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Brunch/ Healthy Eating/ RECIPES

Blender Banana Oat Gluten-Free Pancakes

These Blender Banana Oat Pancakes are hearty, gluten-free and tastes just like the gluten-free pancakes from our favorite breakfast restaurant. They take only minutes to whip up and use those ripe bananas that are always have sitting around.

Gluten Free Blender Oatmeal Pancakes

A Pancake Tradition

I have a tradition with my girls of taking them to breakfast after orthodontist appointments. If your teens have had braces, you know these appointments happen often…about every 3-4 weeks for over a year!

Because of this, and the cost of braces, we staggered it and had our girls in braces just one at a time.

I loved using these ortho appointments as an opportunity to have a breakfast date with my girls, but wanted to send them to school with a belly full of healthy food and I didn’t want to pay too much for it!

Because of this, we found a local breakfast restaurant called The Egg and I, and ordered the same gluten-free oatmeal pancake breakfast every time, and split it.

The pancake was hearty and huge and would fill the entire plate, and it came with fresh berries on top and a side of eggs and sausage. We always asked for a double portion of scrambled eggs instead of the meat, and we would leave full and happy!

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Salted Caramel Pumpkin Latte No Sugar!

a glass mug of salted caramel pumpkin latte topped with whipped cream

“The product, information, and gift card have been provided by the makers of In The Raw® so that I could try the product and share my thoughts and information about Stevia In The Raw®. The opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not reflect the opinions of the makers of In The Raw® sweeteners.” 

We have a week of rainy cool Fall weather here in the Midwest, so I plan on finding some extra slow, cozy moments with my hands wrapped around a warm mug!

A mug full of homemade, no-sugar Salted Caramel Pumpkin Latte to be specific.


Fall Season = Pumpkin Season

Rainy fall season means it is pumpkin season! Every time I go to the store, I find myself grabbing a can of pumpkin.

They are piling up at home and I couldn’t be happier about it. I have pumpkin plans ya’ll!

I was giddy when I saw that this recipe called for a good 1/3 cup of pumpkin. Talk about a fun way to get some veggies in!

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Drinks/ GF, Vegan & Raw/ RECIPES

How To Get 5 Plant Servings in One Delicious Green Smoothie

ball jar of green smoothie

Green smoothies are an easy and delicious way to consume 5 plant servings in one glass! I can’t think of a more efficient and purposeful way to get those nutrients and colorful plants in. 5 plant servings equal over half of the 8 (1/2 cup) servings of fruits and vegetables recommended per day, all in one delicious green smoothie!


mango kale in a blender for green smoothie


5 Plant Servings = 1 Green Smoothie Breakdown

Let me break it down and show you how one smoothie contains 5+ plant servings. Remember, a serving is 1/2 cup or approximately what can fit in palm of your hand.


1/2 frozen banana = 1 serving

1 cup baby spinach = 2 servings

1/2 cup frozen mango = 1 serving

1/2 cup frozen peaches = 1 serving

We are already up to 5, and we have yet to add nut butter and seeds, which are also both plant foods and will add even more amazing nutrients.


cupow lid and jar of green smoothie

Get Plant Servings in Early

Eat this for breakfast and feel proud that you have such a great head start in getting those fruits and veggies in.

Do you fast for breakfast? Then break your fast and have the green smoothie for an easy, portable, filling and ‘full-of-goodness’ lunch.

By the time dinner rolls around, you are on a roll and adding a simple vegetable side or green salad to dinner can easily get you to 8 servings.

Not quite there by the end of dinner? Munch on a carrot stick as an after dinner snack or before you consume any treats after dinner.


simple green smoothie recipe cards


Green Smoothie Goodness

It is no wonder that green smoothies are not a passing trend, but something that has been around for a while. I posted my first green smoothie recipe years ago, back when my girls were young enough to beg for green smoothie popsicles!

When green smoothies are made with the right ingredients, they can be a great snack or meal full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, protein, healthy fats and so much more!

My goal lately has been seeing how far I can push the vegetable content in my green smoothies, always trying for more veg than fruit.

Balancing the fruit with veg, seeds, nut butter or nuts helps keep blood sugar stable as the natural sugars in fruit can cause spikes.

