because what is life without good food?

Snacks

New Recipes at SumptuousSpoonfuls.com

I know I promised I would post the recipes here every time I post a new recipe on my blog’s new home … but it’s getting away from me … so much to do with the transfer of domains and all the other things going on in my life … I did export and import all of the email subscribers from here over to there … are you getting emails from my new blog? If not, please go add your email address on my new blog: www.SumptuousSpoonfuls.com  … seriously, please, go now! I don’t want to lose you.

Okay, now let’s talk new recipes … here’s what’s new on my blog: click on the pic or the title to see the recipe … I hope you’ll visit me at my new site!

Tropical Kiwi Monster Protein Kale Smoothie

Tropical Kiwi Monster Protein Kale Smoothie

Apple Pie Wontons

Apple Pie Wontons

Curried Chicken Salad in Crispy Wonton Cups

Curried Chicken Salad with Grapes in Crispy Wonton Cups

Havarti Cheddar Kale Omelet with Bacon

Havarti Cheddar Kale Omelet with Bacon


Maple Spice Pumpkin Cranberry Granola

Spiced Pumpkin Cranberry Granola

I’ve been dreaming of this granola for weeks it seems … dying to make it … looking for pumpkin seeds at the store. I thought about toasting up some out of one of these little pumpkins I have here, but I really wanted those lovely little crunchy green ones that you can get, not the big seeds you pull out of your pumpkin and roast.

I knew I saw some at the grocery store, but every time I went back, they were gone … FINALLY, this morning, I found some! Granola time, baby!

Spiced Pumpkin Cranberry Granola

So I made this lovely granola with maple syrup and pumpkin puree, pumpkin spices, honey, dried cranberries and lots of fun seeds and nuts.

But  I’m sorry to say, you’re not going to find the recipe for this delicious holiday granola here …

Spiced Pumpkin Cranberry Granola

I’ve decided it’s time for my blog to have its own space … I think we’ve outgrown the capabilities of Free WordPress and we need to move on … sooo I moved everything over to www.SumptuousSpoonfuls.com … yes, all of it, all the recipes, all your comments, everything! Tada! Isn’t that magic?

Please go over there to find the recipe for this granola (and ALL of my others!) and while you are there, I would really love it if you would click the link to follow me there. If I am can figure out a way to redirect all of you lovely people who already follow my blog, I will … and for a little while, I will post little ticklers here to remind you I’m hanging out over there now.

So what are you waiting for? Come hang out with me in my new home and get the recipe for this lovely Maple Spice Pumpkin Cranberry Granola!

Maple Spice Pumpkin Cranberry Granola ~ www.SumptuousSpoonfuls.com


Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade

Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade

My friend gave me a bit of this lovely roasted pepper tomato tapenade she made. Ooh it was delicious! I tried spreading it on toast with melted cheese over top. Yum. I put it on a sandwich. Oh yes! I imagined all the things I could do with this scrumptious spread: it would be lovely in lasagna and all sorts of appetizers (little toasts! yes!) and pizzas and things. I only had a tiny bit that she gave me … but … she had told me what she put in it … tomatillos, sundried & fresh tomatoes, roasted peppers, garlic, olive oil … hmmm …

I still had four of the tomatillos she gave me and a couple fresh garden tomatoes, and oh yes, peppers from mom’s garden … and I even had some of the “sundried” tomatoes (that I dried in the oven), so I thought I would see if I could make a tapenade.

I threw in some fresh herbs and capers for good measure. It’s not exactly like her tapenade, but even if I had had her recipe on hand, I am sure I wouldn’t have followed it precisely. I just can’t properly follow a recipe!

I want to thank my dear friend Denise for giving me her marvelous tapenade … which spurred me to try making it. What a wonderful spread!

Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade

Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade

The best way to roast the peppers, tomatillos and tomato for this tapenade is on the grill, but you could also roast them in the oven.

  • 1 medium fresh garden tomato
  • 3 roma tomatoes
  • 4 tomatillos
  • 1 large bell pepper
  • 1 hot pepper (I used this big hot red pepper my mom gave me similar to a New Mexico Green Chile, only it’s red … but I think you could use any hot — or not so hot — red pepper)
  • 2 – 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Several sprigs of rosemary
  • A couple sprigs of tarragon
  • A few fresh basil leaves
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons capers

Directions:

  1. Heat up the grill and set the tomatoes, tomatillos, and peppers directly over the heat. Roast until the skins of the peppers are charred and black (make sure you turn them to roast all sides of the vegies!) and the tomatoes are soft. This should only take a few minutes if your grill is good and hot.
  2. Let the roasted vegies cool for a bit till they are cool enough to handle, then cut out the stem & core of the peppers and tomatoes, leaving the charred skin ON.
  3. Pop all the ingredients except the capers in a handi chopper or food processor and blend until it forms a smooth paste. Pour the tapenade into a bowl and stir in the capers. Add salt if you like … I didn’t think it needed any.
  4. Serve on toast or crackers, use as a sauce for pizza, stir it into the ricotta mixture for your lasagna, use it as a tasty sandwich spread … or just let your imagination run wild.

Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade

This recipe was shared at Melt in your Mouth MondayTotally Tasty TuesdayTuesday Talent ShowTasty Tuesday, Show & Share Wednesday, Cast Party WednesdayNewlyweds Recipe Linky, Gala Dinner Party, Fit & Fabulous Fridays and All my Bloggy Friends.


Lemon Poppy Seed Yogurt Trifle

Lemon Poppy Seed Yogurt Trifle

My sister gave me this pretty parfait glass … isn’t it gorgeous? This is a simple idea to dress up a Lemon Poppy Seed cupcake (muffin? What IS the difference between muffins and cupcakes anyway?) and change things up if you are tiring of the same old cupcake. I used an unfrosted Zucchini Lemon Poppy Seed cupcake for my trifle, but if you have another on hand, feel free to use that! You could change out the flavors, add fruit, whatever you like. If you use healthy cupcakes like my Zucchini Lemon Poppy Seed ones, it can make for a very healthy breakfast, snack or dessert. You could do this on a larger scale in a glass bowl using several cupcakes and a big tub of lemon yogurt for a party too.

