Sriracha-Sesame Popcorn

After a bit of a hiatus from RITK we are back and I have some great recipes coming up for your reading pleasure in the next few weeks. It’s been a crazy last few months with lots of cake orders, some blog construction, and just general life business. Today’s recipe is one of my favorite snacks to make for parties, I hope you enjoy it!

I’ll have a new recipe next week on the blog so, be sure to subscribe to RITK so you never miss a delicious post!

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I started making stove top popcorn as a way to make popcorn a bit healthier (this is way better than those microwave packets full of salt and fake butter!)  I love stove top popcorn with just a bit of salt but after a while I thought of ways to make my snacks more savory and spicy. Today’s recipe is one of my concoctions to keep my snacks interesting. This recipe is also great to make in large batches, store in a airtight container and pack in lunches.

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So let’s talk about the method, below I will guide you through popping kernels on the stove, this is my favorite way to make popcorn at home and the method I use even if I’m not adding this sauce. I use olive oil although you can use sesame oil or coconut oil. After the popcorn is coated in spicy sauce, it goes into the oven to dry out. Before I added this last step I was eating soggy popcorn that required a few napkins, however drying the popcorn out in the oven cuts down on the messiness and also adds some more crunch.

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Sriracha-Sesame Popcorn

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 c olive oil
  • 1 1/3 c unpopped corn kernels
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp Sriracha

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

To pop the popcorn; I find it’s easier to do this in two batches. Start with a large-sized pot and heat 6 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat. Heat until the oil is shiny and easily coats the bottom of the pan. Add 2/3 c of corn kernels to the warm oil and stir with a wooden spoon so that the kernels are evenly coated and spread out over the base of the pot. Cover and let the kernels pop (approximately 10-12 minutes).

Stay close to the pot, if you don’t hear any popping within a 4-5 second interval it’s time to take the pot off the heat. Once the kernels are all popped remove from heat. VERY CAREFULLY, using hot-pot-holders, firmly hold the lid down on the pot while you flip it over 2-3 times. This releases the steam from the popcorn. Next pour the popcorn into 2 shallow baking pans and pick out any burned or unpopped kernels and throw away.

Next, in a small saucepan combine the hot sauce, butter, and sesame oil over low heat until well combined and makes a thin sauce.

Distribute the sauce as evenly as possible over the popped corn (I like to use a combination of a slotted spoon and my hands). Then bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Store the popcorn in airtight containers or plastic bags.

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Flaky Flatbread and White Bean Hummus

I am in love with today’s recipes. A few weeks ago I read in Bon Appetit magazine the recipe for flaky flatbread I have shared below. I wanted to try it almost immediately. My husband and I made them together and devoured all of them that same day. The flavors may be simple, but it is still rich in flavor and texture. An absolute treat.

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Flaky Flatbread

From Bon Appetit Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 c all-purpose flour
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • olive oil

Directions:

Whisk kosher salt and 3 cups flour in a large bowl. Drizzle in melted butter; mix well.

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Gradually mix in ¾ cup water. Knead on a lightly floured surface until dough is shiny and very soft, about 5 minutes.

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Wrap in plastic; let rest in a warm spot at least 4 hours.

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Divide dough into 10 pieces and, using your palm, roll into balls. Place balls on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest 15 minutes.

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Working with 1 piece at a time, roll out balls on an unfloured surface with a rolling pin into very thin rounds or ovals about 9” across. (If dough bounces back, cover with plastic and let rest a few minutes.)

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Brush tops of rounds with room-temperature butter and sprinkle with sea salt.

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Roll up each round onto itself to create a long thin rope,

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then wind each rope around itself to create a tight coil.

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Working with 1 coil at a time, roll out on an unfloured surface to 10” rounds no more than ⅛” thick.

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Heat a large cast-iron griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. Working 1 at a time, brush both sides of a dough round with room-temperature butter and cook until lightly blistered and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.

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Transfer bread to a wire rack and sprinkle with sea salt.

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Top these delicious flatbreads with a dip of your choice or try this easy and tasty white bean hummus. What I love about white beans is the buttery flavor they have, they make for delicious dips.

