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Powerball Cookies

By Rachel Tiemeyer
Powerball cookies have been a longtime favorite in my home. Look no further for a great make-ahead, freezer-friendly snack. 
 
No Bake Powerball Cookies on a plate

What’s in these no-bake Powerball Cookies?

With a few simple pantry ingredients, you can whip these up in no time! The beauty of this recipe is the ingredients are somewhat fluid. Add or subtract based on what you like or what you have on hand. Here is what you’ll need:

  • Peanut butter or almond butter
  • Honey
  • Old-fashioned oats
  • Flax seed (Why eat flaxseed?)
  • Dark chocolate chips (or 3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips)
  • 1 cup any combination of these add-ins:
    • chopped nuts (i.e. chopped pecans, sliced almonds, etc.)
    • unsweetened shredded coconut
    • chia seed
    • soft dried fruits (i.e. raisins, dried cranberries, etc)
Powerball cookie ingredients in white bowls

Once you’ve gotten all of your ingredients beautifully placed in nice, neat, white bowls like above … (JUST KIDDING! No one actually does that unless they are a food blogger, right?!)

Anywhoo, once you’ve rounded up all of the ingredients you want in your powerball cookies, you’ll add them all into a big ‘ol mixing bowl.

Tip: I’ve found that if I warm the peanut butter and honey just a tad it makes it easier to stir all of the ingredients together.

Powerball cookie ingredients being mixed together

Watch How Easily Powerball Cookies Come Together…

How do I store Powerball Cookies?

Here’s the fun part. Using wet hands and/or a small ice cream scoop, form small balls and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet.

You’ll freeze them this way so that they hold their form. Once they are frozen, transfer them to an airtight freezer container and store them in the freezer.

Be sure to train the kids to know where they are at. They’ll be asking!

A hand holding a powerball cookie

Make sure to make a double batch too. Not only do these make a great afternoon snack, they can also be a great breakfast!

Closeup of powerball cookies
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Powerball Cookies

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 3035 cookies 1x
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Mix
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Powerball Cookies are a healthy, real-food snack. Careful, it’s hard to stop at just one!


Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-natural peanut butter or almond butter (crunchy peanut butter is really yummy!)
  • 1 cup honey (I often cut this back to 3/4 cup and make up the 1/4 cup with more nut butter)
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats (quick-cooking works fine)
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed (Why eat flaxseed?)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (or 3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips)
  • 1 cup any combination of these add-ins:
    • chopped nuts (i.e. chopped pecans, sliced almonds, etc)
    • unsweetened shredded coconut
    • chia seeds
    • soft dried fruits (i.e. raisins, dried cranberries, etc)

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the peanut butter and honey until smooth. (Tip: You may want to warm them in the microwave first to make this step easier.)
  2. Stir in oats and flaxseed.
  3. Add the chocolate chips and your 1 cup of preferred add-ins. Stir until well combined.
  4. Using wet hands or a wet cookie scoop, shape the mixture into 30-35 balls. Use a heaping tablespoon of mixture per cookie.

Freeze For Later: Follow Steps 1-4. Place the rolled cookies on a sheet pan (line with parchment paper for easier clean up). Place in the freezer for an hour or so, until hardened. Place them into a freezer bag or airtight freezer container for up to 3 months. Prepare From Frozen: Either set cookies out on the counter to thaw slightly or warm in the microwave for about 15 seconds.

Hand grabbing a powerball cookie
 

More Healthy Snacks You Might Like:

 

Chocolate Covered Cherry Smoothie (+ Freezer Pack Instructions)

By Rachel Tiemeyer

This easy, healthy Chocolate Covered Cherry Smoothie recipe tastes like a chocolate shake (seriously!) but is chock full of antioxidants and protein thanks to spinach, dark cherries, almond butter, cocoa powder, and more. It’s dairy-free, gluten-free, and we teach you how to make it into a freezer smoothie pack for later.

cherry smoothie in mason jar with straw

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Our Easy, Healthy Smoothie Recipes

Over the next several weeks, Polly and I are sharing 7 easy, healthy smoothie recipes that you can make ahead and freeze as freezer smoothie packs. We have been working really hard on developing and testing these on neighbors and family members of all ages. The response has been overwhelmingly positive! In fact, ever since we started smoothie recipe development a few months ago, we have become smoothie addicts and so have our family members. Who knew healthy eating could be so easy and tasty!?

colorful smoothies

Here’s what you can expect from our simple smoothie recipes over the next few weeks. They will:

