Friday, June 29, 2012

Chocolate Granola bars

This started as a recipe on Marathon Mom, but totally changed as I was working on it.  It is actually the recipe my sister pinned that led me to the website in the first place.  However, the only thing making these chocolate were the chocolate chips and I didn't feel like using chocolate chips so I began to improvise.  Yesterday I didn't like these as well as the crispy chocolate chip ones, but today I  like them a lot.  Maybe they just needed to set a day.
This is the recipe I really need to post before I forget what exactly I did.  I liked the chewy texture of these a lot.  May or may not want to add less cocoa powder next time.  Jury is still out on that.  :)  As I made them, they are a bit darker, but not too dark.  The kids eat them so they can't be too bad.
Also, I thought I had totally ruined these because I had over cooked them because I was burning my tongue trying to decide how many tablespoons cocoa powder to add.  Luckily the blob of chocolate still managed to coat my oats.  Whew!  In other words, these are very forgiving - however I highly suggest taking the syrup off the heat as soon as it melts.  :)


  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 Tablespoons flax seed - ground in a coffee grinder or 1/4 flax seed meal / ground flax seed
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons wheat germ
  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 2-4 Tablespoons finely shred unsweetened coconut (optional and this is a guess on amount.  I basically just sprinkled some on top until I liked how it looked.)
  1. Grease an 8 X 8 inch pan.  Set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.  Stir in peanut butter, honey and cocoa powder and heat just until melted.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  3. Stir in flax seed, wheat germ, and oats until coated.
  4. Pour into prepared pan and press firmly.  Sprinkle with coconut and press firmly again.  
  5. Cool and store in fridge or on counter.  I like them in the fridge.  They seem to hold together better.

Crispy Chocolate chip granola bars

Haven't managed to post in a few days mostly due to the fact that for some reason I don't want to finish the post I have already started.  I come to the computer to type, see it sitting there, would rather do something else and it doesn't get posted.  I've also been testing some recipes for a new book coming out by Sandi Richard.  That has been fun.  Doesn't lead to anything blogable though.  However, I've also been making all sorts of snacks to see what we might like to take with us as healthier alternatives to what our typical road food has been.  They are much more fun to blog than the other recipe I have sitting, so it is just going to stay in draft form and I'm going to try to play a little bit of catch up before we head out on vacation - where I probably won't blog - but who knows, maybe I'll do some cooking and experimenting.  :)
This recipe comes from a site called Marathon Mom.  I was happy my sister pinned a recipe from her site because it led me there and she had tons of granola bar recipes which is exactly what I was looking for.  Even better, they used all natural ingredients like honey for sweeteners, and coconut oil or butter for fats.  I tried this one following the recipe then totally reinvented her chocolate ones to make them without using chocolate chips.  (my next post.)  Both were tasty.  To be honest, I think these were a bit sweet for me and the honey flavor seemed strong, but my honey is nice and dark and probably just has a nice strong flavor.  I loved the crisp of these and don't tell anyone, but I had these for lunch with some carrots and Tavio had some for lunch with a banana.  So tasty.  Don't start snacking it is hard to stop.  :)  Pretty sure I'll be making these for our road trip.
Oh, last comment on this recipe.  Mine didn't stick together supremely well when room temperature, but when refrigerated, they are perfect.


  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar (or any appropriate substitute - for example sucanat - I think I may try coconut sugar next time.)
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 cup crispy brown rice cereal (I had never heard of this, but it was nice.  Pricey, because it was organic and kind of specialty, but loved the crisp it added to the bars.)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  1. In a large bowl, stir together oats and cereal.  Set aside.  Grease an 8 X 8 inch glass pan and set aside.
  2. Melt oil, honey, and sugar until bubbly stirring constantly.  (Original recipe said no more than 2 minutes, but it took longer than that to get it to boil, and the oils and sugar didn't combine well until it boiled.  I just brought it to a boil and took it right off the heat.)  Let cool slightly, stir in the vanilla.  
  3. Pour the liquid over the oats and cereal and stir until well coated.  Press firmly into prepared pan. (I buttered my hands a bit to get them not to stick as much but it didn't seem super helpful.)    
  4. Sprinkle chocolate chips over granola mixture while still warm and press in firmly again.
  5. Cool on counter, in the fridge or in the freezer depending on how quickly you want to eat them.  :)  When set, turn out of the pan onto a cutting board and cut into desired shapes (I'm thinking cutting in the pan would work equally well.)
  6. I prefer storing these at room temperature for the best texture, but it is summer in Houston.  You may be just fine storing them at room temperature.  :)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Pistachio lemon pilaf

