Monthly Archives: March 2013

The weeks are flying by! I can’t believe I’m posting my 11th What-I-Ate-Wednesday!

I took my breakfast in the car with me this morning. I wasn’t very hungry but knew I’d regret it if I didn’t at least bring something. I made Ezekiel sprouted grain raisin toast with raw almond butter and an apple.


Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Raisin toast with AB and an apple


I was out running errands today getting ready for our Spring Break trip and went waaaaaaay too long without something to eat. Luckily, trying on white skinny jeans kept me from ripping open a giant bag of Easter candy in the middle of Target!!!!

The second I got home, I started reheating some leftover homemade tomato basil soup (similar to my Simple Tomato Soup with a Twist but without all of the extra veggies and just using fresh basil to season it) and throwing together a Greek salad with this dressing that I always have on hand. I had planned to throw a few crushed whole grain pita chips into the salad but ended up eating them while I was making everything.

Greek Salad and Tomato Basil Soup


Then it was off to get the kids from school. I realized when I got home from Hailey’s gymnastics class that it was just going to be me and the kids for dinner tonight. I may have indulged in a glass of red wine and some of the cheddar bunnies the kids were eating while I figured out what to do for dinner :) We ended up going with an all time favorite – Breakfast For Dinner. I had scrambled eggs with some chopped kale and blueberries on the side. Other than chopping the kale, the kids made these eggs totally on their own. They don’t like kale in theirs but were willing to taste mine. I’m all about getting them more involved in the cooking as much as I can!!!!


Breakfast for Dinner - scrambled eggs with kale and blueberries on the side


I should know this by now, but I have to make it a priority to pack more snacks for busy days like this!!!!

Since this is going to be a pretty busy week getting ready for Spring Break, I thought I would make up some of these Broccoli, Kale & Cheddar Quinoa cups to have on hand throughout the week.  They are a great to reheat as a grab-and-go breakfast or sometimes I even eat them as lunch or dinner paired up with some fruit or salad!

Healthy Plate Happy Family Broccoli, Kale & Cheddar Quinoa Cups

Becoming very popular recently, quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”), is a grain-like superfood grown in the Andes since the time of the Incan Empire.  Although it is often confused with being a whole grain, it is actually a seed.  It is gluten free, easy to digest, and a great source of complete protein since it contains all of the amino acids.  It is readily available in most supermarkets and is usually sold near the rice.

While I love using quinoa to make these egg-based “muffins” and as the base of a mediterranean quinoa and veggie salad in the summer, I have tried to be cautious not to over-use quinoa.  Unfortunately demand has risen so much in recent years that the crop is no longer affordable for the native Andeans who have enjoyed it as a staple of their diet for thousands of years.  Furthermore, the rising demand for more and more of the crop is also destroying their land.  Therefore I enjoy it in moderation and try to vary the color and variety of quinoa that I buy.

To cook quinoa, rinse it thoroughly to remove the bitter tasting coating.  After that it cooks up much like rice, in a 2-to-1 ratio with 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa for approximately 15 minutes.  After it cooks for 15 minutes, I like to leave the lid on to steam a little longer until it is perfectly cooked and fluffy.

To make these quinoa cups, I cooked up 1 cup of quinoa and will have quite a bit leftover to have as our dinner later this week with some of the Slow Cooker Jamaican Jerk Pork and Caribbean Salsa that I froze a few weeks ago (we will reheat the frozen meat and will make fresh salsa).

In a large bowl, mix 1 cup of the cooked quinoa, 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup chopped broccoli, 1 large handful finely chopped kale, 4 eggs, 1/2 tsp sea salt, and some freshly ground black pepper.

Eggs, Cheddar, Kale, Broccoli and Quinoa

Lightly oil a muffin pan.  I recently bought some really nice Organic Valley pastured (grass-fed) butter that is naturally high in healthy CLA’s (conjugated linoleic acid, a healthy fatty acid), so I melted a little of that and brushed the insides of the muffin pan.  Fill 8 of the muffin cups so that they are about 3/4 full.

