Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein “Cookies”

These “cookies” are not really cookies.  They are more like protein bars (without the chalky, gross-tasting and/or flavorless qualities) masquerading as cookies.  Anyone tired of drinking your breakfast and/or post-workout fuel?  Too cold for a shake made with ice?  Have one or two of these babies with a banana and a glass of milk and/or cup of hot coffee.  Try having a couple of Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies as your 2:00 p.m. snack at work or as a quick breakfast: they are PACKED with plant-based protein and pretty delicious, considering that they are NOT cookies: no added sugar and no flour!

Happy Pi Day!

We enjoy any reason to celebrate, all year long, but especially in long, cold, dreary, March.  My amazing husband gets awfully landsick, having been away from sailing all winter, and we all get a little cabin fever.  So when it’s time to break out the pie on March 14th, we all say, “YES PLEASE!”

Well, some of us say, “What kind??”  For us, it’s usually Lemon Meringue, because the other fruits are not in season and the brightness of lemon can inject sunshine into even the grayest day.   There would be no pi(e) without crust, and there would be no crust without this one, the Cutest Lady in the World, the World’s Best Crust Maker… my adorable mom.


We made this pie on Sunday, along with three quiche and two baby quiche.  It was one of my favorite days.  Here’s the lemon meringue pie recipe I like to use, and here’s the Classic Crisco Pie Crust recipe that is a no-fail way to get perfect crust every time.

I’ll post more pie another day when we can do strawberry-basil, blueberry-cardamom and classic apple, in season!  Right now, it’s time to get to work on posting an original protein cookie recipe that I just pulled out of the oven and one of my snow-day favorites: French Onion Soup.  Stay tuned, and enjoy some pi(e) today!!




Spring Green Onion and Goat Cheese Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust

I don’t care that there is a blizzard coming our way on Tuesday: Spring is coming.  This light, tangy, flavorful quiche with a truly sweet potato crust will make a believer out of you, too.  Find the recipe for the sweet potato crust, here and the spring green onion and goat cheese filling, here.  At least it will be Spring in your mouth!

Menu for a Mad Month (Part 2: Pi Day & St. Paddy’s Week)

First, report out on last week:  my menu and meal planning held up!  We all ate well, covered our nutritional bases and stayed pretty happy while working pretty darn hard, all week long.  It was a hard one: my first full week at a new job; husband had a grueling clinical and teaching schedule; the boy had his first week of sailing practice after school, and he started his week following the State Championship Debate Tournament last Saturday.  Granted, there were a few things I failed to mention last week:  I made Cheesy Taco Pasta late in the week and then we had (crock pot) Hawaiian chicken with cilantro-lime corn on Saturday night, both of which became clutch in getting us through hot lunches last week.

And here’s my confession:  I broke down and made a fantastic pineapple upside down cake on Sunday, which we enjoyed all week… so there’s one Lenten promise out the window.  But I am maintaining my commitment to wallet-friendly meal planning, and that is making me feel pretty accomplished.  Now, this week, we need to add running and working out back into the rotation, and we will all be feeling like superstars, come Friday.

This Friday is a special day (St. Patrick’s Day), so our menu this week will take that into account.  And we can’t forget what’s coming this Tuesday, March 14th: Pi(e) Day!!  So, I think we’ll do quiche for breakfast and lemon meringue if all goes well.  We also enjoy(?) turning our clocks forward an hour this weekend, so that means one less hour of meal planning and cooking for the week ahead.  Sounds like a delicious challenge to me!

Here is what we will attempt this week:

Quiche: let’s try a sweet potato crust with goat cheese and green onion filling to see if we can entice Spring and the spirit of St. Patrick to arrive… and a classic bacon, cheddar and broccoli for good measure.  They will keep us fueled and smiling every morning and are great for a quick lunch or dinner too!

Applesauce:  great by itself or as an add-in to yogurt and/or granola!

Homemade granola and yogurt for breakfast and/or snack

Chicken Taco Bowls with black beans, cilantro-lime corn, quinoa, sautéed peppers, onions and salsa

Corned Beef, Cabbage and Potatoes (in the crock pot, super easy dinner for Friday night)

Carrot sticks and hummus (snack, lunches)

Sugar snap peas (snack, lunches)

Mandarin oranges (snack, lunches)

Peanut butter chocolate chip protein cookies

Lemon Meringue Pie

Recipes and how to are coming right up!  What are you making this week?



