Pumpkin Spice Snack Mix

Are you bored with your snack? It’s ok, snack boredom happens. Luckily for you, I’ve got you covered when it comes to your craving for anything and everything “pumpkin spice” with this super easy to make Pumpkin Spice Snack Mix. It’s got a little bit of sweetness and a whole lot of satisfying crunch!

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Watermelon with Honey-Lime Ricotta and Pistachios

Growing up in Indiana, I always looked forward to summer.

What kid doesn’t, right? Summer meant no school and that meant lots of warm days and nights filled with fun. I remember playing so hard that when my head hit the pillow, I almost instantaneously fell asleep. Those thoughts and memories make me smile, because I love remembering how easy and wonderful life was then. Summer to me also meant sweet, delicious fruit. And I loved it all, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, peaches, strawberries and WATERMELON!

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Super Greek Yogurt Smoothies

Fertility Friday + Smoothies 

That’s right, you read that correctly, I said “Fertility Friday + Smoothies!” A random pairing? Of course not, I do everything with intention…ok, well almost everything. 

Today for Fertility Friday I would like to focus on the amazing nutritional power of smoothies. Yes, I know that people are  crazy about smoothies these days. They make their own, they buy the fancy one that costs 10 dollars and they insist on having them every morning for their “bowl” breakfast. But this is one trend where you can believe the hype…at least to a certain extent.

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No Fail, Winning Guacamole Recipe

Award* Winning Guacamole Recipe

*Disclaimer – this recipe hasn’t actually won any official awards or titles. And it hasn’t been entered in any recipe contests or been featured on the Food Network.  So my guacamole is technically “award-less,” however it’s unofficially a “winner” (hence, Winning Guacamole) in my small circle of nearest and dearest. And I’m about to let you in on my not-so-secret recipe! But first, there are some things you should know.

Guacamole 101: What You Need to Know

  • Pick the Avocado – This is a big deal, so it’s imperative you get it right. How do you choose the right avocado? Depends on when you want to make your guacamole. If you don’t need it until a couple of days from now, it’s ok to buy the rock-solid avocado because it will continue to ripen. If you want it tonight, buy the one that gives just a little when you apply a light pressure to it. Skip the super soft ones and the ones with dents and dings.
  • Don’t Skip the Onion – So many people tell me they want to leave out the onion, but I encourage you not to do that. Instead, if onion causes you trouble, consider this little trick – chop it and then add it to a bowl of water. Let it sit there while you’re making the guacamole and then drain it and add it. Soaking the onion will help remove some of the bitter compounds, so you won’t have that pungent onion taste in your mouth.
  • Add salt – Every time I make this guacamole someone always asks, “why does this taste so good?” It’s not that I am an awesome guacamole maker or that I have a special guacamole secret, it’s just salt. Yes, you heard me, salt. If you don’t add the right amount, it’ll just taste like mashed avocados and onion. Add the salt, and you’ve become a culinary genius! Afraid of salt, it’s ok, I understand, but in this recipe I’m only using 1/4 teaspoon of salt and that equals to about 145 milligrams of sodium per serving. That’s a relatively small amount considering 2300 milligrams per day is your cutoff. 

There, now you’re armed and dangerous. Time to get to the store and stock up on avocados so you can make a big batch of my No Fail Winning Guacamole!

Guacamole

Guacamole

Guacamole

Guacamole

 

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No Fail, Winning Guacamole


  • Author: Sara Haas

Description

A recipe for delicious guacamole that works every time!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced in half and seeded
  • 2 teaspoons -1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeño, finely chopped*
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped white or yellow onion**

Instructions

  1. Scoop out the avocado flesh into a bowl and gently mash. Stir in the lime juice and salt. Mix in the cilantro, onion and jalapeño.
  2. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • *If you prefer your guacamole less spicy, remove and discard the seeds and membrane from the jalapeño before chopping. Careful, those seeds are hot, so best to remove them with a spoon or knife.
  • **Do raw onions bother you? Try soaking them in water first before adding them to your guacamole.
  • Makes about 1 cup guacamole.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 339
  • Sugar: 3
  • Sodium: 608
  • Fat: 30
  • Saturated Fat: 4
  • Unsaturated Fat: 23
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 21
  • Protein: 5
  • Cholesterol: 0

Maple Cinnamon Almonds

Fertility Friday + Recipe for Maple Cinnamon Almonds

Do you remember back in the ’80’s and ’90’s when all fat was considered “bad?”