Lemon Poppy Seed Yogurt Trifle

For each trifle you will need:

  • 1 lemon poppy seed cupcake (a normal sized one … if yours is a large-size “muffin”, half of one will do!)
  • 1 small container of lemon lowfat yogurt (or use plain yogurt and mix in lemon juice/lemon zest & some sweetener)
  • Garnish: Poppy seeds and fresh lemon slices

Cut the cupcake into small squares (about 1/2 inch wide/deep/tall). In a pretty parfait glass, carefully spoon in some of the yogurt, then add some of the cupcake squares. Top with another layer of  yogurt (reserving a dollop for the top), more cupcake squares, then a nice dollop of yogurt on top. Sprinkle the top with poppy seeds and garnish with fresh lemon slices. Serve immediately with long, fancy ice cream parlor-style spoons if you have them.

Lemon Poppy Seed Yogurt Trifle

This recipe was shared at Thursday’s Treasures and Newlyweds Recipe Linky.


White Chocolate Rose Petal Scones

with a sweet rosewater glaze

White Chocolate Rose Petal Scones

I have been planning/dreaming of making these scones since June, when my friend Melissa posted her Rose Butter Tea Sandwiches. I saw the rose petal sugar she used on her pretty little tea sandwiches and thought: hey I could use that in SCONES!

So, when my most fragrant rose bush was covered with roses, I gathered some and made some rose sugar and set it in my cupboard to wait for a week. A week went by, and then a month, and then another. I told my daughter I was planning to make her rose scones and her face lit up. But life got crazy and the summer got SO hot and there never seemed to be a good time to bake rose petal scones.

Now it’s fall, the temperatures are dropping and my thoughts are turning to baking again. I woke up this morning, looked at the clock and decided today is the day I’m going to make those rose petal scones.

These scones have a soft, gentle rose flavor. It’s just a light hint of rose, like a passing floral scent on a breeze.

White Chocolate Rose Petal Scones

White Chocolate Rose Petal Scones

Inspired by Melissa at ChinDeep, who makes the most beautiful things with edible flowers. Plan ahead if you want to make these because it takes a week to make the rose petal sugar.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unbleached white whole wheat flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 cup rose petal sugar (recipe below)
  • 6 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into little pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup vanilla low fat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup plain low fat yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon culinary rosewater (my recipe for rosewater is here)
  • about 3/4 cup good quality white chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli)
  • Rosewater glaze (recipe below) and fresh clean organic rose petals (if desired, for garnish)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray.
  2. In a bowl combine flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in the rose petal sugar, crushing any lumps with your fingers.
  3. Add the little pieces of butter and work it into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or your fingers until the butter chunks are all broken down and the mixture resembles a coarse meal. (I use my fingers–it’s messy, but fun!)
  4. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the egg, yogurt and extracts. Mix until just blended (dough will be soft and wet).
  5. Turn onto a floured surface and knead lightly 3-4 times. Pat or roll the dough into a circle about 1/2 inch thick. Cut into wedges and place on your prepared cookie sheet.
  6. Bake scones for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown. Drizzle with rosewater glaze and let the glaze set. At serving time, garnish with fresh organic roses or rose petals (if you like).

White Chocolate Rose Petal Scones

Sweet Rosewater Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 teaspoons culinary rosewater

In a small mixing bowl, stir together the powdered sugar with the rosewater till smooth.

Rose Petal Sugar

Recipe from ChinDeep

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 cups very fragrant, unsprayed rose petals, washed and dryed completely

In a food processor or handi chopper, pulse the sugar and rose petals until the rose petals are tiny little confetti-like pieces. Put the sugar in a covered jar and wait for a week before you use it.

This post is an Eating the Alphabet post.

Eating the Alphabet Challenge

This month we’re cooking things that begin with the letters P, Q or R. R is for ROSES!

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Click here to see the other great Eating the Alphabet Challenge recipes this month …

This recipe was also shared at Scrumptious Sunday, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Thursday’s Treasures, Full Plate Thursday and All my Bloggy Friends.


Chocolate, Fruit & Nut Energy Bytes

Chocolate Fruit & Nut Energy Bites

Chocolate craving! Time for something chocolatey good. With nuts. Yes LOTS of nuts. Oh and some peanut butter. Dried fruit in there … ah yes. And to add a little bit more healthy yumminess, some oats.

Roll it all into a little ball and what do you have? A quick, healthy snack. Not one you want to eat a LOT of at one sitting because they are a bit calorific, but something you can grab on the go when you need a little energy, especially before or after a good workout. An energy byte! (Terrible geeky pun intended.)

I like to eat one of these for a bit of dessert after a good meal, or when I am running out the door and need something fast to grab for a quick bit of energy. Or when you need a quick chocolate fix, but you don’t want to totally destroy your healthy eating plan. A little bit of chocolate and a few nuts every day are very good for your health.

Chocolate Fruit & Nut Energy Bytes

Chocolate, Fruit & Nut Energy Bytes

You could use a good quality dark chocolate in place of the almond bark and cocoa powder. I just didn’t have enough on hand, so I decided to make my own “chocolate”!

  • 2 squares of almond bark (or white chocolate)
  • 4 Tablespoons dark cocoa powder
  • 3 Tablespoons of Chocolate PB2 powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 2/3 cup nuts (I used a mix of peanuts and cashews)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped into bits
  • Coarse sea salt

Directions:

  1. Melt the almond bark in a medium mixing bowl in the microwave by microwaving on high for 1 minute, stir, microwave for 30 seconds, stir again, keep microwaving for 30 seconds/stirring until the white almond bark is completely melted.
  2. Stir in the dark cocoa powder, PB2 powder, vanilla and peanut butter and stir until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  3. Stir in the oats, nuts, cranberries and apricot bits until everything is coated in chocolate. Form the mixture into balls and set on a tray. Sprinkle the bytes with a bit of coarse sea salt.
  4. Set it in the fridge until the chocolate is set, then transfer to a covered storage container. You can store these at room temperature or in the fridge, as you prefer. I like to eat them at room temperature so I’m not bothering to refrigerate mine. They aren’t going to last that long anyway!

Chocolate Fruit & Nut Energy Bytes

This recipe was shared at Katherine Martinelli’s Nut BloghopShare it SaturdayLunch Box Linky and Scrumptious Sunday.


Hot & Cheesy Kale & Salmon Dip

Hot & Cheesy Kale & Salmon Dip

I was seriously craving spinach artichoke dip yesterday … but alas! I am all out of spinach. Hmm, but I have kale … and it occurred to me … why does spinach get all the attention? Shouldn’t kale get to play in the dip too?

I also had some salmon that we had barbecued the other night that needed using, so I threw that in the dip too. By this time, it was getting pretty tasty, so I skipped the artichokes altogether and threw it in the toaster oven to bake. It totally satisfied my craving, and then some. I’m kinda wishing I hadn’t eaten it all … I would really like some more now … these pictures are making me hungry!

