends posting about their hair donations and was simply inspired to follow suit. In July 2011 (above) while hubby was at the poker tables in Vegas, Globe Salon did one last fabulous dye job that very closely resembled my natural color (right below).

IMG_2603

[Check out our Vegas and San Francisco combo adventure video!]

From that point forward I got a trim about once a year despite popular advice to get cuts more frequently.

IMG_2878

 As luck had it ombre hair was in trend so my half and half color was actually something people were paying big bucks for at the time (according to my stylist, Hero). How amazing was that?!

DSCN0905

In late December 2014, with much persistence from my sister (who pointed out how much shampoo and hair dryer energy I’d be saving the planet), I finally scheduled the cut!

a how to donate hair to locks of love

A minimum of 10 inches of clean hair must be gathered in a ponytail, secured in a sealed bag and mailed in a padded envelope. A sweet little certificate is sent after the donation is accepted if the donor’s name and email or mailing address are also included inside the package.

locks of love certificate

Visit Locks of Love for the most current donation information and please be inspired to give!

Flax Chia Eggs

Flax Chia Eggs are super healthy {super easy} substitutes for chicken eggs in baked goods.

a flax and chia eggs

Both chia and flax seed are chock full of antioxidants and nutrients that produce amazing health benefits.

DSC01780

Research has revealed evidence of flax fighting diabetes, heart disease, stroke and even cancer!

      

For full absorption of its benefits, flax must be ground unlike chia.

   

Studies on chia have concluded its ability to boost energy, lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar and aid in digestion which can contribute to weight loss.

DSC01786

These tiny seeds are simple to squeeze in your diet. In fact many of my Mind Full Food recipes call for flax chia eggs.

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes chocolate cherry cookies a apple cake 1 :ight Peanut Butter Cookies A Apple Strudel Bread Turtle Cake pinapple upside down cookies a blueberry buttermilk pancakes2 chocolate chip cookies cranberry orange waffles skinny strawberry chocolate chip cookies Cranberry Bread

1 tablespoon of ground flax or chia seed + 1/4 cup water = 1 egg

DSC01805

Wisk water with flax or chia for about 5 minutes, or until an egg consistency is reached.

DSC01662

Add the egg to any baked good recipe the same way a chicken egg would be added.

a flax and chia eggs

Please be inspired to reap the amazing benefits of superfoods flax and chia!

How To Frame Memorabilia (+ Bathroom Makeover!)

This is an easy step by step tutorial on how to frame memorabilia.

a how to frame memorabilia

 

Materials:

memorabilia
picture frame to fit memorabilia
cardboard cut to fit the frame
fabric cut to fit the frame
hot glue gun
iron

1.) Iron the fabric flat.

DSC01685

2.) Place fabric’s good side faced down on a flat surface.

DSC01686

3.) Center the  cardboard on fabric.

DSC01690

4.) Hot glue fabric to cardboard starting with the corners then centers, applying more glue as necessary.DSC01696

5.) Arrange memorabilia as desired on front of fabric, tact down with hot glue, cover with glass and turn the whole thing into the frame.  Thrift stores can be great source for inexpensive frames. Here, an old frame that once hung in my grandparent’s home was painted white.

 DSC01697 DSC01699 DSC01700 DSC01705

My memorabilia came from a recent adventure to Aruba.

a sea fan

The gorgeous sea fan was found on the sands of our favorite Aruba beach, La Playa Beach. It just squeezed into my carry-on roller along with our other treasures (above).

[Check out Aruba’s Top 10 Beaches, Excellent Eats and National Park Attractions.]

DSC01702

 When I saw the fabulous fan washed up on that beautiful beach in Aruba, I immediately thought of framing it.  A recent bathroom makeover finally motivated me to get ‘er done.

DSC01441 DSC01444 DSC01445 DSC01447

My sister snuck in to get the above action shots of the transformation!

DSC01410 DSC01419

Summer has officially ended for our endless summer themed half bathroom.

DSC01413 DSC01406

We loved the former vibrant surf motif but the new look is definitely more calming… and neutral.

a how to frame memorabilia

May you be inspired to surround yourself with the things that you love and lovely memories!

