Vegan Pumpkin Pie {Gluten Free} + Giveaway

   Vegan Pumpkin Pie {Gluten Free}  

I was asked to participate in the “#SoyInspired for Thanksgiving” campaign as a member of the Healthy Aperture Blogger Network. I was compensated for my time.

Oh. My. Gosh. Is Thanksgiving really next week? It’s insane how quickly the time is flying by.

I don’t know about you guys, but pumpkin pie is one our favorites during the Holiday season. I would be quite sad if I couldn’t eat it due to allergies or intolerances which is why I wanted to make a vegan, gluten free version.

I have told you before about my 3 year old’s egg allergy. Well I decided to introduce Baby E, who is 10 months, to egg yolk and unfortunately she got a rash around her mouth and redness under her eyes so it’s probably likely she has an egg allergy too at this point. Bummer.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie {Gluten Free}

Luckily there are a few baking tricks for making things egg-free and I am going to tell you about one of them. I am also helping those new to soy get #soyinspired this Thanksgiving.

Silken tofu is what makes this vegan pumpkin pie extra creamy and rich without any eggs….and it’s such a cinch to make, just like the regular version. If you’re not familiar with silken tofu, it’s differs from regular tofu in it’s appearance, the way it’s made and it’s texture. Silken tofu has a pudding-like quality and is much softer and smoother than regular tofu, which makes it perfect for things like dessert, soups and salad dressings.

Soy is an excellent source of lean, healthy, no-cholesterol protein and since it has a neutral flavor, it’s easy to pair with a wide variety of your favorite fall foods.

You will NEVER know that there is tofu in this pie. Seriously. I’ll bet you! Also, no eggs or dairy, but still full of yummy pumpkin flavor!

Vegan Pumpkin Pie {Gluten Free}

I had to experiment with crusts but ultimately decided on a pecan oatmeal crust that will be great for those on a gluten free diet. And to keep it all vegan, I went with a coconut whipped cream for topping if desired.

It was my first time making coconut whipped cream and though I think it’s a great option for those who can’t eat dairy, I much prefer the dairy based whipped cream. Maybe I just need to experiment with the different brands, but I’m including the recipe on how to make it plus a great guide I just found here on the different brands.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie {Gluten Free}

If you are interested experimenting with soy beyond tofu, here are some options. Just look for the non-GMO label when choosing your soy food.

Soy sour cream
Soy cream cheese
Soy flour
Soy Oil
Canned soybeans

And this is the a month of giveaways over here! The Soyfoods Council is celebrating a #SoyInspired Thanksgiving with a giveaway certain to make holiday entertaining easier: a $200 Williams Sonoma gift card!

Enter here:


Vegan Pumpkin Pie {Gluten Free}

[Tweet “Easy Vegan & Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie! via @nutritiouseats #soyinspired #thanksgiving”]

5.0 from 1 reviews
Vegan Pumpkin Pie {Gluten Free}
Prep time
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a delicious creamy Pumpkin pie that is vegan and gluten free. No one will ever know it's made with tofu!
Recipe type: dessert
Serves: 8
  • 1 (14-ounce) package extra firm silken tofu
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
For the pie crust
  • 1 cup rolled oats, certified gluten free
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon cold water
For the coconut whipped cream:
  • 1 (14 ounce) can cold coconut cream or coconut milk (water removed)- keep can in the refrigerator before using
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar (or preferred sweetener)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To make the pie crust, in a food processor combine oats, pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon and coconut oil. Pulse until mixture just starts to come together. Add 1 Tablespoon cold water and process for 30-60 seconds.
  2. Transfer mixture to a pie plate, using your hands pat down and up the sides of the pan. Bake for ~10-12 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. For the filling, in a food processor (or blender) add silken tofu and puree until smooth. Then add pumpkin puree, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and cornstarch and puree until well combined and smooth.
  4. Pour pumpkin pie filling into cooled pie crust (you might end up with a little extra filling depending on the depth of your pie dish). Bake pie at 350 degrees for ~45 minutes.
To make the coconut whipped cream:
  1. Open can of coconut cream, scoop out cream to a bowl. Using cold beaters (you can place them in the fridge or freezer prior to using) beat coconut cream for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Add 2 Tablespoons of sugar and vanilla extract. Serve immediately or transfer to a container or bowl and keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Re-whip if needed using cold beaters.
Do not substitute regular tofu for the silken as it won't result in the same creamy texture (you can however sub firm silken). You can find silken tofu in the refrigerated section of the store or in a Tetra Pack on shelf in an aisle (Mori-Nu is the most common shelf-stable brand).
Also note that over baking will result in cracks in your pie.

