Friday, August 18, 2017

Quick & Easy Bean Soup with Quinoa & Hummus

I have been making this bean soup again and again the past couple of weeks.  Every time I add different ingredients (all just depending on what I have on hand) but the main elements are store bought bean soup, quinoa, hummus and avocado. I have made this for a quick lunch and also an easy dinner. In the above picture I had some left over cilantro lime dressing from my Fajita Salad I made a few days before - it was a delicious addition!

This makes enough for two bowls of soup:

16 oz of your favorite bean soup
1 cup cooked quinoa
your favorite hummus
avocado, ripe and sliced

Extras (choose any or all of these to add flavor)
sour cream
shredded cheddar cheese
cilantro, chopped
cherry tomatoes, quartered
tortilla chips or corn chips
sliced jalepenos
chopped red onion
carmelized onions
anything else you think would taste yummy!

Heat the soup on the stove, ladle into bowls and add any of the toppings you wish, including the quinoa, hummus and sliced avocado. Eat immediately! Enjoy!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Pear & Strawberry Sandwich with Brie Cheese

As promised, here is the other delicious recipe that was inspired by a meal we had on our Shore vacation this summer.  This copycat recipe comes from one of our favorite restaurants, Yvette's. They serve the most beautiful artisan sandwiches - and so so so many of their offerings are vegetarian which makes me super happy. 

This sandwich is so pretty! The flavors are bright and sunny - it's especially good on a warm summer day. I served it with a side of kettle chips and a big fruit smoothie.

This makes two sandwiches:

2 soft individual-size baguettes, lightly toasted in the oven just before making
1 crunchy pear, sliced thin
2 - 3 ripe, but firm, strawberries, sliced thin
6 oz of soft brie cheese, rind removed and cubed
mixed salad greens
poppy seed dressing (I like Brianna's)

Slice the baguettes and lightly toast in the oven right before you are ready to assemble the sandwiches.

Divide the brie cheese evenly between the toasted two baguettes.  Add mixed salad greens. Now artfully (try! haha!) add the sliced pears and strawberries, alternating pear then strawberry. Finish the sandwich with a drizzle of the poppy seed dressing. Serve with a little side of dressing so you can dip as you eat (the dressing is really yummy!).  Eat immediately! Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Sweet Green Juice

This juice is sweet, yummy, refreshing, a bit tangy (from the ginger) and definitely green!! Drink your greens! Enjoy!

This makes enough for one serving of fresh fruit and veggie juice:

2 kiwis
1 large pear
3 large kale leaves (juice the center stem too)
1 1" knob of ginger
6 mint leaves
A squeeze of lemon

Wash and slice all the fruit and kale (leave the skin on the pear). Put through a juicer. Discard the pulp and drink immediately! 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

PB & Honey "Sushi" Rolls

These cute PB & Honey "Sushi" Rolls really made all three of my kids laugh (even my middle schoolers!).  They all wanted to help me roll out the bread with a rolling pin and then roll them up. My son started scrambling through our silverware drawer looking for chopsticks - which made them even more fun.  It took hardly any time at all to put them together!  I think these will really put a smile on the kids' faces when they open up their lunchboxes come fall! I had to share this simple snack idea with you all! Have fun!

What you need:

Cutting board
Rolling pin
Butter knife for spreading
Sharp knife for cutting

Your favorite sandwich bread
Peanut butter, almond butter, sunbutter, etc
Honey or your favorite jam

Cut all the crust of the bread. Using a rolling pin, roll the bread until it is flat (this took about 8 seconds - don't go crazy).

Spread with nut butter and honey or jam.

Roll up from the bottom.
Slice into "sushi" pieces.

Arrange on a plate and drizzle with more honey, if you like. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Snickerdoodle Bars

My daughter and I felt like baking this afternoon and after a quick search on Pinterest, we found a recipe for these snickerdoodle bars. They came out quite good - soft and chewy, not too sweet....they really hit the spot!

