autumn oatmeal cookie bars

Another squash recipe, but this time – a sweet version!

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I don’t know if it’s the cooler nights, seasonal flavors, or the fact that it’s no longer “swimsuit season” {LOL} but this time of year I start craving desserts. There’s something so special about sitting down at the end of the day, dinner cleaned up and dishes put away, and enjoying the perfectly sweet bite of dessert. For some people – ice cream {year round!}, others – cookies and cakes. I am not going to say no to any of those options, but boy…do I love me a good cookie.

This particular recipe was inspired by…as mentioned above…squash. I LOVE pumpkin, y’all! It’s a great ingredient to work with; packed with vitamins and minerals, full of flavor, and it serves as a great way to scale back on some of the typically not-so-good items that go into cookies. Paired with tangy Greek yogurt, the resulting cookie is perfectly moist and chewy, and loaded up with spices. A combination of rolled oats and all-purpose flour lends a hint of nutty flavor, which is beautiful with the pumpkin and brown sugar. The little nuggets of chocolate chips and raisins don’t hurt, either ; )

Once you bake up a batch of these, don’t expect them to last long. BUT! If you want to, portion of a section of the pan to freeze; your weeknight self craving something sweet, but not overly indulgent, will be glad you did.

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Autumn Oatmeal Cookie Bars {recipe adapted from Averie Cooks}

Traditional chocolate chip cookie meets pillowy pumpkin cookies. They taste every bit delicious as they look: perfectly fluffy, with crispy edges and bursting full of flavor and goodies. Ideal for any autumn get-together; I promise, they won’t last long. 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed {light or dark is fine}

1 large egg

2 tsp. vanilla extract

3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree {not pumpkin pie filling!}

1 Tbsp. molasses

3/4 tsp. cinnamon

pinch salt

3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour {I used a combination of 2 cups AP flour and 1-1/4 cups oats, just for extra texture and flavor}

1 tsp. baking soda

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2-1 cup assorted dried fruits…cherries, apricots, cranberries, raisins, etc. *nuts of your choice can also be used

*optional: for a sweeter cookie, add 1/2 cup of granulated sugar 

**optional topping: 1/3 cup granulated sugar + 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon, mixed together

To Prepare:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine plain Greek yogurt, brown sugar {optional granulated sugar to be added here, if using}, and beat on medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes to cream ingredients together; stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add in the egg and vanilla, and beat on high speed for 3-4 minutes or until mixture is light and fluffy.

Add in the pumpkin, molasses, 3/4 tsp. cinnamon, pinch of salt, and mix until incorporated, about 1 minute.

Add in the flour {or combination of flour and oats} and baking soda, and mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips {and any add-ins you might like} by hand. Cover the mixing bowl and let chill in the refrigerator for at least 90 minutes {I only chilled for about 30 minutes because of time constraint}. Dough can be chilled for up to 4 days.

Prepare your 9″ x 13″ baking dish by coating liberally with nonstick spray. Evenly distribute the batter into the dish, making sure to spread it out evenly and ensuring that all corners are filled. Top with optional cinnamon/sugar mixture, and bake for 20-25 minutes {edges will be golden and set, and the top will have just set; they will continue to firm up as they cool}. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting into bars.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to one week, or in the freezer for up to three months.

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chicken and mushroom gravy: crockpot edition

Time to dust off the crockpot, y’all. It’s the most wonderful time of year!

…crockpot season, that is! While this beloved appliance of mine makes celebrity appearances during the summer {for dishes such as this and this}, it truly shines during the cooler months. There’s something so special about a slow cooked meal, and walking into your home at the end of a dreary day, greeted by aromas wafting from the kitchen. It is instantly soothing, like a hug or a pat on the back with someone saying – “don’t worry, dinner is on me tonight”.

Except we prepared ahead! This dish couldn’t be easier. For awhile now, I’ve been craving a mushroom gravy. I didn’t know with what, though; I spent a few nights last week brainstorming dinner ideas, and when I stumbled upon this recipe, I knew it would be perfect. I tweaked it a bit to fit the current state of our refrigerator, and voila! A perfect chicken dinner, prepared in no time.

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I spent the day at work {and the hubs too, I’m sure!} dreaming about this dish. Like I mentioned, I love the anticipation of the end of the day, knowing that dinner is doing work on itself. And y’all, it was amazing. From the moment I walked in until we sat down for our meal, there was nothing but smiles. The chicken is perfectly tender; the gravy is rich and flavorful. And piled high on top of your favorite starch, it’s a match made in chicken heaven.

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Enjoy!

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Chicken & Mushroom Gravy: crockpot edition {recipe adapted from food.com}

Wonderfully comforting and delicious, this dish is the ideal fall meal. With minimal prep time, it can be thrown together minutes before walking out the door for work; you and your family will be rewarded with the glorious aroma of roasted chicken and gravy after a long day! 

Ingredients:

3 lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken breast

8 ounces plain Greek yogurt

4 cups low-sodium chicken stock, divided

1 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. rosemary

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

salt and pepper, to taste

1 large onion, thinly sliced

8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms {I used shiitake}

2 Tbsp. cornstarch + 1/2 cup boiling water, combined {to be used at the final 15 minutes of the dish}

1 Tbsp. butter

To Prepare:

After removing the skin, generously season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Place into the crockpot, and top with the sliced mushrooms and onions.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, 2 cups of the chicken stock, and herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour over the chicken and vegetables.

Cook on low for 6-7 hours, or until chicken is done and falling off the bone. At 15-20 minutes before serving, uncover the crockpot and shred the chicken and stirring well with the gravy mixture. Remove any bones you see! Pour in the remaining 2 cups of chicken stock, and add in the slurry {cornstarch and hot water}, making sure to combine thoroughly. Lastly, stir in the butter.

Serve over rice, egg noodles, or my favorite – – – smashed cauliflower.

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Enjoy!

Fruit & Yogurt Popsicles

The hubs and I are preparing for a whirlwind of trips over the next couple weeks. Typical summer, I say. Lots of fun but…that means it’s time to clear out the fridge. We’ve been going through leftovers like you wouldn’t believe; frozen meals I prepared who knows how long ago, frozen produce {and fresh, of course – because I’m a crazy lady and buy it in droves every.single.week}, pantry items that are probably on their last leg…and then there was this yogurt. A large, unopened container of 2% Fage Greek yogurt. It had somehow ended up there, and thankfully I noticed it before it turned because if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s wasting food! I know many of you agree with me on this : ) 

Standing there, with the door open and wasting precious energy, I began to contemplate what to do with it. I hardly ever buy the large containers, simply because we don’t go through them fast enough. Individual sizes are perfect for lunches, breakfast smoothies, or packing for a quick weekend hike. I knew I had to utilize it soon or it would meet the fate that I so hate. So when the thought of making a frozen dessert popped in my mind, I knew I had a winner. I didn’t have to worry about it going bad while we were gone, and BONUS! – fresh, delicious, healthy popsicles would be awaiting our return. Everyone wins!

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This recipe is extremely flexible to however you want it to be – I’ve simply outlined my method of preparation. Feel free to use whatever type of yogurt you prefer; the same goes for the fruit. I used a mixture of fresh and frozen, but anything will do. Let your imagination run wild! Your mouth will thank you on a particularly hot summer day, when cooling off needs to happen ASAP.

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Fruit & Yogurt Popsicles 

Perfect for those boiling hot summer nights, these frozen treats are sure to cool off even those whose temperature runs the hottest! Made with creamy Greek yogurt and exploding with fresh fruit, you won’t feel guilty about indulging in these any time. 

Ingredients:

2 cups plain Greek yogurt {I prefer 2% when making desserts/sweeter things}

1 bag {10 ounces} frozen fruit of your choice *but make sure that it’s thawed before blending*

1 additional cup of fresh fruit {I opted for blueberries}

up to 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, or to taste, for sweetening the mixture

up to 1/4 cup milk of choice, to thin out the mixture for pouring purposes

To Prepare:

Place all of the ingredients, expect for the milk and maple syrup, into the bowl of a large food processor. Pulse a few times to mix up. Taste and adjust the level of sweetness with the maple syrup.

Pulse again until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Slowly add in the milk until the texture reaches an easily pourable consistency.

Using a large Pyrex container {or any pitcher with a pouring mouth}, carefully fill up your popsicle molds until full. I have these ones and I LOVE them! Seal tightly and freeze overnight.

To serve, simply run the container until warm water for a few seconds. This will help loosen the popsicle from the container, making pulling out a breeze.

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Enjoy!

lightened up spinach artichoke dip

A lot of times, what we deem as “traditional” appetizers often get a bad rep. I mean, it’s not hard for that to happen. When we peel back the layers of ingredients and really dive in, we find that most are loaded down with heavy, not-so-healthy ingredients…full-fat mayonnaise, cream cheese, sour cream, an oftentimes an exorbitant amount of cheese on top. And that doesn’t even take into account the accouterments {fried chips, toasted bread, crackers and pretzels}. Now don’t get me wrong! – I am a big believer in maintaining a balance; everything in moderation, exercise portion control when needed. But sometimes, you might just want to do some serious work on appetizers and not feel guilty about it!

Enter this dish…

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It’s bubbly, browned, crusty and FULL.OF.FLAVOR. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to your new favorite {and jazzed up!} spinach artichoke dip! Glancing down through the ingredient list, you’ll recognize instantly a few of my staples: Greek yogurt, blended cream cheese, etc. But what really makes this dish shine and stand out from its cousins is the explosion of spices and vegetables that we’re packing in. In just about 3 cups of dip, we’re utilizing smoky paprika, spicy garlic, onion powder, red pepper flakes{!!}, and tangy Parmesan. Seriously, your taste buds won’t know what hit them upon the first bite.

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This is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, and is on constant rotation in our home. This can easily be doubled or tripled for the countless summer BBQs we will all surely be attending this summer; is wonderful spread onto sandwiches; I’ve even thrown it into a fritatta with shredded chicken. A dish with many purposes; not only super healthy, but super flavorful and oh-so-flexible!

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Lightened Up Spinach/Artichoke Dip

A perfect dip for throwing together at the last minute, this is one of our go-to items for date nights at home. It’s tangy, refreshing, bubbling over with flavor…and good for you!

Ingredients:

12 ounces frozen spinach, cooked {make sure you drain it really well}

1 {14 ounce} can artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped

5 ounces of plain, non-fat Greek yogurt

2 Tbsp. cream cheese {I like to use a Greek yogurt/cream cheese blend that is available at my grocery store}

2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping

1 clove garlic, finely diced

1 tsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. onion powder

large pinch of red pepper flakes {optional}

nonstick cooking spray

salt & pepper, to taste

To Prepare:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a round glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside {mine holds about 3-4 cups worth of dip}.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients. Mix well to combine; take extra care to make sure that the cream cheese and yogurt are thoroughly mixed into the vegetables and spices.

Spoon dip into the prepared baking dish. Top with additional Parmesan cheese.

Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the top is starting to turn golden brown and the edges are bubbling over slightly.

Serve hot with toast points, sliced vegetables, chips, etc…whatever you like.

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Enjoy!

plum tarte tatin

Have you seen anything more beautiful?

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Fresh, juicy plums just begging to be transformed into a luscious dessert. Typically, I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to fruit desserts {hello, apple pie} but with my parents in town…which just happened to be her birthday weekend…I knew I had to do something special.

I’ve seen the oh-s0-wonderful Ina Garten make tatins countless times; I’m a huge fan of her show, and while watching an episode not long ago, this plum tart tatin jumped out from the screen, just begging me to make it. After reading up on the recipe, I was sold – packed with fruit and little else, it was a simple dessert, but a total showstopper.

This particular recipe is practically a one-pot wonder. Aside from making a rich simple syrup, it is a no fuss, low maintenance dessert. Halved plums are packed into a buttered baking dish, then topped with the syrup. A light and fluffy batter is haphazardly dropped on top of the fruit. Once popped into the oven and baked off, you wait with bated breath until the cake has cooled slightly, and you can invert it onto your baking dish. You want the entire dessert to come out in one fell swoop, but fear not! – if a plum or two pops out during the turning out, you simply re-position it back into the cake. It will be out little secret.

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And y’all? The juice that is created from the fruit baking and marrying with the simple syrup….wow. Soak up every last bit of that heavenly liquid. You won’t be sorry.

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Plum Tarte Tatin {recipe adapted from Ina Garten}

Wonderfully simple and totally gorgeous, this cake will impress anyone. Served with a bit of sweetened whipped cream, it’s the perfect springtime dessert. I recommend enjoying it al fresco! 

Ingredients:

3 tbsp. unsalted butter {room temperature} + 3 tbsp. plain nonfat Greek yogurt

additional butter for greasing the dish

6-10 large plums, cut in half and pitted

3/4 cup sugar + 1/2 cup sugar, for separate uses

1/3 cup water

2 extra large eggs, room temperature

1/3 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt

1 tsp. grated lemon zest

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

optional: confectioners’ sugar, for serving 

To Prepare:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 9″ glass pie dish and arrange the plums in the dish, cut side down.

Combine 3/4 cup of the sugar and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until it turns a warm amber color, about 360 degrees on a candy thermometer. Swirl the pan but don’t stir. Pour evenly over the plums. Set aside.

Cream the 3 tbsp. butter, 3 tbsp. yogurt, and remaining 1/2 cup of sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy {about 5 minutes}. Lower the speed and beat in the eggs one at a time. Add in the 1/3 cup yogurt, lemon zest, and vanilla and mix until combined.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add it into the butter mixture. Mix only until combined.

Pour the batter evenly over the plums {you might have to use your spatula to spread it a bit; it’s ok if some of the tops of the plum peak out} and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes.

Invert caked onto a flat plate or serving stand. If a plum sticks, simply ease it out and replace it in the design on the top of the cake. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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spinach & squash galette

This dish is almost, almost too pretty to eat.

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I often find that some of my most favorite recipes happen to be the ones that I throw together during the week, with whatever ingredients I happen to have kicking around in the refrigerator and/or freezer. Because sometimes I simply lack the energy to run to the grocery store after work and want to get dinner prepped and in the oven as soon as I can. This dinner was the result of said night.

And let me just say that I could not be more thrilled with how fantastic this dish turned out. Leftover roasted butternut squash fanned out atop flaky pie crust, a creamy spinach center, and finished off with tangy blue cheese made for the most comforting dinner we’ve had in awhile.

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It’s hard to keep your “groove” in the kitchen during the week, especially after a long day of work. The hubs and I enjoyed every last crumb of this meal, feeling so satisfied and warm, it was as if this galette had given us both a comforting hug. Almost.

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Spinach & Butternut Squash Galette {original recipe}

Easy to prepare with pre-roasted squash, frozen spinach and a handful of herbs and cheese, you’ll have dinner on the table in no time flat! Both you and your taste buds will be 0h-so-happy to dig in. 

Ingredients:

1 prepared pie crust disc {about 9″ in diameter}, room temperature

cornmeal {for dusting the baking sheet}

1 bag of frozen spinach, thawed and drained of any excess water

1 medium butternut squash, roasted/cooled and cut into medallions

1 cup of Greek yogurt {I used 0% fat because it’s what I had on hand, but you can use whatever your preference is}

8 ounces of crumbled blue cheese

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. dried rosemary

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

salt & pepper, to taste

To Prepare:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray, sprinkle with cornmeal.

Unroll the thawed pie crust into the center of the baking sheet, making sure that the entire surface is smooth. Starting about 1″ in from the edge, fan out the roasted butternut squash so that the half-moon pieces overlap slightly; essentially creating a spiral shape. It should make about 2 full spirals. Continue to fan out until you have a well in the center about 4″wide {this can vary slightly, depending on the size of the squash}. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the spinach, Greek yogurt, spices and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place this mixture into the center well of the galette and, if you find yourself having a bit extra, around the outermost edges of the squash {make sure to do this in a very thin line!}.

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Fold the edges of the pie crust over top of the squash, being careful to not stretch too thin! Overlap each fold slightly, so that it folds on top of itself. Brush with a bit of water to ensure the edges get crisp. Sprinkle the exposed vegetables and spinach mixture with the crumbled blue cheese.

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Bake for 25 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn golden. Increase the heat to 425 degrees and bake for 5-10 minutes more; this will result in a browned center with crispy edges. Allow to cool 5-10 minutes before cutting into wedges and serving.

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Enjoy!

light & fresh crab dip

When you don’t live ocean side, sometimes you just need to bring the beach to you…no?

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I love to create dishes that remind me of previous trips; food is such a powerful way to evoke wonderful memories that might not often be remembered just through a photo. After all, an image doesn’t create a sensory experience other than just looking at it. While there is nothing wrong with that {in fact, I find myself looking at old photos quite often!} I have so much more fun when I can wrap multiple senses around a memory.

That is where this crab dip comes into play. While I have no particular dish to draw on for inspiration, crab dip is something that we enjoyed on beach vacations as children; later on in life, the hubs and I would have several trips with his family where we picked crabs for dinner all night long. This dish is my homage to those nights – times spent sharing stories and creating memories with those that I love.

This dish is simple to prepare; many of the ingredients you probably have on hand already. A few fresh green onions, dried herbs, and bread crumbs…in addition to the cream cheese and Greek yogurt, these are considered staples for many people {I’ll admit, I had to run out for green onions this time around, though!}.

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The only thing that I request is that you please, please use high-quality crab meat…no room for imitation here! This is a lightened up twist on traditional crab dip; that is, we’re relying very little on creamy ingredients, so it’s vital to the recipe that you not skimp here. The crab is the star, and the other ingredients are merely there to accent it. One bite, and I promise you’ll understand.

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Light & Fresh Crab Dip

Hands-down a favorite in our household, this dip is perfect for any occasion – we love to enjoy it on date nights with a good bottle of wine, or spread between toasted bread for sandwiches. Easily enough to double or triple, too! 

Ingredients:

1 {8 ounce} container of good crab meat…claw, back fin, jumbo lump all work well

1 heaping tbsp. Old Bay seasoning

2 tbsp. dried parsley

2 green onions, finely chopped

2 ounces cream cheese {I opted to use my favorite Greek yogurt and cream cheese blend}, room temperature

3 ounces plain, non-fat Greek yogurt

1/4 cup plain bread crumbs

non-stick cooking spray

salt & pepper, to taste

To Prepare:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray an oven-proof glass serving dish with non-stick cooking spray, and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, yogurt, green onion, and herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Gently fold in the crab meat, making sure to keep the pieces as intact as possible.

Carefully spoon into the prepared baking dish, then top with bread crumbs. Spritz with non-stick cooking spray {this will help ensure a crisp exterior}.

Bake, uncovered, about 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the edges are bubbling. Serve with assorted crackers, toast points, and vegetables for dipping.

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smashed cauliflower

Right about now, it seems as though everyone is starting fresh along with the new year. Time to cut back on indulgent treats and start eating clean, they say! 

There is certainly nothing wrong with that! I love the start of the new year; acting as a clean slate for many of us, why not use this time to pursue goals and dreams we may have pushed to the back burner? But let’s not deprive ourselves, regardless of our goals! After all, shouldn’t we treat them as lifestyle changes, rather than just looking for a quick fix?

For those who may have set fitness goals, whatever they may be – boy, do I have a spectacular side dish to share today! A beloved side dish, mashed potatoes, is getting a new look…and that look is cauliflower! I realize that many people tend to shy away from this vegetable {I was one of them for a long time!}, but this is one that is so versatile, it can be transformed in countless ways. A nutrition-packed powerhouse, it boasts a low carbohydrate count and low fat content; it contains vast amounts of fiber, folate, and vitamin C. What’s not to love?

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We’re keeping it simple and sweet here today, but don’t be afraid of transforming your dish however you like! Smashed garlic, chili flakes, a sprinkle of sharp cheddar cheese on top…the possibilities are endless. Make it your own, and make it special! You deserve it.

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Smashed Cauliflower

Simple and delicious, this makes a wonderful replacement side dish for classic mashed potatoes. Lower in carbs and big on flavor, you won’t miss those potatoes a bit!

Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower, rinsed and trimmed

1/4 – 1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock

1/3 block of cream cheese {I like to use a greek-yogurt blend}

salt and pepper, to taste

To Prepare:

Bring a large saucepan {filled halfway with water} to a full boil. Add in the cauliflower pieces and cook until fork tender, about 8-10 minutes.

Once cooked through, drain off water and place in a large bowl. Using a potato masher/hand mixer/immersion blender, puree just until broken up. Add in the cream cheese and mix well; slowly drizzle in the stock until desired consistency is reached. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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Enjoy!

peanut butter & banana breakfast smoothie

There’s little to be said about smoothies, I think.

