Chocolaty Good Banana-Cranberry Cereal

Have I mentioned just how much I love these healthy cereals I’ve been posting. I probably have…

They are so simple to make using different types of ingredients. This is a easy one that I made using cranberries to celebrate the autumn season. Oh, and I was also having a chocolate craving.


1 small banana, sliced

slivered almonds

dried cranberries

unsweetened coconut flakes

chocolate almond milk

  1. Place the banana slices into a bowl.
  2. Add a few slivered almonds and small handful of dried cranberries.
  3. Sprinkle unsweetened coconut over the top.
  4. Pour milk over everything.


  • Try different types of nuts, according to what is on sale.
  • Use coupons or wait for sales on the almond milk.

Serving Suggestion

  • Serve with bacon or sausage.

Warmest wishes!


Paleo Chocolate Sauce

Brownie delights are one of my favorite desserts. I can get them locally at Governor’s restaurant, but it will have far more sugar than any one person should ever have at one sitting. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve allowed myself one a year from there, because these desserts are amazing. But for home, I wanted a version that contained less sweetener.

This chocolate sauce is the one I use for my homemade brownie desserts, and it is delicious. I use honey rather than refined sugar, and am actually working a little at a time to see how far I can cut back on the amount of honey I can use before it gets to a point where the sauce is no longer sweet enough.

This chocolate sauce is great for many desserts, and for dipping fruit into.


1 cup coconut milk, canned, refrigerated. Mix the cream into the liquid before measuring.

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup of raw, unfiltered wildflower honey

  1. Pour the milk and honey into a saucepan and stir to combine.
  2. Add the cocoa powder while warming, and stir often until warmed.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the cinnamon.
  4. Pour into small canning jars cool.
  5. Cover and store in the refrigerator.

I’m not sure exactly how long this sauce will last, because I use it over the course of the week.


  • Even though it costs more, I use organic ingredients for this sauce. Since I don’t make it often, it’s not like I’m paying all out doors to make it frequently.
  • The taste of the organic ingredients is far superior to other options. If you’ve never had organic cinnamon, I do suggest you try it. Delicious!
  • Store coupons can help to bring the cost down some, as can gift cards.
  • I have a variety of small canning jars, lids, and rings that I reuse over and over again. If you’re not processing the foods, you can reuse the lids as often as you like.
  • I can sometimes save money by buying the coconut milk in bulk through Amazon.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve over brownies.
  • Dip fruits such as grapes, strawberries, apple slices, and banana chunks into the sauce.
  • Serve over Paleo ice cream.

Enjoy your desserts!




Blueberry-Strawberry Parfait

I love parfaits during the spring and summer months. This berry based parfait is easy to make for a quick snack any time, and a little dark chocolate can be added if it is to be consumed as a dessert.




coconut cream flavored with pure vanilla extract

unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)

Paleo granola (optional)

dark chocolate chips (optional)

  1. Rinse the berries well, and lay them out on a towel to dry for a few minutes.

  2. Slice the strawberries, disposing of the tops.

  3. Layer the ingredients like so: Coconut cream, blueberries, strawberry slices. Do this, being sure the top layer is of coconut cream when done. Sprinkle Paleo granola over the top, and some dark chocolate chips if desired.


  • To save money, grow your own berries.

  • Try other berries when in season.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve with a vegetable-based salad on a warm day.



Chocolate-Banana Pudding with Berries, and a Smoothie

I admit it. I love chocolate. I don’t know too many women who don’t. However, I’m trying to eat healthier foods. Traditional chocolate desserts are a no-no, and I comply with that most of the time. When I really want chocolate and am at home, chocolate pudding is a dessert I enjoy. Because there is only one of me, I don’t eat the whole thing, but I do take half and make a smoothie for the next day. Both recipes are below.

Just let me say that I had never had an avocado, so I had no idea what this might taste like starting out. I was pleasantly surprised when I made the pudding and the smoothie. I still have never had just an avocado, but I do know I like it mixed in with other foods.