This yummy, simple recipes comes from the blog Back for Seconds (isn't that the cutest name!?).

Here is her recipe word for word:

Cookie Bars:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (softened)
  • 2 cups brown sugar (packed)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 2/3 cups all purpose flour


  • 1/8 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon


Step 1:
Preheat oven to 350
In a mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, vanilla, and salt, and mix well. Add the baking powder and flour, a little at a time, and mix until incorporated. Spread into a greased 9x13" pan.
Step 2:
Mix together sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over cookie dough. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the pan comes out with fudgy crumbs. Do not over bake.
Let cool before cutting. Store tightly covered.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Avocado Toast - Jersey Shore Style

Every summer when we go to the shore, I discover a simple dish I feel like I must recreate at home - we always have good eats down the Shore! One year is was the Acai Bowls (I still make them weekly at home); another time it was the Chilled Oatmeal with Yogurt, Berries & Honecomb - yum! This summer I have two Jersey Shore inspired recipes. I'll blog the second later this week, but today I'm blogging the Avocado Toast we ate on repeat at the Surf Snack Shack. The recipe is so simple, but so extra good!

My family is avocado obsessed, I mean OBSESSED people! We must go through at least one a day and sometimes more. My kids tend to want avocado toast for a quick, healthy and satisfying breakfast or as an afternoon snack.  This toast is kicked up a notch by adding red pepper flakes, a little balsamic and capers. Please try it and let me know if you love it as much as we do! It's wonderful when something so simple tastes so delicious! Enjoy!

2 slices of your favorite bread (sourdough, wheat, rye, etc), toasted
1 perfectly ripe avocado, pitted, halved and smashed
1-2 tsp of capers
pinch of red pepper flakes, as little or as much as you like
light drizzle of balsamic vinegar
salt to taste

To assemble:
Drizzle a tiny bit of balsamic vinegar on the toasted bread (if I had to guess I would say 1/2 tsp). Add the smashed, ripe avocado evenly between the two slices of bread. Give each bread a pinch of red pepper flakes. Top each piece with some capers and a pinch of salt. Eat immediately. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie

I was REALLY craving a chocolate milk shake this afternoon....but I put the ice cream away and came up with a chocolatey smoothie that incorporated all the fresh in-season cherries I have in my refrigerator right now! Who doesn't love the combo of cherries and chocolate!? This smoothie really hit the spot and satisfied my sweet tooth! Enjoy!

This smoothie makes enough for one large serving.
  • 1 cup fresh (pitted) OR frozen cherries
  • 1 or 2 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 Tbsp hemp seeds (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup milk OR almond milk
  • 1 small banana
  • 2 Tbl plain or vanilla yogurt
  • 1 -2 handfuls of baby spinach
  • 6 ice cubes
  • miniature chocolate chips, for garnish (optional)
If you have the time, put the fruit in the freezer for at least an hour.

Put all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Drink immediately. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Greek Tortellini Salad

This quick salad is so yummy! I have made it three times in the last couple of months. Sometimes I put kalamata olives in it, some times I sub them out for capers. The first time I made it I used feta and the last time I used freshly shredded Parmesan. The first time I made it I didn't use red bell peppers, but the last time I made it I did! One time I made it with fresh mint and the last time I made it with mint AND basil. What I'm getting at is this salad is just delicious - you can customize it to suit the likes of your long as you do not omit the balsamic glaze and dressing, you're guaranteed a tasty meal.

*Please read above before you look at the ingredients - I have made this dish many times and the ingredients are not set in stone.....

*Salad Ingredients:
20 oz package of tortellinis, cooked al dente
12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 large cucumber, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/3 cup capers OR kalmata olives
1/3 cup pine nuts (toast them lightly for extra yummy-ness)
1/2 cup crumbled feta OR freshly shredded Parmesan
1/2 cup marinated artichokes, chopped
Store bought balsamic glaze

For the Dressing:
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil OR 1 Tbl fresh basil (use fresh if you can)
10 fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
black pepper, to taste

Cook tortellini according to directions on the package.  Set aside and let cool.

