Ultimate Hummus

March 3, 2013

Snack time, or “nack” time as Ruthie calls it, can be the hardest meal of the day to eat healthy. Because this hummus is so amazing, it makes eating a healthy snack easy. Go ahead and double the recipe because it keeps in the fridge and just fits in a regular size Cuisinart. This is in my top ten favorite/most used recipe list.


Best Ever Hummus
from Cooks Illustrated

½ cup dried chickpeas*
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1-2 lemons (3 tablespoons of juice)
6 tablespoons tahini*, stirred well
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, pressed or minced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cumin
pinch cayenne


Pick through and rinse ½ cup dried chickpeas. Place beans in a large bowl, cover with 1 quart of water, and soak overnight. Alternatively, follow directions on chickpea package for “quick soak”.

After soaking, drain chickpeas. Bring peas, baking soda, and 1 quart of water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently until peas are tender (about 1 hour). Stir occasionally. Reserve ¼ cup cooking water. Drain chickpeas and COOL.

Combine lemon juice and cooking water in a small bowl. Whisk together tahini and olive oil in a second small bowl.

Process chickpeas, garlic, salt, cumin and cayenne in a food processor until almost fully ground. Scrape down the sides. With the machine running, add the lemon juice/cooking liquid mixture in a steady stream. Scrape down the sides and then process for 1 minute. With the machine running, add the tahini/olive oil mixture in a steady stream. Process until hummus is creamy- about 15 seconds.

Follow these steps exactly and you will have amazing hummus. I double the recipe and it fits perfectly in a regular size Cuisinart.

* you can use canned chickpeas but for “best-ever” hummus, you should use dried.
*Krinos brand tahini is the best. Second best is Joya.

Here is a printable version of the recipe- Hummus


Oatmeal Snacks

February 27, 2013

No matter how hard I try to resist sugary snacks, they just happen. I have finally found something that curbs my sweet tooth and guilt at the same time. They are healthy (I use that adjective loosely in this case) because of the nutrient rich ingredients. Are they healthier than kale salad or hummus with carrots? No. Healthier than a cookie? Yes! Swapping the chocolate chips for something more nutritious like dried fruit would be a good variation.


Oatmeal Snack Balls
original recipe from Gimme Some Oven

1 cup dry oatmeal
2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes
1/2 cup nut butter (I use ¼ cup almond, ¼ cup peanut)
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup chocolate chips (or other mix in)
1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Stir all ingredients together in a bowl until mixed well. Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour. Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like. Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Makes about 20-25 balls.

Print the recipe Oatmeal Bites


The Gift of Granola

November 29, 2012

Tis the season for baked goodies and gifts! Why not try giving the gift of breakfast instead of dessert? This granola is not too sweet and makes the perfect breakfast or snack. I promise that your friends, family, and neighbors will beg you for more. So get to baking and spread granola cheer!

adapted from a friend’s recipe

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
2. Mix the following in a large bowl:

4 cups extra thick rolled oats (Bob’s Red Mill)
3 cups of nuts- any combo would work but this is what I like
1 cup whole almonds (skin on), chopped
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/2 cup – 1 cup coconut, unsweetened (optional)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger

3. Combine the following in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave until warm & ingredients dissolve (about 30 seconds):

1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup safflower or canola oil

4. Pour liquid over dry ingredients and toss well.
5. Spread onto a large baking sheet covered with parchment or foil.
6. Bake for a total of about 2 hours. Pull out the granola and stir gently every 20-30 minutes. Keep a close eye on the granola towards the end, as it will turn overly brown quickly.
7. Let cool completely before storing.

-Make sure all ingredients are raw – not roasted or salted. BUT, sometimes I use salted sunflower seeds and the salty sweet combination is good.
– Flax is a good addition before or after baking
– Dried fruit is nice to add after the granola cools.
-The mixture will be fairly dry and slightly sticky
-Store in the refrigerator or freezer for optimal freshness.

