Get Ready for Fun in the Sun This July!

Are you ready to heat up the grill this July? Try something new this year that will impress your backyard BBQ guests! Kebabs are a delicious way to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Check out this great spin on turkey kebabs with grilled fruit. Want to learn more about grilling turkey? Check out the pointers from Today’s Turkey.

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Grilled Turkey & Summer Fruit Kebabs with Blood Orange Vinaigrette

Yield: 1 Serving

Ingredients

Kebab

3 Pieces each 1 ½” x 1 ½ ” Skewer of watermelon & pineapple; lightly seasoned with sea salt & pepper

3 Pieces 1 ½” x 1 ½ ” Skewer of fresh turkey breast; lightly seasoned with sea salt & pepper

As needed Olive Oil Cooking Spray

¼ Cup Dry Couscous; prepared according to package directions

4 Segments Blood orange

Blood Orange Vinaigrette

3/4 Cup Blood orange juice

Zest of one Blood orange

1 Tablespoon White balsamic vinegar

2 Tablespoons Lemon juice, fresh

1 Each Shallot, minced

1 Tablespoon Mint, chopped

1 Tablespoon Basil, chopped

2 Tablespoons Honey

½ Teaspoon Black pepper, fresh ground

¾ Cup Olive oil

Method

  1. Assemble fruit skewer. Lightly season and set aside.
  2. Assemble turkey skewer, lightly season and spray with olive oil.
  3. Flash grill the watermelon skewer over a clean, lightly oiled, hot grill. Remove and set aside.
  4. Grill turkey skewer over medium high heat. Rotate to heat each side. Cook to 165ºF, approximately 15 – 20 minutes.
  5. Arrange prepared couscous on serving plate
  6. Top with both skewers
  7. Add blood orange garnish and drizzle with Blood Orange Vinaigrette

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie Streusel Bars

Alyson Approved Tip: If you’re having guests over for the holidays, be sure to ask in advance about food allergies and intolerances. That way you can prepare and won’t be surprised at the dinner table.

Cooking for guests with food allergies and intolerances can be challenging, especially during the holiday season. Everyone wants to enjoy holiday favorites so try not to go out of your way to come up with new foods to prepare. Most recipes can be altered for your guest with a few simple swaps. These gluten-free bars replace regular white flour (which contains gluten) with oat flour. It takes on all the flavor of pumpkin pie but without hurting any of our guests.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie Streusel Bars

Yield: 16 BARS

Prep time: 20 MINUTES

Cook time: 64 MINUTES

Ingredients:

For the crust and topping:

• 1 1/4 cups certified gluten-free oat flour (learn how to make you own here)Pumpkin-Strusel-Ingredients

• 2 cups certified gluten-free rolled oats

• 1 tablespoon cinnamon

• 1 cup brown sugar

• 1/4 teaspoon salt

• 3/4 cup canola oil

For the filling:

• 1 15-ounce can pumpkin pureePumpkin-Streusel-Bar-Ingredients2

• 2 large eggs

• 1/3 cup granulated sugar

• 1/3 cup brown sugar

• 2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 1/4 teaspoon salt

• 1/2 cup evaporated milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350?F. Line an 8″ x 8″ pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Prepare the crust and topping. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the oat flour, oats, cinnamon, sugar and salt. Stir in the butter until well combined.
  3. Pat half of the mixture firmly onto the bottom of the prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until lightly golden brown. The crust will bubble a little during baking.
  5. Let the crust cool for 5-10 minutes while preparing the filling.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, stir together all the filling ingredients. Pour evenly over the crust and bake for 12 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and add walnut-sized pieces of the remaining oat mixture over the filling. It will be a very thick layer and some of it will sink a little into the filling. Bake for another 30 minutes or until the filling is golden brown and firm and the middle is set.
  8. Let cool for 1 hour and serve with whipped cream or maple caramel sauce.

Cool completely before covering. Store at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Baked Pears with Honey, Cranberries and Pecans

Will your holiday season be full of parties and outings with family and friends? This non-traditional bruschetta combines bright red cranberries and pomegranates with creamy goat cheese for a festive sweet and tangy appetizer that both you and your guests will love.

Think Pomegranates are intimidating? Think again!!! These little jewels pack a power punch! An average pomegranate contains about 600 juicy seeds, also known as arils, which are encapsulated in white pith. The pomegranate fruit is low in calories, high in fiber, high in vitamins and high in phytochemicals that may promote heart health and help to prevent cancer.

To cut a pomegranate follow these simple steps:

  1. Wash the pomegranate well before starting. Any time you’re cutting into a fruit or vegetable with a skin or rind, you take the chance of introducing bacteria from the outer surface into the edible portion. After washing, slice the pomegranate in half horizontally.
  2. Take one of the halves and hold the cut side down in the palm of your non-dominant hand over a medium size bowl. Spread your fingers a bit and position the pomegranate on top them.
  3. Take a sturdy spatula or a wooden spoon and begin to hit firmly on the top surface of the pom. This is where some people go wrong. They try this technique and it doesn’t seem to work –they’re tapping, not whacking! If you tap too gently, the seeds will NOT be released. Don’t be afraid to give it some good, hard whacks – go ahead, get all your frustration and anxiety out. You’ll feel much better and you’ll have something beautiful to show for it!
  4. Continue to firmly tap (oops! sorry, I meant to say – WHACK) until all seeds have fallen out. Repeat with other half. You’ll have a bit of white membrane mixed in with the seeds. Just pick this out and discard.
  5. Store pomegranate arils (seeds) in the refrigerator in an airtight container or zippered bag. Arils will keep this way for 4-5 days. They can also be frozen and stored for several months. To freeze, line a sheet pan with parchment paper or waxed paper. Spread arils in a single layer, uncovered, until frozen, 1-2 hours. Once frozen, transfer to airtight storage container or freezer-zippered bags.
  6. That’s it – The Easy Way to Remove Pomegranate Seeds. Super easy. Try it, I think you won’t even believe how simple it is!

Cranberry and Pomegranate Bruschetta

Bruscheta-Ingredients

For the Relish:

• 1 pound fresh or frozen cranberries, washed

• 2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger

• 1 cup sugar

• ¼ cup honey

• 2 teaspoons sriracha sauce

• ½ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro

• Zest of 1 orange, reserve some for garnish

• ¾-1 cup pomegranate arils or seeds

• Finely chopped fresh cilantro or parsley for garnish

For the Crostini:

• 1 thin baguette sliced about ¼ inch thick

• ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

• Kosher salt

• Freshly ground black pepper

• 8 ounces goat cheese

Instructions

  1. Place cranberries, ginger, sugar, honey, and sriracha in the bowl of food processor. Pulse on and off several times until cranberries are coarsely chopped. Don’t process too much. Bruscheta-Chopped
  2. Add cilantro and pulse a few more times. Not too much, you want cilantro bits to be visible and mixture to be a bit chunky.
  3. Transfer to a storage container and add pomegranate arils and orange zest. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until ready to use.
  4. For the crostini, preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 sheet pans with foil or parchment paper, if desired for easy clean up.
  5. Place baguette slices on prepared pans. Brush lightly with oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt and a grind of pepper
  6. Bake for 14-18 minutes or until golden, rotating pans halfway through baking time.
  7. To assemble bruschetta, whisk cream cheese until creamy. Spread about ½-1 tablespoons of cheese on each crostini. Top with a scoop of the relish. Garnish with a bit of orange zest, if desired.

Want to see how to make this fun, Holiday recipe? Watch the video below to learn how!

Cranberry and Pomegranate Bruschetta

Will your holiday season be full of parties and outings with family and friends? This non-traditional bruschetta combines bright red cranberries and pomegranates with creamy goat cheese for a festive sweet and tangy appetizer that both you and your guests will love.

Think Pomegranates are intimidating? Think again!!! These little jewels pack a power punch! An average pomegranate contains about 600 juicy seeds, also known as arils, which are encapsulated in white pith. The pomegranate fruit is low in calories, high in fiber, high in vitamins and high in phytochemicals that may promote heart health and help to prevent cancer.

To cut a pomegranate follow these simple steps:

  1. Wash the pomegranate well before starting. Any time you’re cutting into a fruit or vegetable with a skin or rind, you take the chance of introducing bacteria from the outer surface into the edible portion. After washing, slice the pomegranate in half horizontally.
  2. Take one of the halves and hold the cut side down in the palm of your non-dominant hand over a medium size bowl. Spread your fingers a bit and position the pomegranate on top them.
  3. Take a sturdy spatula or a wooden spoon and begin to hit firmly on the top surface of the pom. This is where some people go wrong. They try this technique and it doesn’t seem to work –they’re tapping, not whacking! If you tap too gently, the seeds will NOT be released. Don’t be afraid to give it some good, hard whacks – go ahead, get all your frustration and anxiety out. You’ll feel much better and you’ll have something beautiful to show for it!
  4. Continue to firmly tap (oops! sorry, I meant to say – WHACK) until all seeds have fallen out. Repeat with other half. You’ll have a bit of white membrane mixed in with the seeds. Just pick this out and discard.
  5. Store pomegranate arils (seeds) in the refrigerator in an airtight container or zippered bag. Arils will keep this way for 4-5 days. They can also be frozen and stored for several months. To freeze, line a sheet pan with parchment paper or waxed paper. Spread arils in a single layer, uncovered, until frozen, 1-2 hours. Once frozen, transfer to airtight storage container or freezer-zippered bags.
  6. That’s it – The Easy Way to Remove Pomegranate Seeds. Super easy. Try it, I think you won’t even believe how simple it is!

Cranberry and Pomegranate Bruschetta

Bruscheta-Ingredients

For the Relish:

• 1 pound fresh or frozen cranberries, washed

• 2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger

• 1 cup sugar

• ¼ cup honey

• 2 teaspoons sriracha sauce

• ½ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro

• Zest of 1 orange, reserve some for garnish

• ¾-1 cup pomegranate arils or seeds

• Finely chopped fresh cilantro or parsley for garnish

For the Crostini:

• 1 thin baguette sliced about ¼ inch thick

• ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

• Kosher salt

• Freshly ground black pepper

• 8 ounces goat cheese

Instructions

  1. Place cranberries, ginger, sugar, honey, and sriracha in the bowl of food processor. Pulse on and off several times until cranberries are coarsely chopped. Don’t process too much. Bruscheta-Chopped
  2. Add cilantro and pulse a few more times. Not too much, you want cilantro bits to be visible and mixture to be a bit chunky.
  3. Transfer to a storage container and add pomegranate arils and orange zest. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until ready to use.
  4. For the crostini, preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 sheet pans with foil or parchment paper, if desired for easy clean up.
  5. Place baguette slices on prepared pans. Brush lightly with oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt and a grind of pepper
  6. Bake for 14-18 minutes or until golden, rotating pans halfway through baking time.
  7. To assemble bruschetta, whisk cream cheese until creamy. Spread about ½-1 tablespoons of cheese on each crostini. Top with a scoop of the relish. Garnish with a bit of orange zest, if desired.

Want to see how to make this fun, Holiday recipe? Watch the video below to learn how!

Apple Pie Wontons

The official start of the holidays is just around the corner with Thanksgiving only two weeks away! This makes me think of spending quality time around the dinner table, catching up with friends and family and eating lots of yummy food. The thought of juicy roast turkey and mashed potatoes smothered in gravy and warm spiced apple pie with a heaping scoop of ice cream slowly melting to form a delicious pool of appley vanilla goodness is making my mouth water just thinking of it. But, with all these wonderful thoughts of eating a full Thanksgiving dinner comes the not so wonderful thoughts of how much tighter my pants are going to fit afterwards.

So, with that in mind, here are a few hints to keeping your Thanksgiving eating in check. First off, you don’t HAVE to taste everything in one sitting. Let’s face it, it all looks so good and sure, you don’t want to miss out on anything, but there will be leftovers. So, just have a normal sized meal for your Thanksgiving dinner. Take a small serving of your favorites, and then come back for a small helping of things you missed a couple of hours later when you are hungry again.

Don’t “save room” for the meal by not eating normally throughout the day. Have your usual breakfast and lunch (depending on dinner time) to prevent overeating. DO save room for dessert. Ask yourself, “do I really need a second helping of stuffing or sweet potatoes, or should I wait and have dessert instead?” Choose the dessert! And, here’s an easy swap for apple pie and ice cream that is not only healthier than traditional apple pie, but portion controlled too! Also, did I mention that these little wontons are delicious!

Apple-Pie-Wonton-Ingredients

Ingredients

• 2 whole granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and small diced

• 1 lemon, juiced

• 1/3 cup sugar

• 4 tablespoons flour

• 2 teaspoons cinnamon

• ¼ teaspoon allspice

• 1/8 teaspoon salt

• 1 egg, beaten

• 30-36 wonton wrappers

• 2 teaspoons cinnamon sugar

• Cooking spray

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly spray the parchment with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a bowl, stir together the apples, lemon, and sugar. Add the flour, spices and salt.
  3. Beat the egg in a small bowl.
  4. Beginning with one wonton wrapper, lay it out on a work surface and bush with egg wash around each edge. Place a heaping teaspoon of apple filling in the center of the wrapper and fold the edges together and press firmly to seal the edges. Place on the lined baking sheet and repeat until the filling is gone. (You may want to lay a damp paper towel over the finished wontons to prevent them from drying out.)
  5. Bake wontons for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and spray the wontons with cooking spray and sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar over each wonton. Return the wontons to the oven for 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Watch this video to learn how to make these sweet treats!

Pumpkin Pie Protein Bites

Are you a morning workout person, or an afternoon gym rat? Either way, these protein pumpkin bites are the perfect fuel! With the health benefits of pumpkin and the protein you need to keep you going, these little morsels pack a powerful punch.

Pumpkin-Pie-Protein-Bites-Ingredients

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup Oat Flour
  • ½ cup Pumpkin Purée
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Protein Powder
  • 2 tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp Pumpkin Spice
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • Ground Cinnamon, to coat
  • Cocoa powder to coat

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pour your oat flour into a medium bowl, mix together with the dry ingredients (protein powder, vanilla & spices).
  2. stir in your wet ingredients.
  3. The “batter” should be firm, with just enough moisture for something to adhere to the outside. Refrigerate for 30 min if batter is soft.
  4. Evenly break into bite-sized pieces, about a 1 inch scoop worth.
  5. Roll till smooth, coating in cocoa and cinnamon as desired.

Watch below to learn how to make these yourself!

Alyson Approved Pumpkin Protein Bites from Homeland Stores on Vimeo.

Skinny Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Packed full of fiber and potassium, pumpkin offers the perfect combination of the nutrients you need and the flavor you are looking for. These skinny pumpkin chocolate chip muffins are sure to be a hit with your family and friends for breakfast or a yummy snack throughout the day. Fun fact, you can make your own oat flour to use in this recipe at home in just a matter of seconds! Found out how in my quick how-to video below.

Alyson Approved Tip – Creating Your Own Oat Flour from Homeland Stores on Vimeo.

Pumpkin-Muffin-Ingredients

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons Splenda brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 Tablespoons of PB2
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, optional
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon oat flour
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a muffin tin with nonstick spray; do not use muffin liners with these.
  2. Combine the pumpkin, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and egg in a bowl. Beat until combined.
  3. In another bowl, stir together the salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, PB2, and oat flour.
  4. Add the dry to the wet mixing until just combined. (Over-mixing will result in dense muffins)
  5. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  6. Separate the mixture evenly among 9 muffin cavities and place a few extra chocolate chips on top if desired
  7. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick when inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove and allow to cool and then remove them from the muffin tin.

Learn how to make these in my video below!

Alyson Approved Skinny Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins from Homeland Stores on Vimeo.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Overnight Oats

We’ve talked about the health benefits of pumpkin, now can we talk about how versatile and delicious it is? There are so many great recipe options that incorporate pumpkin and this is one of my favorites for breakfast! These pumpkin chocolate chip cookie overnight oats are not only packed full of nutrients, they are packed full of flavor! Make these a day ahead of time and enjoy for breakfast the next morning!

