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Posts tagged “Cumin

Rosemary Cucumber Barley Lentil Salad

Rosemary Cucumber Barley Lentil Salad

The idea of a chopped cucumber salad with rosemary popped into my head the other day. I had some cucumber I bought for my daughter, but she hasn’t shown much interest in eating them lately, so I decided to go ahead and use them up. I cooked up some barley and red lentils to go with it and they took over and outnumbered the cucumbers, but all in all, I was very pleased with the results. Barley is something I usually think of putting in soups, but I thought it would be fun to try it in a salad. It’s a very healthy grain, full of fiber.

Dressed with lemon juice and olive oil and seasoned with a little Moroccan seasoning and some cumin, it turned out to be quite a nice salad. Great for lunch or as a nice side dish to serve with fish or meat.

Rosemary Cucumber Barley Lentil Salad

  • 1/2 cup dry barley
  • 1/2 cup dry lentils (you can use any color: I chose red ones)
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced and chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion (like a Vidalia)
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Moroccan seasoning (I used some I purchased from Mystic Blue Spice Company, but if you are in a pinch, there is a recipe for making your own here)
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • For garnish: About 2 Tablespoons toasted pinons (pine nuts), lemon slice(s) & fresh parsley leaves


  1. Cook the barley and lentils (in separate pots) according to package directions.
  2. While they are cooking, chop the cucumber and onion and gather the herbs.
  3. Zest and juice the lemon into a small bowl. Add the garlic, rosemary, cumin and Moroccan seasoning, then whisk in the olive oil.
  4. In a larger bowl, mix the cooked barley and lentils, the cucumber, onion, parsley and green onion, then drizzle on the dressing and stir to mix. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh lemon slice(s), toasted pine nuts and some fresh parsley leaves. Serve hot or cold. It’s good both ways.

Rosemary Cucumber Barley Lentil Salad

This recipe was shared at Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Full Plate Thursday, Fit & Fabulous Fridays, and Summer Salad Sundays.

Chile Brown Sugar Salmon on the Grill

Chile Brown Sugar Salmon on the Grill

I made this as a low sodium entree for my daughter … before we found out she can and SHOULD have salt. Whew.  That’s a relief.

But when I asked my foodie friends if they still wanted low-sodium recipes, the resounding answer was YES. This is a tasty dish that you can make entirely without salt and it still tastes delicious.

Just ask my 13-year-old girl. She loved it. And she doesn’t even like spicy foods. It’s not really spicy at all. The chili powder gives it  flavor, but not enough to be spicy. If you want a good kick, I would recommend adding some cayenne.

Chile Brown Sugar Salmon on the Grill

Chile Brown Sugar Salmon on the Grill

Spicy Sweet Rub Recipe is from Aggie’s Kitchen

Spicy Sweet Salmon Rub

  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (you can omit the salt to reduce the sodium … I actually made this without the salt and it was delicious!)
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Other ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salmon  fillets, skin removed
  • Fresh lemons or limes, sliced

Mix the salmon rub ingredients together. Brush the fish lightly with olive oil, then rub each piece of salmon with the sweet/spicy rub.

Heat up the grill. I put some rosemary on the coals to give it a little extra flavor. Once the grill is hot, arrange the lemon slices to make a “bed” for the salmon to cook on. Set each fillet on a bed of lemon slices and allow it to cook for about five minutes on that side.

Chile Brown Sugar Salmon on the Grill

Flip the salmon over and cook for about 5 minutes on the other side or until it flakes easily with a fork.

Squeeze a little lemon juice over the lovely fish and serve immediately with your choice of sides. Some pasta with roasted vegetables would be nice … or rice or quinoa and a salad.

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty Tuesdays.

Low Sodium Red Magic Seasoning

Red Magic Seasoning

I am on a quest for low sodium, but delicious food lately. Food that will appeal to a teenager. I never never never thought I would have to worry much about sodium … my blood pressure is low. My kids, well they’re kids! You don’t have to worry about salt too much with kids, right?