Here is a printable copy of the recipe Ruthie’s Famous Granola


From Our Kitchen To Hers

November 27, 2012

Many wonderful ladies contributed to this special cookbook for my dear friend Colleen’s wedding shower. The cookbook is a collection of keepsake recipes that will hopefully become special to her family. The recipes celebrate generations of family cooks and the strong memories that form in the kitchen.

I asked Colleen’s friends and family to submit their favorite recipes and to include a note on why the recipe is so loved. Over 70 recipes ended up in the book! This is not an easy project but totally worth the effort. I hope this inspires you to create something like this for a friend one day.


Black Bean Brew

October 31, 2012

This soup is to die for! It works as a main course over rice, side dish or sauce for cheese enchiladas. Happy Halloween!

from The Foster’s Market Cookbook

2 cups dried black beans, picked over and rinsed
¼ cup olive oil
1 red onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
4 ribs celery, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 jalapenos, diced
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 granny smith apple, peeled cored and diced
1 tablespoon dried basil
8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
4 bay leaves
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
juice of 4 limes


First, quick soak the beans by placing them in a large pot and covering with water by 3 inches. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain, and set aside.

While the beans are cooking, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion, and cook until softened (10-12 minutes). You will need to stir occasionally.

Add the red bell pepper, carrots, celery, jalapenos and cook/stir for about 10 minutes or more. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes longer.

Add the apple, basil, broth, bay leaves, salt, pepper, drained beans and stir to blend. Bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 1-1 ¼ hours or until beans are tender.

If you have an immersion blender, blend the soup so that it is both parts smooth and chunky. If not, use a Cuisinart and ladle part of the soup into the processor. Process until smooth. Return the smooth mixture to the pot. Cook an additional 15 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in lime juice (optional). Garnish with scallions and cilantro. Also good with some sour cream!

Printable recipe here-Black Bean Soup


Happy Fall Y’all

October 17, 2012

Is October not the best month? The weather is heavenly, and the days are still long. I have many recipes to share from recent weeks and wanted to start with this one for pumpkin bread. I have tested many recipes for pumpkin bread through the years, but my mom’s recipe always wins the taste test. This recipe produces consistently good cake…I mean bread.

from my mom

Mix Together:
1 cup oil
4 beaten eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 can pumpkin

Mix well in a separate bowl:
3 cups flour
3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

Add wet mixture to dry mixture- do not overmix…a few lumps are OK!
Add 1 cup finely chopped pecans or cranberries as an option.
Grease and flour two loaf pans. Pour batter into pans. Sprinkle with white sugar.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

Here is a printable recipe- Pumpkin Bread


House-made Marinara

August 8, 2012

Looking for something to do with all those tomatoes? You definitely should make a big batch of this sauce. Sometimes the simplest dishes are the most flavorful. I’ve made this sauce for years, and it always amazes me how delicious a bowl of noodles drenched in tomato sauce can really taste.

Look at that rich red color! The flavor is even richer. This marinara sauce is ideal for freezing and eating on a cold winter night. So you should double or triple the recipe.

from Michael Chiarello’s Casual Cooking

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup minced onion
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
3 lbs fresh tomatoes- peeled, seeded, & pureed (4 cups of puree) OR
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes (3.5 cups puree)
1 large basil stem, leaves removed
1 teaspoon sea salt
baking soda or sugar, if needed


To make the tomato puree, first quarter the tomatoes. Then, peel and seed the tomatoes. 3 pounds of fresh tomatoes makes about 4 cups of puree. Place peeled and seeded tomatoes in a food processor and puree.

Heat the olive oil in a ceramic pot over moderate heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent- about 8 minutes. Add the parsley and garlic. Cook briefly to release their fragrance. Add the tomato puree, basil and salt. Simmer briskly until reduced to a saucelike consistency. Stir occasionally so nothing sticks to the bottom. The timing will depend on the ripeness and meatiness of your tomatoes and size of your pot. Anywhere from 30 minutes- 2 hours. If the sauce thickens too much before the flavor develops, add a little water and continue to cook.

Taste and adjust the seasonings. I always add a good amount of salt. If the sauce is too acidic, add a pinch of baking soda and cook for 5 more minutes. If it needs a touch of sweetness, add the sugar, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove basil stem before serving.

