Recipe: Gluten Free Banana Muffins



  • 2-3 Ripe Bananas
  • 1/3 cp Melted Butter
  • 3/4 cp Sugar (If using over ripened bananas, reduce sugar)
  • 1 Egg Beaten
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 1/2 cp gluten free flour (Brown Rice Flour is my favorite.)

Prep time: 20 mins

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mash bananas until smooth.
  3. Beat egg, then add in other wet ingredients (butter, vanilla extract, mashed banana).
  4. Mix in flour, sugar, baking soda and salt until the mixture is smooth.
  5. Pour batter into muffin tray.
  6. Bake for 15 mins or until muffins are golden brown.

This delicious recipe is easier on the waistline but still satisfies your sweet tooth.

Recipe: Gluten Free Banana Muffins

Recipe: Salsa Salad

By Awalfitness

Salsa Salad, blue plate


  • 1 pint of grape tomatoes
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can of red kidney beans
  • 1 can of whole corn kernels
  • 2 serrano peppers
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 4 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro
  • lime juice
  • 1 bag of restaurant-style corn tortilla chips (optional)

Prep time: 15-20 minutes, depending on how fast you chop

  1. Rinse tomatoes, pepper, and cilantro
  2. Chop tomatoes into quarters, add to mixing bowl
  3. Finely chop garlic; add to mixing bowl
  4. Chop peppers into small chunks; add to mixing bowl. Smaller chunks make for a better, more blended final taste.
  5. Tear apart a small handful of cilantro; add to mixing bowl
  6. Top ingredients in mixing bowl with four quick squeezes of lime juice; let marinate for at least five minutes
  7. Rinse black beans, kidney beans, and corn kernels under cold water for three minutes; drain. Add beans and corn to storage container.
  8. Add contents from mixing bowl to storage bowl. Add four more squeezes of lime juice, then combine ingredients. Serve with a cup of tortilla chips and enjoy!

*The salad tastes best after being stored in the fridge overnight. But it is filled with great flavor and can be enjoyed right after prep.

Craving more health friendly recipes? Check out our Super Green and Garbanzo Salad. Let us know if you give them a try. We love hearing from you and thanks for reading!

Recipe: Salsa Salad

Recipe: Super Green and Garbanzo Salad

By Awal



  • 1 bag of raw, pre-washed broccoli and cauliflower
  • 1 seedless cucumber
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • 1 bunch of green onions
  • 2 jalapeno peppers
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • lemon juice
  • italian seasoning
  • garlic salt
  • 1 quart storage container with lid
  • Optional: can add black beans, kidney beans, corn kernels, as pictured. Just be sure to rinse before adding to the mix

*Prep time: about 15 minutes, but salad tastes the best after it is refrigerated overnight.

  1. Rinse all veggies, fresh herbs, and peppers. Add broccoli and cauliflower to storage bowl
  2. Chop seedless cucumber into bite-size bits; add to storage container
  3. Chop jalapeno peppers into small chunks. Smaller chunks distribute better and make for a more blended final taste.
  4. Chop off the white bulbs of the green onions; discard. (They can be chopped and added to the salad, but they will overwhelm and dominate the final taste.)
  5. Rinse garbanzo beans under cold water for three minutes. Strain, then add to strorage bowl.
  6. Top ingredients with small handful of cilantro, eight light squeezes of lemon juice, italian seasoning and garlic salt to taste. Combine, taste, add more seasoning as needed. Cover container with lid and store
  7. Serve salad or tote to eat on the go. Enjoy!

This hearty salad would make a great standalone or companion to any meal. Give it a try and tell us what you think. We love hearing from you. Thanks for reading !


Recipe: Super Green and Garbanzo Salad

Crunchy Strawberries and Creme



  • 1 cup of plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp of agave nectar (can be substituted with honey)
  • 5 strawberries
  • ½ a cup of granola



Prep time: 5 minutes

  • In a bowl, combine yogurt, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and agave nectar. Stir with a regular silverware spoon; the texture is better.
  • Slice and add strawberries
  • Top with granola



Crunchy Strawberries and Creme

How To: Easy Faux Loc Tutorial

faux loc tutorial

Materials Needed:

2 Skeins of yarn in color of choice



  1. Wash, condition and detangle hair. (I also deep conditioned with a mayo and oil mixture. If you plan on keeping them in for a long time, I suggest a deep condition.)
  2. Let hair dry and twist into medium sized two strand twists. This will serve as the foundation of your style so try to part neatly.
  3. Cut several strands of yarn a little more than double the length you want the faux loc to be.
  4. Fold the yarn strands in half and place over one of your two strand twists. Braid the yarn into your hair using the twist as a strand. Braid yarn into all two strand twists.(It will look lumpy, but we’ll cover it up, so it doesn’t matter.) Braid until you almost get to the end of the precut yarn. Leave some out for tying off later.DSC01362
  5. Tightly wrap more strands of yarn around the braid to create a faux loc. Repeat until all braids are wrapped.DSC01391[1]
  6. Knot the end tightly, but do not release the loc, otherwise it will unravel. Take your lighter and burn the end of the loc above the knot. Be careful not to go too far up otherwise you could burn your hair. Move the lighter constantly or you will burn through the yarn and the loc may come out.DSC01397
  7. Cut off the ends under the knot and burn. Wait a moment then rub the ends between your palms. Repeat until all braids are covered.

Have you tried installing your own faux locs? Tell us about your experience. We love hearing from you and thanks for reading.

