Strawberry Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie

When it comes to super thick smoothies, you can’t go wrong with frozen fruit and lots of peanut butter!  This Strawberry Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie is tasty, filling, and oh-so easy!

Servings: 1

Ingredients:

1 Serving Frozen Strawberries (approx. 1 cup)

1/3 Cup Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt

1/4 Cup Peanut Butter

1/2 Cup Cold Water

1 Small Banana

A Pinch Of Saigon Cinnamon 

Directions:

Blend together all but the cinnamon, add the cinnamon, and blend again

Serve and enjoy!

Ingredient recommendations linked!

Dad’s Famous Salmon Dinner

If you’ve never been a salmon lover, I’m about to change your mind!  My Dad didn’t think he liked salmon either, but in 1999, my mom gifted him James McNair’s “Salmon Cookbook”. He took on a combination of recipes, adjusted them to his particular taste, and created the ultimate salmon dinner.  Ever since, whenever friends or family come to visit, even those who say they don’t like salmon, he serves up this particular plate and wows them every single time!

Between the butter, lemon, shallots, and super soft texture, the fish will literally melt in your mouth.

THE FISH

The book’s “Herb-Roasted Salmon” recipe

Adjustments

-Of all the herbs listed, only dill is used

-He adds extra butter atop the fish in the oven; roughly 4 tablespoons (or to taste!)

-When removing the skin, he also removes the majority of the dark meat along the backbone.  Yes, this reduces the Omega 3 content a bit, but it’s the secret to removing the “fishy” taste for those who prefer that!

THE FISH SAUCE

The book’s “Beurre Blanc” recipe

Adjustments

-Instead of letting the majority of the liquid evaporate as indicated, he leaves a bit more of the liquid intact in the pan

SIDES

A Garlic and Olive Oil Couscous (such as the 365 option from Whole Foods)

Grilled Yellow, Orange, or Red Bell Peppers Bell Peppers (in your marinade of choice, such as an Italian dressing)

GARNISHES

Extra dill, lemon slices, and bell pepper tops (or whatever you have on hand!)

Based on his dedication to plating the meal perfectly, I think it’s safe to say I know where I got my love of food photography from!

It goes without saying that we all highly recommend the cookbook.  It has inspired countless great meals in our house!

Visit my Amazon Storefront to pick up a copy for yourself: www.amazon.com/shop/bakeandbewell

#CommissionsEarned #Ad

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal

Perfect for the autumn season (or any day really!), this Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal is for anyone with a serious morning sweet tooth. The texture is that of a thick and creamy oatmeal, all overflowing with melty chocolate chips in a base of pumpkin and cinnamon fall flavor!

Due to the heavy chocolate presence, you only need the lightest drizzle of maple syrup and pinch of sea salt on top of your serving. It’s already quite sweet, but the flavors really pop with these light toppings!

The best part – All of the ingredients are mixed right in the pan!

Servings: About 5

Ingredients:

1 15 oz Can Pumpkin Puree (plain, not pumpkin pie mix)

1/3 Cup Honey

2 Cups Rolled Oats

1 Cup Oat Milk

1/2 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt (I used nonfat)

2 Tsp Saigon Cinnamon

1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (I used 54% Cacao)

Oil To Grease The Pan (I used Avocado Oil)

Maple Syrup And Sea Salt To Taste

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°

Lightly grease a 9×13 pan with the oil

Pour the pumpkin puree directly into the pan

Add the honey and evenly combine the two

Pour in the oats, oat milk, and greek yogurt, and stir everything until evenly combined

Add in the cinnamon and combine again

Add the chocolate chips and gently mix in

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the liquid has absorbed and the top and edges look a bit more solid

Let cool to a safe temperature, and top each serving with maple syrup and (a pinch) of sea salt to taste

Enjoy!

[Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container, or in the cooking dish itself if well-covered. To freeze, cut into pre-portioned amounts, store in a sealed freezer-safe container, then simply reheat in the microwave once ready to eat.]

Ingredient recommendations linked!

Banana Peach Sunbutter Smoothie

Reminiscent of a classic banana and peanut butter combo, this Banana Peach Sunbutter Smoothie is thick and creamy like a milkshake!  The addition of the peaches gives it a bit of extra sweetness and bulk but does not compromise the flavor at all.  The sweetness of the fruit balances perfectly with the “nutty” flavor of the Sunbutter in this super filling, nutrient-dense, quick and easy meal.

Servings: 1

Ingredients:

2 Frozen Bananas

1/3 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt (I used nonfat)

4 Tablespoons Sunbutter

2/3 Cup Cold Water

1 Serving Frozen Peaches (approx. 1 cup)

Optional: Honey or sweetener of choice if added sweetness is desired

Directions:

Add the bananas, yogurt, Sunbutter, and water into a blender and blend until smooth

Add in the peaches and blend again until smooth and evenly combined

Taste test, and if you prefer additional sweetness add honey/sweetener to taste and reblend (I personally prefer it less sweet and think it tastes delish as is.)

Serve and enjoy!

Ingredient recommendations linked!

