how small acts of nourishment make a huge difference

Tuesdays used to be my least favorite day of the week. They are my long days. On Tuesday, I have back-to-back {to-back-to-back} tutoring sessions with students. I leave the apartment at 2pm and don’t get home until after 10pm. Teaching individual writing sessions is an intensive process, which is a great thing—it’s why they are so effective! Thanks to the one-on-one guidance I am able to give my students, they improve so much, so quickly—in skill level as well as confidence. Their progress truly amazes me.

However, this intensity can also make teaching these sessions draining. I am an actress and my stage is the dining room table, seated across from a child or teenager armed with a pencil and a sheet of lined paper. Like an actress summoning every ounce of energy for each performance, I must bring “my all” to each class. Because not only is every student different—each and every session is different. Sometimes the students are wound up from a crazy day at school or a sugar-filled after-school snack. Sometimes they are grumpy from an argument with a friend at recess; other times they are down about a bad test grade they received back in class that day. If I’m not on my “A” game, our lesson will inevitably falter, the student descending into writer’s block or unfocused distraction. I need to read my students’ moods, and coax or prod them accordingly, in order to facilitate the greatest learning for each and every session we have together.

Thankfully, I do have a little break in the middle of my long day, from about 5:30-7pm. I used to fritter away this time with more “busywork” like email and housekeeping tasks. I would drive to a Peet’s coffeeshop, grab a muffin or scone as a snack to take the edge off my hunger, and open my tablet to my email inbox. Then I would spend that hour and a half attempting to whittle down my always-overflowing inbox.

Not surprisingly, when my break ended and it was time to head out for the remainder of my sessions with students, I would usually feel even more tired than I had been before my break began. It was getting late. I was hungry. I was exhausted. I would sometimes even feel a little resentful of my students, wishing that I could just head home instead. I would try to summon my best self for those evening sessions, but even though they went well, I would feel like I was using every ounce of my energy to stay positive and focused.

Some people dread Mondays. I’ve always told myself that I don’t want to dread any day of the week, because that means you are dreading 1/7th of your life. I love the weekend, but I’ve never really had a problem with Mondays. {Plus right now, during this season of my life, my favorite yoga class is on Monday mornings!} But… I was starting to kind of dread Tuesdays. I felt like I had to gear up for Tuesday each week. It was this mountain in the middle of my week that I had to climb. I didn’t like the feeling, but I didn’t really know what to do about it. I love my students, and they have very busy schedules. {Seriously—they are like mini CEOs!} These were the time blocks that worked for their schedules, and I didn’t want to cancel my lessons with them. I told myself to just “suck it up” and deal with it.

My first internal shift happened thanks to, of all things, a yeast infection. My doctor advised me to avoid sugar as much as possible while my body was healing, because yeast feeds off sugar. So, that week, instead of settling for my usual sugar-laden muffin at Peet’s, I took 10 minutes on Tuesday afternoon before I left to chop up some of my favorite veggies: snap peas, bell pepper, cucumber. I took these along with me in a Tupperware, and snacked on them as I checked my email during my break.

I noticed I felt better that evening. I had more energy and I didn’t feel hungry. It felt more like I’d had a real meal—an actual dinner, a salad just without the lettuce.

So, the next week, I packed myself some veggies again. I added an apple and some nuts for good measure. It became a new part of my Tuesday routine.

My next internal shift came with the Daylight Savings Time shift. Suddenly, it remained light out later. The weather began to warm up. Springtime was on the horizon. I was itching to spend more time outside, rather than cooped up indoors all day. Driving to Peets one Tuesday, I noticed a huge grassy sports park on my route. A thought struck: I want to go for a walk there.

So that’s exactly what I did. I pulled into the sports park. I took a walk. I breathed in the fresh air. I waved hello to other walkers and joggers. I felt… peaceful. Like I was able to press “pause” on my busy day and just be here in my body for a little while. After half an hour, I drove the rest of the way to Peet’s, where I ate my veggies and checked email. When it was time for me to head out for the rest of my student sessions, I felt even more refreshed than usual.

