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Fabulous Last Minute (and NON-Fattening) Holiday Gifts

December 19th, 2016
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arinalanis

December 2016 on Better Kansas City

December is always a wonderful time of year… Christmas lights, holiday parties, reuniting with family, seeing old friends, making new friends, lots of opportunities to use the fireplace, holiday cards,  egg nog, cake, and food, food, food!!!

I think we can agree, December is a month that may be hazardous to the waistline, so when I was invited to come up with some fun ideas for KCTV’s Channel 5 Better Kansas City, I thought I would develop a gift that was straight from my heart AND kitchen but also a healthy alternative to cookie or hot cocoa mix in a jar.

Soup, jar, healthy

Soup in A Jar – Great Holiday Gift!

PROTEIN PACKED PEA & LENTIL SOUP:

Hold on to your hats, because this soup packs a massive amount of fiber, protein, and magnesium! So easy, delicious, and super healthy! Substitute the beef bouillon cubes for vegetarian cubes, to turn this soup vegan/vegetarian friendly.

1 Cup Dried Split Peas
1/2 Cup uncooked white rice
1/2 Cup lentils
3 Tbsp Minced Onion
3 Tbsp Dried Parsley
3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 beef bouillon squares
1/2 – 1 cup of elbow pasta (pack in a zip lock bag since it will be the last
step in preparation)

DIRECTIONS

1.In a wide mouth 1 quart jar, start layering the peas, rice, and lentils.
Then add the onion, parsley, salt, pepper, bouillon cubes and bagged pasta.

2. Seal with a lid, and place a gift bow on top. Attach a gift card with
ribbon that reads: Add Contents of Jar To 4-5 Quarts of Water. Bring to a boil
and then simmer for 45 minutes, add pasta, simmer for another 15 minutes and enjoy. To elevate this soup recipe, add two stalks of chopped celery, two sliced carrots, 1 cup of shredded cabbage and two cups of diced tomatoes.

soups

VAPOR RUB SHOWER BOMB

3 tablespoons of VapoRub
1 cup of corn starch
Blue and green food coloring (optional)
3 tablespoons of water
Mixing bowl
Wax paper
Spoon

DIRECTIONS

1. In a bowl add in the three tablespoons of VapoRub. You can use any variety of VapoRub you wish.

2. Stir in the cup of corn starch. Mix well. You will notice that the
VapoRub takes a little time to soften. Continue to stir until it becomes a
thick paste.
3. Add in the two tablespoons of water. The goal is to make a paste that can
easily be manipulated with your hands, since you will be creating balls out
of it. Once you see that your mixture is thick enough to work with, it may
be a good time to stop. If you pick it up and try to shape it and it falls
apart, it needs a little water. If it can’t hold a shape, it has too much
water, so add more cornstarch.

4. When your mixture is the right consistency, add several drops of green
and blue food coloring. Continue to stir. This step makes the Shower bombs look like they have mint and spearmint in them, a little visual trick.  But if you prefer to omit the food coloring, feel free. 

5. Once the color is mixed in well, scoop the mixture into your hand. It
will have a play dough feel to it. Knead it into a ball and set on a piece
of wax paper.  For a square look, pack the mixture into an ice cube tray and freeze. When frozen, cut each rectangle in two to create smaller squares. 

6. Place in a freezer for 20-30 minutes and then put in a jar. If this is
a gift, include direction on the gift tag to place directly on the drain of
the bathtub while taking a shower. You don’t want the ball to be floating
in the bathtub water during the shower, since it can make the bathtub slick.
Placing it directly on the drain will make sure that it will melt directly
in the drain.

 

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Super Bowl Snackadium – Well, sort of!

May 9th, 2016
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What can I say, my friends know how to party!! I am just IN LOVE with this gorgeous and super sophisticated “snackadium” my friend Robynn assembled. sac a dos fjallraven Most of the plates were elevated, although it’s hard to see in this photo. Fjallraven Kanken Classic And although it didn’t have a traditional stadium look, Adidas Superstar Heren it still fit the bill. nike air max 2016 goedkope If you think it looks good in the photo, Cheap Fjallraven Kanken Big you should have seen it live in person! I also loved that she incorporated some healthy buffet items.

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Delicious Vegan and Vegetarian Make Ahead Salads!

March 25th, 2016
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As always, I had a wonderful time on Better Kansas City on KCTV 5!  For this show, I made delicious vegan and vegetarian salads that would be perfect for your Easter celebration or any celebration for that matter!  If there is anything I have learned while prepping for parties, it’s to make as many dishes ahead of time as possible.  I can’t tell you how much easier it makes things on the day of the event.  These salads are perfect for just that!  Each one is made from delicious ancient grains that are rich, filling, and good for you.  And if the fact that they are delicious and healthy is not enough for you,  what if I told you that the longer they stayed in the refrigerator, the better they taste?!  So now you see why I LOVE these salads and hope you will too!