I’ve been experimenting with frozen greens, frozen zucchini, and even frozen cauliflower. Watch for more posts and recipes to come on this!


mason jar sipping lid cupow


Green Smoothie Tips

  • Any milk can be substituted for almond milk–coconut, dairy, cashew, etc.
  • Taste your smoothie before you pour. The sweetness often differs depending on how sweet your fruit is. If you want more sweet, add 1 T organic agave nectar, 100% organic maple syrup, raw honey, or a Medjool date (remove the pit first). My first choice is no added sweetness, but a date is my second choice as it adds some fiber along with the sweetness.
  • Use ripe bananas. This will make your smoothie super sweet!
  • If you don’t have a high-speed blender, blend the greens and liquid first, then add the rest of the ingredients. If you do have a high-speed blender, all ingredients can go in at the same time.
  • Use frozen fruit whenever you can to make smoothies nice and frosty cold!
  • The key to good consistency is seeing a vortex when blending. If you don’t see this, add more liquid.
  • Use organic ingredients as much as possible! The number of plant foods that go into a smoothie can really concentrate the number of pesticides if the fruit is not organic. This is especially important if you are drinking a green smoothie every day.
  • Have leftover smoothie? Do what I did all the time when my girls were young and pour into a popsicle mold and freeze. Can also freeze in a small mason jar and thaw to drink later. Just set out on the counter to thaw for at least an hour.
  • Any greens can be used instead of spinach. Baby spinach is the mild and the taste disappears. Baby kale is my second fav. Swiss chard, microgreens, etc can all be used! Mix it up!
  • To increase protein content and make your smoothie more like a meal, add protein powder. I like to use organic pea protein or any plant-based protein. But…my first choice is protein from natural food sources like nuts, nut butters and seeds.
  • Add 1 T of chia or hemp seeds to power up your smoothies even more and full of plant power! I love the ease of throwing in a couple of tablespoons of my make-ahead super seed mix.
  • Have good straws on hand. I love glass straws or metal straws. I’ve been eyeing these large metal straws because they are nice and wide for gulping those thick green smoothies down quickly.
  • I also love drinking my smoothies from mason jars. I have this Cuppow sipping lid that screws right onto the top of a wide mouth mason jar. I also have these lids that have an opening for a large straw.
  • Make green smoothie frozen ziplock packs to conveniently grab and throw in the blender. If I have these in the freezer, my family uses them up like crazy and I get the satisfaction of knowing all those nutrients went into the ones I love.


jar of green smoothie


2 Ways To Freeze Bananas Tip

  1. Peel bananas, half them, and freeze them in a ziplock.
  2. Throw ripe, unpeeled whole bananas in the freezer. The skin will turn brown, but the banana will not. Fill blender with hot water and place unpeeled frozen banana in it to thaw for a few minutes, but do not thaw completely. Empty the water, them slip and slide the banana right out of the peel.


simple green smoothie recipe card


Sneak Peek New Nostalgia Shop Launch

Have you noticed the fun green smoothie cards in the photos? They are a little sneak peak of what is coming very soon from New Nostalgia! You will be able to purchase them once New Nostalgia shop launches the first week of October 2018!

Eek! We are almost there!

I have been working hard behind the scenes creating card sets that I know will be helpful for you! These cards on rings will be printable, portable and have themes for all areas of life that you will be able to refer back to over and over again.

Anti-Anxiety Cards, Green Smoothie Recipe Cards, Prayers for your Kids Cards, Room by Room Home Rescue Cards, 20 Favorite Essential Oil Blends–these are just a few of the card sets that you will find in the New Nostalgia shop.

They have been life-changing for me, allowing me to live life in an efficient and purposeful way.  I can’t wait to share more about them and offer them to you, too!


green smoothie jar

{to pin}

5 Plant Food Green Smoothie
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins

This green smoothie is an easy and delicious way to consume 5 plant servings in one glass! I can't think of a more efficient and purposeful way to get those nutrients and colorful plants in. That is over half of the recommended 8 (1/2 cup) servings of fruits and vegetables per day in one delicious green smoothie!

Recipe Type: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: green smoothie
Servings: 1 person
  • 1/2 banana frozen
  • 1/2 c mango fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 c peaches fresh or frozen
  • 1 c kale or baby spinach fresh or frozen
  • 1 c almond milk or milk of choice
  1. Blend spinach and milk until smooth.