  • Taste yummy! Yes, these smoothies are SUPER HEALTHY but we wanted to make sure they didn’t taste like weeds from the backyard. Ha! We found that adults and kids alike gulped these down. (Note: You can always add a little honey or other natural sweetener, if you prefer a sweeter version.)
  • Include only simple real food ingredients that you can find in just about any grocery store these days. In fact, most of our ingredients came from Aldi and are very affordable. Of course, if you want to add in things like protein powder or other fancy powders, be our guest. But, we are sticking to recognizable whole foods for these recipes.
  • Make a single-serving (16 ounce) smoothie, which can work as a meal replacement. Or, make two (8 ounce) smoothies for kids or to compliment a meal.
  • Include fruits and/or vegetables and a source of protein and healthy fats–like nuts, chia seeds, avocado, Greek yogurt, or nut butter–to keep you full and satisfied.
  • Include instructions to create a freezer smoothie pack (or packs) for later.

Try making these other smoothies that we’ve shared in this series or Pin them for later:

How to Make a Freezer Smoothie Pack

What are freezer smoothie packs? Only the best, most genius idea ever. You’ll simply toss most of your smoothie ingredients in a freezer bag/container to have on hand in the freezer. (Be sure to follow our layering instructions.) Then you can throw together a delicious, nutrient dense smoothie for breakfast, as a snack, or as a meal replacement anytime.

chocolate cherry smoothie in mason jar with straw

Amazingly, all of the fruits, vegetables, and add-ins that we’ve tested from frozen have worked well in a smoothie. That’s not always the case when you freeze certain fruits/vegetables for other uses, however. Smoothies are very forgiving!

How to Make a Chocolate Covered Cherry Smoothie

Now, on to our very first easy, healthy smoothie recipe! We are starting off with a big bang with our Chocolate Covered Cherry Smoothie. Hands down, this is the best smoothie recipe I’ve ever made. In fact, I stopped halfway through writing this blog post to make one! How is that for putting my money where my mouth is!?

cherry smoothie in mason jar with straw

It’s actually very easy to throw together once you have all the ingredients on hand. Here is your shopping list:

  • Almond milk (or substitute your favorite milk of choice)
  • Banana (preferably frozen in slices to create the perfect smoothie texture)
  • Frozen dark sweet cherries (NOT tart red cherries)
  • Baby spinach (I prefer organic, which is easy to find)
  • Almond butter (or substitute your favorite nut butter)
  • 100% cocoa powder or cacao powder
cherry smoothie in mason jar with straw

It’s important to note that you will need the dark, sweet cherries. I tested this with the tart red version, as well as strawberries, and it just wasn’t the same. Neither of those fruits were as sweet. I found the dark, sweet cherries in the frozen food section at our local Hy-Vee store.

This, my friends, is all you need to make a smoothie that will taste like a DELICIOUS chocolate shake with a hint of cherry to it! You will NOT taste the spinach but still enjoy all the health benefits of slurping up your greens. {{Knucks}} If you really like things sweet, you may want to add a dollop of raw honey, too.

cherry smoothie in mason jar with straw

What Blender Do I Need to Make a Chocolate Covered Cherry Smoothie?

Now, let’s talk blenders for a minute. Not all of them are created equal. I’ve owned a lot of brands over the years–Frigidaire, Cuisinart, Ninja, Vitamix, and Oster. To really pulverize the freezer smoothie packs, you’ll need a high-powered blender. The two blenders that stand out as clear winners from my experience are:

  1. The Vitamix (of course!) because it is very high-powered, super simple, and will last for an eon. I saved up for and owned a refurbished version that lasted over five years with daily use. I could have sent it in to Vitamix to get fixed but instead opted for the blender below (and am very happy).
  2. My current and more affordable Nutri Ninja Personal and Countertop Blender makes smooth smoothies and allows me to make single serving smoothies. Love the single serving blend-and-go design! The big blender doesn’t pulverize as well as the smaller containers do or the Vitamix, just so you know. We use the single-serving blender daily!

Alright now, if you’ve got your blender and ingredients on hand, it’s time to make your delicious chocolate shake…I mean your healthy Chocolate Covered Cherry Smoothie! Or, spend a few minutes dividing up ingredients and make some freezer smoothie packs for later.

cherry smoothie in mason jar with straw
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cherry smoothie in mason jar with straw

Chocolate Covered Cherry Smoothie

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 minutes
  • Yield: One 16 ounce smoothie (or two 8 ounce smoothies) 1x
  • Category: Smoothies
  • Method: Blender
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Chocolate Covered Cherry Smoothie tastes like dessert but is chock full of antioxidants and protein thanks to spinach, dark cherries, almond butter, cocoa powder, and more. Easy, single serving smoothie that can be made into a smoothie pack, too.


