Category Archives: Salads and Sides

balsamic pork chop

Balsamic Pork Chop with Cranberry Horseradish Sauce and Shaved Green Mango Salad

balsamic pork chop with cranberry sauce

When cranberries come to mind, most people think of a Thanksgiving dinner table with all the lush fixings.  But even though this healthy, antioxidant rich super fruit is harvested in the fall, it’s the perfect ingredient to take your summer entertaining to the next level.

fresh cranberries

Cranberries are extremely versatile and are the perfect addition to sweet or savory summer recipes including cocktails, smoothies, salads, desserts and this…..Does that pork chop right there make you want to lick your screen?  I thought so!  This cranberry horseradish sauce only has 4 ingredients, but the layers of flavor are so nuanced and balanced, you’d think it was super complicated.

balsamic pork chop

One of the things I love about cranberries is that they come in so many forms (fresh, frozen, canned, sauced, dried, etc…) that you can get really creative.  This recipe uses the jellied cranberry sauce variety and when you warm it up on the stove, it melts down into a beautiful “saucy” consistency.  Adding the savory balsamic marinated pork chop and you’ve got a winner-winner cranberry pork dinner!  This cranberry horseradish sauce would also work beautifully on a pork tenderloin.

balsamic cranberry pork chop

Balsamic Pork Chop with Cranberry Horseradish Sauce
A savory summer dish with a tender, balsamic marinated pork chop and a cranberry horseradish sauce
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For the balsamic marinade
  1. 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  2. 1/3 cup olive oil
  3. 2 garlic cloves smashed
  4. 2 Tb honey
  5. 2 thick center cut pork chops
  6. 1 Tb olive oil and 1 Tb butter (to saute pork chops)
  7. kosher salt
For the sauce
  1. 1 can jellied cranberry sauce
  2. 2 Tb fresh garlic chopped
  3. 1 Tb olive oil
  4. 2 Tb horseradish
  5. 1-2 Tb brown sugar (depending on how much sweet you want to add)
  6. fresh thyme for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Combine marinade ingredients well and marinate pork chops for 30 minutes.
  3. After 30 minutes take pork chops out of marinade and dry off on both sides with paper towel.
  4. Sprinkle chops with kosher salt.
  5. Heat up the 1 Tb olive oil and 1 Tb butter on a cast iron skillet or heavy duty non-stick skillet on medium heat.
  6. When butter is bubbling, add chops to skillet and cook for about 5 minutes on each side, being careful not to move chops around. Let them sit in place in pan to caramelize.
  7. Put chops in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until cooked through.
  8. Let chops sit out while you make the sauce.
For the sauce
  1. Saute garlic until fragrant, about 3 minutes in a medium sauce pan.
  2. Add jellied cranberry and stir on medium heat until it melts down to a sauce-like consistency.
  3. Add horseradish and sugar and stir to combine.
  4. Pour sauce over pork chops when serving and garnish with fresh thyme
  1. You can use a pork tenderloin or pork roast with this sauce and it works beautifully.
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You can feel even better about this dinner because a new survey reveals cranberry eaters are healthy, active and adventurous!  

Lobster Mango and Cranberry Salad

Speaking of healthy, a friend of mine recently introduced me to green mangos which are basically unripe mangos.  If you shave them with a peeler, they are a scrumptious not-too-sweet but perfectly tangy base to a salad.  I added dried cranberries, almonds and avocado to this salad and fresh Maine lobster with a sweet buttermilk dressing that is creamy and refreshing.  The cranberries give the salad a gorgeous pop of color and flavor, while the almonds lend the perfect textured crunch in every bite.  And well, lobster is pretty much my favorite kind of seafood, so it adds a decadence all on its own!