Questions: Have you ever used silken tofu? Do you have family/friends with food allergies? Have you planned your Thanksgiving menu yet??!

Baked Sweet Potato Chunks with Oregano


Hello and Happy Friday!

I love going to others peoples’ houses for dinner because you just never know when you’ll be introduced to something that you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.

So my friend and I used to coordinate dinners while our husbands were out of town for work and I went over to her house this one time and she was planning on making this simple sweet potato recipe. Since we had our combined 7 kids running around we needed dinner sooner than later so she had me make this dish while she prepped the other stuff and that’s how I remember it so well. Well there isn’t much to remember- it’s only 4 simple ingredients that makes these taters so yummy!

Even though I like oregano, it just isn’t a spice a wouldn’t have paired with sweet potatoes. Rosemary, yes. Chipotle, cayenne, cinnamon? Yes. Oregano? Nope, never thought of that!

All you need is a glass baking dish, olive oil, dried oregano and salt & pepper (not pictured).


Cooking them in the glass dish on lower heat versus my typical high heat baking pan gives them a different texture- less crunchy and charred spots, but tender and flavorful. I like both ways for sure!

These baked sweet potato chunks would be such a great, simple side for Thanksgiving if you didn’t want to do the traditional sweet potato casserole and to have one dish be a total no brainer.


Do you love sweet potatoes? I’ve got a divided house and obviously I am one of the lovers.


But before you run off and start meal planning your Thanksgiving dinner, I am super excited to tell you that Nutritious Eats is getting a little make-over. I can’t wait to show you (and tell you) ALL about it! Not sure when it will be up and ready but you’ll know when it happens!

Have a great weekend! Oh and there is still time to enter the giveaway for the $25 Athleta gift card!

[Tweet “Baked Sweet Potato Chunks with Oregano via @nutritiouseats”]

5.0 from 1 reviews
Oregano Baked Sweet Potatoes
Prep time
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Total time
Recipe type: side
Serves: 4-6 servings
  • ~2½ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1½ inch chunks.
  • 1½ Tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ heaping teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 13 x 7 baking dish, place your sweet potato chunks. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to combine. Season with salt, pepper and oregano. Bake for ~40 minutes or until fork tender, using a spatula half way to move them around.


Chocolate Nut Butter Rice Crispy Treats

Chocolate Nut Butter Rice Crispy Treats |

My oldest baby boy turned 8 over the weekend! His birthday kicks off the beginning of the birthday/holiday extravaganza over at our house where the rest of us will follow until the year comes to an end. He was super laid back about the party plans this year. He chose to invite 4 classmates to Chuck E Cheese, plus his grandma and great-grandma came to visit from Texas (my mom and grandma) so it was a fun weekend celebrating.


oops, forgot the mouth and fangs, but it’s still a cute bat!

In addition to the delicious chocolate cake I make every year for him (I use this recipe), I did a little treat-making earlier in the week.

I needed to come up with something to donate to the kid’s school for their fall fundraiser so I thought I’d make my fun Halloween Rice Crispy treats, but this time jazz them up with some delicious and nutritious organic Nuttzo nut butter! I basically had to hide the secret ingredient from my husband because he has claimed the crunchy Nuttzo as his own and would be highly upset knowing I used the rest of the jar, but I reallllly wanted to try a nut butter version of rice crispy treats.


I just used the original Rice Krispie treat recipe and added the Nuttzo nut butter to the melting marshmallows and also added some of the Nuttzo to the melted chocolate topping.