Looking back on that time, it was almost comical the degree to which we feared fat. Companies worked so hard removing it from their products and people went crazy buying fat-free everything. I remember noshing on a box of fat-free cookies thinking, “wow, no fat, but they sure taste good, I’m so glad they’re good for me!”

Fat is Back?

Oh dear! Luckily research has improved and we are no longer shunning fat. In fact, now we know that fat is vital to our existence. Fats provide energy, help us absorb fat-soluble vitamins, and can keep our hearts healthy. We just have to be smart about the type of fats we’re choosing and how much of them we’re eating.

But I Can’t Eat as Much as I Want?

While all fats fit, it’s important to keep moderation in mind. Saturated and trans fats are the types of fats we should limit. Research is always on-going on this, and recently saturated fast have been in the news about not being as “bad” as we once thought. My advice? Stick with moderation. Go for the whole milk, but keep your serving to one cup. Enjoy that birthday cake, but choose the small slice instead of the massive monster piece. See where I’m going with this? Don’t over-indulge. It’s never wise to eat too much of one thing, right?

Instead, focus on getting more healthy fats into your diet. We call those unsaturated (specifically monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) fats. These unsaturated fats can also help support fertility by helping control blood sugar and tamper inflammation. Where do you find them? Great question!

Where to Find The Fantastic Fat:

Sources of polyunsaturated fats: fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines; flax seed and flax seed oil, walnuts and edamame

Sources of monounsaturated fats: nuts (like in these Maple Cinnamon Almonds!) and seeds, avocado, canola and olive oil 

Putting it Together

It’s easy! Eat fat, but make smart choices. Stick with moderation and balance your intake with other foods. Eating this way just makes sense! Feeling inspired? Get into your kitchen and make these yummy Maple Cinnamon Almonds so that you can enjoy some of those nutritious healthy fats!

 

Maple Cinnamon Almonds

Maple Cinnamon Almonds

Maple Cinnamon Almonds

Maple Cinnamon Almonds

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Maple Cinnamon Almonds


  • Author: Sara Haas

Description

Super easy snack made with almonds, maple syrup and ground cinnamon.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 cups almonds

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300’F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Place the salt, maple syrup, water and cinnamon in a medium pot and set over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir to combine. Pour in almonds and stir until almonds are well coated. Spread out on prepared sheet pan and bake 20 minutes, rotating the pan half way through cooking time.
  3. Remove and allow to cool before enjoying.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 2118
  • Sugar: 32
  • Sodium: 1192
  • Fat: 180
  • Saturated Fat: 14
  • Unsaturated Fat: 157
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 90
  • Protein: 73
  • Cholesterol: 0

Spring Rolls with Honey-Soy Dipping Sauce

I love spring rolls.

There’s just something so remarkably fresh about them that makes me happy. At one of my old jobs, I had to make spring rolls on a relatively regular basis. During that time, I could crank out hundreds of those little guys. I would be tired, with a sore back and cross-eyed when I was done. But that didn’t deter me from eating the scraps or messed-up rolls. Ah, the memories!

Here’s the deal with spring rolls, they are so delicious, but can be so annoying to make. Please, please don’t get mad if your first 2 or 10 look horrible. I promise you that they will still taste good. Just keep trying and soon you’ll be a professional “spring roller.”