Here is another pilaf I tried out.  Again, I thought it was great, but I had planned it thinking that my younger 2 would like it because they like rice and neither of them were enthused by it.  For some reason the youngest has decided he only  likes white rice.  (Sorry, but I rarely make white rice.)  This rice was brown rice, but looked yellow again - different seasonings than last week but same effect.
While I didn't like this as much as the rice from last week, I did still like it a lot.  It was a great pilaf.  I thought it should have had a bit more lemon flavor and actually sqeezed the juice of the lemon into the rice when it finished.  Still didn't taste like a rice that had lemon in the title.  I would definitely use a second lemon if making this again.  (That is if you want the rice to taste like pistachio lemon rice.)
My inspiration for this recipe came from my book 366 delicious ways to cook rice, beans, and grains.
She seems to use mostly white rice in that book though, so I always change it to brown rice and again she called for shallots - not going to happen when I already have 8 sweet onions on my counter.  :)


  • 1 1/2 cups brown basmati rice
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, diced (3/4 -1 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 lemon (zest and juice) -I'd use 2 next time
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 cup shelled roasted pistachio nuts, finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. Rinse rice.  Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add onion and garlica and saute until softened.  (3 minutes) Add rice and saute until rice appears a bit toasted and has absorbed some oil. (4-5 minutes)  
  2. Stir in chicken brown, lemon zest and turmeric.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer until liquid has been absorbed and rice is tender (about 45 minutes)
  3. Stir in pistachios, cilantro, pepper, and lemon juice.  Dry pot lid.  Place a kitchen towel over saucepan and replace lid.  Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. (I liked this step.  It seemed to help the rice absorb the last bit of liquid.)

raw strawberry oatmeal

This is the other raw breakfast recipe I tried.  It is from a book I bought called Raw Energy.  The original called for cayenne pepper which I couldn't bring myself to attempt.
This had a great texture - very chewy for an oatmeal, but it was just soaked oat groats so I expected that.  I also found it to be just about the right sweetness for me.  Maybe even a little sweeter than I usually eat my oatmeal.  Honestly, the weirdest thing about this oatmeal was the fact that it was cold.  I can't say that I would crave or want hot oatmeal in the summer and I plan to try some other overnight oats recipes from Oh She glows, but it really was strange to me to eat cold oats.  (And I used frozen strawberries, so my oats were very cold.  Then the left overs were refrigerated, so again, very cold.  I guess I'll have to get used to that if I want to eat more raw oats.)
Here is how I made it.   Again, pardon the iphone picture.  Not the greatest, but enough for me to get the idea.

Soaking required - start the night before.


  • 3/4 cup oat groats
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 teaspoons raw honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of sea salt (if desired - I can't remember if I threw this in or not.)
  1. Soak the oats and almonds for 10-12 hours in enough water to cover by 1 inch.  Drain and rinse.
  2. If using fresh berries, toss everything into the blender or food processor and blend until the oats and almonds are cracked and everything is moist and oatmeal - like.  Do not overprocess or it will turn into a paste.  (I used frozen berries so I tossed those in my blender first and blended them up into a nice puree.  Then I added everything else and blended it.)

Orange chia seed breakfast pudding

I couldn't resist trying this recipe out even though I knew the texture would probably get to me after a while.  It did, but I'm proud to day I ate all but the last 2 bites of it.  Of course there were 2 servings and the other is still sitting in the fridge.  Hopefully someone else will be able to enjoy it before I have to toss it.  If you have not texture issues, this is quite a tasty and healthy breakfast and raw to boot.  Can't beat that.  You do have to start it the night before because you have to make the almond milk, but that is plenty simple.  Just plan ahead.


  • 1/4 cup raw almonds, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 pitted dates
  • 3 oranges
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  1. Place almonds and water in high powered blender and blend until well blended.  Strain with a nut bag or very fine strainer.  
  2. Place almond milk back in blender with dates and blend until smooth.  Zest 1 orange and add the zest to the blender.  Peel and section the zested orange and set aside for later.  Juice the remaining 2 oranges and add the juice to the blender.  pulse to combine.  
  3. Add chia seeds and stir.  Let set for 20 minutes.  Stir in orange sections.  Makes 2 servings

2 More popcorn snacks/cereal combinations

Last month I made a chocolate peanut butter popcorn cereal/snack.  I posted then that I wanted to try some variations.  I just made up my second one today and figured I ought to go ahead and post both of them.