{spring tree from my Tuesday walk at the park}

So the next week, I took another walk. This time, I called my brother as I was walking. He’s on New York time, so I usually wasn’t able to chat with him on Tuesdays because I got home so late and our schedules were “out of sync.” It was so nice to check in and hear his voice.

Just like that, walking for 30 minutes became another part of my Tuesday break time routine. I began to look forward to it. Sometimes I listen to podcasts or chat with someone on the phone. Other times I walk in silence, listening to my own thoughts. I noticed that I began to get a lot of ideas during this time.

My final internal shift came about a month ago, when I sat down at Peet’s after my walk, and my head was filled with an idea for a blog post. So, instead of spending 45 minutes mindlessly checking my email, I didn’t even connect to the free Wi-fi. I opened a blank Word document and began typing.

That night, when I went to my sessions with students, I felt downright cheerful. I felt energized. After all, I always extolled the importance of writing and expressing themselves. Now I was practicing what I preached. I had just written something that mattered to me, and I was filled with the power that comes with putting your complicated jumble of thoughts down in steady, streamlined words.

Soon, I found myself looking forward to Tuesdays. That’s right—what used to be a day I dreaded is now a day I genuinely enjoy.

The crazy thing is, none of my responsibilities on this day have changed. I am still gone from 2pm to 10pm. I still have back-to-back intense sessions with students that can be emotionally and mentally draining. I still need to give my all up there “onstage.”

But, even with the challenges, I find my work fulfilling. I lost sight of that a little bit when I was so exhausted before.

The difference is that now, I’ve given myself some “me” time in the midst of my busy day. I nourish myself with self-care—literally with healthy food, physically with fresh air and exercise, and emotionally with connection, inspiration, and creative time. And, to paraphrase Robert Frost, “that has made all the difference.”

 

Your turn {if you want}:

Grab your journal or open a new document on your computer and use the following questions as inspiration for some free-writing:

  • Where can you find pockets of time for yourself in the midst of busy-ness?
  • What small changes can you make to your least favorite day, to turn it into a better day? {Maybe even, dare I say, your favorite day of the week?}
  • In what areas of your life are you settling, where you could be thriving?
  • What makes you feel nourished and rested?

peanut butter coconut flour protein muffins

Hi everyone! I have another recipe to share with you today, starring another cool flour: coconut flour! One reason I love baking with coconut flour is that it is packed full of fiber: a single serving of 2 tablespoons delivers a whopping 5 grams of fiber! It is also gluten-free, low in carbs, and high in protein. Coconut flour is made by grinding dried, defatted coconut meat. {source}

These muffins are light and airy, while also being filling enough to keep you satisfied all morning. You can easily adapt these by mixing in your own favorite goodies — I think they would be great with nuts or dried cranberries stirred in, or maybe even chocolate chips! I love to amp up their peanut butter flavor even more by topping them with additional peanut butter! {As my brother would say, “Out of control…”} 🙂

I hope you enjoy these as much as Allyn and I did!

coconut-muffins-edited

{recipe adapted from Eat Good 4 Life}

Makes: 12 muffins

    • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
    • 1/2 cup coconut butter
    • 2 organic eggs
    • 1 tbsp ground flax
    • 3 tbsp water
    • 1 banana, mashed {about 1/2 cup}
    • 1/2 cup nonfat greek yogurt
    • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp coconut flour
    • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
    • 1/4 cup milk, almond milk, soy milk or rice milk
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin baking pan with paper liners and set aside.

2. In a small bowl, mix the water and ground flax and set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, stir the coconut flour, coconut sugar, baking soda, and cinnamon.

4. In a large bowl, mix the bananas, eggs, vanilla extract, coconut butter and peanut butter. Using a wire whisk or electric mixer works very well! Next, slowly add in the flaxseed-water mixture, yogurt and milk.

5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and gently combine.

