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!
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 :).
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).
My three kids love this recipe for Mini Calzones, which I created for CanolaInfo’s “Home is Where the Heart is” Recipe Collection in honor of World Heart Day. They are so simple to prepare and tasty, your kids won’t even know just how heart-healthy they are.
Like other busy moms, keeping my family healthy is on the top of my list. For me, it’s about making small changes, like using canola oil in a dish as opposed to butter or other oils. I’ve always used canola oil in my kitchen, but have learned so much more during this campaign. Here is some of my favorite info:
1. Everybody needs a little fat in their diet. Fat is a part of every cell in the body. It’s a valuable source of energy, and it aids in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. It also slows digestion so that you feel full longer.
2. Not all fats are created equally. Unsaturated fats are healthy and saturated and trans fats are unhealthy. The type of fat consumed is as important as the amount.
3. Canola oil is one of the healthiest oils in the world. It has the least saturated fat of any cooking oil (half that of olive oil) and is free of trans fat and cholesterol. Canola oil also has the most omega-3 fat of any cooking oil and is a good source of vitamin E.
4. Canola oil can help protect the heart for just pennies a day. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized a qualified health claim for canola oil on its potential to reduce the risk of heart disease when used in place of saturated fat. About 1.5 tablespoons of canola oil a day is enough to help keep the cardiologist away.
5. Canola oil is extremely versatile. Its light and neutral flavor make it ideal for almost any culinary application. In addition, the smoke point is extremely high at 468 F, making it ideal for sautéing or frying.
Also, if you haven’t already, check out the new interactive cooking game at Facebook.com/CanolaInfo, which features my recipe collection! You become the chef and try to beat the clock!
Living in Alabama does have its perks, especially living near easy access to fresh Chilton County Peaches. I have been visiting Durbin Farms since I was a child, and they still have the most unbelievable peaches. These peaches (below) were bigger than a softball, sweet, juicy and bursting with fresh peach flavor. A friend of mine passed me this recipe for Simple Peach Pie, and it really can’t get much easier than this. It’s fast with very few ingredients, and it was gone before I could turn around. When you have peaches this sweet, you don’t even need vanilla ice cream on the side, but it is a good addition :).
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.
We love cooking with quinoa because it’s so healthy, gluten-free, versatile, and my 3 kids love it. My sister recently made this recipe: Quinoa with Lemon and Herbs, originally from Giada De Laurentiis from the Food Network. It tastes a lot like orzo or pasta with fresh herbs and lemon juice. This recipe uses fresh basil, thyme and parsley, but feel free to use any combination of herbs. I added Parmesan to mine, but feta or goat cheese would work great too. This quinoa recipe makes a wonderful side dish served with fish, chicken or pork, and it can be prepared in under 30 minutes.
It’s been a wild week in Alabama. So many heartbreaking stories and scenes of destruction just a mile or so away. We are very lucky even though it’s 6 days and no power. Work and life continues, and I’m headed to Nashville on Friday to be on Newschannel 5 “Talk of the Town” at 11 a.m doing a sandwich show for my new book “400 Best Sandwich Recipes: From Classics & Burgers to Wraps & Condiments”. Before I go, I thought I would leave you with one of the easiest recipes for Pork Fajitas. I like to use thinly sliced pork tenderloins that can be found at the grocery store. These are thin, healthy, low-fat and cook very quickly. Happy Cinco De Mayo everyone!
I love super easy recipes that have only a few ingredients but still taste like a million bucks. This 3 ingredient recipe for Apple Tart is as easy as can be. I used Puff Pastry, fresh apples, granulated sugar, and that was it. It’s so easy to prepare, and it’s perfect for dessert, brunch or even an afternoon snack (my kids devoured this after school).
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!