Snacks

Sourdough Bread

I enjoy making homemade bread from time to time. It’s not something I do every week but I probably make it about once a month. I’ve been tweaking this sourdough bread recipe for many years. Sourdough bread is fairly simple once you get the hang of it. A little note, you will need a sourdough bread starter, which I also have a recipe for and will post later this week. The starter recipe is not complicated but makes more sense if you already have a bread recipe to refer back to. I like sourdough bread because it’s much easier to digest than other forms of homemade bread. Sourdough has higher quantities of lactobacillus than other bread, which, you may remember, is the same type of probiotic found in yogurt. This is in the raw dough and doesn’t actually make it through the baking process, however, it does leave behind lactic acid. Lactic acid helps balance out phytic acid, which is found in lots of bread and inhibits the absorption of other nutrients. The lactic acid helps to make sure that the phytic acid is in balance and your body can digest the bread more effectively. Another note on lactic acid, it makes this bread naturally lower on the glycemic index. Overall, if you feel bloated after eating bread, then you may feel much better with a little homemade sourdough. I also like to add flax seed to this recipe. You all know how I feel about flax! Its such a […]

Easy Tomato and Red Chili Salsa

At home, I refer to this recipe as “my easy salsa” because it really is so simple to make. It’s my favorite go-to salsa since it only takes a few minutes and uses all fresh ingredients which make the flavor out of this world. I am giving you many variations here and all of them are great! Making your own salsa is so much better to me than store-bought, you can skip out on all the preservatives and add flavor. I’ll take that! This recipe can be made with fresh or canned tomatoes and any type of hot pepper or chili you prefer. Also, I use up my cilantro stems in this recipe so that I am not wasting any part of cilantro. The stems actually have more flavor than the leaves so this is a great way to use them up since you are going to be pureeing all the vegetables together. Ingredients: 3 large tomatoes or 5 plum tomatoes or a full pint of cherry tomatoes (if it is winter and you don’t have fresh tomatoes you can use a 28 ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes) 2 cloves of garlic ½ tsp. of dried chili de arbol (or any other dried chilis you like) or 1 whole jalapeno or habanero. ¼ cup cilantro stems (or leaves if you prefer) ½ tsp. Sea salt Directions: Put all the ingredients in your blender (I use a Vitamix) and depending on the consistency that you want you can either pulse […]

Homemade Greek Yogurt

I wanted to do this as a separate post especially because this is such a popular style of yogurt!  I love the flavor of my homemade so much better than the store bought and besides, it is remarkably cheaper. First of all, if you haven’t read the post on homemade yogurt, that is the perfect place to start. Greek yogurt is a secondary process once you have made a batch of your own regular yogurt. This process produces a thicker, creamier yogurt which I personally use to replace sour cream or cream cheese.  The longer you allow it to strain, the thicker it will be. Directions: 1. Set a strainer over a bowl lined with a coffee filter or cheesecloth or a greek yogurt strainer.  They carry this brand at Kitchen and Company and can also be used to make yogurt cheese. 2.  Empty your homemade yogurt into the strainer and cover 3. Let sit until it is as thick as you want it. I usually let mine sit in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.  It comes out thick and creamy.  4. What you will have left in the bottom is the whey. When strained, it will keep indefinitely in the refrigerator and can be added to your smoothies, used to make sauerkraut and sourdough bread. Eat up and enjoy your greek yogurt! I use it as a sour cream replacement and also on its own as a filling breakfast or snack. I top with my homemade granola, fresh fruit and raw honey!    Enjoy!!

