Operation Nutrition

nutrition, fitness, motherhood, & everything in between

Category: Desserts (page 1 of 3)

Thanksgiving 2016

Happy Wednesday, friends! Chances are, you’ll be spending time today prepping some delicious food for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving feast! I figured I’d share some of the recipes we’ll be making. We’re making most of the food, but we did order 2 sides from Wegman’s.

B is smoking a turkey like he did last year. Here is the recipe we’re using again this year Smoked Turkey. Currently, the turkey is in the refrigerator brining. Check out this interesting set up going on. Smile  The brining bag kept falling over, so we used an old Pampers box to keep the sides from falling (so far so good).











I’m also making my favorite macaroni and cheese recipe from this cookbook:









I’ll be making my mother’s Sage Cranberry Stuffing. I’ve never made it before and there isn’t exactly a specific “recipe” (so I’m hoping it will turn out as delicious as hers does). If it turns out, I’ll post how to make it.

For dessert, I’ll be making pumpkin pie, apple pie, and streusel pumpkin cheesecake bars. I’m using the recipe on the back of the Libby’s pumpkin can for the pumpkin pie. For the apple pie, I’m using the recipe from The Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.











The Streusel Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars is a favorite recipe of mine.

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The other sides are coming from Wegman’s. We ordered their Cranberry-Orange Sauce (I tried to make my own and it wasn’t good at all).

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The other side we’re getting from Wegman’s is their Roasted Butternut Squash with Baby Spinach & Cranberries. It’s absolutely delicious!








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Some of our family is brining other dishes, so we should have a lot of delicious food!

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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Gooey Chocolate Chip Brownies

Happy Monday! Here is one of the most delicious guilt-free desserts I’ve ever made. Oh. My. Goodness.

This is a spin off of the Amazing Chocolate Chik Cookie Cake recipe, except these taste more like a gooey brownie (and I think these taste so much better).

You can make it two different ways (depending on what you’re in the mood for). If you want more of a brownie dessert, melt the chocolate chips prior to stirring into the batter. If you’d prefer more of a chocolate chip cookie dessert, then you would just stir the chocolate chips into the batter. Either way both are DELICIOUS!

Gooey Chocolate Chip Brownies


Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make 12 bars:
Recipe adapted from Tone It Up

  • 1 (16 oz.) can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 3/4 cup almond butter (or peanut butter)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper, or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Add all ingredients into a food processor or blender. Blend until completely smooth.

While batter is blending, melt chocolate chips in microwave. Add melted chocolate to batter. Blend again until chocolate is mixed throughout the batter.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.

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Giant Foods: Limoncello

Happy Sunday! I’m excited to tell you about a new Giant Foods product line. This new line of foods is inspired by the Italian lemon liqueur Limoncello. The zest of Sorrento lemons are steeped in alcohol until the oil is released. Once the oil is released, this liquid is mixed with simple syrup resulting in a strong lemon flavor without the bitterness of lemon juice (FYI: This line of foods doesn’t contain liqueur, just the flavor).

This line of foods would be perfect for a Memorial Day cookout! Between the delicious lemonade, lemon meringue cookies, or olive oil for grilling, you’ll be set for your kick off to summer. Just check out some of the limited Limoncello products Giant Foods is offering:

limoncello flyersource

Giant Foods was kind enough to send me these 3 products to sample:

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My thoughts?

The meringue cookies were delicious! They aren’t a chewy cookie, but they aren’t hard either. They have more of a shortbread consistency. The cookies are bursting with lemon flavors!

Normally, I’m not a fan of lemonade because I find most kinds too bitter. However, this lemonade was like nothing I’ve tried before. It has the perfect amount of sweetness with just a hint of tartness. I was also happy to see that it contained no corn syrup (as most do). I loved this stuff!

The risotto was also delicious. It was the best complement to grilled chicken. The ingredients were very impressive (no Franken food ingredients) since everything was natural (rice, lemon juice, dried onion, dried lemon zest, and dried parsley). This package serves 5-6 people, so it was an added bonus that we had leftovers!

I especially loved the lemon flavor in all of these products because it was different from traditional lemon flavors.

I’m looking forward to trying more of this limited line (especially the olive oil)!


Full disclosure: Giant Foods sent me the cookies, lemonade, and risotto to sample. However, this review and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Whole-Grain Pecan Blondies

Hi! I hope you’re having a nice weekend. We’re all snowed in here on the east coast. Temperatures are warming up a bit, so the snow is beginning to melt (thank goodness). I am so ready for spring!

I came across this recipe from Cooking Light. While these blondies are not exactly “healthy”, they are definitely a lighter version of a traditional blondie. Oh my goodness they are delicious!


  Whole-Grain Pecan Blondies

Servings: 16
Serving Size: 1 blondie
Calories: 197
Fat: 11.3 g
Carbs: 21 g
Protein: 3 g

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

  • 6 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To toast the pecans: preheat a non-stick skillet on high heat, turning it down to medium just before adding pecans. Stir continuously so they will cook evenly and not burn. Once they become slightly darker and you smell a nutty smell, they are finished. Set aside.

Place butter, oil, and brown sugar in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Pour mixture into a large bowl; cool for about 8 minutes. Stir in vanilla and eggs.

While mixture is cooling, combine flour, baking powder, and salt into a small bowl. Stir dry ingredients so that they are well blended.

Add flour mixture and chopped pecans to butter mixture; stir until completely combined.

Spray an 8×8 pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pour mixture into pan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool completely. Cut into 16 squares, serve, & enjoy!

*This recipe was from the March 2015 issue of Cooking Light. The only adaptations I made were the flour (they used white whole-wheat flour) and I added some extra pecans sprinkled on the top.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Truffles

Hey! How’s your week going? Are you snowed in or are you reading this where it’s nice and warm? We are having a snow day here in Maryland. I think almost every school in our state is closed today. I do love a snow day, but I’m really ready for warmer weather.

Today was a planned cardio day and I wanted to make sure I burned a decent about of calories because I tend to have a bigger appetite on snow days (wonder why that is?). Instead of my usual HIIT, or running on the treadmill, I helped my husband shovel snow. I planned on this being my cardio workout for today. Now, I knew this would be a decent calorie burner, but didn’t realize I’d burn this many:

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Since tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, I wanted to make a special treat for my husband. Some of his favorite sweets are: cheesecake, chocolate covered pretzels, and snicker doodle cookies. Since I am limited with ingredients in the house (and didn’t want to attempt to drive in almost 10 inches of snow), I went with these chocolate peanut butter pretzel truffles (they are like chocolate covered pretzels, only with peanut butter and in truffle form). This recipe was inspired by a similar one posted on Running With Spoons.

These were really easy to make and they have a delicious sweet & salty flavor.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Truffles

Servings: 16
Serving Size: 1 truffle
Calories: 84
Fat: 5 g
Carbs: 8.6 g
Protein: 2.5 g

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for about 16 truffles:
Recipe adapted from Running With Spoons

  • 3 large sourdough hard pretzels; coarsely ground into fine crumbs
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (I used dark)

In a blender or food processor, pulse the pretzels until coarsely ground. In a medium bowl, mix peanut butter and coarsely ground pretzels.

Form into balls (I used 1/2 tbsp. to make the balls). Place in freezer for about 20 minutes. This allows them to harden up which makes coating them with chocolate much easier.

Place chocolate chips in a coffee cup. Microwave for about 1 minute (or until chocolate is completely melted).

Dip truffles into melted chocolate. Use a spoon to help coat entire truffle. Place back into freezer for about 20 minutes (or until chocolate hardens).


Luckily, we don’t have plans for tomorrow night since they are calling for more snow. Looks like it’s going to be a home cooked Valentine’s dinner and some Netflix. That sounds like a nice plan to me!

Do you do anything special for Valentine’s Day?

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Chocolate Strawberry Cups

Happy Tuesday! I hope you had a nice weekend! This past weekend was my birthday, so we did a lot of celebrating (and cake eating).

It’s crazy to think that February is right around the corner (and so is Valentine’s Day). I wanted to create a fun Valentine treat that is not only delicious, but also low(er) in calories. That was when these delicious chocolate strawberry cups came to mind. They certainly didn’t disappoint!


Chocolate Strawberry Cups

Servings: 6
Serving Size: 1
Calories: 45
Fat: 2.4 g
Carbs: 6.4 g
Protein: 0.6 g

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for 6 servings:

  • 4 large strawberries; cut into small pieces.
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp. white chocolate chips (optional)
  • 6 Mini cupcake liners

Cut strawberries into small pieces.

Melt dark chocolate in microwave for about 1 minute (or until chips are completely melted).

Pour equal amounts of melted chocolate into cupcake liners.

Using a spoon, spread mixture evenly in cupcake liner while making sure you also spread it slightly up the sides. Place in freezer for about 5 minutes (or until chocolate sets).

Carefully peel the cupcake liners off of the chocolate. Fill your chocolate cups with strawberry pieces.

Melt white chocolate in microwave for about 1 minute (or until chips are completely melted). Drizzle over top of the strawberries. Enjoy!

Here are a couple more pictures of these delicious treats: (I’m continuing to practice with my camera settings and the lighting).




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Dark Chocolate Coconut Oat Cookies

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Dark Chocolate Coconut Oat Cookies

Servings: 39
Serving Size: 1 cookie
Calories: 65
Fat: 3.1 g
Carbs: 9.2 g
Fiber: 1.6 g
Protein: 1.2 g

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make approximately 39 cookies:
Recipe adapted from mylittletable

  • 3 large very ripe bananas
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 cups oats
  • 2/3 cups coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 5 ounces dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine the bananas, vanilla extract, and coconut oil. Using a fork, mash the ingredients together until smooth. Set aside.

In another bowl mix together the oats, coconut flour, shredded coconut, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined.


Fold in the chocolate chips.


Drop about 2 teaspoons of dough onto a sprayed or lined cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 15 minutes (or until dough just starts to brown).




You could substitute other types of flour for this recipe (almond, whole wheat, etc.). I chose to use coconut flour because it has many health benefits. Coconut flour is gluten-free, high in fiber, and high in protein. Smile

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Apple-Toffee Turnovers

If you like apple pie, you will love this apple-toffee turnover. It is a great kid-friendly treat too (it’s like an apple pie that can be eaten with your hands)

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Apple-Toffee Turnovers

Servings: 15
Serving Size: 1 turnover
Calories: 200
Fat: 10.5 g
Carbs: 21 g
Fiber: 1 g
Protein: less than 1 g

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make 15 turnovers:
Recipe adapted from Christine Burns Rudalevige featured in Cooking Light


  • 2 cups finely chopped Honeycrisp Apples
  • 2 tbsp. toffee chips
  • 2 tsp. stevia
  • 1.5 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 (14.1 ounce) package refrigerated pie crust
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil (if it’s in solid form, cut into 14 slices)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel and finely chop apples. In a large mixing bowl, combine apples, toffee chips, stevia, lemon juice, and cinnamon.


Roll 1 of the pie crusts on a lightly floured surface. Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut each dough portion into 14 rounds. Place dough rounds on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. (My cookie sheet is small, so I had to bake the remaining 3 on another sheet.)


Spoon about 1 tbsp. of apple-toffee mixture onto each round (be sure to leave about 1/2 inch border around the edge of the dough).


Top each mixture with 1 piece of coconut oil. (If your coconut oil is in liquid form, just drizzle some oil on top of each apple-toffee mixture.)


Repeat the dough steps (roll the other pie crust on a lightly floured surface. Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut each dough portion into 14 rounds). Top turnovers with the 14 rounds of dough; press edges together with a fork to seal. Brush beaten egg white over each turnover. Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes (or until golden brown).



BigLens (3)

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Chocolate Chip Cookies (Flourless & Guilt-free)

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Ours was very nice and now we are in full swing for the Christmas season. There’s something about Christmastime that is so magical. I’m not sure if it’s the holiday music, the decorations, the food, spending time with family, or just celebrating the true meaning of Christmas. Ever since I was a little girl, my family has always taken pride in baking Christmas cookies. There are always at least 8 different kinds of cookies set out at Christmas.

I wanted to makeover the traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe, so that they are a little lighter in calories and guilt-free. This recipe is very similar to the Amazing Chocolate Chick Cookie Cake. Today’s recipe has been adapted from Texanerin Baking.

I promise that no one will ever guess the secret ingredient (chick peas)! You cannot taste them at all! These cookies are delicious!


Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make approximately 18 cookies:


  • 1 (15 oz.) can rinsed and drained chick peas
  • 1/2 cup of natural peanut butter (you must use natural or the cookie will not stick together)
  • 1/4 cup of maple sugar (you could use other sweeteners like brown sugar, agave, maple syrup, brown rice syrup)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • pinch of salt (do not omit)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rinse, drain, and pat dry the chick peas.


In a food processor (or a Magic Bullet) thoroughly blend the chick peas. Be sure to blend completely to remove all lumps.


Next, add all ingredients except for the chocolate chips. Blend until thoroughly mixed.


Pour dough into a medium bowl and stir in chocolate chips.


Arrange cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for about 8-10 minutes.


Enjoy! They taste best right out of the oven (or warmed up).


Nutrition information (per cookie):


What do you enjoy about the holiday season?

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Easy Pumpkin Pie Dip

I hope you’re having a nice weekend. It sure did go by quickly! As you know, I really love anything pumpkin.  If I had to pick 1 favorite pumpkin dish, I’d absolutely go with pumpkin pie. There’s just something about slice of pumpkin pie that makes me think of the holidays.

This recipe is a lighter alternative to an actual slice of pumpkin pie. If you’re a pumpkin lover, I promise you you’ll love this recipe.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need (for approximately 20 servings):


  • 1 (15 oz.) can of pumpkin
  • 3.4 oz.instant vanilla pudding
  • 16 oz. lite whipped topping
  • 1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • Low-fat graham crackers (optional; I selected low-fat graham crackers to give the flavor of pie crust, but you could use fruit or any other dippers of your choice)

In a large bowl, thoroughly blend together all ingredients using a hand mixer.




Recipe adapted from Allrecipes

Nutrition information per serving (1/4 cup is 1 serving):

  • Calories 80
  • Fat 2.5g
  • Carbohydrates 14g
  • Fiber 1g
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