Quinoa Egg Mixture in Muffin Pan

Bake at 350 degrees for 22-24 minutes until egg is set and edges are a light golden brown.

Broccoli, Kale and Cheddar Quinoa Cups

Enjoy 2-3 of these alongside some fresh fruit or salad for a filling meal packed with protein and high quality carbohydrates.


Broccoli, Kale & Cheddar Quinoa Cups


1 cup cooked quinoa

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

4 eggs

generous 1/2 cup finely chopped broccoli

generous handful of kale, finely chopped

1/2 tsp sea salt or kosher salt

fresh ground pepper

olive oil or butter for brushing muffin pan



Cook quinoa according to directions on package.  In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup cooked quinoa, chopped broccoli, finely chopped kale, shredded cheese, salt and pepper.  Lightly brush insides of muffin tin with oil or butter.  Divide mixture into 8 of the muffin wells filling each 3/4 full.  Bake for 22-24 minutes until eggs are set and edges are light golden brown.

For a serving size of 2 Broccoli, Kale & Cheddar Quinoa Cups, the nutritional information is as follows:

  • 250 calories
  • 14 grams of fat
  • 18 grams carbohydrates
  • 2 grams of fiber
  • 14 grams of protein
  • 66% of Vitamin A
  • 50% of Vitamin C
  • 15% of Calcium







Happy Wednesday and first day of Spring!

Between sports, Spring Break, birthdays, and end-of-school-year activities, this time of year always seems to get a bit hectic for us. Looking back over all that I ate today, I think its a pretty good example of eating well even when your days are busy.

I was rushing to get out the door with the kids this morning and literally threw a handful of things into the blender to get a smoothie into my to-go cup and grabbed 2 of these little oatmeal bundles to go with it. Quick, yummy, healthy, and totally kept me full all morning!

Protein Shake and Banana Oat Bundles

The smoothie was 1/2 of a frozen banana, 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk, a big handful of spinach, 1 T. flax seeds, 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder, and 1 T. ground almond meal (a spoonful of any nut butter would work here). The oat bundles are still a work in progress. They are made with mashed banana, oats, maple syrup, shredded coconut, orange zest, and dried cranberries. But as you can probably tell from the picture, they’re a bit dry so I need to work out the kinks in that recipe before I post it!

After a marathon morning of running errands, I came home and munched on a handful of gluten-free crackers and hummus while I threw lunch together.

GF crackers and hummus

The kale salad came together quickly since I had some pre-washed, chopped kale in the refrigerator. In a small bowl, I mashed up 1/4 of an avocado with a big squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of kosher salt and massaged it into a huge bowl of kale. It was topped with chopped carrots, cucumbers, dried cranberries, and toasted walnuts – served with an orange on the side.  I love this lunch because it is filling without weighing you down.

Kale Salad and Oranges


Before I took off for my after-school shuttle run, I threw some chicken into a quick marinade of equal parts fresh lime juice and olive oil with a couple of teaspoons of homemade taco seasoning.  Darren filled in as the dinner chef tonight so he cooked up the marinated chicken, and also sauteed a big pan of sliced onions and bell peppers with a splash of lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to make homemade fajitas. We also reheated some of the Slow Cooker Black Beans that I had de-frosted from the freezer and seasoned them with a little taco seasoning.  The kids fajitas are a little more simple than this and consist mostly of cheese, but we’re working up to more toppings to make it a more balanced meal for them too.


The busy day didn’t end there because right after we ate this, we were off to see Hailey’s artwork that was featured in this year’s school art show. So proud of her for making it into the show again this year. She loves her art class so much!



Well, there you have it for this What I Ate Wednesday!  I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to some fresh spring produce and warmer weather for grilling in the coming weeks/months!

We love celebrating St. Patrick’s Day around here!  It probably comes from living in Chicago for so long where the entire city celebrates with two huge parades, the river is dyed green, and lots of other shenanigans.  The kids get in on it too by building a leprechaun trap every year, but that sneaky guy always seems to get away and leave some chocolate “gold” coins behind instead.

