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Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

11 Jul

Big news, and an easy recipe today. First with the big news, I am now officially a Foodie! I know, I know I have been a foodie for a while now but all of that foodie-ing has been non professional. That has changed, I am now a professional Foodie. My new job title is actually Foodie. What is a Foodie? Well, my job involves talking to people about food all day! I get to share ideas and tips, and help customers navigate the store. How great is that.

With the cooler temperatures we have been having in Austin (by cooler I mean 90 degree days instead of 100).  I decided I could finally try roasting chickpeas. I came across this recipe back in May, but decided today was the day to give it a try since I had some extra chickpeas in the fridge from hummus.

I could not stop eating these after they came out of the oven.  You could just serve them up in a bowl as a snack, toss them on salads, or even add them to a trail mix. A great combination of crunchy and savory to satisfy those cravings for unhealthy snacks. Also, the cayenne gives these a nice kick!

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas


  • 3 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, use more or less to adjust spiciness


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degree.
  2. In medium bowl mix together all the ingredients, until the chickpeas are coated.
  3. Using a rimmed baking sheet pour chickpeas out in a single layer.
  4. Bake on the lowest rack for 25-30 minutes. Turn chickpeas halfway through to ensure even baking. Chickpeas will be done when they are golden and crispy.
  5. Remove chickpeas from pan to a paper towel lined plate and pat off excess oil.
  6. Store leftovers in a zip top bag or air tight container.

Mexican Quinoa Salad

28 Jun

Quinoa is fast becoming a staple in this house. Not only is it a complete protein, it is also loaded with fiber, iron, and calcium. And best of all quinoa is gluten free!

This salad tastes like summer. The inspiration for this salad is the abundance of red bell peppers and cilantro in my garden. I paired my peppers with fresh roasted corn and black beans.

The sauce for this salad is simply apple cider vinegar and olive oil. It perfectly enhances the flavors of the season in this salad.

I used half black quinoa and half plain quinoa, in an effort to increase the color appeal of the salad, but any quinoa will work.

Serve this salad hot or cold!

Mexican Quinoa Salad

serves 4 entree salads


1 cup quinoa

1 1/2 cup water

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 medium sweet onion, diced

1 1/2 cup fresh corn, roasted and removed from cob

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoon olive oil

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

Cilantro, garnish

lime wedges, optional


  1. In a medium saucepan add quinoa and water. Cook uncovered until water is boiling, cover and cook on low heat for 20 minutes; or until no water remains.
  2. In a deep saute or large saucepan add olive oil, heat oil on high heat until oil shimmers. Add onion and red bell peppers, cook until soft; around 4 minutes. Then, add in corn and black beans and reduce heat to medium.
  3. Pour apple cider vinegar over the veggie mixture and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. When quinoa is done, add it to the veggie mixture and stir to combine.
  5. Remove from heat, either serve immediately or chill for an hour and serve cold.
  6. Just before serving add cilantro and squeeze a little lime on top.

Coconut Cream Pie Bars

7 Jun

Do you crave those expensive store-bought fruit and nut energy bars? I did, but I discovered I can make my favorites at home with just a few ingredients and at a fraction of the price. My first experiment is with the Coconut Cream Pie Larabar. The Larabar website lists the ingredients as dates, coconut, almonds, cashews, and extra virgin coconut oil. I varied the recipe a little based on what I had on hand, so no cashews in this bar.

Chopping the nuts alone in the food processor ensures the nuts don’t become powdery. Remove the nuts and add the dates pulsing them into a sticky paste. Then combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix by hand.

I like small bites. So I cut these bars into 2″ x 2″ squares, wrap them up individually and store them in the fridge.

