My mom is like my own personal Martha Stewart.  She can set a table that is worthy of being the head table at a fancy wedding.  She can whip up appetizers for a party or make an incredibly flavorful and beautiful dinner at the drop of a hat.  We always had company when I was growing up and my mom was always great at throwing something together even if the guests were unexpected.  One of her go-to snacks that she makes is Cilantro Jalapeno Hummus.

It doesn’t get much easier than this recipe, but the results are so vibrant in color and flavor.  This hummus is great with chips or veggies, or even smeared on a tortilla and topped with cheese and veggies as a healthy wrap for lunch.  I made my sick husband some chicken noodle soup last weekend and I stirred a spoonful of this hummus into my bowl to liven up the flavor of the soup.  You could even serve this in place of or in addition to guacamole with a Mexican spread.

Cilantro Jalapeno Hummus
Recipe type: Appetizer, Snack, Healthy
Prep time: 
Total time: 
A vibrant and flavorful twist on traditional hummus
  • 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 cup packed cilantro, rinsed
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and cut in half
  • juice of 1 lime
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  1. Combine all ingredients except olive oil in food processor and pulse several times to process.
  2. While food processor is running, pour in olive oil and continue processing until smooth.
  3. Serve.
  4. Can be kept for 1 week in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

combine all ingredients except olive oil in food processor and process

stream in olive oil and process until smooth



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Even though I am not a person who makes New Year’s resolutions, I do always find myself thinking of the things I can do better or new things that I wan tot try when January comes around.  One conscious change I have been trying to make this year is to eat more fruits and vegetables.  I love almost all produce, I just don’t feel like I know how to get enough of them everyday in my diet.

One way I have been trying to remedy this is by drinking “superfood” smoothies.  It is a simple way for me to efficiently get an extra 3-4 servings of fruits and veggies in 1 smoothie and the rest of my daily servings I can easily get in with my meals.

All I do is load up my Vitamix with 8 ounces of water (you could also use milk and or a splash of juice), a cup of fresh or frozen mixed berries, one banana and 2 cups of spinach and blend away.  Other great options to add are greek yogurt, kale and any other fruits and vegetables of your choice.

And no need to be scared off by incorporating greens into your smoothie.  All you taste is the wonderful freshness of the berries and bananas!

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One year ago......
Pumpkin Chip Cream Sandwich Cookies

I know, I know.  You do not need one more thing to do or make before Thanksgiving.

But what if that thing is super easy, not labor intensive, involves minimal cleanup and will have your Thanksgiving dinner guests remembering how fabulous you are long after the tryptophan has worn off?  What if you had an adorable, bow-adorned jar of this Apple Butter sitting at each guest’s place setting for them to take away with their turkey coma?

I bet you would be the talk of the ‘hood, the toast of the town, the host(ess) with the most(est)!!  And I am telling you the truth (as usual):  this will not interfere with your other mealtime responsibilities because it cooks itself in the crock pot!  You can just set your pot, let it go and come back to warm, comforting, velvety apple butter!  Oh, and it gets bonus points for making your home smell exquisite which will get everyone excited about all of the other fall treats you have in store for them.

Some apple butter facts and tips:

-Apple butter as well as other fruit butters actually contain no butter at all and are actually quite healthy

-When making this Crock Pot Apple Butter, please spray your crock pot insert with nonstick cooking spray to make for easy breezy clean up

-How to serve apple butter:  on toast, english muffins, bagels (you get my drift), out of a spoon, on meat, in yogurt, or my favorite way:  over vanilla ice cream with walnuts and oatmeal sprinkled on top!  I know I have an amazing way of making a somewhat healthy snack naughty, don’t I?

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(recipe adapted from My Baking Addiction)
combine all other ingredients

add to crock pot and stir to combine

cook on low for 8 hours then blend until smooth

pour into jars and enjoy!

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I was skeptical.  I mean I am a person who buys sugars, flour and butter at Costco so that I don’t run out so frequently.  And I am fortunate enough not to have any food allergies or dietary restrictions.  So why am I baking vegan gluten-free anything?  Well, even though I don’t need to pay attention to it for health reasons I can’t help but notice the increase in the amount of products that are labeled “vegan” or “gluten-free”.  I think it is great that people who do suffer from digestive problems or prefer not to eat animal products have so many more options to choose from these days.  I have been curious about the ingredients and results of vegan and/or gluten-free baking and so when I inherited all of the special ingredients necessary for this type of baking, I was very anxious to give it a whirl.

I wanted to start the experimentation with something classic that would be easy to compare to a “regular” specimen.  Brownies seemed like a good option.  Also, I wanted to learn a bit about the interesting (strange) new ingredients I would be incorporating into these brownies.  Here are some of the ingredients and what I learned about them:

  • Garbanzo-fava bean flour-used instead of regular wheat flour and also is a source of protein
  • Potato starch-makes baked goods tender and moist
  • Xanthan gum-makes batter sticky instead of crumbly
  • Coconut oil-extracted from the flesh of coconuts, high in saturated fat, but good fat
  • Arrowroot-carbohydrate thickener similar to cornstarch

I will always promise you an unbiased review when I am telling you about a recipe or a product.  And here is my honest critique of these brownies:

While I was baking the brownies, when it came time to insert a toothpick into them to see if they were done, I naturally licked the batter of the toothpick.  At this point, sweet teeth, I was pretty sure I would be giving these brownies away to someone I didn’t like very much or just throwing the whole batch away.  However, I am aware that a finished product cannot be judged entirely off it’s unbaked predecessor, so I waited patiently (?) for them to finish baking and cool before a second try.  My lesson to you here is simple:  don’t eat the batter!  But the finished product, I really have to tell you was so delicious!  They were possibly the most light and moist brownies I have ever made!  They did not taste over-chocolatey, but were just sweet enough to satisfy me.  And for the REAL test, my husband tried them with an upturned nose and ended up eating a row right out of the pan because he couldn’t get enough!  Bottom line, whether you need, choose or just want to make these brownies, you will be in airy, chocolatey heaven.

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combine dry ingredients

add rest of ingredients except chocolate chips

stir to combine

fold in chocolate chips

pour into prepared pan and bake

Have you tried gluten-free and/or vegan baking?  Any great recipes I should try next?

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