Vanilla Yogurt Pancakes

The weekends are such a special time.

Time for yourself.

For your family.

For doing things you love with people you love.

So while you’re food choices are often more decadent and indulgent feeling, that doesn’t mean it has to be unhealthy!


Pancakes have always been something special and I love making them on the weekends.

My pancakes are 100% whole grain, made with more protein from Greek yogurt, with less sugar thanks to my 30-second fruit syrup made with no sugar added preserves, water, and a touch of sweetener.

They are satisfying and filling! I even make enough to last through the week for breakfast which at that point I top with almond butter and more for the all fruit preserves! Weekend vibes all week long!


Vanilla Yogurt Whole Grain Pancakes with Homemade Fruit Syrup

Makes: 12-16 pancakes

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

dash of cinnamon

dash of nutmeg

1 banana, mashed

6 ounces Siggi’s Vanilla yogurt

1 cup Fairlife skim milk

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the syrup:

1 tablespoon all fruit spread or jam

1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon syrup of choice


Preheat a non stick skillet to medium, medium-low heat.

In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour through nutmeg). In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients (banana through vanilla).

Pour the wet into the dry and gently combine.

Pour desired amount of pancake mixture into prepared skillet, also sprayed with nonstick spray.  When bubbles st art to form (after a couple minutes), flip the pancakes and cook on the remaining side for about half the time.

Serve warm with the syrup that has been combined in a glass jar and warmed in the microwave (about 30 seconds).


The vanilla Siggi’s Skyr yogurt gives these not only extra protein (in addition to the Fairlife milk) but it also adds a touch of sweetness and fluff  to the pancakes.

Don’t be afraid of using whole wheat flour here, the pastry flour gives these a lightweight and soft texture. All the ingredients combined really help switch this (the yogurt, milk, banana) but you don’t have to worry that these will be hard and dense that can happen when using 100% whole grain products in place of traditionally-used enriched or refined flours.

If you need a gluten free version, you can substitute gluten free oat flour cup for cup in this recipe.


Enjoy this recipe and the printable recipe card: Vanilla Yogurt Pancakes!



Caesar Dressing


One of the first things I learned about my mother in law is that she is a great cook! And one of the first recipes I ever associate with her & that she then shared with me is her caesar dressing. I’ve twisted it ever so slightly over the years but it has always been a staple in our house. We even served it at our rehearsal dinner, we love it so much!

I’m sure you’ll love it too and there’ll be no need to search for a good store-bought brand when you can make your own at home!


This is an egg-less caesar salad making it great for anyone avoiding uncooked eggs, like pregnant or nursing moms!

Caesar Dressing


1/4 cup red wine vinegar

~ 6 garlic cloves, minced

3/4 tube of anchovie paste

freshly ground black pepper

1 lemon, juiced

1/2 cup olive oil


Combine all ingredients in a cruet or mason jar. Shake to combine well.


Super easy but so delicious and flavorful!

My MIL crushes her garlic in a garlic press, but I finely mince mine. You choose what may be best for you and your family’s preferences.

Her original recipe stated to use “a lot of garlic” well I didn’t know just how much that was until I actually had to watch her make it one day while visiting because until then, mine just didn’t taste the same. My version of  a lot of garlic was 3-4 cloves, but no, she uses like 9-10? I may be exaggerating now though. I’ve lost track over the years. I may have toned it down or 6-7 may be the realistic amount. Either way, did i say it was deliciously amazing?


Pair it with a salad for pizza night, steaks, burgers, or make an easy grilled chicken caesar salad! Printable recipe for your recipe collection: caesar dressing.




Strawberry Spinach Smoothie Pops

It might be a mouthful to say but these smoothie popsicles are a great way to get a bunch of the nutrients your child may be missing in a fun a treat-like food!


I fed this to my daughter on our hot afternoon walk – and while it was messy- I was a happy Momma! I didn’t even care that her dinner was hit or miss because at least she ate some veggies – and enjoyed it!

I will admit, this is like the 4th or 5th attempt in giving these to her because she has resisted them in other attempts. At first she wanted them, but became quickly uninterested.

Then she wanted to try them, but said she didn’t like them… I was questioning this one knowing what other foods and flavors she does like.

Then she’d eat them again, only a few bites. Until finally she finished a whole one!


I know how frustrating and tiring it can be to continuously offer kids healthy items even when you are pretty certain they’ll turn them down or say they do not like them.

Persistence is key my friends!

I often times feel successful at dinner- not even if she doesn’t eat her veggies- but as long as she was offered them and we all ate dinner together.

It can be hard enough to get our dinner together, while still considering likes as well without making 2 completely separate meals (because in all honesty, we shouldn’t be doing that)! But there are those nights when I can just eat cereal for dinner- and often do- and she does too! So while I’m glad she ate, I’m not thrilled with the fact it wasn’t a well-rounded meal.


But I try to remind myself- and hopefully this brings you comfort- that you don’t have to be perfect. Kids are great at knowing what and how much they want. While we need to continue to offer and expose them to new and nutrient-rich foods, we also have to balance so many things in our day, so keeping it as easy and stress free as possible is so important, even nutritiously.

So Mommas, for those nights everyone eats pizza for dinner sans veggie or salad or the night you just throw fries and chicken nuggets into the oven, give yourself a break! Rest, refresh, and regroup for later. It’s just one day. There’s always tomorrow. The trick is to not let it become a habit!


Strawberry Spinach Smoothie Pops

6 ounces plain Greek yogurt

splash of vanilla extract

1 cup unsweetened fruit

1/4 to 1/2  cup Fairlife skim milk

1/2 cup coconut water

1 tablespoon nut butter

2 tablespoons flax seed

1 cup fresh spinach



Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth & combined. Pour into popsicle molds or paper cups. Freeze for about 10-15 minutes (insert popsicle sticks at this point if haven’t already done so). Continue freezing until firm and cold.

Enjoy as a snack or light meal!

Our milk go-to these days is Fairlife milk. I love that it has half the amount of sugar and carbs, but even more protein that traditional milk all because it goes through an extra filtration process (just like strained or “Greek”- style yogurt).

Speaking of Greek yogurt – I use Fage 2% or Siggi’s plain here – again for the lower sugar, higher protein content. Vanilla extract helps to add richness  & flavor without sugar. My daughter can eat plain Greek yogurt happily, but if your child is not this way, maybe start with a flavored Siggi’s yogurt.  I chose strawberries because -for once she’s not my child in this instance as she doesn’t like fresh fruits in general let along berries-  I’m incorporating what nutrients and flavor profiles she’s missing in her normal diet. And spinach, let’s face it, she doesn’t eat hardly any veggies, so this is the most neutral flavor, but nutrient rich option to add into a smoothie!





And for an easy printable recipe, don’t forget to click here: Smoothiepops.

Feel Good Cookies


When I was pregnant with LEM I would often grab these “perfect cookies” at work as they were:

  1. Free!!!
  2. delicious
  3. relatively healthy
  4. convenient to grab while at work, and one less thing to pack for the day
  5. satisfied my sweet tooth while providing key nutrients to keep me full and energized

They were made up of nothing but whole grains, plant based fats, and a mix of sugar and plant-based sweeteners.

Well, these cookies are no longer available and while I’ve tried to make them at home a few times, they never quite turn out the same.


This time was different however! I changed a few things about the recipe and also to entice LEM to eat some – since she’s totally into this chocolate phase- but to rid my constant worries of added sugars, I used nothing but dates to sweeten these, along with a few dark chocolate chips!

These cookies are great for moms or kids! I bet dad’s will even like them too! They’re great for a healthier, but indulgent-feeling snack or pack them as a guilt-free treat in their lunch box.


Feel Good Cookies

Makes: 4 dozen


1 cup pitted dates

1 cup hot water

3/4 cup coconut oil, melted

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/4 cup ground flax seed

2/3 cup (or 2 scoops) low sugar protein powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 cups old fashioned oats, divided

1/2 cup dark or bittersweet chocolate chips {optional}


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheets with non-stick spray.

In a blender, add the pitted dates and warm water. Pulse to combine and break up the dates into almost a syrup consistency.  Add the coconut oil to the date syrup. Pulse to incorporate. Add the beaten eggs and vanilla extract, pulse again.

In a small bowl, add the whole wheat flour, flax seeds, protein powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and 2 cups of the oats. Mix together and pour into the blender pitcher. Pulse well to incorporate everything together.

Pour the batter into the bowl used to prepare the dry ingredients. Add the remaining 1 cup of oats and chocolate chips. Stir with a spatula to combine.

Using a small cookie scoop, portion out the batter onto the baking sheets (they won’t spread out very much). Use the back of a nonstick spatula to slightly flatten out the tops – otherwise they will be rounded mounds or cookies rather than more even-top-flatter cookies.

Bake each batch for 10 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for about 1 minute then remove to a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

Nutrition facts (per cookie): 80 calories, 5 grams fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 35 milligram sodium, 8 grams carbs, 2 grams fiber, 2 grams sugar, 2 grams protein – not including chocolate chips if using


Note: To make these gluten free, use gluten free oats and swap out the whole wheat pastry flour for another cup of oats. And for a convenient printable recipe, click Feel Good Cookies- printable.

For a dessert, I’d recommend keeping the serving size to just 1, but if this is a snack, you could increase the servings to 2 cookies! That’s right, eat more! They’re better for you and you’ll want the extra sustenance from the fiber, protein, and fats.

Don’t you love it when a dietitian says to eat MORE of something!?!







Kale & Cilantro Slaw

I recently shared one of my favorite recipes {slow cooker pulled pork} so it’s only right that I share the best accompaniment that goes with this dish.


This kale and cilantro slaw is perfect nutritionally-

dark leafy greens, check!

extra protein and probiotics from the Greek yogurt dressing, check!

Cool and tangy to offset the spicy and warm pork, check!

Pretty colors to “eat with your eyes”, check!

It’s also fast, easy, and while it gets better with time as it sits, it tastes great right away so no need to make ahead if you don’t have the time!


Kale and Cilantro Slaw

Serves: 4-6


1/2 head of purple cabbage, julienne

4 stalks kale, julienne

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

juice of 1 lime

pinch of kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon honey

freshly ground black pepper


In a large bowl, add the cabbage, kale, cilantro, lime juice, salt, & pepper.

Prepare the dressing by combining the yogurt, vinegar, garlic powder, honey, and black pepper. Whisk together with a fork.

Pour the dressing over the veggie mixture. Toss well to combine.


For a printer-friendly recipe, click here.





Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken Tacos

It’s the middle of summer and that often entails no one wanting to cook in attempts to keep cool and not add more heat to the house by turning on the oven.


This month’s recipe redux theme uses some form of cooking rather than the oven: slow cooking, pressure cooking, insta pots, etc!

My bff in this situation is the slow cooker because it means low and slow cooking that produces flavorful and tender meals that are comforting and satisfying, even in the sultry summer!


This recipe is almost a 2-ingredient meal. If you have the salsa mixture already on hand in your fridge then you can just plop some in the pot with the chicken and be done. If you don’t have a fresh jar of homemade salsa, not to worry, everything gets blended briefly and poured in so it’s still little prep work- something that can be done pretty thoughtlessly at night after a long day, or in the early am before you head out the door.

I do love this salsa- on a side note! It’s so fresh and flavorful with a little kick of heat and extra flavor from the chipotle peppers! It’s great to make up ahead of time and use for various other recipes!

IMG_5926Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken Tacos

Serves: 4-6


1 ten ounce can Rotel with Lime & Cilantro

handful of grape tomatoes

2-3 chipotle peppers packed in adobo sauce

1/4 red onion, diced

4 cloves garlic

1/2 bunch cilantro

1 lime, juiced

 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts

HOLA NOLA corn tortillas

{For the fixin’s: avocado, cilantro, plain Greek Yogurt, shredded romaine or lettuce of choice}


In a blender or food processor, blend all the ingredients together- except the chicken, tortillas, and fixin’s (Rotel through the lime). Blend until well combined.

Pour the salsa into the bottom of the slow cooker pot. Place the chicken breast on top. Set on low for 6-8 hours.

Shred with two forks and serve on whole grain tortillas with desired fixin’s.


As with many of my recipes,  you can adjust the amounts of ingredients to suite your taste and what’s available in your house. If you have half an onion to use and won’t likely use it later in the week for another recipe, by all means, throw it all in the blender for the salsa. If you only have 3 cloves of garlic, no big deal! Use what you have and don’t stress!



Stay cool and enjoy!



Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Tenderloin


One of my all time meals on my blog to recommend revolves around pulled pork.

Most people can’t imagine making pulled pork better-for-you. It’s tender, smoky, it’s juicy, and flavorful- how can that be good for you?


Simple! Just use a leaner piece of meat, plop it in your slow cooker or smoker with some vinegar and spices and you have an easy nutritious meal makeover!

Pair it with a whole grain bread and a slaw or veggie and you’re good to go for a family friend & comforting meal that’s delicious and nutritious!


Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Tenderloin

Serves: 4-6


1 lb pork tenderloin

1 small onion, sliced

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup unsalted stock (veg, beef, or chicken will do)

1 tablespoon low sodium Worcestershire sauce

2 dashes liquid smoke

1 tablespoon brown sugar (or molasses, coconut sugar, etc)

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

pinch of kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper


Set the onions in the slow cooker then rest the pork on top.

Prepare the liquid mixture (combining the vinegar, stock, Worcestershire, and liquid smoke). Pour along the edge of the pot.

Prepare the spice “rub” by mixing together the seasonings and spices (brown sugar through the remaining ingredients). Sprinkle 1/2 the spice rub on the pork.

Set to low for 8 hours and walk away! Shred with two forks and allow to keep warm for another hour + to allow the juices to soak up into the pulled meat.

About half way through the cooking (if able), flip the meat and sprinkle the remaining spice mixture on the second half of the meat. If you cannot complete this step because you are away during the day, don’t worry! Simply add all the spice rub in the beginning, shred when able, and serve when able. It’ll be delicious either way!


On a 100% whole grain or whole wheat sandwich thin or round, spread on some BBQ sauce, add a good helping of meat, and top it off with a kale slaw.

If you’re wondering what particular BBQ sauce I use, there really isn’t any go-to brand in my house. I’ve had almost every store-brand and restaurant brand on hand at some time or another. Go ahead and use any one you like because the amount you’ll likely use on your bread is so insignificant that the sugars and sodium won’t make or break your meal.

I like to recommend, and follow my own advice, to incorporate a vegetable into every meal. A slaw of some sort just goes well with this meal. While I don’t personally care for heavy-mayo-based traditional slaws, I’m a big fan of what I call zesty slaws. Simply toss together shredded or julienne veggies, Greek yogurt, and lime juice or vinegar and top it on your pulled pork sandwich! It really helps to bring all the flavors home. A cool. zest slaw with a spicy, warm sandwich is the perfect pairing.