muddy footsteps

Banana Nut Pancakes (Gluten-Free, Dairy Free)

Posted in Uncategorized by nicolejanaye on July 24, 2013

ImageSo this unique combination of avocado and banana has been on my mind lately. Just a small addition of cocoa powder will transfer these few ingredients into a healthy and simple chocolate pudding. The only thing is I’m not supposed to have chocolate anymore, of any kind. Yes…very depressing. 


But as I was scrolling through my instagram feed this morning I found a post about banana nut cookies with an avocado/banana base. This coincidence stopped me in my tracks and I decided to test them out right away. The result was a light and airy cake that matches perfectly with a dab of butter and a drizzle of honey on top. 


Banana Nut Pancakes

Preheat oven to 275

  • 2 bananas; mashed
  • 1/2 avocado; mashed
  • 1/3-1/4 cup of honey
  • 1 TBS vanilla bean paste
  • 2/3 cup gluten free flour
  • 1/4 cup pecans; chopped
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1. Mix the wet ingredients.

2. Mix the dry ingredients, and add to the wet.

3. Fold in the pecans.

4. Spoon the batter onto a parchment paper covered baking sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes.

5. Remove from the oven and let sit for 2-3 minutes. Top with a slab of butter and drizzle of honey.



Protein Thin Mint Cookies & Froyo

Posted in Dessert, Food & Recipes, gluten-free, Protein by nicolejanaye on October 2, 2012

The lovely ladies from Purelytwins came up with this sweet, rich cookie that satisfies any chocolate craving and packs a punch of protein. They have a few variations of the thin mint cookie on their blog, but this recipe sounded best to me. I paired a few cookies with some frozen yogurt for my pre-workout meal. This combination could really be eaten at anytime of the day, it just so happened that my sweet tooth kicked in right before I was heading to the gym.

For the frozen yogurt all I did was take a single serving sized container of Greek yogurt and stuck it in the freezer for at least 20 minutes. While that’s freezing, start making your thin mints.

Servings: 4 thin mints
-1/3 cup chocolate protein powder
-1/4 cup + 1 TBS cocoa
-2 TBS water
-1 TBS coconut oil
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 tsp peppermint extract
-2 packets of stevia

1. Mix all the ingredients together until it’s one cohesive mixture.
2. Scoop cookies onto a parchment covered plate and flatten out.
3. Freeze for 10+ minutes.

It’s as simple as that! Try scooping some froyo in between two cookies and make yourself an ice cream sandwich!

Hope you enjoy 🙂

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Salted Peanut Chocolate Protein Pudding

Posted in Dessert, Uncategorized by nicolejanaye on July 10, 2012


Well that was a mouthful. I’ve been hooked on this pudding the past month and have been playing around with ingredients to completely change the flavor of the pudding. I’ve tried espresso, chocolate cherry, and salted pecan. The basic recipe is very simple and it just takes a little bit of creativity to come up with new flavors. I’ve also been rearranging the sweeter ingredients so that I can have it anytime of the day without feeling a little guilty. If you crave some rich chocolate dessert near the end of the night, try omitting the chocolate chips and add more protein powder and cocoa.



  • 1 cup  soy/almond/coconut milk
  • 16oz. firm tofu (drained)
  • 2 scoops chocolate protein powder (I use Rainbow Light)
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 stevia packets
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (melted)
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Simply combine all of the ingredients (except the peanuts) in a food processor. Fold in the peanuts after the mixture has been thoroughly combined. Pour into a mug, mason jar or any type of ceramic bowl and refrigerate. You can eat the pudding right away but I recommend waiting at least a few hours for the pudding to thicken up. It’s best eaten the next day!

Chocolate Fudge Pie

Posted in Dessert, exercise, Food & Recipes, Health/Nutrition by nicolejanaye on November 20, 2011

The holidays are creeping around the corner. This means time spent with the family, memories to be photojournalisticaly documented, and forks digging into all the rich, decadent food. The nipply, bone-chilling weather tends to push the crowds indoors huddled against a fire with repeated comforting movies on the tv. A mug of coffee or hot chocolate for the kiddos isn’t rare to find during these winter months.

My family during our reunion last weekend.

This is all so wonderful and a favorite time spent for many people, however, it also goes hand in hand with the freshmen 15 gained during the first year of college. The weather gets too chilly for people to run outdoors, the food is peaked at its highest caloric density, and exercise and health seem to drop in priorities. This isn’t to say that you can’t spend quality time with family during the holidays or even dig in to some delicious treats, but there is a more efficient way of doing it that will keep you fit and fierce throughout the holidays.

