Cacao Pretzel Snacks


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:






Cacao Pretzel Snacks

  • Author: Sara Haas


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



  • 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


  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.


  • 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!


  • 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


In Case You Missed It! I “Break it Down” on Fox 32 News Chicago!

It was a great day to be me! I woke up with a raging head cold with about 3 hours of total sleep under my belt and a looming tv interview in front of me. I wanted to stay in bed, but I put my “big girl pants on” and blew my nose, put some make-up on and got myself (and my toddler) out the door and into the frozen tundra. It was worth it. We had a great time filming the live segment for Fox 32 Noon News and I only messed up once! Woo hoo! Now, sit back, relax and learn a thing or two about the Dietary Guidelines. Bonus points if you can find my mess up. Ugh!

Here’s an awesome screen shot of Corey showing me a bottle of “sports drink.” Thanks Corey for a fun interview!

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 8.19.41 PM

Click here to see the whole thing go down! 

Attention! Snack Ideas Are Here!

I realize this is a new spot here on my website, so hopefully some of you have noticed. I’ve decided to separate my recipe posts from my blog posts as a way to organize things. Since it’s a new year, I figured I should start cleaning up my site a little bit, so hopefully this will be a nice way to ease into it. 

My first blog-only post is this handy link to an article I wrote for As a parent, I know that finding snack foods for kids can be hard. You want something nutritious, but you also want it to taste good so they’ll eat it. These snack ideas keep things simple and your kids can even help you make them. They’re perfect for travel, but make a fine snack for home too.



See the article here: Easy Homemade Travel Snacks

PB&J Granola Parfait

Surprise! It’s Recipe Redux time. 

This month’s theme was to find a cookbook and “Redux” the recipe on page 54 or page 154. “Alrighty then…let’s see how this goes”, I thought to myself as I eagerly reached for Jackie Newgent’s new cookbook, The All Natural Diabetes Cookbook (the night before my “Redux” was due)! “Please Jackie, please let page 54 hold a recipe that I have most of the ingredients for…and let it be a breakfast dish!” I breathed a huge sigh of relief as I turned to page 54, because there, on that beautiful page was not only a good recipe, but a GREAT recipe! Her Homemade Granola-Raspberry Parfaits! If she would’ve been here, I would’ve given her a huge hug. Success!

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Super Simple Tomatillo Salsa

You’ll wonder why you’ve never made tomatillo salsa before…

I know, you’re doubting me when I say that, right? Why make it when you can buy a perfectly decent canned version? Hear me out! Besides being fun to play with (I mean, how awesome are those papery skins they come in?), tomatillos are a breeze to work with. And I have to say, fresh tomatillo salsa is darn good! I mean, really good. So good you’ll want to add it to everything you make. From scrambled eggs to chicken salad, it’ll be your new favorite condiment!

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When life hands you lemons…

There was this time a few weeks ago when I really thought I had it together and then, poof, it all collapsed.

I felt great, I had this fantastic veggie burger recipe all queued up and then, life hit me. Not a literal punch in the face, more of like a “hey, stop biting off more than you can chew!” kind of way. Hence, the delayed post and hence why I have yet to update and face-lift my little blog here. But you’re here and I’m here now, so let’s celebrate that little victory, shall we?

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Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar Roasted Pecans

It’s getting personal here. I love nuts. Yes, I do. So you can just imagine the absolute joy I experienced when I saw that the theme for this month’s Recipe Redux was nuts. “What!? Really?” I’m pretty sure I gasped that exact sentence when I read the good news. Then, just excitement…what was I going to make to celebrate my love for nuts? Immediately, I went to my new obsession (yes, I have a new one now, pumpkin has taken 2nd place), butternut squash. Just what could I do with that?

Oh yes, yes, I’ve got it, Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar Roasted Pecans!

Um, it’s pure heaven. Because who doesn’t love roasted, sweet butternut squash? And who doesn’t adore candied pecans or tangy feta cheese? Right? And so, how about I put all of those together? Um, ok, done! This one is really good people…it got two thumbs up around here in my house and I have to say that I’ve been going back to my fridge multiple time for big, heaping spoonfuls. Pair it with a roasted chicken or turkey or add it to a salad made with dark greens. And just a word of advice, you’ll want to make a double batch.

The Picture Montage Honoring The Fabulous Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar Roasted Pecans











Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar Roasted Pecans

  • Author: Sara Haas


A side dish that will make everyone happy. Roasted butternut squash is paired with lightly candied pecans then tossed with fresh thyme and feta cheese.



For the pecans

  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea or Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup whole pecans

For the squash

  • 1 butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste

To serve

  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese



  1. Preheat the oven the 400’F and line one large sheet pan with foil or parchment paper and one small sheet pan with foil or parchment paper. Spray both with non-stick cooking spray.

For the pecans

  1. To a medium pot, add the sugar and water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the cinnamon and salt and then the pecans. Cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute or until mixture has thickened and pecans appear coated. Spread the the pecans out onto the small sheet pan and place in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

To cook the squash

  1. Place the cubed squash in a large mixing bowl. Add the oil, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Spread the squash out in an even layer onto the prepared, large, rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender and lightly brown, about 30-35 minutes.
  2. Transfer roasted squash back to the mixing bowl. Roughly chop the pecans and add to the squash along with the thyme and feta cheese. Toss to combine and serve.


  • This recipe makes about 2 cups squash. About a 1/2 cup serving each for four people.


  • Serving Size: 4
  • Calories: 143
  • Sugar: 4
  • Sodium: 240
  • Fat: 13
  • Saturated Fat: 2
  • Unsaturated Fat: 11
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 6
  • Protein: 2
  • Cholesterol: 4


Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Pepita Streusel

Here’s the deal, I am not super fancy. Nope, in fact, far from it. I despise dressing up and wearing makeup, but adore having a fresh face and wearing my workout/yoga gear all day. Yes, I am one of those women. In essence, I like being comfortable because when I’m comfortable, I feel like myself. Lucky for me I have a husband who also appreciates my casual approach to life! 🙂 Why do I bother telling you this? Well, because unlike my personal style/lifestyle, I actually like for my food to have flair with a hint of fancy.

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