Texas Meets Montana at The Resort at Paws Up

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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.

Skillet Blueberry Crisp

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Skillet Blueberry Cobbler

Blueberries are at their peak season right now with most grocery stores selling them buy one get one free. I made this Skillet Blueberry Crisp on Sunday night, which only takes 10 minutes of preparation time. It’s so easy, healthy and tastes fantastic! My husband said this blueberry crisp was so good that it did not even need vanilla ice cream (or frozen yogurt to top it off). If you have some on hand and want that cold and warm temperature combination, feel free to add it. I used my 61/2-inch cast-iron skillet, but if you only have the larger one, you can double the recipe. Blueberries are also healthy for you. In only 80 calories per cup and virtually no fat, blueberries offer many nutritional benefits. They are packed with Vitamin C and are a good source of manganese (which is important in bone health). Blueberries have antioxidants that can improve vision and promote quicker adjustment of the eyes to darkness. They can also improve memory and reduce the risk of infections. They have high levels of compounds that help widen arteries and can help blood flow. Blueberries are also a good source of fiber, and they have phytonutrients that protect cells from damage. This recipe is great to serve to kick off summer, and it will be awesome to serve on Memorial Day and Fathers’s Day too!

5 Healthy Dinner Recipes

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Greek-Style-Pork

May is a wonderful time of year for grilling and cooking fresh, flavorful heathy dinner recipes. This Greek style pork recipe can be made in a flash—it takes only 26 minutes to prepare! I love using boneless pork loin chops because they cook quickly, are low in calories and fat, and pair with a myriad of flavors, toppings and accompaniments. The recipe for Greek Style Pork Chops can be found on SC Johnson. I am so lucky to be one of their content bloggers, and I wanted to share with you 5 healthy dinner recipes that are easy, fantastic, family-approved and delicious.

Skillet-Lasagna

Skillet Lasagna on SC Johnson

In this recipe, I used oven-ready noodles so no boiling is needed. Make sure to break them into pieces so when you layer the lasagna, they are close together but do not have to touch. My son, Zachary said this is one of his favorite lasagna recipes.

salmon asparagus foil packets

Salmon Asparagus Foil Packets on SC Johnson

There are several ways to cook this recipe. Personally, I love to cook on the outdoor grill, but you can also cook indoors in your oven. Feel free to substitute any of your favorite vegetables or herbs and to sprinkle a tablespoon of shredded Parmesan or crumbled feta cheese over the top to make this recipe your own.

Caprese Panini

Pesto Caprese Panini on SC Johnson

These easy Panini sandwiches that are simple to prepare and full of flavor. Serve on ciabatta bread, an Italian white bread that is now more commonly found in your grocery store’s bakery.

Salmon Kale Pasta

Salmon Kale Pasta on SC Johnson

Prepared with fresh kale, tomatoes, chives and basil, this recipe incorporates fresh ingredients to flavor this simple dish.

4 Avondale Restaurants Not to Miss

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Fancy's on FifthI love featuring guest writers on my site, and I am so excited to share an article by Leigh Lewis and Ann McQueen Whatley, high school Juniors at Mountain Brook High School in Birmingham. They recently visited a few of the hip, cool restaurants in Avondale in Birmingham, and here’s what they found. Take it away Leigh and Ann McQueen and thank you Leigh Lewis for the photos.

Post Office Pies Pizza

In recent years, Avondale has become a hotspot neighborhood in Birmingham with numerous food options. All of the food at the spots we visited was delicious; the only ways the restaurants differentiate is in their prices and service. Overall, the restaurant that excelled above the others is Fancy’s on Fifth.

After much consideration, we dined at four popular restaurants in Avondale to determine which excelled the most in three vital categories: price, service, and taste.

  1. Melt

Price: Everything on the menu is under $12.00, and this includes, starters, salads  sandwiches and desserts. We loved that!

Service:  The service was good. Waiters were very friendly, chatty and helpful.

Taste: Melt’s sandwiches exceed the average grilled cheese. From traditional grilled cheese to more experimental sandwiches, Melt has something for everyone. We tasted the Mac Melt, which was (as the name suggests) a grilled cheese with mac and cheese in the middle, and the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich, which is spicy buffalo chicken in between two toasted pieces of bread. Both sandwiches tasted great. 

Post Office Pies

2. Post Office Pies

Price: 9 inch pizzas cost anywhere from $9.00 – $14.00 but are only served at lunch. 12 inch pizzas range from $13.00 – $17.00. Although a bit pricey, the amount of food as well as the fresh ingredients are worth it. 

Service: The service is really good. Even though the restaurant is not sit-down-and-order-style, waiters checked on us throughout our meal.

Taste: We ordered the Margarita Pizza and the Chicken Pesto Pizza and all of the ingredients were distinctively fresh. From the crust to the basil, we could tell that the ingredients were fresh and of good quality. 

3. Fancy’s on Fifth

Price: The price was much like that of Melt’s, where nothing was too pricey, and the portions are very good (not too big, not too small). The atmosphere is really fun, but get there early, as there is usually a wait. 

Service: The service was very good. The waiter was very helpful, and they were eager to please. 

Taste: Fancy’s on Fifth is an overall creative concept of oysters and burgers, but each item is more than just your average oyster or burger. They offer many healthy options, such as gluten-free bread, vegan patties and lettuce-wrap buns. We ordered the Smoked Salmon Salad and the Turkey Jive Burger, both of which had very good presentation and an unexpected but delicious tastes. Don’t miss the Chorizo Grilled Oysters, Ramen Noodle and Soft Shell Grab Burger as well.

