Need a healthy trail mix for all your on-the-go adventures this summer? I’ve got you covered with my favorite picks to make your own trail mix.

Bonne Maman apricot jam pork chop recipe

This Apricot Pork Chops recipe has been in our family rotation of meals for nearly 15 years. It’s so easy, and I can’t believe I’ve forgotten to share it here. It’s so simple!

It’s time you add it to your next meal plan. This recipe is versatile, and I share all the swaps below to make it gluten-free, pork-free, and paleo-friendly.

Back Pocket Dinners

This is a term I learned from Jenny Rosenstrach, author of Dinner, A Love Story. The idea of this concept is meals that you can make without a recipe. My apricot pork chops recipe has become one of my “back pocket” dinners. With just a couple of ingredients, it’s easy to remember once you make it twice.

My granola and almond milk are both recipes I’ve learned after making them multiple times for meal prep. You probably have a few back-pocket dinners that are staples in your house. Maybe this recipe will become one of them.

Walden Local Meat pork chop

High-Quality Meats Matter

Sourcing local, high-quality meat is worth the effort. You’ve heard the saying; you are what you eat. But, it can also be said, you are what your food eats. Look for a local meat farmer who takes care of their animals and the land if you can. One meat farmer I’ve met said he is really a “grass farmer” since he needs to give his cattle a variety of grasses. Make sure those grasses they eat are not sprayed with pesticides, and in the cold winter months, the animals are eating organic feed. (In my opinion, the organic certification for meat is not as important as knowing the farmer and their practices.)

Walden local meat specials

In today’s recipe, I’m using pork from Walden Local Meat. I was on the waitlist for about two months and just got our first delivery. I was very impressed, and the kids were all happy with the recipes I made with the meat. (trust me, that doesn’t always happen, especially with new recipes!)

Walden promises their beef is 100% grass-fed and finished – the animals receive no grain, no soy, no corn, and no wheat ever. For anyone with food allergies, switching to a grass-fed meat option can make a difference in your symptoms.

Check Walden Local Meats out here, and you can get free bacon and eggs in your first delivery. The eggs are AMAZING!


Homemade Breadcrumbs

You can buy your breadcrumbs, but it’s even easier to make them yourself. If you have a food processor, this will take no time at all. I store all the heels of a loaf of bread in our freezer. You know all the end pieces of the bread that the kids won’t eat? I store them up and then make a big batch of breadcrumbs. I’ll store them in the freezer, too, so I can make this recipe, or my homemade chicken nuggets, super fast.

For this recipe, though, you’ll just need one slice of bread. It can be an end piece or a regular slice of bread. It works either way. Below is my mini food processor, which is great for quick jobs like this one. And everything can go into the dishwasher to be cleaned.

homemade breadcrumbs

Apricot Pork Chop Recipe

This is such a simple dinner idea, and there are lots of variations you can do to make it work for your family. I’ll detail them below the recipe. The recipe was originally published in the everyday Food cookbook, and I’ve made some tweaks over the years. Fifteen years of making this, and it’s still a delight.

Apricot Pork Chop dinner recipe

Apricot Pork Chops

A sweet take on pork chops. Just 4 ingredients to make this delicious meal.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: kids
Servings: 4 people
Author: Emily Roach


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 slice sandwich bread
  • 4 pork chops boneless
  • sea salt and pepper
  • 4 tbsp apricot jam


  • Preheat oven to 425F.
  • Line a 9x12 baking dish with parchment.
  • Tear the bread into small pieces and add to a food processor. Pulse to create breadcrumbs. Drizzle with olive oil and pulse to evenly distribute the oil.
  • Place the pork chops in the baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top each piece with a tablespoon of the jam. (I don't usually measure this, I make sure each piece is covered.) Top with the breadcrumbs.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until meat is cooked through. This will depend on the thickness of your pork chops. (also, if you use bone-in pork loin chops, it will cook faster, so you can decrease the time by a couple of minutes.)
Tried this recipe?Mention @emilyroachwellness or tag #erwellness!

apricot porkchop recipe

Variations for the Apricot Pork Chop Recipe

Gluten-Free: use gluten-free panko or gluten-free bread crumbs.