First things first, a reachable goal is best to keep you motivated and healthy during these tough months. Recently, I read an article on Runner’s World about a Holiday Running Streak. What better way to stay motivated than set a goal of running every-single day from Thanksgiving to New Years. It can be indoors, outdoors, 8 miles or even 1. It’s something to keep you motivated and determined to stay healthy through the holidays. For me, when I’m feeling tired, lazy, or craving some guilty treats I try to head outside for a run to help push aside those negative cravings. 9 times out of 10 I come back ditching my original thoughts and head for something healthy. If I still crave something sweet, then heck, I’ll give myself a treat. But making a goal with the Holiday Running Streak is a commitment to myself that I will stay healthy and in shape during the holidays. Who’s with me?! If you’re in the twitter loop, #RWRunStreak is the hashtag to keep your followers updated and motivated to get out and get healthy.

One big hurdle for most people during the holidays are the desserts. They’re hard to resist, tend to be homemade from relatives (guilt trip to caving in) and so rich and chocolately. I understand that the holidays aren’t year round (wouldn’t that be nice) , so most people like to dig in and enjoy, normally wiping out all the calories burnt in your morning workout plus adding an additional 300. Well what if I said you could fill your sweet tooth and keep your slim figure? Your ears perked yet?

Let me introduce you to this mouth-watering, delicious dessert.

Chocolate Fudge Pie. It’s thick, fudgey, rich and sweet in oh so many ways. Best thing about it, it’s so much healthier than any chocolate fudge pie you can find at the market or most recipes online. This recipe is filled with fiber, antioxidants, and plenty of protein. What’s more not to like?



  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup water; ice-cold
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup vanilla soy yogurt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 4 packets stevia*
  • 1 tablespoon flax-seed meal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


  • 1 package of firm tofu
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons non-dairy milk
  • 2 packets stevia
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

*I’ve been switching up original sugar with stevia lately. I’ve heard some people don’t care for the flavor but it works for me and I feel happier with my sweeter decision. I find that I can use much less stevia than traditional sugar. I found a wonderful website  that has a conversion chart for sugar to stevia. If you decide to switch up your sweetener, I would recommend checking this site out.


Pre-heat at 395.


  1. Combine all dry ingredients in a food processor.
  2. Add wet ingredients and process until fully combined.
  3. Take half the dough and mold into a smooth ball with your hands.
  4. Take a long sheet of plastic wrap and spread across a smooth surface.
  5. Place the dough ball in the center of the plastic wrap and top with an additional, equal-sized plastic wrap sheet.
  6. Press the ball gently down with your hands and form into a small circle. Take a rolling-pin and gently roll out the dough until you have a desired crust size. I like to do mine fairly thin. The plastic wrap is a trick my dad learned when taking a cooking class. It makes the process so much easier and uses no excess flour to roll out the dough.
  7. Place the dough into your pie mold and press against the bottom and sides making sure not to tear the dough.
  8. Add parchment paper and ceramic pie weights or dried beans on top of the pie.
  9. Cook crust covered for 10-12 minutes
  10. Uncover and cook for 5-10 minutes until you achieve a golden crust.
  11. Let cool.


  1. Melt the chocolate chips on the stove top or in the microwave.
  2. Combine melted chocolate with the remaining ingredients in a food processor.
  3. Process until smooth.
  4. Pour into pie crust and let chill in the fridge for an hour. It can be eaten within an hour or so, but I recommend letting it sit overnight. It firms up into a wonderful chocolate fudge consistency.

I can’t take credit of this pie without the incredible influence of Katie from Chocolate Covered Katie and Kathy from Lunch Box Bunch. Not only are these two women incredible in the culinary field, but they are making meals, digging into them and sharing recipes in the kindest manner; being vegan. Katie’s website is truly what it says; chocolate covered. It’s a dessert blog with a healthy twist. She shares a plethora of recipes that you can bet are all incredible. I tried out her chocolate fudge pie and was instantly hooked. If you are looking for desserts and want to keep them on the healthier side, head over her way. Kathy shares an endless amount of vegan meals, inspiring interviews as well as ideas for meatless-mondays. The photographs posted on her website kick your taste buds into hyper gear. If you’re hungry, bored, or need a good meal to make, no doubt you can find a great one on her site. I found one of my favorite websites through her blog, Finding Vegan, which coincidentely is creating by Kathy herself. It showcases mouth-watering recipes on the homepage with direct links to the recipe and the blog. I’d recommend giving it a look.

I have to admit that mid-way through writing this post I creeped into the kitchen and ate one or 8 bites of this pie. It is so much better than I thought. It’s been in the fridge since yesterday and has been able to firm up. The flavors are stronger and work so well together. I have to say that this has been my best dessert I’ve made to date. Best because the flavors are incredible, the pie is thick and rich, and the guiltless pleasure you can partake in as you find your way digging in with chocolate and crumbs covering your face.

