Baked GoodsBreakfastRecipes

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Flax Muffins


I hope that by posting this recipe in Mid-December, the Pumpkin craze has not ended yet. Is everyone sick of pumpkin by now? If you are like me, you never get tired of it! Here’s a pumpkin bread that can also be made into muffins. It’s a healthy spin on the traditional recipe which sacrifices no flavor or texture. These are moist, chocolatey, filling yet light.  I serve this as breakfast, snacks, and give it to neighbors for Holiday treats. Sometimes it even shows up in the kids’ lunchboxes.

I don’t believe that anyone should ever feel guilty about eating any particular food. There’s room for everything in every diet, right? Well, if any recipe was ever guilt-free, this would be the one. This bread is chocked full of nutrition from all whole foods. Following is all the glorious nutrition you will get from two 1 inch slices of this bread or 2 regular muffins:


From the 100% pure canned pumpkin: 92% of your Daily Intake of Vitamin A!

From the whole wheat flour: B- Vitamins Galore! And Dietary Fiber.

From the unsweetened applesauce: Vitamin C

From the plain, Greek yogurt: Protein, and a little Calcium

From the Flaxseed: Fiber and a little Protein and Iron.

From the Chocolate Chips: Magnesium. Who ever said chocolate wasn’t healthy for you?!


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Flax Muffins

Delicious, moist, and healthy muffins that taste and smell like pumpkin spice heaven.

Course Breakfast
Keyword healthy pumpkin muffin
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 30 muffins
Calories 115 kcal
Author heartysmarty


  • 3 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 15 oz. Pumpkin Puree NOT Pumpkin Pie Filling
  • 1 Cup Applesauce unsweetened
  • 1 Cup Greek or Plain Non-fat yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons Ground Flaxseed + 6 Tablespoons water
  • 1/2 Cup Honey
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • 3/4 Cup Semi-sweet Mini Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Cup Pecans chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease two 9 x 5 x 3-inch bread loaf pans or 2 1/2 muffin tins.
  2. In a small bowl, mix all wet ingredients together with a wire whisk or an electric hand mixer until well combined.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Do not over stir or the bread will come out too flat and dense.
  5. Fold in the mini chocolate chips.
  6. Bake muffins for 20-30 minutes or bread loaves for 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Let the bread sit in the pan for 5 minutes after removing from oven.

Recipe Notes

Serve warm or store in the fridge for up to one week. These also freeze and reheat very nicely.

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Cooking Tips & TricksRecipes

Mixing Natural Nut Butters


Many of the nut butters you can find on the shelf—especially peanut butter—have added ingredients which shouldn’t be consumed on a regular basis. One you might see is called “high fructose corn syrup.” You can read more about this particular additive here. Another added ingredient you will see is called “hydrogenated vegetable oil.” This ingredient gives the peanut butter a smooth texture and prevents its oils from separating. Hydrogenated oil is a chemically modified preservative which prevents oils from going rancid after being on the shelf for too long.

It has become a guideline for me that if my family or I eat a certain food product almost every day, it will be made of whole ingredients and have little to no chemical additives. Peanut butter is one of those products that we eat every day—on toast, in sandwiches, with fruit, and inside oatmeal. It is a healthy choice for a plant-based protein and appeals to everyone in the family. Thus, we go for the natural varieties. So many clients and friends say they don’t like natural nut butters solely because “It’s too much work to mix it!” Well, I have a cure for you. With this tip, you will mix your nut butter just once and the oils won’t settle and separate again.

Here’s how you do it:

1. After purchasing your nut butter, store it in your cupboard upside down until you are ready to open it. Once you turn it over to peel off the paper seal, you won’t be faced with a splatter of oil gushing all over your hands and counter top, because the oil will now be settled on the bottom of the container.

Natural Peanut Butter 2

2. Grab your electric hand mixer and insert just one beater into the mixer.

3. Push the beater as far as you can to the bottom of the container. Hold the container tightly—if it slips out of your hand, it’s a bad deal! Mixing Natural Peanut Butter

4. Turn the mixer on low and mix the butter for about 90 seconds or until the oil is completely dissolved into the butter.

Natural Peanut Butter 3

5. Store your nut butter in the fridge. This keeps it fresh longer and prevents the oil from separating again.


And, there you have it! Now go out there and get yourself some natural nut butter! Check the label to ensure it has just one or two ingredients: nuts and a little salt. You will enjoy eating less added sugars, oils, and preservatives that the other brands contain.

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Food is MedicineNutrition EducationRecipesSmoothies

Natural Cold and Sinus Remedies


‘Tis the Season of sickness at the Andersen household. Last week it was stomach flu, and this week it is an ear and sinus infection. What is a poor mom to do when all this sickness strikes?! Years ago as a new mother, I used to rush to the doctor’s office and wait in line with all the other sick kids to get a prescription for an antibiotic. Then I would come home and sanitize my home from top to bottom in an attempt to make the the germs stop their spread. Now days, I am doing things a little differently. Sure, I still keep our home very clean, and I consult with our family pediatrician when necessary, but I try to offer some natural remedies to my family before rushing to the doctor’s office.

Dairy and White Sugar

The first thing I do when my kids start showing signs of sickness like sore throat, fatigue, or sore ears, is stop feeding them dairy and white sugar. I do this because dairy is an animal product which causes inflammation. Inflammation is causing their ears to sting and their throats to burn. Normally, our immune systems take care of sugar and dairy without a fuss, but when we are sick, our immune system is working overtime to rid the body of offensive germs and bacteria. So instead of adding inflammatory foods to the mix I let the immune system focus on eating up the sickness.

I cut off white sugar consumption because it feeds infections and bacteria. Think about baking yeast bread: recipes call for some kind of sugar to feed the yeast. As the yeast eats the sugar, it gives off carbon dioxide and alcohol as a byproduct, allowing it to rise properly. The same happens in our bodies. Sugar fuels the bacteria allowing it to grow and spread.

So here’s what happened this week with my 8-year-old daughter: After a week of stomach flu making it’s way around the family, her immune system was understandably decreased and she woke up days later complaining of a sore throat. For breakfast, I made her a Blueberry Ginger Smoothie with Kefir (recipe below). The rest of the day, I pumped her full of water, and the only dairy she ate was the Kefir in the smoothie. All the good probiotics in kefir helped replenish her gut flora and start building her immune system back up. Read more about the health benefits of kefir here. In the evening, she was really in a lot of pain in her ears and sinuses, and she was beginning to have a low-grade fever. Following is what I did for her:

Natural Remedies

1. I gave her 1 teaspoon of minced garlic and told her to chew it for just 10 seconds before swallowing. She resisted this one, but after explaining to her that garlic is a natural antimicrobial, she humored me. Allicin is an enzyme in garlic which is activated when it is freshly crushed or chopped. Not only does it provide a strong aroma, but it has also been found to kill various strains of bacteria, fungus, and parasites.

2. Gratefully, she immediately washed down the garlic with the (delicious) Cold and Sinus Remedy Smoothie below.

3. Next, I let the fever do its thing…. meaning, I made her wait a good 3-4 hours with a low, 99.5 degree fever before I gave her medicine. Fever is a sign that the immune system is working to kill off the bad bacteria. Don’t disrupt that too quickly!

4. To open up her sinuses, she took a hot shower and slept with a humidifier in her room.

5. As I tucked her into bed, I gave her ibuprofen for the pain so she could sleep. Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) which reduces fever, pain, and inflammation. I also rubbed “Breathe” oil (doTERRA) behind her ears and on her chest. This is the only essential oil I own, but I like it because it works like a vapor rub.

6. The final thing done for her was a Priesthood Blessing. In the Latter-day Saint faith, we believe that the divine authority to act in God’s name is given to worthy men of the Church. My husband holds the Melchizedek Priesthood and has the power to give blessings to those who are sick as described in James 5:14-15. Ask one of your LDS friends to tell you more about it.

My daughter slept like a baby through the night and woke up her chipper self in the morning. What a blessing! Surely, our Creator has not only provided means for His children to be healed through Spiritual power handed down to worthy Priesthood holders, but He also created fruits, vegetables, and other plants for the purpose of nourishing and healing our bodies as well. Isn’t it so liberating to have the tools to take care of ourselves without always depending on a prescription?!

Live happy and enjoy this lovely winter season!


Blueberry Ginger Smoothie with Kefir

Folate from spinach, anti-inflammatory properties from fresh ginger, and good bacteria from kefir in this smoothie will help you ward of the sick germs during cold and flu season.

Keyword cold and sinus, healthy smoothie, remedies
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 120 kcal


  • 1 Cup Raw Spinach packed tightly into blender
  • 1 Cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond milk
  • ½ Cup Plain, Unsweetened Kefir
  • ½ Banana ripe
  • 3/4 Cup frozen Blueberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ginger root freshly grated


  1. Tightly pack spinach into the blender and fill the almond milk to the 1 Cup mark. Blend until very smooth.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and blend another 60-90 seconds or until no chunks remain.
  3. Enjoy!


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Hearty Bean with Bacon Soup


This soup is inspired by my Mom’s home cooking. As a child, I used to love coming home on a cold, wintery day to a bowl of bean soup with corn bread. I’ve altered the recipe of my childhood to give it a boost of nutrition, and the following recipeis what I have come up with. It pairs very well with my Hearty Corn Bread. Enjoy!!


