Recipes Feed

Let's make muffins for science!

I don't really mention it much on my blog but my kid is in high school marching band and this is his senior year, which makes me #bandmom on steroids. 

marching band gauntlets drum major
My son, the drum major

This time of year is especially frenzied, what with football games, fundraisers, competitions and lighting a fire under the kid's butt to get the college applications going. 

I've also been stepping up my freelancing work and fighting a cold.

Which is to say, I haven't been blogging much.

I've been feuding with my beautiful new Withings Body Cardio scale because the poundage isn't budging no matter what I do, and that's been making me kinda frantic. But the one nice thing about the Body Cardio is that I can see even though the pounds aren't budging, my body fat is going down while my lean mass is going up. Still ...

So I made chocolate chip muffins.

Self-sabotaging, you say? Actually, these muffins are a nutritional experiment.

I had picked up a supermarket ladymag last month that featured a breathless cover line touting a muffin that "works like a tummy tuck!" 

Seriously, no. Muffins don't work like a tummy tuck.

But the story behind the muffin is pretty intriguing. 

 A University of Maryland School of Medicine study looked at a way to substitute animal-based saturated fats for plant-based unsaturated fats in muffins made for patients with metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is the name for a cluster of symptoms that include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess abdominal obesity, and abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

The researchers made two batches of muffins -- one with monounsaturated fats (sunflower oil), the other with polyunsaturated (safflower oil) and had the study participants eat these muffins every day for 6 months, while also reducing their daily calories to make up for the calories in the muffins. 

The upshot: The PUFA muffin eaters lost more weight, had lower blood pressure and triglyceride levels, and increased dilation of blood vessels. Hooray! But one other effect piqued my interest even more. I'll quote it and then translate into normal speak.

A potential reason for the greater weight loss in PUFA than in MUFA subjects is suggested by greater increases in the anorexigenic hormone peptide YY after PUFA intake compared to MUFA or SFA.

Translation: the PUFA muffins triggered satiety compared with the other fats.

Want to try and decipher the entire study? Find it HERE.

Peptide YY, or PYY, is a gut hormone that may help regulate satiety. My guess is that my PYY hormone receptiveness is broken somehow from perhaps decades of dieting. Long story short -- I'm always hungry, but when I ate one of these tiny muffins at the end of a meal I felt a tangible switching on of my satiety, so much so that I was able to go 4 hours between meals yesterday.

So now I'm deep into research into what else can increase satiety. So far I've found that foods high in beta glucan also raise PYY. It's found in certain mushrooms, dates, oats and barley. 

Want the recipe? Here it is. It calls for brown sugar and regular sugar, but I substituted coconut sugar for both of them because that's all I've got in the house right now. I also used a 1-for-1 gluten-free flour instead of wheat flour. I figure it wasn't the sugar and flour but the oil in the recipe, so I wasn't worried about the substitutions.

University of Maryland Safflower Oil Muffins

  • 1 cup safflower oil Minimuffins
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup Egg Beaters
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts

Lightly coat two mini muffins pans with cooking spray or use mini muffin liners. (I used a silicone mini muffin pan and didn't use cooking spray or liners. The muffin batter has a lot of oil so nothing stuck.)

Mix all ingredients together.  Fill each muffin cup with 1 tablespoon batter.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until baked through.

Let cool. Makes approximately 48 mini muffins.

I only got 46 muffins out of the batter. What I did was after the muffins cooled, I put three muffins into individual sandwich bags and put those bags into two gallon-sized plastic bags, and everything went into the freezer. You end up with about two weeks' worth of muffins.


A pumpkin pie oatmeal bake that's worth the wait

Pumpkin oatmeal bake beauty shot labeled

As a member of the Stonyfield Clean Plate Club, I received products and coupons from Stonyfield and Bob's Red Mill to write this post. All opinions are 100 percent my own.

It's officially fall (even though it's 90 degrees down here), which means it's time to PUMPKIN EVERYTHING!

And despite the swelter, I'm pretending the leaves are changing and there's a nip in the air. I cannot wait for the weather to start cooling down because my physical therapy is working fabulously and my achilles is pretty much back to normal. I really want to get out of the gym a little and restart my neighborhood walks this fall and winter.

It's the perfect time to bake up a breakfast with all the flavors of autumn. I was given the challenge of coming up with a recipe that includes Bob's Red Mill coconut sugar and steel-cut oats, along with Stonyfield Organics yogurt, and since I already knew how yummy coconut sugar was, I made a baked oatmeal dish that you can cook once and enjoy all week.

Baking with steel-cut oats is different than with rolled oats. Steel-cut oats are more hearty and can use a little soaking before baking to ensure you don't end up with a brick in the oven.

I let my mixture sit in the fridge for around an hour but this would be a great dish to prepare the night before then pop in the oven the next morning. 

It's not your typical bowl of oatmeal -- it's more of a cakey, muffiny consistency, so I added a big dollop of coconut sugar-sweetened Greek yogurt for added moisture and protein.

This recipe makes 6 big, hearty servings, so you could get up to 8 servings out of this, depending on your appetite. 


Step by stepPumpkin Pie Oatmeal Bake

  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill coconut sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup Stonyfield plain whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (or 1 teaspoon each cinnamon and ginger, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and a dash of cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups Bob's Red Mill uncooked steel-cut oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts but pecans would be great)
  • Extra yogurt and coconut sugar for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together everything but the oats and nuts in a large bowl. When everything is well combined, add in the oats and refrigerate for at least an hour to let the oats soften. 

When you're ready to bake, pour mixture into a medium baking dish coated with nonstick spray. (I used a 9 by 13 inch pan.) Sprinkle nuts on top.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the center no longer looks wet. (Don't overbake this or you'll end up with a brick.)

Cut into 6 servings and serve warm from the oven with a big dollop of Greek yogurt and a sprinkling of coconut sugar.

Leftovers freeze well and are great with a splash of almond milk to bring a little more moisture back.

Makes 6 big servings.


Stuff I Love: Fancy livin' for less at ALDI

This is a sponsored post for ALDI.

Spongebob fancy living
When I think 'fancy living' my mind always goes to SpongeBob Squarepants.

At long last an ALDI has opened in Plantation. That hasn't stopped me from driving all over the county to shop at one -- I'd either go up north to Tamarac or down south to Cooper City or Pembroke Pines to take advantage of the deals.

For years I had heard about the stores and even met with representatives at FitBloggin' and BlogHer Food conferences, so the urge to drive a half hour to grocery shop was strong, since I knew that the company prides itself on a great selection of items. 

But now, finally, there's an ALDI on 12190 W. Sunrise Blvd. -- just east of the Sawgrass Mills shopping area. It seems to be a really good-sized store (the former site of a CompUSA), and there's plenty of parking. FYI; The bigger the ALDI, the wider the food selection.

Yes, ALDI is a no-frills bargain outlet, but what it lacks in fancy store displays it more than makes up for with surprisingly diverse and better-for-you products. You can check out the Healthy Living section on the ALDI website that highlights its fresh produce and meats, ever-expanding SimplyNature natural and/or organics line, LiveGfree gluten-free products, and sustainable seafood.

The store is great for inspiring dinner ideas -- grab a jar of their Priano pesto and spread a teaspoon of it on a chicken breast before baking it. Super simple and really tasty. And, oh my gosh, get the rosso pesto, too. It's pesto with sun-dried tomatoes and it's mind-blowing.

I like the fact that, aside from my favorite products, I'll also be surprised with items, like the bottle of Tajin seasoning ($2.39) I picked up because I spied a lime on the label. Tajin is one of those name-brand items that you'll find from time to time. The teenager loves that I found Cheez-It Grooves ($2.49) there this week, and I also found PB Crave cookie dough-flavored peanut butter ($4.99).

Aldi haul
Here's part of my Labor Day haul.

There are loads of products in each section but I wanted to highlight a few that I really love and buy again and again.

LiveGfree cornbread mix: I always have at least two boxes of this in my pantry. A fresh batch of cornbread is great to serve with my chicken chili, and I like to mix things up by adding a half cup of corn kernels to the cornbread batter. I also sometimes sub out the oil and use plain Greek yogurt to make a slightly lighter loaf. And the fact that the cornbread is gluten free is a big plus. I don't have celiac or anything serious but my doc said I was probably gluten sensitive and I feel a lot better when I keep it to a minimum. ($2.99)

Southern Grove Oven-Roasted Almonds: I hit up the ALDI first thing Labor Day morning, and since it wasn't super busy, an employee and I were perusing the almond section, wondering what the difference was between the roasted almonds and the oven-roasted almonds. Turns out the roasted ones contain peanut oil, which I avoid because my son has a peanut allergy. The oven-roasted almonds are simply almonds and salt, and those are the ones that I got, along with SimplyNature organic almonds, which are unsalted. ($5.79/Southern Grove; $6.49 SimplyNature)

Deutsche Kuche German Style Sauerkraut: I am seriously in love with this sauerkraut. ALDI is a German company, so it makes sense that they'd have some stellar kraut. Of course it's great on hot dogs and brats but I just attack the jar with a fork to get my fix of probiotics. (Yes, lowly sauerkraut is a superfood.) ($1.69)

SimplyNature freeze-dried fruit: This is a fairly new addition, and I am love the freeze-dried peaches, apples and strawberries. You can eat the entire bag for 100 to 130 calories, depending on the fruit. The apples still have their skins intact and it's a nice combination of green and red crunchy apple slices. It's a perfect lunchbox addition. ($2.99)

SimplyNature Organic Macaroni and Cheese: If you're going to make boxed mac and cheese, why not make it organic? My teenage boy loves this stuff and usually downs half the box in a sitting. I'll make a box, add a can of tuna and a cup of peas and -- voila! -- it's instant tuna noodle casserole. a super easy dinner. Another way to add extra protein is to sub out the milk and butter and use an equal amount of plain Greek yogurt. It adds extra tang to the cheese. It also comes in the slightly more elegant Shells & White Cheddar. ($1.29)

Aldi fancy stuff
Certain items have limited availability, so if you like them, snap them up while you can. I found some great German-style rye bread ($1.99, 2-year-aged English Cheddar ($3.49) and English cucumbers ($1.19) , which, come to think of it, would make a lovely fancy tea sandwich. They also had those teeny, thin haricot vert ($2.19) -- green beans to you non French speakers.

... oh, who am I kidding? I got a D in college French and all I retained is haricot vert.

And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the Barissimo Fair Trade Certified dark roast coffee, which sells for the tiny price of $3.99 for a 12-ounce bag. That's about half what you'd pay for Fair Trade coffee, and it's great.

Oh! Those Asiago Cheese Crisps ($2.99) in the photo? They're FABULOUS, and if you're a fan of Panera Bread's Romaine and Kale Caesar Salad, these are just like those cheese "croutons" that top the salad.

Speaking of salad, ALDI ran a cheeky little ad, inviting a bunch of foodies to a dinner where they were served a lovely multi-course dinner and they had to guess which items came from ALDI (spoiler alert: they all did). Anyway, the kale salad prepared by Bon Appétit executive chef Mary Nolan looked especially delish, so here's the recipe, which would make a great entree salad:

Kale Salad with Lemon Yogurt Dressing, Marcona Almonds, Avocado and Dried Cranberries

  • ½ cup Friendly Farms Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons Carlini Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons SimplyNature Organic Wildflower Honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon Stonemill Essentials Iodized Table Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground Stonemill Essentials Peppercorn Grinder
  • 16 cups SimplyNature Organic Kale
  • ½ cup Southern Grove Dried Cranberries
  • 2 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled and cut into ¾-inch pieces, divided
  • ½ cup roughly chopped Marcona almonds, divided

In a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, honey, lemon zest, salt and pepper until smooth.

