Sunday is National Monte Cristo Day (9/17), proving once again that we Americans love to celebrate all things food. The yummy dish reminds me of a collision between French toast and a lunch box ham sandwich – the traditional version, a favorite during my childhood, is made with ham and cheese book-ended between white bread, dipped in an egg mixture and then pan fried or even deep fried (gasp) with raspberry preserves and powdered sugar to garnish! Crazy yum!
Of course, I’m anything but traditional so today I’m sharing my even more brazen version of this classic sammie – a Beef Blue Cheese Monte Cristo with Cherries! Read on to get all the juicy details and recipe. Continue reading →
Over this busy summer weekend, everyone was delighted to have a big batch of my Cherry Wheat Berry Super Salad on hand for a picnic lunch down at the lake and leftovers to pair next day with our grilled steaks. Cherry season makes me want to do a happy dance and this year was no exception, especially because I scored both Bing and Rainer cherries on sale for a pittance!
In addition to sweet cherries, this satisfying, savory-sweet salad features iron-rich spinach, satiating nuts and seeds, and whole-grain wheat berries. Not to mention feta and balsamic vinaigrette for even more flavor. The ingredients all marry beautifully together – you won’t be cherry-picking the fruit out, you’ll be licking the bowl clean! Continue reading →
Celebrate the sweet vibes of summer with no harm to your bikini bod by treating yourself to a few of my Frozen Yogurt-Dipped Blueberry Cherry Bites. These bite-sized nuggets are at once yummy and so good-for-you, made with only fruit Greek yogurt – 17 calories and 1 gram of protein each!
A healthy little dessert to cool off with while watching July 4th fireworks in the backyard, splashing about at the pool, or just rocking up a storm on the porch. Read on to get all the details and recipe instructions! Continue reading →
Weekends are for waffles, especially around the holiday season! I “leggo” the typical waffle a long time ago, they are so carb heavy and the straight-up sugariness would always leave me with the hangries an hour or two later. But, not so with my Almond Protein Waffles with Dark Cherry Syrup when I pump up my waffles with a little protein powder, almonds and a little Greek yogurt on top, I get a morning meal that makes me feel fuller longer.
I’ve used a gluten-free flour blend to keep it friendly for those with intolerances and it’s also dairy-free if you choose not to dollop with Greek yogurt at the end. Depending on what type of preserves you choose at the store, the recipe can also be refined sugar free.
Feel free to make a double batch, let cool, and then stick in the freezer for a quick and easy breakfast later – they are so good sandwiched with nut butter in the middle (and convenient for car munching)!
My old-school, weary waffle maker is on it’s last legs and I’ve asked Santa to take me to the next-level of waffle making with the Smart Slice Waffle Iron from Breville. It has “Waffle IQ” — I need those smarts!
Also, please take a look-see at these other healthy waffle recipes that will start your morning off most magnificently – I have a sweet and a savory option for you! Why not make some for your holiday guests?!
Place gluten-free flour blend, protein powder, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl and whisk to combine.
In smaller bowl, whisk together legs, vanilla extract, butter and milk until frothy.
Stir wet mixture into dry mixture until combined; okay if a few lumps.
Using a 1/2-cup measuring cup, scoop mixture onto waffle maker. Spread evenly and close. Let cook for about 2-3 minutes or until golden brown.
To make syrup, add frozen cherries to medium sauce pot and pour in juice. Stir in cherry preserves and real maple syrup; bring to light boil for 1 minute. Reduce heat and let simmer until thickened and syrupy, approximately 20 minutes.
To serve, pour syrup over waffles and top with a dollop of greek yogurt and toasted almonds.
I love having my birthday the day before America’s – it makes me feel super patriotic and sparkly and sunshine summery. I’m usually celebrating at the lake, the river or beach along alongside a sea of other 4th of July weekend revelers who are unwittingly my party guests – the more the merrier! One of the most memorable birthdays ever was on my 14th year when a full orchestra of Culver Military Academy hunks stopped their steamboat by the dock and played “Happy Birthday” and shot off fireworks just for me, I was giddy and giggly for days. The girlfriend I was visiting with had the best grandma ever for pulling off that swoon-worthy surprise!
Celebrating my birthday early with family at the lake.
Please, no gifts — unless it’s a watermelon!
There are so many great things about having a 3rd of July summer birthday – I can wear my favorite sundress and sandals or better yet, a just bathing suit and barefoot. I can float around on the river all day and stay late at the country dance boot-scootin’ and catching fireflies, no worries about getting up early the next day – it’s a holiday, y’all! Sometimes, I am lucky enough to celebrate with my Aunt and Sister-in-Law who both have birthdays during the same week. If we happen to stay in town, my birthday weekend always includes running the Freedom 5k with family and good friends– a race that features watermelon at the finish line.
So YOU are invited to my birthday this year, can you come? There will be lots and lots of fun along with my favorite foods, especially watermelon. The dress code is casual and there’s no need to bring a gift. .. err, unless you want to wrap up a watermelon.