Hearty Bean and Bacon Soup

A healthy comfort food for a cold, wintry day.

Course Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword Bacon, Bean, Ham, Soup
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 10 people


  • 20 oz. “Ham Beens 15 Bean Soup" or 4 Cans Navy Beans
  • 6 Cups Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Chicken Soup Base
  • 2 Cups Carrots diced
  • 1 15 oz. Can Diced Tomatoes not drained
  • 1 Large Onion diced (1 Cup)
  • 1/2 Cup Bacon or Ham cooked and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Rosemary dried
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Remove and discard Ham Beens seasoning packet, and prepare on stovetop according to package directions.  Another option is to cook the beans on the [Bean/Chili] setting of an Instant Pot for 30 minutes. Drain beans, and add to a large pot on stovetop.

  2. Add all remaining ingredients  except for the Bacon, and bring to boil. Just a note on the bacon-- I like to use Hormel Real Bacon Pieces (Affiliate link) because they save me time and don’t smell up my kitchen. However, if we ever have leftover ham, I use that.
  3. Decrease heat to low, add bacon (or ham) and simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Serve in bowls and let sit for 5 minutes before eating.
  5. Pair the soup with a serving of Hearty Corn Bread topped with butter and honey. 

Featured Products

(Includes Affiliate Links)

 HamBeens 15 Bean Soup


 Hormel Real Bacon Bits


 Instant Pot

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Hearty Corn Chowder


Ironically, the most often requested foods in my home are the least fancy. The nice thing about that is they usually take little time to prepare. The bad thing about that is it usually isn’t very picturesque… Honestly though, this chowder always makes it on the list of my children’s favorite foods. That must be saying something! I hope you and your loved ones will enjoy this soup as much as we do.

Hearty Corn Chowder

Course Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword corn chowder
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 people
Author heartysmarty


  • 6 Cups Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Chicken Soup Base
  • 3 Celery Stalks chopped
  • 2 large Carrots chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Onion chopped
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper chopped
  • 3 Cups Potatoes chopped
  • 2 Cups Corn Kernels frozen
  • 15 oz. Creamed Corn
  • 1 1/2 Cups Milk Whole or 2%
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pepper


  1. Bring water and chicken soup base to boil.
  2. Add all chopped vegetables to the chicken broth and boil until potatoes are tender.
  3. Add the frozen corn and creamed corn and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until the frozen corn is warmed through.
  4. Slowly stir in the milk. *Note: I have made this with plain, unsweetened almond milk before, and it was not bad!*
  5. Season with salt and pepper and let cool for about 5 minutes before eating.
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Hearty Breakfast Bagel


On those mornings when cereal or toast just wont cut it, this savory dish is sure to satisfy. I crave this on Saturdays after a morning jog, because of its balance of protein, carbohydrate and fat. Enjoy!

Hearty Egg and Avocado Breakfast Bagel

Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Keyword avocado, breakfast
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 1 people
Author heartysmarty


  • 1/2 Whole Wheat Bagel toasted
  • 1/4 Avocado cut in slices
  • 2 slices Tomato 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 slice Canadian Bacon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Butter
  • 1 Fried Egg
  • Salt to taste
  • Black Pepper to taste


  1. Fry egg in melted butter over medium-high heat. Cook approximately 3 minutes on one side. Flip it over and cook 1 minute on the other side.
  2. While egg is cooking, toast your bagel for a minute or two. After your egg is cooked, warm your bacon slice in the same pan.

  3. Top toasted bagel with avocado slices, tomato, Canadian Bacon, egg, salt and pepper.

Recipe Notes

My favorite whole wheat bagel is “Bubbas 100% Whole Wheat and Honey” Bagels.

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Hearty Green Smoothie


Aren’t the Holidays so wonderful? Spending time with family and friends, eating delicious food, and staying up late playing games is how we celebrated Thanksgiving last week. Now it is Monday. Time for some extra nutrition and a little exercise to help me get back into a healthy routine. I’m not a huge green smoothie fan, but this one is pretty good! It contains TWO servings of veggies and enough protein to provide a refreshing boost to your day. Here’s to a great start to a new week! Enjoy!


Hearty Green Smoothie

2 Cups Spinach, fresh
1 3/4 Cups Vanilla Almond Milk, unsweetened
1 whole Pear, seeded and chopped
1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Ground Flax SeedDirections:

1. Pack 2 cups of fresh spinach tightly into bottom of blender.

2. Pour Almond Milk on top of spinach until it reaches the 2 Cup line on the blender.

3. Blend about 60 seconds until spinach and milk mixture is smooth.

4. Add pear chunks, lemon juice, and flax seed.

5. Blend another 60 seconds and serve immediately.

Makes approximately 4 Cups.

