NJ Home Show: Cooking Demo Recipes

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I was thrilled to be part of the Jersey Bites Cooking Stage at the annual NJ Home Show this weekend!  Loved meeting so many wonderful people from my home state and sharing healthy cooking tips, easy ideas for no-sweat entertaining, and kitchen hacks to help them feel like rock stars in the kitchen. 

Here are the recipes we enjoyed so you can try them too! xo Julie

Tandoori Roasted Cauliflower Soup:  a hearty healthy dish for weeknight suppers or to meal-prep for lunch

Tandoori Roasted Cauliflower Soup:  a hearty healthy dish for weeknight suppers or to meal-prep for lunch

Tandoori Roasted Cauliflower Soup

One of my top tricks for getting the tastiest results when cooking veggies? Try roasting them on parchment paper! It gives them a nutty flavor that appeals to even the pickiest of eaters with easy cleanup for you.  This rich, hearty, dairy and gluten free soup uses cauliflower in two awesome ways, pureed into the broth for thickness and roasted to add at the end for incredible flavor.   Feel free to add any mix of veggies you like at the end of cooking! Baby spinach, diced peppers, and diced carrots would all work well.

Ingredients

8 cup(s) uncooked cauliflower, bite-size florets, divided

cooking spray

2 1/2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp table salt, divided

3/4 tsp coconut oil

2 cups chopped onion

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp minced ginger

1 tsp mustard seed

1 tsp cumin seeds

4 cups fat free chicken broth or vegetable broth

14 oz canned diced tomatoes, drained

15 oz can chick peas, rinsed and drained

2 cups uncooked string beans, cut into bite-size pieces

1 TB fresh lime juice

cilantro leaves for garnish

Instructions

Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

Place 4 c cauliflower in a large bowl and coat with cooking spray; toss with 2 tsp curry powder and 1/2 tsp salt. Spread cauliflower on prepared pan; roast, stirring once halfway through, 30 minutes.

While cauliflower cooks, heat oil in a large soup pot. Add onion and remaining 1/2 tsp salt; cook, stirring often, until slightly softened, 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, mustard seed, cumin seed and remaining 1/2 tsp curry powder (or more to taste); cook, stirring frequently, 1 minute.

Add remaining 4 c raw cauliflower florets (frozen cauliflower makes a fine substitute too!) and broth to pot; increase heat to high and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, uncovered, until cauliflower is extremely soft, 15-20 minutes.

Puree soup in pot using an immersion blender (or puree in batches in a countertop blender); stir in tomatoes, chick peas, and green beans. Cook, uncovered, until green beans are tender, 10 minutes. Stir in lime juice and roasted cauliflower; sprinkle with cilantro.

Yields 8 cups w serving size: 1 cup

Chef Tips:  

Use a microplane grater to make quick work of mincing your garlic!

A splash of citrus juice at the end of cooking brightens the flavor of all your soups and sauces 

 
Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Mini Tartlets: an easy 5 minute treat that's perfect for Valentine's Day or parties too!

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Mini Tartlets: an easy 5 minute treat that's perfect for Valentine's Day or parties too!

Dark Chocolate Mini Tarts

These just-right-sized dessert bites feature a rich simple ganache filling paired with a dusting of salt. Perfect for a party or to pair with a nightcap…plus these treats only take minutes to make!

Ingredients
1 package of 15 mini fillo shells  (in your grocer’s freezer)

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 tsp salted butter

3.5 oz bar bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 tsp vanilla extract

Optional coarse sea salt for garnish

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Bake fillo shells on a sheet pan for 5 mins to crisp.  Combine cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat stirring occasionally, until butter melts. Reduce heat to low; stir in chocolate and bourbon until combined.  Let chocolate mixture cool slightly & spoon 2 heaping tsp evenly into shells. Sprinkle tarts with optional salt; chill until filling sets, about 10 minutes. 

Yields 15 Tartlets

Chef Tips:
Substitute other liqueurs or flavored extracts for the vanilla extract for a fun flavor twist!  Brandy, Peppermint Scnapps, Vanilla Extract, Dark Rum, Framboise, or Coffee Liqueur would all be delicious!

For a holiday twist garnish w crushed candy canes

Mini Cardamom-Spiced Apple-Cherry Crisps

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Mini Cardamom-Spiced Apple-Cherry Crisps are great for parties.

They won’t know what’s different about this version of everyone’s favorite apple crisp – they’ll just know it’s fantastic!  A mix of apples tossed with dried cherries, orange, and cardamom lend this staple an exotically delicious edge.  Note:  This recipe is easily doubled or tripled to feed a crowd.

Serves: 4

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

Filling

¼ cup dried cherries, chopped

¼ cup orange juice

2 small Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced

1 small Macintosh apple, peeled and diced

2 TB dark brown sugar

1/4 tsp dried cardamom

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp ginger

 

Topping

¼ cup flour

¼ cup old fashioned oats

1/8 tsp table salt

2 TB unsalted butter, melted

 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine cherries and orange juice in a small glass bowl.  Microwave for 2 minutes or until heated through and cherries soften. Toss together orange/cherry mixture with remaining filling ingredients in a medium bowl. Fill 4, 4 oz ramekins evenly with filling.  To make topping; combine flour, oats, and salt in a small bowl.  Drizzle with melted butter and toss with a fork to combine. Evenly divide topping across filling, patting down to set.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until apples are soft and topping is beginning to brown.

 

Easiest-Ever Overnight Oats

Looking for a tasty, healthy, easy, no-cook, make-ahead, grab-and-go breakfast or snack option?  (Sounds pretty darn perfect no?)   Try my Easiest-Ever Overnight Oats!  Full of fiber, super-satisfying and the  perfect blank slate for any flavor or topping combos you like.  Make up a batch in small cups meal-prep-style and you'll have your mornings fueled for the week!

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Overnight Oats topped with:   Chopped Peaches, Honey & Ginger | Strawberry Jam & Coconut | Fresh Blueberries & Toasted Almonds

 The only recipe you need?

½ cup Old Fashioned  Oats plus ½ cup your favorite milk & optional sweeteners or spices. Mix together, cover, & refrigerate overnight for perfectly tender oatmeal in the am!

To mix things up try plain or vanilla almond milk, coconut milk, regular lowfat milk, or even  chocolate milk!

Stir in optional cinnamon, ginger, vanilla extract, almond extract, nutmeg, maple syrup, brown sugar, or honey for flavor & sweetness.

To make it European muesli-style just stir in some plain or flavored yogurt before soaking for a delicious tang and creamy texture.

Add Toppings!

  • Fresh or dried fruit is a classic! Try dried cranberries, raisins, currants, cherries, chopped dates/figs/apricots or any fresh fruit you like!
  • This is also the perfect time to use frozen fruit - just stir in to soak with the oats and they’ll be perfectly juicy come morning!
  • A dollop of your favorite jam or drizzle of honey makes a sweet & luscious topping.
  • Create crunch with a dusting of toasted nuts , coconut, or granola.
  • Craving something warm and comforting?  While overnight oats are delicious chilled or room temp just heat them briefly in the microwave in the morning to warm.

Super Swap: Sweet Potato Toast!

Give your favorite breakfast toast a fun and healthy makeover by swapping in superfood sweet potato toast for the bread.  Just pop slices of sweet potato in your toaster or toaster oven for a tasty, gluten-free, lower carb toast alternative in minutes.  Try my classic Bacon Egg & Cheese on Sweet Potato Toast or see below for other topping ideas!

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Bacon, Egg, & Cheese on Sweet Potato Toast

Ingredients

¼” thick slices large sweet potato

1 slice cooked bacon, crumbled

1 egg

2 TB shredded cheddar cheese

2 TB chopped scallion

Instructions

Place sweet potato slices in toaster or toaster oven and toast on highest setting until lightly browned and fork tender. It may take two or three rounds depending on your appliance, just flip slices each time for even toasting.

While potatoes are toasting fry eggs in a nonstick sauté pan coated with cooking spray to desired done-ness.  Top each sweet potato slice with 1 TB shredded cheddar, 1 slice crumbled bacon, 1 fried egg, and 1 TB scallion.

Other flavor ideas? Try your fav mashed avocado or guacamole with chopped veggies to top your sweet potato toast...or for a sweet spin spread with almond or peanut butter and banana or apple slices.

So-Simple Chicken Tortilla Soup

My So Simple Chicken Tortilla Soup is a fantastic way to spice up leftover chicken;  or pick up a  rotisserie chicken for an easy 8 minute dinner anytime.  Also perfect for  meal prep!   Set up a fun nacho-style toppings bar (ideas below) to let everyone customize their own bowl. It’s a great way to get kids to try new things too!

 

Chicken Tortilla Soup with Cheddar, Sour Cream, & Crushed Tortilla Topping

Chicken Tortilla Soup with Cheddar, Sour Cream, & Crushed Tortilla Topping

 

Ingredients

2 tsp olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 tsp kosher salt

2 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp ancho chili powder (or regular)

3 cups chicken broth

1 15 oz can fire roasted tomatoes, drained

1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed, drained

2 cups shredded cooked chicken

2 TB fresh lime juice

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Optional Toppings: Shredded Cheddar, Sour Cream, Crushed Tortilla Chips, Salsa, Hot Sauce, Diced Avocado

How To:

Heat olive oil in a soup pot set over medium-high heat.  Add onion and salt and cook for 3-4 minutes or until onion is softened. Add garlic and ancho chili powder and cook for 1 minute. Add broth, tomatoes, black beans, chicken and lime juice. Increase heat to high, cover, and cook an additional 2 minutes to heat through. Stir in cilantro and serve topped with optional garnishes.

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Yields 7 cups soup to serve 4

Cooking w Julie’s Chef Tips:

  • Hit the prepared produce section for pre-cut onion & peeled garlic to slash prep time
  • Use a Microplane to mince your garlic in a flash
  • Ancho chili powder has a light heat & slightly fruity flavor – it’s a great spice to add to your pantry!
  • To make this dish less spicy swap plain diced tomatoes instead of fire roasted
  • Finishing this soup w lime juice is the key to it’s bright flavor –try lemon juice in your next batch of traditional chicken soup for a similar effect

Meal Prep! Greek Shrimp & Rice Bowls

One of the keys to sticking with a healthy eating resolution is to plan ahead to cook more meals at home.  My filling and flavorful Greek Shrimp & Rice Bowls are the perfect solution! They’re wonderful to make-ahead “meal prep style” for at-work lunches and are also an easy-speedy weeknight supper.  Equally delicious chilled or warm – plus pantry staples seriously slash prep time.

 

Greek Shrimp & Rice Bowls with Cauliflower Rice or Brown Rice

Greek Shrimp & Rice Bowls with Cauliflower Rice or Brown Rice

 

Ingredients

Bowls

1 8.5 oz precooked brown rice pouch, cooked according to package instructions

2 cups chopped baby spinach

1 lb poached or grilled shrimp

1 cup halved grape tomatoes

1 cup sliced roasted peppers

1 cup quartered artichoke hearts

1 cup canned chickpeas

Optional Garnishes: crumbled feta, sliced kalamata olives, sliced scallion, fresh dill

So-Simple Vinaigrette (or in a pinch just use bottled!)

1 TB Dijon mustard

4 tsp red wine vinegar

4 tsp warm water

2 TB olive oil

¼ tsp dried oregano

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Line up 4 medium bowls or storage containers. Evenly divide ingredients across all 4 bowls in even piles.  Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients and drizzle evenly over the top.  Sprinkle with optional garnishes.

Chef Tips:  

To make this even lower calorie and lower in carbs just swap in 2 cups of cauliflower rice for the brown rice.  If your store doesn’t sell cauliflower rice you can easily make your own by grating a head of cauliflower or pulsing florets in a food processor.

Always keep a bag of pre-cooked frozen shrimp on hand.  Just run under cool water for a few minutes to defrost and they’re ready to enjoy!

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Yields:  4 Bowls

Slow Cooker Red Lentil Coconut Curry Soup

My so-easy & so-delicious Slow Cooker Red Lentil Coconut Curry Soup will make you feel good in more ways than one!

Healthy, hearty, gluten-free, dairy-free, just 5 mins of prep, perfect for Meatless Monday AND an easy way to help feed those in need this Holiday Season! 

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I’m so happy to help Goya Foods share an opportunity for you to support a wonderful cause thru their Goya Gives “Can Do” program! For every can of Goya Coconut Milk purchased this month (like I use in this recipe!) Goya will donate products to Feeding America to be distributed to families in need.

Ingredients

1 -15 oz can Goya Coconut Milk

2 1/2 cups vegetable broth

2 cups red lentils

1 -15 oz can diced tomatoes

1 large onion, chopped

1 TB minced ginger

1 TB minced garlic

1 TB curry powder

1 tsp mustard seed

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

3/4 tsp Goya adobo or salt

How To: Combine ingredients in your slow cooker & cook for 6 hrs on low or 3 hrs on high. Done!

Serve garnished with lemon wedges and cilantro. Also excellent on top of Goya rice!

My Super-Decadent Candy Cane Brownies

This is the dessert recipe you need this year!  Whether for your own festivities, to bring to a friend's gathering, or to give as gifts...my Super-Decadent Candy Cane Brownies will make everyone's holiday much sweeter.  Simple to make, rich and decadent, and sure to be appreciated by all.  They're a fun project to do with the kids, yet pretty and party-perfect to pair with with after dinner drinks at an adult bash.

 Follow along with my video and let me know if you try them!  xo Julie

Chef Tip:  Swap out the semi-sweet chocolate chips with an equal amount of your favorite dark or bittersweet chocolate for an even richer result.

 

Decadently Delicious Candy Cane Brownies

Ingredients

2 sticks salted butter, chopped

8 ounces high quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped

4 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 tsp peppermint extract

1/2 teaspoon table salt

1 cup flour

2/3 cup white chocolate chips

½ cup crushed candy canes or peppermint candies

 

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9”x13” baking pan.

Combine butter and bittersweet chocolate in a large heat safe bowl set over a pot of simmering water and melt, stirring often, until smooth. Let cool slightly. Beat together eggs, sugars, vanilla, peppermint extract, and salt in a large bowl and whisk into chocolate mixture. Fold in flour until just combined. Spread batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until set in the middle. Let brownies cool completely.

Place white chocolate chips in a large heat safe bowl set over a pot of simmering water and melt, stirring often, until smooth.  Use a spoon to quickly drizzle white chocolate evenly over the top of the cooled brownies, then sprinkle with candy cane pieces.  Let chocolate set before cutting brownies into squares.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Yield: Makes 24 brownies

Skip the Thanksgiving Food Baby w my 6 Sneaky-Light Sides!

It can be tricky to keep your healthy-eating intentions over the holidays...with Thanksgiving being one of the biggest challenges!   This year, skip the post-dinner "Food Baby" with some of my best, lightened up, holiday-worthy dishes.  (As a Recipe Developer for Weight Watchers - I've got quite a few tricks up my sleeve!)  These dishes are all sneakily-healthy yet super tasty...so you can save your indulging for sausage stuffing, sweet potato casserole...or wine! Hey, whatever works for you ;)

Cider Braised Kale Ribbons with Cranberries & Walnuts:  A delicious cross between salad and saute, the sweet-tart cranberries & crunch of toasted walnuts give this gorgeous dish major crowd appeal!

Cider Braised Kale Ribbons with Cranberries & Walnuts:  A delicious cross between salad and saute, the sweet-tart cranberries & crunch of toasted walnuts give this gorgeous dish major crowd appeal!

Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin with Crunchy Panko Topping:  A mix of cheeses is the secret to this dish's decadent-seeming cheese sauce.  Pecorino cheese & panko breadcrumbs work magic together as a crispy topping.

Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin with Crunchy Panko Topping:  A mix of cheeses is the secret to this dish's decadent-seeming cheese sauce.  Pecorino cheese & panko breadcrumbs work magic together as a crispy topping.

Sneakily-Rich Butternut Squash Bisque:  One of my all-time favorite secret weapons when lightening up recipes?  Blend Greek Yogurt into the finished result for a rich finish instead of heavy cream.  This recipe is delish as is...but feel free to spice it up with fresh ginger or go exotic with a dash of my current spice-blend obsession - Ras el Hanout.  Extra points for serving in teacups or fun shot glass portions.

Sneakily-Rich Butternut Squash Bisque:  One of my all-time favorite secret weapons when lightening up recipes?  Blend Greek Yogurt into the finished result for a rich finish instead of heavy cream.  This recipe is delish as is...but feel free to spice it up with fresh ginger or go exotic with a dash of my current spice-blend obsession - Ras el Hanout.  Extra points for serving in teacups or fun shot glass portions.

Roasted Pear Salad w Gorgonzola, Pecans, & Maple-Balsamic Dressing: This gorgeous, upscale salad would be welcome at any holiday dinner.  To lighten it up even more & slash prep time?  Use your favorite light balsamic dressing...it's ok...I won't tell!

Roasted Pear Salad w Gorgonzola, Pecans, & Maple-Balsamic Dressing: This gorgeous, upscale salad would be welcome at any holiday dinner.  To lighten it up even more & slash prep time?  Use your favorite light balsamic dressing...it's ok...I won't tell!

Roasted Fennel & Carrots with Pecorino, Orange, & Thyme:  Fennel wedges turn meltingly tender and lightly sweet after a stint in the oven at high heat while the orange-pecorino-thyme combo makes this Thanksgiving-table worthy!

Roasted Fennel & Carrots with Pecorino, Orange, & Thyme:  Fennel wedges turn meltingly tender and lightly sweet after a stint in the oven at high heat while the orange-pecorino-thyme combo makes this Thanksgiving-table worthy!

Cardamom Spiced Apple-Cherry Tart:  Don't worry...you don't need to skip dessert!  This so-impressive yet so-simple tart is WAY lighter than traditional apple pie.  Phyllo dough is the secret for a low-fat, crisp crust, with no rolling required.

Cardamom Spiced Apple-Cherry Tart:  Don't worry...you don't need to skip dessert!  This so-impressive yet so-simple tart is WAY lighter than traditional apple pie.  Phyllo dough is the secret for a low-fat, crisp crust, with no rolling required.

My Top 12 Recipes for an Epic Super Bowl Bash!!!

It's time to get set for The Biggest Sunday Funday of the Year!!!   No need to pour Doritos & call for Dominos - try some of my fun and easy game day recipes, kick back, and enjoy the big game!

From potent cocktails & simple slow cooker dishes that feed a crowd, to fun party apps & adorable sweet treats...I've got you covered with plenty of easy options for your party or to bring to a friend's.  Just click through the photo to get the recipe!  

PS:  I've included a few of my sneaky-healthy party favs to mix in with all that indulgence. Enjoy! xo Julie

Super Bowl parties pretty much begin as a football-centric brunch right? Kick things off properly with a batch of my Spicy Sriracha Bloody Marys.

Super Bowl parties pretty much begin as a football-centric brunch right? Kick things off properly with a batch of my Spicy Sriracha Bloody Marys.

 
I'd consider these Mini Mexican 7 Layer Dips a party must-have!  They stay pretty and allow for double-dipping with wanton abandon. Even better? This one is a Weight Watchers recipe so it's sneaky-light too...shhhh!

I'd consider these Mini Mexican 7 Layer Dips a party must-have!  They stay pretty and allow for double-dipping with wanton abandon. Even better? This one is a Weight Watchers recipe so it's sneaky-light too...shhhh!

 

Let's move on to two awesome "feed a crowd" slow cooker main dish options...so you can chill & watch the game too vs being stuck in the kitchen.  Just set up a fun fixins bar next to that bad boy & you're good to go!

A big batch of Beer Braised Pulled Pork Tacos will be appreciated by the carnivores & Mexican food lovers in your crew.... just setup a toppings bar, kick back, & enjoy the party!

A big batch of Beer Braised Pulled Pork Tacos will be appreciated by the carnivores & Mexican food lovers in your crew.... just setup a toppings bar, kick back, & enjoy the party!

 
Vegetarian or health-conscious friends in the house?  Go for my Spicy Vegetarian Chili  recipe for Weight Watchers. It's satisfying and substantial without breaking the calorie bank & the perfect base for fun toppings.

Vegetarian or health-conscious friends in the house?  Go for my Spicy Vegetarian Chili  recipe for Weight Watchers. It's satisfying and substantial without breaking the calorie bank & the perfect base for fun toppings.

 
Macho Mango Salsa is perfect to bring to a friend's party or to serve as a topping for my Pulled Pork Tacos or Spicy Veggie Chili.  Why "Macho"? This one packs a punch!

Macho Mango Salsa is perfect to bring to a friend's party or to serve as a topping for my Pulled Pork Tacos or Spicy Veggie Chili.  Why "Macho"? This one packs a punch!

 
What is it about football watching and Tex-Mex food? Doesn't matter if it's guacamole, nachos, soft tacos or chili - it's always a fan fav.  Mix up a big batch of my crazy-delicious & dangerously potent Lose Your Shoes Margaritas to get the party rocking.

What is it about football watching and Tex-Mex food? Doesn't matter if it's guacamole, nachos, soft tacos or chili - it's always a fan fav.  Mix up a big batch of my crazy-delicious & dangerously potent Lose Your Shoes Margaritas to get the party rocking.

 

Let's move on to some Super Snacks!  Perfect for your own spread or to bring to a friend's party...

A pretty & fun take on your standard sub sandwich - these deliciously savory Italian Sub Skewers are an easier to eat party bite that satisfies all your sub cravings!

A pretty & fun take on your standard sub sandwich - these deliciously savory Italian Sub Skewers are an easier to eat party bite that satisfies all your sub cravings!

