Healthy Turkey Burger Recipe

Summer brings lots of BBQs and burgers! I love all kinds from the typical greasy cheeseburger, healthy veggie burger, and my favorite, a turkey burger! Here is my stand by turkey burger recipe that will satisfy any burger craving.

My kids get SUPER messy with this recipe! I let them do all the hard work by using their hands to mush and mix the ingredients together and then form the perfect patties. It is quite entertaining to watch and a great pre-dinner activity! Get messy (sorry this one is really messy)! Have fun! And eat healthy!


Ingredients– serves 4

1 ½  lbs ground white turkey breast

¼ cup seasoned breadcrumbs

½ red onion- diced

¼ cup ketchup

4 slices Swiss cheese or American cheese

sea salt to taste

pepper to taste


1.)   In a big bowl, mix together the meat, breadcrumbs, onion, and ketchup.

2.)   Make 4 patties and season both sides with salt and pepper.

3.)   Use an outdoor grill or grill pan indoors and cook both sides of the burger until cooked through.

4.)   Top burger with cheese until it melts if desired and finish off with your favorite burger fixings such as avocado, lettuce, tomato, ketchup, mustard, etc.

Healthy Fruit & Yogurt Popsicles

I haven’t tried this recipe for Fruit and Yogurt Popsicles yet, but it is our morning activity to enjoy for later this sunny afternoon! My kids love when I put them in charge of recipes. They are always entertained using the blender and watching it crush everything. Creating their own popsicle is going to be a fun and healthy treat! No scary Red 40 ingredient usually found in popsicles here!

For a fun bonus, allow your kids to use their imagination and put out a variety of sweet additions for everyone to make their popsicle their own. I am thinking rainbow sprinkles (for my daughter), mini chocolate chips (for me), and crushed Oreos (for my son)! Get messy! Have fun! And eat healthy!

What flavor popsicles did your family make?

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Fresh Fruit and Yogurt Popsicles


2 cups your kids favorite fruit- any berry or bananas work great

2 cups vanilla yogurt or plain yogurt

¼ cup honey

½ cup Rainbow sprinkles or mini chocolate chips or crushed Oreos- you pick!!

10 small Dixie cups- 4 ounce size

10 wooden sticks


1.)  In a blender, combine fresh fruit, yogurt and honey until smooth.

2.)  Fill paper cups about ¾ full and cover each cup with aluminum foil.

3.)  Poke a stick through the center of the foil of each cup.

4.)  Make room in your freezer and freeze for at least 5 hours.

5.)  To serve, defrost for about 5-8 minutes and then peel off foil and cups.

Ground Sirloin with Spinach and Black Bean Taquito Recipe

My kids requested steak tacos tonight. I didn’t have steak or taco shells, but I did just watch Giada At Home and remembered her turkey taquito recipe. I altered it to fit my family’s request, made it a tad healthier, and this is what we came up with.

My daughter and son loved this crunchy and healthy dinner! They had fun dipping the taquitos in salsa and guacamole. It was a fun change to taco night. Get messy! Have fun! And eat healthy!


Ground Sirloin with Spinach and Black Bean Taquitos Recipe


1 lbs ground sirloin

about 6-8 corn tortillas

2 cups baby spinach- chopped

½ onion- chopped

1 can black beans- drained and rinsed

½ cup low fat cheddar cheese

1 tbsp olive oil

 1 tsp hamburger seasoning

salt and pepper to taste


1.)  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2.)  In a sauté pan on medium high heat, add olive oil for 30 seconds. Then add chopped onion and caramelize for about 5-7 minutes.

3.)  Add ground sirloin to the onion and sprinkle on hamburger seasoning and salt and pepper to taste. Chop meat and stir until meat browns.

4.)  Pour in black beans, and using a fork, mash the black beans right into the pan.

5.)  Add spinach and a little more salt and pepper to taste. Blend until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.

6.)  In a separate pan, warm to medium heat and spray with olive oil spray. Warm tortillas on both sides for 30 seconds.

7.)  Fill each tortilla with the meat mixture at one end and roll so the tortilla is completely wrapped where both ends are overlapping.

8.)  Spray a 9×13 baking dish and side by side place rolled up tacos. Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top.

9.)  Bake taquitos for 25-30 minutes.

