Author Archive

Coconut Almond Protein Fudge

16 Nov

So it’s been quite awhile since my last blog post, but it’s been a crazy last couple months!  I changed jobs, traveled nearly 1 month over the summer for work, moved houses, and, oh yeah…….I am getting married in less than a week!  I gotta keep this short because, of course, I still have a million things to do, but I wanted to share one of my healthier recipes that has been getting me through the last couple months and will for sure be making more appearances in the future!  This Coconut Almond Protein Fudge uses avocados to ensure the rich taste without all of the guilt that is in typical fudge.  This fudge is meant to be served frozen because it won’t “set” otherwise, so just whip this up in the food processor and pop it into the freezer for 2-4 hours.  Word to the wise:  Use a hot knife to cut it, and don’t let it sit on the counter too long.  (I don’t have a problem with that in my house!)


Coconut Almond Protein Fudge

  • 3 ripe Avocados
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flavored almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 6 scoops (or 3 packages) IsaLean Protein Powder in Dutch Chocolate
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup crushed almonds (I lightly roasted them in the oven first for added crunch and depth of flavor)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons honey or agave nectar.  (I have tried stevia, but it does leave an aftertaste)



Place the avocado flesh, cocoa powder, chocolate protein powder, agave, and sea salt in the food processor and blend until smooth.  Add the coconut flake and almonds.  Pulse just until combined.  Pour into freezer safe glass dish.  Freeze for 2-4 hours or until set.  To serve, cut with a hot knife.  Keep frozen.




“Fried” Green Beans

15 Apr

Last night I decided to do a little experimenting in making one of my favorite appetizers….Fried Green Beans!  I love the idea of eating green beans as a snack, but I feel a little guilty because they are fried.  It leaves me a little conflicted.  Does it count as a vegetable if it is dripping in grease?  My baked version still has the bread-like coating, but they are so much crunchier than their fried counter parts.  Serve them with a little pizza sauce and it’s a sure way to sneak a serving of vegetables in for the day!





“Fried” Green Beans

  • 24 green beans, washed and trimmed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup Bisquick baking mix
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups Italian Seasoned Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a small bowl, combine egg, milk, Bisquick, and garlic powder.  Whisk with a fork until smooth.  Pour bread crumbs into a shallow bowl.  Dip each bean into the Bisquick mixture, let the excess drip off and then roll in the bread crumbs.  Lay beans onto a sprayed baking sheet and bake for 15 minute or until golden brown.  Serve with pizza sauce.




Sweet & Spicy Braised Kale

13 Apr

Kale has become a favorite in my house.  Most of the time it’s served in the form of kale chips for a guilt free late night snack,  but lately I have been adding this incredibly easy and good for you side dish to our menus.  I love the combination of sweet & spicy and the contrast of the tender kale with crunchy almonds.  Occasionally, I have even been lucky enough to find bags of pre-cleaned and torn kale to make this dish even quicker!






Sweet & Spicy Braised Kale

  • 6 cups fresh kale, washed and torn, tough stems removed
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or olive oil)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1.5 tablespoons garlic, fresh grated
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar (or honey)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted



In a large saute pan using high heat, saute coconut oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add white wine, water, vinegar, agave and kale.  Let braise, stirring occasionally until all the liquid is dissolved and kale is desired level of doneness. (about 2-3 minutes)  Season with kosher salt, using more if needed.  Sprinkle with toasted almonds

Serves 4.


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Posted in Sides


(Almost)Guiltless Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars!

09 Mar

It’s been a few years since I posted my black bean brownie recipe, so I thought I would finally get around to testing out another idea I had.  What if I used pinto or white beans to make a delicious base for cookie dough bars?!

I have always been fond of beans.  My father and brother are bean farmers, so it was something that we have always used in our cooking.  More recently, I have become more aware of food allergens because several family members have discovered they are allergic to gluten and a future nephew (and possibly myself) with egg allergies.  The beans in this recipe serve as an alternative to flour without having to use on of those fancy baking mixes.  They also have many health benefits because they are high in protein, fiber, B vitamins, folate, and potassium.  The chia seeds, or flax seed if you prefer, also have many health benefits and are a great substitute for eggs in baked goods.   I have been using them for that off and on for a few years and haven’t run into a single problem with it.  The ratio to use is 1 tablespoon finely ground chia or flax seeds to 3 tablespoons of water.  They can easily be ground in a coffee grinder, but a blender will work too.  In this recipe, I do use a lesser amount, but that is accounted for by adding extra moisture elsewhere.

Alright….enough of the healthy stuff.  How do they taste?  The answer is DELICIOUS, but that was the tricky part.  I found a balance for the fat, by using 1/2 applesauce and coconut oil instead of the usual butter that found in all of the great cookie doughs.  I did have a slight worry that it wouldn’t taste enough like cookie dough, so I added 1/4 teaspoon of imitation butter flavoring, but this ingredient can easily be left out.  Quick oats (which can be found gluten free) where used for texture and as a binder for the bars and vanilla, dark brown sugar, and semi sweet chocolate chips were added because they are the best parts of cookie dough bars!

