No Bake Festive Cheesecake Cups

These festive cheesecake cups were so easy and fun to put together (with a little patience and help from my big guy). There’s nothing better than having a pre-portioned, easy-to-eat, no bake, HEALTHY (ish) treat to satisfy your sweet tooth at a summer cookout. I’ve been to parties where the desserts are bountiful and it’s hard to resist them. Instead of pondering over what will be your best option, BRING the best option.

Every fourth of July we go to my dads cape house in Sandwich. It’s beautiful. We can see fireworks lit up all along the shore and sometimes straight across the ocean at P-town. My dad always brings fireworks so we have our own personal show, as well as our neighbors on the beach surrounding us. It’s usually a big party every year. I’m happy my kids are able to experience this event with our family.

Who doesn’t love a festive treat? Fresh blue and red berries with sprinkles are sure to please everyone. Now even though I’m not sponsored by Annie’s bunny grahams (but Heyyyy I’d love to be 🙂 ) I happen to have these treats littered around my pantry thanks to Amazon. You can use any graham crackers or vanilla wafer cookies go great too. The greek cream cheese is a new favorite of mine because it’s made with greek yogurt, so it’s half the fat with more protein versus regular cream cheese and tastes just as good.

After the burgers, hot dogs and pasta salads have been eaten, it’s nice to have something sweet before we relax with the sunset and wait for the fireworks. These festive cheesecake dessert cups are perfect for however you celebrate on the 4th of July. You can bring them already portioned out in cups so all you need is a spoon. My stepmom got me these adorable shot glasses that come with spoons, but if your husband happened to be at a bachelor party recently, you may have some plastic jello shot cups laying around. Those work just as well (and what I’ll be bringing to the beach). You can find them at most party stores (right babe?).

No Bake Cheesecake Cups


  • 2 6oz plain greek yogurt cups
  • 1/2 cup greek cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup organic sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup crushed bunny grahams
  • sliced strawberries & blueberries


  1. Using a mixer, beat cream cheese and greek yogurt until smooth.
  2. Add in vanilla and sugar, mix well.
  3. Put crushed bunny grahams on bottom of cup.
  4. Top with cheesecake filling.
  5. Add berries. Top berries with sprinkles if desired.
  6. Repeat until cup is full.
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Taco Pockets

I love this idea for making taco pockets. Folded up cheesy deliciousness that’s easy for the kids to eat=WIN. Clearly my family and I enjoy taco flavored foods (see here) so I like to try to mix up how we eat it. Hand held grilled pockets sounded great to me! I see more of these variations in the future! 

Us moms (& all wives) put too much pressure on ourselves when it comes to making dinner. Sometimes we’ve had a long day with the kids or at work and the last thing we want to do is come up with a plan for dinner. The husband, the kids, they’re all looking at YOU as the sole source of dinner (seriously what would they do without us?).

The easiest thing for me is to buy a few different meat/protein options that I know an easy recipe for. Like chicken for example. I know I can put it with BBQ sauce and grill it, or boil it and shred it for tacos (shocking I know) or put it on a salad. Ground beef/turkey I make meatballs, meatloaf or simply cooked with tomato sauce. These are my “home base” meals that I know I can turn to when I’m in a pinch and need something quick.

Since my day can get pretty busy on a whim, I do what I can when I can. For this meal, I was able to cook the meat in the afternoon with the spices since it only takes about 20 minutes. Then, when I was ready to make the taco pockets at night, I took the cooked beef out of the refrigerator and started assembling them. Frying them up on the griddle took about 10 minutes and we were ready for dinner. I think these would be great to freeze for a grab and go dinner option as well, though I haven’t tried. I used a jar of salsa instead of tomato sauce (which I usually use) because I had it and wanted to switch it up a bit. Both are great options!

Having some “home base” meals are good to have a few times a week. I like to get adventurous maybe 1-2 times a week depending on what ingredients I have on hand. This meal is not really one of those times, but I’m hoping it can give you inspirations for a new “home base” recipe for your family. I’d love to hear some of yours, let me know!

Taco Pockets


  • 1lb ground beef/turkey
  • 1 cup salsa/tomato sauce 8oz
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 tblsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 6 whole wheat tortilla wraps
  • 1 package mixed mexican cheese


  1. Cook ground beef in a skillet over medium high heat in oil.
  2. Drain oil from beef.
  3. Add 1/2 jar of salsa or whole can of tomato sauce to beef.
  4. Add spices and combine.
  5. Add drained black beans and let simmer over low heat.
  6. Fill tortilla wrap with 1/4 cup mixture and 1/8 cup mixed cheese.
  7. Fold tortilla to make it into a pocket and it's the beef is completely enclosed.
  8. Place tortilla pocket fold side down on medium high skillet.
  9. Flip after 3-5 minutes or when pocket is heated thoroughly.
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Healthy Blueberry Zucchini Muffins

The summer is fast approaching and fresh zucchini and blueberry bushes are starting to bloom at the local farms. My garden isn’t really big enough for zucchini so I tend to get them from friends or farm stands. There are so many meals and baked goods to make with zucchini. I love that it’s mild in flavor with low calories and can be used as a substitute for pasta on occasion. Blueberries are another fruit that’s showing up at our farm stands as well and who can’t resist some fresh big blueberries? My little guy calls them “bluebears” and it’s simply adorable.  

When I was younger my nana used to bring us blueberry picking every year. She made sure we got the biggest ones and our buckets were full to the brim. Then we’d go back to her cute house in the woods and eat a big bowl of blueberries, milk and sugar. Yup- it was the best. I thankfully got to bring my youngest son blueberry picking with her one summer. Now that she’s passed away, I still make it a point to bring the kids blueberry picking to remember her as well as show them where their food comes from.

Once the blueberry bushes are ready you can bet we’ll be out there picking and making these muffins again! I usually have all of the ingredients on hand so they’re easy to whip up when we’re needing some comfort foods. Maybe this year I’ll let them have her infamous blueberry, milk and sugar treat.

I made these muffins healthier by using a combination of whole wheat and all purpose flour. It takes some density out of the muffins and still makes them taste like they come from a bakery. I don’t like using white sugar so I use coconut sugar and maple syrup to sweeten them up. The banana and coconut oil is a substitute for oil in traditional muffin recipes. Zucchini adds a bit of vitamins and minerals to sneak in there as well. Next time you go blueberry picking, save some for this recipe!

Healthy Blueberry Zucchini Muffins


  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini (water removed)
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil melted
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix egg, coconut oil, coconut sugar, maple syrup and vanilla extract in small bowl.
  3. Grate zucchini and squeeze out liquid.
  4. Add mashed banana and zucchini to wet ingredients above.
  5. In separate bowl mix flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  6. Gently fold wet ingredients into dry and mix.
  7. Add in blueberries and combine.
  8. Line muffin tin with liners or spray with coconut oil. Spoon mix into cups and bake for 15 minutes.
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Turkey Meatballs with Spinach [Gluten Free]

The weather in New England lately has been so blah that instead of making burgers like I should be, I’m making meatballs! That’s ok- it will turn soon! Sunshine is in our future, I know it. So since it’s not exactly burger weather, I figured I’d make meatballs with my ground turkey instead.

I like hiding extra veggies in meatballs because if you chop them small enough you usually can hide the complaints from the peanut gallery. I use my ninja blender to chop the carrots up small and simply chop the fresh spinach. Mixed with fresh garlic, a few spices, egg and breadcrumbs and we’re good.

Except I hate using breadcrumbs! Have you seen the ingredient list in breadcrumbs? Too much crap- including high fructose corn syrup. Since I’ve seen that ingredient in popular breadcrumbs at the grocery store, I do my best to avoid using them. Usually I’ll put oatmeal in my meatballs/meatloaf but I just made almond meal so I thought I’d use that.

I’ve been making almond milk a lot lately and with the extra pulp, I found out how to turn it into a flour/meal (bake in the oven on low heat for 3 hrs). I consider it more of an almond meal because I don’t have anything to grind it up finely like a flour. This worked perfectly for my meatballs to create the thickness needed to hold them together. You could substitute the almond meal for oatmeal which is what I typically do. I don’t grind them, just leave them whole (use gluten free oats).    

Some people wonder how I cook or do anything with my kids. This is your answer. So much water play. Such. A. Mess. But it’s ok and it gives me some time to whip dinner together while they get some play time in. For those interested- first we made “cloud dough” which was simply flour mixed with some baby oil. Then we tried adding some food coloring to it. Next we were making “an ocean” and the food coloring ended up in the sink when I wasn’t looking. OH WELL.