4. Wasabi Juan’s

Price: With sushi burritos ranging from $6.00 – $11.00, Wasabi Juan’s is pretty inexpensive, especially considering the quality of the seafood and portion size.

Service: The service was less than adequate. We were both delivered something we did not order, and while they tried to take our food back, we had already touched it and ended up with four meals. What’s even worse is that they were noticeably irritated and did not apologize. 

Taste: For such an experimental restaurant that combines Mexican and Asian food, the sushi burritos were great, and there were many different combinations of ingredients that were creative and tasty, including one sushi burrito with mango and shrimp.

Quinoa Bowl with Almonds and Raspberries

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Quinoa Bowl with Almonds and Raspberries

Quinoa for breakfast? Yes, have your tried it? Breakfast Bowls are so hot right now, and this Quinoa Bowl with Almonds and Raspberries is one of my favorites! This gluten free breakfast option is filled with fiber, protein and healthy vitamin and minerals. This recipe is great to make and serve when you and your kids are tired of cereal and oatmeal or want something unique, delicious and different. Feel free to make the quinoa the night before, and breakfast will be ready in the morning. Warm up the cooked quinoa and add your favorite milk and toppings. If you’re looking for a other fabulous breakfast bowl recipes try my Quinoa with Apples and Cranberries

quinoa with apples and cranberries

Chia Yogurt Breakfast Bowl from A Zesty BiteChia-Yogurt-Breakfast-Bowl-2

Savory Pesto Quinoa Bowl from Simple Quinoa

pesto-quinoa-breakfast-bowls-4

Lightened Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

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Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

I am always looking for an amazing chicken salad at the grocery store or restaurants in town, but I typically have no luck find one that I absolutely love. I recently made these Lightened Up Chicken Salad Wraps with ingredients I had in my refrigerator. Instead of using bread, I served it on top of romaine lettuce leaves for a lunch last weekend, and my family loved it (they also said this was the best chicken salad they have had in so long). I used leftover grilled chicken, but a great shortcut is to purchase a rotisserie chicken and chop it for easy chicken salad. I used my favorite chicken salad ingredients–pecans, red grapes, nonfat Greek yogurt and dill. This will be a summer staple that I keep in the refrigerator this summer. Here are some of my other favorite chicken salad finds:

Pineapple-Pistachio-Quinoa-Salad-678x1024Pineapple Pistachio Chicken Quinoa Salad by Layers of Happiness 

Avocado Chicken Salad

Avocado Chicken Salad from Simply Recipes

 

bacon-scallion-chicken-salad-7Paleo Chicken Salad with Bacon and Scallions by The Paleo Running Mama

5 Healthy Mothers Day Recipes

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Pomegrante-Berry-Smoothie-Bowl

For Mother’s Day tomorrow, here are 5 healthy Mothers Day breakfast recipes (all smoothie bowls). All of these recipes are easy, healthy and filled with raw, sweet fruits just in time for spring and Mother’s Day. A few of these recipes are in my new cookbook, 200 Best Smoothie Bowl Recipes published by Robert Rose Books. I am so thrilled about all of the media attention my book is getting! I will be on television on ABC 33/40 Talk of Alabama on Monday morning, May 9th between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. making smoothie bowls and offering tips to make smoothie bowls all summer long, so please be sure to tune in! The recipe above is my Pomegranate Berry Smoothie Bowl which was featured on Momspark today! Happy Mother’s Day!

Berry Yogurt Smoothie Bowl

Berry Yogurt Bowl on Ingredients, Inc.

Pomegranate Tea Smoothie BowlPomegranate Tea Smoothie Bowl on Ingredients, Inc.

Greek-yogurt-smoothie-BowlGreek Yogurt Smoothie Bowls on Ingredients, Inc.

Watermelon-Tropic-Yogurt-Bowl

Watermelon Tropic Bowl on Ingredients, Inc.

Spinach Artichoke Pasta Bake

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Spinach Artichoke Pasta Bake

If you like Spinach Artichoke Dip, this Spinach Artichoke Pasta Bake is for you. My daughter, Leigh, asked why I had not thought of this sooner. It’s the perfect side dish with chicken or even main dish. Also, putting chopped chicken in this also works too, and adds even more protein. I used whole grain noodles and light cream cheese, part skim cheese and nonfat plain Greek yogurt so you’ll get a nice mix of protein, healthy carbohydrates, and not too high in fat. It is so simple to make–I think the toughest part honestly is thawing the spinach and making sure you get all the water out (I press the spinach with the tines of a fork to speed up the process). Enjoy for a weeknight dinner or side dish. I bet you will love it too!

I hope everyone had a great weekend! I truly have and thank my awesome husband for a candlelit dinner at home last night. I just landed in St. Thomas for a magazine story. Photo taken at Mariott Frenchman’s Reef. It’s a little cloudy on this Sunday afternoon, but no complaints from me. Have a great week, Alison

St. Thomas Mariott Frenchman's Reef

Passover Smoked Salmon Bites

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Passover Smoked Salmon Bites

Why did I not think of this before? Passover Smoked Salmon Bites are the perfect appetizer, snack, or lunch idea that only take 5 minutes to prepare. My daughter, Leigh, thought this was a brilliant idea, and I agree. She and my son, Zachary, came home from school and ate these so fast that I barely had any left to serve for appetizers to my hubs. Oh well, he did have one, and he thought these Smoked salmon bites are a wonderful light starter or refreshing snack. Feel free to half or double this recipe–they go really fast! I know what you’re thinking…Smoked salmon has sodium. Yes, that is true, but it also is a good source of protein, Vitamin B, Vitamin D and magnesium. These are very pretty too and a great way to use up your leftover matzah or use matzah even if you’re not celebrating Passover.