White Bean Hummus

Ingredients:

  • 1 can white beans (Canellini beans, Navy beans, etc.)
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Directions:

Rinse and drain the white beans. Toss the beans and the remaining ingredients into a food processor. Blend until mostly smooth with just a few large chunks remaining.

Scrape bowl of food processor and put hummus into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 3-4 hours before serving (trust me this tastes great when the flavors have had a chance to meld together first).

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Flaky Flatbread

From Bon Appetit Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 c all-purpose flour
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • olive oil

Directions:

Whisk kosher salt and 3 cups flour in a large bowl. Drizzle in melted butter; mix well. Gradually mix in ¾ cup water. Knead on a lightly floured surface until dough is shiny and very soft, about 5 minutes.

Wrap in plastic; let rest in a warm spot at least 4 hours.

Divide dough into 10 pieces and, using your palm, roll into balls. Place balls on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest 15 minutes.

Working with 1 piece at a time, roll out balls on an unfloured surface with a rolling pin into very thin rounds or ovals about 9” across. (If dough bounces back, cover with plastic and let rest a few minutes.)

Brush tops of rounds with room-temperature butter and sprinkle with sea salt. Roll up each round onto itself to create a long thin rope, then wind each rope around itself to create a tight coil. Working with 1 coil at a time, roll out on an unfloured surface to 10” rounds no more than ⅛” thick.

Heat a large cast-iron griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. Working with one piece of dough at a time, brush both sides of a dough round with room-temperature butter and cook until lightly blistered and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.

Transfer bread to a wire rack and sprinkle with sea salt.

 

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White Bean Hummus

Ingredients:

  • 1 can white beans (Cannellini beans, Navy beans, etc.)
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Directions:

Rinse and drain the white beans. Toss the beans and the remaining ingredients into a food processor. Blend until mostly smooth with just a few large chunks remaining.

Scrape bowl of food processor and put hummus into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 3-4 hours before serving.

Homemade Sour Gummies

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I’ve seen these all over Pinterest and I really wanted to make some homemade sour gummies (aka sour patch kids) that weren’t artificially flavored.

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Before I jump into this recipe, I would like to talk about some of the ingredients listed below; I rarely name brands in my recipes, because while there are a few brands I always go to, in general I like to let readers choose which products to use, it’s your food after all! However, for this recipe I have noted the brands for two ingredients and here’s why;

I strongly recommend Simply Lemonade since the whole point of this recipe (for me) is to cut back on artificial flavors. If you look at their ingredients, it is just water, lemon, and sugar. So the way I see it, it’s just saving me the trouble of making lemonade from scratch. You can certainly use any kind of juice, freshly squeezed, or store bought that strikes your fancy.

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The other brand I mention is Knox for the gelatin. This is because not all gelatin is created equal, and I can’t with confidence say you will get the same results with other products. So, save yourself the trouble and use Knox gelatin, it can be found in most large grocery stores. I promise they are not paying me!

Homemade Sour Gummies
Recipe Adapted from Knox Gelatine

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Ingredients:

  • 1 c Simply Raspberry Lemonade*
  • 1/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice (1-2 lemons depending on size)
  • food coloring (optional)
  • 2 packets of Knox Gelatin

*A note on ingredients; as noted above, you can use any kind of juice, lemonade, or flavoring you like but the trick is, that all of your liquid adds up to 1 1/4 c. The ratios in this recipe are really important to ensure the gummies hold their shape.

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Directions:

In a small sauce pan over low heat, warm the lemonade, lemon juice and food coloring (if using). Once the mixture is warm (not even boiling or simmering), add the gelatin.

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Stir with a fork until completely dissolved (2-3 minutes).

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Pour the mixture into a mold of your choice. I used a square brownie pan, but candy molds or a cake pan would work equally well.

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Place in freezer for 10-12 minutes. To de-mold the gelatin, run a butter knife around the edges.

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Then cut the gummie into 4 sections for easy removal from the pan.

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I then placed the gelatin on a paper towel and cut out shapes with a cookie cutter.

