Pumpkin-Protein Smoothie: Kid-Friendly

How many smoothies do y’all make a week? I can’t even begin to count over at my house. My kids are always trying new creations, and I am trying to keep up with their creativity. This Pumpkin-Protein Smoothie was a recent favorite. I had some leftover pumpkin, and I thought why not try it with peanut butter? It sounds a little weird at first, but it works. Happy Halloween! Here’s to a great fall 2012!

10 Favorite Fall Recipes and Ideas

Fall is around the corner, and I started looking for some fall and Halloween inspiration. Here are 10 fabulous fall recipes and ideas that I can’t wait to try, starting with Witch Leg Toppers via Urban Comfort and Better Homes and Gardens. I am so excited about fall. How about you?

Mini Apple and Honey Tarts via Tales of an Overtime Cook

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Cupcakes via Taste of Home

Mini Lemon Meringue Pies via My Baking Addiction

Stylish Pumpkins via Midwest Living

Lemon Coconut Loaf via Anga’s Food for Thought

The Fig Old Fashioned via The Kitchn

Fall Tables by Karin Lidbeck-Brent 

Maple Banana Toasted Almond Quinoa via Family Fresh Cooking

No Carve Pumpkin Decorating Ideas via Good Housekeeping

 

No-Bake Dog Treats: For People Too

When Birmingham Magazine asked me for some dog treats for my monthly food column, I wasn’t sure what to do. Honestly, this is not my area of expertise. I contacted our wonderful veterinarian, Andy, and I asked him to name a couple of ingredients which I could use to develop a cookie that would be good for dogs. I created these No-Bake Dog Treats which are great for people too. These came out fabulous, and my dog, Latte, loved every one of them. Note: For overweight dogs, these should be a “splurge” snack.

Lighter Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes are a must-have in the South in Alabama, and my kids beg for me to make Fried Green Tomatoes. Since this week’s Summerfest with the Food Network is featuring tomatoes, I thought these Lighter Fried Green Tomatoes were worth sharing. These are super easy to make and make a great appetizer or side dish. My children love them dipped in a homemade ranch dressing or just on their own. Enjoy them this summer while they are at their peak. Now, be sure to check out the fabulous tomato recipes below:

Cooking With Elise: Fresh Tomato Sauce 
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Tomato Gazpacho Salsa
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Tomato Cobbler Anyone? 
Virtually Homemade: Spaghetti With Tomatoes, Prosciutto and Fresh Corn
What’s Gaby Cooking: Chicken Kebabs With Romesco Sauce
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Salmon Spaghetti With Plum Tomatoes and Avocado
Feed Me Phoebe: Roasted Fresh Tomato Puttanesca Sauce
Chez Us: Easy Tomato Tart
Made By Michelle: Tomato and Pesto Pizza
Ingredients, Inc.: Lighter Fried Green Tomatoes
Delicious Lean: Creamy Light Tuna Salad Stuffed Tomatoes
Daily*Dishin: Spicy Tomato-Tomatillo Chicken Tenders
From My Corner of Saratoga: Tomato Jam
Dishin & Dishes: Tomato Zucchini Frittata
And Love It Too: Roasted Garlic, Basil and Tomato Paleo Tart
Healthy Eats: The Fresh-for-Once Tomato
Sweet Life Bake: Pico de Gallo
Zaika Zabardast: Grilled Tofu and Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Sandwich
Thursday Night Dinner: Tomato and Watermelon Salad
Cooking Channel: How to Prepare Summer Tomatoes
FN Dish: Tomatoes Go Beyond Salads

Croque Monsieur Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Yay to April and National Grilled Cheese Month! I thought I would feature one of my favorite grilled cheese recipes, Croque Monsieur, from my latest cookbook “400 Best Sandwiches: from Classics & Burgers to Wraps and Condiments”. This French-style ham and cheese sandwich typically has Gruyere or Emmenthal cheese. It originated in France as a fast food snack in cafes and bars. It’s so easy to prepare, and it’s the ideal comfort food. Be sure to check out my lightened up variation as well.

10 Foods That Boost Your Metabolism

I am on Magic 96.5 FM Radio this morning in Birmingham doing my monthly radio show on “Foods that Boost Your Metabolism”. Tune in at 6:50 a.m and 8:50 a.m CST today. Here are 10 Foods that can help boost your metabolism so add them to you diet. You can find the recipe above for Oatmeal with Egg whites here.