Turkey Meatballs with Spinach [Gluten Free]


  • 1lb ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup chopped spinach
  • 2 medium carrots chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp oregano


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. After chopping spinach, carrots, and garlic, combine in a big bowl with ground turkey.
  3. Add garlic, spices, egg, and almond meal and mix thoroughly.
  4. Form into balls on a greased baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes.
  6. Serve with favorite pasta sauce over desired noodles.
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Crockpot Chicken in 3 Easy Meals

Crockpot salsa chicken is one of the easiest things I do when it comes to meal prepping. It’s literally 2 ingredients and can be used for the week (depending on how much chicken you use and your family size). Lucky for me- my family doesn’t LOVE to have leftovers all the time. But I have no problem thinking of new meals to eat the leftovers for lunch or a quick dinner. So I created this post to show you how I use the chicken in 3 different meals.

It kind of goes without saying but I feel I need to explain how I make the crockpot salsa chicken. So I make sure to defrost the chicken in the fridge or a few hours on the counter in the morning. I use 1.5-2.5lbs of chicken. Put it in the crockpot and pour a jar of salsa over it on low heat 4-6 hours. Yes .. that’s literally it. Moving on.


First up was over a salad. I chopped up some romaine lettuce, bell peppers, tomatoes and avocado for the salad. Top it with the chicken and add a little bolthouse farm salsa avocado yogurt and it’s done. Lots of flavor in this easy lunch.

Next was a taco for dinner. I bought these veggie wraps to switch it up and I like them so far. I have the chicken, avocado, tomatoes, lettuce, and plain greek yogurt for the taco. Add some broccoli for a side and we’re good.


The last meal I made was quesadillas. I added some chopped peppers, mixed cheese and a sprinkle of chili powder to a whole wheat tortilla. Fold the tortilla in half and cook it on both sides until the cheese is melted. Quesadillas are a simple dinner meal and most kids enjoy them. I dip mine in plain greek yogurt with some chips, tomatoes and broccoli on the side for a balanced meal.

If you’re looking for an easy meal that doesn’t require much effort and can be used throughout the week, crockpot chicken is for you. You may not get as many meals out of it as I did due to feeding other people in your family, but if you add more chicken to the crockpot this will help. You can also use these ideas with your favorite BBQ or buffalo sauce. I hope you find this post helpful in prepping some healthy meals for the week!

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Pesto Avocado Sauce over Spaghetti Squash with Salmon


I love using spaghetti squash in recipes instead of pasta to keep it light and I’ve recently found a new love for avocado with salmon. Seriously- it’s amazing. My kids and husband like salmon thankfully so since it’s one of the only seafoods we like, I try to make it once a week. Usually I bake or grill the salmon with just sea salt, but my stepmom always cooked it with pesto. I love how pesto tastes, but I don’t have time to make it. Insert a Trader Joes find of Dorot frozen pesto. My co-worker Sandra told me about this frozen wonder so I decided to give it a shot and I love it. (I think other grocery stores have it also.)

I’ve made mango avocado salsa for salmon before and loved that. I’ve also sauteed the frozen pesto with olive oil for a traditional pesto sauce and loved that. So I decided to try out mixing the pesto with avocado for the best of both worlds. IT WAS BOMB! Pesto avocado sauce for the win.

As my spaghetti squash was baking in the oven I put together the pesto avocado sauce. It was super easy with my ninja blender. Add all the ingredients, blend, done.

I popped the salmon in the oven for the last 8 minutes that the squash was cooking. Careful not to overcook the salmon because nobody likes overcooked fish (unless it’s sushi-duh). Once the salmon and squash were cooked, I forked out the squash into a big bowl and mixed in the delicious sauce.

My husband and kids wouldn’t come close to this pesto avocado sauce so they get plain (Whatever). The pesto gives it a little kick which I love but the kids don’t as much. I couldn’t reel them in with the whole “green sauce” thing. So they all got plain which was fine. Can’t win em all. Maybe I’ll use the leftovers with eggs tomorrow. MMMmm.

Spaghetti Squash Salmon with Pesto Avocado Sauce


  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 1/2 tblsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 5 cubes dorot frozen pesto
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 4 salmon portions


  1. Cut squash in half lengthwise and place face down on baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil and sea salt.
  2. Bake spaghetti squash at 400 for 20-25 minutes depending on size of squash. Once you can easily pierce the squash with a fork it is done.
  3. While squash is baking, mix avocado, olive oil, garlic, pesto and sea salt in blender until smooth.
  4. Season salmon with salt and pepper and bake at 400 for 8 minutes or until easily flaked with a fork.
  5. Using a fork, scrap the spaghetti squash into a bowl.
  6. Mix avocado sauce with spaghetti squash.
  7. Top with salmon.
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Chocolate Covered Pretzel PB Bars

OK I’ve made these pretzel peanut butter bars a few times and have finally perfected them! I’ve done them with or without the chocolate drizzle and both are good but let’s be honest- chocolate wins!