Cinnamon Popcorn - This one was Super tasty. (5 star)  I think everyone loved this flavor.   Even Tavio who didn't like the chocolate peanut butter version.


  • 1 cup pop corn kernels
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  1. Pop the popcorn kernels in an air popcorn popper. (It is 2 batches in mine)  Remove unpopped kernels.
  2. Heat the honey, coconut oil and cinnamon in a small saucepan just until melted and smooth.
  3. Pour the liquid over the kernels and stir until well coated.  (I actually dump mine in a very large stock pot I have.  It is really the only thing in the kitchen that fits the entire batch.)
  4. Prepare 2 cookie sheets by covering with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.  When the popcorn is coated, divide it among the 2 cookie sheets.  
  5. Bake at 300 for 5 minutes.   After 5 minutes turn the oven off and leave the popcorn in there for a couple of hours.  Remove from oven and store in an airtight container.

Maple pecan popcorn (4 star) - this one is tasty, but I liked cinnamon better.  The pecans also don't stay put, and for some reason I must have stirred this one more vigorously or something because I have a lot of crushed popcorn.  Go figure.  The flavor is good though.  I did find it was harder to mix.  I ended up mixing with my hands just to feel if it had coated well because you couldn't really tell just by looking at it.  I'm also not sure I'd add the nuts again.  I like them in there, but they sink to the bottom.  It did however give me the idea to try and make a granola type popcorn bar that could be a breakfast bar --- writing it down here or I'll forget.  :)

  • 1 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (I used a bit over 1/2 a cup -it was just what I had left.  The amount was OK.  I could have put more, but again, they kind of fall to the bottom anyway.)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • sea salt ---I did not add salt, but when eating this, I felt like it would have been tasty with some added salt.  Kind of like a kettle corn -so I'm adding this for next time.  I'd just toss it in with the maple syrup so it gets coated well.
  1. Pop the popcorn kernels in an air popcorn popper.  Remove unpopped kernels.  
  2. Heat the butter and pecans in a small saucepan until pecans are a bit toasted.  (Really it took about that long for my butter to melt because I tossed the whole chunk in there straight from the fridge.  Worked out perfectly.)  Add the maple syrup(and salt if using)  and stir to combine.  
  3. Continue with 3-5 from above.  Mix, bake, let cool in oven, store.  

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

raw cookie dough bites

I've been a busy baker, but not a very busy blogger.  Mostly because I have had no camera.  However, I did realize that I wasn't entirely cameraless.  I do have a phone, so I just opted to take some pictures from my phone for the last couple of days.  Now to just get them uploaded right?

These are totally tasty.  I found them fiddling around on pinterest the other day and new I had to try them.  I found them on but I'm thinking they must be elsewhere because I saw the exact same recipe shared by someone from church just the other day.

There is nothing not to LOVE about these cookie dough bites.  They are totally simple to make, raw - as in no cooked or processed ingredients (except probably my chocolate chips, but I'm sure they make raw chocolate chips.  I just haven't invested in any.)  I did change up the directions a bit just because I didn't want to deal with a gummy mess in my blender.  Worked great and easy.  You can make these entirely in the blender or food processor if you so desire.

So if they are so great -on to sharing the recipe.


  • 2/3 cup raw almonds
  • 2/3 cup raw walnuts
  • 2/3 cup raw oat flakes (I used groats which I rolled so I know they were raw.  If you are rolling I found that the 1/2 cup groats I rolled yielded 1 cup of rolled, so you should be fine to just roll 1/3 cup - or just toss 1/3 cup groats in without rolling if your blender can grind them up.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup raw agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs (I used mini semi sweets because it is what I had)
  1. In a food processor or high powered blender, process the almonds, walnuts, oats, cinnamon and salt to a fine meal.
  2. Move powder to a bowl and stir in agave and chips (or process them in if you want.)
  3. Roll into balls (I made about 25 and the dough was super sticky, I didn't really roll them.  I jsut kind of put them on the mat.  )  Place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a silpat or other silicon mat.  Freeze until firm.  Store in a tightly covered container in the freezer.  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Green waffles

So my older boys and husband are gone to scout camp.  It makes it hard for me to be motivated to make a big dinner for myself and the little boys.  Yesterday was supposed to be egg rolls, but when I asked what the kids wanted for dinner, they said waffles.  How could I object?  I didn't have buttermilk to make my regular waffles so I started looking in my new readers' favorite health recipes book for a waffle recipe and found this one for pancakes.  I added a bit extra spinach because I didn't feel like making a green smoothie, and just a handful and a half in because that is what I had left in the box.  These made some very green  waffles.  They would be awesome for St. Patrick's day. I can't wait to get a picture of them but alas my camera is at scout camp.  :(
 They did turn out soft and would probably be better suited to pancakes as the original recipe stated.  They were a bit hard to get out of the waffle iron because of their softness.  They were tasty though.
In the future, I don't think they need the honey, especially if you plan to put syrup on them.  If eating them plain, by all means, add the honey.  It is a nice sweetness, but we had ours with maple syrup and peanut butter, and I felt they were a bit too sweet for that.
Here is how I made them. (Which was totally not following the directions - I lazily just made the entire batter in the blender.)


  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3-4 grinds of pink himalayan pink salt (or sea salt)
  • 3 Tablespoons honey (I will probably omit this next time -or lessen it to 1-2 teaspoons)
  • 1 1/2 handfuls baby spinach
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  1. Place milk, spinach and banana in blender and pulse a few times to blend.  Add the egg, coconut oil and spinach and pulse a couple more times to blend.
  2. Add flour, baking powder, and salt.  At this point I just pushed batters on my blendtec.  If you don't have a batters button, just pulse or blend until combined.  
  3. Bake in a waffle iron until desired done-ness.  (Or make as pancakes - probably preferred with this dough, but my little boys LOVE waffles.)

Yellow rice and black bean salad

I found this recipe in my 366 delicious ways to cook rice, beans, and grains book.  I loved how colorful it was as I was preparing it.  (will post pictures soon.  I just realized DH took my camera to scout camp so not only was I unable to take pictures of the green waffles I made this evening, but I can't post pictures now.  Boo.  This was a nice colorful meal with the yellow/orange rice, black beans, red pepper, tomatoes, scallions and cilantro.  It just looked  nice.  I loved the flavor the annatto oil gave the rice.  I actually liked the rice so much that I didn't want to put the dressing on it.  So I let people choose -lime dressing or no lime dressing.    Here is how I made it.  I'm writing directions how I made it, but at the same time making it easier to shop for - for example, I used grape tomatoes and chopped them because that is what I had in the house and I wasn't buying a regular tomato just for this recipe.  However, if making this again, I'd rather look at the recipe and think -ok, I need 1 tomato.   The original was white rice.  That would definitely take less time to make, but I was going for more nutritious.  Just plan a little extra time to use brown rice.

Annatto oil is needed to make this recipe.  I made it as follows

  • 2 Tablespoons annatto seeds (small red seeds.  I find them in the bulk spice area of my grocery store.)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
Heat seeds in oil over low heat stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.  (The oil should be nice and orange/red.  You can double this and store it in the fridge for future applications.  This makes a little more than you actually need for the recipe as well.  

  • 1 1/2 cups basmati brown rice (LOVE this stuff - use whatever type of rice you like - the original called for regular white.)
  • 2 Tablespoons annatto oil (see above)
  • 1/2 large sweet onion 
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3 cups water (you may be able to get away with 2 3/4 but I didn't want to chance it using brown rice.)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 15 oz can black beans rinsed and drained (I was lazy today - can sub 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans.)
  • 1 red pepper (or other color sweet pepper) diced. I actually used the tiny sweets and used about 6.
  • 1 tomato, diced (I actually used grape tomatoes because that is what I had at home)
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons (more or less) chopped fresh cilantro
If making the dressing, whisk together
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar (original was red and I'd like to try that next time.)
  • optional salt and pepper to taste
  1. Rinse the rice and drain.  In a large skillet, heat annatto oil over medium heat.  Add the rice, sweet onion and garlic and saute until everything gets nice and yellow/orange and rice starts to look toasted and more dry.  (about 5 minutes)
  2. Add water and salt.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed (50-60 minutes)  Remove from heat.  Set aside to cool
  3. While the rice is cooling, chop all of your veggies.  Toss rice and remaining ingredients together in a bowl.  Stir to combine.  
  4. If you want to make the dressing, whisk it all together and combine it with the rice.  The dish is yummy either way.  

Monday, June 11, 2012

mini whole wheat blueberry muffins

I have finally succumbed to looking at pinterest.  I resisted for a while, trying to convince myself that I could keep everything in evernote and not have one more online time taker.  But in an effort to stop having tons of windows open on my computer at any given time, and in an effort to find more recipes, I finally gave in.  It was a great way to spend a super early morning after the migraine woke me up at 2 and the pain followed by the caffeine from the Excedrin kept me up.  I had tons of luck finding fun breakfast ideas and healthy snacks.  Sadly, what I'm most looking for - healthy, vegetarian dinners are still eluding me.  I'm sure I'll find some though.  There's a ton of stuff out there.
This recipe comes from a new blog I found called Oh She Glows.  I will be adding that to my blogroll soon.  She posts lots of vegan recipes.  I didn't make these vegan, and I changed up her streusel a bit, but I love her site.  So many things I want to try from her blog.
These were the perfect recipe to try this Sunday  because we went blueberry picking on Saturday morning, so we had some nice fresh blueberries to use.  I really liked these.  They were sweet enought without being too sweet, and I loved that the sweeteners used were natural sweeteners.


  • 1 cup milk (use non-dairy to be vegan)
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed (I find that 2 Tablespoons whole =1/4 cup ground)
  • 1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
Topping ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 Tablespoon flour
  1. Preheat oven to 375 and spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.  I made mini muffins and made 33.  (So 1 tin of 24 + 9 more)  
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the wet ingredients (milk, vinegar, oil, syrup, extracts.)  In another bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flax, flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt).  Combine the wet and dry ingredients and stir just until combined. (I poured the dry into the wet and then reused the bowl from the dry ingredients for the topping.)
  3. Gently fold in the blueberries.  Pour into prepared muffin tins.  I used my cookie scoop.  It was the perfect size to fill my mini muffin tin to the top.  
  4. In a small bowl (I used my dry ingredients bowl) mix topping ingredients until combined.  Sprinkle over the muffins.
  5. Bake for 13-16 minutes or until golden and top of muffin springs back when pressed.   Let cool a bit before serving.  

Monday, June 4, 2012

Chickpea wraps

OK, as I was making this recipe I decided I definitely was NEVER making it again because it was way too much work.  Here is the mess....  (believe me, it continues out of the picture.)
This isn't even all of the mess, there are more dishes to the left of the picture.  SAD

They also burned even when turning the heat all the way down to medium - check them out - NOT pretty.

Then I fed them to the children.  Here are their plates...

And to that their commentary - and these comments are from my 2 toughest critics - "Mommy these are delicious!"  3.5 year old who rarely eats all of dinner finished every spec.  And "These taste like McDonald's snack wraps."  13 year old who didn't even eat dinner last night and tried to get out of the house with no breakfast because we were out of milk = no cold cereal for him = no food apparently.  He was offered waffles made from waffle mix or eggs.   Neither was good enough for him.   He did manage to drink 2/3 of his green smoothie, but only because my logic won.  Our conversation went something like this...Him  "I'm still full from dinner."  Me "You ate 1/3 of a pancake and a small bit of lettuce."  Him ... starts drinking green smoothie.  So like I said, commentary like that earns this a post and I guess I'll have to give it a 5 star.  I hesitate wanting to deduct for the difficulty, but then I look at the plates and have to go 5.  :)  I guess I'll be making them again in the future.

I do have to add - giving myself hope for future endeavors, that although it doesn't seem like these make very many, the go a long ways.  We probably only ate 1/2 of them and everyone liked them.  I've had them twice for lunch as left overs, and while they were lacking the nice crispy quality they had fresh, they were not lacking in flavor.  Still tasty enough that I've had them twice.

Problems I had with this recipe and their resolution for next time (hopefully)

  • wouldn't grind in my food processor or blender.  Too thick of a paste.  I should have known better and just gone straight to the immersion blender.  I know it is better for super thick batters.  Somehow I just thought this would be thin enough. 
  • The burgers wouldn't hold together well when cooking.  I actually just realized that I used waffle mix instead of flour.  Maybe wheat flour would have worked a bit better.  Seems like waffle mix should have given it some sticking power, but it wasn't nearly enough.  
  • Burgers hard to flip (because they didn't stick together super well.)  Try frying in more than 2-3 Tablespoons of oil (like submerging them?)  Not sure I want to try this option, but I'm contemplating it.
I figure you deserve a picture that is at least somewhat appetizing after the other pictures right?
Here are our wraps on the plate with their ranch dressing and lettuce.  