But you see, my daughter (who is ALMOST a teenager) has been having dizzy spells. It started last fall … she missed two weeks of school. I was terribly worried about her, took her to the doctor, had tons of tests done. At the end they couldn’t find anything wrong with her and this is what they said, “she needs to drink more water.”

So we had her drink more water. But the dizzy spells continued. They would come and go. Sometimes she would be fine, but they got to be so bad last month that she couldn’t dance and sometimes they would go on for a whole week. If you knew my girl, you would know she lives to dance. She has been dancing since she was able to stand on two feet, I believe. When she was 3 I enrolled her in dance classes and she has been dancing ever since. Since she’s gotten older, our lives have started revolving around her dance.

But dizzy spells in a dancer are a very very bad thing. And she was SO miserable! I did some research into the symptoms she is having and one of the things that may help is to lower her sodium intake to 1,000 mg/day. When you look at how much sodium is in salt and so many of the foods that we eat, 1,000 mg is REALLY HARD.

I have used a lot of Red Robin Seasoning in our food so she is used to that flavoring. I thought I would try to make something similar to that one, with a lot less salt. The real magic in it this is … I think I like it better than the original Red Robin Seasoning! Red Robin Seasoning is loaded with salt, while this one is loaded with flavor. My girl loves it. I can season salmon or chicken with this and she is happy! She will eat it! I’m even sprinkling it on some of my own food now …

Low Sodium Red Magic Seasoning

Low Sodium Red Magic Seasoning

I found the tomato powder at our local coop food store. It’s basically just dried tomato, ground into a powder. I was looking for low-sodium tomato soup mix, but all I found was tomato powder, which I think is so sooo much better. And if you can’t find it, I think all you’d have to do is put some sundried tomatoes through a spice grinder to make a fine powder.

  • 6 Tablespoons tomato powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Lite Salt (or 1/2 Tablespoon sea salt)
  • 5 Tablespoons granulated garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons dried basil
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons onion powder

Mix all ingredients together into a bowl. Funnel into a spice jar. Use to flavor chicken, meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, popcorn … whatever you normally would use salt on.

Low Sodium Red Magic Seasoning

This recipe was shared at Weekend PotluckTalent Show TuesdayA Crafty Cook’s April Link PartyMelt in your Mouth Mondays, and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.

Cashew Salmon with Apricot Cranberry Quinoa

with a ginger, cumin & cilantro scented yogurt sauce

Cashew Salmon with Apricot Cranberry Quinoa and a Cumin Cilantro Ginger Yogurt Sauce

One of the most romantic meals of my life was on a Friday night when my date and I cooked this together. We drank wine as we cooked, I chopped the apricots & garlic & ginger and mixed up the sauce, he made the quinoa and broiled the salmon. When the salmon was done, he plated the salmon and quinoa in front of me, drizzled that heavenly sauce over it, and sprinkled on the toasted cashews … then refilled my wine glass before he plated his own. Just the way he did that totally melted my heart. Later I asked him for the recipe … and he gladly gave me the printout. I loved this meal so much I just had to make this again, wanted to share it with all of you here on the blog, and so I decided I would try making it for my children for a special Valentine’s meal. They both love salmon (my daughter moreso than my son, but he will eat salmon). I wasn’t so sure about the quinoa or the yogurt ginger sauce, but I thought I would give it a shot.

It was as I thought … while I was photographing the meal, my kids got in a fight. My daughter ran into her room. Our cat persistently tried to eat the salmon I was “shooting” and I had to push her out of the picture several times …

Cashew Salmon with Apricot Cranberry Quinoa and a Cumin Cilantro Ginger Yogurt Sauce and our CAT

We managed to coax my daughter out of her room to join the meal. They both tried the salmon. My son immediately asked for garlic toast, saying “don’t we have some bread?” So I ended up cooking up some quick garlic toast for both of them. My daughter gobbled her salmon up before I could even glance over at her. My son inhaled the garlic toast, ate a few bites of the salmon, and then declared that his sister could have the rest of his. She said, “I can’t eat all of this …”, but she did eat some of his. Neither of them touched the quinoa or would even taste the sauce.