Avocado is not necessarily cheap, mind you, which means I don’t make this often. One costs me about .98. I can get more kiwi or bananas for the price, which is what I often do with a portion of my fruit money. But for only a once in a while treat, this is perfect.

Chocolate-Banana Pudding with Berries


1 chocolate-banana pudding recipe (I use this Paleo one from

2 large strawberries, the green cut off

a few blueberries

  1. Make the banana pudding recipe according to the directions on
  2. Mix with a blender and taste. If it’s not chocolatey enough for you, and another tablespoon of the cocoa powder.
  3. Chill for an hour or so, then split half the pudding between two small cups or bowls.
  4. Top with diced strawberries, and a few blueberries.
  5. Refrigerate the other half, covered.

Chocolate-Banana-berry Smoothie


1/2 of the chocolate-banana pudding recipe above

1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk that has been refrigerated over night

a few strawberries, greens cut off

a handful of blueberries

  1. Place everything into a blender.
  2. Cover and blend until combined.


  • Buy coconut milk on sale, preferably with a coupon, to save a little money.
  • Try adding strawberries or other berries to the smoothie.
  • Top the pudding with apple slices for dipping.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve the pudding over a Paleo brownie, or with fruit slices for dipping.
  • Serve the smoothie for breakfast, with eggs on a bed of spinach.

Have a great day!


Banana ‘Cereal’ with Chocolate Almond Milk

I’m still trying new ‘cereal’ variations, and loving each of them. I’m consuming healthier, lighter foods this time if year, eating more salads, trying new smoothies, and enjoying simple ‘cereals’ and smoothie bowls. And I’m feeling a lot better, in both body and mind. The ‘cereals’ I eat are simple, and pack a good nutritional punch in the morning.

I do like to treat myself once-in-a-while, so today I decided to use chocolate almond milk with my ‘cereal’.


1 small banana, peeled and sliced

2 – 3 tablespoons of fruit and chocolate trail mix

1/2 cup chocolate almond, milk

  1. Place the fruit in a bowl.
  2. Sprinkle the trail mix over the fruit.
  3. Pour milk over the fruit and almonds.


  • Use different types of fruit, such as apples and pears with a few blueberries.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve with homemade vegetable juice and eggs.


Simple Chocolate-Coconut No-Bakes

I love super easy recipes, especially when they involve chocolate and coconut. And this recipe is as easy as they come. I’m sure you’ll enjoy these cookies as much as I do.

And the health factor? Regular no bakes have so much sugar in them, not to mention the sugar in the peanut butter. I’m happy with these, even with the sugar in the chips. If I could afford the expensive healthier stuff, I would certainly buy it. Unfortunately, I don’t have that kind of money in the budget.

I don’t make these all the time anyway, maybe a few times a year. So, I very much enjoy them when I do.


12 ounces dark chocolate chips (If there is extra melted chocolate, I use it to dip fruit into later. May need to be re-melted.)

2 or 3 tablespoons chocolate almond or cashew milk, or a tablespoon or so of organic coconut oil

3 cups organic unsweetened coconut flakes

  1. In a pot, melt 12 ounces of dark chocolate chips with the milk or coconut oil. Stir every so often to begin, and then almost continuously once the chocolate is really melting.
  2. Pour all 3 cups of unsweetened coconut flakes into a bowl.
  3. Pour half of the chocolate over the coconut, and then mix it all together.
  4. Add a little more chocolate at a time while stirring, if necessary, until there is enough to coat all the coconut.
  5. Pour leftover chocolate quickly into a canning jar and set aside.
  6. Spread out a sheet of parchment paper on a table or sideboard. Use a tablespoon to spoon the coconut mixture onto this sheet.
  7. Let the cookies sit until set.


  • Cover the remainder of the chocolate and set aside for use with fruit.
  • Do NOT put the no-bakes in the refrigerator if you can help it. They may get very hard, making them difficult to bite into.
  • Use whatever you have on hand for chocolate.
  • Add dried fruit, such as cranberries.
  • Add slivered almonds.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve with a cup of organic almond or cashew milk.
  • Make a few batches and serve during your next get-together.
  • Serve with Paleo hot cocoa, while sitting on the porch watching the night sky this fall.

Enjoy the treat!


How I Prepare Food for the Beginning of My Workweek

It’s not likely I will ever get up early enough to make lunches, on mornings I have to go to work. Instead, I tend to spend part of my Sunday afternoons preparing for my first three-day stretch. You see, I work a mixed schedule every week: 8-3, 7-3, 3-10, Thursday off, and then 3-11 Friday and Saturday with Sunday off. Because of this, I like to be prepared for those first few days each week. I bring my 2 lunches and 1 dinner to work with me, and place them in the housekeepers refrigerator. Then I don’t have to worry about forgetting anything.

What I Prepared

lemon-honey waters

lemon iced tea

vegetable jars


butternut squash and carrot mash


zucchini chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting

As you might imagine, my place smelled amazing all day!


Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014

The first thing I did was start the chili. I always make this in a slow cooker. Find the recipe here. I used New York strip steak, ground sausage, ground beef, and turkey smoked sausage as my four-meat combo. I had a coupon for the sausage: Buy 1 get 1 free, and they were on sale at $2.50 each. So I paid $2.50 for both, and only used 1. Good deal!

While my chili was slow cooking, I made some applesauce. The chunky applesauce recipe is here, though you may enjoy an apple-pear sauce instead. For my sauce, I used 2 Red Delicious and 1 Granny Smith. They came in a bag of about 4 each, with some oranges, and were on sale $3.50 when I was at the store the other day. Another good deal!

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

Once the apples cooked down, I divided the sauce between three containers. I left them uncovered to cool, then covered and placed them in the refrigerator.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

While the chili and the applesauce were cooking, I filled a few jars with vegetables. In 1 jar I put cucumber rounds. The other two jars I filled with celery sticks and broccoli that I had leftover from the previous week. You can find more vegetable combination ideas here. With the broccoli and celery being left over from last week, and the cucumber coming from my parents garden, I did not spend any money to make these vegetable jars.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

I also made up a few water bottles of lemon-honey water. I keep these on my table, drinking one each morning. My first morning water is always room temperature. Supposedly, this is good for you. Simply place a few slices of lemon in the water bottle, add a teaspoon of honey if desired, and add water. Cover and set aside. A guest at the inn dropped off a couple of lemons at the front desk, indicating they couldn’t bring them across the border. Free for me!

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

Using the other half of that lemon, I made lemon iced tea. Considering the tea bags were leftovers from the previous winter, I did not really pay anything to make this either.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck Copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck Copyright 2014.

The butternut squash and carrot mash was easy to make. Because the squash came to me fresh from may parents garden, and the carrots were left over from last week and figured into that budget, I did not spend anything to make this recipe. Another freebie!

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

The squash and carrot mash was more than enough to cover dinner, 2 work lunches, and a work dinner. Notice how I used the rest of the cucumber for my dinner.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

And I had leftovers.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

I topped the squash with chili. Look at that healthy dinner! It was delicious. And already my work meals are taken care of. I had more leftovers.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

My 2 lunches and 1 dinner for the beginning of my work week. Squash and carrot mash topped with chili, vegetable jars, and applesauce. Yum!

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

And the leftovers? Enough for dinners at home Monday and Tuesday. I will have some cucumber and zucchini rounds on the side.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

Next, I used my moms recipes to make dessert. A chocolate zucchini cake with cream cheese frosting. I know people tote the separating of wet and dry ingredients, then combining them, but I just don’t do that. It would only mean more dishes to wash. I combine everything into one bowl. For the cake recipe, I used zucchini from my parents garden.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

And it is easy to mix everything together.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

Because I rent a room, I only have a toaster oven for baking. I made small cakes in mini bread pans, and 6 cupcakes.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

I frosted these cup/cakes with the homemade cream cheese frosting, and I kept just a couple small pieces of cake for myself. The rest I gave away to people at work.

As you can see, I had a very busy day of cooking. I also cleaned and did the fall decorating. I was one busy lady.


NOTE: (January 2017) While I am eating much healthier these days, and this blog is going to be reflecting that, I am not above having something sweet once-in-a-while, especially a family favorite such as this cake. I make it once a year.

Every so often you will see a recipe that is not healthy but, for the most part, this blog is now going to be about eating as healthy as possible on a budget,



Patriotic Berry Parfait

I love berries and coconut cream, and this parfait recipe 🙂

This dessert parfait can really be eaten any time, but is great for patriotic holidays. It will pack some nutrition into your holiday meal, as well as provide some sweetness without going overboard on fat and calories.

This is a great recipe for children to make, but an adult will have to cut the strawberries.


coconut cream, with a few drops of pure vanilla or mint extract




toothpick flags

  1. Rinse the fruit well, and cut the strawberries into small chunks.

  2. Layer coconut cream, strawberries, more coconut cream, and blueberries in each cup, and top with a dollop of the coconut cream.

  3. Add a few raspberries to the top.

  4. Place a flag on each parfait.
  5. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.


  • Save money by looking for sales and picking your own berries.

  • Top each parfait with colored jimmies, chocolate curls or mini chocolate chips, if you allow sugar.

You may also enjoy these patriotic holiday recipes

Watermelon Stars

A Simple Food Platter

Berries and Cream

Fruit Salad

Red, White, and Blue Parfait

Happy Fourth!!!!


Cheesecake Toppings!

I love cheesecake, though I make it all of 3 times a year — if that.  I don’t usually use toppings, but there are a number of them that would be good on the recipe that I use.

  1. Arrange blueberries in the shape of a star.
  2. Slice strawberries and use them to line the edges of the cheesecake. Add a dollop of coconut cream to the center, and sprinkle blueberries over the topping for a patriotic look.
  3. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips or M&M’s over the top of the cake.
  4. Halve cherries and mix them with whipped topping. Spread this over the top.
  5. Banana slices would top a cheesecake nicely.
  6. Crushed candy bar can be sprinkled over the top. Try a Snickers bar, or a Score bar.
  7. Reese’s Peaces or Skittles could also be sprinkled over the top.
  8. Hot fudge or caramel topping is good spread in a thin layer over the top.
  9. Try crumbling a brownie over the top of the cheesecake.
  10. Crushed pineapple of berries would be good spread over the top.

Share your favorite cheesecake toppings with us in the comments for this post.

UPDATE: This cheesecake is not going to be healthy no matter what toppings you use. This is why I don’t make it often. But a treat once in a while, especially at the holidays, is nice.

UPDATE 2016: One of the cheesecakes in the feature photo is topped with dollops of whipped cream, half squares of Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate, and a drizzle of Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup. The other is topped with dollops of whipped cream, peppermint Hershey’s Kisses, and shaved chocolate.



Pineapples with Chocolate

This is an incredibly simple treat to make. I’ve never measured out ingredients. With just a little practice you’ll know exactly how much of the three items below that will be needed each time you make this recipe.

(Update January 2017: I know the chocolate isn’t Paleo, but I don’t worry about it too much once-in-a-while. Sometimes, this girls needs some chocolate chips. And the Paleo versions are far too expensive for me.)


chocolate chips

coconut oil

chunks of pineapple

  1. Melt a little coconut oil in a small pot, over medium heat.
  2. Add as much chocolate to the pot as you’ll need for the amount of pineapple chunks you’ll be using.
  3. Melt the chips by stirring them and the oil together, continuing to stir until the chips are melted all the way.
  4. Place the melted chocolate into a bowl or a mug, and dip the pineapple chunks into the chocolate to coat.


  • You can coat the pineapple chunks one at a time without having to worry about the chocolate hardening.
  • Use canned or fresh pineapple.
  • Use other fruits in place of the pineapples, or try berries.