A lot of store bought granola's are high in sugar, salt and unhealthy fats. This recipe is quick, healthy and delicious! Feel free to be creative and adapt using whatever nuts, seeds, spices and/or dried fruit you enjoy or have on hand! You can easily opt out of using nuts for nut allergies. It's great to have with yogurt, milk or as a snack by itself. It's also a great gift when in a mason jar and tied with a pretty ribbon! I found these great "Handmade with Love for You" gift tags at World Market. Enjoy!

3 cups rolled oats 
1 cup raw almonds, slivered 
1/2 cup raw cashews, chopped 
1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut 
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds 
1/2 cup raw sesame seeds
1/4 cup raw flax seed, whole 
1/4 cup chia seeds 
2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup raw honey
1 TB vanilla extract

2 cups raisins
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup unsweetened, dried cherries

1. Combine first set of ingredients in large bowl. 
2. Combine coconut oil, honey and vanilla in small bowl. 
3. Add liquid mixture into dry ingredients and mix well; it's easiest if you do this with your hands.
4. Spread granola on parchment rimmed cookie sheet.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes (or until lightly browned) at 300 degrees, stirring occasionally, being careful to not burn.
7. Remove granola from oven and allow to cool completely on wire rack. It will harden as it cools. 
8. Add dried fruit. 
9. Store in an air tight container.

Yield:  46 1/4-cup servings

Nutrition Facts (per 1/4 cup serving): 158 calories, 9 grams fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4 mg sodium, 19 grams carbs, 2 grams fiber, 10 grams sugar, 3 grams protein, 0% Vitamin A, 1% Vitamin C, 4% Calcium, 9% Iron
This is a perfect fall dinner! Make it ahead of time & then ready to warm up on busy weekday night. It is quick and easy to make and of course, healthy! Top with sour cream (or better yet, greek yogurt), chopped avocado, green onions, shredded cheddar cheese and a side of whole wheat bread or whatever completes your favorite chili recipe! 

ngredients: 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound ground turkey breast
1/2 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 cups water
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, low salt 
1 (15 oz) can low salt kidney beans - drained and rinsed
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 TB chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano, dried
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
*greek yogurt, shredded cheese, sliced jalapenos, avocado, green onion - optional

1. Heat oil in large pan over medium heat. Add ground turkey and cook until evenly browned. Stir frequently to crumble.
2. Add in remaining ingredients and bring to boil.
3. Reduce heat and simmer on low, with cover on for 30 minutes. 
4. Add more seasonings to reach desired flavor.

Yield: 8 1 cup servings

Nutrition Facts: 145 calories, 1 gram fat, 35 mg cholesterol, 190 mg sodium, 14 grams carbs, 4 grams fiber, 4 grams sugar, 18 grams protein, 18% Vitamin A, 50% Vitamin C, 6% Calcium, 12% Iron

This is one of my favorite homemade dressings. It is so quick and easy to make. Works great on vegetable salads, grain salads, or to marinate your chicken or tofu.  

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (any vinegar would probably do)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon grainy mustard

Combine all ingredients and shake well. I use the Chef’n Emulstir (available at Sur La Table, Amazon, Bed, Bath and Beyond or Sears) but you can use anything similar!

Yield: 1 cup (8 2-Tablespoon servings)

Nutrition Facts per 2 TB: 139 calories, 14 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 11 mg sodium, 3 grams carbohydrates, 0 grams fiber, 2 grams sugar, 0 grams protein, 0% vitamin A, 0% vitamin C, 1% calcium, 1% iron

My weakness is without a doubt the combination of chocolate and peanut butter. I have been seeing a lot of homemade candy recipes floating around the internet and thought I would try it out. So easy and indulgent…and tastes even better than a store bought Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup! 

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips/chunks + 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips/chunks
3 TB unsalted, natural peanut butter
2 teaspoons coconut oil (could also use butter)


Place 10 small muffin cups in muffin tin. Melt ½ cup chocolate chips in microwave for about 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until smooth, being careful not to burn.

Spoon even amounts of chocolate into each muffin cup holder, pushing a little up the sides of the muffin cup holder (so it will encompass the peanut butter when filled). Freeze for 15 minutes (or until firm). 