But they were happy that I had Valentine’s chocolates for them. My son said he would have been happier with smaller pieces of chocolate since I got him the BIG Reese’s peanut butter hearts (honestly, I would too … I like my chocolates in little bites!) So he’s trading in his chocolate for some licorice. LOL. My daughter was totally entranced with her heart-shaped Dove truffles in the fancy swirly tin. At least I got one thing right!

All in all, I would say this meal is probably much better suited for a romantic dinner with your sweetheart or for a fancy dinner party than for a Valentine’s lunch with a couple picky eating teenagers. But hey, I have some delicious leftovers. And now I can share the recipe with you … frankly, I think my kids are crazy. The tastes in this meal are phenomenal.

Cashew Salmon with Apricot Cranberry Quinoa and a Cumin Cilantro Ginger Yogurt Sauce

Cashew Salmon with Apricot Cranberry Quinoa

Adapted from Eating Well

You could shortcut the prep time by making up the sauce ahead of time, toasting the cashews and pre-chopping the garlic and apricot and things. Salmon cooks in a matter of minutes, so in the time it takes you to cook the quinoa, you could have dinner on the table.

Sauce ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1 5-oz. container plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped fine
  • 2  cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or less … I don’t think it needs quite this much salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon of honey
  • 1 Tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime (or lemon)

Quinoa ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (or add an extra 1/4 cup of apricots … I only used cranberries because I ran out of apricots! But they did add a pretty splash of red color … and I liked the taste too)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa

Salmon ingredients:

  • Salmon, cut into portions of 1/4 lb for each person. (You should have plenty of sauce and quinoa for up to 4 people. If you’re serving more, increase the recipe.)
  • Old Bay seasoning (I used this seasoning only because I expected my kids would skip the sauce and thought the fish could use a little flavor on its own … you really don’t need it at all.)
  • Salt & pepper

For garnish:

  • Roasted, salted cashews, toasted and chopped
  • Extra cilantro leaves

To prepare:

  1. First, make the sauce: Stir together all the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Don’t use your handi chopper to whir it all together–it destroys the thickness of the yogurt. You could use all plain yogurt instead of the greek yogurt if you actually STIR the sauce rather than whirring it like I did.
  2.  Next, heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the apricots, garlic, onion, ginger, and salt and sautee until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil, then stir in the quinoa. Cover, lower the heat to low, and cook until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile rub the salmon with salt and pepper, sprinkle with seasoning (if using) and broil or grill until the salmon is lightly brown and just cooked through, about 3 minutes on each side.
  4. Serve the salmon drizzled with sauce, topped with cashews and a sprinkle of cilantro leaves, with the quinoa on the side.

Cashew Salmon with Apricot Cranberry Quinoa

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysLove your Heart MonthCast Party WednesdayThese Chicks Cooked Recipe SwapMidweek Fiesta, Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Thursday’s Treasures, Fit and Fabulous Fridays, Katherine Martinelli’s Nut Bloghop and Freaky Friday.

Black Bean, Feta and Avocado Couscous Citrus Salad

with cilantro, cucumber, and toasted pinons

Couscous, Black Bean, Kumquat and Avocado Salad with Feta, Cucumber, and Toasted Pine Nuts

I couldn’t stop eating this salad. It was one of those find-things-in-your-fridge-and-toss-them-together kind of meals … but once I got it all together, I could not believe how good it tasted.

I was telling my yoga friend about this salad and she asked how it is that I have all these strange things “on hand”  in my kitchen …  I think what I do is I just collect interesting ingredients and let them flow together. Oh, yes, there are times when I buy things specifically to make a particular dish, but it quite often doesn’t work out that way. Life gets in the way. My plans get thrown out the window. I have learned along the way that plans are only a point of departure, and you have to be ready at any point in life to make new ones. I find myself doing a lot of that.

In any case, this was a very happy accident.

