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!

4 Avondale Restaurants Not to Miss

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.

Lightened Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

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

Grilled Guacomento

Grilled Guacomento

Since it’s National Grilled Cheese Day today and April is National Grilled Cheese Month, I wanted to celebrate with you by sharing my Grilled Guacomento sandwich recipe from my second cookbook 150 Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. This creative grilled cheese recipe combines two of my all-time favorites: guacamole and pimiento cheese. Some of you might think this sounds a bit odd, but trust me. Avocado (and guacamole) enhances just about about any food dish, including this fantastic sandwich. Enjoy this recipe all spring or summer (it’s also a fun recipe for Cinco De Mayo too). My cookbook as 149 other amazing recipes, so if you’re interested in ordering a copy click here.

Courtesy of 150 Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches by Alison Lewis © 2012 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission.

Grilled Cheese Cookbook

5 Winning St. Patrick’s Day Recipes

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches

My Mint Ice Cream Sandwich recipe on Momspark

 

Slow Cooker Irish Guinness Beef Stew

My recipe of Slow Cooker Guinness Beef Stew on Momspark

St.-Pattys-Day-Trail-Mix

Saint Patty’s Day Trail Mix via me and Ingredients, Inc.

Spinach-Pineapple-Smoothie

Spinach Pineapple Smoothie via me and Ingredients, Inc.

Saint-Patrick’s-Day-Fresh-Herb-Dip

Saint Patrick’s Day Dip via me and Ingredients, Inc.

Paleo Ratatouille

Paleo Ratatouille

I found a new cookbook, Sheet Pan Paleo, which is packed with 200 recipes and super easy steps. I love the idea of using a sheet pan for the majority of  your cooking. Since my family loves eggplant, I made the Paleo Ratatouille, which was a huge hit! The flavors are wonderful, and it’s great served as a side or main dish. With all of these recipes, just toss ingredients onto a pan; then roast, bake or broil! And clean-up? It’s a breeze! I don’t personally follow the Paleo diet, but many people seem to have a lot of luck with the diet, but all of these recipes for any healthy eating! This recipe turned out great!

Banana Bread Chocolate Chip Muffins

Banana Bread Chocolate Chip Muffins

My daughter, Leigh, saw a recipe for Skinny Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins by Ambitious Kitchen on Pinterest and asked me to make them. I made them today, and I made a few minor changes. They turned out great! I love that they use liquid coconut oil and nonfat Greek yogurt and her idea to put the bananas and liquid ingredients in the blender. This recipe is super quick and easy. They make a great morning or afternoon snack or easy breakfast on-the-go. Thanks to Leigh for finding this one and to the wonderful recipes from Ambitious Kitchen!

Overnight Apple Pie Oatmeal

overnight Apple Pie Oatmeal

Everyone loves oatmeal at my house, so I thought I would make my life easier by making this Overnight Apple Pie Oatmeal. With only 5 minutes of preparation time, this tasty breakfast is a ready when you wake up in the morning (the kitchen smells amazing too). Feel free to use your favorite apples and add honey, nuts, flaxseed or dried fruit to top off your morning oatmeal, but it’s also so good on its own. I used my new slow cooker below, which is my favorite new culinary toy. It’s so cute, useful and inexpensive too!

BLACK+DECKER 4 Quart/7 Quart Slow Cookers

  • Lid hanger allows you to hang lid on the rim of the stoneware or handle, keeping countertops clean
  • Easy to use dial with three settings – low, high, or keep warm
  • Cool-touch handles, tempered glass lid and removable stoneware for easy clean up
  • Available in four fun patterns and colors
  • Only $29.99 for 4 quart; $39.99 for 7-quart

overnight apple pie oatmeal

Banana Bread and Spirits? Where to Go

 Mayflower Hotel
While some hotel restaurants have signature cocktails, The Mayflower Hotel, in D.C., has been baking amazing banana bread for years using a tried and true recipe since 1963. More than 20,000 bananas are used to bake over 10,000 banana bread loaves each year.
With National Banana Bread Day approaching on February 23, and cooking classes continuing to be a 2016 trend, the hotel is unveiling its first-ever culinary class for both hotel guests and local D.C. residents, starting with a banana bread making/spirits pairing class. How fun does this sound?
banana bread mayflower
Offered quarterly, participants will learn the treasured recipe and enjoy pairings from a local spirits partner that will change seasonally. Whether it be a girls day out, a couple’s date or even a birthday activity with friends, this class is perfect for sharpening your baking skills in this super fun experience.
Mayflower hotel DC
Details about the first quarterly class:

Date: Saturday, March 19 2-4:00pm
Location: Edgar (The Mayflower Hotel; 1127 Connecticut Ave NW (between L and Desales St.)
Cost per participant: $35
Tasting vendor: Dolce Wine

Reserve your space by emailing edgar@themayflowerhotel.com or calling 202-347-2233 (please include the number of total guests in your party. Payment will be collected day of class). 

Participants will also take home a Mayflower-branded apron (so cute!)

mayflower banana bread recipe

Amazing Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Amazing Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Okay this is the best gluten free cookie recipe I have made in a while! When you read the ingredient list, you may think to yourself (huh?). I promise these Amazing Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies are amazingly good! I was hesitant too, and you should have seen my kids face when I told them what was in them! When they and I tried these, they were hooked. My son, Zachary, ate 5 the first night and my daughter, Leigh had 3 (and they have been begging me to make them again). These cookies are so simple and will melt in your mouth. Trust me on this one and let me know what you think! Have a great weekend, and here’s to awesome healthy, fabulous cookies!