Watermelon Fennel Salad

What are you making this weekend for the July 4th holiday? This Watermelon Fennel Salad is on my list.  I love this recipe because it is so versatile for lunch or dinner. Serve it with pork, chicken, seafood or steak. It is especially good with grilled salmon. I call this a Superfood Salad.

If you have not experimented with fennel, it has a very fresh, aromatic anise flavor. It can be eaten raw, sautéed, roasted, or added to soups and pasta sauces. I love it for its flavor, but it also is very low in calories and has man health benefits. It is filled with nutrients including vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and manganese.

Watermelon also has many health benefits, so I like to put it in “Superfood” category. Watermelon is high in Vitamins A and C. Vitamin C is great to boost your immune system. Vitamin A, beta-carotene, Vitamin B and much more.

Try this healthy fresh salad this weekend or anytime this summer and let me know how you like it. You can eat it and feel good you are gaining so many healthy and vitamins!

The Best Lightened Up Potato Salad

If you like potato salad, put this Lightened Up Potato Salad recipe on your list. My kid’s great grandmother, Dedee, made the best potato salad we have ever had. This Lightened Up Potato Salad is the closest version to hers. It’s the perfect side dish recipe to make this time of year, for picnics, and special weekends like Father’s Day, July 4th and Labor Day weekend.

This recipe is slightly lighter than hers, since it uses nonfat Greek yogurt, reduced-fat mayonnaise, fresh dill, celery and red onion. I hope you will love it as much as we do.

Quick Dark Chocolate Brownies

Do you need a sure thing brownie recipe? Here it is. This recipe for Quick Dark Chocolate Brownies has been in my recipe arsenal for nine years. I think it is a terrific idea to start off the week with a dessert recipe.

With Father’s Day and July 4th coming up, these brownies will come definitely come in handy. I consider these brownies to be better-for-you. They  are rich in chocolate, but balanced in sweetness by almonds, which also add a little crunch. You can substitute your favorite chocolate for the dark chocolate chips.

I originally developed this recipe for Canola.org for the World Health Day campaign, one of my favorite recipe projects. You will find a lot of fabulous recipes on their site. Here’s to starting the week off with something chocolate and sweet!

Sangria Popsicles

Wine Sangria Popsicles

It’s supposed to be 90 degrees in Alabama tomorrow so now is the time to make these Sangria Popsicles. When the weather gets warm, I get even more creative in the kitchen. For this recipe, I used VOGA Italia white wine and organic peach juice. If you can’t find peach juice or fresh peaches yet (to juice your own), substitute orange or white grape peach juice.

These popsicles are so simple to prepare. With only six ingredients and 15 minutes of preparation time, you can prepare them several days ahead and enjoy over the weekend. I love making these for Memorial Day weekend to kick off summer! They would also be perfect for Father’s Day, July 4th and Labor Day weekend.

Other ideas for serving:

•Father’s Day

•Weekends at the lake

•Beach trips

•Poolside

•Wedding couples shower

•Engagement parties

•Patio or in your front yard

Since we can’t currently have any summer cocktail parties, I will just share with my neighbors for now.

July 4th Trail Mix Cookies

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As the Fourth of July was quickly approaching, my daughter and I were frantically trying to think of a creative, “red, white and blue” dessert to make for our family cook-out. We thought of many ideas, including ice creams, cupcakes, and even pies, but my daughter was determined to think of something tasty yet also on the healthier side. We came upon an old recipe for Trail Mix Cookies I had previously made in my last published cookbook 200 Best Smoothie Bowl Recipes, and suggests using dried blueberries and dried cranberries to make a festive red, white, and blue cookie! With a small drizzle of white chocolate, these cookies are the perfect dessert at any Fourth of July meal.

July 4th Trail Mix Cookies

Prep: 25 minutes

Cook: 8-9 minutes

Yield: about 30 cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter softened

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup honey

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup old fashioned oats

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup dried blueberries

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup mixed nuts chopped

1/4 cup white chocolate chips (optional)

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheight.

Using a hand or stand mixer, beat butter, brown sugar and honey until smooth. Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined. In a separate bowl, combine oats, flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until fully incorporated. Stir in dried blueberries, dried cranberries and mixed nuts.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop the dough into balls (about the size of two tablespoons) and place about two inches apart on the baking sheets. Using your thumb, lightly press into each of the cookies to give them a flatter shape. Place the baking sheets into the oven for about 8-9 minutes or until the bottoms have browned.

Optional white chocolate drizzle:

As the cookies cool on a wire rack, place the white chocolate chips in the microwave for about 1 minute, stirring periodically to prevent burning. Place the melted white chocolate in a plastic bag, and cut the tip to make a piping bag. Drizzle the white chocolate over the top of the cookies for an optional festive touch!

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Oreo Ice Cream

Oreo ice cream

I received an ice cream maker for one of my wedding presents, and the kids and I are obsessed with it! My husband’s mom makes homemade ice cream for every holiday, so I had to step up my non ice cream making abilities  and learn the craft. This Oreo Ice Cream recipe is one of my first creations. This recipe is so easy with only 10 minutes of preparation time, and it can be made several days in advance. Substitute your favorite chocolate chip cookie or candy bars for the Oreos if you wish. Happy Memorial Day!

8 Super Cute July Fourth 2014 Party Ideas

July 4th Cupcakes

Where is summer going? Summer has been great so far but SO busy! July Fourth is next week so how about 8 Super Cute July Fourth Party Ideas! I love all of these starting with my Fourth of July Cupcakes. For more fabulous ideas check out my July 4th Inspiration on Pinterest. What are your plans for the holiday?  (I need to make some.)

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Water Straw Flags DIY from Oh Happy Day

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Red White and Blue Mason Jars from It All Started with Paint

Joy Jars

Joy Jars by Woman’s Day 

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Fourth of July Fun and Games Station by Uncommon Designs

Red, White, and Blue Fruit Salad

Red, White, and Blue Fruit Salad by Spicy Southern Kitchen

Party Favor: July Fourth Sparklers

Party Favor: 4th of July Sparklers by Better Homes and Gardens

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7 Layer Ice Cream Cake by Martha Stewart

July 4th Cupcakes other Fourth of July Creations

Where is the summer going? I can’t believe Fourth of July is next week. I have seen some of the most amazing creations this year via the internet. Here are a few of my FAVS. First, I’ll take you back in time for a look at my  Fourth of July Buttermilk Pancakes

Patriotic Floral Star Cookies by Sweet Sugarbelle

Great DIY from Room to Inspire

Crispy Star Pops from Taste of Home

Patriotic Pinwheels from Tomkat Studio

Red, White and Blue Sangria via Recipe Girl

Firecracker Ice Pops via Martha Stewart

Star-Spangled Sundaes

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

Easter or Passover Main Dish Idea: Mahi Mahi and Vegetable Kabobs

I grill all year long, but my family especially loves it when the weather turns nice. We tend to eat outside on the deck, and it’s great for the kids to be riding bikes and playing basketball while I’m cooking the food on the grill. This is the epitome of family time. These Mahi Mahi and Vegetable Kabobs are the perfect recipe to try if you’re wanting to get your kids to like fish and vegetables. It’s colorful, fresh and full of clean flavors. Mahi Mahi is mild, a low calorie, low-fat source of protein, and it also has B-complex vitamins, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids. Serve these kabobs with grilled asparagus or squash and zucchini this Easter or Passover dinner for something different and unexpected. It’s a healthy low carbohydrate main dish.