Posts tagged recipes

whole wheat pumpkin chocolate chip cookies


with six foot snow drifts mounting outside my door and about a 36” cover of snow everywhere else in sight, there were few things i wanted to do during this blizzard other than eat grilled cheese and tomato soup.

…ask and you shall receive.

(that little mirror over on the right side of the picture is my car. awesome.)

anyway, i was glued to my couch working from home all day friday and saturday, but once saturday night came around, i was going a little stir crazy. first on my list was whole wheat banana-pumpkin muffins for breakfasts this week. before i started to put everything away, though, i realized i had 1/4 a can of pumpkin hanging around, all my baking goodies out and nowhere to go. so… i made some healthy whole wheat pumpkin dark chocolate chip cookies. in the entire batch, there is less than 1/2 a cup of sugar, whole wheat flour and rolled oats, pumpkin puree, no oil or butter.

unlike 99% of my recipes, i didn’t take step-by-step photos of this one because - to be honest - i didn’t have high hopes! this summer, i was tasked with making oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for my friend adam and i tried 3-4 times before getting them right. when trying to healthify cookies, i sometimes lose my mojo.

to my surprise, they turned out fantastic and i couldn’t help but share them. you get some finished product pictures instead of step-by-step, but i’ll walk you through the process anyway.


1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1 egg

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 c. rolled oats

3/4 c. whole wheat flour

1/4 c. brown sugar

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

1/3 c. dark chocolate chips

tips & things to do/know before you get started:

-preheat your oven to 350 degrees

-this recipe makes appx. 16 decent-sized cookies

-because there’s no butter/oil, they won’t rise/spread like “normal” cookies, so feel free to put them closer to one another on the baking sheet, but also flatten them out a bit so you don’t wind up with thick cookie puffs

okay now that that’s all settled, let’s get baking!


in a small bowl, whisk together your wet ingredients (pumpkin, vanilla, eggs) and set aside.

in a larger bowl, stir together the dry ingredients, aside from the chocolate chips. once everything is well-mixed, pour the wet ingredients into the dry. the dough will be fairly dry - don’t worry about it. mix in the chocolate chips and make sure they’re evenly-distributed throughout the dough.

line your baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease it. roll the cookie dough into balls, flatten them slightly and place them on the cookie sheet. (note: since my dough seemed a little dry, i made sure to knead slightly with my hands to make sure all the flour/dry ingredients were mixed in).

pop them into the 350-degree oven for 13-15 minutes, depending on how well-done you like your cookies.



delicious :) enjoy!



2 notes








#dark chocolate

#whole grain

(slightly lighter) magnolia bakery banana pudding

i love a good cupcake. like LOVE. whenever i would take the train home from NYC in the last year or two, i would pop over to the little magnolia bakery stand in grand central and get a treat for the ride home. it would be pretty darn difficult to convince me to get something other than their cupcakes because i even like their frosting and i am NOT a frosting person.

then one day, i was feeling daring. i had heard rumors that their banana pudding was their truly hidden gem, better than any cupcake and i didn’t believe it. i was in new york for a couple of days and knew i could always grab a cupcake later if said pudding was gross, so i went ahead and tried it. let me tell you! it was practically life-changing. HOLY COW!


fluffy, light, sweet, chunks of banana, nilla wafers sort of soaked by the pudding so they were cakey, not crunchy. basically, i wanted to bathe in this stuff.

fast forward to a visit from my friends allie & adam this december. i had a hankering for some pudding (because, well, when do i not crave it??) and as a surprise, they brought some in with them from the city (!!!). best surprise ever?


i ate it slowly because i didn’t want it to end, so i was on the 1-2 Tablespoon a day plan until i realized it would go bad at that rate. i even (gasp) shared some of it.

as soon as it was over, though, i needed more. my schedule would not allow for any trips to new york soon, so i was left to my own devices, the internet and the grocery store. turns out their recipe had been released a few years ago in the magnolia bakery cookbook.


in all honesty, i didn’t follow this recipe completely (in hopes of reducing a wee bit of the sugar and fat). it still tasted AMAZING, i felt a little less guilty about eating it, but the pudding just didn’t have the light, fluffy texture that the real stuff has. to be honest… i’m okay with that. the magnolia version is an amazing treat a few times a year - this stuff was a nice compromise.

if you’re interested in the real recipe, buy the book check it out here. if you don’t mind nixing half the evaporated milk, holding off on half the cookies or swapping out heavy cream for the lighter variety, check out my version here!



