No-Bake Energy Balls

A couple of weeks ago I attended a presentation at our boys' school discussing healthier nutrition options for our children. The presenter focused on misleading marketing schemes that make us believe some products are actually healthy. It was interesting to hear what the speaker had to say & it was reassuring to know that we're on the right path. When you know better, you do better. But don't get me wrong, I fall back into the trap of unhealthy cereals & snacks every now & then. The ease of those products is undeniable.

If I haven't mentioned it before, food & nutrition fascinate me! I regularly research different foods & recipes, vitamins & minerals we are lacking & how to incorporate healthy meals & snacks into our daily lives in tasty & interesting ways. I always like packing a "sweet" in my son's lunch, but I know that refined sugar can cause a slew of health & behavior problems, so I've been trying hard to limit it.

When I was little, we had a cookbook full of recipes that kids could make on their own. One recipe was similar to these energy balls I love to have on hand, but they didn't include the seeds. With the addition of the ground flax seed, chia seeds & hemp hearts this recipe boasts a healthy dose of iron, magnesium, calcium, Omega-3, fiber, antioxidants & protein. And they're delicious. I bet you can't eat just one. 😉

This recipe is as simple as measure & mix. It's a great one to get the kiddos involved in! after you mix all of your ingredients together, roll them into balls & place them on a baking sheet. Once their all rolled into balls, freeze for about an hour.

You can either store these in the refrigerator if you're going to eat them within a week, or freeze them to last longer. It'd be wise to make a double or triple batch & freeze some. 😋

The recipe below calls for 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, but feel free to substitute or add 1/4 cup mini m&m's, toffee bits, any other flavor of baking chips, or dried fruits. My boys like the m&m's for color (I know, I know... the dyes...) but I made a batch with 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips & 1/4 cup toffee bits & it was amazing! Let me know how you change it up!


Makes 18 balls

1 cup Rolled Oats
2/3 cup Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
1/2 cup Grond Flaxseed
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (I like Enjoy Life)
1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
1 Tbsp Hemp Hearts
1/2 cup Natural Peanut Butter (no added sugar)
1/3 cup Raw Honey (Local, if possible)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract


  • Mix all ingredients together & mix into 1" diameter balls.
  • Place on a cookie sheet & freeze for 30 - 60 minutes.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • Enjoy!
21DF: 2 = 1 Yellow


Our *Cleaner* Thanksgiving Menu

Well friends, it's been a while. I'm officially the most inconsistent blogger ever. But I'm here today to bring you a round up of healthful, clean recipes for your holidays this year.

For the past few years I've been in charge of our menu at Thanksgiving, and serving 20+ people. For my side of the family, this is our big holiday. We come here from all over and celebrate Thanksgiving & Christmas with an active Turkey Trot, delicious food, fun activities & a gift exchange that usually leaves us in stitches! It's a good time had by all & I can't wait for my family to arrive.

That being said, I need to get a menu nailed down for this year. So why not share it with you all?  I hope this can help you to choose healthy food, whether you're hosting or bringing a dish to pass.

We always do a buffet style dinner, everything is on the table and we load up our plates, at least once. That being said, let's start with the main event; the TURKEY! For the past 3 years I've been ordering ours from a local farm where they raise free-range, antibiotic & hormone free birds. They are a little different to cook, but turn out fantastic! And I just feel good about this choice.

We usually do two turkeys - a big (25 pounder) and a small (16 pounder) because we host many people for several days. And who doesn't love leftovers?!

Maple Glazed Roasted Turkey

So for the bigger turkey, we roast it. I'm thinking this recipe looks delish. My husband likes his food very traditional & I like to branch out by trying new flavors & styles. We'll see if I can sneak in some maple syrup as a glaze, or if he will win with just olive oil. 😏

And for our smaller turkey, we cook it in an infrared fryer. No oil used. It renders a beautiful, lean bird.

Ok, if you're trying to get through this holiday season & not pack on the pounds, then load up your plate with veggies! That's my plan, at least. I usually only make one salad, because if it doesn't get eaten, it doesn't keep well. However, I took my two little boys to lunch at Panera a couple of weeks ago & had their Romaine & Kale Caesar Salad with chicken. It was pretty good! So I'm going to recreate it here (sans chicken) & I'll update this post with the link shortly. It was topped with round parmesan discs which I'm pretty sure were made of more than just cheese. Just wait, I got this...

