Peanut Butter Granola

April 7, 2013 by Christina

Granola is one of those versatile foods that can taste great on a lot of things.  You can add this granola to vanilla yogurt, eat it with low-fat milk, or on its own.  Our favorite way to eat this granola is to core an apple, spread a thin layer of peanut butter on it, and sprinkle a little granola on top.  It’s a great sweet tooth fix and afternoon snack!  This granola is healthier than other granolas because it isn’t swimming in added oils or sugars.  This recipe also adds fiber to your diet from the oats which can aid digestion.

Peanut Butter Granola

1/4 C creamy peanut butter

1/4 C honey

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 C oats (I used old-fashioned rolled oats)

Cooking spray

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.  Add peanut butter and honey to a medium microwavable safe bowl and microwave for 20-30 seconds.  Stir mixture until smooth.  Add vanilla and cinnamon; stir well.  Add oats and stir until they are well coated.  Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, stirring halfway through.  Allow to cool and eat how you wish!  Makes eight  1/4 C servings.

Nutrition Info: 160 calories, 24 gm carbs, 1-1/2 gm carbohydrates, 5 gm fat, 4 gm protein.

Baked Mozzarella Balls

March 15, 2013 by Christina

The other day my husband and I were at Applebee’s and he asked me if the sampler appetizer (2400 calories upon a quick Google search) would be a good choice for dinner.  I was a little surprised that he thought a platter of fried fat would be a  healthy option for dinner.  One of his favorite things is the mozzarella sticks.  Who doesn’t love them? They are fantastic.   I made a recipe this week that copycat’s that cheesy goodness. They tasted similar to cheese curds.   Just to compare nutrition, this recipe is 165 calories per serving and Applebee’s is 310 calories per serving.  This recipe is almost half as much!

Mozzarella Balls
6 light string cheese (MUST be light, regular melt into a gooey mess…trust me)
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese ( I used the stuff in the green tube, it worked just fine)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp season salt
1/4 cup skim or low-fat milk
Cooking spray

Pre-heat oven to 350.  Cut string cheese into 5-6 pieces each.  Mix
bread crumbs, cheese, garlic powder, season salt in a small bowl.  Put
skim milk in a separate small bowl.  Use one hand to dip cheese in
milk and then another hand to dip in bread crumbs to coat (this way
you don’t get coated, messy hands).  Place on a greased cookie sheet.
Bake for 8-12 minutes.  Watch closely.  Dip in marinara sauce.  Serves
3 (10-12 pieces each).

Nutrition Facts: 165 calories, 9 gm carbs, 1/2 carb choices, 7 gm fat,
18 gm protein

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

March 15, 2013 by Christina

Have you ever had a peanut butter cinnamon roll?  They are fantastic.  This banana bread reminds me of them, except for about 300 calories less.  It’s a great 3 o’clock snack or breakfast.  Be sure to use regular peanut butter and not reduced fat.  There is only a 10 calorie difference between the two and the reduced fat peanut butter has more sugar.  Using reduced fat peanut butter will greatly affect your baked goods.

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Adapted from: Cooking Light

  • 1- 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana
  • 1/3 cup light or fat free sour cream
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter (NOT reduced fat)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dry-roasted peanuts
  • Cooking spray
  • Glaze:
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon  low-fat milk
  • 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter


  1.  Preheat oven to 350°.
  2.  Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed. Add  sugars; mix until blended.
  3.  Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through allspice) in a small bowl. Add flour mixture to banana mixture; beat just until blended. Stir in nuts. Pour batter into a 9 x 5-inch greased loaf pan . Bake  for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Start checking bread after 40 minutes.  Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan; cool.
  4. 4. To prepare glaze, combine powdered sugar, milk, and 1 tablespoon peanut butter in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle glaze over bread

Nutrition Facts: 16 slices.  198 calories, 7 gm fat, 30 gm carbs, 2 carb exchanges, 5 gm protein.

Creamy Taco Soup

December 14, 2012 by Christina

It’s starting to be soup season again!  This soup is great because it’s full of flavor and takes less than 20 minutes to make.  This is a recipe that I took and “healthified”.  It called for heavy cream that I replaced with low-fat milk.  You don’t lose the flavor, and you save your arteries with less saturated fat.  I add a few tortilla chips to mine for some extra texture.


