Banana Honey Muffins

Banana Honey MuffinsIf you’re wondering what to do with leftover bananas, these Banana Honey Muffins are for you. At my house, we go through bananas like monkeys, but my neighborhood grocery store often packages overripe bananas and marks them way down. I typically freeze them for smoothies or smoothie bowls, or often make my famous One Bowl Banana Bread recipe (which is made with nonfat Greek yogurt). My husband found a recipe for Honey Banana Muffins so he and my daughter made these yesterday. They are not too sweet, light and fluffy, and they make a wonderful morning or afternoon snack or light breakfast idea with a cup of coffee. My husband likes them drizzled with honey over the top 🙂

Bananas are naturally fat and cholesterol free. Bananas well known for their high potassium content, with over 400 mg potassium in a single medium-size banana (this is great for muscle function and providing a healthy balance of fluids in the body). Bananas are also easy to digest and a good source of vitamin C, fiber and B6 vitamins.  Did you know you can use mashed bananas as a substitute for some or all of the butter or oil when making cookies or some baked goods? This recipe is going to be a keeper when school starts, so enjoy!

Banana Honey Muffins

Healthy Breakfast Popsicles

healthy breakfast popsicles

We make smoothies and smoothie bowls almost every single day. My daughter, Leigh, turned one of our favorite simple and healthy smoothie recipes into popsicles to create these Healthy Breakfast Popsicles. All you need is five simple ingredients including the chocolate flavored Dynamic Fruit & Greens which is a blend of organic vegetable such as kale, kelp, Chlorella and turmeric that adds antioxidants as well as an amazing chocolate flavor (if you’re a Lifetime Fitness member, they sell it at the facility).

When frozen, remove from the popsicle molds and sprinkle with additional oats and chia seeds. Trust me, you’ll love these!

Kale Guacamole

Kale Guacamole

I had a great time last weekend at Lake Austin Spa Resort where I was teaching smoothie bowl classes promoting my latest cookbook 200 Best Smoothie Bowls. I also had the amazing opportunity to workout, take a mediation for clarity class, try hydrobikes and experience amazing spa treatments and of course, food. The food at this Texas spa is out of this world with so many clever, creative and healthy combinations. The first night they had “Kale Guacamole” on their menu for an appetizer. They didn’t have the recipe, but I came home and recreated it tonight. My husband said, “It tastes just it.” This recipe is classic guacamole recipe with kale added. Why did I not think of that?

Alison Lewis

Homemade Pesto

Homemade Pesto

As you might have seen from my last post, I am up to my ears in fresh herbs (which is such a good thing)! I have been making this Homemade Pesto recipe lately on a weekly basis to go over pasta, served alongside grilled chicken or shrimp or as a topping to fresh salmon. This recipe is so easy to make—my fifteen year-old, Zachary made this batch for me. Toss fresh basil, garlic, Parmesan, olive oil, salt and a touch of a fresh lemon juice in a blender or food processor. It’s that easy!

Similar to cilantro, basil if filled with many health benefits including helping to rid of acne, help replenish iron and more. Basil is a good source of vitamin A and can help with cardiovascular health. Basil is also an anti-inflammatory food so it can also help individuals with inflammatory health problems such as rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel conditions. Try this recipe and enjoy fresh basil all summer long.

DIY Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

I am really into making homemade fresh salad dressings this summer. When I was out of town last month in Cabo, I came home and my husband had planted various hanging fresh herb baskets in our backyard. Needless to say I was beyond excited, and this DIY Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette recipe will be the first of many recipes including fresh herbs in the coming months. This vinaigrette can be drizzled over salads, fish tacos, seafood, pork and chicken. We served it last night over a big mixed salad with grilled shrimp, and it was divine! If you want to grow your own cilantro this summer, it’s super easy. It just needs good sunlight and water almost every day.

fresh cilantro

Fresh cilantro is very low in calories, and its green leaves contain  antioxidants, vitamins, and dietary fiber, which may help reduce the “bad” cholesterol levels in the blood. It’s also high in potassium, calcium, folate, Vitamin A and Vitamin C. It’s also said to be a detoxifying food.

