Cookie Dough Cupcakes

These are special occasion cupcakes. Cupcakes for a day filled with so much celebration, you don’t even care that there are three sticks of butter in the frosting … yea, three.

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I get requests for these cupcakes from family and friends all the time, but I reserve them for only the most momentous occasions because they are so decadent and slightly laborious to make. But my god, are they worth it.

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The trick to these cupcakes is freezing the cookie dough, so when you bake the cakes, the center maintains that signature raw cookie dough texture that we all know and love. The frosting is a brown sugar buttercream and will change your life. Be ready for it.

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Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Recipes courtesy of Kevin & Amanda

Yields: 24-36, depending on the size of your cupcakes. 

Ingredients:

For the cookie dough
  • 2 sticks softened butter
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2½ cups all purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
For the cupcakes
  • 3 sticks softened butter
  • 1½ cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2⅔ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
For the frosting
  • 3 sticks softened butter
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3½ cups powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Instructions:
To make the cookie dough
  1. Combine the butter and sugars in a mixing bowl and cream on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 mins. Beat in milk and vanilla until incorporated and smooth. Beat in the flour and salt until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Using a small ice cream scoop, shape the dough into balls. Freeze on a parchment lined baking sheet overnight.
To make the cupcakes
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two or three cupcake pans with paper liners (original recipes yields 24, but I was able to make 36). In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and brown sugar. Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir together to blend. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl on low speed, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, mixing each addition just until incorporated. Blend in the vanilla.
  3. Using an ice cream scoop, fill the prepared cupcake liners ⅔ full with the cupcake batter. Place a frozen cookie dough ball on the top center of each cupcake.
  4. Bake at 350 for 16-18 mins.
To make the frosting
  1. Combine the butter and brown sugar in a mixing bowl and cream on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the powdered sugar until smooth. Beat in the salt, milk, and vanilla extract until smooth and combined.
  2. Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.
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Black Bean Brownies

I’ve been wanting to try black bean brownies for a long time now. Everyone says you can’t detect the beans at all, and gee whiz, now that I’ve had them I can say … they’re right! I created this brownie recipe after researching tips from other recipes online and struck gold.

They taste even better than they look, and I’m fully aware of how good they look.

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Dense and fudgy with an intense cocoa flavor, these brownies are incredibly addicting and that’s ok – because they’re good for you too. If you’re like me, and always seem to have a can of black beans and bananas on-hand, make these immediately. This is not a drill. Go!

Black Bean Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cover the bottom of an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper or spray with non-stick spray.
  2. Put all of the ingredients except the chocolate chips into a blender or food processor. Process until a smooth batter forms.
  3. Add the chocolate chips and fold into batter.
  4. Pour the batter into prepared pan and sprinkle more chocolate chips on top.
  5. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out mostly clean and there are cracks in the top of the brownies.
  6. Cool the pan completely and then refrigerate until chilled. If you used parchment paper, you should be able to lift the brownies out of the pan easily. Cut the brownies as you like. I got 16 squares out of my pan.

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Black Bean Brownies

Tangerine Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

Tangerine Cake
For my Dad’s birthday, I didn’t want to make him the same ole’ tired yellow/white/chocolate cake that everyone has. I wanted to make something that I really thought he would like.
For as long as I can remember, my Dad has leaned towards the tart, had a fondness for the sour, an affinity for the tangy. While limes are a big deal in his universe, tangerines are too. As a kid, I distinctly remember my Dad ordering tangerine-flavored snow cones, which I always found bizarre because, who doesn’t want Tiger’s Blood? (If you don’t know snow cone flavors, then you won’t get this. I’m not a psycho, I swear, it’s a cherry/coconut-based flavor!)
Harkening back to memories of tangerines, which just happen to be in season right now, my gut told me to go with that. Now to find a suitable tangerine cake recipe …
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I really, really love recipes that embrace the whole fruit. I’ve made an orange cake before where you blanch and blend the citrus fruit whole, and it turned out wildly successful, so, why mess with success?
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(What is that pattern on the plate, you ask? Oh that’s just the impression my hungry fingers made in the chocolate when I swiped them with abandon through the excess ganache fallen on the plate. Worth it.)