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Gluten-FreeSauces and Dressings

Citrus Zest Cranberry Sauce


Zesty, spicy, sweet, and tart—nothing tastes more like the holidays than homemade cranberry sauce! You will love the way this dish fills your kitchen with the aroma of spices and orange zest as the cranberries gently simmer on your stove. And, frankly, you might be a little embarrassed that you ever used to serve the canned stuff. This is so yummy and so easy to make!

Citrus Zest Cranberry Sauce

Homemade cranberry sauce with a hint of citrus.

Course Side Dish
Keyword cranberry sauce
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 12 people
Calories 50 kcal
Author heartysmarty


  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Water
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
  • 1 12- ounce bag Fresh Cranberries
  • 1 whole Navel Orange zested


  1. In a medium-sized sauce pan dissolve water, sugar, and spices over high heat. Boil until syrup becomes clear.
  2. Meanwhile, rinse the cranberries and remove mushy berries.
  3. Add cleaned berries to boiling syrup. Cook for about 5 minutes or until most berries have gently popped but aren’t mushy.
  4. Remove from heat and add orange zest.

Recipe Notes

Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Serve cold as topping for turkey or spread for rolls.

Featured Product

(Includes Affiliate Link)

 Deiss Pro Citrus Zester and Cheese Grater

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Baked GoodsRecipes

Hearty Corn Bread


Chili season is in full swing, and NO chili is ever complete without a square of cornbread. This recipe is as moist and flavorful as any, but it has whole ingredients and no refined sugars. For those who avoid wheat, try my Gluten-free Corn Bread. Enjoy!

Hearty Corn Bread

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword corn bread, Gluten free
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 15 slices


Dry Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 1/2 Cups Corn Meal
  • 2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Wet Ingredients

  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons Ground Flaxseed
  • 6 Tablespoons Water
  • 1/2 Cup Applesauce
  • 2 Cups Milk or Almond Milk


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a 9 x 13 inch cast iron pan.
  2. Place pan into the oven while preparing ingredients—no longer than 6-8 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together wet ingredients.
  4. Add wet ingredients to large bowl of dry ingredients. Mix until combined.
  5. Remove hot pan from oven and pour batter into the pan. It will immediately begin to cook the edges to provide a perfectly toasted crust. 

  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Cut two lines down and 4 lines across. Serve with butter and honey. Devour!

Recipe Notes

I grind my own wheat and always use White Winter wheat berries when baking this recipe. 

You know the corn bread is done when it begins to pull away from the edges of the pan as shown:
Cornbread in pan

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CasserolesGluten-FreeRecipesVeggie-Lover Dinners

Cheesy Polenta with Roasted Veggies


To get my kids to eat this dish, I tell them that it is “cheesy corn bread” and they are all over this stuff! What is polenta? It is also referred to as corn grits because it is a coarsely-ground cornmeal. I find mine in the whole foods section of the grocery store with all of the “Bob’s Red Mill” products. To make this a gluten-free meal, try Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Corn Grits. (Aff. Link) There’s no difference in flavor or texture. Just no cross contamination with wheat. I made this recipe for the first time when I saw it on the Produce on Parade blog years ago. You can find the original recipe here. To make it more kid-friendly, I made some changes. Enjoy!

Cheesy Polenta and Roasted Vegetables

Simple, vegetarian, polenta topped with roasted vegetables.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword polenta, vegetarian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 325 kcal
Author heartysmarty


Roasted Veggies

  • 2 medium Sweet Potatoes (4 Cups chopped)
  • 2 small Zucchini Squash (3 Cups chopped)
  • 2 Cups Red Onion chopped
  • 1 large Red Bell Peppers (2 Cups chopped)
  • 2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Cheesy Polenta

  • 6 cups Water
  • 2 cups Stone Ground Polenta
  • 2 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Chop all vegetables into cubes using my not-so-secret chopping tip. Keep the sweet potatoes separate and zap them in a microwave safe bowl with a tablespoon of water for about 2 minutes.

  2. Toss all the vegetables in a large bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them onto a large, tin foil-lined cookie sheet, and roast for about 15 minutes. Stir them once or twice to ensure even cooking. Once they are crisp-tender, remove and set aside. Decrease oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  3. Meanwhile, bring water to boil in a large pot. Slowly stir in the polenta with a long wooden spoon. Reduce heat to medium and keep stirring for about 10 minutes until it is the consistency of very thick cream of wheat.
  4. Remove from heat and add the cheese, salt, and pepper. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan and level it evenly inside the pan with the back of your spoon.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, top evenly with roasted vegetables, and bake for another 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and let sit for about 5 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper as needed and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

To make this a gluten-free meal, try Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Corn Grits. (Aff. link) There's no difference in flavor or texture. Just no cross contamination with wheat.

Polenta topped with Roasted Vegetables

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