Healthy Food Gift Idea: All Natural Granola Bars

I’m always looking for new granola bars recipes to try since it’s one of mine and my 3 kid’s favorite snacks. I saw a version of this bar recipe on The Whole Kitchen by my friend Jenn which was adapted from a talented Cookbook Author (who I also know) Camilla’s Enlightened Cooking. These Homemade, All-Natural Granola Bars were a huge hit with the kids. I was so excited to share this recipe for a healthy homemade holiday food gift option. These make a great breakfast, afternoon snack or pre-workout offering. I even break them up and stir them into nonfat Greek Yogurt for a wonderful high protein breakfast. You can see me making these on Monday on NBC 13 “Daytime Alabama” at 11:30 CST on my food television segment on featuring healthy homemade food gift ideas.

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Cranberries and Walnuts

So, it’s Brussels Sprouts season, and I know people either love them or hate them. I happen to be a fan, and 2 out of 3 of my kids are too. This recipe for Brussels Sprouts Salad with Cranberries and Walnuts is one of my new favorites which I’ll serve on Thanksgiving this year. I used a simple apple cider vinaigrette mixture to flavor the Brussels Sprouts and tossed them with sweet dried cranberries and crunchy walnuts. For another healthy and easy Brussels Sprout side dish option, see Brussels Sprouts-Tomato Salad, which is another tasty way to serve this healthy vegetable.

5 Health Benefits of Brussels Sprouts:

1. Brussels Sprouts are high in Vitamin K which promotes healthy bones and brain function.

2. Brussels Spouts are high in fiber which helps in digestion, lowers cholesterol, prevents constipation, and aid in weight loss, making you feel fuller longer.

3. Brussels sprouts are high in antioxidants helping to fight against cancer.

4. Brussels sprouts are high in Vitamin C (1 cup contains over 161% of the recommended daily allowance) which helps boost the immune system and lower blood pressure.

5. Brussels Sprouts are high in iron and folate which helps maintain red blood cell count and prevents against diseases and birth defects.

FYI I will be on WMJJ 96.5 FM this morning talking about how to cook healthier during the holidays.

Healthy Side Dish: Lemon Kale with Walnuts

If you’re looking for a healthy side dish to add to your weeknight table or Thanksgiving or Christmas menus, I definitely have one for you. Lemon-Walnut Kale only takes 15 minutes to prepare, and it’s full of fresh vitamins, protein and so many health benefits. Kale is super healthy with more iron than beef, and it’s loaded with calcium, fiber, omega-3 acids and more. It’s said to have detoxifying properties, cancer and heart disease fighting properties and antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Just cook it like you would spinach, and top it with your favorite ingredients. It’s going on my holiday table menu this year for sure.

Fennel-Apple Slaw


I am a huge fennel fan so this recipe for Fennel-Apple Slaw is one of my new fall favorites. Fennel, which looks like a cross between an onion and a bunch of celery, has a slightly sweet anise (licorice) flavor. It has the perfect crunch to pair with shredded cabbage, and it makes a great addition to any salad or slaw recipe. I love it in this vegetarian combination with Greek yogurt, walnuts, dried cranberries and fresh dill. Fennel is also good for you, containing Vitamins A and C, fiber, folate, potassium and calcium.

Home is Where the Heart is for World Heart Day! Quick Dark Chocolate Brownies

I am so excited to announce my partnership with CanolaInfo for their 2011 World Heart Day campaign. As part of my work with them, I created the “Home is Where the Heart is” Recipe Collection, which includes six simple, family-friendly, and heart-healthy recipes (such as these brownies above).

 

World Heart Day, observed on Sept. 29, was created by the World Heart Federation to encourage heart-healthy habits from regular exercise to nutritious eating. Heart disease remains the world’s number one killer and the World Heart Federation is dedicated to leading the fight against it along with stroke. Together with the World Heart Federation, CanolaInfo is helping to inform the public on ways to prevent this disease by providing heart-healthy tips, recipes, publications and more.

 

Besides the recipe collection, I am working with CanolaInfo on some social media events over the next month. On Sept. 1 from 12-1 PM CST, I will be participating in my first ever “Twitterview!” The folks at @CanolaInfo will be interviewing me (@alisonlewis) about my new recipe collection and ways I keep my family healthy and active. You can ask your own questions as well, just use #CanolaInfo. In addition, 10 lucky participants will be chosen at random to receive a free cookbook! You can RSVP for the here for the Twitterview.

 

In addition, on World Heart Day (Sept. 29) from 7-8 PM CST, I will host a discussion on ways to be heart smart at home from CanolaInfo’s Facebook page. I hope you will come and share your own tips and stories as well. To top it all off, 10 more of you will be chosen at random to receive a CanolaInfo Heart Health Toolkit! You can RSVP here for Canolainfo Facebook Party.

 

I am honored to be a part of this project. Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing my recipes from the “Home is Where the Heart Is” campaign – all of which include canola oil.  Meanwhile, for more information about this healthy oil, go to www.canolainfo.org.

 

P.S. On Sept. 1, CanolaInfo is launching an interactive Facebook game that features my recipes! You become the chef and try to beat the clock! Check it out at Facebook.com/CanolaInfo.

 

10 Foods Great for Healthy Skin

Summer is now upon us, and this is the time of year to really take care of your skin. Many doctors say the more attention we pay to what we put in our body, the more it will help with skin problems later. I thought I would share some of my favorite foods that are great for healthy skin. Let me know if you have any favorites to add to my list.

 

1. Blueberries and Strawberries-Foods high in antioxidants are ideal for healthy skin. These should be on your summer list while they’re in peak season.

2. Green Tea-Green tea contains phenols which have anti-inflammatory properties. It has been said that drinking green tea daily can even prevent skin cancer.

3. Avocados-Filled with essential oils and B-complex vitamins, avocados are filled with Niacin (vitamin B3) which is important for healthy skin.

4. Almonds, Pumpkin Seeds and Walnuts-These nuts, filled with vitamin E, zinc and magnesium, are great for your skin.

5. Salmon-Contains essential fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6 and can help create great moisturized looking skin.

6. Water-Many of us have heard it before, but water keeps you hydrated and keeps the skin healthy and younger looking. Make sure you drink at least 8 glasses a day.

7. Low-Fat Yogurt-Dairy products are full of Vitamin A necessary for healthy skin. Try Greek yogurt or even low-fat cottage cheese if you like.

8. Carrots-An excellent source of Vitamin A, carrots also contain high amounts of beta-carotene and antioxidants which helps prevent damage to the skin.

9. Mangoes-Mangoes are high in Beta Carotene and Vitamin A, and they are a good source of antioxidants. These have also been called an “acne cure”.

10. Kiwi-Kiwi packs more vitamin C than any other fruit which helps maintain collagen in our skin.  Collagen helps keep the skin firm.

The Best Passover Brownies

Since I have been working with so many brownie recipe variations for one of my food clients, I realized I needed to create the Best Passover Brownie. This ingredient combination worked like a charm. When I took them out of the oven, I took a picture and put them on Facebook (I was so excited how they turned out). I had a lot of people wanting the recipe ASAP so here it is. It is so easy and fabulous. My friend said, “These are the best Passover Brownies I have ever tasted.” I hope that you like them too, and that they sweeten up your holiday.

Breakfast Quinoa with Cranberries and Apples

Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) is the wonder grain and one of the best plant sources of protein. It’s loaded with protein, fiber and is gluten-free. It’s so versatile, and when my sister came across this recipe in Ellie Krieger’s book, “So Easy”, she told me I had to test it out. I changed the recipe slightly using Pink Lady apples, more cranberries and walnuts instead of pecans. It was out of this world. Her recipe suggests to top it with milk, honey and cinnamon, but it was great all by itself. I love it because it’s so easy, filling and has no added sugar. It’s also bursting with great flavor. My kids loved it too, and I enjoyed serving them a hot healthy breakfast.

5 Ingredient Appetizer: Fig and Walnut Chutney

In honor of the “Oscars” tonight, here’s a simple and quick appetizer recipe that is sure to please. With only 5 ingredients, This Fig and Walnut Chutney is awesome served with sliced apples, grapes, crackers and Gorgonzola cheese. In under 20 minutes, you will have a superstar appetizer that your guests (and/or family) will love. This recipe also works well with goat or feta cheese so feel free to substitute your favorite. Not only is this appetizer healthy, but it’s low in fat. It’s a great, quick appetizer recipe to serve for any holiday or entertaining occasion. Happy Oscars night everyone, and I hope your movies/actors win!

My Top 10 Favorite “Power” Foods

I get a lot of email, and I mean, a lot. So many people ask me cooking questions, nutrition questions, entrepreneur advice, blog advice, social media advice, have comments and more. Sometimes, I get the simple questions such as, “How do you keep so fit? “What do you eat all day?” etc. I thought I would share my top 10 favorite “power” foods. When I say “power”, I mean foods that I love, foods that I feel give me energy, keep me healthy and foods I can’t go without most every day.

1. Greek Yogurt-With 2.5 grams of protein per ounce and hardly any fat or carbs, what could be better? I stir honey into mine with blueberries or bananas, nuts or whole grain cereal, and I eat it for breakfast or an afternoon snack. It is so filling and tastes great (I use the nonfat or low-fat by the way). See Greek Yogurt Banana Bread

2. Blueberries-These have the highest antioxidant value of all fruit plus they have many vitamins: B, C, E, and they boost your immune system. We always have a bowl of fresh blueberries ready to grab. See  Blueberry Pancakes

3. Almonds or Walnuts-These are a great heart-healthy snack filled with protein, vitamins, minerals and good for your digestive system. I don’t go one day without a handful. See Chunky Granola

4. Acai or pomegranate juice-Acai has been said to have antioxidant benefits and anti-aging properties and omega fatty acids. I think it gives me energy as well. You can buy the frozen Sambazon smoothie packs at Whole Foods, in solid bars, or in a bottle (I like the 100% Genesis Today Acai juice).  See Cranberry Pomegranate Granita

5. Salmon-High in the health promoting fat, omega 3 fatty acids, high protein, and low in calories. I prefer Alaskan wild salmon. Salmon is one of my tried and true favorites. The best part of all is that my 3 kids love it too. See Salmon Burgers

6. Edamame-High in protein, fiber and calcium and low in calories and fat.  I can’t get enough of these. I purchase them already shelled in the frozen section and just thaw. They are great served in a salad, as a snack or as a topping. See Edamame Salsa

7. Gold Bars-These bars are my all-time favorite snack bars. With 11 grams of protein from soy, nuts and whole grains, these satisfy my hunger as well as sugar cravings. I love them in the morning with coffee or as a snack. See Grab the Gold Bar

8. Flaxseed-High in fiber and omega 3 fatty acids, I put ground flaxseed in everything from cereal, to yogurt, granola and even as a crust on salmon or chicken. See Flaxseed Crusted Salmon

9. Arugula-High in Vitamin C and K, I love arugula for it’s peppery taste and beautiful color. Try it with golden raisins, nuts and freshly shaved Parmesan or simply topped with grilled chicken or steamed shrimp. I’m a huge fan and can’t get enough of it. See Black Eyed Pea Salad over Arugula

10. Dark Chocolate-Dark Chocolate is said to contain flavonoids so it’s heart healthy, contains antioxidants and may even reduce aging. Try Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies