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Apple Cinnamon Protein Muffins

Turn that pancake mix into muffins! Try this delicious recipe for a classic apple cinnamon muffin, but packed with fiber and packed with protein! Great for kids too!

You can make them into large batches and freeze them, for a fast and healthy breakfast on the go.

INGREDIENTS:
1-1/2 cups FlapJacked Cinnamon Apple Protein Pancake Mix
1 cup skim or fat free milk
1 TBSP honey (or use low-glycemic sweetener)
2 large egg white
1 cup Barbara’s Better that Granola oats & honey

20170218_111404

acpm-collage

INSTRUCTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a non-stick muffin pan (or use paper or foil muffin liners).  Mix all ingredients with a mixer on low for 30 seconds, then on high for 1 minute.  Pour evenly into 8 muffins.  Bake in pre-heated muffin pan for 12-15 minutes. Lt cool & Enjoy!

20170218_115649

NUTRITIONAL:
Serving Size: 1 muffin
Servings: 8
Calories 88
Fat 1g
Carbs 14g
Fiber 1g
Sugar 7g
Protein 12g

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Folgers Jingle Contest

Some of my fondest childhood memories are waking up to my Dad in the kitchen singing this song while making his morning carafe of coffee.. c’mon you know it.. “The best part of waking up..” Now my kids wake up to me in the kitchen singing along while sipping my morning cup of nectar. It has become a tradition. I don’t dare go without 2-3 cups while I enjoy the few minutes of sanity before my day starts. I have used coffee to exfoliate and have baked it into cakes and used it in my garden, even used it to give fabrics an antique look. I think I am obsessed!

“This post was sponsored by Folgers as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines concerning the use of endorsement and testimonials in advertising. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.”

This iconic Folgers jingle has become a piece of pop culture – generations have heard the tune and sing along with the words with a smile. Given the rich tradition in American music, Folgers is inviting aspiring musicians to embrace our well-known tune and make it their own.

Folgers® has a long standing tradition of inspiring musicians to follow their dreams, and this year, they’ve teamed up with country music singer-songwriter Chris Young, yes I said Chris Young! They are encouraging and aspiring musicians to create their own version of the iconic Best Part of Wakin’ Up™ Jingle in the Folgers Jingle Contest.

Join Chris and submit your version of the jingle!

  • Submit a video of your best version of the jingle on the website from January 30th through February 27th. Your version of the Jingle must include the complete melody and complete lyrics of “The Best Part of Wakin’ Up is Folgers in Your Cup.”
  • From February 27th to March 19th, they will choose 5 semi-finalists and each will have a mentor session with Chris Young before the online vote.
  • From March 27th to April 24th, fans around the country will get the chance to vote daily for their favorite jingle. Every vote automatically enters you to win prizes up to $10,000.
  • Finally, in May, one winner will be selected to win the grand prize of $25,000!

Here is a link to the contest website: Enter here

Here are some ways you can keep up to date with Folgers and the Folgers Jingle Contest..

Folgers website: http://www.folgerscoffee.com/

Folgers Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/folgers

Folgers Twitter: https://twitter.com/folgers

 

 

Next Level Tailgating

This Ultimate Pulled Pork Bar will score a win with your guests on game day. It has all the fixings for nachos, flatbread pizzas and sliders. Guests will fall in love with the tender, fall-apart pulled pork, extra cheesy queso dip and crisp Sriracha coleslaw.

gdHow to Set Up a Pulled Pork Bar for Game Day!

Ingredients
  • 3-4 pounds pork shoulder or pork butt
  • 3-4 tbsp desired spice rub
  • 1/4 cup beef stock or beer
  • 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
Directions

Pulled Pork Recipe (Ingredients above):

Put onions in slow cooker, place pork on top.

Pour stock or beer over meat. Liberally sprinkle meat with desired spice rub. Add bay leaf to slow cooker.

Cook on low 6-8 hours until fall apart tender.

Queso Dip Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 cup grated chipotle cheddar cheese
  • 1-14 ounce package Swiss fondue
  • 1-16 ounce jar chile con queso dip
  • 1 cup desired salsa

Directions:

Melt butter in a large, heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in flour, cook 1 minute.

Slowly whisk in milk and cumin, simmer 2-3 minutes.

Add grated cheese, stir until melted.

Add fondue, stir until melted.

Mix in chile con queso and salsa. Serve hot.

Transfer to a slow cooker, put on lowest setting, to keep warm for extended serving time.

Sriracha Coleslaw:

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup sriracha mayo
  • 2-3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1-2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1-16 ounce package shredded coleslaw vegetables
  • 1/4 fresh chopped scallions

Directions:

In a large bowl whisk together sour cream, mayo, vinegar, agave and spices. Adjust vinegar and agave to desired taste. Stir in cilantro.