Couscous, Black Bean, Kumquat and Avocado Salad with Feta, Cucumber, and Toasted Pine Nuts

Black Bean, Feta and Avocado Couscous Citrus Salad

with Cilantro, Cucumber, and Toasted Pine Nuts

If you haven’t got any kumquats, you could try substituting other citrus fruits.

  • 2/3 cup uncooked whole wheat couscous
  • 1/2 of a large cucumber, sliced and cut into small chunks
  • 3/4 cup cooked black beans
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
  • Roughly 1/3 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • 2 kumquats (about 2 inches in diameter, add more to taste depending on how large your kumquats are), sliced thin and chopped (reserving a few slices for garnish)
  • About 2 cups of green leaf or romaine lettuce, chopped fine
  • About 3/4 cup of fresh cilantro leaves
  • About 1/3 cup of toasted pinon nuts
  • 1/2 of an avocado, peeled, pitted, chopped


  1. Prepare the uncooked couscous according to the package directions and make the dressing.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss everything but the avocado until mixed.
  3. Toss the avocado in the dressing to coat (the kumquat juice in the dressing will help the avocado from turning brown), then toss the avocado and the dressing into the salad and stir gently to combine.
  4. Garnish the top of the salad with extra feta crumbles, slices of kumquat, cilantro leaves and a few pinons.


  • 2 Tablespoons of kumquat juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • 2 teaspoons of rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil

Whisk together all the ingredients in a small bowl.

Black Bean, Feta, and Avocado Couscous Salad with Kumquat, Cucumber, Toasted Pinons

This recipe was shared on Fit & Fabulous Fridays, Everyday Mom’s Church Supper, Weekend Potluck, Love your Hearth MonthMidnight Maniac Meatless Mondays, and Freaky Friday.

Funky Bejeweled Kiwi, Mango & Kumquat Salsa

Pomegranate, Kiwi, Kumquat, & Mango Salsa

I love salsa. The heat of it. The variety. The fun ways you can use it. You can put so many things in a salsa.  I had some tomatoes that were begging me to make them into salsa, but I wanted to do something a little different this time …

I’ve heard of mango salsa, but I’ve never seen or tried kiwi in a salsa. Or pomegranate seeds. I threw those in just for fun … I don’t know that the pomegranate seeds added a lot to the flavor or even the look because the background of the salsa is already red … but they are so pretty. Like little jewels. Why not have jewels in your salsa?

So I put the kiwis and the pomegranate in and still it needed something. There were three mangoes sitting there in my fruit bowl, so I decided to toss one of them in the salsa too. And then I thought: this needs something … so I added some of the flavors of a jerk seasoning. There! That is it. That is exactly what my funky fruity salsa needed. Honestly I think I might add some more jalapeno now because I am craving something so hot it almost hurts but really, this version is quite awesome just like it is. Add more jalapeno if you want it to hurt. Use less if you like a milder salsa.

Kiwi, Kumquat, Mango, and Pomegranate Salsa ... Caribbean style

Funky Bejeweled Kiwi, Mango, and Kumquat Salsa

  • 1 medium sized onion
  • 2 cups canned tomatoes (or 1 15-oz. can)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped jalapeno (adjust this amount to more or less, depending on how hot you like your salsa)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • about 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 kumquats (my kumquats were about 2 inches long, but I have seen some that are MUCH smaller … if you have smaller kumquats, use more!) … one goes into the blender, chop the other one into little chunks.
  • 2 kiwis, peeled & chopped into small pieces
  • 1 mango, peeled & chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds


  1. In a blender or food processor, blend the tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeno, 1 of the kumquats and the salt and other spices.
  2. You can pour the salsa into a bowl or just stir in the rest of the ingredients right in the blender. Don’t blend it up, though, because it will ruin those beautiful hunks of fruit!

I tried the salsa with baked vegie and corn tortilla chips, but it would also be lovely with nachos, burritos, or over fish or chicken or pork or … well, salsa is just such a fun thing to have around. Especially a funky salsa like this.

