Overnight Oats (in a jar)

I’ve seen recipes for  overnight oats posted on instagram and pinterest for some time now, and I finally decided to give them a try when my running buddy mentioned that she makes these weekly, the night before a busy day, and then just grabs it out of the fridge in the morning and takes it along with her. Some days are busier than others and having a healthy and filling snack on hand and ready to go, is so nice. Like oatmeal, these overnight oats have a mushy consistency; the chia seeds and oats soften with the milk and yogurt, and the yogurt gives it a little bit of a tang,but you also get the sweetness from the syrup and the optional grated apple. I really like this, though I know oatmeal and mushy dishes aren’t everyone’s thing, but give it a try before you judge!



I took this picture below, right after I combined all the ingredients and stirred them together, so as you can see, the oats and chia seeds haven’t yet softened. If you decide to use steel cut oats, just make sure you really do let this sit overnight, or for at least 8 hours. You can get away with 4 hours with regular rolled oats, in fact I do that all the time, throwing this together in the morning and eating it for lunch or as a late afternoon snack.




Overnight Oats (in a jar)

1/2 c rolled oats (can also do steel cut if you like the chewier texture)
1 Tbsp chia seeds
2 Tbsp plain yogurt
2/3 c unsweetened almond milk
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
optional: 1/4 apple, grated (I prefer without skin)

Combine all ingredients in a 12-16 oz mason jar and stir to combine. Cover with a lid and allow to sit overnight, or at least 4 hours (8+ hours if using steel cut oats; steel cut would be fine left in fridge for a couple of days). Eat chilled.


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Gingerbread Pumpkin Trifle


Here’s the recipe I promised last week. It’s a Gingerbread Pumpkin Trifle recipe that I adapted from the Our Best Bites cookbook. The original recipe calls for 1 c powdered sugar in the whipped cream, so I lightened it up with a little pure maple syrup.


I also like to use coconut sugar in place of brown sugar whenever possible as it’s an unrefined sugar, and it tastes great in this recipe for the pumpkin mousse.


You can use the gingerbread recipe I posted last week which is made with whole wheat flour and is AMAZING all on it’s own! Once it has cooled, cut it into 1/2 inch cubes for this recipe. I’ve cooked it in a 9×13 dish and a large loaf pan and both work well.



If you’re layering into the smaller, individual serving dishes, I found it helpful to put a few of the gingerbread cubes in the bottom, and then gently push them down with a spoon. Next, using a cookie scoop or tablespoon, add in a couple scoops of the pumpkin mixture, gently tapping the glass on the counter and gently swirling the jar which helped fill in some gaps, and then adding the whipped cream and doing the same tapping and swirling motion to get it all spread out evenly.





Gingerbread Pumpkin Trifle-adapted from Our Best Bites

1 recipe gingerbread (or 14.5 oz box gingerbread mix)
3 c heavy cream
1/4 c pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 c cold water
1 (1 0z) packet unflavored gelatin (can find near jello at grocery store)
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
1/2 c coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg, plus additional for garnish
1/8 tsp cloves

Bake gingerbread according to recipe. Cool and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Set aside. Combine heavy cream, maple syrup and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until medium-stiff peaks form and set aside.

For the mousse: Place water in a small, microwave safe bowl and sprinkle gelatin over it. Gently stir and then set bowl aside for 5 minutes for gelatin to soften. Combine pumpkin, coconut sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Place bowl of gelatin in microwave and heat 30 seconds and then stir until dissolved completely. Add gelatin to pumpkin mixture and whisk until fully combined. Fold 2 cups of whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture, gently folding until incorporated.

Place half of gingerbread cubes on the bottom of a trifle bowl or other glass bowl with tall sides. Top with half of pumpkin mousse and half of remaining whipped cream. Repeat layers, ending with whipped cream, and sprinkle top lightly with nutmeg. Chill 1 hour before serving.

*When I served these for my book club, I found that putting them in individual serving dishes, like 1 cup mason jars, was perfect and kept them looking nice since large trifles tend to look a little messy when served.

