Check This Out | Pretzel Rolo Nut Bites

Pretzel Rolo Nut Bites | Once Upon a Recipe

Happpppppppy Friday!

The balmy temperatures of late had me caught up in some serious daydreaming of patios with friends this weekend (a bit prematurely, I am aware), but the larger than necessary dump of snow we received yesterday really pounded the final nail into that coffin of dreams. *sigh* Why must you mock me, Mother Nature? Ah well, my Hawaii countdown will keep my spirits high. Only 26 days left to go!

Not to worry, I won’t rub it in any more for now at least. While Erin was popping by to share those incredible Super-Rocky Rocky Road Brownies, I was sharing a little somethin’ somethin’ over in her neck of the woods. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

Pretzel Rolo Nut Bites | Once Upon a Recipe

Pretzel Rolo Nut Bites | Once Upon a Recipe

Pretzel Rolo Nut Bites | Once Upon a Recipe

Pretzel Rolo Nut Bites | Once Upon a Recipe

Pretzel Rolo Nut Bites | Once Upon a Recipe

Pretzel Rolo Nut Bites | Once Upon a Recipe

Now why don’t you let your fingers do some walking on over to Read, Eat, Create to check out the full post? These wickedly easy, scrumptious, and addictive Pretzel Rolo Nut Bites await you!

Have a great weekend friends!

Get Excited About Salad!

Get Excited About Salad! | Once Upon a Recipe

So I have this pet peeve. Something that really irks me. You wanna know what it is?

I’m going to tell you anyways. I mean, that’s why you’re here right? You allow me to talk incessantly about the crap that runs through my brain 18 hours per day and I reward you at the end of it all with a tasty recipe. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship we’ve got going on here. Capiche?

Back to the pet peeve. Restaurants that serve you a bowl of lettuce with a sprinkle of shredded carrots and call it a side salad. Dude, that’s not a salad. That’s lettuce with some shredded carrots on it.

Get Excited About Salad! | Once Upon a Recipe

In fact, I blame restaurants that make fake salads for turning people off of salads. Giving them a bad rep. Lettuce with shredded carrots on it isn’t exciting! It’s rabbit food!

But adding fun toppings like nuts, cheese, veggies, dried fruit, and a delicious dressing? Now that’s something to get excited about. Take the salad you see here, for instance. A bed of mixed greens is totally more exciting than plain ol’ lettuce. Toasted walnuts – yes. Dried cranberries – wicked. Creamy goat cheese – yes siree. Crumbled bacon – heck yeah. Top it off with a homemade vinaigrette and a hardboiled egg or two for some added protein and that right there is a complete and fantastic meal.

Get Excited About Salad! | Once Upon a Recipe

Dudes will like this salad too! (I credit the bacon for that one) I took this salad to a dinner party to serve as its own course (minus the hardboiled egg). It was a HUGE hit with the ladies and the dudes. The flavors work really well together and the whole thing is just so darn satisfying. I also included halved cherry tomatoes, but didn’t have any on hand when I made it again last weekend. I highly recommend that you add them as they provide a sweet little juicy pop.

Get Excited About Salad! | Once Upon a Recipe

Feel free to play around too! Think of this recipe as a guideline for creating a really well-balanced and flavorful salad. If you don’t like walnuts, try almonds or pecans. Not a fan of goat cheese? Try feta or parmesan cheese. Want to make this vegetarian? Omit the bacon. If you’re making a meal out of it, trying adding grilled chicken in place of the egg. Or grilled tofu! Tuna or salmon! The possibilities are endless. Get into it!

Get Excited About Salad! | Once Upon a Recipe

The Get Excited About Salad Salad (adapted from

The cherry tomatoes aren’t shown here, but please add them if you can. As mentioned, if you’re making this as a side salad or for a salad course, the hardboiled egg or added protein can be left out. But if you’re making this salad into a meal, definitely add your protein of choice to ensure hunger satisfaction. The dressing is wonderful and could really be used on any salad. It will make more than you need for this recipe, so store any leftovers in a tightly sealed jar in the fridge and use on other salads throughout the week.

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

For the salad (serves 2 as a meal, 4 as a side):

  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 3 cups mixed greens
  • 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 ounce of goat cheese, crumbled
  • 4 strips of thick-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 eggs, hardboiled (optional)

To toast the walnuts, spread them out onto a baking sheet and toast them in the oven at 350°F for about 8-10 minutes. Combine all of the dressing ingredients, minus the olive oil, in a small bowl. Slowly add the olive oil, whisking constantly as you do so. Set aside.

Combine the mixed greens, toasted walnuts, cherry tomatoes, and dried cranberries in a large bowl. Add the dressing (to taste – you will not need all of it) and toss to coat. Split the salad onto 2 (or 4) plates and then evenly sprinkle with the goat cheese and bacon. Slice the hardboiled egg and add one egg to each salad. Enjoy!

PS. I totally just made this again for dinner last night and added a fried egg. It was mega!

PPS. What makes a salad great for you?

Snack Attack | Brownie Larabar Bites

What if I told you that I made something healthy that tastes like a brownie? That you can totally enjoy, guilt-free, for a snack or a burst of energy before or after exercise. What if I told you that these “brownie bites” have no added sugar or fat, are vegan and gluten-free, and are made with only 5 ingredients. Bonus? They can be whipped up in just minutes.