Add cabbage mix to bowl, toss to coat completely. Mix in scallions.

Can be served immediately, but best after chilling for several hours.

Get gut healthy, get happy!

Something that doesn’t get much attention but has a huge impact on your health is your gut. I know when I make poor food choices, drink alcoholic beverages or slack on my exercise or even when I am under a lot of stress I can feel it. I feel fatigued, bloated, gassy and I even get headaches.

I try to be proactive and take a daily Probiotic to help reach a mind- body balance. It’s a great way to start your day!

This post was sponsored by Nature Made® as a part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.

I choose Nature Made® Probiotics, each box lasts one month and they come in these easy and convenient two pack pairs you can grab and take anywhere. You can improve your health with just one good habit at a time. Nature Made® Probiotics: Nature Made® Advanced Dual Action Probiotic has been clinically studied and provides dual support to both your small and large intestine for comprehensive coverage to help support digestive balance and healthy gut flora.†

Each day, you take two pills, which are combined in convenient pairs you can easily tear and grab on the go.I always take my Probiotic with food. I put the 2-pill capsules in my purse or gym bag with a piece of fruit or granola bar. An apple, banana or grapes goes great! Be sure to drink a nice sized glass of water, too.

My go to place for my Vitamins, Minerals or Probiotics for the entire family is Walmart SuperCenters. I can always find a large variety of Nature Made® items there, including the ones you see above, and their low prices are budget friendly. I go to Walmart SuperCenters to find the Probiotics and other vitamins and supplements are available at both Walmart and Walmart Supercenters.

AND- You can click HERE for a chance to enter to win one of 60 Walmart gift cards (each worth $50) by taking part in the sweepstakes on the site! (No Purchase Necessary). Good luck!

Nature Made® is the #1 Pharmacist Recommended brand for many key dietary supplement categories*. To stay up-to-date with Nature Made, follow them on Twitter and Facebook!

Nature Made® has a variety of vitamins, minerals, and supplements (VMS) to help support nutritional gaps with your health goals in mind ranging from Digestive Support, Heart Health & Function, Energy Metabolism, Women’s Health and much more!†

Make sure to stop at Walmart SuperCenters to find the Probiotics and other vitamins and supplements are available at both Walmart and Walmart Supercenters.  Take a look at what Nature Made® products they offer, and find what fits into your family needs and lifestyle.


†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease.

*Based on the 2016 U.S. News & World Report – Pharmacy Times Survey.

10 Healthy make-ahead Thanksgiving side dishes

The air is getting crisp and cold and we are getting out our sweaters and boots. You know what that means, it’s almost Thanksgiving! Living in Arizona during this time of year is so beautiful, you have the red mountains in the background, the cacti is perky and the air is cool. It really doesn’t get cool here until after Halloween. In fact, I still have yet to actually put a sweater on. But am I getting out my Thanksgiving platters and trying out different table placements and recipes, you betcha!

I try not to spoil all the hard work I put in throughout the year of eating right and not over indulging. Thanksgiving is all about over indulging so I figured I better find some recipes I wont feel so guilty getting a second serving of. These are a compilation of what I have found, pick out a few and try them this year!

1. Oven-Roasted Squash with Garlic & Parsley

ma1From: EatingWell Magazine November/December 2009

Winter squash becomes tender and sweeter when roasted—a delicious side for a holiday dinner. Look for interesting squash like kabocha or hubbard at your farmers’ market and try them in this recipe. Recipe adapted from Alice Waters.

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds winter squash (such as butternut, buttercup, kabocha or hubbard), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks (see Tip)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375 °F.

Toss squash with 4 teaspoons oil, salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread evenly on a large baking sheet. Roast, stirring occasionally, until tender throughout and lightly browned, 30 to 45 minutes (depending on the variety of squash).

Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant but not brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Toss the roasted squash with the garlic and parsley. Taste, adjust the seasoning and serve.

Make Ahead Tip: Cut squash up to 1 day ahead; store airtight in the refrigerator.

Kitchen Tip: Make it easier to cut a pumpkin, acorn squash or other winter squash: pierce in several places with a fork; microwave on High for 45 to 60 seconds. Use a large sharp knife to cut in half. Remove the seeds and stringy fibers with a spoon.

Cut Down on Dishes: A rimmed baking sheet is great for everything from roasting to catching accidental drips and spills. For effortless cleanup and to keep your baking sheets in tip-top shape, line them with a layer of foil before each use.

2. Sweet Potato, Red Onion & Fontina Tart

ma2 From: EatingWell Magazine November/December 2009

Try this roasted-vegetable free-form tart as an appetizer or side dish for a special dinner or as a vegetarian main dish. The pastry dough is very forgiving and quite easy to roll out on parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. The walnut-studded crust is crisper served warm, but you can enjoy the tart at room temperature or cold too.