mango cranberry salad with lobster

table set with lobster green mango salad

Shaved Green Mango and Cranberry Salad with Fresh Lobster
A refreshing summer salad studded with cranberries and fresh lobster
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For the salad
  1. 1 pound fresh Maine Lobster
  2. 1 green mango shaved with a vegetable peeler
  3. 1 cup dried cranberries
  4. 1/4 cup almond slices
  5. 1 ripe avocado diced
  6. chives for garnish
For the dressing
  1. 1/2 cup buttermilk
  2. 2 Tb sour cream
  3. 1/8 cup sugar
  4. 1 Tb fresh lemon juice
  5. pinch of kosher salt
  6. sprinkle of black pepper
  7. 2 Tb fresh chopped chives
  1. Top shaved green mango with fresh lobster, avocado, dried cranberries and almonds.
  2. Whisk dressing ingredients together and fold onto salad.
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All of this cranberry talk transports me back to the bogs of Cape Cod!  2 years ago, I had the opportunity to learn how cranberries are harvested when I visited the Rhodes family from Cape Cod Select.  It was so cool to put on those waders and immerse myself in a sea of cranberries!

Parker in the cranberry bog

80% of the U.S. population enjoy cranberries, according to a new survey commissioned by the Cranberry Marketing Committee. It turns out, eating cranberries—which ranked in the top three most popular berries—might have more benefits than many may realize. The nationwide survey found that in general, more cranberry eaters than non-cranberry eaters say they work out and are health-conscious, and are more likely to describe themselves as positive, and feel less stressed and more adventurous.  So, make this delish cranberry studded dinner and then plan your next adventure!

Check out some of my other cranberry recipes here:

Cranberry Dream Martini

Cranberry Bacon Jam

Cranberry Salsa

No Bake Cranberry Grand Marnier Cheesecake (Low-carb)

You can also check out for recipes.

*This post was sponsored by the Cranberry Marketing Committee but all opinions are my own.


Chipotle Lime Peanuts

chipotle lime peanuts

If you’re like me, when it hits 2pm, I’m dying for something crunchy, salty and satisfying.  I love taking something that basically can’t be improved upon and then you do just that.  With the addition of a few simple ingredients, salty roasted peanuts are taken to Flavor Town, y’all!  I’m a huge fan of spicy, so adding in the chipotle chili powder gives the peanuts a kick without blowing your sinuses out, LOL.

A new study shows that kids who snack on peanuts and peanut butter at least 4 times a week are less likely to be at risk for obesity.  So this is a game changer when you pack it in their lunches! 

Chipotle Lime Peanuts
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  1. 2 cups roasted, salted peanuts
  2. 2 Tb chipotle chili powder (if you don’t like it too spicy, just do 1 Tb)
  3. 2 Tb olive oil/canola blend or 1 Tb of each
  4. Juice from one lime
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix ingredients together until thoroughly combined.
  3. Bake on a rimmed baking sheet for 15 minutes.
  4. Let cool.
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Peanut Coconut Curry Soup


This is delicious on so many levels– the layers of spicy, sweet and savory are elevated by the combination of textures with the velvety soup and the crunch of the peanuts!  It could literally double as a sauce for chicken, beef, pork or shrimp.  It’s also so decadent, that you can serve it with a simple salad and call it dinner.  The “wow factor” comes from creamy peanut butter which is folded into the soup, while a can of full fat coconut milk adds to the exotic feel and taste!

I partnered with The Georgia Peanut Commission this month for National Peanut Month to create a series of scrumptious recipes with peanuts and showcase them on TV shows across Georgia, which happens to be The Peanut Capital of the World!  Peanuts are such a versatile nut– they can be incorporated into breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner and dessert so easily.  Plus, they help power your day with loads of protein!  In addition to their monounsaturated fat content, peanuts feature a number of other nutrients that, in numerous studies, have been shown to promote heart health. They are good sources of vitamin E, niacin and folate.

This is also the perfect time to really celebrate the hard working 3500 peanut farmers in Georgia, dedicated to an industry that provides over 50,000 jobs!  Stay tuned for utterly yummy recipes over the next couple weeks and make sure to hashtag #parkersplate if you post your versions on social media!

'I was meant to become a peanut butter, but someone forgot to cross the final t.'

