I am a wife and stay at home mother of two adorable little men. I'll spend a small fortune on the right pair of shoes or purse. Sometimes, I don't feel like a "real" adult. Sometimes, I feel like I'm getting old. Often at the same time. This is my space to share weekly dinner menus, healthy recipes, useful cooking tips and my fitness journey. So grab a cup of coffee, a cozy chair and enjoy!
Or as I call them, little bites of heaven! These things are the best little snacks. They curb my sweet craving and they are actually good me for! My boys love them and request them in their lunch boxes as their snack.
I use Shakeology for these. I have never made them with any other protein powder so I can’t tell you how they would taste if you tried. Vanilla, Chocolate and Cafe Latte flavored Shakeology all work well for these. The vanilla actually look like raw cookie dough. I wouldn’t recommend using the Strawberry or Greenberry flavors. I haven’t tried it but it doesn’t sound very appetizing.
You just dump all the ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer and let it do the rest. Once it is completely combined, roll them into 1-inch balls and store them in the refrigerator.
I use raw honey whenever a recipe calls for honey. It’s a bit more expensive bit most processed honey today has been heated and filtered, robbing it of its nutritional value and resulting in a product no more valuable than a simple sweetener. Raw honey contains up to 80 different substances important to human nutrition. Besides glucose and fructose, honey contains: All of the B-complex, A, C, D, E, and K, minerals and trace elements: magnesium, sulfur, phosphorus, iron, calcium, chlorine, potassium, iodine, sodium, copper, and manganese. The live enzyme content of honey is one of the highest of all foods. Raw honey also contains hormones and antimicrobial and antibacterial factors.
The recipe only makes one batch of 13-14 balls but it can easily be doubled. Give them a try, they truly are little bites of heaven!
Last week, the husband dragged us tent camping in the Adirondack Mountains. The area is absolutely beautiful, I will 100% agree with that. Breaking from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and breaking away from electronics was very calming and relaxing.
(views from our tent)
(Top of Panther Mountain)
While I won’t get into the reasons I do not enjoy tent camping at all (give me a camper and I’m good to go) I love to see the pure joy on my boys and husbands face. They loved every minute of it and I in turn, loved watching them. I’m not going to lie when I say I was very excited to get back and take a real shower, wash the bug spray and campfire smells away and cook on a cooktop that doesn’t burn the top layer of skin off.
Introducing: Grilled Chicken Pesto Zoodles!
As I have stated before, zucchini is one of my favorite vegetables and come summer time, we eat A LOT of it. It’s very easy to care for (if you can keep the squash bugs away) and grows like a weed. Luckily, there is so much you can do with it. So yes, here is yet another zucchini recipe.
Many of the ingredients in this recipe come straight from my garden. The basil for the pesto, the tomatoes and the zucchini, I picked from the garden that morning. Yeah for having dinner right at your finger tips!
I used my homemade Pesto for this recipe. The zucchini I used were a bit too big for my hand spiralizer so I used my mandolin and julienned the zucchini. Normally I would spiralize them. Tastes the same whichever method you choose.
Asian foods have always been one of my favorites as far as types of foods. Well, let me rephrase that, since I started eating it in high school, its been one of my favorites. Fast forward to a few years ago and when I began to realize just how bad take-out Asian really was. I would always feel like crap the next day after eating it. Bloated and gross feeling.
As I began to invest more into my cooking at home and eating healthier, I figured there had to be a way to make Asian food healthier, but still taste good. Turns out after investigating ways to cook Asian food at home, the real stuff is nothing like you get in carry out restaurants.
Yes, I probably sound naive but when you grow with Panda Express in the mall and a Chinese carry-out on every corner, you think that’s what it is.
It turns out, fresh meats and vegetables mixed with fresh Asian spices and sauces, is even better than the carry-out crap most of us are used to!
This recipe has the perfect amount of sauce and spice to go with the organic chicken and fresh veggies. And better yet, you don’t have to play the game of “guess the mystery meat!”
***Quick side note: These are the Liquid Aminos I use. A healthier alternative to soy sauce. This is the sesame oil that I use. ***
It’s no secret that I dislike meatloaf. I’ve said it many times but the rest of the family loves it so I am continuously trying to find different ways to make it more exciting. Mostly for me, so I will eat it.
I came across the idea of putting the meatloaf in the pepper rings over at this blog. I thought it was neat and very portion friendly so I took the idea and used my own meatloaf recipe in the rings. She put cheese on the top of hers but I was using cheese in another dish so I didn’t want to overwhelming the meal with cheese.
