Peanut Butter & Banana Panini

Peanut Butter? Check.

Banana? Check.

Honey? Check.

Whole Wheat bread? Check.

Strong hankering for a peanut butter & banana panini? YOU BETCHA!!

You know you’re a food blogger with an intense love of food when you start thinking about what to have for breakfast when you go to bed the night before. Last night, I went to bed with a huge craving for peanut butter, and believe it or not, woke up in the middle of the night still thinking about it. By the time I got up this morning, I was pretty much engulfed in a peanut butter daze. 😯


To make the panini:

  • Fire up your panini maker/griddle (I use the Griddler Jr. and LOVE it)
  • Spread your nut butter of choice (mine was Blizzard Butter, “surprise”) on 2 slices of whole wheat bread
  • Top one slice of bread (or 2 if you wanna get crazy) with banana slices
  • Go all out and drizzle with a little bit of honey
  • Cook on griddle for about 5 minutes or until heated through and cooked to your liking.
  • Indulge in the most delicious combo ever.

Here’s a sneak peek inside. 😉


Along with my breakfast panini, I also enjoyed a glass of iced coffee with vanilla almond milk.


The book you notice in the background is actually the proof album from our photographer. I’m trying to go through and choose some photos to order to put up in the living room. It’s not as easy as I thought it’d be! :roll:



Tummy Troubles

So the other night while I was out to dinner with my fave girls, we got onto the topic of stomach pains. After chatting with them all, it was determined that the constant stomach pains I experience on a daily basis are just not normal. Huh, who knew?

Yes, I’ve been dealing with various stomach pains on almost a daily basis for over a year now. It started back around the time when I was depriving myself of all the healthy nutrients and fats that my body needed. I was diagnosed with “IBS” (a term I really don’t like because it’s so broad) and was put on numerous medications. For the most part, they helped treat my symptoms, but they also caused horrible side effects (i.e., depression – not fun). I hated being dependent on medication for something I thought I’d be able to treat on my own, so I took myself off of everything.

To make a long story short, I’m no longer on medication for my stomach troubles and I certainly make sure to feed my body the nutrients that it needs (i.e., fruits, veggies, healthy fats, etc.). However, it seems like over the past few weeks especially, my stomach pains are becoming more and more frequent and I have no idea what’s causing it…

Sometimes it’s sharp, jabbing pains. Sometimes it’s more like “bubbles” that I can’t get rid of.

My stomach will become extremely bloated, and very rarely is there a night I go to bed without feeling discomfort.

Occasionally, the pain will travel up to my gallbladder area and feel like someone is sitting on my chest.

I can’t seem to pinpoint my discomfort to any particular food either, which is what is making this so extremely difficult. I know I need to make a call to my doctor, but it becomes very discouraging when my symptoms are shrugged off as no big deal.

So I guess I’m looking to my fellow blog friends for advice…

Have any of you ever experienced any kinds of symptoms like these? Could it be a food allergy? Do I have aliens in my stomach? (hey, you never know!) 😉

Help a sista’ out!! :)


  1. says

    Hmm, have you checked out GERD? (Gastroesophogeal Reflux Disease). I was diagnosed with IBS in college. Then about a year ago I started having these awful pains in my chest, mostly after I ate. But I’ve always had stomach issues. Sometimes I get pains down there and I feel like there’s a little gnome trying to cut his way out. (sorry, graphic). I noticed a HUGE difference when I gave up fried food for Lent, the pains almost went away. I still get them from time to time, but much less.

  2. Michelle says

    Haha. Definitely don’t think it’s aliens! I too suffer from IBS. Fortunately for me, I’m engaged to a wonderful man whose mom is a gastroentrologist!! She diagnoised me with IBS a few years ago. I have been there sister!! You are experiencing gastritis!! (I’m not a doctor and can’t diagnosis you BUT really understand what kind of pain you’re going through.) I take anti-spasmatics for my stomach. I definitely stay AWAY from splenda, sugar free gum, sugar free anything! (IE SF maple syrup, salad dressings, crystal lights, diet coke etc….) There are sooo many foods that have sorbitol, splenda, aspartame in them that ALL cause cramping, gas, sharp pains, bloating. You name it. I’d definitely recommend going to a Gastro specialist and having them check you out. There are some over the counter medicines you can take such as, gas x, miralax (helps get stuff moving which works). You can email me if you have any personal questions you like to ask.