We ate these warm out of the oven with whipped cream as a bedtime snack.  They were not able to be pickup up like a true bar, but my son and I were both very pleased with the results and I hope you are too! Warm, gooey, chocolate goodness!

(Almost) Guiltless Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars

  • 2-15 cans pinto or white beans, drained, rinsed really well
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds, finely ground and mixed with 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup applesauce, unsweetened
  • 1.5 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespooon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon iodized salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon imitation butter flavor
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips


Place all ingredients except the chocolate chips in a food processor.  Blend until smooth.  (about 1 minute) Scrap down the bowl and blend for 15 seconds.  Remove from the processor bowl and place in a medium  sized mixing bowl.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Place in a greased 9×13 pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until the edges look darkened and start to pull away from the sides of the pan.  Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.  (can remain in pan longer if you like….it’s just to help the bars set before serving)


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Posted in Desserts


Pizza Potato Skins

01 Mar

Today I made this genius little creation for the kids at lunch.  There is one food the kids can all agree they like….pizza.  Ok….that’s not even always true.  In reality, they all like pizza, there is just no guarantee that they will all like it at the same meal!  Ha.

Now…back to the recipe.  This is a twist on classic potato skins. Instead of topping with bacon and sour cream, we topped the red potato halves with a veggie packed pizza sauce, light cheese and a few small pieces of pepperoni.  This meal is a win for me because it has all of the nutrition from the potatoes and pizza sauce, and the cheese and pepperoni that help to ensure they are delicious!

I will try and snap a better picture the next time we make these, but today I just had my cell phone and a few anxious eaters!


Pizza Potato Skins

  • 6 medium red potatoes
  • 2 cups pizza sauce
  • 1 cup shredded pizza cheese
  • Italian seasoning
  • 16-20 pepperoni (can use turkey pepperoni if you like)
  • any other toppings


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Brush potatoes with oil and puncture several times with a fork.  Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Remove from oven and cut in half.  Scoop potato out of the centers to make a hole for the fillings.  Lay each skin on a baking cheese with the open side up.  Fill with 1-2 tablespoons of pizza sauce, sprinkle with cheese, Italian seasoning and 4-5 pepperoni pieces.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and starting to turn golden brown.  Remove from the oven and serve with additional pizza sauce for dipping.

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Posted in Snacks


Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli with Diavolo Sauce

14 Feb

Looking for a last minute dinner that’s sure to impress?  Try this pasta!  Making homemade ravioli doesn’t have to be difficult.  Of course, I love a true homemade pasta, but if you don’t have the time, patience, or equipment, use wonton wrappers!  This is a fun project for kids to help with too and the filling combinations are endless.  I like to add the spinach because, not only is it colorful, but it’s also an easy and delicious way to get your leafy greens in for the day.

The Diavolo sauce, although the meaning is brother devil, it’s a great way to spice up Valentine’s day!  It’s also really easy because your oven does most of the work for you.  You will able to spend more time with your loved ones, young or old, and enjoy the night.  This recipe is sure to be a keeper!  (even if your date isn’t!)

Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli with Diavolo Sauce (for 4)

For the Pasta

  • 32 wonton wrappers
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 7 ounces spinach, fresh, cooked until wilted,  cooled and chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

For the Sauce

  • 2 – 8 ounce packages of grape tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more if desired, but let it simmer first)


To make the sauce:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a 9×13 baking pan, combine grape tomatoes, bell pepper pieces and olive oil.  Stir to coat the vegetables.  Season with garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper.  Roast in oven for 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool to the touch.  Place the vegetables in the food processor or blender.  Puree until sauce is desired texture.  (I usually do about 5 seconds because I like mine with a little texture).  In a medium sauce pan using high heat, reduce 1 cup of red wine in half.  Add tomato mixture and reduce heat to medium low.  Add red pepper flakes and cook until heated through.  Let simmer until pasta is ready.

To make the pasta:  In a medium size mixing bowl, combine once cup ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, 1 egg, fresh garlic, salt, and pepper.  Set aside.  In a small bowl, combine egg and 1/2 cup water.  whisk until combined.  Set aside.  Bring salted water to boil in pasta pot.  Place one wonton wrapper cutting board and place 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of the wrapper.  Using a pastry brush, brush the edges with egg wash.  Place another wrapper over the top and press firmly to seal.  Repeat as many times as needed.

Once the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat slightly.  Place the filled ravioli, one at a time, into the boiling water.  Do not over crowd the pot and cook in batches if needed.  The ravioli will initially sink to the bottom of the pot.  When it comes to the surface and the pasta appears to pucker around the filling and become translucent, it is done.  (about 3 minutes)

Remove the ravioli with a slotted spoon, top with warm pasta sauce and serve.



Posted in Pasta


Nutella & Banana Stuffed French Toast

12 Feb

This morning I decided to spoil the boys for breakfast!  French toast is a speedy way to make breakfast special on any weekday morning, but this Nutella & banana version is a sure fire way to make them extra special.  This stuffed french toast would also work well for large brunch because it can be held in the oven at 200 degrees until you are ready to serve all of your guests.  Of course, with the upcoming holiday this weekend, it would also be a great option for a breakfast in bed surprise!

