Healthier Pumpkin Cookies

This weekend I was craving pumpkin. I LOVE pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pancakes. Well, you get the idea :). My daughter, Natalie, was home this weekend and we went to work transforming a regular pumpkin cookie recipe to a more healthy version. 

The original pumpkin cookie recipe is bomb. Here it is just in case you want to make it :). 


2 c. Sugar

2 Eggs

2 tea. Vanilla

2 c. Pumpkin

1 1/2 c. Butter

4 c. Flour

1 tea. Salt

4 tea. Baking powder

2 tea. Soda

1 bag Chocolate Chips

1/2 tea. Cinnamon

1 c. Walnuts (optional)

Mix first 5 ingredients together (wet ingredients) and the dry ingredients in another bowl. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet and add chocolate chips and nuts at the last. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 min depending on how big your cookies are. These are so delicious! BUT they have butter, white flour, eggs and a lot of sugar. Here’s the updated healthier version :).


1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

2 T. milled flax seed mixed with 6 T. water (mix and let stand until thickened)

2 tea. vanilla

2 cup pumpkin

1 1/2 cup Apple sauce

2 cup quick cooking oats

2 cups oat flour

1 tea. salt

4 tea. baking powder

1 tea. baking soda

1/2 tea. cinnamon

1 12 oz. package of chocolate chips (EnjoyLife)

Mix first 6 ingredients and add remaining. 

Bake at 350 for 13-15 minutes on cookie sheet. 

Enjoy! These are best the following day after you bake them. Seriously, so good!

This is the substitution list:

Applesauce for the butter

Used half the sugar and added brown sugar for part

Oat flour (we ground in the Vitamix 2 c.) and quick oats for 2 c. for white flour 

Flax seed for eggs. 

The Master Chef :)!


My Friend Friday Guest today is one of my dear friends, Sumiko Monson!! If you talk to anyone about this dear friend, they will all tell you that “Sumiko, is the sweetest! I love her!” She has the most sweet, pure heart and is a great example of Christ-like service. She and her family have been dear friends of ours for about 17 years and we LOVE the Monson family!! Sumiko is such an amazing little chef and each time we eat a meal in her home, we come away lifted up in spirit and our bellies are full with the most delicious Japanese food. She is seriously a gem!

Just look at this awesome family! Sumiko is sharing with us today a couple of recipes that are some of our favs!  Here’s Sumiko…….

My name is Sumiko Monson.  I grew up in Japan and moved to Hawaii to attend Brigham Young University Hawaii, and met my husband while working at the Polynesian cultural center where we worked as Japanese tour guides.  He is a blessing from Heavenly Father and I love him dearly!!  We lived in Oahu and Maui for 16 years and Tokyo for 4 years before moving to St. George, Utah.  For the first 18 years of my life, I lived to play sports, namely basketball, tennis, track and swimming.  But marathon is whole another level of intense dedication and endurance.  I have much respect for Peggy and her fellow runners!

My husband and I have 5 grown children and the first 3 are married to amazing spouses, the other two are in college.  We have 7 precious grandchildren who melt our hearts.  Going on vacation with them is my favorite thing to do.

I first met Peggy in our church nursery room where her Caden and my Casey attended 15 plus years ago.  And when she told me that her husband served his LDS mission in Japan, they took special place in my heart J.  She is a super lady who can do anything and everything but is still humble and sweet.  I am blessed to have her as my friend!

The Chicken Katsu and Butter Mochi recipes I posted here are my children’s all time favorites!  They are Japanese influenced and very popular in Hawaii.

Chicken Katsu

2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts-slice in half horizontally

½ cup flour

2 eggs, beaten, mix with half an egg shell water

2 cups panko

salad oil for frying

Pat chicken with paper towel. Dredge thin sliced chicken in flour, dip in eggs, and coat with panko. In electric skillet, heat oil to 375F. Fry chicken until golden brown; drain on paper towels. Cut into 1 inch strips. Serve with Katsu Sauce. Makes 6 servings.

* I slice chicken in half, horizontally, to make each piece thin.

