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Triple Chocolate Beet Bundt Cake

Triple Chocolate Beet Bundt Cake

4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup butter, softened and divided

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

3 eggs

2 cups shredded beets ( I used the food processor to make it speedy and neater)

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour (I used a white whole wheat)

2 tsp baking soda

1 cup chocolate chips (to add to batter)

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup brewed coffee (I used a mocha-flavored coffee)

1/4 tsp salt

powder sugar for garnishing

  1. In microwave, melt 4 ounces of chocolate chips and 1/4 cup butter, stir until smooth.
  2. Cream (use stand mixer if you have) remaining butter and brown sugar, add eggs.
  3. In small bowl combine the melted chocolate mixture, vanilla, coffee, and shredded beets.
  4. Combine flour, baking soda and salt, gradually add to liquid mixture. Stir in chocolate chips (1 cup)
  5. Pour into greased bundt pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 45-55 mins. Cool in pan for 15 minutes.  Invert onto plate, when cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar.
  6. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from


Salted Caramel Blondies

A quick drizzle update to the Salted Caramel Blondies, always a favorite when I take them anywhere! Enjoy :)

four sweetie pies

IMG_6913Preheat oven to 375 degrees

List of ingredients

2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp coarse sea salt

2 sticks of room-temperature butter

3/4 cup of white sugar

3/4 cup of brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup of Kraft Caramel Bits (tiny preformed balls of caramel found in baking section)

2 cups of slightly broken pretzel twists

Salted Caramel or Butterscotch melting wafers to drizzle on top after cutting


Cream butter, sugars and vanilla together. (I use my Kitchen-Aid Stand Mixer for almost all of my baking) Add eggs. Slowly add flour, baking soda and salt. Mix in chocolate chips and caramel bits.

Spray a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray. Line pan with parchment paper and lightly spray. Spread dough in pan and gently press pretzel pieces on top. The beauty of the parchment paper step is that you…

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Warm Golden Beet Salad

Hello foodie friends!

Here is a great salad recipe from my CSA veggie share….

Warm Golden Beet Salad with Greens & Almonds

1 bunch golden beets, including the greens
Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, slivered
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
2/3 cup toasted almond slivers (I used pepitas)

Heat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Remove leaves from beet roots and set aside. Rinse beets, pat dry, and place them in the pan. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and cover with foil. Cook beets for 1 hour or until they can be just pierced with a fork. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, rinse the beet greens and slice them into ribbons. In a large skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic. Cook on low for about 5 minutes or until the garlic is golden and fragrant. Add the chopped leaves and stir to coat with the garlic. Cook on medium-low for about 10 minutes or until the leaves are soft and tender. Remove from the heat.

When the beets are cool, rub them with a paper towel to remove the skin. Then chop into bite-sized pieces and toss with the cooked greens, feta cheese, and almonds. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

Recipe adapted from :

Plum Upside-Down Cake

Happy summer Monday friends!

Last night I had a surplus of plums and decided to make a fruity summer dessert- a Plum Upside Down Cake. It is a lovely dessert, but it is so good for you that it could easily pass for a healthy breakfast coffee cake!  I calculated the Weight Watchers Points and based on 10 servings, it is a 5 point treat and that is a generous piece :)


Plum Upside-Down Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


For sauce:

1 TBL butter 

8 plums, pitted and quartered (no need to remove skin)

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 tsp cardamom

1 tsp cinnamon

Pinch of salt


For cake:

2 TBL applesauce

2 TBL softened butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt 

1 1/2 cups white whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

2 eggs (could use egg whites and reduce calories)

3/4 cup low fat buttermilk

1 TBL almond extract

1 tsp vanilla


Melt 1 TBL butter in a skillet, add plums and cook 3-4 minutes.  Add the 1/2 cup sugar, cardamom, cinnamon and salt.  Cook down until plums are tender about 10 minutes.  Bring liquid to a boil and cook until liquid begins to thicken up, about 5-10 minutes.

Spray a 9 inch cake pan with baking spray.  Remove plums from skillet and place in cake pan.  Once liquid is slightly thickened, pour over plums.

