Thursday Thoughts: New Travel Magazine, Awesome Kids and more

Wow, what a week! I worked ALL last weekend and this week on the upcoming launch of Healthy Travel Magazine coming March 2013 in conjunction with Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Magazine. This has been my 10-year idea which is now coming into reality. Being an Editor-in-Chief of a new travel magazine launch is the most thrilling experience in my entire career (and a lot of work too)! Wait until you see it!

Other news:

1. My three kids are awesome! My daughter, Leigh, is getting ready for several upcoming dance competitions this month with dance rehearsals every weekend. She has incredible passion and drive, and I am so proud of her!

My son, Zachary’s birthday was last week. He got a new basketball goal, and if it ever stops raining, he might get a chance to try it out. This is us overlooking the Birmingham skyline (small I know).

My oldest son Alec, is too talented for words. A new package arrives weekly for him to review for his outstanding and growing sports blog Sneaker King. Check it out and please share to your friends! This is all of the work of a 15-year-old on his own. I am SO impressed!

2. My dad has been really sick for a week. It’s tough! Say a prayer for him.

3. Being a single mom of 3 kids (who works more than full time) is a really difficult thing. If you didn’t know that about me, you do now! Please send any words of wisdom over my way.

4. Other thoughts of the week:

I love this super cool pantry via Evan Joseph

5. Lastly. I am so fortunate to be headed to this island this weekend where these photos (above and below) were taken! More on that later! Have a great weekend! Stay tuned….

 

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!

Halloween Candy 100 Calories or Less

Happy Halloween everyone! Halloween is such a fun holiday whether you have kids or not. One thing I try not to do, but always seem to, is to indulge in the candy. It’s only once a year, right?  This year, I thought I would take a different approach. I didn’t purchase my Halloween candy until the very last minute so it wouldn’t be sitting around for my kids or me to be tempted. Also, I did a little research to find out which types of candy have 100 calories or less. While doing research, I found such cute candy merchandise such as this adorable M & M’s Dispenser.

100 Calorie or Less Halloween Candy:

Miniature Reese’s cup 40 calories

Fun size bar Snickers bar 63 calories

3 strawberry Twizzler twists: 100 calories

Fun size Milky Way Bar 80 calories

Fun size 3 Musketeers 63 calories

Fun size Kit Kat Bar 70 calories

Fun size pack Reese’s pieces 67 calories

Fun size pack Starbursts 40 calories

Fun size Almond Joy 80 calories

Fun size Hershey Bar 77 calories

Fun Size Tootsie Roll 50 calories

Small packet plain M’M’s 73 calories

Small packet peanut M’M’s 90 calories

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”

Chocolate-Coconut and Toffee Bars

Need a great dessert or sweet snack to feed a crowd? A friend of mine passed me a version of a recipe which I tweaked to create these Chocolate-Coconut Toffee Bars. These remind me of  a cross between S’mores and Hello Dolly bars, but these are a little less fattening.  I used low-fat graham crackers as the base with a toffee layer topped with coconut, pecans and dark chocolate. They are so easy to make, and the kids loved them (especially for a study break snack).

Kids Cook it Up: Sausage-Vegetable Pizza

My kids are already out of school for the summer, and they are so excited. They love having friends over, of course, and I like to ask them if they want to help out in the kitchen. My kids (and their friends) love being in the kitchen. It’s the center of our home. Most of their friends know that I’m a Recipe Developer and Cookbook Author and that I’m always taking pictures in the kitchen. We made these Sausage-Vegetable Pizzas the other day, and they had a blast. Making pizzas is a fun kid’s activity. I love to set up an array of toppings, and I let them create their own. Try this for an awesome summer activity.


Rice Krispy Easter Eggs

Okay, so this post is attributed to my daughter, Leigh, and her friend, Ellen. She spent the night with Ellen a few weeks ago and made these awesome Rice Krispy Easter Eggs. They were googling a fun Easter project, and they found this great idea from Family Fun magazine. She called me and said, “Mom, you must come take a picture of this to post on your blog.” At first, I was like, “Huh?”  When I arrived at Ellen’s house, I realized how right Leigh was. These are adorable, fun and a great Easter treat idea for kids. As you notice from my picture, Ellen didn’t have any Easter colored M & M’s, but any colors will do. Happy Easter!