 

5 Meal Prepping Hacks That Save You Time in the Kitchen

 

meal preppingOne of the most common excuses for not eating healthy is lack of time. With people busy between work and their families, the easiest thing to do is to pick up dinner instead of cookie. Active families like mine need to eat healthy, so it’s important to do everything you can to eat at home as often as possible (we eat at home at least five to six nights a week). Meal prepping is the best way to make meals at home when you have a hectic schedule. Here are meal prep hacks that will keep your family eating healthy.

1. Meal Plan

Meal planning is an extremely important part of prep. Create a calendar that has every meal planned out until your next grocery shopping trip. While some people like to plan out breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, that can be planning overkill for some families. Planning dinners is the most important part, so at least plan those, and then wing the rest if you don’t feel the need to plan every small detail. Once you have planned each meal, add all of the ingredients that you need to your grocery list to make each dinner.

food prepping

2. Cook in Advance

Cooked meals stay fresh in the fridge for several days, so you can cook several meals to reheat during the week. Choose items that won’t try out when they’re reheated. For example, you can cook spaghetti, enchiladas, a casserole, and a few other meals all in one day. Let them cool at room temperature, label them, and then place them in the refrigerator until the day you plan to eat them.

crock pot meals

3. Crock Pot Meals

Prepping crock pot meals is another great way to prep in advance. You can take all the ingredients to make one crock pot meal and store it in a one-gallon Ziploc freezer bag.  Placer bag in the freezer, uncooked, and pour it in the crock pot the morning of the day that you want to eat it for dinner. Having about five to six crock pot meals prepped will give you more options and allow you to have something easy in the freezer that will make very little time to prepare. Put everything in your slow cooker during breakfast and it will be ready after work. If you don’t know many recipes, you can dress up the same ones with different sauces and dressings. Hampton Creek is popular for creating the Hampton Creek mayo. They also have healthy ranch, chipotle, and other delicious sauces and dressings that you can add to your dishes.

healthy snacks4. Prep Snacks

Prepping snacks is just as important as prepping dinners. Do you find yourself running to the gas station to grab snacks on the go? Instead of getting stopping or trying to figure out what type of snacks to eat, prep some snacks. Fill Ziploc bags with an apple and a handful of strawberries. Fill other bags with some crackers and some sliced cheese. As you get some meal prepping practice, you’ll find yourself coming up with more combinations. When it’s time to run to to tennis tournaments or dance practice, everyone can grab a bag full of the snacks that they enjoy.

5. Re-Organize Your Fridge
 
Fridge organization is one of the biggest problems when it comes to prepping foods. Most people have a row of yogurt, a drawer of apples, and so on. Basically, all of your foods are grouped together. What’s wrong with that? It makes it more difficult to prep for the week. Dedicate different areas of your fridge for each week. Many people use baskets to organize their shelves around their home. Using them for your fridge can help too. Put all of your Ziploc bags full of snacks for Monday in one basket. Put the snacks for Tuesday in another basket and so on.

Meal prepping is the best way to make sure your family eats healthy every day. You’ll save money and time.

Fresh Peach Pecan Crisp

Peach Pecan Crisp

If you’re looking for a super easy summer dessert, try this Peach Pecan Crisp recipe. In 45 minutes, you’ll have an a scrumptious mouth watering dessert for friends and family to enjoy. I love using two of my favorite ingredients—peaches and pecans. I typically purchase mine from Pearson Farms in Georgia. They’ve been in business since 1885 and are a wonderful, friendly family-owned business. At our house we go through peaches and pecans so quickly, so I try to always have them on hand, especially while peaches are in their peak season. If you want to prepare this recipe when peaches go out of season, feel free to use frozen peaches (be sure to thaw them slightly before serving). Peaches are so healthy for you. One fresh peach (about 21/2 inches) is only 68 calories and has zero fat. Peaches contain 10 different vitamins. A large peach provides Vitamin A, which is important to healthy vision, Vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, niacin, folate and more.

I’ve been using my cast-iron skillet often for desserts lately, but if you don’t have one, you can substitute a 10-inch or 2 quart baking dish. Be sure to slightly grease it before adding the peaches and brown sugar. If you don not have a 10-inch, you can also use an 8-inch as well as a 61/2-inch if you have these smaller sizes. Have a great week and cheers to summer!