Mix all the dressing ingredients together.

Add all the salad ingredients, including cooked and cooled tortellinis, to a large bowl.  Add the dressing and toss (you may not need to use all the dressing). Chill for an hour or overnight.  Just before serving drizzle with the store bought balsamic glaze (do not forget the glaze- it really sets this dish apart!).  Enjoy!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Oh boy, this chocolate banana bread is amazing!!! We ate it for breakfast and we ate it for dessert - it is just yummy-ness. 

I found this banana bread recipe on the blog Two Peas and Their Pod. Here it is word for word:


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 large brown bananas  (1 1/2 cups mashed)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/4 cup canola, vegetable oil, or melted coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature <I used 2 eggs>
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided


  1. Heat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mash the ripe bananas with a fork. Add the melted butter and oil and stir until combined. Stir in the brown sugar, egg, and vanilla extract. Stir until smooth.
  4. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, don’t overmix. Stir in 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of chocolate chips over the top of the bread. Bake for 60-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out mostly clean, you might have some melted chocolate chips on the toothpick and that is fine. You just don’t want a lot of gooey batter.
  6. Remove the pan from the oven and set on a wire cooling rack. Let the bread cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the bread and carefully remove from the pan. Let the bread cool on the wire cooling rack until slightly warm. Cut into slices and serve.
Note-the bread will keep on the counter, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 4 days. This bread also freezes well. To freeze, cool the bread completely and wrap in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 1 month. Defrost before slicing.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

No Bake Crispy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

These are yummy, the ingredients are simple, and there is no baking required. Need I say more? Super tasty dessert that we all loved! 
Recipe is from the blog The Big Man's World:
  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups crispy rice cereal <I used "One Degree" Brown Rice Crisps>
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips 
  • 1 cup peanut butter can substitute for sunflower seed or soy nut butter <I used 1/2 cup almond butter and 1/2 cup peanut butter>
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil can sub for grass fed butter
  1. Line an 8 x 8-inch baking dish or deep baking tray of choice with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Add crispy rice cereal into a large mixing bowl and set aside. In a microwave safe bowl or stovetop, combine all your other ingredients and heat until melted. Remove from microwave/off stove and whisk until completely incorporated.
  3. Pour the chocolate/peanut butter mixture over the crispy rice cereal and mix until combined. Pour into the lined baking dish <I use a piece of parchment paper over the top of the mixture to REALLY push the bars down so they are compact and even> and refrigerate until firm (at least an hour). Remove and cut into bars. 

Saturday, April 29, 2017

GF Peanut Butter Cookies with M&Ms

I really like these GF peanut butter cookies!! They have very simple ingredients, are quick to whip up, and bake in only 7 minutes. My kids especially love the M&Ms! I have made these three times in the last few weeks! YUM!

This recipe makes about 18 cookies. Here is the recipe straight from the blog Love to Be in the Kitchen 

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats (or quick oats)
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • ⅓ cup mini chocolate chips
  • ⅓ cup mini M&M's
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium sized bowl <I use my hand mixer> stir together the peanut butter, honey, and brown sugar. Do not warm up the peanut butter or the honey.
  3. Add in the oats, salt, baking soda, and vanilla extract. Stir well.
  4. In a separate bowl lightly beat the egg and then add it to the mixture.
  5. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  6. Use a cookie scoop to scoop out the dough. Press the dough very tightly in the cookie scoop to form the balls if using your hands squeeze the mixture tightly into a ball so it doesn’t crumble.
  7. Form the balls onto a cookie sheet, press down slightly, top with the M&M's and more mini chocolate chips if desired and bake for 7-8 minutes.
  8. Watch the cookies closely and remove when the bottom barely starts to brown even if they don't look completely done (they cook more as they cool).
  9. Remove and allow to cool completely.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Fajita Steak Salad

Oh my goodness, this salad was SO delicious!!!!! I know what some of you are thinking - yes, I am a vegetarian, so no, I did not eat the flank steak. But, my husband and son did and they just loved it - it smelled incredible. I actually marinated tofu for myself in the same steak marinade and baked it in the oven. I loved it!  The cilantro dressing is just flat out yummy. I hope you enjoy this salad as much as we all did!!

I found the recipe on the blog Damn Delicious. You must check this blog out - she has so many yummy recipes posted! 

Here is the recipe word for word from Damn Delicious:


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 8 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and thinly sliced

For the cilantro lime dressing

  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar <I only used 2 tsp>
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup <my own addition to balance out the tartness of the vinegar>

For the steak

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds flank steak <I also used firm tofu - read the intro above>


  1. To make the cilantro lime dressing, combine cilantro, sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic, lime juice, maple syrup (if using), and salt in the bowl of a food processor. With the motor running, add olive oil and vinegar in a slow stream until emulsified; set aside.
  2. To make the steak, whisk together olive oil, garlic, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, oregano and onion powder in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. In a gallon size Ziploc bag or large bowl, combine steak and marinade; marinate for at least 30 minutes, turning the bag occasionally. Drain the steak from the marinade, discarding the marinade.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a grill pan over medium high heat. Working in batches, cook steak, flipping once, to preferred temperature, about 3-4 minutes per side for medium rare. Remove from heat and let rest for 10 minutes before thinly slicing against the grain.
  5. Add onion to the skillet, and cook, stirring often, until onions have become translucent and slightly caramelized, about 7-8 minutes; set aside.
  6. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in the skillet. Add bell peppers, and cook, stirring often, until soft and slightly caramelized, about 8-10 minutes; set aside.
  7. To assemble the salad, place romaine lettuce in a large bowl; top with arranged rows of onion, peppers, steak and avocado.
  8. Serve immediately with cilantro lime dressing.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Stuffed Portobella Mushrooms with Spinach & Artichokes



  • 4 large portabello mushroom caps
  • 2 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3-ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup grated extra sharp cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 cups firmly packed fresh spinach, finely chopped
  • 6 oz jar of marinated artichokes, drained and chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 Tbl pine nuts, optional


  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Wipe the mushrooms with a damp paper towel to clean off any dirt. Remove the stems. Use a spoon (I like to use a grapefruit spoon) to take out the black gills of the mushroom. Use your hands to rub oil onto the outside of the mushrooms.
  3. Heat 1 tsp olive oil over medium heat in a large pan. Add diced onions and sautee for 5-7 minutes. Add the chopped spinach and sautee for another 3 - 5 minutes, letting the spinach cook down. Stir the onions and spinach together. Remove from heat.
  4. In a mixing bowl, mix together softened cream cheese, sharp cheddar, dried basil, dried oregano, and garlic powder. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Mix until combined. Add the slightly cooled onions and spinach; mix well. Divide cheese mixture between the prepared mushroom caps. Sprinkle 1 Tbl pine nuts, if using, on top of each mushroom.
  5. Place filled mushrooms in a baking pan. Bake, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. Enjoy with a side salad. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

One Pot Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup

I've heard from a few friends recently that the Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Tortellini and Sun-dried Tomatoes I blogged a few weeks ago was a big hit with their families (as it is with mine!). So, I thought I'd look for another soup recipe with tortellini recipe to try.  I was inspired by the soup recipe I found on the blog Gal on a Mission. I added my own flare by putting a pear and some maple syrup.  I also blended mine bc my children like pureed soup opposed to chunky.

Click here for the Gal's original recipe.

And below is her recipe with my additions and slight changes.

This soup nicely serves a family of four. Serve with a crusty bread and a side salad. Enjoy!