Makes 2-2 ½ cups. This freezes very well so double or triple the recipe when tomatoes are plentiful.

Here is a printable recipe-Marinara Sauce


Team USA Cake

July 31, 2012

In honor of the olympics, I figure it is not too late (past July 4th) to post the recipe for flag cake. This recipe comes from my all time favorite cook- Ina Garten. Such a good cake!

A few notes-
This is a huge cake. Thats partly why it is awesome but consider making half for a small crowd.
It is important that the ingredients are at room temperature.
This is a great basic recipe and can be decorated to fit any occasion!

from Barefoot Contessa At Home

Cake Ingredients:
2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 extra large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
1.5 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 pint blueberries
1.5 pints raspberries

Icing Ingredients:
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ½ pounds cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 18 x 13 x 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed, until light and fluffy. On medium speed, add the eggs, 2 at a time, then add the sour cream and vanilla. Scrape down the sides and stir until smooth.
Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda in a bowl. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until just combined. Pour into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with a spatula. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool to room temperature.

For the icing, combine the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mixing just until smooth.
Spread 3/4 of the icing on the top of the cooled sheet cake. Outline the flag on the top of the cake with a toothpick. Fill the upper left corner with blueberries. Place 2 rows of raspberries across the top of the cake like a red stripe. Put the remaining icing in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe two rows of white stripes below the raspberries. Alternate rows of raspberries and icing until the flag is completed. Pipe stars on top of the blueberries.

You can serve the cake right in the pan or turn it out onto a board before frosting. Use parchment paper when you grease and flour the pan if you plan to take it out of the pan.

Here is a printable copy of the recipe: Flag Cake


Some of you will think this is annoying, but this salad is hard to mess up. You can add, take away, and exchange ingredients. The key is fresh summer veggies, a bean or cheese, herbs, and lemon or vinegar dressing. You can follow this recipe closely or deviate. Whatever makes you comfortable! This recipe is similar to Santorini Salad.

Marinated Mediterranean Salad
adapted from Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?

1 pint sun sugar cherry tomatoes, halved
3 small cucumbers, halved, seeded, and diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
1/3 cup mint, chopped
1/3 cup basil, chopped
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
optional- 8 ounces feta cheese, ½ inch diced


In a large salad bowl, whisk together lemon juice, garlic, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Place vegetables, chickpeas, and herbs in the bowl and toss to combine.

Here is a PDF copy of the recipe for your convenience-Marinated Mediterranean Salad


Hi and happy summertime! I am back…back in the bloggin groove. These days little Ruthie has replaced my camera in the kitchen. I haven’t quite figured out how to keep my eye on a baby and stovetop while snapping photos!

Summer has always been my favorite season to cook, but this summer is special. We are part of a CSA (community supported agriculture) program from Rise and Shine Farms in Calhoun, Georgia. Every other week, Ruthie and I pick up a box of fresh local veggies and two dozen eggs. It has been fun to cook based on veggies from the CSA instead of scouring cookbooks and then grocery shopping. So, here are some highlights from the past few months. I hope they will inspire you to eat your veggies this summer. Recipes to follow!

Asian Noodle Salad- I’ve made two versions and can’t decide which is best.

Open-Faced Sandwiches- So many options, but special bread is key.

Tabouli- Healthy and satisfying on a hot summer day.

Toasted Pasta with Shrimp- A welcomed change from most pasta recipes. This dish has such interesting flavors.

Fig Bruschetta and Cutting Board Project- Excited to share both the recipe and wood-working project.

Squash, Leek and Goat Cheese Frittata- Inspired from my CSA basket.

Marinated Mediterranean Salad- Also inspired by CSA veggies. Crisp, clean and cool.

Flag Cake- I don’t just make vegetable dishes! This cake is to die for.

Oh and look at these veggies from my CSA. You can still sign up for a vegetable share here!

I want to thank everyone who has inquired about my absence and encouraged me to keep sharing on this blog. Please keep coming back!