Festive Fruit Ideas for Christmas Holidays

Deck out your holiday dessert table with fruit, it’s a welcomed addition among the proliferation of decadent cakes, cookies and candies found in excess this time of year. Today, Whether for the cocktail hour, a dinner party, Christmas brunch or other seasonal entertaining, you’ll love these festive fruit ideas for Christmas that make any menu merry and light!  Festive Fruit Ideas for the Holidays

 

All of these fruit ideas for Christmas are super easy and are done faster than a wink of the eye! Read on for all the juicy details and how-to: Continue reading

Easy English Muffin French Toast

I came into a windfall of English muffins the other day, and was like “ahhhhhhh.” I haven’t had one of these delicious, bready split rolls in a long, long time and was ready to work them into my weekend. I had a longer run planned for Saturday morning and knew those carbs would do me some good as fuel. So, let’s do this!english muffin french toast close up

But, I also wanted just a bit of protein to balance things out and to make sure I didn’t get the sugar shakes out there on the trail. Giving English muffins a soak in a bath of whisked egg and milk and then pan “frying” was the perfect solution. The signature nooks and crannies and spongy texture of the muffin absorbed all this eggaliciousness and my newly minted English Muffin French Toast was a huge hit and proof that the English and French can get along.      Continue reading

Strawberry Cacao Nib Protein Oatmeal Mix / Packets for Meal Prep

It’ National Strawberry Day, why this food holiday is not during peak summer season, I don’t know — but who cares! Let’s start off the with an easy protein-rich breakfast featuring this beloved and beautiful berry — Strawberry Cacao Nib Protein Oatmeal.Strawberry Cacao Nib Protein Oatmeal Mix

If you’re anything like me, waking up before dawn to measure out cups full is this and tablespoons before the cooking even begins is unthinkable. So, in anticipation of my fuzzy headedness and crazy morning schedule, I meal prep dry oatmeal “mix” chock full of wholesome ingredients over the weekend. In the morning I only need to measure out just how much I need, microwave with a bit of water or milk and then get after my daily goals!

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6 Easy Strawberry + Protein Snack Recipes

Easy Protein and Strawberry Snack Ideasjennifer spartan training up and over cg arenaSchool’s out, sun’s out and guns are out and the skies the limit on all the fun and fit stuff that’s coming up in the next few months!

Not much could be sweeter about summer, except maybe a top-crop snack of strawberries. Strawberries balanced with a bit of protein are the perfect healthy snack to fuel the body for one warm-weather activity to the next.

On their own, strawberries are quite the super food, providing a quality source of simple carbohydrates that the body can turn into quick energy for runs, workouts and even power-thinking! The high fiber and water content found in this fruit creates a feeling of welcomed fullness, while keeping the calorie count low – a single medium strawberry only has 4 calories! Plus, a powerful wallop of vitamin C is packed in strawberries, an antioxidant that can help keep muscles, skin and tissues in tip-top shape – just eight strawberries match the vitamin C in a medium orange.

But often, especially for athletes and those with an active lifestyle, merely munching on a handful of berries alone won’t suffice. Pair up strawberries up with a lean protein source for added nutrients and a few extra calories to feel fuller and more fueled for the most vigorous daily routine. Also, eating a snack of carbohydrates with protein (in a 4:1 to 3:1 ratio) 30 minutes after an intense exercise session will help tired and sore muscles recover more quickly.

Check out these Six Strawberry Protein Snacks that can be made in a snap and will fuel you up for running, workouts, climbing and reaching for the sky!

 

Strawberry Banana Mug Muffin with Core PowerClick here for first recipe Strawberry Banana Protein Mug Muffin (20g protein)

Blue Cheese Stuffed Strawberries & Fit Foodie 5k

Blue Cheese & Walnut Stuffed Strawberries make a delicious appetizer or sweet-savory dessert!Happy Mother’s Day to all the mamas out there! If you’re looking to surprise your mom with a gourmet treat my Blue Cheese & Walnut Stuffed Strawberries are a bold choice! I always see chocolate-dipped berries at the store, but this sweet-savory fruit option makes the perfect prelude to dinner, especially when paired with a glass of wine or sparkling water.

Blue Cheese & Walnut Stuffed Strawberries make a delicious appetizer or sweet-savory dessert!