OK, here is the recipe
chickpea patty ingredients
  • 1 1/2-2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cup onions, minced (1 semi large)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 cup carrot, finely chopped (between 1 and 2 carrots depending on size.)  
  • 1 3/4 cup cooked and drained chickpeas  (3/4 cup dry, or about 1 can)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons peanut butter (or tahini but I don't have tahini)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon dried parsley (original called for more but I'm not huge on parsley -add more if you like it and/or use fresh.)
  • 1/3 cup flour (I ended up adding another 1/3 cup, but then again I was accidentally using waffle mix.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • coconut oil - for frying.  (I used extra virgin and it gave it a wonderful light coconut flavor.  I think it was really key in these being so wonderful.  The slight hint of coconut was perfect in this recipe.    I ordered my extra virgin coconut oil online.  They don't carry it at my local grocery store, just the regular coconut oil.  My local health food store does carry it though.  (I just didn't know they even existed until after I ordered mine online.)  I definitely recommend trying to find it for this recipe if you don't have it.)
wrap ingredients
  • tortillas - I used a wheat wrap, but let the kids use flour tortillas
  • ranch dressing - I used this new recipe.
  • chopped lettuce (I used romaine.)

  1. Chop onions - in a food processor if desired.  Start sauteeing in the butter.  Meanwhile chop carrots and garlic in the food processor and add to the onion.  Add carrots, garlic and cumin and saute for another minute or 2.
  2. Mash the chickpeas into a paste (again, I used the food processor, then tried the blender, but next time will use the immersion blender.  Add the sauteed veggies and process until well mixed.  Stir or process in the peanut butter and parsley.  In a large bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt.  Stir in chickpea mixture.  
  3. Heat 2-3 Tablespoons of oil in a skillet.  Make small patties.  I scooped about 1.5 Tablespoons into the oil and flattened it with the back of my rubber spatula.  

Ranch dressing

I'm looking for the perfect Ranch dressing.  I found a ton of new ideas to try today.  This was one of the simplest, but of course I had to do my own thing too.  I made only a half batch (mostly to make sure I liked it and not waste ingredients.)  It was pretty good and went well on our wraps.


  • 6 Tablespoons mayo
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/2 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teapsoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon parsley
  • pinch dill (maybe 1/8 teaspoon
  • about 2 Tablespoons buttermilk (I'd use more to thin it out/add flavor if using this as salad dressing.)
  1. Stir all ingredients together until well combined.

7 layer dip

So, as I posted in my previous 2 posts, we actually had this for dinner.  It was super tasty and were it not so much work, I think I'd eat it a lot more often.  :)
I do have to admit that my younger sons didn't particularly care for it.  The 3 year old really wouldn't give it a chance.  He was in a bad mood, knew it had beans, and wanted nothing to do with beans that day - even smooshed.  Go figure.  The 6 year old ate his serving only half heartedly and was very excited to get just plain salsa to dip in when he had finished his 6 bites.
Not sure if I've shared this on the blog before, but our current food eating/trying rule is that you have to eat as many bites as you are old.  This works wonderfully well for the younger ones.  The littlest only has to try 3 bites.  The 6 year old 6.  I have to admit that sometimes the 13 year old gets away with only 1-2 bites just to avoid a fight, but only on foods he already "knows he HATES"  like the hummus on the Mediterranean pizza the other night.
OK, back to the 7 layer dip.  I made a couple changes - mostly because it worked for me.  The original recipe called for equal parts sour cream and mayo.  I had 1/2 cup of mayo left and 1 cup of sour cream so those are the proportions I used.  Honestly, I preferred to use more sour cream and less mayo if the flavor was fine, and it was.  Here's the recipe with links to the recipes I used for refried beans, guacamole, and taco seasoning.