  • 1 medium onion diced or 1 cup
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 spring of fresh rosemary chopped or ½ teaspoon dried
  • 1 pear, chopped with skin, <my addition> 
  • 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup <my addition>
  • 4 large fresh basil leaves or ½ teaspoon dried basil <I used about 10 fresh basil leaves>
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cups chicken stock <I used veggie>
  • ½ cup heavy cream <I used half and half>
  • 20 ounces three-cheese tortellini
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese + extra for garnish
  • salt and pepper, to taste (optional)
  • fresh basil, to garnish
  • shredded parmesan cheese, to garnish
  1. Place the onion, garlic, and olive oil, fresh rosemary, and chopped pear (if using) in a 6-quart soup pot or dutch oven. Sautee over medium heat for 5 - 8 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, oregano, pure maple syrup (if using), basil, salt, pepper, chicken stock, and heavy cream - stir to combine. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. This next step is mine because I wanted the soup to be creamy. (If you want your soup chunky, skip this step and go right to step 4). Place the soup mixture in a high speed blender (you may have to do this twice because there is a lot of soup!) with the lid insert removed to let steam escape. Place a clean towel over the lid insert to catch any soup that escapes while blending. Blend until creamy and smooth. Return soup to pot and bring to a simmer.
  4. Place the three-cheese tortellini into the soup and cook for 12-15 minutes or until the tortellini are tender and cooked through.
  5. Stir in the parmesan cheese.
  6. Serve and garnish with fresh basil and shredded parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Polenta Stuffed Pizza Peppers

I'm often shocked when I try a recipe that is so easy to make and with so few ingredients, yet tastes so good!! I have to say, these pizza peppers are one of those recipes.  And if you follow my blog at all, you know I LOVE a stuffed pepper - I couldn't wait to give these a try!!! The amount of time it took to assemble these was ridiculously quick....I used pre-cooked tubed polenta which really helped.  Also, the fresh buffalo mozzerella and fresh Parm were so melt-y and salty and amazing when the peppers came out of the oven - yum!!
This is the perfect meal to make on a weekday night when you have little time to get dinner on the table. **If you want to add protein I think cooked, crumbled Italian chicken sausage would be delicious!

I found this recipe on the blog Vegetarian Ventures (which is AWESOME, btw) is her recipe word for word (this recipe makes enough for two adults): 
  • 3 bell pepper, halved with seeds removed
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil + more for greasing
  • 9 oz pre-cooked polenta (half a normal size tube) or about 1½ cups homemade, cut into 6 even pieces
  • 1½ cups of your favorite tomato sauce <I always use Rao's>
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella, divided into 6 equal chunks
  • Parmesan, for sprinkling
  • Dried oregano, for sprinkling
  • Salt / pepper, to taste
  • Fresh basil, for serving
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9x13 inch baking pan. Brush peppers with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool enough to handle.
  • Divide the polenta between the bell pepper halves and use a fork to break the polenta up. Pour ¼ cup tomato sauce into each bell pepper half and top with mozzarella. Sprinkle a healthy helping of Parmesan, oregano, salt, and pepper over the mozzarella.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the cheese on top is browned and bubbling.
  • Remove from heat and sprinkle with fresh basil. Serve right away.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Margherita Pasta

