I recently hinted at a delicious spicy-sweet almond snack I made with local products in my Active in Austin post. My recipe for 5-minute Habanero BBQ Almonds is a great hunger-squashing snack that you absolutely must make for all your on-the-go summer activities. And, if one of your summer activities is YOGA — then check out the bottom of my post for a Buddhi Box giveaway!
Not only is this snack super easy to make in the skillet in about 5 minutes, it’s packed with flavor and the satiating nutrition from almonds. Almonds are such a great snack for athletes and everyone — the are definitely the superfood they are cracked up to be! This nutrient-dense nut is packed with good monounsaturated fatty acids, dietary fiber, antioxidants, vitamins such as riboflaven and trace minerals such as magnesium.
Almonds are also a great snack choice if you are on the #ProteinChallenge. If you’re not participating in this free challenge, sign up today here. It’s a great way to learn how to slightly readjust your eating patterns to include adequate protein spaced throughout the day. In turn, you should have more energy, a desire to snack less on unheathy carbed-out, processed foods and be better able to achieve or maintain a lean body mass.
Also, you’re going to laugh, but I think that this Habanero BBQ Almond recipe helps you stay hydrated. Say what? That’s because the spicy habanero pepper is one of the hottest peppers in town and it will encourage you to drink more water
I also want to tell you about a new box I am loving right now — theBuddhi Box. It’s “The Monthly Subscription Box that will Kick Your Asana into Gear”. This ultimate yogi care package is filled with deluxe samples and full-sized products that will appeal and delight those just starting a yoga practice or that have been on the journey for some time. You can learn more about the products and the services HERE.
My recent Buddhi Boxincluded a full-sized book packed with every imaginable yoga pose (I’m still trying them all out), daring ballet sock with gripper feet (feet stay covered in class, but no slipping and sliding), a scented soy candle and sample of hemp seeds (ooh, love those).
One of you lucky readers will win your own Buddhi Boxby entering the giveaway below. What’s in the winner’s yoga subscription box? I don’t know! That’s the fun element of surprise that comes with these specially-curated collections of products — even though I don’t know whats coming, I always LOVE everything!
To make, heat skillet to medium- high over stovetop.
Stir in 1/4 cup BBQ sauce, 2 teaspoons habanero sauce, 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt. Cook over medium-low for 4 minutes to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until sauce is carmalizing and sticking to almonds.
Remove from skillet and let cool a few minutes. Eat warm or at room temperature. May be stored in an air-tight container.
July 4th festivities will be firing up through the week . . .and I bet your grill is too! It’s no coincidence that July is National Grilling Month considering 200 million Americans own a grill and 72% plan to put a gas or charcoal grill to use on Independence Day (HBPA data). Personally, I enjoy the freedom from cooking in the kitchen and, while it’s traditional to throw down some burgers, dogs or steaks on the grates, my recipe for Sticky-Sweet Shrimp, Pineapple & Kumquat Kebabs gives you the liberty to let your creative food flag fly.
While I’ve skewered up shrimp, pineapple and kumquats, it’s your inalienable, edible right to use the proteins, fruit and veggies you like best on a kabob. However, I highly recommend the kumquats, grilling makes them even more fabulous. However, in the USA, this fruit (that is like a mini orange with edible skin) is in season from November through July – so hurry up and grill some! If you can’t find kumquats, you can substitute orange wedges.
Nutritional and Health Benefits of Kumquats:
According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, a serving of eight whole raw kumquats (including peel) has 108 calories. This same serving size is an excellent source of dietary fiber, providing 9.9 grams — more than 25% of the Daily Value for men, and nearly 40% for women. Kumquats are also a great course of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, riboflavin and even calcium (providing almost 10% of the adult daily needs).