The cake will be a fruit, fun and fabulously fit dessert – Watermelon Cherry Cake with Choco-Coco Cream! You may have seen these “cakes” that feature a big hunk of watermelon as the base instead of traditional spongy, sweet cake. In honor of my favorite seasonal flavors, my cake is piled high with ripe red cherries and topped with and alternative chocolate cream made frm whipped full-fat coconut milk to keep it paleo-ish, raw and dairy-free. Don’t miss the easy recipe at the end of this post. Even a huge slice is a light way to end my favorite birthday bash meal of flame-kissed burgers and avocado, black bean and corn salad.
Our beverages will also be watermelon inspired — Watermelon Caipirinhas! But I’ll lighten up this boozy Brazilian drink with just a half shot of cachaça because I’m a certified lightweight! Kids will keep cool with my drinking my Watermelon Coconut Cherry Sippers – tasty, healthy and hydrating! I think I’ll have one of these too!
Cut ends off watermelon so that it sits flat on platter, reserve ends for use later. Continue to cut rind off, starting at top of watermelon “cylinder” going downward.
Chill mixer bowl in refrigerator for 15 minutes. Add heavy cream and whip with whisk attachment until stiff peaks form. Whip in cocoa powder and stevia (may substitute ¼ powdered sugar, if desired).
Cut stems off cherries, leaving a 1/3” stub to secure into watermelon. If cherry is missing its stem, use a toothpick to secure. Start at bottom and work around watermelon going upward until entire sides are covered.
Pour chilled coconut milk into cold mixer bowl, beat with cold mixer paddles for 30 seconds. Add cocoa and stevia, beat and additional minute or until incorporated and creamy.
Pile up whipped coconut cream on top of cake. Use melon baller to scoop out watermelon balls from ends.
Decorate top with watermelon balls, cherries and mint. Use store-bought or homemade chocolate curls (or mini chocolate chips) as the chocolate garnish.
This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk.
The sun is out for summer and my blender is back in action making smoothies nearly every day for a quick breakfast, healthy dessert or post-workout refueling. I have so made so many crazy, creative smoothies in my day along with all the tried-and-true classics, I’m sure my family sometimes wonders if I can come up with a new flavor combo. But, fear not my friends of blended beverages, I can! Today I’m serving up a Cherry Vanilla Root Beer Float Smoothie, so line up at the counter in an orderly fashion please.
I know that a Cherry Vanilla Root Beer Float Smoothie sounds sort of decadent, but this one is super healthy. It’s made with Almond Breeze Almondmilk (Hint of Honey Vanilla flavor), frozen dark cherries, ice, root beer extract and protein powder. The whole, huge serving has just 250 calories, 22 grams of protein, 87% daily value for calcium and loads of vitamins and minerals – especially vitamins D and E from the almondmilk and vitamin C from the cherries.
Use Almond Breeze Touch of Honey Almondmilk in your cereal.
Hint of Honey Vanilla Amondmilk from Almond Breeze is the perfect creamy foundation for any smoothie creation – it’s also ideal for drinking cold right in a glass or pairing up with your favorite cereal, oats or granola. Made from real almonds and sweetened with honey, this alternative to diary milk contains medium chain fatty acids; is lactose, soy and gluten-free; is an excellent source of calcium; and works with vegan and kosher diets. I also love how it has no added processed sugar and only 60 calories per one-cup serving. Another great thing – Hint of Honey Vanilla Amondmilk from Almond Breeze is available in a 32-ounce, shelf-stable version which means that I can keep my pantry stocked for impromptu smoothie making or take along for travel without worry of refridgeration. Of course, you can also get the original in the dairy section.
Snacking, snacking, snacking – lots of snacking going down at my house because I am my three teen boys are always so hungry. I’ve been experimenting with some homemade energy bars and trail mixes and have come up with the perfect combo – Chocolate Cherry (Protein) Trail Cups. My husband mentioned after gobbling one up that it reminded him of a Chocolate Chip Cherry Torte Lara Bar — so, I made a Larabar copycat recipe without even realizing!
So many wholesome yet yummy ingredients in this recipe.
These healthy snacks are super easy to whip up and using a food processor makes the task even less time consuming. The tip to making sure these treats hold up to any adventure is to make sure the crumbly mixture is moist enough to stick together when pressed between fingers. If it seems too dry, throw more nut butter or sugar-free chocolate syrup in 1 teaspoon at a time.
I’m taking my batch of trail cups for some long-lasting energy when the family heads out on a ski trip soon. I created this recipe with protein power as one of the ingredients to balance the dried fruit and chocolate. I don’t want to hear ANY “I’m hungry mom” complaints when we’re dangling our skis and snowboards off a lift 10,000 feet up.
*You may use regular rolled oats and add 1 tablespoon of chia seeds. **If you don’t want to use protein powder, add an additional ¼ cup oats and 1 tablespoon nuts. ** I used NuNaturals Cocoa Syrup, but you can use any chocolate syrup
Add oats, protein powder, cocoa powder, raisins and pecans in work bowl of food processor. Processes until ingredients are broken down but still fairly coarse
Pulse in nut butter and syrup until mixture is moist and sticks together when pressed between fingers.
Pulse in cherries and mini chocolate chips until just combined.
Place approximately ¼ cup loosely scooped mixture into muffin tin that has been prepped with a paper liner. Press mixture down with back of spoon of fingers until compacted.
May be stored in the refrigerator in airtight container for several weeks. Makes 15 :”cups.”
Oh, and I have a workout you’re going to flip for – if you don’t have a tire, a heavier med ball can be substituted.