Nutrition Spotlight:

Veggies abound in spring rolls and that makes them a fantastic, nutritious choice. They are the perfect vehicle for so many kinds of veggies too. You don’t have to stop at carrots and lettuce (like my version below), you can add peppers and jicama for example. Really, just be creative and have fun with them. But don’t forget the basil, mint and cilantro, they are the key to flavor and offer their own nutritive bonus too.

 

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These are bean thread noodles.

 

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Simple to make, just pull out of bag and plop in some water.

 

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Watch them grow and feel them soften. Takes about 15 minutes and they’re done.

 

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Get all of your ingredients together before rolling. Trust me on this one.

 

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Look how yummy that is, even before you roll it!

 

Spring Rolls Beauty

Roll ’em up! And don’t worry what they look like, ok?

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Spring Rolls with Honey-Soy Dipping Sauce


  • Author: Sara Haas

Description

Refreshing and satisfying, these spring rolls are a perfect for an appetizer or light lunch.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/3 package bean thread noodles, prepared according to package directions
  • 5 small lettuce leaves (Bibb or baby green or red leaf lettuce)
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
  • 1/3 cup mint leaves
  • 1/3 cup basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup cilantro leaves
  • 5 each spring roll skins/wrappers

Instructions

  1. Combine the lime juice, honey, soy sauce, crushed red pepper and water in a small saucepan. Set the pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  2. Toss 1-2 teaspoons of the dipping sauce with the prepared bean thread noodles.
  3. Prepare a large bowl of warm water for softening the spring roll skins and lay out all of the filling ingredients; the lettuce, carrots, peanuts, mint, basil and cilantro.
  4. Remove 1 spring roll skin from the package and gently submerge in the bowl of warm water. Gently swish until spring roll skin becomes loose and flexible. Carefully remove it from the water and place on a clean kitchen countertop. Place one lettuce leaf on the bottom and then top with some noodles, carrots, peanuts and herbs. Take one edge and fold over to meet the other edge, then pull back on the fillings (like you’re making a burrito) until tight. Then fold in the sides and continue rolling the spring roll until sealed. (If you break the skin, just get another one and try again! If you can’t roll it, don’t worry about it. Just place everything in the middle and fold it up. I promise it will taste the same!)
  5. Slice rolls in half, if desired and serve with dipping sauce.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 5
  • Calories: 169
  • Sugar: 11
  • Sodium: 260
  • Fat: 5
  • Saturated Fat: 1
  • Unsaturated Fat: 4
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 27
  • Protein: 8
  • Cholesterol: 1

Cacao Pretzel Snacks

Cacao.

It’s a fun word. Say it. Seriously, say it out loud. Super fun, right?

Fun and popular, cacao sure is sitting pretty these days. It’s trendy and it’s hip…even though it’s really nothing new.

Nope, cacao has been around for awhile. Never heard of it? Sure you have, it’s also known as cocoa, the more modern-ish term we typically use here in America. Cacao (and cocoa) refers to the dried beans from the cocoa tree. Generally, cacao is synonymous with the unroasted or raw version of the cocao bean, with cocoa being the roasted and sometimes more processed cacao bean. Cacao can be turned into everything from “nibs”( essentially broken pieces of cacao beans) to powder.  

If cacao isn’t new, then why this surge in popularity? Well my guess it’s because people are looking for all kinds of ways to add a nutritious boost to their smoothie bowls, oatmeal, shakes and everything in between. Cacao is a good choice then as it’s got a pretty nice nutrition profile, containing several antioxidants and minerals like magnesium and iron. But like anything, enjoy in moderation.

Looking to try cacao beans? Then try my recipe below for Cacao Pretzel Snacks. They are super easy to make and provide a nice introduction to cacao. 

And a big thank you to the Recipe Redux!  This recipe was inspired by this month’s theme of building a recipe using an ingredient I’ve never used before. 