After the chocolate hardened I just cut them out with my bat shaped cookie cutter and used a little icing to “glue” on the cute eyes and draw the mouth and fangs (the eyes can be found in the cake decorating section at your local grocer or store such as Walmart or JoAnn’s). I felt like I boosted the nutrition of these treats a little by using the fabulous organic seven nut and seed butter and let me tell you they were the best rice crispy treats I’ve every had!

Keep in mind I used the crunchy nut butter with chunks of nuts and flax seeds so my chocolate topping isn’t perfectly smooth, but come on, it’s a Halloween bat. Do we really care? Well if they answer is yes, then use a smooth nut butter.


I love that just by cutting out the treats with Halloween shaped cookie cutters makes them look like you worked really hard. Keep in mind you will end up with more “scraps” this way, but they don’t exactly go to waste (they’ll go in your tummy!).

If you are looking get as many treats as possible, just cut them into squares instead and decorate them with Halloween sprinkles or draw a pumpkin on them or something. I got about 10 treats using my bat cutter and then I saved the other bits and pieces for us.


Who really raves about rice crispy treats? I mean they are so simple and recipe so universal- in fact it’s even plastered on the marshmallow bag, but by adding the nut butter and then the melted chocolate/nut butter topping, whoa, they were sooooo good.

Of course if you have kids or friends with nut allergies then skip the nut butter and just do regular rice crispy treats topped with plain melted chocolate.

Hope you get a chance to make these chocolate nut butter rice crispy treats- they’re fabulous!

[Tweet “Halloween Chocolate Nut Butter Rice Crispy Treats featuring @EatNuttZo via @nutritiouseats!”]


Chocolate Nut Butter Rice Crispy Treats


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 10 ounce bag of mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup of nut butter such as Nuttzo (smooth or crunchy)
  • 6 cups rice cereal (such as Rice Krispies)
  • For the topping
  • 1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of nut butter such as Nuttzo (smooth or crunchy)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil


  1. Melt butter, marshmallows and 1/2 cup nut butter in a large pot over medium low heat. Stir until melted. Once the mixture is smooth, stir in cereal immediately.
  2. Pour mixture to a 9x13 pan lined with wax paper sprayed with cooking spray (make sure to use a large piece of wax paper that hangs over the dish so that you can pull out treats before cutting). Working quickly spread mixture into pan and pat down using a spoon or rubber spatula (coat spoon in cooking spray for less sticking).
  3. Melt the chocolate chips, 2 tablespoons of nut butter and coconut oil in the microwave, stirring every 20-30 seconds until melted.
  4. Pour chocolate over rice krispie treats, smoothing with the back of a spoon. Let sit until chocolate hardens. Once hardened, lift wax paper out of the tray which will make cutting treats into desired shapes much easier.


Make the treats ahead of time so that the chocolate has enough time to harden before you start cutting them into shapes. Placing the treats in the refrigerator will help harden the chocolate, but will also make the treats very difficult to cut so don't leave them in there very long.

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**As a proud Nuttzo Ambassador, I get to share my coupon code with Nutritious Eats’ readers- you can get 15% off your order of Nuttzo by using the coupon code nutritiouseats-15 although right now there is a 30% off sale of Nuttzo through October 27th with the code Halloween! Go check it out at!



Ham and Veggie Crustless Quiche

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Daisy Cottage Cheese.

Crustless Quiche

I remember the first time I made this crustless quiche, it was dinnertime and we lived in Austin. I wanted something light and healthy so I decided to make a quiche without the heavy crust (which I do love by the way but not the healthiest part of the dish). It baked up perfect without a crust and paired with a simple salad made a satisfying meal.

The secret ingredient in this crustless quiche is cottage cheese. It helps bind everything together while adding extra protein to the dish.

Crustless Quiche

What I love about Daisy Cottage cheese, is not only the taste, but the ingredient list! Daisy Brand Cottage Cheese contains no more than four high quality ingredients, compared with other leading brands which have 10 or more. Check this out! Skim milk, cream and salt. That’s it!


Their new packaging is great too- a bit modern but totally stands out from the crowd. I spotted it immediately as I approached the dairy aisle. I have big brand loyalty when it comes to my sour cream, Daisy it has to be, so I was excited to try their cottage cheese. I bought one regular and one low fat. They have made the rims of the lids colored to make it easy to spot- light blue for low fat, dark blue for regular.


