Healthy Nutty Bars



I know that we all go through times in our lives when we simply get bogged down by the demands of life. Honestly, I have been going through one of those times for a few months now. I think there are several contributing factors which include an empty nest and Greg’s changing work schedule. I have come to realize that one thing that keeps me sane and grounded is writing to you!

I enjoy “talking” to you about the good things happening in my life, as well as the bad. I like running across old recipes to share and finding new favorite recipes to try for you. I feel a change coming to NJSD, and I’m not exactly sure what that change is going to be yet. With my changing life, my recipes also are in need of a rehaul. I believe I am moving in the direction of fresh, easy, few ingredient recipes.  I don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen at this point in my life.

I hope you also look forward to the new and exciting recipes that I will be bringing you in the future. As promised, I also plan to bring at least one healthy recipe a month your way, starting today!

These Healthy Nutty Bars are fresh and delicious. With the Paleo Bars from my blog as a guide, I set out to make a substitute to a store-bought nutty bar. I am thrilled with this final recipe! The nuts are crunchy, and with the addition of honey and dried fruit, they are a sweet treat too.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


5.0 from 1 reviews
Healthy Nutty Bars
  • 2 c. whole almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1 c. walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • ½ c. flax meal
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 c. rolled oats
  • ½ c. apricots, chopped
  • ½ c. dried cherries, chopped
  • 12 Medjool dates, pitted, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ c. almond butter
  • ½ c. coconut butter or coconut oil
  • ½ c. local honey
  1. Toast almonds and walnuts in a 200°F oven. Remove and cool.
  2. In a large bowl combine the cooled nuts, chia seeds, flax meal, salt, rolled oats, apricots, and cherries.
  3. In a medium saucepan combine the almond butter, coconut butter (or oil), honey, and chopped dates. Stirring occasionally keep over heat until ingredients are combined and warm. Remove from heat and add to the bowl of a food processor. Add vanilla extract and process until dates are finely chopped Pour over the nuts and fruit and using a large spoon or spatula combine.
  4. Press the mixture into a 9 x 9-inch pan lined with wax paper. Use the bottom of a glass to press it down tight so that they bars will be solid.
  5. Cover and refrigerate until firm, a couple of hours.
  6. Remove from pan using the wax paper, cut into small bars. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


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Mama’s Coffee Cake



This week my beautiful mother celebrates her 77th birthday. The woman who has been my biggest cheerleader my entire life, my wise instructor who has loved me even during some very unloveable times.

My love for cooking began with her. When I grew up she prepared just about every meal we ate because in those days you didn’t pick up take-out and we only went to restaurants occasionally.

Everything was homemade, a luxury that I didn’t quite appreciate as a child. I remember spending the night with a friend once. The next morning her mother baked canned biscuits for us. I can recall it like it was yesterday because I thought that her mother had done the greatest thing and those canned biscuits were delicious to me at the time.  I can remember wondering why we always had to have homemade biscuits.  I probably came home and boasted about the wonderful biscuits that Sara’s mother fixed.  I am sorry mama!!

Believe me; my thought process has changed! Now I understand the trouble she went to for her family. She was a “farm to table” person way before it was the popular thing.

There are not enough words in the English language to tell my mother just how much I appreciate all of those homemade biscuits; the advice, the spankings, and the love. She will probably never know how important she is to me, but I would not be here today without her.

In honor of my mother, I wanted to share her coffee cake recipe. My brother and I have always loved this.  She made it for us on special occasions growing up and sometimes just to surprise us and she still makes it when we gather for Christmas brunch.  It is easy enough to prepare before work or school.  I hope you and your family enjoy it as much as I have over the years.

Mama's Coffee Cake
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • ¾ c. granulated sugar
  • ¼ c. shortening
  • 1½ c. self-rising flour
  • ⅓ c. milk
  • ½ c. sour cream
  • Streusel Mixture:
  • ½ c. brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. butter, melted
  • ½ c. chopped pecans
  1. Grease a 10-inch skillet and set aside. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. In a small bowl combine brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, melted butter, and pecans. Set aside.
  3. Using a whisk, combine and egg, sugar, and shortening. Add flour and milk alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Stir in sour cream.
  4. Spread about half of the cake mixture in the prepared skillet. Sprinkle all of the streusel mixture over batter then drop spoonfuls of the remaining batter over the top. You can swirl with a knife if desired.
  5. Bake at 350° F for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.