Ingredients

  • 11 1/2 cups unsweetened plain almond milk (or milk of your choice)
  • 1/2 banana, sliced (preferably frozen for best smoothie texture)
  • 1 cup frozen sweet dark cherries (NOT red tart cherries)
  • 1 cup baby spinach (preferably organic)
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon 100% cocoa powder or cacao powder
  • dollop of honey (optional)

Instructions

Make It Now:

1. Start by adding 1 cup almond milk to a high-powered blender. Then, add all the other ingredients.

2. Blend until smooth. You may need to stop and stir/shake the blender or add up to 1/2 cup more of almond milk, as needed, to make sure it gets smooth.

3. Taste and add a dollop of honey, if preferred.

Make Freezer Smoothie Packs for Later:

1. Layer ingredients in small freezer bags (or reusable silicone bags) in this order:

  • ½ banana
  • 1 cup frozen dark sweet cherries
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 cup baby spinach (preferably organic)
  • 1 tablespoon 100% cocoa powder or cacao powder

2. Seal tightly, squeezing out the air, and freeze for up to 3 months.

3. To Blend: Pour 1 cup almond milk into a high-powered blender first. Break up the ingredients in the bag by hitting it on the counter or crunching it with your hands. Dump the ingredients from the bag in and follow blending instructions above.

20 Healthy Snack Ideas for the First Trimester

By Polly Conner

Need some high protein, low sugar snack ideas? Here is a great collection of 20 healthy snack ideas for the first trimester. Even if you aren't pregnant, this is a great round-up! | Thriving HomeAt only 5 weeks pregnant, I had hardly even noticed any pregnancy symptoms. Life was going on as normal for the most part. On one particular morning, I served up some oatmeal pancakes and fruit and my crew was happy.

We hit the gym a few hours later and I quickly knew something was off. I started feeling strange. A little weak, shaky, light-headed and jittery. I wasn’t unfamiliar with the feeling of low blood sugar but was quite surprised by the onset and didn’t have any snacks on hand to regulate me. I had to leave the gym early and grabbed a protein bar on the way out to ensure I could actually wrestle my kids into the car and make it home safely.

“The shakes,” as I’ve come to call them, were a result of an overproduction of insulin triggered by the sugar in my breakfast and the lack of protein. Over the years I’ve noticed that if I eat a sugary breakfast or something highly processed, I get the shakes. I’ve also learned that if I have a good amount of protein in the morning, I almost NEVER get them. In the past, oatmeal pancakes have had a sufficient amount of protein and never resulted in the shakes. However, things are different now. My baby-making body needs protein and lots of it!

Since a high protein, low sugar snack isn’t necessarily my go-to, I thought I’d create a round up that will not only help me but any other pregnant mamas out there. Heck you don’t even have to be pregnant to benefit from these. In short, if you are an American, your body probably needs more protein and less sugar.

20 Healthy Snacks for the First Trimester

Read more

Flourless Banana Muffins (Gluten-Free Recipe) {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

You will never miss the flour in these muffins! They are deliciously moist and packed with protein, fiber, and other health benefits.

Warning: This post may introduce you to some ingredients that you don’t recognize. But, let me assure you that it’s worth giving these Flourless Banana Muffins a shot because they are absolutely moist and delicious!

Plus, Flourless Banana Muffins are thrown together in the blender in no time, which means fewer dirty dishes. And, they are packed full of protein, fiber, and so much more goodness. So, don’t toss this recipe out because it sounds weird. Hang with me here as I walk you through a few of these ingredients and why they are worth trying.

P.S. Did I mention these are GOOD?

Let’s Talk Almond Flour

The first ingredient you might not recognize, but that is gaining huge popularity in the Paleo diet realm, is almond flour, also known as almond meal. This ingredient is just finely ground almonds. I always have a bag of almond meal in my fridge, as it’s a simple way to add in protein and nutrition to things like smoothies, oatmeal, pancakes and waffles, Powerball Cookies or homemade granola bars. It also works surprisingly well as a gluten-free flour in baked goods, like this recipe.