Paleo-friendly: top with crushed pecans or walnuts

Pork-Free: we’ve also made this recipe using chicken. I find chicken thighs cook up better than chicken breasts, which tend to be too dry.

3 Ingredient Apricot Pork Chops (1)

My slow cooker turkey breast recipe is the perfect recipe for a small, family Thanksgiving.  No fuss, hands-off, and delicious every time.

I hear there is a run on small turkeys, so this is a great back-up option. A turkey breast is an economical way to enjoy turkey for Thanksgiving, but not fuss with a big bird. Pop it into your slow cooker and you have even more time for the Macy’s Day Parade and football games. (And more room in your oven for all the best side dishes.)

This is my step-by-step tutorial of how to cook a turkey breast in a slow cooker. You can play with the recipe and adjust to your taste preferences. Another bonus, you can also pop in some red potatoes and have those ready to go as an easy side dish. You can make this long after the Thanksgiving holiday is over as it’s a perfect Sunday dinner meal.

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast How-To

First, make sure your turkey breast is defrosted. Take it out at least one day ahead of time if it’s frozen. This lets the meat cook evenly and avoid getting dried out.

Boneless Turkey Breast Roast slow cooker recipe

You can find a turkey breast netted or not, and it really won’t impact cooking this recipe. I grabbed mine at Whole Foods and they carry a netted option. (Amazon Prime brought me “turkey cutlets” the first time instead of my turkey breast which is why this recipe post is just a bit later than I had planned.)

There’s no need to brine this turkey. See, already easier than cooking a full-size turkey.

Simple slow cooker turkey breast recipe thanksgiving

Step 1: Place Turkey Breast in your Slow Cooker

Slow cooker temperature ranges vary quite a bit. The good news is this recipe accounts for those nuances. This is my favorite slow cooker from All-Clad that is 6.5 quarts.

Unwrap your turkey breast from the package or paper. Place it at the bottom of your slow cooker lengthwise.

Simple slow cooker turkey dinner

Step 2: Add your Aromatics

In my recipe, I love to add a bag of fresh cranberries, celery, onion, carrots, and some fresh parsley and rosemary. The reason we add the aromatics is two-fold.

  1. The ingredients help infuse flavor into the turkey breast, which is rather lean. By slow cooking the turkey breast we can inject it with lots of flavors.
  2. I use the broth in this recipe to make gravy. Having a homemade turkey broth adds so much more flavor to your turkey gravy.

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast recipe

Step 3: Cover Turkey Breast and Aromatics with Broth or Water

This is where there is not quite a precise measurement, it will depend on the size of your slow cooker. The key is to COVER your turkey with broth or water. You can use filtered water, vegetable broth, or in my case I opted for my homemade chicken bone broth for even more flavor.

Do you know what will happen when you’ve added enough water? Your cranberries will float! It’s a good way to know you are headed in the right direction.

The last step is to add sea salt and freshly ground pepper, because everything really tastes better with a quick hit of both.

Step 4: Set your Slow Cooker Timer

I find the best cook time for the crock pot turkey breast is for 3-4 hours on high, or 5-7 on low. Now, smaller slow cookers cook faster as there is less water or broth to heat up. So adjust accordingly.

Also, make a meat thermometer your friend. I opt for 160°F when cooking poultry, then I take it out and let it rest for at least 5 minutes to help distribute the juices, and it will keep cooking to the magical number of 165°F.

Step 5: Strain the Broth

You can use the broth for gravy as I mentioned, or save for a turkey soup if you have any meat leftover. With a small, 2 pound turkey breast, you may not have a ton of leftovers, so plan accordingly.