Layered Berry Smoothie

layered berry smoothie

Layered smoothies take extra time, but they are so worth it! My family has been working out a ton this weekend (tennis tournament, hiking, swimming, running and golf) so we decided to make these Layered Berry Smoothie just in time for the Memorial Day holiday. The best way to make these, so the flavors don’t run into each other is to prepare each flavor at a time, and put each flavor in the freezer until ready to layer.

layered berry smoothie 2

These layered smoothies are so healthy with fresh strawberries, blueberries and bananas. They are also easy to prepare, taste fresh, are filling and are good for you. Feel free to use your favorite milk, and if you can’t have dairy, feel free to substitute coconut water.

Texas Meets Montana at The Resort at Paws Up

montana grillers paws up

Memorial Day Weekend is this weekend, and if you haven’t made any plans, pack your cowboy boots, jeans and head to Montana to one of my favorite places on earth: The Resort at Paws Up®. The resort is kicking off summer this weekend welcoming guests for a weekend of incredible food, wine and wilderness adventures at Montana Master Grillers: Texas All-Stars. This all-inclusive Memorial Day weekend celebration will feature gourmet outdoor dining prepared by some of the most outstanding chefs, outdoor adventure and so much more.

montana paws up

This year, Montana Master Grillers will feature four renowned BBQ chefs from Texas. The event will feature grilling demonstrations prepared by these world-class chefs including Chef Tim Byres from Smoke in Dallas, TX; Chef Evan LeRoy from Freedmen’s in Austin, TX; Chef Wayne Mueller from Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor, TX; Chef Kent Rathbun from Hickory in Plano, TX and of course, Paws Up’s own Executive Chef Ben Jones. Read on.. there is more:

Montana Long Table

Perfect Pairings: A weekend of grilling and BBQ would not be complete without craft beer and small-batch spirits. Celebrate this weekend with Montana’s Philipsburg Brewing Company and RoughStock Distillery (Bozeman, MT), Austin, Texas distilleries Dulce Vida Organic Tequila and Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Dennis Cakebread from Cakebread Cellars in Napa Valley will also be offering featured wine tastings and pairing varietals with the featured chefs’ spectacular fare.

CookShack-2

Barrels (Both Gun and Wine): On Saturday afternoon, Dennis Cakebread will lead a thrilling sporting clays adventure. Guests who sign up in advance will have the opportunity to talk shop with this winemaking legend. Afterward, participants will kick enjoy an intimate wine tasting.

paws up montana grillers

Wrangle Up an Appetite: As part of Montana Master Grillers: Texas All-Stars, guests will partake in some of the resort’s outdoor wilderness adventures, such as horseback riding or whitewater rafting with one-on-one interaction with some of the finest chefs, distillers and brewers and winemakers in the United States.

paws up smores

Live Beats: On Sunday night, relax with an outdoor concert by local Missoula band, the Lil’ Smokies, the winner of the 2015 Telluride Bluegrass Festival band competition.

There are few spots left for this weekend, so hurry! The Montana Master Grillers: Texas All-Stars all-inclusive weekend from May 27–30, 2016, starts at $975 per person, per night for four days, three nights. This package rate includes a private home or tent accommodation, three meals daily for two adults (including breakfast, all featured lunches, multicourse dinners and alcohol pairings), all scheduled events, three wilderness adventures of choice per person, airport transportation to and from Missoula International Airport (MSO) and on-property transportation. Don’t miss the spa tents (see below):

paws up

Also…

As part of the first annual BBQ-U held June 17–19, 2016, Montana Master Grillers alums Sam Huff (Sam’s BBQ-1)in Georgia) and Danny Fischer (Baby Blues BBQ in California) will conduct outdoor grilling demonstrations that will transform attendees from backyard beginners to experts. Guests will learn the techniques to cook a variety of high-quality meats and veggies like an expert, get up close and personal for demonstrations, and enjoy the grill masters’ fine cooking at a Montana Long Table dinner. Participants will take all of this in amidst Montana’s majestic outdoors, luxury accommodations and outdoor adventure opportunities. For reservations, please call 877-588-6783 or go to paws.com.