During my last pregnancy I craved cottage cheese with black pepper and hot sauce. I think it was one of my stronger food cravings which was a good thing because it’s a lot healthier than the double stuffed ores I also craved.

Daisy Cottage Cheese

Every 90 calorie 1/2 cup serving of Daisy Low Fat Cottage Cheese is packed with 13 grams of protein, which helps you stay fuller longer.

Daisy Cottage Cheese is also considered a good source of calcium and is free of preservatives and other additives or thickeners. I love that you can enjoy it sweet or savory. Pair it with fruit, top it on crackers or turn it into something delicious like this quiche!

What I love about dishes like this is you can totally customize it depending on what vegetables you want to use. I have been eating mostly vegetarian meals lately but I do love this combo with ham. It’s perfect to make after Easter when a lot of people end up with leftover ham.

If you’re on twitter be sure to follow Daisy @DaisyHealthRD

If you want to learn more about how to power your way through the day, join the twitter chat with Daisy, hosted by FitFluential LLC! We are all busy people and need more than a cup of coffee to make it through the day. Proper nutrition and quality food, like Daisy’s cottage cheese can help get you there.

What: Twitter Chat “Power Your Way Through The Day” with Daisy Brand and FitFluential LLC

Date: April 10, 2014

Time: 9:00 pm EST

Experience the #DaisyDifference!

Ham & Veggie Crustless Quiche

Yield: 6-8 servings


  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup ham (leftover spiral ham would be perfect)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (can substitute all-purpose gluten free flour mix)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a pie plate with nonstick cooking oil and set aside.
  2. In a large nonstick sauté pan over medium heat, add 2 teaspoons olive oil. Add onion, bell pepper and ham and sauté 5-6 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in chopped spinach and remove from heat. Let cool slightly.
  3. While veggies are cooking, whisk together eggs, milk, cottage cheese in a large bowl. Stir in cheeses.
  4. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Stir flour mixture into the egg mixture. Stir well to combine.
  5. Gently stir in cooked ham and vegetable mixture. Pour into prepared pie plate and bake for 35 minutes or until eggs are set.
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Cooking With Kids & Resurrection Cookies

The kitchen has always been the center of our home. My parent’s kitchen has always been THE place to congregate- there is a huge island and floor-to-ceiling windows that look out to their backyard. Whenever I go home, cooking dinner with extending family is what we do. The wine is poured, the appetizers are out and dinner in progress. It’s always such a lovely time. Those face-to-face conversations in the kitchen are priceless and always flow so naturally over cooking food.


Because of growing up with a focus on the kitchen as a place to gather, I love getting my children involved in cooking. There are four of them but only the two oldest (5 and 7) are at the right age for it. They are always beyond excited when I invite them to cook with me. The kids ask a lot of questions and there is always a story to be told. It’s simply good quality time spent together.

There are so many lessons and skills that kids, or anyone for that matter, can learn in kitchen- patience, confidence, respect, listening skills, science and much more.

Since we are a couple weeks into lent, this past weekend was the perfect time to make these resurrection cookies. My kids are already counting down the days until Easter but I wanted them to remember it’s about more than just the Easter bunny and candy. I love that making these cookies incorporates that very lesson.

Cooking With Kids |

I could tell, based on looking at the recipe, that this activity would be more about the story and less about what we were actually making. As I told the story of Jesus’ resurrection the kids became so focused. Sure they wanted to know who got to do the next step in the recipe, but they asked so many questions along the way. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t have been able to have that connection with them or hold their attention quite as well if we weren’t in the kitchen cooking.

I want to create memories in the kitchen. I think the best way to do that with young kids is to give them doable jobs like peeling fruits or vegetables, measuring ingredients, pouring and stirring, so that meltdowns are minimized. I make sure to praise them along the way, even though sometimes I have to hold back the urge to take over and do it “the right way”.


Not only can cooking be such a great tool for teaching, but I think when people cook together, whether those people are big or small, there is a chance to relax and guards come down. I want my kids to continue to be involved in cooking because I believe it enhances our relationship and the relationship they have with each other.