This fruit and cheese recipe is also a spectacular appetizer to bring to either a fancy cocktail party or casual backyard get-together. It can just be our little secret that this healthy recipe only takes 15 minutes or less to prepare, and no cooking! And, I’m partial to Artisan Reserve Blue Cheese Crumbles from Litehouse Foods, look for it in the gourmet cheese section of your market.  Recipe at the bottom of the post!

The Fit Foode 5k and Race Weekend in Austin, TXAnd, speaking of healthy, yummy food, I want to announce that the Fit Foodie Race Weekend will be in Austin June 24 – 26, 2016. You DO NOT want to miss the epic event for the health-minded epicurean! I have been an ambassador for the race all three years it’s come to Austin, and it is absolutely my favorite 5k! Hosted by Cooking Light and Health Magazine, this is a food and fitness lover’s weekend dream come true – running, workouts and really good food!  There are pre-race parties and post-race parties and yoga, workouts, cooking demos and an over-the-top expo area – as they say, calories burned, calories earned!  The Fit Foodie Race Weekend really is amazing! Plus, this year, marathon superstars Bill Rodgers and Ryan Hall will be making appearance – I’m bringing my selfie stick! Early registration is only $35 for the 5k and entrance into the John Hancock Vitality Village.  Plus, use my discount code FITFORK for an additional 10% off! Register HERE!

Do you have a favorite fruit appetizer? Have you ever run the Fit Foodie 5k (in addition to Austin, the race is also in San Diego, Fairfax and Tampa)? Or, tell me one of your top fun 5ks! Please share in the comments below – xoxo, Jennifer 

 

 

 

Blue Cheese & Walnut Stuffed Strawberries make a delicious appetizer or sweet-savory dessert!
Blue Cheese & Walnut Stuffed Strawberries
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
24 appetizers 15 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 appetizers 15 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Blue Cheese & Walnut Stuffed Strawberries make a delicious appetizer or sweet-savory dessert!
Blue Cheese & Walnut Stuffed Strawberries
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
24 appetizers 15 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 appetizers 15 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: appetizers
Instructions
  1. Slice strawberries in half lengthwise, leaving some of the green top on each half.
  2. With the back of a spoon, scoop out a very small amount of the inner flesh if the berry doesn’t naturally have a significant hollowed center.
  3. In small bowl, mix together cream cheese, blue cheese and walnuts with a small spatula until well combined.
  4. Place about a 1 teaspoon dollop of cheese mixture in the center of each berry half, slightly pressing down to “set” in place.
  5. Drizzle strawberries with honey and sprinkle on a bit more blue cheese, if desired.
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Gluten-free and Gooey Butter(less) Cake for Spring Celebrations

Gluten Free Gooey Butter(less) Cake is also low in sugar and makes a healthier dessert option for everyday and celebrations.
Today I’m sharing my healthier (but just as heavenly) version of a Gooey Butter Cake – I’m calling it Gluten-free & Gooey Butter(less) Cake. Before I dive into the recipe (uh . . . figuratively and literally), let me tell you how this sweet treat came to life . . . ‘cause I usually don’t make a lot of cakes.

banana foster butter cakeSo, last week I celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary with the super decadent Banana Foster Butter Cake at Eddie V’s Seafood Restaurant– it’s loaded with fat and sugar (as the name more than hints) and was topped with caramel, whipped cream and butter pecan ice cream. It didn’t take long to remember just how delicious this style of ooey, gooey, butter batter sticky cake actually is – in the past I had made Paula Deen’s version – she’s the Queen of Butter, y’all!Gluten Free Gooey Butter(less) Cake is also low in sugar and makes a healthier dessert option for everyday and celebrations.

Not that I have anything against butter or cream cheese or even a bit of actual sugar in moderation – but, there is absolutely no moderation in these traditional recipes — a modest sized piece with no toppings is pushing 600 calories!  That’s fine every 25 years (haha), but not every weekend. I surfed the internet looking for a healthier butter cake, a preferably one that was gluten-free and lower in sugar so all my family and friends could partake in the cake partaaaay!   I found a reasonably good-sounding Bobby Flay riff (however, not gluten-free) and a few other “meh” makeover recipes as well.  Naturally, in the end, I did my own thing based on the concepts and am more than pleased with the results.

Gluten Free Gooey Butter(less) Cake is also low in sugar and makes a healthier dessert option for everyday and celebrations.

butterless gooey cake nutritionApparently everyone else was pleased too, not a single slice from this Gluten-free & Gooey Butter(less) Cake I made over the weekend for my Mama’s birthday.