As for another salad, I think I'll give this Fall Harvest Salad with Pumpkin Goddess Dressing a shot! I know not everyone is a fan of pumpkin, but I told you I like to branch out.  Autumnal salads are beautiful.

Fall Harvest Salad with Pumpkin Goddess Dressing


Now here is where I'm struggling. A lot of our traditional side dishes at Thanksgiving are far from clean & healthy. I don't want to upset people if they're counting on an annual favorite, but the more I learn about food, the more I want to tweak recipes. Let's start with a big one; Green Bean Casserole. You know -- the one made with condensed cream of mushroom soup & french fried onions... That being said, this recipe looks like a good swap. I will either omit the mushrooms or be sure to finely chop them. 

Clean Green Bean Casserole

One of my favorites is Sweet Potato Casserole! Commonly topped with mini marshmallows. 😳 SUGAR! Instead, I'll be whipping up this Paleo version topped with pecans & I'll probably add some maple syrup in these for a little more sweetness. 

Sticking with the starches, what's Thanksgiving without Mashed Potatoes & Gravy? I'm scaling down this year, because while people would miss it if it were not included, I also find that they only take a scoop, which leaves too many leftovers! Do you think I can get away with tricking my family with half potatoes & half cauliflower? I'm going to test it out on my guys & see if I get any strange faces. If my secret mission is a success, then I'll be creating my own version of Mashed Caulitatoes!!
**Update! I tried out a similar recipe & my husband & boys gobbled them up. I used about 60% potatoes & 40% cauliflower.**
Mashed Caulitatoes

Brussels Sprouts have made a HUGE comeback! I totally understand why; I love those little cabbages, especially with a balsamic glaze. My 4 year old actually gets EXCITED when I say we're having brussels sprouts for dinner. I love his love for veggies! So I'll be using my tried & true recipe, that I hope to share soon.

Next we have the stuffing.  I have to admit, it's one of my favorites at Thanksgiving, probably because I never make it otherwise.  I plan to use a multigrain bread, and follow this recipe as a guide - although I'm not sure it will be gluten free.
Gluten-Free Homemade Stuffing

Another side dish that the kids usually love is cooked carrots! They're sweet & the light glaze I use makes them every sweeter. Here is a quick & easy recipe
Honey Balsamic Carrots
One condiment that I've come to love over the years is the cranberry sauce! It's fun to make from scratch because not only is it easy, but I love to hear the popping of the fresh cranberries on the stove.  Here is a recipe I've used over & over. I'm going to try substituting honey or maple syrup for the sugar this year instead. Or maybe some coconut sugar. 
Cranberry Orange Sauce

In all honesty, I always buy rolls at Thanksgiving. I've never even attempted to make them & the only bread I've made is quick bread. I'm not sure I'm ready to give it a shot, but if I make rolls this year, these Soft Whole Wheat Rolls sound like a winner! 
Whole Wheat Rolls

Ya gotta have 'em, right? Indulge a bit & don't beat yourself up over it! Just get back on track with your clean eating the next day... or in our case, on Monday. I'm going to try to clean up these pies a bit, but how possible is it to make a better-for-you Pecan Pie?! I'm going to give it a shot with this recipe. I few months ago I found a giant bag of unrefined coconut sugar at Costco & I haven't gone back to refined cane sugar. I make cookies often for church & we always have to sample them. Not ONCE has anyone said they taste funny. They don't know the difference. It's lower on the glycemic index, so it's less likely to cause your blood sugar to crash! I'm not trying to convince you that it's HEALTHY, but it's certainly a better option if you love to bake like yours truly. 
Clean Eating Pecan Pie

While nursing my second son, I found that he had a sensitivity to casein, a protein found in dairy. It was difficult for him to digest as a baby, but he has since overcome this & drinks milk like the cows are drying up! However, I credit that year for pushing me out of my comfort zone & really discovering other ways to eat. A year without cheese will do that to you. Insert everything coconut! That's why THIS pumpkin pie sounds better than the traditional recipe to me! I can only hope my family is either in agreement or is fooled. If you're looking for a great canned pumpkin, I found a case  of organic pure pumpkin puree at Costco.  
Paleo Pumpkin Pie

Hopefully my menu will inspire you to make some clean swaps this holiday season! And because I can't get enough infographics, I'll leave you with these!


Homemade Almond Milk

This is nothing new. I'm sure you've seen other recipes floating around the internet for Almond Milk, but this is my go-to & I'm sharing it.

4 years ago, when my middle son was a baby, he had a dairy intolerance. I learned a lot about food during that year of breastfeeding him. The biggest thing I learned was how to avoid dairy, specifically the protein casein, & how much better I felt without it.