Kiwi, Kumquat, Mango, and Pomegranate Salsa ... Caribbean style

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysTasty Tuesdays,  Talent Show TuesdaysCast Party Wednesdays, Newlyweds Recipe LinkyTastetastic Thursday, Katherine Martinelli’s Mango Bloghop and Full Plate Thursday.

Fabulous Baked Felafel

Baked Felafel

Felafel is a traditional middle eastern food: usually deep fried little balls of spiced chickpea batter. Crunchy, delicious, and actually healthy for you, even if you fry them.

These felafel are baked, though, so they are even better for you. Packed with protein and vegies and all kinds of good herbs and spices. Don’t even try to fry them. I had a few that didn’t fit on my little baking sheet, so I tried frying them in olive oil and just trust me on this one, the baked ones were SO much better.

I hear there is a lot of controversy over felafel. It seems many Palestinians believe that Israelis have stolen falafel, a traditional Arab food … personally I don’t understand why we need to fight over food.

I am more of a peaceful soul who likes to enjoy good food … I really don’t care who invented it … just as long as it’s good. And these little babies are definitely good.

Baked Felafel: Middle Eastern Chickpea Patties

Fabulous Baked Felafel

Adapted from Shutterbean

Makes 10 – 15 or so felafel

  • 1 1/2 cups of cooked chickpeas (aka, garbanzo beans)
  • 1 small onion
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro (alas, I had no cilantro, so I substituted basil …)
  • Juice of 1 kumquat (or 1 teaspoon of lemon juice)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons feta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Put all the ingredients into a handy chopper or food processor and blend till everything is chopped fine and forms a paste. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Form into small balls, about 1 1/2 – 2 inches diameter and flatten into patties. Place your lovely little felafels onto a baking pan sprayed with cooking spray.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes on each side, until nicely browned (since it’s baked, only the part actually touching the pan will be browned and crispy).

Felafel are typically served in pita bread with lettuce, tomato, and a tahini sauce. I had them for lunch today with a bit of onion, lettuce, tomato,  Mia’s fantastic avocado hummus and some feta cheese. I really wanted some tzatziki to go alongside, but alas, I had no cucumber. They were still pretty dang fabulous.

Baked Felafel

They are quite nice just to munch on as a little appetizer too. Just be careful … they are slightly addictive.

This recipe was shared at Talent Show TuesdayTotally Tasty Tuesdays, and Newlyweds Recipe Linky.

Cinnamon Kissed Green Chile Pork Stew

Cinnamon Kissed Green Chile and Pork Stew

Sometimes you make a wish and send it out into the world and just trust that the world will take care of it.

I try to be very careful with my wishes, because I have seen wishes gone awry. I have wished for things in my past that have come true, but not in the way I expected them to. I guess in the end, it all turned out right, so the wishes were good even if the (temporary) implications seemed bad.

This time my wish was simply this: to find someone that would love me for who I am. I never was the person my ex wanted me to be, and I apparently wasn’t the woman that the guys I’ve dated since wanted me to be. But I know I am a good person, I have a big heart, a lot of love, and I think I just need to find the right person who will love me for who I am. I know I am not at all your typical woman … I am very independent, strong, and intelligent, and a lot of men are scared away by that. And I will not ever even consider dating someone if I don’t feel a strong connection between us. There seem to be a lot of those very superficial guys … and very few connections.

Anyway, about a month ago, I sent out my wish, with a lot of love and acceptance for who I am and a sense of trust that it would be okay whether or not I find someone. I am okay just being me.

A few days later, a friend of mine contacted me … things have changed in his life and it made me step back and look at each time we have met in a different light. It’s very strange … this is not what I expected and yet, it seems right. I’m waiting to find out what happens. When one of my wishes is granted, there always seems to be a twist to the wish, something I didn’t expect. But I am just letting go and trusting that things will work out for the best …

Cinnamon Kissed Green Chile and Pork Stew

Cinnamon Kissed Green Chile Pork Stew

  • 3/4 lb. pork cutlet, chopped into small hunks (You can also use ground beef, ground venison, or even chicken or leftover turkey.  The pork is really lovely in it, though.)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups chicken broth (add enough to make it as soupy as you want it)
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small turnip, peeled and chopped (optional)
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Hatch Green chile, roasted, peeled, and chopped, with juices (I used a 13-oz. frozen container of real Hatch Chile from NM. It’s not an easy thing to obtain where I live … if you don’t have any authentic Hatch Green Chile, you can use canned, and add jalapeno or other hot pepper to give it some heat as desired.)
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Throw everything into a crockpot, set it on low and let it cook all day. Top with grated sharp cheddar cheese at serving, if desired.