    • Jess Masters says

      I was thinking the same thing you’re saying!

      I also have the same diagnosis and experience the same things as you. Anti-spasmatic medication was recommended to me (I have not tried it yet as I, too, don’t want to depend on daily scripts for this problem). I do use Miralax, which does help. I’ve also been doing some research on staying away from sugar-free foods, as they tend to contain Aspartame (a sugar substitute), which could be actually poisoning you.

      Hope you figure things out asap!

  3. peanutbutterfingers says

    yes. you have aliens in your stomach… in the form of cute little cupcakes with eyeballs and pigtails. see, it’s not so bad! :)

  4. says

    do you think it could be a gluten allergy? my friend went through this in college and eventually she was diagnosed with celiac’s disease, she can’t eat anything with wheat in it.

  5. Ashley says

    Try keeping a food and symptom journal to see if anything correlates. I know it’s not popular in blog land but I personally feel much better GI-wise with minimal grains! (I do oats and occasionally rice but almost never bread or other things like that)

  6. Karen Keane says

    It sounds like gall bladder with the sharp pains, but the bloating? Try a doctor and put your mind at ease..

  7. says

    ‘Bubbles’ are the exact term I’ve used from my belly problems, too! You should read up on food combining at Choosing Raw – who knew? I don’t follow the combos all of the time, but things like eating fruit alone or not at all helped my bloating a bit. Going to the bathroom regularly is truly the only thing that stops my stomach from hurting/bloating/bubbles/etc.

  8. Gabby says

    You may want to have your primary care doctor give you a script to go have an abdominal ultrasound done. The pain your talking about and for how long its been going on (as long as I have known you) it sounds like what I had right before I was diagnosed with gall bladder disease and then that bad boy had to be taken out!!

  9. Kristi says

    Hi! I have your exact same problem. The bubbles, the bloating, the sharp stabbing pain…..just plain uncomfortable. It can be triggered by cold water to raw carrots. Too much food or too little food.

    I have been to the doctor as well and have had the same answer. I love my doctor and she is just as at a loss as me. I have been through many tests.

    I find that eating more fibre and sticking with healthier foods helps but does not stop it altogether.

    I hear your pain!

  10. Nicki Austin says

    It sounds like your gall bladder. I had similar issues and went through many test. Finally it was caught when my doctor did a nuclear scanning test. Turns out I had scarring on my gall bladder, and it quit functioning properly, that’s where the pain was coming from. I had it removed and I no longer have pain. :) Maybe mention having that test done if they can’t figure it out.. Good Luck! Hope you feel better soon!

  11. says

    The past 3 years I have gone through “bouts” of these types of stomach pains. They will happen every day for a month or 2 and be so excruciatingly painful that I will go see numerous doctors and be in and out of the ER, and then all of a sudden they will just disappear. They tell me I have IBS and I tell them to go f off and tell me something meaningful. haha.

    Hope you find a ‘cure’ for your pains, cuz I def sympathize with you!!

  12. says

    I would definitely do a food journal, because it might show what triggers it. Also, I would suggest eliminating all dairy, because that may be the problem :) Dairy is pretty darn bad for us health wise

  13. says

    Unfortunately, stomach problems are my forte! I have severe IBS and was diagnosed with both the IBS and lactose intolerance about 12 years ago. Through the years, I have also gone through bouts of gastritis as well. I have been through the various medications, diets, you name it. In terms of what pain is what – usually when it’s a lower rumbly pain, bloating, gas, things like that – it’s the IBS. If it’s an upper pain, or burning and nausea, it’s usually my gastritis acting up. Everyone is different, and what works for some won’t work for others, so unfortunately it is a lot of trial and error. Although I don’t like meds either, I have been on like the most severe med you can take for IBS for the past 6 years. It helps ALOT but I still need to watch my diet too. Lately, I have been eating on a more regular basis and that has really helped. Often my stomach is so sensitive, that if I skip a meal or overcompensate at another meal, my stomach will take notice and not like it! It’s good to keep things as reguar as possible. Another thing that helps is probiotics – I eat mine in the form of soy yogurt. Eating as much natural and organic foods as possible has also helped, and I don’t eat any dairy whatsoever. Feel free to email me and I can give you as many details as you’d like! Good luck…I know how uncomfortable this can be!