I start by melting the coconut oil, honey and peanut butter. The white chocolate peanut butter from Peanut Butter & Co is amazing so I loved using it for this recipe. I always have at least 2 types of their peanut butter in my cabinets- no shame. Their flavored peanut butters are simply the best and don’t have a bunch of gross ingredients in them.

While that melts on low, I combine the dry mix of oats, flax seeds and crushed pretzels. I just crush the pretzels with my hand so you can still taste them in the bar. Gives it a nice crunch.

Then combine the peanut butter mix into the dry mix and stir it gently until combined. You want it all to be sticking together. If it’s not then add a little more peanut butter.

Press is into an 8×8 baking dish on top of parchment paper. Drizzle that melted chocolate over the bars and pop them in the freezer for about 30 minutes to harden. Check out that chocolate!!

I chop the bars up into 8 total bars. I kept some in the fridge and the rest in the freezer. They unfreeze quickly and still taste great. I’ve had a few taste testers with these (not just the kiddies) and they’ve all given great reviews! Let me know how you like them!

Chocolate Covered Pretzel PB Bars


  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 cups oatmeal
  • 2 tblsp flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup crushed pretzels
  • 1/4 cup melted chocolate


  1. Melt the honey, coconut oil and peanut butter over low heat on stove.
  2. Mix oatmeal, flax seeds and pretzels in large bowl.
  3. Combine the melted peanut butter mix into the oat mix.
  4. Press mixture into an 8x8 dish on top of parchment paper.
  5. Melt chocolate in microwave or on stove and drizzle over bars.
  6. Put in freezer for 30 minutes.
  7. Take out of dish and chop into bars. Store in fridge or freezer.
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How to Efficiently Meal Prep in 6 Steps

Meal prep can really help you when it comes to being successful with living a healthy life. It can be challenging coming home after a busy day at work, having a fun day with kids or when life just gets busy to make dinner. Coming up with ideas or making sure you have the ingredients to create a healthy meal can be tough, especially when it’s time to eat. Getting food on the go isn’t always the healthiest option either. Meal prep doesn’t have to happen on Sunday or Monday- it can happen any day of the week that’s convenient for you. Most people like to start Sunday or Monday because it sets their week up for success. However, you have to do what works for you. It also doesn’t have to be 2-3 hours long. Even if you just cut up some extra fruit, cook extra veggies, or make enough leftovers from dinner- I would consider that a success in meal prep. Anything you can do to make meals quicker. These are my 5 steps to making meal prep easier.

1.Plan- Have a list of things you want to make for the week. I suggest looking at things you and your family eat a lot of. Also, picking a breakfast, a lunch, and a dinner to make. Or chose the meal that you have the most trouble with. Make 3 dinners if you often have a protein shake and eat out for lunch. Make lunches if you plan to make a crockpot dinner. Whatever meals you choose to eat, figure out what you need to start first. If you’re baking sweet potatoes- do those first and then starting boiling eggs. Chop veggies while sautĂ©ing ground turkey. Use your time efficiently and multi-task without getting overwhelmed. Don’t get distracted and set timers where needed!

2.Don’t go overboard- Keep things as simple as possible. Now is not the time to try out the newest Rachel Ray recipe you found on food network. Make the things you know how to make so you can easily/quickly put them together. You’ll also be multi-tasking, so even more reason to know what you’re doing. I’d suggest keeping your list of things to make to a few things and adding to it if you have more time at the end.

3. Cook Protein- Having protein ready to add to salads or a dinner can be very helpful when looking to create a healthy meal. I like to do either a taco flavored ground turkey, salsa chicken, meatballs, bbq chicken, tuna, chickpeas, etc. Cooking protein ahead of time can really save you when you’re in a pinch. Breakfast protein options also make for a good grab and go meal. Protein waffles, hard boiled eggs, overnight oatmeal or a frittata are all convenient to take in the morning.

Roasted Chickpeas, tuna, kodiak cake waffles, ground turkey

4. Mix it up- Don’t prep the same thing every week. Everyone will get bored. Changing the proteins for dinner and snack options are ways I add variety to the week. I also am not a fan of making 5 of the same salads so I’ll switch up the veggies I put into them. If you don’t mind eating the same thing- by all means do it. Many people have success with this. If you make the same salad then think about switching the protein you top it with.

