Valentine’s Day Trail Mix

Valentines is almost here, and I thought I would share my latest healthy idea of what you can snack on at home, in the office or at your kids’ class parties. This Valentine Trail Mix is filled with healthy nuts, yogurt covered pretzels and raisins. Feel free to add your favorite nuts and dried fruits. Top it off with a small amount of regular or peanut M & M’s, and you’ll have a winning Valentine’s Day treat that is fairly healthy too.

No Bake Chocolate-Peanut Flaxseed Butter Bars

No Bake recipes bar cookie recipes are some of my favorite cookie/bar types of desserts, especially this time of year when I’m so busy. I quickly mixed up these up  one afternoon, and my kids told me these were a “home run” (well that was what the boys said). My daughter loved them even though she isn’t a coconut fan. These No Bake Chocolate Peanut Bars call for ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. These make a great afternoon snack, dessert (with milk) and an easy homemade gift for Christmas or Hanukkah.

Peppermint Milkshakes: Only 3 Ingredients

I first made this recipe for Peppermint Milkshakes on my blog in December of 2008 when I literally threw three ingredients together in a blender for my kids instead of taking them to get peppermint ice cream. Since then, I have been making these religiously for parties and for my 3 kids. It has been one of the most heavenly requested recipes from my children’s friends who have come to my house and tried them. Whenever I’m invited to a holiday party, I typically get asked to make these. This past sunday night, I made them for 28 people, and it was beyond an absolute hit. So many requested me to post the infamous recipe one more time so they can make them for their family Christmas events. Here it is…Enjoy!

Healthy Holiday Appetizer: Pear, Pecan and Gorgonzola Crostini

If you’re looking for a simple holiday appetizer for Christmas or Hanukkah, look no further. These Pear, Pecan and Gorgonzola Crostini are so fresh, pretty and easy to make. I am making these on television today for a  “healthy holiday appetizer” show on NBC 13 Daytime Alabama. You can find this recipe and 399 others in my latest cookbook, “400 Best Sandwiches: From Classics & Burgers to Wraps & Condiments” published by Robert Rose.

 

Healthy Food Gift Idea: All Natural Granola Bars

I’m always looking for new granola bars recipes to try since it’s one of mine and my 3 kid’s favorite snacks. I saw a version of this bar recipe on The Whole Kitchen by my friend Jenn which was adapted from a talented Cookbook Author (who I also know) Camilla’s Enlightened Cooking. These Homemade, All-Natural Granola Bars were a huge hit with the kids. I was so excited to share this recipe for a healthy homemade holiday food gift option. These make a great breakfast, afternoon snack or pre-workout offering. I even break them up and stir them into nonfat Greek Yogurt for a wonderful high protein breakfast. You can see me making these on Monday on NBC 13 “Daytime Alabama” at 11:30 CST on my food television segment on featuring healthy homemade food gift ideas.

Peppermint Dark Hot Chocolate Mix

Okay…my kids are obsessed with Peppermint Hot Chocolate. The past few weeks we have been visiting Starbucks more than often to savor their craving. Since I have been working on my Christmas list, I decided to create my own homemade version of Peppermint Dark Hot Chocolate Mix that will make the perfect holiday food gift. I used dark chocolate instead of milk or semisweet chocolate, but feel free to use your favorite. It has been said to lower blood pressure, work as a powerful antioxidant and even help release endorphins to boost your mood. It’s super easy and inexpensive to make, and everyone loves it.

Date-Pecan Bread with Greek Yogurt

This Date-Pecan Bread with Greek yogurt is my newest favorite healthy, quick bread recipe. I used whole wheat and all-purpose flour, flaxseed and nonfat Greek yogurt to create a flavorful, moist bread. My kids were skeptical at first, but shortly after they tried it, they were gladly helping themselves to seconds. Perfect for breakfast, dessert, an afternoon snack or holiday gift, this recipe is a cinch to prepare (no mixer needed). I bought my dates at Costco, but you can find them at any local grocery store. Dates are filled with so may health benefits. They’re full of fiber, Vitamin B, Vitamin, A, Vitamin C, Iron and potassium. They are an excellence source of energy and work wonders for the digestive system.

Pumpkin Galore

Every day I spend so much time looking at recipes and food blogs. I often get asked, “Don’t I ever get tired of looking at food all day, every day?” Honestly, no. As a Professional Recipe Developer, I am always looking for new, creative ideas for inspiration. I have seen so many incredible pumpkin recipes and ideas lately that I had to share them with you, starting with a recipe from Lisa for Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pistachio Bread  from her blog, With Style & Grace. Pumpkins are a nutritional powerhouse, and I hope you”ll enjoy some of these incredible ideas and recipes.

Here are some of my other favorites:

Maple Pumpkin Fudge from Sugarcrafter

Pumpkin Granola from Chocolate and Carrots

Studded Pumpkins from Gordon Gossip and Horchow

Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake Cooking on the Side

Stacked Monogram Pumpkins from Better Homes and Gardens

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes by Annie Eats

Pumpkin Vegetable Tray from Taste of Home

Lightened-Up Pimiento Cheese Recipe

Since it’s Labor Day weekend (and the start of college football), I thought I would share a lightened-up version of pimiento cheese perfect for a game day appetizer, Labor Day picnic, or weekend snack with crackers. Most of our friends will be at the Alabama game, Auburn game, the lake or the beach (that is how it goes around here in the south). I will be at the Auburn game because my daughter’s cheerleading team gets to cheer during the Auburn halftime show. How cool is that? Anyway, this Lightened-Up Pimiento Cheese uses Greek yogurt and mayonnaise. It tastes great, and no one will know the difference. I also like to add smoked paprika or chipotle seasoning for an added kick. Have a great, safe weekend!

Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Muffins

I wanted to say happy Friday with Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Muffins. I thought I’d leave you with this recipe as I am off to the BlogHer Food conference in Atlanta and to the Atlanta Food & Wine event (I’m a speaker at both events). I am really looking forward to a packed weekend surrounded by foodies. I have never attended a BlogHer conference, and it is the first ever Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, so it should be a spectacular weekend. In the meantime, enjoy these muffins and have a great weekend!