Skinny Warm Apple Pie Sundae

If you live in Chicago, it still feels like winter! My son requested a warm dessert tonight. He loves apple pie so I created a much healthier version and, even better, he helped make it!

We chopped up two apples, which I didn’t have time to peel, but feel free. He sprinkled on the cinnamon and poured in the water. He even enjoyed setting the microwave timer, watching every minute go by and stopping and starting it. When the apple was soft, we topped the apple mixture with vanilla frozen yogurt and crunchy granola. He gave a big thumbs up! Get messy! Have fun! And eat healthy!


Warm Apple Pie Sundae- 2 servings

2 apples- diced (Use your favorite flavor.)

½ tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp water

½ cup vanilla frozen yogurt

½ cup granola (I used 1 package Jolly Oak Blueberry Crunch Granola.)


1.)  In a microwave safe bowl, combine diced apple, cinnamon, and 2 tbsp water.

2.)  Microwave mixture for about 3-4 minutes. Stopping at each minute and stirring until apple is soft.

3.)  Equally divide warm apple mixture into 2 serving bowls. For each bowl, add ¼ cup vanilla frozen yogurt and ½ bag of Jolly Oak Blueberry Crunch Granola.

Skinny PB & Jelly Muffins

Here is a fun twist on your usual PB & J sandwich. Turn it into a muffin with nutritious ingredients! I used whole wheat flour for fiber, a touch of ground flaxseeds for omega-3s, and vanilla Greek yogurt for protein and sweetness.

Both my kids helped prepare these easy muffins. They mixed, measured, and carefully concentrated on adding the jelly to the middle. They turned out delicious for breakfast and an afternoon healthy snack! Get messy! Have fun! And eat healthy!


Skinny PB & Jelly Muffins

Yields 12 muffins

1 ¾ cups whole wheat flour

3 tbsp ground flaxseed

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp sea salt

1/4 cup sugar

¾ cup fat free milk or almond milk

2/3 cup natural peanut butter

½ cup vanilla Greek yogurt

2 eggs

¼ cup your favorite jelly (My daughter picked raspberry.)


1.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2.) In a large bowl, combine flour, flaxseed, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, and sugar.

3.) Add in milk, PB, yogurt, and eggs until smooth.

4.) Fill muffin cups half full with batter and then add 1 tsp jelly.

5.) Fill rest of muffin cups with remaining batter.

6.) Bake 15 minutes or until lightly golden in color.

7.) Let muffins cool before enjoying!

Baked Whole Wheat Pita Chips and Practicing Shapes

We are going on a boat ride today! For our boat picnic, we were asked to pack a snack. I noticed a package of unopened pita in the corner of my kitchen, which sparked one of my favorite easy healthy snack recipes! Homemade baked pita chips!


I was diligently cutting (use cooking scissors- makes cutting so easy) the pita into triangles, when my son who was waiting patiently to paint on the olive oil, suggested we cut the pita into all different shapes! He would call out the shape and I would cut it. Learning, cooking, and laughing at the same time!

Get creative with shapes!

My son was excited to paint each shape with olive oil and sprinkle on the spices. Best of all, he LOVED our homemade pita chips! He ate so many before we even boarded the boat! The rest of our friends also enjoyed this crunchy, healthy, and delicious snack! Get messy! Have fun! And eat healthy!

5 simple ingredients.

Baked Pita Chips:

1 package whole wheat pita bread- I bought whole wheat high fiber pita from Whole Foods

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp sea salt

1 tbsp pepper- freshly grinded

1 tbsp dried oregano

1.)  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut pita into triangles or your child’s favorite shapes. Get creative!


2.)  Lay pita shapes onto a large baking sheet and lightly spread oil over each shape.

3.)  Sprinkle each pita shape with salt, pepper, and oregano.


Cooking with our Farmers Market Finds

Today was a long work day but I had so much basil from the Farmers Market this weekend, I had to cook with basil! Although my son said he was exhausted from his long day of camp, the minute I started pounding the chicken, he was at my side to help! Making a mess, of course, but helping!

Fresh Basil. Smells so yummy!

Both my kids wanted to use the basil and the yellow zucchini they picked out themselves this weekend. They were excited to rinse the basil, rip it, and add it to the chicken and vegetables!