Toss dressing with kale and thoroughly mix, massaging into leaves. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Toss in dried cranberries, half of the avocado and ¼ cup almonds. Mound into a large serving bowl and top with remaining avocado and ¼ cup almonds.

Recipe courtesy of executive chef Mary Nolan, Bon Appétit

* * * 

I really hope I've given you a different look at ALDI because the store has really been upping the healthfulness of its products, moving toward 100 percent cage-free eggs, taking junk food out of checkout lanes, expanding its gluten-free and organics and removing synthetic colors, MSG and other artificial ingredients from its own lines. 

You can find out more at,, and

Chocolate-Hazelnut Yogurt Dip

Chocolate hazelnut yogurt dip labeled

As a member of the Stonyfield Clean Plate Club, I received products and coupons from Stonyfield and Justin’s to write this post. All opinions are 100 percent my own.

I have vowed to add more fresh fruits and vegetables to my diet because sometimes it's just too easy to grab a protein bar or a bag of pretzels when snack time rolls around.

"Protein and produce" is my mantra.

So while hummus and carrots or turkey celery rollups are perfectly acceptable snacks, there are times when you want something a little more indulgent feeling. This fits the bill. 

I hurried and made this Chocolate-Hazelnut Yogurt Dip as soon as I received the jar of Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter because I knew it wasn't long for this world. Have you tried this stuff? It's much tastier and better for you than that other hazelnut spread.

I mixed a tablespoon of the nut butter with some Stonyfield plain whole milk Greek yogurt, a little honey and a sprinkling of cacao nibs for added texture. Feel free to sub out your favorite nut butter. The dip is great with apple slices but would also pair nicely with bananas, strawberries or just a spoon. The entire dip recipe has 13 grams of protein for a little over 200 calories so it would make a light breakfast paired with a piece of fruit. 

Chocolate-Hazelnut Yogurt Dip

  • 4 ounces Stonyfield plain whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon cacao nibs

Whisk ingredients together until smooth and sprinkle with cacao nibs.


Why wait until January 1? I've already started

This post is inspired by my Internet pal Jamie (inventor of the cauliflower pizza!), who decided to start crushing her goals ahead of time as well!

I haven't done a lot of posting here for the past few weeks because I caught a cold that turned into a massive ear infection. the Monday before Thanksgiving I bit the bullet and headed to the walk-in clinic because the mere act of swallowing was unbearable. I thought I had strep (nope!) but my right ear was so badly infected that the pain was traveling all the way down the right side of my head.

I really never run to the doctor with things like ear and sinus infections but I'm glad I did because the doctor said, no you can't wait this out. You need antibiotics. And sure enough after a couple days on the Z pack I started to feel better.

Now the antibiotic aftermath!

Between Thanksgiving leftovers and the antibiotics, I felt, for lack of a better word, polluted. And miraculously a book came in the mail.

 It's The Shred Power Cleanse, the latest book by Dr. Ian K. Smith, one of my favorite TV docs. It's not a "get slim quick" diet -- it's a way to reboot your system with super clean, primarily plant-based foods. And, yes, there are LOADS of similar plans out there, but this one focuses on nutrient-packed smoothies, something that I absolutely love, and they don't taste disgusting like other plans I've tried. 

The cornerstone of the plan is his Purple Power Detox Smoothie. There are lots of smoothie recipes in the book, which comes out Dec. 29, but you drink (or eat) this one at least once a day. And while you're waiting for the book to come out, here's the recipe:

Purple Power Detox Smoothie Recipe

1 cup cold-pressed apple juice (sub fresh if available)
1 cup frozen blueberries (fresh can be used, but if so, use 1 cup ice cubes to make smoothie immediately cold)
1 cup red Anjou pear (peeled, cored and sliced)
½ cup low-fat strawberry or plain yogurt
½ cup frozen sliced strawberries (substitute fresh if preferred)
½ cup loosely packed curly kale (stems removed)
2 tablespoons unfiltered organic flaxseed oil
Juice of ½ large lemon
Combine all ingredients in blender and puree until smooth.

This recipe makes 2 servings. Drink half and freeze the remainder for the next day.

Nutritional Information Per Single 12oz Serving:
300 cal., 15g fat, 2g sat. fat, 43g carb., 3g protein, 42mg sodium, 32g sugar, 6g fiber.

I'm only on day 4 of this plan, but my digestive system is feeling better. 

Sure, you can wait until New Year's Day to turn things around but seeing how crappy I was feeling, I decided that NOW is the perfect time.

Smoothie packThe plan is basically three smoothies a day, plus two snacks and either a big salad or a plate of roasted vegetables. Basically, it's loaded with nutrients and fiber, and it's easy on the digestive system. And so far every smoothie has been fantastic. I had a green smoothie made with mango, one that features peanut butter, and lots of the purple one. As far as "eating" your smoothies, if you want to work your jaws more, you can deconstruct your smoothie and simply eat the main ingredients.

Since it's all smoothies all the time up in here, I made some smoothie freezer packs with the non-liquid ingredients. That way I can whip out a bag and dump it in the blender with the liquid ingredients. Another plus is that each recipe makes two servings so I can stick a finished smoothie in the freezer and thaw it overnight in the fridge so it's ready to go the next day.

Exercise is also an integral part of the plan and I headed back to the gym on Monday after nearly two weeks of sick time. I switched things around and am focusing on cardio with strength training as "dessert."

The Thanksgiving leftovers were healthy and my kid took care of the excess desserts, but still there was more festive food sitting around than usual and portion control was a little out the window.

I'm hoping this straightens out my head and my gut and leads me back on a cleaner path.

A super simple, super blueberry smoothie

Blueberry smoothie white labeled
Wyman's sent me a coupon to purchase berries for this post. No other compensation was given.

I think I've made it abundantly clear that I LOVE smoothies -- I love making them, drinking them, dreaming up new flavor combinations. So when Wyman's wanted to know if I could come up with a recipe using their frozen berries, I said "of course!" I buy a bag of Wyman's blueberries pretty much every week. The big difference with their frozen blueberries is that they're wild berries, so they're much smaller and sweeter than other frozen blueberries. Bottom line -- they just taste better.

They're also easy to find. Publix carries the smaller bags of blueberries, and you can find bigger bags at Whole Foods, and even bigger bags at Costco.

Blueberry smoothie marbleI wanted to show off the blueberries so for this recipe I didn't mess around. Everything is blueberry -- from the yogurt to the liquid to, well, the blueberries. If I could have found blueberry protein powder I would have used that as well.

Many fruity smoothies are just a big load of sugary carbs but not this one. There's 12 grams of protein from the Greek yogurt and another 20 or so from the protein powder, so it's a substantial meal replacement. All that awesomeness and only 300 calories!

Deep Purple Blueberry Smoothie

  • 1 cup Wyman's frozen wild blueberries
  • 1/2 cup Bai5 Brasilia Blueberry beverage
  • 1 5 ounce container blueberry nonfat Greek yogurt (I used Trader Joe's)
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder (I used Twinlab Cleanseries whey)

Add all ingredients to a single-serve blender container and blend. 


Stuff I Love: Flapjacked protein pancake and baking mix

Carrot pumpkin flapjacked waffles
Do your waffles have 20 grams of protein? Hmmf. Didn't think so.

I thought I'd kick off a new category today -- Stuff I Love. Most of the time it'll be things that are regulars in my kitchen, gym bag or closet. Sometimes they may be sponsored posts but I'll make sure to label those. This week is not sponsored because I've been buying the stuff for quite awhile now. 