Katsu Sauce
1/3 cup ketchup
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
dash of pepper
Combine all ingredients. Makes about 1 cup

Butter Mochi

1 lb mochiko
2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup butter, melted
1 can coconut milk
1 cup milk (I used 1% milk)
5 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, combine mochiko, sugar, and baking powder. Add remaining ingredients to mochiko mixture and mix well. Pour into a 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan. Bake for 1 hour; cool. I cut mine into 1 x 2 inch small rectangle pieces.



I always get so excited to do my guest posts on Friday because I have so many wonderful friends and family members that are amazing cooks, and this week is no exception! Megan is such an amazing mother, wife, friend, leader and she and her husband have such strong family ties. I love how they are so connected with their families, and always having gatherings with them. They come from good stock :). Megan is just so sweet and kind and always has a smile on her face. I love how she is so personable with her friends and always so thoughtful. She is such an amazing cook!! I’m so happy that Megan is willing to share with us today!! Thanks so much Megan! You put a smile on my face when you brought me a sample of this delicious goodness :). AND with the holidays coming up, this recipe is going to be a hit!  Love ya, Megan. Here’s Megan…….

I first met Peggy around 16 years ago when we moved into the neighborhood. Peggy has always been someone I have admired. She has dedication written all over her. Her dedication to her husband and family is a beautiful thing. She love them very much and will do anything for them. I love to ask her how they are doing and watch her eyes light up as she speaks about them. I also love her dedication to the gospel of Jesus Christ. She truly emulates goodness and love. She has a strong testimony of her Savior Jesus Christ and she shares it often. I love her for that. Her dedication to her health is so amazing. She is always trying to eat healthy and workout and take care of her body….(She is an amazing cook and she fed us well at Girls Camp for a week. I loved the time we sat around and visited while enjoying some yummy treats!) I remember years ago when I was training for a marathon she asked me if I wanted to run with her one morning. I thought, well I know she is fast however I think I can do it. I had been running and training for awhile. Well I quickly learned that Peggy is an Energizer Bunny. She is fast and just keeps going. I wasn’t quite on that level at the time so I never ran with her again. Peggy is one of my dear friends whom I love. Thanks for your dedication to being all-around AMAZING!

I grew up in Santa Clara, Utah. I met Trever while attending Dixie High School my sophomore year. He was on the baseball team and I was on the softball team. We dated each other as well as dated other people for the next couple of years. After high school, Trever served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to Puerto Rico. I attended Dixie College and played volleyball my freshman year and softball my sophomore year. When Trever returned from his mission he played baseball at Dixie College as well. We were married 7 months after he returned home. We have 4 children-Camryn 18, Cole 16, Jake 13 & Kate 11. We love to support them in all that they’re involved in. (Baseball, Softball, Golf, Volleyball, Piano, School…just to name a few) That is my hobby right now-supporting my kids. I am able to work everyday with Trever at Wilkinson’s House of Lighting and I love it. Trever and I have been blessed to travel to many beautiful places in this world. Turks and Caicos was a favorite. My dream vacation will be traveling to Italy someday. I love to cook and bake and try new recipes. I love sushi and a good homemade chocolate chip cookie.

Dinner Rolls/ Cinnamon Rolls (recipe taken from


1 1/2 cups of milk

3/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon Sugar

1 egg

1 Tablespoon salt

2 Tablespoons yeast

2 cups of warm water

about 9-10 cups of all purpose flour

at least 1 cup of butter

Scald 1 1/2 cups of milk, 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup of butter, in a microwave safe bowl, for about 2 minutes. Cutting the butter into pieces helps it melt faster. There will probably be some little cubes of butter still floating in the hot mixture, they will melt.
add yeast to this hot mixture, but it will be too hot to just dump the yeast straight in (it would kill it!). To cool it down stir in 1-2 cups of flour, then add 1 egg and 1 Tablespoon of salt, and leave it to cool for a couple of minutes. Meanwhile, in a measuring cup dissolve 2 Tablespoons of yeast in 2 cups of warm water and 1 Tablespoon of sugar. Let it sit for a couple of minutes until it is bubbly.

Make sure your milk mixture is just warm, not boiling and add the yeast mixture!

Pour milk mixture and yeast into mixing bowl or use a machine. I use a Bosch. Gradually stir in 9-10 cups of flour (counting the flour you have already added to cool it earlier). I would recommend only adding 2 cups at time and stirring in between. These rolls turn out so much better when they are mixed by hand.

