Monthly Archives: May 2014

Garlic Hummus

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I have been waiting to share this recipe with you all for a while. I developed a love for hummus in the last couple of years, and began making my own last summer. I think homemade tastes so much fresher, and it’s super simple. I make this hummus all the time and it really makes me look forward to eating my daily dose of raw veggies, which is saying a lot! This recipe is a standard base hummus recipe, but from time to time I give it a little pizzaz by adding roasted red peppers, pesto, etc. I recently found a recipe for avocado hummus and I’m definitely trying that next!

One thing I should mention … most hummus recipes call for tahini paste. When I couldn’t find tahini paste at the store one day I decided to improvise and use toasted sesame seeds. I liked how it turned out so that’s how I typically make it, but you could use tahini instead of sesame seeds.

Garlic Hummus

  • 1-3 garlic cloves (1 if you want a very mild garlic flavor, 3 if you want a stronger garlic flavor. I usually opt for 3)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 (15 oz.) can of garbanzo beans, aka chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 4-6 dashes of hot sauce (optional, but it definitely adds a little something awesome)
  • water, if needed
  1. In a small pan toast the sesame seeds over low heat, stirring frequently, until a light golden color. About 5 minutes. In a food processor process the garlic cloves until finely minced. Add the lemon juice, garbanzo beans, sesame seeds, sea salt (I use about 1/4 teaspoon) and hot sauce.
  2. Turn on the food processor and drizzle in the olive oil through the feeding tube. Check to see if the hummus is your desired constancy, if too thick add a teaspoon or so of water.

Makes 4-5 servings. If you want enough to serve a crowd, double the recipe.



Filed under Snacks

Spicy Peanut and Chicken Noodle Salad

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It finally feels like summer is actually going to happen. And that makes me one happy camper! The beautiful weather we’ve had this week, and will have through the weekend, was well worth the wait. Do you ever think about how much our moods are correlated with the weather?! Mother nature has some serious power over us!

On to business … I wasn’t too surprised by how much I loved this salad. Bright fresh veggies, super tender chicken, all smothered in peanut sauce, it’s a winning combination! If you’re going to a cookout or pot luck and are looking for a different salad to bring (we’ve all had the typical pasta salad and potato salad a million times), this is it. I prefer and recommend serving it room temp or cold, but Aaron liked his warm, so you can do whatever you like! Have a safe and happy holiday weekend 🙂

Spicy Peanut and Chicken Noodle Salad

  • 1 lb. chicken breasts, shredded
  • red, green and orange (or yellow) bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 package japanese soba noodles (I found them at Metcalfe’s, but you could also use spaghetti instead)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 4 or 5 green onions, sliced

Spicy Peanut Sauce:

  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 6 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 5 tablespoons reduced sodium tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (depending on how hot you like it)
  • 1/2 cup peanuts (optional)


  1. Poach the chicken breast by bringing a medium sauce pot of water to a boil. Place the chicken in the boiling water and cook for about 15 minutes or until no longer pink in the center. Set chicken aside to cool. Once cool enough to handle shred by hand. *I have to say this is my go-to method to cook chicken that I plan to dice or shred, it’s always super tender!
  2. Prepare the peanut sauce by combining all of the sauce ingredients in a food processor or blender. Set aside.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and boil the noodles according to the package directions.  Rinse the noodles with cold water.
  4. Combine the noodles, chicken, vegetables, and peanut sauce in a very large bowl. Mix until evenly coated in sauce. Serve room temperature or cold.

This recipe makes a ton, about 8-10 servings.

Recipe adapted from Pinch of Yum

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Filed under Main dishes, Salads

Lemon and Blueberry Cupcakes

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Happy Friday! I brought these cupcakes to a pot luck lunch at work this week (shout out to all of my awesome ARC co-workers!). They were a hit and definitely blog worthy — yes, not everything I make makes it to you guys. It has to meet a certain standard, and I’m keeping the standards high!

I love the spring/summer flavors of the lemon and blueberry combo. And seriously can you ever go wrong if something is covered in cream cheese frosting? No way! That reminds me, it’s almost summer which means almost time to make fruit pizza! One of my family favs, my dad and brother especially love it 🙂

Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk, room temperature
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar


  1. In a mixer cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Beat in the vanilla and lemon juice. In a small bowl combine the flour and baking powder. Add half of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined. Blend in the milk. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients, until just incorporated.
  2. In a small bowl toss the blueberries with the 2 tablespoons of flour (this helps them to not fall to the bottom of the cupcakes). Gently fold the blueberries into the cupcake batter.
  3. Line muffin tins with paper cupcake liners. Spoon an even amount of batter in each until they are 3/4 full. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the muffin tins for 5 minutes, then remove.
  4. To make the cream cheese frosting beat the butter and cream cheese together on high speed until light and fluffy. Add the lemon zest, juice and vanilla, mix well. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until well incorporated. Chill slightly if desired, then frost cupcakes when they are completely cooled.

Makes about 17 cupcakes.

Adapted from Annie’s Eats

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Filed under Sweet indulgences

Baked Sweet Potato Chips

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I recently used a Bed Bath and Beyond gift card to buy a mandolin. This is definitely not a necessary kitchen item (which is why I thought I would splurge with the gift card), but it’s a super fun gadget to have! You can slice thinly and evenly in half the time. It also juliennes and does crinkle cuts … I guess I love cooking if these are the things that excite me. 🙂 Back to the point, I was looking for a recipe to try so that I could use my new mandolin, and sweet potato chips are what I settled on.

I love sweet potatoes, and they make delicious chips! They have to bake for quite a while in order to get nice and crisp. Just make sure you’re ready to be patient when you make these.

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Baked Sweet Potato Chips

  • 2 organic sweet potatoes, washed well
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, slice the sweet potatoes thinly and evenly. Divide the sliced sweet potatoes evenly between two baking sheets. Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil on each baking sheet, and combine the oil and potatoes well with your hands until they are evenly coated. Sprinkle evenly with sea salt.
  2. Bake in a preheated 250 degree oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until crisp and slightly golden. Flip the chips every 30 minutes or so. If some chips are thicker than others you may want to let them cook longer to get crisp.
  3. Sprinkle immediately with a bit more sea salt, if desired. Let them cool on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes, and then serve.

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Filed under Snacks

Avacado, Bruschetta & Mozzarella Chicken

First and foremost, Happy Mother’s Day to all of the wonderful Moms out there! I was able to spend time with both my lovely Mother and Mother-in-law this weekend, I am a lucky daughter!

This recipe goes out to my BFF, Kristi. We recently had a somewhat similar meal at Granite City and she said it is one of her favs. So I wanted to recreate something similar at home.  It’s a great healthy weeknight dinner and is a sinch to throw together. I was able to find a really fresh pre-made bruschetta at the grocery store, which made the prep quick and easy.  I was surprised at how deeeelicious this dish was and will be making it regularly.

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Avocado, Bruschetta & Mozzarella Chicken

  • 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 large (or 4 small) chicken breasts, pounded to a thin and even thickness
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup bruschetta (I used store bought)
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 fresh mozzarella ball, sliced
  • baby spinach


  1. In a small sauce pot bring the balsamic vinegar to a boil. Turn heat down to medium-low and let simmer until thickened, but 10-15 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Pound chicken breasts to an even thickness in a large ziplock bag with a meat mallet or rolling pin. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Season chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper to taste and cook until no longer pink, about 5-6 minutes per side.
  3. Place chicken on a foil-lined baking sheet and top each chicken breast with a 1/4 cup of bruschetta. Next top with about 3 slices of avocado and a slice of mozzarella.
  4. Preheat your oven’s broiler and broil the chicken until the cheese has melted. Serve over a bed of baby spinach and drizzle with the balsamic reduction.

Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

Before broiling:

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And after!

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Filed under Main dishes

Chocolate and Banana Muffins

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I don’t know if I’ve mentioned my serious love for chocolate on the blog before. If I could have it my way every meal would end with chocolate. But I’m usually able to restrain myself, usually 🙂

I think chocolate goes well with just about anything, but chocolate and bananas are right up there as one of the best combos. These muffins allow both the chocolate and banana flavors to shine through. The chocolate flavor is rich, but doesn’t overpower the bananas too much. Definitely make these the next time you have a chocolate craving!

Chocolate and Banana Muffins

  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 4 over-ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips


  1. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl, set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl wisk together the wet ingredients (from the milk to the vanilla) until well combined.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Butter or grease two muffin tins. Fill the tins with the batter until about 3/4 full. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Makes 24 large muffins.

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Adapted from Live Simply


Filed under Breakfast, Sweet indulgences