Surrender 125: Gluten & Sugar Free Cocoa Banana Cake in a Mug

My mom was dismissed from the hospital today, thankfully. As I sat with her there the past few days, we talked about many things, including the intention to be as healthy as possible. I’m going to walk alongside my mom to help her create some healthy changes, especially in her diet. This has been my journey recently as well. 

I know how important it is to limit inflammation in my body. And one of the best ways I can do that is by eliminating sugar from my diet. Sugar is not my friend. It is toxic to me. I’ve been doing well drinking celery juice, and prepping ahead lunches and dinners based on whole foods. And yet I enjoy a treat now and then. 

Tonight I was excited to try a healthier version of cake in a mug. These quick and easy treats are cooked in a mug in the microwave. I found a great recipe to try on Pinterest and I had the ingredients on hand. 

(Makes 2 mug cakes)

1 overripe banana

1/4 cup peanut butter (or any nut butter)

1 large egg

2 teaspoons organic honey or agave nectar 

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1⁄4 cup chopped nuts or dried fruit. 


Mash the banana in a small bowl with a fork. Add the nut butter and egg and mix thoroughly. Stir in the sugar and cocoa and stir until smooth. Fold in the add-ins. Divide the batter between two mugs. Don’t fill the mugs more than half full. Microwave separately for 1.5 to 2.5 minutes each until risen and firm. 

The cocoa banana treat turned out great even though I used too large of a mug. A regular sized mug would be perfect. Rich with a cake-like texture, the dessert had a dark chocolate taste that wasn’t too sweet. The single serving was just right. This will be a warm and wonderful occasional treat to have with tea. 

I love when I do something good for myself that impacts me in a healthy way. I much prefer the feeling of satisfaction over feeling guilt for a poor food choice. This evening’s experience was fun and tasty. I’ll be searching for more healthy dessert in a mug options. 

Surrender 4: Martha Stewart’s  9 Minute One Pan Pasta

Today I surrendered to my desire to cook more at home and try new, healthier recipes. I’d seen this simple one pan pasta dish online and wanted to see if it was really as easy, and as flavorful, as it appeared. Would placing raw ingredients in a pan and boiling for less than 10 minutes really produce a ready to eat meal? I was about to find out!


Here’s the recipe:

Martha Stewart’s 9 Minute One Pan Pasta

12 ounces linguine

12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered if large

1 onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

2 sprigs basil, plus torn leaves for garnish

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

4 1/2 cups water

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Combine pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, red-pepper flakes, basil, oil, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and water in a large straight-sided skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil mixture, stirring and turning pasta frequently with tongs, until pasta is al dente and water has nearly evaporated, about 9 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, divide among 4 bowls, and garnish with basil. Serve with oil and Parmesan.


This dish was extremely easy to prepare. I love that the recipe uses fresh ingredients such as garlic, tomatoes and basil. I paused to inhale the aroma of the basil. It instantly transported me back to my summer garden.  I confess that I have never sliced fresh garlic before. I enjoy cooking with garlic, however I normally purchase it diced in a jar. I felt more chef-like as I thinly sliced this pungent vegetable. 

I stirred the pot frequently as the contents bubbled. A delicious aroma filled the kitchen that made me hope that the dish tasted as good as it smelled. Nine minutes later, I tested a piece of linguine and it was perfectly al dente. 

There’s no need to drain the pasta. The broth boils down to create a wonderful sauce. And the verdict? Amazing! I added the grated Parmesan cheese and a bit more salt and pepper, foregoing additional olive oil. The pasta was rich with flavor and perfectly seasoned. It is spicy! One could cut the red pepper flakes (crushed red pepper) to 1/4 teaspoon for a milder flavor. 

And the next best part about this recipe? There’s only one pan to clean up. I’ll definitely make this again. I give it two thumbs up!