Leprechaun Traps

Over the past few years, I’ve started experimenting with some fun holiday food ideas for the kids that don’t involve artificial food coloring.  Some studies have concluded that certain food colorings commonly used here in the U.S. are carcinogenic.  Most food coloring has also been linked to hyperactivity in kids, which I have seen firsthand in my own kids.  It took me awhile to make the connection between their behavior and what they had recently eaten, but once I started learning about the dangers of artificial food coloring, I now try to avoid them as much as possible.

As an alternative, its really easy to puree a little spinach with some water and add it to any kind of pancake or muffin batter or even eggs – that’s what we’ll be doing tomorrow morning for breakfast!  Of course, you could make any one of my green smoothie or juice combinations as well!  A combination of almond milk, peanut butter, banana, and spinach is an all-time green smoothie favorite that my kids will devour.  Spinach has such a mild flavor that a small handful will blend right into just about anything without changing the flavor profile.

I thought this was a fun idea that didn’t involve dyeing anything green.  And it went great alongside green pesto pasta for dinner!

Rainbow Peppers with Ranch Dip

Bell pepper strips arranged like a rainbow over a bowl of veggie dip with carrot chips as gold coins at the end of the rainbow.

Just like my post earlier this week with the taco seasoning, I made my own Ranch seasoning mix.  The store-bought packaged versions all contain MSG, even the organic brands.  Its so easy to throw a handful of dried spices together and keep it on hand for dressing or dip.

Ranch Seasoning

  • 2 T. dried parsley
  • 2 tsp. dried dill
  • 1 tsp. dried garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. dried onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • some fresh ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container.

To make Ranch vegetable dip, mix 1 Tablespoon of seasoning with 1/2 cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt) and 1-2 Tablespoons of good quality, clean ingredient mayonnaise such as soy-free Vegenaise.  Let it sit for 2 hours for flavors to develop.

I hope you have a HAPPY St. Patrick’s Day!


Happy Wednesday!  Here is a snapshot of everything I ate today.  I feel so silly posting this, but it seems to be the most popular page on the blog so I’ll keep including it until you’re sick of seeing my 378th green smoothie concoction!

I started the morning off with a green smoothie made with spinach, fresh pineapple, and a whole kiwi.

pineapple spinach and kiwi smoothie

I was hungry before my workout so I had some apple slices and 2 of the Granola Energy Bites from yesterday.  They are seriously good workout fuel and super tasty!!!

apples and granola bites

Yes, I’m 36, and I play with my food :)


Our dinner was so good last night that I made it again for lunch today!!!

healthy taco salad with lentils


Last night, I cooked up some lentils (this is HUGE for me since the “Sloppy Lentils” incident a few years back!) and added a little bit of homemade taco seasoning to them.  I layered some leftover rice and the taco-flavored lentils.  Then I topped it with lots of romaine, red onion, yellow pepper, chopped tomatoes, green olives, organic blue tortilla chips, and topped it off with guacamole and salsa.

Please do me a favor and stop buying little yellow packets of MSG flavored with salt and preserved with genetically modified corn and try making your own taco seasoning!  Its so simple that I can do it with my eyes closed now.

taco seasoning

Homemade Taco Seasoning

  • 2 T chili powder
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika (I use smoked paprika)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • some fresh ground pepper (and a few red pepper flakes if you like it spicy)

Mix all ingredients and store in a small jar or container.  Approximately 3 Tablespoons equals one “packet” of seasoning.  I tape the recipe to the inside of my spice cupboard so its super easy to mix up more any time.

For dinner, we moved Pizza Night to Wednesday this week since we have plans to go out tomorrow night.  Mine was an Ezekiel Pocket Bread topped with pesto, sauteed spinach, fresh mushrooms, and artichokes, sprinkled with some crushed red pepper flakes.  It was so good that I was kind of sad when it was over.

pesto spinach artichoke pizza

In this house, pizza is always served with a salad on the side.  We are obsessed with this balsamic dressing from last week!  I even gave it to the kids in a little dish to dip their cucumber slices tonight.  Hailey really liked it.

salad with balsamic vinaigrette

Now its YOUR turn –  leave me a comment with something awesome that YOU had to eat today!!!