This stew is the perfect thing to eat when you are cold or when you have a cold. It will warm you up, clean out your sinuses and make your body feel good all over. There is nothing like some good hot chile to chase the germs away.

Oh, and it is the absolute perfect thing to use over breakfast burritos. Ideally you should make the burritos in a park nearby the International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque at 5 a.m. just before the fiesta begins, with coffee and bailey’s and champagne. Then put away all the cooking and drinks and walk over and amongst the beautiful colors of the balloons. Sometime in your life you should do this.

The breakfast burritos will be another post … soon!

Cinnamon Kissed Green Chile and Pork Stew

This recipe was shared at Wonka Wednesdays, Gooseberry Patch’s Slow Cooker Recipe Roundup and Katherine Martinelli’s Mexican Blog Hop.

Chile Lime Spiced Popcorn

Chile Lime Spiced Popcorn

I often put green chile powder and granulated garlic in the butter for my popcorn, but today I wanted a little more flavor, something extra special you could even give as a gift to your chile-head friends. Baking it in the oven takes out the juiciness from the lime, but leaves in the lime flavor and makes the popcorn extra-crunchy.

If you want a flavorful popcorn with less heat, just leave out the jalapeno.

I am a bit of a popcorn fanatic, so for me to say I could eat a big bowl of this for dinner is not all that unusual, but this popcorn has such a great crunch, kick and flavor, I did eat the whole bowl for a mid-afternoon snack. All by myself. And I am really wishing it wasn’t all gone … Sorry friends! I’m gonna have to make a new batch for you … good thing it’s so easy!

Chile Lime Spiced Popcorn

Chile Lime Spiced Popcorn

For a fun holiday gift, package this spicy popcorn in a Mason jar or decorated tin, along with a few good Mexican beers (or favorite non-alcoholic drinks) nestled in a colorful basket or bowl.

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeno pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Robin seasoning or your favorite seasoned salt
  • Juice of 1/2 of a lime
  • 10 – 12 cups of popped popcorn (I used an air popper for popping my popcorn)


  1. Put all the ingredients except for the lime juice and popcorn in a small microwaveable cup or bowl. I usually cover the butter to prevent it from splattering all over the place. Microwave the butter-spice mix on medium for about 2 minutes or until the butter is fully melted.
  2. Add the lime juice to the spiced butter and stir well.
  3. Prepare a bowl of popcorn (I use an air popper to make mine), and spread the popcorn in a large flat pan at least  1 inch deep. With a spoon, drizzle the chile lime butter all over the popcorn, then stir lightly. Sprinkle lightly with Red Robin Seasoning or salt.
  4. Bake at 300 degrees F. for about 5 to 7 minutes or longer … until the popcorn is good and crispy! Sprinkle with salt or seasoned salt to taste.
  5. Serve warm!–or store in an airtight container or mason jar to give to your popcorn-loving friends. If you give it as a gift, you can tell your friends if they want the popcorn hot to warm it in the oven at 300 for 3 – 5 minutes before eating.

Chile Lime Spiced Popcorn

This recipe was shared at Newlyweds Blog Recipe Linky, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, TasteTastic ThursdaysThis Chick Cooks, and Katherine Martinelli’s Mexican Blog Hop.

Thick & Hearty Curried Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

Thick & Hearty Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

I got in a fight with my teenage son this afternoon … it was, as usual, a very emotionally charged exchange. We were both livid by the time we left the house. I was driving him to his dad’s place and yes, I was angry, but after a moment, I forced myself to calm down and breathe so I could drive safely. Still, I was fighting back the tears of rage.