To make the cake batter:

Beat the 2 TBL of butter and 2 TBL of applesauce together. Add the eggs, vanilla and almond extract. Combine the flour, baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt.  Add the flour mixture and buttermilk, alternating each, into the sugar mixture.

Pour batter over plums and gently spread to cover.  Bake @ 350 for about 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Run knife around edge of pan. Place a platter upside-down on top of the cake and carefully invert cake.  

Serve with whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream.


Adapted from:




Thai Turkey Chili

A chilly April Fool’s Day in Chicago calls for a steaming, hearty bowl of Thai Chicken Chili. I am using ground turkey today and firing up the crock pot. This delicious chili will hit the spot after our blustery afternoon track meet!

four sweetie pies

English: Fresh Cilantro (Coriander) Deutsch: V... English: Fresh Cilantro (Coriander) Deutsch: Verkaufsübliches Bund frischer Koriander (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Good afternoon friends,

I made an amazing chili recipe last night that I’d like to share with you. It has so many complex favors coming together, definitely a different spin on the traditional chili. It went over well with almost everyone here! There is a little heat to it, but that could be toned down if you desire. Another great feature is that I whipped it up early in the morning and poured it in the crock pot and let it slow cook all day.  It seems like the days are getting shorter and shorter and we are squeezing in more and more activities, so these crock pot recipes are a huge help to me and hopefully you too.

Hope you enjoy :)

Thai Chicken Chili


1 lb ground chicken (ground turkey could be used too)


View original post 235 more words

Jumpin’ Jambalaya!

Happy Fat Tuesday 2014! I made a couple updates to the low-fat Jambalaya. Enjoy :)

four sweetie pies

Hello foodie friends and Happy Fat Tuesday!

We’ve had our fill of Paczki‘s (pronounced poonchkis)! What is a Paczki’s you ask?!?!  A delicious Polish inspired donut-type treat that is either jelly or cream filled, they are extremely popular tradition in the Chicagoland area.   My kids have really come to look forward to this tradition and came home from school searching for the Paczki’s!

For the past few years I’ve been making Jambalaya for dinner on Fat Tuesday in honor of  the Mardi Gras festivities. Tonight I hit the jackpot with a recipe we all really enjoyed! Even Allison, who eats little meat, was able to pick around the sausage and enjoyed the dinner. I was able to make the recipe a little healthier with a few modifications. I hope you enjoy as much as we did!

Jumpin’ Jambalaya (low fat)


24 shrimp (i bought already cooked from the seafood counter, took off the tails and cut…

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Pumpkin Cinnamon Pancakes

Something about a Saturday or Sunday morning that seems to call for pancakes. Comfort food at it’s finest, who doesn’t love a steaming stack of pancakes filled with gooey chocolate chips or bursting blueberries and topped with warm maple syrup? I love pancakes of all types and have over the years devised a lower-fat, healthy version that my family enjoys. This recipe does include some pre-made mixes, you can certainly make your own homemade pancake mix, but this is a time saver step for me, a little “semi-homemade.” After all, who has time to create EVERYTHING from scratch?!?! Not me :)

This is a variation I have created for fall, enjoy with a pumpkin spice latte!

Cinnamon Pumpkin Pancakes

Ingredients include:

1 single serving packet of reduced sugar, brown sugar flavor oatmeal

1 small handful of whole rolled oats, for extra texture

1 cup of water

1 cup Heart Healthy Bisquick

1 cup Aunt Jemima Whole Wheat Pancake Mix

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

1 tsp cinnamon

1 egg

1 1/2 cups of skim milk

Special add-ins include: semi-sweet chocolate chips (a great combo and necessity with the pumpkin i think), golden raisins or dried cranberries

Begin by using a microwave-proof bowl (pyrex-type), add oatmeal packet, rolled oats and water. Microwave for a minute or so until oatmeal is cooked. Blend remainder of ingredients. Cooked on lightly greased (cooking spray) griddle. These pancakes are moist and thick and therefore need to cook long enough not to turn out doughy in the middle.

Enjoy with warm, 100% real maple syrup. After being raised on the artificial syrups, I switched to the real deal a few years ago and will not turn back. A little goes a long way and you get what you get. 100% pure maple syrup, no additives or chemicals.