At the end the dough will be dense and sticky, and may be hard to stir, you can use your hands to incorporate the rest of the flour if needed. Be sure not to add too much flour. Then smooth the dough out and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Leave it in a warm place and let it rise.
When your dough is close to raising completely, butter 2 cookie sheets and set them aside.

Let the dough raise until it has doubled in size.

Cover your working space with a tablespoon of oil to prevent the dough from sticking. Dump your dough out and divide it into 4 balls. Eyeball the sizes, then lift them up and feel the weight of each ball. Try to make them even, but they don’t have to be perfect.

Using one ball of dough at a time: roll the dough into a circle on a floured counter. Once it is rolled out spread the top with butter from edge to edge. You will use about 2 Tablespoons per circle of dough.

Cut the dough into quarters using a pizza cutter.

Then cut each quarter into 3 pieces. You should end up with 12 triangles from each circle of dough.

Roll the dough starting with the wide end of the triangle

Tuck the tail of the triangle under the roll and place it on the buttered cookie sheet. You will make 3 rows, with 8 rolls per row. This will give you 24 rolls per pan. Two balls of dough will fill 1 pan. You will get a total of 48 rolls!

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Place the pans of rolls in a warm place (on top of the oven if possible) to let them rise. Once they are touching and full in size, cook (one pan at a time) in the oven ’till they are golden brown. About 20 minutes, depending on how hot your oven cooks. Keep a close eye on your first pan to get the right time for the second.

While they are still hot and fresh out of the oven run a stick of butter over the tops of the rolls for a delicious buttery glaze.

I usually make 24 Dinner Rolls and 24 Cinnamon Rolls out of this recipe.


Variation for Cinnamon Rolls:

Once you have rolled out one of the balls of dough into a circle, spread butter on it, sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon on it. Next use the pizza cutter and cut into 12 triangles. Roll up into a croissant shape. Place them on the buttered pan. Cook for 20 min at 350 degrees. Once they’ve cooled, spread with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting for 24 Cinnamon Rolls:

1/4 cup butter (1/2 cube)

8 oz. Cream Cheese

1 tsp. vanilla

2-3+ cups powdered sugar (depending on the sweetness you enjoy)


Where should I start with this dear friend?  There are just so many things about her that I love!! Corinne is an amazing mother and grandma,  a true friend through and through, she is a great listener and she gives great advice, she’s one of the most generous, unselfish friends I know. AND I just love hanging out with her. Corinne is my Harmons Cooking School pal and that is always a treat (no pun intended ha :). She is such an amazing cook and could open up a restaurant of her own because she is THAT good :).  Today Corinne is sharing with us one of my favorites–Warm Salmon Salad Nicoise. This one is AMAZING!! I know because my DH and I were invited to eat with them :).

Look at this beautiful family and yes, Corinne is the mom!!! Some of my favs right here :). Soooo here’s Corinne…….

Peggy and I have been to some very fun cooking classes at the Harmons in Santa Clara. Lead by the team of Chef Jackie and Chef Shane, we have a great time learning, cooking and laughing. I highly recommend anyone interested to check these classes out.

One of the recent classes we attended was called summer salads and it has become a house favorite! I am not great at following the exact recipe, I usually shop for the vegetables that look fresh and add them to this version of the salad. So be creative with what your family likes!


First off I make my dressing, which I love this dressing the most!

1 clove garlic minced

1 shallot minced

Chives minced

Add 1 part (1/4 cup) of pear champagne vinegar

Add 3 parts (3/4 cup) of grape seed oil

Tsp spicy brown mustard (don’t use frenchs, anything else is fine)

Salt and sugar depending on taste

Add salt and sugar at the very end. You will need a little of both. Add slowly and taste each time you add until you are satisfied. One other trick that really makes this dressing yummy is adding a few drop of truffle oil. But just a very few because it is potent! Blend everything in a food process or Vitamix. Refrigerate as you prepare the salads.