Skiing Snowshoe WV

Skiing Snowshoe WV is wildly wonderful!

a skiing snowshoe wv

 Unique from most mountain resorts, Snowshoe sits atop its 4848 foot ski hill.

DSC01586

The tiny mountaintop town overlooks slopes that swish down to the shoreline of Shaver Lake.

DSC01656

  Three distinct areas make up Snowshoe Mountain: Snowshoe Basin, Western Territory and Silver Creek.

DSC01511

Snowshoe Basin is the main hub of the resort.

IMG_3775

A small town of shops, restaurants and room rentals welcome guests at the top of the mountain (above) and a small lodge called The Boathouse sits lakeside at the bottom (below).

DSC01528

There’s terrain for all experience levels at Snowshoe Basin including a fun terrain park (below).

DSC01523

[Check out my video skiing Progression Session Park!]

DSC01538

Snowshoe Basin chauffeurs skiers uphill on 7 lifts, 2 of which are high speed quads.

IMG_3719 IMG_3663

Just a walk across the street from Snowshoe Basin, the Western Territory offers excellent “expert” or diamond conditions created by Olympian  Jean-Claude Killy.

DSC01611

This section of the mountain houses the two longest and steepest trails, both running about 1.5 miles over 1500 feet of vertical.

DSC01596

The Western Territory also offers some of the best panoramic mountain views.

DSC01613

A small lodge dubbed Arbuckles Cabin rests at the base of the Western Territory alongside a high speed quad.

140881837106

Only a short drive down the road, Silver Creek has night skiing and a tube park.

IMG_3683

Offering 18 trails by day, 12 by night, 6 lifts and 3 freestyle terrain areas, this section of Snowshoe could be a whole other ski resort on its own but instead it’s an added bonus!

IMG_3671

The small lodge known as the Sugar Shack sits at the base of Silver Creek.

IMG_3680

All together Snowshoe has 57 trails. All 251 acres are 100% snowmaking, which enable skiable conditions even in marginal temperatures.

DSC01570

The last time hubby and I visited in late March, it was warm enough to ski in just a shirt!

912691837106 709691837106

Despite the warm weather, Snowshoe’s snow-cover on the slopes was in excellent condition.

339681837106 146581837106 706491837106 831181837106

That’s my kind of skiing!

565302837106

That trip was almost a decade ago. Look how our fur child has grown!

377591837106 IMG_3654

The matching then (left above) and now (right above) sweaters were not planned, promise!

DSC01584 DSC01571 DSC01581 DSC01525

Our most recent skiing Snowshoe WV adventure in mid-January was a bit chillier.

DSC01536

The snow-covered surroundings were beyond beautiful.

DSC01526

We paid a price for that fabulous fresh frosting though.

DSC01533

Visibility was pretty low most of our three day trip.

DSC01531

The day upon arrival, there was fog so dense it hid the lake.

DSC01549   DSC01644 DSC01543 DSC01645 DSC01646

On our second day, the fog lifted a bit so the lake was visible.

DSC01540

Though mostly cloudy, the fresh dusting of powder each day made for great skiing conditions amongst amazing scenery.

DSC01614

I got up to see the sunrise on our final day.

DSC01640 DSC01638

There was no sun but a fresh dusting of snow fell in the crisp, clean morning air.

DSC01521

The sky finally opened up during our last two hours of skiing!

IMG_3770

The blue sky against the white tree tops was a beautiful sight to behold.

IMG_3778

My favorite Snowshoe amenity is the proximity of their accommodations to the slopes. Most rooms and rentals are within walking distance of a lift.

DSC01522 DSC01641

Although everything is in close proximity, convenient shuttle buses run throughout Snowshoe. The shuttle came to our rescue after we missed the last lift one day!

DSC01626

My least favorite feature of Snowshoe is the steep and winding drive there.

DSC01502 DSC01503 DSC01504 DSC01505

Other than the hair pin turns on the way to and fro, Snowshoe is one of our favorite southern east coast ski resorts.

a skiing snowshoe wv