Peanut Coconut Curry Soup
A creamy, savory Thai inspired soup
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  1. 1 Tb canola oil
  2. 1/2 sweet onion diced
  3. 3 cloves garlic diced
  4. 1 red bell pepper diced
  5. 1-2 Tb red chili paste
  6. 1 Tb fresh ginger
  7. 2 Tb brown sugar
  8. 1 can full fat unsweetened coconut milk
  9. 1 tsp fish sauce
  10. 1/4 cup heavy cream
  11. juice from 1/2 a lime
  12. 1/2 cup peanut butter
  13. pinch kosher salt
  14. crushed peanuts for garnish
  15. fresh cilantro for garnish
  1. Saute onion, garlic and pepper in canola oil on medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add red chili paste and continue stirring another 30 seconds until fragrant. (I added 2 Tb to my recipe because I like it spicy, but add less if you want to bring down the heat!)
  3. Add the rest of ingredients and stir to combine.
  4. Let simmer for 20 minutes on low heat.
  5. Serve with crushed peanuts and chopped cilantro sprinkled in middle of soup.
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Thanksgiving Leftover Hacks

ThanksgivingHacksEveryone looks forward to Thanksgiving and all the trimmings….and then, by Saturday, EVERYBODY is sick of Thanksgiving and all the trimmings.  Gag me with a turkey sandwich, again, right??  The key to leftovers is making them feel like a completely different meal.  This year, I wanted to experiment ahead of time so there would be no question about the “Leftover Delish” factor!  When I was testing out these recipes, I wanted to create a different texture and flavor profile for each….

Give leftover stuffing a crunchy panko crust– inside these yummy croquettes is a tender piece of turkey!

turkey croquettes

Turkey and stuffing transformed into crispy croquettes.

Crisp up leftover mashed potatoes by frying them up with cheese and chives…

Potato Pancakes

Crispy, cheesy potato pancakes.

Turn butter into a whole new condiment by adding a few spoonfuls of leftover cranberry sauce…

cranberry butter

Spread cranberry butter on muffins or toast…

cranberry butter muffin

I love this shade of cranberry pink!

Here’s another one of my favorite leftover ideas….Turkey Cranberry Salad.

Thanksgiving Leftover Hacks
3 creative ideas for Thanksgiving Leftovers: Turkey Croquettes, Cheesy Potato Pancakes and Cranberry Butter
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For the Turkey Croquettes
  1. Bite size pieces of turkey
  2. Stuffing (if it's dry, add some melted butter to it)
  3. canola oil
  4. flour for dredging
  5. 3 eggs whisked for egg wash
  6. Panko
  7. Leftover Gravy
For the Potato Pancakes
  1. 3 cups leftover mashed potatoes
  2. 1 cup cheddar cheese
  3. handful of chives or scallions
  4. 1 Tb butter
  5. 1 Tb canola oil
For the Cranberry Butter
  1. 1 stick softened butter
  2. 2-3 Tb of leftover cranberry sauce
For the Turkey Croquettes
  1. Heat up about 2 inches of canola oil on medium high heat in a wide rimmed skillet or dutch oven.
  2. Ball up stuffing in golf-ball sized balls.
  3. Put a bite size piece of turkey in the middle of the stuffing ball.
  4. Dredge in flour, then egg wash, then panko.
  5. Put croquettes in the hot oil and brown on all sides.
  6. Drain on paper towels.
  7. Serve with hot gravy.
For the Potato Pancakes
  1. Fold in cheese and chives to the leftover mashed potatoes and mix to combine evenly.
  2. Heat up 1 Tb of canola oil and 1 Tb of butter in a skillet.
  3. Form potato and cheese mixture into pancakes.
  4. Put on the hot skillet and fry until browned on both sides.
For the Cranberry Butter
  1. Whip cranberry sauce into butter until smooth.
What's on Parker's Plate?
 Check out my video with financial guru, Stacy Johnson!  So excited to be partnering with him on a new series of lifestyle segments…



Beer Skewers

Oktoberfest Entertaining

Beer Skewers

Skewer your Oktoberfest favorite eats like brats and bread to dip in a rich, beer and cheese fondue

Oktoberfest runs through this weekend, so PROST!  (That’s German for Cheers, y’all!)  One beer style reigns King at Oktoberfest– the Oktoberfest Marzen.  It’s a beautiful copper colored lager brewed by 6 select breweries in Munich– aged for 3-4 months and traditionally served in 1 Liter mugs.