Boil 3-4 Yukon gold potatoes. When tender, set aside to cool slightly. While my potatoes are cooking I prepare my greens. I love to mix flavors of red and green leaf for pretty color. Boil 1 egg per salad. Prepare green beans and asparagus or whatever vegetables you like! I steam these vegetables to al dente. Wash and slice tomatoes into wedges. 3-4 wedges per salad is great. Peel and cut up potatoes and eggs.

Prepare salmon by adding a little salt and pepper. Heat a pan on the stove or grill until hot! Add olive oil and lay salmon presentation side down first (so the skin is up). Cook 3 minutes or until the salmon no longer sticks to the pan. Turn the heat down to medium and turn for an addition 2 minutes or until it is done to your liking.

Assemble salads! I like to put greens in the middle. Lay the vegetables around the edges with the salmon.


Pour the dressing over the salad. Call your favorite friends over and enjoy!

Grilled Lime (Lemon:) Salmon with Avocado-Mango Salsa and Coconut Rice

Emily’s guest post on Friday had me craving some mango salsa on some salmon and one of my favorite cooking blogs is called, so I adapted my recipe from this blog.  It was definitely a keeper!

4 (6 oz) skinless salmon fillets
3 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for grill
2 tsp lime zest (I used lemon because I didn’t have any lime)
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice (again, I used lemon)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups Water
1 1/4 cups canned coconut milk
1 1/2 cups jasmine rice, rinsed well and drained well
1/2 tsp salt
1 large mango, peeled and diced
3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper, (1/2 large)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup chopped red onion, rinsed under water and drained
1 large avocado, peeled and diced
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice (lemon juice)
1 Tbsp. coconut milk
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the salmon:

In an 11×7-inch baking dish whisk together olive oil, lime zest, lime juice, garlic and season with salt and pepper to taste (a fair amount of each). Place salmon in baking dish, cover and allow to marinate in refrigerator 15 – 30 minutes, then flip salmon to opposite side and allow to marinate 15 – 30 minutes longer. Preheat a grill over medium-high heat during last 10 minutes of marinating.

Brush grill grates with oil or I used my the indoor grill on my panini grill. Place salmon on grill for about 3 minutes per side (I cooked mine about 5 min on my panini grill) or until just cooked through (turn carefully as the salmon will be fragile).  Fish will continue cooking still when pulled off the grill, so I like to slightly undercook.


For the coconut rice:


I kept it simple and used my rice cooker, but here is the recipe for the saucepan cooking method:

While salmon is marinating prepare coconut rice. In a medium saucepan bring water, coconut milk, rice and salt to a full boil. Cover and simmer until liquid has been absorbed (there may be just a little bit of excess liquid in center which you can drain off), about 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork, then let rest 5 minutes.

For the avocado-mango salsa:


While the salmon is grilling prepare salsa. In a medium bowl toss together mango, bell pepper, cilantro, red onion, avocado, lime juice, olive oil and coconut water. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Serve salmon warm with coconut rice top with avocado mango salsa.

Just a word about my FRIEND FRIDAY GUEST this week……….YOU DEFINITELY DON’T WANT TO MISS IT :).  It’s going to be awesome!


Today my Friend Friday Guest is like one of my own–Emily Hollingshead! This is one incredible little mama! Not only is she an incredible wife and mother to her sweet baby girl, but she is one of the best dental assistants around :). I should know because she works with my husband, who is dentist 😬. She is quite an amazing cook too! I’m so excited to share with you this recipe for Chili Lime Tacos with Grilled Pineapple Salsa.

My name is Emily and I am a mom and wife. I am always looking for easy and yummy recipes. Peg is always giving my good ideas so I’m happy to be able to share something as a guest on her blog :).

My husband, Scott and I have been married for 6 years. We have a beautiful baby girl, Blakely, who we love more than anything!! We also have two fur babies. We LOVE being outside and exploring. We are always heading to anywhere there is water.

This recipe is a favorite in our house and I hope you find it delicious as well.