I'm sure you've seen plenty of recipes for protein pancakes. Many are simply things like egg whites, mashed bananas and protein powder, and many are (sorry!) pretty gross.

FlapjackedI first discovered Flapjacked protein pancake and baking mix on a smoothie run at Smoothie King. They sold the 12-ounce bags at the store but I figured I'd Google around and find the best deal on it, which I actually found at the Flapjacked website (they have great sales). Amazon also has really good prices, too, if you do a Subscribe & Save deal. (Pro tip: You can schedule those subscriptions as far apart as every 6 months, so it really does pay to sign up.)

Instead of dipping my toe in the Flapjacked pool, I jumped in head first by buying a sampler pack of all the flavors -- Cinnamon Apple, Buttermilk, Banana Hazelnut, and the newest, Carrot Spice. I started out simply making pancakes but quickly found that you can make a lot more great baked goods with the mix, including waffles, muffins and quick breads.

The line has recently been reformulated and now every flavor has 20 grams of protein per 200-calorie serving. You also get 5 grams of fiber. The mixes are low in sugar, non-GMO and wheat free. 

Still working off my dozen cans of pumpkin that I bought at a Whole Foods moving sale, I added some to the Pumpkin Spice mix and came up with some fantastic waffles.

Carrot-Pumpkin Protein Waffles

  • 1 cup Carrot Spice Flapjacked pancake mix
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons currants or raisins

Mix everything together (mixture will be pretty thick) and let it thicken even more while your waffle iron heats up. I cooked the waffles just a touch longer than regular waffles because they're really substantial.

Makes 2 servings of 2 waffles each.


Vegan Green Tea Chai Smoothie

Green tea chai smoothie labeled

I never thought I'd become a plant-based protein powder convert, but I've been making and ordering vegan smoothies since early in the year and I love 'em. My dietitian had me switch because plant-based protein powders are easier to digest, and since we were "detoxing" so to speak, it is dairy free. 

There are a few brands I've been buying regularly, and one of them is Nutrition53's Vegan1 smoothie mix. It gives you 20 grams of plant-based protein from peas, potatoes, and chlorella, but it's more than just a protein powder, as it has 10 fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, carrots, and apricots, as well as 22 vitamins and minerals, 7 grams of dietary fiber, probiotics, and enzymes. It does have 6 grams of sugar from organic cane sugar and it's not gritty or "pea soupy" at all.

Nutrition53 sent me a sampler package with all the Vegan1 flavors, which was great because until now I've only tried the vanilla. In addition to vanilla, there's chocolate, banana and chai.

It's one of the few protein powders that can make a decent smoothie with just water, but I pretty much never do that. 

Here's a smoothie that I've been enjoying the past few mornings. I had gotten some Aiya Matcha to Go green tea packets that are great for adding to smoothies, and the combination of matcha and chai is so perfectly Zen for the morning. You can use whatever milk substitute floats your boat -- I used unsweetened coconut milk, which made the smoothie extra creamy.

Green Tea Chai Smoothie

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (or your favorite "alt milk")
  • 1 packet Nutrition53 Vegan1 Chai protein shake mix (or 2 scoops if you buy it in the big container)
  • 1 packet Aiya Matcha to Go (or 4 grams of matcha green tea powder)
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup crushed ice

Blend and enjoy!

Nutrition53 sent me a variety of smoothie mixes. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own and delicious.


More almond joys from Blue Diamond: New smoothie and mini nachos

This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk and Blue Diamond Nut Thins.

Peach mango breeze smoothie

So I was all set to do a Whole30 challenge this month but at the last minute I dropped out. I'm sorry, I just can't give up smoothies! Or a little organic half and half in my coffee. Or beans. Or quinoa. 

That said, the new Whole30 book is gorgeous and full of lovely recipes that I will try. But I've cleaned up my diet so much over the past few months and right now I'm not about restriction and a diet mentality. 


Here are a couple of recipes I whipped up with Blue Diamond products. I'm a Blue Diamond Tastmaker, and the company sends me products to try and write about and lately they've been really generous with products so I'm going to double up on the reviews today.

First up is that smoothie up there, which uses Almond Breeze Hint of Honey vanilla almond milk. The milk is sweetened with a blend of honey and sugar and has the same calories as regular vanilla almond milk. It's great if you want your almond milk  to have a little added sweetness -- it's great in an iced vanilla almond latte. 

I used it in this nutritionally packed smoothie, which I just enjoyed this morning. It's full of protein, fiber and will keep you humming throughout the day.  The ginger and cinnamon are metabolism boosters, make your tummy happy and the cinnamon keeps your blood sugar stable.

I made mine in my Nutri Ninja blender cup so add the ingredients in the order listed for best results. If you're using a regular blender, flip the order of the ingredients. 

Peach Mango Breeze Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup crushed ice
  • 70g frozen peaches
  • 70g frozen mango chunks
  • 1 serving vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon oats
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 tablespoons hemp or flax seeds
  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup Almond Breeze Hint of Honey vanilla almond milk

Add ingredients to blender cup or blender, process and enjoy!

Blue diamond mini nachosThis second recipe is what I call "stupid easy." 

I was sent some Blue Diamond Nut Thins crackers, which are rice crackers infused with almonds. They're gluten free, crisp and a great blank canvas for any dip or snack.

As you can see from the photo, this was a late-night snack. I'm getting much better at my late-night snacking and this is one way I'm working on it. Instead of indiscriminately grazing, I busy myself making a little creation, which is far more satisfying than a handful of cereal.

I call these Mini Nutty Nachos and they're simply a dollop of refried black beans topped with a dollop of chunky salsa on a Nut Thin. That's it! Of course, you can switch up the refried beans, toss on some cheese, perhaps a pickled jalapeno -- make it yours.

The crackers are great for toppings because they don't get soggy and won't crack under pressure. 

A nutty apple pie smoothie

Nutty apple pie smoothie labeled
This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk.

Right now I am all about the smoothie.

(OK, I've always been all about the smoothie.)

I started going to a dietitian a couple months ago, and she initially had me using smoothies for two of my three meals a day, which is totally fine with me because I love smoothies.

But when you make all those smoothies you need to switch things up – and not just for boredom. My dietitian (Meryl Brandwein, RD) suggests that you switch up the ingredients at each meal to get a variety of nutrients. If you’re using hemp seeds at breakfast, use flax seeds at lunch. Blueberries for breakfast? Peaches at lunch – you get the drift.

After I exhausted the variety of frozen fruit at the grocery store, I spied a can of apples on the closeout shelf (I love the closeout shelf!). Specifically, it was a can of Comstock sliced apples packed in water, and yes, they’re pretty darn bland. But here’s what I did – I drained the can and spread the apple slices on a foil-lined cookie sheet and stuck it in the freezer. After a few hours, I put the frozen apple slices in a plastic bag and had another fruit to play with for smoothies.

I also had another “alt milk” to play with when Blue Diamond sent me its unsweetened Almond Coconut Almond Breeze. Unsweetened milks aren’t great for drinking straight up but they’re fabulous for smoothies because you’re also putting lots of other ingredients in the mix. The combination of coconut and almond is a creamy, slightly coconutty milk that goes with pretty much anything you dream up for your next smoothie.

Since I had my frozen apples, I came up with an apple pie-inspired smoothie that was a welcome change from my usual.

Nutty Apple Pie Smoothie

  • 1 cup Almond Breeze unsweetened Almond Coconut Almond Breeze
  • 1 scoop vanilla or cinnamon protein powder (I used Perfect Fit Cinnamon Roll protein by Tone It Up)
  • 140g frozen apple slices
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • ½ cup crushed ice

Blend and enjoy!