6. Scoop batter into your muffin pan, filling each muffin cup 3/4 cup of the way.

7. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the baking pan and cool muffins on a wire rack.

8. Store in an air-tight container. These muffins also freeze well!

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if you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like:

banana buckwheat autumn muffins

Happy Monday, everyone! It has been a rainy weekend here, which is wonderful because 1) we need all the rain we can get here in California! and 2) it actually feels like autumn! I love everything about autumn. The chill in the air, the scarves and boots, the fall leaves, pumpkin spice everything… it always makes me feel the best combination of cozy and energized!

These muffins are the perfect excuse to do some healthy autumn baking. They’re bursting with the flavors of the season — apple, dried cranberries, pumpkin pie spices — and are also way good for you, packed with protein and naturally sweetened with honey and coconut sugar.

I have been exploring different types of flours in my baking recently and was excited to try out buckwheat after reading about its health benefits: it is an excellent source of nutrients and fiber, is great for your cardiovascular system and helps control blood sugar. Buckwheat is actually not a cereal grain, but a fruit seed related to rhubarb and sorrel, so it is often used as a substitute for those with gluten allergies or who are sensitive to wheat. The seed is ground into a flour that is dark in color and has a strong, nutty flavor.

These muffins get sweetened up by the fruit, but they are definitely not cupcake-sweet. I love to eat them smeared with peanut butter or pumpkin butter for an extra kick of flavor! Hope you enjoy them as much as we do around here!

buckwheat-muffins

{recipe adapted from Martha Stewart’s sugar-free muffins}

1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup coconut sugar {or substitute sugar of your choice}
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
3 tbsp water
3 eggs
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 apple, finely diced
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup dried cranberries

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

2. In a small bowl, combine the ground flaxseed and water; mix together and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, mix the buckwheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and coconut sugar.

4. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, banana, vanilla and honey. Add the ground flaxseed-water mixture.

5. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry, then fold in apple, dried cranberries and walnuts.

6. Pour batter to the tops of lined cups. Batter will be very runny, but that is normal!

7. Bake for 30 minutes, until the muffins turn a deep chocolate brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

buckwheat muffins 2

fabulous friday #52

Hi friends, and happy Friday! Hope you’re up to something fun! I’m heading into the city as soon as I hit “publish” on this blog post to have lunch with my hubby {I still get a little giggly calling Allyn my husband :)} and then I’m going to have an afternoon “writing retreat” at a coffeeshop. I’m excited to delve into this new novel I’m working on, and also to get in some distraction-free commenting time on the wonderful batch of poems and stories I received from my creative writing students this past week. {News since I last posted an update on here: I’m teaching a weekly creative writing class for high school students in San Jose, and I’m LOVING it!} Speaking of things I’m loving…

Here are 5 things I’m loving right now:

1. One Teen Story! I love this little magazine for so many reasons. The issues come out every month, and each issue is a new story geared for teen audiences {but wise and wonderfully written — I think adults will love them, too!} Some of them are even written by teens, including “A Eulogy for Pretzel” and “Sunrise” in this batch below. I often slip a couple issues into my bag when I am taking public transport somewhere, so I can read without having to lug around a bulky book — I can fit these even into my small purse. I also like to use issues as “prizes” to motivate my writing students.

one teen story

2. Pumpkin Spice Cheerios — I nabbed these when I spotted them at the grocery store because I adore pretty much anything pumpkin spice. I have been eating them for breakfast or as a snack all week long, and I also made these delicious cereal bars from Eating Bird Food.

3. Last weekend, for Allyn’s birthday, I planned a birthday surprise outing for him. I absolutely love birthdays and I had so much fun planning out a fun adventure for us. We went to the pumpkin patch where we were able to conquer a corn maze for the second year in a row and picked out some stellar pumpkins for only $4 each! I have named them Fred & Ginger.

Allyn pumpkin patch

Then we went out to dinner at this neat restaurant called Old City Hall Restaurant that used to actually be the town City Hall — there is so much history in the building, and where the bathrooms are used to be the jail cells! They still have the iron gates and it was definitely the coolest bathroom I have ever seen. I would have taken a picture for you guys but I had left my purse/phone at the table!

I did however take lots of photos of our final stop of the surprise-filled day: the Lumination experience at Gilroy Gardens! This was so cool, you guys! If you live in the Bay Area, I highly recommend it. It is like the Rose Parade meets Christmas lights meets the Chinese lantern festival. We spent a couple hours walking all over the gardens and taking in all the amazing light sculptures. One of my favorites was a ginormous dragon that was entirely built out of china dishes–cups, bowls, plates, etc! It was incredible to behold.

dragon lumination

dragon china plates

4. Something about autumn always makes me bust out my James Taylor albums, especially October Road, and I love his new one Before This World as well. Lately I’ve also been rocking out to this Ben Rector song… impossible to be in a grumpy or tired mood when this song comes on, am I right??

5. I don’t usually get political in this space, but this election feels too perilous not to speak out against hatred, violence, misogyny, racism, homophobia, and a terrifying frenzy of fear. Too much is at stake to stay silent. In these times of uncertainty, I have been particularly inspired by this movement, #DedicateYourNoTrumpVote, started by writers Julianna Baggott and David Scott, who reached out to fellow writers, family, and friends, who reached out to more folks and word spread quickly. The response has been overwhelming — some pieces are heartbreaking and moving, others inspiring, others simply stunning. The line-up of writers include two Pulitzer-prizewinners, New York Times bestselling novelists, a National Book Award-winner, critically acclaimed poets, as well as social workers, teachers, even a retired lieutenant colonel with the U.S. Army Special Forces. DedicateYourNoTrumpVote.com is looking for people from various walks of life, a diverse range of experience and points of view. Submit your own piece, or just read the words of others and consider what you want your vote to stand for — what legacy you want to leave to your future children and grandchildren.

Questions for the day:

  • What are you loving right now?
  • What do you have on the agenda for this weekend?

Aloha! from The Big Island & Chobani Flips GIVEAWAY!

Hawaii pool view

Aloha, friends!! I am typing this from a beautiful, breezy outdoor patio overlooking the pool at our vacation place in Hawaii… it is my first time to ever visit Hawaii, and I have been utterly blown away! Allyn’s grandfather has rental property on The Big Island, and when it worked out for Allyn and I to join his family for a short vacation in paradise, we jumped at the chance. June was a total workaholic month for me — between teaching summer camps for kids and keeping up my usual tutoring work, celebrating the release of Dancing With The Pen II, taking on some weekend literature classes for high school students, planning my ninth annual Summer Writing Camp, spearheading a screening of the Minimalism documentary in my hometown {seats still available if anyone is interested!} and preparing to marry the love of my life in less than two months… life has been quite a whirlwind!

Which is all to say, this vacation has come at the perfect time. Sun, sand, snorkeling… sunset dinners, hikes, lazy mornings… lots of relaxation and interesting conversation with people I love… it has been the “recharge” I needed!

me and al jungle selfie

An unanticipated perk of this trip is that it introduced me to Chobani Flips, a new product from my favorite yogurt company! The past month or so, I have been trying to eat yogurt every day to help keep my gut happy with probiotics, and I am a big fan of Chobani because they use real ingredients, natural sweeteners, and are always non-GMO. They also have such a wide range of flavors and taste so rich and creamy — I love having yogurt for dessert!

When we arrived at our vacation home, the fridge was stocked with some products that the previous renters had bought and left behind… one of our previous renters must have been a BIG Chobani Flips fan, because there were five containers stacked there, waiting for me to pounce on them! 🙂 I have been having them for breakfast AND dessert. My favorite flavor is the Almond Coco Loco: a delectable blend of tangy coconut, mini chocolate chips, and nutty almond pieces.

