Monthly Archives: May 2014

White Bean, Spinach and Basil Hummus

Original Post: 4/29/13

I recently saw a recipe for White Bean and Roasted Garlic Hummus from The Big Giant Food Basket on Foodie Friends Friday (see button for party on the lower right of this page). I have been intrigued with the idea of using something other than chick peas for hummus and this recipe inspired me.

If you like hummus and you haven’t made it yourself, I hope you’ll give it a try. It’s another fun food to experiment with. Think of all the ways it’s offered in the store. You can do that yourself in minutes at home!

White Bean, Spinach and Basil Hummus
29 oz can of white beans like cannellini
3 cloves crushed garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
fresh basil (a handful should do)
2 handfuls of fresh spinach with the stems removed

1. Put everything but the water in the food processor and process until it’s all combined. It will be thick.
2. Start slowly adding water until it gets to the consistency of Greek yogurt. You will not need more than 1/4 cup.

Serve with fresh veggies, crackers or as a spread on a yummy fresh veggie sandwich. We devoured ours with Triscuits. Have you tried Triscuits lately? They have lots of flavors!

Here are some other ideas for making Hummus:

  • Spinach and Feta
  • Garlic
  • Spicy with your choice of hot pepper
  • Red Pepper – stir in the peppers after you have everything else processed
  • Sun Dried Tomato – stir those in, too
This is a great summer picnic food since it has no dairy in it so you don’t have to worry so much about spoilage. Of course, if you add cheese, that’s a game changer.
Let me know how you make your hummus! Enjoy!

Mocha Frappe

mfSometimes, a gal just wants a little treat. Something smooth and creamy. Maybe a little chocolate and a little caffeine for a boost of energy. And cool. Cool is a must. These were the thoughts going through my head late last Saturday afternoon. I was able to satisfy my need for a treat with a very easy, lowfat Mocha Frappe.

Mocha Frappe
1 cup almond milk (use soy or regular milk if you prefer)
1 TBSP coffee syrup
1 TBSP chocolate syrup
4-5 pieces of Ice

1. Combine everything but the ice in a blender and mix.
2. Add the ice and blend until you reach the desired consistency.
3. Find a nice spot on the patio away from children and noise and drink up!

Now I realize that coffee syrup is not something most people have on hand. I do because my wonderful friend Jen brought me some. I had no idea but Coffee Milk is a big treat in Rhode Island. When she and her family came to visit a few weeks ago, they brought me some. It is great with milk but even better with milk, and chocolate syrup in this tasty treat.

If you don’t have coffee syrup on hand, you can buy it from Amazon. Or you can just add a little coffee or a shot of espresso.

Enjoy! Oh! And one more thing! Don’t forget #bringbackourgirls.

Grilled Chicken & Spinach Salad

gcssIt was a hot one today. A lovely salad is in order for dinner. Well, for me it is. No recipe here. Just an idea for a different take on Spinach Salad I thought you might enjoy.

Grilled Chicken and Spinach Salad
Baby spinach leaves
Chopped celery
Chopped green onions
Chopped grilled chicken

Choose the quantities appropriate for whoever is eating and throw it all together. I had about two cups of spinach for my salad and about four ounces of chicken. I topped my salad with a Raspberry Vinaigrette. I also threw a hard boiled egg in. If there had been some pecans in my house, I probably would have added those too.


Bring Back OUR Girls

fpThis post is a recipe and a story and a cry for action. Maybe you’ve heard, but you may have not. In mid April over 200 girls were kidnapped from their school in Nigeria while in the midst of exams. The number of missing girls is unknown because the school records were destroyed in the attack. Read more about it on BBC Africa.

This is really unfathomable to me, a middle class American woman. I send my children to school and don’t worry that anyone other than maybe a grumpy classmate will hurt more than their feelings.

Not so for moms in other parts of the world. According to, 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year. I’m guessing that includes a lot of children.

I imagine the girls, heading to school for their exams, looking forward to the end of the day when they can have a break from school. Exams usually signal a break from school. I imagine them jingling the coins in their pockets or bag, thinking about the treat that they will buy on the way home. Maybe it will be barbecued meat or roasted corn. I think it will be something sweet, like fried yams or bananas. I have a wonderful cookbook that I’ve referred to here before called The World of Street Food by Troth Wells. I turned to the section for Africa and found a recipe for DoDo, or spicy fried plantains. That is exactly what I imagine a Nigerian girl ending her school year or semester would get as a treat.

DoDo (Fried Plantains)
2 plantains, sliced thin
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp black pepper

1. Mix the spices with a bit of water in a bowl.
2. Coat the plantain slices
3. Fry in oil until golden brown.
4. Drain on a paper towel.
5. Best served while still warm.

I said I was providing you with a story and a recipe as well as a cry for action. Mother’s Day is one week away in the US. Here’s what I want my kids to do. Bring back OUR Girls. Let’s not look at these girls as someone else’s problem. Let’s make getting them back our problem. Join the campaign. Write Congress. Sign petitions. Wear red to raise awareness. Be outraged. Moms in Africa need our support. Check out the Facebook campaign.

We must encourage those in positions to do so to help people who can’t help themselves. Lets make it about something other than oil prices for once. Let’s make it about doing the right thing for humanity.

Please fry some plantains and while you’re enjoying the sweet aroma filling your house, think of these suffering families and figure out what you can do to help. Because you can do something.


Homemade Taco Seasoning and Avocado Salsa

Original Post: 4/8/2013

I love tacos! They’re so fast and so fun to eat. Everyone loves them and they work with fish, shrimp  ground beef, ground turkey, ground chicken… EVERYTHING!

What I do not love about tacos is the packaged taco seasoning. It has too much sodium and it leaves me feeling bloated and sad.

I have always thrown together my own mix of spices for tacos and I thought I’d share it with you. I rarely ever measure what I add to my meat so the measurements below are “guesstimates.” Depending on your palate, add more or less of any of the ingredients to suit your taste. The amounts below were for three ground chicken breasts. I think it was just about a pound of meat.

Taco Seasoning
1/2 tsp + cumin
1/2 tsp + chili powder
1/4 tsp + cayenne pepper
2 or more cloves of garlic, crushed

1. Throw all the spices in a pan with the meat of our choice. Cook until done.
2. Serve on your choice of taco shell with cheese, lettuce, chopped tomatoes, salsa or whatever else you have.

I used ground chicken for my taco in the picture. And I was so lucky to get avocado that was perfectly ripe so I could throw together a side of Avocado Salsa. Here’s how that shaped up:

Avocado Salsa
2 avocados, cut in cubes
1 Roma tomato, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
a dash of cayenne pepper
juice of 1/2 a lime

1. Cut everything up and put it in a bowl.
2. Toss it around gently so the avocado stays in cubes.
3. Squeeze the lime juice over the top and gently toss again.

You can add black beans  and corn to this, too and you will have a wonderful vegetarian filling for your tacos.

Since it’s going to be so lovely out this week, I recommend you make some tacos and enjoy a meal on the patio.