7 Gorgeous Thanksgiving Table Ideas

pumpkin tablescape

Who sets their Thanksgiving table early? I am not hosting it this year, but I used to always set the table a day or two in advance. From pumpkin inspired to romantic jewel toned, here are 7 of my favorite Thanksgiving table ideas starting with this Pumpkin Inspired table via Ella Claire

Elegant and Rustic Tablescape

Elegant and Rustic via Elizabeth Anne Designs

romantic and jewel toned thanksgiving table

Romantic and Jewel-Toned Inspired via House Beautiful Magazine

Coastal-Thanksgiving-Tablescape1

Coastal look via Sand and Sisal

Thanksgiving Tablescape

Upscale Country via Country Living Magazine

thanksgiving-table

Outdoors Inspiration via The Sweetest Occasion

modern thanksgiving table

Modern Thanksgiving via Apartment Therapy

My 5 Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pie

So sorry I have been missing in action! I went from Italy to Hawaii to Disney then to Atlanta (all in 6 weeks), but I am baaaaackk! Thanksgiving is only 4 days away so I thought I would make it quick, easy and and offer up my 5 favorite Thanksgiving recipes. These are always on my holiday menu, and I know you’ll love them! I hope everyone is getting exciting about Thanksgiving because I am!

Oatmeal Chocolate Pecan Pie via Ingredients, Inc.

Rosemary Thyme Citrus Rub

Rosemary Thyme Citrus Rub via Ingredients, Inc. 

My Favorite Cornbread Dressing

My favorite Cornbread Dressing via Ingredients, Inc.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Classic Sweet Potato Casserole via Ingredients Inc.

Fall Quinoa Salad

Fall Quinoa Salad via Ingredients Inc.

5 Super Cute Halloween Recipes

strawberry Ghosts

Can you believe it? Halloween is right around the corner. Even though my three kids are older now (14, 16 and 18), we still LOVE Halloween and are always looking for the latest, greatest easy and cute recipe to wow friends and family. I am starting my search early this year, and I found these 5 super cute Halloween recipes. Which is your favorite? I love them all!

Strawberry Ghosts from Candiquik

Spooky Boo Brownies

Spooky Boo Brownies via Betty Crocker

Halloween Pudding Cups

Halloween Pudding Cups via Yummy Mummy Kitchen

chocolate-chip-spider-cookie-4

Spider Infested Chocolate Chip Cookies via Moms and Munchkins

Turkey Eyeball PIzza

Turkey Eyeball Pizza via Ingredients Inc

8 Kentucky Derby Recipes

kentucky hot brown slider

My three kids and I love celebrating the Kentucky Derby! If you are looking for an easy Mint Julep recipe, I have been making this Fresh Lemon Mint Julep for years. Here is my list of 8 Kentucky Derby recipes that you won’t want to miss starting with this Kentucky Hot Brown Slider by Cinnamon Slice and Everything Nice.

Kentucky Derby Chocolate Chip Bars

Kentucky Derby Chocolate Chip Bars by Half Baked Harvest

derby pecans

Derby Pecans from Tate.Savor.Share

Classic mint juleps

Classic Mint Juleps by Camille Styles 

 

Lightened Up Pimiento Cheese

 Lightened up Pimiento Cheese by Ingredients, Inc.

bourbon-balls-m

Kentucky Derby Bourbon Balls via Southern Living

Kentucky Derby Pie Cupcakes

Kentucky Derby Pie Cupcakes by Brown Eyed Baker

Best Passover Granola

Passover Granola

Whether you like matzah or not; ever tried it or not, you will love this sweet snack. The Passover Granola is the perfect amount of crunch with an equally perfect amount of sweetness. My children love this recipe; it was gone in under two days! My daughter, Leigh, took some to school for a snack, and one of her friends, who had never tried matzah before, asked to try some. Her friend loved it so much that she texted my daughter begging for the recipe. Try it, you will love it!

 

7 Ways to Eat Green on St. Patrick’s Day

Green apples copy

Drinking green beer and savoring a green cookies aren’t the only ways to eat green on St. Patrick’s Day. I am so thrilled that Nutrition Expert, Patti Wooten Swanson has shared with all of us her healthier plan for celebrating St. Patrick’s day. Here are 7 ways to eat green this St. Patrick’s Day:

1. For breakfast, sauté chopped spinach, kale or Swiss chard in a little olive oil, then add a beaten egg to make scrambled eggs. Dark green vegetables are among the most healthful of vegetables, Wooten Swanson said. They are low in calories and high in vitamin C, folate, vitamin K, iron and dietary fiber. The USDA’s dietary guidelines recommend adults eat 9 to 13 servings of fruit and vegetables each day, with most of those being vegetables.

2. Mid-morning snack, grab a green apple. Not all apples are red; you’ll find several green varieties in grocery stores just right for St. Patrick’s Day. Light green Golden Delicious apples are sweet, plentiful, inexpensive and easy to find. Granny Smith apples are deep green, tart and very crunchy. Granny Smith are often used for apple pie, but are also great to eat out of hand. 

3. At lunch time, prepare a crisp salad with a blend of romaine lettuce, baby kale, spinach or mixed greens. For crunch add sugar snap peas, slices of green bell pepper and pieces of celery. Artichoke hearts, avocado and healthy green goddess dressing add gourmet flair. To make the dressing, blend 2 green onions, ½ green jalapeño pepper, 2/3 cup Greek yogurt, ½ cup cilantro, juice from 1 lime, ½ cup olive oil, salt and a teaspoon of sugar or honey. (Recipe adapted from Oklahoma State Extension.) “When you put a lot of different green ingredients in your salad you get a lot of different nutrients,” Wooten Swanson said. 