A diet high in dietary fiber is beneficial to the health of your heart and gastrointestinal tract. Eight raw kumquats provide 9.9 g of dietary fiber. The amount of fiber recommended daily by the Institute of Medicine is 25 g for women and 38 g for men. Dietary fiber also controls blood glucose and insulin concentrations and reduces the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Vitamin C is an important antioxidant and is necessary for the health of blood vessels, tendons, ligaments and bones. According to the USDA, eight raw kumquats have 66.7 mg of vitamin C. The National Institute of Health has set the daily recommended amount at 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men. Adequate vitamin C is also necessary for proper wound healing.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that promotes vision and is necessary for the health of teeth, skeletal tissue and skin. Eight raw kumquats have 441 IU of vitamin A. According to the Institute of Medicine, men need 3,000 IU of vitamin A daily and women need 2,333 IU. Vitamin A also functions as an antioxidant, protecting your body from free radical damage.
Kumquats provide the B vitamin, riboflavin, which is a component of various enzymes involved in energy metabolism. Eight kumquats provide 0.137 mg of riboflavin. The daily amount of riboflavin recommended by the National Institute of Medicine is 1.1 mg for women and 1.3 mg for men.
Calcium is essential for nerve transmission, muscle contraction and for formation of teeth and bones. The USDA National Nutrient Database shows that eight kumquats have 94 mg of calcium. The Institute of Medicine recommends adults consume 1,000 mg of calcium daily.
The little secret that pulls this super easy kabob recipe together is brushing on Stubb’s Sticky Sweet Bar-B-Q Sauce – seriously, why you make your own barbeque sauce when you can buy Stubb’s Legendary Bar-B-Q sauce (available in six different flavors) down at your local market?! The Sticky Sweet Bar-B-Q Sauce is my current infatuation of the moment – it’s got real southern flair, is rich and thick and loaded with brown sugar and gooey molasses. Plus, I really appreciate how this product and the other sauces, marinades and rubs make it easy to add flavor to a meal while avoiding the fat, calories, or artificial flavors, sweeteners, colors or preservatives often found on the condiment aisle.
Looking for a side dish to serve with this tropical take on BBQ skewers? My recipe for Coconut Macadamia Fried Ricemakes a pleasing pair-up – it’s been a frequently requested dinner on it’s own at my house.
As far as selecting your shrimp, you can grab a bag from the market, but I prefer to get mine from SizzleFish.com because I really trust their commitment to bringing me a responsibly sourced, perfectly-portioned seafood products with no additives or yucky stuff. additives – plus all their products are healthy, high-quality perfectly portioned and have an athlete’s lifestyle in mind! From these shrimp to Coho salmon to halibut and more, their products are vacuum-sealed in individual serving size packets, nestled in dry ice and shipped straight to my door for ultra convenience — I always have a lean protein on hand in the freeer to make a quick and easy dinner!
Get the recipe for Coconut Macadamia Nut Fried Ricehere!
This post is sponsored by Stubb’s Legendary Bar-B-Q, however the recipes, opinions and enthusiasm are all my own!
There is so much to love about May! The weather is warmer, daylight lasts longer and backyard patios, porches and pergolas are prime party spots for good friends and great food. I don’t know about you, but my go-to cooking method from early spring well into the fall season is grilling. Whether I’m entertaining company or it’s just the family, my trusty grill is this mom’s solution when it comes to whipping up creative, healthy and quick meals.
I will grill anything and everything. I get fired up for grilling the gamut . . . meats and seafood to fruit, veggies and dessert (mmmm, banana boats)! Today, I’m sharing a recipe for Chicken, Corn and Jicama Chopped Salad with Sweet-Heat BBQ Vinaigrette that relies on one of my secret weapons when it comes to grilling and barbeque – Stubb’s Bar-B-Q Sauces, Marinades and Rubs.
Grilled corn and chicken are the stars of this simple grilled salad recipe – Stubb’s Chicken Spice Rub gives just the right amount of seasoning to poultry and vegetables without being overpowering or too spicy for my kids to eat. This is the original rub of Stubb’s fame, crafted by the legend himself at his original Texas Bar-B-Q joint — “It all starts with good rub.”