I found this recipe on the blog Carlsbad Cravings. It was super creamy, full of flavor and just like the blog said, it all came together in about 25 minutes. My husband said it was the best new recipe I have tried in months!!! Your family will love this! I think you could add grilled chicken if you wanted some protein. Serve with a simple side salad and some good crusty bread.
Here is the recipe word from word from Carlsbad Cravings:
  • 1lb spaghetti or pasta of choice
  • 2tablespoons olive oil
  • 2tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 6 Roma tomatoes, choppeddivided
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2cups low sodium chicken broth <I used veggie broth>
  • 1 1/2cups milk
  • 2teaspoons chicken bouillon <I used veggie>
  • 1teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2tsp EACH dried oregano, dried basil, salt
  • 1/4tsp EACH pepper, red pepper flakes
  • 1/2cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2oz. cream cheese, softetned
  • 1/4cup loosely packed basil, chopped
  • Parmesan & chopped basil, for garnish
Cook pasta al dente according to package directions in generously salted water. Remove 1 cup pasta water before draining.  Set pasta aside.
Melt butter and olive oil over medium-low heat in a large skillet. Increase heat to medium and add onions and HALF of the tomatoes and sauté for 5 minutes <I sauteed for more like 8 minutes>. Add garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds. Sprinkle in flour and cook while stirring for 2 minutes (it will be thick).  
Turn heat to low then slowly whisk in chicken broth, then milk, stirring constantly until smooth. Turn heat to medium high and bring the sauce to a simmer. Stir in spices and boullion and continue to simmer until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. 
Reduce heat to low and stir in Parmesan cheese until melted, followed by mozzarella cheese until melted, followed by cream cheese until melted.  
Stir in remaining tomatoes and fresh basil. *Stir in pasta until well coated, adding additional reserved pasta water a little at a time if needed to reach desired consistency. Taste and season with additional salt, pepper and/or red pepper flakes to taste. <*I found it easier to just place the pasta in the dish and then ladle the sauce over the top - even though I was using a giant pan if I had put all the pasta in the pan along with the sauce, it would have overflowed>
Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan Cheese and additional basil if desired.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Vegan Banana Smoothie Pancakes

My kids wanted pancakes this morning and we didn't have any eggs.....and this is why I love Pinterest so much - I just searched eggless pancakes and a hundred options popped up! I chose these banana pancakes because I had all the ingredients on hand and really, they turned out filling and delicious! I topped with a little powdered sugar, mini chocolate chips and a little pure maple syrup!

This recipe comes from the blog The Big Man's World.
** I doubled this recipe for my family of five**

  • 1 heaping cup rolled oats (gluten free, if needed)
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice (or non-dairy like almond milk if vegan)
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1 Tbl baking powder
  • 1 Tbl apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbl maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract  
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbl chocolate chips <this was my addition, use Enjoy Life chips if vegan>
  1. Combine all the ingredients (except the chocolate chips) in a blender. Blend until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  2. Allow the batter to rest for 5-10 minutes, giving the oats time to absorb liquid and thicken.
  3. Preheat a nonstick pan over medium high heat. Once hot, pour in about ¼ cup of batter.
  4. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until you can easily slide a spatula underneath. Flip. Cook for another 1-2 minutes on the second side.
  5. Repeat until all the batter is used up.
  6. Add your toppings of choice and enjoy.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Roasted Squash & Pear Soup

WOWZERS! This soup is fancy restaurant quality - really and truly!!! The kids loved it, my husband ate two bowlfuls and I just felt happy that something so healthy got my family all in an eating tizzy! 

This is another recipe from my dear friend, Kellie, over at Cleanly Consumed. I'm having a Cleanly Consumed week here in my kitchen.....I'm trying lots of Kellie's healthy and delicious recipes, including her Cauliflower Hummus (cannot wait to try that!) and her Carrot Raisin Salad! Go check out her site.....and check out all the scrumptious meat and fish dishes she has blogged....they all look amazing - even to this vegetarian!!! 

*Please note that I DOUBLED this recipe to feed my whole family. I used 20 oz of butternut squash, 1 whole onion, 2 get the point.....It made a good sized pot that yielded ZERO leftovers (so I'm glad I doubled it!). And my house smelled OUT OF THIS world as the veggies were roasting in the dutch oven. If you do not have a dutch oven I suggest roasting on a parchment lined cookie sheet - just keep an eye on the veggies so they do not burn. 