Creamy Taco Soup

1 lb lean ground beef

1/2 cup onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

8 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese

1 Tbsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

2 10 oz cans Rotel (tomatoes with green chilies)

2 cans beef broth

1/2 cup low fat milk

2 tsp salt (optional)

Brown the beef with onion and garlic.  Drain well.  Add cream cheese and stir until evenly blended.  Add remaining ingredients and cook through.  Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition Info: 170 calories,9 gm fat, 6 gm carbohydrates, 1/2 carb count, 15 gm protein


Tomato Basil Soup

December 14, 2012 by Christina

This soup is amazing!  It is perfect for winter
because it uses canned tomatoes instead of fresh.  I haven’t tried
making it with fresh, but it sounds delicious.  I lightened this
recipe up, so if it seems like it’s still higher in calories and fat
than other recipes I send out, it started off a lot worse!  The
benefits of all the veggies and calcium from the cheese and milk
outweigh the negatives.  Enjoy!

Tomato Basil Soup
2 (14oz) cans diced tomatoes, undrained (I used the garlic flavored
ones for more flavor)
1 cup carrots, diced finely
1 cup celery, diced finely
1 cup onions, diced finely
1 tsp dried oregano or 1 Tbsp fresh
1 Tbsp dried basil or 1/4 C fresh**
4 cups chicken broth
1 small bay leaf
6 Tbsp butter
1/2 C flour
3/4 C Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated (NOT the stuff in the green canister)
2 C low-fat milk, warmed
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Put tomatoes, carrots, celery, onions, oregano, basil, chicken broth,
and bay leaf into crockpot and cook on low for 5-7 hours.

30 minutes before serving, make a roux by melting butter over a low
heat in a soup kettle and add flour.  Cook for 5-6 minutes, whisking
constantly.  Slowly stir in crockpot mixture, cup by cup.  Stir until
smooth.  Add cheese, warmed milk, salt and pepper.  Add additional
basil or oregano if desired.  Cover and cook on low for 30 minutes. If
it seems a bit thick, you could add milk or broth to thin.  I returned
mine back to the crockpot to keep warm.  Goes great with a grilled
cheese!  Serves 8.

Nutrient info: 225 calories, 12 gm fat, 21 gm carbs, 1-1/2 carb
choices, 7.5 gm protein

**A tip for the fresh basil in the winter is to find the basil in the tube.  It tastes like it came from the garden, but it keeps longer in the fridge and is available all year long.  It is in the fresh herb section in the grocery store, usually by the bagged lettuce.

Beefy Cheesy Queso

October 17, 2012 by Christina

Who doesn’t love queso?  Nobody, that’s who.  Queso is so delicious, but so high in calories.  Just to put it in perspective, Qdoba’s queso has 190 calories/serving and 16 gm of fat.  What I love about this recipe is that it tastes like the Velveeta chili dip, but WAY healthier! I’m pretty against Velveeta.  When I see it I just picture it building up in my arteries.  Cheese should not be able to be left in your pantry for a month!  I’m not a fan of that shelf stable chili either.  I’m not a fan of the meat at room temp, on a shelf concept.  Scares me.  We used this queso as a meal with tortilla chips.

Beefy Cheesy Queso

1 lb lean ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 jalapenos, chopped fine

1 cup beef broth, separated

1/4 cup low-fat milk

3 Tbsp cornstarch

1 3/4 cups Reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese (NOT fat free)

1 can Rotel (diced tomatoes with green chiles), drained

2 Tbsp lime juice

1 tsp salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cumin

Brown beef with onion, garlic, jalapenos in a large saucepan until beef is fully browned.  Drain.  Return to heat.  Add 1/2 cup beef broth, cook for 1 minutes.  Whisk together milk and cornstarch and add to pan, stirring constantly until it thickens. Add additional 1/2 cup broth.   Add cheese and stir until melted.  Add remaining ingredients and heat through.  Serve with tortilla chips.  16 heaping 1/4 cup servings.

Nutrition Info: 85 calories, 2 gm carbs, 0 carb counts, 4 gm fat, 10 gm protein.

Vegetable Beef Soup

October 15, 2012 by Christina

This soup is super filling and has a ton of lean beef and vegetables.  It really keeps you going for very few calories. I’m on board with anything that gives me a serving of tasty veggies. I’m just like everyone else, I have a hard time getting all my veggie servings too.  This soup also freezes well.  It makes a ton and can feed a lot of people. I figure it makes about 3 quarts and serves about 10.

