Maple Roasted Asparagus

Just in time for Easter or Passover, try this healthy and tasty side dish: Maple Roasted Asparagus. It’s super easy and the majority of its flavor comes from Canadian Maple Syrup, balsamic vinegar and fresh thyme. Maple syrup is super healthy and far more comprehensive than you might expect. The only product in our diet coming directly from a plant’s sap, this natural sweetener features over 54 antioxidants that can help delay or prevent diseases caused by free radicals, such as cancer or diabetes. In addition, maple syrup features high levels of zinc and manganese, keeping the heart healthy and boosting the immune system.

Vegetarian Quinoa Recipe

My daughter, Leigh, had to make a Peruvian Quinoa recipe for her advanced Spanish 2 class, which gave her and I the chance to come up with a new quinoa recipe. We experimented with many recipes, but we loved this Vegetarian Quinoa. Luckily, for me, my three kids love quinoa, and it’s a fabulous ingredient because it’s gluten free, rich in protein, contains all 9 of the essential amino acids and so much more. Quinoa is high in iron which helps our red blood cells stay healthy, high in lysene, essential for our tissues growth and repair. This superfood is also high in Riboflavin (B2) which is super important for our brain health and improves our energy and metabolism. It also has twice as much fiber as other grains. Need I say more? Enjoy this for lunch as a side dish or afternoon snack. I spooned it over fresh arugula with some crumbled feta cheese, and it was a great, healthy lunch. Here’s to a great and healthy week ahead!

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

It’s the time of the year when Brussels sprouts are at their peak, and my three kids and I really like them! As you know, Bacon makes anything taste  better, so these Brussels Sprouts with Bacon are at the top of our Brussels sprout side dish list. This recipe is a great side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays or anytime during the week. Brussels sprouts only have 28 calories in a 1/2 cup. They are a good source of fiber and low in carbohydrates (only 6 grams in 1/4 cup). Brussels sprouts provide you with 20 essential vitamins and minerals. A ½ cup serving provides 48 mg of vitamin C, and 604 IU of vitamin A, which supports healthy eyesight. Brussels sprouts provide more than a day’s worth of vitamin K for men, and 91 percent of the daily value for women which may help strengthen your bones. Brussels sprouts, along with other cruciferous vegetables, contain isothiocyanates, which  helps prevent cancer and also may reduce your risk of heart attack.

Homemade Kale Chips

Last week I was talking about making kale chips on twitter, and so many people asked me about it, so I was excited to do a segment on NBC 13 Daytime Alabama showing how simple it is. I also talked about some of my favorite Power Foods, so tune in this Wednesday on NBC at 11:30 CST. My daughter, Leigh, can even make these on her own, so I promise that it’s a breeze. They are as healthy as they are delicious, and they work great as an appetizer or side dish.

Lightened-Up Southern Potato Salad Recipe

My three kids loved potato salad, and their great grandmother, Dee Dee, used to make the best any of us has ever had. I didn’t have her recipe before she passed, but I know this recipe for Lightened-Up Potato Salad is pretty close. We used to dine with her often on Sundays, and she was such a wonderful cook and baker. I think she would approve this recipe, but she might not be 100% thrilled I lightened it up – she loved the “Real Thing”. This recipe is great for sunday lunches, showers, tailgating and fall parties so I thought today was a great time to share it with you.

Kañiwa with Lemon, Basil and Tomatoes: Gluten-Free Super Food

Kañiwa, pronounced “ka-nyi-wa”, has been cutlivated in South America for thousands of years. Kañiwa is gluten-free and a great power food. It has been called the “new quinoa”. It is a cousin to quinoa but, actually, has higher protein, fiber and antioxidants along with significant levels of calcium, zinc and iron. Its nutty taste is unique, and it tastes even better than tabbouleh in this recipe for Kañiwa with Lemon, Basil and Tomatoes. To prepare it, you just boil water or broth, add the Kañiwa, cook and cover for 15 minutes. It’s a breeze and a nutritional powerhouse. For more information, see Roland Foods on where to find it. Trust me. You will be hearing a lot more about this incredible grain.

Quinoa with Lemon and Fresh Herbs

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.