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I used the smallest cookie cutter I own so they are little bite-sized adorable gummies, but they are just as good at any size.

Store the gummies in a an airtight container and keep at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

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Homemade Sour Gummies

Recipe Adapted from Knox Gelatine

Ingredients:

  • 1 c Simply Raspberry Lemonade*
  • 1/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice (1-2 lemons depending on size)
  • food coloring (optional)
  • 2 packets of Knox Gelatin

*A note on ingredients; as noted above, you can use any kind of juice, lemonade, or flavoring you like but the trick is, that all of your liquid adds up to 1 1/4 c. The ratios in this recipe are really important to ensure the gummies hold their shape.

Directions:

In a small sauce pan over low heat, warm the lemonade, lemon juice and food coloring (if using). Once the mixture is warm (not even boiling or simmering), add the gelatin. Stir with a fork until completely dissolved (2-3 minutes).

Pour the mixture into a mold of your choice. I used a square brownie pan, but candy molds or a cake pan would work equally well. Place in freezer for 10-12 minutes. To de-mold the gelatin, run a butter knife around the edges. Then cut the gummie into 4 sections for easy removal from the pan.

Place the gelatin on a paper towel and cut out shapes with a cookie cutter. Store the gummies in a an airtight container and keep at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

 

Irish Soda Bread

 

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day everybody! I have got a lovely recipe for you today. This is the recipe for the Irish Soda Bread my Nana made when I was younger. I know, I know, my Nana wasn’t Irish, but she got this recipe from a friend of the family and this recipe is the bomb diggity. (I just wanted to say bomb diggity). BUT, in all seriousness, this recipe is great.  It’s a dense, flavorful bread and to me, the caraway seeds are what really gives this bread such a great flavor so don’t skimp on them.

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The absolute best part about this recipe? It’s super easy. So, open up a Guinness and give it a whirl.

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Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients:

  • 4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp caraway seeds
  • 1 c raisins
  • 2 c buttermilk

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Generously grease an 8 inch round cake pan. In a large mixing bowl combine all of the dry ingredients (including the raisins) in a bowl with a whisk.

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Create a well in the center of the bowl and add the buttermilk.

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Use a spatula or a spoon to start mixing the ingredients together.

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Once it forms into a sticky dough use your hands to finish the mixing. Be gentle with the dough and do not over mix. It’s a bit messy but a quick process.

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Shape the dough into a round loaf and put into the prepared round pan.

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Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 60 minutes. The bread is finished when it is lightly browned on top and pulling away from the edge of the pan.

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This bread is excellent toasted and then generously slathered with butter or jam. Store the loaf wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.

Looking for more great St. Patrick’s Day recipes? Check out one of my favorites, Guinness Cupcakes.

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Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients:

  • 4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp caraway seeds
  • 1 c raisins
  • 2 c buttermilk

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Generously grease an 8 inch round cake pan. In a large mixing bowl combine all of the dry ingredients (including the raisins) in a bowl with a whisk.

Create a well in the center of the bowl and add the buttermilk. Use a spatula or a spoon to start mixing the ingredients together.

Once it forms into a sticky dough use your hands to finish the mixing. Be gentle with the dough and do not over mix. It’s a bit messy but a quick process.

Shape the dough into a round loaf and put into the prepared round pan.

Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 60 minutes. The bread is finished when it is lightly browned on top and pulling away from the edge of the pan.

This bread is excellent toasted and then generously slathered with butter or jam. Store the loaf wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.

My Favorite Sandwich

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I don’t know about you, but it’s starting to feel like spring around here. The gloomy weather typical to this area is starting to lift and the Pacific Northwest is actually starting to feel like a great place to live with a mild climate. Without the rain, on clear days I can see the Olympic mountains and I start thinking about all the things I want to do outside as the weather gets better and better. One of the things I want to do some more of is hiking. Low-level hiking. I mean I want to see nature but I don’t want it to be super hard. That’s just kind of how I roll. Anywho, this weather and dreaming of outdoor activities makes me think of portable lunches that I could bring to said activities. Or a picnic. Or just lunch on a Tuesday. This is my go-to sandwich. It’s on the lighter side, but still very filling, and most importantly super delicious.

