Summer Sides! Tomato Salad with Savory Ancho Granola

savory granola tomato salad overhead horizontalBotanically a fruit, embraced as a vegetable, the vibrant and vitamin-packed tomato is tops when it comes to versatility. Tomatoes are enjoyed at the annual rate of 31 pounds per person, eaten raw on salads and as a key ingredients in sauces, salsas and many soups. Even my tomato-avoiding son gets his fair share in the form of ketchup!

I’m flashing back to one of my favorite easy recipes of summer, Tomato Salad with Savory Ancho Honey Granola. Get the recipe in an archived post FOUND HERE:

Tomato Salad with Ancho Honey Granola is a gorgeous and good-for-you side dish for your summer meals.




The Tomato Salad with Savory Ancho Honey Granola recipe can be avory Ancho Honey Skillet Granola is delicious eaten alone, but also makes a great crunchy topping for salads, soups and baked fish.FOUN





















Ancho Honey Skillet Granola recipe FOUND HERE


















I like using Love Grown Food”s Super Oats for this Ancho recipe — it’s packed with all sorts of extra nut and seed goodness!

I’m also putting this gorgeous Crab & Heirloom Tomato Salad on my dinner lineup this week — it looks so light and refreshing!

Crab and Heirloom Tomato Salad









Tomat-O, tomat-OH, what is your favorite way to eat tomatoes? Please share in the comments below. Also, who’s training for what — I’m looking for some fall half marathons! XOXO, Jennifer 

Plenty of Reasons to Eat Breakfast + #PlentiYogurt Coupon

I rarely, if ever, miss my morning meal. I just love food too much and usually wake up hungry, thinking about what I’m making or grabbing (like Plenti) long before my feet even hit the ground.

Jennifer Eating Plenti Greek Yogurt Meets Oatmeal

Back in the day, skipping breakfast was a way to “cut calories” in an effort to lose or maintain weight – and it still is with some friends today. This “intermittent fasting” idea seems to be trending again today, based on some diets and nutritional plans I have seen floating around. However, missing meals can have quite the opposite effect, eventually adding on pounds in places you don’t want. And, for runners and other athletes, bypassing breakfast can quickly bring quality training (and recovery) in its tracks.

5 reasons why skipping breakfast is bad

Lose Muscle – While skipping breakfast and other meals cuts calories and create weight loss, research shows that these dropped pounds come more from muscle tissue than fat stores.

Gain Belly Fat: Ohio State University scientists suggest skipping meals may invite any weight lost to come back eventually as dangerous belly fat.

Energy Drop:  Avoiding breakfast keeps the body from important nutrients like quality complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals and fatty acids needed for optimal functioning and general get-up-and-go.

Disease Risk: Harvard School of Public Health researchers report that women who regularly missed breakfast where 20% more likely to get type 2 diabetes and men were at increased risk of heart disease. Insulin resistance and blood pressure issues arise when the body’s blood lipids get out of whack – something that can be kept in check with a healthy, balanced breakfast.

Unhealthy Snacking: Saying “no” no to a sustaining breakfast very often translates into saying “yes” to unhealthy processed snack foods, fast food and other sugary and bad-fat foods. Blood sugar drops and the resulting “hangry” feeling causes people to make poor food choices.

Plenti Greek Yogurt Meets Oatmeal great way to fuel a runner's morning.

Whether you are an athlete or not, your body needs “gas in the tank” to get going in the morning —  Plenti Oatmeal Meets Greek Yogurt is a quick and convenient way to fill up! Plentí, a wholesome yogurt already packed with fruit, seeds and other yumminess, kicks up its morning game by adding oatmeal to the mix.

Found in the yogurt aisle, Plenti Oatmeal Meets Greek Yogurt, comes in six tasty flavors including Apple Cinnamon, Maple Brown Sugar, Peach, Blueberry, Strawberry, and Vanilla. I love the thick and creamy Greek yogurt goodness mixed with the texture and nutritional benefits of oatmeal. Unlike oatmeal, no messy cookin – just grab a spoon and enjoy cold.

6 Flavors of Plenti Greek Yogurt Meets Oatmeal

Each cup has 16 grams of whole grain and 11 grams of protein – I aim to get 25 to 30 grams of protein four times a day, so I would make my morning meal by supplementing a cup of Plenti Oatmeal Meets Greek Yogurt with two scrambled (or hard-boiled eggs if in a hurry) and a piece of fruit.

Plenti Yogurt Oatmeal with full meal

Coupon for Plenti Greek Yogurt Meets OatmealTry Plenti Oatmeal Meets Greek Yogurt for yourself! Print a coupon good for $.35 off one cup.

