Italian Roasted Chicken and Vegetable Soup

On a cold winter night a big bowl of this hearty soup served with a crusty piece of bread and a salad is a wonderful dinner for family and friends. We had some special friends over last week and I served this and it was a hit. You can roast your vegetables ahead of time and cook your chicken in the crockpot or use leftover shredded chicken. Bethany tried a very similar recipe from and let me taste it. I loved the Italian spices because it reminded me of the food we ate on our anniversary trip this fall so I made some Growing Weisser adaptations to make it our own. Here are the ingredients I used…

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cubed
  • 6 stalks celery cut into ½ inch slices
  • 1-2 leeks washed and cut into ½ inch rounds
  • 3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 2 yellow onion
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 cups chicken stock, store-bought or homemade
  •  2 pounds uncooked chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 2  teaspoons sea salt
  • 2-3 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2-3 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 2-3 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2  teaspoon seasoned pepper
  • 3-4 zucchini cut into ¼ inch slices
  • 4-6 cups baby spinach

I chose to cook my chicken the day before in a crock pot. I used a box of chicken bone broth from Costco to add protein and a richness in flavor. I cooked the 4 large frozen chicken breasts on high in the crockpot for 4-5 hours. If your chicken is fresh or thawed you can probably cook on low for 4 hours or on high for 2-3 hours. While the chicken was cooking I roasted my vegetables by cutting the onion in cubes and tossing …

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Fruit and Nut Healthy Snack Bars

Fruit and Nut Healthy Snack Bars will be your new go-to snack for on-the-go nutrition. Packed full of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory foods, this bar will be a new family favorite. They are easy to make and they freeze easily. Have fun adding other dried fruits and nuts that you like for a variety of flavors. You can substitute apple sauce or pumpkin puree for the banana. I love having an easy snack to reach for in the mid-afternoon that will curb my sweet-tooth and give me a quick dose of high energy food. For so many of us that over extended in many ways during the holidays (excessive lack of sleep, overindulgence in activities and over eating) , this healthy snack bar is a great option. Bake up a batch and enjoy!



1 cup oats
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
1/2 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup coconut flour (nonfat dried milk can be used)
1/4 cup ground flax seed meal
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 large eggs
1 ripe banana, peeled mashed (unsweetened applesauce can replace banana)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Coat a 9 × 13-inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Combine the oats, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, apricots, pecans, raisins, cranberries, coconut flour, flax seed meal, and cinnamon in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped. In a separate bowl combine the syrup, eggs, mashed banana, and vanilla and mix until well combined. Add dry ingredients from food processor to wet mixture in the bowl and stir until combined. Transfer the mixture to the pan and press down. Bake 20-25 minutes until the mixture is golden brown and firm to the …

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Sweet and Spicy Chex Mix

Happy New Year! We are back with many wonderful ideas to share. Even though it is a week past New Year’s Eve and most of us have put away all our holiday decorations…there may be a gathering or two that pop up this month and you may need a sweet and savory snack to take to share with friends and family. Here is a tasty and somewhat healthy easy to make snack to make and take.

Chex Mix has been an American favorite for years. This special sweet and savory version is an adaptation from a recipe that a dear friend makes every year. We were recipients of this snack mix for many years before I decided to ask if she would share her secret concoction. I have adapted it so that it is a bit healthier.

8 cups dry cereal (Wheat Chex, Corn Chex, Rice Chex, Crispix)
1 cup goldfish
1 cup mini twist pretzels
3 cups unsalted mixed nuts
1 ½ sticks of unsalted butter
6 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1-2 teaspoons worchestershire
3-4 cloves garlic smashed (or 2 teaspoons garlic powder)
1-2 Tablespoons curry powder

Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Melt butter in a small saucepan (or in the microwave0. add brown sugar, chili powder, worchestershire sauce, garlic and curry powder. Stir until all flavors are blended and the butter is melted. Pour melted flavored butter sauce over dry ingredients and mix carefully to coat all. Pour mixture into a large shallow baking tin or two and spread out so chex mix will cook evenly. Bake in a 250 degree oven for 1 ½ hours. Stir every ½ hour. Remove from oven and let cool. Store in an airtight container. Lasts for a few weeks. This is one of our favorite …

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Candy Cane Oreo Cookie Cheesecake

Bekah found this recipe and we decided to try it. Our cheesecake connoisseur, Ashkon, said he would prefer to have the candy canes only as decorations on the top rather than mixed into the cheesecake because it change the texture of the cheesecake to have crunchy candy inside. So do what you prefer candy canes can be mixed into the cheesecake or just used as topping. The flavor of the cheesecake and the consistency are absolutely perfect. Here is the original recipe. Change it as you like…..


30 oreo cookies or Trader Joe’s chocolate JO-JO’s
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
25 candy canes crushed and divided
4 (8oz) packages of Philadelphia cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
4 oz Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate
2 oz white chocolate

Heat oven to 325 degrees
Pulse 18 cookies until finely ground.
Pour into bowl and add melted butter and mix and press into 9 inch spring form pan.
Bake for 10 minutes.
Crush up 20 candy canes. Cut up 10 cookies. Mix cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl of kitchenmaid or mix master at medium speed until whipped thoroughly. Add eggs one at a time and mix thoroughly. Stir in crushed candy canes and cut up cookies and pour over crust.
Bake 55 minutes until center is almost set. cool and refrigerate 4 hours minimum.
Crush remaining 5 candy canes. Cut up 2 remaining cookies. Set aside. cover baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt chocolates separately according to package directions. (I melted in the microwave stirring after each 15 second interval until melted). Spread semi-sweet chocolate on parchment paper making a thin layer. Spoon white chocolate on top by spoonfuls and swirl to make a marble effect. Sprinkle candy canes and cookies on top and refrigerate until hardened.
When …

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Mint Brownies

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without baking cookies and preparing delicious family traditional recipes. These mint brownies are one of our family favorites…..Rich and delicious dark chocolate with a creamy minty frosting and dark chocolate glaze…


6 squares bittersweet chocolate
1 ½ cups butter
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons milk
3-5 teaspoons green food coloring

Melt 4 squares chocolate and 1 cup butter in the microwave. Start with 20 seconds and stir well them continue 15 second intervals stirring after each microwave until melted. Mix eggs, sugar, ½-1 teaspoon peppermint, flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Pour chocolate melted mixture into bowl and stir until blended. Add chopped nuts and stir. Pour into greased 9 x 13 pan for thin brownies or a 9-inch square pan for thick brownies. Bake in a 350 degree oven , 25-30 minutes for thin brownies and 40-45 minutes for thick brownies. Test with a toothpick to make sure they are done in the middle. Cool and frost.

Mix 4 Tablespoons soft butter, 2 cups powdered sugar, ½-1 teaspoons peppermint extract, milk and green food coloring. Stir until soft and spreadable. Spread on cooled brownies. Melt remaining 2 squares of bittersweet chocolate with 4 Tablespoons butter. Stir until pourable. Drizzle chocolate glaze over frosting.
Chill and cut into small squares.

Mint Brownies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Christmas time treats are fun to bake and delicious to eat. These mint brownies are spectacular and beautiful. A wonderful treat to take to any Christmas party.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 16
  • 6 squares bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 ½ cups butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 2

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Pumpkin Spice Protein Balls

During the holiday season I’m thankful and grateful to simple and nourishing grab and go snacks.

This is a great one to add to your favorites!

Pumpkin Spice Protein Balls

1/2 c peanut butter

1/2 c Pumpkin Spice Protein

3 TBS maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 c oats

1 tsp cinnamon

1 TBS flax seed meal

1 TBS hemp seeds

(optional ADD Chocolate chips)



Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Roll into balls. Eat some. Save some. Store in refrigerator.

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Grateful for Gathering

Women love to GATHER!!! We gather for play groups for our children. We gather for coffee to catch up with friends. We gather to hike or exercise together. We gather for counsel, encouragement, advice and support from women who have walked the road before us-in dating, courtship, marriage child-rearing, caring for aging parents….the list is endless. We find every and any excuse to gather because together we are stronger.
I am so grateful for my women friends. Those who lead me and challenge me to be the best version of myself. I am grateful for those who trust me enough to follow when I invite them into my life and share my passions. As I grow in my relationships with other women I have confidence to do brave things. I have strength to go out of my comfort zone. I have courage to love those difficult people in my life that cause me stress and anxiety. When my girl friends are cheering for me in my balcony and praying for me, I can do the hard but RIGHT things, I can love without limits, I can accept the hard stuff in my life.
So this week I am grateful for GATHERING!!!

Tonight we had a gathering of women from our church. We have a new campus and have a desire for building community. We shared a meal together and we were encouraged to answer a few questions that helped us get to know one another better. We will continue this tradition throughout this next year, once a month, to help get our women connected, have a place to belong and learn how we can serve one another in our church, serve our family and make an impact in our community.

I offered to bring a crock pot of soup to …

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Apple Butter

One of my favorite things to do in the Fall is go to Apple Hill and pick or buy apples. When I get my favorite apples home, I love to make apple butter. This has been my tradition for many years. I have a special buddy that I usually cook with but this year she is out of town and I have a new kitchen. So I decide to do some canning to get a jump on our Christmas gifts.


1 gallon apple cider (I use Trader Joe’s unfiltered natural apple juice)
4 quarts apples (about 7-8 pounds)
1 cup sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons cloves
2 teaspoons allspice

I double or triple this recipe…..Start by brining apple cider to a boil in a very large pot. Turn to simmer and cook down for about 1-2 hours. Place all canning jars in dishwasher and wash on light wash setting so they will be dry within the 1-2 hours while apple butter is cooking. Place tops in a large bowl and cover with boiling water close to the time you begin to ladle apple butter into jars.
Cut and core apples. (No need to remove skin because it cooks down but feel free if you prefer)
Chop apples in Cuisinart. Add apples to large pan by batches. Continue to stir and simmer apple juice/apple mixture as you cut, core and chop all the apples. Keep on a low setting so apples begin to break down as they cook. Stir constantly so the apple compote does not stick to bottom of pan.

Mix sugar and spices in a separate bowl. When apples are glossy and mixture looks like applesauce, add the sugar and spices. Stir constantly on low heat so all the sugar dissolves. Turn off …

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Super Simple Sweet Potato Ground Chicken Burgers

My cooking style is simple. I check a recipe before I put it on my meal planning list. If it has too many ingredients or steps, it does not make the cut. No matter how good it might be. Because chances are, I’m doing 10 other things while making dinner. That’s just the life of a mom, right?!!

So these simple and delicious Sweet Potato Ground Chicken Burgers definitely make the cut!

Gather your ingredients and prepare to wow your family’s taste buds.

Sweet Potato Ground Chicken Burgers

adapted from Dashing Dish


  • 1 package (about 1.25 lbs) Ground chicken or Lean ground turkey (Ground chicken is much more moist which allowed the burgers to stick together better)
  • Medium sweet potato (*see below for simple directions for steaming your sweet potato)
  • 1 cup Chopped fresh spinach
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp Onion powder 
  • 1 TBS coconut aminos
  • Whole grain buns (or lettuce wraps) for serving 

*Simple directions to cook sweet potato: Peel and cut off ends. Cube into 1/2in cubes. Place in a pot and cover with water. Bring water to boil and continue to boil until you can easily pierce with a fork. You want the potatoes tender, not mushy. 8-12 minutes depending on the size of your sweet potato.


  1. Precook the sweet potato using method above. Mash with a potato masher. Let cool.
  2. Combine the ground chicken, cooled sweet potato, spinach, coconut aminos and seasonings into a large bowl.
  3. Turn on your pans. Lightly coat with a non stick spray or coconut oil if needed.
  4. Form into patties. I can usually make enough for 8 patties.
  5. Cook about 5-6 minutes per side, or until cooked through.
  6. Serve with a whole grain bun, lettuce wrapped, or bun-less with a side
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Pumpkin Ginger Scones

The sights, sounds and smells of Fall are in the air and the mornings are cooler. School has been in session for weeks now and hopefully the kids have settled into a routine that allows for a healthy breakfast.

But if you still find yourself running around in the morning with many days that they need a grab-n-go breakfast or a pick-me-up-snack midmorning, these Pumpkin Ginger Spice Scones are packed full of nutritious deliciousness. Make up a batch and they will be gobbled up in a day or two. You can easily double the batch and freeze some.

1 cup whole wheat flour (plus additional ½ cup flour when kneading dough)
1 cup old fashioned oats
¼ cup hemp seed
¼ cup oat bran
2 Tablespoons chia seeds
2 Tablespoons ground flax meal (I leave this out because Flax seed bothers my stomach)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup crystallized ginger chopped fine
½ cup cold butter
¼ cup undenatured whey pumpkin protein powder (you can substitute vanilla)
5 Tablespoons honey
½ cup pumpkin puree
1 cup plain greek yogurt
Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add chopped crystallized ginger to dry ingredients. Cut cold butter into the dry ingredients with ginger until resembles small meal. In a small bowl, mix honey, pumpkin puree and yogurt. Fold wet ingredients into dry in the large bowl. Only stir until dry ingredients are moist so scones stay light and fluffy. Roll dough out into a large rectangle 1 inch thick on a floured board and cut into scone sized squares, triangles or circles. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake in a 425 degree oven for 20 minutes. Yields 25 small scones or 12 large …

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