Lightened Up Spiced-Sugary Pecans

Every December I try to find new ways to make spiced nuts. They are the perfect snack during the holidays (that my kids like too), and they make wonderful homemade holiday gifts. My friend, Caroline, gave passed me a version of this recipe earlier this summer when I was working on a recipe development project for a client. What I love about this newly created recipe for Spiced and Sugary Nuts is that there is no butter or oil needed. The pecans are tossed in the egg and water mixture and then drained. Next, you sprinkle with the sugar mixture. I have tried this recipe using cayenne and smoked paprika, and both are wonderful.

Cozy Up with Peppermint Hot Chocolate

It has been so cold outside lately, so my kids have been requesting hot chocolate. Since I had some peppermint sticks on hand, I crushed them up and made this really simple Peppermint Hot Chocolate mixture. They were ecstatic, and this has been a weekly beverage. I used skim milk in my recipe because that is what we drink at my house to reduce the calories and fat a bit. Enjoy this cozy beverage just in time for the holidays.

Easy Homemade Food Gift: Holiday Cracker Jacks

I love working on homemade holiday food gift recipes this time of year, and my 3 kids love helping me create them too. This creative idea for Homemade Cracker Jacks is a simple recipe that adults and the kids can enjoy. Just pick up a small one dollar item to put in the box as a toy. I will be making this recipe this Tuesday on NBC “Daytime Alabama” as well as two others, and this recipe will also be featured in the December issue of Birmingham Magazine.

Candy Cane Gingersnaps & Cookie Cookbook Giveaway-“Cookielicous”

When I saw this cookie recipe for Candy Cane Gingersnaps, I was wowed. This recipe, as well 149 other creative cookie recipes can be found in the recently released book, “Cookielicious” by Janet Keeler, Food Editor of the St. Petersburg Times. This awesome cookie cookbook is a compilation of reader’s favorites and staff original cookie recipes. What a great holiday gift idea! Chapters include “Anytime Cookies”, “Sharing Cookies”, “Chocolate Cookies”, “Kids Cookies” and “Holiday Cookies” with recipes such as Lemon Raspberry Thumbprints, White Christmas Shortbread, Chocolate Walnut Puffs and more. If you would like the chance to enter to win this giveaway, leave a comment below telling me your favorite holiday cookie recipe. The winner will be drawn this Friday, December 3rd.

My Favorite Winter Salad: Radicchio Salad

Now that Thanksgiving is over, I want something light, healthy and flavorful. Radicchio Salad, with Walnuts and Pomegranates, is a wonderful combination of radicchio, romaine, arugula, apples, walnuts, pomegranate seeds and cranberries. Feel free to use whatever greens you have on hand, and be sure to mix them for color, flavor and texture. If you haven’t tried radicchio before, you should. It’s a red-leafed salad green that is slightly bitter. It can also be grilled or sauteed, but I love it in this salad. Add cooked turkey, chicken, pork or shrimp for a main dish salad.

Holiday Bake-Off: Pecan Pie Bars Plus Awesome Bakeware Giveaway

I’m so excited to share one of my newest all-time favorite holiday recipes: Pecan Pie Bars. They are beyond amazing and are perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Honestly, they are better than pecan pie, and they are so easy to prepare with no-mixer needed. Perfect for holiday parties, holiday gifts or family dinners, these Pecan Pie Bars last several days so they can be made ahead of time. The secret ingredient in this recipe is  “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter“. Start the holiday season on the right track by choosing better for you foods that are delicious! Using “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” can make a difference as you add fresh, buttery flavor to the foods you love, while reducing saturated fat and cholesterol compared to butter.

This recipe is a part of the “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” Holiday Bake-Off later this week where I will receive an all expense paid trip to New York City for a Test Kitchen Tour at Unilever. I will be competing against some of the most talented baking bloggers I know.  Also, I am announcing an awesome giveaway of some of my favorite baking products below. You can use some of these to make this recipe and enjoy year round. One lucky winner will receive all 3 of these products (see below) plus a coupon for a free “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter product”. To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment below. Entries close this Friday morning, November 12th. Part of the judging includes how many comments I receive so please enter the giveaway by leaving a comment below. This giveaway is to U.S residents only. Good luck and wish me luck too!