Syrup or not, this french toast is delicious!



Nutella & Banana Stuffed French Toast

  • 8 pieces of white or whole wheat sliced bread
  • 1/2 cup Nutella or any hazelnut chococlate spread
  • 2 large bananas cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Lay out your bread slices and spread each piece with 1 tablespoon of Nutella on only one side.  Lay 9 slices of banana in a 3×3 pattern over the Nutella on 4 of the slices.  Place the non banana pieces, Nutella side in, on top.  Set the four sandwiches aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine milk, eggs, cinnamon, and vanilla and whisk until smooth.  Preheat pan or griddle to medium high heat.  Lightly grease.  Dunk sandwiches quickly into the batter and place on hot griddle.  When bottom is golden brown and crispy, flip to cook the other side.  (about 4 minutes per side)

Remove from griddle and top with powdered sugar or syrup.  Serves 4.


Skinny Smashed Red Potatoes

24 Jan

One thing I love to eat in the winter is mashed potatoes.  Of course, I like to make them with cream and butter, but I have found a delicious way to prepare those creamy red potatoes with a fraction of the fat and calories!  What a tasty way to stick to your fitness goals and add a little extra protein to your families diet!







Skinny Smashed Red Potatoes

  • 6 medium red potatoes, washed and quartered (peeling on)
  • 2 cups chicken stock (and enough water to cover the potatoes)
  • 3 cloves garlic, whole, peeled
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, plain (more as needed to reach desired consistency…I have used up to 1 cup)
  • 3 wedges laughing cow Swiss flavor cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper


Add potatoes and chicken stock to a medium size pot.  Add enough water to cover the potatoes.  Add garlic cloves and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until potatoes are soft in the middle and cooked through.  Reserve 1/4 cup cooking liquid and drain potatoes.  Place potatoes and garlic cloves back into pot.   Add cooking liquid and cheese.  Using potato masher, smash potatoes to break their shape.  Add Greek yogurt, salt and pepper.  Continue to smash until desired consistency.  Add more yogurt if needed.  Serves 6


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Posted in Sides


Snow day/Spa day!

22 Jan

So my plan for the day changed slightly when school was cancelled, but we are making the most of it…the boys are playing policemen and hockey while I am playing mini spa day!  I know that this is not a recipe to eat, but it sure smells like you could!  (You actually can……I did a quick taste test).  The banana in this mask has benefits of potassium and is a natural softener and it also gives your hair a beautiful shine.  The coconut oil is a super moisturizer and is able to penetrate your hair to leave it full of body and also protect if from damage.   As the mixture warms under your shower cap, the coconut oil will start to melt and soak into your scalp to help alleviate dry scalp itch!  All of these benefits and it’s cost less than $1 per treatment……a lot more budget friendly than a trip to the actual spa!

f I can drown out the sounds of a clanking swords and tattling, the smell of this mask is sure to make me feel as though i was transported to a tropical island… least for 30 minutes!  One thing is for certain….I will have shinier, softer hair than I did this morning!

Coconut Banana Hair Mask

  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil


Using a fork, mash all ingredients until smooth.  Wet hair and towel dry.  Cover all hair with the banana coconut oil mixture and place shower cap over your head.  Let sit on hair for 30 minutes to 2 hours.  Be sure to keep a rag near by because as the time goes by,the coconut oil might melt and leak out of the cap just a bit.  (not a lot, so don’t be scared off)  Rinse well in warm water and follow with usual shower routine.


Bubble Pizza

20 Jan

After a fun filled weekend with the kids, I was in the mood for something simple for dinner last night.  Those delicious tubes of biscuits were on sale at the grocery store and I knew exactly what I wanted to make with them….Bubble Pizza.  I know it’s not exactly gourmet, but it tastes like a deep dish pizza, and I was craving that rich crust with the nice crisp edges and gooey cheese.  Of course, I also used a pizza sauce that had extra vegetables in it, so I did have a little trick up my sleeve.  ;-)  Another fun part about this meal is that the kids can practically do all of the work for you!  I had one adding biscuits to the bowl, another stirring in the sauce, and another “cheese specialist”.  All I had to do was turn on the oven!

You can get creative with this recipe and use whatever toppings you like, but my house was pretty set on pepperoni!




Bubble Pizza

  • 1 can Grands buttermilk biscuits, cut into 8 pieces each.
  • 1 – 15 ounce jar of pizza sauce (I use an added vegetable one)
  • 28 pepperoni slices (or as many as you would like to put on or eat while you make it)
  • 3 cups shredded pizza blend cheese (usually a mix of mozzarella and provolone)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a medium mixing bowl combine 1.5 cups of cheese, biscuit pieces and pizza sauce.  Gently stir until all biscuit pieces are coated with sauce and the cheese is evenly distributed.  Pour mixture into a 9×13 pan or into an oven proof dish about the same size.   (I used a 12 inch round “everyday” saute pan)  Top with pepperoni slices and then the remaining cheese.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is golden brown on the top and biscuits appear to be cooked through.  Remove from the oven and cut into squares or pizza wedges if using a round pan.  Enjoy!

Serves 6