Chobani Guacamole

This recipe is one of my favorites for sure!  I love Chobani & the protein it adds to any recipe.  It also extends the avocado, especially when they were priced well over $2 per.  I’m estimating amounts, again, add more of what you love & less of what you don’t care for.  Make it your own!

2 large avocados
1/2 c of plain, non fat Chobani yogurt
4 garlic cloves
1 jalapeño
3 tbl of fresh lime juice, 1 tbl reserved to be used if needed
1 handful of cilantro leaves, washed and dried
Cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
1/3 c of cherry tomatoes, quartered

In your food processor blend garlic and the jalapeño.  Once finely chopped, add the remaining ingredients except for the tomatoes until creamy and well blended.  I start with 2 tbl of lime juice and add the 3rd if I need the guac to be a bit looser.  Add the spices as you prefer.  We like it spicy, so I add about 1/2 tsp of cayenne.  I also add a few chopped jalapeño slices in to the mixture as well.  Add to a bowl and hand mix in the tomatoes.  Enjoy!

— Knead to Cook

Pot Roast in the crock pot.

It is, without a doubt, one of the most comforting meals.  This recipe is perfect for several reasons.  One, you get to throw everything in your crock pot and not worry about dinner.  Two, you can clean out your veggie drawer and toss everything you have in this dish.  And finally, you can use a lesser quality meat and the end result will be divine!

This recipe is super flexible.  I use what I have!

3-4 lb chuck roast
Olive Oil
Salt and pepper
1.5 -2 c of broth (I used vegetable b/c I already had it open but beef would also work well.)
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
3 carrots, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
3 sweet potatoes, sliced into medium sized pieces
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1/2 medium sized onion, diced
2 tsp of oregano
2 tsp of dried parsley
1 tsp of cumin
1 tsp of onion salt
1 pinch of red pepper flakes
1 crushed bouillon cube

Heat a skillet over a medium flame and add a drizzle of olive oil.  Sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper.  Add it to the pan and brown it on both sides for about 5 minutes each.  Remove from heat.

Add the meat and juices to the crock pot (setting on low).  Then add the remaining ingredients on top.  Cover and cook for 6-8 hours.

This dish can be served over egg noodles or brown rice.  Cook your choice according to the package directions.  Serve the meat and vegetables over top and enjoy!

— Knead to Cook

I could never…

I do two things when I run… I mediate & then I start thinking.  I think about my family, my incredible friends and you guys.  I had a lot of time today to do both.  And because I love to write, I wanted to share something with you all.  Over the past few years I’ve had many conversations with people that say to me “I could never do that…”.  Workout, train for a marathon… whatever it is that we’re talking about.  Just stop for a moment and think about how powerful those words are… I COULD NEVER.  Three simple little words.  Apart, they have no impact, together they could derail even the most determined.

I wanted to share my “I could never” phase of my life because, I think we all have go this this phase at some point.  My husband and I had just run a 5k.  To me, at that point in my life, that was huge.  We ran it on a Saturday.  I was 20 lbs heavier than I am right now.  I was, for the most part, out of shape compared to the version who is sitting here typing this blog entry.  But I ran it.  I don’t remember our time but it was okay.  I didn’t stop and ran it straight through… that was my main goal.  I was very proud of myself.  This was in late September or early October.  The next day, our family went to church and after service the pastor’s wife came and sat down next to me.  She’s a good friend of mine and a runner.  She congratulated me on the 5k and looked me straight in the eyes and said you’ll be running a marathon next.  I laughed and thought she was crazy.  My reply… “I could never”.

By Christmas my husband asked me what I would like for my birthday/Christmas (dates are close together) and I asked for a gym membership.  My father went to this gym already and had dropped about 40 lbs.  He, at 73, is the best physical shape of his life.  Bill got it for me and I started going in December.  I did a weight lifting class & a body attack class.  I hated classes but it was somewhere for me to start.  And so I did.

I felt the pain every single day.  In fact, I still do.  A day doesn’t go by where some muscles in my body don’t hurt.  I kept going.  5 days a week, one hour a day.  I wasn’t seeing a huge change on the scale but I was with how my clothes were fitting.  That past Christmas, a friend of mine got me these awesome premium denim jeans as a thank you for some work I had done for her.  They didn’t fit at Christmas.  Now April had come and everyone kept commenting to me on how much thinner I was looking.  I grabbed the jeans and tried them on and WHACK!  They no longer fit.  They were huge on me!  I couldn’t believe it.  I never saw it in myself.  I kept seeing that overweight girl and not the metamorphosis that had occurred.

