Author: Stacie Billis

Mouthwatering stuffed sweet potato recipes let you stuff your face and keep it healthy

This is that time of the year that I’m still totally dedicated to super healthy eating (seriously!), but also craving hearty, stick-to-your-ribs meals because, well, winter is in full swing. Every year, my answer to this conundrum is the same: baked sweet potatoes. Hearty, healthy, and satisfying, sweet potatoes can be topped—no, stuffed—with nearly anything to make a delicious meal. If you don’t believe me, check out these 8 stuffed sweet potato recipes—and just try to resist stuffing your face with them.   What happens when you make a simple black bean taco using a baked sweet potato in place of...

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6 chicken soup recipe variations to warm your bones and excite your palate

’Tis the season for chicken soup, a magical elixir said to be good for the soul and known to boost your immune system. You can never go wrong with a classic chicken soup recipe, especially when you’re feeling under the weather (the chicken noodle soup we spied on Smitten Kitchen is my idea of a perfect cold and flu remedy), but it can get boring over the course of a long winter. When you need a big bowl of soup to warm your bones and excite your palate, go for one of these fresh and flavorful chicken soup recipe...

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How to make a smoothie deliciously sweet without tons of added sugar: 5 smart tricks.

Smoothies can be a tasty way to take in—or feed your kids—a hefty dose of fruits and veggies. They can also be packed with sugar. The natural sugar that comes from whole fruit is definitely preferable to added sugar from juice, sweetened nut and seed butters, sweetened milks, flavored yogurts (which tend to have loads of refined sugars), honey, and other sweeteners that are called for in many smoothie recipes. So here are my 5 tips for how to make a smoothie that tastes great without tons of added sugar. 1. Swap in coconut water for juice. Coconut water contains...

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Detox recipes for every meal that aren’t extreme, make you full, and taste really, really good.

I’ve always been wary of detox diets. I’m an everything in moderation kind of eater, so the idea of fasting, juicing, and otherwise keeping my caloric intake to a minimum in hopes of flushing my body of toxins strikes me as extreme. My idea of detox is nothing more than “clean eating” with a focus on whole foods without a lot of processing. These detox recipes are all about fruits and veggies, grains and lean proteins that can help kickstart deliciously healthy eating, three meals a day.   Breakfast Detox Recipes Last year I stumbled upon a juice joint...

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How to make a fancy cheese plate with not-so-fancy supermarket ingredients

If you ask me, the most important aspect of throwing any cocktail or dinner party host to know is how to make a cheese plate. And not just any cheese plate, but knowing how to put one together that looks fancy, even when it’s made with affordable supermarket ingredients. Because we don’t all happen to have Murray’s Cheese Shop in our hoods (mmm…)  I’ve put together this simple primer on how to make an elegant, people-pleasing cheese platter without the help of a top cheesemonger and definitely without spending a ton of money.   1. Start with a variety of cheeses. As in, a...

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The best cookbooks for families: Editors’ Best of 2014

Another year, another pile of cookbooks. I’ve added some amazing titles to my cookbook collection this year, but eight in particular are in heavy rotation in my family kitchen, which I think makes them among the best cookbooks for families–indispensable resources especially for parents. Because hey, we aren’t just home cooks; we’re time-crunched, picky-busting, budget-watching home cooks who are constantly trying to feed multiple tastes. There are many fabulous cookbooks from this year, but it takes special cookbooks like these eight that I’ve narrowed down, to provide parents just what we need to get the family cooking job done right. In no particular order,...

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5 crazy easy Christmas cookie recipes that make a perfect last-minute treat for Santa.

Santa may have a team of elves working for him (not to mention a name-taking Mrs. who pretty much keeps the whole show together), but the rest of us are running on fumes by Christmas Eve, and with little back up to boot. Still, cookies must be made. Because once every gift is finally in order, right before the lights go out, Santa (ahem) needs a snack. Any one of these 5 easy Christmas cookie recipes can be made without stress at the very last minute for a perfect treat for Santa.   Gingerbread Cookies I was not born with the cookie...

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How to make the best ever mulled wine. Because winter is coming.

Knowing how to make mulled wine is at the top of my holiday season skills list, along with pie making, gift wrapping, and secret keeping. (I score 2 out of 4. Can you guess my failures?!) Mulled wine is one of my favorite winter drinks. Like a warm version of sangria, it is packed with citrus and boosted with holiday spices. Make a big batch of this mulled wine recipe and keep it warm all day to keep the wine-drinkers in your family happy.   To make this mulled wine, you’ll need: 4 750ml bottles of red wine (see...

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4 easy, semi-homemade pasta dinners that taste great, save time, and don’t have a single artificial ingredient.

As someone who develops recipes professionally, you’d think that I’d always have a plan for feeding my family dinner. Just like everybody else, though, the busier I get, the harder it is to get dinner on the table. Thanks to natural brands like Three Bridges (who is our newest, awesome sponsor — yay, welcome Three Bridges!) being time crunched doesn’t have to mean relying on take-out or heavily processed foods loaded up with preservatives. Their natural and organic pastas (including gluten-free raviolis!) plus ready-made pasta sauces make it possible to throw together fresh, simple meals like these easy pasta dinners. These four meals...

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7 easy, holiday chocolate bark recipes. Because candy made in minutes is the best gift of all.

Chocolate candy is a must over the holidays. Festive sweets make a special treat to have around the house, serve as part of a holiday dessert spread, or give as a gift. Store bought is great—we love supporting local chocolate shops—but it can get expensive, and who needs that when homemade takes 5 minutes to prep? These 7 delectable holiday chocolate bark recipes are a cinch to make, totally affordable, and look absolutely gorgeous. Now if only gift wrapping were this easy.   If you’ve never made bark before, you’re in for a treat. This basic chocolate bark recipe from Martha...

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Our favorite cocktail party foods to have on hand for easy entertaining.

Holiday entertaining doesn’t have to be a blockbuster affair. In fact, some of the best holiday gatherings are small, impromptu get togethers and relaxed gatherings with easy cocktail party foods, festive snacks and, of course, seasonal drinks. During the holidays especially, I stock my pantry with these snack foods so that I can invite people over whenever the whim strikes. With these goodies on hand, I know my guests will be well fed—without any hard work.   Lesley Stowe Crisps Crackers are a must at any gathering, and I’m not talking about everyday butter crackers. Don’t get me wrong, those...

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8 of the best jelly donut recipes for Hanukkah. Or for anybody, anytime. Because donuts are non-denominational.

If you’re not Jewish, get ready to wish that you were: Jelly donuts are a traditional Hanukkah food. As in, you must eat them to celebrate the holiday or you get kicked out of the tribe. Okay, you don’t really have to eat them, but you can and should, and these delicious jelly donut recipes from some of my favorite food bloggers and editors are proof. By the way: no judgments if you make one of these jelly donut treats and don’t celebrate Hanukkah. If anything brings us together as one, it’s donuts.   These Blackberry Jam and Custard Donuts (above &...

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Holiday food gifts for future chefs—or any kid who likes ice cream and chocolate.

There may be more talk of picky eaters than foodie kids, but some kids really dig food. I know for sure that these seemingly rare creatures exist because I happen to be mother to one. My older son loves eating, looking at food magazines, and is fearless in the kitchen. If you’ve got one like him on your hands too, and are like, eh, he has enough toys…then check out these fun ideas for holiday food gifts for kids. And come to think of it, take a look at these holiday food gifts even if you have a picky eater. Sometimes giving...

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10 kitchen gadget gifts for every family cook, even the reluctant ones.

