Blueberry-Pecan Crisp

The blueberries this summer are so sweet and juicy, and I’m thrilled that they aren’t expensive either. The other day, I decided to make a simple Blueberry Crisp from a recipe my friends, Nancy and Lissa, sent me. When I put the photo on Facebook, everyone was begging for the recipe. It’s terrific served on its own or with a scoop of low-fat yogurt or ice cream. Happy July 4th week everyone! Enjoy and be safe!

Summer Cool Down: 10 Fantastic Popsicle Recipes

It’s hot here, and I mean HOT! I have been looking for some new popsicle recipes to beat the heat so here’s a few to wet your whistle. These would also be perfect for Fourth of July, coming very soon. Where is the summer going? Let’s start with my Two Ingredient Raspberry Popsicles (above).

Watermelon Margarita Popsicles via The Comfort of Cooking

Strawberry Lime Yogurt Popsicles via Elephantine blog

Cucumber Honeydew Margarita Popsicles via Endless Simmer

Cappuccino Popsicles and Granita from Drizzle and Dip

Blueberry Vanilla Popsicles from The Slow Roasted Italian

Frozen Fruit and Yogurt Pops via The Decorated Cookie

Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Almond-Covered Banana Popsicles via Got Chocolate

Breakfast Smoothie Pops via Family Spice

Chocolate and Salted Caramel Pudding Popsicles via Endless Simmer

Father’s Day Inspiration: Ideas and Recipes

Father’s Day is coming up this weekend so I thought I would share some very unique and fun Father’s Day recipes and ideas from some of my favorite sites including this recipe from my site: Grilled Steak with Mushrooms via Ingredients, Inc. I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend, and an even better week ahead!

Greek Yogurt Pancakes via How Sweet It is

50/50 Burger via Spoon Fork Bacon

Sweet Potato Fries via The Art of Doing Stuff

 Corona Beer Popsicles via Bakers Royale

Golf Cupcakes via Martha Stewart

Father’s Day Sugar Cookies via Martha Stewart

Campfire Bars via Sweetened with Honey

Tiffany Money Clip

Speaking Event Friday at Women’s Work-Life Symposium

I am so excited and honored to be speaking at this year’s 3rd Annual Women’s Work-Life Seminar Symposium in Panama City Beach, Florida. I will be accompanies by five other wonderful motivational speakers such as Lorna Owens, International Motivational Speaker and Author, Jill Nichols, Chief Operating Officer of  Vera Bradley, Jennifer Webb, Author, Speaker and Coach, Charlotte Steill, Certified Professional Organizer, and Martha Lanier, Author, triathlete and cancer and heart attack survivor. When it’s over, I am off to the beach! Have a great weekend, Alison

Quinoa Chicken Fried Rice Recipe

My oldest son, Alec, has been begging me to make homemade fried rice for a while. I decided to twist the basic recipe and make it with quinoa instead of rice. This Quinoa Chicken Fried Rice recipe is a hit for something new and different for your weeknight table, especially if you’re looking for something gluten-free, healthy and hearty. Feel free to substitute rice for the quinoa if you wish, but I love that quinoa is a gluten-free, nutty grain that is a complete protein which is high in fiber, low in calories and is high in iron, magnesium and calcium.

10 Foods That Boost Your Metabolism

I am on Magic 96.5 FM Radio this morning in Birmingham doing my monthly radio show on “Foods that Boost Your Metabolism”. Tune in at 6:50 a.m and 8:50 a.m CST today. Here are 10 Foods that can help boost your metabolism so add them to you diet. You can find the recipe above for Oatmeal with Egg whites here.

1. Water-Water speeds up weight loss and increases the metabolism. It also flushes toxins and sodium from the body. Cold water is said to be even better as your body has to work to heat the cold water until the temperature reaches the rest of the water in your body. This process increases the metabolism even more.

2. Green Tea: The caffeine in green tea speeds up metabolism and also has a chemical, EGCG (antioxidant), that stimulates the nervous system and helps prevent cancer. Extracts from Green tea boost metabolism, aid in weight loss, and also have anti-cancer properties.

3. Grapefruit-Water rich fruits, such as grapefruit, dilute calories. Grapefruit also reduces insulin, which can help your body process food more quickly and efficiently. Grapefruit is also a good source of Vitamin C, reducing insulin levels and boosting metabolism.

4. Broccoli-Broccoli is high in vitamin C and calcium. These two work together to help burn calories faster and more effectively. Calcium also activates your metabolism, and vitamin C helps absorb more calcium. Broccoli is also great for immunity. It  has vitamin A, folate and fiber.

5. Low-fat Yogurt or Greek Yogurt-Yogurt is full of calcium and protein which gives you energy and helps build lean muscle mass. Yogurt also helps regulate your digestive track

6. Hot peppers-Eating hot peppers can boost metabolism and curb cravings. The chemical capsaicin (found in jalapeno and cayenne pepper) assists in speeding up metabolism. Other spices, cinnamon and curry powder, are also metabolism boosters.

7. Salmon-Salmon is a lean protein and high in omega-3 fatty acids which help speed up your metabolism.

8. Lean proteins-Protein found in chicken, turkey and lean meats takes energy to break down so your body burns calories in the digestive process. 

9. Almonds-Although almonds are high in calories, they are jam packed with essential fatty acids, which are great metabolism boosters.

10 Oatmeal-Oatmeal is rich in fat-soluble fiber which requires a lot of calories to break down. It also reduces cholesterol levels and risks of heart disease.

Travel Tuesday: Put Atlanta Food & Wine Festival on Your List

Mark your calendars now for an event you won’t want to miss. The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival will be held May 10-13, 2012, and tickets are on sale now. This Southern festival is like no other, and event organizers call it, “A four-day culinary exploration of the South”.  This is the event to eat, drink and enjoy all that is Southern: chefs, sommeliers, beverage innovator and industry leaders and experts on food and beverages in the south.  I was lucky enough to attend and speak at the festival last year, and I thought, “This is the perfect event to come with your girlfriends or significant other.” It’s the ideal Mother’s Day gift. Here are some highlights of this years event:

-200+ Award-Winning chefs, mixologist, sommeliers and beverage innovators

-88 Demonstrations, seminars, discussions & trade programs

-3 tasting tents with more than 100 chefs participating

-14 unique dinners and events

Most of the events will take place in, or within walking distance of, the Loews Atlanta Hotel in Midtown. For more information on tickets, hotel and complete schedule, see The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.

First and third photos by AFWF/Raftermen.

Photo credit for second photo Michael Paley, Proof on Main and Garage Bar, Louisville, KY

Passover Granola Recipe

When my friend, Amy, told me about her Passover Granola recipe, I was very intrigued. I had never heard of granola for Passover before, and I thought, “what a novel idea.” She sent the recipe to me, and I tweaked a few things, cutting down the oil and butter and adding the dried fruit bits and pecans. I was so thrilled by the results because it is truly hard to find Passover snacks and dessert ideas. Serve this Passover Granola on its own, sprinkled on top of nonfat Greek yogurt or topped with almond milk.

Fitness Friday: The Power of Twist or Rotational Moves

I do a lot of twisting when I do abdominal workouts and strength training, but I don’t think I truly understood the power of “twisting exercises” and why rotational exercises are so valuable until now. “Twisting or throwing exercises engage more muscles, improve your balance, and build functional, real-world strength,” says Tony Gentilcore, a strength coach at Cressey Performance in Hudson, Massachusetts. “Plus, the rotation comes from the core, so you’ll gain power and carve flat abs while you’re at it.” That’s a pretty awesome bonus. Check out these moves below and do them as a circuit, going from one to the next without taking a break. Then rest 60 seconds. Do the circuit four times. These, and a few more, can be found and are courtesy of Women’s Health Magazine. Photo credit by Jeff Lipsky.

Move 1

Medicine-Ball Reverse Lunge and Shot Put

Stand 10 feet from a wall, holding a medicine ball at your chest. Step your right leg back and lower into a lunge, rotating your torso and bringing the ball to your right shoulder. Throw the ball at the wall, then push yourself back to start, catching the ball on the rebound. That’s one rep. Do five, then switch sides.

Move 2

Barbell Twist

lace a barbell on the floor in the corner of a room, and hold one end with both hands at eye level, feet hip-width apart. Rotate your hips, torso, and feet to the right and bend your knees to lower the bar, without bending your arms. Return to start. That’s one rep. Do five on each side.

Move 3

Rotational Cable Row

Adjust the cable station to its lowest setting and stand to the right of it (or use a resistance band), handle in your right hand, feet slightly more than hip-width apart. Pivot to the left, bending both knees and extending your right arm toward the pulley. Pull the handle across to your right hip as you rotate into a standing position. That’s one rep. Do 10, then switch sides.

7 Foods for a Healthy Brain

I don’t tell too many people, but both of my parents have dementia, and my mom has had Alzheimer’s disease for several years. It is definitely tough stuff to deal with, and that is why I don’t talk about it publicly. However, when I come across new information on this topic, it always catches my eye. So, I thought I would share…A new study, from the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, found that people in their late 80s with higher blood levels of B-complex vitamins, vitamins C, D and E, as well as the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, showed less mental impairment and brain shrinkage typical of Alzheimer’s disease.

What you don’t eat matters, too.  A recent Mayo Clinic study found that simply limiting food intake to fewer than 2,150 calories a day was linked to better brain health.

Here are 6 foods that are said to help with mental dexterity:

1. Beans– Beans and green peas provide a rich dietary source of B-complex vitamins (plus, they provide plenty of protein and fiber).

2. Citrus– Oranges and orange juice are a convenient and inexpensive source of ascorbic acid (aka vitamin C), as are tangerines, limes, lemons and other citrus fruits.

3. Almonds– Vitamin E occurs naturally in almonds, other nuts and avocados, and studies have shown that people with the highest blood levels of Vitamin E have a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

4 Fish– Polyunsaturated “healthy fats”, like those found in salmon, herring, and mackerel, reduce inflammation in the body and seem to help the heart function.

5. Spinach– Popeye’s favorite snack is rich in vitamins A and K, folic acid and iron, plus it’s versatile: It can be eaten raw in salads, baked, steamed or stir-fried.

6. Coffee– Amazingly, a study found that caffeinated coffee decreased blood levels of a plaque-forming protein and even reduced Alzheimer’s-like cognitive impairment.

7. Coconut oil– New studies are looking into whether or not coconut oil is helpful for brain aging and to help Alzheimer’s disease. More research is being done on this topic, but so far, so good.

See AARP for more information on this study.

Coffee photo above from Pinterest