4. For an afternoon snack, blend a green smoothie. Put a handful of green leafy vegetables in the blender with non-fat yogurt or almond milk. Add half a banana and any kind of fresh or frozen fruit. 

5. Cabbage and corned beef are traditional St. Patrick’s Day foods, but Wooten Swanson has suggestions that are greener, healthier and just as festive. Mix cooked spinach fettuccine noodles with prepared basil pesto (made with olive oil), fresh spinach leaves and green olives. Add cooked chicken and some feta cheese.  “The meal will offer a balanced blend of whole grains, vegetables, protein and dairy,” Wooten Swanson said.

6. A healthful and simple green drink to accompany meals is cold tap water with a squeeze of lime. 

7. For desert, there’s no reason to punish your body with sugary green jello shots. Treat it right with a healthy and delicious green desert. “I layer non-fat Greek yogurt and kiwifruit. Sprinkle pistachios and drizzle a little honey on top,” Wooten Swanson said.  Kiwifruit are high in vitamin C and pistachios are rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids. Both are great sources of antioxidants.  

Of course, eating a green diet shouldn’t be limited to St. Patrick’s Day. “Once you start enjoying these green vegetables and other healthy foods, you’ll probably want to eat a lot more,” Wooten Swanson said.

Smoothie copy

Wooten Swanson is the nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor for UC ANR Cooperative Extension in San Diego County. She manages the county’s federally funded Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, in which staff members visit schools and community sites to provide lessons on healthy eating to low-income families and children. Thanks for sharing your nutrition knowledge with me and my readers!!

8 Super Cute July Fourth 2014 Party Ideas

July 4th Cupcakes

Where is summer going? Summer has been great so far but SO busy! July Fourth is next week so how about 8 Super Cute July Fourth Party Ideas! I love all of these starting with my Fourth of July Cupcakes. For more fabulous ideas check out my July 4th Inspiration on Pinterest. What are your plans for the holiday?  (I need to make some.)

9f11c73049545322cffda6e82de79718 copy

Water Straw Flags DIY from Oh Happy Day

69e5efb9a98edbc127fddd9cb6dc1b0d

Red White and Blue Mason Jars from It All Started with Paint

Joy Jars

Joy Jars by Woman’s Day 

fourth-of-july-fun-and-games-station

Fourth of July Fun and Games Station by Uncommon Designs

Red, White, and Blue Fruit Salad

Red, White, and Blue Fruit Salad by Spicy Southern Kitchen

Party Favor: July Fourth Sparklers

Party Favor: 4th of July Sparklers by Better Homes and Gardens

7-layer-ice-cream-cake

7 Layer Ice Cream Cake by Martha Stewart

Three Generations of Women at Milo’s Celebrate Mother’s Day

3 Generations of Women at Milo's

I grew up drinking Milo’s Tea. It was a weekly staple in our refrigerator. My father, an anesthesiologist, always told my family that Milo’s Tea was good for you: all natural, no preservatives and made with pure cane sugar. There’s so much more to Milo’s than meets the eye, especially as we celebrate Mother’s day! Their story is amazing and celebrates the success and passion of three generations of women.

Milo's Tea #tea

Milo’s was founded in 1946 by Milo and Bea Carlton when they opened Milo’s Hamburgers in North Birmingham, Alabama. In the late 1980’s Bea’s daughter-in-law, Sheila, had the idea to sell Milo’s Tea to grocery stores because customers were coming to Milo’s just to purchase the sweet tea. Milo’s philosophy is simple – use high quality, fresh, natural ingredients, listen to your customers and never sacrifice taste.

Milo and Bea’s son, Ronnie, his wife Sheila, and their two teenaged daughters, Tricia and Leslie, brewed, packaged and loaded their tea onto delivery trucks. After college, Tricia and Leslie came back to work at the family company: Tricia as the VP and Leading Counsel, and Leslie as the Treasurer. Tricia was elected by the family to become CEO and has expanded the business into 38 states. Today, Bea (92 years old) still attends the company cookouts and Christmas parties, and each of these three women (Sheila, Leslie and Tricia) are still actively involved in the business today.

Tricia and Leslie hope their daughters are involved with the company in the future which would be the 4th generation of Bea and Milo Carlton’s family. “In the South, when you have a memory of drinking sweet tea, you always think of your grandmother. My greatest memory as a child was playing in the backyard at my grandmother’s house drinking Milo’s famous sweet tea,” says Tricia.

Today, Milo’s Tea Company still fresh brews their all-natural teas with simple ingredients just like “Mamma Bea used to make. Milo’s Famous Sweet Tea, No Calorie Tea with Splenda and Unsweet Tea have recently expanded into seventeen Walmart Distribution Centers. And their NEWEST drinks: Milo’s Lemonade, Milo’s Tea & Lemonade and Milo’s Decaf Sweet Tea have rolled out into four Walmart Distribution Centers.

Milo's new products

“We sell a gallon of tea in Walmart about every two seconds,” says Tricia. Milo’s Tea Company is a part of the Walmart Women Empowerment initiative. Milo’s has just introduced three new products to meet the growing demand of consumers for more Milo’s beverages.

Happy Mother's Day #milos