How to Maintain Your Weight During the Holidays

I was so excited last week to be asked to be on a very popular radio station in Birmingham, WMJJ Magic 96.5, and do a show on “Tips for Eating healthy during the holidays”. Before I went on the air, I thought about what I do personally, and I asked some of my friends on Facebook and Twitter for their input. The thing to remember is to eat everything in moderation. Also, make good food choices (such as my favorite Winter Radicchio Salad with Pomegranates). The radio show was so popular that I will be doing a monthly radio show with them, and I am so excited about that!

Here’s my list of Top 10 Healthy Holiday Eating Tips:

1. Exercise during the holidays.

2. Before you leave your house, eat a small snack and eat small meals throughout the day so you’re not binging at night

3. Eat breakfast on Thanksgiving and Xmas morning

4. Eat only what you love at the holiday table

5. Don’t rush to eat. Socialize as much as you can, but do it away from the holiday table.

6. If you’re drinking alchohol, drink a nonalcoholic version first

7. Drink a lot of water that day so it makes you feel full

8. Eat veggies everywhere you can, and fill your plate up with a lot of them

9. If there are 2 plate sizes, put your meal on a salad or dessert plate

10. When you’re done eating, wait and don’t go back for more.

In Search of the Perfect Pumpkin Pie Recipe

This weekend I have been in search of a great Pumpkin Pie recipe to make for Thanksgiving. You see, I’m getting off easy this year (yea!). I’ve hosted Thanksgiving at my house the past several years, but my sister and I swapped holidays this year (her request). I still have to make several things to bring to our family event of over 20 people. Since she assigned me the Pumpkin Pie, I have been searching for something new and different. The recipe (above) is a Pecan Streusel Topping from my friend Marge at A Sweet and Savory Sweet Life. It looks so fabulous, and it was one of the first ones I came across. Here are some others, including a “lightened up recipe from Cooking Light as well as vegan version. Enjoy!

Cheesecake Pumpkin Pecan Pie by Parsley Sage, Desserts and Line Drives

Pumpkin Pie Pops from Munchkin Munchies

 Pumpkin Pie Bites from Bakerella

 Vegan Pumpkin Pie from Vegetarian Times

Spiced Pumpkin Chiffon Pie from Cooking Light

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Thanksgiving & Christmas Breakfast Recipes: My Favorite Coffee Cakes

One of my favorite things for breakfast is a truly awesome coffee cake. I crave it this time of the year, especially as the weather cools. My recipe for Apricot Almond Coffee Cake (above) was on my blog last year, and it’s so delicate and flavorful (I love the added touch of using Greek Yogurt). I have been eyeing some other recipes to try this season to serve on Thanksgiving and Christmas morning. I hope you’ll enjoy some of these recipes from some of my favorite sites that I look forward to reading on a daily basis.

Pumpkin Coffee Cake from How Sweet It is

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake from Two Peas & Their Pod

 Corner Bakery Cinnamon Creme Coffee Cake from Barbara Bakes

Blueberry Lemon Coffee Cake from Cooking Light

Cinna-Bun Coffee Cake in a Jar from Picky Palate

 

Easter Brunch or Appetizer-Simple Smoked Salmon Dip

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A lot of my newly married couples and friends have been asking me for Easter brunch recipe ideas. I had to do some thinking because I was trying to come up with a really light, delicious easy recipe that would work for a Easter brunch, lunch or dinner. I also wanted a recipe that would work for Passover. I love smoked salmon so I thought this would be a perfect fit. It’s so quick, delicious and light. I served it as my appetizer for my dinner last night, and it was a major hit.

Incredibly Easy Blueberry French Toast

Blueberry French Toast

This recipe is perfect for this time of year when spring brunch celebrations are upon us. When we have family brunches, I am always  asked to make this version of Blueberry French Toast. It’s my niece, Jamie’s, favorite, as well as my kids. This recipe is a breeze and can be done overnight. Just see the directions under “preparation” below. It can also be done with strawberries or even bananas in the middle of the cream cheese layer. I love to use Challah bread, but if you can’t find that, use a good French bread.

Look for me today on The NBC 13 show in Birmingham “Daytime Alabama” at 11:30 central time in Birmingham. I will post the link next week for those of you who are outside the viewing area.

Easy and Delicious White Chili

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My friend and loyal fan, Dawn, asked me a while back for a recipe for White Chili. I promised her I would work on one, and this recipe came out great. It’s simple to prepare-just requiring some chopping, vegetables and grating cheese, and that’s the only work involved. Feel free to use already-shredded cheese if your short on time, and I used a rotisserie chicken to speed up the process. This chili has just the right consistency and spice. Even my 8-year-old was asking for seconds.


