Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie

Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie

It’s Pumpkin Spice Latte season and while everyone is lined up to get their PSL fix, I’m over here at home mixing up glasses of this amazing Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie! The truth is even though I am a total pumpkin addict, I’ve never really been a big fan of the PSL. I know, call me crazy, but it’s just not my favorite. I think it’s because it doesn’t really have much actual pumpkin flavor. Plus, there’s way too much sugar in those things!

This smoothie though? It will totally satisfy your pumpkin pie cravings without all the sugar and calories. And better yet, this smoothie is also packed with protein meaning you can satisfy your pumpkin cravings and not feel guilty about it!

Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie

The base for this smoothie is a frozen banana, which, if you haven’t tried it, makes your smoothies so incredibly creamy and ice-cream like! Then there is all the protein thanks to the Greek yogurt and protein powder. And of course, you’ll also add a good dose of pumpkin puree and spices! I use maple syrup to sweeten this and find that 2-3 tablespoons is plenty sweet for me, but feel free to adjust that. The same goes for the milk- any type of milk will do and you can also adjust the milk to thicken or to thin the smoothie to your desired thickness. This smoothie is the perfect meal replacement for the season!

Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie

Salted Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Salted Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sometimes a girl just needs a huge chunk of dark chocolate and some cookies. Or maybe not just sometimes, but often. Okay, okay, every day. A girl needs dark chocolate and cookies pretty much every day. Forever and always.

Madeline loves when we make cookies together. She runs for a chair from the kitchen table so she can reach the counter to “help”. I use the term “help” quite loosely here because what she really just does is eat the chocolate chips from the container and sticks her finger in the bowl each time I add a new ingredient. Add a pile of sugar? Sticks her finger in the sugar and eats it. Pile of flour? Also sticks her finger in it and eats it (and then says “yuck”)! She sometimes wants to help me stir things, but that’s mostly because she just wants to lick the spatula. Then when it’s finally time for me to add in the chocolate, she says, “Hey, that’s mine chocolate chips!”. What can I say? She’s a girl after my own heart. Like mother, like daughter, one hundred percent!

Salted Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

I used my best ever chocolate chip cookie recipe for the base of these cookies and made just a couple of small changes. These cookies are just dreamy. They are nice and thick and super soft in the middle! The secret to thick cookies is to chill the dough before baking. I prefer for it to chill for at least two hours, if not more, so plan accordingly! One other tip I want to let you guys know about is that I have been making my chocolate chip cookie recipe for many years now and I notice a difference in the thickness and softness of the cookies when I mix everything by hand versus using a mixer. I always seem to get a better result when using the mixer because it seems to do a better job of blending all of the ingredients together than what I do by hand so I do recommend pulling out your mixer for these cookies for the best result.

Gah, I’m drooling just thinking about these babies! For the dark chocolate, I recommend getting some of the good quality chocolate bars and chop them up, but you can also mix in regular dark chocolate baking chips (I love the Ghiradelli ones, FYI). To finish them off, you’ll sprinkle on a touch of sea salt!

Salted Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Zuppa Toscana

Zuppa Toscana

I hereby declare that soup season is here. Well, not really, but it’s mid-September so it has to be close, no?! I love making homemade soup over lazy weekends this time of year. They are so comforting and make you feel all nice and cozy.

I’ve been hearing about Zuppa Toscana for years now from people all over, but I never really knew what it was. Zuppa Toscana is actually just a broad term for Tuscan soup and usually contains veggies like kale, beans, zucchini, and potatoes. Zuppa Toscana has become popular here in the United States thanks to the Olive Garden which is how many of you may be familiar with it. To be honest though, I haven’t been to the OG in many years and have never had their Zuppa Toscana, but it sounded pretty good so I wanted to make my own version at home!

