Between my birthday on July 3rd, followed immediately by Independence Day and a family reunion at the lake beginning, July 6th, I’m happy to report that I’ll be enjoying more than a week of non-stop, fun-in-the-sun festivities. No complaints about the 100-degree weather from me, this is my absolute favorite time of the year!
On the agenda: morning runs, paddle-boarding, wake boarding, jet-skiing, fishing, helping with some landscape work and then lounging around on the dock. All this is sure to make a person thirsty and hungry. I’ll be at once hydrating and enjoying a wholesome snack thanks to watermelon and my latest recipe, Watermelon, Tomato and Jicama Salad with Tajin Honey Dressing. Read on to get the all the deets, the full recipe and how you can incorporate watermelon into your casual summer entertaining. Continue reading →
Last week, I grilled cantaloupe and today it’s avocados! I’ve been getting my fruit freak on by firing up whatever pretty produce catches my eye. This isn’t big news at my house. When it comes to backyard cooking, I’m always in beta mode and, thankfully, it’s nearly impossible to mess up a simple, fresh meal on the grill.
This post is sponsored by The National Watermelon Board (Watermelon.org), however all comments, opinions, enthusiasm and content is my own.
I can’t even count how many watermelons have met their final fate at my house, at least dozens of dozens (meaning hundreds) if not more! Watermelon, after all, is my favorite fruit and I eat it every which way including whacked into a wedge and as a featured ingredient in smoothies and on salads, skewers, sandwiches and such.
I’ve used the typically discarded watermelon rind in recipes too – my latest creation is Thai-style Watermelon Rind Shrimp Ceviche! Check out the recipe and join me to #LeaveNoRindBehind ! Continue reading →
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! You probably won’t ever find me sitting in a pub downing Guinness or whisky, but I’ll definitely eat! So today, I’m sharing my crazy, tasty spin on traditional tavern food and Irish Corned Beef Potato Nachos are featured on my menu!
Those lucky Irish, with their abundance of potatoes! Spuds make a super great fuel choice for athletes, the complex carbs provide healthy energy to help nail workout and run goals. I did a whole blog post on this that you can check out HERE. Add corned beef from the deli, sharp white cheddar and a bit of cabbage should you care, and these nachos will have your taste buds dancing a jig. Continue reading →
Brighten up any winter snack situation with these Vibrant Greek Yogurt Dips colorized with some of Mother Nature’s most vivid ingredients including beet powder, turmeric powder and matcha tea. No need to go all fake and freaky to create edible rainbow colors for your holiday appetizers and other fun recipes throughout the year. These natural ingredients are superfoods (typically found on the health food, spice and tea aisles) and not only pump up the pigment, but boost nutrition as well!
While there are lots of additional benefits, beet root powder boosts nitric oxide in your blood (helping circulation, blood pressure and stamina), ground turmeric is a spice that can help to reduce inflammation and lessen the perception of pain, and matcha tea is known to boost the metabolism, calm the mind and help protect against certain cancers.
The other beauty of these three Vibrant Greek Yogurt Dips is how easy they are to make – I originally created the recipes for Litehouse Foods using first their Homestyle Ranch Dip, then later the OPAdipity Greek Yogurt Dips and finally with Greek yogurt from scratch. Using prepared dips (found in the refrigerated section of your produce department) is an “almost homemade” shortcut perfect when you need to pull together a party ASAP or at the 11th hour realize you didn’t bring a dish for the office shindig. I feel more than comfortable using the Litehouse Foods brand because they are VERY mindful to keep their products as fresh and preservative as possible.
But, knowing these dips aren’t easy for some of you to find (and that many prefer scratch recipes), I’ve written out the full preparation of the recipes (and then noted how to swap in the prepared dressings if that’s the route you choose). The base recipe is the same for all three dips, simply mix in 2 tablespoons of the chosen “superfood” ingredient and add extra garnish on top as desired!
These dips also take sandwiches, wraps, side dishes and steamed veggies to the next level with just a drizzle or dollop! Enjoy and Happy Holidays to Hue!
If you need a visual on the beet powder, ground turmeric and matcha — here are the products I used:
Beet, Turmeric & Matcha Greek Yogurt dips
The base recipe is the same for all three dips, simply mix in 2 tablespoons of the chosen "superfood" ingredient and add extra garnish on top as desired!
White bread ain’t got nothing, not one single thing on my Nutty Purple Sweet Potato Flatbread. That is, unless you actually like gummy simple carbs and are willing to put your bod through the resulting blood sugar surge/crash and gathering of gluten all from eating one puny slice.
This kinda weird, but decidedly delicious flatbread has none of that nonsense. Featuring Stokes Purple®, a special type of California-grown, non-GMO sweet potato with purple skin and vibrant purple flesh that get even brighter when cooked, this bread alternative is nothing to “loaf” about – flat is where it’s at! #PurplePowerToThePeople
The texture of a Stokes Purple® is a little drier and denser than a traditional sweet potato, rendering it perfect for a substitute flour filler in my grain-free, gluten-free flatbread recipe. Purple sweet potatoes offer similar nutritional benefits of regular orange sweet potatoes in the fact that they are both healthy source of complex carbs with a low GI impact, are full of dietary fiber and many essential vitamins and minerals. The Stokes Purple® also has anthocyanins, a plant flavonoid that not only gives the potatoes their distinctive purple hue, but also have been linked to a host of health benefits including reductions in certain cancers, lowering of bad cholesterol, improvements in vision, liver and heart health, and have also been linked to boosts in cognition.
So back to the sweet potato flatbread details, the recipe also features almond meal, and coarsely chopped pumpkin and sunflower seeds. There are a couple eggs in the recipe, but otherwise it’s dairy-free and suitable for a vegetarian or gluten-free diet. If you have an allergy to nuts, sub out the almond meal for an equivalent amount of oat-flour to keep it nut-free.
Eat this gluten-free flatbread warm out of the oven, spread with a little honey butter – it’s like eating a sweet potato in portable, easy-to-pick-up format. But, a little more interesting and flavorful than that “sweet potato toast” trend on Pinterest. You can also use two slices to bookend your favorite sandwich fillings – since I made these right after the holidays, my gluten-free sandwich is layered with leftovers including turkey, cranberry relish and spinach!
Heat oven to 400F degrees.
In small food processor, coarsely chop sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Add to small bowl, along with other dry ingredients including almond flour, salt, pepper, chili powder and garlic powder.
In small blender, add milk, eggs and 1 cup of pre-cooked sweet potato mash and process until smooth. Stir in remaining cooked sweet potatoes with spatula, adding a splash more milk if needed, but consistency should remain fairly thick.
Scrape this wet mixture into bowl with dry ingredients and mix with spatula until well combined.
Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, and spread batter from end to end, corner to corner, keeping even thickness. Sprinkle with additional pumpkin and sunflower seeds, if desired.
Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until edges and top are turning lightly golden brown. Remove from oven to cool on wire rack.
Cut into pieces and serve warm or at room temperature. Save leftovers in zip-top bag in refrigerator – reheat in microwave or toaster oven before serving.
Disclaimer: I was provided compensation for the development of this recipe and my time at #FreshSummit, however this blog post, my opinions and enthusiasm are provided complementary!
I was in Orlando earlier in the month for Fresh Summit 2016, a massive trade show that brings together produce industry peeps from around the world to showcase innovation, provide inspiration and track trends. With more than 1,100 exhibitors on the expo floor, there were fruits, veggies, nuts, and fresh packaged foods at every turn. But, were there meatballs? Why, yes, there were!
That’s right; I was cooking up a storm again for Litehouse Foods in their beautiful, backyard inspired booth. With football playing on the big screen, a spread of apple cider and snacks, and good eats coming from the kitchen (including my Sriracha Lime Meatballs), this was the ultimate homey hangout.
Hopefully in your house, the crowd gathering for these (Slow Cooker) Beef Meatballs with Sriracha Lime Sauce will not be smaller than at the packed expo. Although, there WILL be a crowd (just sayin’) becase this super simple, slow cooker recipe is a real weekend AND weeknight winner. Just toss in a short list of ingredients into a Crock Pot, pour over a bottle of their new Srirarcha Lime Dressing and walk away. In a couple hours, you’ve got the ultimate football party appetizer to skewer up on toothpicks or a fusion-inspired, “take-out” take off dinner that you can serve with the slow cooker sauce over rice. My kids loved it!