Makes 12 pancakes, which would be 3 points per (plain) pancake.

S.O.S. (Save our Sweets)

Recently, my children’s grade school has tightened the reins on their “wellness policy.” This doesn’t really sit well with me and it especially doesn’t sit well with my 4 kids! The policy is a very vague as to what is or is not healthy and gives a few suggestions, such as fruit or cheese and crackers, and then refers parents to consult with the administration if they are unsure what to send in. Recently, some very well-intentioned muffins were sent home from the monthly birthday celebration. This is what got my 2nd oldest child started, as well as quite a few other parents and theor children.  My son seems to be our little activist lately, creating signs, gathering signatures and trying to garner support for his cause. I fully support him and his right to express himself as well as quite a few other parents and their children peacefully and respectfully; as long as he’s not tardy for school!

This is my stance on the subject..I’m all about healthy eating, it’s actually a huge focus in my household, ask my kids they have more than their fair share of swiss chard, whole wheat this and whole grain that!  But as far as the school stance goes, I am hoping and still remain optimistic that some common ground can be reached, that we teach our children about HOW to make healthy choices and HOW to exercise control and practice moderation. I believe school should be somewhat fun, is that too much to ask?!?!? I mean they are there all day, let’s make their birthday celebration somewhat enjoyable. And yes, IMO, food does play an integral part in birthday celebrations, any celebration for that matter. Food brings people together, it’s something we share and can enjoy socially. Let’s let the children enjoy and feel special about their birthdays, let’s celebrate their childhood and let them feel proud and empower them as to how to decide what is best for them. If we actually teach them about healthy foods and choices, they might actually surprise us and make great choices on their own :)  As a school that focusses on the environment and healthy lifestyles, I would really like to see this become a teachable moment for the children. Let’s teach the kids how to read labels and recipes, how to decide if they have had enough sweets for the day, how much exercise they’ve had for they day and maybe if they should decide to move a little bit more…how to make recipe substitutions for more healthy ingredients, etc. It’s not too early, they are sponges, they need to learn this stuff! My oldest, who is now in high school sees first hand kids who are given their first shot at making food choices in a cafeteria full of foods-some healthy and many that are not. Many kids have no idea as to how to pick a well-balanced meal, read labels or make choices as to what their bodies really need. Most end up with soda, cookies, fries and candy bars. Given some information about what their bodies need to perform academically and physically in their various sports, maybe more would choose the salad bar or whole grain sandwiches and fruit??

I’d love to hear what you think about this??! Let’s chat :)

What to make for dinner???

What should I make for dinner?! The never-ending question…It’s been a crazy weekend around here, with Jeff traveling and my kids going in a hundred different directions, I want to make something healthy, but quick at the same time. I have a beautiful eggplant in my fridge that is still in its prime so im thinking something around the eggplant is what I’ll make :) I’ve got basil, lovely fresh lettuce, garlic and some shallots…so a pasta dish im thinking….. After perusing some web-sites, I came up with “Eggplant Pomodoro Pasta” from the Eating Well Magazine site. I’m excited to try my take on this recipe because I just happened to subscribe to this magazine last week! I havent received my first copy yet, but im anxious to see what it’s all about and how the recipes are.

I’m always asked about where I find my recipes, I definitely have my favorite sources..I read a lot of cooking magazines (Cooking Light and Everyday Food by Martha Stewart are a couple of favorites) I scour websites, buy cookbooks and exchange with friends, both online and in-person. Ive really been into healthy cooking the last year. Pinterest has been a great source and Weight Watches Magazine another for some healthy options and modifications. With 4 kids,  I spend a lot of time in the orthodontist, dentist and doctors offices…my latest recipe source is taking pictures with my beloved iPhone and saving for later. For the record..I am not ripping out of the doctors magazines! Although when desperate have been known to do that too :)

Off  transport another child, then I will deal with my eggplant :)

Review: It was good, a nice dish to use up a lot of produce and/or if you are trying to go meatless! The feta was a nice addition, a change from my usualy parmesan.

Bon Appetit!

Snack Mom Today!

Snack Mom Today!

Rice Krispie Treats in school colors for my daughters high school group today…

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