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Whole Wheat Gingerbread

A couple of weeks ago, Scott baked a new gingerbread recipe for the family on a Sunday afternoon, and it was gone by the next morning. I loved it so much that I made it again that same week, and I made a double batch so I could share some with my book club.


This whole wheat gingerbread is super moist and so yummy. For book club, I  layered the gingerbread with a pumpkin mixture and some whipped cream.  I served it in 1 -cup glass mason jars which was great for individual portions and it looked so pretty!  I will post the trifle recipe next week so be sure to check back for the rest of that recipe. In the meantime, let’s make some gingerbread sweet bread, which will also make your house smell amazing!


Here are your ingredients. Be sure to use a molasses like this Grandma’s one pictured below that is NOT blackstrap molasses. Blackstrap is not sweet. You can tell if it’s blackstrap molasses by reading the ingredients on the jar; it’ll say ‘blackstrap molasses’.


You can either bake it in a 9×13 pan or a large bread loaf pan. I’ve used both, and the bake times are pretty close.


The bottom of your bread will look a bit crumbly like this if you forget to line your pan with parchment(like I did). But if you forget, no worries, it tastes the same and once you flip it over right side up, you can’t even tell.







Whole Wheat Gingerbread

1/2 c organic cane sugar (or any granulated sugar)
1/2 c butter, softened
1 egg
1 c molasses (not blackstrap)
1/4 c unsweetened apple sauce
2 1/2 c whole white wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
1 c hot water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a large bread loaf pan( a 9×13 works too) with parchment paper and then spray with Pam with flour. Set aside.

In your Bosch or large mixing bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the egg. Add molasses and applesauce and mix. Add in the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves and mix. Add in the hot water and mix again. Pour into your prepared pan.

Bake about 45 minutes to an hour in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 5-10 minutes before removing from the bread loaf pan to cool completely on a cooling rack. (To get bread out of loaf pan, take a bread knife around the edges, then put a cooling rack or cutting board on top of bread, flip it over so the bread is now on top of the rack, and then gently remove the pan, knocking on the bottom of the pan if it’s sticking slightly.). If you made the bread in a 9×13, it can cool in the pan completely and you can serve it straight out of the pan. Top with a little whipped cream and it’s perfect! I love it with this easy to make coconut whipped cream. 


Filed under Breads, Desserts

Sloppy Joes

This is a pretty fast and easy, whole foods recipe, for Sloppy Joes. As I’m a vegetarian, I’ve never actually tasted this recipe before (I always pull out my frozen, chipotle black bean burger when we have meat on buns) but I’ve made it multiple times for my husband and children, and they all say it’s great, so give it a try! Most sloppy joe recipes call for ketchup, but as it has some added sugar, and many brands have high fructose corn syrup, I decided to use extra tomato sauce as a substitute (make sure you buy the can that doesn’t have sugar listed in the ingredients) and it turned out well. I usually make this with a ground chicken or turkey for my family, but my husband prefers sloppy joes with beef so on special occasions I will use beef since I rarely cook and serve red meat.

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Sloppy Joes

1 1/2 lbs ground meat (chicken, turkey, beef)
1/2 white or yellow onion, chopped
1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vinegar

Brown ground meat and onion together on medium high heat. Add a little water, a tbsp at a time, if needed to keep from burning. Add remaining ingredients and let simmer for at least 15-30 minutes. Spoon on buns and serve. Can optionally top with grated cheddar cheese.

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Caramel Corn

I’ll admit, I have a bit of a sweet tooth. I always have. As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned some self discipline and will allow myself a treat or two during the week, but even then, sometimes I go a little overboard with my treat and I may have a couple of helpings (like the snickerdoodles we made last week…I think I ate six in one day). And that definitely happens when I make caramel or peanut butter popcorn. I think I end up eating half of it myself and who knows, I might even be able to polish off an entire thing, but because I have to share it with so many people, I haven’t been able to test out that theory🙂; and that’s a good thing. It’s a good thing we have so many family members because it requires me to share🙂.


These are the ingredients: air popped popcorn, coconut sugar, brown rice syrup, butter, salt and baking soda.


Combine butter, coconut sugar, syrup and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. I watch this pretty closely because I do not want this cooking too long because I like my caramel corn to be more like a sticky caramel coating, not the hard, crunchy kind.


Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Immediately pour over your popped popcorn in a large mixing bowl, and stir together. Allow it to cool for a minute before you give it a try so it doesn’t burn your mouth.


Caramel Corn
serves 6-8

1/2 c kernels, popped and set aside in a large mixing bowl
1/2 c butter
1/2 c coconut sugar
1/4 c brown rice syrup
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp baking soda

Combine butter, coconut sugar, syrup and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Pour over popped popcorn in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.

*this is not a hard and crunchy caramel corn.


Filed under Desserts

Vegan Mac and Cheese


This recipe came from my baby sister Becca who is gluten free and vegan and who also has this recipe posted on her food blog, so be sure to check her out at: https://glutenfreeplantbasedgoodeats.wordpress.com/ 

Although I’m not vegan or gluten-free, I do a lot less dairy than most because my stomach can’t handle too much, and if you’ve ever read The China Study, which is the most comprehensive study ever done on nutrition, you’ll know that cutting down on all animal products is a good thing (and I didn’t say cutting out, but cutting down. Should be less than 10% of your diet). So I love that I can get the creaminess from this recipe from cashews and sweet potato and almond milk, all blended together, but then I use a little bit of cheddar cheese (only 1 cup), but you can always use the dairy-free cheese as well for the vegan version.


You’ll want to start off by cooking your pasta elbows, gluten-free or not(I used whole wheat), and peeling and cooking your sweet potato in the microwave for 6 minutes. Or you can cook it in the oven at 400 degrees for almost an hour, but if you do it that way, don’t peel it before hand, just wait for it to cool and slip the skin off.  Once the pasta is done, drain the water, place them in a large mixing bowl, drizzle a little olive oil over top and give it a stir so they don’t stick together. Set that aside and you’ll combine the rest of your ingredients in a blender and blend until it’s smooth. If it’s too thick and your blender is having difficulty blending, just add a little more milk about 1/4 c at a time, giving it a stir and then blending again.

Once it’s all creamy, dump it over your macaroni noodles and stir to combine.


Grease a 9×13 pan (I smear coconut oil over the whole inside of the pan) and then dump your mac and cheese inside and spread it even. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees.


Serve warm!



Mac n’ Cheese (lightly adapted from Becca)


1 lb of whole wheat or brown rice pasta elbow noodles (good price at Trader Joes)

1 sweet potato

1 cup grated cheddar cheese (can use dairy-free cheese like the Daiya brand- mozarella or cheddar)

3 cups of raw cashews

16 oz. almond milk (more if needed to thin so it will blend)

1/2 cup of nutritional yeast(Fred Meyer, Whole Foods or Winco)

1 teaspoon of dijon mustard

1 teaspoon sea salt

pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon garlic, minced
optional: 1/4 tsp paprika


 Cook noodles according to directions on package. Meanwhile, peel the sweet potato and cook in the microwave for 6 minutes (or in the oven, unpeeled, at 400 degrees for 1 hour; can do this before hand). Drain noodles, dump back into your pot, drizzle with a little olive oil and mix so they don’t stick together. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

 In a blendtec or food processor, add almond milk first and then all the other ingredients and mix until a creamy consistency. If you need to add more milk so your blender won’t burn out from the thickness, add 1/4 cup at a time. Pour over your noodles in the pot and stir to combine.

 Grease the bottom and sides of a 9×13 pan with coconut oil, or something like it. Add stirred mac n’ cheese into the 9×13 pan and place in the oven. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees

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Filed under Dinner, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian

Buttermilk Syrup

This is another Chef Brad recipe. I know it looks like chocolate, and in fact, my 4 year old calls this the ‘chocolate syrup’, but there’s not chocolate in this recipe; the dark color comes from coconut sugar which is a very dark brown. I love that this buttermilk syrup is made from coconut sugar; it’s still super yummy but coconut sugar doesn’t have the same impact on your blood sugar as normal sugar which is nice.


