Nicole: My name is Nicole and I am the founder of lashesandlemons! Lashesandlemons is a health and wellness brand with a mission to inspire others to find ways to feel confident in their own skin. I truly believe that you can never be fully dressed without feeling good in your skin, I'm here to inspire others to find ways to glow from inside to out all. On my platform, I share my daily life, healthy recipes, tons of beauty and more!
Krista: My name is Krista and I started my brand, Frozen Bananas, to show others how to live a healthy and happy lifestyle. (Whatever that means to the individual.) I love posting tasty, healthy and easy recipes for my followers to try out. I also enjoy posting lifestyle content to show others how you can enjoy life’s most precious moments without being consumed by the “health world.” I quit my corporate job last year to pursue this dream. I love to share this story with others and inspire them to do whatever it is that brings them joy. I share healthy recipes, real life and positivity!
Q: How do you come up with a recipe? What does that process look like?
Nicole: A lot of my recipe inspiration comes from things I am craving or from happy accidents.. I love experimenting in the kitchen and finding ways to lighten up a classic recipe or take a healthier spin on it. As I have learned over the years, I know what each recipe needs (I am completely self-taught). A little salt, a little texture, a little this or that. I cook for myself most of the time, so I always have to combine ingredients that I have at home to create something delicious! Baking is a little different and is more of a science, especially when cooking with different types of flours like coconut or almond as they both absorb liquid differently. It is a lot of trial and error, but when you get it right, it's such a great feeling!
Krista: I obtain inspiration from many different places. When I travel, I am inspired by cultures and their cuisines. When I am home, I am inspired by restaurants I visit or by my family/friends. At times, a recipe idea comes to me randomly on a walk or even right before I go to sleep. I typically note the idea in my phone so I don’t forget. Additionally, social media platforms such as Instagram or Pinterest give me ideas as well. I am constantly receiving recipe requests from followers. I always record their ideas to make later on. Once I have the idea and I am ready to create the recipe, I glance at the recipes on my website. If I am creating a cookie, I use an older recipe as a guide. The older recipe helps me determine measurement ratios for flour etc. It can be difficult baking with alternative flours. I have had my fair share of recipe disasters. Using my older recipes as guides definitely helps. When I am creating a savory recipe, I go right into the kitchen and get cooking. You do not have to be as precise when it comes to savory items. I normally just note the measurements I used to create an easy-to-follow recipe.
Q: What was the most random recipe creation you came out with that turned out successful?
Nicole: My most random recipe creation was a high fiber bagel. 2 years ago, I blended the typical ingredients that I had for breakfast, and created a bagel... it broke the internet you can say! I did not release the recipe for a while because I was so proud of it. Since then, the recipe has evolved to fit more gluten free, nut free and dairy free palates! You can find so many of my followers making L&L bagels for themselves and their families! You can find the recipe here! https://www.lashesandlemons.com/recipes/everything-bagels
Krista: A few months ago, I wanted to create a cookie with banana, nuts and chocolate - essentially a chunky monkey cookie. I purchased whole wheat pastry flour. I normally use flours such as almond, coconut or oat. I wanted to get creative and try a new flour out. Since whole wheat pastry flour is similar to all purpose flour when it comes to the texture, I thought it would create a great cookie. I kept in mind the ingredients I would use for a regular chocolate chip cookie and substituted accordingly. I used a banana to replace half the amount of oil and I used maple syrup to replace the sugar. I then realized I didn’t have any eggs. I substituted flaxseed and water. I wasn’t sure how these would turn out. I wound up creating an incredible vegan cookie. I worked with the ingredients I had, made the substitutes I desired and the recipe was a success. Find the recipe here - https://hellofrozenbananas.com/chunky-monkey-cookies.
Q: What are favorite kitchen tools or must haves to work with when recipe testing?
Krista: My goal is to create recipes that are as easy as possible. I don’t use many fancy gadgets. For my baking, all you really need is a bowl, spoon and measuring utensils. I rarely even separate wet and dry ingredients. I do use my food processor, air fryer and blender for recipes as well, but I don’t believe they are absolutely necessary.