Coconut Cream Pie Bars

makes 18 2×2 bars


  • 20 dates, pitted (medjool dates work best)
  • 1 cup almonds, raw
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3 teaspoons extra virgin coconut oil


  1. Put almonds in the food processor and pulse until almonds are finely chopped but not powdery. Remove almonds to a medium size mixing bowl.
  2. Place pitted dates into the food processor and turn on, scrape down sides as needed. Remove dates when they resemble a sticky paste. Then add to the almonds.
  3. Add coconut and coconut oil to the almonds and dates, mix by hand until completely incorporated. Wear gloves to help with stickiness.
  4. Line a rimmed baking sheet with wax paper or foil. Press mixture into the pan creating an even thickness. You can make the bars as thick or thin as you would like.
  5. Place pan into the freezer for at least an hour. Remove and flip upside down onto a cutting board and remove backing.
  6. Cut bars into whatever size you would like and wrap each individually for storage or in an air tight container. I like to store mine in the fridge, but  the bars can be stored unrefrigerated as well.

Orange Sesame Kale Salad

5 Jun

This salad will knock your socks off, and maybe change your mind about raw kale. The inspiration for this salad came from a kale salad that I tried a few months ago. The original salad though was way too sweet and had a bit too much oil. So this is a healthier remake of a healthy salad.

I choose fresh squeezed orange juice for the base of the dressing. To that I added minced ginger, Tamari, rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, olive oil, garlic chili paste, and black sesame seeds.

The key to making this salad super tasty is to thoroughly coat the kale with the dressing. Top with roasted Pepitas, dried cranberries and raw blanched slivered almonds. Once combined the salad should sit for at least 30 minutes for the best taste.

Orange Sesame Kale Salad

makes 6 side salad servings


  • 1 bunch of Curly Kale
  • 8 ounces orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon gluten free Tamari
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic chili paste
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds (toasted or white will work as well)
  • 3 tablespoons organic extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup toasted Pepitas
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup raw, blanched slivered almonds


  1. Wash kale, remove the thick rib and tear into bite size pieces. Place kale into a large bowl.
  2. In a separate small bowl add orange juice, sesame oil, honey, tamari, rice wine vinegar, garlic chili paste, minced ginger, and olive oil. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
  3. Pour dressing over the kale and toss until all the kale is coated.
  4. Top the salad with the pepitas, cranberries, and almonds.
  5. Let salad sit in fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Spicy Spinach Dahl

4 Jun

This dish combines my love for beans, Indian flavor and some heat. Dahl or dal is a generic name for a stew made from lentils, peas, or beans. It can be prepared in an almost infinite number of ways. I have been working on this recipe for some time now and think it is just about perfect.

This particular recipe calls for chili powder, turmeric, mustard seeds, cumin, garam masala, cayenne, and salt to give it that warm and rich taste.

I used coconut oil instead of olive oil or butter, because it adds a richness to the flavor. After heating the oil up in the pan, I add the spices and let them cook until they are highly aromatic.

I love that this dish also has plenty of spinach! It not only adds color but also vitamins and flavor.

Spicy Spinach Dahl

(makes approximately 6 servings)


  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil (olive oil or butter can be substituted)
  • 2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, optional
  • 12 ounces spinach, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk


  1. Soak the lentils in water for 20 minutes.
  2. In a deep saute pan or large saucepan, bring water, lentils, turmeric, salt, and chili powder to boil.
  3. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. In a separate saute pan, add oil, garam masala, mustard seed, and cumin, heat until the spices are bubbly and highly aromatic.
  5. Add onion to the spices and add a pinch of salt.
  6. Cook until the onion is soft and transparent.
  7. Add the spinach to the lentils and let cook for about 5 minutes.
  8. Add onion and coconut milk to the lentil and cook until heated through out.
  9. Serve with rice.

Root Slaw with Mint and Lime Dressing

1 Jun

So May was National Salad Month, but let’s forget all that and celebrate June as salad month!

This root slaw is packed with so much goodness I can hardly believe it. Beets, daikon, red cabbage, jicama, broccoli, and carrots. Topped off with fresh mint and lime dressing. This salad is too good to miss.

The inspiration for this salad came from my garden with it’s abundance of fresh veggies and herbs. Not all of these veggies were from the garden, but you can taste the freshness.