I think this dip would be fantastic with shrimp or crab in place of the salmon …

Hot & Cheesy Kale & Salmon Dip

Hot & Cheesy Kale & Salmon Dip

This makes a small portion, just right for 2 people snacking (or one hungry muncher). Double (or triple) the recipe if you are serving to several people.

  • 1 heaping up of kale leaves, chopped roughly (about 2 ribs of kale)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • Several sprigs of fresh dill
  • 3 Tablespoons white wine
  • 3/8 cup of salmon, flaked
  • 1/4 cup fat free plain greek yogurt (or more if you want a creamier dip … I like lots of “stuff” in my dips)
  • about 2 oz. of goat cheese
  • 1/3 cup shredded Dubliner cheese (or parmesan)
  • A bit of shredded mozzarella or Italian blend, for the top

Directions:

  1. Put the kale leaves, garlic, onion, and dill in a food processor or handi chopper and process till the kale is chopped into tiny bits.
  2. Heat a frying pan to medium heat, spray with cooking spray, then add the kale mixture and the wine. Stir it around a little and cover to cook for just a few minutes, then remove the cover and cook a minute longer to evaporate the moisture from the wine.
  3. Mix the kale mixture with the greek yogurt, salmon, goat cheese and shredded Dubliner cheese.  Put in a small casserole or oven-safe bowl and top with a little bit of shredded mozzarella cheese.
  4. Bake at 350 for about 10 – 15 minutes or until the cheese is all melted and bubbly. Serve with chips, crusty slices of bread, or vegies for dipping.

Hot & Cheesy Kale & Salmon Dip

This recipe was shared at Melt in your Mouth MondaysMakin’ you Crave Mondays and Totally Tasty Tuesdays.


Asparagus White Bean Pesto

Asparagus White Bean Pesto

I love pesto. Love love love love it! And Asparagus! Oh I can’t wait for spring every year so I can have asparagus … so last week I ran across this intriguing idea for Kale, Apsaragus & Chickpea pesto from Munchin with Munchkin and I just couldn’t put it down. Asparagus in pesto? and beans? … what a concept …

My pesto isn’t really very much like hers. I mean, I really couldn’t abandon my beloved basil. Or the parmesan … oh please, no, I must have my cheese! And while I love olive oil, I thought if you added asparagus and white beans, well, that would eliminate the need for having so much oil in the pesto. You could reduce the oil and still have a wonderful flavor that would stick to your pasta.

And what do you know? It worked! Beautifully. So get this: in one fell swoop, I upped the nutrition, protein, fiber, AND the flavor and lowered the fat and calories in the pesto. It’s such a wonderful thing! It’s sort of like a cross between pesto and hummus. Not only does it go well on pasta, it’s a great dip, a fantastic spread for a sandwich or wrap … or, um, well anything you could think of that you might do with pesto OR hummus.

Now how about them beans?

Asparagus White Bean Pesto

Asparagus White Bean Pesto

  • 1 cup raw asparagus, chopped (I used the stem ends of the asparagus, saving the “pretty top parts” for later …)
  • 1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup freshly shredded parmesan
  • 1 cup cooked white beans, drained (save the juice though!)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup pinons
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

Place all ingredients in a handi chopper or food processor and blend till smooth. If you need a little more liquid to get everything to blend nicely, add a bit of the liquid from the beans.

Asparagus White Bean Pesto

This recipe was shared at Mealtime MondayTuesday Talent ShowTotally Tasty Tuesdays, Cast Party Wednesdays, Tastetastic Thursdays, and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


Ginger Rhubarb Sauce

Ginger Rhubarb Sauce

I picked a big bunch of rhubarb when I went to visit my mom on Mother’s Day. She has these two huge rhubarb plants that always yield way more than you could ever eat. You can eat rhubarb to your heart’s content and still have more. The funny thing is even as much as I took, it didn’t even begin to thin out the plants.

Anyway, I decided yesterday I was going to cook my rhubarb … I chopped it ALL up and put it in a BIG bowl, looked on the Internet for some ideas, and then I started playing … the first thing I made was Royal Rhubarb Crisp, my very favorite thing that Mom used to make for us when we were kids. Then I made this sauce with intent to turn it into a rhubarb slushie, but my experiments went a different direction. This is a really versatile sauce … You can eat it like applesauce or use it in baking or make a glaze for a cake with it …  you can even put it in salad dressing! It’s not very sweet, though, so if you want it sweeter, add some sugar or honey or agave or whatever sweetness you use in your kitchen. I may try making a cocktail with it too … we’ll see if there’s any left for that!

Rhubarb from Mom's Garden

Ginger Rhubarb Sauce

  • 3 cups rhubarb
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 5 thin slices fresh ginger root
  • 1/4 cup orange juice concentrate
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla

Put all ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 10 – 15 minutes or until the rhubarb is tender. Pull out the ginger slices. Puree the sauce in a blender (or just use it as is). I blended mine up till smooth.


Baked Strawberry Walnut Quinoa Bites

Baked Strawberry Quinoa Walnut Bites

I’ve been intrigued with the idea of baking with quinoa for a while now, so when I stumbled across this pretty muffin recipe from Poor Girl Eats Well, I really wanted to try it. They turned out a little differently what I expected, though, which is why I’m not calling them muffins. When I think of muffins, I think of something light, moist and cakey. These are not light and cakey. They are more dense, with a little crunch from the walnuts. I had my friend try them and she said they tasted like those fruit bars that you buy.

Anyway, they do have a lovely sweet vanilla taste, with juicy berries … and the quinoa adds a lot of fiber and protein, so that makes these little bites a really good breakfast … or a great snack to keep you going … especially before or after a workout.

Baked Strawberry Quinoa Walnut Bites

Baked Strawberry Walnut Quinoa Bites

Recipe from Poor Girl Eats Well. I made 6 larger “muffins” and about 20 mini-muffin-sized bites.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 medium overripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour (or quinoa flour, if you can find it)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup chopped fresh strawberries (I actually used part strawberries, part blueberries)
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, loosely chopped
  • several strawberries, thinly sliced (for the top)

Directions
1.  Preheat the oven to 375°.  Spray a muffin or mini-muffin tin with cooking spray or use muffin liners.  In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, butter, eggs, bananas & vanilla.  Mix in the dry ingredients, stirring together until everything is well blended.