I present to you the turkey-apple-cheddar sandwich with honey mustard! It’s a rather mighty turkey sandwich. And honestly, I can’t take credit for this. I discovered this sandwich at Rebecca’s cafe, a restaurant across the street from where I used to work when I was living in Boston. I had this several years ago and fell in love with it. I’ve been recreating it ever since.

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The heart of this sandwich is really the Granny Smith Apple slices. No other apple will do! It provides a tart apple flavor with a crisp texture. Also, the honey mustard makes all the difference. No other mustard will do! This sandwich is a delicate formula that cannot be altered or the fate of the entire universe will be in jeopardy!

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I’m just kidding. It’s just a delicious combination, give it a try and let me know what you think.

Start out with some hearty whole wheat bread. Next, let’s get some honey mustard on there. I like it on both slices of bread. I’m just that kind of a girl. And by that I mean I can’t stand a dry sandwich. Yuck.

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Now it’s time to add those apples slices I like the slice the apple as pictured below so I get nice large slices and then I eat the rest of the apple with my lunch. Are you packing you lunch for later and want to save the apple for later as well? Dip the extra apple slices into cold water and lemon juice before packing them and they won’t get brown as they sit in your lunch bag waiting for lunch.

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Next comes the turkey slices. I usually put on 4 slices.

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Next add a few slices of sharp cheddar.

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And last but note least, and completely optional a few tomato slices. I mean really, what’s a sandwich without some tomato?

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Put the sandwich together and you’re ready to go.

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Turkey Apple Cheddar Sandwich

Ingredients:

  • whole wheat sandwich bread
  • honey mustard
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple
  • sliced turkey
  • sharp cheddar cheese
  • tomato slices

Directions:

Spread the honey mustard on both slices of bread. Next, assemble the sandwich ith the remaining fixings and enjoy!

Peach Raspberry Coffee Cake

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This coffee cake rocks, and I am so pleased to be sharing it with you! It is moist, rich, and everything I have been looking for in a coffee cake. For this recipe I’ve selected peaches and raspberries, but feel free to sub in any frozen fruit combination you like.

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Peach Raspberry Coffee Cake

adapted from Big Oven

Ingredients for the crumb topping:

  • 1 1/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour (10 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 oz  plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1/2 c raspberry, frozen*
  • 1/2 c peaches, frozen*

*A note on ingredients: the fruit must be frozen. I suggest leaving the fruit in the freezer until you are ready to fold them into the batter, right before putting the coffee cake into the oven. This is because thawed or slightly thawed fruit will add more moisture (more than desired) into the batter, whereas when the fruit is still frozen the moisture steams and cooks off.*

Directions:

First assemble the crumb topping; in a mixing bowl combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Add the melted butter and vanilla extract to the crumb mixture.

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Use a fork to combine (or your hands) until all of the butter has been absorbed and large crumbs form. Set aside.

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Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a 8 or 9 inch round baking pan (I used a spring-form cheesecake pan) and set aside.

In a mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In an electric mixer beat the softened butter for a minute or so until lightened in color. Slowly add the sugar and continue to mix until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and yogurt (or sour cream) and beat until well combined. Stop mixer and scrape the edges and bottom of the bowl. Mix for another 30 seconds to combine the mixture.

Next, with the mixer on a low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients. Increase the speed slightly and once the mixture has just come together turn off the mixer.

Take the frozen fruit out of the freezer. Quickly chop the peach slices if needed. Then toss the frozen fruit in a small amount of flour to lightly (this is important!) coat the fruit. Fold the fruit into the batter by hand (do not use mixer), and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Top the batter with the crumb mixture.

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Bake the coffee cake for 60-70 minutes.  If the topping is getting too dark or is about to burn cover the pan with foil after 45 minutes of baking. The cake is finished when a tooth pick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the edges of the cake are starting to pull away from the pan. Allow the cake to cool completely before removing from the pan. The edges and bottom of the cake will be a little dark (but not burned).

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Slice the cake into wedges and enjoy!

