Month: April 2013

Bubble Pizza–Simple, Healthy & Delicious!

Bubble Pizza–Simple, Healthy & Delicious!

A crazy name for something so simple but to me it reminds me of a dish I made when I was probably thirteen, ah yes, Bubble Pizza!  This was a recipe my sister introduced to me from an old parish cookbook.  I totally forgot about […]

Pancake Pops!  My kids new fav breakfast!

Pancake Pops! My kids new fav breakfast!

Here is a little twist on regular ole’ pancakes for breakfast – pancake pops!  Who da thunk? Well, a couple of years ago I saw this donut maker and thought it would save my family from eating donuts every weekend.  I was super excited to […]

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies


“Cookies for breakfast, really mom? You never let us do that!” Those are the words of an extremely excited 5-year-old, however, she did tell me that she definitely like cookies from the store better but these were okay too.  By the way, she didn’t have a problem eating these cookies I made from scratch.  I think she ate four little cookies right out of the oven!  So I would say that she liked them and I think the rest of the family did too because they did not last long.  Or maybe since all the Cadbury eggs were finally gone in the house this was our only sweet treat, haha! Thank goodness those darn Cadbury eggs are finally gone!


Yes, they are not as sweet as a regular homemade or store bought cookie but I am not going to lie, they are still super delicious, especially with a cup of coffee or big glass of milk! It was good thing I ran the day I made these cookie Smile! I am a sucker for hot-out-of-the-oven cookies!  They are a small(as my husband joked) but that means you can have more, right?


Ok, just a couple cookies really satisfies a mid-afternoon snack craving!


I made quite a few substitutions this recipe to lighten them up a bit, so you really can have cookies for breakfast. These little guys are super tasty any time of day!

I cut the sugar down to half and doubled the seasoning – vanilla and also added cinnamon.  I also cut the fat in half and added some applesauce to add a nice texture.


Some chopped nuts would be wonderful too!


Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies


1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup no-sugar-added applesauce

1/2 cup ground golden flaxseed

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3 cups quick oats

1 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)


In a mixer, cream butter, applesauce and flaxseed. Add brown sugar and white sugar gradually until well-combined. Beat in eggs and stir in vanilla and cinnamon. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt.  Add to creamed mixture. Finally add oats and chocolate and combine. Drop from spoon onto a greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 12 to 15 minutes.

Nutrition facts: 56 calories; 9 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 1.5 g fat; 1 g protein



Pineapple Mango Smoothie

Pineapple Mango Smoothie

Yum, pineapple mango smoothie!  Last week at the store I found frozen pineapple and mango on sale so I had to make something a little different with them .  I really enjoyed this smoothie but my kids were not willing to try it, however, they […]

Broccoli & Cauliflower Cheddar Bites

Broccoli & Cauliflower Cheddar Bites

As I look in to the frig I always ask myself, “What in the heck do I do with left overs?”   Left overs are not happy campers in our house and that is why I had to be creative with the extra veggies. First I […]

New Products, Meeting Bobby Deen + Spicy Veggie Stew

New Products, Meeting Bobby Deen + Spicy Veggie Stew

veggie stew 2-001

Oh my gosh where did this week go?  I have a yummy veggie stew for you plus I need to catch you up on the latest new products I found at a recent health fair and at Whole Foods. The kids and I finally made it to the new Whole Foods store – it was nice for a smaller store but I wasn’t overly impressed like the big stores in Chicago.

This is my daughter loving the bulk section – we tried about 7 different new types of rice and grains, very fun!


Anyway last Saturday, I was debating about going to Hy-Vee’s Whole Health Experience.  I am always a little torn when it comes to attending health fairs because I have worked a million of them in the past but once I heard the non stop “Mmmmoooooooom!” coming from kids I decided it was time for a little me-time!  Hurry, get the keys and go! I was off to the expo, woohoo! Every time this stay-at-home mom makes a run by herself I want to cheer to the world because I am so stinkin’ excited!  Ok, I did bring my baby but that is minus two kids.


I got to the expo and had fun trying some new products including these below. I thought these were kind of neat – frozen organic fruits and veggies including kale and butternut squash, hmmm . . .  I am already thinking of recipes to test.


I can’t believe I haven’t tried the latest food craze – kale chips!  I would always look at the package and price in the grocery store and think, really?  The package is small for the price.  I would rather buy a giant container of fresh kale for the same price.  However, the chips are really good so it would be worth the swap for a healthy chip alternative.  They are super crispy and chip-like, which I was not expecting plus loaded with flavor!

kale chips

I have seen this product before but cannot remember where . . . it’s a healthier ice cream!  It was absolutely delicious and I was actually really full after I ate it, huh?

thrive 1

Look at the nutrition profile: 3 grams of fiber plus 9 grams of protein!  For six-ounces it is still 250 calories and 5 grams of saturated fat so . . . still not fantastic but it is very yummy!  I guess I would eat it if I was dying for ice cream to help satisfy the craving with the help of protein and fiber but it would not replace regular ice cream for me.  I like to eat a small servings of ice cream (like a Wendy’s junior frosty only 160 calories) anyway Smile .   Pssst . . . that is baby Lucy’s chubby little hand reaching for more ice cream, she loved it!

thrive nutritionthrive


Hey calling all lactose intolerant friends!  This cheese is for you!  Real cheese that has been tested to be lactose free!  Cabot even has labeled it lactose free.  Plus they also have lighted up some of their cheeses without losing all the flavor.  The Cabot rep said it also melts well but I will have to test it myself.  If it melts as good as it tastes then this product is a total winner!


Pretty good on the nutrition facts! It was very yummy! Maybe I can finally lighten up my beloved broccoli cheese soup recipe, hmm . . . .



And once I found Bobby Deen’s cooking demonstration I knew I made the right decision by attending this event!  Yay!  Confession: I am a also a Food Network Junkie!  Instead of folding laundry and watching the Food Network on a normal Saturday morning I was able to watch Bobby Deen right in font of my eyes!  Oh my gosh, this is so exciting!  I do enjoy his show Not My Mama’s Meals where he makes over his mother’s recipes into a lighter dish.  Hey, that’s what I like to do, too!  Awesome!  He seems like a very nice, down-to-earth kind of guy as he told the audience what he did for Easter. He said he went to his mama’s house and ate and ate and watched his family have an egg hunt.   He also introduced the audience to his cute, tri-athlete girlfriend.    I wish I would have snapped her pic too so you could see her, sorry.  He is a great ambassador for health by showing people how to cook healthier dishes.


At the demonstration he made stuffed Strawberry Cream Cheese French Toast in a New Light which was very good and answered questions from the audience.  Then afterward he was at a booth talking with people.  Right before I was going to leave I passed by his booth and saw there were not many people there and so  . . .  heck, why not?  I did!  I got in line for a picture.  I was a little embarrassed but whatever I am doing this for you!  So you can see Bobby Dean close up! Ok, so blogging made me justify looking nerdy and getting my picture taken but you only live once, right?   As I was holding my sweet baby Lucy, she was just about to fall asleep on my shoulder until she saw . . .  yep, that’s right Paula Deen!  Okay, okay it was a cardboard cut-out of Paula Deen but for some reason she woke up and was waving and talking at Miss Deen.  It was unbelievable cute and I will have to say (proudly) Bobby thought she was just adorable.  He even admitted that he didn’t hear anything I was saying because she was so cute, hahaha!  Here she looks super tired and I look weird because I was hoping the lady knew how to work my phone and get a picture. By the way, that purple sleeve is Paula’s cardboard cut-out Smile.  Fun day!


At the next demonstration Bobby made Vegetarian Gumbo in a New Light but since I was unable to stay for that session I grabbed the recipe to try it myself, yum!  It sounded amazing and very simple, however I did not have one of the main ingredients: vegetarian spicy sausage.  I am sorry but since I was already at the store twice this week, I was not going back again!  I despise going the grocery store with my kids, it is exhausting.

Let me describe it for you . . . on one arm I am carrying my 36 pound 2 1/2-year-old while pushing the stroller with a 10-month-old and keeping my 5-year-old by my side.  I make a detour around the toy aisle or cereal aisle where those darn managers place every toy on clip strips.  I hear quite a few comments from customers saying, “Wow, you got your hands full!”  It’s a good thing my sweatshirt hides the sweat dripping down my back, whew!  My kids are usually pretty well-behaved but of course we have had our memorable melt downs, so if I can go kid-free to the store then  hooray for me!

Okay, a little off tangent but in the end I made my own version of Mr. Deen’s Vegetable Gumbo –  I call mine Spicy Veggie Stew!

Sauté one small onion in olive oil.


I had some zucchini, yellow squash and mini sweet peppers in my frig so that is what I am going to use in this recipe!


I love these little guys! They are awesome raw with some vegetable cream cheese.



I used Cajun seasoning and some crushed red pepper flakes to give it a kick!

ActionCardred pepper


Man, when these fire roasted tomatoes go on sale I load up – such wonderful flavor!


And let’s not forget about unsalted cooking stock!  For one serving only 130 milligrams of sodium – that is a whopping 770 milligrams less than regular stock or broth!


Here is one of our fun finds in the bulk section at Whole Foods: organic multi-colored quinoa! I think it’s beautiful!


Remember to rinse off quinoa because it contains saponins, which can taste almost like soap.  Since quinoa is so tiny, rinse in a paper towel lined strainer.


Cook just like rice using a 2-to-1 ratio: 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups unsalted chicken stock.


Quinoa contains high quality protein (all the essential amino acids), B vitamins, phosphorus, iron and calcium.  One cup of quinoa contains 222 calories; 4 grams fat; 13 milligrams sodium; 39g carbohydrates; 5 grams fiber; 0 grams sugar; 8 grams protein.


Now back to the stew:  I added mushrooms! Mushrooms are loaded with nutrients including: B vitamins (riboflavin, niacin), selenium and even vitamin D.  Some studies have shown mushrooms may help reduce the risk of colon and prostate cancer.  If you think you don’t like mushrooms, try them again!  I was never a fan of mushrooms but within the past couple of years I love them, raw and even cooked! I started eating them raw on salads, next I enjoyed them on pizza and it was history after that.


I made a bed of the beautiful quinoa and covered it up with the veggie stew.  Topped it off with some green onions and a sprinkle of cheese.  What a yummy way to get some veggies in for the day.


Spicy Veggie Stew  Adapted from Bobby Dean’s Vegetarian Gumbo in a new light.


2 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

4 mini sweet pepper, chopped

1 small zucchini, chopped

1 small yellow squash, chopped

1 tsp Cajun seasoning

1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1 can fire-roasted tomatoes, with juice

1 cup unsalted chicken stock


In a hot skillet, drizzle with oil and sauté onion until golden brown. Add peppers, zucchini, squash and sauté until tender. Add Cajun seasoning and crushed red pepper flakes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.  Enjoy over a bed of rice or quinoa.


Quinoa: Rinse quinoa. Place 2 parts liquid to 1 part quinoa in heavy pan and bring to a boil. Simmer approximately 12 to 15 minutes until all liquid is absorbed.

veggie stew

Yum!  Enjoy!  I have a rule to judge if a dish taste really good:  Does it taste good as leftovers?  In this case, absolutely!

veggie stew 2-001

How to Keep the Kids Away from the Easter Candy + Butterfly Snacks!

How to Keep the Kids Away from the Easter Candy + Butterfly Snacks!

Oh my goodness, how many times a day this week do I hear, “Can I have some more candy, please?”  My kids have been at the extreme of wanting candy, candy . . . and MORE candy!  I always let them have some but lately […]