travel snacks

rosemary roasted almonds on

Healthy snacks are sometimes hard to come by. Never has this been more evident than while I’ve been doing the Whole 30 diet. During a quick trip to Miami this weekend I went prepared! I had some plantain chips and a Larabar (my favorite’s the cherry pie bar, what’s yours?). I was ready to go.

I did not think about the return trip. An incredibly early flight meant I didn’t really eat breakfast and the airport was barren of any snack remotely healthy. Sugary snacks and crispy chips were everywhere, but not a single piece of fruit, applesauce squeeze pack, pouch of olives, or anything fresh to be found. I don’t quite no why I’m surprised, but I am. How is this STILL a problem when everyone seems to be more health conscious lately?

simple is best for snacking

Alex bought me a back of plain almonds in his attempt to fight the inevitable hangry (angry out of hunger) situation. There’s nothing wrong with almonds. I like them a lot, but sometimes I get bored with them. Let’s face it, they’re not exactly an exciting snack. Prepackaged flavored almonds tend to have added sugar, which isn’t Whole 30 approved, nor does it make any sense. Why is there sugar in salt and vinegar, wasabi, or smokehouse almonds? It just seems unnecessary.

I brought the remains of the large bag home and decided to dress them up a little. Some herbs, spices, and a little oven power brought out delicious flavors in these little guys that make them exciting, and a little irresistible. They’re perfect for snacking or adding to a cheese plate, if that’s your thing. Guests will love them at upcoming holiday parties, too!

roasted and spiced


rosemary roasted almonds
makes 8 servings

printer-friendly version

2 cups almonds with skins, unroasted and unsalted
2 tablespoons rosemary, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Combine the almonds with the olive oil, rosemary, paprika, and salt in a bowl. Toss until the almonds are evenly coated with the oil and spices. Spread the almonds in a thin layer onto a parchment, foil, or silpat lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, shaking them half way through. Make sure to check on them in the last few minutes to ensure they do not burn. Cool completely before serving.

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gimme s’more


There is something about a s’more that reminds me of Summer. And also the movie The Sandlot. But mostly Summer. It’s the traditional method of making them, I suppose. The thought that you heat the marshmallow to a golden brown over a bonfire and then press it in between two graham crackers along with a bit of chocolate.

just a few ingredients

I mostly remember making s’mores in the microwave as a kid. Let’s get real, I didn’t come across a bonfire in my suburban summers more than once a year and that’s far too infrequent to eat these delicious summertime treats. They still create fond childhood memories, though.

melty puffs

These cereal treats seemed like common sense for any and all s’mores cravings during the non-summer months or non-bonfire having times (aka almost all the time). Remember when I made cereal treats from non-rice cereal? Well these are a lot like those, except even better because they’re reminiscent of s’mores.

stir it up

The base is any graham cracker-type cereal. I use the Three Sisters graham crackerz cereal as it’s made with whole grains (which obviously makes me feel ever so slightly less badly about feeding them to people) and also incredibly delicious without having any artificial badness in them. There’s no real baking required, so they’re pretty fast and easy to make. Just a little stove top time and you’re done!


I’ve been packing them in Alex’s lunch for his first week of school and I like to think they’ve made his long days a little more bearable.

tasty squares

s’mores cereal treats
makes 9 servings

printer-friendly version

3 tablespoons butter
1 bag large marshmallows (about 35-40 pieces)
5 cups graham cracker cereal (Golden Grahams or similar)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, add the marshmallows. Stir often with a spoon that has been sprayed with oil to prevent sticking. Once the marshmallows have heated and are no longer holding their shape, remove the pot from the heat. Add the cereal and 3/4 cup chocolate chips. Stir everything together until it’s all evenly coated. Empty the contents of the pot into an 8″ x 8″ pan that has been coated generously with oil. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top and use a spatula or potato masher to gently but evenly press the cereal mixture into the pan. Place in the refrigerator to cool for at least an hour before serving.

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smooth operator


I love smoothies. I probably have them 3 to 4 times per week and would have them more often if it didn’t require washing a blender (yeah, yeah, I’m lazy). My usual smoothie thickener is plain Greek yogurt. I love the creaminess that it adds as well as the tangy flavor. I’ve recently been experimenting with using Medjool dates as a sweetener in my smoothies– previously, I have used honey on occasion but generally rely on ripe fruit (mainly bananas) to provide sweetness.

all in the vitamix

This chocolate smoothie has a secret ingredient that adds a ton of creamy richness: avocado! Now I love avocados in all forms, but have never thought to use them in a sweet application. You can’t taste the avocado at all, but it makes the smoothie thick and creamy and oh so delicious. Give it a try today!

chocolate avocado smoothie

chocolate avocado smoothie
printer-friendly recipe
adapted from Against All Grain
makes: 1 smoothie

8 ounces almond milk
1/2 cup crushed ice
1 ripe banana
3 Medjool dates, or 1 tablespoon honey
1/2 avocado (about 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons peanut or almond butter
2 teaspoons ground flaxseed
2 teaspoons chia seeds

Add all of the ingredients to a high-speed blender (I used my Vitamix) and blend until smooth (30 seconds to 1 minute).