  14. says

    Oh my goodness, so funny you bring this up because I have had my really bad stomach pains come back with avengence this week- since this past weekend. It’s awful :( Everynight I go to bed feeling soooo bloated & gross…even though my dinners have been getting smaller & smaller this week because I can’t even eat any more b/c I already fill full (b/c of the bloating) It’s just a disgusting feeling. Although I know a lot of my issues can be due to my Crohn’s disease (have you been tested for this ? / do you show symptoms of this? they can do a blood test to see if you have it- that’s how I was diagnosed @ 16)
    It’s just really bad & the funny thing is that I have cut out those artificial sweetners- starting this Monday- & it seems that I have only gotten WORSE. what the heck?! Maybe there is something going around that we just don’t know about. But I sure hope it goes away QUICK!
    On a side note, your breakfast looks like the lunch I made for Craig- pnut butter, banana & honey sandwiches 😀 SOOOO good!!

  15. Liza says

    I started having really bad stomach pains and bloating during the summer right after I graduated college. The bloating went away when I elimited wheat from my diet, but the pain persisted. It turned out to be anxiety-induced (i was going thru a difficult time in my life) I still avoid wheat and I only experience bloating when something w/ wheat accidently creeps into my diet (like soy sauce… who knew it had wheat in it?!?!) An elimination diet can help you determine what is causing your bloating. I’m also happy to say that once I landed my dream job my anxiety went away and the pain disappeared! It was not a medical condition nor a food allergy. I don’t know if this applies to you or not, but if you’ve been feeling extremely anxious about something for a while then it might be causing your pain!

  16. Liza says

    I forgot to mention – sugar free candy, diet sodas, and sugar free syrup in my coffee drinks caused me unbearable pain and gas. i strictly avoid that stuff now and am sooo much more energetic and health. i stay away from real sugar as well, but if i must choose i’ll always take the real stuff over the artificial! always!! in small amounts, it’s WAY healthier than the fake stuff. after a while, i stopped craving sweet things altogether.

  17. says

    Bubbles sound so pleasant until you start talking about there being bubbles that can’t escape your tummy! I’m so sorry–sounds awful.

    I’ve never dealt with much bubble issues though so I really don’t know what to tell ya. Sounds like everyone has given you some great tips though. Hope they help!

    and omg, that panina made your sandwich look so good. I love toasted warm peanut butter sandwiches!

  18. says

    I used to have similar stomach issues but ever since I stopped eating dairy, my stomach has been almost 100% better! Sorry you are dealing with that discomfort, though. I definitely know what it’s like.

  19. says

    Wow, I was about to suggest food allergy and see you already have. I used to get, like, super ill feeling regularly- horribly, to the point I couldnt sleep (another reason I got super into health) I think it was a combination of certsain foods and stress- I dont eat hardly any of the same things and manage my stress a little differently and never get nauseaus now. Im so sorry youre going through this. Horrible feeling…. Good luck and feel better!!!

  20. says

    Ooh, not fun!! I get uncomfortably bloated fairly often, because I drink a lot of seltzer and eat a lot of fibrous foods, but yours sounds a little worse. Have you tried just taking Tums? It sounds gross, but I always get horrible pains when I’m gassy, and that helps. My stomach also started getting queasy less often when I cut out dairy. Dairy-free isn’t for everyone, but maybe experiment with eating less of it? And finally, STRESS has given me horrible stomachaches before. Sorry I listed about ten things, but I hope you get it all figured out!

  21. Jamie says

    It could be a few things. Docs are quick to diagnose “IBS” like with me, but it could be: an autoimmune like Crohns, Ulcerative Colitis, Celiac (gluten issue). You may need an endoscopy if you haven’t had one. Good luck and hope it’s nothing serious!