2.  Add the quinoa and mix well.  Fold the chopped strawberries (and/or blueberries) into the batter.  Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups.  Place one strawberry slice on top of each lil bite, and bake for about 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

3.  Remove from oven and cool for a couple of minutes.  Remove the bites from the pan and cool on a rack for about 10 minutes. Store any leftovers in the fridge.

Baked Strawberry Quinoa Walnut Bites

This recipe was shared at Everyday Mom’s Meals and Trick or Treat Tuesdays.


Almond Berry Granola

Almond Berry Granola

I don’t know what it is with me and breakfasts lately … all my posts seem to be about breakfast. Oh well, breakfast is important. What you eat in the morning sets the tone for your day, so you should make it good.

Granola is the perfect breakfast on mornings when you’re in a rush. Have it with fresh berries and milk, or sprinkle some on your yogurt or ice cream. Or just munch on it for a snack throughout the day. Besides, oats are especially good breakfast food. I was just reading about that yesterday.

If you’ve never made your own granola, just trust me that it’s SO worth it. The house smells heavenly while it’s baking and the result is truly fantastic. Oh so much better than the store-bought stuff. I’m really excited for the mulberries to come in because I think they would be just wonderful with this granola. I see the little baby berries starting on my beloved mulberry tree and I’m almost shivering with excitement. It’s the little things in life …

Almond Berry Granola

Almond Berry Granola

  • 4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds (or other nuts … I was thinking perhaps 1 cup almonds, 1/2 cup pecans might work even better)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3/8 cup basil strawberry sauce (recipe below) or strawberry applesauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 – 4 Tablespoons maple syrup (or berry syrup), depending on how sweet you want your granola
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (optional … leave out the salt if you are watching your sodium)
  • 6 oz. dried berries (I wanted to use strawberries, but couldn’t find any dried strawberries at the store. I dried a few strawberries myself, but it wasn’t enough fruit for my granola, so I added dried blueberries, cranberries, and cherries.)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the oats and nuts. Set aside.
  2. In a separate small bowl, mix the strawberry sauce, honey, syrup and spices. Microwave on high for a minute, stir, and then microwave 30 seconds more until the mixture is good and hot. (Or heat the mixture in a saucepan. Either way will work.)
  3. Pour the hot sweet sticky mixture over the nutty oat mixture in the bowl. Stir it all up until it’s well mixed.
  4. Spread all this wonderful stuff out into a thin layer on a large jellyroll pan (or other big flat baking pan with an edge to it). Set it in the oven and bake for about an hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. It should be browned to a lovely brown color and smelling fantastic. You can taste a little sample to see if it’s crunchy enough. If it’s not, bake it a little longer.
  5. Let the granola cool for a bit before stirring in the dried fruit. Store in an airtight container. It will keep for about a month or so. There’s NO way mine is going to last that long …

Basil Strawberry Sauce

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 lb strawberries

In a saucepan, mix the sugar and water and heat to boiling. Add the basil leaves and cook about 5 minutes. Strain out the basil (or remove with a slotted spoon). Add the strawberries with the simple syrup in the pan, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the strawberries are soft. Remove all the strawberry chunks and put it in a blender or food processor, add some of the syrup and puree to make an applesauce-consistency of strawberry sauce. Reserve the rest of the pretty red syrup for using in mojitos or over pancakes.

Almond Berry Granola

This recipe was shared at Tastetastic Thursdays and Weekend Potluck.


Popcorn Nachos

Popcorn Nachos

I love popcorn … I love nachos. I had this really weird idea today … why couldn’t you combine the two? Who says you need chips to make nachos?

Well you can. The only “catch” is you don’t want them to get too wet because popcorn gets soggy easily, so things like tomatoes and salsa are probably not the best options for this kind of nachos.

I started simple. Just popcorn, cheese, and jalapenos. Then I added taco meat. Now I’m thinking about adding onions and what else could I add? Hmmm …

Popcorn Nachos

Popcorn Nachos

This is really simple. Make some popcorn. I usually use my air popper, but today I just popped my popcorn in a paper bag. Have you heard about that trick? Just put 1/4 cup of popcorn in a plain paper bag, fold over the top several times, and microwave it for 2 minutes. Quick perfect popcorn without fat, butter, added chemicals or preservatives or salt! It’s so much healthier and easier on your pocketbook than buying that pre-packaged microwave popcorn, and you can even reuse the bag, so it’s eco-friendly too.

Spread a layer of popcorn on an oven-safe plate or pan. Chop your jalapenos fine and dab them with a clean towel to soak up any excess moisture. Heat up your taco meat (and also dab that with a towel if the meat seems a little moist).

Sprinkle the popcorn with a light layer of shredded cheese, taco meat, and jalapenos. Try not to go overboard on the cheese or meat or you’ll overwhelm your popcorn. Sprinkle with Red Robin seasoning or your favorite seasoned salt. Add another layer of popcorn if you like, then top with more meat, cheese, and jalapenos and another sprinkling of seasoning.

Popcorn Nachos

Bake at 350 for 5 – 7 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Enjoy!

Popcorn Nachos

This recipe was shared at Weekend PotluckMom’s Everyday MealsMealtime Monday, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, and Cast Party Wednesdays.


Asian Dragon Party Mix

Asian Spiced Party Mix

Not too long ago, I ordered a bunch of fun seasoning mixes from Mystic Blue Spice Company. They all smell so good! Yesterday I needed to make some party mix to sell for my daughter’s dance fundraiser and thought an Asian-spiced mix would be fun to try with their Asian Dragon seasoning. It turned out fantastic … Thanks, Mystic Blue.

Asian Dragon Party Mix

  • 6 cups of unsweetened cereal (your choice … I used 4 cups of rice chex, 2 cups of corn chex)
  • 3 cups of pretzels
  • 1 cup of peanuts
  • 2 cups of mixed Chinese rice crackers or Asian snack mix
  • 1 1/2 cups of wheat thins (or whatever other crackers or mix-ins you’d like to include)
  • 1 or 2 packages of Ramen noodles, uncooked (just the noodles) … or chow mein noodles
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • A few drops of sesame oil (or hot pepper oil if you want it to have a little kick)
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Asian Dragon seasoning mix from Mystic Blue Spice Company (or other Asian seasoning mix … don’t use five spice, though … I don’t think that would work)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Mix the cereal, pretzels, peanuts, and crackers or snack mix in a large bowl or big flat baking dish (I used two 13x9x2 inch baking dishes). Crumble the Ramen noodles over top.