Perhaps most convincing to me of almond flour’s worthiness is to look at all the health benefits. Raw almonds are a good source of:

  • Monounsaturated Fats: These are the GOOD fats associated with lowering your risk of heart disease.
  • Protein: This helps satisfy hunger and may aide in weight loss.
  • Magnesium: A fourth cup of almonds contains almost 25 percent of the daily recommended amount of magnesium, which improves the flow of blood, nutrients and oxygen through the body.
  • Antioxidants: One-fourth cup of raw almonds contains 45 percent of the daily recommended intake of the antioxidant vitamin E, which helps protect your skin from harmful free radicals.
  • B vitamins: These include riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, B-6 and folates, which support the body’s process of cellular metabolism. (source)

Now, you may be asking, where do you find Almond Flour? I find it cheapest at Trader Joe’s in the baking aisle, but any health food store/section and even my Target carries it. Or you can make your own. I’ve made it in my Vitamix Blender several times by blending up leftover almonds from the pantry, using the pulse button. Be careful not to over-blend and turn it into almond butter.

You will never miss the flour in these muffins! They are deliciously moist and packed with protein, fiber, and other health benefits.

Let’s Talk Other Ingredients in This Recipe

Ground flaxseed may be another health food you’ve heard of but not tried. Again I always have a bag of this in my fridge and use it in many of the same ways that I use almond meal. Read this post to find out more about this versatile and incredibly healthy ingredient.

You’ll also notice I’ve used almond butter in these muffins. I love, love, love almond butter for it’s deep flavor, as well as, for all the health reasons I listed above. However, if you only have peanut butter on hand, that will work. In fact, I tested these muffins with PB and they turned out delicious. They just have a more…well…peanutty flavor.

Oats–old-fashioned or quick oats–work for this recipe. This grain can be gluten-free, if you buy the specifically GF ones in the health section. Oats provide another way to add fiber and protein in a whole grain form.

Lastly, I’ve used only all-natural forms of sugar like honey (not much really) and bananas to sweeten these guys. No refined sugar needed here. These Flourless Banana Muffins are truly naturally sweet.

Now, after a trip to the store to grab your new and exciting ingredients, snatch your blender and a muffin tin and you’re ready to get started. Hopefully you won’t eat as many as I did at 9:30 p.m. while making these for breakfast the next day!

P.S. Here‘s another one of my favorite gluten-free muffin recipes.

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Flourless Banana Muffin Recipe

Flourless Banana Muffins (Gluten-Free Recipe)

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 27 minutes
  • Yield: 18 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

You will never miss the flour in these muffins! They are deliciously moist and packed with protein, fiber, and other health benefits.


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup almond butter (or sub any other nut butter)
  • 4 ripe medium bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup rolled oats (look for gluten-free oats, if avoiding gluten)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour/meal
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on high until oats are broken down and batter is smooth and creamy.
  3. Pour batter into muffin tin, filling until each cavity is about ¾ full.
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the tops of your muffins are set and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Do not overcook.
  5. Allow muffins to cool in pan for about 10 minutes before removing. Store in an air-tight container for up to a week or freeze for up to one month.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:

To Freeze:
Bake muffins as directed in recipe. Let cool completely. Once cool, place muffins in freezer safe bag or container. Freeze for up to 3 months.

To Prepare:
Thaw desired amount of muffins overnight in the refrigerator or warm them slightly in the microwave.

Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Banana Bites

By Polly Conner

Are you craving something sweet? Try this healthy alternative to your afternoon sweet snack. The combination of bananas, peanut butter, and dark chocolate chips will hit the spot!

I’ve got a perfect fix for that afternoon sweet tooth!

Try out these peanut butter, dark chocolate, banana bites. They are YUMMO and super easy to make.

Simply slice up some banana, slab a little peanut butter on one side, top it off with one or two dark chocolate chips and sandwich it all together.

Are you craving something sweet? Try this healthy alternative to your afternoon sweet snack. The combination of bananas, peanut butter, and dark chocolate chips will hit the spot!

Pure, simple goodness.

In my mouth.

Are you craving something sweet? Try this healthy alternative to your afternoon sweet snack. The combination of bananas, peanut butter, and dark chocolate chips will hit the spot!

Make lots! Your little people will be asking for more!

Are you craving something sweet? Try this healthy alternative to your afternoon sweet snack. The combination of bananas, peanut butter, and dark chocolate chips will hit the spot!

Are you craving something sweet? Try this healthy alternative to your afternoon sweet snack. The combination of bananas, peanut butter, and dark chocolate chips will hit the spot!

Make sure to pin this to your food boards!

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Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Banana Bites

  • Author: Polly Conner from Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Snack
  • Method: Homemade
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Are you craving something sweet? Try this healthy alternative to your afternoon sweet snack. The combination of bananas, peanut butter, and dark chocolate chips will hit the spot!


Ingredients

  • 2 bananas
  • 23 tablespoons peanut butter
  • Dark chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Slice up banana(s).
  2. Add peanut butter and dark chocolate chips to a slice.
  3. Top with another slice of banana and enjoy!

Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins {Freezer Meal}

By Polly Conner

These muffins will become a new staple in your house. They have a delicate combination of healthy ingredients with just a touch of sweetness from the chocolate chips.

These healthy, whole wheat banana chocolate chip muffins are YUMMO. Seriously. Don’t let the whole wheat factor make you think they are going to be compromised. The mini chocolate chips will take care of your taste buds while the other parts of your body will be thanking you for the healthy ingredients. Ages 1-31 in my family liked them and I think yours will too.

These muffins will become a new staple in your house. They have a delicate combination of healthy ingredients with just a touch of sweetness from the chocolate chips.

Don’t forget to double the batch and freeze some for future mornings! I have found that these banana chocolate chip muffins make a great on-the-go snack. My kids even had them for dinner the other night when we were out at the pool and needed something quick and on-the-go!

These muffins will become a new staple in your house. They have a delicate combination of healthy ingredients with just a touch of sweetness from the chocolate chips.

Do yourself a favor and pin this recipe!

These muffins will become a new staple in your house. They have a delicate combination of healthy ingredients with just a touch of sweetness from the chocolate chips. Here are some other muffin recipes in our index if you’re interested!

 

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Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 22 mins
  • Total Time: 37 mins
  • Yield: 12 regular-sized muffins 1x

Description

These muffins will become a new staple in your house. They have a delicate combination of healthy ingredients with just a touch of sweetness from the chocolate chips.


Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 very ripe bananas, peeled (the riper they are, the sweeter they’ll be)
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips OR dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional) Why eat walnuts?

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with paper or silicone liners and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Make a well (hole) in the center of the flour mixture and drop in the eggs, butter, and syrup. As best you can, mix with a fork until it just comes together. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl mash the two bananas together.
  4. Carefully fold the bananas and walnuts (if using) into the muffin batter and distribute evenly into the 12 muffin cups (or 36 mini muffin cups).
  5. Bake until they begin to brown on top and a toothpick comes clean when inserted in the center, about 20 to 22 minutes for regular sized muffins or 12 to 14 minutes for mini muffins.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:

To Freeze:
Bake muffins as stated in directions. Let cool completely. Once cooled, put muffins in a freezer safe bag or container. Store in freezer for up to 3 months.

To Prepare:
Remove desired amount of muffins from the freezer and warm slightly in the microwave before serving.

Coconutty Granola with Dried Fruit

By Rachel Tiemeyer


This granola recipe is packed full of oats, unsweetened coconut, nuts, dried fruit, honey or maple syrup, with a hint of cinnamon. It is also free of any oil!

If you’ve been around here for a while, you know that Polly already has a Homemade Granola recipe that she claims is the best. Now, I haven’t personally made it yet, but I’m going to claim that Mark Bittman’s granola recipe–what I’m dubbing Coconutty Granola with Dried Fruit–will easily rival hers. I found it in his incredible cookbook called How to Cook Everything: The Basics. I have been cooking for years, but I’ve learned so much from this quick read, including that I’ve been hard-boiling my eggs the wrong way! No wonder I always had a hard time removing the shell. Highly recommend you pick it up at the library. I digress.

This granola recipe is packed full of oats, unsweetened coconut, nuts, dried fruit, honey or maple syrup, with a hint of cinnamon. It is also free of any oil!

This particular granola recipe is packed full of oats, unsweetened coconut, nuts, dried fruit, honey or maple syrup, with a hint of cinnamon. And, a little calorie-saver: it includes NO oil at all. With a splash of milk over it, Coconutty Granola with Dried Fruit tastes like comfort in a bowl. It beats out any dry cereal in your pantry hands down for taste, cost efficiency, and healthy ingredients.

This granola recipe is packed full of oats, unsweetened coconut, nuts, dried fruit, honey or maple syrup, with a hint of cinnamon. It is also free of any oil!