  2. Add remaining ingredients and blend again until smooth and vortex appears. If vortex does not move freely...add more liquid. 

Brunch/ Meals/ RECIPES

Easy Egg Spinach and Avocado Breakfast

Egg and spinach topped with avocado slices

The Beauty of Egg, Avocado, and Spinach

I posted the above Egg, Avocado and Spinach breakfast photo on Instagram, and it got lots of attention!

Maybe it is all of the beautiful colors in this ‘easy-but-looks-fancy’ dish. They really are quite beautiful; the dark green of the wilted spinach against the shiny cooked egg white and sunny yellow of the egg.

A sprinkling of seeds in all the neutral colors doesn’t hurt, either. Such a pretty dish! All those colors represent different textures, which make this dish very satisfying!

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Meals/ RECIPES/ Roundups

16 Staple Go-To Dinner Recipes You Will Make Over and Over Again

korean noodles and peas with sesame seeds

There are recipes that become staples in every family. The ones you go to over and over again and really don’t have to think much about.

You make them so often they become woven into the fabric of your family memories and will be the recipes your kids will take with them when they leave the nest.

They will make them automatically for their families because it is what they know and “how Mom always did it.”

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Pressure Cooker/ RECIPES/ Roundups

7 Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Staple Recipes

jar or blueberry on the bottom yogort

I’ve been thinking about what I consider staple recipes when it comes to the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker.


Because my cute daughter Teagan just bought her foodie boyfriend one. He is a college boy and moving out on his own in 2 days, so the gift is timely.

I’ve been thinking about the go-to foods that I make regularly in my Instant Pot so I can share them with him.

The 7 recipes below are my most used , staple recipes and the ones I would pass on to anyone who is new to pressure cooking or even not-so-new!




Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Hard Boiled Eggs

 Hard Boiled Eggs are by far my favorite thing to make in the pressure cooker. It may not be much faster than making them on the stove, but the hands-off approach is what makes me so happy.

It is so nice to push a button and walk away. The consistency on the cook of the eggs is also a huge plus.

Another amazing thing about hard-boiled eggs in the pressure cooker is that the steam creates a bit of space between the egg and membrane, which makes the eggs so easy to peel!

Try doing it with one hand…I bet you will succeed!


Instant Pot Shredded Mexican Chicken

Shredded Mexican Chicken is a GREAT recipe. You can throw chicken breasts in the pressure cooker add a jar of salsa and have delicious, seasoned and shredded chicken in less than 30 minutes.

Perfect for chicken tacos, burritos, chicken nachos, and Mexican chicken taco salad! A great recipe to have on hand for those evenings you are just starting dinner at 5:00.

If you are a college student, to fill up for late night study sessions and to share with roommates!


Instant Pot Jasmine or Basmati Brown Rice

Jasmine or Basmati Brown Rice is another example of a food that gets consistent results in a pressure cooker and allows one to push a button and walk away.

I love how the Instant Pot pressure cooker is also a rice maker (and a slow cooker, and yogurt maker, and a saute’ pan, and a…) it really does make a great gift (especially for college students) because it is so many things in one!

Combine the rice with shredded chicken and enjoy a Mexican Chicken Bowl! Add black beans (also made in the instant pot, of course!) and who needs to spend money at Chipotle?!?


Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Black Beans

Instant Pot Black Beans could not be easier. Simply start by sorting the dried beans, which just means getting rid of any misshapen beans or stones.

Then rinse then throw sorted beans and ingredients in the pressure cooker and in a few minutes you will have perfectly cooked and seasoned black beans.

Pile in a bowl– rice, beans, salsa & cheese. Top with shredded lettuce. Mmmmm.

Or use them in my Super Simple Black Bean Soup recipe in place of canned beans.

Make a bunch and freeze them! So convenient.


jar of yogurt with blueberries on the bottom made in the instant pot


Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Yogurt

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Yogurt is SO EASY to make, but it does take a quick learning curve the first time you make it.

I walk you through the process step-by-step here and include the video that I used to make it the first time. I love storing it in individual jars with Blueberry Compote in the bottom.

It is cost effective and so good for the gut health.


pan of blueberries


Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Quinoa

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Quinoa is my personal favorite staple. It just is so GOOD for you and will fill the belly full of amazing plant protein and nutrients.