  • About 2 cups refried beans 
  • guacamole
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons taco seasoning
  • shredded cheese - we used Monterrey Jack this day.  Cheddar would be good too.  about 2 cups or so
  • sliced black olives
  • chopped tomatoes
  • sliced green onions (we actually didn't have any, so in reality we had a 6 layer dip.  However, our of tradition, I'm posting it with the onions as 7 layer dip.  Feel free to make 6 layer dip if you too forget to buy green onions.  :)
  1. In a 9 X 13 pan, spread the refried beans to cover the bottom of the pan.  (mine were still a bit warm so I spread them out at the beginning to cool.
  2. In a bowl, stir together the mayo, sour cream and taco seasoning.
  3. Continue to layer remaining ingredients on top of the refried beans in the order listed.  Spread the guacamole over the beans, the sour cream/mayo mix over the guacamole, then sprinkle with cheese, olives, tomatoes and green onions.  
  4. Serve with chips or veggies.

guacamole and pico de gallo

I know I said that 7 layer dip would be the next post, but to post on 7 layer dip, I felt I had to post the guacamole recipe we use.  Honestly I have to admit that we totally cheated this time around because we just used salsa, but we do normally make guacamole following this recipe.  I'm including our pico de gallo recipe becasuse it seems like everyone would know what it is so it doesn't merit it's own post.  However, in case you don't, or I ever forget the proportions, I've included it here.

Again, no picture - other than as part of 7 layer dip.


  • 3 avocados (Hass medium), 
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 1/2 cup pico de gallo (see below)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced (3 cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon jalapeno, stemmed seeded and minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Pit avocados.  Score without going through the skin.  Scoop dices our into a mixing bowl.  Add the lime juice and stir to coat.
  2. Stir in the remaining ingredients and stir and mash until desired consistency is reached. 
****Tip - We learned this awesome tip a while back - if you toss an avocado pit in with the guacamole it will keep it from going brown.  

~~Like I said, today we totally cheated.  I love the Jack's Special fresh salsa that they sell at our costco.  It has a nice limey flavor.  We just subbed that for the jalapeno, pico, and lime juice.  I'm pretty sure Brandon still added a bit of garlic, the olive oil, and salt to taste.  But like I said, I share the recipe because it is our go to guacamole recipe.

Pico de gallo
  • 2 cups (1 pound) tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup white onions, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons jalapeno, stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice (fresh is best)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  

Limey refried beans

So when I saw this recipe it sounded delicious.  I must say I wasn't disappointed.  It oricinally came from an e-book I have from kitchen stewardship. Of made it my own way.  Mostly just leaving out the cheese plus changing a few proportions.  It was so tasty.  Definitely no need to buy refried beans at the store.  These were much better and really I've decided it is no big deal to cook beans at home.  I always avoided it in the past thinking it to be too time consuming.  Honestly, it isn't because they don't have to be babysat or anything.  It just requires a little pre-planning.  Put them on to soak the night before and start them cooking a couple of hours before you want to eat.
We used this to make 7 layer dip.  (Recipe to follow.)   I actually served that for dinner, not an appetizer.  I figured why not?  Beans are good for you, avocados and tomatoes are good for you...  Why can't it be dinner?  But I digress, this isn't a post about 7 layer dip - that is my next post right.  On to the beans. (which apparently I didn't take a picture of by themselves, but refried beans are refried beans right?)

  • 4 cups cooked pinto beans (I cooked up 2 cups of beans, but didn't use them all.  I'm pretty sure I could have though.)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • sea salt (or Himalayan pink salt) -to taste (I used 20 grinds in the beans on their second hour of cooking (even though they were doing very well at 1 hour - I cooked them longer since I knew I was mashing them - and I was busy cleaning.:) - then I used another 5 grinds in the actual refried bean part.
  • 3 Tablespoons lime juice (3 limes - juiced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime zest - zest of 1 lime - I didn't measure
  1. After cooking the beans, reserve the cooking liquid to thin the refried beans.
  2. In a large pot (to save dishes, use the one that cooked the beans) heat the butter.  Add onions and begin sauteeing.  Add cumin and continue sauteeing.  Add garlic and oregano and cook until onions are lightly browned.
  3. Stir in 1 cup of bean cooking liquid and 4 cups of beans (you can play with this if you want -adding only 1/2 of the beans, pureeing, then adding more and pureeing a bit less if you want it a bit more chunky.  I know I wanted mine smooth, so I added all of the beans at once.)  Mash with a potato masher, or if you have one (my preferred method) an immersion blender.  Blend until desired consistency.  
  4. Heat until desired consistency (for example, if it is too watery, heat to thicken.)  Add lime juice, zest and salt to taste.  


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