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Coconutty Granola with Dried Fruit

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8 cups 1x
  • Category: Snack
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Hints of coconut and cinnamon make this delicious homemade cereal a sure hit for the whole family!


Ingredients

  • 6 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups nuts, chopped
  • 1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • a pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup (I used a blend of both)
  • 1 cup raisins or other dried fruit

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the oats, nuts, coconut, cinnamon, and salt. Drizzle the honey or maple syrup over the dry ingredients and stir until it coats everything.
  3. Spread the mixture on a baking sheet with sides. Bake for 30-35 minutes, stirring the granola a few times so it browns evenly.
  4. Remove from the oven when golden brown and add the raisins.
  5. Let cool in the pan on a cooling rack. Continue to stir once or twice, as the pan will still be hot.
  6. Once the granola is cool, store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

Raspberry Cocoa Smoothie

By Polly Conner

This is a truly healthy smoothie option for you chocolate lovers out there. Raspberry paired with dark chocolate and sea salt makes this an unforgettable snack or breakfast.

This is a truly healthy option for you chocolate lovers out there. As one among you, I adore this smoothie. I love this gorgeous reddish earthy hue, which tells you exactly what you’re about to taste: raspberry, followed by dark chocolate, enhanced with a pinch of salt. Because the avocado lends the smoothie a thick, creamy texture, you’ll want to grab a spoon. It’s not dessert for breakfast, but it’s close enough.

This is a truly healthy smoothie option for you chocolate lovers out there. Raspberry paired with dark chocolate and sea salt makes this an unforgettable snack or breakfast.

If you can’t find a bag of frozen raspberries, strawberries are a great substitute. Rich, caramel-like, and potassium-packed, Medjool dates are my favorite add-in for sweetness. Although they might be a little harder to keep on hand than honey or agave nectar, I can find them at Costco.

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Raspberry Cocoa Smoothie

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 as a meal; 2 as a snack 1x
  • Category: Smoothie
  • Method: Blend
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This is a truly healthy smoothie option for you chocolate lovers out there. Raspberry paired with dark chocolate and sea salt makes this an unforgettable snack or breakfast.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • ½ avocado, pitted
  • ½ large very ripe banana, sliced and frozen
  • 3 tablespoons natural cocoa powder or raw cacao
  • big pinch (about ½ tsp) sea salt
  • 1 ½ cups milk of choice (I use brown rice milk)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds, optional
  • 23 soft Medjool dates (can substitute 23 tsp honey)

Instructions

  1. Add everything to the blender and puree on high for a minute or two. You should arrive at a thick consistency—think slightly melted frozen yogurt.
  2. Taste and adjust to your liking, then pour into a glass and enjoy immediately.

 

Summer Peach Smoothie

By Polly Conner

This peaches ‘n almond cream-style shake is packed with healthy ingredients and anti-inflammatory properties. Try this as a delicious start to your summer morning.

Instead of making pie of those leftover peaches—the ones so soft and ripe they make your kitchen smell like an orchard as they go about collapsing under their own weight—try this spiced late-summer smoothie instead.

The flax seeds add a toasty, nutty background—and vegetarian omega-3s—to this peaches ‘n almond cream-style shake. Rolled oats bring on the fiber and protein, while turmeric and ginger lend pie-spice flavor along with fantastic anti-inflammatory properties. I try to avoid sweetened almond butter and almond milk at the grocery store; they’re both packed with surprising amounts of sugar. A super-ripe peach and banana should be all the natural sweetness you need; and if not, a little teaspoon of honey or maple syrup goes a long way.

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Summer Peach Smoothie

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 as a meal; 2 as a snack 1x
  • Category: Smoothie
  • Method: Blend
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This peaches ‘n almond cream-style shake is packed with healthy ingredients and anti-inflammatory properties. Try this as a delicious start to your summer morning.


Ingredients

  • 1 very ripe fresh peach, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 small very ripe banana, sliced and frozen
  • 1 heaping tablespoon natural almond butter
  • ¼ cup rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon roasted whole flax seeds (if you aren’t used to the flavor, I recommend starting with half)
  • tiny pinch of sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, optional
  • ½-inch chunk of fresh peeled ginger, optional
  • 1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey, or to taste
  • 2 ice cubes

Instructions

  1. Add everything except the honey to your blender and puree on high for a full minute or two.
  2. Now have a little taste. Does it need that teaspoon or so of honey, or is it sweet enough? How about a bit more cinnamon? Do you want more liquid? Adjust to taste and texture, then blend on high again until you’re satisfied.
  3. Pour into a glass and enjoy immediately.

Mediterranean Layered Dip

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Here’s a healthy and super EASY lunch, appetizer, or snack idea for you. Try out this tasty Mediterranean Layered Dip and make it your way.

Try this Mediterranean twist on the classic 7-layer dip. You'll not only love the taste, but you'll be loaded up with protein, fiber, and antioxidants.

This Mediterranean Layered Dip is full of heart-healthy fats, protein, fiber and antioxidants from the hummus and veggies. The feta cheese provides a nice, tangy, salty bite to top it all off.  Serve it with some Pita chips and you’ve got yourself a killer real food meal or appetizer.

Try this Mediterranean twist on the classic 7-layer dip. You'll not only love the taste, but you'll be loaded up with protein, fiber, and antioxidants.

This versatile dip stays good in your fridge for a few days, so why not whip up a batch and feel good about snacking all week?

Below is how I made mine, but feel free to add in a layer of chopped tomatoes, olives, chopped artichokes, minced red onions, or roasted red peppers. Just do whatever floats your Mediterranean boat!

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Mediterranean Layered Dip Recipe

Mediterranean Layered Dip Recipe

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 68 appetizer servings 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Mix
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean

Description

Try this Mediterranean twist on the classic 7-layer dip. You’ll not only love the taste, but you’ll be loaded up with protein, fiber, and antioxidants.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup hummus
  • 2 cups (loosely packed) chopped fresh baby spinach
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • Optional: chopped tomatoes, olives, chopped artichokes, minced red onions, or roasted red peppers

Instructions

  1. In a glass bowl, layer the ingredients in this order:
    • 1/2 cup hummus
    • 1 cup chopped spinach
    • 1/2 of the red pepper
    • 1/2 cup hummus
    • 1 cup chopped spinach.
  2. Squeeze lemon juice over the top of ingredients. Top with 1/2 cup feta cheese.
  3. Optional: Add in any of the optional ingredients as a layer. You may want to add more hummus and/or feta in between every two layers to keep the dip creamy.
  4. Serving Suggestion: Serve with pita chips, fresh vegetable sticks, or torn pieces of pita bread.

Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

These healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins are moist, sweet, and delicious…and easily freezable. We pull them out of the freezer for snacks or for an easy breakfast.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

It’s the time of year when everyone wants a little pumpkin in their life. These healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins are moist, sweet, and delicious…and easily freezable.  We make them every other week and pull them out of the freezer for snacks or breakfast. Enjoy!

pumpkin chocolate chip muffins in a basket
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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 24 mini muffins or 12 regular muffins 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Healthy pumpkin chocolate chip muffin recipe. So delicious and at the same time, nutritious! Try them regular-sized or as mini muffins.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup ground flaxseed
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup milk (your choice)
  • 1/3 cup avocado oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil or coat a mini muffin tin or regular-sized muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, ground flaxseed, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a medium bowl, stir together the pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, oil, milk, and vanilla until well combined. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  3. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake 15-18 minutes for mini muffins or 20-23 minutes for regular-sized muffins, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let muffins cool on a wire rack. (Freezing instructions begin here.)

Notes

Freeze For Later: Bake muffins and cool completely. Place muffins in a single layer in a gallon-sized freezer bag or container, seal, and freeze.

Prepare From Frozen: Let a muffin sit on the counter for a few minutes or use the defrost setting on the microwave to thaw.

Close up of pumpkin chocolate chip muffins in a basket

Want More Pumpkin Recipes?

With YEARS worth of content and recipes on Thriving Home, it can be easy to forget about some amazing pumpkin recipes that we have shared over the years. Here are our Top 10 Pumpkin Recipes that you simply must try!

Homemade Clif Kid ZBars

By Rachel Tiemeyer

homemade clif kid z bar recipe

My little ones are huge fans of the Clif Kid ZBars. I love that these bars contain all organic ingredients, fiber, and some vitamins and minerals. However, I dislike that a box of six bars runs about $4.80, and they go fast around our house.

Thankfully, I found a recipe for homemade granola bars that is way cheaper, full of all-natural ingredients, and tastes awesome.  In fact, these puppies are dangerous…I could eat half a pan in a sitting. They remind me of our Powerball Cookies but in a granola bar form.This bar recipe is packed with all natural ingredients and can completely be customized to the likes of your family.

