Garlic Hummus

Garlic Hummus

Hummus is one of our favorite snacks. My husband requests it quite frequently.  It’s one of those satisfying dips that is very accommodating to many vessels.  It’s healthy, bursting with flavor, and filling. It makes a wonderful after school snack. Creamy, garlicky and delicious. The dip will last several days in the refrigerator.  In fact, it’s better to make ahead of time to allow the flavors to meld. It’s the perfect dip for a healthy snack, or to make for a get together.

Garlic Hummus

Yield: About 2 cups

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 5 Tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons dried parsley (or 2 Tablespoons fresh)
  • salt and pepper

Directions

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the garlic cloves until minced. Scrape down the sides and add the remaining ingredients. Process until smooth and creamy, 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a bowl and cover. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Source: Adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook

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Baked Brie with Apples and Caramel

Baked Brie with Apples and Caramel

A few days ago, my sister and I did a cheese night. Now that she is settled in their epic winter residence, we decided it was time to do another cheese night. We did one last year where the baked brie with blueberry compote was the highlight of the evening. It is a nice time to catch up without my kids, over excellent food. This year though, baby had to tag along since I am still exclusively breastfeeding. She just played on a blanket on the floor. She is only just rolling around, not mobile at all yet. I am fine with that! I like knowing that I can set her down and she’ll still be there if I leave the room for a minute. And she can’t talk yet, so there is no interrupting our conversation.

Baked Brie with Apples and Caramel

When I saw this recipe on my blogroll, I knew that I had to make it for our cheese night. With homemade caramel sauce, of course. This was so amazing. Definitely on the sweet side, but still so good. I ate more than my share of it.

Let me break this cheese down for you; first you bake the brie to make it warm and gooey-delicious. Then, you sauté some apples to make them soft and sweet. To serve, you spoon the apples over the baked brie then drizzle caramel over the top. We devoured the cheese with some lightly flavored fennel crackers. Need I say more?

Baked Brie with Apples and Caramel

Yield: About 8-10 servings

  • 1 (8 oz.) wheel of brie
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 large apple, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons caramel sauce

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Place the wheel of brie on a large baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the middle is soft.

While the brie is baking, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the chopped apples and brown sugar. Cook , stirring occasionally, until apples are soft, about 5 minutes.

Remove the brie from the oven and carefully move to a serving platter. Spoon the sautéed apples over the brie. Drizzle with caramel sauce. Serve immediately with plain or lightly seasoned crackers. (Carr crackers are an excellent choice.)

Source: Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Salad

black bean, corn and avocado salad

I know, this is more like a summer dish, but I couldn’t resist. With all this crazy sweet consumption happening, I have been trying to make dinners particularly healthy. I have had this recipe bookmarked for ages, and it fit the bill for one meatless option for the weeks menu.  Even though vegetables are not in season right now, this was still bursting with flavor and so addicting. I may have sat down with the bowl for lunch the following two days and eaten it all by myself. With my favorite blue corn chips, of course.

black bean, corn and avocado salad

My husband is not a huge avocado fan, but he still really liked this. I served this over grilled chicken (yes, I still grill in the winter. Especially since there is no snow on the ground right now), and it was killer! I would definitely recommend doing that! Then of course, you can eat any leftovers with chips. This is a wonderful, healthy and quick option for any meal or snack!

Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Salad

Yield: about 8 servings

  • 1 (15 oz. can) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 2 avocados, pitted and cubed
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels, or frozen and thawed corn
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3/4-1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the beans, red onion, avocado, corn, and tomatoes.  Add in the lime juice, olive oil, and salt, and gently toss to blend.  Gently mix in the parsley.  Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Source: Adapted from Annie’s Eats

Butter Toffee Heath Popcorn

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What is it about caramel corn that is so addicting? I have made different popcorn recipes in the past, but this one definitely is in the top three. My son’s daycare had a Halloween party on Halloween, so of course I had to make something. I also had to make something for my daughter’s kindergarten party on the same day, so I wanted something that was reasonably easy and none time consuming. Especially since baby has decided that sleeping is overrated after a several month-long stretch of sleeping through the night.

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This popcorn is everything it should be, and then some. Sweet, addicting and delicious. Adding chopped candy bars to the mix? Brilliant, I say! As if the caramel and chocolate drizzle weren’t good enough. Psshtt! This is a great way to use up any Halloween candy laying around.. Wait, does that happen in other people’s houses?

On a different note- I finally am on Instagram! Head on over and follow me to see what kind of crazy things I am up to.

Butter Toffee Heath Popcorn

Yield: about 6 cups

  • 6 cups popped popcorn
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped Heath candy bars

Directions

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Place popcorn in a very large bowl. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring 4-5 minutes, or until the mixture is a deep golden color. Remove from heat and carefully stir in baking soda and vanilla. The mixture will bubble.