Combine peanut butter and coconut oil in small bowl. Microwave until easy to pour, about 30 seconds. Spoon even amounts of peanut butter into the middle of each muffin cup.  Freeze 15 minutes or until firm. 

Melt remaining chocolate chips (the same way as before) and spoon over the top of each cup. Make sure chocolate covers peanut butter entirely. Gently tap muffin pan on counter to smooth the surface of the chocolate. Freeze 15 minutes or until firm. Unwrap and enjoy! Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Yield: 10 peanut butter cups

Nutrition Facts per 1 cup: 129 calories, 11 grams fat, 6 grams saturated fat, 1 mg sodium, 12 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 7 grams sugar, 3 grams protein

*This recipe was adapted and slightly modified from www.detoxinista.com*

Can't get enough Pumpkin Products? This decadent Pumpkin Smoothie is fall in a glass! This nutrient dense smoothie is thick and creamy and full of flavor. It makes a delicious and filling liquid breakfast or an energy-boosting snack.

1/2 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
1/2 frozen banana - slightly defrosted (will taste much better if frozen)
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (any milk will work)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground flax seed
pinch of fresh ginger (~1/4 teaspoon), chopped
6 ice cubes
1 TB greek yogurt

Combine all ingredients in blender or Vitamix. 

Yield: 1 smoothie

Nutrition Facts: 173 calories, 3 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 130 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol, 28 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fiber, 11 grams sugar, 12 grams protein, 387%  Vitamin A, 37% Calcium, 17% Vitamin C, 13% Iron

Pumpkin Hummus is a great way to incorporate the fall flavors into traditional hummus. A good source of fiber and protein but still low in calories. Spread on a sandwich or serve as a dip with fresh vegetables, pita chips or warm whole wheat pita bread. 

Juice from 1 lemon
1 TB tahini
1 1/2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-ounce can unsalted garbanzo beans
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup unsweetened pumpkin, pureed (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
dash cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt 

Combine lemon juice, tahini and garlic in blender. Add beans, olive oil, pumpkin, cayenne, salt and cumin and blend until smooth. Refrigerate before serving. 

Yield: 2 cups

Nutrition Facts per 2 Tablespoons:
57 calories, 1 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 40 mg sodium, 9 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 3 g protein 

Pumpkin puree is a great alternative to canned pumpkin. The flavor is quite different than canned pumpkin.  You can use it in smoothies, risotto, soups, pie, scones, chili, pancakes, oatmeal, bread and/or freeze for use later on.

1 small sugar pumpkin (not a large carving pumpkin)
Olive Oil
Fall spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice and/or cloves

Preheat oven to 350. With a very sharp knife, slice pumpkin in half. Scoop out the stringy insides and seeds until it is clean. Save the seeds to be roasted. Brush with olive oil (optional) and sprinkle with spices (optional). I used nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon. Lay face down on foil lined baking pan. Roast for 50 minutes; may need more or less time depending on the size of your pumpkin. When a fork easily sticks through the skin it's done. Test in several areas to ensure doneness. Let cool for 10 minutes. Using a large spoon, peel skin away; it should peel off easily. If you just want roasted pumpkin, you are done. If you want to puree it, place in Vitamix or Blender for 2-3 minutes until creamy and smooth. Store in fridge up to 1 week. Super easy!

Yield: depends on size of pumpkin. 1 small pumpkin usually makes 2-4 cups of puree.

Nutrition Facts: per 1/2 cup of puree (no olive oil):
50 calories, 0 grams fast, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 mg sodium, 10 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 4 grams sugar, 1 gram protein, 280% Vitamin A, 2% Calcium, 4% Vitamin C, 8% Iron

Wheat Berries aren’t berries, they are simply unprocessed, whole kernels of wheat. Wheat berries are not often a grain that many know about – we often stick to what we know. Next time you head to the grocery store, pick up a bag of Wheat Berries. They are a little crunchy, a little nutty and delicious!  They are high in fiber and protein and simple to make. My recipe is modified from a Wheat Berry Salad by Ellie Krieger. 