Baked Egg Cups are Here to Save the Day!

These little bites of savory goodness look fancy, and maybe they are (give yourself some credit), but they are quick and EASY to make and eat, and best of all, they are a make-ahead nutrient-packed delicious breakfast you can feel great about eating and feeding to your family!  The protein and fiber will keep everybody full and humming a happy tune until lunch (or mid-morning meal, if you’re like me).

Menu for a Mad Month (Part 1: First Week of Work)

Alright, folks.  I’ve spent a mere three days on the new job and my head is already spinning with time management and food management strategies to keep us all chugging along during these LONG, BUSY weeks of March.  It’s about survival.  We are a family of over-doers.  We pack our schedules with too many events, responsibilities and commitments in not enough time.  I can’t figure out why we do this: a special kind of shared mental illness or personality disorder, maybe?  Even when we actively attempt to cut back, do less, and schedule down time, we end up booked solid from 4:30 a.m. until 10 p.m., every day, and sometimes we go around the clock (when my husband has late night and overnight shifts in the ER, at least one member of our little team can be awake, working, eating and creating laundry for several days in a row).  We have two crazy work schedules, volunteer stuff, high school and all of the frills (debate team, sailing team, SATs, college hunt, friends, prom, kid jobs), a freshman in college, a big local immediate family, friends, neighbors and of course, marathon training and the never-ending fight for fitness and wellness.  Are you this kind of family?  Based on how many images come up when I google, “over-scheduled” to find this photo, I bet you are.  What is wrong with us?  It’s madness, I tell you.

The first thing that I worry about when our days/weeks/months look like this is FOOD.  If we don’t go into Monday morning with a strategy for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner, none of us will be able to muscle through the days ahead.  If we have to build extra time into our crammed schedules for eating out, spontaneous grocery trips and/or all of the thinking, planning, prepping and cook time, we will fail or be forced to compromise on health/nutrition, energy, efficiency, and/or ability to execute on our commitments.  So, before I went to bed last night, I wrote a few lists, and then I felt better.  I spent the entire day today as a volunteer judge for the State Championship High School Debate Tournament, so tomorrow is my chance to put plans into motion.

Here’s our high-energy, high-performance, high-nutrition, high-flavor, highly-satisfying method to beat the madness this week:

Baked egg cups (spinach, bacon and cheddar)

Bananas and cut cantaloupe

Yogurt w/ blueberries and homemade granola

English muffins, peanut butter w/ homemade granola

Lentil Salad with crumbled goat cheese (alone or over spinach)

Goat or cheddar cheese and whole wheat crackers

Homemade apple sauce

Cold green grapes

Carrot sticks, sugar snap peas, and hummus (black bean and garlic)

Trail mix (almonds, cashews, walnuts, craisins and dark chocolate chips)

Ravioli with red sauce, meatballs and roasted broccoli

Pork Loin, garlic smashed potatoes and kale chips

I’ll make a dozen double baked egg cups tomorrow morning (recipe to follow); those will hold us for breakfast and afternoon snacks all week.  If anybody wants a break from savory, we can always switch to english muffins, yogurt, berries and/or granola for breakfast.  The granola is already made, thanks to a little spare time last week.  Apples will go into the crock pot tomorrow for applesauce while I chop the veggies for lentil salad.  Snacks (fruit, cheese, crackers, trail mix, applesauce) will go into lunches all week.  The red sauce is already made, and the meatballs will come together quickly on Monday night (recipe to follow).  The crew will scavenge leftovers on Tuesday night; we’ll do Pork Loin on Wednesday night, and we will enjoy leftovers again on Thursday night.  On Friday night, I’ll be thawing some chili that’s in the freezer for the boy and the grown ups will probably opt for salad, wine and cheese.

Stay tuned for more recipes and methods to keep the madness at bay, and I’ll let you know how well this plan does or doesn’t work out for my team.  There is always room for improvisation, substitution, and cancellation!  Good luck with yours!