I had extra dough for one pie so I made one more pie crust and two small tartlets. You can use the extra dough to make a thicker crust, or cut it into fun shapes and add on top of the pie, or make a lattice design on the top of your dessert like an apple pie. Have fun and experiment with ideas. I added raspberries and made a raspberry liquor sauce to drizzle on top. I’ll save that for another post.

What’s your favorite holiday dessert? Write a comment below and I will pick the best one and veganize it with a healthy twist!

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Vegan Caramel Maple Bon-Bons

Posted in Dessert, Food & Recipes by nicolejanaye on July 6, 2011

Being a cook or baker means lots of experimenting in the kitchen. Plenty of dishes find their way into the dark depths of the trash can. But throughout those failures, there is bound to be something successful; something worth marking in the recipe books to save for the near future. Finally one of these creations stirred up inside my head.

Now, dipping my feet into raw foods led me to consume a large amount of bananas. This isn’t to say that my monkey aspirations started in result of this because I’ve always been peeling away at them. However, chocolate covered bananas have always been a favorite dessert of mine, me being vegan or not. This lovely duo of flavors inspired me for this new treat; vegan maple bon bons. Not only is this dessert delicious from the inside but the dark chocolate coating is the glue for an endless assortment of toppings. I decided to stick with classics; crushed pecans and coconut shreds.

Now I come from a family of harsh food critics. My sister is in culinary school, my dad’s hobby is cooking up a storm in the kitchen and my mom plays in the gluten-free field. They know their food and they will always give me their honest opinion. Not all of my creations end in a thumbs up, but these bon bons got not only a thumbs up but two hands out begging for more.


  • 1 cup of raw cashews; soaked for 8 hours, drained, and blended*
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 TBL caramel syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Toppings (coconut, almonds, toffee nuts, sprinkles, cinnamon sugar, marshmallows, Oreo crumbs..)

*The raw cashews will be the base for this dish. A vegan substitute for cream cheese, heavy cream or any thick dairy base is blended cashews. It sounds strange but the beauty of this is that when soaked and blended the nuts give a blank canvas. They have a neutral flavor that is willing to accept any type of sugars, spices, or sauces you want to combine with them. You will want to rinse the nuts thoroughly after allowing them to soak. They will give off a filmy coating on the outside of them that needs to be cleaned.


  1. Follow the instructions above to create your cashew cream.
  2. Blend all of the ingredients except the dark chocolate and your toppings together.
  3. Pour the batter into the holes of a baking sheet and let freeze until hardened. I did this overnight but it should work within a few hours**
  4. Place a stick in the middle of each bon-bon.
  5. Melt your dark chocolate and dip each bon-bon in it, rolling it in the air to allow extra chocolate to drip off.
  6. Sprinkle coconut and pecans on every surface of the bon-bon.
  7. Experiment with toppings and layers of chocolate. Try dipping them first in dark chocolate, next in caramel sauce, sprinkle sea salt, and then finish them in another layer of dark chocolate.

**This process is much easier if you use a silicone baking dish like one in this link: It allows for perfect sized bon bons and an ease in removing the bon bons. They are fairly cheap and can come in all sizes. If you are feeling extra fancy, create two different flavors of bon bons and sandwich the two together flat sides touching. Place the stick through both of them and dip them in chocolate. An excellent combination is mint and chocolate. Have fun experimenting with flavors and toppings!

Dark Chocolate Espresso Vegan Ice Cream

Posted in coffee, Dessert, Food & Recipes by nicolejanaye on June 13, 2011

 There are so many combinations for chocolate. Just chocolate by itself is a beautiful thing. However, this ice cream needed a side kick other than dark, rich cacao. I’ve tried mint in the past and for some reason I can’t make it work. Mint chocolate is one of my favorite sweet combinations on the planet. It just seems to flop whenever I try to create something with it. Chocolate and orange is a beautiful mixture, but it doesn’t do much justice when you have no oranges. Lemon? Hmm..maybe next time. I cross back and forth through the kitchen opening up cupboards and pulling out endless drawers in the fridge, meanwhile a lovely stainless steel espresso machine patiently awaits my arrival.

Ice cream is a fun dish to make. There are endless varieties you can create by adjusting any small ingredient. Nowadays, it isn’t rare to walk into a shop and find an olive oil or wasabi flavored ice cream. People are taking risks and putting a unique spin on a traditional dessert. I love it. Vegan ice cream can be incredibly easy to make. It sounds daunting and that there must be some crazy hippie ingredients in it, but it’s fairly simple. Frozen bananas. These suckers are the key ingredient to a delicious, healthy and satisfying dessert.