When prepared right, you find yourself using only a select few ingredients – wholesome, fresh, and good for you. I don’t know about y’all, but I’ve never been one of those who loads up the blender with 100+ different ingredients, hoping to whip up some amazing concoction. Give me a handful of fruit, some yogurt, and maybe a handful of ice and I’m a happy camper. Keep it simple, am I right?

That’s where this smoothie comes into play. The hubs and I LOVE smoothies – so much in fact, that I keep a special stash of Mason jars at close hand. They are a weekday staple for us; I can prepare as many as we need for the week, and just store them in the refrigerator {or freezer, if I’m making them a few days in advance}. After dinner you’ll find him at the sink and me with my blender. It’s a safe and comfortable routine, of which I find comfort and enjoyment.

The recipe I’m sharing today is, hands-down, our favorite combination of flavors. Peanut butter and banana, y’all…I mean, it doesn’t get much simpler than that! But what makes them special is the benefit behind these ingredients. Banana provides not one, but two servings of your daily fruit recommendation. Greek yogurt is a protein workhorse, keeping you going strong even through the mid-morning slump. Peanut butter is full of good fats, stabilizing your energy levels. And depending on what milk you choose, you’re reaping the benefits of calcium and other vitamins {FYI: I loooooove to use plan kefir in mine! – talk about a probiotic punch!}.

This won’t weigh you down; rather, you’ll have an extra spring in your step because you’re starting your day of right….healthfully and naturally!

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Peanut Butter & Banana Breakfast Smoothie

Super simple and easy to assemble in minutes, this breakfast drink is the perfect grab-and-go for busy weekday mornings. Packed with healthy fats and protein-packed Greek yogurt, you’ll be feeling ready for the day in no time!

Ingredients:

1 whole banana, frozen

2 heaping tbsp. peanut butter {here’s my go-t0 homemade version}

1 six-ounce container Greek yogurt {we typically alternate between 0% vanilla or 0% plain}

choice of milk, to use as necessary

To Prepare:

Place all of the ingredients, except for the milk, into a high-powered blender. Blend until the frozen banana has been broken down, about 30 seconds. Remove the lid and scrape down the sides. Add in desired amount of milk until it reaches your desired consistency, and blend until smooth. Pour into a tight-sealing cup and store in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!

chicken & dumplings

Cold and dark winter evenings beg for comfort dishes to be prepared for dinner.

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Chicken and dumplings is the perfect dish to whip up on days like that. Easy to prepare and made, essentially, in one bowl. It’s an ideal entree that can be made even on the busiest of weeknights. Who doesn’t want to sit down after a long day of work to a dinner like this? Steaming hot and chock full of warm goodness, even the pickiest of eaters would be hard pressed to not enjoy this. Shredded chicken provides a boost of protein, vegetables pack in copious amounts of vitamins  and the dumplings, well, they steal the show. Fluffy and moist, so tender that they practically melt in your mouth.

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You can find me on the couch enjoying this dinner, wrapped up in my coziest blanket. Because the chilly evening has nothing that this dish can’t make better.

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Chicken & Dumplings {recipe adapted from The Gracious Pantry}

You can’t mess with a classic like this dish. Perfectly wonderful served piping hot, right off the stove top. 

Ingredients:

4 cups low-sodium chicken stock

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 garlic clove, minced

2 to 4 chicken breasts, precooked and shredded

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, peeled and diced

4 large carrots, peeled and sliced

Dumpling Ingredients:

2 cups flour {I used gluten-free}

1 tablespoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 butter {I used a Greek yogurt and butter blend}

1 cup buttermilk

pepper, to taste

Stew Directions:

In a large sauce pot over medium heat, add in the olive oil. Once hot, add in the onion and carrot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, oregano and thyme. Pour in the stock and raise heat to bring to a boil. Fold in the shredded chicken.

Prepare the dumplings while waiting for the stock mixture to boil – in a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine and then add in the butter, buttermilk and pepper.

Once the stock mixture is boiling, drop the dumpling dough in using two large spoons {like making drop cookies}. Boil until the dumplings are cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes. Ladle into large soup bowls and enjoy!