Recipe: The Best Oven Baked Chicken Wings!

So, I was working on a recipe for chicken wings when not long after I started, my husband basically took over. Just for the record my husband CAN cook, and I love it when he does – it just doesn’t happen all that often anymore! So I did not argue and said, “Yes, I’d love for you to take a shot at developing this wing recipe” (i.e. make dinner tonight – wink wink). And I must say they turned out to be the best oven baked chicken wings I’ve had and definitely rival the smoked chicken wings we recently fell in love with at one of our favorite Charlotte restaurants, Rooster’s.

Baking this knock-off version at home by emulating the flavor of their wood burning fire with smoked salt makes our house smell almost as good as their amazing restaurant, and it only takes 45 minutes to bake (instead of hours to smoke…not to mention you don’t have to tend a fire!). So, just in time for the Super Bowl – enjoy!

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Recipe: Creamy Queso Dip (with Veggies!)

I told my husband I wanted to make queso dip, and he said, “how are you going to make a cheese dip ‘healthy?'” Well, here’s the answer! Along with all the flavorful spices you simply add peppers, tomatoes and spinach to the mix AND offer veggies on the side for dipping in addition to the chips. So just in time for Super Bowl – give it a go and let me know what you think! :) Oh, and if you are going to serve this on Sunday I would highly recommend trying to keep it warm in something like this.

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Recipe: Whole-Wheat Blueberry Scones

If you’re even remotely a fan of muffins and biscuits, then you’re gonna love these Whole-Wheat Blueberry Scones. And they’re not just for breakfast. We’ve been eating these for snacks, and I’ve also been putting them in my kids’ lunches. The possibilities are endless! Plus they’re freezer friendly too, so go for it. :)

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Recipe: Shrimp and Grits (+ our holiday team dinner!)

If you’ve never had (or heard of) Shrimp and Grits, it’s one you’ve gotta try! It’s most definitely a southern dish that’s pretty common around here in the Carolinas, but what I’ve found is there are all different ways to make it. Some add flour and broth to the shrimp to make more of sauce, some add all sorts of accompaniments like bell peppers and mushrooms, and some kick things up a notch by using sausage instead of bacon. Now I’m not sure I’ve ever met a Shrimp & Grits dish I didn’t like, but inspired by my friend Valerie’s recipe and after some trial and error I’ve settled on this simple – yet delicious – version below. And by the way, we do think of this dish as a special meal at our house – last year I served it on Christmas Eve, and Valerie often serves it on New Year’s Eve. So hopefully you can find a way to add this recipe to your holiday table as well.

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Recipe: Whole-Wheat Snickerdoodles (and How I Handle Holiday Parties)

It’s that time of year with parties and cookies and treats galore! I shared a picture on Instagram of the crazy amount of cookies that ended up at my neighbor’s cookie exchange over the weekend, and one commenter asked how I handle parties this time of year. So here’s the answer: I often eat at least a little before I go so I don’t show up too hungry. And then I follow the same advice I give my girls all the time…

At Holiday Parties: Eat a lot of what you know is good and only a little of what you know is bad (or aren’t sure about).

Avoiding highly processed food doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun because, let’s face it, it is fun to sample all the goods at a cookie party! But when I say sample, I mean SAMPLE. I probably only ate half-inch sized pieces of two thirds of the cookies there. The hostess also had bags available for taking cookies home, and I carefully selected about 8 or 10 cookies (avoiding any that obviously had artificial dyes or didn’t look homemade). And when I got home, I cut more half-inch sized pieces for my girls to try. It was fun for all! And while sugar is not a regular part of our diets we do think it’s okay in TRUE moderation. As a family, we usually indulge in about one sugary treat a week so last weekend’s cookie party was a fun way to do that!

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Recipe: Pesto Cream Cheese Turnovers (an Appetizer!)

If you’ve got lots of potluck events coming up this month, then I’ve got the perfect solution for you. Make a big batch of these super yummy (and also impressive) savory Pesto Cream Cheese Turnovers, throw them in your freezer, and then pull out (and defrost) however many you need to take to each event! They can be reheated and served warm, but they’re also great at room temperature, which is often unavoidable at long holiday parties. And I know these look like they’re for grownups, but I’m just warning you—my kids devoured them, too. Enjoy! :)

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