Homemade Peanut Butter (sugar-free)!

When it snows and your noon class gets canceled, what else do you do besides cook? Okay well maybe that’s just me, but snow day = kitchen marathon. I’ve already made these pancakes:



And of course added my own twist with cacao nibs, unsweetened coconut, banana rounds and chia seeds.


Now, it’s time to tackle my first ever batch of homemade peanut butter….



So many of the brands you’ll find in stores contain sugar and if you haven’t heard, sugar overload is killing us. I’ve wanted to make my own peanut butter for a while, but it wasn’t until a recent trip to Houston, TX that I picked up some fresh, raw peanuts from Frobergs Farm that I finally got the motivation.


Turns out, it’s super easy if you have a food processor! Give it a try. Warning: you might never go back to the store bought stuff.



Homemade Peanut Butter (Sugar-Free)

Makes 1 pint (or 1 wide mouth, 16 oz mason jar)


For the Peanut Butter –

  • 1lb roasted peanuts, shelled
  • 1 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt (or slightly more to taste)
  • 2 – 2 1/2 Tbs coconut oil, melted

For roasting the peanuts –

  • 1lb raw peanuts, shelled
  • 1 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 1 Tbs coconut oil, melted


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place peanuts in a large bowl and toss with the melted coconut oil and salt until well coated.
  3. Place on 1 non-stick or lined sheet pan, making sure to spread them out into a single layer. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking.
  4. Remove the peanuts from the oven and let them cool before eating/using for Peanut Butter. They will continue to become crunchy as they cool.
  5. To make peanut butter, remove the skin by rubbing the peanuts together in your hands held over a salad spinner, allowing the peanuts and skins to fall into the bowl. Once the skin has been loosened from all of the peanuts close the salad spinner and spin until all of the skin has been separated from the peanuts. (This step is optional – an idea taken from Alton Brown. I skipped it and had a few skins in the mix that didn’t just naturally fall off in roasting and it still turned out well!).
  6. In a food processor, combine roasted peanuts, melted coconut oil and sea salt to taste. Pulse until smooth or slightly crunchy – we all have our  preference!

Note: you can store this in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month.


Something for Sundays: Roasted Fennel & Butternut Squash

Amy Rizzotto Butternut Squash Move Well DC

Big batch recipes are where it’s at! Save yourself time, money, and brain space by making a sheet pan full of roasted vegetables, 4-5 servings of a healthy whole grain, and a pot full of beans or lentils at the start of each week to make workweek meals easy peasy. You can think of the recipe below like a formula – swap the veggies out for others you like (brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, etc) and change up your spices (cumin, red pepper flakes, curry, etc). Just be sure to keep an eye as you roast different combinations as some vegetables might not need as long to cook. Look for golden brown bits around the edges and avoid letting your vegetables get black and burnt – no carcinogens please!

Something for Sundays - Move Well DC - Butternut Squash and Fennel

Spicy Mango-Coconut Popsicles

We live in a world addicted to sugar, it’s true, but going cold turkey doesn’t always work out so well. Deprivation can lead to yo-yo eating patterns, which won’t help you sustain your long-term healthy eating goals. A better approach that I often help my wellness clients take is making healthier versions of your favorite meals.

Dessert, while not the most essential of meals, is nonetheless an important food ritual many of us enjoy – and hey, life is best when enjoyed! One of my favorite challenges is finding ways to make sweets better for you without tasting like sawdust or bland ice.

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With that in mind, I recently experimented with  a Mango Coconut Popsicle recipe, spiced with ginger. Ginger is a superfood linked to relieving nausea, inflammation, pain and a whole host of digestive issues. I also threw some turmeric in there because, well, why not? It too has anti-inflammatory properties and might help your skin and joints look and feel their best.

This fast and tasty recipe is guilt-free and impossible to mess up. Bonus: any leftovers that won’t fit in your molds can be enjoyed on the spot as a healthy smoothie. Enjoy!

