Double Dark Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Rich, chewy, chocolatey, soft, low sugar, & gluten-free, crinkle cookies. They take only 20 minutes to make, from start to finish, and they’re sure to satisfy your sweet tooth without any guilt!

Vegetable “Cream” Sauce (Vegan)

Don’t let the word vegan fool you – it’s one of the creamiest sauces I’ve ever tried and it’s loaded with hearty vegetables! Which means there are so many added benefits to this dish. It’s not only delicious but also jam-packed with nutrients. Serve it over rice, pasta, quinoa, or (if not vegan) grilled chicken or seafood. Either way you enjoy it, you will not be disappointed at all!

Choco-Nana Coconut Soft Serve

 Smooth and creamy soft serve is a must have treat before the fall weather comes at you full swing. It's honestly a great treat no matter what the weather is up to because who doesn't love chocolate + bananas? This particular recipe in incredibly easy to make and has a vegan option, too. It's also a no churn soft-serve recipe, which makes it quick to make - less than 5 minutes! 

A Healthy Start to the School Year with Vitacost

It’s that time of year again. That time when school item checklists are complete, wardrobe piles are washed, folded, and put away, class schedules are ironed out, and all moms start to cry…..tears of joy that the kids are back in school!

Then the first week passes. Oh, you optimistically thought life gets easier? You must have forgotten about the incessant “I’m hungry”, “I’m bored”, “It’s too early”, “Can I have a snack”, “I don’t want breakfast”, “But, I’m hungry”, “I don’t feel good”, “I’m sick”, “Can I stay home because I’m hungry and I’m sick” demands. It’s THAT time of year when the tired, hungry, sick grumbling begins. 

But dread not! I am here to help spread some deliciousness, positivity, and healthy facts in an effort to make THAT time of year a little bit easier. Because sometimes, regardless of how well you plan, you can’t muster up the brain cells to think of a healthy, satisfying meal for yourself. Much less your kids.  And with the unlimited options for supplements and cold remedies, deciding on the right ones can feel overwhelming.

Let me help - I’ve teamed up with Vitacost to run this “A Healthy Start to the School Year” campaign. I am pumped about this campaign because I feel like it's right up my alley. I LOVE reading and learning tidbits on over-all health, supplements, and nutrition. Especially when it comes to children (I have 2 boys of my own so I'm in a constant state of trying to decide what is healthiest for them). I am a fact finder, research queen (a term coined by my husband), wholesome food advocate, major germaphobe, knowledge is power mom!

I hope to enlighten you and lessen the burden of both planning nutritious, filling meals for your kids and keeping your family healthy during the school year by sharing with you the following:

1. A healthy + filling breakfast recipe that will last your family all week (virtual high-five)
2. An afternoon snack that will satisfy even the pickiest eaters’ post-school hunger pains (with some extra for you to enjoy, too!)
3. A homemade moisturizing hand sanitizer recipe (say goodbye to parabens, phthalates, & triclosan)
4. Lunch ideas (you can’t have too many)
5. Additional tips that will help your family stay healthy during the school year 

Pecan Spinach Pesto

I think I just went to PESTO HEAVEN! It's one of those moments where I asked myself "Why on earth have you not made this sooner"? I could literally eat this off of a spoon. It's fresh, light, flavorful, and incredibly versatile. Not only that but it's also way too easy to make and freeze for future use. You've got to make this recipe. I promise you'll never go back to jarred store-bought pesto again!

Double Chocolate Fudge Muffins

 With the upcoming winter months, why not add butternut squash to these muffins that not only adds moisture but also adds a healthy dose of vitamin A and vitamin C! I don’t know about you, but I’ll happily consume fudgey chocolate muffins than have an added benefit of germ fighting vitamins! Replacing the butter with butternut squash also helps keep the fat content down to only 4.1g per muffin.  Win-win!

Chocolate Coffee Cheesecake with Chocolate Sauce

 If you're looking for a rich and delectable dessert that packs on delicious flavors (but not calories), look no further!  The cheesecake has a silky smooth texture and is topped with a finger-licking homemade chocolate sauce. 