Chili Lime Chicken Tacos with Grilled Pineapple Salsa (from
For the Chicken:
Chili Lime Rub
2 T. Olive Oil
1 tea. chili powder
1-4 1/2 teas. chipotle chile powder (optional for more heat)
1/2 tea. ground cumin
1/2 tea. smoked paprika
1/2 tea. onion powder
1/2 tea. garlic powder
3/4 tea. salt
1/4 tea. brown sugar
fresh-squeezed lime juice from 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
Lime zest from 1 lime
In a small bowl, whisk chicken rub ingredients together and rub evenly all over the chicken breasts.  Time permitting, allow chicken to sit for 30 min at room temperature.
Cook in slow cooker on low 4-6 hours and shred.

Or you can GRILL the chicken.  Here are the directions:

If chicken has been refrigerated, let sit at room temp. for 15-30 min.  Meanwhile, grease and preheat the grill to medium heat 375-450 degrees.  Grill chicken undisturbed for 5-7 min per side, or until chicken is cooked through. (An inserted thermometer should read 165 degrees F). Remove chicken from grill and let rest 5 min before slicing.

OR you can cook the chicken on the STOVE-TOP. Here are the instructions:

If chicken has been refrigerated, let sit at room temp for 15-30 min.  Heat a large non-stick pan over med.-high heat. Once very hot, add chicken and cook, undisturbed for 3-5 min, or until nicely browned (or blackened if you prefer) on one side.  Turn chicken over, cover, and reduce heat to medium.  Cook for approx. 5-7 min more (depending on the thickness of the chicken), or until the chicken is cooked through.  Remove to a cutting board and let rest 5 min before slicing.

Grilled Pineapple Salsa


Prep Time: 5 min

Grill Time: 20 min

1/2 ripe pineapple, trimmed and sliced

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and quartered

1/2 small red onion, peeled and cut in half (you have two quarters of a whole onion)

1 whole jalapeno

1/2 c. loosely packed cilantro, finely chopped

1 T. lime juice

1/4 tea. ground ginger

1/4 tea. ground cumin

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil.

Grease grill and heat to med. high heat.

Drizzle red onions with olive oil and thread onto a skewer (if using a wooden skewer soak skewer in water for at least 30 min beforehand). Drizzle red bell pepper quarters and jalapeño with olive oil to lightly coat.

Working in batches as needed depending on grill size, grill pineapple and veggies at med. high heat until tender and lightly charred all over, about 12 min. for the onions, turning occasionally, about 8-10 min for the pineapple, or until caramelized, flipping once, 6 min for the red bell peppers, flipping once, and jalapeño for 3-5 min, turning occasionally.

Once cool enough to handle, dab off any excess oil with paper towels from veggies and chop pineapple (cutting around core). red bell peppers, and onions.  Devein and deseed jalapeño and dice., reserving some of the seeds if desired.

Toss pineapple, red bell pepper, red onion, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice, ginger, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl.  If you would like it spicier, add some of the jalapeño seeds to taste.

Can be served immediately or even better chilled.

Avocado Crema


1 medium avocado

1/2 c. sour cream

2 T. mayo.

1 T. lime juice

1/2 tea. salt

1/4 tea. ground cumin

1/4 tea. garlic powder

To make the Avocado Crema, add all the Crema ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth, scraping sides down as needed. May make 4 hours ahead of time and refrigerate in an airtight container.


To assemble, melt cheese on tortillas in the microwave or stovetop then top with Chili Lime Chicken, Pineapple Salsa followed by Avocado Crema.


Girl’s Camp Cook

Last week was a BIG week for me. It’s one of those “when it rains, it pours” weeks. Like my mama said, “And this too shall pass.” It’s soooo true and that is what I was thinking about all last week ha!! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want life to pass me by and not enjoy it, but there are those times that are just not fun, but we just have to dig in and get things done.

We have a Young Women’s organization in our church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and the lady who was in charge of Girls Camp that is held each year, asked me to be the cook or maybe I volunteered because I love girls camp 😝. Of course, I’ve done this before several times, but this year in particular, I felt more pressure. From menu planning to grocery shopping and figuring out just the right amount of food, without too much wasted, were all concerns of mine. I hate wasting food, especially when it’s not mine to waste. Yikes! Needless to say, much thought and prayer went into planning the menu, purchasing the food and actually making the food, and it was a hit. I was so very grateful to my loving Father in Heaven for helping me.  A special thank you to all of my awesome photographers and the leaders of this Young Women’s organization–Megan Johnson, Brooke Wamsley, Kathy Spendlove, Sharon Sumner and Berkley Sumner. You may hear from some of these awesome gals again on a guest post soon :).