The combination of fresh mint and lime against the earthy flavor of the salad is incredibly delicious. This slaw is perfect for picnics or backyard barbeques.

Root Slaw with Mint and Lime Dressing



  • 1/2 cup daikon, shredded*
  • 1 1/2 cup red cabbage, shredded*
  • 1/2 cup jicama, shredded*
  • 5 carrots, shredded*
  • 4 broccoli stalks, shredded*
  • 3 beets, shredded*

* Tip – Use a food processor to make easy work of shredding all these veggies.


  • 5 tablespoons high quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey or agave
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar



  1. Toss all shredded vegetables in a large bowl until well combined.


  1. In a blender combine all ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy.
  2. Pour into a lidded jar. Dressing with keep up to 2 days in the fridge.
  3. Add dressing to slaw 15 minutes before serving.

Healthy Brownie Bites

27 May

After a very long hiatus, I am back with lots of new healthy recipes to share. I have spent my time away traveling, gardening, and of course, cooking!

This new recipe came to me after experimenting with homemade Larabars. I wanted something healthy with no processed sugar but a great chocolate kick, these delicious Brownie Bites are what I came up with.

These no bake brownie bites are powered by the goodness of pecans, walnuts, dates, and coconut.

Process nuts, dates, and coconut until finely ground.

Once nuts are processed add in vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract, cocoa powder, and water. Process these until the whole mixture becomes a well combined paste.

Form the brownie batter into small balls and roll in coconut until thoroughly coated.

These brownie bites are a quick and easy guilt free treat!

Healthy Brownie Bites

(makes approximately 24 1″ inch balls)

  • 3/4 cup pitted Dates; roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup pecans
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder or all natural cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut; for garnishing.


  1. Add dates, pecans, walnuts and coconut to food processor, pulse until finely chopped.
  2. Add to nut mixture, vanilla bean paste, cocoa, and water; then, pulse until all ingredients form a dough. Add more water if the mixture still looks dry.
  3. Remove the dough from the food processor and form into 1” inch balls.
  4. Roll the balls in a bowl of shredded coconut to coat.
  5. Place coated balls in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.
  6. Keep chilled balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week, if they last that long. 🙂

Cabbage Salad with Mint and Garlic

8 Nov

This cabbage salad or what I call Lebanese Cole Slaw, is the traditional accompaniment to Mona’s Mjadara.  If you missed the Mjadara post you should really check it out. You can do it now, I’ll wait.


Back already? Cabbage salad is super simple and very tasty!

When I was taught to make this salad, I was taught to slice the cabbage very thinly by hand. I am not very good at getting it thin enough. Recently though I discovered that I could use a mandoline to shred the cabbage super fine, with little effort. This discovery is a HUGE timesaver!


Once the cabbage is shredded, it is time to make the dressing for the salad.

Mash three cloves of garlic with a mortar and pestle with plenty of salt.


Spoon the mashed garlic into a jar, along with olive oil. Squeeze in lemon juice and then add the dried mint. Put a lid on the jar and shake!


Apply the dressing to only as much cabbage as you will be eating that day. Save the additional dressing and cabbage in fridge for up to two days.


Serve with Mjadara!




Cabbage Salad with Garlic and Mint

1 head of green cabbage

3 cloves of garlic

2 teaspoons of salt

1/4 cup olive oil

1-2 lemons

2 teaspoons of dried mint


  1. Quarter cabbage, shred cabbage very thinly using a mandoline or knife. Put cabbage into a large bowl.
  2. In mortar place 3 cloves of garlic with the salt. Mash garlic until it is a smooth creamy paste.
  3. Spoon garlic into a jar, add  olive oil and squeeze in 1-2 lemons (depending of how juicy they are).
  4. Add dried mint to jar.
  5. Place the lid on the jar and shake.
  6. Pour the dressing onto the cabbage. Using only what you will eat in one day.

Lentil and Lemon Soup

1 Nov

Lentil and Lemon Soup or Danny feel better soon soup, is my fiance’s version of Chicken Noodle Soup. Who knew Chicken Noodle Soup wasn’t universal?

