Homemade hummus

I’ve been meaning to try to make my own hummus for a while now. I finally remembered to buy tahini and gave this recipe from Simple Recipes a twist. I roasted half the chick peas for a little extra flavor and it turned out great!

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  • 2 cans chick peas – 1 roasted, 1 rinsed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2/3 cups tahini
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Add all the ingredients together in a blender and puree until smooth. I like to use the immersion blender for easy clean up.

Use as a dip with crackers or veggies, or use as a spread on sandwiches instead of mayonnaise.

*Dairy free, Gluten free, Vegan, Vegetarian

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Roast chick peas

These are a great little healthy snack and super easy to make. I saw them first on the How Sweet It Is blog and have tried a few variations since then. I’ll usually make a big batch and split them up to take to work for the week.

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  • 1 can chick peas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Cracked pepper
  • Lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat your chick peas in olive oil and add pepper and lemon juice to taste. Lay them out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes. Shake the baking sheet once in a while so they roast evenly.

Let cool and enjoy.

*Dairy free, Gluten free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Apple honey bake

Its almost the end of apple season but I wanted to work in a few more treats. I made this bake for the first time visiting my aunt in North Carolina. I was tasked with dessert and this is what came out of the ingredients at hand. It was a hit.

You can make as many servings as you like, this recipe is for one large serving.

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  • 1 large apple, cored and chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 3-4 chopped dates
  • 1/4 cup pecans or walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp honey

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all ingredients together in an oven safe bowl and bake for 45 minutes or until apples are tender.

Serve alone or a la mode.

*Dairy free (sans ice cream), Gluten free, Vegetarian, Vegan (with butter and honey substitutes)

Kale chips

My aunt loves these healthy chips and now we do too. I’ve seen lots of recipes and finally had a chance to try one. There are several variations where you can add different flavors like teriyaki or parmesan. I kept this one simple – salt and pepper.

  • 1 bunch of kale, washed and patted dry
  • 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Dash of salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Cut the stems and any tough pieces from the kale leaves. Then cut or tear the kale leaves into one-inch pieces.

Coat the kale in olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Spread kale in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until the kale gets crispy. Keep an eye on the oven so the chips don’t burn.

Crunch on!

*Dairy free, gluten free, vegan, vegetarian

Mole Rice

As soon as I saw this recipe at the Tasty Kitchen Blog I knew I had to try it – I mean it has chocolate and bacon, how could it be anything but amazing.

Like the Lucky Lentil Soup, its not the most photogenic meal but its so good that doesn’t matter. Plus its one of those recipes you can make all in one pan – a big plus for me, who usually dirties every pan in the house when trying a new recipe for the first time.

  • 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 3 strips bacon (chopped for quick cooking)
  • 1 bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups mushrooms (sliced or roughly chopped)
  • 3-ish cups broth
  • 6 ounces (small can) tomato paste
  • 1 ounce semi-sweet chocolate (chopped or as chips/morsels)
  • 1 cup rice
  • Salt and pepper
  • Green onions and parsley for garnish (optional)

First you want to toast your spice mix. Add the oregano, cumin, allspice, and sesame seeds to a skillet and heat for 30-35 seconds over medium heat. Set your spices aside for now.

Cook your bacon until crispy and set that aside too.

In the bacon fat (of course), cook down the pepper, onion, and red pepper flakes until soft. Add the garlic toward the end so it doesn’t burn. Once the mix is all softened, add the mushrooms and cook  down until those are soft too.

Increase to high heat and add broth, tomato paste, chocolate, and your toasted spice mix. Bring to a boil. Add the uncooked rice and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 30-35 minutes. Keep an eye on it and stir as needed so it doesn’t stick. Add more broth if needed, I used about 3 cups over all adding more as it was absorbed by the rice.

When the rice is tender turn off the heat and let sit for a few minutes. Dish up and add your crispy bacon bits for savory, bacony, chocolaty goodness in a bowl.

On a side note the word mole (pronounced mo-lay) reminds me of my favorite fish, the Mola mola, or sunfish. I have a feeling my food and marine biology interest won’t cross paths too often so I wanted to share.

*Gluten Free, Dairy Free, could be Vegetarian and Vegan if you use vegetable broth and leave out the bacon.

*Photo from Daniel Botelho at National Geographic, via Facebook.

Lucky Lentil Soup

The first time I had lentil soup was New Year’s Day 2010. My partner turned me on to this comfort food that is said to bring good luck for the new year. Now its more of a comfort food to me than mashed potatoes. Plus its healthy.

If you want a totally vegetarian and vegan dish, just leave out the sausage and use vegetable broth. The pictures here are from a veggie version. If you want a chunkier soup, just add more vegetables.

I usually make a large batch (twice this one here) and freeze the leftovers.

  • 3-4 large carrots
  • 4-5 stalks celery
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Small can of tomato sauce (~8 oz)
  • 2 cups of brown lentils
  • 1 carton of broth
  • 2-3 Italian sausages (hot or sweet)
  • Oregano
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Wash your lentils and set aside to strain.

Chop up the soup trifecta – carrots, celery, and onion. Add to a large pot and add enough olive oil so that all the vegetables shimmer. Sauté until the onions and celery look translucent and then add the garlic for a few minutes. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Add the tomato sauce and mix in a good dash of oregano, salt, and pepper.

Add the lentils and broth. Bring the mix to a boil and add your sausage. We like to use the sweet but if you like more of a kick use the hot or a mix of both. Turn down the heat and simmer for three hours. The soup will thicken up a lot from start to finish. Take out the sausage toward the end, cut into smaller pieces, and return to the pot.

Final step – open up and warm your soul.

*Gluten Free, Dairy Free, can be Vegetarian and Vegan without sausage and by using vegetable broth

Fresh Summer Salsa

I made this salsa for the first time a few years ago for a family cookout. Now, its what the family asks for whenever we get together under the sun. You can make it how you like it –  spicy, mild, fruity, whatever you want.

  • Red, yellow, and orange bell peppers
  • Red onion or whatever onion you have on hand
  • Jalapeño
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Tomatoes
  • Green onion

Seed the bell peppers. Seed the jalapeño if you’re not a fan of spicy salsas. If you like it hot, leave the seeds. Finely dice all vegetables. Add lemon juice and olive oil to taste.

You could do the dicing in a food processor but I enjoy the therapeutic chopping.

Try some of your own additions like corn, mango, or pineapple. Let me know what you like in your salsa.

*Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free