Category Archives: Snacks

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

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I’ve been cooped up at home with mono for the
past three days,  so with all that free time,
I’ve cooked up quite a few recipes I’m excited
to share (avocado brownies being my favorite)!!!

But today I’m sharing homemade hummus!  I love hummus with pita chips or celery sticks and carrots.  It’s a great healthy snack and a tasty addition to a salad!  There are all different kinds of hummus flavors that I like, but I went with Roasted Red Pepper.  I think next time I’ll have to do a garlic lime hummus or taco spices maybe.  It’s really easy to put your own spin on this recipe with whatever spices and flavors you want to use.

I started with two cans of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), one jar of roasted red peppers, and some olive oil.  I had that in the food processor ready to blend, then I started to get creative. I had about half a cup of sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil in the fridge.  That when in.  Then a couple teaspoons of garlic.  Half a cup of lemon juice.  Then I decided to turn up the heat.  So, I tossed in a jalapeño pepper and two heaping tablespoons of cayenne. Some salt and pepper to taste, and it was done!

I love to cook this way.  For something like hummus, you don’t need a recipe.  You can be spontaneous and imaginative and just get completely carried away with flavors.  The important things are chickpeas and olive oil (and in my opinion garlic), but after that, it’s your recipe!

I’m giving you the recipe for my hummus, but I hope you use it as more of a guide to creating whatever you want with the things you already have in your fridge!  That’s what makes it fun!

Thanks for reading!

Abby Hughes

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
 
This is a versatile recipe for hummus that's great for a snack, on a salad, or as an appetizer.
Author:
Recipe type: Healthy Snack or Appetizer
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Serves: approx. 24 oz.
Ingredients
  • 2 cans of garbanzo beans
  • 1 small jar of fire roasted peppers
  • ½ c. sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
  • 1 to 1½ jalapenos roughly chopped with seeds
  • 2 Tbs minced garlic or 3-4 cloves
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 Tbs lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs cayenne pepper optional
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh cilantro or parsley for garnish
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Scrape the sides as necessary.
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings or flavors as desired.

Parmesan Baked Tomatoes

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The frost is almost upon us!  That means it’s time to harvest the herbs!


I work at The Celtic Cup Coffee House in the small town of Tullahoma, Tennessee.  I don’t have my own herb garden, but The Celtic Cup does.  I love getting to use the fresh herbs when I bake quiches, casseroles, and savory scones.

Today I harvested all the basil for the winter months.  If you’ve never processed herbs before, you probably think it’s really complicated.  At least, that’s what I used to think.  I know there are a couple different ways to do it.  Drying herbs actually does take a while, so I prefer freezing them.  I think it preserves the flavors better, too.  It’s really a lot easier and faster than I imagined.  All you have to do is snip the entire plant, wash, pluck the leaves, and freeze  on a towel-lined sheet pan.  After about half an hour, the leaves should be stiff enough to store in a plastic freezer bag for the winter.  It’s that simple!

While we’re on the subject of basil, last week I made some delicious parmesan baked tomatoes.  I love how all the local markets are just bursting with fresh fruits and veggies from the garden this time of year.  I bought some beautiful plump red tomatoes and thought I would get creative.  All they needed was some leftover basil pesto and a hearty sprinkle of cheese.  Voila! Parmesan baked tomatoes! So fast and simple, but delicious and comforting.  They taste like pizza!  You can make them as a side dish or just a healthy snack.

I’m not religiously gluten free or anything, but I think I feel better when I stay away from bread.  So, to accompany the tomatoes, I baked some chicken and made fresh broccoli salad.  This broccoli salad was at my friend’s wedding last weekend.  It was so good I had to make it for myself.

Together it was the perfect guilt free/gluten free dinner!  It only takes about 30 minutes to make, so I hope this meal will find it’s way into your week as a tasty and stress free option!

Abby Hughes

Parmesan Baked Tomatoes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A quick and tasty side dish or snack.
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 12 slices
Ingredients
  • 3 ripe medium tomatoes
  • ½ cup basil pesto
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 415 degrees.
  2. Thick slice the tomatoes and place on a parchment-lined sheet pan
  3. Spread about a tablespoon (more or less to taste) of basil pesto on each slice.
  4. Bake for about 8 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top and broil on high until the cheese is lightly browned (about 4 minutes).
  6. Enjoy!

 

 

Broccoli Salad
 
Prep time
Total time
 
A light brunch or dinner side.
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 medium red onion
  • ½ c. Craisins (dried cranberries)
  • ½ c. roasted unsalted sunflower seeds
Dressing
  • ¼ c. sugar
  • ¼ c. white distilled vinegar
  • ½ c. mayo
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
Instructions
  1. Chop broccoli and cauliflower into small bite-sized pieces.
  2. Small dice red onion.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, vinegar, mayo, salt, and pepper.
  4. Add chopped broccoli, cauliflower, onion, craisins, and sunflower seeds.
  5. Toss to coat all ingredients.
  6. Enjoy!

Vegan Dark Chocolate

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This is my initiation post, so I thought it would be fitting to share a couple of things about myself.  First of all, I really like eating healthy.  I love working out and running and eating well because it makes me feel good.  Second, I REALLY love chocolate.  Especially DARK chocolate.  Almost anything with chocolate in it is irresistible to me.  I think most of my teeth are sweet teeth.

You may think these two loves are contradictory.  For a long time, I did too.  But do they have to be???  I’ve recently been learning a lot about nutrition from my boyfriend, Tim.  He’s a personal trainer who is way more committed to eating healthy than any sane person should be. But, he showed me that one of the keys to a healthy diet is making sure you get enough of the “good” fats. WHAAAAAAT??? There are good fats!?!?  Good fats are like a fun little diet cheat code.  There are even some diets that require you to eat a tablespoon of oil twice a day… it’s pretty gross, don’t try it. Anyway, healthy fat is found in things like avocados, coconut oil, olives, and nuts.   I think fat gets a bad rap because of it’s unfortunate name. But, contrary to popular belief, fat doesn’t make you fat!  When used in moderation, it can actually aid in weight loss! Maybe we should rename it “phat” so people will think it’s cool again.  Really the only two things you need to be cautious about is making sure it’s the right kind of fat (not the grease dripping off your pizza, unfortunately), and to regulate the amount (because it is calorie dense, but still crucial to a healthy diet).

So, one day I remembered this recipe from my good friend, Mr. Fleisher. Back when I was in college, he would make me this heavenly freezer chocolate.  The only ingredients are coconut oil, cocoa powder (antioxidants), and a little bit of honey! It occurred to me… that fits my macros!  It’s a great way to get healthy fat in my diet AND curb my abundant chocolate cravings!

It’s a super simple recipe with just 4 ingredients that you probably already have. Plus, it’s easy to adjust amounts because it works off ratios!  People are always saying “try this recipe, it’s THE BEST.”  But they just say that.  THIS ONE REALLY IS THE BEST!  If you like chocolate, you have to try it.  That is all.  If you don’t try it, it really doesn’t affect me.  But I just always have this in my freezer and I think it could easily be a staple for your family too.  🙂

Between my brother and me, chocolate doesn’t last long at our house.

Before I give you the map to paradise (aka, the recipe), just a few things.  You can easily change the sweetness by adjusting the honey.  It won’t effect the chocolate setting up.  If you like it dark, add less honey.  If you don’t like bitter chocolate, add more! — it’s that simple.

I usually make a 1-1-0.25 ratio of coconut oil, cocoa powder, and honey.  That is sweet enough for most dark chocolate lovers.  However, I believe the original recipe was a 1-1-1 ratio (very sweet).  If you aren’t sure where you fall, I would recommend making a smallish amount the first time for a taste test.

The second thing is that you can get creative with the flavorings!  It’s fun to add sliced almonds or chopped pecans, and you don’t have to use boring old vanilla.  If you want to get really crazy, there are a plethora of flavors to choose from!  Orange, Baileys, Jack, caramel… just use your imagination.

Finally, I would LOVE to see someone try this recipe in a cute little mold! Someday I’m going to grow up, get fancy, and invest in some nice molds, but for now I’ll eat chocolate no matter what shape it’s in.  However, if you are one of those “Pinterest Perfect” people that I envy,  PLEASE send a picture or leave a comment of the mold you use!  I know you’ll enjoy this recipe as much as I have!

 Abby Hughes

Vegan Dark Chocolate
 
Prep time
Total time
 
A delightful not-too-sweet treat to always keep on hand.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert, Snack
Serves: 15 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 TB vanilla
Instructions
  1. Line two sheet pans with wax paper or parchment.
  2. Melt the coconut oil over low heat just until almost melted.
  3. Whisk the honey into the coconut oil for about a minute until the honey is warm and all the coconut oil is melted and well mixed. Take off heat [if it gets too hot it will get grainy (seize)].
  4. Whisk in the cocoa powder and vanilla.
  5. Pour chocolate onto the prepared sheet to evenly distribute into a thin sheet.
  6. Freeze on a level shelf until the chocolate is set. Break into pieces and store in a sealed container in the freezer.
  7. Enjoy!
Notes
Also works well in cute little molds, but I really like the texture and melt-in-your-mouth effect of the thin chips.

 

 

 

Homemade Cheese Balls with Crushed Pecans

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Cheese Ball Crackers Plated

I haven’t ever made a cheese ball before now. Sigh. I know – crazy huh?  I had company coming and thought some cheese and crackers would be nice upon their arrival since it was too late for lunch and too early for dinner.  When I stopped by the cheese ball counter at my local grocery store  there was one.  One cheese ball. Take it or leave it.  Cheddar.  I picked it up and on the way to the basket my eyes fell upon the ingredient list.  There were a zillion ingredients I couldn’t even name, and no sign  of  “cheese”?

That was it.  I decided to make my own cheese ball, with … cheese!

But wait there’s more! Click to continue reading

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