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Spicy Mango-Coconut Popsicles

Servings: 6-8 popsicles



  • 1 1/2 cups frozen mango
  • 1/2 very ripe banana
  • 1” fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1/2” fresh turmeric, scrubbed
  • 1/2 cup whole fat plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup toasted coconut flakes
  • 8 oz unsweetened almond milk



  1. Blend ingredients in a high-speed blender for 1 minute or until smooth.
  2. Pour into popsicle molds leaving about a 1/4” at the top. Any leftovers can be consumed like a smoothie – yum!
  3. Freeze for at least 3 hours, but ideally overnight.

Big Batch Breakfast (Part Deux): Healthy Veggie & Cheese Egg Muffins

Breakfast just got a whole lot easier. If you’re on the go as much as I am, it always pays off to spend a little extra time over the weekend to prepare some grab-and-go meals that will keep your full and focused throughout the week no matter what calendar cluster-Fs may arise.

For the past two weeks I’ve been making a big batch of healthy egg muffins on Sunday afternoosn, switching up the vegetables and accoutrements to keep things interesting. Below you’ll find my current favorite, but you can check my Instagram account for a recipe with asparagus, summer corn, and grape tomatoes. You can’t go wrong with either!

Healthy Baked Egg MuffinsBig Batch Breakfast (Part Deux): Healthy Veggie & Cheese Egg Muffins

Makes 12 egg muffins, or 6 servings.


  • Butter, coconut oil or nonstick cooking spray, to coat pans – or, use silicone baking cups
  • 8 large eggs
  • Splash of milk (can use nut milk if preferred)
  • Generous pinch of sea salt and ground pepper
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, de-stemmed and minced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cups kale, cut into thin ribbons
  • 1/2 cup sweet & spicy cherry peppers
  • 1/2 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 3/4 – 1 cup shredded parmesan


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Crack eggs into a large bowl and whisk with the milk, thyme, salt and pepper.
  3. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan as desired.
  4. Sauté red onion in olive oil for 5 minutes over medium-high heat with a pinch of salt. Add kale, sweet and spicy pepper, and garlic and sauté another 5-7 minutes.
  5. Divide veggie mixture and cheese between each muffin cup, then carefully pour eggs in until muffin tins are almost full – leaving about a 1/4-inch space.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. The egg muffins will look like soufflé when they come out of the oven, but they will sink after a few minutes. Let them cool for a few minutes before using a rubber spatula to carefully remove each muffin.


  1. Adapted from Popsugar.
  2. You can consume these immediately or let them cool, then transfer to a resealable plastic bag. They’ll refrigerate well for up to a week or freeze for up to three months.


Big Batch Breakfast: Blueberry Coconut Baked Oatmeal

Let’s face it, oatmeal can get pretty boring, but oats are so good for you – loaded with heart-healthy fiber and minerals. What to do?! Get baked. Err, get baking!

My baked oatmeal is super easy, cost-effective, and since it’s a big batch recipe you’ll be set for breakfast all week. Convenience – check! Taste – check! Healthy – check!

Plate of Blueberry Coconut Baked Oatmeal

Even if you don’t typically dig oatmeal, give this method a try. It changes the texture and fuses the flavors so you might just feel like you’re eating dessert, all the while you’re fueling yourself with clean energy for an active day. And best of all, there’s no added sugar so there’s no guilt with this breakfast decadence.

Go on, shake up your morning meal. It’s good to the last bite!


Blueberry Coconut Baked Oatmeal

Prep time: 10 mins Cook time: 40 mins Total time: 50 mins
Serves: 8 servings


  • 1/2 cup roasted, unsalted pecan pieces
  • 1/2 cup toasted, unweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup hulled hemp seeds
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 Tbs ground cinnamon
  • A pinch of fine-grain sea salt
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries (frozen will work too – just defrost and discard any liquid)
  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbs melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Optional toppings for serving: plain yogurt, maple syrup or honey for drizzling, and/or more fresh fruit


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9×13-inch rectangular baking dish with butter or coconut oil.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut flakes, hemp seeds, chia seeds, cinnamon and salt. Whisk to combine.
  3. In a smaller mixing bowl, combine the almond milk, eggs, coconut oil and vanilla. Whisk until blended.
  4. Spread the berries evenly over the bottom of the baking dish then cover the fruit with the dry oat mixture. Drizzle the wet ingredients over the oats. Use a spatula in zig-zagging strokes across the surface of the wetted oats to smooth out the top and push any dry oats down.
  5. Bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until the top is golden (not burnt!). Remove your baked oatmeal from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before cutting and serving.
  6. Serve with yogurt and a drizzle of honey for a more decadent and delicious breakfast experience!


  1. This recipe will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
  2. Recipe adapted from Cookie & Kate.

End of Summer Gazpacho

After a very warm September, many of us still have access to garden-grown or at least farm-fresh vegetables. If you are one of the lucky ducks who can get their hands on plump, sweet tomatoes and other fruits of Mother Nature, the best way to use them is in their most unadulterated form possible. I like to call this kind of simple food preparation embracing the raw beauty of produce. Good food doesn’t need much applied effort to taste amazing.

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This End of Summer Garden Gazpacho is as delicious as it is easy. It takes less that 15 minutes to make from start to finish (though it does require refrigerator time). Pair it with my Homemade Multigrain Bread or a side of my Warm Chickpea and Sweet Potato Salad for a well-rounded, clean meal to keep you healthy this fall.


End of Summer Gazpacho


  • 8 medium or 5 large ripe tomatoes, halved and cored
  • 3 medium cloves of garlic
  • 1 organic cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed
  • 3-4 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • 3-4 Tbs olive oil, divided
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Squeeze tomatoes into a blender then dump in the remaining meat.
  2. Add the rest of the vegetables, vinegar, half the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste—remembering you can always add more but can’t subtract!
  3. Refrigerate for several hours or better yet overnight to help develop the flavors.
  4. Service with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh basil, parsley, cilantro or chives!

Black Rice and Lentil Veggie Burgers

After a weekend of eating way more meat than usual (ballpark franks – go Nationals! – and barbecue), I decided it was high time for a Meatless Monday recipe. I love making homemade veggie burgers because you’re in charge of what goes in, and what stays out. My Black Rice and Lentil Veggie Burgers are loaded with plant-based protein (1 cup of lentils has 20 grams), iron, zinc and antioxidant-rich veggies like asparagus and carrots. I used rolled oats in place of bread crumbs and gelled chia seeds instead of eggs to bind these beauties together, keeping the end result gluten-free and vegan.

Serve them over a bed of fresh mixed greens, some sliced fresh avocado and tomato, and kick it up with your favorite hot sauce for a simple, healthy supper or easy-to-pack lunch for those of you on the go. These would also be awesome for any vegetarians in need a Fourth of July BBQ alternative to burgers and hot dogs.

Black Rice and Lentil Veggie Burgers

Black Rice and Lentil Burgers

{makes 6 patties}

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup black rice
  • 1/2 cup lentils
  • 1/2 cup carrots, coarsely grated
  • 1/2 cup asparagus, coarsely grated
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint
  • 2 Tbs chia seeds (soaked in 4 Tbs of water)
  • 1 Tbs cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

How to Make It:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Bring the rice to a boil with two cups of water. Reduce to a simmer and let cook, covered, for 35-40 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. (Tip: Do this ahead and save time.)
  3. Cook the lentils in 1 1/2 cups of water. Cover, bring to a boil, lower heat, and cook for about 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender and the water is mostly absorbed.
  4. Add chia seeds to water and let stand for 15 minutes until they gel and thicken.
  5. Combine rice, lentils, chia seeds and add all the remaining ingredients (except the oil) in a large mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly.
  6. Take half the mixture and place it in a food processor, pulsing until it forms a thick paste. Add it back to the unprocessed mixture and kneed by hand until combined.
  7. Use a 1/2 cup dry measuring cup to scoop some of the mixture into your hands. Form patties with your hands, flattening on the top and bottom. Refrigerate for 30 min (or up to 24 hours).
  8. Place a heavy skillet over medium/high heat, add the oil and heat until hot but not smoking. Add the patties and cook for 1-2 min on each side or until each side is firm and golden.
  9. Place in a baking dish in the oven for about 15-20 min.
  10. Serve immediately or let cool and store in refrigerator for up to 10 days or freezer for up to 3 months.