Vegetable Beef Soup

1 lb lean ground beef

1 cup celery, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup carrots, chopped

2 bay leaves

6 cups water

3 Tbsp beef boullion powder or paste

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp basil

1 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

1 (8oz) can tomato sauce

2 (14.5oz) cans diced tomatoes, drained

1 cup uncooked pasta of choice (macaroni, star, etc)

1 can green beans, drained

Brown ground beef in a soup kettle. Drain grease.  To drain more fat, rinse meat with warm water.  Add onions, celery, and carrots.  Stir for 5 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients, except green beans.  Simmer 50 minutes.  Add green beans, discard bay leaves and serve.

Nutrition info: 164 calories, 21 gm carbohydrate, 1 1/2 carb counts, 4 gm fat, 12 gm protein.

Crock Pot French Dip Sandwiches

October 12, 2012 by Christina

French dips are great but they always seem like such a pain to make.  This really couldn’t get any simpler. The meat literally falls apart it is so tender.  I am by no means a roast eater, but the meat was so good I didn’t even bother putting it on a bun, I ate it plain.  This can also be used for a great beef roast recipe.  This recipe gives you a dairy serving, 2 whole grain servings, and a meat serving.  That’s a lot of bang for your nutritional buck!

Crock Pot French Dip Sandwiches

3 lb lean beef roast, trimmed

2 cups (or 1 1/2 cans) beef broth

1/2 cup red cooking wine

1 tsp garlic powder

1 packet onion soup mix

6 slices mozzarella cheese

6 rolls of choice, whole wheat if possible (pictured on hoagie buns)

Put beef broth, red wine, garlic powder into crock pot.  Rub onion soup mix all over roast and place in crock pot.  Cook on low 8 hours. Remove roast from crock pot and slice in desired thickness for sandwiches and place back in crock pot in the juices for 30 minutes.  Arrange meat on sandwiches and place cheese on top of meat.  Dip in au jus.

Nutrition Info (calculated with: whole wheat bun and 3 oz meat on each sandwich): 357 calories, 24 gm carbs, 1 1/2 carb counts, 14 gm fat, 35 gm protein.

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

October 12, 2012 by Christina

This is a great breakfast or afternoon snack.  It will give you protein (10-20% of your daily needs), calcium, potassium, among other things.  It is delicious and one of my favorites!  It’s not too sweet and not too savory.  The banana and peanut butter make a perfect combination.  It will fill you up for hours and give you lots of energy.  It is natural and healthy. You may think that I would suggest reduced fat peanut butter.  Not the case.  Reduced fat peanut butter only has a fraction less fat and only 10 calories less than the real stuff.  You’re not saving yourself a lot and the real stuff tastes WAY better.  Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

1 over-ripe banana

1 Tbsp creamy peanut butter

3/4 cup low-fat milk

6-8 ice cubes

Combine all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.  This makes 12-16 oz of smoothie.

Nutrition info:  300 calories, 44 gm carbs, 3 carb counts, 10 gm fat, 11 gm protein.

Baked Pumpkin Donuts

October 12, 2012 by Christina

Who doesn’t love donuts?  EVERYONE loves a good donut.  I do not have the talent to make the authentic donuts that my great grandma could do, so I decided to take a chance on baked donuts.  These were great! And so much healthier than the deep fried donuts.  They were dense and fluffy all at the same time.  They are so easy and great for fall.

Baked Pumpkin Donuts

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour (for gluten free, use 1 3/4 cups Pamela’s Baking Mix)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 cup low-fat milk
Cinnamon Sugar Coating:
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350º F. Spray a donut pan with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, and spices together, and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin, and milk until well combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the mixture and stir until just combined, do not over mix.
Using a pastry bag (or a gallon sized baggie with a corner clipped off), fill each donut cup with the batter. They should be fairly full but not overflowing. Bake for 11-13 minutes, until donuts spring back when gently pressed. Turn donuts onto a wire each and allow to cool for a few minutes.
While still warm, dip the donuts in the cinnamon sugar coating. Serve warm.  Makes 12 donuts
Nutrition Info (without sugar topping): 170 calories, 25 gm carbs, 2 carb counts, 7 gm fat, 3 gm protein.
Compare to a regular raised donut that has 230 calories, 14 gm fat, 22 gm carbohydrates, and 3 gm protein.