I hope this helps you celebrate a small Thanksgiving, either in person or virtually. If you have any questions about cooking Thanksgiving dinner, head over to Instagram where I can answer your questions. 

Bonus Tips

If you have skin on your turkey breast, you can pop it under the broiler to crisp up the skin if it’s one of your favorite part’s of a big turkey dinner. (yes, it’s mine. My sister and I would always hover to grab some once it was being carved)

Also, feel free to a some white wine to your slow cooker. Always use good quality wine that you would drink in a glass. If you wouldn’t drink the grocery store white wine, don’t cook with it.

My favorite wines to pair with a Thanksgiving Turkey are as follows:

  • Pinot Noir– a light, fruity red that doesn’t compete with the turkey flavor
  • Chardonnay– a classic food pairing wine, although I love ones that are unoaked.
  • Sparkling wine– grab a glass before dinner to kick off the holiday, then enjoy some seasonal cider with your meal.

Happy Thanksgiving to you! Please pin the Slow Cooker Turkey Breast recipe below to save for seasons to come.


Sweet potato brownies were not something I expected my kids to love. But they surprised me! Or maybe, the recipe surprised us all. This simple, healthy brownie recipe was easy to make, and a fun way to enjoy a chocolate treat.

sweet potato brownie recipe

When we bake sweet potatoes for dinner, we often make extra for leftovers. Instead of having another stuffed sweet potato, I decided to test out a sweet potato brownie recipe. I often read a recipe and start making edits in my head. Today’s recipe is my tested version.

Using a blender for baking

One of the easiest things I’ve learned over the past few years of baking is how much easier it is to use a blender for baking projects. For muffins, brownies, or quick breads, you’ll often find me tossing all the ingredients into the blender to create a batter. These sweet potato brownies were no exception.

The reason why is not because it makes everything taste that much better.


A much more important reason.


I think most people dislike baking because of all the clean-up involved. The end results are always worth it, but the clean-up is for the birds.

Use your blender my friend. Easiest clean up ever. Add hot water and a squirt of dish soap to the blender and blend on high till it’s sparkling clean. Thank me later!

Sweet Potato Brownie Recipe

I am creating this recipe with the assumption that you already have cooked sweet potatoes on hand. If you don’t, cook 1-2 sweet potatoes at 400º for about 35-40 minutes, or until you can pierce it with a fork easily. Let cool to make it easier to handle. You will need 1 cup of sweet potato for the brownie recipe, and remove the skins.

You could probably also sub in canned sweet potato or pumpkin and it will all still work. The chocolate flavor is clearly the star of the show. The vegetable’s responsibility is to keep the brownie rich and gooey.

binder clips on parchment paper with sweet potato brownies

Another cooking hack you need to notice. Keep a bunch of binder clips in your kitchen. I use them to secure the parchment paper to pans when I’m working with them. It’s like having an extra set of hands. (way better than kids who are really just there to lick the bowl when we are done.)


sweet potato brownie recipe

Sweet Potato Brownies

Simple, delicious brownie recipe with sweet potatoes. Boost your Vitamin A in a fun, chocolate treat.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Baking, brownie, sweet potato
Servings: 9
Author: Emily Roach


  • 1 cup sweet potato cooked, skins removed
  • 1 cup almond butter sub peanut butter, cashew butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup oat flour sub all-purpose or gluten-free cup-for-cup
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao powder sub 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips


  • Preheat oven to 350º
  • Prepare an 8x8 glass pan with parchment paper, or grease with coconut oil.
  • In your high-speed blender, add ingredients in order listed above. Do not add chocolate chips to the blender.
  • Blend ingredients until smooth. Add in 1/4 cup of the chocolate chips. Stir with a long wooden spoon to combine.
  • Pour sweet potato brownie batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the balance of chocolate chips on the top of the batter.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until set. Let cool slightly before serving. Enjoy!


A note about raw cacao powder versus cocoa powder. Raw cacao is stronger, so you need to use less. It has a lot of health benefits, including iron and magnesium. Cocoa powder is the traditional chocolate baking ingredient. However, it's been processed so it no longer has any nutrition benefits. I vote for raw cacao powder always. Eat your chocolate and get that iron and magnesium into your diet!
Tried this recipe?Mention @emilyroachwellness or tag #erwellness!

Thanks for reading friend. Please share this post or pin the image below. Thank you and enjoy!

simple sweet potato brownie recipe (1)



hearty turkey minestrone soup

I love eating soup all winter long and this turkey minestrone soup is one of my favorites. It’s simple to make, and very forgiving. If you miss an ingredient here or there, it’s still going to taste delicious.

Soup is so healing for a couple different reasons.

First, it’s an easy way to get more bone broth into your body. Homemade is best and cheaper, but there are loads of other off the shelf options that truly are made with real food ingredients, like Kettle and Fire or Epic Artisanal Bone Broth. Bone broth can help reduce inflammation, help with sports recovery, and is always good for our hair, skin and nails due to the high amount of collagen.

Second, soup is often really easy for our body to digest. Since the food is cooked, it’s easier for our digestive system to further break down the food and really use the nutrients present. It’s a gentle way to reintroduce food if you or another family member has been sick with a stomach bug.

healthy turkey minestrone soup recipe Emily Roach

What is Minestrone Soup?

Minestrone tends to be a thick soup of Italian origin, made with vegetables, often with the addition of pasta or rice, sometimes both. Common ingredients include beans, onions, celery, carrots, stock, and tomatoes.

I’ve often called it my “kitchen sink” soup. Everything goes in except the kitchen sink. It’s a great way to clean out your refrigerator and make your meal planning super simple. The turkey minestrone soup recipe also makes a large amount so you can freeze some in individual serving sizes to prep ahead. (I use these glass mason jars and freeze them. Just leave about 2” of space from the top to allow for expansion when frozen.)

Here’s a common list of ingredients you can find in minestrone soup. The key thing is to make it your own, but start with a recipe like the one I share below.

  • cannellini beans
  • chicken stock
  • cabbage
  • potato
  • pasta or rice
  • zucchini
  • carrots
  • plum tomatoes
  • Parmesan cheese

Easy turkey minestrone soup

Winter Comfort Food

The turkey minestrone soup is a spin off of a vegetarian minestrone soup I often make in the late spring months. I find I need more protein and something a little heartier in the cold, winter months of New England. This soup is so good I even ate it for breakfast a few times!

If you love making soup, don’t miss my freebie download here to grab a few more of my favorite soup recipes. Click here for the free printable recipes!

My kids don’t often love soup, but they might have it if I strain out some of the broth. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. It truly depends on the mood they are in, and I can’t control that. And just because they don’t love soup doesn’t mean I’m never going to serve soup. We have to keep reintroducing new things to them, even if they turn their nose up at them. One day, they might just surprise you.

A quick note about finding high quality ground turkey. If I’m in a store, I’ll look for organic, pastured turkey. More often, I’ll order a bunch through Farmers to You and pick it up every other week. This is an awesome option for farm fresh meats and produce if you are in the Massachusetts area.

Turkey Minestrone Soup

Easy turkey minestrone soup

Turkey Minestrone Soup

Simple minestrone soup for a cold, winter's night.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: minestrone, soup, turkey
Servings: 4
Author: Emily Roach


  • 1 lb ground turkey organic, pastured
  • 4 tbl olive oil extra virgin
  • 3 carrots diced
  • 3 celery diced
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tbl sea salt
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 4 cup chicken bone broth or beef broth
  • 2 cup water
  • 1 can navy beans or cannellini
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes 15 oz jars
  • 1 cup short grain brown rice Lundenburg
  • Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese optional


  • In a large Dutch Oven or saucepan, add olive oil. Brown the turkey until cooked through.
  • Add the diced vegetables (except garlic) and cook until softened, about 4-6 minutes on medium heat.
  • Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Next, add in the balance of ingredients through rice.
  • Check the soup midway through. If the rice has absorbed too much water, just add another cup or two of water or bone broth.
  • Sprinkle with Pecorino Romano or Parmesan, or leave out for Whole30/Paleo compliant.
Tried this recipe?Mention @emilyroachwellness or tag #erwellness!