Making your own homemade Clif Kid ZBars is REALLY easy. I like that you can customize the bars according to your (or your kids’) preferences. For these bars I used a mix of craisins, golden raisins, dried cherries, pecans, and dark chocolate.

This bar recipe is packed with all natural ingredients and can completely be customized to the likes of your family.

Start by melting together the peanut butter, honey and oil.

Mix the melted mixture with the oats.

This bar recipe is packed with all natural ingredients and can completely be customized to the likes of your family.

Lastly, stir in your chosen ingredients and spread them in an 8×8 pan.

It was at this moment that I realized my pan was still loaned out to someone so I had to improvise…

Looks funny it but it did the trick-haha!

This bar recipe is packed with all natural ingredients and can completely be customized to the likes of your family.

After chilling the bars for over 2 hours, they were ready to cut and eat up.

Don’t forget to store these bad boys in the fridge. They become a bit gooey if left out.

Homemade Clif Kid ZBars (or Homemade Granola Bars)

Makes: about 10-12 small bars

This bar recipe is packed with all natural ingredients and can completely be customized to the likes of your family.

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homemade clif z bar recipe

Homemade Clif Kid ZBars

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 minutes
  • Total Time: 18 minutes
  • Yield: 10 small bars 1x
  • Category: Snack
  • Method: Stove top and chilled
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This bar recipe is packed with all natural ingredients and can completely be customized to the likes of your family. Try them today – they’re sure to become a next family favorite!


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (or another oil of your choice)
  • 1 cup oats (I used organic quick oats)
  • 1 cup total of any combination of: finely chopped nuts, unsweetened coconut flakes, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, dark chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. In a medium sized saucepan, melt together the nut butter, honey and coconut oil.
  2. Remove from heat and add one cup of oats. (Note: Be sure to let this mixture cool first if adding chocolate chips in the next step or else the chips will melt.)
  3. Choose your favorite combination of coconut flakes, chopped nuts, sunflower seeds, dried fruit and dark chocolate chips, to equal a total of ONE CUP. Pour in and stir well.
  4. Stir well, then spread mixture into an 8×8 pan.
  5. Chill for two hours, then cut into bars. Wrap in plastic wrap for a quick grab and go snack! Store bars in the fridge or freezer.

Guacamole for the Masses

By Rachel Tiemeyer

A fabulous guacamole recipe that feeds A LOT of people. So many fresh, real ingredients instead of those packs full of processed ingredients.

We meet twice a month with several other couples for our small group Bible study night.  Great friends, sharing our lives with one another, and substantive discussions are the best parts.  But, the snack is important too, you know.  Tonight was my “snack duty” turn, so I made the Guacamole recipe below and served it with Tostitos Natural Blue Corn Restaurant Style Chips and Tostitos Multigrain Tortilla Chips, both of which are MSG-free, additive-free, and Trans Fat-free.

A fabulous guacamole recipe that feeds A LOT of people. So many fresh, real ingredients instead of those packs full of processed ingredients.

My recipe has a less oniony and more limey taste than others, I think.  That’s because I’m not a huge raw onion fan.  I try to only post recipes that get good feedback, so hopefully you’ll enjoy it.  Note that it makes a lot!

A fabulous guacamole recipe that feeds A LOT of people. So many fresh, real ingredients instead of those packs full of processed ingredients.

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Guacamole

Guacamole for the Masses

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 16 1x
  • Category: Dip
  • Method: Blended
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Want to impress your guests at your next gathering? Serve this guacamole with all natural ingredients and you’ll have some really happy friends and family.


Ingredients

  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely minced
  • 1/2 to 1 small onion, finely grated or minced (I use about 1/2)
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped (could sub cilantro)
  • 8 avocados
  • juice of 3 limes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 or 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, add jalapeño, onion, garlic cloves, and parsley.
  2. Cut avocados lengthwise, remove pits, and dig out flesh with a spoon. Add to bowl.
  3. Squeeze lime juice over the top of avocados.
  4. Add salt, pepper, and cumin to bowl.
  5. Use a potato masher to mash avocados to desired consistency.
  6. Test seasoning and add more salt or pepper as needed.
  7. Add tomatoes and stir with a spoon to make sure all contents are well combined. Serve immediately. (Note: If not eating right away, place plastic wrap on top of the surface of guacamole and put in fridge to slow oxidation. You can also put the avocado pit in the guacamole to slow the browning).