Lisa Teachman and Arina Lanis

Lisa and I after our segment. Love her!!!

Quinoa, Barley, and Orzo salads

Santa Fe Quinoa Salad (lowest bowl), Mint and Green Beans Barley Salad (middle bowl), and Feta and Mint Orzo salads (top bowl) (all are on the left) and Santa Fe Quinoa Salsa with chips and bread (right)

RECIPES

Santa Fe Quinoa Salad 
You can't get more perfect than Quinoa, With its mild flavor, light crunch
and impressive protein content, quinoa is the perfect gluten-free and
non-GMO substitute for pasta, rice or couscous. The below salad is fabulous
for any party and can be prepared ahead and stored for up to three days or
more! 

Serves 6-8 

Six cups of cooked Quinoa
1 can of black beans
1 cup of cilantro 
1 cup of frozen corn or one can of canned corn
1 cup of red pepper (chopped)
1/4 cup of chopped red onion
1 cup of chopped tomatoes
1 avocado

Dressing
1/2 cup Olive oil
2 Garlic Cloves Minced
1 teaspoon of cumin
2 tblsp of lime juice
1 tsp honey
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
In a bowl combine your black beans, red pepper, corn, onion, cilantro, and
cooked quinoa.

Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, pepper and honey
together and toss over bean and corn mixture.

Refrigerator for at least 15-20 minutes

When ready to serve, add your tomato, cilantro, and avocado. Gently toss and
combine well.

If you plan on refrigerating this salad for a couple of day, leave out the
tomatoes and avocados until right before serving.

You can serve this just as a salad or add just a bit of quinoa and instead
serve the "salad" with crackers or chips, more like a dip. 

Orzo and Feta Salad with Lemon and Mint

Orzo is a delicious pasta which takes this spring and summer salad to a
whole new level.  Orzo is simple to prepare, is small in size, and has a
wonderful ability to soak in flavors from other ingredients.  It's a perfect
addition to soups, pilafs, and SALADS!!

Serves 2-4

4 cups of cooked orzo
1 cup finely diced yellow bell pepper
2 finely diced large cucumbers (remove seeds)
4-6 oz of Feta cheese
4 tbsp minced fresh mint leaves


Dressing
1/3 cup of minced shallots
1/4 cup of Olive oil
3 tbsp of fresh lemon juice
1 minced garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon of finely grated lemon zest
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the ingredients for the dressing... olive oil, shallots, lemon
juice, garlic, lemon zest and salt and pepper.  Mix until well blended.

For the salad combine cooked orzo, yellow bell pepper, cucumbers, mint, and
feta cheese.

Pour salad dressing over salad and toss well.  You can serve immediately or
for an even more intense flavor, let sit for 1-2 hours at room temperature.


If you plan on making this salad a few days before eating, leave the mint
off until right before serving.

Spring and Summer Barley Salad with Mint and Green Beans

Whole grain barley is a healthy high-fiber, high-protein whole grain
boasting numerous health benefits. When cooked, barley has a chewy texture
and nutty flavor, similar to brown rice. Although soup is the most popular
way to eat barley, it was wonderful for salads as well.  

4 cups of cooked barley
1 cup of green beans (steamed and cut into one inch pieces)
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots (minced)
3 (about 1 cup) ounces white mushrooms (stems discarded and sliced thin).
2 fresh lemons (juiced)
2 tbsp minced fresh mint
2 tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Heat 3 tbsp of olive oi in a small pan and cook the shallots unitl softened.
Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until mushrooms have given off their
liquid and it has evaporated. Add lemon juice and parsley. Salt and pepper
to taste and let cool.

When mixture is cool, pour over the barley and set aside.  Whisk together
the remaining olive oil with the juice from one lemon. Pour the mixture over
barley and toss everything until well blended.
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PEEPS Decorating Party!

March 25th, 2016
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It’s no secret, my youngest boy loves PEEPS and since his birthday falls around Easter, there is no shortage of the cute little colorful bunnies and chicks decorating store shelves and calling out our names.  So why fight it?

