Well summer has finally decided to show it face here in Calgary. After a rainy June, which was greatly needed, the sun is starting to shine. Which means that summer BBQ’s are now being planned. And the classic potato salad is always on the menu. But this time, I have added a twist – SMOKE. This may be the new classic for your summer BBQ – Smoked Potato Salad. NOTE: This recipe is for those with a backyard smoker.Continue reading “Summer BBQ Smoked Potato Salad”
The Best Last Minute Easter Menu
What? Easter is THIS week? I know…it snuck up on me too – but we’ve got you covered with the BEST last minute Easter menu.
I don’t know about you, but for me, the hard part of planning a big meal for a family celebration is picking the menu. If you are old school, this means pouring over your recipe books – trying to remember which book has which recipe. If you google most of your beloved recipes, this means an endless search down the rabbit hole that is the internet.
This takes freakin’ forever – am I right?!!!
Well this year, Danni and I decided to do the work for you and create the” best last minute Easter menu,” with links to all the recipes all in one place.
You are welcome!
Easter is this weekend – let’s get started!
You might not consider an appetizer for your Easter dinner if you are just having your immediate family for the meal, but if you are hosting a crowd, it is always nice to have a few things out for nibbles while people arrive and get settled. Fresh veggies may not seem like a “recipe” but if you put the effort into a homemade dip, like the “green goddess dip” noted below – it just takes things up a notch. Also, I love to check out all the pictures of veggie trays online for inspiration. A really pretty board makes it look like more effort than it actually was. The same can be said for the homemade olives. Yes – you can just buy olives, but warm olives with that homemade touch of orange and chili? YUM!
I have NEVER had a guest not RAVE about the whipped feta crostini – this is a MUST TRY – even if you bookmark it for another time. You WILL NOT be disappointed.
I threw in the caprese sticks because they are simple and fun, and easy to do the day before and put out for guest while you are cooking the big meal. Also – sometimes we just need a reminder of some of the recipes that are simple”go-to’s.” Or is that just me and my menopause brain? 🙂
Tomato Crostini with Whipped Feta
Caprese Skewers with Balsamic Glaze
Marinated Olives with Orange and Chili
Stuffed Mushrooms with Bacon and Olives
Veggies with Green Goddess Dip
The best last minute Easter menu needs one of each of the traditional Easter mains, and while I am a “ham traditionalist” I know many love to serve lamb or, dare I say, TURKEY again? If you love ham – we all know how easy it is – you MUST try this cherry and chili version. And bacon wrapped turkey? Need I say more? Of course, we have you covered on our website with Danni’s roasted rosemary lamb chops. Delish.
Cherry and Chili Glazed Ham
Bacon Wrapped Turkey
Roasted Lamb – from Mojo and Moxie
Slow Roasted Beef Tenderloin – from Mojo and Moxie
The number of side dishes that are available for your last minute easter dinner are endless – why not pick a few from our list and call it a day. We are helping you out by linking your fav’s here – so of course, you will find that old stand by – Schwarties Potatoes. Yes, these are not healthy. Yes, everyone knows how to make them, and yes, your kids love them. So you may as well just make them, and be done with it. Side note: I’ve always called these schwartzies – with a Z potatoes – am I the only one pronouncing this wrong my whole life??
You will also find my NEW go-to potato – discovered once my friends lured me over to the dark (and addictive) side of the air fryer!! Our favorite salads, found on Mojo and Moxie already and a couple veggies, round things out.
Air Fryer Hasselback Potatoes
Light and Easy Summer Salads to make Now – from Mojo and Moxie
Honey Glazed Baby Carrots
Roasted Asparagus with Crispy Parmesan
NOW – finally to my favorite part. Fun fact – my favorite thing about creating a special menu is ALWAYS the dessert. I get the most excited about what delicious goodness I am going to put on the table at the end of the meal. Easter desserts can be light and lemony – like our lemon shortbread tarts, or down right decadent like our Raspberry Baked Alaska or Speckled Easter Egg chocolate cake. If you are NOT the dessert type – why not something super light and easy, like the frozen berries with white hot chocolate? My girlfriend introduced me to this one, and it is now on the rotation for easy (and healthy-ish) desserts. And of course, Easter wouldn’t be Easter without a sinful carrot cake. 🙂 No matter what you choose from this list, I guarantee you will be happy (and full!)
Speckled Easter Chocolate Cake
Raspberry Baked Alaska – from Mojo and Moxie
Old Fashioned Carrot Cake
Frozen Berries with White Hot Chocolate
Lemon Shortbread Tarts – from Mojo and Moxie
So there you have it – our best last minute dinner menu, all set up for you! Just pick your favs, make a list and head to the grocery store.
I hope we’ve saved you some time trying to find all the recipes you need for the weekend. I myself am off the hook, as we are doing Easter brunch late in the afternoon at our golf course. This means easy peasy charcuterie board dinner with maybe, just maybe, one of those decadent desserts…
I will keep you posted!
Happy Easter – hope the Easter bunny leaves you something special.
Five Decadent Dessert Ideas for Valentine’s Day
Ok – poo poo Valentine’s Day all you want, but who doesn’t love a day dedicated not only to LOVE but also to CHOCOLATE 🙂
While Danni isn’t really a dessert person (she hasn’t met a crème brûlée she doesn’t like, but other than that, she doesn’t really eat sweets) I, on the other hand love everything about dessert.
Bring on the chocolate, the donuts, the cheesecake, the cupcakes, the tarts – you name it – I LOVE. In fact, the more carbs the better.
If you are at a restaurant with me – please don’t ask me to share my dessert. I REALLY, REALLY want my own!
So – today, in honour of Valentine’s Day we are bringing you FIVE decadent dessert ideas.
Nope – these are not our creations, but let’s face it, when we are looking for ideas, we all check out google. Well – I’ve googled, sampled and tested and these are the five BEST we’ve come up with and all in one place, just for you! We’ve got our vegan friends covered, and one that is pretty kid / family friendly – if your definition of a Valentine’s celebration includes the littles. And guess what? AIR FRYER dessert anyone – yes please?
Read on friends… read on
Air Fryer Mocha Pudding Cakes
How many of you have joined the AIR FRYER craze? Um – everyone?
I’m late to join the obsession, but I do know that if you LOVE your air fryer – you LOVE your air fryer.
I haven’t heard much about the air fryer in terms of dessert, but I’m willing to try anything – especially in the name of SUGAR (and research of course!)
These Air Fryer Mocha Pudding Cakes are number ONE on our five decadent dessert ideas for Valentine’s Day. These are Yum, Yum and Yum – and I’m a sucker for a great, soft, chocolate, pudding cake and an even bigger sucker for a dessert that is quick with an easy clean up. Valentine’s Day is on a Monday this year, so this is the perfect after work dessert.
Why not give an air fryer dessert a try this year?
Find the recipe HERE
Nutty Dark Chocolate and Strawberry Chia Jam Cheesecake – VEGAN
Ok – so full disclosure, I am NOT Vegan, or even vegetarian – but hey, we know those of you that are, need a scrumptious dessert for LOVE day too, and we are here for you.
This amazing dish is a must try because it is the brainchild of one of our fav. YYC food bloggers, Food By Maria, and hey – it’s cheesecake – need I say more? I love that this is a vegan recipe that isn’t too crazy difficult, and doesn’t take much time (no soaking the cashews for days on end).
I’m pretty sure this one would be “Danni-Approved!” As a side note, if you are vegan, you should be following Food by Maria. Not only does she offer this wonderful dessert, she’s got lots of other great recipes you will enjoy as well.
FInd the recipe HERE
FAMILY FRIENDLY: Saltine Cracker Toffee – Valentine Version
There may be a few of you that know this recipe all too well. I’ve heard this lovely snack referred to affectionately as “Christmas Crack” but I really love the Valentine spin Kylee from “Kylee Cooks” has given it. Kylee is my perfect definition of a home chef. She just loves to cook, and loves to share that with her followers. Her recipes are made with simple ingredients and seem really doable. I love that.
This Saltine Cracker Toffee is totally simple and cheap to make. I love this kind of recipe because it is totally old school. It’s the mushroom soup casserole of desserts… 🙂
The thing I love about “old favorites” is that you know they will taste delish, and you can pretty much guarantee to please a crowd. Also, this is a fun one to make for teens or young adults and leave on the counter for after school. Totally unexpected, but so FUN!
Ok – this one probably wouldn’t be approved for an everyday after school snack, but on Valentine’s Day – come on Mom, this will be great!
Find the recipe HERE
Featured DESSERT Blog: Handle the Heat
Ok – I know, I know – this is supposed to be 5 decadent dessert ideas for Valentine’s Day – but I have to tell you – I just could not decide which dessert was the most swoon-worthy on this amazing food blogger’s site.
I am fairly new to “HANDLE the HEAT” and I’ll tell you how I happened upon Tessa’s blog.
Being new to AZ, at the beginning of my time here, I received all my news from Canada still. I got updates from CTV and CBC, and still checked in on my food favs in YYC. But as I started to settle in, I realized that I had to really immerse myself in what is going on here, in my new home. As I started to shift, I pointedly visited quite a few blogs – both on the food side, and on the “happenings in AZ” side! Wow – there are a ton of talented people in this valley sharing their passions.
I LOVE Handle the Heat because it is ALL yummy treats and baking – my ultimate weakness. And hey, if you are going to make something sweet – it better be worth the effort, right?
One visit to this site, and you will totally get what I mean, when I said I just could NOT decide on one dessert to feature on the blog. Should it be the Ultimate Nutella Cupcakes? OR what about the Cookie Dough Hearts? Oh never mind – guess what – Tessa has an entire section of her blog dedicated to Valentine’s desserts. And I couldn’t recommend her ideas more…
Find the Valentine’s section HERE
What about your friends Mojo and Moxie??
Not to brag, but hey, we’ve got a few recipes here on the blog that will work for you too – just sayin’
Have you tried our HEALTHY Light Chocolate Mousse recipe?
How about our AMAZING Heart Shaped Chocolate Cake?
No matter how you celebrate Valentine’s Day – make sure you cap it off with a special yummy treat and make sure you share those treats with us by tagging Mojo and Moxie.
Happy Valentine’s Day friends!
“Besides Chocolate, you’re my favorite!”
Staying Healthy for the Holidays
Ho, Ho, Ho…Here come the holidays. Time for celebrations. Big or small, you know there is going to be overconsumption involved. Extra food, extra drinks and extra sweets. Combined, these can put a strain on your body. But good news, there are things you can do to allow you to celebrate and still stay healthy for the holidays.
Tips for Staying Healthy for the Holidays
** Drink Water**
I know you have probably heard this before but there are so many benefits to water consumption on the daily.
- flushes out toxins
- increased waste removal
- boosts the immune system
- increases energy and alertness
- prevents hangovers (!!)
So before that holiday function, make sure you drink your water before you go. If consuming alcohol, then it is always a good idea to alternate water between each beverage. Although you may be making a few more frequent bathroom trips, your head and your body will thank you in the morning.
** 80/20 Rule **
As a Holistic Nutritionist, my rule has always been to eat and drink healthy 80% of the time which allows for indulgence 20% of time. And if that ratio slides a bit, don’t beat yourself up over it. We do only live once…YOLO!!
** Smaller Portions Are Your Friend **
I know, I know. All that food does look good. You want to be able to sample it ALL. And you can. Just take smaller portions or even better use a smaller plate. That way you take smaller portions to fit the plate. Load up on the vegetables and healthier options first and this leaves less room for the less healthier options. Then you can only take one or two pieces of the indulgence.
** Reduce Your Sugar Intake **
Sugar…The more your eat, the more you crave. It is shown in studies that sugar intake can actually suppress your immune system lessening the fighting power it needs to fight off viruses and bacteria. So enjoy those holiday treats in moderation, opt for a smaller portion or opt out all together. Who needs sugar anyways, right 😉
** Exercise **
Maintaining your current exercise routine is foremost. Exercise (if you get a good sweat) is good for a detox and helps flush things from your system. Our skin is out largest detox order so use it to your advantage. But if you can’t get your usual routine in, even a good walk will help get that lymphatic system moving. And did you know that is good walk in cooler temperatures is good for your cardiovascular health and helps you to burn more calories.
And finally, it is very important to get sleep
** Sleep **
Amazing things happen in your body when you sleep. As a person in midlife (or between the ages of 35-60+), we should aim for a range of 6-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. And for those who get interrupted sleep for whatever reasons, napping is also encouraged. Studies have shown that people who are good sleepers, do not need as many calories throughout the day. Sleep is good for your immune system as it gives your body time to regenerate, repair and fight off those bugs and viruses. Sleep is also good for your energy levels and therefore decreases your intake of all that sugary food to give you a mid day or mid evening boost.
I know some of these tips for staying healthy for the holidays may be common sense and part of your daily routine but never a bad idea to have a little reminder every now and then. And good health is always a good thing
Don’t forget to check out this post for more tips:
Do the Holidays Stress You Out
Stay Healthy Friends…