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Peach Raspberry Coffee Cake

Adapted from Big Oven

Ingredients:

For the crumb topping:

  • 1 1/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour (10 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the cake:

  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 oz  plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1/2 c raspberry, frozen*
  • 1/2 c peaches, frozen*

*A note on ingredients: the fruit must be frozen. leave the fruit in the freezer until you are ready to fold them into the batter, right before putting the coffee cake into the oven.

Directions:

First assemble the crumb topping; in a mixing bowl combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Add the melted butter and vanilla extract to the crumb mixture. Use a fork to combine (or your hands) until all of the butter has been absorbed and large crumbs form. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a 8 or 9 inch round baking pan (I used a springform cheesecake pan) and set aside.

In a mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In an electric mixer beat the softened butter for a minute or so until lightened in color. Slowly add the sugar and continue to mix until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and yogurt (or sour cream) and beat until well combined. Stop mixer and scrape the edges and bottom of the bowl. Mix for another 30 seconds to combine the mixture.

Next, with the mixer on a low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients. Increase the speed slightly and once the mixture has just come together turn off the mixer.

Take the frozen fruit out of the freezer. Quickly chop the peach slices if needed. Then toss the frozen fruit in a small amount of flour to lightly (this is important!) coat the fruit. Fold the fruit into the batter by hand (do not use mixer), and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Top the batter with the crumb mixture.

Bake the coffee cake for 60-70 minutes.  If the topping is getting too dark or is about to burn cover the pan with foil after 45 minutes of baking. The cake is finished when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the edges of the cake are starting to pull away from the pan. Allow the cake to cool completely before removing from the pan. The edges and bottom of the cake will be a little dark (but not burned).

 

Irish Soda Bread

 

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day everybody! I have got a lovely recipe for you today. This is the recipe for the Irish Soda Bread my Nana made when I was younger. I know, I know, my Nana wasn’t Irish, but she got this recipe from a friend of the family and this recipe is the bomb diggity. (I just wanted to say bomb diggity). BUT, in all seriousness, this recipe is great.  It’s a dense, flavorful bread and to me, the caraway seeds are what really gives this bread such a great flavor so don’t skimp on them.

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The absolute best part about this recipe? It’s super easy. So, open up a Guinness and give it a whirl.

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Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients:

  • 4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp caraway seeds
  • 1 c raisins
  • 2 c buttermilk

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Generously grease an 8 inch round cake pan. In a large mixing bowl combine all of the dry ingredients (including the raisins) in a bowl with a whisk.

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Create a well in the center of the bowl and add the buttermilk.

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Use a spatula or a spoon to start mixing the ingredients together.

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Once it forms into a sticky dough use your hands to finish the mixing. Be gentle with the dough and do not over mix. It’s a bit messy but a quick process.

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Shape the dough into a round loaf and put into the prepared round pan.

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Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 60 minutes. The bread is finished when it is lightly browned on top and pulling away from the edge of the pan.

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This bread is excellent toasted and then generously slathered with butter or jam. Store the loaf wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.

Looking for more great St. Patrick’s Day recipes? Check out one of my favorites, Guinness Cupcakes.

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Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients:

  • 4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp caraway seeds
  • 1 c raisins
  • 2 c buttermilk

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Generously grease an 8 inch round cake pan. In a large mixing bowl combine all of the dry ingredients (including the raisins) in a bowl with a whisk.

Create a well in the center of the bowl and add the buttermilk. Use a spatula or a spoon to start mixing the ingredients together.

Once it forms into a sticky dough use your hands to finish the mixing. Be gentle with the dough and do not over mix. It’s a bit messy but a quick process.

Shape the dough into a round loaf and put into the prepared round pan.

Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 60 minutes. The bread is finished when it is lightly browned on top and pulling away from the edge of the pan.

This bread is excellent toasted and then generously slathered with butter or jam. Store the loaf wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.

The Tuna Salad Alternative

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Howdy! Today I have a quick and delicious recipe that makes a great make-ahead lunch or just an all-around yummy snack; the Tuna Salad Alternative.

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I personally am not a fan of tuna salad or chicken salad. For one, I don’t care for too much mayonnaise in general, but also canned tuna grosses me out a bit.  I stumbled across this recipe not too long ago and had to try it out right away. What really caught my attention was the use of chickpeas in place of tuna or chicken. I made a few alterations to the recipe and I was so pleased with the final results that I had to share it with you.

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I hope you enjoy this and I promise holiday baking posts will be coming soon.

The Tuna Salad Alternative

slightly adapted from LaurenConrad.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of chickpeas (15 oz), drained and rinsed
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 1/2 TBSP rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cumin

Optional Additions:

  • Handful of nuts of your choice, roughly chopped
  • Handful of raisins or dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 2 TBSP pickles, roughly chopped

The Tuna Salad Alternative Ingredients

Directions:

Roughly chop the chickpeas, celery, and optional additions.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix together.

Serve on toasted bread, your favorite crackers, or on top of a salad and enjoy!

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It’s certainly not the most complicated recipe in the world, but it is yummy! What are your favorite additions to a tuna or chicken salad? I’m partial to dill pickles, or a crunchy nut such as pistachios.

If you’re enjoying these posts and don’t want to miss any new ones be sure to join my other Reckless Readers and subscribe to receive new posts via email.

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The Tuna Salad Alternative

slightly adapted from LaurenConrad.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of chickpeas (15 oz), drained and rinsed
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 1/2 TBSP rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cumin

Optional Additions:

  • Handful of nuts of your choice, roughly chopped
  • Handful of raisins or dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 2 TBSP pickles, roughly chopped

Directions:

Roughly chop the chickpeas, celery, and optional additions. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix together.Serve on toasted bread, your favorite crackers, or on top of a salad.

Green Monster Smoothies

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A few years ago a good friend of mine introduced me to these green vegetable-fruit smoothies. At first, I admit I was more than skeptical. They were green and weird. Drinking spinach? As a self-proclaimed veggie hater, this was pure crazy talk, I proclaimed! But the funny thing is, I found them delicious. I couldn’t get enough of them to be more accurate, and they have been a staple ever since. Let me tell you why I love these gross-looking drinks;

  • Firstly, and foremost they don’t taste like they look! When made correctly, these smoothies don’t taste like salad, but delicious fruit. This is good because I have a tendency to eat like a little kid and avoid veggies like the plague. And hey, that’s not so great. Everyone needs some veg in their life. This smoothie is a great way to “sneak” those veggies in.
  • These smoothies make me feel very energized and they can be a great caffeine-free pick me up.
  • Green Monsters are great for a meal or snack on the go.
  • I also love the choices. I have a green monster smoothie several times a week, but they vary in flavor depending on how I’m feeling that day.

So be brave. Step outside your comfort zone and give it a try. With the holidays approaching and all the rich food associated with this time of year, you’ll be glad you did.

So here are the basics to making your own Green Monster. The ingredients are guidelines and the measurements approximate.

There are 4 components to a Green Monster;

(1.) The Greens

To make a green monster smoothie you need some greens! I typically go for spinach, but kale or arugula are also good choices. I promise you won’t be able to taste them so use whatever you like.

(2.) The Liquid

This is extremely flexible; milk of any kind (almond, soy, coconut), milk with a splash of juice, cold green tea, or even water. I usually use skim milk or almond milk. To make this smoothie a meal replacement I recommend adding some protein powder to really make it filling.

(3.) The Masking Agent

This ingredient is going to cover up the flavor of the greens. In my opinion, the best choices are banana, pineapple, or ginger. They have really bold flavors that easily cover up any green flavor and have a lot of pairing options for additional fruit flavors.

(4.) Additional Fruit Flavor

This ingredient acts as another flavor component that don’t cover up the greens on its own, but complements the Masking Agent. Go for what you like and get creative! Examples: blueberries, strawberries, cherries, apples, oranges, mango

My Favorite Smoothie Flavors:

  • Spinach-Skim Milk-Banana-Blueberry
  • Spinach-Skim Milk-Banana-Strawberry
  • Arugula-Water-Ginger-Mango-Crushed Ice

The Method:

First, combine some of the liquid and the greens. You want a generous portion of greens here, about 1 1/2 cups-2 cups, and a splash of liquid (1/4 c). More will be added later, but for now the goal is to get a smooth texture, and break down the greens. Using a blender mix the liquid and greens until you have a smooth green liquid with no large bits of green in it.