Put the butter, sesame oil, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce and seasonings in a microwave-safe mug or bowl, cover and microwave on medium for about 2 minutes or until the butter is melted. Stir to mix it all up together well. Drizzle over the cereal mixture and gently stir to coat more of the pieces.

Bake at 250 for 1 hour, stirring every fifteen minutes. Let cool, then store in an airtight container.

Asian Dragon Party Mix

This recipe was shared at Weekend PotluckScrumptious Sundays, Mealtime Mondays, Tuesday Talent ShowTotally Tasty Tuesdays,  Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Thursday’s Treasures and Tastetastic Thursday.


Maple Ginger Fruit Crostini with Basil

Maple Ginger Fruit Crostini with Fresh Basil

It’s a dreary, wet morning in South Dakota. Everything is very green and growing fast … I need to get out and pull weeds and tend my little garden. And I have some MORE grocery shopping to do … but first, I think we need a little color to brighten the day.  Just looking at these little toasts makes me happy.

This is a little fruit crostini I whipped up last week for a snack. I was very pleased with it overall, but I have to be honest with you, I didn’t like the french bread as the base for this little toast. I think it would be much better on blueberry bagels or maybe some sugar cookies or snickerdoodles? Something that goes better with the juicy fruit. But I do have to say the maple, ginger, and basil in the cream cheese is oooh so good. The fruit mixture is just perfect with the sweet creamy cheese. You could toss on some toasted nuts as well. I think that would be nice. I’m not sure why I left off the nuts … ah well, you get the idea.

If you are serving this at a party or get together (they’d be marvelous for a brunch, don’t you think?), rather than making them all up like this, you could also serve the bagels with the cream cheese and bowl of fruit on the side and let the guests do the work of putting them together. But if you’re making them for a big crowd, you’ll need to double or triple the recipe …

Maple Ginger Fruit Crostini with Fresh Basil

Maple Ginger Fruit Crostini with Basil

  • 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 3 oz. light cream cheese
  • Blueberry bagels (or other fruity bagels), sliced & toasted (or sugar cookies or snickerdoodles … just please, don’t use French Bread like I did …)
  • 3 cups mixed fruit, chopped into little pieces (I used honeydew melon, blueberries, pineapple, and strawberries)
  • A few fresh basil leaves, for garnish
  • Toasted nuts, if you like. I think walnuts or pecans would be nice on these …

Mix the maple syrup, ginger and basil together. Take 2 Tablespoons of the syrup mixture and mix it in with the cream cheese. Mix the rest in with the fruit.

Toast the bagels, spread with the sweet ginger basil cream cheese, and top with fruit. (If you’re using cookies, I suppose there’s no need for toasting …)  Garnish with fresh basil leaves and a few toasted nuts (if you’ve decided you want nuts).

Maple Ginger Fruit Crostini with Fresh Basil

P.S. You might notice I added a watermark to my images … I will be doing that from now on, just because, well, they are my images and I work hard on them. I really love it when people share my pictures and recipes, but I don’t like it when people post my words and/or pictures as if they had taken / written them. If you like my photos or recipes, please share, but just mention that it’s from  Sumptuous Spoonfuls and give me a link back to my blog, okay? Thanks for understanding …

This recipe was shared at Everyday Mom’s MealsScrumptious SundaysWeekend Potluck, Moosewood Monday, Tuesday Talent Show and Totally Tasty Tuesdays.


Chewy No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Have you ever seen a recipe online and think “I really need to make that someday” … and then seen different versions of the same thing again like 30,000 times and have that same thought every time you see one … and then one day you FINALLY do just break down and make it, and you think to yourself, “my gosh that was SO easy … why did I wait so long to make that?”

That’s exactly what happened with these granola bars. They are so simple to make, I literally threw them together while I was in a conference call (and it was one of the kind of calls I had to actually participate in, not just listen …). And they’re SO good! These granola bars are way more flavorful and chocolatey than any of those store-bought granola bars. They are nice and chewy with a little bit of contrasting crunch from the nuts.

Chewy No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Chewy No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Adapted from Couponing & Cooking. After I mixed up the peanut butter and honey from her recipe, I thought it was way too sweet, so I added more peanut butter and then up’d the amount of oats too. Also, I cut down the amount of oil. I’m not sure it’s really necessary at all, but remember this was my first attempt at making granola bars so I didn’t want to stray TOO far from the recipe!

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 Tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 cup high quality chocolate chips
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds (or other nuts)
  • 3 cups quick oats
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup finely chopped dried figs, apricots, or other dried fruit  (I used figs)

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan on medium heat, mix together peanut butter, oil and honey. Heat and stir until completely combined.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate chips and cocoa powder till the chips are melted and the mixture is smooth.
  3. Stir in the sunflower seeds, oats, and chopped fruit.
  4. Spray your pan(s) with cooking spray. I filled up 12 mini-muffin cups, then I pressed the rest into my 9×9 inch square pan. If you put this all into one 9×9-inch pan, they are going to be much thicker than your typical granola bar.
  5. Chill in the fridge for a while until they’ve firmed up, then cut into bars and enjoy! Store them in an airtight container in the fridge. (I think they’d probably be ok left out of the fridge too, but they will probably keep longer if you chill them.)

Chewy No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

This recipe was shared at Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Katherine Martinelli’s Fig Bloghop and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


Tropical Trail Mix Granola

Tropical Trail Mix Granola

I am SOoooo into homemade granola! I love love love love LOVE it! Ideas for different granola flavors are bouncing around in my head like crazy. The idea for this tropical granola sprung from a peanut butter trail mix cookie I used to make with tropical trail mix (come to think of it, I need to make those cookies again sometime for the blog …)

But not today … nope no siree bob … Today it’s time for GRANOLA! The perfect sweet healthy snack to munch on when you need a little boost of energy. That wonderful crunchy mix that is so welcome sprinkled on yogurt … or in a bowl with fruit and milk.  This granola is chock full of tropical fruits, so you don’t need to even add any more fruit … unless, of course, you want to. It is awfully good with a couple fresh strawberries tossed in.

You are going to love this stuff. I just know it.