Whether we like it or not, all of us parents become the family cook at some point, and even those of you who hate to cook know that it doesn’t get us out of it. (Darn kids and their need to eat.) These fab kitchen gadget gifts are some of my very favorites. They make the job a little bit easier, or at least more fun. And I imagine that every family cook—from the passionate to the uh…reluctant—will love having a cool new kitchen gadget like these. Some products may contain affiliate links from Amazon or reward style   Whirley Pop Popcorn Popper ($19.99 at Bed,...

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7 skinny holiday drinks: Because skinny cocktails mean more cookies.

I’d like to think that calories don’t count over the holidays. In fact, that IS what I think while indulging in classic holiday treats like decadent hot chocolate and gingerbread desserts. Cocktails, though, are a place where I can skimp on calories without missing out on taste, too—these 7 skinny holiday drinks are proof. And, hey, the fewer calories I use on cocktails, the more I’ll happily enjoy Christmas cookies.   This seasonal Apple Spiced Martini created by Chef Marcus Samuelsson and found in Redbook is packed with warm holiday spice. The simple syrup used to sweetened this drink is made...

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8 fun Hanukkah gift ideas for kids, one for every night. Shopping done!

Compared to last year (holy Thanksgivukkah!), it may seem like we have tons of time to prep for Hanukkah, but I have a feeling that the time will fly. Quickly. Before we know it, we’ll be on the hook for eight crazy nights of festivities and, probably Hanukkah gifts for your kids, too. Of course, all of the toys and gifts in this year’s Cool Mom Picks gift guide make great options, especially our ideas for Baby’s First Hanukkah if you have a new baby or toddler. But for older kids, I’ve tracked down these great Hanukkah gifts for kids...

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Edible gifts for Hanukkah: 9 tasty treats to order for all, big and small.

With 8 days of gift giving, Hanukkah is a time for creativity: Something they need, something they want, and so on and so forth until you get to something they can eat. These edible gifts for Hanukkah are a perfect addition to the holiday mix and also make great hostess and family gifts. There’s a tasty little treat in here for everyone, from big to small, silly to gourmet.   Edible gifts for Hanukkah for kids Ugly Hanukkah Sweater Cookie Why should Christmas get all the ugly sweater fun? These adorable Ugly Hanukkah Sweater cookies are hysterical and, made...

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The best Thanksgiving wines for $20 or less, plus tips for picking your own holiday wine (no snobbery included).

You’ve planned and prepped for your Thanksgiving meal and then suddenly you remember: wine! (Or is that just me?) I generally drink wines I like, no matter what’s on the table–I’m easy that way. The Thanksgiving challenge is that there’s so much on the table, with so many bold, rich flavors, it’s hard to figure out how to pair wines with Thanksgiving dinner.  However putting a little bit of thought into your Thanksgiving wines can help keep you from serving ones that clash with the many flavors of the day. Nothing too fancy, though; all of my Thanksgiving wine picks are $20...

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How to cook a turkey: 5 easy Thanksgiving turkey recipes

We’ve been gearing up for Thanksgiving all week with amazing mashed potato recipes, the easiest cranberry sauce recipes, killer stuffing recipes, tips for how to make homemade pie, and a guide to best mail order pies in the country (a tasty, timesaving approach to Thanksgiving dessert). Now it’s time to talk turkey. Foodies the nation over will be debating the merits of brining, whether to spatchcock (yes, I said that), if frying is worthwhile, and otherwise discussing ad nauseum how to cook a turkey. The rest of us just need a good, easy Thanksgiving turkey recipe, and one of...

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Best ever Thanksgiving stuffing recipes: The essential Thanksgiving table

Stuffing is one of those Thanksgiving dishes that I’m always changing. One year cornbread, the next sourdough. Sometimes sausage, other times bacon. Every once in a while I make it in the bird, though mostly it’s done in a separate pot. I’m not yet sure how I’m going to approach stuffing this year, but I know that one of these 8 amazing Thanksgiving stuffing recipes is going to be on my table–and you might be thrilled to have them on yours, too. I’m guessing there’s something here for everyone, no matter how you like your stuffing. Even if you call it dressing....

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