Next, add your Masking Agent and any additional fruit. I find that not much fruit is needed for big flavor. For a 2 1/2 cup-3 cup smoothie I only need half of a banana or handful of pineapple slices to cover up any and all green flavor. For additional fruit I try not to add more than a 1/2 cup. Blend together until smooth.

Finally, add some more liquid as desired. Some folks, like a nice thick fruit smoothie, while others like it a bit thinner. If it’s a hot day (and depending on your equipment) you might want to add some crushed ice to your smoothie. I typically add about 1/4 cup more milk, as I don’t like my smoothies too thick. Also, give it a taste to see if more Masking Agent needs to be added. Blend any additional liquid and/or ice being added until smooth.

And presto, Green Monster Smoothie success!

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A Few Green Monster Tips:

Storing fruit in the long-term:

  • I buy a bunch of bananas at a time and let them get very ripe and full of brown spots and then cut them up into 1/2 in slices. I lay them out flat (and not touching) on a tray that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray and freeze. Once they are frozen solid I put them in a bag for easy storage.
  • I recommend the same treatment for any fresh fruit you would like to use; break it down into small pieces, freeze, and then store in bags for easy access.
  • I typically do not put any ice in my smoothies because my Masking Agent and Additional Fruit is frozen.

Storing greens in the fridge:

  • I keep my greens stored in a mason jar (or any glass jar with a top that screws on/off), and I find this prolongs the shelf life of my greens.

What other veggie-fruit smoothies have you tried? I would love to hear new flavor combinations!


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Green Monster Smoothies

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ -2 c baby spinach
  • ½ c liquid (milk, soy milk, almond milk, coconut water, etc.)
  • ½ c frozen blueberries (or fruit of your choice)
  • ½ frozen banana (see tips below)

Directions:

First, combine half of the liquid and the spinach in a blender. Blend until you have a smooth green liquid with no large bits of green in it.

Next add frozen blueberries, banana and remaining liquid. Blend until smooth. Add more liquid if needed or if a thinner texture is desired.

A Few Green Monster Tips:

Storing fruit in the long-term:

  • I buy a bunch of bananas at a time and let them get very ripe and full of brown spots (so they taste sweeter) and then cut them up into 1/2 in slices. I lay them out flat (and not touching) on a tray that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray and freeze. Once they are frozen solid I put them in a bag for easy storage.
  • I recommend the same treatment for any fresh fruit you would like to use; break it down into small pieces, freeze, and then store in bags for easy access. Freezing the fruit in a tray first makes it easy to grab small portions from the freezer.

Storing greens in the fridge:

  • I keep my greens stored in a mason jar (or any glass jar with a top that screws on/off), and I find this prolongs the shelf life of my greens.

 

 

Roasted Mushrooms and Buttermilk Biscuits

Alright people, Thanksgiving is less than a week away and it is time to get your game faces on!

We all know the main players at the Thanksgiving table; a big ol’ roasted turkey, mouth-watering mashed potatoes, and stuffing, stuffing stuffing. This year, for the very first time, I am hosting my own Thanksgiving dinner! I am so excited and I am looking for ways to make our table really special with some non-conventional side dishes.

Here are two potential side dishes that I’ve tried out already that get my seal of approval.

Side Dish # 1: Roasted Mushrooms

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These make the cut because I absolutely love the earthiness that roasted mushrooms bring to the table and they complement turkey and gravy oh, so well. These are easy to make and will certainly impress your guests (or your hosts if you have offered to bring a dish).

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb baby portobello mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp cooled bacon fat (Optional, but this really takes these mushrooms to the next level)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • fresh parsley (optional, for garnish)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 425. Lightly coat at 9×9 pan or small roasting pan with cooking spray or butter. Next, clean the mushrooms with a damp, clean towel. Toss the cleaned mushrooms with the olive oil, bacon fat, salt, and pepper and place in prepared pan. Roast for 25 minutes , stirring the mushrooms gently after 12 minutes.

