Happy April Fool’s Day! (White Bean Hummus)

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Happy April Fool’s Day!

(can you believe that it’s April already?!)

I am not big on pulling pranks, today or any day, but if you want to play a delicious prank on your family and friends, whip up a batch of my mom’s April Fool’s Hummus (which is absolutely harmless!).

It is a twist on my traditional hummus recipe

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…by replacing white beans for the traditional chickpeas. A tasty, sneaky prank that makes the most stubborn hummus haters change their tune.

It’s all because the white beans have a super mild flavor (which my mom loves) and a super smooth texture (which I love). And the recipe is still super easy.

Combine minced garlic and the white beans…

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…with some white vinegar, hot sauce, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor.

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Pulse until the beans are broken down slightly.

See, even without the olive oil, the hummus is already becoming smooth.

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After an addition of olive oil, utter hummus nirvana.

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Just dish it up and serve to your unsuspecting family and friends!

 

Happy April Fool’s Day, everyone!

Your amateur prankster friend,

C

White Bean Hummus

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

1-15oz can of small white beans, rinsed and drained

3 cloves of garlic – more or less depending on your taste

1½ tablespoons of white vinegar

1-2 tablespoons of good extra-virgin olive oil

Hot sauce of your choice

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Steps:

1. In the bowl of a food processor, place in garlic cloves and pulse until finely chopped.

2. Add rinsed, drained white beans, vinegar,  1 tablespoon of olive oil, and as much hot sauce as your heart desires.

3. Puree – add more olive oil until you reach the consistency you want.

4. Taste and adjust seasoning – add salt, pepper, and extra hot sauce.

Serve with pita chips, raw veggies, or just dig in with spoon!

Nutrition Information (one serving – 2 tablespoons):

37 calories • 6gm carbohydrates • 1gm fiber • 2gm protein • 1gm fat • < 1gm saturated fat • 100mg sodium • 0mg cholesterol • < 1mg iron • 19mg calcium

Tex-Mex Bruschetta Dip

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I am three-quarters of the way through my first week of Vegetarianism 3.0 and I have been eating pretty well. I’ll have a recap post on Saturday (promise) but I had to share a little snack that I whipped up on Sunday… which was not technically the start of my vegetarian journey, but it was close.

I came home on Sunday from a community health promotion event for my internship and I was completely starving. Because it was the awkward time between lunch and dinner (and I did NOT want to ruin my appetite for roasted chicken), I wanted something light and fresh.

So I made Tex-Mex Bruschetta Dip – a combination of traditional Italian bruschetta and my favorite Tex-Mex flavors.

It starts with some beautiful grape tomatoes.

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Mine were a little large, so I cut them into quarters for easy eating.

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And then gently chucked them into a bowl.

Added some avocado.

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Part One of the Tex-Mex aspect of this dip. Yummy (and seriously, how beautiful is that green?).

Then I tossed in some black beans.

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Not only for some protein but for some more Tex-Mex flavor!

Now, there needs to be a little more Italian flavor (this is bruschetta dip after all).

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So I drizzled the whole thing in a delicious lemony vinaigrette. It adds the acidity to prevent the avocados from going brown but also gives the whole dish an Italian flair!

Then I just plopped it into a bowl and garnished with some basil.

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And plunked some crackers on the side. If you want, you can actually serve this like bruschetta by spooning the dip onto toasted bread. Flexibility, man… it’s a good thing!

It was a perfect snack that combined my favorite flavors and was the perfect beginning to my vegetarian journey.

Enjoy, everyone.

Your avocado lovin’, Italy missin’ friend,

C

Tex-Mex Bruschetta Dip

  • Servings: 2 people
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

10-11 grape tomatoes, cut in half (or quarters if they are really big)

½ a medium-size avocado, cubed

¼ cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Basil for garnish

Steps:

1. In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, avocado, and black beans. Set aside.

2. In a container with a tight fitting lid, combine the lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, mustard, salt, and pepper. Shake well to combine.

3. Drizzle some of the dressing over the tomato mixture. Stir to combine – add more dressing if you desire. Garnish with some basil and serve alongside crackers or on toasted bread slices.

Enjoy!

Easter Dinner

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter! In my neck of the woods, the weather was beautiful and provided a wonderful end to an insanely relaxing weekend.

The end of which was highlighted by a magnificent Easter feast my parents put together (and I helped… slightly).

Here is the obligatory table picture we take at each holiday.

EASTER TABLE

The flower centerpiece is beautiful, but I was more excited when it was replaced with this!

EASTER DINNER

Yum, yum, yum. Greek roasted chicken and lamb. This was even more exciting than receiving a one-pound SOLID chocolate bunny in my Easter basket (and you all know how much I love my chocolate).

My mother rounded out the Greek tradition of Easter lamb with Greek lemon potatoes, roasted vegetables, and the famous Greek yogurt sauce tzatziki.

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So pretty… and so good! It was the perfect dinner after breaking my vegetarian fast with bacon earlier in the morning.

But what made everything shine was the tzatziki. It is not only adds great zip to any meal (Easter or otherwise), it really acts as a fresh complement to the earthy lamb. And it is the easiest thing to make.

Grab an (washed) English cucumber… This one was exceptionally large, so I used only three-quarters of it.

CUCUMBER

Split it in half.

SPLIT CUCUMBER

And use a spoon to scrape out the seeds.

SEEDED CUCUMBER

Grate the cucumber on a box grater set over a clean tea towel.

GRATING CUCUMBER

Look at that pile! Please resist eating the cucumber as you snap a photo.

PILE OF CUCUMBER

Now here comes the athletic part – gather up the edges of the towel and SQUEEZE the living daylights out of the cucumber. You need to wring out as much moisture as possible to prevent the tzatziki from getting watery.

DRAINING CUCUMBER

Some people grate their cucumber, put it in a colander, salt it, and let it drain into a bowl overnight. I do this too, but it takes a while and we wanted tzatziki with dinner last night. The squeeze method works just as well and is much quicker!

Dump the cucumber in a bowl.

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And add three cloves minced garlic (I was lazy and used a microplane), salt, pepper, olive oil, and white vinegar.

TZATZIKI INGREDIENTS

Then dump in some sour cream and a whole bunch of Greek yogurt. And forget to take a picture…

Stir the whole concoction together and taste. Adjust seasonings (and that includes the vinegar!).

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My mom and I thought our tzatziki would benefit from an herbal addition, so I added some fresh dill.

ADDING DILL TO TZATZIKI

Serve in a gorgeous crystal bowl to your family and friends!

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I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does!

 

Happy Monday, everyone!

C

 

Tzatziki

  • Servings: 8-12 people
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

1 large seedless cucumber, washed, cut in half and seeded

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon of salt

½ teaspoon of pepper

2-3 tablespoons of olive oil

1 tablespoon of white vinegar

1 cup of plain sour cream (whatever fat content you want)

1½ cups of plain Greek yogurt (whatever fat content you want)

1-2 tablespoons of fresh dill, finely chopped

 

Steps

1. Grate cucumber on a box grater set in the middle of a clean tea towel.

2. Gather up edges of towel and squeeze out excess moisture from cucumber.

3. Place cucumber in a large bowl.

4. Add in garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil, white vinegar, sour cream, Greek yogurt, and dill. Stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.

5. Serve with as a dip for grilled and roasted meats (I love it with lamb) or with carrots sticks and pita chips (or with a spoon out of the bowl!).

Enjoy!

And The Oscar For Best Snack Goes To…

Happy March, everyone! I cannot believe how quickly this semester is flying by! I also can’t believe that Academy Awards are TOMORROW? What? I haven’t even seen any of the movies up for Best Picture! Total slacker this year…

I usually watch the Oscars in my pj’s and a bowl of ice cream (I’m classy), but my mom’s friend requested some recipes for an Oscars celebration. Cheese platters, pigs in a blanket, and meatballs are delicious and timeless, but I wanted to come up with some unique and special for the biggest night in movies. So I came up with an international hors d’eouvre spread that is a little different but still simple to whip up (and crowd-pleasing too!).

From the Mediterranean:

MEDITERRANEAN DIPS

Since the Academy Awards are on at 8PM here on the East Coast, I was thinking appetizers that could be enjoyed even after eating a little dinner. Hummus and Baba Ghanoush are just the ticket. They are heavy enough to help fill you up but light enough that you don’t fall asleep before they announce the winners for Best Picture.

I just used my normal hummus recipe…

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…and this is PW’s Baba Ghanoush recipe.

BABA GHANOUSH

Because I love you, I actually went out and bought this.

TAHINI

You’re welcome.

To be perfectly honest, I tried the dip without tahini (because if I could avoid it, I would) and found that the dip really needed it. I also added a little more lemon juice because my eggplant needed a little extra bite… but I like my food tart. Just keep tasting and adjust seasonings until it is perfect for you.

Serve with raw vegetables, pita chips, blue corn tortilla chips, or naan. Yum!

 

To Asia:

CHICKEN SATAY

For your guests who want a heartier appetizer, nothing fits the bill like chicken satay skewers. Grill (or broil) up some chicken tenders, skewer them, and serve them alongside some yummy peanut sauce. It’s crowd-pleasing and the leftovers (if there are any) can be turned into a wonderful salad or wrap on Monday. Check out the printable below for my adaptation on Ellie Krieger’s peanut sauce!

 

To Italy:

At later (8PM or later) cocktail parties, I always like having something sweet just in case someone actually had dinner and doesn’t want to nosh on savory appetizers. My mother gave me these fabulous stemless wine glasses and they are the perfect size for an appetizer-sized dessert.

GELATO AND BROWNIE

To keep with the international theme, I topped one of my double chocolate brownies with some dark raspberry-chocolate chip gelato (yum!). Super decadent, exceptionally pretty, and super simple to assemble.

And it tastes divine with some prosecco on the side!

 

I hope these ideas inspire you to throw an internationally-themed Oscars cocktail party for your family and friends. Let me know what you end up doing – I would love to hear all about it!

Have a great weekend!

C

Lime Peanut Sauce

  • Servings: 12 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

½ cup creamy peanut butter

¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1-inch grated fresh ginger

1 garlic clove, grated

2 scallions, chopped fine

Juice of one large lime (or two small limes)

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

 

Steps:

1. Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender. Blend until thoroughly combined.

2. Taste and add extra seasoning if needed (might need extra lime!). If the sauce is too thick for your tastes, thin with a little water.

3. Pour sauce into a ramekin and garnish with chopped scallions.

Super Bowl Sweets and Treats

Happy Monday, kiddos! I can’t believe that it is actually February 3rd… the year is just flying by! Yesterday, apart from being Groundhog Day, was a celebration that provides a little excitement (and a chance to throw a party) between New Year’s and Valentine’s Day – the Super Bowl! Congratulations to the Seahawks and their fans… it was a great game and a well-deserved win!

But I do have a confession to make… I don’t get football. When my dad tries to explain passing yards, rushing yards, etc. etc., my eyes glaze over and I just nod and hope he doesn’t realize that I am spacing out. Sorry to all you football fans out there, but football makes no sense. For me, the Super Bowl is a great excuse to get together with family and friends, eat some amazing food, have a couple of drinks, and debate if the commercials were better last year or not… and maybe watch a little bit of the game.

Like last year, some of us from our graduate class got together at our friends’ house for a potluck party. I decided to bring a couple different things to cover all my bases.

 

The Kid-Friendly

One of my wonderful friends, J, has a delightful 18 month-old son who has literally grown up alongside our journey through graduate school. He is absolute perfection and I wanted to make sure I had a treat that he could enjoy. I made these awesome cookies I talked about a couple of weeks ago.

COOKIE

Nothing says football food than a dessert you can grab quickly and devour while cheering on your favorite team (or running around being chased by a pretend “monster” in your footie pj’s!). Our friend’s 18 month old son loved them… the rest of the 20-somethings loved them too!

 

The Healthy

I wanted to bring something that was relatively healthy (since we are nutrition graduate students), so I decided to make an avocado- black bean- pomegranate pico de gallo recipe I found online. I tweaked it slightly by adding an additional avocado and substituting parsley for cilantro.

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 Look how pretty all the ingredients are together.

I found that this was a good alternative to traditional pico de gallo and guacamole because it had similar elements to the originals but had a seasonal (and healthy, anti-oxidant filled) pomegranate twist.

 

The Gluten-Free

One of our friends, L, is gluten-free and I wanted to make a dessert that she could enjoy during the Super Bowl. So I adapted a recent (and already beloved) recipe The Sister found on Pinterest to make it gluten-free.

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 This is what I brought!

This is Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark by food blogger Mary Ellen and be warned – it is addictive. It is the perfect balance of salty and sweet, of crunchy and smooth. And one simple swap makes this the perfect treat for everyone.

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The pretzels. Swap the regular ones for a gluten-free version and you are golden.

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Just make sure they are the small twists (they break better)!

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Beautiful, delicious, and gluten-free. What could be better?

 

I hope everyone had a fabulous Super Bowl Sunday full of food, fun, and friends!

