Monday, April 27, 2015

Almond Brownies

We are pumped to post this brownie recipe for several reasons.  First, this recipe is a sneak preview of Tia Mowrey's, whose show Tia Mowry at Home premiers on The Cooking Channel on Wednesday, April 29th at 9:00pmET/6:00pmPT.  Tia is a busy mom herself, and we are thrilled to have been asked by The Food Network/The Cooking Channel to give her recipe a try in our Busy Moms' kitchens.

Second, I am excited to share this recipe because, well, these brownies are flat out awesome.  The prunes seem a bit unconventional, but the added sweetness and flavor mixed with the cocoa, mmmmmm.... And the best part? The sea salt sprinkled on top.  The combination of the sweet, almondy, chocolaty goodness and the salty topping provided by our favorite sea salt - Sea Love Sea Salt out of Wrightsville Beach, NC - is decadent and irresistible.  This one is so worth the splurge.


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup prune puree (I used baby food)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt (try Sea Love's!)
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease an 8-by-8-inch pan with butter. Cut a piece of parchment to hang over 2 sides of the pan.  Mix together the butter and almond butter by hand in a large mixing bowl. Beat the eggs in a small bowl, then add them to the butter mixture. Mix in the sugar, prune puree and vanilla.
  2. Whisk together the cocoa powder, flour and salt in a separate bowl. Gently stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Mix by hand just until combined; do not over-mix. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the flaky sea salt.
  3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the brownies comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool, and then cut into squares.

Difficulty: medium
Time: 1 hour 20 minutes (includes 20 minutes prep as well as cooking and cooling time)
Source: Tia Mowry at Home- Premiering Wednesday, April 29th at 9:00pmET/6:00pmPT - SERIES PREMIERE! (COOKING CHANNEL)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Skinny Chunky Monkey Cookies

I saw these on Facebook a while back when I was trying to detox myself from the holiday sweets.  I had sworn myself to no sweet treats for at least a week, but going cold turkey is tough.  When I saw this ingredient list, I decided that these cookies looked awesome and that I could definitely use them to soothe my cravings.  My kids and I made them together and they loved them.  They happily nicknamed them the "Healthy Cookies" and are thrilled to help make them nearly every time that we have three overripe bananas.  We've made them often enough now that they have earned their own bag in our drawer that we reuse when we make them.  These cookies clearly aren't the same as a sugar-laden oatmeal chocolate cookie, but they are tasty and pretty much guilt-free.  They are great for a snack and before an early morning run, too!

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup of unsweetened applesauce (a GoGo Squeeze 3.2 oz pouch works perfectly, too, if that is what you have)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, mash bananas well.  Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  2. Drop by teaspoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  The cookies will more or less keep their shape, so flatten if desired.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Makes about 30.

Difficulty: easy - my kids do most of it
Time: 10 minutes prep, 10-12 minute baking
Source: shared on Facebook; original source unknown (If it is you let us know!)

Friday, April 17, 2015

4C's Chili

Chicken, chili, clean(er), crock-pot.  4 C's I love catchy titles.

Some days you just want something filling and warm because you can't shake the cold. Those days I get a hunger for some chili.  I had some thawed chicken breasts in the fridge waiting for a use.  I figured I had to be able to find a chicken chili recipe.

I could probably make this recipe healthier if I soaked my beans instead of using canned beans...but time was of the essence.   My  husband has been trying to get me to can tomatoes myself, but I am just not ready for that yet either.

My husband loves to dump mountains of oyster crackers on top of his chili, or he likes it served on top of pasta.  I am trying to help my family make better eating choices; so, I added Triscuit crackers to the chili.  Triscuits are made of only three ingredients, and I can name them all.  If we want a more filling dish, we will eat the chili on top of quinoa now.  Baby steps toward a healthier lifestyle.


  • 3-4 chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 1 T cayenne pepper
  • 2 t ground cumin
  • pepper to taste
  • fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • tomato paste
  • chili beans
  1. Place chicken in slow cooker. Top with broth and all other ingredients.
  2. Cook on low for 6-7 hours.
  3. Garnish and serve.

Difficulty: Easy
Time: 15 minutes prep; 6 hours cooking time
Source: a facebook share

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Slow Cooker Italian Chicken

After finding that my son has some food allergy issues involving red dye, I have been trying to use more whole food ingredients in my cooking. Seeing the immediate behavior change in him has made me wary of chemicals.  This recipe has you making your own pasta sauce thus avoiding the sugar that many store-bought sauces have.  Local honey is used as my sweetener; in my opinion, it adds more flavor and helps us with our seasonal allergies.   As you are working with this recipe, you may want to add mushrooms or other vegetables on hand to your sauce.

I have made this a few times. At first, I used a small food processor to puree my ingredients.  I needed to refill my processor a few times; this added to my prep time.  After Christmas, I used my Vitamix.  It allowed me to get everything done in one batch.  My whole family enjoyed this meal, and the leftovers were great.

I often plan ahead so I pureed my sauce and threw some chicken breasts in a freezer bag to freeze. When I am ready for the meal, I pull it out the night before to thaw; the next morning into the crock pot.  Sometimes my mornings are just too hectic to find all the right ingredients to put in the slow cooker; prepping ahead in this manner has really helped keep me a bit more calm on our busy mornings.


  • 3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 5 medium tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T honey
  • 2 red peppers
  • 2 T minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup Italian seasoning 


  1. Place chicken in slow cooker.
  2. Use a high speed blender to puree the remaining ingredients.
  3. Pour sauce over chicken; cook on low for 6 hours.
  4. Shred chicken to allow it to absorb juices.
  5. Serve over whole grain pasta or quinoa.

Difficulty: Easy
Time: Prep-5 minutes (if using a high speed blender) Cook:6 hours
Source: adapted from an online group

Friday, April 3, 2015

Asian Salad

I first had this salad many moons ago at a Christmas brunch at a friend's house.  I asked for the recipe and she shared.  I have since made this salad for many a get-together and at almost every one of those get-togethers, I have been asked for the recipe as well.  Most recently, I made it for a cub scout function and was again asked for the recipe.  My husband was ready to tell the mom about this blog, but I had to interrupt to tell him it wasn't on here yet.  He looked genuinely shocked.  The fact is, I have made it a thousand times, but each time, I forget to take a picture of the final product before we zip out of the house or before people arrive at our house.  So, one day, I will add a finished product picture to this page, but in the meantime, it is about time it got posted!  Enjoy!  (And be ready to share the recipe!)

  • 1 head of celery cabbage (I often substitute Romaine and have most recently been using spinach)
  • 3-4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 package Ramen noodles (broken)
  • 1 bag of sweet glazed Almond Accents (there are often newspaper coupons for these)
  • 1/2 c balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 c vegetable oil
  1. Mix all dressing ingredients and allow to sit for best results.
  2. Mix greens.  Add Ramen noodles, almonds, and dressing right before serving.
Difficulty: very easy
Time: 15 minutes
Source: A friend from aerobics many years ago