The Sriracha Lime Dressing is a new “sweet heat” product from Litehouse Foods that you can find in the fridge shelves of your produce department – they also make a Mango Habanero version. What I love about these two dressings is that they are super flavorful without being off the charts hot, only have 20 calories per serving, and are made with fresh ingredients that you’ve heard of – no weird chemicals or preservatives. You can also try this dressing as a glaze on chicken, dip for your spring rolls, or drizzle for your salads and wraps.
*I’ve also provided alternate instructions for the sauce in case you can’t find this dressing.
Serve meatballs over rice for supper or on a little bed of rainbow slaw for a healthy, balanced appetizer!
What are you cooking in your slow cooker these days? Can you take the heat or do you like things milder? Big plans, races, events for fall — I’m doing a Spartan Beast this weekend! Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer
(Slow Cooker) Beef Meatballs with Sriracha Lime Sauce
Get the party (or dinner) started in spicy-sweet style with this crazy easy recipe that uses frozen meatballs and salad dressing. Lots of protein, low carb.
Football parties, tailgating and fall season gathers require dip to draw people together. Just think of all the great gossip, high-fiving and friendly smack talk that has gone down in, what I like to call, the “Chip and Dip Zone.”
But, maybe you hesitate to enter the ZONE for fear of the cheesy dip – is it made of mystery processed “cheese,” loaded with fat upon fat, or just boringly bland? I’ll admit, these thoughts cross my mind, especially flashbacks of tepid fake orange stadium cheese on stale round tortilla chips. That’s why I came up with my Lower-Fat Blue Cheese & Fire-Roasted Tomato Queso – it’s bold and it’s better for you made with REAL ingredients.
I think you’ll definitely widen your mind (and mouth) in appreciation for my Blue Cheese & Fire-roasted Tomato Queso. This unique cheese dip marrieds the audacious attitude blue-cheese with the smoky laid-back goodness of tomatoes roasted over flames. I’ve used my fav brand of blue cheese (Simply Artisan Reserve Blue Cheese Crumbles) and canned fire-roasted tomatoes which. Of course, canned tomatoes are convenient and taste great in recipes, but did you know that they contain more lycopene (a free-radical destroying antioxidant) than those fresh off the vine? It’s true!
While this cheese dip recipe requires a whisk, it’s quite easy prepare, coming together in just 15 minutes or less– and you can keep it warmed for a party but pouring into a small slow cooker. It was first whipped up to celebrated International Beer Day with Litehouse Foods. Using low-fat dairy products help keep this snack sensible in moderation and, if you are on a gluten-free diet, it is easy to swap out flour used in the roux with a gluten-free flour blend (I use Living Now Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour, it’s inexpensive and provides the right texture for my recipe)
Serve Lower-Fat Blue Cheese & Fire-Roasted Tomato Queso with veggie sticks, artisan chips, or chunks of crusty bread. I’ve even reheated the leftovers and poured over cooked zoodles and topped with shrimp for an impromptu “pasta” dinner.
If you are hosting a huge football party, you might want to consider adding my Healthy Snack Stadium to your spread of snacks, appetizers and game-day grub.
[Tweet Not yer stadium cheese dip! Lower-Fat Blue Cheese & Fire-Roasted Tomato Queso #fitfluential #livinglitehouse”]
What football team(s) are you rooting for this season? Are you typically an at-home or stadium spectator? Please share in comments, xoxo Jennifer
Blue Cheese & Fire-roasted Tomato Queso
Up your game day grub with this lightened up queso featuring the bold flavors of blue cheese and flame-kissed tomatoes. It's even a winner at dinner served over zoodles or pasta!
In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, warm milk (without boiling), stirring occasionally.
At the same time, heat butter in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add flour to melted butter and whisk continuously, cooking until it is bubbling and has turned lightly golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
Stream in heated milk, whisking continuously, and continue to cook over medium heat until mixture bubbles and thickens slightly. Add cheeses and whisk well until melted smooth and incorporated. Add Italian Herb Blend, dried red pepper flakes, green onions and drained tomatoes, stirring until combined.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour into serving bowl and garnish as desired.