Category Archives: appetizers and sides

Warm Brussels Sprout and Sweet Potato Salad with Agave Ginger Dressing

I remember hearing once that if someone doesn’t like green vegetables it could be because they really do taste bad to them. There apparently are some people who taste things differently. In this case for some reason green vegetables taste soapy to them. I’m not sure of the specifics, but how horrible would that be? You would be missing out of so many delicious vegetables and so many nutrients that go along with green veggies.

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For example, brussels sprouts! Brussels sprouts get a bad rep and if, like many, when you think of brussels sprouts you think of stinky, mini, boiled cabbages…. you are totally missing out on how delicious these little bit size greens can be. Brussels sprouts are not only delicious (when cooked correctly) but also packed with fiber, vitamin c, potassium and are naturally low in calories.

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Well, today was one of those days that I didn’t feel like just having roasted brussels sprouts (my usual favorite way to cook them, a little olive oil salt, pepper and lemon…oven 400 deg F. till crispy ) I decided to get a little crazy and make a brussels sprout salad (much better than boiled…eww) So, with the exception of those with taste buds that make green veggies taste like soap, if you have the above opinion of brussels sprouts, hopefully this recipes will help to change that view!

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Ingredients:

1 small sweet potato diced

2 cups chopped brussels sprouts

1/4 cup apple diced

1/8 cup toasted slivered almonds

2 green onions diced

1/2 avocado diced

1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger

1 tsp agave or honey

2 tbs apple cider or rice vingegar

1/8 tsp sesame seed oil

siracha

salt and pepper

chili powder

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 deg F. coat diced sweet potatoes in about 1 tsp olive oil and season to taste with salt, pepper and chili powder. Bake in oven till fork tender, remove and allow to cool.

While sweet potatoes are baking make the dressing. Combine ginger, honey, vinegar, and siracha to taste.

Once the sweet potatoes are done or close to done saute brussels sprouts in 1 tsp of olive oil till tender and starting to crisp. In a bowl combine sauteed brussels sprouts, roasted sweet potatoes, toasted-sliced almonds, diced apple, green onions, avocado, and dressing. Mix to combine and enjoy!

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Back into action (Greek layer dip)

Oh my, I have been absolutely horrible lately. It’s been so long since I have made a post that I almost don’t know what to do! Life has just been crazy. With my new job and summer traveling I have been a lazy bum. By the time I can sit down, that’s all I want to do. So, starting now I am making a new rule that I will be better about keeping up with my blog.

I wasnt joking about my pictures being horrible.

I wasnt joking about my pictures being horrible.

Along with that train of thought, I am thinking my blog needs an overhaul. But seriously, my photographs are not doing my food justice at all….but I guess that’s what you get when you don’t own a real camera, not to mention It could use some re-organizing.

At least now that I have a camera they will get better...hopefully.

At least now that I have a camera they will get better…hopefully.

To get back into the swing of things I have been collecting a few recipes I have been meaning to post. This first one is one of my favorite dishes to bring to potlucks or to have as an easy, delicious and healthy appetizer anytime of the year. Are you ready for it? It’s a Greek hummus dip and it is SO GOOD, yet so simple. I brought this to a tailgate once and it was gone in about 5 minutes…I’m not joking, I didn’t even get any. Same thing happened when I brought it to a recent work potluck. So, if you make this for a party or potluck make sure you snag a bite before you set it out or you will never get a chance to taste this delicious dip.

Ingredients:

Hummus

1-15 oz can chick peas, rinsed and drained (reserve liquid)

Scant ¼ cup tahini

Two large cloves roasted garlic

Juice of 1 lemon

About a ½ teaspoon of salt, add more or less to taste I find that it can taste a little bitter or bland if you don’t use enough

Pepper to taste

Olive oil and chickpea liquid (see directions below for amounts)

Directions:

In an food processor or blender add drained chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Start with about a tablespoon of olive oil and blend. When it comes to adding the more olive oil or chickpea liquid it becomes personal preference from now on what consistency you like your hummus, it also varies depending on how juicy your lemon is. I personally don’t like to add a ton of olive oil, so if I have already added a good amount and It is not quite the consistency I want I will add the chickpea liquid, but if you don’t want to use the chickpea liquid you don’t have to. Just blend till you get the a good creamy texture.

Layered Dip Ingredients:

Homemade hummus

1 ½ -6oz container plain, non-fat, Chobani Greek yogurt

1 Roma tomato, diced

½ Cucumber, peeled and diced

2-3 Green onions, diced

Feta cheese and pepper to taste

Directions:

Start by spreading the hummus into a glass baking dish. Next, spread the Chobani over top, you may need a little more or less depending on the size of your dish.  I used a 9X12, I have also used and 8X8 and got away with just one container or yogurt.

Sprinkle yogurt layer with feta, tomatoes, cucumbers and green onions, then top with some fresh cracked pepper….I told you it was easy. Now pair that with some of crunchy corn chips (I like Trader Joe’s guiltless corn chips) or pita and hurry up and grab a bite before it’s all gone!

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Quinoa and Kale Salad

I love quinoa, it is such a versatile delicious grain, it’s quick and easy to cook, you can eat it cold or warm and it is full of nutrients, so much so that it is considered a “superfood” Just so you can see for yourself, here are just a few of the benefits of quinoa:

  • Protein rich: Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all 9 amino acids that are essential for our complete nutrition. Complete proteins are rare in the plant world making quinoa a great source of protein for vegetarians.
  • High in fiber: Quinoa contains almost twice as much fiber as other grains.
  • Good source of Iron: Iron is essential because carries oxygen from one cell to another and supplies oxygen to our muscles to aid in their contraction.
  • Contains lysine: Lysine is mainly essential for tissue repair and growth.
  • Rich in magnesium: Magnesium also may reduce Type 2 diabetes by promoting healthy blood sugar control. Other health benefits of magnesium include transmission of nerve impulses, body temperature regulation, detoxification, energy production, and the formation of healthy bones and teeth.

Now that you know some of great health benefits of quinoa, If you have not already added it to your diet, I highly recommend it. It has a delicious nutty flavor and you can add pretty much anything to it for a great side dish or main meal. So, if you are new to quinoa or are just looking for some different ways to throw it together here is one of my favorite quinoa salad recipes!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup quinoa
  • 2 Cups water
  • 3 Cups raw kale pulled off the stem in bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup almond slivers or pine nuts
  • 3 green onions diced
  • 1/4 Cup dried cranberries
  • Juice of a 1in-1.5 in wedge of lime
  •  Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a medium sized pot add 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups of water, over med-high heat with lid on until it reaches a boil. Reduce to simmer with lid on and cook till water is absorbed.

While quinoa is cooking toast almond slivers or pine nuts in a small non-stick pan on the stove over medium heat, stirring constantly to keep from burning. Set aside when done.

Once the quinoa is done add 3 cups raw kale to a large bowl. While quinoa is still hot add it to the kale and stir it up. The heat from the quinoa will help to wilt the kale a little bit.

Add cranberries, almonds/pine nuts, green onions, lime juice and salt and pepper, stir it up till combined, serve, and enjoy!

**Note: you can always add more of less of any ingredient, if you want more nuts and cranberries or lime juice, go for it! It is all up to your individual taste.

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