I kept running.  Two 5 am runs during the week.  One longer run on the weekend.  I started to sign up for half marathons.  I couldn’t believe it.  One and another… I kept doing them.  Then it hit me two years after my fitness rebirth… it was October, 2009.  I signed up for a marathon.  My “I could never” moment shattered.  It took everything I had to hit the button to confirm our place in the New Orleans Rock N Roll Marathon…. but I did.

We started training.  We did Jeff Galloway’s method of running/walking.  We trained that way.  It wasn’t a grueling training program, in hindsight, but at the time, it was horribly difficult.  I was diagnosed with fibroids in November.  This was causing me to have a constant menstrual cycle.  Doctors told me to give up the idea of running a marathon and I refused.  I finally found one doc to help me.  She operated on me 5 weeks before the marathon hoping it would help.  It didn’t, which was fine.  We kept running.  Long runs, short runs.  I never stop believing in myself.  We kept, and still have, our running schedule tacked up in my husband’s closet.  I loved coming home to cross out each run completed. We didn’t start out running 10’s, 15’s and 20’s.  It started out with 2 and 3 miles.  We built our foundation and kept going.

The marathon arrived and as we stood at the starting corral, I heard the announcer say that today is a celebration of all of the hundreds of miles of training.  Something hit me and I burst into tears.  I had been so strong the entire 5 months of training and I couldn’t believe we stood on the precipice of this journey.  I was excited and frightened beyond belief.

With each mile marker, I would think of one family member or friend.  My dad, my girls, my inspiring husband who traveled this journey with me, my friends George and Lauren who constantly inspire me, Katey, my marathon running friend who advised me on so many things, my best friend Stephanie that I’ve known my entire life… each person, each mile… I was so thankful.  Then as the dreaded “wall” was approaching, I started praying and praying hard.  My stomach was cramping horribly and I felt so ill.  My husband stood with me and we started to walk a bit.  By 26 I knew it was almost over and I just needed to finish.  My goal time had come and gone and I was still remaining proud of running my first marathon.  Less than 1% off the population ever runs and completes one.  I was among that elite group of people.  We finished the race, hand-in-hand as we always do with huge smiles on our faces.  The time didn’t matter… the journey and the strength that we built together did.   I learned so much.  Three weeks later, I had a hysterectomy.

A year and a half later (2011), the NYC marathon was being broadcasted and I had two dear friends running in it.  I kept checking their stats on line as we were getting so excited for them to finish.  I turned and looked at Bill and said that we need to do another.  I’m healthy and I have always felt that I have something to prove to myself.  I want to do this again.  He smiled and reluctantly agreed.

We started out at mile 2, which felt like a killer.  We’ve been increasing each week.  No more running and walking.  Just running.  And a lot of it.  It is so hard but so empowering. Our training program has us running 4 days a week plus I go to the gym on my off days.  One day of rest, for which I’m so thankful.  My “I could never” has been replaced with Of Course I Can!  Barring an injuries, we will.

That’s my journey… everyone has one.  It simply begins by taking one step out of the door, not making excuses, and believing that you can!   Whatever your goal is… you are worth it!  You are stronger and more powerful than you know.


— Knead to Cook

Peanut Butter Granola Bars.


As most of you know, my husband and I are training for our second marathon.  This training program we are utilizing is totally different than the first and it is daunting to say the least.  With all of the running, we eat a lot.  I’m always looking for great, low sugar options that are high in protein.  He is also, allergic to chocolate, so when making recipes, that is a concern.

Every morning, Bill eats something before our run.  I eat nothing.  I know this isn’t good.  But with short or medium runs, it never bothers me.  Tomorrow we are slated for a15 miler and I know that my ways need to change and I need to start adding fuel before we head out.  We also run super early… so I’m not in the mood to be whipping up any kind of breakfast at 5 a.m.  Last time we trained, I would eat a tablespoon of peanut butter, a bite of a banana and have my gel for my runs.  Today I thought it would be fun to whip up a low sugar bar that we can both eat prior to heading out the door.  This turned out to be perfect and I made half with chocolate chips (for myself and my girls) and half w/o for Bill.


4 cups instant cooking rolled oats
3 tablespoons chia seeds
2 tbl of flax seed meal
1 or 2 pinches of salt
1/2 c peanuts, chopped
1/2 c agave syrup
1/4 c of raw honey (you can use regular honey as well)
1 c of natural peanut butter, melted in the microwave
1/3 c of dark chocolate chips

Preheat over to 350 degrees.  In a your mixing bowl with the paddle attachment, mix the oats, chia. flax, salt and nuts.  Then add the agave & honey.  Mix until combined.  Add melted peanut butter.  If using chocolate chips, add them until incorporated.  If your mixture doesn’t seem moist enough (try pinching it in between your fingers to see if it sticks together) – add a tsp of agave or honey until it reaches the right consistency.

Spray non stick spray in a 13×9 glass pan.  Pour the prepared ingredients into the pan and flatten with the back of a wooden spoon until flat.  Bake for 25 minutes or so, until golden.  Remove and cool for 30 minutes then cut into bars.

— Knead to Cook

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars.

“These are heavenly little bars!” exclaimed my youngest daughter today after she ate one bite!  That, to me, is the greatest compliment as my children are my biggest critics.  I’m not a huge fan of making full-on-fat cookies for my kids/friends but there was just something calling me to make these – plus this is why I run so much – so I can eat.  That, along with the fact that I had some cream cheese that I wanted to use up and a recipe was born!   Five ☆ rating from my kids.  Hopefully the friends that I delivered these to tonight agree :)


6 ounces of low fat cream cheese, softened
3/4 c of butter, softened
1 c of light brown sugar
1/2 c of granulated white sugar
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp of salt
2 c + 2 tbl of all purpose, unbleached white flour
3/4 c of chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Spray your 13×9 glass pan with nonstick spray and set aside.

In your mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, cream cheese and sugars until light and fluffy – about 2 minutes.  Add the vanilla.   Then sift the dry ingredients into a separate bowl.  Then add to the butter/sugar mixture.  Beat until incorporated.  By hand, mix in the chocolate chips.

Scoop all of the dough into your prepared 13×9 pan and flatten out with a mixing spoon so it’s relatively level.  Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown on the top.  Keep a watchful eye on it around 20 minutes depending on your oven.  Remove and let cool for 20 minutes then slice and serve.


— Knead to Cook

Spinach & garlic stuffed pork.

If you read enough of my recipes,  you will notice a common thread throughout… I love garlic!  I don’t know if it’s the Italian blood but there is something magical about it.  It makes everything taste so good.  Plus, it is so good for you.  A win – win for sure!  This recipe was created today by me, on the fly.  I was craving something different and had purchased some pork tenderloins at the store… my mind was racing.  This recipe, I have to admit, was incredibly good.  Exceptionally flavorful.  Even my kids loved it!  I hope you get a chance to try this one… or pin it!  I will be making this again very soon.

This is a rough listing for the ingredients.  I would suggest following my lead but putting your own twist on it.  Add more of what you like, subtract what you don’t prefer.


Olive Oil
2 lb pork tenderloin
8 cloves garlic
3 c of baby spinach leaves
1/2 c of Panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste

I took my pork tenderloin and butterflied it.  Basically, taking a fillet knife, I cut the tenderloin like you would cut a bread roll.  You would of course, wouldn’t go through the entire tenderloin but just 3/4 of the way through so you can flap it open and lay it flat.  I hope that makes sense.  I then laid a piece of wax paper over top and flattened it with my mallet.  The meat was still about 1/2 inch thick or more.  Salt and pepper the inside and place on a glass 13×9 pan (that you’ve sprayed with Pam) or on a cookie sheet that you’ve also sprayed with a non stick spray.

On the stove, heat a skilled with a 2 tbl of olive oil.  The pan should be hot but not searing.  I set the flame to medium.  In the pan I added about 3 handfuls of baby spinach leaves and 8 chopped garlic cloves.  I cooked for about 6 minutes until wilted.  I then added about 1/2 a cup of Panko bread crumbs.  Toasted those up with the spinach/garlic mixture for about 4 minutes.  Remove from the heat.

Get your baking twine ready :)  If you don’t have twine, use toothpicks.

You are going to spread the spinach mixture onto the pork (open side that is facing you).  Then flap one side over to the other (like closing a book).  I used twine and wrapped several pieces around the meat and tied it.  If you’re using a toothpick – just push the toothpick along the edges to seal them (straight through).  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake uncovered in a 425 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until the temperature of the meat reaches 170 degrees.  Remove from the oven and tent with foil for 10 minutes.  Slice and serve.


— Knead to Cook

Mexican soup.

Rainy afternoon here in Pennsylvania which makes me immediately think of making soup.  I was going to be busy with appointments later in the day and this is a great recipe to make and just let simmer until dinnertime.

