White Bean and Basil Hummus

Michelle’s White Bean Basil Hummus

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So I kinda’ have a problem… I mean I kinda’ had a problem.  I was addicted to TJ’s white bean and basil hummus (thank you so much, Heidi, for introducing this to my mouth!) Thank goodness that problem is behind me.  Whew!  Now that I make my own version of this delicious stuff I’m addicted to it, instead.

See?  Problem, uh, solved…? 🙂

Ingredients:
15 oz can Garbanzo (chick peas) drained and rinsed
8 oz (1/2 can) white beans (navy, northern, any will do) drained and rinsed
1/4 cup tahini paste
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (I squeezed one large lemon)
3-4 tbsp. olive oil (plus a little more on top when finished if you like)
3-4 tbsp. water
1/2 tsp. cumin
I fresh garlic clove (diced or crushed)
1-2 tbsp. fresh chopped basil
salt to taste (I used less than a tsp.)

Directions: place all ingredients in food processor.  Puree, dip, enjoy!

Unsolicited tips: Most of the above ingredient quantities are approximate.  My food processor is on the fritz so I had to use the blender which, with such a thick dip, got a little tricky so I had to add more olive oil and water to get it mixed properly.

Remove the white beans and basil from the ingredient list above if you’d rather make a simpler hummus.  Great dip for fresh vegetables, crackers, pita… I even like a dollop mixed in with my salad.  Adds a bit of texture and zing.  Perfect addition to a holiday party spread.  Happy New Year!

For Sofia B.

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There are four Sophias in my third grade daughter’s class.  FOUR out of less than 60 students.  When Josie started kindergarten with Sofia B., Sophia D., Sophia P. and Sophia T., I think even the four Sophias’ mothers wondered how in the world we’d ever keep them all straight!  Of course it didn’t take long for each of their endearing personalities to emerge–each one unique and precious in her own way–and suddenly nothing could be more clear than which Sophia is which.

“Michelle” was the “Sophia” of my class.  If you are a girl and you were born near the late 1960’s/early 1970’s, you had a very good chance of being named Michelle (or Lisa or Jennifer–just ask my good friends Lisa and Jen.)  Or, if you weren’t named Michelle, you likely know a Michelle or did back then.  In fact, I dare you to find someone who doesn’t know a Michelle… but I digress… (but seriously, we are everywhere.)

I used to wish for a more unique name when I was a child, but looking back now I guess I just did what today’s Sophias do: I made my way and soon nobody confused me for Michelle S. or Shelly B.

Any-hoo… Sofia B. (the only one who spells her name with an “f”) was over for dinner recently and she really liked my Yellow Rice.  I adore all four Sophias and am so grateful for each of their contributions my lovely little corner of the world, but this recipe is dedicated to one Sofia in particular: Ms. Sofia B.  🙂

Tumeric Rice with Vegetables (with Chicken if you like)

Ingredients:
2 tbsp. olive oil
1-2 tbsp. butter (optional)
1 cup basmati or jasmin white rice
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 diced onion
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
1-2 cups chopped mixed vegetables (for this recipe I used chopped carrots, bell pepper and kale.  Other options include celery, zucchini, cauliflower…)
1/2 cup diced cooked chicken (optional)
1-2 tsp. tumeric
Salt/pepper to taste

Directions:
In a pan, medium heat, brown the onions in olive oil (approximately 5-10 minutes.)  Add garlic and rice.  Stir together for a 3-5 minutes until rice has a chance to get to know the first flavors.  Then add vegetables, chicken and butter and stir for another 3-5 minutes for another quick layer of introduction.  Then add broth, tumeric and a dash of salt and pepper.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cook for another 15-20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.  Add more salt and pepper if desired.

Unsolicited Tips: I make my own chicken broth, which accounts for some of the color and, I must say, some extra yummy flavor.  Boxed/canned broth can obviously also be used.  Brown rice can also be used, but it won’t absorb as much color or flavor.

If you haven’t used tumeric before, you may want to start with 1 teaspoon.  We love the flavor but it is new to some.  Besides being yum-ola and beautiful, tumeric is known to be anti-inflamatory, an antioxidant and tons of other current healthy buzz-words.  But you don’t have to take my word for it.  Google it and see!

Finally, in case you’re new to my blog or my life: the day I make a one-cup-of-rice recipe is the day I serve Poptarts for breakfast.  Girlfriend, I doubled this ‘thang of course!

p.s. Once Mike–in a show of defiance over my over-zealous approach to nutrition–bought some Poptarts.  Everyone hated them, even him!

 

Winter Cole Slaw

cole slaw 2 OK.  Yes.  I have posted my recipe for cole slaw before.  I just had to do it again because delicious fresh cabbages  literally abound at local farmer’s markets right now!  The high vitamin C and sulphur content in cabbage gives it strong detoxification properties.  High in vitamins and fiber, low in cost and de-lish make it a winter winner at our house.  This recipes forgoes the all-too-common-and-very-unhealthy ingredient of mayonnaise.  Fear not! After you taste this cole slaw you’ll never reach for a jar of that white stuff again.

Ingredients: 1/2 head cabbage (green, red or a combination), chopped; 1-2 carrots, shredded; few slender pieces red onion (don’t need to much); 1/4 cup cider vinegar; 1/4 cup olive oil; 2 tbsp sugar; few dashes salt and pepper

Directions: While you are prepping the veggies, bring the vinegar, olive oil and seasonings to a boil on the stove top.  With the sugar in there this will happen in about 2 minutes, maybe less.  Mix your now kinda-syrupy and warm vinaigrette and pour it over the top of your naked veggies.  Toss all this yummy stuff together and you’re pretty much there, my friend.

Kinda important tip: This recipe tastes great after hanging out in the fridge over night.  This month’s photo includes a double batch of the recipe above.  Why?  Because it gets even better after a few more days… leftovers = YES!!

Not as important tip: I usually give a big batch a stir after several hours to make sure all the vinegar-oil mixture doesn’t rest on the bottom.  Pairs well with chicken, burgers, tastes great on tacos–have fun!
Final thought.  Still with me?  Doesn’t this salad look absolutely gorgeous!?  OK.  Now go get something else done.  Seriously.

Baked Apples!

baked apples

OK.  Yum.  Yummity-yum-yum YUM.

We like dessert after dinner at my house.  I shoot for fresh fruit most nights but lately Valentine candy (shoot me now) has been dessert.  When I can find a nice fairly healthy dessert I consider it a great accomplishment as it makes everyone smile, including me (and no shooting required.)

Bonus number two with this particular recipe: both of my daughters can make it single-handedly!  I kinda prefer when Josie makes it because she cleans up her work space without any evidence of food preparation lickity-splickity.  Rhea needs a reminder.  And then sometimes another reminder.  And then I go back and finish the clean up.  But that’s OK.  This is why kiddos have mamas, right?   We’ll get there.

Baked Apples

Ingredients: 4 apples, 2 tbsp. maple syrup, few shakes cinnamon.

Directions: slice up your apples and leave the skins on.  Pour on syrup and add the cinnamon.  Mix it all up so all the slices are coated evenly.  Bake at 400 for about 30 minutes if you like your apples cooked but a bit firm, longer if you like them softer.  Serve warm in a little bowl because then your dessert can be tasty and cute.

Unsolicited tips: There a tons of other ingredients you can use for baked apples.  Brown sugar, butter, vanilla… but I like this recipe because it’s simple and really tasty–plus way healthier without all that other stuff.  Most of the recipes I found online for baked apples directed me to peel the fruit.  This, however, is not only an added step, it also simultaneously removes one of the most nutritious parts of the food!  So, if you need to peel’m.  If not, don’t!  My guys love it with the skin on.