I love how much easier it was to bake. Time to cook is one of my pet peeves for regular meatloaf. That and it’s a lot of meat… in a loaf shape. Ack! This recipe is fast to prepare and easy to bake so it can be made during a week night. While they are baking, make your sides.
I served mine with grilled zucchini from the garden and a cauliflower gratin. So good! You can substitute lean ground beef or ground chicken if that is your taste preference.
I know what you are going to say, “canned beans are so much easier!” Well..sort of. These beans are incredibly easy to do. You don’t even have to pay attention to them the majority of the time. Plus, they have significant less sodium and chemicals, the freeze well and the are less expensive.
Pick a day that you’ll be home and let these simmer away on the stove. Cook time will vary depending on size and variety of bean. Black bean tend to take the longest. I simmered mine for about two and a half hours. White beans only take about an hour but really you cook them to your desired doneness (spellcheck doesn’t like that word but I’m using it anyway).
Some tips before you get started:
1. Don’t mix varieties in one pot as different ones have different cooking times.
2. Use a heavy-bottomed pot (I used my Le Creuset dutch oven)
3. Be patient – don’t turn up the heat to cook faster or you’ll end up with gross beans.
4. Keep them in their liquid until ready to serve. Freeze them in freezer safe bags in their liquid and drain only after thawing. This keeps them from shriveling up.
5. Pre-soak your beans!!
Now before you turn up your nose, I beg you to give it a try. My family LOVED this! You really can’t even tell it is cauliflower. It soaks up the flavors of the sauce and the crunchy whole wheat breadcrumbs, make it delightful!
During the summer months, I tend to cook a lot of dinners that are meatless. Vegetables are usually at there best this time of year and it just makes more sense. The boys and I aren’t huge meat eaters anyway. The husband pretty much eats whatever I put in front of him and knows better than to complain.
Cauliflower is becoming one of my favorite vegetables to cook with. It really doesn’t have much of a flavor and can be made into lots of yummy things.
One of the best things about this dish? It’s actually really easy to prepare so it is perfect for a weeknight meal.
An egg wash and organic whole wheat breadcrumbs is all the breading is. Just dip the cauliflower in the egg wash then roll in the breadcrumbs and place them onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes and while they are turning golden brown, make the sweet, spicy sauce.
When they are a nice golden color, remove from the oven and toss with the sauce. Serve over rice, quinoa or eat them just by themselves!
That’s it! Fast, easy and oh so delicious!
Serving Size: 1 Cup Cauliflower
Baked Honey Garlic Cauliflower
Crunchy baked cauliflower pieces coated with honey garlic sauce. It’s an easy and delicious weeknight meal!
10 minPrep Time:
20 minCook Time:
30 minTotal Time:
1 small head of cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces
2 cups organic whole wheat panko bread crumbs
2 large eggs, whisked
for the sauce:
6 tbsp raw honey
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp onion powder
6 tbsp water + 2 tsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tbsp liquid aminos or low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp hot sauce (or to taste)
Preheat oven to 400F.
Whisk eggs in a small bowl, set aside.
Pour panko crumbs in a separate bowl, set aside.
Dip cauliflower pieces in egg and then roll in panko until fully coated.**
Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Repeat until all cauliflower is coated.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until coating is golden brown.
While the cauliflower is cooking,add all sauce ingredients except the cornstarch + water to a medium sauce pan.
Bring to a simmer and stir until mixed.
In a small cup, whisk cornstarch in water, then add to the mixture.
Stir until sauce reaches a low boil again and cook until thickens.
Toss cauliflower in sauce.
Serve warm with rice or quinoa..
Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.
Cuisine: Asian |Recipe Type: Main Dish Vegetables
**Your breadcrumbs may start to clump together from the egg coating, making it harder to stick to the cauliflower. To help get these clumps to stay on the cauliflower, gently press them on when coating the cauliflower.
So I have to apologize. Life has been crazy busy and the blog has taken a back seat to everything else. I am still creating new recipes and I hopefully can get one up a week this summer.
Now on to Avocado Pesto. I LOVE pesto. I can put it on pretty much everything, pasta, eggs, sandwiches, salads, meats. I’ve even been known to use it as a dip sometimes. Unfortunately, my waist line disagrees with that. The calories in pesto add up fast! I have made my own Pesto for awhile now. I grow my own basil and it’s super easy to make. You just throw everything in a food processor, drizzle in some oil and you are good to go! And of course, it’s much cheaper this way because like I said, I can and will, put it on anything.