To dress this chopped chicken salad that also features jicama and avocado , I’ve created a simple barbecue sauce vinaigrette that is a bit spicy, a bit sweet – and certainly fun to eat! Using Stubb’s Sweet Heat Bar-B-Q Sauce is my not-so-secret shortcut to prepping this dressing in mere minutes. Of course, this BBQ sauce with hints of brown sugar and chipotle peppers is also excellent used in the traditional way to drizzle or douse on everything from baby back ribs and burgers to pizza and sweet potatoes.
It’s also the sauce I use in my Brisket & Bean Skillet Nachos. I love that Stubb’s Bar-B-Q sauces get their bold flavors from real, wholesome ingredients with no artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners. Also, you’ll find absolutely NO (none, zip, nada) high-fructose corn syrup in these quality condiments.
Stubb’s Legendary Bar-B-Q, maker the No. 1 brand of barbecue sauce, rubs and marinades in the the country, is located right here in Austin, Texas — so I can head over and dive head-first in a vat, if I want! But, these barbecue “helpers” are also sold in 85% of grocery stores nationwide — so, run out and getcha some!
Grilled Chicken, Corn and Jicama Chop Salad with Sweet-Heat BBQ Vinaigrette is such an easy grilled recipe and the perfect fixin’s for a potluck or picnic – whether for Memorial Day, a graduation or any summer time celebration. You can also make it the night before, the dish is delicious served cold and the vinegar and lemon juice in the dressing help keep the avocado fresh for up to a day in the fridge. If you want to enjoy as a side dish or vegetarian meal — just omit the chicken and dig in!
Life got you jumping like grease on a hot skillet? My schedule is sizzling (that’s a good thing), but I’m often so busy that forgetting to eat (or grabbing something bad right before bed) could be a real issue if it weren’t for my three teen boys asking “what’s for dinner” as soon as we roll in from after their school activities. Geeze, all I want to do is take a quick nap.
But, that’s when the panic can start to set in about making nutritious and flavorful dinners, knowing I don’t have anything simmering all day in a slow cooker or thawing and ready to throw on the grill. I don’t want my boys to be one of the estimated 20 percent of Americans who eats at least one fast food meal a day in the car. But, now I can get my nap and still make quick flavorful dinners in a snap thanks by keeping fresh produce and healthier convenience foods on hand like Birds Eye®Flavor Full vegetables andFarm Rich® Smokehouse high-quality, high protein cuts of meat. Both of these time and sanity-saving products are recipe ready, straight from the freezer.
I have a super quick and easy recipe to share today for BBQ Chicken Dinner in a Jar – it’s hearty yet nicely-balanced, perfect to serve my whole passel of hungry boys in under 15 minutes! All the yummy things you’d find on a barbecue dinner plate – like corn, coleslaw, beans, smoked chicken and pickles are piled up with love in a glass mason jar.
Another perk of these healthy flavorful dinners in a jar is that they can be eaten on-the-go and in the car (gasp)! Just layer them up warm (or reheat premade jars) and the kids can eat them right out of the jar on the way to or from tutoring, sports games, band practices or what-have-you. When done, screw back on the lid and deal with the “dishes” when you get home. This quick and easy dinner recipe can also be prepped and eaten cold – it’s actually quite good on top of a bed of lettuce!
If you need a comprehensive tailgate recipe or hosting an outdoor hoedown or some other fall-season festivity, these BBQ Chicken Dinners can be assembled in plastic glasses – guests can still see the beautiful layers of barbeque ingredients, but clean-up is super easy-breezy.