Nicole: I agree with Krista! I don't have any fancy tools either. But, I will say the best thing you can invest in is a good quality pan for cooking. I prefer non-toxic and non-stick, here is one I use daily. https://amzn.to/31q5BoY Also, a silicone spatula is an essential! https://amzn.to/2DC8hI5
Q: What recipes or resources would you recommend for someone who is starting or wants to learn how to cook or create their own recipes?
Nicole: I would recommend following some people on instagram! There are TONS of accounts that show step-by-step how tos! Also youtube is a great resource. If you plug in “how to roast a spaghetti squash” you will find a ton of simple how tos. In terms of creating your own recipes, just try! Combine ingredients that you enjoy and see how it goes from there! Trust your palette and take the time to figure out what it's missing… that is all part of the fun!
Krista: I grew up around food and cooking as a child. I was inspired by my mom and would often help her in the kitchen. I was also obsessed with the Food Network as a kid. Most children watched cartoons while I watched Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee and got angry when she used store-bought pie crust instead of making it from scratch. I believe watching someone cook is the best way to learn. If you are new to cooking or creating recipes, I recommend watching cooking shows. As you watch, you will learn about how to combine different flavors, how much of each ingredient to add and tips and tricks you can carry into your own kitchen.
Q: What was a recipe you wanted to try that was a complete failure/how did you overcome this challenge?
Krista: I have failed many many times in the kitchen. If I am being honest, I’ve cried my eyes out over cookies, breads and brownies. It can be difficult working with alternative flours and healthier substitutes. For example, I recently received many requests for grain-free recipes made with coconut flour. Coconut flour is awesome, but it scares me to death. It is crucial that you have enough liquid to obtain the right texture. My idea was a cake type bar with banana and coconut flour to inspire others to make something different with their rotten bananas. The first time I attempted creating this recipe, the bars did not stay together and had a wet texture. I knew I had to increase the amount of coconut flour I used in the recipe. I tried again and the recipe turned out great and both recipes were more than edible. Nothing goes to waste in my home. It’s important to remember that you can’t succeed at every single recipe. It’s not possible. Even though a recipe may not work out the first time, I know how to fix it, can still eat it and will eventually create the version you will find on my website. https://hellofrozenbananas.com/banana-coco-bars
Nicole: I have failed so many times as well. I had so many grand ideas of how to make something healthier...and sometimes it just doesn't work. I had this cookbook as a child and my Mom made so many kid friendly recipes from it. My Mom and I were cleaning out the house over the past few months and we stumbled upon it! It had a recipe for a big soft pretzel and I knew I had to recreate it. I tried using chickpea flour to replace regular flour, not use butter, etc. It just didn't work. It was so beyond difficult to create a dough that you were able to work with and roll into a pretzel. My ultimate goal is providing recipes that are easy to follow so you will actually give it a try. How do I overcome it? Sometimes you just need to appreciate the recipe and the ingredients for how it is and not try to change it.
Q: In your opinion, what is the best flour to bake with? And why is it the most versatile?
Krista: Oat Flour. It is cheap, has a texture very similar to all purpose flour and can be used as a 1:1 substitute for it. Also, you can simply grind up oats in a food processor to create the flour.
Nicole: I agree with Krista, and I need to use oat flour more. But, I love baking with coconut flour. It's super high in fiber, has protein and it provides a density to whatever you are baking! Here is the coconut flour I love to bake with. https://amzn.to/3gusbTK
Q: Top three ingredients to always have on hand for healthified baking?
Krista: Oat Flour, Maple Syrup, Dark Chocolate
Nicole: Coconut flour, Almond or Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate
Q: What is an underrated baking tool or product that you’ve found in recipe development?
Krista: A cookie scoop for creating cookies that are the same size and shape. I typically use a 1 ½ Tablespoon scoop.
Nicole: Silicone spatula. You won't waste ANY batter!
Q: What are your top 3 favorite recipes?