With Jamarcus from Studio 62 and traditional 1 Liter mugs of beer.

German Weissbier, or wheat beer is really popular as well– it has hints of cloves and a little spice– it just tastes like fall and the hops are mild, so it really lets whatever you serve with it be the star.  If you don’t have access to some of the more authentic German Beers, you can pick up the American versions we all know and love, like Stella and Beck’s.  

Stell and Beck's

Look for American favorites like Stella Artois and Beck’s!

For a really fun display, cut the top off a pumpkin, scoop it out, fill it with ice and fill with your favorite beers!  Let’s Grab a Beer has awesome advice and info about all things beer and Oktoberfest!

Bernhard’s Bread Bakery has all the yummy fixings for your Oktoberfest spread…

Bernhard's Bread Bakery

Stunning assortment of bread and pretzels from Bernhard’s Bread Bakery

Some of my earliest and fondest memories growing up were in my German grandmother’s kitchen– well, I walked into Bernhard’s Bread Bakery and I was immediately transported to Grandma Ronnie’s kitchen.  Bernhard Bleeken, the owner and exquisitely talented baker is one of those people you meet and you are immediately drawn in by his sheer passion for what he does– you can taste the LOVE factor- baked into every single bite.  This is a guy who was doing the corporate thing in Germany– but was spending every single weekend baking– he’d make his dough on Friday, bake all day Saturday and then his friends and family would be lining up to taste the goods every Sunday.  Well, he took a chance– moved his entire family here in 99 and launched his passion project….16 years later, he has a fantastic location in Marietta and he’s been wowing the community with his bread and baked goods. THIS is the place to go to order for your Oktoberfest party.  Forget the cooking– let Bernhard do it for you!

His bread has no sugar– it’s also bromate free– and certified organic.  It simply doesn’t get better than that.  His most popular bread is called Harvest Festival– filled with pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, which have such beautiful texture.  And– you want brats and authentic German meats?  He has it all.  Imported groceries and the best German delicacies you can imagine.

Try his classic Bavarian Breakfast- Weissworst— or white sausage with Pretzels (breitzels) dipped in sweet mustard.  Or double dip in his Bavarian cheese dip and homemade mustard.   Fleischkaese which is like German Bologna, is delicious with sauteed onions on a kaiser roll….And of course you have to have your brats.

So turn your Oktoberfest into Oktoberfabulous– if you go to Bernhard’s and order your Oktoberfest spread– you’ll get 10% off your order of $50 or more, just mention Atlanta & Company!

Oktoberfest Bounty!

Oktoberfest Bounty on the set of Atlanta & Company

Looking for fun stuff to do with the kiddos?  

Atlantic Station always throws a fantastic Oktoberfest Party– but the fun doesn’t end when Oktoberfest does.  They have 3 family friendly festivals going on this month. 

  • Annual Fall Festival – Celebrate fall at Atlantic Station on Oct. 30 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. with this family-friendly festival. Purchase festival activity tickets in Central Park for face painting and mask and necklace decorating hosted by Midtown Bridge Church to benefit City of Refuge. Activity tickets range from $1 – $5. Retailers are also getting in on the fall fun: decorate cookies with Great American Cookie Company and enjoy a rice krispy treat from Kilwin’s. Afterwards, settle in for Hocus Pocus on the big screen in Central Park as part of the Spooky Film Festival.
  • Spooky Film Festival – Every Friday evening starting on Oct. 9 at dusk, a spooky movie will lure guests into Atlantic  Station’s Central Park, where they’ll find fall family fun, giveaways and much more. Bring a blanket and snacks to enjoy a night under the stars with a variety of family-friendly spooky flicks.