And the Pretty Pictures of Cacao Pretzels Snacks:

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Cacao Pretzel Snacks


  • Author: Sara Haas

Description

A simple snack made with whole grain pretzels, Greek yogurt and cacao nibs.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon Turbinado sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons plain, low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons cacao nibs
  • 20 whole grain pretzels twists

Instructions

  1. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Place the yogurt and cacao nibs in separate small bowls.
  2. Dip half of each pretzel in the yogurt, then the cinnamon sugar mixture and finally in the cacao nibs. Place coated pretzels on a clean sheet pan and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from the freezer and enjoy.

Notes

  • Mix it up! Add a dash of cayenne pepper to the sugar mixture or add crushed nuts to the cacao nibs. Have fun by coming up with your own, unique flavors!

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4
  • Calories: 124
  • Sugar: 2
  • Sodium: 520
  • Fat: 1
  • Saturated Fat: 0
  • Unsaturated Fat: 1
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 25
  • Protein: 3
  • Cholesterol: 0

 


Cranberry Pumpkin Granola Bars

Here’s the deal, my family loves granola bars. I’m sure you can relate. I mean, is there really a more perfect snack? Well, of course there is, but this one is just so handy, which makes it the “perfect” snack in my eyes. Here’s the problem though, crappy granola bars are everywhere! Even worse, really good granola bars are expensive! Ugh!

What’s a mom, wife, daughter, friend to do? Why, make my own and share the recipe with YOU, my faithful followers! 🙂

Yes, I want you to have the option of making  your own bars because you know, just as much as I do, that granola bars rock. So take that money you were going to spend on the crappy or expensive bars and use it to buy the ingredients to make these perfect little Cranberry Pumpkin Granola Bars. 

Need more reasons to love these? Thought so!

  1. They freeze well. Yes they do! So make a double batch and keep some in the freezer so you’re never without. Just cut them before freezing them, then stuff them into a re-sealable freezer bag. Give them a little room and lay them flat in the freezer. Once partially frozen, you can rearrange them and they won’t stick.
  2. They taste good and your kids will eat them. This means no more fights about other junk they want to eat. They will like them and beg you for more. Which, in my world, is sooo much nicer than hearing them beg for pink cupcakes!
  3. Your kids (or hey, even someone else’s) can help you make these! Woo hoo! Who doesn’t need an extra set of hands in the kitchen? And listen, getting kids into the kitchen is one of the best things we can do as parents or care givers!
  4. They make great gifts. Oh indeed and what about hostess gifts? Yes, that too! I mean, wouldn’t you want these wrapped up and given to you? I’ll take them over a candle any day!

Enjoy, my friends!

And here are the pretty pictures:

Check out how I made these beautiful Cranberry Pumpkin Granola Bars!

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Cranberry Pumpkin Granola Bars


  • Author: Sara Haas

Description

A Fall spin on the classic granola bar. This one is also gluten and nut free!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup prunes, very finely chopped (or pulsed find in a food processor)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, very finely chopped (or pulsed find in a food processor)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300’F. Line a 9×9-inch pan with parchment paper. (Using two overlapping strips works well here for removing the bars from the pan after baking.)
  2. In a large bowl, combine the oats and pumpkin seeds.
  3. Heat a small pot or pan over medium heat and add the butter. Once the butter has melted, stir in the pumpkin pie spice and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the pumpkin puree and cook 1 more minute. Stir in the maple syrup, salt, prunes and cranberries. Remove from heat and pour over the oat mixture.
  4. Pour the oat mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly across the bottom. Using a piece of foil, wax paper or parchment paper, cover the granola bars and push down evenly on the top to compress the mixture. The firmer the bar, the better it will hold together after it’s cooked. Remove foil, wax paper or parchment and place in the oven.
  5. Cook bars for 15 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and set on a rack to cool. Once cooled, transfer the pan to the refrigerator and chill at least 2 hours. Using the parchment paper, remove the bars from the pan and cut into individual bars. (Why chill them? This helps them firm up, which makes cutting them easier!)