  22. says

    Aw, I hope you feel better! I have no advice for you, just sympathy! Sorry, I am not the most knowledgeable when it comes to medical type things. :( But here’s to hoping that delicious pb&banana sandwich distracted your pains this AM. :)

  23. CK says

    My husband has been struggling with gallbladder issues, believe it or not, since we got “healthy.” (Change in diet, exercise, who knows what really did it.) It has caused two trips to the ER, countless trips to a Gastro Specialist, many uncomfortable tests and, yes, medication. The medication he is on (Protonix) is actually very helpful and so far we’ve not noticed any side effects.

  24. says

    You probably are allergic to gluten, meaning that your body can’t digest gluten. My mom had the same stomach trouble and also was told to take IBS meds and all that jazz. I mentioned that she might be allergic to gluten and now that she doesn’t eat it anymore there are no more stomach pains!

    Try not eating anything with gluten in it, so basically no flour, and then see how you feel. Gluten intolerance is really common but rarely diagnosed.

  25. says

    Yikes, can’t say I’ve ever experience stomach pains like that, but I would definitely suggest going to the doc. Maybe if you’re normal doc blows it off you could try someone else or get a second opinion or something?

  26. Amy says

    courtney, due to my extreme dieting I’ve dealth with lots of stomach problems and was diagnosed with IBS and went through the same things with medications. I still suffer from bloating by the end of the day but I also found that I was lactose intolerant and had a sensitivity to wheat. Since going gluten free I feel so much better. I tested negative for full blown celiac but the doctor said i could still be wheat sensitive. i’d try cutting out dairy first and then wheat. Theres some great bread and wraps out there that are gluten free and I was a total Ezekiel bread nut. i think we put so much stress on our digestive systems when we restrict food for awhile and our bodys rebel.

      • Amy says

        I don’t have insurance so I couldn’t get the testing but I worked very closely with a dietician doing an elimiation diet to figure it out. I’m actually in school to be a dietician myself. We found I was sensitive to wheat and dairy, luckily not soy cause I love tofu and soymilk. I still do 1 greek yogurt a day but take a lactaid pill first and it helps if not I bloat up like i’m pregnant and get gassy cramps. If u need any help let me know I’m pretty knowledgeable about the gluten free stuff.

  27. Cristal says

    Wow, seriously, we could not be more alike. I used to suffer from these pains every. single. day. Now I get them once in a while. I was never able to pinpoint an exact food or reason either. However, when it started happening less and less, I was able to look back and see what I did that day that might have caused it. OK, for it I notice that it happens when I wait to long to eat and have something that might be hard to digest, raw veggies, carbonated drink, etc. I also started noticing it when I went back on birth control pills. I’m not sure if any of this applies to you, but something to think about. I hope you feel better, nothing is more annoying/concerning than that feeling.

    • says

      I have definitely noticed that if I wait too long to eat, and then eat something like raw veggies, the discomfort sets in almost immediately!

  28. says

    I’m going with aliens on this one 😉

    in all seriousness I get tummy pains a LOT with similar diagnoses. I do believe stress is a big factor and also perhaps what time of day you’re eating certain foods.

    Try some papaya enzyme tablets. They help :)

  29. carin says

    hi courtney,

    i found your blog through peanut butter fingers. ironic that this is your first post i’ve read :)

    at any rate, i’m finishing medical school soon, so i have a little knowledge about stomach problems. i also experience them on a regular basis, so hoo-rah for that.

    honestly, it does sound like IBS or a food allergy. i’ve kind of given up my self-diagnosing and figured i have IBS, i think it may also have something to do with lactose. i have similar pains, and get TERRIBLE bloating. to the point where i feel like my stomach is sticking out past my chin. ugh. so i’m right there with ya, sister.

    i would avoid the drugs if you can. i’m all about taking medications if you need them, but the side effects for GI drugs are pretty gnarly (sounds like you’ve already had some of them).

    i would do trials without certain foods….do a week without fake sugars (honestly, that does help me, but i’m addicted to diet soda and gum, so i put up with a little trouble there…)

    other big offenders: gluten, as many others have mentioned, and lactose. i personally think i’m a little lactose intolerant. i can’t do much milk or cheese. good thing ice cream/fro yo/regular yogurt have VERY LITTLE lactose and so are generally ok for people taht aren’t severely intolerant.

    the miralax is good if you’re having a lot of constipation.

    feel free to email me if you have any questions or you have more pain, or you want to talk to someone who has similar problems :)

    • says

      Thank you! You’re right, it’s a VERY good thing that ice cream & fro yo don’t have a lot of lactose – I’d be devastated if I ever had to give those up! :)

  30. says

    Wow! So many people with so many tummy issues. I never knew there were so many of us out there. I had many of the same issues, and I really think the culprit varies between people.