Sundried Tomato and Basil Hummus

Hummus is a dip or spread which originated in Egypt and is made of Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and sesame paste (tahini). It is high in fiber and protein and happens to be one of my favorite snacks. I enjoy it with brown rice crackers and various veggies but historically it was served with flatbread or pita. It is also great as a spread on a turkey or veggie wrap and a perfect appetizer for guests. I do buy hummus, especially during busier seasons of life, but prefer to make my own because I can control the freshness of the ingredients and the cost. You can add roasted red peppers, roasted garlic, chipotles, curry or just some extra lemon juice. Hummus is an amazing source of fiber, a subject I blogged about this week. Fiber is one of the vital components of a healthy meal and hummus is such a delicious way to get it in! It is definitely one of my favorites, enjoy it any way you like!   Ingredients: 2 C canned garbanzo beans, drained ⅓ C tahini (sesame paste) ¼ C olive oil 3 cloves garlic juice of one lemon ¼ C sundried tomatoes packed in olive oil ½ C fresh basil ½ tsp. sea salt   Directions: 1. Place beans, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, sundried tomatoes, basil and salt in food processor or blender. 2. Pulse for a few seconds then start slowly streaming olive oil in as needed to make a smooth, creamy hummus. That’s it! Very simple. Try some different variations on […]

Artichoke and Goat Cheese Dip

This recipe is so warm and cheesy but is full of lots of good flavor with a brightness due to the lemon zest and all the herbs.  Not like your typical cheesy holiday dip!     Ingredients: One 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained 1 pound chévre goat cheese 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 teaspoons lemon juice 2 teaspoons lemon zest 1 shallot, minced 1 garlic clove, minced ½ cup Parmesan Reggiano, grated 1 tablespoon parsley 1 tablespoon chives ½ tablespoon rosemary ½ teaspoon sea salt ½ teaspoon black pepper Dash of cayenne pepper (optional*)   Directions: 1. In a food processor, mix all ingredients except the parmesan until well incorporated and creamy. 2. Top with your freshly grated Parmesan. 3. Bake in a 350 oven until bubbly and cheese is golden on top. 4. Serve alongside some toasted crostini or crackers. Enjoy!!  

Whole Grain Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Fall is here and it's time for all things Pumpkin.  These muffins are some of my favorites. I have been making these for years and they bring back so many memories of baking days with my kids when they were all living at home.  I am still making them for the last of the 5 kiddos and he loves them. This recipe initially came from the blog, Money Saving Mom, and I have tweaked it over the years to make them more nutrient dense.  They are both a treat and a healthy snack.  These are not difficult so give them a try.  Great way to celebrate a fall morning with a cup of coffee or tea. Ingredients: (makes 24-30 muffins) 4 eggs 1 cup raw cane sugar 3/4 cup coconut sugar 1 16oz. can pumpkin puree 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce 3/4 cup avocado oil 3 cups Whole Wheat, Spelt or Kamut flour 2 teaspoons baking soda 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon sea salt 1 package chocolate chips   Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 2. Spray muffin tins with baking oil (I use coconut or avocado oil spray) or use paper liners. 3. Using a large mixing bowl, beat together eggs, sugar, pumpkin, and oil until well blended. 4. Add the dry ingredients and blend well. 5. Add chocolate chips and stir in gently. 6. Fill muffins cups 3/4 of the way full. 7. Bake for 16-20 minutes. 8. Remove from muffin pan and [...]

Pimento Cheese With a Twist

It's a dinner party again and as a person who has special dietary needs, you are addressed with what to bring.  You show up with one of your many variations of hummus that is your go to and by the end of the evening it has barely been touched.  This has been the scenario for me many times and to be honest...I am tired of hummus!  I needed a new go to and this recipe is that for me.  I have not found anyone so far that hasn't enjoyed it! I did not grow up with pimento cheese but I sure do like it.  The first recipe that I came across was in Frank Stitt's cookbook, "The Southern Table".  It was very easy to make and I absolutely flipped. I am serious that I can eat a whole bowl in one sitting.  I am not ashamed because it is just that good! There has been a little bit of a love/hate relationship between myself and pimento cheese. The primary reason for that is because there is cheese in it!!  Dairy causes me to clear my throat constantly which is uncomfortable for me and anyone around me. I found that I could tolerate some raw cheese and any goat or sheep dairy.  So...I created my own recipe using three cheeses and jarred roasted bell peppers to make it less time consuming. Give this recipe a try and hopefully you will enjoy it as much as I do!   Ingredients: ½ pound sharp [...]

