Spiced Chocolate Covered Fruit

Chocolate Covered Fruit

I admit it. I have been MIA! Life got a little crazy buying and moving into a new house, but I am back! We are iced in today, so my kids and I made this Spiced Chocolate Covered Fruit recipe. It’s so easy and only 3 ingredients! Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, which have heart-protecting properties and are rich in antioxidants.  The protective factors are only seen in dark chocolate that contained at least 60 percent (preferably 70 percent or more) cocoa. There’s nothing better than a healthy snack with only 3 ingredients!

Food Blog Forum Orlando: Disney Fun

I had the best time this past weekend at Food Blog Forum in Orlando, Florida in Walt Disney World. I was so fortunate to get to share a round table speaking with the amazingly talented, humble and genuine, Angie of Bakerella. We spoke on “Writing a Cookbook From Two Perspectives” to four different groups.

Food Blog Forum was founded by Jaden and Scott Hair of Steamy Kitchen and Todd Porter and Diane Cu of White on Rice Couple. This one day conference is always so inspiring (this was my 3rd event), and this is the most wonderful, sharing, open and welcoming group of speakers and food bloggers. I must give a shout out to the fantastic staff at Walt Disney World for their incredible hospitality and generosity as well as to Julie, from The Little Kitchen, and Dawn Viola for coordinating this event. One the big themes of the weekend which spoke to me is: “Dream big and share your dream with others” via the man himself, Walt Disney.

Of course, there was food to be had at a “Food Blog Conference.” We had the most incredible parties, including Friday night by the beach at the Grand Floridian, lunch by a multitude of top Disney’s chefs (see above), and a wonderful Irish dessert party while watching fireworks in Epcot on Saint Patrick’s Day.

I met so many new fabulous food bloggers, and I had the pleasure to connect with old friends as well. (See Kelly, from “Just a Taste”, and me at Epcot, above).

I also had the chance to check out some of the best Disney attractions. The Epcot “International Flower and Garden Festival” (above) was this month. It was unreal!

This shot (above) from Animal Kingdom is the mountain of Expedition Everest. Doesn’t this look like I could actually be at Mount Everest?

We went on the Kilimanjaro Safaris ride (above) in Animal Kingdom, and we saw so many rare, beautiful animals. I can’t believe how close this giraffe got to our jeep.

Downtown Disney is always a blast. You never know what you might find in Disney World. Did I mention that my kids came along as well? They haven’t been there in seven years, so it was quite a treat. My son, Zachary, was a little timid of her (above).

My daughter, Leigh, (above) told me she wanted a picture with Mickey and Minnie. Honestly I wasn’t sure that it would be possible, but if there is a will, there is a way.

We loved staying at the convenient, and very, fun Polynesian Resort. Their beach (above) was so pretty, and their water slide in the pool was a hit with the kids. It’s a perfect way to spend time outside of the parks for some down-time.

Evo Conference and Park City, Utah

This weekend I am in one of my favorite cities, Park City, Utah for Evo Conference. Last year I was fortunate to win a trip to the first ever Evo Conference. I wasn’t sure what to expect. This was my first social media conference for one thing. Also, I had never stepped food in Utah. Needless to say, this was one of the best conferences I attended all year long filled with useful information in the most incredible venue. I made so many wonderful friendships last year, and I am looking forward to seeing them as well as making new ones. The conference is held at the Canyons resort, a beautiful resort in the winter and summertime for families or creative minds. Thank you to The Canyons for use of their photos. 

Food Blogger Bake Sale to Benefit Share Our Strength

I am so excited the Birmingham edition of the Food Blogger Bake Sale (organized by Gaby Dalkin of “What’s Gaby Cooking”) is this Saturday from 10 to 3 at the corner of 18th Street and 29th Avenue in downtown Homewood, across the street from Urban Cookhouse. Jason Horn, my awesome partner on the bake sale has a great blog, The Messy Epicure. Check it out.

 

Bloggers from across the country will be selling wonderful baked treats to raise money for Share our Strength, a charity working to end childhood hunger in the U.S. We want to thank Birmingham favorites, Edgars Bakery, Urban Standard, Teds Restaurant, Urban Cookhouse, Dreamcakes, Olexas, Dunkin Doughnuts and more for donating their awesome baked goods. I will also be selling my famous Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. Come by and say hi!

Mini Banana Bread Loaves with Flaxseed

This recipe for Mini Banana Bread Loaf has to be one of my all time favorites for so many reasons. First, it’s an awesome recipe and makes moist flavorful bread perfect for breakfast or a snack. It is also so healthy because it is made with nonfat Greek yogurt and ground flaxseed. I am a huge fan of using nonfat Greek yogurt because it has no fat, very few carbohydrates and is high in protein. Flaxseed is often called the “most powerful” plant food there is. It’s linked to so many benefits including reducing cholesterol, menopausal symptoms, constipation and arthritis. It also aids in protection against cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Lastly, you don’t even need a mixer so cleanup is a snap. When I taught the Kid’s Cooking Class a week ago in Park City, this recipe was a huge hit!

5 Ingredient Appetizer: Fig and Walnut Chutney

In honor of the “Oscars” tonight, here’s a simple and quick appetizer recipe that is sure to please. With only 5 ingredients, This Fig and Walnut Chutney is awesome served with sliced apples, grapes, crackers and Gorgonzola cheese. In under 20 minutes, you will have a superstar appetizer that your guests (and/or family) will love. This recipe also works well with goat or feta cheese so feel free to substitute your favorite. Not only is this appetizer healthy, but it’s low in fat. It’s a great, quick appetizer recipe to serve for any holiday or entertaining occasion. Happy Oscars night everyone, and I hope your movies/actors win!

My Top 10 Favorite Recipes from 2010

2010 has been so busy for me for work and my family. I had a fantastic year working on my upcoming cookbook, “400 Best Sandwich Recipes: For Every Meal and Occasion”,  Television Appearances, Spokesperson work, Recipe Development, and recipe testing and judging. I feel so lucky to be blessed to work with so many great clients and have wonderful support from subscribers, friends, fans, fellow bloggers and, of course, family. Thanks to everyone for all of your support. I am looking forward to an even better 2011 with the release of my upcoming book this spring, television appearances and many speaking engagements scheduled across the U.S. To end the year, I thought I would share some of my personal favorites and most popular recipes from 2010:

1. Lightened Up Spiced and Sugary Pecans

2. Watermelon and Goat Cheese Arugula Salad

3. Pecan Pie Bars

4. Warm Lentil Soup

5. Apple Muffins

6. Radicchio Winter Salad

7. Flaxseed Crusted Salmon

8. Greek Yogurt Banana Bread

9. Chunky Nut and Dried Fruit Granola

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10. Easy Beef-Vegetable Kabobs

One to Grown On:  Chocolate Chip Cookie Bark