Blueberry Spritzer

This Blueberry Spritzer recipe is a refreshing summer mocktail, just in time for Memorial Day weekend. If you’ve been following me and my recipes, you know I like easy. This yummy beverage is only three ingredients. Kids and and adults love it!

If you’re one of the lucky people heading to the beach or lake this weekend, put these ingredients on our grocery list now. If you’re like me and staying home, this recipe will hopefully will make you feel better. My Blueberry Spritzer uses Pomegranate Blueberry Juice, which is 100% juice with no added sugar. If you want to turn this recipe into a cocktail, add desired amount of vodka (be careful here).

Blueberries are a nutritional powerhouse. Tufts University conducted a study of 60 various fruits and vegetables and found that blueberries rated the highest for their antioxidant capabilities. Blueberries have been linked to so many health benefits. Areas of blueberries with blueberries show that they also may assist with improving brain health, cardiovascular health, aging  eyesight and more. One cup of blueberries has four essential nutrients, including fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese.

When purchasing blueberries, look for smooth, plump berries that are a deep purple or blue-black color. Refrigerate them as soon as you get home and wash before using. Most blueberries will last 7-10 days. If you want to grow your own, spring or fall is usually the best time to do this. Choose a sunny, well-drained location. Raised beds and containers work well if you don’t have good soil. Frozen blueberries are awesome too. Just defrost before using, unless you are adding them to a smoothie or smoothie bowl recipe.

Have a great weekend and enjoy! Alison

Alison’s Chicken Pasta Salad

If you’re looking a great pasta salad with chicken recipe, look no further. The first time I made this pasta salad, I knew I wanted my name on it. Alison’s Chicken Pasta Recipe makes a great lunch or light dinner that can be ready for hungry kids or spontaneous guests. You may want to double the recipe because it goes so fast.

This is a recipe I developed for a recipe collection I worked on with Canolainfo.org. I like to grill extra chicken and use the leftovers to make this recipe. Serve it on a bed of mixed greens or as a light main course served with a nice glass of Pinot Grigio. It is a terrific recipe to take on a picnic or make at the lake or the beach. This recipe is healthy, fresh, easy and fantastic. I can’t give it any more props than that. Try if for yourself and let me know what you think. Happy May everyone!

NUTRITIONAL ANALYSIS

Per Serving

Calories 270
Total Fat 6 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Cholesterol 40 mg
Carbohydrates 34 g
Fiber 4 g
Sugars 5 g
Protein 21 g
Sodium 190 mg
Potassium 377 mg

Pumpkin Waffles National Maple Syrup Day

This past weekend, my daughter, Leigh, wanted to make something a little bit different for breakfast. She found this recipe for Pumpkin Waffles (which I tweaked slightly) from Cooking Light. This is a great recipe for Christmas morning, and it is also idea for today which is National Maple Syrup Day! Enjoy and happy Tuesday!

Healthy Valentine’s Recipe: Strawberry Kefir Smoothie

I have been doing a lot of research, writing and speaking on super-foods, and Kefir is definitely on my list. I am so excited about Frozen Kefir by Lifeway because it has is only 90 calories per 1/2 cup serving, 18 grams of carbohydrates and 4 grams of fiber. It is also 99% lactose free, all natural and gluten-free. In addition, it is packed with 10 probiotics which rev up your immunity and are great for digestion. My kids absolutely went wild over the strawberry, especially in this Strawberry Kefir Smoothie. With only 3 ingredients, you will have a refreshing and healthy smoothie perfect for breakfast, afternoon snack or light dessert.

I get a lot of questions about probiotics. What are they? Probiotics, which literally mean “beneficial to life,” are live cultures that provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition. Most probiotics include the live active cultures often added to foods like yogurt. Researchers have studied bacteria extensively and considerable evidence indicates that there are several strains of essential good-for-you bacteria that have an ability to promote healthy gastrointestinal functions. Lifeway Kefir contains seven to ten billion CFU’s of 10 strains of bacteria, plus ProBoost, an exclusive pair of clinically proven probiotics to balance your body’s ecosystem, support digestive health and immunity. That’s 12 live and active cultures per cup to produce a wide array of health benefits. You can find Lifeway frozen Kefir at Whole Foods.

Quinoa Salad with Almonds, Cranberries and Mint

Quinoa is one of my favorite Super Foods of 2012. I talked a great deal about quinoa this weekend at my nutrition/healthy eating seminar including how to pronounce it, purchase it and cook it. I had a lot of wonderful questions regarding this gluten-free grain. One serving of quinoa provides all 8 essential amino acids, and it is high in protein and fiber. It’s also a wonderful grain for those on a gluten-free diet, and it works wonderful for breakfast, a side, in soups and salads. I recommend buying the rinsed version to make your life even easier. I developed this recipe for Quinoa Salad with Almonds, Cranberries and Mint for Thanksgiving for Honeysuckle White and Shady Brook Farms Turkey. It makes a great side dish or salad, and my kids absolutely loved it. Add grilled chicken or shrimp if you wish for a main dish salad.

Health, Diet and Super Foods Seminar at Bikram Yoga Birmingham

Exciting news….I turned in my second cookbook manuscript this afternoon. It will be released this fall and will be published by Robert Rose Books. More fun news: I’ll be at Bikram Yoga Birmingham tomorrow (Saturday morning – see below). I have never done a speaking event sweaty, so this is a first. Join me if you are in Birmingham! I’ll be talking about healthy eating, super foods, healthy snacks and more.

Top Healthy Eating Habits and How to Avoid the 10 Worst Eating Habits”
Saturday, January 14  11:15am (immediately following the 9:30 class)

Maintaining a consistent yoga/ exercise regimen is mandatory for a healthy life.  Equally important is a consistent, realistic, healthy eating style.  Alison Lewis is one of our own devoted students We are  fortunate that she will be here to help us in our nutrition quest!

 Alison is President and Owner of Ingredients, Inc., a Food Media Consulting company in Birmingham, Alabama. She is a well-known Nutritionist, Cookbook Author, Recipe Developer, Magazine and Internet Journalist and Food, Fitness and Health Blogger. You can find her work in Southern Living, Clean Eating, Cooking Light, Oxygen and more as well on her personal blog https://ingredientsinc.net or bio website http://alisonlewis.net There is no fee for this seminar, but if you would like to make a donation to our monthly featured non-profit, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Birmingham, it would be greatly appreciated.

Start the Day Off Healthy: Oatmeal with Egg Whites

It’s a busy week ahead for me including with radio show on Magic 96.5 this Wednesday as well as a nutrition seminar this weekend at Bikram Yoga Birmingham. For both events I’ll be talking about “Healthy Eating Tips” to get your new year off to the right start. One of my top tips is to never skip breakfast. If you like oatmeal for breakfast, you’ll love this recipe for Oatmeal with Egg Whites. This simple combination is something my friend, Kelly, of Hulsey Gardens, told me she eats daily. I made mine with a touch of brown sugar and blueberries. Kelly normally adds 1 tablespoon of pureed pumpkin, 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice and 1 teaspoon vanilla to hers. Adding sliced strawberries and ground cinnamon is also delicious. Regardless, this is one healthy breakfast recipe that has the perfect mix of protein, fiber and carbohydrates, and it is a great way to start your day and new year on the right foot.

Start the New Year Right: Green Smoothie Recipe

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to drink more Green Smoothies.  I am having so much fun with my Blendtec blender, and I loved this recipe for Green Smoothie. Even my son, Zachary, who is 10 years old, drank an entire glass. If you’re skeptical, just try it. It’s my newest favorite recipe for breakfast or afternoon pick me up.

Check out 10 awesome health benefits of drinking Green Smoothies below:

1. It boosts your energy level

2. Adds fiber to your diet which aids in digestion and eliminates toxins.

3. Reduces mood swings

4. Promotes weight loss

5. Stabilizes blood sugar levels

6. Increased antioxidant intake which helps protect against diseases

7. Helps with healthy, radiant skin

8. Increased intake of fruits and vegetables

9. Reduces unhealthy food cravings

10. Enhances the immune system

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.

Lazy Lasagna and “Substitute Yourself Skinny” Cookbook Giveaway

This summer, I was lucky enough to travel through Italy with several journalists from around the U.S. One of them, whom I hit it off with immediately, was Susan Irby. Susan is known as the “Bikini Chef”, the host of the well-loved Bikini Lifestyles on 790 KABC in Los Angeles, CA. This radio station actually spans the globe with listeners in Italy, France, Germany, Australia, Canada and many other countries worldwide. She was a blast to be with on the trip, and I’m so excited to share her current cookbook with you, Substitute Yourself Skinny. Susan is a 7-time author who helps people obtain their healthy bikini goals by focusing on lifestyle changes rather than a short term diet.

Her recipe for “Lazy Lasagna” really caught my eye. It’s perfect for when the weather is cool, and kids love it. For only 308 calories and 3 grams of fat per serving, everyone can feel good about eating a hearty slice of this family favorite. This is just one of many delicious low-fat and beautiful recipes in her book. I am excited to give away one copy of her book. Just follow the steps below for a chance to win a copy. Winner will be chosen Sunday, October 30th at 8 a.m.

1. Leave a comment below telling me your favorite healthy pasta recipe.

2. Follow Alison Lewis on Twitter

3. Like Ingredients, Inc. on Facebook

4. Follow Susan Irby, The Bikini Chef on Twitter

5. Like The Bikini Chef on Facebook