Ingredients

Crust

  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 1/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (see Note)
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme and/or rosemary
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 7 tablespoons ice-cold water

Filling

  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 cup shredded fontina or Cheddar cheese
  • 1 large egg white mixed with 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme and/or rosemary

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425 °F.

To prepare crust: Pulse walnuts in a food processor until finely ground. Combine in a large bowl with whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons thyme and/or rosemary, 3/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Make a well in the center and add 1/2 cup oil and water. Gradually stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients to form a soft dough (it will seem wetter than other types of pastry dough). Knead in the bowl just until the dough comes together. Pat it into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or up to 3 days.

To prepare filling: Combine sweet potatoes, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Spread on three-fourths of a large rimmed baking sheet. Toss onion in the bowl with 1 teaspoon oil. Spread evenly on the remaining one-fourth of the baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven. Reduce temperature to 375 °.

Line a work surface with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat, lightly dust with flour and dust the top of the dough with flour. Roll the dough into a rustic 15-inch circle, adding more flour, if necessary, to prevent sticking. Transfer the crust to a baking sheet with the parchment or baking mat in place.

Leaving a 2-inch border, sprinkle cheese evenly over the crust. Make an overlapping ring of the larger sweet potato slices over the cheese, leaving the 2-inch border. Spread the onion slices in another ring closer to the center. Using the rest of the sweet potato slices, make an overlapping circle in the center of the crust (the pattern will look like a bull’s-eye). Pick up the edges of the crust using a spatula and fold over the filling, making pleats in the dough as necessary (it’s okay if the dough cracks a little as you fold it); the filling will not be completely covered. Brush the crust with the egg-white wash. Drizzle the vegetables with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon thyme and/or rosemary.

Bake the tart until lightly browned on the edges, about 50 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

Make Ahead Tip: Prepare the crust (Step 2), wrap tightly and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months. Cool, cover and refrigerate the baked tart for up to 1 day. Reheat at 350°F for about 20 minutes.

Ingredient Note: Whole-wheat pastry flour has less gluten-forming potential than regular whole-wheat flour and helps ensure tender baked goods. Find it in the baking section of the supermarket.

3. Creamed Spinach Casserole

am3From: EatingWell Magazine November/December 2012

This creamy spinach casserole recipe is a more sophisticated cousin to creamed spinach. It’s perfect for weekend entertaining or as a holiday side dish.

Ingredients

  • 3 10-ounce packages frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup extra sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon white or black pepper

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Coat a shallow 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

Press spinach in a mesh strainer to get out as much moisture as possible. Pulse in a food processor until very finely chopped.

Combine milk, flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking, until thickened, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup Cheddar, cottage cheese and the spinach.

Beat egg whites in a large bowl with an electric mixer, slowly increasing the speed, until they begin to foam. Continue to beat until the whites hold their shape; do not over beat. (You’ll know they are ready when you lift the beaters out and the peak doesn’t flop over.)

Gently fold the whites into the spinach mixture with a rubber spatula until uniform. (It’s OK if a few white streaks remain.) Transfer to the prepared baking dish.

Bake for 35 minutes. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup Cheddar; continue baking until the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes more. Let stand for 5 minutes

Make Ahead Tip: Prepare Steps 2 & 3, refrigerate for up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature before folding in egg whites.

4. Fennel, Citrus & Roasted Beet Salad

am4.jpgFrom: EatingWell Magazine January/February 2014

The sweetness of the roasted beets works well with tart grapefruit in this healthy beet salad recipe. Turn this beet salad into an entree by adding seared scallops or white fish, such as halibut or cod.

Ingredients

  • 2 small-to-medium golden beets
  • 2 small-to-medium red beets
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro, plus whole leaves and flowers or fennel fronds for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 medium pink or red grapefruit
  • 1 medium navel orange
  • 1 medium bulb fennel, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pistachios

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400 °F.

Wrap beets in foil and bake until tender when pierced with a knife, 40 minutes to 1 hour. When cool enough to handle, peel, trim and cut into wedges.

Whisk oil, mustard, vinegar, chopped cilantro, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Slice both ends off grapefruit. With a sharp knife, remove the peel and white pith; discard. Working over the bowl, cut the segments from their surrounding membranes. (Discard membranes). Repeat with orange. Add fennel and the beets. Toss to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes. Serve topped with pistachios and cilantro leaves and flowers or fennel fronds, if desired.

Make Ahead Tip: To make ahead: Roast beets (Steps 1-2), peel and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before adding to salad.