So we have been sick, for days. I have never actually made this soup, so I called Danny’s Mom, Mona, to get the recipe.

This soup is full of vitamin C, protein, iron, and fiber- everything you need to feel better when you are sick.

Cooking the lentils is the longest step, but while the lentils are cooking you can prep the rest of the veggies.

An entire head of garlic is used in this recipe. Place peeled garlic cloves and salt in a mortar and grind with pestle until the garlic is a smooth paste.

There is a trick to peeling an entire head of garlic in just seconds, check out this video.

When lentils are soft add the diced potatoes and sautéed onions. Cook until the potatoes are soft.

Add the Swiss chard ( cut into strips) and the now crushed garlic into the pot.

Add the lemon juice and dried mint. Cook for another 5 minutes and this soup is ready to cure!

Mona’s Lentil and Lemon Soup

2 cups dry lentils

12 cups of water

1 head of garlic

6 small white potatoes OR 2 medium potatoes

1 bunch of Swiss chard

1 medium onion, diced

1 tablespoon dried mint

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sea salt

4 lemons

  1. In a large stockpot, add lentil and water. Bring to a boil, then cook on medium heat until lentils are soft (about 30 minutes).
  2. While the lentils are cooking, peel the head of garlic,and place it the mortar with 1 tablespoon of salt and crush with pestle until it is a smooth paste. Add a little more salt in necessary.
  3. Peel and dice potatoes, set aside.
  4. Clean Swiss chard and slice into strips approximately 2 inches long, set aside.
  5. Saute onion with a small amount of olive oil, until soft.
  6. When lentils are soft, add potatoes. Cook on medium heat, until potatoes are soft ( about 10 minutes)
  7. Add the Swiss chard, onions, and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes.
  8. Juice the lemons and add the juice into the pot.
  9. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of sea salt and the dried mint.
  10. Simmer for another 10 minutes and serve.

Perfect Hummus and Pita Chips

20 Oct

I love Hummus! I really, really love hummus. I make a big batch every week. I eat it with veggies, make sandwiches with it, and of course eat it with pita chips.

I start with salt and 5 cloves of garlic in the food processor. Then I add 3 3/4 cup of soaked and cooked garbanzo beans (which is equal to 2 cans of beans).

Instead of olive oil, this authentic Lebanese hummus uses the liquid from the beans. Adding the liquid a little at a time ensures the hummus will come out the perfect consistency.

Tahini is added to the beans (pulse to combine). The lemon is added last, so that the hummus can be to taste. I like my hummus a little lemony, but not overly lemony like some commercial brands.

Blend in the food processor until it’s creamy and smooth.

Garnish hummus with a drizzle of high quality olive oil and paprika to serve.

And what’s the perfect accompaniment to hummus? Pita chips of course!

The amount of pita bread you will need will depend on how many chips you desire. I used three pieces for this recipe.

Cut into chip size pieces. I find this job is super easy using kitchen scissors.

Lightly brush each piece, front and back with olive oil. Note the picture below shows heavy oil on the pita, I thinned it out.

Salt and bake, then serve!


3 3/4 cup soaked and cooked garbanzo beans, reserve liquid

4- 5 cloves of garlic, to taste

2 teaspoons salt

4 tablespoons tahini

1 to 2 lemons, to taste

garnish: high quality olive oil, paprika, olives or pine nuts

  1. In a food processor add garlic and salt. Pulse for 30 seconds.
  2. Add garbanzo beans, adding only a small portion of bean liquid. Pulse till mixture is smooth,adding more liquid as necessary
  3. Add tahini pulse 30 seconds.
  4. Add the juice of one small lemon, pulse, taste and add another lemon if desired.
  5. Remove hummus to a serving bowl and garnish just before serving.

Pita Chips

3 whole pita bread

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoon salt, more if desired

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cut pita bread into chip size pieces.
  3. Lightly brush each side with olive oil.
  4. Sprinkle salt evenly over chips.
  5. Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Shake chips halfway through.