Cinnamon-Vanilla Glazed Nuts {DIY holiday gift}

cinnamon vanilla coated nuts

Nuts make a great every day snack. It’s a great way to sneak some healthy fat into your diet, but watch the portions. Fat contains 9 calories for every gram compared to protein and carbs which contain 4 calories per one gram. Fat is a more concentrated source of energy, so watch the portions. Buy raw nuts in bulk at the health food store or at Costco. Eat them as is or try this cinnamon vanilla coated nut recipe below.

This recipe makes a great gift idea for anytime of year. I love making these for for the holidays as gifts or to add to my snack station in my fridge or pantry.

Nutrition facts about nuts:

  • almonds: almonds are one of the lowest calorie nuts per serving compared to cashews and pistachio’s. Plus, almonds are rich in calcium and magnesium – both minerals are important for bone and nevous system health. One serving of almonds, about one ounce or 28 kernels contain about 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber.
  • cashews: For a one ounce serving of cashews, it contains about 5 grams of protein, 12 grams of fat and just under one gram of fiber.  Cashews are a great source of a few minerals, such as manganese, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc.
  • pecans: Pecans are an excellent source of vitamin-E, especially rich in gamma-tocopherol. Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin, one its roles is to protect the  skin from harmful oxygen-free radicals and is need maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes. Pecans are an excellent source of B-complex vitamins – ribolflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, folate and B-6. Pecans are also a source of manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium.
  • walnuts: are an excellent source of omega- 3 fatty acids, particularly alpha-linolenic acid (ALA for short) compared to other nuts. Omega-3 fatty acid is essential fatty acid our body does not manufacture, so it’s important to get it from food sources. Walnuts are also a good source of copper, magnesium, molybdenum, and vitamin E.
Vanilla Coated Mixed Nuts:
Servings: 16/ Serving Size: ¼ cup
Weight Watcher points plus:  5 pts
Calories: 188/ protein: 6.5 g/ carbs: 6 g/ Fiber: 2 g/ Sugars: 1 g/ Total fat: 16.5 g/ saturated fat: 2.8 g/ monounsaturated fat: 7.5 g/ polyunsaturated fat: 6.2 g


  • 4 cups of mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, etc.)
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 Tbsp of water
  • 1  tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoon ground cinnamon – or more!
  • ¼ cup of vanilla whey  protein – optional
  • 2 packets of stevia in the raw or you can use ¼ cup of your choice of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Line a baking sheet with a silpat mat or parchment paper.
  3. Place mixed nuts in a medium bowl .
  4. In a small bowl, add egg whites, water, vanilla extract, cinnamon, salt. Mix well and pour over the nuts.  Using your hands or spatula to coat the nuts.
  5. Add one packet of stevia (or half of the sugar), half of the whey vanilla protein and the salt, stirring well into the nuts coated with egg white mixture.
  6. Spread onto the baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, making sure to stir the peanuts on the edges in to prevent burning.
  7. Let cool for 2-3 minutes and then stir the peanuts, scraping the honey from the silpat to coat the peanuts.
  8. Sprinkle with 1 packet of stevia (or remaining sugar), add the remaining whey protein; stir again.
  9. Taste and sample one nut, add more cinnamon or more stevia (sugar) to taste. Let cool completely. Before storing in an airtight container.  Yields 4 cups.

Butterscotch Brownies in a Jar {DIY Holiday Gift}

brownie butterscotch

Brownies in a jar makes a great gift for any occasion. It’s a perfect project for kids and it’s the perfect inexpensive gift for teachers, neighbors, and anyone that enjoys baked goods. Have fun making a pretty direction labels and dressing up the jar.

I reused my Smucker’s peanut butter jar instead of purchasing a jar. Just another way to reuse what you have in your home. My kids had so much fun assembling these this morning!

What are your kids favorite homemade gifts to make?

Butterscotch-Pecan Brownies in a Jar~Lisa’s SMART recipe
Servings: 16 brownies /Serving Size: 1/
Weight Watcher pts: 4/Points Plus: 5
Calories: 190/protein:  2.5 g/ fat: 10 g/ carbs: 24 g/ fiber: 1.7 g
1  cup  whole wheat pastry flour, such as King Arthur brand
1/3  cup  unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2  teaspoon  baking powder 
1  cup sugar (I used coconut sugar)
1/4  teaspoon  salt
1/2  cup  butterscotch morsels
1/2  cup  chopped pecans
1/2  cup  organic butter, melted and cooled
1 one whole egg & one egg whites, slightly beaten

1. Layer in a 1-quart glass jar or canister the following ingredients: cocoa powder, sugar, pecans, flour, baking powder, salt, and butterscotch baking morsels. Tap jar gently on the counter to settle each layer before adding the next. Cover jar and store at room temperature up to one month. Or, attach baking directions and give as a gift.
*I had my boys help me and they wanted to mixed all the dry ingredients together in a bowl, then put it into a jar, layered it with pecans and butterscotch morsels.

2. Directions for baking: Heat oven to 350 degree F. Grease a 8x8x2-inch baking pan. In a large bowl, cream the butter for about 30 seconds. Add eggs, mix well. Add the jar contents, mix well with spatula. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 35 minutes or until edges begin to pull away from pan. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Makes 16 brownies.

Nutritional Analysis:
calories: 190/ protein: 2.5/ carbohydrates: 24 g/ fiber: 1.7 g/ sugars: 16 g/ total fat: 10 g/ saturated fat: 5.7 g/ monounsaturated fat: 3 g/ polyunsaturated fat: 1 g/ cholesterol: 15 mg/ sodium: 100 mg

Homemade Whipped Body Butter with Vitamin E

diy whipped body butter


This Christmas I will be making homemade body butters with essential oils as gifts for teachers and the ladies in my family. I made whipped body butter as gifts last year and they were a huge hit with my training clients.

On the internet, there are many recipe post on how to make homemade body butters, this one is really no different. I adapted my recipe from Wellness Mama website but just added some vitamin E oil. I’m slowly making the transition into using more natural skin care products for my family. This body butter recipe is safe for all ages, including babies. However, if you plan on making these as gifts, find out if they are allergic to any of the  ingredients below – nut or seed allergies!!!!

I’ve played around with this recipe and what I found is that if you use 1.5 cups of solid oil/butter at room temperature and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of liquid oil at room temperature – the results will be similar. Basically, if you don’t have cocoa butter or shea butter on hand you can get away with making this body butter in time for gifts for Christmas.

This reicpe will make about 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. ounces) of final product. I used the 4 ounce Ball Jar containers and filled them to the line inside the jar (about 3 ounces).

glass jars four ounces

Below is a step by step process on how I made my body butters!

body butter collage

Homemade Whipped Body Butter adapted from Wellness Mama


  • 1/2 cup cocoa butter
  • 1/2 cup shea butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp vitamin E oil
  • Optional: essential oil drops. Depending on the scent you use, add 10 to 30 drops of essential oils. I personally like to add 10 drops of peppermint and 10 drops lavendar essential oils to this batch of body butter.


  1. In a double broiler or glass bowl, melt cocoa butter, shea butter, and coconut oil. Cocoa butter will take the longest to melt. I used a large glass bowl to melt my butters over a sauce pan of boiling water. Once melted, add sesame oil and vitamin E oil. Using a spatula mix oils until blended well.
  2. Transfer the glass bowl with the melted oils into the refrigerator for about an hour. (I transfered my melted oils into the immersion cup, pictured above).
  3. Take it out of the fridge when it starts to harden and look opaque. If you left in the fridge too long, just let it sit out or melt it slightly so you can whip it up. Using a hand mixer or immersion blender, blend for about 10 minutes. Now is a good time to add your essential oils and blends.
  4. Add it back into the fridge for another 5 to 10 minutes so it can firm up a bit. Blend it one more time for a minute or so.
  5. Next, transfer the whipped body butter into jars.

Grab and Go Snack Station in Your Fridge {Vlog}

snacks on the go collage


Snacks can be a valuable part of your healthy eating program.  Going without food for more than three to four hours can result in making bad food choices and/or eating more calories than your body needs.