I have been doing some research on avocado oil vs olive oil when cooking and I liked the fact the avocado oil has a higher smoke point. That means it can with stand higher temperature cooking better. It also had a few other health benefits that I enjoyed so I made a switch this last time to cold pressed avocado oil. I love it but I also love avocados and their rich, buttery taste. It may not be for some people.
About this time, I used my last jar of pesto and thought, “hey, I can try the pesto made with avocado oil this time.” Well, I took that thought one step further. I had a bunch of avocados that were ripe so I decided to play around and use one of the avocados completely in place of the oil in the pesto. Guess what? It worked! Healthier Pesto Sauce and just as easy to make! It tastes just like my original pesto but it has a creamier texture (is creamier even a word?).
For the pesto, I used my original recipe and just replaced the 1/2 cup of Olive Oil with one avocado and added some water. That’s it!
An avocado lover? A Pesto lover? You have to try this!
***Disclaimer: I used cashew nuts instead of pine nuts. My best friend hates pine nuts and I wanted her to try it. Unfortunately, I ate it all before she could. Whoops! You can use pine nuts instead of cashews!***
Serving Size: 1/4 cup
Avocado Pesto (NO OIL ADDED)
A Healthier pesto without all the added oil!
10 minPrep Time:
10 minTotal Time:
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 large ripe avocado
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts or cashew nuts
2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup water, plus more if necessary
Himalayan Pink salt, to taste
Add basil, avocado, garlic, pine nuts, lemon juice and parmesan cheese to a food processor and pulse for 30 seconds or until pesto is chopped.
Add in water and process again until completely smooth.
Add more water to get to desired consistency.
Store in an airtight container or mason jar and refrigerate.
Because of the avocado, the pesto is best if used within a few days
Who remembers the good ole days when life was simple and fruit roll-ups were made to be wrapped around your finger and eaten (we alll know you did it so stop denying)? Those little cavity creators were the best. Of course they are not the healthiest things out there for kids (or adults). I came across a homemade healthy version of fruit roll-ups years ago. Fruit leather is was called. I can’t even remember where the recipe came from. Boy it was unbelievably good and so very easy to make. Hence, the reason I can’t remember where the recipe came from. You literally have to remember four things. Two ingredients, an oven temp and cooking time. BOOM!
Preheat your oven to 200°F. Line an 11-by-17 cookie sheet with a Silpat baking mat. If you don’t have one, use parchment paper, although a Silpat will give better results. DO NOT USE WAX PAPER! Wax paper is not made to be heated. Please do not use it. You won’t enjoy the results.
You start with 4 cups of fresh strawberries. Really 4 cups of any fruit you like would work. I have done blueberry-strawberry, cherry raspberry strawberry and a peach one but I wasn’t a huge fan of that. I have also only used fresh fruit. I have no idea how it would turn out if you used frozen. I think it would require more time to cook out all the liquid but I’m not sure. If you try, let me know.
To the 4 cups of fruit add 1 tablespoon of raw organic honey. Now depending on the sweetness of your fruit, you can add up to two tablespoons of honey. Fruit that is in season generally won’t need as much. Puree the fruit and honey till there are no chunks.
Slowly pour the pureed fruit onto the prepared pan. Use the back of a spoon or spatula to spread it out evenly. This is the only tricky part. You want to make sure you have it even because the thinner parts are going to bake faster and get hard and crispy.
Bake in the oven for 3-4 hours or until the leather is no longer sticky/tacky to the touch. I would start checking around 3 hours. If you notice the edges are getting done faster, you can remove the leather from the oven and careful cut the edges off and cool on a rack while the rest continues to cook.
Once done, remove from the oven and let it cool. When it has cooled, peel off the silpat mat and either cut into strips or you can place it on wax paper and cut it into strips that way!
Come on, you know you did it!
Serving Size: 2 Strips
Strawberry Fruit Leather
5 minPrep Time:
4 hrCook Time:
4 hr, 5 Total Time:
4 cups of strawberries
1-2 Tbsps of raw honey
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silpat mat or parchment paper.
Wash and dry the strawberries. Remove the stems and chop.
Place into a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Add the honey and pulse to combine.
Pour the mixture onto the mat and use a spatula to spread evenly to about 1/4-inch thick.
Make sure that the mixture does not get thinner at the edges since they will cook faster than the interior.
Bake for 3-4 hours or until the mixture has dried completely. (Check it starting at 3 hours.)
When done, cut with scissors into strips and store in a zip top plastic bag or an airtight container for up to 1 month.
