Appetizers/Savory Snacks

Pumpkin and White Bean Hummus

Happy Fall! Starbucks’ pumpkin spiced latte doesn’t have to be the only festive food you try this season–this pumpkin hummus might be the perfect addition to your next gathering or family snack time.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 2 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 (15-oz) can cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped


Place all ingredients into food processor, process until smooth (~30 seconds).  Serve and enjoy with pita chips or crunchy veggies!

Original Recipe by Cooking Light can be found here.

Sweet Snacks

Banana Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ingredients: Y

Yields ~15 muffins

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup shredded (or made into noodles and then chopped*) zucchini
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • ¾ medium ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp salt


1. Preheat oven to 350F, and grease or line muffin tin.In medium bowl, combine dry ingredients of flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

2. In a separate large bowl, mix beaten egg, oil, milk, mashed banana, lemon juice and vanilla extract. 

3. Stir wet ingredients into dry until incorporated and moistened.

4. Prepare zucchini using a shredder or by spiralizing into thin noodles and then chopping into ¼ inch pieces, for similar effect. Measure your 1 cup of zucchini now. Wrap measured zucchini into paper towel and squeeze out excess water–there will be a lot of it.

5. Fold zucchini and chocolate chips into rest of mixture. 

6. Pour to fill muffin tins 2/3 of the way.

7. Bake until toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean, about 25 minutes.


Lavender Cookies

As summer comes to a close, that doesn’t mean extra family time has to come to an end! My boys & I made these fun & tasty lavender shortbread cookies! A great way to get us all in the kitchen and to learn about and try a new food.  An added bonus, your kitchen will smell wonderful! We used the recipe from Joy The Baker, here.


  • 1 tbsp dried lavender blossoms
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp raw or granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)
  • extra sugar for sprinkling on top
1. In a medium bowl, whisk flour and salt together. Set aside.
2. In a small spice grinder or mortar and pestle, grind 1 tbsp lavender and 1 tbsp sugar.
3. In another bowl, that can be used with electric mixer with paddle attachment, add butter, ground lavender mixture, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar.  Cream ingredients on medium speed until slightly more pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  It’s okay if there are still some sugar bits at this point.  Add the flour and mix on low speed until the dough comes together.  The dough will have a crumbly texture, but will come together as you continue mixing.
4. Dump dough mixture out onto a clean surface and form into a ball with your hands.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
5. Line cookies sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
6. Divide refrigerated dough into quarters. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to 1/4 inch thickness.  Use a 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter to cut cookies, or a pizza cutter to slice into squares.  Use a fork to prick the cookies.
7. Brush the cookies very lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.  Make sure your oven is preheated to 350 degrees F and refrigerate cookies while oven preheats.
8. Place racks in the center and upper third of the oven.  When oven is preheated, bake cookies for 8-11 minutes, until just browned on the edges. Remove from oven and allow to cool on cookie sheet for about 10 minutes then move to a wire rack to cool completely.
9. Enjoy!


Slow Cooker Lasagna

Photo Courtesy of Cooking Light


  • 1.5 pounds ground beef or pork
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 24-oz jar spaghetti sauce
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 6 oz tomato pasta
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 15-oz container ricotta cheese
  • 6 cups fresh spinach
  • 2 zucchini, shredded or sliced
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
  • 3 Tbsp water


In a large skillet over medium heat cook the ground beef, onion, and garlic until brown. Add the spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, tomato paste, salt, and Italian seasoning and stir until well incorporated. Cook until heated through.

In a large bowl mix together the ricotta cheese, egg, grated Parmesan cheese, and 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese.

Spray the crock with nonstick spray. Spoon a layer of the meat mixture onto the bottom of the slow cooker. Add a layer of the uncooked lasagna noodles. Break to fit noodles into slow cooker. Top noodles with a portion of the cheese mixture. Next layer 2 cups spinach and 1/3 of the zucchini. Repeat the layering of sauce, noodles, cheese and veggies until all the ingredients are used. Top with remaining 1 cup of mozzarella. Drizzle water around the edges of the crock.

Cover, and cook on LOW setting for 5 to 6 hours.

Let sit for 30 minutes or more and then slice and serve.