Tropical Trail Mix Granola

Tropical Trail Mix Granola

Dry ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 cup peanuts
  • 3/4 pecans
  • 4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup flaxmeal or flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup wheat bran or wheat germ
Wet ingredients:
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt (optional … you can lower the amount of salt or leave it out for a low-sodium granola)
  • 1/4 cup honey
And then mix in …
  • 2 cups mixed dried tropical fruit pieces (pineapple, coconut, mango, banana chips, etc.)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the oats, flax, wheat bran and nuts. Set aside.
  2. In a separate small bowl, mash the banana very well until it’s smooth (not too lumpy). Put the banana in a small saucepan with the maple syrup, and other wet ingredients. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is hot and bubbly. Stir in the honey and remove from heat.
  3. Pour the hot sweet sticky banana mixture over the nutty oat mixture in the bowl. Stir it all up until it’s well mixed.
  4. Spread all this wonderful stuff out into a thin layer on a large jellyroll pan (or other big flat baking pan with an edge to it). Set it in the oven and bake for about an hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. It should be browned to a lovely brown color and smelling fantastic. You can taste a little sample to see if it’s crunchy enough. If it’s not, bake it a little longer.
  5. Let the granola cool for a bit before stirring in the fruit. Store in an airtight container. It will keep for about a month or so. There’s NO way mine is going to last that long …

Tropical Trail Mix Granola

This recipe was shared on Totally Tasty Tuesdays and Newlyweds Recipe Linky.


Homemade Banana Nutella Granola

Homemade Chocolate Banana Nutella Granola

I am completely obsessed with homemade granola. It’s so marvelous to munch on … to have for breakfast in a bowl with milk. To make into a parfait. To sprinkle on ice cream. It’s nothing like that flat-tasting store-bought stuff that to me just tastes like sugar and cardboard. Homemade granola is like 10,000 levels better than that. It’s delicious and decadent and nutty.

And the best part is … it’s easy to make.

This granola has been floating around in my head for a while … ever since I saw this “Granola Fit for a King” recipe, I wanted to make something like it. But I wanted more chocolate. And what’s more chocolate than peanut butter? NUTELLA! Oh yeah. That’s the ticket.

Homemade Chocolate Banana Nutella Granola

Banana Nutella Granola

Adapted from Oh Nuts! Sweet & Crunchy Talk

  • 4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup flax
  • 1/4 cup wheat bran
  • 2 cups mixed nuts (I used 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, 1/2 cup pecan pieces, 1/3 cup sunflower seeds, 2/3 cup peanuts)
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup Nutella
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon dark cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the oats, flax, wheat bran and nuts. Set aside
  2. In a separate small bowl, mash the banana very well until it’s smooth (not lumpy). Put the banana in a small saucepan with the maple syrup, Nutella, cinnamon, sea salt and cocoa powder. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is hot and bubbly. Stir in the honey and remove from heat.
  3. Pour the hot sweet chocolatey banana Nutella mixture over the nutty oat mixture in the bowl. Stir it all up until it’s well mixed.
  4. Spread all this wonderful stuff out into a thin layer on a large jellyroll pan (or other big flat baking pan with an edge to it). Set it in the oven and bake for about an hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. It should be browned to a lovely chocolate brown color and smelling fantastic. You can taste a little sample to see if it’s crunchy enough. If it’s not, bake it a little longer.
  5. This is the hard part. Let the granola cool COMPLETELY before stirring in the mini chocolate chips. Store in an airtight container. It will keep for about a month or so. But it is not likely to last that long …

Homemade Chocolate Banana Nutella Granola

This recipe was shared at Meatless Mondays.


Rainbow Fruit Kebabs

Rainbow Fruit Kebabs

My daughter had a sleepover birthday party last night. We like to have at least one healthy food at her birthday parties … and it usually involves fruit. This year I suggested rainbow fruit kebabs. My girl wasn’t too excited about the idea until I showed her a picture. Then she was sold.

These were a huge hit with the girls at the party. They were gone in an instant. Somehow the fruit in a bowl just didn’t have the same appeal … well, food is always more fun on a stick, right?

Rainbow Fruit Kebabs

These are super simple. All you need are fruit chunks for each color of the rainbow and some skewer sticks.  Put the fruit on a stick in the order of the rainbow. Arrange them in a fan to make a rainbow.

We used:

  • Purple: red grapes
  • Blue: Blueberries
  • Green: Honeydew melon
  • Yellow: Pineapple
  • Orange: Cantaloupe
  • Red: Strawberries
What kind of fruits would you use?

Rainbow Fruit Kebabs

This recipe was shared at Crazy Sweet Tuesdays, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Thursday’s Treasures and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


Ham & Asparagus Rollups with Dijon Dill Cream

Ham & Asparagus Rollups with Dijon Dill Cream

It’s my favorite time of year. Asparagus season. I adore asparagus. It’s beautiful. It’s elegant. It’s delicious. It’s versatile. It’s the perfect vegetable.

I suppose I could go buy it at the store just about any time I want it, but I don’t. I wait for spring. I wait to go to my parents’ house where they have this HUGE asparagus bed and I can pick and pick and pick to my heart’s content.

And then once asparagus season is over, I don’t cook with asparagus till next spring. Don’t ask me why. That is just how it is.

Ham & Asparagus Rollups with Dijon Dill Cream

Ham & Asparagus Rollups with Dijon Dill Cream

I made 8 rollups. I have seen this type of thing done with store-bought crescent rolls. I suppose you COULD do that, but being the freakazoid make-my-own-bread fiend that I am, I just used my bread machine to make the dough. It’s so simple … why not?

Dijon Dill Cream

  • 3 Tablespoons light cream cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Several little sprigs of fresh dill, snipped
  • 1/2 cup shredded Havarti cheese

Rollups

  • Fresh bread or crescent roll dough (I used this bread dough)
  • 16 – 48 asparagus spears (just the top 3 – 5 inches of each spear)
  • 8 Slices (or chopped) lean ham (I used chopped ham, but I think thin slices wrapped around the asparagus would be prettier)

Directions:

  1. Make the bread dough. I used my French bread dough and made it in my bread machine on the dough setting. I made a whole recipe of the dough, then used about 1/3 of the dough for this recipe and made the rest into a small loaf of French bread. If you want to make all of the dough into rollups, just make about 3 times as much Dijon Dill Cream and adjust the amount of asparagus accordingly.
  2. Make the Dijon Dill Cream. In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese, yogurt and mustard until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the dill and havarti cheese. Set aside.
  3. Place the asparagus spears in a microwaveable dish, add a little water, then cover and microwave for a minute or three until the asparagus is just crisp tender.
  4. Roll out the bread dough into a large rectangle. Cut out half as many 4 inch squares as you will want for rollups, then cut each square in half diagonally to make a triangle.
  5. Spread each triangle with dijon dill cream, then lay the asparagus and ham on the triangle, with the tips of the asparagus poking past the tip of the triangle. I used 2 sprigs of asparagus per rollup but I wish I had put in more! I think 3 or 4 per rollup would be just perfect.Ham & Asparagus Rollups with Dijon Dill Cream
  6. Roll the bread dough around the ham and asparagus, then carefully lift and place on a greased baking sheet.Ham & Asparagus Rollups with Dijon Dill Cream
  7. Spray the rollups with cooking spray, cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place for about 20 – 30 minutes.
  8. Bake at 350 for about 10 – 12 minutes or until they are lightly golden brown. Let sit for just a few minutes before serving and serve while they’re still warm. If you have any leftovers, keep them in a bag in the fridge then reheat for a few seconds in the microwave.

