Balsamic Glazed Collard Greens

Growing up and living in the south, I have always heard eating collard greens and black eyed peas brings good luck in the new year. This year, I had so much fun developing a new, easy recipe for collards for the January issue of Birmingham Magazine. What I really love about collard greens is that they are packed with nutrition and are known as a cancer-preventive vegetable. They offer an excellent source of  vitamins B6 and C, carotenes, chlorophyll, and manganese.  One cup of collard greens provides more than 70 percent of the RDA for vitamin C.  Collard greens are also a very good source of fiber, and several minerals, including iron, copper, and calcium. This 15 minute recipe for Balsamic Glazed Collard Greens has a salty and sweet combination from dried cranberries, toasted pecans and balsamic. Serve with pork, chicken, beef or fish for a tasty and healthy side dish.

Special Snack Treat: Chunky Nut and Dried Fruit Granola

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One of my favorite things to snack on is granola. In town, Big Sky Granola is one of my favorites because it’s chunky like this Chunky Nut and Dried Fruit Granola recipe. I made this for a special treat for my friend who just had surgery, and she took one bite and said, “This granola rocks!” It is as good as it looks and full of wonderful ingredients.

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Easy as Can Be: Brownie S’Mores

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Recently, Naturally Nora, a company specializing in all natural baking mixes, asked me to experiment with some of their mixes. Their cake mixes, brownie mixes and frostings have no artificial colors, artificial flavors, preservatives or hydrogenated oil. I was so excited to try their mixes. My kids went nuts over their brownie mix, and it worked great in this simple Brownie S’mores recipe. It was so fun to make these with the kids-a wonderful summertime afternoon project.

Weeknight Summer Dinner in a Pinch: Steak Fajita Salad

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Since summer began, things seem (and are) busier than ever. Trying to work at home with 3 kids is always a challenge. Some days, dinnertime becomes a last minute thought. This recipe for Steak Fajita Salad is one of my “in a pinch” recipes. My kids love these, and they wrap the steak and vegetables in flour tortillas. I serve mine over lettuce (trying to skip the carbs). I dollop mine with nonfat Greek yogurt for some extra protein and a great substitute for sour cream.

Note: for the Fajitas seasoning, I used McCormick.

Super Easy 15 Minute Summer Cole Slaw

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I’m cooking ribs and coleslaw for the 4th of July at my house today since I’m heading to the lake tomorrow. I wanted to make a really easy, but delicious, light coleslaw. I had a great idea that made my life oh so simple. Recently, I bought some new spices from Penzeys, (when I went to get a present for someone else-you know how that goes). I tried the “Country French Vinaigrette” dry spice mix which works great in this 15 Minute Summer Coleslaw. This recipe was a huge hit with everyone, including the kids.

Note: In Birmingham, Alabama, the Penzeys is located in Homewood.

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Girls Night Out: Tomato and Avocado with Boursin Appetizer

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My friend, Kiel, just recently moved to Jacksonville, Florida, and she sent me some recipes from her “Girls Night Out” dinner. She and 10 of her friends get together every Tuesday night and alternate at their different houses trying new, fun and creative recipes. One night, they made Panini sandwiches and homemade tomato soup. Recently, they had an abundance of healthy, fresh salads. She sent me some of the recipes from her latest dinner. This Tomato-Avocado Appetizer with Boursin is such a breeze and tastes delish! It is so perfect for a crowd, especially during the summertime (such as this weekend for July 4th) celebrations. Thanks Kiel and your wonderful friends for sharing your recipes with me.

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Summer Easy Dinner: Glazed Pork with Peach Salsa

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Try Pork with Peach Salsa for a quick summer weeknight meal. This recipe is so easy using peach preserves and honey as a glaze over the pork. I use boneless pork loin chops because they cook so quickly, perfect for busy people. Feel free to grill the pork outdoors, inside in a grill pan or even nonstick skillet. This Peach Salsa is wonderful and filled with fresh peaches, cilantro, purple onion and lime juice. If you don’t eat pork, feel free to subsitute boneless chicken breasts, or I prefer chicken cutlets because they are thinner and cook even quicker.

Park City and Social Media at its Best at “Evo Conference 10”

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I have had a super busy month. Busy is good, but it’s almost unbelievable. It’s the heart of summer, and I am working at home with 3 kids going in 3 different directions. Besides my normal recipe development work projects, my cookie event at Pepper Place farmer’s market last week, 4 television segments this past thursday for NBC 13 “Daytime Alabama”, monthly work for the Birmingham magazine, and a new huge holiday recipe project for an international client, I can’t believe I am finding time for this blog post. In light of all this, I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go to Park City, Utah for Evo 10, a conference featuring women in social media. It’s been called “a summer camp for bloggers” taking place in a beautiful setting. Forgive me for no recipe today, but I have a fabulous one coming tomorrow.

Gluten-Free, Low Carb and Low Calorie: Flank Steak with Tomatoes and Feta

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My sister, Natalie, asked me for some main-dish dinner ideas since her two daughters are now home from college for the summer. This recipe for Flank Steak with Tomatoes and Feta is perfect for weeknights and weekends, especially since it’s grilling season (and Memorial Day is coming up). It’s so simple to prepare using fresh basil, oregano, garlic, fresh lemon juice and red wine vinegar. And who says beef isn’t healthy? Flank Steak with Tomatoes and Feta only has 185 calories, 29 grams of protein and only 2 grams of fat and carbohydrates per serving.

Spring Salads: Curry Chicken Salad

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I love Curry Chicken Salad, and this is one of my favorites. It’s really quick and easy because I like to use rotisserie chicken to simplify things. The combination of chutney, white wine, curry, cranberries and nuts flavor it to perfection. This recipe will be featured on Tuesday on NBC 13 “Daytime Alabama” at 11:30 a.m central time along with a few other wonderful spring salads. Take a look or check the website for the video.