I just started coaching a group of elementary-age girls for the Girls on the Run program at my daughter’s school.  This is a little bit of a stretch for me.  Although I work out on a regular basis, I wouldn’t exactly consider myself a runner – I have run one 5K in my life just to check it off of my bucket list.

Race to Wrigley

Being that I love all things related to nutrition, working out, and a healthy lifestyle, I felt like it was a good fit for me and a fun way to push myself outside of my comfort zone to try something new.  Plus I really like the bonding experience with Hailey as we work together towards this goal.  And to keep us going, I already signed us up for The Color Run later in the summer (supposedly the happiest 5K on the planet, how fun does that sound?!?).

Today’s lesson was so much fun for me to prepare.  It was all about our physical health and nutrition, so of course I wanted to provide the team with some healthy snacks.  I tried to come up with some things that I use as a pre- or post- workout snack but would be kid-friendly at the same time.  I also need it to be practical to transport and cost-effective for a team of 14 girls.  I came up with apples and my Quick and Easy Apple Dip and these Granola Energy Bites.

PB Oatmeal Granola Energy Bites

I have tried different types of these energy “balls” before, usually with a combination of dates and nuts in the food processor with add-ins like coconut, cocoa powder, etc.  I have always liked them but the kids never really seemed to care for them very much.  So I decided to adapt one of our favorite no-bake granola bars into these little nutrient-packed bite size treats.  It totally worked!  I really think the addition of the oats for texture and the familiar flavor of peanut butter helped.

These are great before or after a workout since they include some high quality carbs from the oats and dates.  The protein in the peanut butter, chia seeds, and flax seeds help with muscle recovery and any pre-workout hunger.  If you happen to be on a long training workout, they would even be a great mid-workout snack too since they are portable and easy to eat.  They are versatile based on your taste preferences or food allergies – feel free to swap in Sunflower Butter for a nut-free option or raisins instead of the chopped dates, etc.

Granola Energy Bites


  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed (or a mixture of half ground flax and half chia seeds)
  • scant 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (I prefer the Enjoy Life brand)
  • 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped dates (or raisins)*
  • 1/2 cup all natural (no sugar) peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

**Edited – after making these quite a few times now, I no longer add the chopped dates or raisins.  I find that they are sweet enough for us without them, but feel free to use them if you like!


  • Mix oats, flax/chia seeds, and coconut in a large bowl.
  • Combine honey, nut butter, and vanilla extract in a small bowl.
  • Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix well.
  • Fold in chocolate chips and chopped dates/raisins.
  • Form into small balls (I used a mini ice cream scoop then packed them together) and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


Happy Wednesday!

This is typically the day that I post a snapshot of everything I eat for the entire day.  Today was a little bit unusual since I am starting to get that dreaded might-be-getting-sick feeling.  I know I say it repeatedly on here, but I truly believe that food can be a powerful tool for healing the body.  Because of that, I am planning to focus on really nutrient-dense foods including fresh juice, smoothies, and soup, plus a little extra sleep over the next couple of days to hopefully be able to fight this off before it totally knocks me out.

For breakfast, I brought out the Big Guns – the juicer!  The difference between juicing and blending smoothies is that juicing provides a supershot of vitamins and minerals straight to your cells without having to break down any of the fiber in the fruits or veggies through digestion. This can be very high in sugars, though, which is why I try to balance it with a good amount of vegetables too.

carrot cuke celery apple orange juice

This juice had 3 carrots, 3 stalks of celery, 1/3 of a cucumber, 1 small clementine, and 1 apple.  After I put it all through the juicer, I added a squeeze of fresh lemon. Maybe it was a placebo effect, but I swear I already started feeling better after drinking it :)

I really didn’t have much of an appetite all morning but knew I need something else. A smoothie seemed like a good idea.

