Champagne Cupcakes for New Years Eve

Happy Christmas week! I wanted to share these Champagne Cupcakes for New Years Eve made with champagne, orange juice and orange zest. I used  Golden Blossom Honey which is family owned and has operated since 1921. Golden Blossom Honey is  100% American-made product and their signature patented blend is composed of three flowers — extra-white clover, sage buckwheat and orange blossom. Happy holidays everyone!!

Small Batch Granola

One of my favorite snacks of all time is granola. When I saw this recipe for Small Batch Honey-Pistachio Granola on my dear friend, Kelley’s blog, Mountain Mama Cooks, I had to make it. My kids and I loved it, and we have made it so many times that we know it by heart. I decided to change up her recipe just slightly to make this Small Batch Granola for some last minute holiday food gifts. I substituted pecans and almonds for her pistachios, but both versions are spectacularly simple. I found these super cute Christmas tree shaped jars at Walmart, and I had made budget friendly food gifts with ease. I gave one of these to my friends yesterday, and she called to tell me it was already gone. She asked for the recipe. Well, here it is….

Heart-Smart Snack: No-Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars

For those who know me well, you know that eating healthy and staying active is extremely important to me. I have been a runner since I was 16 and in love with anything related to health and nutrition since college. Over the past 20 years, my dad has had three heart attacks and open-heart surgeries, which has made me even more conscious of keeping my family fit and heart-healthy.

As you know, I’ve been working with CanolaInfo on its World Heart Day campaign and have learned a lot! For example, cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease, stroke and diseases of the blood vessels, is the number one cause of death worldwide, accounting for more than 17 million lost lives every year. In the U.S. alone, more than 81 million people (37 percent of the population) have CVD, resulting in nearly 850,000 deaths a year. Research has also shown that obese children are at a high risk for being obese as adults, which is a risk factor for CVD. There is good news though – with healthy diet and exercise, CVD can be prevented up to 80 percent of the time!

I’ve tried to teach my three children (10, 12 and 14) the importance of a healthy lifestyle through examples I’ve set and it seems to be working! As a family, we like to ride bikes, take walks, play tennis – anything active that we can do together. I also urge them to join team sports every season and we discuss the importance of making healthy food choices. I include them in meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking. I am always proud, impressed and grateful when I see them making wise decisions with healthy snacks and other foods. But kids are also, well kids, so I try to make heart-healthy foods fun like these No Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars I developed for CanolaInfo’s “Home is Where the Heart is” Recipe Collection.

These easy and tasty granola bars are perfect for breakfast, a lunchbox dessert or afternoon snack. For more great kid-friendly recipes and information on living a heart-smart lifestyle, visit Canolainfo.org.

Three Ingredients: Blueberry-Banana Ice

Sometimes simple is better, and recipes with only three ingredients actually can be as flavorful as if they had nine. This Blueberry-Banana Ice is one of those recipes that is almost too basic (and good) to be true just in time for July 17th “National Ice Cream Day.” Purchase ripe bananas and in season blueberries and freeze them (I used zip-top plastic bags). Remove and toss in the food processor or blender with a touch of honey, and you’re done. Feel free to experiment with other berries if you wish. This is the perfect healthy dessert for summertime, and it truly hits the spot.

Charoseth or Haroseth Traditional for Passover

I have to apologize that I am slightly behind on my Passover recipes to share with you. I was at the Mom 2 Summit conference last week in New Orleans attending and speaking, and I honestly got behind. Many friends have been asking me about traditional Passover foods and the Passover Seder, so I must share this simple recipe for Haroseth (also spelled and pronounced Charoseth). This mixture of wine, nuts and apples is a symbol of the mortar used by the Israelites to bond bricks while they were in slavery in Egypt. It is traditional to serve this with matzoh during the Seder meal with, and without, horseradish. It has an awesome flavor, and it is always is a hit!

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls

I’ll admit it. I am not much of a bread or yeast cook. I’m usually too busy (or too scared). When I recently came across these awesome Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls from Cooking Light Magazine, I had to try them. For 209 calories, 3.7 grams of fat, 5.1 grams of protein, you can enjoy an amazing lightened-up Cinnamon Roll. They weren’t difficult to make, just more time-consuming than most of my typical recipes. However, they were definitely worth the work, and everyone loved having homemade Cinnamon Rolls at their fingertips. I think I really impressed the family with these (especially the kids).

Note: Thank you to Cooking Light for permission to share this recipe on my site

Breakfast Quinoa with Cranberries and Apples

Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) is the wonder grain and one of the best plant sources of protein. It’s loaded with protein, fiber and is gluten-free. It’s so versatile, and when my sister came across this recipe in Ellie Krieger’s book, “So Easy”, she told me I had to test it out. I changed the recipe slightly using Pink Lady apples, more cranberries and walnuts instead of pecans. It was out of this world. Her recipe suggests to top it with milk, honey and cinnamon, but it was great all by itself. I love it because it’s so easy, filling and has no added sugar. It’s also bursting with great flavor. My kids loved it too, and I enjoyed serving them a hot healthy breakfast.

Appetizer or Entree: Honey Mustard Chicken Tenders

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Since most kids and adults love chicken fingers, I thought I would try my hand at developing a low-fat yet delicious recipe that kids and adults would enjoy. This recipe is a cinch. It’s only 4 ingredients and takes less than 25 minutes to prepare. Make extra honey-mustard dipping sauce by stirring together Dijon mustard and honey. I love using panko breadcrumbs in this recipe, and they are so easy to find even in the grocery stores. Just check where breadcrumbs are sold. Enjoy as an appetizer or entree when you need something fast and tasty.