So some tips I have learned through the years of being Girls Camp cook…………….

  1.  Do as much prep as you can before camping. I like to do all of the major meat prep before hand and also you can cut up produce. Think of everything you could possibly do before hand and just do it. It just makes life so much more enjoyable for EVERYONE :).
  2. Write out a menu for everyone to see for each meal. That way you don’t have to answer the question of the day, “What’s for dinner (breakfast or lunch)?” You get the picture. Ha.
  3. Make a shopping trip to Costco 2 days before leaving for camp. Part of the items you can get on this shopping trip is the meat to prepare. You could also do this the weekend before leaving and freeze the meat or put it in the refrigerator, depending on how far in advance you’re making it.
  4. The day before leaving, make a trip to your local grocery store to get other needed items and don’t forget ice. I like buying blocks of ice and also crushed ice for drinks and such. Also, get the stuff to make s’mores. Yum!
  5. The morning you leave, load up those coolers!!

Here’s just a sampler of some of the food that we ate.  We were all so stuffed by the time we went home.  I mean, really, who eats 3 huge meals a day any more :). I must be getting old.

One of my favorite recipes that I made for Girl’s Camp was Teriyaki Chicken Thighs.  I love it.

This is one of the recipes that I prepped before camp.

Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken Thighs

5-6 cloves of garlic   pressed
1 tablespoon fresh ginger   grated
2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch   mixed with 6 T. water
1 12 cups soy sauce   (I prefer Aloha Shoyu)
1 14 cups sugar
14 cup vinegar
5 pounds chicken thighs   (bone-in) skin removed
green onions   chopped (optional)


Parmesan Chicken with Angel Hair Pasta

You know those old recipe books that are tattered and torn? This recipe comes from one of those cookbooks that my mother gave to me many, many years ago. It is called the Panguitch Relief Society Cookbook and it was probably published in the late 70’s. It is is tried and true. I love serving this with spaghetti squash or zoodles if you’re trying to watch your carbs. I love having this dish as an early dinner the night before I do a long run or a long bike ride and have a mixture of angel hair with zoodles. It’s delish!

Parmesan Chicken

2 chicken breasts cut in half lengthwise (use a really sharp knife)

Olive oil

3/4c. Italian bread crumbs

For the sauce:

1 large can of Contadina tomato sauce (I like this brand best)

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/2-1 teaspoon garlic salt

2 T. Butter

Heat in pan until butter melts

2/3 c. Parmesean cheese, finely grated

1 c. Mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated or sliced thin

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  To prepare chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise.

Coat chicken on both sides with Italian bread crumbs. Pour a generous amount of olive oil in skillet and turn on medium high heat.  When oil is hot, place each chicken breast in pan and brown on both sides.  Remove from heat and place in baking pan sprayed with non-stick spray.  Set aside.


For the sauce, in a sauté pan mix together tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, garlic salt and butter.  Heat until boiling and butter melts.

Pour sauce on top of chicken breasts and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Cover with aluminum foil (tip: to prevent aluminum foil sticking to cheese, spray it with cooking spray) Place in oven and bake for 30 min.

The last 15 min of cooking time for the chicken, prepare angel hair.  Notice my awesome pasta measurer that my hubs 3D printed for me.  Watch soon for a giveaway for one of these :).  So handy!! Drain the pasta as soon as it has cooked to your liking.  I like 4-5 min, drain and run under cool water.  Set aside.


Ahhhhh look at that deliciousness :).  We are going to make it even more delicious and sprinkle the Mozzarella cheese on top, but remove the aluminum foil first and place back in the oven for about 5-7 min or until cheese melts.


Oh, and one side note:  Friend Friday will resume next week.  This week I’ll be gone to our awesome girls camp and, of course, I’m the camp cook. LOL.  Have a great week everyone and stay tuned for my giveaway next week!!


