Beetroot, Goat Cheese Hazelnut Tart

Beets are so incredibly healthy, and one of my favorite root vegetables. Just 3 baby beets equals one serving of your 5 vegetables and fruits you should have a day. They are also so versatile in cooking, and I love them in this Beetroot Goat Cheese and Hazelnut Tart. This recipe is very simple to prepare, and it makes a show-stopping appetizer or side dish. It’s perfect for holiday season entertaining. Check out LoveBeets which are ready-to-eat, cooked beets. You can find them in your local grocery such as Whole Foods Market. They make life so much easier, and they taste so fresh.

Here are just a few of their powerful health benefits.

1. Beets are one of the richest sources of folic acid essential for normal tissue growth.

2. Research has showed that beets can help lower blood pressure and blood sugar.

3. Beets have been said to lessen chances of skin and lung cancer.

4. The high iron content in beets helps fight fatigue and anemia.

5. Beets contain high amounts of Boron which is related to production of human sex hormones, thus increasing sex drive. 

In Search of the Perfect Pumpkin Pie Recipe

This weekend I have been in search of a great Pumpkin Pie recipe to make for Thanksgiving. You see, I’m getting off easy this year (yea!). I’ve hosted Thanksgiving at my house the past several years, but my sister and I swapped holidays this year (her request). I still have to make several things to bring to our family event of over 20 people. Since she assigned me the Pumpkin Pie, I have been searching for something new and different. The recipe (above) is a Pecan Streusel Topping from my friend Marge at A Sweet and Savory Sweet Life. It looks so fabulous, and it was one of the first ones I came across. Here are some others, including a “lightened up recipe from Cooking Light as well as vegan version. Enjoy!

Cheesecake Pumpkin Pecan Pie by Parsley Sage, Desserts and Line Drives

Pumpkin Pie Pops from Munchkin Munchies

 Pumpkin Pie Bites from Bakerella

 Vegan Pumpkin Pie from Vegetarian Times

Spiced Pumpkin Chiffon Pie from Cooking Light

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Brussels Sprouts Salad with Cranberries and Walnuts

So, it’s Brussels Sprouts season, and I know people either love them or hate them. I happen to be a fan, and 2 out of 3 of my kids are too. This recipe for Brussels Sprouts Salad with Cranberries and Walnuts is one of my new favorites which I’ll serve on Thanksgiving this year. I used a simple apple cider vinaigrette mixture to flavor the Brussels Sprouts and tossed them with sweet dried cranberries and crunchy walnuts. For another healthy and easy Brussels Sprout side dish option, see Brussels Sprouts-Tomato Salad, which is another tasty way to serve this healthy vegetable.

5 Health Benefits of Brussels Sprouts:

1. Brussels Sprouts are high in Vitamin K which promotes healthy bones and brain function.

2. Brussels Spouts are high in fiber which helps in digestion, lowers cholesterol, prevents constipation, and aid in weight loss, making you feel fuller longer.

3. Brussels sprouts are high in antioxidants helping to fight against cancer.

4. Brussels sprouts are high in Vitamin C (1 cup contains over 161% of the recommended daily allowance) which helps boost the immune system and lower blood pressure.

5. Brussels Sprouts are high in iron and folate which helps maintain red blood cell count and prevents against diseases and birth defects.

FYI I will be on WMJJ 96.5 FM this morning talking about how to cook healthier during the holidays.

Healthy Side Dish: Lemon Kale with Walnuts

If you’re looking for a healthy side dish to add to your weeknight table or Thanksgiving or Christmas menus, I definitely have one for you. Lemon-Walnut Kale only takes 15 minutes to prepare, and it’s full of fresh vitamins, protein and so many health benefits. Kale is super healthy with more iron than beef, and it’s loaded with calcium, fiber, omega-3 acids and more. It’s said to have detoxifying properties, cancer and heart disease fighting properties and antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Just cook it like you would spinach, and top it with your favorite ingredients. It’s going on my holiday table menu this year for sure.

Thanksgiving & Christmas Breakfast Recipes: My Favorite Coffee Cakes

One of my favorite things for breakfast is a truly awesome coffee cake. I crave it this time of the year, especially as the weather cools. My recipe for Apricot Almond Coffee Cake (above) was on my blog last year, and it’s so delicate and flavorful (I love the added touch of using Greek Yogurt). I have been eyeing some other recipes to try this season to serve on Thanksgiving and Christmas morning. I hope you’ll enjoy some of these recipes from some of my favorite sites that I look forward to reading on a daily basis.