Pour mixture over the popcorn in a thin stream. Stir to coat the popcorn. Place popcorn on a large baking sheet that has been lined with a Silpat baking mat or parchment paper. Bake for 45 minutes stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

When the popcorn is cool, break into pieces. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave. Drizzle chocolate over the popcorn. Add the chopped Heath candy bars. Let the popcorn set until chocolate hardens. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Source: Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

refrigerator pickles

We have had an over abundance of cucumbers come from our garden this year. My husband wanted to try out a “small” garden before we dive in deep next summer. Well, it turns out that his garden wasn’t so small after all. So far we have harvested close to 150 cucumbers. We have frozen about 32 pounds of beans (and counting), canned about 24 pints of diced tomatoes, dehydrated 6 pints of sun gold tomatoes (and counting), and harvested maybe 2 dozen butternut squash. Yeah, I don’t even know what to do with myself. The cucumbers we have been giving away left and right. I canned a dozen or so jars of dill pickles and bread and butter pickles. And I have made three batches of refrigerator pickles that I have been giving away. I mean really, what the heck else do you do with a million cucumbers? For this being a “small” garden, I am thinking that next year is going to be totally crazy. But I am looking forward to more fresh carrots and greens.

These refrigerator pickles are so delicious. And this is coming from someone who never really liked pickles. Well, I have been converted. These are incredibly fresh tasting (duh), crisp and full of flavor. I used fresh garlic from the garden (my dad grew those), and volunteer dill that was growing in the garden we let go fallow this year. You can’t get any fresher than that! I had a lot of compliments from everyone who received a jar. These are ready in a matter of two short days. You can make any amount . You won’t be sorry you made these! If you have any extra cucumbers lying around, go make pickles!

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

Yield: about 3-4 pint jars of pickles

  • 1 bunch fresh dill
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3-4 medium-large cucumbers
  • 3 cups water
  • 6 Tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons kosher salt

Directions

Add 1 minced or pressed clove of garlic and a few springs of dill to the bottom of each jar.  (Don’t worry about exact amounts, they will be delicious regardless!)refrigerator pickles

Cut the cucumbers into spears or rounds.  Add the cucumbers to the jars, packing in as many as you can without having to force them in.

refrigerator pickles
In a large liquid measuring cup, combine the water, vinegar, and salt.  Whisk until the salt is dissolved. Pour the mixture into each jar over the cucumber spears so they are completely covered.  Top with an additional few sprigs of dill, if desired.  Screw on the lids of the jars.  Repeat with remaining cucumbers, making additional brine as needed.  Refrigerate for two days before thoroughly enjoying. Store in the refrigerator for several weeks.

Source: Annie’s Eats, originally adapted from Delicious Melisious

Scape Pesto

Scape Pesto

The last two weeks in our CSA box, we got a large handful of garlic scapes. Scapes are totally new to me, so I had to figure out a way to use them. So, I searched around the internet for a bit to see what ways you can use them. As soon as I saw the idea of pesto, I was sold!

This pesto is for garlic lovers only. It is strong, garlicky and perfect! I used this pesto in a few different ways recipes to come), and froze the rest in ice cube trays. If you have never used that freezing method, you totally have to give it a try. Wait until it’s completely frozen in the tray, then pop out and store in a freezer bag. So easy to grab just the amount you need without thawing it all and ending up wasting some.

Scape Pesto

Yield: about 4 cups

  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 8 oz. garlic scapes, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Directions

In the bowl of a food processor, place all the ingredients except the olive oil. Pulse 3-5 times, until everything is roughly chopped. With the motor running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube. Continue to let the motor run until the pesto is smooth. If needed, add more olive oil to reach a smooth purée. Add more salt to taste. Use immediately, or store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Freeze any left overs if desired.

Island Bakes Original

Cookie Dough Dip

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Warning: this dip is extremely addictive and you might not want to share! Oh. my. word. Whoever invented the idea of cookie dough dip is genius! I am a huge cookie dough fan, so as soon as I saw this recipe, I knew I absolutely had to make it. It is everything it should be. Creamy, and just like cookie dough, except eggless! My favorite dipping vessel was sliced apples. Eating the dip with apples makes it healthier right? If only… This makes a great dip to serve as an alternative dessert at a party, or just a little something for yourself! I totally stayed up one night, after everyone went to bed, and ate this dip while watching re-runs of Sex and the City. A little personal indulgence!

Cookie Dough Dip

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/3-1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and whisk until sugar dissolves and mixture starts to bubble. Set aside to cool, and whisk in vanilla.

Cream together cream cheese and powdered sugar for 60 seconds. With mixer on low speed, add in brown sugar and butter mixture. Mix until combined. Taste and add more brown sugar if necessary. Stir in the chocolate chips. Place in the refrigerator until slightly hardened, 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Garnish with additional chopped chocolate if desired. Serve with fruit (apple slices are great), or graham crackers.

Source: Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod