Recipes Archive

A Healthier Hot Chocolate Recipe!

December had brought an amazing coffee cake I special ordered from a New England bakery and had shipped out here (Yes, it was that good!) Not to mention all the indulgent eggnog lattes and hot chocolate, and days of entertaining for Christmas.

Hence, my desire for a January post-holiday detox. Of course, I was craving a hot chocolate today, only I knew it had to be a healthier version.

So, I spent this Saturday evening modifying homemade hot cocoa recipes while my husband, Bill cooked dinner. The kitchen was a bit cramped with both of us working away, yet I remained focused!

I wanted to find just the right amount of sweetness without adding any processed sugars or artificial sweeteners, and keeping it simple.

At last, I had my “final hot cocoa recipe” so I poured Bill a fresh mug. After his first sip he said “Wow, that’s good. Why didn’t you make this over the holiday?!”

Here is the hot chocolate we enjoyed tonight.

Healthy (or healthier) Hot Cocoa

Serving size: one mug (about 8 oz.)

Time to make: 5 minutes


  • 2 oz. organic dark chocolate bar (This should be a generous half of a dark chocolate bar you would find at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods or similar stores)
  • 1 cup organic whole milk
  • 1/4 TSP raw honey
  • 1/4 TSP vanilla extract
  • A tiny pinch of sea salt
  • A dash of cinnamon


ONE: Break the dark chocolate bar into several pieces

TWO: Put the chocolate pieces into a pan on the stove top on medium-low to start melting the chocolate while whisking frequently to avoid burning it

THREE: Add in the milk and all other ingredients while continuing to whisk everything frequently so nothing sticks or burns

FOUR: Heat the milk until the chocolate has completely melted or dissolved into the mixture

FIVE: Once it’s nice and hot, remove it from the stove

Finally, pour into a mug and enjoy!

TIP: Remember to choose a dark chocolate you really like and without any added sugars or artificial sweeteners.

If you have a tasty and healthy-ish hot cocoa recipe or certain substitutes you like to use, please share!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Energy Bites: Healthy Treat Recipe

I’m sharing my go-to sugar craving quencher that is holiday-ish, healthy & tasty. It is a nutritious alternative recipe, known as the increasingly popular Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Energy Bites. And, it’s no bake! I’ve looked at over a dozen recipes and wanted to post the one I liked the best, with my own recipe adjustments.

My husband came home from his CrossFit workout one evening with a couple “pumpkin protein balls” from his class. I loved how the pumpkin bites satisfied my sweet tooth without the sugar crash feeling. In fact, I truly felt a bit nourished.

I set out to find recipes online. We now make this treat and keep it in the freezer. It thaws out nicely and quickly. Here are the specific ingredients I opted for when working with a paleo-friendly recipe from the Clean Food Crush blog:

  • Steel cut oats (I think I’m going to change to oatmeal, though)
  • Coconut flakes
  • Almond butter
  • Raw honey
  • I added just a TINY dash of Stevia

To see the recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Energy Bites on Clean Food Crush, click here.

Here’s what I used while working with the above recipe as my starting point (It’s delicious as is, but I wanted to adjust it with my favorite ingredients):


  • 3 cups dry, uncooked oatmeal
  • 1 cup organic pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup organic, unsalted almond butter
  • 2/3 cup raw honey
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 7 tbsp. tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • A tiny sprinkle of Stevia


  1. Combine all ingredients together in a medium bowl into a well-blended dough
  2. Roll into balls of about 1.5″ in diameter  (See Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Energy Balls Prep
  3. Place on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper & freeze one hour
  4. Store in an airtight glass container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

I hope you have a fantastically healthy & energetic holiday season!


The Only Wine Cake Recipe You’ll Ever Need!

Grandma Georgia was a creative and talented cook, but baking was her first love in the kitchen. She knew how to perfect recipes and when to keep things simple. Here is my grandmother’s great wine cake recipe.

Update: Originally, I used this recipe at Christmastime. I’m now baking this wine cake in the summertime as well. For the warmer months, I skip the nutmeg and top with fresh berries.