The movie schedule is as follows:

  1. Oct. 9: Edward Scissorhands
  2. Oct. 16: The Goonies
  3. Oct. 23: Addam’s Family
  4. Oct. 30: Hocus Pocus
  • Trick or Treat with Atlantic Station –  On Halloween night from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., guests are invited to don their best costumes and trick or treat around Atlantic Station, visiting participating retailers for treats and goodies. Look for the Trick or Treat decal on the retailer’s door!

Here is my Beer and Cheese fondue recipe– it only has a few ingredients and it’s scrumptious!

Beer and Cheese Fondue
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  1. 2 garlic cloves minced
  2. 1 tsp butter
  3. 1 10 oz bag or 2 1/2 cups, shredded sharp Cheddar
  4. 1/4 to 1/3 pound, 4 to 6 ounces, Gruyere, grated
  5. 1 rounded tablespoon all-purpose flour
  6. 1 cup German lager beer
  7. 2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
  8. 1/2 tsp hot sauce
  9. 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
For skewers
  1. Mini sweet Gherkins
  2. Bratwurst cooked and chopped into bite size pieces
  3. Cocktail onions
  4. Your favorite bread diced
  1. Saute garlic in butter until golden in large saucepan.
  2. Mix flour in with cheese in a bowl.
  3. Pour beer into saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  4. Stir in cheese/flour mix.
  5. Keep stirring until cheese starts melting.
  6. Add rest of ingredients.
To serve
  1. Alternate meat, gherkins, brats, bread and onions on skewers.
  2. Serve with fondue for dipping!
  1. Don't omit the flour-- it helps prevent the oils from separating from the cheese when it melts.
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Thai Cucumber Cups

Thai Beef Tenderloin Cucumber Cups

Thai Cucumber Cups

These yummy bites have 3 cooling ingredients: mint, cucumber and chili pepper

I love a food challenge, so when my producer from The Weather Channel called and said, “Can you put together a segment on foods that cool?”  I said, “COOL!  Yes, I can!”

One of the most interesting things I found in my research is that surprisingly, hot chili peppers are a cooling food….they make you hot initially, but sweating detoxifies and ultimately cools you down.  Cucumber is the most water dense solid food— a whopping 96% water!  And mint is soothing and cooling as well.  What do you get when you combine all three with some high quality beef?  Thai Beef Tenderloin Cucumber Cups.  Plus, they’re low carb– no wontons in this recipe!  The presentation is gorgeous and the bites are so yummy!


AIR HD 2015-07-31 09 55 41 (5) from Parker Wallace on Vimeo.

Thai Beef Tenderloin Cucumber Cups
Low carb cucumber cups stuffed with marinated beef tenderloin, mint and Thai Basil.
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For the marinade
  1. 1 tsp fish sauce
  2. juice from 1/2 lime
  3. 1 Tb brown sugar
  4. 1 tsp chili paste (I use Sambal Oelek)
  5. 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  6. 1 Thai Chili chopped
  7. 1 shallot sliced into thin rings
  8. handful of Thai Basil and fresh mint chopped up
  9. 1 piece beef tenderloin
  10. red bell pepper strips and sesame seeds (for garnish)
For the cups
  1. 1 English cucumber sliced 1 inch thick, the insides scooped out for a cup.
  2. Cucumber
  1. Combine marinade ingredients.
  2. Slice and scoop out cucumber.
  3. Cook tenderloin to medium rare and slice thinly.
  4. Combine meat with marinade. Chill for 2 hours.
  5. Stuff marinated meat into cucumber cups.
  6. Top with sesame seeds and a single strip of red bell pepper.
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Perfect Pantry

Building Your Perfect Pantry (and Some Delish Recipes, too!)


Perfect Pantry

Stocking your perfect pantry is easier than you’d think!

You don’t have to hang your bikini in your pantry to remind yourself to snack smarter….All you need to do is toss the fatty snacks and restock your shelves with healthier alternatives, like Popchips!

PopChips Veggie chips blend nine delicious vegetables— from kale and spinach to tomato and potato!  They come in 3 flavors: sea salt, hint of olive oil and tuscan herb.

Like all other popchips, the Veggie chips have nothing artificial, no trans-fat, no dairy and they are gluten-free.  They also are helping you get in— (and stay in) that bikini with half the fat of fried chips because they’re made using heat, pressure and almost no oil in the popping process.

Plus, Veggie popchips are are Non-GMO Project Verified–  so this is a snack made from the purest ingredients.

I love their new single serve size— The Veggie flavor just hit stores and at only 90 calories and 3 grams of fat, they are a perfect on-the-go snack and a great solution for parents looking to creatively sneak more veggies into their children’s lives!

Popchips Veggie chips and other great flavors like Sea Salt, BBQ and Sour Cream & Onion are available at Kroger.

healthy snack

Available now at Kroger

Extra virgin olive oil is a kitchen staple and I admit to being a bit of a snob when it come to olive oil! You may be able to skimp on some pantry items, but it’s important that you choose a high quality olive oil. I like Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil because of the consistency and flavor that makes it perfect for everything from grilling to salad dressings. Plus, it’s the first and only national brand to carry the USDA Quality Monitored Seal for quality and purity. And it’s affordable too!

 The health benefits of olive oil are incredible­­— improves cardiovascular health, reduces inflammation and has even been shown to decrease your risk for cancer.

healthy salad

Pear Ginger Dressing made with Pompeian EVOO

 One of my favorite salad dressing recipes is a pear vinaigrette with Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Just pop a peeled pear into a food processor with a squeeze of half a grapefruit, a tablespoon of ginger, a tablespoon of honey or agave nectar. Blend and then emulsify with 1⁄4 cup of Pompeian EVOO. Add a pinch of kosher salt and toss with your favorite greens. I love building the salad with fresh pear and some crumbled gorgonzola. Stunning­­ and better-for-you!

Pear and Pecan Salad with a Pear Ginger Vinaigrette
Delicious, fresh and healthy salad using Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil
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  1. Your favorite lettuce (I like butter lettuce for this salad)
  2. 1 peeled, cored pear
  3. 1 Tb fresh ginger
  4. juice from 1/2 grapefruit
  5. 1 Tb honey or agave nectar
  6. 1/4 cup Pompeian white wine vinegar
  7. 1/2 cup Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  8. pinch of salt
  9. 1/2 cup of Gorgonzola
  10. 1/2 cup of Pecans
  11. 1-2 pears peeled and sliced
  1. Put all ingredients except EVOO in food processor until blended. Then emulsify dressing with the 1/2 cup of EVOO. (Pour in olive oil, while food processor is on).
  2. Toss dressing with lettuce and top with fresh pear, gorgonzola and pecans.
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healthy salad

Pear Ginger Salad set for my dinner party

 Pompeian is available at supermarkets nationwide­­ you can go to to find a retailer near you.

I like to make sure I have a fully stocked “CANTRY”- a pantry with my favorite canned goods.  Cans actually seal in the foods’ nutrition, freshness and flavor naturally.  It also means less prep, so you can get a healthy, homemade meal on the table in no time.

Healthy Salad

Delicious, easy to prep Quinoa Chicken and Veggie Salad

 If you want a light and fresh lunch or side dish— this quinoa chicken vegetable salad is slam dunk delish.  Nutrient and protein rich canned chicken combines with the freshness of canned corn, garbanzo beans, tomatoes and broth to create a super healthy dish your family will request over and over!

I just heated chicken broth and quinoa in a medium saucepan over high heat till it boils.  Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes.  Set aside to cool.  Then, once the quinoa has cooled, add diced tomatoes, chicken, garbanzos. corn, olive oil, lemon juice, parsley and pepper.  Toss to mix well.  The recipe is here on CansGetYouCooking’s site.

Enjoy your healthy pantry!