I am sharing the recipe for resurrection cookies but linking to the site HERE that explains the teachable moments and appropriate readings to go along with each step in the recipe.

Resurrection Cookies


  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with wax paper and set aside. Place pecans in a plastic bag and let the children beat them with a wooden spoon to break them into small pieces.
  2. Place the vinegar in a mixing bowl (preferably a stand mixer), add the egg whites and a pinch of salt. Add 1 cup of sugar and beat the mixture on high for about 12 to 15 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Fold in the pecans.
  3. Drop by spoonfuls onto the wax paper. Place cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn off the oven. Leave cookies in the oven overnight. They will cook from the residual heat.
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Want to know how to build a successful restaurant? Check out’s “Out of the Kitchen”, a glimpse into the inner workings of two successful restaurants. Meet the back of the house inner circle and see how face-to-face relationships keep customers coming back for more.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Bon Appetit. The opinions and text are all mine.

Double Chocolate Cheesecake for Valentine’s Day

Double Chocolate Cheesecake |

Every year on Valentine’s Day my husband and I put the kids to bed a little early and enjoy a romantic home cooked meal instead of worrying about making reservations at some fancy restaurant. How is it different than any other night I cook? Well for one thing, the kids are in bed. We open a good bottle of wine or champagne and eat a meal that consists of food we don’t have on a typical weeknight. There is no complaining, food throwing or spilled milk. It’s lovely. I even put out nice place mats, linens and our nice crystal. Plus there is dessert…chocolate to be exact, always chocolate. Chocolate is soooo romantic wouldn’t you agree?

At any given time you can find my pantry well stocked with Ghirardelli baking chips and bars. They are my favorite to use in baking and are the ultimate dessert indulgence.

When I was asked to create a Valentine’s Day dessert recipe using Ghirardelli baking chips or melted wafers of course I said yes. I already had the products in my pantry so it was a no-brainer!

The 60% cacao bittersweet chips are my favorite and I usually sub them for any recipe that calls for semisweet chips. Although I do always have a bag of semisweet chips on hand too (they come in 10-12 ounce bags). I also keep the 4 ounce bars on hand too for all my baking needs. I like them best in my brownie recipe which happens to be my husbands favorite.

 Double Chocolate Cheesecake | #clevergirls

What’s to love about Ghirardelli products? They are made with a proprietary blend of quality ingredients and in my opinion just carry more flavor than other chocolate chips and baking bars. The result is always rich yet smooth plus they melt so easily unlike some brands. I love the slightly larger size of chip of the 60% cacao- they are ridiculously good in chocolate chip cookies.

They also carry an 70% cocoa extra-bittersweet and 100% cocoa unsweetened baking bar in addition to the milk chocolate, white chocolate, semisweet and 60% cocoa bittersweet that all come in bars or chips. If I had an extra pantry I think I would just stock it full of a variety because I.LOVE.CHOCOLATE.

So as stared at my stash of chocolate I wondered what to make? Chocolate dipped heart shaped cookies, brownies cut into hearts, truffles…..all front runners. I thought about what I would want to eat for my Valentine’s dessert and I immediately thought of two things 1) chocolate 2) cheesecake. Chocolate cheesecake it is! Not only is chocolate romantic but chocolate cheesecake is even more romantic. I love the luscious texture and rich flavor of cheesecake. What more could you want in a dessert?

Double Chocolate Cheesecake | #clevergirls

What I love about making cheesecake is that it’s such a great make-ahead dessert and freezes beautifully. It’s actually quite easy to make if you don’t care about having cracks in your cheesecake which I don’t (and yes I used a water bath).

My honey won’t be around this Valentine’s Day to share this delicious, decadent, creamy chocolate cheesecake but my little rug rats will certainly enjoy it with me. Hope you have a lovely Valentine’s Day and if you’re celebrating that special person in your life, make this cheesecake. It won’t disappoint!

Double Chocolate Cheesecake | #clevergirls

Ghiardelli baking chips, bars and melting wafters can be found at grocery, mass and club stores nationwide. For more info on Ghiardelli check out their site  HERE.