And, according to calculations, my version has 188 calories per serving and 8 grams of fat while the, ahem, Southern Lady version has 545 calories and 28 grams of fat for the same size serving! Both nutrition counts are calculated without toppings or a la mode!

Today my gluten-free cake is shown with strawberries to keep it lighter, but I’ve also done bananas and caramel sauce.

Gluten Free Banana Foster Upside Down CakeI’m also a big fan of this gluten-free Banana Foster Upside-Down Cake from Cooking Light! Check it out!

What would you put on top of your Gooey Butter Cake? What is your go-to dessert for celebrations? How many years have you been married, if you’d like to share! XOXO — Jennifer

 

 

Gluten Free Gooey Butter(less) Cake is also low in sugar and makes a healthier dessert option for everyday and celebrations.
Gluten-free and Gooey Butter(less) Cake
Print Recipe
Gluten-free and gooey, this healthier take on the super rich and decadent Butter Cake is also lower sugar and fat. Perfect for spring celebrations!
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Gluten Free Gooey Butter(less) Cake is also low in sugar and makes a healthier dessert option for everyday and celebrations.
Gluten-free and Gooey Butter(less) Cake
Print Recipe
Gluten-free and gooey, this healthier take on the super rich and decadent Butter Cake is also lower sugar and fat. Perfect for spring celebrations!
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Ingredients
For crust:
For filling:
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. For the “crust” mix together gluten-free flour blend, xanthan gum (if needed), flaxseed, sugar substitute, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Add milk, oil and egg to dry ingredients and use a spatula to mix until smooth. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and spread around evenly.
  3. For “filling,” beat the Neufchatel cheese until smooth. Beat in the yogurt, butter, vanilla and sugar. Spread over the cake mixture. Place springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet (in case of leakage) and bake on center rack for 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven with filing is mostly set, but center still looks a little gooey.
  4. To serve, remove side of springform pan and dust with powdered sugar. Serve with preferred toppings, recommendations include berries, candied nuts, caramel sauce or fruit preserves and syrups.
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Kiss of Honey Strawberry Hot Chocolate #BeeSweet + Giveaway

Healthy Kiss of Honey Strawberry Hot Chocolate uses Honey Crystals, Fresh Strawberries, and Fat Free Milk that froths up!This Valentine’s Day, treat your sweetie to my Kiss of Honey Strawberry Hot Chocolate – it’s a mug of hot, steamy love. There is no better way to warm up on February 14th, with the exception of a great big hug from your honey. Homemade from the heart, your favorite guy or girl will be tickled pink to sip away at this berry blissful beverage – and you’ll fall in love with how simple it is to make. Read to the bottom for giveaway.

Healthy Kiss of Honey Strawberry Hot Chocolate

Oh, and something else to adore – instead of fake flavorings, peculiar preservatives and corn syrup sweeteners found in many hot chocolate mixes, this made-from-scratch recipe uses fat-free milk (for the best frothing!), real strawberries and just a touch of added sweetness from Nektar Honey Crystals.

Healthy Kiss of Honey Strawberry Hot Chocolate

Can you believe this recipe makes it’s own whipped cream?! Well, not really cream, but the air that gets whipped up while blending makes a nice creamy top that is dense enough to hold sprinkles or colored sugar! I don’t really know the science behind it, but fat-free milk works the best for creating foam in the blender or with a frother. If you don’t do dairy, you can swap out for almond, coconut or cashew milk and still end up with a delicious drink.

Dark Chocolate Pretzels Covered with Nektar Honey CrystalsSince this recipe isn’t over-the-top sugary sweet, indulge your loved one with the perfect pairing – Dark Chocolate Covered & Nektar Honey-Crystal Dusted Pretzels. Ahh, strawberry hot chocolate and dark chocolate pretzels ARE a delicious duo, trust me!

And, it’s always tasteful to express your sentiments with food, words are also nice! Send a FREE “HoneyGram” to your sweetie – along with your personalized note comes with a complementary packet of Nektar Honey Crystals to melt your loved one’s heart. Go HERE to send a HoneyGram – hurry, ends 2/7!

Nektar Honey Crystals productsI first discovered Nektar Honey Crystals when looking for a way to pre-sweeten the homemade holiday tea bags I was gifting family and friends  – you must check out my DIY Tea Bag post, it’s genius. You also need to check out Nektar Honey Crystals, an equally clever and convenient idea Forget about the sticky mess usually associated with honey, these 100 percent natural crystals are super yummy sweet and deliver the familiar flavor of honey and the convenience of cane sugar anywhere — at home or on-the-go. They are non-GMO and naturally gluten free – pick up a bottle of spoonable crystals or a box of individual on-the-go packets at your local Walmart and also enter my giveaway at the end of this post!

Kiss of Honey Strawberry Hot Chocolate

Kiss of Honey Strawberry Hot Chocolate (serves 1)

  • 8 ounces fat-free (skim) milk
  • 2 to 3 large strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1 ounce quality white chocolate, broken into bits
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon Nektar Honey Crystals (depending on sweetness preference)
  • Garnish: colored sugar or sprinkles, if desired

To make, place milk and strawberries in a blender.  Blend together for approximately 45 seconds until strawberries are incorporated and froth areating up on top (strangely enough, skim milk works much better than higher fat milks).

Place blended mixture into small saucepan along with honey crystals and white chocolate.  Heat over medium-low heat, stirring gently until white chocolate is melted and drink is heated through. Pour into 12-ounce mug, top with colored sugar or spinkles if desired.

Enter giveaway below to try a bottle of Nektar Honey Crystals!

This post and giveaway sponsored by Nektar Naturals, however the recipe, opinions and enthusiasm are all mine! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rainbow Eats! Cumin Seared Scallops with Strawberry, Jicama and Jalapeno Confetti Salad

Scallops dusted with cumin and quickly pan seared make a quick and healthy dinner -- especially atop Strawberry, Jicama and  Jalapeno Confetti Salad

My fresh and fit recipe for Strawberry, Jicama & Jalapeno Confetti Salad is truly an edible rainbow. Strawberries, papaya, pineapple, jalapenos, cilantro and jicama mingle together with a limey dressing – it’s so utterly utopian, the chances of seeing a unicorn run by increase with every spoonful.

Strawberry, Jicama and Jalapeno Confetti Salad  is so colorful and healthy!

Of course, you could eat this fruit salad alone, but it’s also amazing as a salsa on fish tacos – or with my dinner tonight, Cumin-dusted Seared Sea Scallops. Scallops are so easy to prepare, it’s almost ridiculous. Get your oiled skillet really hot, pat on some spices and then sear for just a couple minutes each side is turning crispy golden brown and the flesh is still just slightly translucent in the center. Pan to plate in less than five minutes!

Cumin-Dusted Seared Sea Scallops are so quick and easy to make -- plus very healthy!

Sea Scallops from Sizzle FishI’m a big fan of the scallops from Sizzle Fish.  Plump, natural sea scallops from the North Atlantic (flash- frozen and packaged in individual serving packs of 4 scallops) are shipped right to my door! No shopping in a busy supermarket and five minutes of cooking – it’s the easiest way ever to get your muscle-making protein.

Scallops dusted with cumin and quickly pan seared make a quick and healthy dinner -- especially atop Strawberry, Jicama and Jalapeno Confetti Salad
Cumin Dusted Scallops with Strawberry, Jicama and Jalapeno Confetti Salad
Print Recipe
It's an eating rainbow! Cumin Seared Scallops with Strawberry, Jicama and Jalapeno Confetti Salad recipe makes an insanely quick, colorful and healthy meal.
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Scallops dusted with cumin and quickly pan seared make a quick and healthy dinner -- especially atop Strawberry, Jicama and Jalapeno Confetti Salad
Cumin Dusted Scallops with Strawberry, Jicama and Jalapeno Confetti Salad
Print Recipe
It's an eating rainbow! Cumin Seared Scallops with Strawberry, Jicama and Jalapeno Confetti Salad recipe makes an insanely quick, colorful and healthy meal.
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Ingredients
For Confetti Salad
For Scallops
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. In medium bowl, add all diced fruit, red onion, and jalapeno.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, olive oil, vinegar, cumin and ancho chile pepper. Gently stir into salad.
For Scallops
  1. Add oil to skillet and heat to medium-high.
  2. Pat scallops dry and dust with cumin and ancho powder. Arrange in hot skillet so they are not touching each other.
  3. Cook for approximately 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 minutes per side (depending on thickness). Scallops should be crusty golden brown on top and bottom and still a tiny bit translucent in the center (because the will still cook a bit once removed from pan).
  4. Drizzle with sriracha and sprinkle with minced cilantro. Serve with confetti salad.
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