Final tip: most recipes called for more maple syrup, but I have found that a little bit is all you need to add some sweetness but not overpower the other flavors.

If you’re interested in health benefits of cinnamon and maple syrup consider yourself thus informed!

Waffles. Mmm… Yes.

waffle

Ahhh… winter break.  Vacation.  Lazy mornings.  Waffles.

Just a peek into Michelle’s train of thought on this crisp (OK, yes: by So-Cal standards) Sunday morn.

You may notice that my waffles are stacked.  In a pile.  A BIG pile.  It’s rather a bit of work to make waffles.  Pancakes and French toast are easier as I can grab my handy-dandy double burner griddle and whip up those little honeys six at a time.

Not so with waffles.  One.  At.  A.  Time.  That’s how you do waffles.  So if I’m in waffle mode I capitalize on the vibe.  The extras will either sit in the fridge for toasting up over the next few days, or slip into the freezer for a future breakfast of fun.

Just in case you’re wondering, I have done a fair bit of breakfast recipe searching.  These waffles are dang tasty.

Michelle’s Buttermilk Waffles

Ingredients: 2 cups whole wheat flour,  1 tsp each of these: baking powder, baking soda, salt, 2 eggs, 2 cups buttermilk, dash vanilla, 1/2 cup vegetable oil.

Directions: mix it up and pour into your waffle iron.  Even though my waffle iron has a non stick surface (I’ve never seen one any other way) I still brush a little oil on both sides between every pour.  Top with maple syrup, honey, powdered sugar, jam… so many lazy mornings ahead, so many waffle topping options!

Tips: Double the above recipe and then you can just pour that skinny carton of buttermilk right in as it’s four cups!

Gluten free friends: I substituted the wheat flour in Josie’s waffles with Pamela’s Gluten/Wheat free pancake mix/flour.  Worked fine and they taste great–although they did cook a heckuva lot faster than the other ones.  Just a heads-up.

Adventures in Chili, Parte Dos!

chili on potato

OK.  So here’s a chili option for all you gluten free guys and gals (or not, whatever): Chili on a baked potato!  Yu-uhm.

I like my tater-chili topped with a dollop of Greek style yogurt and a dash of hot sauce.

Or… my versatile chili is so, uh, versatile that you can even slap it on a tortilla with some taco fixings (Yes!  It’s true!):

chili on tortilla

Here is my chili/bean burrito with some (you guessed it) hot sauce, fresh cabbage, little shredded cheese maybe (I can’t remember and it might be tucked inside.)

One recipe for easy-peasy Chili and look at all the fun you can have!  I know.  You’re welcome.

And, ladies and gentlemen, I’m still not done… but you’ll have to tune in Friday for my final cha-cha-chili post.

On a side note and because I’m not done with my coffee yet so I may as well keep typing… I was once informed by a Texan that real chili doesn’t even have beans in it.  Being of Latino-German heritage and growing up in Minnesota, I was unaware of this.  So, if you’re from Houston and you’re reading this entry, please reserve judgement.

I’m not Tex-Mex, I’m “Min-Mex.”   Forgive me.  I don’t mean to offend… 🙂

Coffee complete.  Have a great day everyone!

Michelle’s Easy-Peasy Chili

Ingredients: 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1/2 med onion (diced), 1 clove crushed garlic, 2 med bell peppers (diced–approximately 1 1/2 cups), Two 15 oz. cans black beans (with liquid–don’t drain’em!), One 15 oz. can diced, stewed or crushed tomatoes, One 6 oz. can tomato paste, 1 1/2 tsp. chili powder, salt and pepper to taste.

Directions: Simmer onion (any kind will do,) garlic and olive oil for a few minutes.  Add bell pepper and cook until peppers start to soften.  Add everything else, stir and bring to a boil/simmer until peppers are fully cooked.  You.  Are.  Done.

(OK.  Yes you can top off your creation with shredded cheese, diced onions, sour cream, what have you… Then.  You.  Are.  Done.)