Flourless Tangerine Cake

Recipe adapted from The View from Great Island
Ingredients:
  • 3 large tangerines (or tangelos), to make about 1 cup of puree
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 3 cups almond meal/flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Chocolate Ganache (recipe follows)

Instructions:

  • Set oven to 350F
  • This is the most time-consuming part of the cake. Wash your tangerines and put them in a saucepan covered with cold water. Boil for 15 minutes. Drain the pan, refill with cold water, and boil again for 15 minutes. Then one more time, drain the pan, refill with cold water, and boil for 15 minutes. This boiling process removes the bitterness in the citrus skin.
  • Rough chop the tangerines and remove any seeds. (Tip: Do this in a bowl so you don’t lose any juice.) Put the tangerines in a food processor and process until completely smooth. You will likely have to stop and scrape down the sides a few times. You will die over the aroma that rises from the processor.
  • Set aside the pureed citrus.
  • Beat the eggs and coconut sugar until light and creamy. Fold in the almond meal, citrus pulp, and baking powder. Mix until combined.
  • Pour the batter into a greased (with coconut oil) 9″ pan (can use spring-form or whatever you have – I used a pie pan).
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes, until lightly golden and a toothpick, when inserted in the center, comes out clean.
  • Cool the cake on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan to finish cooling.
  • At this point, you can dust the cake with confectioner’s sugar, decorate with some citrus zest, or pour a bowl of cascading ganache over the top as I did. (Tip: The last option is strongly recommended!)

Chocolate Ganache

  • 12 oz. semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli bittersweet)
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil

Place both ingredients in a bowl and microwave for 30-second intervals, stirring each time until smooth and fully melted. You can also melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Pour the ganache over the warm cake, spreading to cover the entire cake. Devour immediately.

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Sweet Potato Brownies

Happy National Brownie Day!

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This yummy holiday also happens to fall right smack in the middle of final exams, so there was NO way I was going to miss celebrating this.

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This recipe for sweet potato brownies is truly one of my favorite recipes ever. Plus, I love the blogger that was the inspiration behind it! She has a ton of wonderful recipes, many of which I’ve tried, many of which are on my “to bake” list.

Since my obsession with healthy remakes of classic indulgences began, I really don’t enjoy the originals as much anymore. With sweet potato, dates, brown rice flour, almond meal, and raw cocoa, these brownies are not only insanely good for you, they taste absolutely incredible. There is so much nutritional goodness in these treats!

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Please enjoy the holiday with these brownies! You’ll feel happy, indulged, and amazing.

Sweet Potato Brownies

Recipe adapted from Deliciously Ella 

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium to large sweet potatoes
  • 2/3 cup of ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup of buckwheat or brown rice flour
  • 14 medjool dates (no sugar added)
  • 5 tablespoons of raw cacao powder (unsweetened)
  • 3 tablespoons of pure maple syrup
  • Flaked sea salt to sprinkle on top
  • 1/2 cup semi or bittersweet chocolate chips (optional, though not, in my opinion)

Preparation:

If you haven’t cooked your sweet potatoes, obviously do that first. You can peel and steam them, or, do as I do, and throw them in the oven unpeeled at 400 for 45 minutes and scoop out the roasted potato and discard the skin.

For the brownies, set your oven to 350 degrees.

To a food processor, add the cooked sweet potato and the dates. Blend together until combined fully. This mix alone is truly delicious and can probably be made into breads, cookies, muffins … everything.

In a large bowl, combine the sweet potato-date mixture with the remaining ingredients.