I was just crossing through an intersection where the light was green on a country road that crosses the edge of the city when a lady in a silver car turned right in front of me, just as I was nearing the edge of the intersection. Perhaps she didn’t see my little gray car coming; perhaps she wasn’t paying attention. I slammed on the brakes and managed to stop without hitting her. There wasn’t anywhere else for me to go, no other lane to swerve into. But in that moment I saw both of our lives flash before my eyes. I thought to myself how miniscule our argument really was, in the scheme of things. Apparently my son had the same thought because he looked at me and said, “that really puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?”

Now don’t get me wrong, we needed to fight today. There were things I needed to say to him, and he needed to get out some of the rage he was holding inside. But we also needed to remember how precious and fragile our connections to each other are.  They could be broken … gone … in an instant. So often in an argument, we say hurtful things and we forget.

This stranger, in a moment of carelessness, sent us a powerful reminder.

Curried Pumpkin Black Bean Soup with Feta

Thick & Hearty Curried Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

Roughly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

  • 3-5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 large onion, peeled
  • 2 t. olive oil
  • 2 t. curry powder
  • 1/2 t. smoked paprika
  • 1 t. cumin
  • 1/4 c. chardonnay or other dry white wine — although I think a dry red might work even better
  • 2 c. black beans
  • 1/2 quart canned tomatoes with juices
  • 1 c. pumpkin puree
  • 1 c. beef or vegetable broth
  • Red Robin Seasoning or your favorite seasoned salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 – 1/2 t. cayenne seasoning (or more to taste)
  • Feta cheese crumbles and/or roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas) and a few whole black beans for garnish
  1. Whirl the onion and garlic in a handi chopper or food processor till they are in tiny chunks (or chop into small bits with your knife).
  2. Over medium high heat, sautee the chopped onion and garlic with the cumin, curry, and smoked paprika in the olive oil until the onion and garlic is soft. It should be sort of a paste of onion and spices.
  3. Add the wine and cook for a few minutes until most of the wine has evaporated.
  4. Whir the beans and tomatoes briefly in the handi chopper or food processor (do them separately if your device won’t hold them all at once!) or mash with a potato masher to break down the beans and tomatoes to a sort of rough puree.
  5. Add the beans, tomatoes, pumpkin and broth to the pan. Season to taste with Red Robin Seasoning, freshly ground pepper, and cayenne.
  6. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 20 – 30 minutes or until the flavors have all mixed well.
  7. Serve hot with feta cheese crumbles and a few whole black beans and/or pumpkin seeds for garnish.
Thick & Hearty Curried Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

Red Robin Seasoning (Copycat recipe)

and a wealth of other seasoning mixes from my friend Carla

Red Robin Seasoning (Copycat recipe)

In general, I am not fond of chain restaurant food–I prefer to sample the local fare wherever I am–but there are a couple places I do like, and Red Robin is one of my favorites.  It’s basically a burger joint, but their burgers are SO good (just thinking about that California Chicken burger makes my mouth water) and their fries are SO crunchy and tasty. I think a big part of what makes them so special is the seasoning they use. Oh it is SO good!

They are also amazing mixologists at Red Robin; in my bartending days I “stole” one of their menus (with permission of course!) just to take it home and try to recreate some of their yummy mixed drinks. I still have that menu. My mother got in trouble when she tried to throw it out when she helped us move one time.

If you ask them at the restaurant, they will usually let you buy the seasoning. I have done that many times.

But what do you do if you live nowhere near a Red Robin? (Like me, now.) You either do without the seasoning, or you find a way to make your own. One day I stumbled across this copycat recipe for Red Robin Seasoning and I had to try it. While it tasted pretty authentic just the way it was, I adjusted it a little to my tastes. And scaled it up–because I use a lot of Red Robin Seasoning. Now I have to keep my dad supplied with this seasoning because he has become about as addicted to it as I am. (And I need to have some on hand when I am cooking at their place!)