They have some pretty tasty looking dessert recipes on the site if you want additional ideas.

Double Chocolate Cheesecake


  • 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 8 ounces, bittersweet chocolate melted
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • For the crust
  • 1 1/2 cups finely ground chocolate cookie crumbs (from chocolate graham crackers, chocolate sandwich cookies or chocolate wafers- can also sub gluten free chocolate sandwich cookies)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter (1/4 cup), melted


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Wrap aluminum foil around the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch springform pan and set aside. Place chocolate graham crackers or cookies in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in cinnamon, sugar and melted butter. Stir to combine. Pour crumbs into prepared pan and press down with the bottom of flat glass. Bake for 10 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Melt chocolate in double boiler or in a metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water on low heat and stir until melted. Stir in instant coffee. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. In a large bowl using a hand held mixer beat cream cheese until very smooth and fluffy. Add sugar, sour cream, vanilla, salt and cocoa powder and mix until combined, stopping to scrap sides when needed. Stir in melted chocolate and mix until well blended. Add in eggs one at a time until incorporated but do not over mix.
  4. Pour mixture over cooled crust, spread evenly and smooth the top. Place springform pan in a water bath (see note below). Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until cheesecake is set and middle is still slightly jiggly.
  5. Remove from oven to a cooling rack. Let cheesecake cool (still in pan) to room temperature then refrigerate until well chilled, overnight for the best texture and flavor.
  6. To serve, unclasp pan's ring. Run a thin knife under hot water, wipe it dry and cut into slices.


For water bath, make sure to wrap the bottom and sides of your springform pan in aluminum foil to prevent water from leaking in (heavy duty foil is best or two pieces of foil criss-crossed so that all the sides are well protected and water can't get in. Place springform pan in a roasting pan or sheet pan with at least a 1 inch edge. Place into oven and carefully pour enough hot water to reach half way up the pan. This will create a slow, moist heat that will help prevent cracks in your cheesecake. This step is not absolutely necessary.

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Do you go out to eat on Valentine’s Day or stay home? Are you planning on making dessert? Are you a fan of chocolate?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating & Merry Christmas!

Do you give up on trying to eat healthy during the Holidays? I definitely splurge more than usual but I don’t let all my healthy habits go out the window.

It is possible to make it through the next couple weeks without gaining a ton of weight! I am over Mars Healthy Living today sharing my tips for Healthy Holiday Eating. Head over there to see how you can end the year on a good note!

Healthy Eating

Before I go, I thought I’d share some family pictures we took back in August when I was 20 weeks pregnant. We took them with the intention of using them for our Christmas card because we knew it was our only chance that would work with my husband’s schedule. The top 3 photos were included on the Xmas card and the others are some of my other favorites.

I wish I had more of a bump at the time but like I said it was our last chance for family pics. I am still really happy with the way they turned out.








Totally unrelated to my post with Mars Healthy Living, I was looking on shutterfly on how to share our Christmas card with you and found that if I share my card on my blog they’ll send me a $10 gift certificate! So here is the final card! Let’s see if it works!

2013 Christmas Card
View the entire collection of cards.


I am not sure when I’ll be back. I am 38 1/2 weeks along in the pregnancy at the time of this post so now it’s just the waiting game. If I don’t blog before Christmas, I hope you all have a wonderful celebration and get to spend quality time with your loved ones. XOXO

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Mini Cherry Cheesecake Bites


As magical as pregnancy can be, I am just about ready for this one to be over- 38 weeks, tired, uncomfortable and in need of a good workout (and a good glass of wine!). I am not even that excited about Holiday eating because there isn’t much room in my belly for it. What I am saying is I don’t think this will be my year of desserts. Maybe I will save the splurge calories for post-baby when I have room and am burning even more calories nursing.

I do love a good cheesecake so I might make an exception for my favorite pumpkin cheesecake….but when I was thinking of cheesecake I remembered these adorable mini cherry cheesecake bites that I made for the first time years ago. It’s a quick and easy Holiday dessert recipe to have on hand so I thought I’d share with you!


They are just so cute and festive and the recipe makes a good amount so they are perfect for a party. They make a nice addition to a cookie tray and if you are good with portion control then you’re in luck!


I am curious what everyone has on the menu this year for Christmas Eve and Christmas day?

Growing up, on Christmas Eve we used to do lots of appetizers and maybe rolls with a ham for sandwiches. I remember there always being a 7-layer type Mexican dip- sometimes cold, sometimes hot. Loved that as a kid!

When it’s just my family celebrating we have done Mexican food on Christmas eve, like homemade enchiladas or tamales along with traditional Mexican side dishes, we have also done heavy appetizers. Then on Christmas day we usually do a similar version Thanksgiving food. This year my parents will be arriving just in time for Christmas Eve (and crossing my fingers baby doesn’t come before then!) and I have put them in charge of the menu. So I really have no idea what we’ll be doing this year.

Since I celebrated Thanksgiving twice this year I feel pretty content and don’t feel the need to make all those dishes again.

Mini Cherry Cheesecake Bites

Yield: ~3-4 dozen


  • 2 packages (8-ounce) cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 12-ounce package Vanilla wafers
  • Mini baking cup liners, aluminum works best (despite the picture)
  • 1 21-ounce can Cherry pie filling


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating until well combined, stir in vanilla and lemon juice.
  3. Place a vanilla wafer in the bottom of each mini aluminum baking cup, rounded side down (they won't lay perfectly flat).
  4. Spoon the batter evenly over the wafers.
  5. Bake for ~15 minutes or until edges appear set; remove from oven and let cool.
  6. Top with cherry pie filling and refrigerate.


I have researched other recipes similar to this and some people complain of the cookie wafers not fitting into the mini cup. When I placed the cookie in, round side down, it stretched out the liner a little but ended up working out just fine. You could also break up the wafer or crush them in a food processor or plastic bag and sprinkle a little into the bottom. If you use the sturdy mini aluminum liners you can place them directly onto a cookie sheet if you don't have mini muffin pans. Also, you may use graham cracker crumbs mixed with melted butter and a little sugar as the crust in place of the cookie wafer.

Recipe adapted from AllRecipes

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Anyway, I’d love to hear what you are doing for your Holiday meals?! P.S. Say a quick prayer for me that I don’t go into labor in the next 6 days! Thanks!

Christmas Cookie Round-Up

I don’t bake a whole lot of cookies year round, with the exception of good ol’ chocolate chip cookies so when it comes December I LOVE trying new cookie recipes. Baking is just more fun in December. It’s a fact.

Cookies are great to bring to the Holiday table, office party or just to have on hand for Santa. Like I said in my last post, I always do roll-out sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies to decorate with the kids, but as you can see from this Christmas Cookie Round-Up, there are so many more options!

I absolutely love these peanut butter kiss cookies . They are flourless, gluten free and deeeelicious!

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies-1-6

and the Christmas Chocolate Drops are rich and chocolatey. I have some in the freezer ready to add to Santa’s cookie tray!

Christmas Chocoalte Drops |

I love so many cookies for different reasons. If you are looking for some new cookie recipes this Holiday season you’ve come to the right place! My FitFluential peeps have shared some of their favorite cookie recipes and a lot of them are actually pretty healthy as far as cookies are go. There is definitely something for everyone, including lots of gluten free, grain free and dairy free options. Hope you find some you like and if you don’t have a Pinterest cookie board, now might be the time to start one!

Gingerbread Whoopie Pies with Eggnog Dark Chocolate Ganache Filling  – from Ari’s Menu (Vegan and heavenly sounding)



Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies – also from Ari’s Menu (check out that ooey gooey center. Yum!)


Sour Cream Cookies- from Kate Moving Forward (these would be great with a cup coffee)



Gluten-Free Slice and Bake Sugar Cookies- from the Fit Cookie (Egg-free, Dairy-free, Soy and Gluten-free!)



Almond Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies  – from Running to the Kitchen (gluten and grain free!)



Salted Biscoff Hazelnut Cookies- from Sprint 2 the Table (love a little salty-sweet)



Chocolate Almond Cookies  – from Sensual Appeal Blog  (Vegan and yum!)

Almond Chocolate Cookies (vegan)


Whole Wheat Gingerbread People Cookies – from Mommy Run Fast (a healthier version of a traditional cookie)


Sugar Cookies – from Just a Colorado Gal (with a secret ingredient)



Triple Chunk Candy Cookies – from Healthy Helper Blog (great way to use any leftover Halloween candy!)



Oatmeal Banana Coconut Cookies- from Fannetastic Food (healthy enough to be breakfast!)



Outstanding Oatmeal Cookies - Back at Square Zero (I know a certain husband that would love these)


Ginger Oatmeal Cookies with Cranberries and Reeses Cups – from the Lean Green Bean (what an interesting combo! Love anything ginger)



Swedish Spritz Cookies- from Running with Perseverance (love trying International cookie recipes)



Vegan Peppermint Patties – from Fit Foodie Finds (vegan, gluten-free; peppermint is one of my favorite Holiday flavors)



Don’t you feel like baking now? Just remember to share, freeze, donate to the homeless- do whatever you need to do so that you aren’t consuming all the extra calories yourself. You’re welcome. ;)

Don’t forget to enter my Cooking Light cookbook giveaway- perfect Holiday gift idea!

Question: do you have a favorite Holiday cookie?

Thanksgiving Leftover Potato Pancakes

Thanksgiving Leftover Potato Pancakes

Hi friends! Just stopping by quickly to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you have a relaxing long weekend (hopefully most of you don’t have to work) and eat lots of yummy food. I also wanted to share a recipe that you can use with your leftovers on Friday. Great for breakfast, lunch or dinner- Thanksgiving Leftover Potato Pancakes!

I was lucky to have my mom visit from Texas last week for a quick visit. I wasn’t sure if the kids and I would have plans for Thanksgiving (turns out we do), but she offered to help me cook Thanksgiving dinner. We figured if we stuck to the basics it wouldn’t be too difficult. It was so fun to enjoy Thanksgiving with mom and the kids and be able to stock the freezer with some leftovers. Before I did that though I had to try something. I saw this somewhere, I can’t for the life of me find the actual recipe I saw, but it was something along the lines of this- I remember that it was all equal parts and that there was an egg involved. I also remember it being a short ingredient list so I think it’s pretty close.

Thanksgiving Leftover Potato Pancakes

Basically you take 1 cup turkey, 1 cup stuffing and 1 cup mashed potatoes, mix it all together and form a patty. Cook it up on the griddle like a pancake and there you have it!

I love this for so many reasons. It can be done with any 3 leftover sides really so your patties will be a little different than mine. I am thinking it would be awesome with leftover mashed sweet potatoes. Of course if you don’t eat turkey you could leave that out and throw in one of the vegetable sides, but you probably need to keep around some sort of mashed potato in the mixture to help it stick together and the stuffing also is a good binder.

Thanksgiving Leftover Potato Pancakes

It basically tasted like Thanksgiving dinner all rolled up into one bite.

I ate it with leftover fresh cranberry sauce and a little warmed gravy. I am thinking the sweet potato version would be good with a little pure maple syrup- sweet n savory. That’s it- let me know if you try it!

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving! P.S. I will be taking Friday off from blogging but I’ll see you back here on Monday!

Thanksgiving Leftover Potato Pancakes


  • 1 cup diced turkey
  • 1 cup stuffing
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes (or sweet potatoes)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons oil of choice (I used half olive oil, half coconut oil)


  1. In a medium size bowl, combine diced turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes. Stir in 1 beaten egg, and a pinch of black pepper. Stir well to combine. In a large skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon of oil on medium heat. Using a 1/2 cup measuring cup, scoop out some of the mixture and drop into the skillet, using the back of the measuring cup or your hands to gently press it down into a circle.
  2. Cook 3 patties at a time for ~3 minutes or until golden brown on the underside, flip and cook an additional ~3 minutes. Repeat with remaining oil and patties. Serve with warmed gravy or leftover cranberry sauce.


This recipe was intended for Thanksgiving leftovers but could do anytime of the year with roast chicken.

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Questions: How do you enjoy your Thanksgiving leftovers? What are you Thanksgiving plans? Are you shopping Black Friday?!