Tossed Salad with greens, Spinach salad with chickpeas

5. Prep healthy snacks- This is mostly for kids but everyone can benefit from this. If your kid doesn’t ask for snacks all day long then I envy you. I’m exhausted by the amount of snacks I have. But buying bulk and prepping portions makes lunches easier to put together. I don’t love the plastic bag situation but it really makes it convenient and easy. Having snacks in the fridge (typically cut up veggies) and in the pantry (popcorn, pretzels, trail mix, protein bars) are all essential to have for options.

popcorn, peppers, cucumber/tomatoes, pretzels

6. Cook in bulk- This goes for things like protein, vegetables and whole grains. Grilling a few pieces of chicken at once, making turkey burgers and putting together a few cans of tuna in a bowl are ways to save time. Roasting or steaming vegetables make it easy to complete a meal. Boiling rice, quinoa or

I hope these tips help you become more efficient in food prepping. What are some strategies you use? I’d love to hear new tips!

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5 Ingredient Chicken Sausage Pasta Bake

My first dinner recipe with 5 ingredients is here for your #fueledupfam using chicken sausage and pasta!

Nothing beats a meal you can put together with simple ingredients that takes under 30 minutes. I cooked this meal while my kids were eating lunch. Husband puts it in the oven at dinner time- foolproof! I make one of these meals at least once or twice a week if I’m working at night.

Before the oven

I used 2 different pastas that were half empty to make this dish. I love this pow pasta because they’re made out of red and green lentils and quinoa flour. They have twice as much protein as traditional wheat pasta with 14g in a serving and 7g fiber. I love this! It tastes good too and I have no complaints from the family.

IMG_1910 (2)

I cook the sausage in oil while the pasta is cooking. This cuts down on time but be sure to set a timer so you don’t overcook the pasta. I like putting handfuls of spinach in my strainer and then drain the pasta over the spinach. This helps slightly steam the spinach so it’s ready to be baked.

Steam spinach under cooked pasta

Mix everything together in your pasta cooking pan (save on dishes). Give it a stir so the pasta gets incorporated with the other ingredients. I like to get a garlic or italian flavored chicken sausage so I don’t have to worry about adding spices to the dish, though I’m sure it would help enhance the flavors. Really shooting for simplicity here.

Mixing everything together

I like to add a little cheese while mixing to blend everything together. Again the italian flavored cheese helps mold the dish together easily. Topping the bake with a sprinkle of cheese is also a must.

Can’t forget the cheese


My husband somehow scooped his plate with the least amount of spinach. Hm, oh well. More for me!

Do you have any favorite, quick, 5 ingredient dinners you make? What do you do to make dinner time easier but still healthy? I’d love to hear what you do for your family, let me know!

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Zucchini Brownie Bread

I love/need/hate having some baked chocolate goods in the house. Love because cmon- it’s chocolate. Need because I crave a little treat sometimes and like it to be healthy if I can. Hate because I’ll want to eat the whole thing.

Making breads and muffins is a favorite of mine. I like the kids to have some baked goods in the morning if I’m not quite ready to make a big breakfast or just want something simple. I called this a brownie bread because it was chocolatey like a brownie but kind of like a bread because it wasn’t as dense/fudgey. You can never tell there’s zucchini in baking because it’s masked by so much other good stuff, but it makes you feel better knowing there’s at least a liiittle bit of healthy stuff in it. Coconut palm sugar has a low glycemic index meaning it doesn’t raise blood sugar quickly.

Trav helping mix the dry ingredients

I like (sometimes) having the kids help me with baking because getting them involved makes them excited to eat what we make. Travis has loved helping me pour ingredients in and mix them. He also gets stuff out of the fridge that I need which can be helpful (when he doesn’t drop eggs on the floor).

Evan helping mix the wet ingredients

Evan helped himself up to the counter (thanks to learning from his brother) and was really gentle with mixing. Look at his little face- he loved it and really was better than I thought he’d be.

I honestly like to get inspiration from a few different recipes when I bake. There’s always a few things I want to include and I can never find the recipe that has all of them, so I tend to mix and match. I’ve been experimenting like this for awhile so I’ve gotten better at it but also just don’t stress too much if it doesn’t come out perfect. I like learning and using whatever I have on hand.

Zucchini Brownie Bread


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup packed zucchini (water removed)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil melted
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips


  1. Mix dry ingredients together (whole wheat flour-cocoa powder) in separate bowl.
  2. Grate zucchini over a paper towel in a bowl. Tightly squeeze water out of zucchini with towel and add to measuring cup until it's full.
  3. Beat egg and add remaining wet ingredients together except for chocolate chips.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and gently fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Spray loaf pan with oil and bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes. Top with additional chocolate chips before baking.
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