Expresso Fudge

Espresso Fudge

I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving holiday! I did! I completed a huge amount of holiday shopping (I am so thrilled, and we had amazing family time!) Now it’s time to get back to the grind and think about work and kids (and more holiday organization). I made this recipe today for Expresso Fudge form the Cooking Channel Stars and mixology duo, Alie Ward & Georgia Hardstark. I will be making this homemade fudge recipe for teacher gifts and holiday get-togethers. This recipe is made with NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto Espresso Intenso pods which adds to it’s great coffee flavor.

Glazed Maple Pecan Oatmeal Scones and Last Minute Gift Idea

We love maple syrup at our house! Especially my daughter, Leigh. These Glazed Maple-Pecan Oatmeal Scones are amazing and would be fabulous for Christmas morning. I love using the certified organic Crown Maple Syrup that is produced in New York. This brand is gluten-free and contains no GMO’s or preservatives. Here are some last minute Christmas gift ideas that will please any home cook.

Medium Amber – experience aromas of gingerbread and roasted chestnut with flavors of rye, butterscotch and spice. Perfect pairings: baked bread, ginger cookies and chocolate. For cocktails – heavier spirits are ideal, such as bourbons that have seen many years of barrel age, or Scotch that has heavy smoke and peat. Also provides a decadent topping to chocolate or vanilla ice cream. (12 oz. bottle, $16.95) Available online here.

Crown Maple Gift Ideas:

Petite Trio – features a sampling of the light, medium and dark ambers in a handsomely packaged Royal Treatment box. Think of it as a ‘flight’ of pure maple syrup. (3 bottles – 1.7 oz. each, $15.95) Available online here.

 

  • Check out these cooking tips too!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Who is invited to a Christmas Cookie Swap or is in the baking mood? My daughter, Leigh and I made this Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe, and we have been craving them ever since. These are the classic Oatmeal Chocolate Cookies, and they make a great holiday food gift or cookies to leave out for Santa. Feel free to use dark chocolate chips and add nuts if you wish.

Harry & David Giveaway: Just in Time for the Holidays

When I think of holiday food gifts, my mind goes straight to Harry & David. Every year I look forward to receiving a holiday gift from Harry & David and their mouth watering pears. My 3 kids love them, but this year I am so excited to have received this Holiday Founder’s Favorites Gift Box (above) filled with cheese, crackers, pears, apples, candy, chocolate popcorn and more AND host a Giveaway for one of these (a $79.95 Value)! We enjoyed every bit of this gift box, and we took the cheese and crackers with us to Thanksgiving dinner.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment telling me “What is your favorite Harry & David product?” If you haven’t tried any of their products, which one would you like to try?

The giveaway is open until Wednesday, December 5th at 8 a.m CST. The giveaway is only open to USA residents. Be sure a valid email address is included with your comment(s). Winner will be chosen randomly and announced on this post. We will email the winner and if the winner doesn’t respond in 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen. Product will be shipped by Harry & David. Good luck!

For more chances to win do the following:

1. Like Alison Lewis on Facebook

2. Follow Alison Lewis on Twitter

3. Follow Alison Lewis on Pinterest

4. Like Harry & David on Facebook

Disclosure: This giveaway is being provided by Harry & David, but our opinions are my own.

Healthy Mini Pumpkin Flaxseed Bread Recipe

I love one bowl, no mixer, quick bread recipes such as this one for Mini Flaxseed Pumpkin Bread Loaves. Not only is this so easy to prepare, but my kids can almost basically make them on their own with very little clean-up. I added a touch of nonfat Greek yogurt and ground Flaxseed to make these even healthier, moister and with added crunch, and my 3 children had no idea those ingredients were even in there. These Mini Pumpkin loaves make a great breakfast, afternoon snack or dessert that you can feel good about eating and serving to your kids. These also make wonderful Christmas food gifts as well :).

How to Get Lean?

Everyone wants to have a lean body, but how do we achieve it? I did some research to figure out what I am personally doing right and wrong, and here’s what I’ve found. If you have any other tips to offer, please share in the comment area below.

1. Strength Training-Adding strength training to your exercise program will help build lean muscles. Whether you use free weights, machines, body weight, or resistance bands, you will increase lean muscle, reduce body fat and burn more calories efficiently.

2. Eat more protein-Eating protein will help create lean muscle. Create your meals around protein. Identify what protein you are going to have and work your meals around that.

3. Do more yoga-In yoga, muscles are strengthened and elongated so you will not bulk up as much, but get a tone and flexible body.

4. Front-load your carbohydrates-Reduce the number of carbohydrates you eat as the day goes on. Studies show that your body’s ability to metabolize carbs drops as the day goes on, so more can end up stored as fat. My trainer, Jeff Green, from Icon Performance, says “Cut out all carbs after 3 p.m.” Wow is that hard, but if you can do it, you will see a difference.