My husband, my sister (in town visiting for Lollapalooza), my children, and I sat around the table for a healthy and yummy family dinner! I was extremely happy with the way our farmers market finds turned into an amazing dinner! Get messy! Have fun! And eat healthy!

Basil Lemon Chicken Recipe:

1 ½ lbs chicken breasts- pounded thin

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried rosemary

1 lemon- fresh squeezed

salt to taste

pepper to taste

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp fresh basil- shredded

1.)  Pound chicken breasts thin.

2.)  In a bowl, add chicken, sprinkle on salt and pepper to taste, dried spices, lemon juice, olive oil, and fresh basil.

Marinating the chicken.

3.)  Cover with aluminum foil and marinate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours.

4.)  Grill chicken, about 6 minutes on each side or until cooked through.

Loved the sweet taste of yellow zucchini.

Yellow Zucchini and Broccoli with Basil Recipe:

2 yellow zucchini- sliced thin

2 bunches broccoli- chopped into bite size pieces

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

salt to taste

pepper to taste

garlic powder to taste

2 cups marinara sauce

1 cup Parmesan cheese- freshly shredded

1 tbsp fresh basil- shredded

We used the basil! It was delicious!

1.)  In a large pan on medium high heat, add olive oil and vegetables.

2.)  Sprinkle on salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

3.)  Stir vegetables frequently for 5 minutes.

4.)  Lower heat to medium low and pour in marinara sauce. Stir for 1 minute.

5.)  Add Parmesan cheese and basil. Stir for 3 minutes. Serve along side Basil Chicken.

Do You Like S’mores?

I have an easy amazingly delicious cookie recipe to share! I combined my 4 ingredient healthy, gluten free peanut butter cookie with my favorite campfire summer treat- S’MORES!


To fully capture the decadence of this cookie, I collaborated with a new mom friend who I met through a Chicago Moms In Business Group. Turns out, we live 3 blocks from each other and both have two kids to chase after.

Shayna, who owns Shayna Hardy Photography, promptly arrived with her two boys for a play date and business meeting! While the kids played with trains, we discussed balancing work (my food and legal writing and her family photography business) and mommyhood.

Shayna offered wonderful photographing tips, took beautiful photographs of our baking play date, and I supplied the recipe and the food! This could be one of the easiest yummiest cookie recipes ever and anything with S’mores is super fun and delicious for everyone! Get messy! Have fun! And eat healthy!


4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookie with S’mores Recipe:

2 cups creamy natural peanut butter or 1 15oz jar

¾ cup white sugar

1 egg

1 tsp baking soda

3 sheets graham crackers- break into rectangles

1 chocolate bar- break into rectangles

5 big marshmallows- pull apart into halves

baking spray

1.)  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2.)  Combine first 4 ingredients into a mixing bowl until smooth.


3.)  On a greased baking sheet, take a spoonful of batter and roll into a ball and flatten onto baking sheet.

4.)  On the bottom layer of PB batter, add a rectangle of graham cracker, top with a rectangle of chocolate, and lastly top with marshmallow.


5.)  Take another spoonful of batter, roll into a ball, flatten, and press firmly over S’mores and connect top layer of batter to bottom layer of batter.

6.)  Place cookies at least 1 inch apart. My batter produced 9 big cookies.


7.)  Bake cookies for 12 minutes or until the edges appear golden brown.

8.)  Allow cookies to cool before digging in (I know this is hard!) but when they first come out of the oven, they are crumbly and the marshmallow needs time to deflate.

9.)  These PB cookies are ridiculously delicious alone too!

Healthy Honey Chicken with Cashews

Today was a VERY LONG day! I had one child home sick and one child home not sick. Lucky me, we all stayed home! By the end of the day, I had washed four loads of laundry, watched way too much Dora the Explorer and Curious George, built a LEGO battle tower, painted rocks, begged my husband to come home early from work, and could not wait to cook dinner. (I am serious, I look forward to cooking!)

As my son’s fever broke (finally), he regained his appetite and asked for chicken! As I started chopping and both kids pushed chairs over to see what I was doing, I felt a sense of calm. They helped mix the sauce and stir the vegetables.