Are you an oatmeal fan, a Greek yogurt fan or both? What is your favorite “quick grab” for breakfast? Please share in the comments below, – XOXO, Jennifer  

Super Oatmeal Stuffed Apples + 10 Best Baking Apples

Cinnamon Super Oatmeal Stuffed ApplesCooler, crisper days have arrived and I have a hankering for a more homey and comfy breakfast than my typical smoothie or on-the-go protein bar. But with the craziness of my morning routine (my personal running, tying up work loose ends and giving rides to school), I rarely have time for anything coming out of the oven. But my recipe for Cinnamon Super Oatmeal Stuffed Apples can be quickly prepped and cooked in the microwave, so I’m winning before sun up. In fact, this is what I ate for breakfast the morning that I woke up really early to drive to Marble Falls, Texas and ended up winning the entire Hill Country Half MarathonSuper Oatmeal Stuffed Apples

My “super” oatmeal is far from the cement-like, sugar-laden and fake-flavored oatmeal packets found next to the Fruit Loops and Pop Tarts. Instead, this powered-up oatmeal stuffed in my apple has been fortified with extra taste, texture and nutrition thanks to the addition of uncooked quinoa, nuts, seeds, dried fruit and spices mixed together with my dry, quick-cooking oats.  I typically will make a big batch and then scoop out what I need in the morning for this apple recipe or just for a simple bowl of oatmeal.

On crazy weeks when I don’t have time to scoop and stir, I like to buy Super Oats Nuts & Seeds.

After pulling my stuffed apple out of the microwave, I drizzle it with Almond Vanilla Opadipity by Litehouse sweet Greek yogurt dip. I love this lightly sweet Greek yogurt dip as a healthy topping on all my family’s favorite breakfast foods including this oatmeal recipe, but also pancakes, waffles and granola parfaits.

Oatmeal Stuffed Apple Scoop 686 x 550I like to use a great big Honey Crisp apple as my vessel to hold my mix of “super” oatmeal, the center is just scooped out with a melon-baller to create the perfect edible bowl.

Now, not all apples are the bomb for baking – some varieties, like the ubiquitous Red Delicious, seem crisp and crunchy when plucked off the tree (or out of the produce bin) but can turn mushy and mealy in the oven. For treats like apple pie, tarts and muffins (and especially my recipe for Super Oatmeal Stuffed Baked Apples), I prefer my apples to remain a little al dente – and I think most would agree!  Here is a list of my favorite 10 apples with flesh that stands up to baking and offer a delicious balance of sweet and tart flavors. Try using a variety of these apples for a more complex flavor and colorful presentation. - Apples10 Best Apples for Baking

  1. Honey Crisp
  2. Golden Delicious
  3. Granny Smith
  4. Braeburn
  5. Jonathan
  6. Melrose
  7. Mutsu (Crispin)
  8. Pink Lady (Cripps Pink)
  9. Rome Beauty
  10. Winesap

If you are looking for more healthy apple recipes, check out this bumper crop collection from

Best Apple Recipes - Cooking Light


Are you an apple fan? What is your favorite variety to eat out of hand, or bake with? What is your favorite topping for oatmeal? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

Super Oatmeal Stuffed Apples
Super Oatmeal Stuffed Apples +10 Best Apples for Baking
Print Recipe
Stuff your morning breakfast with good things like this apple filled with nutritious oatmeal featuring nuts and seed and a cinnamon Greek yogurt topping.
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Super Oatmeal Stuffed Apples
Super Oatmeal Stuffed Apples +10 Best Apples for Baking
Print Recipe
Stuff your morning breakfast with good things like this apple filled with nutritious oatmeal featuring nuts and seed and a cinnamon Greek yogurt topping.
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings: servings
  1. Slice top off each apple approximately 1-inch down.
  2. Use melon scooper to scoop out apple flesh, leaving a ¼” to 1/3” thickness on apple.
  3. Pick out seeds and core of flesh and chop remaining apple flesh finely.
  4. In medium bowl, toss together oats, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and Stevia. Stir in chopped apple pieces.
  5. In microwave-safe measuring cup, boil water and stir in ONE CUP into the oatmeal until combined.
  6. Place apples in microwave-safe baking dish. Stuff mixture evenly into the two apple “bowls,” packing down and over stuffing, if necessary. Set “lid” apple pieces in the side of baking dish.
  7. Add ¼ cup water to bottom of baking dish. Cover with dish lid. Microwave for 3 minutes on high, and then in additional 1-minute increments until oatmeal is cooked through and apple is tender (microwave times will vary by appliance).
  8. To serve, top oatmeal stuffed apples with Opadipity Greek Yogurt Dip, extra pumpkin seeds and a dash of cinnamon.
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Granola Recipe Roundup . . . Starring Avocado Pineapple!

As promised, I’ve rounded up my recent granola recipes in honor of National Oatmeal Month.  For years, I just mindlessly bought granola at the store until I realized how insanely easy it is to make at home. Not only is it super fresh and more economical, but my favorite reasons for baking homemade granola are the creativity factor and control over the ingredients.  Try one, try them all!

homemade granola and granola bars A) Chocolate Cherry Protein Granola – This chocolate granola is so scrumptious I could eat it for dessert! Problem is, my kids and husband always have the batch polished off before lunch!

B) Smashing Pumpkin Protein Granola – Pumpkin shouldn’t be a seasonal food; I stock up on canned pumpkin in the fall so I can show my thanks to this super nutritious squash all year long.

C) Tropical Caramel Cashew Granola Bars – Coconut and cashews hugged with gooey caramel, these chewy granola bars get a protein boost with raw shelled hemp seeds.  Perfect for gym bags and lunch boxes!

