Is anyone else already mentally prepping your big Thanksgiving meal, or doing practice runs? Same here. But this month, I thought I’d suggest some great fall alternatives that your family can enjoy – because really, there are 29 other days in November! And FYI: I actually wound up making two batches of these Almond Joy cookies. On the first batch, I accidentally grabbed wax paper instead of parchment paper. Trust me, you don’t want to ever do this. The wax melted to the bottom of the cookies. Whoops! (I cut them out to take a photo, but my family was so disappointed). Fortunately, the cookies in batch number two were better all around. Edible, even.


Have a great week, and as always, bon appétit! 

Well  now, look at this: Finally, fall has arrived in West Alabama. Hooray! Now that the temps are cooling down a little, especially at night, I thought this would be the perfect time to suggest this recipe for smoked sausage and white bean soup. Obviously you can use regular sausage *or*, if you'd like an extra kick, try adding andouille instead. Enjoy, and, as always bon appétit!

Okay, so it’s not technically fall just yet – but we’re getting closer to it, and no doubt many of us are running around town, busily balancing kids, work, you-name-it. Wouldn’t it be nice to sit down with the entire family for a nice meal? With that in mind, I thought I’d suggest this wonderful chicken parmesan entrée. Make it, and watch every member of your busy family gravitate to the table. Never fails. 

By Mary Martin Nordness

For centuries, consumers have known that what they eat and how much can play a role in their health, but only until recently have studies shown that food also may play a role in keeping our brains healthy. While most Americans consider brain health the second most important component in maintaining a healthy lifestyle - right after heart health - they often have no idea they can help to fight off cognitive decline with better nutrition. And with 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 each day, and Americans living longer, it’s more important than ever to know the steps to protect your brain health.

If you’re planning on enjoying some backyard summer parties, I’ve got the potato salad for you. This bacon ranch potato salad is a huge crowd pleaser, and it’s quick and easy to make. Summer is *far* from over so enjoy all the gatherings in coming weeks.

Happy summer and as always, bon appétit!

The foods that we associate the most with the South are all at their peak in July. 

Shucking peas on the porch with grandmother, tomato sandwiches on white bread in the yard and having watermelon seed spitting contests are memories we all have here in Alabama. 

So what do you do with the haul from the farmer’s market when you get it home? 

Who doesn’t love a great cake? If you’re looking for a unique, absolutely amazing dessert to serve, this cannoli cake is simply divine. What’s even better? It’s surprisingly easy to make. Enjoy, and as always, bon appétit!

Those of you who are savvy shoppers have no doubt noticed: Strawberries can be had in almost every store (and at the Farmer's Markets) for low, LOW prices, and often in bulk. With such a bounty, what is one to do? Create a sweet desert that will thrill the taste buds of everyone in your family, of course! This is my recipe for strawberry vanilla Bundt cake, and it's usually a big hit. Enjoy using those great berries and as always, bon appétit!

It’s a summer holiday weekend and in Alabama, that means barbecue.  And by barbecue, we mean pulled pork.   We spice it up with ribs and maybe some chicken, but pulled pork is where it’s at.  

The great thing about pulled pork is that it is inexpensive, reheats beautifully, feeds a crowd and pretty much everyone loves it.  Oh, and it’s gluten free if you use a gluten free barbecue sauce (which many are) and paleo in its natural state.  So Brooke can eat it with her salad and stay on her diet.

Are you a snacker? If so, you know: It’s not easy to find a healthy, low-fat and low-carb treat to enjoy. This month, I’ve got a solution! These Low Carb Cheez-It® crackers are an excellent option as a go-to when you need something flavorful that won’t destroy your healthy eating plan. And this is easy - so no need to put off making because you can make these quickly. Summer is almost here...it's time to dial back all our unhealthy eating habits. It can be done without sacrificing tastiness. So, whether you need a snack as you catch up on the week's DVR shows or something to bring to the ballpark (these are great for sharing), give these crackers a try.

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Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.