White Bean Chili

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 35 minutes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

1 medium onion, diced

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles, undrained

2 cloves garlic, minced

11/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

2 (15-ounce) cans Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed

31/2 cups low-salt, fat-free chicken broth

2 cups chopped cooked chicken (I used rotisserie chicken)

1 cup freshly grated Monterey Jack cheese

1 cup freshly grated Colby cheese

Toppings: crushed corn chips, light sour cream, chopped green onions, olives, chopped tomatoes, oyster crackers, bacon

Preparation

1. Cook onion in hot oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring until tender. Add green chiles and next 4 ingredients; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add beans and chicken broth. Bring to a boil; reduce
heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Add chicken, 1/2 cup of Monterey Jack and 1/2 cup Colby cheese; simmer 10 minutes more. Ladle chili into individual bowls. Top each serving evenly with cheese and desired toppings.

What to Serve with Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner-Prosecco and Pinot Noir

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So many friends have called in the past few days and asked me, “What are you serving with Thanksgiving dinner?” I suggest serving Prosecco and Pinot Noir since holiday meals feature a diversity of flavors. There is no single wine modeled for a certain dish. The joy comes from trying new possibilities. Prosecco is an Italian sparkling wine. It’s not expensive, and it’s clean, crisp and easy to drink. Pinot is the perfect table wine for the holiday season because of its low tannins, good acidity, and fruit-forward flavors. Cheers and happy holidays!

Thanksgiving Appetizer-Brie with Cranberries and Walnuts

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With only hours left until Thanksgiving, I know everyone is busy trying to complete last minute tasks. To start Thanksgiving off right, I thought I would present one of the easiest appetizers that my family loves. The combination of caramel, walnuts, cranberries and golden raisins adds the perfect sweet, crunch and warm taste of fall. You can prepare this right before the guests arrive as it just takes minutes to prepare with absolutely no mess or cleanup. This appetizer is also a great idea for Christmas, New Years or anytime you entertain. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Autumn Brie

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 7 minutes

Yield: 10 servings

Ingredients

1 (1/2 pound) Brie wedge

1/4 cup caramel Dip (I used T. Marzetti Caramel Dip)

1/3 cup chopped walnuts

3 tablespoons dried cranberries

2 tablespoons golden raisins

Gingersnaps or crackers

Preparation

1. Cut off top part of Brie; spread with caramel dip. Sprinkle walnuts, cranberries and raisins over top. 

2. Bake at 300F for 6 to 10 minutes or until Brie is just slightly warmed and starting to melt. Serve with gingersnaps or crackers.

Easy Chocolate Lava Cakes for Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years

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I have always wanted to learn how to make Chocolate Lava (molten) Cakes, as it is one of my favorite desserts. I have been searching for a way to prepare these without a lot of effort, and I finally hit the jackpot with this recipe. These are simple to prepare, and you can even make the chocolate mixture at least 12 hours ahead of time. Pour the mixture into ramekins, cover and refrigerate. Be sure to bring to room temperature 30 minutes before baking. I also had a couple of baked and prepared ones left over, and I left them in the ramekins and reheated them in the microwave for 15 seconds, and they worked great! Try them on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years or just for a weeknight or weekend surprise. Serve with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or just with confectioners sugar.

 

Easy Chocolate Lava Cakes

Dark chocolate may be substituted for semisweet in this recipe.

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

4 ounces semisweet baking chocolate (I used Ghirardelli)

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup confectioners sugar

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Lightly grease 4 (8-ounce) ramekins (custard cups or souffle dishes). Place on a baking sheet.

2. MIcrowave chocolate and butter in a large microwaveable bowl on High 30 seconds or until butter is melted. Whisk until chocolate is completely melted. Whisk in vanilla and confectioners sugar until well blended. Whisk in eggs and yolk. Stir in flour and pour batter evenly into prepared custard cups.

2. Bake 13 minutes or until sides are firm but centers are soft. Let stand 1 minute. Carefully loosen edges with a knife. Invert cakes onto serving plates and sift powdered sugar over the top. Serve immediately.

Holiday Spinach Salad For Thanksgiving

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Sometimes the most difficult part about the Thanksgiving or holiday menus is figuring out what type of salad to serve. This recipe is perfect with the holiday turkey with the crunch of cashew nuts, the sweetness of golden raisins, and the tartness of Granny Smith Apples served over baby spinach leaves. It’s one of my holiday staples that friends and family look forward to every year. It’s also perfect for a quick, healthy weeknight salad served with chicken, fish or pork.

 

Spinach Apple Salad

Prep: 20 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

2  (6-ounce) packages fresh baby spinach

4  small Granny Smith apples, chopped

3/4  cup  cashews, toasted (pecan halves may also be used)

1/2  cup  golden raisins

1/2  cup  sugar

1/2  cup  apple cider vinegar

1/3  cup  vegetable oil

1/4  teaspoon  garlic salt

1/4  teaspoon  celery salt

Preparation

1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large salad bowl.

2. Whisk together sugar and next 4 ingredients until blended. Serve dressing with salad.

Note: You can chill dressing up to 1 day; whisk well before serving.