Pictured I have my vanilla coconut sugar (right) and my plain old coconut sugar (left), both of which would work perfect for this recipe. I normally just use the plain coconut sugar but the vanilla was on sale so I gave it a try. You’re going to melt your butter in a medium/large saucepan over medium high heat(do not use a smaller saucepan as it bubbles and rises and you’d have a big mess on your hands). Then you’ll add in your sugar, butter milk and vanilla and bring it to a boil.


Turn the heat down and simmer it for a couple of minutes so it can thicken slightly, then remove from heat and stir in your baking soda and it’ll bubble and thicken a little more.


Serve this warm over pancakes, waffles, french toast etc (I put the link for the cottage cheese pancakes here but if you’d like to see more pancake recipes, I have a couple more under my recipe tab). It gets a little frothy at the top so give it a quick stir before you serve it.


And if you want, you can add a little bit of coconut whipped cream, or any whipped cream for that matter.



Buttermilk Syrup- lightly adapted from Chef Brad

1 c butter
1 c buttermilk (can use whole milk or almond milk with 1 Tbsp lemon juice)
3 c coconut sugar (or another sugar; which will leave it a much lighter color)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
*do not double

Melt butter in a medium saucepan or medium heat. Add buttermilk, coconut sugar, and vanilla and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat, stir in baking soda and serve warm over pancakes, waffles, or French Toast.

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Applesauce Muffins with Streusel Topping

I frequently read recipe books and magazines; these applesauce muffins are a recipe I lightly adapted from the most recent Costco magazine, and they are so good! My husband ate 3 the day I made them, and he is not a big guy and doesn’t eat a whole lot. I love that the original recipe used applesauce and honey for the sweetener and fat/oil. I substituted half spelt and half whole wheat flour for the white flour in this recipe, but really you could do any combination.


My tip for speeding up the muffin making process and for more even size muffins, is to use an ice cream scoop to divy out the batter.


If you want to make any mini muffins, you can use a cookie dough scoop.


This recipe makes about a dozen muffins, which doesn’t seem worth the time and effort for my family of 7, so I double it which made 24 regular sized muffins plus half a dozen mini muffins.


I use coconut sugar for the streusel, which is an unrefined sugar, and it’s amazing!



Applesauce Muffins with Streusel Topping

*makes 1 dozen muffins; can easily be doubled

Streusel Topping:

1/3 c coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
1/4 c whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp butter, melted


2 c flour (I use 1 c whole white wheat flour and 1 c spelt flour)
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
1/3 c honey

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 12 count muffin tin or line with paper/silicone muffin liners. Mix the streusel ingredients together until small clumps form; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the applesauce, egg and honey until combined. Add in the flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, salt and baking powder and stir to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tin using an ice cream scoop. Sprinkle streusel topping over the batter and bake about 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle, comes out clean. Carefully remove muffins to cooling rack (may need a knife or fork to help loosen muffin from around edges).

*If you want to make some mini muffins, decrease the baking time to 10 minutes, and I use a cookie scoop to fill those mini muffin cups.

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Filed under Breads, Breakfast, Snacks/Sides/Appetizers

Peach Lemonade

I recently attended BYU education week, and Chef Brad was the presenters. He did some cooking demonstrations and he made this really yummy peach lemonade, that really, you could sub out the peaches and use whatever fruit is in season. It was so yummy, I came home, and made a batch, making a couple of small modifications mostly because I didn’t have the exact ingredients he had, on hand. The whole family loved it!

Before I share the recipe, let’s talk for a minute about lemons. They are a power food. Really, they are. They cleanse your system, flushing out toxins. They help stop hunger cravings. Lemons are very Alkaline (they decrease acidity in your body) which keeps your body in a state where diseases and cancers etc cannot survive. That alone is amazing! Greens are another great alkaline food, but we won’t go there today. Lemons also provide energy and reduce anxiety and depression; even the smell can help with that. In fact, I  have a lemon essential oil that I will diffuse during the day for that very reason; the smell is calming. If you could get into the habit of having a glass of warm lemon water every day, before you eat anything in the morning, that would be ideal.

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This recipe uses fresh lemons so here’s another good way to get lemons in your diet, and without the sugar rush you’d normally get while drinking lemonade. Why? Because we’re using stevia, a natural plant extract that has zero impact on your blood sugar level. To make this lemonade, I squeeze the juice from my lemons, add the juice to my blender, add the peaches, stevia and a little water and ice and blend it until smooth.

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Then I dump that into a 1/2 gallon jar, add another cup of ice and fill the jar with water until it’s nearly full, give it a stir and it’s ready to serve!

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Peach Lemonade- lightly adapted from Chef Brad
*makes 1/2 gallon

1/2 c fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 2-3 lemons)
3 packets stevia or to taste(1 gram packets. If you’re using the stevia with a filler that converts 1:1 with sugar then use about 1 c stevia; or can  use 1 cup agave)
2 peaches
1 c ice
1 c water

Add ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

Pour into 1/2 gallon container and add 1 c ice and enough water to fill nearly to the top. Stir and enjoy!

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Healthier Options for Packaged Foods

This post is a little different from most, there’s no recipe, but instead I’m going to share a few foods you can buy at the store that are better for you than most. I’ve shared others in the past, so this is just adding to some of those other favorites (like Ak Mak crackers, rice cakes, triscuits, Lara Bars, Naked Juice when I’m traveling without my blendtec and need a green smoothie etc).

Our four oldest kids went back to school this week so it’s just me and the baby left at home all day(and by baby I mean she’s 4, but still our baby), which means it shouldn’t be as hard to get a post on here each week, like it was in the Summer when we are all home working and playing together! But I did it; I kept this up even though it was challenging, yay for me! The summer flew by and we made lots of memories: with family, on trips, camps, at the pool and with friends. Our oldest daughter who is 12, did her first mini triathlon this summer, with me and Scott (hubby/daddy). I placed third for women which was rewarding🙂.  And our 10 year old son ran his first 5k race! These races don’t just all happen on one day, but they were training several days a week with me or Scott for months, which gave us some special time together. We encourage our children to be active each day through our words and example and we hope they will continue to do that throughout their lives. We remind them regularly that the foods we eat (and how we sleep) directly affect our level of activity, so we need to put good fuel in our body and not junk foods that are not nutritious like white flours/sugars, fried foods, processed meats, etc so that we can perform to our best abilities. They have experienced this for themselves and know it to be true, but reminders are good🙂.

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This, by the way, is one of my favorite snacks to have during a long run (longer than an hour):

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My sister-in-law, who is an amazing runner, introduced me to these last year. They sell these waffles gluten-free or not, I get both, and the ingredients list is mostly organic and whole grains, though their is a little cane sugar. They have all different flavors and I’ve loved each one so far. This is so tasty that I actually look forward to my long runs just because I know I’ll get to eat this part way through🙂. I have found these at running stores, on amazon, at Sierra Trading Post and health food stores by the power/granola bars. The cheapest I’ve found them is $1/each(at Sierra Trading Post), and they go up to around $1.50.

The week before school got out my Mom and brother came for a visit from Washington and New York, and we attended BYU education week together which was awesome. My mom shared a couple of foods with me that I loved and am passing along to you! These Mariani Honey Bars are made with all whole foods, nuts, fruit and honey and that’s it! No preservatives or refined sugar. My mom found them at Safeway in Washington but so far I haven’t been able to find them locally, but you can order them on amazon here. They run about $1.60/bar on amazon, which is about right for this healthier type of granola bar, and honestly, besides Lara Bars, there’s not much else out there that is this natural. And I personally like the taste of these more than Lara Bars, and my kids definitely do, too! The kids favorite flavors were Sweet and Salty and Granola. I liked all of them.

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We found these Van’s Simply Delicious waffles at Walmart (also at Sprouts and other whole foods stores), and they make them gluten-free or not. They have a couple choices that are sweetened with 100% fruit juice which I think is great! It will state it right on the front of the box if that’s the case, like the box below, otherwise they’ve got some added sugar. Our Sprouts had them on sale, buy 1 box, get 1 free, so we got a few🙂.

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These really are ‘simply delicious’! Notice I topped mine with a little peanut butter, pure maple syrup and fresh strawberries! So yummy!

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So if you don’t have time, like I sometimes don’t, and can’t make your granola bars or waffles from scratch, these will be great options for you. Have a wonderful day!

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Filed under Snacks/Sides/Appetizers