Mini Berry Lemonade Freezer Pies

 The heat - the August  heat is overwhelming, sometimes. I honestly feel as though I constantly need something cold to sip on, or in this case - eat on. What better way to cool off in this hot weather than with these refreshingly cool freezer pies! The zesty lemon paired with sweet berries is sure to send your taste buds to food heaven. Go ahead and make this gluten-free treat while the berries are fresh and in season!!

Dark Cherry Coconut Cups {No Bake}

I think sometimes we need a little break from the oven heat in the summertime. No-bake treats have been my jam lately. They're refreshing, delicious, and require no additional heat! And has anyone else been on that cherry look-out? Gah they are soooooo good in the summer. I found a big ass bag at Costco. I mean I could probably eat the whole bag but we all know how that would turn out. So I set some aside for this *no bake* recipe. I went all out and created a double cherry treat for ya. A cherry filling AND a coconut cherry filling. How's that for cherry over-load? There's no such thing as a cherry over-load. Give me all the cherries!! I hope you all enjoy this treat as much as I do!

Homemade Blueberry Chia Whole-Wheat Pancakes

Ask and you shall receive! I did a survey on my Instagram story asking if you all would like me to post the recipe for these delicious pancakes. It was very evident you all want this recipe which thrilled me because it's one I make often. In fact, it's our Sunday morning breakfast almost every week! I started this tradition a few years back. It wasn't until then that I realized how much BETTER homemade pancakes are. I will never purchase boxed pancake mix again. I guess I shouldn't say never, because #momlife and we always get busy and really need easier options at times, but these really are so so easy to make and taste fluffy, sweet, and delicious. These are ingredients that are almost always in my kitchen (I make sure to have organic frozen blueberries at all times). What's great about this recipe is you can totally switch it up, which I have done a ton. I've used bananas, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, almond flour, coconut flour, you name it. This is just a basic, but really far from basic, pancake base recipe. I hope you enjoy these as much as my family does! Happy Sunday!

Cinnamon Roll Cashew Butter (Vegan)

 Whip up this creamy cashew butter that tastes just like a sweet, gooey cinnamon roll for a quick and east sweet tooth fix. Vegan, gluten-free, & paleo-friendly, this recipe is a healthy and cheaper alternative to the store-bought cashew butter. Spread it on toast, melt it in oatmeal, or use is as a dip for fruits, the possibilities are deliciously endless!

Blueberry Pie Protein Bars

 When you don’t want to be tempted with an entire pie or dedicate the time to making homemade pie crust, these little blueberry bars are the perfect treat! Tangy, sweet blueberries are placed on top of a smooth and creamy pie filling, giving these bars a uniquely delicious blueberry pie twist.

Making Life a Little Easier, Nutritious, & Delicious with Kroger

Life goals. That may mean different things to different people. Being an Army wife, mom of two little boys, blogger, recipe creator, photographer, nutritious food devotee, and fitness enthusiast, my personal life goals are being able to successfully manage the important pieces of my life in the best and most efficient way possible. As our goals likely differ in some ways, your time, health, and happiness are essential.

When life shows you intermittent, or more consistent, bursts of chaos, any little thing that helps make living a tiny bit easier is worth its weight in gold. I have found that one of my most difficult tasks involves both going to get fresh, organic groceries for my family and always having enough stocked in the kitchen. Let me be transparent for a second. My husband and I share the same passion to workout and eat healthy. Also, my two little boys love to eat. In case you’re wondering, they all eat A TON of food in a small amount of time. That requires me to go to the grocery store, on average, three times a week.  

And as many of my followers know from my stories and posts on my Instagam page, my family just moved from Kansas to Nashville, TN. My husband is in the Army and transitioning into a new home with two little kids is a daunting task in itself. Considering my stance on eating healthy and organic, one of the first things I look for when we move to a new city is a reputable grocery store. There are Kroger grocery stores everywhere in Nashville, and with past experiences shopping here, I instantly felt at ease. It gets better. Kroger's online shopping experience, ClickList, offers same day pickup and is incredibly convenient and an easy way to get your groceries (Available at select locations, but growing, growing, growing!) For me, this is a game changer in the way I will now grocery shop. I’ve used it and love how convenient it is. I can scroll through their abundant selection of groceries online, select what I need, purchase them online, and then pick them up at a Kroger of my choice. They will have your order packed and ready to deliver right to your vehicle at a time you select. Items you routinely buy will pop up, creating an easy way to remember what you need to get. Kroger’s ClickList will also recommend products based on your past orders. Did I already say it gets better? Well, it continues. Kroger’s brand of Simple Truth Organic fulfills my goal of providing my family with wholesome, organic foods. They have a wide variety of organic products, from fruits and vegetables to dairy and frozen treats.

