Chocolate Avocado Smoothie. (Tastes like pudding!)

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I know you’re thinking I must be crazy, right?!  I was hesitant when I ran across this recipe in one of my mags that I had.  I thought why not try it, my youngest daughter is so underweight that the calories (all good) would be a great start to the day.  Protein, good fats… it’s all good.  Both of my girls loved it!  I snuck a taste and it tasted like pudding – even had that consistency to be honest.  I put them on table, started making my breakfast and the next thing I heard was slurping sounds coming from their straws. Enough said!


Makes 2 – 2 cup servings

1 ripe avocado, halved and pitted
2 cups of vanilla almond milk
3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons of maple syrup or honey
2 tablespoons of dark chocolate chips
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
14 ice cubes


Into your blender or Vitamix, add all of the ingredients.  Blend until creamy.  This will have a thick, pudding like appearance.  Pour slowly into  your glasses.  Top with a few chocolate chips.  Enjoy!

Eeek!  Chocolate for breakfast and it is oh so good!

*Adapted from Eating Well.


Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Chobani Muffins. {healthy}



After my trip to the Farmer’s Market, I knew I had to use apples in my muffin recipe for the week.  I always try to have healthy snack ideas around for my kids to take in their lunch or for after-school snacking.  I got beautiful Honey Crisp apples and I couldn’t wait to dive in… these muffins came out great!  In fact, they’re almost gone.  I need to make more.


1/2 cup of cooked quinoa
1/2 cup of light brown sugar
1/2 cup of all-purpose flour (I only use King Arthur)
1/4 cup of whole wheat flour
3/4 cup of almond flour (if you don’t have any replace with AP or whole wheat)
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup of melted coconut oil, at room temperature
1/2 cup of Chobani vanilla or plain yogurt
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup of old fashioned oats
1 tablespoon of flax seed meal (optional)
1 firm apple, cored and peeled then grated on the larger grater size
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ground or freshly grated nutmeg


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line your muffin pans with liners or spray with baking spray.  Set aside.

In your stand mixer, paddle attached, mix quinoa, brown sugar, flours, salt and soda – blend.  In a separate bowl, blend the coconut oil, Chobani, vanilla and eggs.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and blend without over-mixing.  Then add the oats, (optional flaxseed meal), grated apples, cinnamon and nutmeg and blend.  Fill your muffin cups 3/4 of the way filled and bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Let cool and enjoy!


Peanut Butter & Jelly Cottage Cheese. Snack Attack!



I realize that most of my photos are staged beautifully… but this time I snapped a quick pic of my afternoon snack with my iPhone 5 because it was so good that I really wanted to share it with you all.  I’ve been eating very clean lately, post my 23 lb loss, and I altho I have always eaten healthy, I’m eating smarter now.  This was my afternoon snack.  Rather simple.  Kids would love it too (and any opportunity I have to pack extra protein in my active girls, I’m thrilled).

1/4 cup of non fat cottage cheese
1 teaspoon of no sugar added jam or jelly (whatever you have on hand)
1 tablespoon of PB2 (which is powdered peanut butter)


Mix all of the ingredients together and serve with apples, pears, graham crackers or even rice cakes.  It was so good I may go back for more now that I’m sitting here blogging about it.  :)

You can always adjust the amounts as needed to feed more.  This is a single serving portion.


Gluten-Free Baked Chobani Fonuts {doughnuts}.



Fonuts are fake donuts AKA “not fried”, healthy dare I say?  I’m not a huge donut fan but these little guys… I’ve eaten 3 today!  They are minis after-all, so I don’t have the guilt that I normally would have partaking in such a treat.  Gluten-free as well!  I didn’t want to use any “junky” ingredients and guess what – they’re pretty good!!  My kids came home and downed like 8 of them already.


1 1/3 cup of almond flour (spooned into your measuring cups – not packed down)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (you can also use pumpkin or apple spice seasoning instead)
3 eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup (heaping) of vanilla Chobani yogurt
2 heaping tablespoons of raw honey (use regular if you don’t have it)
Extra honey, cinnamon, sugar for topping which is optional


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray your donut pan with baking spray.  Set aside.