Spread the fruit puree evenly, and don’t let it thin out at the edges since they bake faster.
The mixture will dry from the edges inward, so if you notice that done around the perimeter but the interior is still tacky to the touch, remove your pan from the oven and simply cut it off the edges with kitchen shears. Let them rest on a wire rack while the rest of the fruit leather finishes baking.
You can tell that the fruit leather is done when it’s completely set and dry and it peels off easily from the mat.
If you happen to over-bake the edges, simply place those strips into a zip top plastic bag and let sit overnight at room temperature. In the morning, it should be softened up!
Refrigerated overnight oats. Sounds disgusting, right? Totally not true!
These oats have the same sweet banana, nutty, chocolate flavors as Ben & Jerry’s beloved ice cream but no added sugar and none of the guilt—and just wait until you see how much protein is in them!
For those of you unfamiliar with overnight oats, it’s just a different make-ahead method of oatmeal. You simply mix together the oats with some liquid ingredients and set them in the refrigerator overnight. This softens the oats. And to make things even easier, breakfast is ready as soon as you wake up–the overnight oats are meant to be eaten cold! Might sound disgusting but it actually is very yummy!
I started doing 22 Minute Hard Corp military boot camp workouts every morning so I need something that will stick with me and fill me up, plus give me the protein to help my muscles repair themselves. Enter over night oats. They have protein, carbs and fruit in one neat little mason jar!
To start, you’ll need a mason jar or any container that seals tightly and oats. I use old-fashioned oats (gluten free is fine), but instant oats will work as well. Do not substitute steel-cut oats because they will not soften without cooking them. You don’t want tough overnight oats. Blah!
Next comes the Greek yogurt and almond milk! Plain non fat Greek yogurt is a great way to sneak in protein in the mornings. 20 grams of protein! How awesome is that?!? I like to buy the big tubs of Wegman’s Greek yogurt since I use it so much (It’s way cheaper!). If I want it flavored, I add fruit, zest or vanilla beans. Go ahead and add that unsweetened Almond milk (or non fat milk or cashew in my case) to the jar with the oats and yogurt.
And now for the fun ingredients… chocolate, banana and nuts! Here is theunsweetened cacao powderI use. Now you can either add walnuts here or before you eat the oats (to make it just like Ben & Jerry’s) OR you can add some peanut flour. Yes, I said peanut flour.
To shave off some calories, use peanut flour instead of jarred peanut butter or PB2. Peanut flour is made from finely ground peanuts only. Protein Plus and Jif both make one you can purchase from Amazon (they have everything) but basically you want one that the only ingredients are peanuts and salt. PB2 contains sugar, which defeats the clean eating, but if that’s all you have, it will still work.
I also add half of a half of banana’s that I chunk into small pieces. I save the rest of the half to slice and put on the top of my oats the next morning.
The last ingredient you add is 1 tsp of raw honey or 1/2 a packet of Stevia. For those that do not know what Stevia is, it is a plant-based, no-calorie sweetener that’s clean eating friendly. AND it’s very concentrated. I use SweetLeaf.
Once all of these are in the jar, screw the lid on tightly and use those arm muscles to shake the jar vigorously for about 45 seconds. You can also stir it all together but what fun is that?!?
Throw it in the refrigerator overnight and the next morning when you’re running behind, breakfast is already done!
Top with walnuts (optional), the rest of the banana (also optional), grab a spoon (don’t forget this) and go! You can eat it right out of the jar!
Life is good!
Serving Size: 1 Jar
Chunky Monkey Overnight Protein Oats
Protein packed Chunky Monkey Overnight Oats makes a healthy breakfast quick and easy!
5 minPrep Time:
8 hrCook Time:
8 hr, 5 Total Time:
1/4 cup old-fashioned oats or instant oats (gluten-free if necessary)
1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup almond milk (non fat milk is fine)
2 tbsp chopped walnuts OR 1 tbsp peanut flour
1/2 a banana, chopped
1 tbsp unsweetened cacoa powder
1 tsp honey or 1/2 packet of Stevia
Add all of the ingredients to a glass jar or container with a tight-fitting lid.
Shake or stir until thoroughly combined.
Cover and refrigerate overnight or 8 hours.
***Cook time reflects overnight time in the Refrigerator.***
Overnight oats are meant to be eaten cold, straight from the refrigerator!
Instant oats may be substituted for the old-fashioned oats but do not substitute steel-cut oats; they will not soften.
21 Day Fix: 1P, 1R, 1Y, 1B (if using walnuts), 2 TSP (if using PB flour and honey)