Avocado Crema

I think you can find a picture of an avocado on any health and wellness blog or Instagram. They are such a superfood!! There were so many years with excessive warnings about eating too many avocados due to their high fat content.  I am so glad those days are over!!  Avocado has healthy fat which is primary in reversing insulin resistance. They also contain a monounsaturated fat which is imperative for memory and brain health.  They have more potassium than a banana and are high in B & C vitamins. That is only the beginning when it comes to their health benefits. Avocados are part of my weekly diet and this recipe for avocado crema came to me in a moment of panic.  We were having some friends over and I was supposed to make an appetizer.  I had worked a little later than anticipated and only had a few minutes to come up with something.  Well, this was it!! I had no idea how it would turn out but it got eaten really quickly and so now it is a family favorite!  It is great as a dip for vegetables or tortilla chips and my favorite topping for any kind of taco or Mexican food!   AVOCADO CREMA 2 Avocados (scooped out) 8 oz. plain yogurt 1 handful of cilantro 2 TBS. taco seasoning (I use Bold Taco from Penzey’s or Frontier) salt to taste (if using unsalted taco seasoning) a squeeze of lime     1.Put all ingredients […]

Peanut Butter Energy Bars

Let’s be honest, everyone gets snacky sometimes. Your body might be asking you for just a little extra energy to get through the day. That’s why I like to keep healthy, homemade snacks on hand so I have a good option to turn to when the between-meal hunger strikes. I don’t snack every day, I’d rather go ahead and have an early lunch than fill up on snacks. But there are times when I’ve been working extra hard and I feel my body needs a little more fuel. This recipe is a fantastic one to keep on hand for those times. Also, kids love them! The average packaged snack bar has about 1 gram of protein and 2 grams of fiber per serving. These energy bars have 5.5 grams of protein and 11 grams of high-quality fiber from chia seeds. They also have calcium and antioxidants. These bars may taste indulgent but they have the right amount of protein, fiber and healthy fat to satisfy and help you feel full. I’ll take it! Ingredients: 2 cups puffed brown rice crisps ¼ cup chia seeds ½ cup unsweetened coconut ¼ cup raw old fashioned oats ¼ cup toasted slivered almonds ¼ cup goji berries ¼ cup bittersweet chocolate chips 1 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter of choice) ⅓ cup brown rice syrup ⅓ cup maple syrup Directions: 1. Combine puffed rice, chia seeds, coconut, oats, almonds and goji berries in a large bowl. 2. In a small saucepan, melt peanut butter, […]

Freezing and Storing Summer Produce

I just love the flavors of summer produce: tomatoes, basil, bell peppers, hot peppers, cucumber, blackberries, blueberries, peaches and so many more! When I am in the middle of winter I find that I crave those fresh sunny fruits and vegetables and have found a way to have those year round. I buy up as much as I can afford each week and freeze them. It’s way more fresh and cost-effective than buying frozen veggies and fruit at the grocery store. It’s best to buy fruits and vegetables in the summer as they are always less expensive in season. Also, when you freeze them yourself you know exactly where they came from and that nothing was added in the freezing process. As summer sets in, remember that colder weather will come and you will long for these delicious foods. So buy a little extra each week, you’ll be surprised how much it adds up and you can stash away for the winter. Here is my method: Berries: Put berries on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, make sure they are not touching and freeze. Note: I first freeze them on a cookie sheet to make sure they don’t clump together. Much easier for grabbing just a handful for smoothies etc. Then date, label and move to a quart size bag. I keep adding to the bag each week until full and freeze as many bags as I can over the summer. Use in desserts and smoothies. Peaches: Peel and slice. Place single layer on […]