And if my tutorial has confused you, this video helped me a lot and the process is a little easier than the method I used.

How To: Easy Faux Loc Tutorial

How To: Easing The Transition To Natural

curly hair

I stopped using a relaxer a little over 4 years ago and never went back (not to say I didn’t think about it occasionally). Even though, I watched countless tutorials, it always felt like managing my tight coils was a challenge. The next few tips are things I learned throughout the course of my natural hair journey. I hope they help you if you decide to take the plunge.

  • Learn how to work with hair instead of against it.

Curls are tricky to maintain, so you have to be careful whenever you manipulate your strands. Patience is definitely important. Experiment with your hair to see how it thrives. Try detangling it when its wet. If your hair doesn’t agree (excessive breakage), try detangling on dry hair. Use different shampoos and conditioners or make your own. Give your experiments time to work. Try a product for a month, see how it works for you. If you don’t like it, try another product.  My go-to products have changed many many times.

  • Try finger detangling before pulling out a comb or brush

Taking the time to delicately finger detangle your hair goes a long way in length retention. If curls are particularly tangled, using a comb or brush could be detrimental to the health of your hair. That doesn’t mean you can’t use styling tools, just be smart about it. If the comb is breaking your hair off, try a little finger detangling. It takes longer but your hair will love you for it.

  • Wash and style hair when you don’t feel rushed

This goes back to needing patience and its hard to be patient with your hair if you have too many worries on the brain. Try saving wash day for when you’re off and have plenty of time to give your hair the right kind of attention.

  • Find a go-to style

Curly hair is versatile, but the more you manipulate it, the easier it is for damage to set in. Protective styling is very important. Find a style you wouldn’t mind wearing for weeks at a time to give your hair a break every now and then. Remember to still moisturize and nourish your hair even when it is in a protective style. My favorites are two strand twists, flat twists and faux locs. (Check out my easy faux loc tutorial for inspiration)

  • Trim hair as needed

This does not mean, trim your hair every month or even every few months, like most stylists seem to think. Listen to your hair. If your hair is hard to detangle overall, it may be time to get a trim. Save lots of money by learning to trim your hair yourself. Most of the time though, I only need to trim off split ends and one strand knots as they occur.

  • Wear heat protectant when heat styling

This will help prevent heat damage. Also try using your heat styling tools on their lowest settings first. You may be able to achieve great results without the high heat.

  • Use products that don’t cause build-up

Less is more. In many hair tutorials, the woman would use tons of conditioner, gel, etc, but if your scalp is prone to itchiness and buildup, all that goop is only going to make it worse. Start off using a little product and you can always add more later.

Tell us about your hair journey. We love hearing from you. Thanks for reading and have a great day.

Photo credit: Maria Schaefer Photography / CC BY-ND

How To: Easing The Transition To Natural

The Workout Zone: Making Fitness a Habit

By Awalfitness

Yesterday was my three-year anniversary as a personal trainer. Yay! Thirteen-year-old Ashley would be so proud! That poor girl hated gym class, with all the wheezing, failed attempts at climbing that stupid rope, and the whole getting picked last for dodgeball. She grew up to be a skinny-fat chick with spaghetti arms and a squishy midsection. She dreamed of having rock hard abs and being able to do a push-up. Take a look at her now:


So how do you go from being a gym class zero to someone who actually enjoys working out? Let’s see:


  1. Find your motivation. Maybe you want to look good on the beach.  Maybe you want to run a mile. Maybe you want to bring down your high blood pressure. Maybe you want to catch the eye of the hot guy at work. There’s something you want that exercise can give you. Write it down and look at it daily.
  2. Find a gym close to you. Especially in the beginning, you will find any and every excuse to skip gym day. You’re tired. Work was awful, so you have to go home and decompress. Work was great, so you have to go out and celebrate. Don’t let “it’s just too far away” be one of your excuses. There are so many gyms out there these days. I’m sure you can find one that’s either a five minute drive or ten-minute walk from your house. You might even find two.
  3. Try everything. And by everything I mean lots of things. I don’t have to strap myself upside down and do inverted sit-ups to know they are not for me. But I have surely tried my hand at yoga, kickboxing, aerobic dance, running, crossfit, pilates, lean barre and even aquatic aerobics. Why? I get bored easily, just like you. And I don’t want to be one of those people who says exercise is boring. Next you’re going to tell me sex is boring. You just have to try new things! Then you find something that really excites you. Going to the gym is no longer about waiting for the numbers on the scale to move. It’s about perfecting your squat, dance routine, dive, or roundhouse kick. Find what you love, and it will keep you coming back for more.
  4. Do something social. Humans are wired to interact with others. We feed off of each other’s energy. Find a buddy to go to spin class with you. If you are like me and can’t always get your friends motivated to move, make friends in spin class. Have conversations after class with the instructor. He or she will show you proper form to make the most of the movement. Ask the girl in the locker room where she shops for her leggings. You might make a friend and update your fitness wardrobe. Connect. Those connections, those tpeople that you know are waiting for you to come to class will get you out of bed, even on the crappiest of mornings.
  5. Just keep trying. Exercise is always going to be essential to your life. Keep finding reasons to stick with it. Remember what motivated you to work out in the first place. Even if your reasons have evolved, you have to keep that initial drive in the forefront. There are days that I just really don’t feel like working out. But I remember the thirteen-year-old in P.E., and I have to push for her.


So I just told you how to get motivated to work out. Share with us why you don’t work out. We’re interested to know. Thanks!


The Workout Zone: Making Fitness a Habit