it’s not just peanut butter…

…I think I’m addicted to nut butter in general. For example, a few months back, I had a major coupon and ordered a 3 pack of Justin’s Nut Butters – classic peanut butter, honey peanut butter, and maple almond butter. Surprisingly, the maple almond butter was my favorite BY FAR.

The peanut butters were both smooth and pretty sweet and I tend to prefer chunky, salty peanut butter. But maple almond butter? I think that would be pretty hard to beat anyway! And let me tell you – maple almond butter is perfect for the fall season because it goes perfectly with juicy, ripe pears.

Peanut butter goes great with pear slices (….or anything really 🙂 ) for a great snack and a peanut butter and pear or apple sandwich is always a nice treat – I figured almond butter would be just as delicious! Thick slices of homemade honey wheat bread with gooey, sweet, and slightly salty maple almond butter and juicy, ripe pear slices. This made for a delicious, satisfying fall lunch! If you come across some of Justin’s maple almond butter, I highly recommend that you give it a try!

sweet caramelized bananas

It is probably no secret that I have a serious sweet tooth. I LOVE desserts! But do you know what I think might be one of the greatest desserts? The one nature created…fruit! Fruits are filled with natural sugars that make them so incredibly sweet tooth satisfying, while also containing fiber and several nutrients that your body needs. Nutrition and dessert all in one? Yes please!

Tonight’s fruity dessert came in the form of banana! To begin, I sliced a banana in half, then sliced each half lengthwise to give me 4 slices of banana. I layered them in a baking dish and sprinkled with brown sugar and cinnamon.

Meanwhile, the oven was heating to 400 degrees so that it could turn these…

….into these!

Oh man. Wait a minute. Did you see all of that caramelized banana goodness?

Yummmm. Next, these babies went into my bowl! (don’t forget to scrape that caramelized sugar out of the dish with your spoon. It gets all candy-like and delicious…like turning your spoon into a lollipop! 🙂 )

Even though the banana already tasted like candy on its own, I decided to add a little something extra…

Shaved chocolate! This was actually a leftover chocolate egg from Easter, but I also could’ve used chocolate chips if I’d had them. We’re not quite done yet!

I finished it off with some Dannon All-Natural Vanilla yogurt and a sprinkle of homemade pumpkin spice granola! Yum, yum, YUM! Sweet tooth: satisfied. And with all natural ingredients too! (…minus that little sprinkle of chocolate 😉 )

Who says dessert has to be bad for you?? I really don’t like designating foods as “good” or “bad”, as I think that just makes people feel guilty or like they can’t enjoy themselves. I like to avoid processed foods as much as possible for several reasons but I think everything can be enjoyed in moderation. But moderation is key and not every day is a day for something extremely indulgent. For those days when your sweet tooth is calling your name but you don’t want a decadent slice of triple chocolate cake or a rich bowl of ice cream, look no further than your fruit bowl! 🙂

summer food

A few weeks ago, I came across these sausages in the freezer that I’ve had for a month or so:

I’ve tried a few different varieties of these al fresco sausages like the sweet apple and spinach + feta. I was about to buy the sundried tomato before I decided on these roasted pepper and asiago sausages. I’ve tried them on pizza, but I just find the texture of sausages like this to be kind of strange and rubbery. I prefer ground sausage on pizza, so I decided to eat it as you would probably normally eat a sausage…like a hot dog! And, since it was 4th of July, I thought it would be a fitting meal to celebrate 🙂

When I made my homemade bread, I just took off a little chunk of dough before letting it rise and formed it into a little hot dog bun. Instead of dragging out my grill for one sausage, I just broiled it in the oven on our broiler pan. It actually turned out pretty good – I love that broiler pan!

I really wasn’t sure what would be good on a roasted pepper and asiago sausage. Then, I got an idea. Instead of using something like mustard which just didn’t seem to “match”, I created my own topping!

I combined plain yogurt with feta cheese and diced roasted red pepper for a delicious, unique topping for my chicken sausage. I used 1/4 c. yogurt + 2 T. feta + 2 T. roasted red pepper. It was good, but I think it was a little thinner than what I was picturing in my head. Next time I make it, I think I’ll use less yogurt – maybe 2 T. I was just hoping for the sauce to be chunkier with the predominant flavor being feta rather than just having a little feta floating around in the yogurt.

My bun also fell apart, so this turned into a pretty messy meal, but it was definitely delicious! A great way to celebrate the 4th of July 🙂

Before heading back to lunches at work after a long holiday weekend, I had some tuna salad and avocado left that needed to be used. Why not combine them?! I’m really not sure why I didn’t think about this before….

My tuna salad is usually just tuna with some bell peppers, onions, black pepper, and lemon juice (if I have it). It is delicious, but it doesn’t necessarily stay together very well. The avocado was the perfect “glue” for my tuna salad! Talk about some serious healthy fats in this meal!! I highly recommend the combination 🙂

Can I also just talk about that peach for a minute?? There are two local markets (Eastside and Westside Markets) that have absolutely amazing peaches every year. I went to two people’s houses a few weeks ago and both served desserts containing these peaches and I just HAD to go get some myself. They are so tender and juicy. Oh man. BEST peaches ever. In fact, I think I’m just going to have to go get some more today! 🙂

soft serve smoothie

Each week, I buy enough bananas to have one with my breakfast each morning – whether that be PB+B toast or oatmeal. I used to just eat all my bananas within the first few days of buying them because I can’t stand them once they lose that hint of green at the top. When I discovered that the more “ripened” bananas actually made oatmeal edible, I actually started to look forward to some of those browning bananas. As good as they are at adding a natural sweetness to oatmeal however, they do an even better job of making the smoothest smoothie you’ll ever encounter. Now, when I have an extra banana or two, I slice it up and stick it in the freezer for use in one of my favorite snacks/desserts: smoothies.

Soft Serve Smoothie

  • 1/2 c. all-natural vanilla yogurt
  • 1 banana, sliced + frozen
  • ~1 c. frozen fruit
  • ~1/4 c. milk, depending on desired thickness
  1. Place ingredients in blender and blend until combined.
  2. Enjoy! 🙂

The banana gives this smoothie such a rich, smooth texture – just like soft serve!! Adding milk also lends to the creamy richness of this smoothie and helps it combine more easily. You could also add more milk to thin it out a bit, but I really like the thick texture. Pretty much any frozen fruit is good in this too. I love frozen cherries, but lately I’ve been using a combo of peaches and mixed berries.

This is a filling, refreshing, healthy option for breakfast, a snack, or dessert!