5. Cornbread Stuffing with Brussels Sprouts & Squash

am5From: EatingWell Magazine November/December 2011

Brussels sprouts and winter squash make this cornbread stuffing look and taste great. You may need to bake two batches of cornbread to have 2 pounds for this recipe—you can even make it the day before.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds winter squash, such as buttercup or butternut
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds prepared cornbread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 12 cups)
  • 1 cup Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 cup currants, raisins or dried cranberries
  • 1 cup pecan halves, coarsely chopped and toasted
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 8 fresh sage leaves, rubbed and sliced
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth

Preparation

Position racks in upper and lower third of oven; preheat to 375 °F.

Halve squash, remove seeds and cut into 1-inch-thick wedges (leave the skin on). Spread on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil, rubbing to coat the squash evenly. Roast on the lower rack until soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool. Peel, cut into 1-inch pieces and place in a large bowl.

Meanwhile, spread cornbread cubes on a large baking sheet. Toast on the upper rack until crisp around the edges, about 20 minutes. Add to the bowl with the squash.

Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add Brussels sprouts and cook until barely tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain again and add to the bowl. Add currants (or raisins or cranberries), pecans, chives, parsley and sage. Add broth and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Spoon into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

Bake the stuffing until heated through, 45 to 55 minutes.

Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 3. Cover and refrigerate the roasted squash for up to 2 days. Store the toasted cornbread uncovered at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Easy cleanup: To save time and keep your baking sheet looking fresh, line it with a layer of foil before you bake.

6. Potato & Sweet Potato Torte

ma6.jpgFrom: EatingWell Magazine Fall 2003

Layers of potatoes and sweet potatoes meld into an impressive vegetable “cake” that forms a golden crust during baking. Serve as a vegetarian centerpiece or with roast poultry or pork.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large leeks, trimmed, washed (see Tip) and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, (about 2 small), peeled and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
  • 1 pound all-purpose potatoes, preferably Yukon Gold (2-4 medium), peeled and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices

Preparation

Position oven rack at the lowest level; preheat to 450 °F. Coat a 9 1/2-inch, deep-dish pie pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper or foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add leeks and thyme; cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes. (If necessary, add 1 to 2 tablespoons water to prevent scorching.) Season with 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper.

Arrange half the sweet potato slices, slightly overlapping, in the prepared pie pan and season with a little of the remaining salt and pepper. Spread one-third of the leeks over the top. Arrange half the potato slices over the leeks and season with salt and pepper. Top with another third of the leeks. Layer the remaining sweet potatoes, leeks and potatoes in the same manner. Cover the pan tightly with foil.

Bake the torte until the vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the torte to loosen it. Invert onto a serving plate. Remove paper or foil and serve.

Make Ahead Tip: The torte will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat, covered, in a 350°f oven.

Tip: To clean leeks: Trim and discard coarse green tops. Split leeks lengthwise with a sharp knife, beginning about 1 inch from the root end and cutting toward the green end. Leave root end attached. Swish leeks repeatedly in a basin of cold water to remove grit. Alternatively, trim roots and ragged tops. Slice leeks and place in plenty of water, then drain. Repeat a few times. The slices do not absorb water or lose flavor and the process is faster.

7. Butternut Squash Gratin

ma7From: EatingWell Magazine November/December 2011

Roasted butternut squash slices layered with a creamy sauce and topped with golden breadcrumbs makes a hassle-free side dish that just about everyone loves. Our healthier version skips the heavy cream and butter found in most recipes—saving about 160 calories and 12 grams of saturated fat compared to a traditional version.

Ingredients

  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 8 cups)
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white or black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups low-fat milk
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs (see Tips) or 1/2 cup shredded or crumbled cheese

Preparation

Position racks in upper and lower third of oven; preheat to 425 °F.

Toss squash in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon oil until well coated. Divide between 2 baking sheets and spread in an even layer. Roast, stirring once and rotating the pans top to bottom about halfway through, until tender and beginning to brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until very soft and golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Add flour, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add milk and continue to stir, scraping up any browned bits. Cook, stirring, until the sauce bubbles and thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. (See Tips)

When the squash is done, remove from the oven. Preheat the broiler.

Transfer half the squash to a 2-quart, broiler-safe baking dish. Spread half the sauce over the squash. Add the remaining squash and top with the remaining sauce.

Combine breadcrumbs and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small bowl (skip this step if you are topping with cheese).

Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture (or cheese) over the gratin. Place under the broiler and broil, watching closely, until the gratin is bubbling and beginning to brown on top, 1 to 5 minutes, depending on your broiler. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Make Ahead Tip: Roast squash (Step 2) up to 30 minutes ahead. Prepare the sauce (Step 3), cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day; gently reheat until steaming before combining with the squash.