My son devoured two servings, my daughter ate her entire plate, and my husband enjoyed his dinner so much he put both kids to bed! The day turned out okay after all! The night ended with my husband and I watching a Friday Night Lights episode. The perfect ending to the day. Get messy! Have fun! And eat healthy!


Healthy Honey Chicken with Cashews Recipe:

olive oil cooking spray

3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

3 tbsp honey

3 tbsp sesame oil

1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts- cut into bite size pieces (cooking scissors are easiest)

1 red pepper- chopped

1 broccoli bunch- chopped

1/2 cup cashew- whole or pieces

1.)   Take out one large pan for the vegetables and one medium pan for the chicken.

2.)   In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, honey, and sesame oil.

3.)   On medium high heat, spray large pan with cooking spray and add chopped vegetables and cashews. Pour ½ of sauce on top of veggies and turn heat to medium high. Cook 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4.)   Heat the medium pan on medium high heat, spray oil and add chicken pieces. Pour remaining sauce on top of chicken. Sauté chicken for 6-8 minutes or until chicken looks golden in color.

5.)   Once chicken is cooked, transfer to vegetable pan, stir on medium for 1 minute.


*Any vegetables taste great with this healthy dish. Have your family decide what vegetables they want to eat and make it your own! Or, throw in whatever vegetables you happen to have in your refrigerator! This dish pairs perfectly with brown rice, quinoa, or a baked sweet potato.

Summertime Activity with Simple Strawberry Shortcake

I asked one of my friends who I consider healthy if she had a strawberry shortcake recipe. It is one of my favorite summer desserts, and I had never baked it from scratch!

Her recipe entailed store bought angel food cake, smothered in Cool Whip, and decorated with strawberries. I will admit it, I have also created strawberry shortcake this way and it is delicious and a time saver! However, in honor of National Strawberry Shortcake Day (honestly, who declares this?), I figured I would bake it from scratch for a fun afternoon activity with my kids (I could not go to the park or get in a pool again today)!

While I have always considered this dessert a healthier choice, as I researched recipes, it is loaded with sugar and butter! Here is my version (which I simplified and healthified (and made up a word)) to celebrate this beloved summer dessert!

My daughter loves her Strawberry Shortcake Doll and was excited to bake! My son wanted to know what superpowers Strawberry Shortcake possessed and was disappointed that she does not shoot berries or have super strength; however, he was not disappointed in the fun mess we made (and baking this entertained them for an hour)!

When I served this dessert, my guests could not believe I baked it from scratch or that it was healthier than other strawberry shortcake. My daughter enjoyed the shortcake without topping it with whipped cream or sweetened strawberries. I divided my recipe into three simple steps. Get messy! Have fun! And eat healthy!

Simple Strawberry Shortcake Recipe:


The Strawberries:

16 oz fresh strawberries- hull (slice off tops) and cut into cut into pieces

2 tbsp white sugar (measuring utilizes math skills)

The Shortcake:

1/3 cup white sugar

2 cups white flour

½ cup whole wheat flour

2 ½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

¼ cup cold unsalted butter- slice into the batter

¼ cup applesauce

1 cup low fat milk

1 tbsp lemon juice

The Whipped Cream (this part is MAGICAL to kids):

1 cup heavy cream (make sure the cream is cold, it will whip better- thanks for this tip from my friend who is a pastry chef!)

2 tbsp powdered sugar

1.)  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2.)  In a bowl, toss cut strawberries with 2 tbsp sugar. Set aside.

3.)  In a mixer, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk in butter pieces, milk, and lemon juice.


4.)  Sprinkle flour on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pat dough flat onto parchment paper (warning- dough is sticky) and form a giant rectangle.


5.)  Thoroughly sprinkle white sugar over dough.

6.)  Bake 22-25 minutes or until golden around the edges. Allow time to cool before slicing.


7.)  If you are ambitious and want homemade whipped cream, it is SUPER EASY and kids find whipping cream magical! In a mixer combine cream and powdered sugar until peaks form (this means your whipped cream is ready!).  *If short on time, Cool Whip is a pretty darn good substitute but don’t tell my pastry chef friend that!

8.)  Slice the shortbread into servings. My batter produced about 12 big pieces. When ready to serve, layer with whipped cream and sweetened strawberries.