Is it just me or is Rainbow Chard one of the prettiest vegetables around?!?

rainbow chard

I added these three leafy beauties, 1/3 of a cucumber, 1/2 banana, 1 red pear, 1 lemon wedge, and 1/4 tsp of ground ginger to the blender with lots of water. I have been inspired to try new juice/smoothie combinations lately and this one was spot on! So good!!!

chard pear lemon ginger juice

I finally started to feel a little hungry this afternoon, but a salad or sandwich didn’t really sound good. This is a snack that I learned from surfing the Paleo and Clean Eating sites. It’s like a cleaned up version of deviled eggs with avocado instead of the mayo. I actually prefer them this way now!

avocado plus boiled eggs

I mix two hard-boiled egg yolks with a wedge of avocado (about 1/8 of the whole avocado), some salt, pepper, and dried dill.  Pack a spoonful of the mixture back into the egg-white halves and you have yourself a great little snack or light lunch that is packed with protein and healthy fats, and surprisingly filling.

avocado deviled eggs with dill


Luckily I had soup planned for dinner tonight.  You just can’t beat soup when you’re sick!

Healthy Plate Happy Family chicken rice soup

Chicken Rice Soup


1 cup of cooked rice

2 chicken breasts, cooked, cut into bite-size pieces

3 carrots, diced

2 ribs of celery, diced

1 onion, diced

1 leek, white and light green part, sliced into half-moon shapes

1 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and chopped into small pieces

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 T. extra virgin olive oil

1 T. flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free, but wheat would work too)

4 cups organic chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste

3 T. mellow white miso (optional, but adds a lot of flavor and nutrients)


I cooked the rice and chicken breast ahead of time so the soup would come together quickly.  Heat 1 T. olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat.  Saute chopped carrots, celery, onion, leek, and zucchini until tender, about 7-10 minutes.  Add the minced garlic towards the end so that it doesn’t burn.  Sprinkle 1 T. of flour over vegetable mixture.  If using the miso paste, pour 1/2 cup of broth into a small bowl and whisk in miso.  Add remaining broth, cooked rice, chopped chicken and season with salt and pepper as necessary.  Bring to a low boil and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add miso/broth mixture at the very end to avoid over-heating and destroying the nutrients in the miso.


A note on the miso.  This is something that I like to have on hand for soups, especially when we are not feeling well.  Miso is made from fermented soybeans and is usually a thick paste texture with a very salty taste.  You usually find it in the refrigerated section of a health food store.  I always try to buy quality organic miso paste so that I know it is non-gmo since a lot of soy products are genetically modified.  The benefit of using miso is that it is a probiotic, full of good bacteria, which promotes healthy intestines and strengthens the immune system.  It is crucial not to overheat the miso when cooking so that you don’t destroy the healthy bacteria.  Miso is also a great source of the mineral zinc, which can be helpful for increasing the immune system and  fighting off cold viruses.

To go with the soup, I made grilled cheese sandwiches for the kids and big salads for the adults.  When we lived in Chicago, there was a restaurant (a sports bar really!) that had The. Best. Balsamic. Dressing. EVER!  This was my attempt at recreating it based off of a few different recipes.


salad with awesome balsamic dressing

Balsamic Vinaigrette


1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1 small clove of garlic, minced

pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper

1 tsp. honey

1/3 cup plus half of 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil


Add balsamic vinegar, chopped garlic, honey, salt and pepper to a blender.  Blend on medium-high until garlic is pureed into the vinegar.  With the blender on low-medium, remove the center cap in the lid and slowly drizzle in the olive oil.  This will emulsify the dressing giving you a “creamy” balsamic texture.

Happy Monday!  I hope you had a great weekend.  Ours was spent at a quaint little ski resort in northern Michigan for some much needed family time away from the monotony of everyday life.  Don’t get me wrong, structure and routines can be a wonderful thing, but sometimes you just need to mix things up a little bit and have some fun!