Fold in the chocolate chips until combined. Note: if you cooked your potatoes right before making the brownies and your batter is warm as a result, you will need to chill it first so the chocolate chips don’t melt.

Line an 8×8 baking tin with parchment paper and spread the brownie batter evenly. Sprinkle salt over the top for a little extra pizazz. Bake for 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out dry when inserted. Remove from oven and let cool for AT LEAST 10 minutes. This step is very important so the brownies can properly set up.

At this point, I like to cut myself a brownie to eat because, well, who could possibly resist a warm brownie? But then, I place the brownies in the fridge to chill so they cut more easily. This is especially important if you use chocolate chips because they will be very ooey gooey 🙂

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Just look at that flaked Himalayan salt …

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Pack up and place in fridge for a healthy dessert anytime you want.

Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

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These cookies have revolutionized my late-night sweet cravings. I have made a batch of these every week for (muffled sound) weeks now, and I don’t feel guilty at all because they are super healthful!

The original recipe I began with used pumpkin puree as the fruit base, which was good, but not nearly as sweet as bananas. The sweetness is important because I have omitted sugar from the recipe (except what’s contained within the dark chocolate chips). I have also tried sweet potatoes which work just as well as bananas. These little goodies are the perfect way to indulge in something sweet, but still get some nutrition in too.

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They’re also very forgiving. I have been sloppy with measurements more times than not and they always turn out perfect. It’s important to know though, that these cookies will be soft when you take them out of the oven, and remain soft even after they’re cooled. They definitely need a few minutes to set up on the baking sheet after they’re cooked, but will hold their shape just fine thereafter.

I am obsessed with these babies at the moment and no one can stop me. So soft, so yummy, and so decadently chocolately.

You’d be a fool not to make these immediately.

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe adapted from Chelsea’s Messy Apron 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup mashed bananas (or cooked and mashed sweet potato)
  • 2 tablespoons honey (more or less to preference)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (optional, but I like the spiced flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup oat flour (oats that have been blended)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (I like Ghirardelli semi-sweet or bittersweet 60%)
  • Note: I’m usually heavy-handed with the chocolate chips 🙂

Preparation:

In a bowl, mix together the banana, honey, and egg. In another bowl, stir together the cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and oat flour.

Note: Oat flour is made by blending old-fashioned or quick oats in a blender or food processor until they resemble a flour consistency.

Combine the wet and dry and mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Chill the dough for 30 minutes and then preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Using a cookie scooper, portion the dough out onto a cookie sheet. I usually get around a dozen cookies. Press the tops down to flatten slightly. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until set.

Devour and feel great about it!

Gooey Blondies with Chocolate Chips

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What happens when you buy a can of sweetened condensed milk on a whim without a plan? Pinterest happens. Then things get crazyyyy …

Blondie Brownies

Everyone knows Halloween is the time for gluttony. You’re literally not doing it right if you don’t have at least 5 different types of candy in the course of the evening. And for some reason, Halloween candy just tastes better. Seriously, is it just my imagination that the pumpkin-shaped Reese’s taste better than the regular ones?

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These blondies aren’t exactly candy (feel free to throw some in though!) … but they’re as sweet and indulgent as a confectionary. The blondie itself is all sugar and butter, so obviously it’s awesome. The sweetened condensed milk on top gets all bubbly, caramelized and delicious.

These are rich and perfect for a group … don’t make when you have no one to share with, or bad things might happen.

On second thought, go ahead and make them when you’re alone. Just get to the gym on Monday.

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Gooey Blondies with Chocolate Chips

Recipe from Bakerita

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks butter), melted
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9-by-13-inch pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray; set aside.

In a large bowl combine the melted butter, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk to combine, then add in the flour and salt. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing lightly with a spatula or offset knife.

Pour the can of sweetened condensed milk evenly over the top of the batter.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. The edges will be browned and slightly pulling away from sides of pan. The sweetened condensed milk should be bubbling and turning light brown. Allow bars to cool for at least 2 hours before cutting into squares. Refrigerating the bars help.