1 cup uncooked Wheat Berries (I used Nature’s Earthly Choice which are pre-steamed)
½ cup chopped pecans
½ cup unsweetened, dried cherries
¼ cup green onions, chopped
½ cup parsley, chopped
2 TB olive oil
Juice from 1 lemon
¼ cup goat cheese, crumbled


In a large pot combine 1 cup wheat berries with 2.5 cups water. Combine and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer covered until the wheat berries are tender but still chewy, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. (If you bought another brand of wheat berries, follow the directions on the package to cook, as some brands may have a longer cooking time if they are not pre-steamed.) Cool.

In a large bowl combine pecans, cherries, onion, parsley, olive oil and lemon juice.  Mix in cooled wheat berries.

Place on top of arugula and sprinkle with goat cheese.

Tastes great cold and keeps well in the refrigerator to use again another day! 

Yield: 6 1/2-cup servings

Nutrition Facts (per 1 serving):

231 calories, 9 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 6 mg cholesterol, 80 mg sodium, 33 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fiber, 9 grams sugar, 8 grams protein, 26% Vitamin A, 11% Calcium, 22% Vitamin C, 13% Iron

Steel cut oats (also known as Irish Oats) are a great breakfast choice! Oatmeal is high in soluble fiber and protein so it keeps you satisfied. The big difference between steel cut oats and instant or rolled oats is that steel cut oats are less processed. Instant oats or rolled oats are steamed, rolled and toasted. Steel cut oats are simply oat groats that are just chopped. They are coarse & hearty in texture and remain chewy after cooking.  They have a lower glycemic index which means your blood sugar will not spike as much after eating them.  Since they do take longer to make than rolled or instant oats, make a huge batch and enjoy it all week long. They reheat very well.

1/2 cup uncooked steel cut oats
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp ground flax seed
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp almond butter
1 apple, cored and chopped (keep peel on)

In a medium pot over high heat, bring water to a boil. Once water is boiling, add oats, apple, vanilla, flax seed and cinnamon. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn heat down and simmer covered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn heat off and let sit covered for a few minutes. Mix in almond butter. Serve immediately or allow to cool and transfer into air tight container in the refrigerator.

*Double, triple or quadruple this recipe to have oatmeal all week!
Yield: 2 servings

Nutrition Facts (per 1 serving):
264 calories, 7 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 2 mg sodium, 43 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams fiber, 9 grams sugar, 8 grams protein, 1% Vitamin A, 5% Calcium, 7% Vitamin C, 12% Iron


This recipe was slightly modified from the original, by Giada De Laurentiis. I first tried Chia Seed Pudding when I did a "mason jar" breakfast exchange with some girlfriends. We all made 6 mason jars of one type of make ahead breakfast to share and went home with 6 new ideas (and breakfast for the week!) This one was my favorite, made by my friend Lindsey.

Chia seeds are a healthy addition to your diet! They are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. They also contain protein and minerals including as iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc. They may help improve cardiovascular risk factors such as lowering cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. The high fiber will be filling, so helpful for weight loss.  Chia seeds are very absorbent and develop a gelatinous texture when soaked in liquid making it easy to mix them into dishes.

I love this recipe because you can make it ahead in a mason jar and just throw the jar in your bag as you head out the door to work. No extra effort. You can double, triple or quadruple the recipe and have breakfast for every day of the week!

½ cup unsweetened almond milk (could really use any kind of milk)
½ cup 0% greek yogurt (can also use 2%) - for more volume and a thinner pudding could substitute equal amount of milk for the yogurt if you avoid dairy
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 TB chia seeds
1 cup raspberries (any fruit works – strawberries, peaches, mango, pineapples, etc)
1 TB slivered almonds

In medium bowl, whisk together almond milk, yogurt and vanilla until blended. Whisk in chia seeds and let sit for 30 minutes. Stir to distribute seeds if they have settled. Put in glass or small mason jar, cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning top with raspberries and slivered almonds. Voilà! Breakfast is ready to go!

Yield: 1 glass

Nutrition Facts:
298 calories, 13 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 138 mg sodium, 30 grams carbohydrates, 17 g fiber, 11 grams sugar, 19 grams protein, 6% Vitamin A, 54% Vitamin C, 55% Calcium, 19% Iron