Tiffany is an amazing athlete. The first time I met her, she was just finishing up a swim at the lake, training for the St. George, Utah Ironman. My husband and I just arrived and I chatted with her for a minute and I was thinking, “Wow, she looks like an IM pro.”  You could definitely tell, she knew her stuff about IM training.  My husband and I were training for our first IM, so she was quite an inspiration to me.  Her accomplishments “WOW” me, especially with the obstacles that she has overcome………… AND she is my sister’s neighbor and she speaks very highly of her. I’m so very excited for her post today. She is going to share with us some inspiring accomplishments about herself, a family favorite recipe and some really great fitness tips. Thanks so much Tiffany for sharing with us today. Also, for those of us who live in the STG area, Tiffany can help you reach your optimal performance at the Dixie Regional Health & Performance Center. They have a sports package that includes a Bod Pod (calculates body fat %), VO2 Max, and basal metabolic testing that would be very helpful for training. I am looking forward to getting tested. STG Marathon and NY are right around the corner! Okay, so let’s get to it! Here’s Tiffany………………..❤️

I guess you could say that I am a wellness nerd. I graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and a minor in Dance. I love to learn, so I decided to go back to school and get my Master’s in Sports Nutrition. I have to admit that my grades are much better now that I’m older and understand the value of education. Who would have thought that I could get a 4.0 GPA? HAHA!

My job as an Exercise Physiologist at Intermountain Live Well allows me to share my passion for wellness with others, and the rewards of seeing clients pursue a healthy lifestyle is priceless. I also empower others to chase their dreams as owner of TG Triathlon and Fitness. As a World National Olympic Distance Age Group Qualifier in 2012-2016, I have been chasing my own dreams by competing in over 175 triathlons, including 16 Ironman finishes. From 2012-2016, I received Ironman All World Athlete by placing in the top 10% in the world for my age division. (I’m old…. hitting 50 on my next birthday). J

Despite my accomplishments in 2010, I suffered 3 strokes which lead to heart surgery. These obstacles have lead me to have a great desire to infuse balance and gratitude in my life. When I’m not training or races, I enjoy hiking, cooking, sewing, reading and SUP. My greatest accomplishment is being a wife and mother of three kids ages 25, 20, and 14. My family is the heart of my success.

This recipe is one of my family’s favorite. I will usually double the recipe so that we can have left overs. It can be used in whole wheat tortillas, taco shells, on tops of nachos for a hearty meal, or on top of mixed greens for a yummy salad. (That’s my personal favorite) J

One Pot Quinoa Taco Dinner


• 1.25 lbs. of Ground Turkey or Beef (You can leave this out for vegetarian option)

• 2 Bell Peppers Diced

• 1 Onion Diced

• 2 Tomatoes Diced canned or fresh from the garden

• 1 Can of Corn (drained) or Frozen works great too

• 1/2 cup salsa

• 1 cup Canned Black Beans (about half a can) I like to rinse them off first

• 1 cup Water

• 1 cup Beef or Vegetable Stock Low Sodium

• 1 cup Long Grained Rice (not minute rice) or Quinoa

• 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of Cumin

• 1 teaspoon garlic powder

• 1 teaspoon chili powder

• 1 cup Cheddar Cheese

• Taco shells, whole wheat tortillas or mixed greens (depending on what your family enjoys)


1. Begin browning meat in skillet. Drain the fat. (I like to add crushed garlic too).

2. After slightly brown, add diced onion and diced peppers and cook until meat is completely browned.

3. On medium heat, stir in water, beef stock, beans, and rice or quinoa. (I’m added both rice and quinoa sometimes)

4. Stir in cumin, garlic powder, and chili powder.

5. Add in the corn and tomatoes

6. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, (quinoa takes a bit longer 20-25 minutes) or until rice is completely cooked and liquid has absorbed.

7. Stir in the cheese and top with your favorite taco toppings! We love adding sour cream and guacamole to ours. Enjoy!

I love this recipe because you can adapt it to what your family likes. If you are vegan leave out the meat and switch the beef broth to vegetable. If you have fresh garden tomatoes, use those. I can’t really say where I got this recipe from, because I adapted it from an original and made it fit my family and their needs. One word of advice is you should do just that. Look at a recipe and make it fit your taste and your family. Same way when you eat out. If you don’t something on the menu, as if they can create something for you based on what ingredients is found in the other menu items.

