Strawberry Banana Oat Smoothie – 9 Smart Points

Strawberry Banana Oat Smoothie

One of the best things about June, in my opinion, is that there is so much produce that comes into season. It’s perfect for all sorts of delicious, seasonal and healthy food. Smoothies are something that I really enjoy. They’re a quick and easy breakfast or snack. Since I’m usually the only one to eat the smoothie, I’ll make up the whole recipe, then leave the other half of the smoothie in the fridge for a snack later on in the day, or breakfast for the next day. One thing I noticed with this wonderful strawberry banana smoothie is that it’s important to make sure you let the blender blend for quite a while. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to start with the oats, pulse them into a flour and then add the rest of the ingredients. The first time I tried it, I just tossed everything in together (like I always do for smoothies). But between the oats and the frozen strawberries, it wasn’t as delicious and creamy as I was expecting. The next time, I blended the oats first then added everything else and it worked much better. Give this one a try – with sweet and juicy strawberries, protein packed yogurt and heart healthy oats, you can’t go wrong. [Read more…]

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Fresh Blueberry Muffins – 6 Smart Points

Blueberry Muffin

In addition to some projects we were working on last weekend, my in-laws also brought us some really delicious, fresh, ripe blueberries. I love blueberries. Growing up, my grandparents lived on the coast of Washington. Grandma had the most amazing blueberry patch ever. It was about 6 feet by 10 feet and completely encased in a large chicken wire cage, to keep the birds out. The only downside was the bugs, because we could go in there and have as many blueberries as we could eat. Each summer, I try to get some fresh blueberries so that I can freeze them to add to sauces, muffins and all sorts of other things the rest of the year. A few blueberries have to be saved to be eaten fresh, and a few have to be used in a special recipe. This years special recipe was fresh blueberry muffins.

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Peach Dumplings – 5 Smart Points

Peach Dumplings

I’ll admit I’m kind of addicted to Pinterest. As someone who not only write recipes and meal plans for a living, but also sews, quilts and knits, I can spend hours looking at projects and ideas. When I saw a recipe for peach dumplings, I just had to try it. I ended up combining several recipes, since I wanted to use fresh peaches, not canned peaches. I love how easy these were to make and they were so delicious! They’re a cute little dessert that goes so well with ice cream (at least for the family and friends). But they go just as well with a dab of fat free cool whip or a little non fat Greek yogurt. If you’re looking for a little twist, these can also be made with wonton wrappers, and be just as cute and delicious. Just be sure to keep an eye on them, since they may not take as long to bake. If using wonton wrappers, you should also brush them with a beaten egg white so they turn that beautiful golden brown. But no matter what you use for the wrapper, these are definitely keepers for my family, they’re so simple and elegant but incredibly delicious. [Read more…]

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Mint Lemonade Slushy – 0 Smart Points

Mint Lemonade Slushy

With the first whiff of Spring this year, I was already beginning to crave cool summer drinks and treats. One of my favorites is this Mint Lemonade Slushy recipe. I fist had one of these drinks on a trip to Israel, where it’s referred to as “limonana”. Under the hot desert sun, I don’t think I’ve ever had a more refreshingly delicious drink! The original recipe uses sugar as a sweetener, but to cut out those calories and Points, I just replaced the sugar with organic stevia. Honestly, I’m not a fan of artificial sweeteners of any kind, and I try to avoid them when I can. But there are some times where I just HAVE to have one of these Mint Lemonade Slushies, and I don’t want to blow a ton of my precious Smart Points to have one. So I use the Stevia, and this recipe ends up costing me 0 Points. Yay! When I make it for my kids, I sweeten it with honey instead of the Stevia, and they LOVE it. It’s not hard to see why….it is SO FLIPPING’ GOOD. It’s truly there perfect poolside drink. And if you want add some extra excitement and turn this into an adult beverage, feel free to blend it with some vodka or gin…just be sure to factor in those points. Enjoy!

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Strawberry Shortcake – 8 Smart Points

Strawberry Shortcakes

Everyone needs to have dessert on a regular basis. Or at the very least, everyone needs a treat on a regular basis. In my experience, if you don’t splurge and indulge your craving, you’ll end up out of control one day. I like to have a variety of dessert recipes on hand so when I see the ingredients, or get the craving, I can put something together and have a treat. For me, the trick is to make sure there are individual servings of the dessert, so I don’t go overboard with the piece of cake or brownie that I cut. Strawberry shortcake is perfect for that. When I bake with wheat flour, I really like to use a very light whole wheat flour. It looks, tastes and feels like regular all-purpose flour, but it packs a lot more nutrients into each serving. These shortcakes came out perfect – tender and light. When you top them with whipped topping and sweet strawberries, you can’t go wrong. Since the strawberries are zero points, that’s where I splurge and add a few more to satisfy my sweet tooth. If you don’t like fat free whip topping, go with a creamy fat free Greek yogurt, and flavor it with a little vanilla. Whichever topping you use, these are definitely a family favorite! [Read more…]

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Arugula Chicken Salad – 6 Smart Points

Arugula Chicken Salad

I’m always looking for new and delicious dressing recipes. I love to have salads, and one of the ways I like to keep my salads fresh and interesting is by changing up my dressings. I typically make my own dressing, since I can alter it however I want, and make enough for just a couple of salads. I wanted to try a tangy mustard dressing, and this one fits the bill. I like the tangy Dijon mustard and cider vinegar that is rounded out with the delicious shallots. I tried it with arugula, chicken breast and strawberries. It’s a delicious combination that is light and refreshing. The strawberries add enough sweet to complement the dressing perfectly, the arugula is light and fresh and the chicken adds the savory protein to help get you through to the next meal. It’s a simple and delicious salad that’s great for a quick lunch during the week. [Read more…]