8 oz. sweetened condensed milk (1/2 a standard 16 oz. can)

1 1/2 c. cold water

small box instant vanilla pudding

1.5 cups light cream

1/2 box Nilla wafers

3 bananas, sliced

not too intimidating of an ingredient list, eh?


first mix together your sweetened condensed milk, pudding and water in a medium bowl. once it’s dissolved together, pop it in the fridge and let it sit for 3-4 hours.


i tried to whip my light cream and fast forward… it does nothing but froth it. i actually liked this step, but feel free to skip it. by using light instead of heavy cream, you not only save plenty of fat, but you also take away the ability to make whipped cream. hence the lack of the light, fluffy pudding found in the original. this method still makes it less “gloppy” and solid than normal pudding, though, so i recommend it!


anywho, after you whip/attempt to whip the cream, fold in your pudding that should be set in the fridge.


while that sits for a second, slice up your bananas and open up the nilla wafers. get out a large glass bowl/trifle and then get to layering!



pudding > bananas > nillas so on and so forth until you run out of all the ingredients! make sure you’re topping it all off with a final layer of pudding.


and there you have it! a slightly less decadent, still totally amazing version of magnolia bakery’s famous banana pudding :) enjoy!


2 notes








apple & cranberry sauce

i finally, finally made a contribution to the thanksgiving table year! the best part was i made this the day before the holiday, so i could stay out of dad’s way while he was preparing the actual feast. (truth be told, we went out to eat on thanksgiving this year and then had a mini family thanksgiving dinner on black friday! best of both worlds.)

i love my nona’s traditional cranberry sauce, but instead of mimicking her exact recipe, i looked for a new, unique one to use on my own. i found this one from cooking light and based my recipe off that, just tweaking a few measurements. it got rave reviews and i can’t recommend it enough! it’s not quite as tart as some cranberry sauce recipes, which i really liked. it made the side go better with the rest of the plate! i thought the cinnamon and apples were a FANTASTIC touch.

i realize i should have posted this before thanksgiving, but i’m posting now in hopes you can enjoy this for christmas dinner :) happy holidays!



2 chopped, peeled granny smith apples (appx. 1.5 cups)

1 bag (12 oz.) fresh cranberries

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup white grape juice

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon




peel the apples and chop the fruit into 1/2” pieces. wash and rinse your cranberries, too.



combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil (watch out for exploding cranberries! they’ll get ya in the eye!). reduce heat and let simmer for about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

let it cool, store it in the fridge and serve chilled. it’ll firm up the longer it cools.


since i hate gravy, this is my favorite thing to eat on top of turkey! enjoy :)

1 note







chicken & orzo salad with lemon herb vinaigrette

a week or so ago, in response to my salad a day post, my friend leeza sent me a recipe for a lemon herb vinaigrette she had just tried. it sounded delicious and i knew i wanted to come up with a summery dinner salad to go with it. my wheels started turning and i had visions of going to the grocery store, picking out some great ingredients on my off day and whipping up something great.

…then i had car troubles, my car was stuck at the shop for the day and i was stranded at home. (more on that when i tell you about my weekend in newport!) good things about being stranded at home: it gave me motivation for a practice 5K before saturday and time to wrap up a couple of freelance projects. bad news: no way to get to the market!

instead, i rummaged through the cabinets and fridge and decided to use whatever we had on hand. the moral of this story is:this summery salad is totally customizable. it can be served hot or cold and can use what you’ve got! use my recipe as a guideline, but get creative :) in short, find a grain/pasta, a protein and some veggies. then follow the steps below and you’ll have a delicious meal.

in my case, we had orzo (i could have also used quinoa), a whole roast chicken (ready to make chicken salad with - but i had other plans), spinach (always on hand for my smoothies) and some red bell pepper for color. looking back, this is sort of the summer version of my one-pot lemony chicken and orzo. (full disclosure: i liked this one better, though!)

ingredients (for lemon herb vinaigrette)

2 T white wine vinegar

4 T extra virgin olive oil

juice of half a lemon (appx. 1 T lemon juice)

2 T water

1 t dijon mustard (optional)

1 t garlic powder

1 t dried basil

1 t dried parsley

generous pinch kosher salt

ingredients (for salad)

1/2 cup orzo

appx. 2 cups diced chicken (we used about 2/3 the meat from this small roasted chicken - you could also use about 2-3 chicken breasts)

3 c. raw baby spinach

1/2 red bell pepper, coarsely diced

lemon vinaigrette (recipe above)

done with your collecting? let’s move onto the doing. if you set yourself up properly, this will involve very few pots & pans and will make your cleanup a breeze!

there’s the start of the show - the lemon herb vinaigrette! i made this in a good seasons bottle (great suggestion, leeza!) so after i poured everything in the bottle, i could easily shake it up before serving. if you don’t have an empty dressing bottle, you could always prep it in a small bowl and whisk the ingredients together.

either way, combine all the ingredients (vinegar, oil, water, lemon juice, optional mustard, salt and herbs) and shake ‘em up. set it aside while you prepare the rest of your salad.

alrighty, here’s where a little coordination will go a long way:

1. get your water boiling for your orzo while you dice your chicken.

2. put your spinach and bell peppers in the collander/strainer you’ll be draining your orzo in and set aside.

3. pour the orzo into the boiling water and cook as instructed on the box.

4. finish prepping your chicken while the orzo cooks and pour the cubes into a large mixing bowl (note: picture above is NOT a large mixing bowl, but i’m trying to help you people save on dishes. learn from my mistakes!) set it aside.

5. when your orzo is done cooking, pour the boiling water over the veggies in the strainer to gently wilt them. pour the spinach, peppers and orzo back into the pot, put a cover on it and let it sit for a few minutes to wilt everything a bit more.

pour the veggies and orzo on top of the chicken and mix everything together. grab your dressing from the fridge and pour it on top of everything. mix everything until it’s evenly and lightly coated. then grab a spoon, serve it up and dig in!

thanks again for the inspiration, leeza!

click here for a printable version of the recipe (and while you’re at it, check out the revamped recipes page!)






greeña colada smoothie recipe

"if you like piña coladas, getting caught in the rain.." it’s fine, i know you were singing that to, just as soon as you read this post title (i’m so clever!). here, let me help you out:

you’re welcome. now moving on…

lately i’ve been eating a smoothie for breakfast almost every day and it usually is some variation surrounding: 1 c. frozen strawberries, 1 c. unsweetened almond milk, 1 c. spinach, 1 c. protein powder. it’s filling, nutritious and tasty - what more can you ask for first thing in the morning? (i PROMISE if you blend it enough, you cannot taste the spinach. you might think i’m crazy for drinking veggies, but you really don’t notice it and think of all the extra nutrition you’re sneaking into your breakfast! one serving of dark, leafy greens out of the way before 8am!)

the problem was that i was out of berries last week. and also out of almond milk. what i DID have were frozen bananas and pineapple, unsweetened coconut/almond milk and then my usual spinach and protein powder. what i ended up with was nothing short of a piña colada suitable for breakfast.

one thing to keep in mind, though, is that while my normal breakfast of berries are low in sugar for fruits, both pineapple and bananas are very high in sugar. keep this baby as a treat and not as an every day drink!


1/2 banana, sliced and frozen

3/4 c. frozen pineapple chunks

1 c. fresh, raw baby spinach

1 c. unsweetened coconut almond milk

1 scoop vanilla protein powder (optional)

(note: i already had these banana slices frozen because when i’ve got a banana on the counter that’s on its last legs, i’ll proactively slice it up before it goes bad and freeze it. perfect for smoothies or any recipe you don’t want to use a whole banana for!)

are you ready for these instructions? i know they’re pretty complicated…

dump everything in the blender. blend until smooth. pour. sip.

now look at that bright, beautiful beverage! wouldn’t you be excited to drink that in the morning? it’s practically a mocktail.

if you’re into smoothies, i also have some great recipes for an orange creamsicle smoothie, peanut butter banana & honey smoothie and a super healthy green smoothie

on the other hand, if you’re only interested in the piña colada aspect, check out these piña colada cupcakes! see? something for everyone.