Making a healthy, balanced meal like these Barbeque Chicken Jars does not have to be difficult if you have products from Birds Eye®and Farm Rich® Smokehouse. The high-protein, high-quality meats from Farm Rich® Smokehouse can be prepared in minutes; the hours of flavor-infusing smoking have been done on your behalf! I also appreciate how Birds Eye Flavor Full vegetables deliver the flavor my family wants (Buffalo Cauliflower, Ranch Broccoli, Sour Cream & Onion Potatoes, Teriyaki Broccoli and Barbecue Sweet Corn) with the nutrition they need. Find both these brands in the freezer aisle at Walmart.
For a limited time, earn $0.75 on Birds Eye Vegetables and unlock $1.00 off one Farm Rich® Smokehouse product with Ibotta while supplies last. Note: If you haven’t used Ibotta, you have to download the app available on iOs and Android. Before you shop, be sure to unlock the rebates for both Birds Eye Vegetables and Farm Rich® Smokehouse. Then, shop! Buy the products that you’ve unlocked at major retailers. Finally, verify your purchase by scanning your barcodes and submitting a photo of your receipt!
May be served warm or cold. To prepare warm, heat beans, corn and chicken in separate containers according to instructions on packages. Skip this step if preparing cold.
Using 16-ounce glass mason jars or 12 - 16 ounce "squatty" clear plastic glasses, layer ingredients in each container in this order, starting at bottom -- approx 4 oz beans, 2.5 oz corn, generous handful rainbow slaw, 2 tbs. dollop of ranch dressing, 3 oz chicken and 2 tbs. dollop of BBQ sauce.
Skewer pickle slices and grape tomatoes together on toothpick and add as garnish. Serve immediately.
May be prepared cold and stored in refrigerator (with lid or cover) for up to 3 days.
I enjoyed a one-of-a-kind, sorta-strange experience as only Austin can host at the Taco Takedown that was held this past weekend near the be-hip-or-go-home scene at SXSW (South by Southwest). I’ve been in quite a few cook-offs including the iconic Pillsbury Bake Off in Vegas with $1 Million prize (obviously I didn’t win), the Crisco Cook Off in Nashville as part of the Country Music Festival, and even many times in my home-town Hatch Green Chile Cook Off where I hold bragging rights as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winner.
The right to battle it off as a finalist in most of these showdowns required each recipe to make it through some sort of qualifying round, being made and examined in a test kitchen by professional chefs and pre-judged on factors like presentation, fit within a certain category, creativity, convenience, taste and so on. Typically, pages of rules, do’s and don’ts, and lists of disqualifications were also involved. However, not at the Taco Takedown – basically all the info I was given was just show up with your best taco. So, of course I started over analyzing and guessing at the non-existent details. And, in the end I decided to fly by the seat of my pants. I wondered what kind of taco would win – surely in Austin, a freaky taco would beat a traditional taco any day.
My Beefy Man Hunk Taco Model
That’s why I wrapped all my loves, as strange as the combo might sound, in one tortilla – viola, a Beef Brisket Taco with Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce (and Pickled Rind Relish) recipe was born. Well, I guessed wrong because a Crispy Chicken with Avocado Taco dished up by Evin at Food Good, Laundry Bad took top honors. As partial as I was to my wacky yet wonderful watermelon beef taco, I have to admit, the winner was really, super-ultra-deluxe good – and it was fried, how could I compete with that?! But, I got to go home with the beefy man-hunk taco model — so, really, I was the WINNER!
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of meaty beef, and summer-sweet watermelon and a surprise of spiciness, these are a few of my favorite things (is there a song here . . )? I knew these flavors would mingle together for a memorable taco –as they did. I didn’t want to smoke the brisket, so I had four massive slow-cookers breaking down the beef into the perfect tenderness for fork shredding. But, holy-moly, it took a long time to shred 27 pounds of brisket! The BBQ sauce was a not-too-vinegary, not-to-tomatoey sauce sweetened with watermelon just and spiced up with Sriracha. Probably the most unique thing going on was the pickled watermelon rind that was diced up in the salsa. A true southerner uses ALL parts of the watermelon. And, of course, I topped it all off with some salty, crumbly queso fresco cheese.