Serendipitously, Chobani just reached out to me with a neat flow chart quiz that you can answer to determine what flavor combo will be up your alley. And, because I love Flips so much, I decided to sponsor a giveaway to give one of you a $10 grocery store gift card so you can try out Chobani Flips for free! {Note: this giveaway is NOT sponsored by Chobani, it is sponsored by me, and all opinions are my own.} To enter, leave a comment on this blog post letting me know your favorite flavor or what you would most like to try. You can also follow DaybyDayMasterpiece on Facebook, Twitter, and/or subscribe to the blog for entries into the giveaway!

chobani_flowchart_x2_v09

Chobani_myflavor_card_sweetnspicy_v03 Chobani_myflavor_card_sweetnsalty_v03 Chobani_myflavor_card_sweet_v03

Enter below! Good luck! 🙂 The giveaway closes on Saturday, July 23rd.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

spinach banana muffins {aka “monster muffins”}

Hi, guys! I’m just poppin’ in with a little recipe to share with you today. I made these muffins for St. Patrick’s Day and they were a big hit! I promise, you can’t taste the spinach at all! They taste like banana muffins and have an added boost of good-for-you nutrients thanks to the spinach. These muffins would be a great way to get picky kids to eat more greens. Call them “monster muffins” and serve them all year long, not just for St. Patrick’s Day! 🙂

This recipe was adapted from this one by Pamela Salzman.

spinach banana muffins

spinach banana muffins

  •  1 cup white wheat flour
  • 1 and 1/4 cup oats
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • ¾ cup milk {I used vanilla rice milk}
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 6-7 ounces of fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • optional: 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or grease and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
  3. Into a blender, pour in applesauce, maple syrup, milk, oil, and spinach. Process until pureed. {I did in multiple batches in my Nutribullet!}
  4. Add spinach mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until combined, being careful not to over-mix.
  5. Stir in the egg. Fold in the mashed banana and chocolate chips.
  6. Scoop batter into prepared muffin tin. It will be a little runny/thin — that is okay! This means the muffins will turn out moist.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

*Note: these muffins freeze very well… if they last that long in your household! They didn’t in mine. 😉

Hope you enjoy! Happy Wednesday. Have a wonderful rest of the week, my friends!

 

if you liked this recipe, you might also want to try:
apple oat banana muffins
carrot cake coconut muffins w/chickpea flour
berry cream cheese muffins
coconut zucchini muffins

fabulous friday #52

Hi friends, and happy Friday! It’s been far too long since I’ve done a Fabulous Friday post… I’m excited to bring this back today! Hope you’re up to something fun this lovely autumn weekend. 🙂

Here are 5 things I’m loving right now:

1. Being in Lake Tahoe! This is my first time traveling to this gorgeous vacation destination that so many people rave about, and I must say it has lived up to my expectations and then some! It is a beautiful time of year to be here, with crisp fall weather and so much greenery. I snagged a postcard for you guys!

Lake Tahoe postcard

I am loving being part of the Tahoe WordWave Festival. There are so many talented, creative writers and artists all around and it has been a privilege and pleasure to attend the workshops and events. Additionally, I am SO excited for the premiere of my one-act play “Woman, Running Late, in a Dress” tomorrow night at the Valhalla Boathouse Theatre! The cast of my play took a selfie for you. {How adorable are they??}

my cast

2. Backing up a little bit, this past Tuesday Dana and I attended the Taste of Walnut Creek, a fundraiser for a variety of local organizations, including my church! Each attendee got a little booklet of coupons and you would walk around downtown and stop at various restaurants to get a sample.

taste of walnut creek booklet

Each sample was quite small, but at the end of the night we were definitely full! {And we didn’t even make it to all of the restaurants offered!} If your town offers something similar, I would for sure recommend attending. Here is a list of the different eats & drinks we enjoyed:

I had an absolute blast strolling around downtown Walnut Creek, eating and chatting with beautiful Dana! I feel so blessed to have such amazing people like her in my life.

me and dana taste of walnut creek

3. I can’t get enough coconut butter lately! Have you guys tried this before? I first had it smeared on my morning bagels at Key West when I was there for the Key West Literary Conference a couple years ago, but I kind of forgot about it because I never see coconut butter in the grocery store, just coconut oil. But coconut butter was on sale at Swanson’s Vitamins last week, so I bought a tub.