Tips: To make your own fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. One slice of bread makes about 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs.

To add extra flavor to the cream sauce, at the end of Step 3 stir in 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme, sage or parsley. Or make it cheesy by stirring in 1/2 cup shredded or crumbled cheese, such as Gruyère, Swiss, Cheddar or blue cheese.

Keep food fresh: If you’re storing food in your fridge for a few hours or more, it’s best to keep it in an airtight container or in a container covered tightly with foil. Foil is best at creating a barrier that doesn’t let unwanted flavors in (or out) while you store your food.

8. Cranberry Sauce with Star Anise

ma8From: EatingWell Magazine November/December 2012

This cranberry sauce recipe is scented with star anise, which has a dynamic flavor—earthy, spicy and sweet at the same time.

Ingredients

  • 10 whole star anise (see Tip)
  • 2 12-ounce bags cranberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 2/3 cup orange juice, preferably fresh-squeezed

Preparation

Place star anise in cheesecloth and tie into a bundle with a piece of kitchen string. Combine cranberries, sugar, water, orange zest and juice in a medium saucepan. Add the star anise bundle and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have burst, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove star anise before serving. Serve warm or chilled.

Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months.

Equipment: Cheesecloth, kitchen string

Tip: Look for the star-shaped anise pods in the bulk-spice sections of natural-foods stores, in Asian markets or online.

9. Cauliflower with New Mornay Sauce

ma9.jpgFrom: EatingWell Magazine Holiday Issue 1996

A topping of Mornay sauce is a delicious treatment for numerous vegetables: broccoli, asparagus, fennel, Belgian endive, to name a few. In our revised version, we have replaced some of the high-fat cheeses and cream with low-fat cottage cheese, which contributes a rich dairy flavor without the fat. Even children will eat cauliflower prepared this way.

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower, (about 1 3/4 pounds), cut into large florets
  • 1 1/4 cups nonfat milk, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese, preferably Gruyère
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black or white pepper
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unseasoned fine dry breadcrumbs

Preparation

Set rack in upper portion of oven; preheat to 375 °F. Coat a shallow 2-quart baking or gratin dish with cooking spray.

Place cauliflower florets in a steamer basket over boiling water, cover and steam until tender but not soft, 5 to 7 minutes. (Alternatively, place florets in a microwave-safe bowl with 1/4 cup water, cover and microwave on High for 1 to 3 minutes.)

Refresh under cool water and set aside.

Scald 1 cup milk in a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir together flour and the remaining 1/4 cup cold milk in a small bowl to make a smooth paste. Stir into the hot milk mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in cottage cheese, Swiss cheese, salt and pepper. Transfer sauce to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.

Spread one-third of the sauce in prepared baking dish. Arrange the steamed cauliflower over it and top with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan and breadcrumbs. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 30 minutes.

Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 3; cover and refrigerate the sauce and steamed cauliflower separately for up to 1 day.

10. Crunchy-Munchy Corn & Millet Bread

ma10.jpgFrom: EatingWell Magazine January/February 2009

The outside of this rustic-looking bread is crunchy and the inside is soft, with a smattering of small bits of corn grits and millet or sesame seeds. The loaf’s mild corn flavor goes well with chowders, stews and Tex-Mex dishes. The bread calls for millet, but sesame seeds can be substituted with good results. A pot with a 9- to 10-inch diameter, such as a Dutch oven, will produce a nicely domed loaf, while a wider-bottomed pot will allow the dough to spread out and form a relatively flat loaf.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole-grain or stone-ground yellow cornmeal, divided
  • 1/3 cup yellow corn grits, or very coarse-grained uncooked polenta
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon instant, quick-rising or bread-machine yeast
  • 1/3 cup nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons corn oil, canola oil or other flavorless vegetable oil
  • 5 tablespoons millet, or sesame seeds, divided
  • 2 cups unbleached bread flour, (see Note), plus more as needed
  • 2/3 cup whole-wheat flour, preferably white whole-wheat (see Note)
  • 3/4 cup ice water, (see Tip), plus more as needed

Preparation

Mix dough: Place 2/3 cup cornmeal and corn grits (or polenta) in a medium bowl. Gradually stir in boiling water until well blended and lump-free. Let stand until barely warm. Thoroughly stir 2 cups bread flour, whole-wheat flour, 3 tablespoons millet (or sesame seeds), sugar, salt and yeast in a 4-quart (or larger) bowl. Thoroughly stir yogurt and oil into the cornmeal mixture. Stir 3/4 cup ice water into the cornmeal mixture until smoothly incorporated. Stir the cornmeal mixture into the flour mixture, scraping down the sides and mixing just until the ingredients are thoroughly blended; it may seem too dry initially, but it usually comes together with sufficient stirring. The dough should be moist and somewhat sticky, but fairly stiff. If the mixture is still too dry, stir in just enough additional ice water to facilitate mixing, but don’t over moisten. If the dough is too wet, stir in just enough flour to stiffen slightly. Lightly coat the top with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

First rise: Let the dough rise at room temperature (about 70 °F) for 12 to 18 hours; if convenient, stir once partway through the rise. For convenience (and improved flavor), you may refrigerate the dough for 3 to 12 hours before starting the first rise.

Second rise: Generously coat a 3 1/2- to 5-quart Dutch oven (or similar ovenproof pot) with oil. Coat the bottom and sides with 1 tablespoon each cornmeal and millet (or sesame seeds). Vigorously stir the dough to deflate it. If it’s soft and very sticky, stir in just enough bread flour to yield a firm but moist dough (it should be fairly hard to stir). Transfer the dough to the pot. Lightly coat the dough with oil, then smooth the top using a well-oiled rubber spatula or your fingertips. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon each cornmeal and millet (or sesame seeds) and pat down. Put the lid on the pot or tightly cover with foil.

Let rise at warm room temperature until the dough is double the deflated size, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. (For an accelerated rise, see Tip.)

15 minutes before baking: Position a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 450 °F. Generously sprinkle or spritz the loaf with water.

Bake, cool, slice: Bake the loaf on the lower rack, covered, until lightly browned and crusty, 60 to 70 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until nicely browned and a skewer inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs on the tip (or until an instant-read thermometer registers 204-206 °), 10 to 15 minutes longer. Cool in the pot on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Turn the loaf out on the rack and let cool to at least warm before serving. The loaf is good warm but slices best when cool.

Make Ahead Tip: Wrap airtight and keep at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.

Notes: Milled from high-protein wheat, bread flour develops strong gluten, resulting in well-risen loaves. It helps give breads with a high percentage of whole grains better structure and a lighter texture. Find it near other flours in most supermarkets.

White whole-wheat, made from a special variety of white wheat, is light in color and flavor but has the same nutritional properties as regular whole-wheat flour. Available in large supermarkets and in natural-foods stores. Store in the freezer.

Tips: To prepare “ice water” for this recipe, add a heaping cup of ice cubes to cold water and stir for about 30 seconds before measuring out the water.

You can turn your microwave into a warm, moist environment to help accelerate the second rise of the bread dough. Begin by microwaving 1/2 cup water in a 1-cup glass measure just to boiling. Set the water in one corner of the microwave, place the pan of dough on the other side of the turned-off microwave and close the door. The dough will double in size in 45 minutes to 11/2 hours.

 

As always I love hearing from you, if you have any questions, comments or if you have a tip please share below!

Fried BBQ Chicken

Yes, you are reading this correctly. This is a recipe for FRIED BBQ CHICKEN!

I had thawed out a package of chicken breasts the night before to make something with it for dinner the next day. It was creepin up on 5 o’clock, din din time was fast approaching and I just couldn’t decide whether to make fried chicken or BBQ chicken. Kids weren’t very helpful because of course one said fried and the other said barbecue (typical, lol).

That is when my light-bulb went off and I thought why can’t I make fried barbecue chicken.. SO I DID! And it was delicious!

Here is how I did it…

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First, let’s get to frying (& my secret ingredient to make it extra moist)

You will need:

  • Flour
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Milk
  • Mayo (yes, mayo!)

Mix about 3 cups of flour (depending on how much chicken you plan on making) add salt and pepper to taste. In another bowl, your going to add about 2 cups milk and about a half cup of Mayo, mix and set aside.

Tip: Keep one hand for the wet part and one hand for the dry part. This will help you from getting those monster hands when dipping!

Evenly coat each piece into the flour mixture, then into the wet mixture and set on a piece of parchment or foil and let sit for about 5 minutes. Then repeat in both dry and wet batters.

Heat vegetable or canola oil, which ever you prefer in a skillet. I like to use my cast iron for this but you can use whatever you want. Fry until golden brown, about 7 minutes on each side depending on how thick your chicken is.

Preheat your oven to about 400 degrees.

Then, get your favorite BBQ sauce and warm it up in the microwave for about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Stir to prevent hot spots. Then dip your fried chicken into the sauce, and set on a rack over a baking sheet lined with foil.

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Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked thoroughly and the outside gets crispy.

Let cool, & ENJOY!

 

I always love to hear from you guys so if you have any questions comments please post them below!

Pumpkin Cake

Tis the season for everything Pumpkin! Yay! So instead of doing the classic Pumpkin Pie, or Pumpkin bread I decided to make a Pumpkin Pie Cake! The same great flavors of a Pumpkin Pie but in cake form. Like we need an excuse to bake a cake, pssh.