Zuppa Toscana

This version contains ground sausage, potatoes, and kale. You can certainly add in cannellini beans or other veggies if you desire. I’m fairly certain the OG version also contains a good amount of heavy cream, but this recipe only uses skim milk and a touch of half and half. A bit of flour also thickens it a bit. Then there’s the bacon. Obviously, you want to add the bacon on top because…bacon. But, hey, at least there is kale too!

Zuppa Toscana

Chicken Enchilada Dip

Chicken Enchilada Dip

Football season is here! It’s yet one of the many wonderful things about this time of year. Even if you aren’t a big football fan, you at least have to be a fan of all the game day eats, right?! While I enjoy college football a lot, my husband basically wants to structure our weekends around certain games and he almost always requests some good football snacks. I wouldn’t dare leave him hanging so I’ve been trying to come up with some new game day eats and we voted this one to be a total winner! What’s not to love about a creamy and cheesy dip mixed with tasty enchilada sauce!

I based this Chicken Enchilada Dip off my Buffalo Chicken Dip (which is another game day favorite on this blog!). In this dip, we use cream cheese, shredded chicken, enchilada sauce, and of course, cheese!

Chicken Enchilada Dip

You can customize this dip in a number of ways too. First, any canned enchilada sauce will do, but I highly recommend my homemade enchilada sauce because it tastes so much better than most store-bought sauces I’ve had! The second way you can change things up is with add-ins. Green chilis or diced jalapeno would be fabulous in this dip as would pretty much any other traditional Mexican-food topping like avocados, green onions, cilantro, or even salsa! If you are serving a group, I’d be careful about adding too much heat though. Lastly, I like to use a combo of sharp cheddar and jack cheese, but any Mexican blend or pepper jack would also be perfect in this recipe so customize away!

Chicken Enchilada Dip

Skinny Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Skinny Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

‘Tis the season, my friends! Yes, it’s September and it’s time to bust out ALL of the pumpkin. Those of you who live in colder areas are like, “OMG! Stooooopp!” and for those in the warmer temps like myself, I can’t wait for it to get cooler outside. All the Halloween decor is up at Target. Gah! This is truly my favorite time of year! Maddie is already asking for us to put up the decorations so I’m thinking that is totally going to happen soon.

We are kicking off the unofficial start to fall and pumpkin season with these amazing Skinny Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars! First, they are just over 100 calories per square which is a total win and obviously means you can eat like 10 of them at once…or not…

Skinny Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

I based this recipe off some other skinny cheesecake bars I’ve made on this blog and really just added pumpkin puree and some spices. One mistake I realized after cutting into these was that I totally forgot to add the flour. Even though it’s just a couple of tablespoons, the flour really helps stabilize these bars so don’t forget it!

Feel free to experiment with the cinnamon and nutmeg in this recipe. You can add more or less depending on your tastes! Happy Pumpkin Season!

Skinny Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Sweet Potato Noodles with Arugula Pesto

Sweet Potato Noodles with Arugula Pesto

It’s been forever since I last pulled out my spiralizer. In fact, I don’t think I’ve used it since I moved to California last year and that is quite sad because I adore spiralizing. It’s so simple and I love trying to find good substitutes for carb-heavy pasta dishes. While I think my favorite veggie to spiralize is zucchini (I know, how basic of me!), my second favorite is sweet potatoes!

Sweet Potato Noodles with Arugula Pesto

I bought a huge container of arugula on sale a few weeks ago and didn’t want to let any go to waste so I threw it in my food processor and made some fresh pesto! I adore using arugula in pesto. It adds a nice peppery flavor. I also throw in basil because it balances out the arugula perfectly. And then I add in toasted walnuts instead of the more traditional pine nut.

The pesto pairs perfectly with the sweet potato noodles for a quick and easy lunch or dinner. And while I often like to suggest beefing up these types of dishes with grilled chicken, fish, etc., I have to say I like this dish just as is. Obviously, if you are feeling lazy, you can just use store-bought regular pesto, but I highly recommend trying this arugula pesto!

Sweet Potato Noodles with Arugula Pesto