They really don’t need any dipping sauce … they are SO good just like this, but if you like, you can serve them with avocado ranch dressing … or thin out some of the dijon dill cream with a little milk to make it into a dipping sauce.

You could serve this as an appetizer or alongside soup or salad for a lovely lunch or light dinner.

It needs a little more than 2 spears per rollup, don’t you think?

Ham & Asparagus Rollups with Dijon Dill Cream

If you want to see what they would look like with slices of ham wrapped around the asparagus, check out this beautiful post from The Fresh Fridge.


Homemade Maple Cranberry Pecan Granola

Homemade Maple Cranberry Pecan- Granola

I have long been fascinated with the idea of making my own granola. I don’t know why it took me so long to actually DO it. Suddenly several of my foodie friends are talking about it, so perhaps it was the power of suggestion? I don’t know. I just know that last week I suddenly felt a strong urge to make granola.

And I’m soooo glad I did. It is really quite simple to make and it just blows away the taste of store-bought granola, with the added bonus that you can control what goes into it. So it’s easy to make it healthier. This is so tasty, my parents and I munched on little handfuls of this granola all weekend. The first day I made it, I had three bowls of it with milk. The jar is disappearing quite quickly. (Which is exciting to me, because that means I get to try out my NEXT granola flavor! woo hoo!)

Maple Cranberry Pecan Granola

Maple Cranberry Pecan Granola

Slightly adapted from ChinDeep.

  • 2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup flaxmeal
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons unsweetened pearsauce (drain a can of pears and blend until smooth) or applesauce
  • 1/6 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 oz. dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a very large mixing bowl, mix oats, pecans, sunflower seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, flaxmeal and nutmeg.

In a small saucepan, warm the apple or pear sauce, maple syrup, honey and oil. Combine the wet mixture with the dry mixture until completely incorporated and everything is evenly mixed. Divide the granola between two large jellyroll pans. Bake for 45-55 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes until the granola is a deep golden brown. Remove from oven. Cool completely. Mix in dried cranberries. Store in an airtight container. Keeps up to one month. But it isn’t going to last that long …

Make your Own Maple Cranberry Pecan Granola

This recipe was shared at Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays and Tuesday Talent Shows.


“It’s Good to be Home” Cheesy Cajun Popcorn

Cheesy Cajun Popcorn

I don’t know if this is really a recipe, but I have to tell you  I am so happy to be back in my own home with my own kitchen where I can walk in and make funky popcorn anytime I want. And I have all my spices! YES! … so I can season things like I like them …

I was only gone for two days. And I do love to travel. Really, this should not be a big deal. But I’ve grown sooo attached to my kitchen. Perhaps I need a portable spice suitcase. And hotels to actually deliver what they promise. This was supposed to be a “suite” … with 2 beds, a microwave, mini-fridge, sofa bed … it wasn’t. It was a bed, a desk, and a chair. No microwave, no fridge, no sofa at all. And they overcharged me. But they let us check in early, which was handy because my girl needed to get ready for her dance competition. So I’m not REALLY complaining.

I’m just glad to be home. With my popcorn popper. My kitchen. My spices. My cheese drawer. Real wine glasses. My bed. My cats. My plants. My pillow. My trees.  I love it here.

Cheesy Cajun Popcorn

“It’s good to be home” Cheesy Cajun Popcorn

  • A large bowl full of air-popped popcorn (about 10 cups or so? something like that … it fills my mixing bowl)
  • 1 to  1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter
  • Cajun seasoning mix
  • Cheesy popcorn seasoning (I found this at our local Natural Foods Coop … if you have some, use it, if not, the popcorn will still be delicious …)
  • Salt
  • Cayenne (if you want it hotter)
  • Freshly shredded parmesan (about 1/2 cup)

Melt the butter. Drizzle the butter over the popcorn as it pops, and sprinkle with the cajun seasoning mix, the popcorn seasoning, the cayenne (if desired) and the salt. Add the parmesan in there too if you can manage it … if you can’t, just sprinkle it on top. It will sink as you eat the popcorn anyway. Grab bunches of it with your fingers as you eat the popcorn. It’s so good that way.

Cheesy Cajun Popcorn

This recipe was shared on Midnight Maniac Meatless MondaysTotally Tasty Tuesdays and Trick or Treat Tuesdays.


Spicy Shrimp, Avocado & Black Bean Bites

Spicy Shrimp, Avocado, & Black Bean Bites

This is a quick, easy, healthy, delicious and fancy shmancy looking appetizer that could easily morph into a dinner, if you skipped making the little cups and served the shrimp mixture over rice or even rolled it up into a tortilla, burrito-style.

The cups are simply tortilla triangles sprayed with cooking oil and baked.

You could fill the pretty little cups with just about anything your little heart desires … I just happened to have some black beans, shrimp, salsa, cilantro, and lime juice on hand, begging to be used in something delicious …

Spicy Shrimp, Avocado & Black Bean Bites

Spicy Shrimp, Avocado, & Black Bean Bites

  • Large flour tortillas (white or whole wheat or whatever flavor you like)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery, leaves reserved
  • 2 -3 cloves of garlic, peeled & chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons white wine
  • 1 cup of fresh or frozen shrimp
  • 1 cup of cooked black beans
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1/3 cup of your favorite salsa (I used my kiwi, kumquat, & mango salsa)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • Avocado, peeled and cut into little chunks and/or shredded cheese if you like

Directions:

Cut the flour tortillas into 6 triangles. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and wedge one tortilla triangle into each muffin cup. Spray the tops of the tortillas with cooking spray and  bake at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes or until the tortillas are golden brown and crispy.