I put together a quick video showing you a sneak peak into my fridge and how I organize the second and third shelves into “Grab and Go Snack Stations”.

snacks apple walnuts

A few days a week, I try to make sure I have fresh fruit and veggies cut up and stored into containers and/or bags.

snacks hommus eggs

I love finding preportioned snacks, such as hummus and guacamole, makes my life easier when my schedule doesn’t allow me to make my own fresh batch.

snacks guac cup

This time of year, I’m so busy with extra stuff like holiday shopping, taking my boys to their after school activities, holiday parites, etc.

snacks chobani flip

I just feel like I have less time to be in the kitchen as often as I like. So having snacks on hand that are easy to assemble makes it easier for me to eat healthy.

snacks leftovers

I’ll even try to make extra food for dinner so I can have leftovers to last me for the next few days as meals on the go!

snacks juice plus isapro

Plus, having a snack station in my fridge helps my boys to make healthy snack choices as well! Even my five-year old son can assemble a snack!

Do you have a “grab and go” snack station at your house?

What are some of your favorite “grab and go” snacks? 


7 Strategies to Avoid Mindless Eating

7 strategies to avoid me

Whether you’re at your computer munching on a bag of pretzels or watching television chomping on a bag of potato chips, or a few bites of your kid’s leftover meals, mindless eating is one definite way to pack on the pounds. In addition, just mindlessly eating 100 calories a day, can lead to consuming an extra 700 calories at the end of the week.  Worse yet, keep eating an extra 100 mindless calories a day and you’ll be gaining up to 10 pounds in a year!To prevent mindless eating and unintentional weight gain, follow these mindless eating strategies:
  1. Write it down. Food journaling is a great tool to use because it helps you discover the emotions that lead you to over snack or to overeat at meals. If you note in your food diary that you did overeat, ask yourself why, without being judgmental. What events or emotions triggered your eating?
  2. Savor the silence. Our daily lives are full of distractions. Consider making mealtime (especially with families), an electronics-free zone this includes silencing the cell phone.  Focus on the taste of your food as well as taking the time to enjoy your family.This will allow you to check in with yourself so that you can stop when you’re satisfied.
  3. Know your trigger foods. Out of sight, out of mind. Make it a rule to keep your trigger foods out of your grocery cart and out of your house!
    Eat with your stomach, not with your eyes
  4. Slow Down. Take the time to enjoy the food you are eating. Try to slow down your eating my chewing your food about 15 to 20 chews or just enough number of chews to really savor the food in your mouth. Another technique is to eat with your non dominant hand because it requires more attention to coordination and placement. Set your fork down and take a 30 seconds to determine if you are still hungry or if you’ve had enough.
  5. Eat only when hungry. Eat only when hungry. Ask yourself if you are truly hungry before reaching for something. Try drinking a glass of water or some hot tea. If you are still hungry then eat, but try to eat until about 80% satisfied, not until you are stuffed. Aim to eat until your 80 percent full – any more will make you feel stuffed and any less will make you feel deprived.
  6. Smaller Plates. Portion sizes have increased in size over the years, just like our waistlines. To avoid this, check in
  7. Avoid the Stomach Growls. When you are ravenous, the more likely you are to overeat and consume more calories than your body needs and before your brain can register all the food you devoured. Try eating smaller frequent meals every 3 to 4 hours with a small snack in between meals if need. This way you are less likely to experience the powerful stomach growls.
Start out by practicing mindful eating by taking on one or two of these strategies and gradually add them into your eating plan. Mindful eating is a process of making peace with all foods, no foods are off limits – the focus becomes how you eat, not what you eat. You may find what you want to eat shifting dramatically for the better too. It can be practiced with chocolate or salad, cupcakes or oatmeal. You can practice mindful eating at home, at work, or even as you snack on the go. Chances are, you’ll not only gain a greater appreciation for your food, but you’ll find your habits changing in the process too. In no time, you will see, feel and taste the difference.
Benefits of Mindfulness
Five Strategies for Mindful Eating and a Healthier, Slimmer, You