Wine Cake (Yellow Bundt Cake)

1 package moist yellow cake mix
1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
¾ cup cooking oil (if you prefer butter, use 1 cup + 1 tbsp. room temperature butter)
¾ cup white wine (the alcohol burns off in the oven) or substitute with Sherry cooking wine
4 eggs
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg + a dash of cinnamon


  1. Mix all ingredients with mixer on medium speed for 4 to 5 minutes
  2. Pour mixture into a well-buttered angel food / Bundt cake pan
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes (Check with a toothpick)
  4. Let it cool, remove cake and sprinkle generously with powdered sugar

TIP:  To make it a gift, place the Bundt cake on a sturdy Christmassy plate and wrap with clear or color cellophane. Secure at the top with a ribbon.

I miss the way Grandma Georgia brought our kitchen to life when she visited my childhood home for the holidays – more of her recipes to follow!


Healthy Recipe: Spring Greens with Chickpeas & Chicken

As I finished detoxing from too many holiday chocolates, I asked my husband to make his healthy chickpea chicken spring greens dinner. I find it wholly satisfying, and leaving me with a healthy feeling.

Below, is the simple recipe that can make for a healthy lunch or dinner. We usually have it at dinnertime, and it’s plenty. I like to enjoy the chickpea chicken salad with nothing more than just chilled water with lemon.

So what’s so great about this meal regarding health?!

fresh greens

Highlighted Health Benefits

Well, chickpeas’ health benefits include improved digestion, essential vitamins, and minerals. It also helps to control blood sugar. Not to mention this garbanzo bean is an excellent source of plant-based protein that increases satiety. (Source:

The spring greens have vitamin K, A, and C, along with calcium, folate, and manganese. They also contain an assortment of antioxidants.

Further, cooking with avocado oil allows you to prepare meals safely at higher temperatures, as it is less likely to run rancid (unlike some other cooking oils at higher temperatures.) Avocado oil is a healthy fat source.

These are just a few highlights. This recipe offers additional wellness with healthier seasonings and extra virgin olive oil, and organic free-range chicken as a source of lean protein.

Chickpea Chicken Spring Greens Recipe

chickpea chicken spring greens


  1. Use 1 bag or head of lettuce / organic spring greens
  2. Grill or bake chicken, using avocado oil & a generous amount of “Buffalo Seasoning” (Flavor God brand, or any taco-like spice) 
  3. Add 1 can organic chickpeas – vegan and/or organic 
  4. Add 3/4 cup of feta cheese
  5. Optional: Add one sliced avocado
  6. Toss with olive oil & balsamic vinegar


Happy and healthy eating to you.



Recipe Photo: Sprightly Spruce



Chocolate Chip Cookies: Fluffy Yet Chewy!

Chocolate chips cookies are a must-have for the holidays.

Why? Because they just taste so good. Not to mention being as close to universally liked as a cookie can get!

In the spirit of finding a chocolate chip cookie loved ones could fully agree on, I set out to find the right balance of texture + taste. My husband loves fluffy-textured chocolate chips cookies, while my baking friend prefers chewy. Personally, I like the puffier chocolate chip cookies, but with the sweetness of chewy.

Bottom line: after trying out, and fine-tuning different recipes, I created my happy medium cookies in both texture and taste.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe


2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup butter (room temperature) TIP – Do NOT heat or melt the butter

¾ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup packed brown sugar

1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 package vanilla instant pudding (I used JELL-O Instant Vanilla pudding)

2 eggs

1 package (or 2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips

OPTIONAL: For chocolatier cookies: hand chop an 8 oz. Chocolate bar with a knife, in place of the chocolate chips *I got this tip from The Food Lab blog.

OPTIONAL: Sprinkle a little sea salt onto the cookies once they are complete, and push the salt in a little.

(I plan to try out these two options on my next batch!)


In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, sugars, vanilla pudding mix, and vanilla extract. Beat until it has a creamy texture. Gradually beat in the eggs. Gradually add the salt, baking soda, and flour. Stir in the chocolate chips.


Remove the dough from the fridge. Drop dough in slightly clumpy tablespoon amounts for each cookie – about 2 inches apart onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, or until slightly brown on the edges.

Cool cookies slightly and then remove the cookies from the cookie sheet. AFTER EACH BATCH, RUN THE COOKIE SHEET UNDER COLD WATER & DRY before placing the next batch of dough on it.

Milk & Cookies

This was the recipe I felt worked best. My cookie taster said “Wow. These cookies are REALLY good.” I agreed, and enjoyed a couple myself, with some A2 milk. Good stuff.

Happy Baking!

Photo credits: Dreamstime Stock Photos