Healthy Dinners you can make in advance

Everyone I know (okay, online anyway) is in love with their Instapot, and while I have not yet succumbed, we do have a few time-saving kitchen devices. There’s an older pressure cooker that I pull out only rarely – just one bad experience with a chicken soup spill/semi-explosion (entirely operator error, btw) stays with you for a while, and a newish Crock-Pot which I use at least once a week because I do like an easy dinner prep.

Our favorite, and possibly over-served but maybe not because I never get push back, dish is Smitten Kitchen’s Black Bean Ragout. Served over garlick-y toast, rice or pasta or sweet potatoes (we do love our starches), with avocado and quick pickled red onions. The leftovers (if there are any) go into another favorite – and super easy – dish also from Smitten Kitchen –  Spaghetti Squash tacos (shhh, I even microwave the spaghetti squash – it’s so fast and easy).

These lovely Parmesan crackers are another favorite.  Serve them alone, or with almost anything – hummus, chutney, more cheese, and it will look as if you know more than you do about baking.

We’ve been eating more plant-based foods around here, it’s healthier, more eco-friendly and kinder, too. And the Minimalist Baker is wonderful go-to resource. I made the One Pot Red Lentil Chili for that freezing cold Marathon Monday and it was delicious! Start it on the stove and move to the slow-cooker.

We also love the wonderfully flavorful and hearty Abundance Kale Salad. Prep this on Sunday and you have meals for a few days. I also prep grain bowls for lunches. Make your favorite grains in advance and put them in the fridge, do the same with roasted veggies. In the morning, pack a bowl with whatever strikes your fancy. Fast dressing? A chef friend told me to slightly water down hummus for a quick tahini dressing. Yummy and easy.

Minimalist Baker knows sweets – and appreciates you don’t have all day – try these One Bowl Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes, and the Two Ingredient Dark Chocolate Truffles




Hip to Be Square – Simple Squares


Sometimes I get to review things and sometimes it’s even food. Sometimes I share (the food, I mean, I always share my opinion). So when I received a lovely box of treats from Simple Squares, and happily, my children weren’t interested in trying them, “Good” I said, “more for me”. The packaging is pretty and they travel well (I had one in my massive tote bag for a day or so), and they are tasty, healthy, gluten-free, raw treats that work for snack, breakfast bar or dessert. Each square has only five ingredients and no preservatives.

Am I going all Paleo on you? No, but I am focusing on eating a more healthy and plant based diet (Not to worry, donuts are still on the list – just perhaps not the best choice). Each Simple Square has only five ingredients – the coconut was my favorite for breakfast with the coffee a close second, and would be nice for dessert either plain or with a scoop of vanilla yogurt (with a nice cup of green tea). Each square is made so the flavors balance nicely, and are all-natural and organic, too. I confess to eating substandard granola bars when crunched for time and I’m happy to switch out the usual pantry fare for these anytime. You don’t have to be into Paelo, raw food, vegetarian or vegan or even into healthy foods to like these bars, squares, you just have to like good food.

You can order online or there is even a square finding tool on the website for local stores that carry these delicious treats. I’m off to Cardullo’s for mine!

Flavor Options:

*CINNA-CLOVE Ingredients

Organic Cashews, Organic Almonds, Organic Honey, Organic Unsweetened Coconut, Organic Vanilla, Sea Salt, Organic Cloves.

*COCONUT Ingredients

Organic Cashews, Organic Almonds, Organic Honey, Organic Unsweetened Coconut, Organic Vanilla, Sea Salt.

*COFFEE Ingredients

Organic Cashews, Organic Almonds, Organic Honey, Organic Unsweetened Coconut, Organic Vanilla, Sea Salt, Organic Coffee Beans.

*ROSEMARY Ingredients

Organic Cashews, Organic Almonds, Organic Honey, Organic Unsweetened Coconut, Organic Vanilla, Sea Salt, Organic Rosemary.

*SAGE Ingredients

Organic Cashews, Organic Almonds, Organic Honey, Organic Unsweetened Coconut, Organic Vanilla, Sea Salt, Organic Sage.