You can use a food processor, blender or Vitamix to make the batter creamy and fabulous.  Add all of the dry ingredients and blend (if using a food processor – 4-6 pulses). Then add all of the wet ingredients and blend until smooth.  Stop and scrape down the sides if necessary.  Blend again.  This process took about 1 minute or so.  Then with a spoon, fill each well with about 1/2 or so of batter.  Then bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden.

While baking, I took about two heaping tablespoons of the raw honey (you can also use maple syrup too) and melted it in the microwave until it was watery.  I dipped each donut (fonut) into the liquified honey and then sprinkled some cinnamon and sugar on top.  This is optional.




Mango Jalapeño Salsa.


*Stamped spoon can be found at:

Sometimes you need to lighten up a gray day with some tropical salsa.  Today, is a bit gray and going to be rainy… I thought this would be the perfect way to brighten up dinner.  I make this salsa early and let the flavors blend in the fridge until dinner.  Top over grilled chicken, pork or fish.  Or eat it straight up with tortilla chips.  Perfect for a party!


2 mangoes, peeled, pitted and diced
2 green spring onions, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup of cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1 jalapeño, seeds removed (or left in if you like the heat), finely diced
1-2 tablespoons of a better quality balsamic vinegar


Add all of the ingredients to a mixing bowl.  Give a good toss and let the flavors develop for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.  Remove right before serving and add additional balsamic if necessary.


Classic Hummus.



If you’ve never made hummus, you don’t know what you’re missing.  Store bought hummus pales in comparison.  This took me about 3 minutes to make.  It tastes unbelievably good and can be used as a dip, sandwich spread… whatever!  So healthy and even the kids love it!  I made it for a party that we’re having tonight to serve with some fresh veggies.  Chips, pretzels, crackers… they all work as a delivery vehicle :)


2 15 ounce cans of low sodium chickpeas (One drained and rinsed, one with liquid)
1/4 cup of toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/4 cup of lemon juice
1/4 cup of water
4 garlic cloves, smashed (skin removed)
1 heaping teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt


Add everything to your Vitamix or blender.  If you using a Vitamix, set to Puree and let it run.  If using a blender or food processor, blend until smooth and creamy.  Remove and store in a container with a lid.

*Recipe loosely adapted from Vitamix cookbook.


Birthday Funfetti Chobani Protein Smoothie.



Today is my oldest daughter’s 14th birthday!  I figured what better way to come home from school than to a funfetti smoothie that’s actually packed with protein (thanks Chobani) and is good for you.  After all, we do have swim practice to go to.  She gobbled this down, along with my husband and my other daughter.  Rave reviews are a good thing :)


2 ripe bananas
1 cup of vanilla almond milk
3 tablespoons of Funfetti cake mix (the powder only)
1 scoop of vanilla whey protein powder
6 ice cubes
1/4 cup of vanilla Chobani yogurt
6 strawberries (fresh or frozen) to give it a fun pink color
Sprinkles (garnish)


Into your Vitamix or blender add all of the ingredients.  Blend until smooth.  Makes 3 smoothies.  Top with sprinkles and add a fun straw.  Watch it disappear.


Cabot Cheddar Cheese Crackers.


Cabot Cheese was gracious enough to send me a care package of their incredible cheeses to create some fun recipes and that’s just what I’ve been doing.  Last week I made Tuscan cheddar biscuits.  This week, I wanted to whip up some cheese crackers.  I had an old hand-written recipe for cheese crackers (not sure of the origination or the age of it) but I now know why I kept it.  These are knock your socks off good!  I had to step away from them… they are addicting!


1 cup of All-purpose flour (I used King Arthur’s)
1 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp of finely ground pepper
4 tablespoons of ice cold butter (I keep it in the freezer prior to use)
1 – 8 oz block of Cabot cheddar cheese, grated (medium sized grater)
3 tablespoons of ice water


In your food processor pulse the flour, salt and pepper.  Then add all of the butter and pulse till the dough looks like coarse meal.  Add the grated cheese.  Pulse until incorporated. Then through the spout opening  located at the top of the lid, add one tablespoon of ice water at a time and while the machine is running (not pulsing here).  Keep adding one tablespoon of ice water until the dough forms a large ball and comes together (then stop adding additional water).  Wrap this in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or if using the same day, at least for 1-2 hours.  Remove from the refrigerator and let stand for about 10 minutes or more until pliable enough to roll out.  Slice the dough into two halves, working with one at a time.  Lay out two sheets of wax paper.  Place one piece of the dough in the center of the wax paper and top it with the other piece.  Roll the dough to about 1/8 of an inch thick.  That equates to about half of a pencil.  Cut the dough with small cookie cutters, pastry knife or just a regular knife.  Then refrigerate for another 10 minutes to chill.   If you’re trying to have these resemble the Cheez-It look – poke a small hole in the center of each cracker prior to baking.  


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line your cookie or baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.  Transfer the crackers to your prepared sheet and bake for 12-16 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges. You can place the crackers close together as they puff up and not grow outward like cookies do.  Remove and let cool.  Store in an airtight container.




Almond or Peanut Butter Cereal Bars.



My daughter found this recipe and asked me to make it for her.  Well certainly!!!  How could I ever refuse her?!  I prepared this recipe with my own twist, making them a bit healthier, of course.  They are a great snack!  However, I felt like they didn’t cut perfectly into bars but large shards of cereal goodness which works for me and more importantly for her snacking.  Plus, no nasty preservatives or ingredients that I can’t pronounce.

1/3 cup of either almond or peanut butter (creamy)
1/3 cup of honey (I used raw)
2 cups of whole grain cereal flakes (I used Kashi)
2 cups of oat O’s (whatever brand you prefer)
2 tablespoon, dried cherries or raisins, apricots etc.  Whichever you prefer
1/4 cup of slivered almonds
1 tablespoon of flaxseed meal (ground)

Spray with baking spray a 9 inch square glass pan.  In a microwave safe bowl, combine the nut butter and honey for about 30 seconds.  Whisk until creamy and well blended.  In a larger microwave-safe bowl, blend the cereals, dried fruit of choice almonds and flaxseed.  Microwave for about 1 minute, stirring mid-way through to warm the ingredients.

*Adapted from Health magazine.  




Combine the wet ingredients into the cereal mixture gently tossing to coat.  Then pour into the prepared pan.  Press the ingredients into the bottom of the pan so it’s firmly packed.  Then refrigerate for at least one hour.  Slice into bars – mine broke into larger shards, which works too.  Enjoy!


Cranberry Apple Granola Cookie Bars.


My very sweet friend Lauren Kelly is a certified nutritionist and new author of:


Lauren is generously sharing a signed copy with a lucky winner and fan of Knead to Cook on Facebook this Friday, February 8th, 2013.  I couldn’t wait to dive in and start testing out some recipes.  Today I tried the Cranberry Apple Granola Cookie Bars.  I did use almonds in lieu of walnuts (prefer almonds more) and I omitted the cranberries because my oldest isn’t a fan.  My review… they are heavenly!!!  I highly HIGHLY recommend these.  And they are totally wheat free! They are totally flexible too.  You can add cherries, raisins, whatever nut you prefer.  The end result… perfection!  Love Lauren and her recipes!



3 cups wheat-free rolled oats

3⁄4 cup walnuts ( I used slivered almonds), finely chopped

3⁄4 cup ground flax seed

1⁄3 cup almond meal

1⁄2 cup shredded coconut

1⁄8 teaspoon kosher salt

11⁄4 cups honey

1 teaspoon wheat-free vanilla extract

2 ounces dried cranberries, unsweetened (optional)

2 ounces dried apple slices, unsweetened


These bars are like a cookie and a granola bar in one. There is no need to buy the store bought granola bars anymore. These are healthy and delicious.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the oats, walnuts (or whatever nut you prefer), flax, almond meal, coconut, and salt. Place on baking sheet and roast in the oven for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Dissolve honey and vanilla in a saucepan over low heat.
  4. Remove dry ingredients from the oven and pour into a bowl. Lower oven to 300°F. Grease 9″ × 13″ glass dish with cooking spray.
  5. Mix honey mixture into bowl with dry ingredients, add the cranberries and apples.
  6. Pour into greased dish and spread out evenly.  Use rubber spatula to press down evenly. Bake for 30–40 minutes, until golden brown.
  7. Let cool for at least 1 1⁄2-2 hours to harden.