Here is Kellie's recipe:

  • 1 10oz bag of cubed frozen organic butternut or acorn squash <I used fresh cubed squash I found in the produce section>
  • 1/2 large purple onion- in large chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 large green pear- sliced
  • Olive oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Organic Dried Rosemary
  • <I added 1 tsp pure maple syrup>
  • 1 Cup Bone Broth <I used store bought vegetable broth>
  • 1/3 Cup Full Fat Coconut Milk


  • Preheat oven to 375F
  • Grease the bottom of the dutch oven with lightly with olive oil
  • Add the squash, onion, garlic and pears into the pot and drizzle with a little EVOO and Sprinkle with Salt and Rosemary. 
  • Cover with dutch oven lid and roast for 45 minutes, or until tender.
  • Cool slightly and add to a high speed blender to puree.
  • Transfer into a medium sized soup pot or back into the dutch oven.
  • Add in pure maple syrup, if using,  1 Cup Bone Broth and 1/3 cup full fat coconut milk and whisk to incorporate.  Simmer until it is the desired temperature.
  • Sprinkle with Sea Salt and Rosemary
  • Serve in large bowls and top with a spoon full of coconut whip, rosemary and a drizzle of olive oil. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Pioneer Woman's Homemade Cinnamon Bread

Of all the things I bake and cook in this world, this homemade cinnamon bread is my husband's absolute favorite. I'm surprised I've never blogged it; probably because it isn't an easy recipe - it isn't crazy hard, it just takes time (and a Cuisinart - sure, you can hand kneed the bread dough, but the Cuisinart really helps).....

Basically this is a recipe that I need to plan for....I start it in the morning and usually it's ready around dinner time.  And it doesn't really last past dessert because my husband AND children go on complete attack mode. "Cinnamon Bread?!?! Did you make CINNAMON BREAD? Is that FRESH CINNAMON BREAD I smell? From SCRATCH? Mom, I love you! I love you! You're the best! Can I have a slice now? I can't wait until after dinner? PLEASE!!?" Okay, you get the idea......I leave a stick of butter out to soften all day and as soon as I pop this baby out of the oven they start coming at it with serrated knives ready to slice and eat!

I used to make a Joy of Cooking cinnamon bread recipe that was quite amazing until I discovered the incredibly talented Pioneer Woman has a recipe of her own!  Truth be told, the PW's recipe is even more delectable and now I will never try another!!!

PW always has THE best pictures and detailed instead of listing them on my blog, I'd like you to just click HERE and check out her blog for yourselves. I promise you this bread is worth the effort and time. ENJOY!!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Coconut Chocolate Whip

My sweet friend, Kellie, has an incredible blog devoted to healthy living and eating. Her blog is called Cleanly Consumed and you must check it out!!! She gives wonderful tips on natural products for the home, how to incorporate essential oils into your daily living, and of course, delicious, healthful recipes.

I have been wanting to try this Coconut Chocolate Whip for a long time - it did not disappoint! It was delicious and I love the texture - light and fluffy - not really ice cream, not quite whipped cream - you'll have to try it for yourself to see! I loved the addition of the chocolate chips, too.

Please note that you have to refrigerate the can of full fat coconut milk for at least 24 hours before making this whip for it to thicken.

Here is Kellie's recipe from Cleanly Consumed. Enjoy!!


  • 1 Can Full Fat Coconut Milk (I use Whole Foods Brand- or Native Forest–          it does need to have the Guar Gum to create a whip)
  • 1 Heaping Tablespoon of Organic Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Organic Maple Syrup <I used about 2 because we all have a sweet tooth in this house>
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Organic Vanilla Extract
  • <mini Enjoy Life organic chocolate chips, optional- my daughter really liked this addition>


*The can of coconut milk MUST be refrigeratorated for 24 hours in order to thicken
1. Pour contents of can into large bowl <I had to use a spoon to scoop it out>
2. Add in cocoa powder and vanilla extract
3. Beat on high speed for 3-4 minutes - it should begin to whip and thicken
4. Slowly add in Maple Syrup until it reaches desired sweetness

*<We had a little bit extra so I froze doesn't freeze that well....if you have any extra put it in the refrigerator. Also, Kellie suggests putting it in your coffee as a natural sweetener!>

