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The BEST Snickerdoodle Cookie Recipe

By Polly Conner

If you are looking for a GREAT Snickerdoodle Cookie recipe, go no further. Stop searching. Don’t try anything else. You have arrived. These Snickerdoodles are easy to make, so soft & chewy, and so delicious. I am even going to show you how to make them ahead to freeze!

Snickerdoodle cookies stacked up

Snickerdoodles are like a moist, fluffy sugar cookie wrapped in a cinnamon sugar hug. They seem especially special around the holidays but I am totally fine making them anytime of the year. I have been making this recipe for almost 10 years now and wouldn’t change one thing about it.

This recipe is the only one you’ll need.

Soft and chewy snickerdoodle cookies with bite taken out

Snicker Doodle Pro Tips I’ve Learned Over the Years

This is a great recipe to make with kids. Not only does it come together fast, but they love to help roll the dough into balls and coat them with the cinnamon sugar. If you have multiple kids helping, give them each their own bowl. Trust me on this one.

Child's hand rolling snickerdoodles in cinnamon & sugar

Error on undercooking the cookies. For me, 12 minutes is PERFECT. Not one minute over, not one minute under. To obtain that desired chewiness you want in a Snickerdoodle, you simply cannot overcook them. Nothing worse than an overcooked Snickerdoodle.

Snickerdoodles on a baking sheet

Double the recipe and freeze some of the dough for later! See below on how to do that.

How to Freeze Snickerdoodle Cookies

If you want to make these cookies ahead of time, I recommend balling up the dough, rolling them in the cinnamon sugar, and freezing them on a baking sheet, and then moving them to store in an airtight container.

When you want to make them, simply let them thaw for 20-30 minutes on a baking sheet and then bake them as directed.

Snickerdoodle cookie dough in a freezer bag

Why is Cream of Tartar in Snickerdoodles?

Instead of baking powder, use cream of tartar and baking soda in snickerdoodles. Cream of tartar adds a unique tangy flavor to the cookie, which sets it apart from a regular sugar cookie. It’s absolutely delicious and pretty essential to making a Snickerdoodle.

Snickerdoodle cookies on a white platter
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The BEST Snickerdoodle Cookie Recipe

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 14 minutes
  • Total Time: 29 minutes
  • Yield: 1618 cookies 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These snickerdoodles are always a favorite with their soft, chewy middle and the delicious cinnamon sugar mixture on the outside.


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Cinnamon sugar mixture for rolling:

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

  1. In large bowl, mix together the butter and sugars. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.
  2. In another bowl combine the rest of the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda, cream of tartar).
  3. Mix dry ingredients into the wet.
  4. Refrigerate dough for 30-60 minutes.
  5. Scoop a small amount of dough out and roll into a small ball (I’d say a little smaller than a walnut).
  6. Roll dough into cinnamon sugar mixture.
  7. Bake cookies at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes and no more. The cookies will seem a bit undercooked but they will continue to develop after they are removed from the oven.
Snickerdoodle cookies stacked

Homemade Chex Mix

By Polly Conner

This Homemade Chex Mix recipe is easy to whip up, makes your home smell ah-maze-ing as it bakes in the oven, and is an addictive snack food that has proven to be a crowd favorite for decades. The recipe comes from my grandma and its secret sauce is the key to its deliciousness. 

Homemade Chex Mix in a large roasting pan

The History Behind the Family Recipe

I’m almost a little hesitant to share our “TV Mix” recipe.

No, not because of its addictive nature and unmatchable flavor. 

Not because it makes a HUGE batch and is easy to store, give away, or bring to a large group get-together.

Nor for the reason that it will make your house smell AMAZING and your mouth water when it’s cooking in the oven. Nope. None of those reasons.

The reason I’m hesitant is because it’s a somewhat secret family recipe that we make EVERY Fall. I guess we’ve never declared it a secret but I don’t know of anyone else who makes this “TV Mix” as we like to call it.

This yummy snack was originally a recipe of my grandma’s. I remember her always having it out and ready at family gatherings. I’m so glad my mom snagged the recipe and perfected it. I even have the original recipe card from her!

Grandma's recipe for homemade chex mix

I love that we can carry on the family tradition of making the TV mix together.

A Short Video of How to Make Homemade Chex Mix

In fact, we recently got together to make a batch. Look how easily it comes together!

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How to Make it: 3 Easy Steps

STEP 1: Mix all the munchie ingredients together in a large roasting pan. You can add just about any kind of munchie to the cereal mixture. Some examples we’ve used in the past are: Crispix, pretzel fish, crushed garlic bagel chips, sesame seed sticks, pine nuts, etc. You can play with it once you get a feel for the recipe. Because I know you’ll be making it more than once. 🙂

Stirring a batch of homemade chex mix

STEP 2: Make the secret sauce and drizzle it over the mix. The snacky ingredients are somewhat flexible. The magic sauce is not. And it’s this sauce that is key to its deliciousness.

Sauce for homemade chex mix in a mason jar

The only ingredient in the recipe that might be tricky to find is Ground Savory. If your store doesn’t have it, you can easily get it on Amazon.

Pouring sauce over homemade chex mix

STEP 3: Bake it! This is the best part because it smells SO dang good once it gets going. The mix does need to be stirred every 15 minutes, but it will be worth it, I promise. If you don’t stir it, parts of the mix will get burnt.

Finished Homemade Chex Mix in a large roasting pan

It’s not just nostalgia that makes this recipe one of a kind. It is truly SO good and SO addicting. In fact, my college roommates banned it because we all had no self-control when it was in our apartment. Bring it to any gathering and people will be clamoring for the recipe.

My mom always has a stash on hand that she busts out when family is in down or they have a social gathering.

Homemade Chex Mix in a small white bowl
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Homemade Chex Mix Recipe

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 50 mins
  • Yield: 12 cups 1x
  • Category: Snack
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Homemade Chex Mix recipe has been a family hit for years! Throw a batch together for your next large gathering. Your guests won’t be able to get enough!


Ingredients

  • 3 cups of each cereal: Cheerios, Rice Chex, Wheat Chex, Corn Chex, & Kix 
  • 1 regular bag of stick pretzels 
  • 1, 8 oz. can mixed nuts
  • 1, 8 oz. can peanuts
  • 1 or 2 cups cashew halves
  • 1 1/2 cups corn oil (sub: avocado oil)
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion salt
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground savory (sub: ground thyme)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 250°F.
  2. In a large roasting pan, combine cereals, pretzels, and nuts.
  3. In a mason jar or small bowl, combine oil, Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, onion salt, celery salt, and savory in a mason jar or small mixing bowl. Shake or stir well.
  4. Pour the sauce over mixture and stir well to combine.
  5. Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes
  6. Let cool completely before storing.

Notes

Stores well on the counter or in the pantry in an airtight container.

It’s fun to use holiday-themed pretzels around the holidays.

Homemade Chex Mix in a white bowl

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 Sweet Potato Banana Bread {Freezer-Friendly}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Ah, sweet breads. Forgiver of all added-in leftovers and hidden fruits and veggies. Your family is going to love this pretty darn healthy Chocolate Sweet Potato Banana Bread!

chocolate banana bread slices on white plate

I had leftover pureed sweet potato and several overripe bananas in the freezer to use up recently.  (Yes, you should definitely freeze leftovers like that to save money.) Anyway, this delicious banana bread was the result! It’s similar to my Banana Pumpkin Muffins but with some added cocoa and a sweet potato twist. 

chocolate banana bread slices on white plate

In the recipe, I suggested several substitutions to make this bread even healthier (if you want):

  • For 100% whole wheat bread, use the white whole wheat variety in place of both flours.
  • Want a dairy-free loaf? Substitute canned coconut milk for the yogurt and use coconut oil instead of butter.
  • To make this recipe a bit lower on the glycemic index, use coconut sugar in place of the other sugars. Also don’t add the chocolate chips. 🙂

I also love using cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder, which is even healthier!) in recipes like this because: a) it adds chocolate-y decadence without the added fat and sugar of chocolate chips, b) it’s actually full of antioxidants, and c) it masks the flavor of any hidden veggies. 

chocolate sweet potato banana bread

As I write this post, I’m enjoying a piece of this warm-from-the-oven bread with some butter and hoping I’m going to be able to stop with just one. Chocolate Sweet Potato Banana Bread is absolutely decadent and healthy.  My favorite kind of snack!

If you love muffins and sweet breads, be sure to try these other favorites from our site:

How to Store Overripe Bananas for Later

P.S. If you have more overripe bananas than you can use in this recipe, did you know you can freeze them? Here is the best way to freeze bananas for later.

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chocolate banana bread slices on white plate

Chocolate Sweet Potato Banana Bread

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 bread loaf or 12 muffins 1x
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Feel good about what you’re feeding your family. This bread is chock full of hidden veggies, antioxidants, and loads of other good-for-you ingredients.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup smashed overripe bananas (about one banana)
  • 1/2 cup smashed or pureed cooked sweet potato (sub: pumpkin puree)
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt (sub: coconut milk from the can)
  • 5 tablespoons melted coconut oil (or butter)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar (sub: coconut sugar)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (sub: coconut sugar)
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (sub: white whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (sub: white whole wheat flour)
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (sub: cacao powder)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Optional: 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan or standard-sized muffin pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl using a hand mixer or stand mixer, add the banana, sweet potato, yogurt, coconut oil, eggs, and vanilla and beat at medium speed until combined. Add sugars; beat again until combined.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together the all-purpose and wheat flours, flaxseed, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. (Tip: Lightly spoon the flour into a dry measuring cup and level with a knife to measure correctly.) Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture and stir by hand just until blended.
  4. Optional: Gently stir in the mini chocolate chips. Do not over mix.
  5. Pour batter into the greased loaf pan or muffin tin and place on the center rack of the oven. For bread: Bake for 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. For muffins: Bake for 15-18 minutes until a wooden pick comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes or so and then turn the bread or muffins out onto the rack. You may have to run a knife around the edges to help the bread or muffins come out more easily.

Freeze For Later: Follow entire recipe, letting the bread or muffins cool completely. Wrap the bread in a few layers of plastic wrap and/or foil and freeze. Or, place the muffins in a freezer bag, squeeze out as much air as possible, seal, and freeze. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw the bread loaf or desired number of muffins on the counter or using the defrost setting on the microwave briefly.

Caramelized Banana Oat Muffins

By Polly Conner

These caramelized muffins will satisfy your hunger with nutrient-dense ingredients. Enjoy!

I love making muffins.

Maybe it’s because my figure somewhat represents one at the current time (i.e. 7.5 months pregnant) but for some reason I’ve been wanting muffins in the morning–and afternoon. OK maybe I had 2 for dinner the night as well. No regrets either.

Call me a muffin snob but I want a recipe that will actually keep me full. I hate puttering out on energy at about 10am so I gravitate towards hearty recipes like our zucchini flaxseed muffins or chocolate banana muffins.

I’m always on the hunt for new muffin recipes so when I saw this caramelized banana oat muffin recipe on Pinch of Yum, I pounced on it as quick as a two year old does when his toy is in the hands of another child. Or maybe just my two year old. I digress.

I tweaked and subbed a few ingredients here and there and came out with a recipe that I for sure plan on making again.

Here’s how it all went down… (recipe at the bottom of the post).

Rise and shine. Muffin making time.

The first step to this recipe is to caramelize the bananas. As with most things in my life, my children wanted to be right in the middle of whatever I may be doing. So here we are–in all of our morning glory–me in my husbands shirt because I hardly have any that actually fit me (thank you baby bump).

These caramelized muffins will satisfy your hunger with nutrient-dense ingredients. Enjoy!

This actually turned out to be a great task for little hands. I sliced 4 bananas about 1/2 inch thick and my little helpers placed them on a foiled and greased baking sheet.

These caramelized muffins will satisfy your hunger with nutrient-dense ingredients. Enjoy!

After baking them at 400 for about 15 minutes, they looked like this.

I mean, gross right? Not quite the image of the beautifully caramelized bananas that I was envisioning. Regardless, I persevered through the recipe.

These caramelized muffins will satisfy your hunger with nutrient-dense ingredients. Enjoy!

Next, it was time to make the oat flour.

Don’t be intimidated by this at all. Oat flour can simply be made in the food processor. I use the same technique for our oatmeal pancakes all of the time. Just dump them in and grind them up! It will end up yielding about 3/4 cup but that is totally fine. Don’t add any more!
These caramelized muffins will satisfy your hunger with nutrient-dense ingredients. Enjoy!

Now, in a large bowl mix together all of your dry ingredients minus the pecans (oat flour, whole wheat flour, flax seed, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg).

Then, you guessed it, in another bowl mix together all of your wet ingredients minus the bananas (half and half, yogurt, eggs, melted butter, maple syrup, vanilla). 

Make a “well” in the middle of your dry ingredients and pour your wet ingredients into the well. Stir until they are just mixed together (probably about 15 times). Now fold in your mashed bananas and pecans. Stir just a few more times.

Fill your muffin cups up about 3/4 full with this goodness. It’s worth mentioning that I highly recommend using silicone muffin cups. I’ve hardly ever had problems with my muffins sticking to them and I find they are much easier to clean than a pan. Just sayin. Here is an iphone shot of mine before they went into the oven.

These caramelized muffins will satisfy your hunger with nutrient-dense ingredients. Enjoy!

You can probably see that there is a topping sprinkled on top of the batter. I think this yummy topping is what makes this muffin extra special. It’s super easy to whip up. Combine some oats, maple syrup and butter and you are in business.

These caramelized muffins will satisfy your hunger with nutrient-dense ingredients. Enjoy!

Time to bake!

A 400 degree oven and about 15 minutes should do the trick. Just keep them in there until the tops start to brown and the muffins push back a bit when you gently touch the top.

Let them cool a few minutes before removing them from the pan.

These caramelized muffins will satisfy your hunger with nutrient-dense ingredients. Enjoy!

Then fend off your children as you attempt to take pictures of the final product. Oh wait, that’s just me. #FoodBloggerProblems.
These caramelized muffins will satisfy your hunger with nutrient-dense ingredients. Enjoy!

These caramelized muffins will satisfy your hunger with nutrient-dense ingredients. Enjoy!

Make sure to check out all of our other muffin recipes we have in our recipe index. You shall not be disappointed in what you may find.

Happy muffin making!

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Caramelized Banana Oat Muffins

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

A delicious twist on the typical banana muffin recipe. These muffins have just the right balance of sweetness, heartiness and nutrition for a delicious, healthy breakfast. Freezer friendly too!


Ingredients

  • 4 bananas, peeled and sliced (NOT overly ripe)
  • 1 cup oats, pulsed through a food processor until coarse flour forms
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed (can sub wheat flour)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ cup half and half
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter
  • 23 tablespoons raw honey or real maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • For The Topping
  • ⅓ cup oats
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey or real maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Slice the bananas into rounds about 1/2 inch thick.
  3. After lining a baking sheet with aluminum foil, spray generously with nonstick cooking spray and place the bananas on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake bananas for about 10-15 minutes, flipping once and removing from the oven when the bananas are deep golden brown on the outside.
  5. Transfer bananas to a bowl and give them a good smash.
  6. Break down the oats in a food processor until a flour-like meal is formed. (This took about 45 seconds for me.)
  7. Combine all the dry ingredients (oat flour, whole wheat flour, flax seed, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg) in a large bowl. Stir to combine.
  8. In a separate bowl, whisk the half and half, yogurt, eggs, melted butter, vanilla, and honey until smooth.
  9. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet to the dry.
  10. Stir around the bowl until the batter is just barely combined (if you stir too much during this step, your muffins are going to have a gummy, chewy consistency).
  11. Fold the caramelized bananas and pecans into the mixture, stirring just a few more times.
  12. Transfer the batter to muffin cups. If you’re using a pan, make sure to grease it well.
  13. Mix the topping ingredients together and spoon over the muffins.
  14. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until the muffins are puffed slightly and spring back when you touch the tops.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:

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

To Prepare:
Remove desired number of muffins from freezer. Let thaw in refrigerator overnight or warm slightly in the microwave.

Cranberry-Orange Shortbread Cookies {Freezer Meal}

By Polly Conner

This cranberry-orange shortbread cookie is nothing short of delicious. Take the buttery-goodness of a classic shortbread and infuse it with fresh orange zest and cranberries. The result: an crowd-pleasing, unforgettable cookie! | Thriving Home

This Cranberry-Orange Shortbread cookie recipe is nothing short of delicious. After a few tweaks to the original recipe, I’m seriously obsessed. I made them as a holiday treat but I could also see them being a great summer goodie to have on hand. It contains the buttery-goodness of a shortbread cookie but is punctuated with flavor and the cranberry-orange combo. I seriously need to make another batch.

This cranberry-orange shortbread cookie is nothing short of delicious. Take the buttery-goodness of a classic shortbread and infuse it with fresh orange zest and cranberries. The result: an crowd-pleasing, unforgettable cookie! | Thriving Home

Another great perk of this recipe is that it is a great make-ahead dessert. After you’ve prepared the dough, you can leave it in the fridge for up to 72 hours or even freeze it until you are ready to bake.

This cranberry-orange shortbread cookie is nothing short of delicious. Take the buttery-goodness of a classic shortbread and infuse it with fresh orange zest and cranberries. The result: an crowd-pleasing, unforgettable cookie! | Thriving Home

Ready to make your own?

Before I launch into the actual recipe, allow me to recommend two kitchen utensils that will not only make this recipe easier, but your life, as well.

No, they aren’t necessary for the recipe, or for life, but you won’t regret your purchase.

 A Pastry Cutter

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 10.17.16 AM Anytime a recipe calls to “cut in” butter, I pull this baby out and let it do the hard work for me. Before I had my pastry cutter, I would just have to use my hands to get the butter all crumbly. Well, gross-hands no more. My new friend, the pastry cutter saves me lots of hassle.

A Zester

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 10.18.25 AMThis is one of my favorite kitchen tools. A standup zester wouldn’t stand a chance in a duel with a microplane zester like this one. I use this to not only make lemon and orange zest, but also for garlic, nutmeg, ginger, etc. Save yourself some knuckle skin and snag one of these little guys.

OK, enough of my favorite kitchen gadgets. On to the recipe!

Cranberry-Orange Shortbread Cookies

Make your dough following the directions below.

I wrapped mine up in parchment paper and then some press and seal to keep it air tight while it chilled. Simple plastic wrap will work as well. This cranberry-orange shortbread cookie is nothing short of delicious. Take the buttery-goodness of a classic shortbread and infuse it with fresh orange zest and cranberries. The result: an crowd-pleasing, unforgettable cookie! | Thriving Home

After dough has chilled for at least 2 hours in the fridge, pull it out and slice it into 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices. I like mine a little thicker so I chopped mine a bit more generously.

This cranberry-orange shortbread cookie is nothing short of delicious. Take the buttery-goodness of a classic shortbread and infuse it with fresh orange zest and cranberries. The result: an crowd-pleasing, unforgettable cookie! | Thriving Home

Place slices on a parchment lined baking sheet while resisting the urge to devour the cookie dough.

This cranberry-orange shortbread cookie is nothing short of delicious. Take the buttery-goodness of a classic shortbread and infuse it with fresh orange zest and cranberries. The result: an crowd-pleasing, unforgettable cookie! | Thriving Home

Bake at 325 for 10-12 minutes. Mine took all of 12 minutes because of their thickness.

Let them cool a bit before removing. Now, stack them up real pretty and take some pictures of your magnificent creation.

Oh wait, that’s just me.

When my kids get older, they are going to think I’m so weird because I take pictures of everything I make.

This cranberry-orange shortbread cookie is nothing short of delicious. Take the buttery-goodness of a classic shortbread and infuse it with fresh orange zest and cranberries. The result: an crowd-pleasing, unforgettable cookie! | Thriving Home

I’d recommend an accompanying glass of milk.

This cranberry-orange shortbread cookie is nothing short of delicious. Take the buttery-goodness of a classic shortbread and infuse it with fresh orange zest and cranberries. The result: an crowd-pleasing, unforgettable cookie! | Thriving Home

This cranberry-orange shortbread cookie is nothing short of delicious. Take the buttery-goodness of a classic shortbread and infuse it with fresh orange zest and cranberries. The result: an crowd-pleasing, unforgettable cookie! | Thriving Home
Simply delicious!

This cranberry-orange shortbread cookie is nothing short of delicious. Take the buttery-goodness of a classic shortbread and infuse it with fresh orange zest and cranberries. The result: an crowd-pleasing, unforgettable cookie! | Thriving Home

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Cranberry-Orange Shortbread Cookies {Freezer Meal}

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 3 hours
  • Cook Time: 12 minute
  • Total Time: 3 hours 12 minute
  • Yield: 24 cookies 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Description

A buttery-rich and fresh twist on a shortbread cookie. The cranberry-orange combination brings a fresh flavor that is complimented by the buttery goodness of a shortbread cookie. A crowd pleaser!


Ingredients

  • 2½ cups all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup sugar, divided
  • 1 cup butter, cubed (and cold)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 orange (I used 4 clementines)
  • ½ cup dried cranberries (Craisins)
  • additional sugar to coat cookies before baking if desired

Instructions

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Add cranberries and ¼ cup of sugar into a food processor and process just until the cranberries are broken down into smaller pieces. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour and remaining sugar. Give it a stir.
  4. Use a pastry blender to cut in butter. You want very fine crumbs. If you don’t have a pastry blender, just used your hands!
  5. Stir in the vanilla, processed cranberries and and orange zest.
  6. Use your hands to knead the dough until it comes together and forms a ball. Work the dough JUST until it comes together – you don’t want to over-work it.
  7. Shape dough into a log about two inches in a diameter and wrap in plastic wrap or parchment paper with plastic wrap on top of that. Refrigerate for two hours or up to 72 hours or freeze at this point.
  8. When ready to cook, thaw (if necessary) and cut slices of cookie dough about ¼-1/2 inch thick.
  9. Place about a half a cup of sugar in a bowl and coat the cookie slices with sugar (optional).
  10. Place cookies on parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 325 for 10-12 minutes or just until cookies are set. Do not over bake. Since I cut mine about 1/2 inch thick, mine took 12 minutes. If you cut them thinner, decrease cooking time.
  11. Let cookies cool for several minutes on baking sheet before removing to cooling rack. Let cool completely.
  12. Store in airtight container for 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:

To Freeze:
Roll dough in to loaf/log shape. Wrap in plastic wrap and then a layer of press and seal, if possible. Put dough in freezer and store for up to 3 months.

To Prepare:
Let dough thaw in refrigerator overnight and cook as directed.

By Far, The BEST Way to Make Cinnamon Toast

By Polly Conner

By far, the best way to make cinnamon toast. A simple trick that you'll be so glad you tried. | Thriving Home

Cinnamon toast is pretty hard to screw up.

I mean it’s just a combination of cinnamon, sugar and butter on bread. Not much skill to it, right?

WRONG.

You’re all wrong.

There is a fabulous, beautiful, unbelievable, life-changing way to make cinnamon toast that you must know about. For 30 years of my life, I missed out on this goodness, but in the meantime, we are making up for it. My husband and kids have no objections either. By far, the best way to make cinnamon toast. A simple trick that you'll be so glad you tried. | Thriving Home

In fact, we almost have to buy two loaves of bread a week since we seem to make this type of cinnamon toast almost twice a week. This, in addition to our discovery of eggs in a hole, is cleaning out our bread supply fast.

Are you ready to change your cinnamon toasting experience for the rest of your life? (Can you tell I’m in a dramatic mood?)

Deep breath. Here we go.

1. Generously butter your bread.

By far, the best way to make cinnamon toast. A simple trick that you'll be so glad you tried. | Thriving Home

The key to this method is the butter. A generous amount of butter. Reason is, when you broil the toast in the oven, the butter creates a slightly crispy-caramelized-rich tasting crust. If you skimp on the butter, this recipe will be lacking the goodness I am making such a big deal about.

Spread about 1 tablespoon of softened butter all over the slice of bread.

2. Sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon of sugar on top of your butter.

By far, the best way to make cinnamon toast. A simple trick that you'll be so glad you tried. | Thriving Home

3. Sprinkle on a touch of cinnamon.

I can taste the goodness now.
By far, the best way to make cinnamon toast. A simple trick that you'll be so glad you tried. | Thriving Home

4. Broil your toast.

Yes, seriously. Broil it.

Put your prepared toast in your oven and turn the broiler on high. (Do not preheat or your toast will cook too fast!) After about 2-3 minutes, depending on your oven, the butter will start to bubble a lot and the edges of your toast will start to turn brown. Using tongs, remove the toast when it is toasted to your liking. Just don’t overdue it or you will have charred that delicious butter.

By far, the best way to make cinnamon toast. A simple trick that you'll be so glad you tried. | Thriving Home

Oh my heavens, get ready.

You’ll never go back to your old ways.

You’re welcome.

By far, the best way to make cinnamon toast. A simple trick that you'll be so glad you tried. | Thriving Home

Make sure to check out other delicious breakfast recipes we have in our recipe index. Yum!

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By Far, The BEST Way to Make Cinnamon Toast

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Once you try the broil method for cinnamon and sugar toast, you will never eat it any other way again! A few simple steps and you’re in for the treat of your life.


Ingredients

  • 4 slices bread
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Dash of cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Generously butter your bread with about 1 tablespoon of softened butter.
  2. Sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon of sugar on top of your butter followed by a touch of cinnamon.
  3. Broil the toast – it will take approximately 2-3 minutes to melt the butter, sugar, and cinnamon.

(Healthy and Delicious!) Pumpkin Muffins With a Crumble Topping

By Polly Conner
A delicious pumpkin muffin recipe. I love that this recipe uses the whole can of pumpkin. The crumble topping puts it over the top! Double this and freeze one batch for the future--you'll want lots!

I have a new addition to my favorite fall recipes. These pumpkin muffins are soooo good. I wish I would have doubled the recipe to have some to freeze and eat later. They are going fast around these parts. The muffins are hearty, flavorful, packed with nutrition, and fall tastes. Simply wonderful.

To be honest, I wasn’t even planning on blogging about these. Since we already have a few pumpkin muffin recipes (Banana Pumpkin Muffins & Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins), I wasn’t looking for another one to add to the blog. However, after I tried it I told Rachel that it was too good not to share.

When I stumbled on the recipe I saw that it had lots of healthy ingredients like wheat flour, oats, a whole can of pumpkin, and coconut oil. I ended up subbing 1/4 of my wheat flour with ground flax seed. (Why eat flax seed?) I also ended up making some other substitutions based on what I had in my spice cabinet. The end result? I said it already, simply wonderful.

A delicious pumpkin muffin recipe. I love that this recipe uses the whole can of pumpkin. The crumble topping puts it over the top! Double this and freeze one batch for the future--you'll want lots!

And just in case you need a little more convincing that these muffins are a bit coveted around our house, I have photographic evidence. I had a “helper” when staging the photo of these muffins. Those little hands were all too eager to get one in their possession.

A delicious pumpkin muffin recipe. I love that this recipe uses the whole can of pumpkin. The crumble topping puts it over the top! Double this and freeze one batch for the future--you'll want lots!
A delicious pumpkin muffin recipe. I love that this recipe uses the whole can of pumpkin. The crumble topping puts it over the top! Double this and freeze one batch for the future--you'll want lots!

The only thing I might do differently with my next batch is double the crumble topping. But that’s probably because I have a sweet tooth. Other than that, this recipe is going AS IS in the regular rotation.

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Pumpkin Muffins with Crumble Topping

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 18 muffins 1x
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

A delicious pumpkin muffin recipe. I love that this recipe uses the whole can of pumpkin. The crumble topping puts it over the top! Double this and freeze one batch for the future–you’ll want lots!


Ingredients

Muffin Batter:

  • 1½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup oats (quick oats work fine)
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups pumpkin puree (1 can of pure pumpkin)
  • 1 cup sugar (preferably unrefined/raw)
  • ⅔ cup oil (preferably avocado oil or melted coconut oil)
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Crumble Topping:

  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease or line 18 muffin cups with paper liners. Also could use mini muffins or square muffin tins for mini-bread loaves.
  2. Combine the flour, oats, spices, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.
  3. Whisk pumpkin puree, sugar, oil, applesauce, eggs, and vanilla extract together in a separate large bowl.
  4. Stir flour mixture into pumpkin mixture; mix well.
  5. To make the crumble topping, mix brown sugar with butter in a bowl until creamy and smooth. Mix in oats and 2 tablespoons flour, using a fork, into sugar-butter mixture until topping is crumbly.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tins until about 2/3 full. Sprinkle each muffin with crumble topping.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 15-20 minutes. To check for doneness, insert a tooth pick and if it comes out clean then muffins are done. (Freezing instructions begin here.)

Freeze For Later: Bake muffins as directed in recipe. Let cool completely. Then place in a gallon-sized freezer bag or container, seal tightly, and store for up to 3 months. 

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw muffins in the refrigerator or warm in the microwave.

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!

collage image of top 10 pumpkin recipes

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.

Fruit Pizza Roll-Ups: An Easy Breakfast or Lunch for Kids

By Rachel Tiemeyer

These fruit pizza roll-ups are so easy for kids to whip up! Pick your favorite fruits and let your kids have at it.

I love my little 5-year-old girl. She’s always concocting “new healthy recipes, Mommy!” and trying to take pictures of them with my phone. Well, this one of hers has finally made it on the blog. My 7-year-old entrepreneurial son said I have to pay her for it. 🙂

This Fruit Pizza Roll-Up is one of my daughter’s absolute favorite lunches, as well as my 3-year-old son’s too. But, wouldn’t this make for an easy breakfast, too? In fact, it’s so simple that you can let your child help you make it.

These fruit pizza roll-ups are so easy for kids to whip up! Pick your favorite fruits and let your kids have at it.

Here’s how this recipe “rolls”…

1) Spread cream cheese over a whole wheat tortilla.

2) Slice up your favorite fruit in small pieces. We opted for bananas, peaches, and blueberries this time. But strawberries, apples, pears, mangoes, and nectarines would be delicious too.

3) Drizzle the top with honey.

4) Roll up and eat!

Healthy, simple and a kid fav! Yep, I may have to hire this little girl soon.

These fruit pizza roll-ups are so easy for kids to whip up! Pick your favorite fruits and let your kids have at it.

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Fruit Pizza Roll-Ups: An Easy Breakfast or Lunch for Kids

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Prepared
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Healthy fruit pizza roll ups are a kid favorite! Top them with your favorite fruit, roll them up, and drizzle some honey on top. Delicious!


Ingredients

  • 46 whole wheat tortillas
  • One 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • Fresh fruit of your choice – peaches, bananas, blueberries

Instructions

  1. Spread a thin layer of cream cheese over a whole wheat tortilla.
  2. Slice or dice fruit in to small pieces and place on top of the cream cheese.
  3. Roll up the tortilla and drizzle the top with honey.

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.

Creamy Avocado Dip: For One or For a Crowd

By Rachel Tiemeyer

creamy avocado dip recipe

As afternoon snacks go, dark chocolate chips and peanuts rank #1 in my book. But, Creamy Avocado Dip might come in at #2. This healthy and filling dip is a great love of mine for lunch or for snacking.

You can also whip up this Creamy Avocado Dip for an appetizer for a crowd. Pinky swear that it doesn’t taste “healthy”–just creamy and delicious! Serve with tortilla chips, carrots sticks, and any other fresh veggies you like.

I must note that my absolute favorite salsa in this recipe is the Double Roasted Salsa from Trader Joes. We always stock up on it when we’re in the city. As you may know, I heart TJs.

Check out more of our healthy snacks here and appetizers here. I hope you can enjoy some of this green goodness soon!

creamy avocado dip

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Creamy Avocado Dip

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 (single serving) or 8 (crowd directions) 1x
  • Category: Dip
  • Method: Blended
  • Cuisine: American

Description

You can whip up this Creamy Avocado Dip for an appetizer or for a crowd. It is creamy and delicious! Serve with tortilla chips, carrots sticks, and any other fresh veggies you like.


Ingredients

  • For One:
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
  • salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to taste
  • 12 tablespoons of salsa (I love Double Smoked Salsa at Trader Joe’s in mine!)
  • 12 tablespoons of plain Greek Yogurt (fat-free works fine)
  • For a Crowd (serves 8-10):
  • 8 avocados
  • 8 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (juice of 23 lemons)
  • salt, pepper and garlic powder, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups salsa
  • 1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt (fat-free works fine)

Instructions

  1. Remove the avocado flesh with a spoon and place in a bowl. Add lemon juice and smash with a potato masher or back of a fork until smooth.
  2. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Stir to combine.
  3. Add in salsa and Greek yogurt and stir until thoroughly combined.
  4. Serve with fresh veggies (carrots, celery, broccoli, peppers) and/or chips.

Blueberry Oat Bars {Freezer Meal}

By Polly Conner

These blueberry oat bars have a buttery shortbread that cuts easily for sharing. On top of the shortbread is a sweet, but not too sweet, blueberry filling topped with an oats crumble topping.

After making a batch of these Blueberry Oat Bars for some friends and family over the Fourth of July, my family declared that this recipe is “blogworthy.” So while Rachel was busy putting together a post about Seven Healthy Berry Recipes, I felt the need to compensate with a not-so-healthy, eat-in-moderation, worth-every-calorie berry recipe.

These blueberry oat bars have a buttery shortbread that cuts easily for sharing. On top of the shortbread is a sweet, but not too sweet, blueberry filling topped with an oats crumble topping.

I got this Blueberry Oat Bar recipe from Tracy’s Culinary Adventures and pinned it knowing I would for sure use it in the future. Well, I was right. After blueberry picking with my kiddos, we had an abundance of berries to use up and this recipe was the first one I tried.

I loved the simplicity of these bars. They have a buttery shortbread that cuts easily for sharing or even freezing. On top of the shortbread is a sweet, but not too sweet, blueberry filling topped with an oaty crumble topping.

These blueberry oat bars have a buttery shortbread that cuts easily for sharing. On top of the shortbread is a sweet, but not too sweet, blueberry filling topped with an oats crumble topping.

I also liked that they were easily portable and a great dessert to take to a gathering of friends.

Want to make a batch?

Blueberry Oat Bars

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup blueberry preserves (I used jam and it worked fine)
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Instructions

First step is to recruit a two-year old helper.

These blueberry oat bars have a buttery shortbread that cuts easily for sharing. On top of the shortbread is a sweet, but not too sweet, blueberry filling topped with an oats crumble topping.

(Just kidding)

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a 13×9 baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on opposite sides to use as “handles” to lift the bars out afterward. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

Add the flour, sugar, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix briefly on low speed to combine.

Cut the butter into small, 1/2-inch pieces and then, with the mixer on low, add 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) of the butter, one piece at a time. When you’ve finished adding the butter, continue mixing on low speed until the butter has been broken down into small pieces and the mixture resembles wet sand (shouldn’t take much longer than a minute or two).

Transfer 1 1/4 cups of this crust mixture to another bowl and set aside.

Dump the remaining crust mixture into the prepared pan and press into an even layer over the bottom of the pan. (This could be a good job for a kiddo).

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the edges of the crust turn golden brown and it is set.

These blueberry oat bars have a buttery shortbread that cuts easily for sharing. On top of the shortbread is a sweet, but not too sweet, blueberry filling topped with an oats crumble topping.

Meanwhile, make the streusel topping:

Add the oats and brown sugar to the bowl with the reserved crust mixture. Stir to combine. Add the remaining two tablespoons of butter to the bowl and use your fingers (or a pastry cutter) to work the butter into the dry ingredients until combined.

These blueberry oat bars have a buttery shortbread that cuts easily for sharing. On top of the shortbread is a sweet, but not too sweet, blueberry filling topped with an oats crumble topping.

Make the filling by combining the blueberry preserves (or jam :), fresh blueberries and lemon juice in a bowl. Mash the blueberries – you want to break them down some, but still leave some chunks resembling berries.

These blueberry oat bars have a buttery shortbread that cuts easily for sharing. On top of the shortbread is a sweet, but not too sweet, blueberry filling topped with an oats crumble topping.

When you remove the crust from the oven, add the filling directly on top of the hot crust. Spread in an even layer.

These blueberry oat bars have a buttery shortbread that cuts easily for sharing. On top of the shortbread is a sweet, but not too sweet, blueberry filling topped with an oats crumble topping.

Sprinkle the streusel topping over the filling. I grabbed a handful and kind of  “tickled it” on top of the filling. Don’t press the streusel into the filling!

These blueberry oat bars have a buttery shortbread that cuts easily for sharing. On top of the shortbread is a sweet, but not too sweet, blueberry filling topped with an oats crumble topping.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and the streusel has browned.

Remove the pan and let the bars cool to room temperature, about 1-2 hours. Use the foil handles to lift the bars from the pan and cut into squares for serving. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

After cutting mine up, I moved some to a freezer bag and have them stored for future use. They freeze great and could be a great treat to take to a new mom or someone who needs a meal.

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Blueberry Oat Bars

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 16 bars 1x
  • Category: Snack
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These blueberry oat bars have a buttery shortbread that cuts easily for sharing. On top of the shortbread is a sweet, but not too sweet, blueberry filling topped with an oats crumble topping.


Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup blueberry preserves (I used jam and it worked fine)
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a 13×9 baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on opposite sides to use as “handles” to lift the bars out afterward. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Add the flour, sugar, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix briefly on low speed to combine.
  3. Cut the butter into small, 1/2-inch pieces and then, with the mixer on low, add 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) of the butter, one piece at a time. When you’ve finished adding the butter, continue mixing on low speed until the butter has been broken down into small pieces and the mixture resembles wet sand (shouldn’t take much longer than a minute or two).
  4. Transfer 1 1/4 cups of this crust mixture to another bowl and set aside.
  5. Dump the remaining crust mixture into the prepared pan and press into an even layer over the bottom of the pan. (This could be a good job for a kiddo to help with).
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the edges of the crust turn golden brown and it is set.
  7. For the Streusel Topping:
  8. Add the oats and brown sugar to the bowl with the reserved crust mixture. Stir to combine. Add the remaining two tablespoons of butter to the bowl and use your fingers (or a pastry cutter) to work the butter into the dry ingredients until combined.
  9. Make the filling by combining the blueberry preserves (or jam :), fresh blueberries and lemon juice in a bowl. Mash the blueberries – you want to break them down some, but still leave some chunks resembling berries.
  10. When you remove the crust from the oven, add the filling directly on top of the hot crust. Spread in an even layer.
  11. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the filling. I grabbed a handful and kind of “tickled it” on top of the filling. Don’t press the streusel into the filling!
  12. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and the streusel has browned.
  13. Remove the pan and let the bars cool to room temperature, about 1-2 hours. Use the foil handles to lift the bars from the pan and cut into squares for serving. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:

To Freeze:
Bake bars according to recipe directions. Let cool completely. Once cool, cut bars apart. Store in freezer safe bag or container for up to 3 months.
To Prepare:
Remove desired number of bars. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or warm in the microwave.

The Green Pineapple Smoothie

By Polly Conner

This smoothie is super-bright, refreshing, and filled with tropical flavors.If you love super-bright, refreshing, tropical flavors, this one is absolutely made with you in mind. With juicy pineapple, tart lime, and a few sprigs of fresh mint, there’s far more summer sunshine in this glass than the spinach-green color lets on.

I love the sweet, slightly nutty flavor of coconut water, and a bit of extra-virgin coconut oil adds gorgeous coconut fragrance without the heaviness of canned coconut milk. If you can’t find coconut water at your grocery store—I find mine on the same shelves as the bottled or boxed juice, plant milk, and other shelf-stable beverages—try diluting half a cup of canned full-fat coconut milk with water.

This smoothie is super-bright, refreshing, and filled with tropical flavors.

Last but not least, I’m always looking for ways to add a little extra protein. If you want a boost, you can go with a neutral-tasting protein powder (I like Sunwarrior Natural), but I like the slightly grassy flavor of hemp seeds with this flavor combination.

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The Green Pineapple Smoothie

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

Description

This smoothie is super-bright, refreshing, and filled with tropical flavors.


Ingredients

  • 1 heaping cup chopped fresh pineapple
  • ½ large very ripe banana, sliced and frozen
  • 1 cup packed fresh spinach (washed and chopped)
  • 2 sprigs fresh mint, just the leaves (about 10-12)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin coconut oil
  • juice of ½ lime
  • ¾ cup natural coconut water
  • 12 tablespoon hemp seeds, optional
  • 23 ice cubes
  • 1 teaspoon honey, optional

Instructions

  1. Pile everything except the honey into the blender and puree on high for a full minute or two.
  2. Taste and adjust the sweetness to your liking. (The pineapples I have been eating lately are super-sweet and juicy, so honey hasn’t been necessary at all!)
  3. Pour into a glass and enjoy immediately.

Lindsey Howald Patton is a food, architecture, history, and art writer based in Chicago. When not accidentally leaning in way too close to the paintings, she tinkers with gluten- and dairy-free recipes at home and blogs about them over on At Burning Degrees.

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.

Strawberry Pina Colada Smoothie Recipe: A Taste of Summer

By Rachel Tiemeyer

This smoothie feels like a treat on the beach. Kids and adults will love these! Add a little rum and you've got a healthy adult bev!After a beautiful week with tons of snow, I’ve had my fill of winter. Our family is officially ready for summer. But since we have to wait a few more months, I thought, “Why not bring a little summer to us?” That’s what inspired this family-friendly strawberry pina colada recipe (which can easily be made into a healthy adult bev with a little rum added!). I promise you…this recipe won’t disappoint. The key is the coconut milk, though.

Unsweetened organic coconut milk is so good for you and includes health benefits such as: aides in weight loss, immune system support, prevents heart disease, and promotes healthy hair and skin. I found a good deal on unsweetened coconut milk at Vitacost. If you use my link here, you’ll get $10 off your order, too!

Enjoy a little early taste of summer if you live in the northern hemisphere. For all my southern hemisphere friends, enjoy a cool glass of Strawberry Pina Colada for us on the beach and think of us fondly.

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Strawberry Pina Colada Smoothie

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Smoothie
  • Method: Blend
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This smoothie feels like a treat on the beach. Kids and adults will love these! Add a little rum and you’ve got a healthy adult bev!


Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cup crushed ice (more if not using frozen fruit)
  • 1 banana
  • 2 cups strawberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 2 cups pineapple (frozen or fresh)

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend on high until smooth. (Note: I find it easiest to put all the liquids in first and then add the ice and frozen fruit.)
  2. Remove from blender and serve immediately.

Crock Pot Cran-Apple Sauce Recipe

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Hi everyone! I’m Sarah and I blog at The Pajama Chef. I am so excited to be guest posting today at Thriving Home. When Rachel contacted me to ask if I would share my Crock Pot Cran-Apple Sauce, I was thrilled! And surprised–because I had kind of forgotten about the recipe, since I first shared it about a year ago. That may not seem like the ideal way to start out a post, insinuating that this recipe is forgettable… but let me tell you, this applesauce is anything but forgettable, once you’ve taken a bite.

The delicious combination of cranberries and apples creates this incredibly delicious spin on regular applesauce.

I made up the recipe around Christmastime last year when I had leftover cranberries to use up. I know you can freeze them, but my freezer is always bursting at the seams with everything from my homemade chicken broth [that I really should blog about] to giant Sam’s Club size bags of frozen fruit to individual servings of leftovers for my husband to take for lunch. So I decided to throw some cranberries into a batch of my regular crock pot applesauce to see what happened… and it is AWESOME!

The delicious combination of cranberries and apples creates this incredibly yummy spin on regular applesauce.

The result is a cross between chunky applesauce and cranberry sauce. It’s tart and sweet, looks fancy, but is so simple to make. This Cran-Apple Sauce is a great addition to your Christmas breakfast or dinner table, and is a great reason to throw a few bags of cranberries in your freezer after Christmas to tide you over throughout the winter months. In fact, I think I’m going to put cranberries on my grocery list for this weekend so I can whip up a batch to enjoy now. I hope you like it as much as we do! Thanks again to Rachel and Polly for inviting me here, and I’d love to see you over at The Pajama Chef. 🙂

Crock Pot Cran-Apple Sauce

[adapted from my own Crock Pot Chunky Applesauce]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces cranberries [fresh or frozen], rinsed
  • 12 cups apples, roughly peeled and chopped [I used Gala and McIntosh]
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger

Directions:

Place all ingredients in crock pot and stir well to combine. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours. Don’t yield to the temptation to open the lid at all… it adds to the cooking time by releasing the heat. At the end of cooking, use a potato masher to crush apples and cranberries to desired texture, stir thoroughly and enjoy!

Time: 8 hours and 15 minutes [15 minutes active].

Yield: about 12 cups.

Note: Feel free to add extra brown sugar at the end if it isn’t sweet enough for you.

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crock pot cran-apple sauce recipe

Crock Pot Cran-Apple Sauce Recipe {Guest Post} {Freezer Meal}

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 12 cups 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Description

The delicious combination of cranberries and apples creates this incredibly yummy spin on regular applesauce.


Ingredients

  • 12 ounces cranberries [fresh or frozen], rinsed
  • 12 cups apples, roughly peeled and chopped [I used Gala and McIntosh]
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in crock pot and stir well to combine.
  2. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours. Don’t yield to the temptation to open the lid at all… it adds to the cooking time by releasing the heat.
  3. At the end of cooking, use a potato masher to crush apples and cranberries to desired texture, stir thoroughly and enjoy!

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:

To Freeze:
Cook sauce according to recipe instructions. Let cool completely. Once cool, put in to freezer safe bags or containers. Store in freezer up to 3 months.

To Prepare:
Thaw sauce overnight in refrigerator. You can also run the bag under cool water in the sink.

crock pot cran-apple sauce recipe

Sarah began blogging at The Pajama Chef in order to chronicle her adventures in and love of cooking and baking. Sarah is currently a graduate student at Indiana University working towards a Master of Library Science and a Master of Arts in African Studies. Sarah’s efforts in the kitchen would not be possible without the assistance of her husband, Ben, and his stellar dish-washing and sous-chef skills. Sarah and Ben were married in May 2009 and enjoy running, reading, involvement in a local church, and spoiling their kitties, Sheba and Misty. You can also find Sarah on Pinterest.

Banana-Blueberry-Oatmeal Bread Recipe {Freezer Meal}

By Polly Conner


Banana blueberry bread with oats. Simple and delicious breakfast idea. A freezer friendly breakfast too!

Talk about some yum-yum in the tum-tum! In a hunt for banana bread recipes, I stumbled on this recipe from Cooking Light. Since the recipe called for grits, I almost didn’t make it. However, after consulting Rachel and doing a little research, I realized I could replace the grits with oatmeal. I made a few other tweaks and came out with two delicious loaves of bread that I’ve been enjoying in the mornings.

Banana blueberry bread with oats. Simple and delicious breakfast idea. A freezer friendly breakfast too!

It’s hearty. It’s healthy. It’s sweet. It’s delish. I made an extra loaf so I could freeze it for later. They are both already gone. Oops.

Here’s the recipe:

Banana Blueberry Oatmeal Bread

Swing by our recipe index for other great breakfast ideas!

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Banana-Blueberry-Oatmeal Bread Recipe {Freezer Meal}

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1 loaf 1x
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

You will want to try this banana blueberry bread. It is hearty. It’s healthy. It’s sweet. It’s delicious. Bake a second loaf to store in the freezer.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup uncooked oats
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil (can also sub with real butter or coconut oil)
  • 1 cup mashed ripe banana
  • 3/4 cup blueberries
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, oats, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture.
  3. Combine oil, banana, blueberries, and eggs; add to flour mixture. Stir just until moist.
  4. Spoon batter into an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray.
  5. Bake at 350° 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  6. Cool bread in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack.
  7. Remove bread from pan, and cool completely on wire rack.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:

To Freeze:
Bake bread as directed in recipe. Let cool completely. Once cool, cut in slices. Place in freezer safe bag or container. Store for up to 3 months.

To Prepare:
Remove desired number of slices from freezer. Warm them in the refrigerator overnight (great if you’re thawing the whole loaf) or for a few seconds in the microwave (perfect for just a slice or two).

Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie Recipe {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

This healthy peanut butter cup smoothie has a Reese's taste, but none of the additives and unknown ingredients.

Peanut butter and chocolate are two of my great loves in life. Is it possible that this combo can actually be good for you?

The good news is peanut butter and chocolate can be nutritious if eaten in moderation and in their real food form (and if you’re not allergic to peanut butter, of course!). The bummer is most peanut butter, chocolate or chocolate-peanut butter candy on store shelves is far from real food. (Note: Real food is as close to the original source as possible and free from additives and preservatives.)

If you’ll check the label, most of the peanut butter, chocolate chips, and the Reeses Peanut Butter Cups you can purchase in the store are full of ingredients you may not recognize, extra highly processed sugar (read: high fructose corn syrup), excessive sodium, and even trans fats. Those kinds do not count as health food…sorry.

But, get ready to celebrate, because THIS Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie recipe IS a healthy real food snack. It creates the perfect chocolatey-peanut-buttery flavor–think Peanut Butter Cup–without all the icky additives and trans fats of the actual candy. It’s also full of probiotics, protein, calcium, and even some antioxidants (from cocoa and honey).

This healthy peanut butter cup smoothie has a Reese's taste, but none of the additives and unknown ingredients.

It is such a treat, especially on a warm day. Add a little Homemade Popcorn (the best recipe for homemade popcorn I’ve ever had by the way) and your kids will thank you for this one!

I plan to enjoy this Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie as an after school snack with my little Kindergartener who heads to his first day tomorrow! Are his “little years” gone so soon??? Parents of little ones, enjoy them and use them wisely while you can, like this book encourages. They do indeed go by in a flash.

This healthy peanut butter cup smoothie has a Reese's taste, but none of the additives and unknown ingredients.

Enough of my “Kindergarten mom” sentimentalism. I hope you enjoy your real food snack with a person you love too!

Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie

Makes: six 1 cup servings

Ingredients:

1 cup plain organic yogurt or kefir

1 1/2 cups organic milk (I recommend 2% or whole which I think gives it a richness)

1/3 cup 100% cocoa powder

1/2 cup all-natural organic peanut butter (make sure it’s just straight-up peanuts with no additives)

1/3 cup honey (preferably use raw honey)

1 tsp real vanilla (don’t be fooled by imitation vanilla–pay for the real stuff)

1/4 tsp salt (I use kosher salt since even table salt has additives; do not add salt if your PB is salted)

3 cups ice (use more ice if needed until it’s the icy consistency you like)

optional: banana (this would make it more banana-flavored obviously)

Directions:

Put all ingredients in blender except ice.  Blend until well combined.  Add one cup of ice at a time and blend until smooth.

Cooking Note: I stuck our extra in the freezer and then blended it later. It turned out to be an even better consistency after being slightly frozen and re-blended!

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Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie Recipe {Freezer Meal}

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: six 1-cup smoothies 1x
  • Category: Smoothie
  • Method: Blender
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This healthy peanut butter cup smoothie has a Reese’s taste, but none of the additives and unknown ingredients. Your family will love this dreamy treat!


Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain organic yogurt or kefir
  • 1 1/2 cups organic milk (I recommend 2% or whole which I think gives it a richness)
  • 1/3 cup 100% cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup all-natural organic peanut butter (make sure it’s just straight-up peanuts with no additives)
  • 1/3 cup honey (preferably use raw honey)
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla (don’t be fooled by imitation vanilla–pay for the real stuff)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (I use kosher salt since even table salt has additives; do not add salt if your PB is salted)
  • 3 cups ice (use more ice if needed until it’s the icy consistency you like)
  • optional: banana (this would make it more banana-flavored obviously)

Instructions

  1. Put all ingredients in blender except ice. Blend until well combined. Add one cup of ice at a time and blend until smooth.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:

To Freeze:
Blend all smoothie contents together until desired consistency. Place smoothie in a glass jar or other freezer-safe container. Store in freezer for up to 3 months.