Remember when I briefly talked about life goals at the beginning? Joanna Gaines, who many people know, and if you don’t you should check her out, is life goals of all the life goals. She is a wife, a mom of five beautiful children, entrepreneur, cook, designer, decorator, and owner of countless, successful businesses. When I watch her show Fixer Upper, I get all the good feels from her. I’m going to let you in on a little secret that I am so excited to share. Her new cookbook (yes, add that to her list of amazingness) Magnolia Table is now sold at Kroger! Guess who bought it? Mmmmmhmmm. That would be me. 

Y’all. Let me make this clear. I have only been in Nashville for less than two weeks. I went to get her cookbook the second day I was here and made the Peach Caprese.  I have a feeling this dish will be one of my favorite recipes in the book. Here’s one of the best parts, aside from the deliciousness of the recipe.

While in the past I would be scrambling around trying to find a piece of paper and pen to make a grocery list, or unpacking all of the boxes to find a phone charger to charge my phone long enough to last me making a grocery list and then using it in the store before it died (remember, I just moved and Army packers…. let’s just say I have found a can opener in a box of bathroom toiletries), I can now order online, at home, with just a few clicks, then pick my order up at a time that is convenient for me. My past thoughts on getting food in the new house was stressful because it took forever to actually think of what to get and my brain (actually, my “mommy and moving brain” – yes, everyone, it’s real and in full effect) is always at max capacity these days.  Fortunately, this move to Nashville gave me the option to use Kroger’s ClickList. And as I said before, little things that make life a tiny bit easier are worth their weight in gold.

While looking through Joanna Gaines’s cookbook Magnolia Table, I thought all of the recipes sounded delicious. I decided to make the Peach Caprese because I wanted something quick, healthy, kid-friendly, and delicious. It pleased me that I chose this particular one because it was everything I hoped for. I obviously doubled the recipe because my family consists of 3 males. My entire family loved it and, even though I doubled it, it didn't last long.

However, to be honest, it was tough to decide which recipe to make. There are SO MANY that are hard to pass up. I had 8 saved that I wanted to make in one day. While these tips and tools I've discussed do make the buying and cooking process quicker and easier, I think it's fair to say 8 recipes in one day might be setting my bar too high :) I will most definitely be trying the other few very soon!

No matter what stage of life you are in right now, you have times when you feel overwhelmed, stressed, or worn down. I know how that feels and I'm right there with you. I truly believe if there are little pieces here and there that can easily help us manage our time better, no matter how small, it is a step in the right direction. If any mom is reading this, as I hope to reach many of you, keep hanging in there! You are all doing a perfect job for your family. Thank you for all the support you've shows me over the years and I sure hope this sponsored post can shed some light on the ease of using Kroger's ClickList and the quality of ingredients, especially their Simple Truth Organic line, Kroger Grocery Stores provide. Talking to wives, moms, friends, and family, there seems to be a common theme revolving around meal prep, and that is we feel intimidated, overwhelmed, and defeated at times. My new common theme with meal prep will now be exciting, easy, manageable, and delicious (courtesy of Magnolia Table and Kroger’s ClickList, of course!).Who's with me!?


Also, I am hosting a giveaway on my Instagram page @njstramfam (<--- click here)
Four lucky winners will receive a free copy of Joanna Gaines’s Magnolia Table cookbook, courtesy of Kroger. Be sure to check it out and follow the rules to enter to win!

Links to Kroger social media platforms:

Chocolate Cake Protein Fudge

 This is for all of you chocolate-lover non-bakers out there – well, bakers will love this tasty treat, too. A no-bake, silky smooth piece of fudge that tastes just like a piece of rich chocolate birthday cake. Add the sprinkles because this is a reason to celebrate!

Raspberry Sorbet Protein Cups

 This gluten-free recipe takes only 5 minutes to make using only 5 ingredients – a perfectly easy to make sweet treat to enjoy! So there’s no excuse to skip out on these healthy sorbet protein cups, especially if you need extra help cooling off in the warm weather. Store them in the freezer for a quick and delicious refreshing treat!

Banana Coconut Popsicles

 Making popsicles is a way easier task than I anticipated! Blend, poor, and freeze! Easy, healthy, smooth, creamy, and delicious, these vegan protein popsicles are a refreshingly sweet summer treat that contain no added sugars.

Peach filled Vanilla Cupcakes

 What’s better than a homemade cupcake? I homemade cupcake with a surprise peach filling! These tasty vanilla cupcakes are filled with a finger-licking peach sauce and topped with a smooth and creamy vanilla icing. The peach filling is so delicious that I made extra to add to oatmeal, spoon on top of yogurt, and add to the stack of our usual Sunday pancakes.  

Orange Creamsicle Truffles [Vegan and Grain-Free]

Imagine you as a kid, or an adult, enjoying the warm day outside with your favorite orange cream push-pop. Or maybe you are having a large bowl of sweet orange sherbet. These truffles are a delicious reminder of those classic treats. Smooth, tangy, sweet, and flavorful. They are also grain-free and vegan friendly!

Mini Pink Lemonade Pies

Feast your eyes on these beautiful and refreshingly delicious mini pink lemonade pies. You won’t believe how ridiculously easy these pies are to make. The tasty crumbly crust pairs perfectly with the smooth, sweet, and tangy pie filling.  They're kid approved for their taste and mom approved for their ingredients; containing no artificial flavors or colors. The only negative is your kids will bug the crap out of you for more!

Lemon Coconut Macaroons

Lightly sweetened with maple syrup and vanilla protein powder, these little treats are a perfectly sized snack that’s quick and easy to make. You can also make these macaroons a no bake, vegan-friendly treat by omitting the egg and using vegan protein powder.

Blueberry Cashew Butter

You will be pleasantly surprised to see how easy and quick it is to make this scrumptious, silky-smooth cashew butter. It’s low in sugar, has an extra boost of protein, and the perfect berry taste that will make you want to lick it straight off the spoon!

Raspberries & Cream Protein Popsicles

 You won’t believe how simple it is to make these refreshing popsicles that contain no added artificial dyes or food coloring. Yes. That vibrant red color comes from freshly pureed raspberries that are mixed together with a creamy vanilla protein layer to create a equally beautiful and delicious protein popsicle.

Blueberry Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins with Pistachio Crumble

 Give your morning a burst of flavor with these low-sugar muffins that are moist, light, and fluffy. The blueberry and lemon flavors pair perfectly with the nutty pistachios, making these muffins a delicious sweet and salty treat.

Double Berry and Cream Protein Bars

These homemade protein bars are easy to make and are healthier than the store-bought bars, with no artificial flavors or colors. Using freeze-dried strawberries limits the moisture, creating a perfectly soft and chewy texture without limiting nutrients and flavor. Just make sure to get ones that have no added sugars.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Protein Cups

If you’re a lover of raw cookie dough, this recipe is just for you! You will never know these chocolate chip cookie dough cups are sugar-free, gluten-free, & protein packed. Plus, they’re no-bake, making them easy and quick to whip up. I will warn you, speaking from experience, that it's very hard to eat just one. They are ADDICTING, much like any cookie dough.

Banana Bundt Cake with Maple Pecan Glaze

Pile on the smooth, sweet, and crunchy glaze that elevates this banana bundt cake from great to perfect! Don’t feel guilty, either. With only 4.3g sugar per slice, it won’t give you the sugar rush that the traditional cake does.

Strawberries N’ Cream Ice "Cream" [Vegan]

With no ice cream maker required, you can easily whip up this recipe in less than 10 minutes. It’s creamy, sweet, and flavorful while also being free of artificial ingredients, dairy, and grains.