    I would definitely seek out a doctor’s opinion. I worked at a gastroenterologist office all throughout grad school so I heard about this stuff a lot. They would know the right tests to perform to try to identify the culprit.

    I personally just went to my family physician who practices integrative medicine. She suggested something I never thought of. She suggested I avoid all cow’s milk products (milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, and other yummy things). Apparently the protein in cow’s milk (not lactose) is a major inflammatory agent. She told me to try giving it up for four weeks. There was no guarantee that I’d feel better, but I thought, heck, why not give it a shot. So I tried for four weeks. It was definitely an adjustment trying to avoid those products, but to be honest, I DID feel better after four weeks.

    Silly me though decided that I just didn’t want to forego cheese and butter so I started eating it again shortly thereafter. Within a day or two, I was a disaster. My stomach was a mess, my head hurt, my sinuses hurt, I was soooo tired. So back to no cow’s milk I’ve gone. It’s been about two months now. And it isn’t as hard as I thought it’d be (yay for goat’s and sheep’s milk cheese and other subsitutes). I’m definitely feeling better! I’m going to do allergy testing in September to see if I can drill down more on what’s causing many of my health issues.

    Keep us updated on what you find out! And feel better too!

  31. says

    First of all, your breakfast looks bangin. I might have to do that for “dinner” tonight!! And I have experienced this pain for many years as well, it’s so frustrating. I have cut out dairy which helps a bit, but I still get those “bubbles” very often and it is painful and annoying! I am thinking of seeing a gastroenterologist soon… but for now I’m going to read the comments on this and see if anyone has some advice. Good luck!!

  32. Marie says

    Hey Courtney! Sounds like it may be lactose or gluten. I’m lactose intolerant and it has taken me about 8 years or so to be okay with it because I love dairy so much (all things cheese). I used to take lactaid pills which help a lot although I feel best just avoiding the food items altogether Maybe you can try the pills though. You’ll definitely have to avoid certain foods a bit at a time and see if you are better. Sorry you feel bad, I know the feeling.

  33. says

    so crazy BUT acupuncture actually REALLY helped my tummy troubles! I never believed in it until i tried it!
    your sandwich looks SO GOOD! sometimes i crave a good ole PB and naner sammie!

  34. Sherin says

    While reading about your stomach problems I thought wow she has the same exact story as I do (or very similar at least). I, have had stomach problems my whole life and honestly thought it was totally normal for years. I finally described the symptoms to my dad (a physician) when he realized that they were so not normal. I was diagnosed with IBS, but before their was medication for it. Instead, I managed my symptoms attempted to eat the “correct” foods and felt some relief, but mostly if I ate I had pain. After I got married and started thinking about having children I realized I really wanted to get this under control. I went to the doctor had a full workup, endoscopy, colonoscopy, blood work, etc. Thankfully, it was worth it and thank god I did. The doctor found significant damage to my esophagus from acid reflux. I’m finally taking some medication now that has really really helped. I hope that you find some relief too!

    You can feel free to email me if you have questions about my experience or symptoms, I know I was pretty brief.

  35. Pamela says

    YES! I am in the same boat as you! I was recently tested for celiac disease (bloodwork & endoscopy) to determine whether gluten was the cause of my stomach upset. I have had the pains for years, but it has become worse in the past 6+ months. The biopsy was negative for celiac, so I still have no answers, but I have similar symptoms as you. Everyone is chalking it up to being IBS as well. I haven’t eliminated gluten from my diet b/c it would be a huge transition for me (I love my oats, cereals, breads), so I am just living with it. Feel btr!


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