Banana Granola Bars

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This picture should tell you how good these bars are. I forgot to snap a pic before I started eating!

Banana Granola Bars cooked

These granola bars are my own creation and they are awesome. No sugar, no butter, no unhealthies.

At about 150 nutrient-dense calories each, these bars are nutritious, tasty, and filling. Perfect for an anytime snack. I love to slather one with natural peanut butter and devour. ❤ Enjoy!

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Banana Granola Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats 
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour 
  • 1 tbsp flax meal 
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans 
  • 1/3 cup raisins or dried cranberries 
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/4 cup molasses (or honey, pure maple syrup, etc.), more or less to preference 
  • Scant 1/4 cup natural peanut butter (or almond butter)
  • 1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, optional

Preparation:

Toast oats and pecans for about 10 minutes at 300 degrees. Watch carefully so they don’t burn.

In a large bowl mix the coconut flour, coconut, flax, cranberries/raisins, salt, and cinnamon. Add the toasted oats and nuts and mix all together.

Microwave bananas for 2 minutes until broken down and all sweet and liquidy. Add molasses (or other sweetener) to hot banana puree and stir to combine. Then add the peanut butter and vanilla to the banana mixture and stir until well combined.

Pour wet mix into the dry ingredients and incorporate completely.

Line an 8 x 8 inch pan with parchment paper. Pour the mixture into the pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top if you so desire! Press mixture firmly into pan.

Bake in 350F oven for about 30 minutes. Let bars cool completely.

When completely cool, remove from pan by pulling up by the parchment paper.

Place parchment and bars on a cutting board and cut into bars or squares. They will keep for several weeks in the fridge.

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Banana Granola Bars

Banana Granola Bars cooked 2

Calorie count: 1,745

# of bars: 12

Calories per bar: 145 calories

Flourless Pumpkin Pie Muffins

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Allow me to introduce you to the perfect fall treat …

Everyone, this is flourless pumpkin pie muffin. Pumpkin pie muffin, this is everyone. Welcome to the world, muffs.

Flourless Pumpkin Pie Muffins

Simply put, these muffins are amazing. They are sweet and moist like you would expect a traditional muffin to be, but aren’t really like regular muffins at all.

No sugar, no oil, no butter, no flour.

As with any flourless recipe, they are denser than their flour-full counterpart, but it makes them that much more decadent. That’s also why they’re called pumpkin PIE muffins. They have that thick, custardy characteristic that makes pies delicious. Also, did I mention the apartment smells absolutely incredible while they’re baking?

These muffins are so healthy you can feel good about having them for breakfast, or anytime really. They have whole grain in the oats, a serving of fruit with the pumpkin, and healthy fats and fiber in the natural peanut butter and the flax. Cinnamon is an antioxidant known for its health benefits with respect to weight control, digestive health, your immune system, and a host of other things. The egg even provides a little protein and vitamins.

Try ’em out, let me know what you think, then thank me profusely. Let’s just say, you owe me.

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Flourless Pumpkin Pie Muffins 

Recipe adapted from Running with Spoons

Yield: 10 muffins 

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup natural peanut or almond butter (or any nut butter)
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 5-6 tbsp honey or pure maple syrup (or a combo of both)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp flax meal
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/4 cup mini dark chocolate chips

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray.

Add all of the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, into a food processor or blender. Blend on high until the oats are broken down and the batter is creamy and smooth. Stir in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared muffin tin, filing each cavity about 3/4 way full. You will get about 10 muffins.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until muffins are set and the tops spring back when touched. Cool muffins in pan for 10 minutes. Turn out and enjoy!

Note: This recipe comes to about 1,200 calories total. If you make 10 muffins, that is 120 calories per muffin.

Chocolate, Almond, Chia, and Sea Salt Granola Bars

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As a student on a budget and with a tight schedule, it’s important to prep food for the week so no bad decisions are made … Sometimes fruit and veggies just aren’t satisfying enough to get me through between meals. I need something a little more substantial to keep hunger at bay. I usually reach for some kind of natural granola type bar, but that can get expensive fast. The best option? Make my own, of course.

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When I was searching for a recipe, I wanted something that was healthy, tasty, and filling. This recipe exceeds those standards. With protein powder, chia seeds, and oats these bars won’t leave you hungry. With almonds, dark chocolate, and pure maple syrup for sweetness, they are delicious. Everything in these bars is natural and healthy, save for the chocolate chips, but since I use dark chocolate, the amount of sugar is minimal and there’s antioxidants, I swear!

These delicious bars will be the perfect smart snack to get me through the day. Next time I make these, which I’m sure will be embarrassingly soon, I’ll probably play around with the flavors. Shredded coconut and flax meal would work well in these bars, as would dried apricots and walnuts. The best part about making your own granola bars is that they can contain whatever deliciousness you want! I’m thinking dried tart cherries and pecans might be in my future …

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Chocolate, Almond, Chia, and Sea Salt Granola Bars

Recipe from Housewife in Training

Ingredients:

  • 1¾ cups old fashioned oats
  • ½ cup protein powder
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ¼ cup almonds, chopped
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chips
  • Sea salt, to sprinkle on top

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the oats, protein powder, chia seeds, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and salt. Mix well.

In a small bowl, microwave the peanut butter and maple for 30 seconds. Stir until incorporated well, then add to oat mixture. Pour milk into mix and stir until dough forms. Fold in chocolate chips after peanut maple mixture has cooled (otherwise the chips will melt). Dump into a greased 9×9 pan and press evenly into pan with spatula or wet hands (it will be a little sticky!). Press almonds on top and sprinkle a little sea salt.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until set. Remove from oven and let rest for at least 10 minutes, then cut into 12 bars. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

Some pics of the process:

Press dough into pan and sprinkle almonds and sea salt on top. Press slightly into dough to keep everything together.

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Bake and let cool on a wire rack until you can slide the whole thing onto a cutting board (parchment paper helps with this).

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Cut into 12 square bars … you could make them bigger or smaller as you wish.

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Pack up and pop into the fridge to snack on throughout the week.

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The whole batch is about 2,350 calories, which comes out to 195 calories of nutritional goodness per bar.

Healthy Banana Bread with Walnuts and Dark Chocolate

This is a great recipe that you can feel good about. It’s perfect for breakfast, a snack, dessert, late-night craving …

If I don’t have healthy treats around that I can nosh on when I get the urge, things can get preeeetty dicey. Like, late night chocolate cake making or cheesy pasta dicey. If I have something like this delicious bread sitting around, I have nothing to worry about because it’s easy, tasty, and full of good things!

This bread is one of the best healthy banana bread recipes I have tried. The recipe I used as inspiration had unsweetened applesauce instead of Greek yogurt and olive oil, but I improvised and used what I had. I am a big fan of using applesauce in baked goods though – it’s perfect for adding natural sweetness and moisture. If you omit the chocolate chips in my recipe (which I clearly could not do), this is pretty much guilt-free. I don’t even feel guilty for the chocolate though, because it’s good for the soul. #truth. 

banana bread

Healthy Banana Bread with Walnuts and Dark Chocolate 

Recipe adapted from Ambitious Kitchen 

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 4 mashed banana (overripe is best)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt (Fage)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (more or less to your liking)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (more or less to your liking)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 9-inch loaf pan with nonstick olive oil cooking spray.

In large bowl combine mashed banana, yogurt, olive oil, honey, egg, almond milk and vanilla until well combined and creamy. In separate medium bowl whisk together whole wheat flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix just until combined.

Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 60-70 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean with a few crumbs attached.

Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool completely. Keep bread tightly wrapped to maintain moisture.

Enjoy!