1. Water-Water speeds up weight loss and increases the metabolism. It also flushes toxins and sodium from the body. Cold water is said to be even better as your body has to work to heat the cold water until the temperature reaches the rest of the water in your body. This process increases the metabolism even more.

2. Green Tea: The caffeine in green tea speeds up metabolism and also has a chemical, EGCG (antioxidant), that stimulates the nervous system and helps prevent cancer. Extracts from Green tea boost metabolism, aid in weight loss, and also have anti-cancer properties.

3. Grapefruit-Water rich fruits, such as grapefruit, dilute calories. Grapefruit also reduces insulin, which can help your body process food more quickly and efficiently. Grapefruit is also a good source of Vitamin C, reducing insulin levels and boosting metabolism.

4. Broccoli-Broccoli is high in vitamin C and calcium. These two work together to help burn calories faster and more effectively. Calcium also activates your metabolism, and vitamin C helps absorb more calcium. Broccoli is also great for immunity. It  has vitamin A, folate and fiber.

5. Low-fat Yogurt or Greek Yogurt-Yogurt is full of calcium and protein which gives you energy and helps build lean muscle mass. Yogurt also helps regulate your digestive track

6. Hot peppers-Eating hot peppers can boost metabolism and curb cravings. The chemical capsaicin (found in jalapeno and cayenne pepper) assists in speeding up metabolism. Other spices, cinnamon and curry powder, are also metabolism boosters.

7. Salmon-Salmon is a lean protein and high in omega-3 fatty acids which help speed up your metabolism.

8. Lean proteins-Protein found in chicken, turkey and lean meats takes energy to break down so your body burns calories in the digestive process. 

9. Almonds-Although almonds are high in calories, they are jam packed with essential fatty acids, which are great metabolism boosters.

10 Oatmeal-Oatmeal is rich in fat-soluble fiber which requires a lot of calories to break down. It also reduces cholesterol levels and risks of heart disease.

No-Bake Mini Healthy Bites: Gluten-Free and Passover

I love to experiment with “No-Bake” cookie recipes, especially those that are gluten-free, Paleo Diet or perfect for Passover which starts this week. I was excited to make this recipe for No-Bake Mini Energy Bites which I made and tweaked from a recipe I saw on the blog, “Gimme some Oven”.  Her recipe is great, but if you want a Passover or gluten-free version, try grinding your favorite nuts and omitting the oatmeal. These are incredible, and I honestly could not keep my hands out of the container. My 3 kids had absolutely no idea there was flaxseed in them. Feel free to use almond butter instead of peanut butter and any of your favorite nuts.

Passover S’mores

Passover is coming up this week, and I know so many are always looking for new, fun recipe ideas, especially to please the kids. I made these Passover S’mores a few years ago, and they have become a Passover staple for my three children. Who doesn’t love s’mores? Just use regular sizes matzo and break it into pieces, or use the new mini matzo that is so popular this year instead of graham crackers, and you’ll have some happy kids (and adults).

Easter or Passover Main Dish Idea: Mahi Mahi and Vegetable Kabobs

I grill all year long, but my family especially loves it when the weather turns nice. We tend to eat outside on the deck, and it’s great for the kids to be riding bikes and playing basketball while I’m cooking the food on the grill. This is the epitome of family time. These Mahi Mahi and Vegetable Kabobs are the perfect recipe to try if you’re wanting to get your kids to like fish and vegetables. It’s colorful, fresh and full of clean flavors. Mahi Mahi is mild, a low calorie, low-fat source of protein, and it also has B-complex vitamins, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids. Serve these kabobs with grilled asparagus or squash and zucchini this Easter or Passover dinner for something different and unexpected. It’s a healthy low carbohydrate main dish.

My Top 4 Favorite Passover Desserts

I can’t believe Passover is right around the corner starting the evening of April 6th. I have had so many requests and emails about recipes I featured last year. Here are my top 3 favorite desserts. The first one is Passover Strawberry Bars (pictured above). All of these three Passover desserts are so easy to make, budget friendly, and they do not taste like your average Passover dessert. Trust me.

The Best Passover Brownies 

Classic Mandel Bread

No Bake Cookies