Kid’s Cooking Class at Park City Mountain Resort

Last week, I spent spring break in the incredibly beautiful Park City, Utah. I was so fortunate to have the opportunity to teach a Kid’s Healthy Cooking Class at Park City Mountain Resort making Apres Ski Snacks.

The kids had a blast making four recipes starting with Mini Banana Bread Loaves made with Greek yogurt and ground flaxseed.

I loved working with the staff at the Park City Mountain Resort. They made it so easy for me even though sometimes it’s tough working back in a big resort kitchen. I was looking for a masher for our banana bread, and this is all I could find.

I do appreciate all of wonderful help from Krista, Mike and Deirdra. Y’all are the best, and I had such a great time working with you!

Since it was St. Patrick’s Day, we also made a healthy Herb Dip appetizer that the kids devoured.

They also especially loved preparing the Homemade Granola Bars. It was one of the more difficult recipes, but definitely worth it.

The kids also made homemade make-your-own pizzas. Everyone used their own unique touch. When the food came out of the oven, everyone was ready. They were happy (and hungry) to eat all of their healthy homemade snacks, especially after a long day of skiing.

Be sure to check out Park City Mountain Resort and Snowmama’s the next time you’re thinking about a wonderful family vacation. My kid’s had never skied before, and they were off and running after a day of lessons from the wonderful instructors here. We all had a wonderful time and can’t wait to go back!

My Favorite Sport Water Bottles

I have to admit. I don’t have a sports water bottle. I have been looking for a new one, and I am always checking out what people are carrying around at the gym or in yoga. Here’s some really fun, cool ones that I am trying to decide between. Let me know if you have a favorite. I am in Park City this week, and yesterday I taught a Kid’s Cooking Class at the Park City Mountain Resort. I’ll tell you more about that when I get back in town. In the meantime, have a super weekend, Alison

Klean Kanteen made the first BPA free metal bottle. This “Klean Kanteen Reflect” water bottle is sleek and cool. It has no paint or plastic just sustainably harvested bamboo, food-grade silicone and stainless steel.

Lifefactory’s largest 22 ounce glass water bottle has a fun modern design with a wide mouth which makes adding ice cubes, fruit and tea bags easy. Shown here in light blue, these reusable beverage bottles are free of BPA, phthalates, PVC, polycarbonates, lead and latex. Check out all the other bright colors. (They also make baby bottles.)


Pie Day was earlier this week. If you are a lover like most people, this PI314 Reflected as Pie made by Sigg. It is BPA Free and has a lifetime warranty.

This 25 ounce sport bottle from Camelback, called “Podium Big Chill”, is BPA free and is said to keep water cold twice as long. It is also has a great seal eliminating any chance of spills and leaks.

Insulated Straw Bottle - 17 oz - Purple Glow

The 17-oz EcoVessel Insulated Straw Bottle shown in this great metallic purple is a great bottle for those constantly on the go. It will keep your beverages cold for hours.  The unique straw top makes drinking easier so you can drink from the bottle without unscrewing the cap.  And, the straw won’t open accidentally in your bag or car.

If you are a runner, how can you not love this Sigg Water bottle by Cafe Press? It’s made from a single piece of aluminum, so it’s lightweight and crack-resistant.

St. Patrick’s Day Herb Dip & Kid’s Cooking Class

Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17th, and I am so excited that I will be spending my Saint Patrick’s Day teaching a Kid’s Cooking Class at the Park City Mountain Resort in Park City, Utah. We we will be making kid-friendly apres ski snacks to make in the condo. See more information about this fun class on the“Snowmama” website. One of the recipes I’ll be making in the class is this healthy, easy and very simple Saint Patrick’s Day Fresh Herb Dip. It’s a great way to get the kids to try fresh herbs such as basil and dill and to eat fresh vegetables. I like to use reduced-fat Greek yogurt in this recipe because it has so may health benefits and is filled with protein which is perfect after a long day of skiing. Enjoy this recipe on Saint Patrick’s Day or any time of the year.