Apple Walnut and Pumpkin Butter Oatmeal

This one is really simple, you can easily make it on a weekday morning.  It also screams “fall!” and the fiber it contains will fill you up for longer then some other breakfast choices.  This will most likely prevent you from reaching for a unhealthy mid-morning snack.  As a side note, be careful when choosing a store-bought pumpkin butter.  They can be very high in sugar, very unnecessarily.  Mine is 5g sugar per tablespoon with only 4 ingredients, which is acceptable, but feel free to make your own or use canned pumpkin with a bit of brown sugar to substitute.  Enjoy :)

Apple Walnut and Pumpkin Butter Oatmeal

Serves: 1

1/2 cup quick cooking oats

3/4 cup water

1 tbsp. pumpkin butter

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 small gala apple, diced

2 tsp. walnuts, finely chopped



  1. Combine oats and water in a microwave safe bowl and heat for about 2 minutes and 10 seconds until water is absorbed.
  2. Add diced apple, pumpkin butter and walnuts.  Sprinkle ground cinnamon on top.
  3. Mix and serve.

Nutrition Facts: 273 calories, 8g fat (1g saturated),  45g carbohydrate (7g fiber), 6g protein


Grandma Rita’s Pumpkin Bread

I need to start by saying that this recipe is not healthy, and I’m not going to pretend that it is.  Is it delicious? SO delicious.  Usually when I have a recipe like this, I alter the crap out of it.  In this case, it is something I always look forward to at this time of year and it was my grandmothers recipe.  Since I wasn’t fortunate enough to meet her, her pumpkin bread in October makes me feel like I have a little piece of her, and I just can’t bring myself to alter it.  Living a healthy life is all about moderation, which means choosing some indulgences once in a while.  This, is one of mine.

Grandma Rita’s Pumpkin Bread

Makes: 3 loaves (about 10 slices per loaf)- the loaves freeze well so enjoy one and freeze the others for later in fall!

2 cups 100% pure pumpkin

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup water

1.5 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cloves

1 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

cooking spray

3- 9 x 5 aluminum loaf pans

3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour


  1. Combine the salt, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and flour in a bowl.  Stir together with a wire whisk and set aside.
  2. Blend the pumpkin, sugar, eggs, oil and water in a mixer on medium for a few minutes until combined.  Set the mixer on low and slowly add the dry ingredients.  Turn the mixer back up to medium until all is combined.
  3. Dust the loaf pans with cooking spray, then add a little flour to coat the inside of each pan.
  4. Pour the batter evenly between the three loaf pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for anywhere from 55 to 75 minutes. Cover each bread very lightly with aluminum foil after 45 min., so the top doesn’t burn, then continue cooking.
  5. The breads are done when the toothpick comes out dry after testing from the middle of the loaf.  Cool on a rack and take loaves out of pans 5 minutes after taking out of oven.

Nutrition Facts (per slice if 10 slices per loaf):  182 calories, 8.2g fat (.8g saturated), 25g carbohydrate, 2.5g protein

No post on Monday due to a conference I will be at in Philadelphia!

Healthier Banana Muffins with a Crunchy Nut Surprise

Summer/early Fall is the time of year where if you don’t have air conditioning your bananas go from good to bad in about 2 days.  What to do with all those almost-bad bananas? bake! A bonus is with this recipe you don’t have to feel guilty, either.


Healthier Banana Muffins with a Crunchy Nut Surprise- slightly adapted from Prevention RD  (but there wasn’t much to adapt because her recipe was awesome!)

Makes: 12 muffins

1 cup oats
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup skim milk
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon


  1. Soak the oats in the milk for one hour in the refrigerator
  2. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  3. Spray muffin with non stick spray, or line tray with cupcake liners.
  4. Combine the soaked oats, bananas, egg, and vanilla extract.
  5. In another bowl combine the whole wheat flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  6. Combine the dry and wet ingredients together. Spoon into the prepared muffin pan and fill each cup halfway. Then add small sprinkle of chopped walnuts (about 5-6) and continue to fill the muffin cups with batter.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until done.

Spinach & Aged Gouda Quiche

This quiche was fantastic.  I will say one thing… when you buy the cheese for this you have a lot of choices in the Gouda department.  What I would highly recommend is an aged gouda, mine was about 18 months aged (found in Wegmans fancy cheese section) and it has that salty/crunchy texture that just makes the quiche.

What’s also great about this recipe is that it’s very versatile and can triple as a breakfast, lunch OR dinner.  I actually prefer it as a dinner served with a side salad of some sort, but it’s totally up to you.  This is great for a weeknight because the prep is about 10 minutes and it’s into the oven it goes!

Spinach & Aged Gouda Quiche– slightly adapted from

Serves: 8-10 (1 slice servings)

Deep dish pie crust (from freezer section of supermarket)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions

3 cups fresh baby spinach

1 cup skim milk

3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated aged Gouda cheese

3/4 teaspoon salt

Dash of ground nutmeg

3 large eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. To prepare filling, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add spinach; sauté 2 minutes.
  3. Combine 1 cup milk and remaining ingredients in a bowl; stir well with a whisk. Stir in spinach mixture. Pour filling into crust. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes. Note: I cooked it closer to 40 minutes.  The quiche may still appear a little liquidy but once it cools it will hold its shape better.

Blueberry Coffee Cake

This recipe comes from Ellie Krieger.  Ellie is inspirational to me because she is not only a successful chef but also a Registered Dietitian.  I love how she takes recipes and modifies them to be healthier without sacrificing flavor.  If you watch her video clips, she also tells you why certain ingredients are better for you then others, which I think can be motivating for people to hear as they are trying to improve their health.

I sought this recipe out after going blueberry picking and picking a whooping 5.5 lbs!!  I would encourage anyone to blueberry pick from mid-July to mid-August.  The blueberries are so juicy and delicious, and you can get them at a fraction of the cost of what you would pay at the supermarket.  We picked ours at a local place called Awald Farms that isn’t very commercially advertised so not very crowded which I love, and full of fresh berries.  If you live in the Buffalo area, check it out.  We got all 5.5 lbs for a little over $7…. the same price for only 2 lbs at the supermarket!

With such an abundance, I froze 2 lbs and used the rest for this recipe and a week of snacking :)

Blueberry Coffee Cake- slightly adapted from Ellie Krieger

Serves: 10-12

Cooking spray
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour or regular whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup vanilla nonfat yogurt
1.5 cups and 1/2 cup fresh blueberries, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8-inch square cake pan with cooking spray. (*If you use a 8 inch glass dish it will take almost 1 hour to bake).
  2. Whisk together the all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, the baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar, cinnamon and walnuts. In a large bowl, beat the brown sugar, butter and oil until fluffy. If necessary, use the back of a spoon to press out any lumps in the brown sugar. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until fully combined. Beat in the vanilla and yogurt.
  3. Add the flour mixture in 2 batches, stirring until just combined.
  4. Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle half of the nut mixture over the batter and top with the blueberries, gently pressing them into the batter. Spoon the rest of the batter into the pan, smoothing the top. Sprinkle the remaining nut mixture over the cake, pressing gently.  Also sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of blueberries along the top, pressing down lightly. Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes.
  5. Let cool slightly and then unmold and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack. Cut the cake into 2-inch squares.

Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Pancakes (part whole-wheat)

Now that I’m almost 25, different things are exciting to me then what I might have said 5 years ago.   One of those things is a nice breakfast on the weekend, compared to the normal oatmeal or cereal weekly breakfasts.  This one is a special weekend treat that you can’t feel too badly about because of the whole wheat flour, canola oil, and egg white incorporated into the mix.  Yum!

Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Pancakesadapted from Cooking Light

Serves: 12-14 pancakes

3/4 cup whole-wheat flour

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 tbsp. sugar

1.5 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1.5 cups low-fat buttermilk

1 tbsp. canola oil

1 large egg

1 large egg white

Approx. 1/3 cup chocolate chips, divided

Maple syrup to taste


  1. Combine flours and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.
  2. Combine buttermilk and next 3 ingredients, stirring with a whisk.
  3. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
  4. Pour about 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto a hot nonstick skillet. Sprinkle desired amount of chocolate chips on top of each pancake.  Cook over medium heat about 2 minutes, then carefully turn pancakes over and cook another 2 minutes until slightly browned.
  5. Serve with syrup

Lemon-Chia Seed Bread

I “pinned” today’s recipe on pinterest a few weeks ago because it looked so refreshing to me for Spring.  Ironically, the day I made it we got a disgusting wintry mix and temp’s were in the 30’s.  At least it left me hopeful for Spring.  When I made my shopping list on Saturday and actually checked out the ingredients, I knew I needed to do some “healthifying” of it to give it more nutritional value.  I didn’t try the original of course, but I enjoyed my version which was considerably less fat and calories.. enjoy!

Lemon- Chia Seed Bread– adapted from Apple A Day

Makes: 1 loaf

Zest & juice of 2 large lemons, divided

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce (this acts as a fat substitute to replace 4 tbsp. of butter!)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup skim milk

1.5 tbsp. chia seeds (These may be in the organic or health food section of your supermarket, if not use poppy seeds)

1/4 cup confectioners sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Spray with cooking spray and flour one 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  2. Finely grate enough zest from lemons to measure 2 tsp. on to cutting board and squeeze enough juice to measure about 1/4 cup into a small bowl (basically, all of the juice from the 2 lemons).
  3. Into a bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter, apple sauce, granulated sugar, and lemon zest until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. With mixer on low speed add flour mixture and milk alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating just until batter is combined well.  Beat in chia seeds and 1 TBSP lemon juice and pour batter into prepared loaf pans, smoothing tops. Bake loaves in middle of oven until a tester comes out clean, about 1 hour.  Check for doneness with a toothpick.
  6. While bread is baking, in a small bowl stir together 2 TBSP of remaining lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar to form a glaze.
  7. After bread is done, allow to cool for 15 minutes.  Then, remove bread from loaf pan and poke many small holes (with toothpick) into the top of the bread.  Brush glaze repeatedly over the top until it is absorbed.

Note from the original: bread keeps 4 days at room temperature or 1 month frozen.