  • 6 frozen bananas
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 shot of espresso
  • 2 Tbl whole espresso beans
  • 1 Tbl almond milk
  • 1 Tbl agave nectar
  • pinch of salt


Transforming the bananas from being whole, frozen fruits to an ice cream consistency is easy. There are two different methods that you can choose to use; sending the bananas through a juicer or putting them in a food processor. They both come out roughly the same consistency.

  1. Juice or process your bananas into an ice cream consistency.
  2. Melt dark chocolate chips with the almond milk and then add to the banana mixture.
  3. Pull one shot of espresso and combine to the mixture immediately. The flavor of espresso changes quickly after being pulled. Typically you don’t want to use a shot that has been sitting longer than 15 seconds. Adding the espresso to another substance immediately will ‘save the shot’.
  4. Process or mix the batter for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the espresso beans and process for 1 minute.
  6. Place the ice cream into a freezer safe container and freeze until the mixture has hardened.
  7. Pull it out when you feel you’ve waited long enough and scoop into a bowl. Try smooshing it between two cookies for a delcious treat.

 Baking is such a wonderful thing to be involved with. Not only is cooking and baking something wonderful to experience, but challenging yourself in those fields can be surprisingly fulfilling. Anyone can bake. I believe it. But not anyone can create healthy recipes that taste good. It’s a hard thing to accomplish a balance between valuable nutrition and delectable taste. I truly enjoy experimenting in the kitchen with new ingredients. I enjoy the satisfaction of mastering a dish with so many bountiful nutrients that can heal your body. I love the satisfaction of spooning a bite of food into my mouth and having my taste buds dance on the tip of my tongue. I love it all. That’s why I continue to do this. It’s enjoyable, it’s challenging, and it makes me happy.

Devlish treats

Posted in Dessert, Food & Recipes by nicolejanaye on January 15, 2011

I made these devilish creatures about two months ago and apparently I forgot to share them with you guys. How rude.

But seriously, these treats are deadly. Yes, it is a dessert but made a little bit healthier. I’ve had a few guinea pigs do some taste testing and they were giving a thumbs up, 5 stars and saliva may or may not have been dripping from their mouths. Either way, you must make these.

It’s my take on the classic turtle. I hope my pictures have progressed from two months ago. So I appologize for the bland, too dark, and un-attractive photos, but I promise these suckers are devine!


  • Halved pecans
  • Agave Nectar
  • Smart Balance ‘Butter’
  • Dark Chocolate Chips
  • Coconut shreds
  • Brown Sugar
  • Kosher Salt


  1. First off you want to start with your pecan layer. For each turtle, you want to take 4 halved pecans and point the tips towards each other.
  2. In a small pot, add a couple tablespoons of agave nectar, a little bit of brown sugar and just the slightest amount of smart balance. Let meld in the pot until liquid golden.
  3. Drizzle your agave caramel on top of the pecan halves.
  4. Sprinkle with coconut.
  5. In a small pot, melt your dark chocolate with a teaspoon of smart balance. Once creamy and liquidy, pour mixture on top of your turtles.
  6. Top with another layer of shredded coconut and one more of melted chocolate.
  7. Sprinkle with a dusting of kosher salt.
  8. Stick in the freezer and let harden for 1 hour. If you can’t wait, 30 minutes will do.
  9. Now, stuff your faces!

Special Mint Brownies

Posted in Food & Recipes by nicolejanaye on March 24, 2010

Alright so not that special but they are quite unique.

I actually got this recipe from my grandma and adjusted it from there. It’s going to sound a bit strange and un-appetizing but don’t judge before you try them. I actually prefer them to ‘normal’ brownies. Plus, I can’t have normal brownies anyways because of the egg.


  • 1 package of brownie mix
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 TSP peppermint extract


  1. Blend the entire can of black beans. Don’t drain the liquid.
  2. Combine the wet ingredients (blended black beans & mint extract) with the dry ingredients (brownie mix)
  3. Bake as normal.

That’s it.

They are awesome. I actually bake the brownies on a cookie sheet. The batter fits perfectly and I like how the brownies are a little bit thinner than normal. Also, after the brownies cool, I put them in the freezer. It brings out the mint flavor and provides an added freshness to the dessert. Just like after brushing your teeth and then drinking water. You can sub out the mint extract with nuts, chocolate chunks, and even a packet of VIA to make mocha brownies.

Not only are these brownies vegan (if you get a brownie mix without dairy) but they have a boost of protein and fiber and contain no added oil.

Don’t judge the book by it’s cover.

They might sound strange but you might get hooked.

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