Each year, my kids and I purchase a crazy amount of PEEPS boxes and set out to create our PEEPS creations.  In the years past, I’ve had them create centerpieces and edible treats.  This year, we decided to create story ideas on construction paper.  We also invited a couple of their friends to join us.  The kids had a blast and came up with some funny ideas.  Next year, we are going to continue with this tradition and invite even more friends.  It’s so fun to see their imaginations take off, even if it involves marshmallow bunnies and chicks!

peepsparty-photo-01

PEEPS table, ready for some creativity!

PEEPS table, ready for some creativity!

We used PEEPS, jelly beans, paper grass, and markers

We used PEEPS, jelly beans, paper grass, and markers as our art supplies

PEEPS Pikachu

PEEPS Pikachu

We used PEEPS, jelly beans, paper grass, and markers

We used PEEPS, jelly beans, paper grass, and markers

peepsparty-photo-04

PEEPS Picnic

 

peepsparty-photo-07

PEEPS comics

 

peepsparty-photo-06

PEEPs Easter Egg Hunt

 

peepsparty-photo-08

PEEPS owl

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Healthy Valentine’s Day Yummies – Beet Hummus – No Bake Cookies – Health (ier) Chocolates!

February 9th, 2016
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arinalanis

valentines-01

As always, hanging out with the wonderful people at Better Kansas City is always a treat! On yesterday’s Valentine’s Day inspired show I showed Lisa Teachman a few fun recipes.  May I quickly add that I feel proud that I was the reason she tried beets for the first time!  You gotta love it when you can inspire people to try a fun recipe or experience a new foods!

My three recipes included a Beet Hummus (Brace yourself… this stuff is AH-MAZING!!!), No Bake Paleo Cookies, and home-made chocolates filled with fun and healthy ingredients.  So, without further delay, here are the recipes.  Enjoy!!

valentines-05

ROASTED BEET HUMMUS + BAKED HEART TORTILLA CHIPS

1 cup of roasteded beets (directions to roast below)
1 15 oz. can white kidney beans (mostly drained)
zest of one large lemon
juice of half a large lemon
healthy pinch salt and black pepper
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1. Slice beets into thick slices and toss in olive oil with a generous portion of salt, pepper, and your favorite dried and/or fresh herbs. I love to toss mine with dried rosemary and oregano. Roast at 400 for approximately 15-20 minutes.

2. Let beets cool and place them in a food processor. Add, olive oil, beans, lemon zest and juice, garlic, Process all ingredients until very smooth. Follow my three step rule… Process, scrape, taste. Adjust ingredients according to your taste. I love extra lemon in my hummus, so I may add a bit more as I process. Then, again… Process, scrape, taste.  Do this a total of three times and you should have your perfect hummus!

3. Serve hummus with warm pita bread, chips, crackers, or vegetables. Store extra hummus in an airtight container for up to a week.

For the above photo I used large tortillas which I cut out as hearts (with a heart cookie cutter).  Then, I brushed each heart with olive oil, sprinkled with dried dill, oregano, and garlic salt.  Baked at 375 in the oven for about 10-15 minutes… keep an eye on the tortilla chips so they don’t burn.   Let cool and serve alongside your beet hummus. These baked tortilla chips are so much healthier than the store-bought fried alternative!

valentines-03

valentines-04
PALEO NO BAKE THUMBPRINT COOKIES

1 cup coconut flour sifted
2 T almond flour
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
pinch cinnamon
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4- 1 cup Almond Milk
Dark chocolate
Goji Berries
Hemp Seeds

Instructions
In a large mixing bowl, combine coconut flour,almond flower, and coconut palm sugar, and cinnamon. Make sure all the dry ingredients are mixed well.

Stir in the almond butter until the dough is crumbly. Using a tablespoon at a time, add the almond milk until a very thick batter is formed. Make golf sized balls with the dough and press down in the center of each to create a small ditch. Place the balls on a lined baking pan. Fill with dark chocolate and top off with god berries and hemp seeds. Refrigerate until time to serve.

valentines-02

candymelt

 

QUINOA POWER CHOCOLATES

Any kind of chocolate Chocolate or candy melts
1/2 cup of toasted Quinoa (toasting instructions below)
Small heart molds or candy molds. I purchased mine at Michael’s in the baking section

Make chocolate with your favorite recipe or melt chocolate chips or candy melts.

Add toasted Quinoa to chocolate and mix well. Fill the heart molds with the chocolate and quinoa mixture. Cool in refrigerator until fully set.  Pop out and enjoy.

HOW TO TOAST QUINOA : Toast quinoa in medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until quinoa is very fragrant and makes continuous popping sound, 10-15 minutes. Transfer quinoa to bowl and set aside. Store extra quinoa in an airtight container.

