nutter butter smoothies

afternoon snacks are a must in the phillips household. one of our favorites is the nutter butter shake! the kids and i love this shake and make it about once a week {we have other favs, coming posts}. i have used actual almonds in the past, but the kids could not get past the bits of nuts in the smoothie. kids and their textures….so i now use nut butter and they gulp it down and mama is happy to get the protein in their ever growing bodies!

i was given a ninja kitchen system pulse for christmas by my sweet mother-in-law and have not stopped using it. it is great. makes just the right amount for two people, or one husband. dishwasher clean-up, perfect.

i simply pour the almond milk {casein allergies for all}  in first, almond butter second, banana, agave nectar, then crushed ice. blend. and we have smoothies….and so will you! enjoy!

nutter butter smoothie


  • 1 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 Medium banana (broken up)
  • 1/2 cup ice (crushed)
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar


If you are using a traditional blender, reverse the order since your blade will be at the bottom. 


Step 1
Pour milk in first. Then scoop the almond butter in (you can use fresh or pre-packaged). Break up your banana and drop it in. Squeeze in the agave nectar for a sweet twang. Last top off with the crushed ice.
Step 2
Blend. Pour. Enjoy!

…and what’s your favorite smoothie using a nut butter? i’d love to know! 



namaste brownie bites

this mom loves to try new products that make my life easier. the little time i have i must be ‘efficient and effective’ {a friend termed this and i have adopted it}. i have came across Namaste Foods, Inc at Natural Grocers the other day and picked up their gluten-free brownie mix. i made them as a trial for a small dinner party and they were a hit! i followed the high altitude directions posted on their website, added a little more water than they recommended {i’m at 7,500 feet} and the result was an empty pan.

it was time to try them again for a going way party {wow, i have been partying, eh} but in a mini-muffin form. they are just prettier that way.

after adjusting the ingredients for the altitude, i oiled the mini-muffin pans, and scoop small spoonfuls into eat mini muffin hole. then baked 25 degrees higher, cooled on my stove for just a bit and scooped each one out using a spoon {very carefully}. i then allowed them to cool completely on cooling racks.

isn’t she purdy? I am especially impressed with the flakey top and moist bottom. biting into them was just as devine. moist and satisfying.

the ingredients are what I would find in my pantry minus the evaporated cane juice. i sprinkled the tops of the brownie bites with powdered sugar and, again, came back with an empty tray. i will make these again, especially when in a time crunch, which is almost always {wink}.

have you tried this mix? have you tried any of their other mixes? let me know what you thought and what you would recommend!

quinoa cucumber salad

Last night my family was invited over for Elk Sliders. Yep, Elk Sliders. I did not even know that one could eat Elk. I was asked to bring a salad. Hmm, what does one bring to a pot luck that goes with Elk? A challenge I was excited to take. I first found out some pretty interesting facts about Elk meat. Elk can also be termed Venison meat, or deer meat. It is a superior meat producing animal; leaner, has less calories, and less cholesterol than Chicken, Lamb, Beef, and Pork {in that order}. I have had venison stew back in college and recalled it as tender, sweet, and tasty, so needless to say, I was excited about trying out this new burger!

I concluded that I couldn’t bring just any salad to this dinner. I wanted to bring a special salad to accompany this special meat. Aha! It is time to try out that quinoa recipe I have been formulating in my head and waiting for just the right time to create it!

My Quinoa Cucumber Salad!

Master Chef Jack and his beautiful Souis Chef Peg out did themselves in their culinary expertise! My six year old son ate three and hubby had two sliders. Unfortunately, we forgot to ask to pull aside two for Greanbean and I with nothing in them {his fixens had gluten in them}, but boy did I enjoy watching my son devour the sliders and say over andover again, “Mom, you have to make these for us at home.”

The salad got rave reviews more than once with requests for the recipe which is always a good sign of success! I assure you it is and will be a crowd pleaser and will find itself in the menu rotation in your home!

i love how vibrant the tomatoes are! can you just smell the basil and sweet green onions?

look at the translucency and the thin fiber line in the quinoa. cooked just perfectly.

quinoa cucumber salad

Serves 8
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 35 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish, Salad, Side Dish
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Occasion Barbecue, Casual Party
Region American
By author Claudine Phillips
This salad is a gluten-free refreshing option perfect for summer parties and potlucks!


  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 Large cucumber (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 cup green onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 carton cherry tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 cup basil (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon local honey
  • 1 Small avocado (sliced)
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)


You can always add pine nuts or chopped chicken to pack in the protein.


Step 1
Place the quinoa in a bowl. Cover with cold water and allow it to sit for 5 minutes. Drain this soaked quinoa through a fine strainer until the water runs clear.
Step 2
Bring water to boil in a medium saucepan. Once boiling, add a pinch of salt and the quinoa. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender and translucent. The grains will have a small thread running through each grain. Drain off water in the pan through a fine strainer, return quinoa back to pan, place a clean dishtowel over the pan and cover with pan lid for 10 minutes.
Step 3
While the quinoa is setting, chop the cucumber, place is colander, sprinkle and toss with salt. Cover with a dishtowel and allow it to sit for 15 minutes. Chop the tomatoes, onions, and basil. Rinse the cucumber. Combine cucumber, tomatoes, onions, and basil in one large bowl.
Step 4
To make the vinaigrette, combine the red wine vinegar, honey, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Slightly whisk to combine. Slowly whisk in the olive oil; add salt and pepper to taste.
Step 5
Last, mix in the quinoa. Add the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Finally, gently fold in the crumbled feta. Slice the avocado and serve on the side or on top! Enjoy!

 this recipe can have many variations. share yours with us! we’d love to see what you do with it!

I gave betty a try

I am a fan of cooking from scratch, and the perfectionist in me cringes to think my first post is about a pre-packaged product. However, three factors influenced the decision: I had always been curious about Betty Crocker’s GF products, I was in a crunch, and my kids were in the mood to bake with me. So, I tried out Betty.

Cupcakes was the choice. Great for little fingers at parties. I have to say, I was pleased. It was quick to make and cook, remained fluffy for at least two days, and tasty. I kept a few “cakes” without icing for GreenBean. I have not been able to make an icing that her tummy likes. I am looking for a good GF, Dairy free, nut free, egg free icing that will stay on a cupcake and not slide off {wink} or harden upon application….Please share if you have any icing recipes that fits the bill.

Unfortunately, Greenbean did have a tummy ache after she ate her “cake”.  Could have been a number of things: cross contamination, the xantham gum ingedient (I have a hunch she may have a sensitivity), or anothe ingredient in the “ingedient list” we have not tested for.

Overall, if you are gluten intolerant or sensitive, you may have luck. For now, my little celiac will refrain until further “testing” on her allergy trail.

Have you tried this product? If so, share with me what you thought when you tried it. If not, will you share other products that have been a hit!

***This email is not a promotion or recommendation of the above product. These are only opinions through experience of the dietitian and her daughter. You must make your own decision via your discernment and recommendations by your primary care givers.