 
Two classic stadium snacks are even better together!  My Pigskin Pretzel Dogs are the perfect  mashup of hot pretzels & hot dogs.  Tip:  Cross slice them into quarters to serve as a fun take on Pigs N Blankets - easy to make ahead & tote to a party too.

Two classic stadium snacks are even better together!  My Pigskin Pretzel Dogs are the perfect  mashup of hot pretzels & hot dogs.  Tip:  Cross slice them into quarters to serve as a fun take on Pigs N Blankets - easy to make ahead & tote to a party too.

 
Burgers are a tailgate-style staple & sliders are the perfect snack-sized option for party noshing.  My Bacon Cheddar Sliders with Chipotle Sauce totally bring it!

Burgers are a tailgate-style staple & sliders are the perfect snack-sized option for party noshing.  My Bacon Cheddar Sliders with Chipotle Sauce totally bring it!

 
Instead of the usual wings - try making up a batch of my Crispy Buffalo Chicken Tenders w Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce.  Less mess & easier to eat too!

Instead of the usual wings - try making up a batch of my Crispy Buffalo Chicken Tenders w Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce.  Less mess & easier to eat too!

 

Gotta have some Sweet Treats to make you a 4th Quarter Hero!  No matter what the game or party pool outcomes are...these are sure to send everyone home with a smile.

They'll never guess that these Mini Peanut Butter Pie Ice Cream Sandwiches are one of my most popular recipes for Weight Watchers. Crazy delicious & ridiculously easy. Make extra...trust me!

They'll never guess that these Mini Peanut Butter Pie Ice Cream Sandwiches are one of my most popular recipes for Weight Watchers. Crazy delicious & ridiculously easy. Make extra...trust me!

 
Seriously...who could possibly resist this chocolatey cuteness? Decadent  Chocolate Football Cake Pops are a total touchdown for your bash.

Seriously...who could possibly resist this chocolatey cuteness? Decadent  Chocolate Football Cake Pops are a total touchdown for your bash.

5 Easy to Make...& Easy to Take Thanksgiving Dishes

Headed to a friend or family members' for Thanksgiving? If you're stumped or stressed about what to bring I've got some easy, travel-friendly ideas for you!  These recipes are all simple to prepare, can be made ahead, are total crowd pleasers & will definitely be appreciated by the host. 

Orange and Fennel Marinated Olives make a great hostess gift, to nosh at Thanksgiving or break out for guests throughout the holiday season. Bring in a pretty mason jar tied w a bow.

Orange and Fennel Marinated Olives make a great hostess gift, to nosh at Thanksgiving or break out for guests throughout the holiday season. Bring in a pretty mason jar tied w a bow.

Asked to contribute a side dish but not up for major cooking?  This 4-ingredient, 15 minute Orange-Ginger Cranberry Sauce pairs perfectly with the Big Bird and other holiday favorites (plus this one blows away the canned variety!)

Asked to contribute a side dish but not up for major cooking?  This 4-ingredient, 15 minute Orange-Ginger Cranberry Sauce pairs perfectly with the Big Bird and other holiday favorites (plus this one blows away the canned variety!)

A guaranteed crowd pleaser - my highly addictive Sweet & Spicy Glazed Nuts w Cranberries & Rosemary make a much appreciated  hostess gift or cocktail nibble. 

A guaranteed crowd pleaser - my highly addictive Sweet & Spicy Glazed Nuts w Cranberries & Rosemary make a much appreciated  hostess gift or cocktail nibble. 

Trust me...bringing booze always makes for a happy host!  Instead of the usual bottle or two of wine, why not blow them away with this killer Winter Spiced Sangria instead? Pack in a portable beverage cooler for easy transit.

Trust me...bringing booze always makes for a happy host!  Instead of the usual bottle or two of wine, why not blow them away with this killer Winter Spiced Sangria instead? Pack in a portable beverage cooler for easy transit.

Nobody can resist! Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes make an adorable & delicious finish to any holiday meal.  Tote them along right in a disposable cupcake tin - no risk of crushed cake upon arrival!

Nobody can resist! Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes make an adorable & delicious finish to any holiday meal.  Tote them along right in a disposable cupcake tin - no risk of crushed cake upon arrival!

Happy Holidays! xo Julie

5 Fun Fall Parties to Host Outdoors

5 Fun Fall Parties to Host Outdoors

Think outdoor entertaining is only for summer? Not so!  September and early fall offer the perfect opportunity to use your outdoor space to the max.  Friends and family have all returned from summer adventures and are eager to get together for some fun...not to mention cooler temps keep things way more comfortable than hot summer nights!

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