I had every intention of posting about all of the healthy meals and snacks that I packed for the trip and to take pictures of how we incorporated some meals made in the condo and some meals out.  But in the end, real life won out over blogging life :)

Instead, I enjoyed taking pictures of the breathtaking scenery and of my kids as they both took on new challenges.  Jake took his first ski lesson and can ski down the hill on his own now.  And Hailey tackled some pretty tough hills with her instructor and uses ski poles now.  It was so much fun watching them and their new accomplishments!

Homestead Ski Trip Collage

On our drive home, I passed the time by searching the internet for some new recipe inspiration.  I came across some tutorials for cooking beans in the slow cooker, which I was excited to try out for our Meatless Monday meal this week!

Beans are a healthy, inexpensive, low-fat source of protein, and a great base for a meatless meal.  I have always relied on canned beans because I was overwhelmed by the amount of time involved with cooking them from scratch.  But I was determined to learn how to make them myself because it accomplishes two of my biggest recipe goals – healthier food at a lower cost!   By cooking them yourself, you don’t have to worry about unnecessary ingredients like natural flavors, preservatives or “firming agents” and you can control the amount of sodium.  I did the math and it brings the cost down to around $0.40/can!!  Plus it was SO easy!

As I poured the beans out, I pulled out any little debris or beans that were broken.

broken beans

I gave them a quick rinse and added them to the slow cooker with about 6 cups of water, 1/2 cup of chopped onion, and 2 whole cloves of garlic.  I would have also added a bay leaf but I was out.

beans with aromatics

I cooked them on low for about 6 hours.  I added 1 T. of salt and turned the slow cooker to warm for another hour.

cooked black beans

And then 1 pound of dried beans turned into 6 cups of delicious, perfectly cooked black beans!

I combined them with some roasted sweet potatoes, a tangy purple cabbage slaw, and some fresh guacamole.

sweet potato black bean and cabbage slaw

We tried this combination as tacos but I was disappointed in the taste and texture of the corn tortillas.  For the kids, I made a quesadilla out of a whole wheat tortilla, the black beans, roasted sweet potatoes, and just enough monterey jack cheese to hold it all together.  I actually preferred it made as a quesadilla and topped with the purple cabbage slaw and guacamole.

black bean and sweet potato quesadilla

Slow Cooker Black Beans


1 lb dried black beans, sorted for debris and rinsed

1/2 cup chopped onion (white, red, or combination)

2 cloves of garlic

1 – 2 dried bay leaves


After sorting and rinsing black beans, add to a slow cooker along with chopped onion, garlic, bay leaves and 6 cups of water.  Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.  During last 30 minutes of cooking, add in 1 T. of salt (or less depending on taste preferences).  You may need to experiment with the length of cooking time in order to get the desired texture.  Cool completely and use immediately or freeze in 1 1/2 cup increments in Ziploc freezer bags.


Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas with Tangy Purple Cabbage Slaw

Inspired by Watercourse Foods in Denver, CO and recipe adapted from Joy the Baker


For Roasted Sweet Potatoes:

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into small cubes

2 T. fresh lime juice

1 T. extra virgin olive oil

kosher salt and red pepper flakes, to taste


For Black Beans:

1 1/2 cups cooked black beans

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 T. fresh lime juice


For Cabbage Slaw:

1/2 head purple cabbage, finely chopped into cole slaw “shreds”

3 T. fresh lime juice

2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp honey

2 T. chopped cilantro



Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Chop sweet potatoes.

While the oven is heating, make the cabbage slaw mix so that it has time to soften.  Mix 3 T. lime juice, 2 tsp EVOO, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tsp honey together in a medium-sized bowl.  Add cabbage and cilantro and toss to combine.

Toss sweet potato cubes with 2 T. lime juice, 1 T. EVOO, kosher salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes.  Spread evenly on a baking sheet and roast for 40 minutes, turning half-way to ensure even browning.

My beans were still warm from the slow cooker so I mixed 1 1/2 cups beans with 1 tsp. ground cumin and 1 T. fresh lime juice.  If you are using canned beans, rinse and drain well, and then heat them in a sauce pan with the cumin and lime over low heat.  Add salt if necessary.

Layer seasoned black beans, roasted sweet potatoes, and shredded monterrey jack cheese between two whole wheat tortillas.  Brush 1 tsp. grapeseed or olive oil in a large skillet and brown quesadilla on both sides.  Cut into wedges and serve with tangy puple slaw and “quick” guacamole (1 mashed avocado seasoned with a generous squeeze of lime juice and a pinch of kosher salt).



I love making a special breakfast for my family on lazy weekend mornings.  For awhile now, I’ve been trying to find a good recipe for healthy, whole wheat pancakes.  But they are never quite light and fluffy enough to pass off to the kids as a “special” breakfast.  Its more like “here, chew your way through this lead disc of fiber-y goodness.”  Just as I was about to give up, I discovered the secret – a fresh can of baking powder and double the amount of it than I had been using before!

We tried them a couple of different ways with blueberries, mini chocolate chips, and some just plain.

stacks of pancakes

But in the end, the kids seemed to really like the plain pancakes topped with a quick homemade raspberry sauce.

pancakes with raspberry sauce

This recipe is just as easy as using a boxed pancake mix, but so much more healthy for you.  Out of curiosity, I took a look at a box of Bisquick recently and it baffles me that they are still including artery-clogging partially hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oil in the ingredients.  This is a toxic, genetically modified source of trans fat and does not belong in a healthy diet.  As an added bonus, if you take the time to make these up over the weekend, they can be re-heated in the toaster for a quick mid-week breakfast.  Either refrigerate for up to a week, or store 2 pancakes each in a Ziploc bag in the freezer for up to 2 months.


Fluffy Whole Wheat Pancakes

Recipe adapted from Fit Fresh Food


2 cups white whole wheat flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups plus 2 T. unsweetened almond milk (or milk of your choice)

2 tsp sugar (I use organic coconut sugar because it is less processed)

2 eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

coconut oil to grease the pan


Mix whole wheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl, lightly beat 2 eggs.  Add almond milk, sugar, and vanilla extract to the eggs and mix well.  Combine wet and dry ingredients in one bowl, being very careful not to overmix.

Heat a skillet to medium low heat and melt a little coconut oil in the pan.  Pour 1/4 – 1/3 cups of batter per pancake into the greased pan.  Top with blueberries, banana slices, chocolate chips, etc. or leave them plain.  Cook for 2-3 minutes until the bottom edges are starting to set and bottoms are golden brown.

Flip and cook for 1 more minute.  Keep pancakes warm in a 200 degree oven while you finish making the remainder of the pancakes.  Leftovers may be stored in the refrigerator or freezer and re-heated in the toaster.

Consider upgrading your topping to this quick and easy raspberry syrup.  It reduces the amount of sugar and incorporates a serving of fruit!

Raspberry Topping

1/2 cup frozen raspberries, defrosted

2 – 3 T. maple syrup

Mix defrosted raspberries and maple syrup in a blender at high speed.  This will make enough for 2 servings.


fluffy pancakes with raspberry sauce

I am always looking for healthy snack ideas for my kids. On days that they have school, I have to pack them two snacks in addition to their lunch. Even on days when they are home, it seems like they are always asking for snacks.

This recipe is super easy to whip up and it is full of healthy, whole food ingredients. And in this house, it also doubles as dessert – especially on those nights when the kids aren’t particularly fond of my dinner and I feel like they could use a little more substance so that they don’t go to bed hungry.

Apple Dip 1

Quick & Easy Apple Dip

Recipe adapted from happy healthy mama

  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 T. all natural peanut butter or almond butter (no sugar added)
  • 1-2 T. honey or maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve with cut fruit, such as apples or bananas, and or organic, whole grain graham crackers. For a nut-free option when I pack this for a school snack, I substitute sunflower seed butter and it is just as good!



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