roasted butternut squash soup with hot ham & swiss grilled sandwiches, easy caprese salad, pear apple oven pancakes, & chocolate gingerbread cookies


Chocolate Chunk Gingerbread Cookies – If you are looking for a soft gingerbread cookie with a hint of chocolate, then look no further.  These cute little guys maintain their softness (thanks to coconut oil), and they pack a big ginger and cinnamon punch. Enjoy one, or more than likely two, with some hot chocolate for a perfect treat!


Vitamix Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Hot Ham & Swiss Grilled Cheese Sandwiches – This creamy soup comes together quite quickly.  Simply roast the butternut squash, and then blend it with the several other ingredients until it’s hot.  That’s it!  Serve it alongside a hot ham and Swiss cheese grilled cheese sandwich and you’ve got a fantastic meal that warms the belly and soul.

Easy Caprese Salad – Recipe repeat alert!  I can’t count the number of times this recipe has saved the day when I have less than 30 minutes to make dinner.  Not only does this come together fast, it can be made in advance too.

Pear Apple Oven Pancakes – Here’s a great Christmas morning breakfast option.  I don’t know about you, but pears and apples are in abundance this time of year #officegifts.  Put them to good use in a most delicious way.  These pancakes are sweet, cinnamony, and visually impressive.

Hope something makes your belly smile!

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Chocolate Chunk Gingerbread Cookies

Adapted from My Whole Food Life

2 1/4 c. white whole wheat flour
1 – 1+1/2 t. ginger (depending ginger flavor)
1+ ½ t. ground cinnamon
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 t. sea salt
1 t. organic vanilla extract
1/3 c. 100% pure maple syrup
1 free range, organic egg (optional: flax egg replacement)
1/4 c. coconut oil (warmed in microwave to soften, but not liquefied)
1/4 c. unsulfured molasses
½ clean chocolate bar, chopped into chunks (I like Liberty Chocolate)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl. Combine and whisk wet ingredients until coconut oil is pea size or smaller.  Add roughly 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix with a spatula. Repeat until dry ingredients are combined into the wet.  Top with chocolate chunks.  Dough will be too dry to mix in chocolate using spatula. With your hands, work the chocolate into the dough just until the dough becomes shiny (warmth of your hands will begin to melt the coconut oil resulting in a shiny surface and provide additional moisture).  Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface (or between two sheets of parchment paper) to 1/4 – 3/8 inch thickness.  Cut out cookie shapes and bake for 10-12 minutes until edges begin to brown ever so slightly.  Do not over bake. Gingerbread men will still be soft in their belly regions when done.

Note: I bake them on a baking stone. If using a baking sheet, they may require less baking time.

Confession: for the pictured gingerbread cookies, I forgot to stir in the chocolate. I improvised by pressing chunks into them as if to create chocolate buttons 😏

Pear Apple Oven Pancakes

Adapted from 100 Days of Real Food  

2 eggs, 4 egg whites (organic)
2 t. organic vanilla extract
¼ c. + 1 t. organic honey, divided
½ c. white whole wheat flour
1 t. baking powder
Pinch of sea salt
1½ T. organic butter
1 organic apple, thinly sliced
1 organic pear, thinly sliced
1 t. ground cinnamon
Pure maple syrup

Directions: Preheat the oven 375 degrees.

To the blender, add the first six ingredients (eggs, vanilla, honey, flour, baking powder, and sea salt). Turn on medium speed for 15 seconds.

Heat a nonstick to near medium heat.  Add the butter to coat the bottom of the pan.  Arrange the pears and apples evenly on the bottom of the skillet.  Evenly sprinkle the cinnamon the on the fruit and drizzle with the honey.  Sauté for approximately 5 minutes or until the fruit begins to soften, stirring gently once or twice.  Pour the pancake batter evenly atop the fruit.  Once the batter begins to set up on the bottom of the skillet (approximately 5 minutes), insert the skillet to the oven. Bake for approximately 8 minutes or until the top has set up and is slightly golden.

Carefully remove the skillet from the oven.  Cover the skillet with a plate slightly larger than the skillet.  Invert it to reveal the sliced pears and apples.  Serve with warmed maple syrup.

Vitamix Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Hot Ham & Swiss Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Adapted from Vitamix


2.5 c. organic chicken broth
1 medium butternut squash, halved lengthwise, seeds removed (how to roast a butternut squash)
½ T. olive oil
Sea salt/black pepper, freshly ground
1 t. maple syrup
Pinch of nutmeg
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
2 T. Parmesan cheese
1 slice Ezekiel bread
Salt and pepper, to taste
Organic Greek yogurt, optional garnish

Directions: Heat oven to 400 degree (bake, NOT convection).  On a baking sheet, lay butternut squash halves flesh side up.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt/pepper.  Roast for 20-25 minutes or until the flesh is very soft.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest until it can be safely handled and the flesh scraped out with a spoon.

Place the remaining ingredients in the Vitamix container in the following order: broth, squash, maple syrup, nutmeg, cinnamon, cheese, and bread. Select lowest speed and slowly increase to highest speed. Blend for 4-5 minutes or until heavy steam escapes from the vented lid.  If you have a soup setting, select this instead.  Season with sea salt/pepper, to taste.  Consider a dollop of organic Greek yogurt for a slight tangy quick.

Easy Caprese Salad

Adapted from Savory Sweet Life

2 pints organic cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
16 oz. fresh “mini” mozzarella pearls, halved
6-8 T. olive oil
Big bunch basil leaves (18+ leaves), finely chopped or get fancy and chiffonade
½ to 1 t. sea salt
½ to 1 t. freshly ground pepper
Balsamic reduction, optional (recipe below)

Directions: In a medium bowl, gently toss the tomatoes, mozzarella, olive oil, and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Finish with a drizzling of balsamic glaze (optional). Serve immediately.

Balsamic Reduction
1 c. store bought balsamic vinegar
4-5 drops organic stevia drops (optional)

Directions: In a small sauce pan, add the balsamic vinegar and stevia. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer until it has reduced by one-half (about 30 minutes), stirring occasionally. It’s done when it is thick enough to coat a wooden spoon.



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