How does the cook in the family shed a few pounds while making a meal the whole family will still crave and love? In Gina Homolka’s mind, it’s simple. You just need to get into the kitchen and start cooking.

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The challenges of weight loss has been a universal struggle that has made the popularity of Gina’s blog, Skinnytaste, the success that it is since it’s beginnings in 2008. And it’s the same exact reason her new cookbook has soared to the tops of the best-seller lists.

As the creator of  both publishing endeavors, Gina Homolka has found the secret ingredient that resonates with her readers: she solves cooking conundrums for dieters by delivering calorie conscious, but still totally crave-worthy, lightened-up family favorite recipes that are painless to plan and create. In fact her Fettuccine Alfredo with Chicken and Broccoli clocks in at just 420 calories per serving. Say what?

Now with her first cookbook,  The Skinnytaste Cookbook, legions of devout fans are going offline and straight to the cookbook shelves to discover recipes that she calls, “light on calories, big on flavor.”

This Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup is just one of the many of Gina’s recipes that have been tested, tasted and high five approved and I’m sharing the recipe, plus a giveaway for a copy of The Skinnytaste Cookbook, with you today.

Let’s dig in!

Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup #recipe on foodiecrush.com

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We Love Our Readers Giveaway

by heidi on October 22, 2014

Reader Appreciation Blendtec Giveaway

How about we give a little hump day bump to this week with a “just because we love you” giveaway? Did I hear a collective gasp of, “YESSSS” and “Pass the chocolate chip cookies and wine, so we can get through this thing called life ’til Friday?”

Good to hear we’re in this boat together.

I’ve teamed up with a few blogging friends to offer you a break from the norm, something to add a little whirl to your kitchen and get your motors running toward a healthy and happy holiday season. Sorry to break it to you, but yes, it’s almost here.

We’re giving away not just one, but TWO Blendtec blenders to two reader fans, as our little way to say, thanks for being out there in the blogosphere, for reading our silly stories, sharing in our highs and lows and getting into the kitchen and making our recipes.

It’s simple to win, no big, drawn-out processes, and here’s how:

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So much for the peaches I’ve been hoarding in my crisper. Those babies sadly saw the heave-ho, because while they looked blushed and perfectly ripe on the outside, the inside told a very different story. So much for saving the best for last.

Baked Pear and Plum Phyllo Tart with Blue Cheese on foodiecrush.com

But they made way for another farmer’s market fall favorite. Four F’s in one sentence, that must be a sign. A very good sign.

This phyllo recipe with baked pears and stone fruit has multiple personalities. One day it thinks it’s a dessert, the next it shows off as an appetizer. And watch out Nelly, because it also has the chops for breakfast, lunch or dinner (+ pancetta or bacon perhaps?)

While my sister-in-law Ginni has the very sad condition of not being able to stand the mere mention of baked fruit, let alone eat it, I’ve pick up her slack, and have always been a fan.

Fresh fruit baked on a bed of puffed crust is a favorite dessert for entertaining. Most likely because when I’ve finally gotten to the end of planning my entertaining menu, I’ve lost my mojo and need something simple and fast to pull together.

Honey sweet fruit with blue cheese fits the bill in all the right ways.

Baked Pear and Plum Phyllo Tart with Blue Cheese on foodiecrush.com

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Friday Faves

by heidi on October 17, 2014

What a glorious season this fall has been. It’s already mid-October and snow has yet to hit the front yard and wreck all of the Halloween decorations Smudge and I have crafted for our spookalicious spook alley. Glory yes!

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Thank you so much to those of you who sent me feedback in my reader survey. So far I see you guys still love Friday Faves, family recipes and lots of yummy food photos.  I’ll be tabulating the results to help me create a FoodieCrush you want to visit and be inspired by but if you’d still like to give me your 2 cents (I think it’s worth a lot more!) then please let me know here.

This weekend I’ll be with some inspiring food bloggers at Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah, where we’ll be encouraging, teaching and helping one another build better blogs for you to visit and learn from. Stay tuned for about what I’m going to be learning soon, can’t wait to share with you.

So now, let’s dig into this week’s Friday Faves.

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Move over quinoa, there’s a new grain in town.

Sweet Corn, Gouda and Farro Risotto on foodiecrush.com

Well, now, wait a minute. Farro is far from new with its roots running deep, deep, deep (pun intended) and this ancient grain is making major waves in the foodie scene.

The 90′s were all about couscous (which I still adore), the 00′s saw the wave of wild and unusual rices, and who can’t open a cookbook / food blog / food magazine for the past few years without seeing the glories of quinoa being extolled from the high heavens. But do you farro? If not, you should.

Farro is one of those wonder grains that to a lot of us mainstream eaters in the U.S., seems a bit outlandish and even exotic. But is it? If you consider the grain of choice that ancient Egyptian kings dined on as exotic, then yes, exotic it is. I mean, they were KINGS! But that hardly makes this grain unapproachable or intimidating. In fact, farro might be the easiest grain of all to cook and it’s versatility will have quinoa looking hard and fast in the rear view mirror, just waiting for farro to take over it’s first place run in the superfood popularity polls.

Sweet Corn, Gouda and Farro Risotto on foodiecrush.com

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