To Prepare:
Remove smoothie from blender. Let thaw at room temperature until it reaches a desired consistency. You can also re-blend the smoothie.

Cooking Note: I stuck our extra in the freezer and then blended it later. It turned out to be an even better consistency after being slightly frozen and re-blended!

Homemade Granola Recipe

By Polly Conner

This granola recipe is a household favorite! It's simple, easy, and versatile. Plus, you have lots of health benefits from the oats.

For the past few months, my husband has kindly reminded me that I haven’t made my granola recipe in a while. I had good intentions to make it but just added it to the very long to-do list and it never made it to the top. As time went on, his reminders became more and more frequent and I figured, “Heck, if my bacon-loving, extra-cheese-please husband is ASKING for a healthy snack made with whole grain oats, I shouldn’t delay on having that available.

The more I learn about oats, the more I want to find ways to squeeze them into the food I make for my family. They are crazy good for you! Here are just some of the health benefits of oats:

This granola recipe is a household favorite! It's simple, easy, and versatile. Plus, you have lots of health benefits from the oats.

  • They are a storehouse of essential vitamins such as thiamin, folic acid, biotin and minerals such as zinc, selenium, copper, iron, manganese and magnesium.
  • New research suggests that children between ages 2-18 years old who have a constant intake of oatmeal lowered their risk of obesity. The research found that the children who ate oatmeal were 50% less likely to become overweight, when compared to those children that did not eat it.
  • Oats contain hundreds of phytochemicals (plant chemicals) which are thought to reduce a person’s risk of getting cancer.
  • A daily serving of whole oats rich in soluble fibre can reduce hypertension, or high blood pressure, and so reduce the need for anti-hypertensive medication.
  • Oats help keep you regular. Enough said.
  • The soluble fiber in oatmeal slows down your digestive process. The result is that you’ll feel full longer, i.e. oatmeal can help you control your weight.
  • New research suggests that eating oatmeal may reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes. In fact, the American Diabetes Association already recommends that people with diabetes eat grains like oats. The soluble fiber in these foods help to control blood glucose levels.

(Source One, Source Two)

This granola recipe is a household favorite! It's simple, easy, and versatile. Plus, you have lots of health benefits from the oats.

This granola recipe is a household favorite! It’s simple, easy, and versatile. My husband and I like it plain and simple but you can add ingredients to it if you want (raisins, almonds, etc.). We add it to our cereal, yogurt and other breakfast foods.  I also find it satisfactory for that 3 p.m. snack craving I get every day. I always double the batch when making it – this stuff goes fast in our house!

Another great thing about the granola recipe is that is makes a great gift. Put some in a mason jar and give it to the bride-to-be on her wedding day, the new mom, the new neighbors, or anyone else you may come across who needs a little yummy snack in their life.This granola recipe is a household favorite! It's simple, easy, and versatile. Plus, you have lots of health benefits from the oats.

To make giving this recipe away even easier, I’ve created a printable recipe card that you can attach to your granola. Here is what it looks like: Homemade granola printable

Trust me, people will want the recipe! Download your free recipe card HERE.

If you poke around our recipe index a bit, you’ll find lots of other recipes with oats. Here are a few more you might be interested in:

Brownie Baked Oatmeal

Oatmeal Pancake Mix

Baked Oatmeal

Powerball Cookies

Homemade Clif Kid ZBars

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Homemade Granola

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 3 cups 1x
  • Category: Snack
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Homemade granola is a flavorful and delicious snack that’s easy to make. Your family will dig right in.


Ingredients

  • 3 cups of oats (old fashioned- not quick oats)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup PURE maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup oil (preferably canola)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together oats, flour and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine syrup, oil and vanilla.
  4. Pour mixture over oats and stir until well coated.
  5. Spread oats out on greased baking sheet.
  6. Bake 25 minutes then give your granola a stir. (add raisins or other ingredients at this point)
  7. Bake another 25 minutes.
  8. Store in air tight container in refrigerator.

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!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins: A Healthy After School Snack Idea! {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Try this healthy and unique spin on a muffin. These treats are full of whole grains, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins and even some veggies!

Here’s a healthy and unique spin on a muffin. These treats are full of whole grains, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins and even some veggies!

Try this healthy and unique spin on a muffin. These treats are full of whole grains, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins and even some veggies!They can make a great after school snack or used for a healthy breakfast. The inspiration for these muffins came from The Sneaky Chef by Missy Chase Lapine. They turned out moist and tasted like peanut butter cookies (but with with a muffin texture) with a hint of sweetness. I found it extra yummy to add a little jam to mine before eating.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins

Try this healthy and unique spin on a muffin. These treats are full of whole grains, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins and even some veggies!

Makes: 15 large muffins

  • 1/3 c wheat germ (or ground flax would work)  (Why eat flaxseed?)
  • 1/3 c ground flaxseeds (or wheat germ would work)
  • 2/3 c whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 c unbleached all purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 c berry and sweet potato puree (see recipe below)
  • 1 1/2 c organic/natural peanut butter
  • 8 heaping teaspoons organic jam (I used blueberry)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a muffin tin well with cooking spray (or use muffin liners).

In a mixing bowl, whisk together wheat germ, flax, and both flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.  In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until well combined, then whisk in oil, Berry/Sweet Potato Puree, peanut butter, and jam.  Fold the dry ingredients into the wet until flour is just moistened (don’t over-mix or the muffins will be dense).

Scoop batter evenly into muffins tins.

Bake for about 23-27 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.

Berry and Sweet Potato Puree Recipe:

Combine these ingredients in a blender until smooth:

– 1 banana (I used a frozen one that was getting overripe)
– 1/4 cup carrot juice (or milk would work)
– about 1-1 1/2 cups frozen or fresh berries (I used organic strawberries and blueberries)
– 1/2 cup organic sweet potato puree (I used the canned puree, but you could cook a sweet potato and use the flesh)

Note: You could use other berries or pumpkin puree. You can also change up the amounts of berries vs. potato puree, as long as you end up with the same amount of puree.  

Be sure to freeze the extras, so you can have healthy snacks or breakfast options on hand.

Try this healthy and unique spin on a muffin. These treats are full of whole grains, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins and even some veggies!

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins: A Healthy After School Snack Idea!

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 15 muffins 1x
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Try this healthy and unique spin on a muffin. These treats are full of whole grains, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins and even some veggies!


Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup wheat germ (or ground flax would work) (Why eat flaxseed?)
  • 1/3 cup ground flaxseeds (or wheat germ would work)
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cup berry and sweet potato puree (see recipe below)
  • 1 1/2 cup organic/natural peanut butter
  • 8 heaping teaspoons organic jam (I used blueberry)

Berry and Sweet Potato Puree Recipe:

  • Combine these ingredients in a blender until smooth: 1 banana (I used a frozen one that was getting overripe), 1/4 cup carrot juice (or milk would work), 1-1 1/2 cups frozen or fresh berries (I used organic strawberries and blueberries), 1/2 cup organic sweet potato puree (I used the canned puree, but you could cook a sweet potato and use the flesh)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a muffin tin well with cooking spray (or use muffin liners).
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together wheat germ, flax, and both flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  3. In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until well combined, then whisk in oil, Berry/Sweet Potato Puree, peanut butter, and jam.
  4. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet until flour is just moistened (don’t over-mix or the muffins will be dense).
  5. Scoop batter evenly into muffins tins.
  6. Bake for about 23-27 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:

To Freeze:
Bake muffins as directed. Once cool, place muffins in freezer safe bag or container. Store for up to three months.

To Prepare:
Thaw muffins overnight in refrigerator or warm briefly in microwave.

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).