Use this Spicy Watermelon Barbecue Sauce on beef — but also on chicken, baked beans, fish, sausage, pork and more. I’ve also used it as a salad dressing!
Because you’re probably not cooking for a 250 person crowd, I’ve scaled down the recipe for you to feed about 8 and maybe some leftovers!
Add ingredients for brisket into 6 - 8 quart capacity slow cooker. Cook on low setting for 10 hours. Remove brisket from cooking juices and strain out onions and peppers. Chop of onions and peppers, set aside. Cut excess fat of brisket and use fork or fingers to shred beef. Stir back in onions and peppers.
For Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce:
Prepare BBQ sauce by adding all ingredients together in medium sauce pan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat and reduce to low. Simmer for 20 minutes. Pour desired amount over beef, remainder may be stored in the refrigerator for a week. Makes about 2 cups.
For Picked Rind Relish:
To make relish, toss together all ingredients in medium bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To serve, place sauced, shredded brisket in tortilla. Top with relish and queso fresco.
As the end of October nears, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic for one of the most sensory-overloaded food experiences of my life (to date) – the 2004 Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue. This annual event, held in Lynchburg, Tennessee, features barbecue teams from all over the globe who come together to smoke, season and sear their best recipes to the delight of more than 25,000 spectators. Let me tell you, this shindig isn’t about tossing some hotdogs and burgers on the grill; it’s an epicurean extravaganza that is serious, serious business. I figured that out early on the first morning when the big rigs rolled in and started setting up some epic-sized barbeque pits. Plus, you’ve got to be a state or national champion just to get an invite!
Now, the particular year I was lucky enough to sample my way through what is fondly called “The Jack,” I was a guest of the famous whiskey distillery. Apparently they took a liking to my Apple Honey BBQ Sauce with a Bite (keep reading to find recipe below) and said, “come on down!” I have to disclose that I am not a huge whiskey drinker, but it is pretty darn good in a recipe – just wait until I share my whiskey onion soup recipe!
Part of the barbeque boondoggle included a seat at the prestigious Kansas City Barbeque Society judging certification course, definitely the most gut-busting class I’ve ever taken. I learned all the important details of upholding my responsibilities as an official BBQ judge including spotting the various barbecue cooking methods, the nuances between regional barbeque flavors, and a deeper appreciation for the three main criteria of BBQ judging – appearance, taste and tenderness.
As you can imagine, this job required a lot of meat sampling. I feared falling short of the official oath I had just taken, so I made sure to polish off every last morsel of meat. Let me tell you, I was as stuffed as a turkey on Thanksgiving, but I did finish, finally waddling away four hours later with my official KCBS judge’s badge and certificate suitable for framing
KCBS Credentials! Wonder what would happen if I walked into Rudy’s or Salt Lick with by badge? Oh, and that’s ole Jack Daniels in the b&w photo.
The next day, I was actually still so full that I had to pass on my judging assignment. Instead of wallowing in my failure as a carnivorous critic, I hoofed it around the festival and watched the various teams battle it off tong to tong, slop mop to slop mop. After nearly a full day of this moderate exercise and inhaling the delicious smells, my appetite thankfully returned. Dashing back to the judging arena, I made it just in time for the ‘dessert’ category – all things are definitely made better with Jack Daniel’s Whiskey!
Now, next time you’re firing up the ‘cue, whip up a batch of my Apple Honey BBQ Sauce with a Bite, the perfect sauce for beef, chicken, pork or whatever you’ve got grilling!
Apple Honey BBQ Sauce with a Bite Recipe
½ cup butter
½ cup oil
2 medium onions, minced
2/3 cup Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey
½ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup apple juice
½ cup honey
½ cup dark molasses
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
Melt butter in large saucepan, add oil. Raise temperature to medium and sauté onions until caramelizing and golden brown. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and simmer for approximately 40 minutes until thickened.