Overnight-Oats-Ingredients

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling
  • 1/3 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons dark Optional: 1 tablespoon vanilla protein powder

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a small bowl, combine the almond butter, vanilla extract, and honey or maple syrup. Microwave for 10 seconds and then stir until well combined.
  2. Add in the pumpkin, milk, and oats.
  3. Stir well and make sure the almond butter is mashed in thoroughly.
  4. Add in the cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. (Add in protein if desired) Again stir well and then mix in the chocolate chips.
  5. Transfer the mixture into a small jar or sealed container.
  6. Place in the fridge for at least an hour or until oats are completely softened (preferably overnight)
  7. Warm them up in morning or eat them cold straight out the fridge garnished with a few extra chocolate chips if desired.

Watch below to learn how to make this recipe!

Alyson Approved Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Overnight Oats from Homeland Stores on Vimeo.

Pumpkin Pie Protein Shake

Is anything more fall-like than a pumpkin? These famously orange winter squashes are chock-full of vitamin A and deliver 3 grams of fiber per ½-cup serving, plus potassium. If you’re looking to start your morning off right or fuel up for a workout, this Pumpkin Pie Protein Shake should do the trick. With 19 grams of protein and all of the great health benefits of pumpkin, you’ll start your day or your workout off right with this tasty drink.

Pumpkin-Pie-Protein-Shake-Ingredients

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, or milk of choice
  • 1 frozen banana (cut up in coins and frozen)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 tbsp. vanilla protein powder
  • 1 (6 ounce) Greek vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp. sweetener of choice
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup ice

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine all of the ingredients and blend until smooth.
  2. Optionally garnish with graham cracker crumbs and enjoy immediately.

Watch the video to see how to make the shake!

Alyson Approved Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie from Homeland Stores on Vimeo.

Meal Plan Makeover

If you’re like most individuals you hate the dreaded question of “What’s for dinner?” Even worse is making a meal plan! Eating healthy making better choices starts with a plan, however it can be time consuming. That’s why this one slow cooker recipe is so amazing! You can batch cook these 4 simple ingredients and have food for the entire week. Check out this simple step by step guide too feeding your family for less than $100 for the entire week.

Here’s the plan:

Monday: Tacos

Tuesday: Nachos

Wednesday: Southwest Salad

Thursday: Chicken and Quinoa Bowl

Friday: Taco Soup

Prepare 4 Ingredient Salsa ChickenSalsa Chicken

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 6 hours

Total time: 6 hours 10 mins

  • Serves: 10

Ingredients

  • 6-7 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 jar of salsa
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • Place chicken in the slow cooker and sprinkle with taco seasoning. Pour the salsa and broth on the top. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Remove chicken from the slow cooker and shred with two forks, then return to the slow cooker

Monday: Tacos

Ingredients

1 cup Shredded Taco Chicken

Taco shells, hard or soft, or flour burrito tortillas

Favorite toppings – lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese, olives, sour cream, guacamole, fresh lime, cilantro, hot sauce

Tuesday: NachosNachos

Ingredients

  • 1 cup salsa chicken
  • 8 oz shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 Bag  Tortilla Chips
  • 2 sliced thin on a bias Scallions
  • Handful minced Cilantro
  • 1 Cup Sour Cream

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with nachos. Top with half your cheese, then top with the shredded chicken. Add the rest of your cheese on top. Cook in the oven for about 10 minutes. Remove from oven, top with scallions, tomato and cilantro. Serve with Sour Cream.

Wednesday: Southwest SaladSW Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Salsa Chicken
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce
  • ½ cup chopped tomatoes
  • ¼ cup red pepper
  • 1 bunch of green onions
  • 1 – 15 ounce can of corn
  • 1 – 15 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Combine chicken, black beans, corn, and fresh vegetables.
  • Add salt and pepper according to taste.
  • Place on top of shredded lettuce
  • Garnish with avocados, cilantro, or cheese

Thursday: Chicken and Quinoa Bowl

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped lettuce
  • 1 cup shredded taco chicken
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 package of taco bowls

Assemble

Line bowls with equal amounts of lettuce and quinoa. Spoon chicken over each. Finally, top with favorite toppings like cilantro, tomatoes, and cheese!

Friday: Taco Souptaco soup

Ingredients

  • 1 white onion, chopped finely
  • 1 (16 oz.) can chili beans
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz.) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
  • 2 cups shredded Taco chicken

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and set on low for 3-4 hours.