Tortilla appetizer cups

Now, make the filling:

  1. Chop the onion, celery and garlic, reserving the celery leaves for later.
  2. Spray a cooking pan with cooking spray, heat over medium high heat till hot, then add the onion, garlic and celery and saute briefly. Add the white wine and saute for a few minutes or until the wine dissipates and the onions are soft and translucent.
  3. Add the shrimp and black beans and saute a few minutes longer until the shrimp is cooked through. Add the salsa and lime juice and stir everything together just briefly till it’s all good and hot.
  4. Stir in the reserved celery leaves and most of the cilantro leaves, reserving some for garnish.
  5. Spoon a bit of the filling into each tortilla cup, garnishing with avocado, cilantro, and cheese (if desired). I tried it both with and without the cheese and it is good both ways.

Spicy Shrimp Avocado & Black Bean Bites

You can make the filling ahead of time (like I did) and assemble these babies right before serving.

This recipe was shared at Weekend PotluckTotally Tasty TuesdaysTrick or Treat Tuesdays, and Talent Show Tuesdays.


Serendipity! Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn

Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn

It’s National Peanut Butter Day! Woo hoo! I wanted to make this yummilicious stuff on National Popcorn Day, but didn’t get it done, so then along comes National Peanut Butter Day today, which means I get a second chance. Somebody was thinking of me when they invented these food holidays … well, okay, maybe not, but I love the serendipity of it anyway.

And isn’t serendipity such a fun word?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn

Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn

Inspired by Inside BruCrew Life

I had meant to add vanilla to the chocolatey drizzle, but I forgot it. And it tastes pretty dang awesome anyway, so perhaps it doesn’t need vanilla. But you can throw some in if you like. Just a teaspoon or two would do.

  • A big bowl of air popped popcorn (10 – 12 cups)
  • About 4 cups of Reese’s Peanut Butter Puffs
  • A couple cups or so of peanuts (I’m lying! Alas, I had no peanuts, but oh this would be SO perfect with peanuts!)
  • 3 squares of white almond bark (or chocolate bark … I didn’t have any, so I had to make do with the white stuff! If you don’t have white almond bark, you can use 6 oz. of white chocolate … or just use chocolate chips and skip the cocoa)
  • 4 Tablespoons high quality cocoa powder (you might not need this if you use chocolate bark … check the taste and add cocoa till it’s chocolatey enough for you … oh but you must use really good quality cocoa, the dark colored kind)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • Coarse sea salt

Directions:

  1. Pop up your popcorn, then toss it with the peanut butter puffs and the peanuts (if you are so lucky as to have some!), and spread the whole lovely mess out in a thin layer on a large tray or baking pan (or two).
  2. In a small microwaveable bowl, melt the almond bark in the microwave. (Microwave for 90 seconds, stir, then microwave for 30 seconds more, stir, keep doing this till the bark is all good and melted.)
  3. Add the peanut butter and cocoa to the almond bark and stir until it’s all nice and smooth.
  4. Drizzle about half the chocolatey peanut butter goodness all over your popcorn and stuff. Stir up the popcorn mixture a bit just to make sure you aren’t leaving any little kernels or nuts out of the fun, then drizzle the rest of that lovely chocolate stuff over your popcorn.
  5. Sprinkle the whole mess with some coarse sea salt. See, now you have that sweet/salty thing going on …
  6. Here’s the hard part: let the popcorn sit for 15 – 30 minutes until the chocolate sets. (How on earth can you leave this yumminess sit there alone for SO long? Somehow I managed …)
  7. Break the popcorn up into pieces and enjoy! Store any leftover popcorn in an airtight container or tin.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn

Now do a little happy dance. Because this stuff is so fun. And serendipitous.

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysNewlyweds Recipe Linky, Crazy Sweet TuesdayCast Party Wednesday, Tastetastic Thursdays, Full Plate ThursdayWeekend PotluckTasty Tuesdays, and This Week’s Cravings.


Pan Seared Basil Mushroom Bruschetta with Rosemary Cream

Pan Seared Basil Mushroom Bruschetta with Blue Cheese Rosemary Cream

I am obsessed with little toasts. They are just so beautiful and tasty … just look at these gorgeous little things! I simultaneously want to gobble them up or just sit and gaze at them forever. I feel so torn …

Pan Seared Basil Mushroom Bruschetta with Blue Cheese Rosemary Cream

The Realistic Nutritionist started this obsession when she posted her beautiful pictures of Pan Seared Bruschetta … I just longed to make them from the moment I saw them … and the sad thing was she couldn’t even taste the pretty little toasts because she was sick. I hope she makes them again because while they are lovely to gaze at, they are even better to taste.

Pan Seared Basil Mushroom Bruschetta with Blue Cheese Rosemary Cream

Are you tempted yet?

Pan Seared Basil Mushroom Bruschetta with Rosemary Cream

Adapted from the Realistic Nutritionist. This recipe doesn’t make a lot, so if you are making these for a large party, you want to double or triple the batch. It was just about the right size for a lunch for little me.

  • 8 slices of french bread (whole wheat preferably)
  • Rosemary cream cheese (recipe below)
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • About 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 -3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • a small sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 cup of finely chopped mushrooms
  • Several basil leaves, chopped
  • 3/4 cup tomato, finely chopped
  • Crushed red pepper & sea salt to taste
  • To garnish: toasted almonds and basil flowers and/or leaves

Directions:

  1. Mix up the rosemary cream and set aside.
  2. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over medium high heat.
  3. Add onions, garlic, rosemary and mushrooms and cook about 2 -3 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes and cook until vegetables are soft, about 3 more minutes. Remove from heat and add spices, salt, pepper and basil. Stir until just mixed.
  5. Toast the bread lightly, then spread with rosemary cream. Place the little toasts on a baking sheet and sprinkle a bit of mozzarella on top of each toast. Bake or broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  6. Top each toast with a scoop of the mushroom/tomato mixture, then sprinkle with toasted almonds and basil flowers. Serve immediately.

Pan Seared Basil Mushroom Bruschetta with Blue Cheese Rosemary Cream

Once I started eating them, I inhaled them. I should have slowed down and savored them, but I lost all control.

Rosemary Cream

  • 3 ounces of light cream cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons blue cheese (optional … for those that like blue cheese! I do, but I think the flavor would be a little too intense for some)
  • 1 small sprig of fresh rosemary, chopped (about 1/2 teaspoon)

Cream together ingredients until fully blended.

This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous FridaysFabulous Friday, Midnight Maniac Meatless Monday, Talent Show Tuesday, Trick or Treat Tuesdays, and Totally Tasty Tuesdays.


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