When I was little I had a problem digesting dairy as well. If I ate pizza with cheese, or had ice cream too close to bed time, I would wake up in the middle of the night sick. No bueno.

I outgrew it as I got older, but I still don't feel great if I go on a dairy bender! 😂

Insert: Almond Milk!

At the beginning of the year, we were going through way too many cartons of store bought almond milk, so I thought I'd try to make my own. This way I know exactly what's in it. Although I must say I'm happy the big brands have eliminated carrageenan.

The key is to use a nut bag. I'll refrain from the jokes... I attempted to make it with a fine mesh strainer, & I wound up with very thick mealy milk... eeh.

Get the nut bag.

And a couple glass liter carafes that are about $5 each at our grocery store. Everything's better in glass.

With that being said, here's the recipe I come back to a couple times a week! I always have a mason jar of almonds soaking in the fridge. When I make 2 liters, I fill the jar back up with almonds & water so that it's ready to go when I need to make more in a few days. We love this almond milk mixed in with our Shakeology.


Makes 2 Liters

2 cups Blanched Almonds
8 cups Filtered Water + more for soaking
1 pinch sea salt
2 tsp vanilla (or better yet, scrape fresh vanilla beans!)
12 Medjool Dates, pitted (optional, if you want it sweetened)


  • Place the almonds in a quart mason jar & fill with water. Let soak in fridge for at LEAST 4 hours, but I prefer overnight, if not longer.
  • Strain & rinse almonds.
  • In a high-powered blender (I love our VitaMix!) add 1 cup almonds, 4 cups water, a pinch of sea salt, 1 tsp vanilla & 6 pitted dates.
  • Blend on high for 4 minutes.
  • Pour contents into nut bag fitted over a bowl. Squeeze every last drop of milk out! Now you can keep your almond meal & scour for recipes, including drying it to make almond flour if you wish. I tried making almond meal cookies once, but they were very dense. If you know if any good recipes, please share!
  • Repeat this process with the remaining ingredients. 
  • Try a small glass while it's still hot from the blender, it's delicious!
  • Store in your refrigerator for 3 days... if it lasts that long.
  • Enjoy!
21DF: 1/2 cup (unsweetened) = 1 Yellow


Honey Garlic Salmon with Roasted Broccoli & Naan Bread

I love when I find a recipe for fish that we all enjoy, because honestly, we don't eat enough fish & it's SO good for us! This was especially easy, too. The only thing was I had to wait for my husband to get home from work so that he could filet the skin off. He's just better at it than I am.

This dish isn't fishy, so even the non-fish lover just might love this! It's a great way to get your Omega 3's, Vitamins D, E, B3 & B6, and multiple essential minerals.


Serves 4
  • 1 lb. Sockeye Salmon, cut into 4 strips
  • Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Local Honey
  • 1 Tbsp Warm Water
  • 2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • To roast the broccoli: Preheat the oven to 425*. Place broccoli florets on a roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil & season with salt & pepper. While preparing salmon, roast for 20 minutes until slightly charred. 
  • Season both sides of the salmon with salt & pepper.
  • Whisk honey, water, vinegar & a pinch of salt until well combined. Set aside.
  • Add oil to pan over medium heat. Fry one side of the salmon, then add garlic & cook until browned. 
  • Carefully flip the salmon & add the honey mixture to the pan. If you wish, you may broil the salmon for a minute or two. I did this because I can just set my stainless steel pan in the oven.
  • Warm the Naan bread in the oven for a minute or two.
  • After you've plated your dinner, drizzle some of the honey sauce on your salmon.
  • Enjoy!
21DF: 1 Green, 1 Red, 1 Yellow, 1 tsp oil


Menu Monday - 7.11.16

After a fun weekend of going to the fair Friday night & a baseball game Saturday night, we're ready to get back to eating better. I only get to eat an elephant ear once maybe twice a year, so it's worth the splurge. And we all split it, so... yes, I'm justifying an elephant ear.

Anyway, I'm excited to get back to sharing our meals for the week! As always, I try to have a variety of meats & themes. This summer it's been a goal of mine to have my two older boys (4 & 6) cook with me more in the kitchen. They are masters at cookie baking, but they can't survive on cookies... although I'm sure they'd like to try! So they'll be choosing some meals & helping cook dinner some nights.