Slow Cooker Turkey Minestrone Soup Directions

Here’s an easy way to make this even easier, and come home to dinner ready to go. You can add everything into the slow cooker once the turkey and veggies are cooked through. Cook on low for 7-8 hours, or high for 4 hours. (I prefer the low and slow option.) You can also cook the ground turkey the night before, and then add everything to the slow cooker in the morning before running out the door. Skip cooking the veggies ahead of time to save even more time in the kitchen.

Turkey Minestrone Soup Recipe

Simple slow cooker turkey chili is a healthy dinner for the whole family. Dairy free, gluten free and full of vegetables, plus a secret ingredient.

This week’s new recipe is part of the From Scratch cookbook developed by my fellow CNE alums, and this Tie-Dye Tropical Turmeric Chia Parfait will knock your socks off!

paleo pumpkin smoothie recipe

As we settle into fall, I find myself craving my paleo pumpkin pie smoothie. It’s like a pumpkin spice latte, without the caffeine jitters and dairy intolerance issues. I made this smoothie for some friends on my tennis team last year and it was a winner!

This liquid nutrition was actually part of an assignment I did for the Academy of Culinary Nutrition. I focused on an autoimmune condition and developed recipes specifically targeted towards nourishing these clients. A key focus for clients with autoimmune disease is to support the immune system, increase anti-inflammatory foods, and improve metabolic function. This smoothie offers a range of nutrients to aid in healing and help increase energy levels.

pumpkin spice smoothie


  • Pumpkin: provides a wide range of micronutrients
    • Vitamin A helps vision, immune, and inflammatory systems.
    • One cup of baked winter squash will provide you with approximately 340 milligrams of omega-3 fats in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), useful for brain health.(1)
    • One cup pumpkin is 20% of DV of Vitamin C. (2)
    • It’s a key food that can help with hormone balance throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle.
  • Hemp Seeds: offers a perfect  3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3
    • Offers a complete protein source of essential fatty acids
    • Great for brain health
  • Bananas: a natural sweetener with benefits:
    • potassium helps prevent muscle aches
    • fibre is easy to digest
    • helps increase energy level with a high amount of B6 (3)

My paleo pumpkin pie smoothie is a great way to start your morning routine, or recharge after a workout. What’s even better is that this smoothie is also kid-approved in my house. Those bananas make it sweet, so feel free to decrease to your taste.


To make homemade pumpkin puree, slice the top off of a pie pumpkin and then cut the pumpkin in half through the middle. Remove the seeds and then cover the pumpkin pieces with some coconut oil and roast for 30 minutes cut side down on a baking sheet in an oven at 400 degrees. Scoop out the insides and reserve pumpkin for smoothies or soup. If you use store bought pumpkin puree, look for the organic version sold in cardboard boxes instead of cans. (See this option here.) The reason to skip the metal can (even BPA free) is to reduce your exposure to metal, which is an issue for women dealing with autoimmune sensitivities.

Learn more about what a health coach can do for you.
Paleo Pumpkin Pie Smoothie


Paleo Pumpkin Smoothie Recipe

paleo pumpkin smoothies

Paleo Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

This smoothie is like a guilt-free slice of pumpkin pie! My paleo pumpkin pie smoothie is both dairy free and gluten free.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pumpkin, smoothie
Servings: 2
Author: Emily Roach



  • In a high speed blender, add all ingredients in the order listed.
  • Add a large handful of ice cubes if you prefer an even thicker smoothie.
  • Blend on high till thoroughly combined. Enjoy.
Tried this recipe?Mention @emilyroachwellness or tag #erwellness!

pumpkin smoothie with cacao nibs

I add cacao nibs to my smoothies to give them a little crunch! Did you know cacao nibs provide you a dose of both iron and magnesium. These two micronutrients are important to replenish during the menstrual phase of a women’s cycle. Give your body some energy and help balance those hormones with a little support from these little bits of chocolate goodness.

You can find my recipe to make homemade almond milk herehomemade vanilla extract here, and my favorite place to get the pumpkin pie spice is Trader Joe’s.

paleo pumpkin pie smoothie ingredients

I hope you enjoy your paleo pumpkin pie smoothie this fall. It’s a great way to nourish you body, and get that pumpkin fix covered.


  1. By Roasting Them for a Relatively Short Time at a Low Temperature You Can Help Minimize Damage to Their Healthy Oils. Linoleic Acid (the Polyunsaturated Omega-6 Fatty Acid) and Oleic Acid (the Same Monounsaturated Fatty Acid That Is Plentiful in Olive Oil. “Squash, Winter.” Squash, Winter. World’s Healthiest Foods, n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2016.
  2. Ware, Megan, RDN LD. Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2016.
  3. “Vitamin B6 – Pyridoxine.” Vitamin B6 – Pyridoxine. World’s Healthiest Foods, n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2016.paleo pumpkin pie smoothie (1)

It’s nearly Dr. Seuss’s birthday and how about a serving of Green Eggs and Ham to celebrate! We hosted a fun Dr. Seuss party last year and shared a bunch of our party pictures, including the one for Green Eggs and Ham. Everyone has been asking for the recipe how-to. Here is the easy answer to pull off a cute dessert for the kids. You can also do this with all green for St. Patrick’s day, red and green for Christmas or red and white for Valentine’s day. Have fun baking and include your kids in this easy to make recipe. Dr. Seuss’s birthday is March 2nd and there are lots more party ideas here for home or school.

Dr. Seuss party recipe for Green Eggs and Ham

Dr Seuss party Green Eggs with Ham chocolate pretzel snack


A fun dessert for a Dr. Seuss party or another holiday event.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 7 minutes
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pretzels


  • Waffle pretzels
  • White Chocolate Melting Discs
  • Green Sixlets or Green M&M's


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spread out waffle pretzels in rows on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Place one melting chocolate disk on top of each pretzel.
  • Bake in oven for about 1-2 minutes until chocolate is soft. Remove from oven.
  • Quickly place a sixlet (or M&M) into the center of each disk.
  • Let cool at least one hour, or place in refrigerator to cool faster.
Tried this recipe?Mention @emilyroachwellness or tag #erwellness!

Generally you can find most ingredients in your local grocery store, plus the candy at Michaels. I have also had luck ordering the specific colors I need off of Amazon (both affiliate links, no cost to you to support this site {thanks}).

Sixlets Lime Green Candy 1lbWilton White Candy Melts, 12-Ounce

Grab more party ideas here for Dr. Seuss’s birthday fun! 

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Healthy Homemade Granola via

We have been making this nutty granola recipe every week for well over a year now. The kids love making it with me and it’s fun to tweak it with different dried fruits and nuts throughout the year. Below is our standard recipe but feel feel to just add in the nuts and dried fruits you have on hand. The honey is the key ingredient as it helps the granola maintain it’s crunchiness.

Photo by Tara Bellucci

Enjoy a little sweet granola with homemade yogurt and you will start the day off on a happy foot.  Once you get the basics down, you can tweak it a bit to your taste.  A little less sweet or a little more nutty, you can alter the recipe to make it your own.  I tend to use a mix of sweeteners depending on how much I have of each in the house.


I love this recipe and serve it with fresh fruit and yogurt. If you want it less clumpy/sticky, you can swap out the honey for maple syrup. I also buy a lot of ingredients in bulk to keep the cost low. The pecans are pricy, but add a lot of flavor.