Pumpkin Coffee Cake from How Sweet It is

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake from Two Peas & Their Pod

 Corner Bakery Cinnamon Creme Coffee Cake from Barbara Bakes

Blueberry Lemon Coffee Cake from Cooking Light

Cinna-Bun Coffee Cake in a Jar from Picky Palate

 

Breakfast Almond and Raspberry Quinoa

I’m a huge fan of quinoa, and one of my favorite ways to enjoy it, is for breakfast. Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) is one of the “it” or “super” grains right now, and it’s one of the best plant sources of protein with more high quality protein than any other grain. It’s loaded with protein, fiber and, best of all, is gluten-free. It is light, tasty and easy to digest, with a slightly nutty flavor. This recipe for Breakfast Almond and Raspberry Quinoa is fabulous. I had all 3 of my kids try it too, and they loved it. I love the combination of using almond milk, almonds and raspberries, but feel free to use any of your favorite fruits and toppings. Enjoy!

How to Store & Freeze Basil & Gluten-Free Recipes

Basil is a wonderful herb to use year-round, but its growth season is during the summer months. Here are some tips on how to store it for later use. Storing basil in the refrigerator isn’t a long-term solution, but it works great for short term. Just place it in a glass of water and change the water daily. Freezing is a popular method of storing basil. Place 1 tablespoon basil in an ice cube with water and freeze. When you’re ready to use it, just take out an ice cube, and use it in your recipe. Another way is to place the leaves in a food processor with a little oil, and then place it in an airtight container. See my friend, Kalyn, from Kalyn’s Kitchen for more great information on this tutorial. You can freeze basil for up to 6 months if you use a properly sealed container. Here are a few of my favorite gluten-free recipes using basil such as Quinoa with Lemon and Fresh Herbs

Kaniwa with Lemon, Basil and Tomatoes

Game Day Basil Bloody Marys

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 :).

Lazy Lasagna and “Substitute Yourself Skinny” Cookbook Giveaway

This summer, I was lucky enough to travel through Italy with several journalists from around the U.S. One of them, whom I hit it off with immediately, was Susan Irby. Susan is known as the “Bikini Chef”, the host of the well-loved Bikini Lifestyles on 790 KABC in Los Angeles, CA. This radio station actually spans the globe with listeners in Italy, France, Germany, Australia, Canada and many other countries worldwide. She was a blast to be with on the trip, and I’m so excited to share her current cookbook with you, Substitute Yourself Skinny. Susan is a 7-time author who helps people obtain their healthy bikini goals by focusing on lifestyle changes rather than a short term diet.

Her recipe for “Lazy Lasagna” really caught my eye. It’s perfect for when the weather is cool, and kids love it. For only 308 calories and 3 grams of fat per serving, everyone can feel good about eating a hearty slice of this family favorite. This is just one of many delicious low-fat and beautiful recipes in her book. I am excited to give away one copy of her book. Just follow the steps below for a chance to win a copy. Winner will be chosen Sunday, October 30th at 8 a.m.

1. Leave a comment below telling me your favorite healthy pasta recipe.

2. Follow Alison Lewis on Twitter

3. Like Ingredients, Inc. on Facebook

4. Follow Susan Irby, The Bikini Chef on Twitter

5. Like The Bikini Chef on Facebook

Halloween Cupcakes

Every Halloween my daughter, Leigh, loves to have friends over to decorate cupcakes for Halloween. I purchase an array of baking supplies, and she and her friends scan the internet for inspiration. They always ask me what blogs are some of my favorites so I do have some influence with some of their selections. Here’s what we thought were some of the best Halloween Cupcakes we have come across lately. To start, our jaws dropped when we saw these Black Chocolate Widow Rum Cupcakes from “6 Bittersweets”. Hope you’ll enjoy some of our ultimate favorites.

Pumpkin Buttercream Cupcakes with Halloween Toppers from “I am Baker”

Spooky Spider Cupcakes from “Tidy Mom” 

Halloween Cupcakes from “Kirbie’s Cravings”