  • Dualt 5 Speed Chrome Hand Mixer

  • Le Crueset Enameled Stoneware Batter Bowl

  • Nonstick Baking Pan

Halloween Caramel Popcorn

Since my kids love popcorn, I decided to make a homemade version of Carmel Popcorn just in time for Halloween. The combination of butter, honey and light brown sugar coat the popcorn to perfection. I added some of my favorite nuts and M & M’s, and wow were my kids so excited. This makes a great Halloween snack and gift just in time for a sweet, fun holiday.

Halloween Chocolate Chip Cookie Bark

Who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies? Of course, I do. I also love making candy and bark-type recipes for the holidays. I wondered, why not combine the two into something wonderful for Halloween? This Chocolate Chip Cookie Bark is fantastic. You don’t even need a mixer. It has just the basic cookie ingredients, mini chocolate chips and Reese’s Pieces. I will be making this recipe for my “Halloween Treat” cooking segment this week on Nashvillle’s top ranked talk show, NewsChannel 5 “Talk of the Town” on Thursday, October 28th along with 2 other creative Halloween treats. I will try to post the TV link when I get it. Happy Halloween week! Alison

Bakerella’s “Cake Pops” Book and Cookbook Giveaway

The first food blog I followed was Angie Dudley’s blog “Bakerella”. To me, it was (and still is) one the most incredible food blogs, and I patiently awaited each fabulous post clicking on her site day after day hoping for her to post again. I was contemplating starting my own blog at the time, and I emailed her and asked a number of questions. She was beyond sweet, helpful and resourceful, and I don’t know if I can ever thank her enough for all of her advice and encouragement. Recently, her incredible first book, “Cake Pops”, was released by Chronicle Books, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy. This book is filled with incredible ideas, photos and recipes on how to turn a cake ball and cake pops into incredible shapes and designs. This book offers step-by-step instruction on how to create these. A few weeks ago, I was so fortunate to meet Angie in person at a conference, and she was so humble, gracious, and nice. I am so excited about her success, and I couldn’t wait to feature her new book on my site. This book is perfect for anyone that loves creativity and food, and I highly recommend it (my kids took it to school the other day, and all of the parents were calling me how to get a copy).

Smiley Face Pops

I’m giving away one free copy so please make a comment and tell me your favorite baking recipe or blog. The winner will be award this Friday, October 1. Good luck!

Sheep Cake Pops

Mini Bittersweet Chocolate Cheesecakes and “Desserts 4 Today” Cookbook Giveaway

As a Recipe Developer and Contributing Food Editor for a new food magazine, I spend a huge amount of time looking at magazines, food blogs and cookbooks. I was so excited about this month’s release of “Desserts 4 Today” from Pasty Chef, Cookbook Author, and Fine Cooking Magazine’s Contributing Editor, Abby Dodge. This cookbook is filled with sophisticated, yet easy to make, sweet treats compiled in 5 chapters: Cookies, Creamy Desserts, Frozen Desserts, Fruit Desserts and Pastry Desserts. Each recipe offers notations of “Switch-Ins”, variations to the recipe as well as “Gussy It Up”, ways to dress up each dessert. This book offers so many fabulous recipes for a busy mom, kids or anyone wanting to make fabulous dessert recipes with only 4 ingredients. My daughter helped me choose which dessert to make first, and is she marked over 10 different recipes. I chose the Mini Bittersweet Chocolate Cheesecakes, and they were fabulous! I used semisweet chocolate (as the recipe gives the option for bittersweet or semisweet), and my kids and guests went wild over them.

If you would like to win a copy of this awesome book leave me a comment below on why you would like to have it in your cookbook library. I will select a random winner on Friday, September 24th. For an even better chance to win, tweet this post link (located to the right of the share button next to “print”).