Allow the mushrooms to cool slightly after roasting and top with fresh parsley before serving.

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Pretty easy, right? Don’t let that fool you, this side dish tastes amazing and can easily become a favorite, and definitely has a place at my Thanksgiving table this year.

Side Dish #2: Cheddar-Chive Buttermilk Biscuits

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Growing up, I was more likely to see hearty Italian rolls or a slew of mini muffins to accompany my Thanksgiving meal. Over the years, however, I’ve gained a new appreciation for the buttermilk biscuit and I thought it might make a nice and unique (in my experience) addition to the Thanksgiving table.  This recipe is also very simple. (Noticing a theme? Roasting a turkey can be tricky enough, the rest of the dishes should be easy to make!)

Cheddar-Chive Buttermilk Biscuits

Slightly adapted from Martha Stewart (click to view the original recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes, plus 1/2 tbsp melted
  • 3/4 c buttermilk
  • 1 1/4 c cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3 green onions or a handful of chives, cut into small pieces

Directions:

Rearrange oven placing  the racks towards the bottom of the stove, then preheat your oven to 425 degrees. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper. Using a pastry cutter or fork (or your hands), cut the cubes of butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is well combined and has a coarse texture.

Next, add the buttermilk, cheese, and chives and mix until combined, and a unified dough is formed (I like to use my hands to mix together but a spoon works just fine).

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Place the dough onto a well floured surface and roll out to 1 inch thick. Cut with a 2 inch biscuit cutter or the top of a water glass.

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Cut the biscuits close together. Gather up the scraps and re-roll the dough out to 1 inch to cut the remainder of the biscuits. Arrange the biscuits on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, placing the biscuits 1 inch apart. Brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter. Bake for 15-18 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through.

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These can be made in advance and stored in air-tight containers. This recipe makes just shy of 2 dozen biscuits.

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If you enjoyed this article, stay tuned; I’ve got one more post coming up to help you get in the mood for Thanksgiving. I’ll be posting it Monday morning and it will include one more side dish suggestion along with a round up of some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes from around the web. If you don’t want to miss this and other upcoming posts join my other reckless readers and subscribe to receive new posts by email.

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Roasted Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb baby portobello mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp cooled bacon fat (Optional, but this really takes these mushrooms to the next level)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • fresh parsley (optional, for garnish)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 425. Lightly coat at 9×9 pan or small roasting pan with cooking spray or butter. Next, clean the mushrooms with a damp, clean towel.

Toss the cleaned mushrooms with the olive oil, bacon fat, salt, and pepper and place in prepared pan. Roast for 25 minutes , stirring the mushrooms gently after 12 minutes.

Allow the mushrooms to cool slightly after roasting and top with fresh parsley before serving.

 

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Cheddar-Chive Buttermilk Biscuits

Slightly adapted from Martha Stewart (click to view the original recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes, plus 1/2 tbsp melted
  • 3/4 c buttermilk
  • 1 1/4 c cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3 green onions or a handful of chives, cut into small pieces

Directions:

Rearrange oven placing  the racks towards the bottom of the stove, then preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper. Using a pastry cutter or fork (or your hands), cut the cubes of butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is well combined and has a coarse texture.

Next, add the buttermilk, cheese, and chives and mix until combined, and a unified dough is formed (I like to use my hands to mix together but a spoon works just fine). Do not over mix (over mixing = tough biscuits).

Place the dough onto a well floured surface and roll out to 1 inch thick. Cut with a 2 inch biscuit cutter or the top of a water glass.

Cut the biscuits close together. Gather up the scraps and re-roll the dough out to 1 inch to cut the remainder of the biscuits. Arrange the biscuits on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, placing the biscuits 1 inch apart. Brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter. Bake for 15-18 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through.

These can be made in advance and stored in air-tight containers. This recipe makes just shy of 2 dozen biscuits.