I use this seasoning on just about everything I cook  in place of salt (the savory dishes anyway!) It is amazing on potatoes and eggs. And meats. Fish. Chicken. Um, yeah, just about everything. I refill my Red Robin Seasoning shaker with it, which reminds me of all the good times I’ve had at Red Robin.

Red Robin Seasoning

Copycat Red Robin Seasoning

  • 3 packages cup-a-soup tomato soup mix (about 7 1/2 T.)
  • 10 T. salt
  • 2 T. chili powder
  • 4 T. granulated garlic
  • 1 T. basil
  • 1 T. cumin
  • 1 t. freshly ground black pepper

Mix all the seasonings together in a bowl. Funnel into a spice shaker because you are going to want to shake this stuff on just about EVERYTHING!

A Wealth of Seasoning Mixes from Carla

I’ve also collected a bunch of helpful seasoning mixes from my foodie friend Carla at Carla’s Kitchen Confessions. If you are on Facebook and you haven’t liked her page, go do it. She is awesome. If you ever need a seasoning mix in a pinch, she will help you out!

~HOMEMADE SELF-RISING FLOUR~ 1 cup all purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoons salt = 1 cup self-rising flour.

‎~HOMEMADE TERIYAKI SAUCE~ 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup oil, 2 tablespoons honey, 2 teaspoons ground Ginger, 2 teaspoons ground mustard or yellow mustard, 6 cloves garlic, minced (3 teaspoons), salt to taste. Mix together & use to marinate meats. Store in the refrigerator.

‎~HOMEMADE BAKING POWDER~ 1/3 teaspoons baking soda & 1/2 teaspoons cream of tarter.

‎~”ALMOST” EMERIL’S ESSENCE~ 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika, 2 tablespoons salt, 2 tablespoons garlic powder, 1 tablespoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 1 tablespoon dried thyme. Mix well & store in airtight container.

‎~HOMEMADE PUMPKIN PIE SPICE~ 2 tablespoons cinnamon, 1 tablespoon ground Ginger, 1/2 tablespoon nutmeg, 1/2 tablespoon allspice. Mix well & store in airtight container, will keep for about 6 months.

‎~HOMEMADE TACO SEASONING~ 1/3 cup dried minced onion, 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon curry powder, 3 tablespoons chili powder, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 2 tablespoon dried oregano. Mix well & store up to 6 months in an air tight container. Makes 1 cup mix. Use 2 tablespoons per 1 pound of meat. {you can adjust the amount of the red pepper flakes}

‎~Paula Deen’s House Seasoning~ 1 cup salt, 1/4 cup garlic powder, 1/4 cup pepper. Mix well, store in airtight container.

‎~HOMEMADE SEASON SALT~ 1 1/2 cups salt, 1 cup onion powder, 1/2 cup white pepper, 1/2 cup garlic powder, 1/2 cup paprika. Mix well & store for up to 6 months in an airtight container. {You can use black pepper, if you wish. It only changes the flavor slightly!}

‎~Homemade powdered sugar~ 1 tablespoon cornstarch to 1 cup granulated sugar. Run through blender or food processor until powder forms. {Never get caught without it again!}. You could make up several batches at once & store in an airtight container.

‎~ Salt Substitute #1~ 2 Tablespoons dry mustard, 2 tablespoons onion powder, 2 tablespoons garlic powder, 2 tablespoons paprika, 1 tablespoon pepper, 1 tablespoon ground thyme, 2 tablespoons crushed basil.~store in airtight container.

‎~ Salt Substitute #2~ 1 teaspoon dry mustard, 1/2 teaspoon sage, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1/4 teaspoon marjoram.

‎~ Salt Substitute #3 ~ 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard, 1 1/2 teaspoon basil, 1/2 teaspoon crushed celery seed, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder.

‎~ Apple pie spice substitution ~ 1/8 tsp. Allspice, 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. Nutmeg. {for extra kick, 1/8 tsp. Cardamom, optional}

‎~ Apple pie spice substitution#2 ~ ‎4 tsp. ground cinnamon, 2 tsp. ground nutmeg, 1 tsp. ground cardamom


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