2 tsp of olive oil
1 lb of lean ground turkey
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 medium sized yellow onion, chopped
1 jalapeño, diced
1 28 oz can of chopped tomatoes
2 c of chicken broth
1/2 c of water
1 can of red beans, with liquid
1 c of corn, frozen or drained from a can
2 tsp of cumin
1/2 tsp of smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste


In you large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and add the ground turkey, onion and peppers.  Breaking the meat apart and stirring until no longer pink, about 10-12 minutes.  Then add the remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer and cover. Serve with chopped red onions, sliced jalapeños, cheddar cheese or a dollop of sour cream.

The fun spoon is available through a wonderful artist on Etsy.  Click the link below to access her work.

— Knead to Cook

Italian spicy sausage with roasted Rosemary potatoes.

Tuesday’s is Farmer’s Market day for me, typically.  Sadly, I haven’t been able to get there the past few weeks so I was thrilled to go after my very early run with my friend Alex.  My youngest, requested hot turkey sausage from the lovely Mennonite stand and I couldn’t resist her request.  So tonight’s dinner isn’t fancy by any stretch of the imagination but it was really good.

Rosemary roasted potatoes ~ I sliced small red potatoes and yams into bite sized pieces.  Drizzle with olive oil and toss with rosemary, sea salt and some parsley.  Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 for about 45 minutes, tossing halfway through.  Adjust the temperature if the potatoes are cooking too quickly.

Take 1-1.5 lbs of hot Italian turkey sausage and grill it until it’s just about cooked through.  Slice into 1 inch, bite sized pieces.  Throw that into a skillet with some olive oil and some sliced peppers & onions.  Cook this for a few minutes, until the peppers soften a bit.

Plate together and enjoy!  I served this with a mixed field greens salad.

— Knead to Cook


I’ve posted this recipe once before on my Facebook page a few weeks back. I thought that adding a touch of pink food coloring would be fun to do a practice round of heart-shaped pink fluffy marshmallows.  Then I thought, what would be better…. top dip them in chocolate, cover them in sprinkles and add a stick to make a cute Valentine pop :)  These can made w/o the food coloring for your classic white marshmallows.   Cute for Valentine’s Day treats or for a school party.  You can also make them for hot chocolate – dip them in chocolate with crushed peppermint sticks.  The possibilities are endless!


3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 c of ice cold water, divided
1.5 c of granulated sugar
1 c of light corn syrup
1/4 tsp of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Food coloring (a few drops) optional
Optional – 1 vanilla bean, seeded
1/4 c of confectioners’ sugar
1/4 c of cornstarch
Non stick spray – for the pan


    • Directions:
      Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.

      In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Cook over medium flame, cover and cook for for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.

      Turn the mixer on low speed and slowly pour the sugar mixture down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once everything is added, turn it up to high speed. Whip for 14 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and seeds (if using) & food coloring (if using) during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping~ prepare the pans as follows.

      Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Dust the prepared pan with the sugar/starch mixture. Make sure it is completely covered. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.

      After mixing, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Be sure to make top even as the marshmallow will set as you leave it. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the remaining for later. Allow the marshmallow pan to sit for 4-8 hours.

      Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a dough cutter or a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners’ sugar mixture. Once cut, dust each side with the sugar/starch mixture. Store in tupperware for up to 2-3 weeks.




— Knead to Cook

Zucchini Banana Chobani Muffins.

I love creating new muffin recipes!  I love it even more when I can pack veggies in them and my kids gobble them up :)  That’s the case with these muffins.  They are not overly sweet, just the right amount, and very tender -thanks to the Chobani yogurt addition.  Okay that’s my intro to this recipe. I hope you enjoy these as much as we do!



4 eggs, at room temperature
1 c of granulated sugar
3/4 c of Chobani plain non fat yogurt
2 ripe bananas
2 c of all purpose flour, unbleached
1 c of whole wheat flour
1.5 tsp of baking powder
1.5 tsp of baking soda
2 tsp of ground cinnamon
1 tsp of salt
1 medium zucchini, shredded
1/2 c of chopped walnuts
1/2 c of chocolate chips (optional)

In your mixing bowl with the paddle attachment, blend eggs, sugar and yogurt.  Add bananas and mix well.  In a separate bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon & salt.  Add to the wet mixture and blend.  Stir in the zucchini and nuts until combined.

Pour this into either non stick sprayed muffins pans or into cupcake liners.  Baked at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool on wire racks and then store.



— Knead to Cook