 Fitness Tip-

“Start where you are, don’t compare yourself to others, and enjoy the journey.” Tiffany Gust

There is no magic bullet for optimal health. Just eat real food and then you don’t have to worry about all the fads and diet craze. Listen to your body and try to make movement a part of your everyday life. Engage in activities that you enjoy and encourage those around you to become active with you. Spending time with family and friends can make movement and exercise enjoyable and rewarding, while building the bonds in the relationship.

If you struggle to enjoy fitness, then learn to enjoy the feeling of success when you have completed a hard workout. Enjoy the freedom you feel when the endorphins have amped up your energy. Work around your limitations if you are dealing with health issues or an injury. Trust me, I know how it feels to have your whole life flipped around and going from being a successful athlete to having health issues that only allow you to go for a walk or a short swim. Don’t focus on what you can’t do, focus on what you can. Bask in the gratitude that you have for still being alive and well. Anchor into the moments that can get you through those hard times. Do things that will allow you to feel success and make your heart smile. Find ways to enjoy nature and peace in your life. Now, go out and CHASE THOSE DREAMS!!! J



I’m so excited to have my sweet friend, Amber Green, as a guest today. Not only is she an incredible runner (like winning marathons kind of incredible:), she is such a ray of sunshine to all who comes into contact with her. She has a love in her heart for everyone, even her competitors. I’ve always admired that about her. She is not threatened by her competition, but she embraces the challenge. A great example for us all to follow. Amber adores her family and is such a dedicated wife and mother AND she is an awesome cook!! Thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to share with us, Amber. Love ya!

Hi, my name is Amber Green. I’ve known Peg for many years, mainly through running, and have ALWAYS admired her zest for life! I”m excited to be a guest on the blog and want to share a recipe with you that I make often that meets the criteria of both delicious and nutritious. I like any way to sneak veggies into foods, and this recipe utilizes the abundant summer zucchini.

First a quick intro: I was born and raised in St.George, Utah, and I could live in this beautiful place forever. Let’s just say I don’t mind the heat 🙂 Bring it! My husband Matt and I have three children, all boys for us – ages 13, 11, and 9. I am a full-time Mom and a part-time Fitness Instructor at Summit Athletic Club. I also LOVE to RUN (and like to pretend that running is my “other” job even though it is not hehe). I have run nearly 40 marathons, placing first in many including the St.George marathon 3 times. I have been privileged to compete in the Boston marathon numerous times as well as the Olympic Trials marathon in 2016. Running is one of the highlights of my life….which leads quite nicely into eating don’t you think?

This recipe comes out of the new cookbook “Run Fast, Eat Slow,” by elite distance runner Shalane Flanagan and her co-author Elyse Kopecky. As an athlete, I am always trying to perform at my best, and nutrition plays a huge role in optimizing performance. Shalane and Elyse offer this recipe which is gluten-free and I think very delicious. Enjoy!

Superhero Muffins

2 cups almond meal

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (gluten free if sensitive)

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1/2 cup raisins, chopped dates, or chocolate chips (optional)

3 eggs, beaten

1 cup grated zucchini (about 1 zucchini)

1 cup grated carrots (about 2 carrots)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup dark amber maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper muffin cups.

2. In a large bowl, combine the almond meal, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt, and walnuts, raisins, dates, or chocolate chips (if using).

3. In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, zucchini, carrots, butter, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. The batter will be thick.


4. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling each to the brim. Bake until the muffins are nicely browned on top and a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean, 25-35 minutes.
The recipe also gives a hint about how to make your own almond meal.

“If you have a high-powered blender, you can grind your own almond flour. For 2 cups of almond flour, pulse 10 ounces of whole raw almonds on high speed until finely ground.”

I, (and I’m guessing many of you) like to play with the recipe and mix it up. With this particular recipe I have tried adding mashed banana, applesauce &/or coconut oil in place of the maple syrup and butter. It’s a little less sweet this way, but still delicious. Pecans are also a nice addition or replacement for walnuts. And with the addition of chocolate chips, you may even get the approval of the kiddos! Overall, this is a great recipe as is, that I like to make and have on hand to have for breakfast with a smoothie, on it’s own with some almond milk, or as a quick snack.