A little tip: A slice goes great with a cup of coffee in the morning. Just don’t tell your kids that! 😉

So lets get started..

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I opted to start with a butter cake recipe. But you can choose which ever cake base you would like, vanilla or a white cake would also work well.

Butter Cake Recipe

Ingredients needed:

9 cups granulated sugar
6 cups cake flour
1/4 cups salt
1/4 cups baking soda
2 3/4 cups solid shortening
4 cups butter
2 cups whole eggs
5 cups buttermilk
1/8 cup vanilla extract
8 cups egg whites
8 cups granulated sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 320 degrees F.

Mix together sugar, flour, salt, baking soda, shortening and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on 2nd speed for 3 minutes. Then add whole eggs, buttermilk and vanilla to the mixture and beat again for 3 minutes on 2nd speed. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites and sugar into a meringue state. Then gently fold the meringue into the buttermilk mixture.

After you got your cake batter

After you got your base cake all mixed and ready to go, divide equally between 3 bowls.

  • -First bowl add 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • -Second bowl add 1/2 tsp each of cinnamon and nutmeg
  • -Third bowl leave plain
Pour each bowl into separate parchment lined sheet pans or round cake pans. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the cake. About 20-25 minutes depending on size and color of pan.
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Let cool on rack and then slice off the top of each to make an even layer.
After completely cool, Frost each layer as you go .. Then completely around the sides and the top for an even coating of icing. You can get fancy with it if you like, but I kinda like the imperfect rustic white base.
Here is the Butter Cream Icing recipe:

Ingredients

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk

Directions

 In medium bowl, mix powdered sugar and butter with spoon or electric mixer on low speed. Stir in vanilla and 1 tablespoon of the milk.

 Gradually beat in just enough remaining milk to make frosting smooth and spreadable. If frosting is too thick, beat in more milk, a few drops at a time. If frosting becomes too thin, beat in a small amount of powdered sugar.

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ENJOY!!

I love to hear from you guys so any comments or questions, or if you have any tips for this recipe please share below!

 

How to upgrade your mornings

This post was sponsored by CLEAR CARE® PLUS as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising.  I received financial compensation for my participation and endorsement.

We’ve all been there. Stuck in habit of doing the same-old same-old routine, we may think about changing but it usually takes an outside force to get us to do so. Changing the color on your walls or your morning routine doesn’t seem like much, I know. The little things in life can and do make a huge impact on your way of life.

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For me, my personal upgrade was my morning routine. I was never a “morning person” but a few little tweaks made my mornings work for me. Even if you are an up and riser, these little life hacks can upgrade and elevate your mornings!
First morning upgrade: Splurge on yourself! Find, buy or make a grand coffee mug that is special JUST for you and no one else. It will help remind yourself that you are worth it, while you sip your morning coffee (nectar of the gods), tea or juice and give you a little confidence boost first thing in the morning.

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Second morning upgrade: Save yourself some time and sanity by make ahead breakfast meals that you can throw in the microwave or toaster. And you can spend more time on the things you want to get done in the morning. Here are a few ideas that my family uses, and some you can even eat on the go.
1. Breakfast Burritos– Burritos are one of my favorite foods, and I love that you can customize it exactly the way you want. I personally like eggs, breakfast sausage, cheese, bell peppers, and onions, topped off with some fresh cilantro! When reheating wrap in a moist paper towel for best results.
2. Breakfast Sandwiches – Who doesn’t love a breakfast sandwich? And who knew they freeze so well? Just pop them in the microwave and you’re set. You could also make this with croissants!
3. Green Smoothies – Green smoothies are a staple in our house. Our whole family loves them and we make them a couple times a week. It’s so easy to freeze individual portions into ziploc bags so that all you need to add is the liquid and then blend!
4. French Toast Sticks – I used to make these in big batches all the time. I love that you can bake them. They freeze beautifully, and you can reheat them quickly in the toaster or toaster oven. You can even sneak in veggies by blending in some pumpkin or squash into the batter — they’ll never know!
5. Pancakes – Pancakes and waffles also freeze great.
6. Muffins – Make your favorite muffin and pop them into freezer bags. When reheating wrap in a moist paper towel for best results.
7. Egg muffins/Mini Frittatas – These are easy to make and easy to customize with your choice of ingredients — no bread needed!
8. Breakfast cookies – Everything tastes better when it’s in cookie form. Oat cookies work amazing!
9. Pop tarts – You can make your own healthy pop tarts with puff pastry or premade dough. Reheat them in the microwave or toaster oven and you have a quick, easy breakfast your kids are sure to love!