Chocolate Chip Banana Protein Oats

If somehow you’ve never enjoyed oats before, these Chocolate Chip Banana Protein Oats will convert you after one bite! They’re the perfect combination of dessert-y yet nutrient-dense. They’re also thick and creamy, have loads of added texture from the toppings, and can be whipped up in under 5 minutes!

Servings: 1

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Quick Oats

+ Around 1 cup water for the oats

1 Packet NibMor Hot Cocoa

1/2 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt (I used nonfat)

1 Banana

1 Tablespoon Hemp Hearts

Around 2 Tablespoons Dark Chocolate Chips

Directions:

Cook up the oats with water (I use the microwave)

Stir in the hot cocoa packet

Stir in the yogurt until creamy and evenly combined

Slice up the banana and add it on top along with the hemp hearts and chocolate chips

Enjoy!

Ingredient recommendations linked!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Muffins

If you’ve ever wondered what a chocolate chip cookie in muffin form would taste like (with a few healthy twists!), you’ve come to the right place!  When I’m in the mood for baked goods at breakfast or looking for a little something sweet in the afternoon, these pair perfectly with a cup of coffee or tea!

Their texture is denser than a muffin (hence the “cookie” hybrid), and almost bready.  They’re not overly sweet, but all of the gooey sweet chocolate chips balance that out!  If you’re not able to enjoy them fresh from the oven, definitely warm them up before serving.  It’s the best way to enjoy them!

What I love most about some of these “healthier”-for-you ingredients is the taste complexity that they bring.  I love the hearty flavor of a whole wheat flour just as I love the intense cocoa taste in dark chocolate.  The shredded coconut doesn’t compromise the texture at all, but adds a nice subtle richness to the flavor!

Servings: About 10 Muffins

Ingredients:

1 1/2 Cups White Whole Wheat Flour

1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar

1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt

2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

1/3 Cup Avocado Oil

1 Egg

1/2 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt (I used nonfat)

2 Tablespoons Honey

Just under 1/4 Cup Cold Water

1/4 Cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut

1 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips (plus extra for sprinkling on top)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Line your muffin tin with liners

Combine all of the dry ingredients (other than the coconut and chocolate) in a large bowl and whisk together with a spoon

Combine all of the wet ingredients (other than the water) separately in a medium bowl and whisk together with a fork until well blended

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and blend with a spoon until well combined

The batter will be a bit dry, so add in the water here until the batter becomes more viscous

Add in the chocolate chips and shredded coconut and gently mix in

Spoon the batter into the muffin liners to about 2/3 full, which should fill about 10 liners

Sprinkle a few extra chocolate chips on top of each muffin

Bake on a middle rack of the oven for approximately 12-14 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean / (15 can work as well if you prefer browner/more overcooked edges)

Dig in while warm and fresh from the oven (after cooling a few minutes for safety), or let cool completely before storing in a airtight container in the refrigerator

For the best consistency and experience, rewarm them after taking them out of the refrigerator later on in the microwave for about 30 seconds

Enjoy!

Ingredient recommendations linked!

Peanut Butter Blueberry Yogurt Bowls

When I’m in need of quick and easy plus delicious and nutritious, I love coming back again and again to a combination like these Peanut Butter Blueberry Yogurt Bowls.  The ingredients are likely items that you have in the refrigerator or pantry already, and certain ingredients can absolutely be substituted for what you have on hand!

The Plain Greek Yogurt – Use whatever variety you love!  I enjoy a nonfat option but a full fat choice would be delicious as well.

The Cereal – This is mostly for texture and crunch, but I do really love the flavor profile of a Wheat Squares or Wheat Waffles option.  A similar cereal of choice or a granola would work here as well!

The Blueberries – I love the Frozen Wild Blueberries for their small size and the way that the juices melt into the mix, but if you prefer to use fresh give it a go!

The Peanut Butter – I love a peanut butter that includes the taste of salt.  For me, having that ever so slight sweet and salty combination makes all the difference, which is why in my particular ratios I tend to go pretty heavy on the peanut butter!

I’ve linked all of my personal brand recommendations within the ingredient list, but the point of this easy peasy meal/snack is that it’s customizable to your preferences!

Servings: 1

Ingredients:

Plain Greek Yogurt

A Wheat Squares Cereal

Frozen Wild Blueberries

Peanut Butter (preferably unsweetened and one that includes salt for optimal flavor)

Directions:

Combine in a bowl using ratios to your liking

Enjoy!

Ingredient recommendations linked!

My COVID Experience At Age 32 In 2022

Reaching August of 2022 having never contracted COVID-19, I thought I might be one of the fortunate ones who was either immune, asymptomatic, or simply lucky.  My parents, my sister, my husband, and many friends and relatives had already had their time.  Some of them suffered through it in 2020 in pre-vaccine days and were left with terrible long-term symptoms.  Watching others go through it, I was diligent about getting my Pfizer vaccine as well as my first booster shot last February.  I’m thankful that I did!  I do believe that my infection would have been much worse if my immune system had been unprepared.

Like many others, I truly don’t have a good idea of where I picked it up from or who gave it to me.  I’m someone who has been conscientious and worn my mask indoors and in crowds (always!), but the weekend before I started noticing symptoms, I did happen to be in more crowded areas than usual.  While it’s easy to place blame on being in those crowds, I was also in a doctor’s office the following Monday that had a large amount of people packed into a small waiting room.  I ran errands, and I lived life.  I don’t have any one situation to blame.

Day 0 (The day one first feels any symptoms)

It didn’t even register that I was getting sick.  My throat felt irritated and dry at the very top as if I was constantly parched.  I blamed my pollen allergies, the fact that I had consumed more caffeine than usual, and spent the day gulping down water.  I felt otherwise fine.

Day 1

My extreme thirst continued, and over the course of the day, I started developing a very distracting headache and felt increasingly fatigued.  I skipped my usual workout of the day, and did all of my computer work from the couch.  Between the fact that I am not someone who gets headaches often, and that I suddenly had a light cough out of the blue, I became a bit suspicious.  I took a COVID antigen test for peace of mind – Negative.  (It turned out to be too early.)  Later that evening I felt a fever coming on, got into bed early, and spent the night with a temperature of around 103.  I felt pretty certain that despite the negative test, it had to be COVID.

Day 2

I didn’t leave my bed.  I’ve never experienced anything quite like it, but the pain and pressure in my head was absolutely the most difficult symptom to deal with.  I couldn’t do much other than try to sleep, keep my fever down, and wait.  (Less bothersome symptoms included congestion and coughing.)

Day 3

This was the first day that I tested Positive on the antigen test.  It was very similar to Day 2:  I stayed in my bed, kept my eyes closed, and tried to deal with the intense head pain and fever.  The coughing and congestion continued on the side.

Day 4

I made it from the bed to the couch!  I continued to have head pain, coughing, and congestion, but the fever was tapering off which enabled me to move around a bit.  There was also a very strange and almost comical 24 hour stretch around this point where I truly could not stop sneezing!  I would have 10 sneezes in a row, a minute would go by, and then another 10 sneezes…They just kept coming!

Day 5

I felt like I turned a small corner!  I had continued head pressure, coughing, congestion, and sneezing, but at this point it began to feel more comparable to a worse-than-usual cold.

Day 6

It was nearly identical to Day 5.

Day 7

This was the first day I started to feel like I was getting better.  I still had a slight cough and a bit of congestion, but my energy levels felt much more normal and my head was no longer bothering me.

Day 8

I had a slight cough and mild congestion.

Day 9

Now this was odd; 9 days in and I had a stretch of about 24 hours where I experienced some chest tightness and shortness of breath.  This worried me a bit as I had not really had any symptoms like this up until this point.  I briefly returned to complete bed rest until this passed.

Day 10

I had a slight cough and mild congestion.

Day 11

By this point, it had all been reduced to a slight cough that was only occasional and I felt mostly “recovered”!

I will of course update this page should anything change, but writing this on Day 12, I’m hopeful that despite the lingering cough (which is common from what I know) I’m out of the woods!  It was a very long 11 days, but I will say this:  I feel extremely thankful that I was vaccinated.  Unlike so many people who I knew who got sick in 2020 without a vaccine, I did not end up in the hospital, and I did not have any life-changing side effects for the long-term (that I am aware of at this time).  I will continue to get boosters as they become available in the hope that, should I ever catch another future strain of this virus, my body will be as prepared for the fight as possible!

Coconut Lime Ice Pops

On hot summer days, nothing hits the spot like a delicious lineup of icy drinks and snacks to keep yourself cool.  These refreshing and creamy Coconut Lime Ice Pops by my husband are the perfect treat to beat the heat!  The ingredients take only moments to whisk together.

(These pops are not overly sweet as a personal preference, but could be very easily adjusted to have more sweetness if desired!)

Servings: 6

Ingredients:

13.5 oz Coconut Milk

1/3 Cup Shredded Coconut

1/2 Cup Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice (approx. 4 medium limes)

Zest of 2 Limes

2 1/2 Tbsp Agave Syrup

1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract

Directions: 

Whisk all the ingredients together and pour into ice pop molds

(Whisk between each mold pour to prevent settling)

Freeze until solid (about 8 hours)

Enjoy!

Ingredient recommendations linked!

Fruit & Chocolate Ice Cream Smoothie

Falling in between a lighter milkshake and a decadent smoothie, this sweet treat only requires 4 ingredients and makes for such a satisfying snack on a hot summer day!  It’s thick and creamy while frozen and icy at the same time, all while packing a nutritional punch with lots of vitamins, protein, and fiber. (For additional creaminess, feel free to substitute a higher fat greek yogurt if that’s your preference!)

Servings: 1

Ingredients:

1 Cup (5 oz) Frozen Strawberries

1 Frozen Banana

1/2 Cup Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt

1/2 Cup Cold Water

1 Packet Nibmor Traditional Hot Cocoa (dry)

Directions:

Add all of the ingredients other than the cocoa into the blender and blend until smooth

Add in the cocoa and blend again until well mixed

Serve and enjoy!

Ingredient recommendations linked!