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Black Bean Hummus



We are into our third week of the new year, and I wonder how many resolutions have been broken?   I recently traveled to North Georgia to be with my mom during the forecasted winter weather. When I prepared for living without power, I did not make wise food choices. I stocked up of Doritos with bean dip and salsa, Mac and Cheese, and Oreos!! We did not lose power, but I could not let those indulgences go to waste either. I have struggled to get back on track since returning home.

Having delicious and easy recipes is one way for me to stay on track. I have tried several new recipes this year and have been fantastic! My goal, going forward with NJSD, is to bring you at least one healthy recipe per month. I already have a recipe in mind for February, and I can’t wait to share it with you!

In the meantime, I have one more recipe to share as we start the new year.  This Black Bean Hummus is a delicious, healthy, protein-packed snack.  My family loves this snack. Homemade hummus is very easy to prepare, and because you can adjust ingredients to your taste, it’s typically better than anything you can buy.

Serve hummus with pita bread, crackers, or the way my kids like it, with tortilla chips, or have a healthy snack and serve with fresh vegetables, such as cucumbers, bell peppers, carrots, or celery.

Hummus always tastes better a few hours after being made. Store in the refrigerator for a delicious, healthy snack that’s ready anytime.


Black Bean Hummus
  • 2 c. drained black beans
  • ½ c. tahini
  • ¼ c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, to taste
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • Juice of 1 lemon or lime
  • dash of hot sauce
  • water for consistency
  1. Using a blender or food processor blend the beans, tahini, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, lemon or lime juice, and hot sauce until smooth. With the blender or food processor running 2 to 3 tablespoons of water to reach the perfect consistency. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
  2. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with paprika and chives to serve, if desired.

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Rice Krispie Treats

rice krispy treats 2




I have a feeling that I know what most of you are thinking right now. “Why Rice Krispie treats?” I mean, we all know the recipe is right there on the box, right? Yes, it is. However, this recipe is slightly different. This recipe is a Pioneer Woman recipe and my very favorite. Such simple changes, but I love how the pinch of salt wakes up the flavors, and I like adding just a few miniature marshmallows at the end. The original recipe calls for one bag of miniature marshmallows, but that is too many in my opinion, I usually throw in about 2 cups. Add the amount that makes you happy!

I used molds that I have had since my children were small to make the bats and pumpkins. Wes and Savannah stood on chairs beside me in the kitchen making dozens of these through the years. We made them for school parties, subdivision parties, and friends. They are still adorable and making these, alone in my kitchen, while the kids are off in college, brought back sweet memories.

Rice Krispie Treats
  • 4 tbsp. butter, plus more for greasing pan (if using molds spray with nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 (10-oz.) bag marshmallows
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 6 c. Rice Krispies cereal
  • ½ bag miniature marshmallows
  • Sprinkles, to decorate, if desired
  1. Grease a 9 x 13-inch pan with butter.
  2. In a large pot, melt the butter. Stir in the regular marshmallows until they are melted. Stir in the salt. Remove from the heat and add the cereal, folding gently until well combined. Add the miniature marshmallows and gently fold in. Turn into the buttered pan and press flat. Immediately top with sprinkles.
  3. Cool completely and cut into squares.
If using molds, spray your hands with nonstick cooking spray. Grab a handful of the mixture and gently press into the molds. Turn out onto wax paper immediately. Let air dry.



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Pizza Stuffed French Bread



I have not posted a lot over the past two weeks.  You may think I’ve had a fall break but far from it.  I have been working on a project for the newspaper for two weeks.  I have fifteen new holiday recipes with photos ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  This meant that even more than fifteen were tested.  Some needed up in the garbage and some are my new favorite holiday recipes!  I have new appetizers, main dishes, sides, and desserts that I can’t wait to share with you.  Because we all know the holidays will be here before we know it!

Today I have a yummy pizza stuffed french bread recipe.  This is cooked on the grill and has a delicious smoky flavor that you will not get in your oven.  This is a recipe from Traeger, which happens to be the grill I use.  It’s a really easy recipe that your kids will love helping you with.  Although the recipe does not suggest cooking on a baking sheet, I did.  I would suggest that you cook only the amount that you think your crowd will eat at one time.  This is not very good left-over, so you may need adjust accordingly.

Pizza Stuffed French Bread
  • French loaf
  • 1 jar marinara sauce
  • 1 pkg. sliced pepperoni
  • 1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 c. mozzarella
  1. Heat grill to high heat.
  2. Make X cuts ¾ of an inch down into the bread, leaving space between the X's so that your bread stays intact.
  3. Stuff the cuts with marinara and pepperoni.
  4. Sprinkle top of bread with cheese, pushing some of the cheese down into cuts.
  5. Place loaf on the grill and grill 15 to 25 minutes, depending on temperature of grill.


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