Spring Reset to Health: Grilled Spiced Grapefruit Ricotta Dessert and Chinese Chicken Salad with Mandarins


So, it’s that time of year….y’all know what I mean. The holidays have been over for almost 3 months, but those skinny jeans are still hanging in your closet, feeling decidedly UN-skinny.  You’ve been slacking on your workout and damn, it’s almost tank top weather.  Time for a detox Healthy Spring Reset.

No need to do the Master Cleanse for 17 days– yup, did that.  (Never again!!)  It’s just a matter of swapping out some fries for a scrumptious salad– and passing on the chocolate cake and going with grilled what?  Grilled grapefruit, lovelies.  It’s a thing. And it’s GETINMYMOUTHRAWTNOW kinda good.  Like, I am kind of obsessed with it right now.  This is my first time trying Wonderful Sweet Scarletts Grapefruit and I’m hooked– so sweet, so juicy!  These are a new brand of Texas Red Grapefruits, launched nationwide in November. I remember being a little girl and my Mom would sprinkle sugar on grapefruits to get me to eat it—- you don’t even need sugar, they are so sweet!  The Texas climate has warm days and cool nights, so they are getting some of the sweetest, premium grapefruits around.


And the lavender honey sounds fancy, but it’s super easy.  Just grab a lavender plant from the grocery store or a local florist, pop a few buds of lavender in some honey and let it soak for an hour or so.  Didn’t know you could be so fancy, did ya??

OK, onto the salad next…


Chinese Chicken Salad with Peanut Ginger dressing and Wonderful Halos


This is one salad I can actually stand.  I hate salads, people. For real.  I know, I know, I’m like the 1% of chicks who chooses NOT to eat salad.  So when I do, it’s got to be really freaking good.  This one is really.  Freaking.  Good.  It’s one of those, ‘slurp it off the plate with your tongue’ yum.  The Wonderful Halos add the perfect, citrus element to this sweet and savory salad.  And they’re only in season until April, so you still have a few weeks left to enjoy these sweet, seedless mandarins.




Another Go-To in my pantry now is Great Grains Granola in both Super Nutty and Blueberry Flax.  Pop it on some Greek yogurt with some fresh fruit and call it breakfast.  Or a snack.  I keep some in a ziplock in my purse for those times when hunger starts gnawing and you really want to pull over and hit a drive thru!  They’ve got 26 grams of whole grains per serving and are made with real fruit, nuts and oats. Try this granola– you’ll find in most grocery stores.

And try these recipes– I guarantee those Skinny jeans will be feeling skinny again very soon!

*This is a sponsored post, but all of the opinions are my own. 

Spring Reset to Health: Grilled Spiced Grapefruit Ricotta Dessert and Chinese Chicken Salad with Mandarins


    For the Grilled Grapefruit
  • 2 Wonderful Sweet Scarletts Grapefruit (peel sliced off with a paring knife) and cut into thick slices
  • 1 Tb olive oil
  • For the Spice Mix
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1 Tb brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • sprinkle of cayenne
  • For the Ricotta Yogurt
  • 1 cup Ricotta (full fat)
  • 2/3 cup Greek Yogurt
  • For the Lavender Honey
  • 1/3 cup local honey
  • 3-4 lavender flowers (soak in honey for one hour and remove)
  • For the Chicken Salad
  • 1 cup diced chicken
  • 3 cups butter lettuce
  • 1 cup dry coleslaw cabbage mix
  • 2 Tb each of mint, basil and cilantro chopped up
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
  • Handful of snow peas
  • 5 Wonderful Halos mandarins pulled into individual pieces
  • For the dressing
  • 2 Tb garlic chopped up
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 3 Tb Rice vinegar
  • 1 Tb fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tb soy sauce or tamari
  • 1/4 cup mandarin juice
  • 1 Tb honey


    For the Grilled Spiced Grapefruit
  1. Spread the spice mix on the slices of grapefruit and heat up oil in a grill pan.
  2. Put slices of grapefruit down on hot grill pan and grill for 2 minutes on each side. Add some more spice mix to the flipped side.
  3. Mix ricotta and yogurt together.
  4. Top with grilled grapefruit and Drizzle with honey.
  5. For the Chinese Chicken Salad
  6. Whisk dressing ingredients together.
  7. Toss with lettuce, slaw, chicken, crushed peanuts, fresh herbs and mandarins.

Candied Strawberry Bacon (with salad if ya want it)

unnamed-2Behold, Candied Strawberry Bacon.  It might be the best thing, since, well, my low carb peanut butter and chocolate dipped candied bacon.  Seriously, y’all, it’s some melt-in-your-mouth crazy town.  The easy way to candy bacon is to cook it on a low temperature for about an hour with something sugary on top— like brown sugar.  I added Parkesdale Farms Strawberry Syrup to the mix and, well, just call it Strawberry Heaven.

I had the chance to partner with the Parke family for my latest Weather Channel segment and these strawberries are seriously the sweetest, juiciest berries I’ve ever tasted.  Below is a shot of me with Matthew Parke, after he picked me a long stem red strawberry!

unnamed-4The caption should just be “WHOAH.”

After my candied strawberry bacon experiment, I added it to some candied walnuts and then feeling guilty for all the candied things happening, I threw in some more strawberries and a little feta and spinach for good measure.  My kind of salad.


Candied Strawberry Bacon (with salad if ya want it)


    For the bacon
  • 1 package of center cut bacon
  • brown sugar
  • Parkesdale Strawberry syrup
  • For the candied walnuts
  • 1 bag of walnut pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 2 Tb butter
  • 1 Tb brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • sprinkle of cayenne pepper
  • For the balsamic vinaigrette
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tb brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • For the rest of salad
  • Fresh spinach leaves
  • sliced strawberries
  • feta


    For the bacon
  1. Preheat oven to 250
  2. Lay out bacon on a rack over a large rimmed baking pan
  3. Press brown sugar into each slice of bacon from top to bottom.
  4. Drizzle strawberry syrup over each slice.
  5. Bake for one hour.
  6. When cool, cut up bacon and put on salad
  7. For the walnuts
  8. Heat up butter on medium heat in a large frying pan and add walnuts. Add brown sugar, cumin, salt and cayenne and stir to coat. Toast in pan for another 5 minutes and set aside.
  9. For the dressing
  10. Add garlic, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar to food processor and pulse till combined. Turn processor back on and slowly add olive oil to emulsify.
  11. Toss spinach with dressing.
  12. Make the salad
  13. Add feta, strawberries, walnuts and bacon to dressed spinach and serve.

Shaved Fennel and Honeybell Salad

unnamedI recently discovered the deliciousness of fresh fennel soaked in a little lemon and olive oil.  It makes the licorice flavor a bit more subtle and is such a a great accompaniment to a rich meal.  Just use a veggie peeler and slowly shave the bulb.  It’s a bit high maintenance, but worth it!  I use a peeler like this to make a job a bit easier. The addition of cut up Honeybell pieces, some red onion and mint takes this salad to a whole new level of awesome.  Keep it chilled in the fridge until serving…you won’t even need dessert.

I had the chance to spend the day with the family who runs Countryside Citrus, in Vero Beach, Florida.  They were featured in my segment for The Weather Channel and taught me so much about the history of this unique fruit….(It’s a hybrid between a grapefruit and a tangerine, by the way!)  You can’t walk through the grove without picking and eating the Honeybells at every turn….OMG.  Delish.


The Countryside Citrus Honeybell Grove in Vero Beach, Florida.


Shaved Fennel and Honeybell Salad


  • 1 bulb of fennel shaved
  • 2 Tb fresh mint
  • 2 Honeybells (cut up, white pith and seeds removed)
  • 1/2 red onion sliced into thin rings
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1/2 Honeybell juiced
  • 2 Tb olive oil
  • sprinkle of kosher salt


  1. Combine mint, Honeybells pieces, shaved fennel, and onion in a bowl.
  2. Mix lemon and Honeybell juice with olive oil and fold into salad. Mix to combine. Put in fridge and let it marinate for 20-30 minutes before serving.