Once a month, my girlfriends have a standing date to ensure we get some much needed time together! This week I get to go out on Wednesday night without the baby for the first time! I hope my husband can handle bedtime with all three...

I'm also looking to add one or two healthy treats for the week, such as these Blueberry Quinoa Breakfast Bars I made this weekend. 👌 Feel free to leave some suggestions on my Facebook page!

Our Menu for the Week of 7.11.16

Tuesday - Crock Pot BBQ Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches & Asian Salad

Wednesday - Mom's Night Out... Tacos anyone?

Thursday (Ty's Choice) - One Pot Garlic Butter Chicken with Green Beans & Potatoes with Tomato + Cucumber Quinoa Salad

Friday - Pizza Night! I'm personally going for a Buffalo Chicken Pizza, but the kids prefer Ham & Green Peppers + Side Salad or Leftover Quinoa

Saturday - Chicken and/or Shrimp Quinoa Bowls with Grilled Veggies 

Sunday - Mini Venison Meatloaf Pepper Rings with a Side Salad

Look for my go-to Almond Milk recipe soon. We love it in smoothies!


Where I've Been

Lately I've been missing this little corner of the web that I call my own, so I figured it was time to get back into the swing of blogging... hopefully.

I haven't posted in nearly a year.


My, how time flies.

The reason I took a hiatus was because we welcomed our third baby boy this February. Sweet Liam is the perfect babe to round out our family of five. He came almost a month early, and after a brief stay in the NICU, we brought him home to meet his big brothers & the rest of our family.

I found out I was pregnant about a year ago, & almost immediately I was sick. I really didn't feel much better until I had him, so the early delivery was a blessing in that sense.

Food was not appealing, except strawberries. So how was I supposed to post meal plans & recipes when nothing sounded good? Somehow we all managed to get by, & we're back to eating healthy.

I found that when I posted my weekly meal plans, it helped to hold me accountable. It's also a creative outlet that I enjoy & need more than ever. Leaving the house with three boys is no easy task, & when we leave it's to entertain the boys, so we don't all go crazy! Trips out for my enjoyment are few and far between, as with most moms. No complaints here, just reiterating the fact that this is my outlet.

Also, it's high time I get back in shape. I have weight to lose, as most women do after having a baby, and since we're not having anymore children, I have no more excuses.

I've signed up for a fun 5k in August, so I should probably start running.

Please be patient with me as I ease my way back into blogging. My hope is for Monday Meal Plan posts & a  recipe or two throughout the week. As always the 21 Day Fix container portions will be given at the bottom of the recipes, in case you're following that amazing meal plan.

Thank you for your continued support!


Chicken & Veggie Marinara Casserole with Whole Wheat Orzo

So, it's Friday & I haven't posted a single recipe from this week's menu. Monday we ended up spending the day at my in-laws cottage on what was supposed to be the hottest day yet this summer. It only ended up being in the high 70's, but the pool still felt great & of course the boys had fun. We stayed there through dinner & I noshed on grilled chicken, peas & carrots & grilled peaches with blueberries. Not exactly what I had planned to cook at home, but the time spent with grandparents was worth it!

My husband was out of town from Monday until midnight Tuesday & frankly I didn't have the energy left in me to make dinner after a long weekend, a long Monday & swim lessons after dinner Tuesday. We ended up picking up a yummy salad for me & a chicken quesadilla for the boys from a local restaurant. You do watchya gotta do sometimes!

I did actually make the turkey burgers last night, but they weren't as good as I hoped & I don't believe I should share a so-so recipe here. I'll keep searching for a tastier recipe.

Now last night's dinner was delicious! I can't wait until we have an over-abundance of zucchini & yellow squash in our garden, because I'll definitely make this again. It's super simple, full of vegetables & I bet it could be prepped in the morning, other than pour on the the sauce & sprinkling on the cheese.


Serves 6

  • 2 1/2 cups Chicken, cooked & diced
  • 1 Zucchini, diced
  • 1 Yellow Squash, diced
  • 1 - 12 oz. can Tomato Sauce
  • 1 cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp Dried Basil
  • Preheat oven to 350*.
  • Layer the chicken in the bottom of a casserole dish. Next, pour in zucchini & yellow squash.
  • Pour the tomato sauce & top with cheese.
  • Sprinkle on the oregano & basil.
  • Bake 25-30 minutes until the cheese is golden.
  • Meanwhile, cook orzo according to package.
  • Serve casserole on top of orzo & enjoy!
21DF: 1 Red, 1-1/2 Green, 1/2 Blue, 1 Yellow