Notes

  • Cut bars can be kept in the refrigerator about 5 days and up to 2 months in the freezer.
  • To keep this one GF, just be sure to use gluten-free oats.
  • Cut the pan 5×3 to get 15 bars

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 15
  • Calories: 127
  • Sugar: 5
  • Sodium: 41
  • Fat: 4
  • Saturated Fat: 1
  • Unsaturated Fat: 2
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 22
  • Protein: 3
  • Cholesterol: 2

Mango Matcha Smoothie

Why I made this recipe: Because I am smitten with smoothies and equally smitten with matcha tea. So why not combine the two? Oh, and because I was hungry and I had these things in my house. Just being honest.

Why I love this recipe: This mango matcha smoothie is one of those recipes that’s super simple to make, yet the ingredients make it feel sophisticated. Love it for that and also because it tastes great.  

How this recipe is healthy: Lots of reasons. First, portion size. It’s just one cup, which in my world, is the perfect size for a smoothie. Because let’s face it, take-out smoothies end up more like colossal milk shakes rather than nutritious, cups of joy. Second, it’s got matcha tea powder in it, a really interesting type of tea made out of whole tea leaves, which means you get loads of antioxidants, including those that may help prevent certain diseases like heart disease. Nothing wrong with that, right? Also, I like it because it’s not super sweet. This isn’t dessert, it’s a snack or a nice supplement to breakfast or lunch. Enjoy it as is or use it as the base for an amazing smoothie bowl. Yum!

And here are the pretty pictures:

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Mango Matcha Smoothie


  • Author: Sara Haas

Description

A lightly sweet smoothie made with low-fat Greek yogurt, mango and matcha, perfect for an afternoon snack or as a post or pre-workout snack.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup frozen, chopped mango
  • 1 teaspoon green matcha tea powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground flax seed

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in the bottom of a blender and puree until smooth.
  2. Pour and enjoy!

Notes

  • Not sweet enough for you? Add a 1/2 teaspoon of honey.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 171
  • Sugar: 23
  • Sodium: 115
  • Fat: 4
  • Saturated Fat: 2
  • Unsaturated Fat: 2
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 25
  • Protein: 10
  • Cholesterol: 10

Short and Sweet Series: Banana Mango Coconut Smoothie Recipe

Why I made this recipe: Because I love trying new smoothie recipes and mango is one of my favorite fruits.

Why I love this recipe: This one is super creamy, and the touch of coconut makes it feel indulgent and tropical, like you’re on vacation, laying on a beach, reading a good book, under the shade of a palm tree…you get the picture.

How this recipe is healthy: Oh, it’s healthy alright. If you read the ingredient list, you’ll know that this smoothie is jam-packed with good nutrients. It’s loaded with healthy fats from the avocado and flax seed and it’s bursting with powerful vitamins like A and C and important minerals like potassium. And don’t forget the calcium, it’s in there too, thanks to that healthy dose of low-fat milk.

And here are the pretty pictures:

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Banana Mango Coconut Smoothie


  • Author: Sara Haas
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 small banana, peeled and sliced
  • 1 mango, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat milk (or other non-dairy milk alternative)
  • 1/2 avocado, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
  • 2 tablespoons grated or flaked dried coconut
  • 2 teaspoons honey

Instructions

  1. Spread the sliced banana and mango cubes evenly out onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for at least 1 hour and up to 2 hours. (If desired, this step can be done advance, just be sure to transfer partially frozen fruit to a re-sealable freezer bag to prevent it from sticking to the paper).
  2. Pour the milk into the bottom of a blender and add the frozen fruit, avocado, ground flax seed, coconut and honey. Puree until smooth. Pour into cups and serve immediately.

Notes

  • Makes 3 cups.
  • This smoothie isn’t mind-numbingly sweet. But if you’re looking for some additional sweetness, add a little more honey.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4
  • Calories: 188
  • Sugar: 23
  • Sodium: 52
  • Fat: 7
  • Saturated Fat: 2
  • Unsaturated Fat: 4
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 30
  • Protein: 5
  • Cholesterol: 5