Your football-confused, pretzel bark addicted friend,

C

Ode to Hummus

Hi, kiddos. How’s it going? Happy MLK Day!! Hope you are enjoying your day off (if you have one)!

I decided to take a break from internship application personal statement writing to organize my life, clean my apartment, and clean out the 50 trillion photos in my camera to get ready for the semester. Along with the $20 I found in a pant pocket (who wants to grab a beer?), I found a series of photos that I meant to post last semester but totally forgot about. So I will post them now. Today’s post is all about one of my favorite snack foods, hummus.

As far as snacks go, hummus is pretty awesome. It has protein, healthy fats, and can be used in a variety of applications. I love hummus as a stand-alone dip with carrots or pita chips, as a sandwich spread, or even as a super thick salad dressing. Or just eating it out of the container with a spoon… which isn’t weird, right? 

BUT, as much as I like hummus, I can be slightly particular. For example, I believe that tahini has no place in hummus… sorry, but I don’t like this creamy sesame paste. This aversion to tahini made the world of prepared (and most homemade) hummus a no-go. So when very good family friends brought homemade hummus to a dinner party, I scoffed. Then I tried it and was hooked. I found out that it was a non-tahini version and it is the best hummus I ever had. My life’s purpose, along with passing graduate school, getting an internship, and becoming a RD, is to try to replicate this recipe. 

The fabulous creators of this recipe are Mr. and Mrs. S. They are wonderful people who are very good friends with The Grandma and over the years have become very dear family friends. They are awesome cooks and food lovers, so they don’t mind when I prattle about what I make for dinner. And they always bring this awesome hummus! I believe that I have gotten pretty close to their recipe, but like all things, the original is always the best!

The Ultimate (Non-Tahini) Hummus Recipe

By Mr. and Mrs. S

Grab your handy dandy minichop or food processor. This is my mother’s which I stole last semester. MY minichop is guacamole green (a mix between avocado and lime green…) and is super awesome and matches my other cooking utensils. IMG_2141Rinse a can of chickpeas. Or garbanzo beans. Same thing, but two different names… is this a regional thing? I should look this up.

IMG_2142 Shake the colander vigorously to get rid of as much water as possible.

Dump the chickpeas into the minichop (and proceed to get some on the counters, the floor, and into the fruit bowl) and top with 2 cloves of minced garlic. You can add more garlic if you want a super garlicky hummus.

IMG_2143 What makes this hummus awesome is the addition of a couple shakes of your favorite hot sauce. It gives a slightly spicy edge to the hummus, which really helps round out the flavors. 

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Last two ingredients – good extra virgin olive oil and white vinegar. 

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White vinegar adds a sharp bite, which counteracts the thick, rich texture and flavor of most hummus. In my first attempts recreating this hummus, I forgot to add it and the batches did not come out well. Trust me on this, the vinegar is important and you will not believe how it really improves the flavor. I add 2-3 teaspoons of vinegar initially and add more if I think I need some extra oomph. 

Finally olive oil. I start with a ½ cup and then puree. If I need more oil, then I add a tablespoon at a time until I reach the consistency I want. 

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This is the perfect texture (for me). If you want a finer texture, add a little more oil and keep pureeing away! 

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Finish everything with a sprinkle of salt and pepper (buzz for a couple more seconds) and taste for seasonings. This batch actually needed more hot sauce and vinegar.

My favorite snacking accompaniments are carrot and celery sticks and blue corn chips.

IMG_2158I hope you enjoy this wonderful hummus recipe! It is a perfect everyday snack, Super Bowl appetizer, or sandwich spread.

Enjoy,

C

Mr. and Mrs. S's Non-Tahini Hummus

  • Servings: 8-12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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Ingredients:
1-15oz can of garbanzo beans (AKA chickpeas), rinsed and drained
3 cloves of garlic – more or less depending on your taste
1½ tablespoons of white vinegar
½ – 1 cup of good olive oil
Hot sauce of your choice
Salt and pepper to taste

Steps:
1. In a mini-chop, place in garlic cloves and pulse until finely chopped.
2. Add rinsed, drained chickpeas, vinegar, ½ cup of olive oil, and as much hot sauce as your heart desires.
3. Puree – add more olive oil until you reach the consistency you want.
4. Taste and adjust seasoning – add salt, pepper, and extra hot sauce.
5. Serve with pita chips, raw veggies, or just dig in with spoon!