About a year and half ago, whilst in the throes of a one-month challenge of eating no grains, I was searching for a healthy, filling, and nutrient-dense snack to eat between meals or before exercise. No grains meant no easy-to-grab items like granola bars, and I’d totally had my fill of trail mix, apples smothered in peanut butter, and veggies and hummus. One day while at the grocery store, I picked up a Larabar to try, after reading the ingredient list and determining that it passed the grain-free test. It was satisfying, both in taste and in curbing my appetite, and I appreciated the short ingredient list (just nuts and dried fruit). However, at $2.49 a pop, these little bars are a pricey snack.

Thankfully, these bars are a cinch to recreate in your own kitchen at a fraction of the cost. All you need is a food processor and a good supply of dates and nuts. Then, you can jazz up these little bites with additional flavors, like cocoa powder, coconut, spices, and extracts. Larabar has an impressive variety of flavors, from key lime pie to cappuccino, and peanut butter and jelly to ginger snap.

Without further adieu, here is my recipe for brownie Larabar bites. But be warned, once you pop one of these little nuggets of joy, you won’t be able to stop. Stash them in an airtight container in the fridge and grab them as needed for quick snacks or exercise fuel. They also do a mighty fine job of silencing a late-night sweet tooth. Not that I have that problem.

Brownie Larabar Bites

Makes 8-10 golf ball sized bites.

1/2 cup whole almonds

1/2 cup walnuts (or pecans)

10-12 Medjool dates, pitted

4 TBSP. cocoa powder

1 tsp. vanilla

Add all ingredients into a food processor and process until everything is finely ground and the mixture comes together in your fingers. Roll the mixture into small balls and store in an airtight container (I put mine in the fridge). You make also form the mixture into actual bars, but the recipe will yield a smaller amount (likely about 4 bars).

Giving Thanks | Pumpkin Breakfast Cake












OK, I know what you’re thinking…

Not another pumpkin recipe.

But wait! Don’t run away! Allow me to plead my case.












This isn’t just any cake. First of all, and probably most importantly, it’s a cake you can eat for breakfast. Yep, it’s breakfast approved. You know why? Cause it’s full of hearty good-for-you ingredients like whole wheat flour, oats, nuts, and pumpkin! A nice big hunk of this cake with a steaming mug of coffee or tea will start your morning off right.

Secondly, this cake is super adaptable! If the thought of eating another pumpkin anything makes you want to vomit (although really, that would be a bit dramatic of you), then you can change it up! You can use applesauce or banana instead of pumpkin. You can sub in almonds, raisins, coconut, or any other nuts or dried fruit for the pumpkin seeds and walnuts. Or change up the spices! In fact, one of my favorite versions of this cake uses applesauce, cinnamon, almonds and coconut. Delish!












But back to this particular version of the cake, with pumpkin! It’s moist, nutritious, delicious, and seasonal. Just in case you need an excuse to eat cake for breakfast. Personally, I don’t need an excuse. (Don’t you know me by now?!) 🙂 This recipe was shared with me several years ago by a very special lady. I remember awakening to the wonderful aroma of one of these breakfast cakes baking away in the oven on several occasions. And while we probably won’t have another opportunity to share a piece of breakfast cake and tea on a lazy weekend morning, I hope she knows that she will remain in my heart always.

Happy Thanksgiving weekend to you and yours! May we all remember to be thankful for what we have.












Pumpkin Breakfast Cake

1 cup white flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup oats

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg (optional)

1/2 tsp. ground allspice (optional)

1/2 tsp. ground cloves (optional)

Pinch of salt

1 cup olive oil

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

2 cups pumpkin puree (or other fruit)

1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds (or other nuts/dried fruit)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or other nuts/dried fruit)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whisk together the flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the olive oil, sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and mix well. Add in the pumpkin puree and the pumpkin seeds and walnuts. Stir well. Pour/spread into a large greased bundt pan (or two loaf pans). Bake for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool thoroughly before turning out of the pan(s).

*Please note that you may also halve the recipe and bake the cake in a loaf pan. Or keep the recipe as is and bake two loaves, freezing one for later.

PS. I can’t make any promises that I’m done with the pumpkin recipes…

Holy Oats! | Favorite Granola

Granola is an old friend of mine. We’ve been having breakfast together for the past, oh, 10 years or so. We usually invite yogurt to the party, and occasionally milk. Unfortunately, I only discovered making homemade granola within the past few years. Kind of ridiculous, considering how easy it is to make, and definitely a travesty when considering all of the delicious varieties of granola you can make it your own kitchen.

 It was love at first bite with this granola. Sweet, chewy clusters with the crunch of whole nuts and dried fruit. Tastes amazing with plain yogurt or milk, and fantastic over ice cream. Yes, this granola doubles as dessert! You might even catch yourself eating handfuls of it as a snack! This recipe is doubled from the original because even with a double recipe, I can still eat my way through a batch of this in less than a week. Give it a try – granola loves to make new friends. Happy eating!

Favorite Granola (adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking)

4 cups oats

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. salt

Pinch of nutmeg

1/4 cup canola oil

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

2/3 cup whole almonds (and/or hazelnuts)

2/3 cup raisins (and/or dried cherries)

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, toss the oats with the cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. In a medium bowl, stir together the oil, honey, brown sugar, and vanilla. Whisk until completely combined. Pour the honey mixture over the oats mixture and use your hands to combine them (oh yeah!).

Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread it out evenly, but leave a few clumps here and there for texture. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and use a metal spatula to lift and flip the granola. Sprinkle the almonds (and/or hazelnuts) over the granola and return the baking sheet to the oven. Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from the oven and flip again. Sprinkle the raisins over the granola and return the baking sheet to the oven for another 5 minutes. Let cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container.

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