coconut butter

You guys, I can’t get enough! My favorite thing of late is to prep a slice of toast with half coconut butter, half almond butter. Mmmmm I could eat this all day.

coconut almond butter toast

Aaaaand I am pretty sure my love for avocado toast will never die. Bring on the healthy fats!

avocado toast

4. I recently discovered Susan Hyatt {thanks to my girl Alex Franzen} and I am loving her short weekly “GO!” podcasts. Susan releases a new episode each Monday, with the goal of helping you get your week off to a great start. Topics range from your finances to your family to your business/career. I love how these are short enough to listen to as I’m getting ready for the day, and they never fail to give me a burst of inspiration. Susan is like that funny, no-nonsense, motivating friend who gives you the honest kick-in-pants you need. I binge-listened to all of her episodes last week, and now I am kinda bummed I have to wait each week for a new one!

5. Allyn and I got our pumpkins! Fingers crossed they last till Halloween; we are planning to have a pumpkin-carving party with Allyn’s sister on Halloween day. Since I like to name EVERYTHING, I of course had to name our pumpkins. Let me introduce you to Harold and Maude! {Have you seen that movie? Such a great one.}

our pumpkins

Questions for the morning:

  • What are you loving right now?
  • What do you have on the agenda for this weekend?

carrot cake coconut muffins w/chickpea flour

A couple nights ago I posted a photo on Instagram of some evening baking, and multiple people commented asking for the recipe! So of course I had to share it on here. 🙂

This recipe marks my first time ever baking with chickpea flour! I was inspired by Robyn @the real-life rd to order some, because it is packed with veggie protein, iron and fiber, and she swore it is easy to sub into baking recipes. I have to say I was quite impressed with its soft texture and the hint of sweetness it brings to these muffins. To make these gluten-free, I also used rice flour, although you could use whole wheat flour if you would like.

These muffins are moist, soft, and packed with autumn flavors. They have no sugar, just maple syrup. I love them warmed up for breakfast, smeared with peanut butter, and also for dessert! You could even slap some frosting on these bad boys and call them cupcakes.

Hope you enjoy them as much as we did around here! And I will definitely be sharing more recipes with chickpea flour in the future — I’m hooked. 🙂

carrot cake muffins chickpea flour

carrot cake coconut muffins w/chickpea flour

{adapted from this recipe at Wallflower Girl}

– 1/2 cup rice flour {or whole wheat flour}
– 1/2 cup rolled oats
– 3/4 cup chickpea flour
– 1/2 tsp baking powder
– 1/2 tsp baking soda
– 2 tsp cinnamon
– 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
– 1/2 cup vegetable oil or coconut oil
– 1 cup water
– 3/4 cup maple syrup
– 1/2 cup grated carrot {I used one large carrot}
– 1 cup shredded coconut
– 3/4 cup raisins
– 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with liners or spray lightly with nonstick spray.

2. In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients: rice flour, rolled oats, chickpea flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.

3. In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients: vegetable oil/coconut oil, water, maple syrup, grated carrot, and shredded coconut.

4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until combined. Batter will seem a little thin, but that is okay!

5. Add raisins and chopped walnuts.

6. Fill your muffin tins pretty much to the top. Bake 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

carrot cake muffins

Have you ever baked with chickpea flour? If so, please share your favorite recipes in the comments section!

if you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like:
coconut zucchini muffins
apple banana oatmeal muffins
gluten free apple pie bites

easy, throw-together, can’t-fail fruit cobbler

Sometimes my grandparents like to shop at Costco.

Which is great! I love Costco! The only problem: there are only three of us in the house. None of us are teenage boys with roaring appetites. And my Grandma likes to buy fruit at Costco.

Which means we sometimes often have a whole bunch of fruit ripening all at once.

So I devised this fruit cobbler recipe out of necessity. I really hate throwing away/wasting food, but a girl can only stir so many strawberries into her morning oatmeal. So one day I chopped up a bunch of strawberries that were on the verge of going bad, added some squishy blueberries and a sad, mealy apple, and topped the whole thing with some stale, also-bought-at-Costco oatmeal cookies that I crushed up with a rolling pin.

I slid the whole thing into the oven and crossed my fingers that when I pulled it out half an hour later, the concoction would have magically transformed into deliciousness.

Well, guess what? IT DID.

costco fruit cobbler

This disappeared from the pan in record time and is a new favorite dessert of my cousin Bianca. {Don’t tell her how easy it is to make… she thinks I’m a superhero every time I bring her some!}

Since then, I’ve made this recipe with a variety of different fruit and topping combinations, and it comes out delectable every single time. So I wanted to share it with you! If you’re looking for an easy, can’t-fail way to use up some past-its-prime fruit — or if you’re just looking for an easy, delicious dessert to make for your family or bring to a party — this is a wonderful recipe!

And {shhhh}… it’s actually healthy! There is no extra sugar added into this dish, unless you use crumbled cookies as the topping — most of the sweetness comes from the baked fruit!

cant fail fruit cobbler

ingredients:
– fruit: strawberries, apples, pears, grapes… whatever is in your fridge! blueberries and raspberries work well, too!
– if you are using less-juicy fruit such as apples or pears, add a little fruit juice {apple, cranberry, orange, whatever you have on hand!}
– topping: stale cookies {I’ve used oatmeal raisin, sugar, even animal crackers} OR granola OR mix up rolled oats with cold butter
– spices to taste {I like cinnamon!}

directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Get out a glass pie pan or a shallow glass dish and set aside.

2. Slice up the fruit until relatively small, even chunks. Mix together. If you are using drier fruit, add about 1/4 cup of fruit juice.

3. Pour the fruit mixture into the glass pan.

fruit in pan

4. Make your topping. If you’re using stale cookies, place them inside a plastic Ziplock baggie and crush them with a rolling pin until they are crumbled. To make a homemade topping, use your fingers to crumble a few small pieces of cold butter through about 1 cup of rolled oats. Add spices to taste, and a bit of brown sugar if you would like. I’m also a fan of sprinkling the cobbler with granola, like I did here:

fruit cobbler with granola topping

5. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until bubbly and golden brown on top. It will make your kitchen smell delicious!

fruit cobbler

I like to eat this fruit cobbler on its own, or serve it warm topped with iced cream, or stir it into yogurt! Hope you enjoy!

healthy greek-inspired chicken burgers {with feta!}

My mom has been a brave, bold kitchen dynamo lately! She’s been trying out new recipes and then sharing her successes with me. Thanks, Mama! Then I get to share my faves with you guys!

A couple weeks ago, I shared a recipe for easy, colorful roasted veggies. Today, I’m sharing another recent winner: healthy, easy, greek-inspired chicken burgers.

These come together quickly, and I actually LIKE having leftovers because these burgers heat up great the next day. I also like them crumbled over a fresh tossed salad. The feta cheese and spices really kick these burgers up a notch!

greek chicken burgers

  • 1 lb lean ground chicken breast {uncooked}
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 tbsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

For toppings:

  • 1 jar roasted red peppers
  • chopped lettuce
  • sliced cheese
  • sliced avocado
  • hamburger buns or rolls, if desired

1. In a bowl, combine the ground chicken with the feta, garlic powder, and oregano. Mom recommends just using your hands to mix!
greek burgers uncooked

2. Divide mixture into four balls and press them into patties.

3. Heat a pan on the stove {or your grill/broiler.} Grill the patties until golden brown and cooked through, about 8 minutes per side.

greek burgers grilling

4. Serve topped with red bell peppers, lettuce, cheese, onion — whatever your favorite toppings are! I like eating mine without a bun, topped with avocado, onion, and red bell pepper. Yum!

greek burgers openfaced

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