I eat it cold like cereal for breakfast, topped with a drizzle of maple syrup, a sprinkle of cinnamon and some berries. Mmm good and amazingly filling.

I wrote a post all about it called Quinoa for Breakfast 3 Ways.

You can use cooked quinoa instead of rice for any dinners that use rice as a base. You can use those black beans and make this Easy Quinoa Salad, or just top your lettuce salad with quinoa to make it more filling.

My new favorite with quinoa? Make a fruit salad using any fruit (strawberries, mango, and blueberries work well!) squeeze a lime over the top, drizzle with some pure maple syrup and mix in some cooked quinoa.

If you want to get fancy with the above quinoa fruit salad, add some chopped fresh mint. Plant protein + fruit = super high nutrient side dish!


steel cut oats

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Steel Cut Oats

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Steel Cut Oats makes it easy to find time for breakfast. Make a big pot, store in individual mason jars, and it can even be taken on the go!

Don’t forget to top with your favorite toppings.


jars of oatmeal toppings

Steel cut oats usually take forever on the stove. I find them much easier to make in the instant pot, again because of constant good, reliable results.

I love knowing breakfast is cooking while I get ready, but I don’t have to stand at the stove and stir or keep an eye on it!

I also love that the Instant Pot keeps the oats warm once they are done cooking.

You can set up the oats, water, and salt overnight and program the pot to start cooking at whatever time is best for you.

The soaking of the oats is said to make them much more digestible for those who might need that.

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Steel Cut Oats
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
24 mins
Total Time
29 mins

The easiest way to make steel cut oats! Hit the button & walk away, or better yet, program the cooker the night before for the perfect automatic morning start time, and receive the benefits of easy to digest soaked oats.

Recipe Type: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: instant pot, oatmeal, steel cut oats
Servings: 6 servings
  • 2 cups steel cut oats certified gluten-free, if necessary
  • 4 to 5 cups water
  1. Combine the steel cut oats and water in the bowl of your Instant Pot and give them a stir. Use 4 cups of water for thicker oats, or 5 cups of water for more of a porridge-like texture. Cover with the lid and make sure you turn the vent at the top to "sealing."

  2. Press the manual button and then lower the time to 4 minutes on high pressure. The cooker will automatically start.

  3. After the Instant Pot beeps, allow the pressure to naturally release for 20 minutes. (The timer on the Instant Pot will remain on after the cooking cycle to let you know how long it's been kept warm, unless you press the off button. I like to keep it on for the timer function.)

  4. Once the 20 minutes have passed, turn the vent to the "venting" position to release any remaining pressure. Carefully remove the lid and stir the oats to incorporate any water that has risen to the top. They should be nice and thick, with a porridge-like texture.

  5. Serve warm with maple syrup, cinnamon, and a splash of non-dairy milk, if desired. Leftover oats can be stored in individual containers in the fridge for up to a week, for a fast breakfast on the go. 


Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Cheesecake

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Cheesecake is not a staple and I have never made it myself, but so many rave about making cheesecake in an Instant Pot, so I added it as a bonus recipe.

Everyone needs a bit of sweet dessert every once in a while, right?

I include it because it is something I always tell any newbie to the Instant Pot about….”Did you know you can EVEN make cheesecake in the Instant Pot?!”…

I must try it!


I hope this post was helpful for anyone who is just starting out with an electric pressure cooker like the Instant Pot.

I really cannot get over how this machine has changed the way I make certain foods. I just love it!


How about you? Do you own an electric pressure cooker?

What is your favorite thing to make in it?







Healthy Eating/ How-Tos/ RECIPES/ Sides

How to Make Perfectly Sweet Caramelized Onions

caramelized onions on a white platter

I am smitten with caramelized onions, and this is coming from a girl who despises raw onion.

One of my earliest childhood memories is requesting that my raw onions would be scraped from my fast-food burger. I would watch my Dad sacrifice a perfectly good french fry and use it as a scraper to get those raw onions off!

Caramelized onions are a whole different food from raw onion. They are soft and oh so sweet!

They add amazing flavor to many dishes and are great for topping sandwiches, burgers, and salads.

They are so popular in our home that they rarely get past the skillet without fingers in them…my Teagan has been known to make a whole pan disappear.


Why You Need Sweet Caramelized Onions

I am not only smitten because of how delicious caramelized onions are but also because they are one of the most healthful foods you can eat!

Research has shown that people with the highest consumption of onions (and other alliums) have a lower risk of several types of cancer, as onions contain several anti-cancer compounds. {referrence}

Quercetin is one of these compounds which has been found to decrease cancer tumor formation and inhibit the growth of cancer cells.

Onions are antibacterial, antifungal, contain antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties–so don’t be anti-onion–at least until you try them caramelized.

They help maintain gastrointestinal health by creating and sustaining beneficial bacteria.

They reduce symptoms associated with diabetes, improve the absorption of minerals (like calcium and my favorite calming mineral – magnesium) due to the fructans they contain.

With my cancer history and my Todd using a healthy diet to keep blood sugar levels down, getting onions in on a daily basis is a priority to both of us.

I use chopped onions as a foundation of just about every recipe I make, and also am just as happy making them caramelized as a yummy vegetable side to any dish.


skillet of caramelized onions

What I Do To Make My Onions Perfectly Sweet

The key to making caramelized onions perfectly sweet is patience and a wide, flat-bottomed high sided heavy pan. A well-seasoned cast iron pan is my favorite pan to use.

The caramelization process takes a little patience, and as you will see in the video I share below, they soften and sweeten in stages.

For caramelization, it can take 15-20 minutes of cooking time.

This usually is not a big deal for me, as I just get them going at the beginning of my meal-making, and they cook away and are done by the time the rest of the meal our meal is cooked, and only need a little attention with just a bit of stirring.

There are several different ways to make caramelized onions, and many cooks will just use oil, salt and pepper.

Some swear by adding a bit of sugar at the end to help speed up the process, but I believe we get quite enough sugar in the typical American diet and don’t need to be adding it to our healthy onions!

I let the onions sweeten themselves, and sometimes add a splash or two of balsamic vinegar at the end for even more darkened sweetness. Delish!


dish of caramelized onions

Perfectly Sweet Caramelized Onions

Caramelized Onions
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
25 mins

There is nothing like a perfectly sweet caramelized onion! Even if you are not an onion lover, you may just become one after trying them cooked in this way. 

Recipe Type: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: onions
Servings: 4 people
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 tbsp oil or butter (avocado oil, coconut oil or grass-fed butter)
  • pinch salt
  • pinch pepper
  • water (or chicken broth)
  • 1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
Prep onions & pan
  1. Peel and halve onions through root end and slice into 1/4" - 1/8" thick slices, using the onions natural grain to make strips for you.

  2. Heat 2 Tbsp. butter or oil in a large flat-bottomed heavy pan on medium heat. 

    Note: The video in the post shows a saucepan, but a larger, heavy pan is much preferred. Using a wide base gives water room to evaporate, allowing onions to caramelize rather than steam.

Cook onions
  1. Add onions to the pan and stir. Then season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Let the onions begin to soften and turn translucent.

Reduce heat, stir & add liquid if necessary
  1. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook onions, stirring often to prevent them from getting too much color in one place or sticking.

     If onions stick or get too brown in one place, reduce heat.

Add cooking liquid if necessary
  1. If you see bare, browned spots in the pan, add a bit of cooking liquid and stir. The liquid will help scrape the cooked-on bits and will season the onions. 

Keep and eye and keep stirring
  1. Once the onions began to take on a caramel color, keep a close eye on them. For extra-dark onions, this is when you add balsamic. 

  2. This is the point when your onions need constant attention. Keep stirring until they are the desired color. I like mine a caramel color with a few dark edges.

Let cool & store
  1. Let onions cool, then transfer to an airtight container OR you can do what I do and eat them right from the pan! 

  2. Chill any leftover onions. They will keep up to one week and can be eaten warmed or chilled right from the refrigerator. They also freeze well!


Have you over caramelized onions? Do you have your own tried and true method?

If you have not, and even if you are not a big onion fan, making them this way may just change your mind.


Watch this video on The Scene.

{the video uses a saucepan, but I prefer a wide, heavy-bottomed cast iron skillet!}


Grab a bag of onions next time you are at the grocery store and get those health-filled onions into you and your loved ones!

Make sure to comment below and let me know if you do, and what your favorite process toward caramelization is.