Jalapeño Garlic Hummus

It’s not red, white or blue, and it didn’t originate in America.  

So if you’re looking for a super festive, all-American recipe for the 4th of July, this is not it. BUT! If you’re looking for a relative healthy way to snack your way through the holiday regardless of festive artificial colors, this is it.

We still don’t have set plans for the weekend, and after trying to talk to Greg about making plans, I’ve given up. Men! They just don’t appreciate a good plan, do they? His brother is visiting for the weekend, so a cookout, eating out and the beach are likely in our near future. Other than that, we’re taking each day as it comes. 
Oh! And after our classes at the gym Saturday morning, Erica and I are trying out a new French bakery. Besides the coffee and drool-worthy pastries, they have breakfast sandwiches, crepes, quiches and more. Can’t wait!
What are your plans, or non-plans, for the holiday?
Getting back to this hummus though, has anyone else noticed that hummus is never on sale anymore? Is there a chickpea shortage I’m unaware of? Greg and I try to only buy items on sale, although there are obviously times we don’t have a choice or make exceptions. I’m talking to you Dannon Light & Fit Toasted Coconut Vanilla Greek Yogurt!!! (<–my current obsession and the only flavor yogurt I’ve been buying for the past two months). Can you tell I’m passionate about it?
Back to the hummus, again! Sabra’s Supremely Spicy is our favorite and really the only kind of hummus we buy. It used to be on sale about every other week, which was perfect. It allowed us to get a good deal when we needed it, and the weeks it wasn’t on sale, we still had enough from the previous week to get us through until the next sale. 
Well, times have changed. This mystery chickpea shortage has left us in a hummus famine for far too long. 
The time came for me to make my own, and the result was well worth the cost savings. If you don’t like spicy, don’t be intimidated by “jalapeño” in the name. Yes, there is an entire seeded jalapeño in the recipe, but it adds just the right amount of kick. If you really like spicy, try adding two jalapeños and maybe some crushed red pepper. Greg, Mr. Nothing Is Too Spicy For Me, didn’t think this was spicy at all. So it’s all just personal preference. 
I’ve made hummus once before, back in the baby days of this blog in 2011, but this batch was actually prepared properly – with a food processor, not manually smashing the beans with a hand mixer. Ha! Amateur move. I’ve come a long way. 
P.S. I bought a lemon specifically for this hummus, then completely forgot to use it. Now that I think about it, a lime would be much better with the jalapeño anyway. Give it a try and let me know! 
HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA  4TH OF JULY TO YOU! 

See, I am patriotic after all, despite the un-patriotic recipe. 
Jalapeño Garlic Hummus

Makes about 1 cup

Ingredients:
1 can garbanzo beans (same thing as chickpeas)
1 medium jalapeño, seeded and diced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons canned coconut milk (regular milk or water will also work)
Directions:
1. Add garbanzo beans to a food processor. Blend until desired smoothness, about 1-2 minutes.
2. Add remaining ingredients to the food processor. Blend for about 2 more minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until all ingredients are well distributed. Serve with pita chips, veggies, or on a sandwich. Store leftovers in fridge for up to one week.
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Top 5 Vegetarian Super Bowl Party Foods

Although I don’t care about the football part of the Super Bowl this year, I’m always looking for an excuse to make party foods. I’ve got to have something to munch on while watching three or four hours of commercials…I mean…football.

Here’s a lineup of my menu ideas, all of which are vegetarian (or can easily be made vegetarian):

1. White Pizza with Spinach and Bacon. What’s a football party without pizza? I realize bacon doesn’t qualify as vegetarian, but you can simply leave that off.

2. Crispy Healthy Baked Zucchini Fries. I think a Jalapeno Yogurt Dip would be great with these.

3. Skillet Black Bean & Veggie Nachos. One of my personal game day favorites. Crunchy, cheesy, filling and down right delicious.

4. Spicy Corn and Potato Chowder. Nothing like a hot bowl of soup during these cold winter days.

5. Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream. I don’t know about you, but it’s been far too long since I’ve made cupcakes. These little gems are calling my name. Plus, after eating all these veggies, we deserve it!

What are you making for the Super Bowl?

Coconut Fried Green Tomatoes

I remember staying home from school sick one day in sixth or seventh grade and my mom rented the movie Fried Green Tomatoes for me to watch. I didn’t have high expectations at first. It seemed like an “old” movie (came out in 1991, ha!). Wouldn’t you know, I watched every minute and loved it. 
If you’ve seen the movie, you know there’s a whole lot more to the story than fried green tomatoes. It’s a story of best friends, an abusive relationship, illness and even a murder. Lots of drama, but lots of love that warms your heart. The perfect sick-day movie if you ask me. 

At the time I first saw this movie, I was a picky adolescent girl living in the Midwest. I hadn’t heard of fried green tomatoes, let alone have any interest in tasting one. Fast forward a few years and I found myself not only in the South, but living in one of the most culinary rich cities in the country. My taste buds quickly expanded and fried green tomatoes became my friend…along with shrimp and grits, scallops and pralines.

There are many foods that define the South, and I’m fairly certain fried green tomatoes are one of them.

This weekend when I was picking up some produce from Boone Hall Farms, I spotted an entire bin full of the bright green fruit. I eagerly snagged a few for my basket and dreamed of some crispy tomato medallions the whole way home.  

These aren’t your typical fried green tomatoes though. The secret (not really a secret when it’s in the title), is shredded coconut. The sweet flakes add something special to this dish and only goat cheese could make it better. Of course the man in the house was disgusted with “the white stuff on top” so leave it off if you must, but I wouldn’t condone it. 


Coconut Fried Green Tomatoes
Makes about 4 servings
Ingredients:
1/3 cup olive oil
2 medium/large green tomatoes
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1/3 cup shredded coconut flakes
1 large egg
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese 
Directions:
1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. 
2. Meanwhile, slice tomatoes in 1/4 inch thick slices. In one small bowl, add the flour. In another small bowl, mix breadcrumbs and coconut flakes. In a third bowl, gently whisk together the egg and buttermilk. Dip each tomato slice first in the flour, followed by the egg mixture, and finally in the breadcrumb mixture. Make sure the entire slice is coated in each mixture before dipping in the next. 
3. When oil is hot, add tomato slices to the pan. Let cook about 2-3 minutes on each side or until slices are golden brown. Remove from pan and gently pat with paper towels to soak up extra oil. Top each slice with about one tablespoon of goat cheese and serve immediately. 

Spicy Peach Salsa

Peach salsa1
I love salsa. I have already proclaimed my love here. But homemade salsa is even better than any store bought salsa. It is so quick and easy to make too. Literally you just throw everything in a bowl and stir to combine. You can make it hot and spicy, or sweet and fruity. Or, as I have done, you can do both.
Peach salsa 2
I wouldn’t call myself a peach person. I don’t not like them, but they are not ever my first fruit of choice. I don’t think I have ever even bought peaches for myself. 
Last week, the owner of my company brought in boxes and boxes of peaches that a friend of him had given for us. We were allowed to help ourselves so I fill a bag with the juicy orange fruit and sought out to make something new and delicious. 

Peach salsa 3
You know I wasn’t going to let these peaches get by without being put into a dessert. This salsa is not it. I made a sweet peach treat too, but those are for another day. 
Today I bring you Spicy Peach Salsa. 
Peach salsa 4
This was enjoyed with a bag of chips on the Fourth of July during a little cookout with our friends. A friend at work mentioned it would have been great on some fish tacos too. Now there’s a great idea!
Spicy Peach Salsa
Makes about 2 cups
Ingredients:
2 peaches, peeled and chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped yellow onion
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
Juice of 1 lime
2 teaspoons Tabasco
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients in medium sized bowl. Stir well and serve. 

Cheesy Coconut Bean Dip

Hey there friends.

Are you still recovering from a post-Valentine’s Day sugar overdose like I am? This is what I was surprised with on Tuesday:

B-e-a-utiful flowers, but more importantly, half a dozen cupcakes from Cupcake! AH! I was so excited. And a little overwhelmed with where to begin. So many choices! 
“They’re alllll yours,” Greg says as I hold the box in my hands, shaking my head saying, “I really shouldn’t eat all of these myself. I really shouldn’t……but I will if I have to!” 
And I am going to have to. Greg won’t even eat one. Not even half of one. 
So that’s what I have been working on for the past couple of days…eating cupcakes. And I still have two and some crumbs left. It’s like a magical never-ending cupcake box. (I can’t eat these cupcakes quite as quickly I can eat others. They have so much delicious, but rich, frosting that I fill-up more quickly than usual.)
If you had a sugar-filled Valentine’s like I did, you might just need something, well, not so sugary. 
After making the coconut cake last week, followed by the coconut cupcakes, I was left with an open can of coconut milk in the fridge (that’s a lot of ‘coconut’ in one sentence, huh?). 
When I saw Jessica’s recipe for Coconut and Citrus White Bean Spread, I was thrilled to have a reason to use the rest of that milk. 

I loved the dip with whole wheat Ritz crackers, but I found another use for it as well. The past couple of days for lunch I have spread about 1-2 tablespoons of the dip on a hamburger bun with turkey and/or avocado. 
Well, here I am again, about to go spread this dip on a sandwich for lunch today! I am all out of avocado, so maybe I’ll throw on some extra turkey.
Tonight Greg and I are going on our Valentine’s Day date. We never did get a reservation on Tuesday, so we agreed we were just fine with waiting for a special dinner until today (the only reservation they had available for the rest of the week!). I still don’t know where we’re going, but I have a good guess. I’ll let you know if I was right tomorrow.
Meanwhile, have some coconut bean dip. Or, just keep on eating those Valentine’s chocolates 🙂
Cheesy Coconut Bean Dip
(Adapted from How Sweet It Is)
Makes about 1 cup of dip
Ingredients:
1-15 ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
4 cloves garlic, roasted
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Directions:
1. In a food processor, combine beans and roasted garlic. Blend until smooth. Add orange juice and coconut milk. Pulse until well-combined. Add salt and pepper and pulse to combine. Pour into small bowl and set aside.
2. In a saucepan, melt shredded cheese over medium-low heat. Stir cheese continuously until completely melted, about 3-4 minutes. 
3. Pour melted cheese into bowl with bean mixture. Stir with spoon to combine. Serve immediately. 

CBR Quesadillas

CBR= Chicken.Bacon.Ranch.
Only one of the best flavor combinations out there. Am I right or am I right?
While I would love to provide you all with some ideas for Thanksgiving dishes, I honestly don’t have many to share. I have contributed to making food for Thanksgiving before, but don’t really have much documentation of that. So, until the end of the week when I really start getting my T-Day cooking going, quesadillas it is. Besides, I am sure you are seeing plenty of other festive recipes to keep you busy. So this is a little something different. 

Quesadillas are great, because they are so simple and can be made with just about any ingredients you want. (Have you figured out yet that this is a common theme with my favorite meals?)
I made these for more of an appetizer rather than an entire meal, but they could go either way. If you need an easy weeknight meal, this is it. If you need a quick appetizer to throw together for a gathering, this is also it! 

Chicken-Bacon-Ranch Quesadillas
Makes 4 quesadillas
Ingredients:
4 10-inch flour tortillas
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 1/4 cup shredded Mexican-blend cheese
2 whole chicken breasts, cooked and shredded or diced
8 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
1/2 cup ranch dressing’
Directions:
1. Heat medium-large skillet over medium heat. Spread about 1/2 tablespoon butter on one side of each tortilla.
2. When skillet is hot, add one tortilla, butter-side down. Fill half of the tortilla with a couple tablespoons of shredded cheese, some of the chicken and bacon, and finally another couple tablespoons of cheese (putting cheese on both bottom and top layers help to hold it together). Fold other half of tortilla on top of the layered ingredients and lightly press down with spatula. 
3. Let cook 2-3 minutes then flip. Let cook about 1 minute on the other side and remove from heat. Tortilla should be golden brown on both sides.
4. Repeat steps 2-3 with remaining tortillas.
5. Serve with ranch dressing for dipping.