1 note







#pina colada

currently loving…

1. don’t get me wrong, getting to work before 6am has its downsides. like the 5am alarm (and the 5:10 alarm and the 5:12 alarm…) and the fact that when i’m all alone, i sit so still that the motion-detector lights don’t know that i’m there and when they shut off, i have to wave my hands like a crazy person so they turn back on.

it certainly has its upsides, though. like getting serenaded by birds my whole trip, no traffic and getting to watch the sun rise in the middle of a light purple and blue sky. i’ll choose to focus on those upsides.

2. summer nails and summer fruit!

the nail color is bachelorette bash by essie! i wore it when i was in my friend’s wedding a couple of summers ago and have been bouncing back between that and essie’s watermelon ever since!

3) some cookout recipe ideas for you in case you’re enjoying the heat and long weekend:


black bean, corn, tomato & avocado salad (perfect for a cookout because there’s no mayo, so it can withstand being outside for a bit!)

buffalo chicken dip (always, always a crowd pleaser)

…and of course, the infamous hamburger slider cupcakes (totally worth the effort).

4. last, but certainly not least, i’m so grateful to have been selected as one of today’s foodbuzz top 9 recipes! thank you, thank you, thank you! what an honor :)

see my greek yogurt chicken salad stuffed in a tomato on the left side of the middle row?! eeeee!!! what a lovely surprise to wake up to this morning!

hope you’re having a wonderful sunday!



#things i love


#nail polish



greek yogurt chicken salad (stuffed in a tomato!)

it feels like summer outside, so i might as well start cooking accordingly, right? thought so. it was my night to make dinner and i wanted something fast, healthy and the perfect combination of light but filling. a girl can dream, right?

i had every intention of tearing through my magazines to find a recipe before i went to the fresh market for the first time the other day, but when nothing spoke to me from those pages, i figured i’d get inspired by the fresh ingredients at the grocery store, instead.

i ended up deciding to make a lightened-up chicken salad, stuffed in a gigantic tomato on top of a bed of greens. think of it as a hybrid between my waldorf salad and orzo stuffed peppers! looking back at my checklist, this was fairly quick to make (with a few errands between steps), was definitely healthy in that it was packed with protein, veggies and pretty low in fat. on top of that, i only had a couple of dishes to wash after, so that definitely adds to the quick factor!

note about the ingredients shot - i’m losing my mind! i stacked everything up for the traditional photo and then broke it down and started cooking without ever snapping the picture. der! this photo is a recreation post-chicken cooking. i guess i’m a little out of practice…


1-2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3/4 lb)

1 Tablespoon light mayonnaise

2 Tablespoons nonfat, plain greek yogurt

2 celery stalks

3 Tablespoons Craisins (optional)

generous pinches of: onion powder, garlic powder, dill and kosher salt

2 large tomatoes

first up, poach the chicken breasts by boiling them in lightly salted water for about 10 minutes or until they’re cooked all the way through. then, set them aside to cool for a bit. it’s up to you if you want to take this break to go to DSW and pick up two fantastic new pairs of shoes. don’t worry, they were extremely discounted and i had a gift card and coupon. (read: i got two pairs of shoes for the price of one individual shoe, pretty much!)

anywho, back to the kitchen…

while the chicken is cooling, finely dice your celery stalks and set them aside. i decided i had enough, so i polished off the final 1/3 of a stalk with a dab of peanut butter! delicious impromptu snack - totally underrated! why do i always forget how great this tastes?!


next, slice the very top off your tomatoes and hollow out the majority of the inside with a melon baller to create tomato cups. set that aside. (note: i didn’t waste all the tomato guts! which looked sort of like watermelon balls… anywho, i added them to my salad for lunch the next day. easy peasy, no waste!)

when the chicken is cooled, shred it with two forks and place in a medium bowl. this can be a little tedious, but it goes by quickly and you can get some aggression out while you prep your food!

to the medium bowl, add the celery, craisins, dill, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, mayo and yogurt to the bowl. mix until everything is evenly distributed and it has reached your desired consistency.

spoon the chicken salad into the tomatoes, pop onto a bed of lettuce and serve!

click here for a printable version of the recipe!

1 note





#chicken salad

#greek yogurt



looks like i know where my morning is going… anyone else love the feeling of leafing through new magazines and dog-earing pages?

looks like i know where my morning is going… anyone else love the feeling of leafing through new magazines and dog-earing pages?

1 note








healthier mac and cheese (with cauliflower!)

i was hesitant to put my secret ingredient in the title of this post because i bet you’d never be able to guess that butter, cream and flour were replaced with cauliflower in this healthified comfort food recipe! but the secret’s out, so try  it soon :)

one of my favorite recipes is my nona’s baked macaroni and cheese. although nothing can compare to this, a few replacements in my recipe make it a much, much healthier option and let’s face it - that’s the goal with my recipes! although hers is a great treat, i find this was a perfectly suitable alternative to have more frequently.


2 cups dry whole wheat pasta (i picked elbows!)

6 oz. plain, nonfat greek yogurt

1/4. c. skim milk

1 c. shredded cheddar cheese

1/3 c. + 1 T. grated parmesan cheese

1 c. cauliflower florets

1/2 onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

3 T panko breadcrumbs

1 T dried parsley

salt & pepper to taste

now that you’re done with the collecting, it’s time for the doing!

first, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and break out two pots. one to boil your pasta (i salted the water lightly) - follow the directions on the box and lean toward the al dente side of things. since it’ll still cook a bit longer in the oven, you don’t want the pasta to be mushy and overdone. once the pasta is done, drain it and put the cooked pasta in a 9x9 baking dish.

in the other pot, boil your cauliflower until it’s tender. this is going to get blended up, so don’t stress if it gets a little overdone.

now here’s the fun part - where we substitute cream, butter and flour for cauliflower and skim milk! either back in the empty pot or on top of a double boiler, let the chopped onion and garlic sweat for about five minutes. add the skim milk and cauliflower and use an immersion blender to puree the mixture. (if you don’t have an immersion blender, transfer everything to a regular blender, puree and return to the stove)

once everything is smooth, return to the stove over a low heat.

stir in the cheese (save for 1 T of the parmesan, which you’ll need later) and greek yogurt and keep stirring until it’s all melty and smooth together. taste and sprinkle with salt and pepper to your preference. (side note: i tasted this and wanted a mug full! it tasted like baked potato soup!)

pour the cheese sauce over the pasta in the baking dish and toss it all together so the pasta is all evenly coated throughout.

now, in a dish, combine the panko, remaining 1 T parmesan and parsley. mix it together and sprinkle on the top of the baking dish.

now, pop it in the 350-degree oven for 10-15 minutes. for the final 1-2 minutes, turn the broiler on high so the top gets golden brown.

take it out and let it cool/set for about 5 minutes before serving. scoop out and enjoy! i served ours with a spinach/romaine salad with walnuts, strawberries and chicken. even this dish is warm, it’s not super heavy, so i think it’d be great in the summer OR the winter. year-round deliciousness :)

yum yum - nothing wrong with putting a healthy spin on some comfort food, right? nothing will top nona’s version, but this one was not to shabby and made GREAT leftovers to bring to work.

click here for a printable version of the recipe!

2 notes




#meat-free monday

#macaroni and cheese


#comfort food

one of my goals for the next couple of weeks is to incorporate more leafy greens into my everyday meals. some that i’m already a big fan of are spinach, broccoli and romaine lettuce, but i’m also trying kale (hopefully chips, soon!) and i’m even counting brussels sprouts as a sort-of-leafy green vegetable.

one super suggestion from health coach and cook jennifer moore is to blend some of these babies into a smoothie. can you imagine having this for breakfast and already getting 2-3 servings of fruits/vegetables before 10am?! it’s brilliant! and for those of you that are scared, i promise the sweetness of the vanilla, banana, pineapple and agave mask any signs of veggies in your beverage.

well, here’s my adaptation of her recipe for a green smoothie (so much easier for me to make than green juice, since i’ve already got a blender and had all the ingredients on hand!). feel free to make this your own, but as you sip, be proud of all the vitamins and nutrients you’re packing in with every gulp :)

green smoothie


1/2 ripe avocado

1/2 large, ripe banana, sliced (freeze slices ahead of time for even colder smoothies!)

1/2 cup pineapple chunks (i used frozen to keep it cold)

3/4 cup de-stemmed kale

3/4 cup baby spinach

1 cup vanilla almond milk

1/2 cup water

1 Tablespoon agave nectar (you could also use honey or another sweetener)

directions (so easy):

1. throw all the ingredients into your blender.

2. blend until everything is smooth (especially those leafy greens!)

3. pour, sip & enjoy :)

4 notes


#green smoothie







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