Healthy Schools, Healthy Minds and a gift card from Stop & Shop

Getting kids to make healthy choices is an on-going process (and for some adults, too) so it’s great when you have some new recipes to help out -and I always welcome a little creative help, especially from a nutritionist. So thanks to Stop & Shop for some healthy and yummy recipes to incorporate produce into easy to make and delicious recipes. We have a huge bag of apples we just picked and I need some healthy recipes (I can’t very well serve apple pie all day).  So here is a great healthy breakfast cookie recipe. They had me at cookie.

Stop & Shop is also offering to a reader a chance to win a $25 gift card – follow the easy instructions below.

Nutty Breakfast “Cookie” 

Serves 12

Preparation Time: 35 Minutes


  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • ¼ cup pistachios, chopped (use other nuts or soy nuts if allergies are a concern)
  • ¼ cup cashews, chopped
  • ½ cup banana, peeled, mashed
  • 1 ½ cup apples, peeled, cored, diced
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 ¾ tsp. cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Combine eggs, vanilla, honey, oil, pistachios, cashews, banana and apple in large mixing bowl.
3. Combine oats, flour and cinnamon in separate mixing bowl.
4. Combine wet and dry mixtures until thoroughly mixed.
5. Separate into ⅓ cup portions. Place portions on parchment lined baking sheet about ½-inch apart.
6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until firm. Remove from oven and cool on cooling rack until warm.

Nutrition Information:

Nutty Breakfast “Cookie”  Calories 439; Fat 11.98g; Protein 12.94g; Carbohydrate 71.24g; Fiber 6.36g; Cholesterol 53mg; Sodium 23mg; Calcium 45mg; Vitamin A 110 IU; Vitamin C 2.16mg; Iron 3.89mg

This recipe was provided by Stop & Shop and they are doing even more to get produce into kids’ diets. How?

Stop & Shop and Produce for Kids are teaming up to host the second annual Healthy Schools, Healthy Minds campaign through October 20th, local shoppers can contribute to this cause and support your local schools by adding produce to their Stop & Shop shopping lists. During the campaign, participating fresh fruit and vegetable suppliers will make a donation based on consumption of their fresh produce items to, which will support local classroom projects.

Shoppers can be on the lookout for the Produce for Kids display unit, featuring characters from popular Sprout shows, LazyTown™ and Noodle and Doodle, in the produce section of their local Stop & Shop store. The more items shoppers add to their shopping lists, the more local classrooms will benefit!

Stop & Shop will also feature the Ideal Meals™ program from Produce for Kids in the produce department. Ideal Meals cards provide 12 quick, easy, and healthy chef-created/dietitian-approved complete meal solutions for breakfast, lunch, dinner and desserts.

Stop & Shop also has a fun Pinterest board- Family Sweepstakes – Party with your Produce.

How to win that gift card?a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received a gift card from Stop & Shop for sharing about this campaign.

In the very first hour of the first day of my Joos cleanse, I may have cheated…

…if by cheating you mean drinking hot water with lemon (as directed) with the addition of honey and a teabag (it was TAZO™ – Awake – my favorite kind!) and so needed after area thunderstorms woke us in the middle of the night…so really, it was only so that I could operate heavy machinery (Volvo station wagon) safely.

Also, the Joos™ booklet I got told me it was okay if I eased into no caffeine and wasn’t perfect about this.  I was up pretty early and was hungry so I had a spoon of peanut butter (honey-roasted) and a banana. Not on the list for the am but not on the elimination list either.  I walked for an hour plus and had my first Joos™ -when I got back and I liked it. I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t and that would not be good but I do… so all good.  Then, on my way to run a million and a half errands I shoved 4 rice cakes into my mouth – really I lost track because I was really hungry. Water, too. Rice cakes are a little bit dry. I did not make it home for lunch – I mean Joos™ – and was flustered and cranky by 2 pm when I inhaled my second Joos™ and some almonds and a nectarine that wasn’t really ripe but I did not care. I was really, really hungry – not feeling deprived just way off schedule and messy. Picked up the kids and ran some more errands and then home – usually the time I really eat junk. I had hit Trader Joe’s and picked up crackers, humus and lentil salads so I was all set for dinner. Snack in afternoon was almonds, crackers and water. My family had pesto pasta with chicken and I had an enormous salad with my pre-made salads on top. I felt good – regular tired not bone-crushing tired and only glanced at the chocolate in the candy cabinet.
Disclosure: I am getting the Joos™ cleanse program for a week as a trial in exchange for reviewing it but receiving no other financial compensation.
Joos from drinkjoos

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