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Amazing Chickpea & Sunflower Seed Salad Topper

I have to say, I am pretty proud of myself for coming up with this incredibly tasty (and unusual) salad topper. I started throwing things in a bowl....I started with a can of chickpeas....I wasn't going to roast them, so I needed some crunch....okay, I had some roasted sunflower seeds - in they went. Next up, some capers because why not? Okay, this is coming along.....a dollop of Dijon mustard, a drizzle of maple syrup (because I put maple syrup in everything), and a sprinkling of salt and a grind of pepper. Yum, this is getting good. Okay, what's next? A sauteed we're talking! Finally, I took a bite of the finished product and WOW! And then I took another bite, and then another....gosh, this could be a salad in and of itself....and I just might do that (but I'll add in some navy beans and lemon juice...stay tuned!)....I had to stop myself from eating the whole bowl right then and there (5:00pm is my witching hour and I feel starved waiting for my husband to come home)....

So I added this to a Greek-inspired salad with bell peppers and roasted potatoes and tomatoes and it was just delicious!

I wanted to blog the recipe right away before I forgot it!


16 oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Tbl capers
2 Tbl salted sunflower seeds
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp maple syrup
1 or 2 tsp dried dill
Pinch of salt & pepper
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp olive oil

Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the finely chopped shallot and saute for about 3 or 4 minutes.

Add all the other ingredients to a bowl and combine. After the shallots have cooled a bit, add them to the chickpeas. Stir to combine. Use as a salad topping or eat right out of the bowl!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Mushroom & Leek Quiche with Gruyere Cheese

The quiche really hit the spot. It was cheesy and savory - gosh I love mushrooms and leeks together! We ate this for dinner, but I think it would make a lovely breakfast or brunch. Heck, I could happily eat this quiche and any time of the day. My husband said he liked it because it wasn't "egg-y".

I know the ingredient list looks a tiny bit long, but really, it came together easily. And the great thing about this quiche is the leftovers are so amazing the next day. I was wondering what I was going to have for lunch today (a bowl of cereal again?) and then SURPRISE - there was left over quiche in the fridge! HURRAY!! That bowl of cereal will have to wait! HA!

**Please note that the goodies in this quiche are PACKED! There isn't a lot of room after you pour everything in, so please make sure you buy a deep dish pie crust or else you will have some major spillage! 

I hope you enjoy my recipe!

  • 9” deep dish** frozen pie crust in pie tin, thawed (I used Pillsbury)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 6 oz baby bello mushrooms, stems removed & sliced
  • 6 oz button mushrooms, stems removed & sliced
  • 3 Tbl white wine (or broth)
  • 2 small leeks or one large leek, washed, and thoroughly cleaned, white parts only, thinly sliced
  • 2 handfuls of fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup creme freche or sour cream
  • 3/4 cup low fat or whole milk
  • 1 cup Gruyère, shredded
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper

Preheat oven to 450 F

Bake deep dish pie crust for 7-10 minutes (keep an eye on it). Set aside to cool.

Lower oven temperature to 375 F

In a large pan heat 2 Tbl butter over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook for 8 minutes without turning (this helps them to caramelize). Add the wine and cook another 5 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed.  Push all the mushrooms to the rim of the pan and add the remaining butter to the empty circle in the middle of the pan. Add the chopped leeks to the butter and cook for 6 minutes until starting to become translucent.

At this point, go ahead and stir the leeks and the onions together and add the chopped, fresh spinach to the top. The spinach will cook down very quickly.  Stir to combine all the vegetables and mushrooms.

Meanwhile, beat the eggs, creme frech (or sour cream), and milk in a medium bowl. Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper and stir. Add the sauteed vegetables to the egg mixture and stir. Add the Gruyère and stir.

Place the par baked quiche shell onto a rimmed baking sheet that is lined with foil, gently pour the egg mixture into the shell. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, or just until the quiche has set up in the center.

Cool for 15 minutes, slice, and serve.