Aug 212014

Disclaimer: I received Blue Diamond Honey Roasted Almonds for free as part of Blue Diamonds Tastemakers program. All content and opinions are my own.


On Twosday I mentioned the latest Blue Diamond Almond flavors I’ve been lucky to try.  I love the Honey Roasted Chipotle for savory, smoky, snacking.  I made a super quick snack mix with these bad boys by adding mini-pretzels and penguin-shaped cheese crackers.  Perfect for munching on while Netflixing.

pancake mix ins 

After tasting the Honey Roasted Vanilla almonds, I knew I wanted to use them in the kitchen and decided a revamp of my Trail Mix Pancakes was in order.  This recipe doesn’t call for sugar and these almonds add the perfect amount of sweetness to breakfast without going candy-coated-overboard.

I made a double batch of this recipe on Sunday so that we had enough for dinner and several days of leftovers. I brought an extra delicious breakfast to my desk all week long.  Reheating in the microwave doesn’t sound fancy, but it sure feels like a step into luxury compared to my normal oatmeal or yogurt with fruit.

Vanilla Coconut Trail Mix Pancakes with Blue Diamond Honey Roasted Vanilla Almonds
makes 8 medium pancakes


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup Blue Diamond Honey Roasted Vanilla Almonds, crushed
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • nonstick cooking spray


  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.
  • In a separate bowl, combine milk, egg, melted butter, and applesauce.
  • Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just combined.
  • Add remaining ingredients and stir slightly until mixed.
  • Bring griddle or fry pan to medium heat, after spraying it with cooking spray. 
  • Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop pancake batter onto the heated pan.  Allow to cook about 2 minutes, until the batter just starts to bubble, then flip to cook through completely.
  • Top with syrup, jam, nut butter, or your other favorite topping to serve.

Jul 102014

This post was shared by The Beef Checkoff.

When I first started cooking in my own kitchen and doing my own grocery shopping, I didn’t buy a lot of beef.  Chicken and meat-free recipes were easiest for me, and I stayed where I was comfortable.  As I started to cook more and more often at-home, eventually I started to add beef to the rotation – specifically lean ground beef.

Ground beef is easy to work with and can be flavored well with seasonings and sauces to meet any sort of craving you might be facing come dinner time. Lean ground beef was also easily available at my local grocery stores, fairly affordable, and hard to mess-up.  Even if my burger patties fell apart mid-cooking, I could always turn them into loose-meat sandwiches without a problem.

It wasn’t until a few years ago when I took an opportunity to try the BOLD Lean Beef Challenge that I really started to learn about beef outside of my ground beef comfort zone. I talk about this more in depth in these posts, too:


20 Easy Beef Recipes Outside the Ground Beef Comfort Zone

Are you in a ground beef comfort zone?  Here are 20 recipes to help you step outside the familiar and try something new!

Add Some FLAVOR! to Meal Time with the Family

Gingery Beef & Broccoli from Ari’s Menu (pictured above)

Asian Crockpot Beef from A Nutritionist Eats. An extra flavorful meal that requires minimal prep is a win in my book!

The Exotic Slow Cooker Pot Roast from Chef Druck

Asian Marinated Flank Steak from My Bizzy Kitchen

Korean Marinated Beef (Bulgogi) from The Adventures of MJ and Hungryman.  Bulgogi is to Korean cooking as meatloaf is to American cooking.  It screams comfort!

Spicy Korean Tacos from Healthy Delicious

Spicy Orange Beef Carnitas from Running to the Kitchen.  This is a sweet, caramelized beef dish that makes plenty of leftovers to reuse throughout the week.

Super Simple Recipes to Ease You Into New Territory

Slow-Cooker Pulled Beef Barbecue from Back to Her Roots.  This is such a wonderfully simple, delicious recipe.  Four ingredients plus eight hours equals delicious.

Burgundy Beef Stew from Sweet Tooth Sweet Life

Crockpot Beef on Weck Sliders from Healthy Delicious

Steak Stir Fry from Savvy Eats. This meal is done in 30 minutes and full of nutritious, delicious veggie-power, to boot.

Chicago Style Italian Roast Beef from My Bizzy Kitchen

Beef and Guinness Stew from Rachel Wilkerson

Crockpot Barbacoa and Cilantro Lime Rice from Shugary Sweets.  This recipe calls to anyone who loves Chipotle, especially.


Steak Dinners Sure to Impress

Pepper Steaks with Sauteed Zucchini from Shugary Sweets

The Best Steak Marinade Ever from Layers of Happiness.  Inspired by a trip to Buenos Aires, this is one of the most popular recipes on this blog and rightly so!  The tips for marinades are also super helpful!

Hanger Steak with Shallot Browned Butter from Chef Druck

Garlic Brown Sugar Flank Steak with Chimichurri from How Sweet It Is

Mediterranean Steaks from Ammee’s Savory Dish. Uber simple to prepare and full of terrific flavor, the photos are mouth watering!

Grilled Top Sirloin with Strawberry Salsa from Peanut Butter and Peppers


Another great beef dish recipe resource is the Beef It’s What for Dinner website, which also features recipes from The Healthy Beef Cookbook. [I love the Slow Good BBQ Beef recipe!]

I use the interactive “Butcher Counter” feature on the website ALL of the time when meal planning and grocery list making. Especially to decode cuts of beef in recipes I want to make.  Did you know that some types of beef go by different names depending on the region you live in?  The “Also Known As” listing on each cut’s definition is extremely helpful for newbie non-ground meat purchasers like myself.

What is your favorite beef recipe?

Apr 242014

Last month, the friendly folks at Nasoya contacted me with a generous offer; a chance to try Nasoya TofuPlus, the first and only line of tofu “beefed up” with the nutrients commonly lacking among those actively reducing meat in their diets. 

I have cooked with tofu a dozen times or so in the past, and I really like that it’s a protein that easily takes on the flavor of whatever sauce or seasoning you pair with it.  This time around, I decided to try a new to me cooking method with the TofuPlus that Nasoya provided for my review when I read about this pan shallow-oil-frying experience on Domestic Superhero.  The General Tso’s Tofu recipe sounded like a delicious alternative to take-out, so I was sold.


And then I failed. Maybe it was that I wasn’t paying the closest attention to the frying pan as I prepared the dish, but I totally ruined the tofu.  And every attempt at my fixing dinner left me more and more frustrated. Eventually, sadly, into the trash it went. From here on out I’m sticking to my normal methods of tofu cooking, my favorite of which is in the oven using this simple method Caitlin taught me years ago.

Nasoya is a brand I buy and support on the regular. I highly suggest you sign up for their e-newsletter – I get coupons in my inbox often.  All Nasoya Tofu is Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified as well as gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian/vegan.

Two of my goals for Spring are to eat more meat-free meals and to spend more time cooking in the kitchen.  I recently put together a Pinterest board of tofu recipes to consider adding to my meal planning over the coming weeks.  Here are 20 of my favorites I wanted to share with you! (Why keep all the delicious ideas to myself? That’s just rude!)


1. The Perfect Baked Tofu – as mentioned above, this recipe from Healthy Tipping Point is wonderful, and the baking method is my go-to for cooking tofu no matter the sauce or flavoring of the meal.

2. Lemongrass Tofu Noodle Bowls from The Healthy Everythingtarian. With a Sesame Soy Vinagrette this is the kind of light with a punch of flavor meal perfect for a warm sunny day.

3. Crispy Breaded Tofu Strips from Oh She Glows.  I’ve never made tofu nuggets or strips, and as a self-proclaimed Queen of Condiments, I’d love to see what they best dip in.  And Ang’s recipe is a Weeknight Dinner recipe featuring sweet potato fries – my favorite snacky side dish!

4. Tofu Fritatta from VeggieGirl.  Load it up with veggies!

5. Southern Style Biscuits and Gravy from Sinful Nutrition.  I’ve been trying to make protein in each meal a priority, and this would be a great weekend tofu breakfast to fill me up and fuel me for the day in a delicious way.

6. Kelly recently wrote about this Pineapple Tofu and Vegetable Stir Fry on Brownies and Zucchini, which is on my meal plan for next week. She rated it an A- in the easiness factor, and an A+ in taste, so how can I pass that up? Plus, I’ve been craving pineapple these days, so adding some to dinnertime will be welcomed!


7. Pineapple Cashew Fried Rice from How Sweet Eats. Totally adding tofu to this recipe, as she suggests.

8. Tofu Cauliflower Crock Pot Garam Masala from Treble in the Kitchen. I love using my crock pot when my schedule feels extra busy and I’ve never had garam masala before, but I’ve seen it popping up on lots of blogs lately. Cheers to trying new things!

9. DIY Kindfood Buddha Bowl from Chelsea’s Healthy Kitchen.  This is another dish that looks so light and refreshing, perfect for a spring day.  Love all the beautiful, fresh produce in this recipe!

10. & 11. Come from one of my absolute FAVORITE blogs for recipes these days, The Adventures MJ and Hungryman.  If you haven’t started reading this healthy recipe blog from a RD-to-be, I have two Thai tofu suggestions to get you started: Shrimp and Tofu Pad Thai & Thai Chicken Tostada with Spicy Peanut Sauce

12. Grilled Lemon Basil Tofu from Eating Bird Food. Now that the weather is warm and the evenings are getting long, grilling is the only answer.

13. Spring Roll Salad from Zeelemons. This SCREAMS Spring. This salad (like most salads) sounds super easy to master and the flavor combos sound delicious!


14. Buffalo Tofu Wraps from Because I’m a fool for buffalo flavored anything, and these wraps seem like perfect eat out on the deck food.

15. Orange Sesame Tofu via Chia Seed Me. The photo of the finished product in this post makes my mouth water upon viewing.

16. Caramelized Tofu from 101 Cookbooks. If caramelized onions are amazing, then this recipe is sure to please, right?

17.Marinated Tofu Burgers from She Knows.  Burgers are another out-on-the-deck, warm-weather, long-evening meal, and these seasoned with rosemary and maple syrup seem like the perfect option to give a try. 

18. Tofu-Avocado Salad from (never)Homemaker would be a fantastic sandwich spread for a picnic in the park.  Dear local friends – let’s make it happen!

19. Cappuccino Cloud Cheesecake from Chocolate Covered Katie. Because tofu in dessert is alright by me!

20. 3 Ingredient Chocolate Butterscotch Pudding from More Than Just Dessert. Because tofu in a SUPER EASY dessert is alright by me, too!


What’s your favorite tofu recipe?