D) Gingerbread Cranberry Protein Granola  – One whiff of this granola wafting from the oven will give you that warm fuzzy feeling of being at grandmother’s house and helping with the baking. Nostalgic noshing!

avocado recipe with pineapple pumpkin seeds


AvocadOMG! You’re going to think “oh no she didn’t,” but OH, YES I DID! I’ll stop shouting now to share the news about my recipe for Avocado Pineapple Granola, not only is it strangely delicious but also over-the-top nutritious. By substituting mashed avocado for the coconut oil I typically use in my granola recipes, I was able to significantly reduce the amount of saturated fat.  Did you know the fats found in avocados are healthy and satiating? Check out some new research on avocados and satiety that I think you’ll find . . . .full-filling!  Eating 1/2 an avocado with a meal can make you feel satisfied and reduce the urge to snack following a meal.

Avocado Pineapple Granola Recipe

  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cups raw, shelled hemp seed
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • ½ cup roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1 large avocado (approx. 1 cup mashed)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 4 – 6 single-serving packets Stevia (depending on sweetness preference)
  • 4-ounce unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup dried diced pineapple


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In large bowl, toss together oats, hemp, coconut, and pumpkin seeds. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, add peeled avocado, almond milk, Stevia and applesauce. With a fork, mash together until combined and creamy.
  4. Add avocado mixture into bowl with dry ingredients; mix with spatula until completely coated. Do NOT add pineapple before cooking.
  5. Spread granola onto prepared baking sheet, pressing down slightly, and bake for approximately 1 hour. Stirring every 20 minutes, taking care not to break up all the clusters.
  6. Remove from oven, stir in dried pineapple, and let cool on pan at least 15 minutes before breaking into clusters



Oat Yeah! Caramel Cashew Energy Bars & OatWorks Smoothie Giveaway

The holidays aren’t over just because December has come and gone. January is National Oatmeal Month and that’s 31 days of whole grain goodness to celebrate.  Now, before I get all mushy about oatmeal, I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of the stuff porridge-style — except when it is dressed up with nuts and honey and fruit. Okay, okay, I love it! I also love to use oatmeal in many of my healthy recipes, everything from granola (oh, you know there will be a granola-palooza post next week) to grinding it up and using it as a “flour” in all sorts of baking and crusting.

Cashew Caramel Chewy Energy Granola Bars

I recently created this super easy, super yummy recipe for Tropical Caramel Cashew Energy Bars for Litehouse Food. Dried mango and pineapple along with cashews are tossed with a hearty pile of old-fashioned oatmeal (and shelled hemp seed for extra protein) and then coated with a packaged light caramel sauce.  Baked into chewy perfection, these bars have less than 190 calories per serving, 5 grams of protein and 2 grams of dietary fiber. Easy to wrap ‘em up and tuck into a lunch box or gym bag, ready to provide sensible, satisfying relief when hunger strikes.

oatmeal dried fruit nuts in bowl

So, what’s so great about oatmeal? There have been numerous research studies that link the consumption of oatmeal with a host of positive health benefits. You can read about these perks in detail at the Whole Grains Council, but here are the bullet points:

  • Oats may reduce asthma in children
  • Oats may boost nutrition profile of gluten-free diets
  • Oats increase appetite-control hormones.
  • Oat Beta Glucans improve immune system defenses.
  • Oats help cut the use of laxatives.
  • Oats may help reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
  • Oats may improve insulin sensitivity.
  • Oats lower bad cholesterol.
  • Oats help control blood pressure.
  • Oats #3 overall, #1 for breakfast in overall satiety index.

did you drink your oatsDid you also know that you can drink your oats? Yup, just throw a handful (approx. ¼ cup) into the blender when making a smoothie. In order to keep your smoothie from being lumpy and clumpy; It works best to grind the oats in the blender before you add the liquid ingredients.

However, are if you are having a crazy morning or need a post-workout snack, OatWorks Oat-Powered Natural Smoothies are a fantastic, fitness-focused and flavorful option to a home-made smoothie. The company sent me some product to try out, tell you about, and share through a giveaway (read on to the bottom for entry instructions).


Made with natural oat fiber (the soluble fiber called beta glucan) and real fruit juices, these individually- bottled beverages are vegan friendly, gluten free, dairy free, cholesterol free, non-GMO and Kosher. There is also no added sugar, artificial sweeteners or artificial anything. So what DO these OatWorks drinks have? Well, each 12-ounce bottle of Oatworks is packed with as much soluble fiber as two bowls of oatmeal, has loads of vitamins and minerals, and is naturally sweet, smooth and delicious. You also get all those oatmeal benefits that I bullet-pointed earlier!

Choose from three not-at-all lumpy flavors —Strawberry-Banana , Pomegranate-Blueberry or Peach-Mango. If you can’t find these smoothie drinks at your market, you can stock up on Amazon. Or, you may be my lucky winner who will receive 6 bottles (3 each flavor) of OatWorks Oat-Powered Natural Smoothies.

To enter, just enter through the Rafflecopter app below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway