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! 

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

Makes about 1 cup

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)
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.

Tempeh and Bean Chili

Sometimes I really can’t understand how I ever lived all year round in Ohio. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not hating on my hometown. I was born and raised in Columbus and it always will be home. I love it for that reason alone, and love going back to visit. But man, it gets coldddddd.

When temperatures drop below 65 degrees here in Charleston, I am freezing. Not even kidding. Like, fuzzy socks and sweatshirt on (hood UP), freezing. I look forward to this time of year for countless reasons (pumpkin-flavored everything, sweaters, boots, football, cool morning runs, etc…), but it takes some time to adjust.

A hot bowl of chili does wonders for this sort of thing. After discovering tempeh as a great meat alternative, I was excited to experiment on my own. Combined with not much else besides beans and vegetables, this makes for a meal you can feel good about on the inside and out. That’s a good thing too, because I’ll be eating a lot of this until springtime rolls around. 

Tempeh and Bean Chili

Makes about 6 servings
8 ounces tempeh
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup tomato sauce
1 can red kidney beans
1 cup water
1 packet chili seasoning mix
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. Add olive oil to a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Once hot, crumble tempeh into the pan. Cook until browned, about 5 minutes.
2. Add onion and pepper to the pan. Cook until vegetables become tender, about 5 more minutes.
3. Pour tomato sauce, entire can of beans (liquid included), water, and seasonings into the pan. Bring to a sizzle, stirring occasionally, and cook about 5-8 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Store leftovers in the fridge for up to a week. 

Grilled Cheese and Bean Sandwiches

Did your favorite teams win this weekend? Some of mine did, but some didn’t. It might be a tough year for me, but win or lose, fall is great for one thing alone: football! Okay, so maybe not just football by itself, but rather all of the things that come with it. Like food for example. 
We had some company over to watch football Saturday afternoon so I put together a little spread including pita wedges and cucumber to dip in hummus, alongside some red grapes. 
That was the healthy plate.
Then came grilled cheese sandwiches (after taking these pictures, I ended up cutting the remaining sandwiches into fourths for easier snacking). 

These weren’t your ordinary grilled cheese sandwiches though. They were kicked up a notch, inspired by the sandwich from Purée. The bread is slathered with a white bean spread before being filled with smoked provolone cheese and fresh spinach leaves. Then, of course, grilled on the stovetop for just a couple of minutes to get that cheese nice and melty.

Not only was the filling of this sandwich amazing, but the bread deserves a lot of credit too. I picked up a fresh loaf of Honey Whole Wheat from Great Harvest Bread Co. on Friday (coupon for a free loaf!!) and haven’t looked back. 
I may or may not shoved a piece of bread in Greg’s face saying, “How good does this smell!?” He says I’m weird. I say I’m….well, weird. 

Grilled Cheese and Bean Sandwiches
(Inspired by Purée)
Makes 4 sandwiches
8 slices whole wheat bread
1/4 cup margarine (divided)
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
4 slices smoked provolone cheese
1 cup raw baby spinach leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1. Prepare the white bean spread by adding beans to a food processor and blending for about 2 minutes or until beans are smooth. Add salt and pepper. Pulse a few more times to incorporate seasonings.
2. Heat large skillet over medium-low heat. Meanwhile, spread about 1/2 tablespoon of margarine on one side of each slice of bread. On opposite side of the margarine, spread about 1-2 tablespoons of bean mixture onto bread. Lay 4 slices of the bread margarine-side down on skillet (meaning the bean spread side will be facing up). Top each of those slices with one slice of cheese and about 1/4 of the spinach leaves. Lay a second slice of bread, this time margarine-side facing up, on top of the slices on the skillet. 
3. Let cook about 3 minutes, flip and let cook another 2-3 minutes, or until bread is golden brown. 
4. Remove from skillet, slice as desired, and serve immediately.

Southwestern Style Bean Burritos

This little burrito-slash-wrap that you see here sums up my week so far. I have been eating variations of this every day this week for lunch or dinner. It’s packed with so much flavor and nutrition and I basically just cannot get enough. 

Another recent obsession of mine is Southwestern-style foods and flavors. Ok, maybe it’s not a recent obsession. More like a life obsession. You know, black beans, rice, salsa, roasted corn, peppers…
Wrap it all up in a tortilla and you have yourself some major deliciousness. 

And then you top it off with homemade guacamole. 
And then you practically inhale the burrito like there is no tomorrow…in the most ladylike way possible of course. 
Southwestern Style Bean Burritos
Makes 4 burritos
4 8-inch tortillas (I used whole wheat)
1 cup cooked black beans
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 medium ear of corn
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 medium red bell pepper, diced
2 cups raw spinach
1/2 cup chopped tomato
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup guacamole (recipe below)
1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add whole ear of corn to the skillet and dry cook for about 3-5 minutes, rotating occasionally to cook all sides (it’s okay if some kernels blacken). Remove from skillet and cut kernels off of cob.
2. Return skillet to medium heat and coat with cooking spray. Add onion, pepper and corn. Saute vegetables for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add spinach and tomatoes to skillet. Let cook about one minute before stirring to mix vegetables. 
3. Add cooked beans and rice to skillet. Add seasonings and continue to stir all ingredients for another 3-5 minutes.
3. Remove mixture from heat and evenly distribute among the four tortillas. Top with salsa and carefully wrap each burrito. Serve warm with guacamole on top or on the side. 
*Any extra filling that doesn’t fit inside of the tortillas makes a delicious side dish! Top with cheese, salsa, or enjoy plain 🙂
Simple Guacamole

Makes about 1/2 cup
1 very ripe haas avocado
Juice of 1/2 small lime
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1. Cut avocado in half and scoop out the pulp in a small bowl. 
2. Add remaining ingredients and mash with fork to desired consistency. 

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
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
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. 

How About a Fiesta?

Hey readers! 
We made it though Monday. It wasn’t so bad, was it? Mine FLEW by. I got to the office at 8am, took lunch around noon and before I knew it was 5 o’clock. Time to go! 
When I got home I went for a run outside…that in itself is saying a lot in the middle of January, but that’s not all. I ran in shorts and a t-shirt. It’s the middle of January and it was 70 degrees outside! How perfect. Why I love Charleston #247. 

Usually I am not very hungry immediately after I exercise. It takes me awhile to get back to my resting state and for my appetite to come back. But after just a few minutes of getting back home I was hun.gur.ey. 
I found a can of beans in the kitchen cabinet that I bought this summer for a cookout. They must have got lost in there, because obviously we are way past summertime and cookout season. That wasn’t about to stop me though. I love using beans as a high-protein alternative, especially when I don’t have the patience to wait for meat to cook in the oven. 
I came up with these bean burritos that ended up being a relatively light yet filling dinner. With some chips and salsa on the side I had myself quite the Mexican fiesta. 

Light Black Bean Avocado Burritos

Makes 4 burritos
4 10-inch whole wheat flour tortillas
1-16 ounce can black beans*
1/2 whole avocado, peeled and diced
1/2 whole onion, chopped
1 cup lettuce, shredded or chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1. Heat beans in saucepan according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, prepare remaining ingredients by chopping as necessary.
3. When beans are almost done, microwave tortillas for 15-25 seconds.
4. Divide all ingredients evenly amongst each tortilla. Wrap up tortilla and heat in microwave another 10-15 seconds before eating. 
*I used Bush’s Black Bean Fiesta Grillin’ Beans–in this case I ended up having to drain much of the sauce so it didn’t seep through the tortilla.