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peck of peppers

chicken dinner

Do you ever just Google ingredients so that the internet will help you come up with a recipe for dinner? I typed in “chicken and peppers” and came across this lovely little number. The beauty of cooking is to tweak recipes to suit your likes as well as your preferred ingredients.

veg rainbowchicky chicky

Working with what we had (a plethora of chicken and peppers after a stock-up run to Costco), I was able to whip up this dinner in minutes. I served the chicken with whole wheat couscous doctored up with a couple chopped scallions. A quick and easy meal, thanks to the internet.

balsamic chicken & peppers

balsamic chicken and peppers
printer-friendly recipe
adapted from Williams-Sonoma
serves: 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 bell peppers, seeded and julienned
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the chicken and cook, turning once, until golden brown, about 7 minutes total. Transfer to a plate. In the same pan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the bell peppers and onion and sauté until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the vinegar, half of the basil and the dried thyme and stir, scraping up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Return the chicken and any juices from the plate to the pan, spooning the peppers over the chicken. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the chicken is opaque throughout, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining basil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide among 4 plates and serve immediately.

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sweet enough

salty sweet

My Whole 30 voyage continues. It’s been a whole week! Things were a little rough last week as I had some virus that was going around, but overall it’s been kind of easy. Already being in the habit of cooking every day helps immensely.

There aren’t many Whole 30 approved starches, but sweet potatoes are one of them due to their nutrition and high fiber content. I’ve always loved sweet potatoes, so baking them into sweet, salty fries with a hint of cinnamon seemed perfect.

giant matchsticks

It’s getting cooler, go ahead and turn your oven on…

sweet potato fries
makes 1-2 servings

printer-friendly version

1 medium sweet potato
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the sweet potato into 1/2-inch slices, then cut eat slice again into 1/2-inch sticks so you have “fries”. Toss the sweet potato sticks with olive oil, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Place on an even layer on a parchment lined baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve warm with your favorite dip or spread!

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whole eating

roasted and ready

I started my first day of Whole 30 on Monday. This 30-day food challenge is similar to the Paleo Diet, but with a few extra rules. I love rules. I like challenges like this because it forces you to step out of your comfort zone with food and try new things. That’s how I found this amazing recipe.


One of the things I won’t eat for the next 30 days is grains. I’d seen recives for cauliflower rice on Pinterest before, but had never actually tried one until now. I’ll be honest, in most cases I wouldn’t mind if this replaced rice in my life for good. Pulsing it gets it down to a rice-comparable size. Roasting the cauliflower softens it just enough to resemble the texture of rice. It’s uncanny really.

I made Alex some regular rice to go with his dinner and I could almost catch a glimpse of cauliflower rice envy on his part. My “rice” was better than his.


cauliflower rice
makes 4 servings

printer-friendly version

1 medium head cauliflower
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Remove the outer leaves and the core from the cauliflower. Roughly cut the head into medium-sized florets. Fill a food processor half way with the florets and pulse until it’s the size of rice grains. Repeat with the remaining cauliflower. Toss with the garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread in an even layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast for 5 minutes, stir and smooth into an even layer again, and roast for 5 more minutes. Serve hot alone or as a side with

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i’ve been missing out

breakfast for dinner

Confession time: my whole life I have hated pancakes. No, seriously, I hated them. I hated the smell of them and the taste of them.


Growing up pancakes were one of the few things I knew how to make, so I suffered through the smell and made them for every Mother’s and Father’s Day. I even made ones with 2’s and 5’s on them for my parents 25th wedding anniversary. I did not eat them unless I was forced to out of politeness the morning after a sleepover. If someone’s mom woke up and thought it would be nice to make us pancakes then I was gonna choke each repulsive bite down.

zest and poppy seeds

That has now all changed. Remember those griddle cakes that I made not too long ago? Well they were the pancake equivalent of a gateway drug. I don’t know when I realized that pancakes were good but now all I can do is look forward to having one in the morning. Blueberry pancakes might be my favorite so far.

drizzle ready

These lemon poppy seed pancakes are the pancake version of the classic muffin. If my lemon looks a little orange to you it’s because I used a meyer lemon. They’re the slightly sweeter version of their tart cousins and perfect in this recipe. Regular lemons, of course, are also a great compliment.


lemon poppy seed pancakes
makes 4 servings

printer-friendly version

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1 egg
zest and juice of 1 meyer lemon
4 tablespoons butter, melted plus more for greasing the pan

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Add the sugar and poppy seeds and stir to combine. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients until mixed. Slowly add the wet ingredients into the dry bowl and stir until the batter is smooth. Heat a skillet to medium-low, add 1/2 tablespoon butter to grease the pan. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto the skillet for each pancake. Flip once bubbles appear on the surface. Adjust the heat if necessary to ensure golden pancakes. Place the cooked pancakes on a heat-safe plate in the oven on the warm setting to keep them warm while you cook the remaining batter. Serve warm topped with berries or maple syrup.

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