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HALLOWEEN MONSTER VEGGIE PLATTER

October 31st, 2015
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HALLOWEEN VEGGIE PLATE

I am ending 31 Days of Halloween off with a BANG!!  This healthy veggie platter was a hit at a recent party I attended.  It was fun and funny!  And best of all… HEALTHY!!!  Happy Halloween Everyone!

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The Ghoulish Green Haze

October 29th, 2015
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greenhaze

A great blast from the past!  We featured this drink in St. Louis Entertains Magazine a few years back and it has always been a Halloween favorite! This drink is delicious and a perfect addition to any Halloween bar menu or even as a signature drink!

Ingredients

  • 1 shot Gin
  • 1 shot Creme de Menthe
  • Splash Pineapple Juice
  • Splash Ginger Ale

Preparation

Pour the two shots into a martini shaker with ice and shake well. Pour into martini glass and top with pineapple juice and Ginger Ale
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SUPER EASY SUGAR COOKIES

October 26th, 2015
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cookies

The month of October was a busy one for me!  While doing research for my upcoming book, I decided to try-out some fun Halloween recipes I found on Pinterest, magazines, books, and various other sources.  The goal was for me to see if some of the most popular recipes were as good as their inventors claimed they were.  So, over the past four weeks, I’ve had four taste test kitchens and invited children who’s ages range from 8 to 13.

The main goal was to have these kids try some fun recipes and tell me what they REALLY thought.  And that is exactly what I got!

I had various kinds of feedback… too sweet, too salty, not enough sugar, too dry… but predominantly they were all thumbs up.  The sugared cookies, pictured above were by far, the most popular items.  Super easy and a few ingredients, who could ask for anything more?

INGREDIENTS

1 package of Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Dough
1/4 cup of flour
1 Package Betty Crocker Cookie Icing – Black
Candied Googly Eyes available at most craft stores in the baking section

PREPARATION

Remove the Pillsbury dough from package and put in a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup of flour and knead with your hands until the dough forms. Flour your cutting board and place the dough on top. Flour your rolling pin and roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch. Remember to keep flouring your rolling pin a little bit with every roll. This dough tends to be sticky.

Get your bat cookie cutters and cut out your cookies. Repeat the step to roll out the dough with any leftovers.

Place the bat cookies in the oven and cook according to dough package direction.  Keep an eye on them, the thinner the dough, the faster they tend to burn.

Once cookies are done, let them cool and harden.

Once the cookies are cooled, begin decorating them. Just snip off the tip above the second ring, massage the bag a little bit and make your outline. Then, flood the bat and add the googly eyes. Let dry 5-10 minutes and enjoy!

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PUMPKIN PATCH HUMMUS DIP

October 24th, 2015
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pumpkinpatchhummusdip

Seriously, how can you not fall in love with this great idea for an appetizer? It’s easy to put together and fun for guests to nibble on. All you need are carrots, parsley, green onion, toothpicks, and hummus.

A few years ago I posted this recipe (on the bottom left) but then realized that you can use pre-cut and bagged carrots (main image) instead of cutting them yourself.  Best part? The pre-cut and bagged carrots have ridges and are different shapes, a lot like pumpkins. Still yummy but now you can save a step and not have cut the carrots!!!!

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg Hummus
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  • toothpicks

Preparation

Just slice the carrots, take some parsley leaves and attach them to the carrot with a toothpick. Slide a piece of green onion over the toothpick to have a look of a stem and arrange on a bed of hummus. Told ya it was simple! Thanks to the folks at Disney magazine for inspiring me with this recipe.
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HALLOWEEN BLOODSHOT EYES!

October 22nd, 2015
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bloodshoteyes

Here’s a fun Halloween recipe which will take you five to ten minutes to prepare!  This was fun to make and fun to eat!  My kids loved it and the kids at my Halloween Taste Test Kitchen gobbled these little cuties up within minutes.  What do I like most about it.  Portion size!  Since you are working with snack-sized chocolates, you immediately have your portion sizes figured out for you!  Trust me, you’ll love that!!

INGREDIENTS

1 bag of Snack sized Three Musketeers chocolates
1 bag of marshmallows
1 package of candy googly eyes
1 bottle or bag of ready-made red icing

PREPARATION

Arrange the Three Musketeers chocolates on a plate or platter.  Take a marshmallow and start slicing it to create the large portion of the eye.  Take the slices of marshmallows and adhere them to the candy.  Adhere the googly eye to the marshmallow.  Finally, pipe the red icing on to the marshmallow to make it look like a bloodshot eye. The first and the lasts slices of the Marshmallow will not be sticky on one side. If you will be using these pieces, adhere them with the red icing.

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