5. Limit sugar, white flour and alcohol-These foods are quickly digested which causes blood sugar to rise. This stimulates the release of the hormone insulin, which signals your body to stop burning fat (and storing it instead).

6. Eat more frequently and eat smart-Nutritionist and Fitness Expert Sandra Koulourides, of “Fuel Plus Fitness”, suggests eating lean protein, good fat, veggies and fruit. Also, eating more frequent smaller meals with help curb cravings and splurging

7. Drink more water-Staying hydrated with water will help your body stay energized as well as help you cut down on soft drinks and caffeine.

8. Cardio and Interval Training-Do at least 30 minutes of cardio at least 5 days a week and stay consistent. Mix this with interval training, and you’ll rev up your metabolism even more.

9. Get more sleep-Refueling and resting your body often helps muscles rebuild. Get at least 8 hours of sleep (and 9 if possible) and take a day or two off a week.

10. Read labels-Don’t just look at protein and carbs, but take note at fiber, sodium, fat and how much sugar is in what you’re eating.

Gifts from the Kitchen: Maple-Chipotle Spiced Nuts

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Since I’m teaching a cooking class next week -“Gifts from the Kitchen”, I thought I would share with you my recipe for Maple-Chipotle Spiced Nuts. There’s no oil or butter in this recipe. Just egg whites, some of my favorite seasonings and nuts. I love Priesters Pecans, especially this time of year. This makes a great Christmas gift but is wonderful anytime. For more information on my class, see Birmingham Bake and Cook. I am also taping a “Gifts from the Kitchen” television segment Tuesday for NBC 13 Daytime Alabama and will let you know when it’s going to air.

Easy and Healthy Christmas and Holiday Gift Idea-Dried Fruit Mix

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Some of you may know that my background and love is really in healthy and light cooking, but I know with the holidays, it’s hard to focus on that. Even in my profession of being a Recipe Developer, I deviate from my healthy schedule, especially when working on holiday recipes. Usually, most magazines work six months in advance so I am preparing heavy holiday foods in the summer (during bathing suit season), and am grilling light summery food in the winter (luckily, I live in the south). As far as healthy gift ideas, I thought I would share one of my (and my kid’s) favorites-dried fruit mixed with a touch of ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. We went threw our jar in less than one day, so I hope this will be as popular as it was at our house.

 

Dried Fruit Mix

Prep: 10 minutes

Ingredients

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup dried apples

3/4 cup pitted prunes

3/4 cup dried aprictots

1/2 cup dried blueberries

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Preparation

1. Layer all ingredients in a 1-quart jar in the order given; tightly seal. Makes 1 gift jar.

Homemade Food Gifts-Chocolate Butterscotch Bar Cookie Mix

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Homemade treats and gifts are so comforting during the holidays, and who wouldn’t love a gift that looks like this? I made a few of these, and everyone went nuts over them. I couldn’t make them fast enough. Not only is this the easiest gift in the world to make, but the finished product is beyond awesome (and when I say that, it’s good). You can find one-quart jars almost anywhere, but if you’re having trouble, check Walmart or your local grocery store. These recipes can be made ahead, and don’t forget to make a few extra batches to keep on hand for family munching, drop-in guests, or any time of the year.

 

Chocolate Butterscotch Bars

Prep: 5 minutes

YIeld: 3 dozen

Ingredients

11/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate morsels

2 cups (12 ounces) butterscotch morsles

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preparation

1. Layer all ingredients in a 1-quart jar in order given; tightly seal. Makes 1 gift jar.

Chocolate Butterscotch Bar Cookies: Combine Chocolate Butterscotch Bar Mix and 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk. Press into a greased aluminum foil-lined 9-inch square pan. Bake at 350F for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool completely and cut into squares.

Easy Christmas Gift Ideas-Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

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We love hot chocolate at my house! My kids consider it a real treat when I say, “Who wants hot chocolate?” They love it in the morning, after school, and sometimes, instead of dessert, after dinner. And my non-coffee friends will stop at Starbucks for hot chocolate as fast as I will get my latte (and for those who know me, that’s a lot). So, I thought what would be a simpler and better holiday gift than the gift of hot chocolate? This recipe is a breeze and tastes great. Feel free to give a large 1-quart container or several small 4-ounce jars. Whichever you choose, I know you and your friends will love this recipe. The only thing that is missing is the milk.

 

Hot Chocolate Mix

Prep: 5 minutes

Ingredients

13/4 cups powdered sugar

11/2 cups nonfat dry milk

11/4 cups unsweetened cocoa (I used Hershey’s)

4 cups miniature marshmallows

Preparation

1. Stir together all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Place in a large or small airtight jars and store at room temperature.

Gift Card Enclosure and instructions: Stir 1/2 cup  Hot Chocolate Mix into 1 cup warm milk, stirring well. Serve immediately.

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