& Don’t forget to pre-set your coffee maker so it’s ready when you are!
Third morning upgrade: Save the morning for thinking. The morning tends to have a quieter, more contemplative feel to it. Take advantage of it, by following poet William Blake’s advice to divide up your day: “Think in the morning, act in the noon, read in the evening, and sleep at night.” Even if your job isn’t complex, you can use the mornings where you’re not on a tight deadline to think over problems, consider future challenges, and give your tasks more mindful attention than they’ll get when everyone else gets in and starts grabbing for your attention.
Fourth morning upgrade: Set a morning prep reminder the night before. Whether it’s your watch or your cell phone set something in your home to beep at a certain time every night. When that beep goes off, around 9 p.m., for instance, it means you should drop what you’re doing and spend just a bit of time preparing for your morning, while you’re actually awake. Take the time to set out your clothes and shoes, grind coffee and set your coffee timer, check your calendar for events and reminders, and packing anything you’re bound to forget into your bag.

CLEAR CARE® PLUS is taking upgrades to the next level with the Bubble Upgrade™ Sweepstakes. From 8/10/16 to 9/6/16, a winner will be selected every Wednesday to win an upgrade experience (each valued at over $10,000), spanning categories from sports, travel, and self-improvement.

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View the sweepstakes here to learn more, and discover the amazing prizes!

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Cake in a Mug

Dessert is my weakness! And I usually love spending time in my she cave (also known as my kitchen) baking up amazing desserts at least once a week. With school now back in full force, I just haven’t found the time in the past few weeks. So when my after dinner dessert fix wasn’t being fulfilled, I stormed the internet in search of a super quick and easy dessert I can make in a just a few minutes. Which was all I had between dinner and homework.

This recipe will only take you about 2 minutes to prep and mix and 90 seconds cooking! No, I have not used magic or found a secret machine to freeze time. This is cake in a mug!

Recipe makes one cake in a mug.

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Here is what you need: 

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt, optional
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Splash vanilla extract, optional (but I recommend)
3 tablespoons chocolate chips

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Here is what you do:
You need a 12-ounce microwave-safe ceramic mug and a microwave oven.
Put the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt if using in a 12-ounce microwave-safe ceramic mug. Blend thoroughly with a fork. Add the milk (I used almond milk), vegetable oil and vanilla if using and blend until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Microwave on high for 90 seconds. Do not overcook or the cake will be dry. Let cool for 2 to 3 minutes before eating.

I cooked mine for about 85 seconds as I wanted mine a little “under” done and it was PERFECT!

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Enjoy!

If you try this recipe (which how can you not) please tell me how your turns out and if you have any tips or tricks you would like to share, just comment below!

Healthy habits for back to school

Here we are in the middle of August getting our kids ready for school again! Where did the summer go? I don’t know about you but it takes us a few weeks to kick the Summer way of life and get into full gear again for School. Here are a few tips and tricks to ensure your kids can get a head start with healthy habits, so it becomes routine for back-to-school.

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This post was sponsored by Nature Made®  as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.

Stay organized, create a lunch prep drawer so you can have everything you need in one centralized location.

I store the juice boxes in the freezer to use as the ice pack. This will keep you from trying the find the ice pack every night and having to remember to wash it and put it back in the freezer. Just throw it in the morning of, or even the night before and keep it in the fridge.

I don’t know about your kids but mine go straight for the snacks as soon as the stumble in the door. Create a snack basket of things they can grab and eat while doing that homework “they don’t have”.  This will keep them from eating junk after school and get them back on track. This will help rein-enforce the healthy habits we try to instill in them everyday.

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Shop for Nature Made® KIDS FIRST® Multivitamin Gummies at Target. Don’t forget these when you take that back to school shopping list with you. My kids don’t usually like to shop with me, except for when we go to Target, they help push the cart and check off my list as we get everything we need. Although I think it may be because they get a snack at the Cafe before we shop, but shhh, I won’t tell anyone 😉

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Your kids can enjoy getting the essential daily nutritional support they may be lacking, in a delicious, easy-to-chew gummy. Nature Made® KIDS FIRST® Multivitamin Gummies come in great-tasting all- natural fruit flavors that your kids will love, like Orange, Cherry & Mixed Berry. Not only do they taste great, they help fill many of the key nutrient gaps from your kids’ diet and support overall health.†

  • Contains 12 essential nutrients for age-specific nutritional support, including vitamins A, C, D and E, B vitamins, and minerals like iodine and zinc
  • All natural fruit flavors
  • Colors derived from natural sourcesNo synthetic dyes
  • No preservatives or yeast
  • Gluten free

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My kids love the taste of these gummies, they say they don’t taste gritty like some of them can. And are now our go to Multi-Vitamin, and I even sneak them into my morning routine. Just don’t tell my kids!

† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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