Cream of Mushroom Soup

March is long.  And cold, and rainy, foggy, sometimes snowy and slushy, sleety and full of opportunities to make wonderful, creamy soups!  And it’s Lent, so it’s the season for thriftiness and minimalism… so let’s make some cream of mushroom soup with garlic toasted croutons and wring every last drop of goodness out of March. It’s easier than you think!!  If you can chop onions, garlic, and mushrooms (and I know you can), and you have a big old soup pot, you can make this soup.  There are no secret ingredients, no tricks, and nothing expensive or fancy in this dish.  It’s just straight up, pure, simple, creamy goodness.  Of course, I make a lot so that it can feed my family for at least two meals (saving time and money).

Runaway Tip:  If you’re scrolling Pinterest, the internet, cookbooks, etc., for whole, healthful, simple  to execute dishes, look for those with fewer than ten ingredients.  Fewer than five is a huge thrill.  These dishes are by no means plain, dull, or remedial… Any chef will tell you that many of the most delicious, brilliant and best recipes on earth fall into the “Fewer than 5 (or 10)” category.  This soup contains: onions, garlic, mushrooms, flour, butter, chicken stock and light cream.  Even the croutons pass the test: crusty bread, olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Go!  Make!  Enjoy!


(sunrise over one of my favorite turnaround points on a morning run)

Today is my first day, not only for a new job, but in a new career.  It’s the first day of March, which is the month of my first wedding anniversary, and it’s also the first day of Lent.  So, I thought it would be fitting for a little reflection and blogging this morning… first things first.  My Lenten sacrifices will be to give up baking for my family (if I do bake, I will give the goods to friends), and to stretch my dollar and spend more thriftily at the grocery store.  While I will have less baking about which to write, I hope to have time to share some bank-sparing, time-saving healthy-eating meal planning tips.  And maybe you will share yours, too?  We can get through the next forty days together.

(honeymoon in Hawaii last year)


What’s for Breakfast?

You’re hungry; I’m hungry: let’s make granola!  This cinnamon-y, just-sweet-enough, great-for-you, nutty treat is just the protein-packed crunch you are craving for breakfast, snack and/or dessert! Sprinkle on top of your peanut-butter-covered english muffin (my fave), mix into yogurt with craisins, raisins and/or berries, or enjoy it straight up, with milk.  This granola is cheaper, tastier and healthier than anything you can buy in a store, and it will make your kitchen smell like heaven while it toasts up in the oven.  I made a LOT, because I want it to last a while (we eat granola like there is no tomorrow around here), and I will add craisins and maybe a few mini-chocolate chips to individual servings as we go through it.  This will be mixed with whole nuts and will go into my boys’ lunches as “trail mix,” and will be our go-to morning crunch and sweetness.  With all of the hidden protein in this recipe, this granola will keep us all going for hours.  You can add whatever you like and modify quantities to serve your granola habits.

This recipe was inspired by and adapted from a recipe which belongs to my great friends, Crystal Seaver and Jesse Jamnik, fitness coaches and amazing athletes.  Crystal is the gorgeous, muscle-y one on the left (and that’s my superstar, mother-of-four, lightening-fast running partner and dear friend, Seana, in the middle)!

Crystal and Jesse run ultra-marathons in their spare time and know a thing or two about the nutrition, meal-planning, time, energy and discipline that is required to support a high-intensity lifestyle.  I highly suggest a visit to their blog,, for inspiration (they are two of the most inspiring people I have ever met), ideas, training tips (build muscle while building mileage), as well as great nutrition info and recipes!

February is for Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

…and mashed potatoes, and kale chips, and, well, red wine… and fleece pajamas and fires and reading before the fireplace and cat snuggles and not really worrying about anything else.


Seeing how it’s still the dead of winter here, and I am (mercifully) not training for a Spring race (turns out not qualifying for the Boston Marathon, which is sixty days from now, was a blessing), I am focused on short ribs and not so much on training this month.  That will all be changing, as the ice on the pond melts and we fire up the grill and open the kitchen windows to let in the warm breezes… but for now, let’s crank up those ovens, runaway with some short ribs, mashed potatoes and kale chips, and enjoy the heck out of them while we can.