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Tossed Salad with Pears – 4 Smart Points

Tossed Salad with Pears

I am someone who isn’t a big fan of blue cheese. I can handle it if there isn’t too much of it and it isn’t too strong. But I thought I’d give this salad a try, and figured I could always pick the cheese out if I needed to. Turns out, I didn’t need to. I was surprised that the strong and sharp flavor of the blue cheese worked so well with the balsamic vinaigrette and the sweet pears. It turned out to be a delicious salad. While the recipe calls for fresh pears, canned pears (canned in juice, then drained), could be chopped and added just as easily. Dress the salad and sprinkle on the blue cheese just before serving, or the cheese can overpower the flavor of the dressing and the pears. The tender and mild baby lettuce leaves were perfect to balance out the rest of the flavors. However, if you’re someone who doesn’t care for blue cheese, or can’t have it, you can leave it out, or substitute a feta (or similar cheese) for it. [Read more…]

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Breakfast Quinoa with Fruit – 7 Smart Points

Breakfast Quinoa with Fruit

I enjoy breakfast cereals, but I like to have my breakfast cereals a little “spruced up”. I like my oatmeal to have plenty of fruit added for sweetness and for flavor. I love to add rhubarb sauce to my oatmeal, bananas, blueberries, strawberries or anything I happen to have on hand. I decided to switch up my breakfast cereals a little bit by making some quinoa. I like quinoa but I usually make it with chicken broth. I made it with milk this time and then sweetened it with a little bit of honey. Add fresh fruit on top and you have a delicious breakfast that is packed with protein, fiber and flavor. I added blueberries, bananas, apples and a few almonds to mine, but you can use any fruit you have on hand. If you like quinoa, make up a couple of cups and then put it in the fridge. Just heat it and add your toppings for a quick breakfast. If you’re not a huge fan of quinoa, but like the change from the typical oatmeal, mix the quinoa and rice to make a risotto. It lightens the flavor of the quinoa, but you still get a delicious change from the typical breakfast cereals.
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Green Olive and Apricot Chicken Recipe – 7 Smart Points

Green Olive and Apricot Chicken

Heaven on a dish, this delightfully easy chicken recipe packs a tremendous flavor punch. The sweet and salty flavors of the olives and apricots are a dream, and the bit of caramelization from the chicken just makes this meal melt in your mouth. If you aren’t a fan of apricots, this dish would work well with dried prunes or figs too. And I love how simple it is to prepare! I literally had it in my fridge within 5 minutes, then I just let it sit overnight, so by the time the next evening rolled around, I simply had to toss it in the oven and forget about it. Serve with your favorite salad or steamed veggies, and serve atop some warm, while wheat couscous if you have a few extra Points to spare.

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Banana Coconut Pudding – 5 Smart Points

Banana Coconut Pudding

Of course you’re all familiar with my never ending quest to have new and yummy banana recipes. This one fits the bill. It’s perfect for my brother too, who is lactose intolerant. It’s made with light coconut milk, but it’s not an overpowering flavor. Combined with the sweet banana pieces and the tender tapioca pearls, it’s a wonderful dessert. I garnished it with another sliced banana, but you could also whip a little coconut milk and garnish it with a dab of that on top of the bananas. It’s a great dessert that really isn’t labor intensive. It’s perfect if you want to serve something elegant and delicious for your dinner party, or just end a family dinner with a sweet treat. You can chill the pudding in one large bowl, or, if you’re looking for a great way to make cute individual desserts, scoop the warm pudding into small ramekins and chill the pudding in those. [Read more…]

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Lemon Glazed Greek Chicken – 3 Smart Points

Lemon Glazed Greek ChickenChicken is one of my favorite meats. It’s such a great source of lean protein and it goes so well in so many different dishes. The downside is that I tend to get stuck in a little rut and fix the same things over and over again. It’s hard to get out of that and try new things. But this Lemon Glazed Greek Chicken sounded great. It’s a combination of several different recipes, since many of the Greek chicken recipes I’ve seen use a lot of olive oil. This one is more tzatziki chicken, with a yogurt based marinade. Lots of garlic and lots of lemon with those classic Greek spices, and you’ve got a delicious chicken in no time. You can use any cut of chicken you like for this, but I’d recommend removing the skin first, since the marinade will be able to soak in much better. It’s delicious with a side of roasted baby potatoes and a side salad with some grilled asparagus. [Read more…]

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Chocolate Chip Banana Bread – 4 Smart Points

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

I’m not sure about everyone else’s house, but we almost always seem to have bananas that are getting overripe. As a result, I’m frequently making something that requires overripe bananas. Well, to be perfectly honest, I frequently make things like banana bread, but I also usually have a half a dozen bananas in the freezer. If your bananas are getting ripe, and you don’t have time to make something, just stick them in the freezer. Those bananas are perfect for making this banana bread. The number of bananas, along with the way that the liquid is reserved and then reduced from the bananas adds to the rich banana flavor and also the incredibly moist texture of this banana bread. I typically cover the banana bread with foil about half way through cooking. This helps the center cook without the top getting too brown. Really, this is a fabulous recipe. If you’re not a fan of chocolate (like my husband), just use walnuts instead of chocolate chips. I love this for breakfast and quick snacks – it’s so moist and delicious.

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