Pomegranate Power Bites

This healthy treat is made entirely from only three whole foods (plus spices) and is vegan, gluten-free, grain-free and raw. My secret ingredients are cardamom and pomegranate molasses which give it a Mediterranean vibe. With my nutrition clients, I tend to steer clear of prescribing any pre-packaged diet (e.g. Paleo, Thrive, etc) and instead tailor healthy lifestyle strategies to where they are and where they want to be with their overall well-being. The Mediterranean diet, however, is something I can get behind with clear conscious and confidence. Less of a diet and more of a lifestyle, it has been scientifically linked to reducing inflammation, decreasing the risk of diabetes and lowering cholesterol and high blood pressure. It’s all about eating tons of fruits and vegetables, choosing whole grains instead of refined, cooking with heart healthy fats like olive oil, eating less meat and more fish and legumes, seasoning with spices rather than tons of salt, cutting back on sweets and drinking some red wine here and there–sounds like a life I’d like to lead!

I’ve posted several Mediterranean diet-friendly recipes on MOARfit over the years–like my Pesce alla Puttanesca, Quinoa Black Bean Zucchini Burgers and Farro and Leek Risotto–but I’ve yet to provide a healthy snack option. This one happens to be sweet thanks to pomegranate molasses and dates, and is perfect a few hours before a workout or immediately after because of its carb: protein ratio.

Here’s a quick summary of the health benefits of Pomegranate Molasses:

This sweet and tangy elixir is made of pomegranate juice, sugar and lemon (p.s. you can make your own, though I didn’t for this recipe). The main ingredient, pomegranate juice, may prevent or slow the accumulation of cholesterol in your arteries. Pomegranate molasses contains tons of the powerful antioxidant, vitamin C, which as you likely know thanks to products like Emergen-C seriously boosts your immune system. It also delivers several B vitamins including B1, B3, B5 and B6. Vitamin B1, or thiamin helps your body produce energy and is key to healthy muscle, cardiovascular system and nervous system function; vitamin B3, or niacin, benefits your skin, nervous system and digestive system; vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid, is important for healthy growth (eat up kiddos!); and vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, helps your body digest and use proteins and transport oxygen via red blood cells throughout your body.


Pomegranate Power Bites
What You’ll Need:
{makes 20 1″ bites, or 10 servings}
  • 2 cups raw organic almonds and/or cashews (mixed or not)
  • 8 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 3 Tbs pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp  ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp  ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (optional: for rolling)

How to Make Them:

  1. Soak almonds and/or cashews in water for 2-3 hours. Drain.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor (not a blender!) and pulse until it comes together in a dough-y consistency. (You may want to add a few splashes of water depending on your food processor).
  3. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Shape into 1″ balls and roll in unsweetened coconut.
  5. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Remove 10-20 minutes before serving to avoid brain freeze.

Chickpea, Quinoa & Kale Taco Salad + Radicchio Wraps = Super-Bowl

Step up your lunch game with this vegan, gluten-free, Meatless Monday superfood taco salad recipe. Try saying that ten times fast.

If you’re underwhelmed or unsatisfied by your attempts at green salads, don’t throw in the towel on healthier habits. Salads don’t have to be all rabbit food. In fact, adding healthy whole grains, nuts or seeds and legumes to the mix will increase satiety (that feeling of, one, I’ve had enough and, two, it was downright tasty) and decrease the desire to graze after the meal. The fiber, healthy fats and proteins these ingredients bring to the table help improve digestion, stabilize blood sugar and nourish your muscles and mind.

Healthy Taco Salad Wraps

All of the nutrient-dense ingredients (kale, quinoa, chickpeas, etc) in this upgraded taco salad fit into those three categories of superfood add-ons. If you take it a step further and replace your tortilla strips or flour wrap with radicchio leaves, you’re kicking it up to a whole new level of good-for-you. The magenta hue of radicchio comes from a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory pigment called anthocyanin. Anthocyanins are members of the same family of phytochemicals found in teas, honey, wines, fruits, vegetables, nuts, olive oil and cocoa–all of which have received a lot of well-deserved positive buzz from the health and nutrition field. The cherry on top–as well as the moderation factor–are a few coins of baked plantains. It’s amazing how a little something special can take a salad from boring to a monumental taste-bomb of deliciousness.

Healthy Taco Salad Bowl

Raddichio-wrapped Quinoa Kale Taco Salad w/ Spicy Avocado Dressing

Makes 6 servings

What You’ll Need

For the Quinoa Kale Taco Salad:

  • 1 small head of radicchio
  • 1 cup dry red quinoa
  • 6 cups chopped kale (stems removed)
  • 2 cups chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 cup corn (canned or frozen works)
  • 1/4 cup raw, unsalted pumpkin or sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

For the Spicy Avocado Dressing:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

For the Plantains:

  • 1 plantain
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

How to Make It:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Slice plantains into coins 1/8″ thick and toss in olive oil and sea salt. Place a cooling rack on a baking sheet and lay out a single layer of plantain coins. Bake for 20 min.Turn oven to broil and cook another 5 min, or until light golden brown. Remove and set aside to cool.
  3. While the plantains bake, cook quinoa according to package directions. When it’s done, set it aside to cool.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Blanch the kale leaves in boiling water for 1 min, then remove from heat, drain and let cool.
  5. To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender, mixing until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  6. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, kale, chickpeas, corn, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, onion and fresh cilantro. Pour dressing on top, to taste, and toss until everything is well coated.
  7. Peel a few leaves of radicchio to line your bowl or layer your plate with. Scoop about 1 1/2 cups of the salad into your bowl or onto your plate. Garnish with a few plantains and enjoy!

Warm Sweet Potato and Chickpea Salad with Greek Yogurt Dressing

Given the nature of my work as  nutrition coach and food educator, it’s not uncommon for my boyfriend to ask me for healthy lunch and dinner ideas. It always makes me really happy to get this request, and it always leads me down a rabbit’s hole of research and recipe development. Too health-conscious to recommend the good ol’ American classic, sandwich and chips, and too obsessed with creating crave-worthy food to suggest a mere green salad, I always take his requests as a challenge. I only succeed when the recipe meets my tried and true trifecta: keep it simple, pack it full of nutrient-dense whole foods and make it taste damn good.

This Warm Sweet Potato and Chickpea Salad with Greek Yogurt Dressing checks all three boxes. I typicaly have the majority of these healthy ingredients on hand (sweet potatoes, chickpeas, onions, non-fat Greek yogurt, lemons, garlic and cilantro), so it was a no-brainer for me and having now significantly influenced his shopping cart I knew it wouldn’t be a stretch for him. Plus, it takes only 4 easy steps to bring this meal together!Warm Sweet Potato and Chickpea Salad

Warm Sweet Potato and Chickpea Salad with Greek Yogurt Dressing

(makes 4 servings)

What You’ll Need

For the Warm Sweet Potato and Chickpea Salad:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes (about 2 lbs), peeled and cut into cubes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp each ground nutmeg, cloves, ginger
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 of a medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

For the Greek Yogurt Dressing:

  • 1 medium garlic clove (finely minced if you don’t have a food processor or blender)
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2-3 Tbs water
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

How to Make It

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the sweet potato, garlic, spices, olive oil and a few pinches of sea salt.Toss until all pieces are evenly coated. Roast on a baking sheet for 30 min, or until soft. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  3. While the sweet potatoes roast, make the Greek yogurt dressing. In a food processor (or blender), add all ingredients and mix until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning. You may opt to add more water to thin it out.
  4. To bring it all together, combine the sweet potatoes, chickpeas, onion and cilantro in a mixing bowl. Add half the dressing, toss (careful not to mash up the potatoes) and serve with the additional dressing on the side.

Enjoy this recipe right away. Otherwise, set aside the portion of the salad you don’t plan to eat undressed and save a small container of the dressing. You can then reheat the salad when you’re ready and top with the creamy, lemony-goodness.

Inspired by Smitten Kitchen.