Archive for the ‘Appetizers & Snacks’ Category

Recipe Dump

I’m so behind on posting…partly I don’t even care, but I’m going to make myself dump several recipes on here before I forget what I made, how I made the recipes, and where I got the original recipes from. So here goes…
These yummmmmy muffins were just sweet enough to satisfy a sweet tooth, but also hefty enough to serve as breakfast or an afternoon snack. I’d like to try them with honey instead of white sugar next time. And some chopped walnuts also sound good. I forgot to include the cinnamon, but I’m sure it just makes them even yummier. They keep really well – I ate one today (Tuesday) that I made on Saturday, and it’s still delicious.

Whole Wheat, Oatmeal, and Dried Fruit Muffins
Adapted from Cooking Light via My Recipes
12 servings (serving size: 1 muffin)
1 cup whole wheat flour (about 4 3/4 ounces)
4 tablespoons white flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup chopped pitted dates
1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup boiling water

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Stir in oats, dates, apricots, and cranberries. Make a well in center of mixture. Combine buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and egg; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Stir in boiling water. Let batter stand 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°.
Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 17 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove muffins from pans immediately; place on a wire rack.

Granola Bars
YUM, YUM, YUM! These were really quick to put together, and turned out simply divine. I carried them around with me all day in Budapest, and snuck covert bites of them (which had crumbled into bite-sized pieces as a result of being jostled around in my purse for a few days) as we trekked all around the city. Since I can’t buy granola bars here, this recipe will become a go-to for me in the months to come. I can’t wait to try different variations of it: with dried apricot and flaked coconut; with peanuts; with sesame seeds; with tiny pieces of crystallized ginger. The first batch were a little on the sweet side for my taste (I used 1/2 cup of honey and 1 cup dried cranberries, which are sweetened) so the second time I used dried apricots instead and subbed out 1/4 of a cup of honey with molasses. Perfect!
Golden Granola Bars
2 c. rolled oats
1 c. chopped almonds, walnuts, or a mixture of the two
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. molasses
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 tbsp butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 c. pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
1 cup dried apricots, chopped


Preheat oven to 350-ish F, and line a 9×9 cake pan with a sheet of parchment paper. On a cookie sheet, spread out the oats and nuts and toast for about 7 minutes or until starting to smell fragrant and become golden (stir once or twice to ensure even toasting). In a saucepan heat up remaining ingredients (sans pepitas and apricot) and melt, cooking until all of the sugar is dissolved and the mixture bubbles for a minute or two. Dump the toasted ingredients into a big bowl, add the liquid mixture and the pepitas and cranberries, and stir to coat evenly. Press into the pan and press firmly all around the pan. Now bake for about 10 minutes, or until the bars begin to become a deep golden color. Remove from the oven, cool completely, and cut into 8 bars. Store in an airtight container.

So I guess the “several” recipes turned into…two. Sigh. Oh well…up next time: the fish Rachel and I finally got around to making (heavenly!), spicy greens and bulgur, white chili, and tortilla soup. There, now maybe at least I won’t forget what I’ve cooked…Stay tuned!

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I’m absolutely addicted to hummus! I’ve eaten for lunch numerous times, and always have to stop myself from eating the entire batch in one sitting. Most recently, I ate it with Olive Oil Crakers from http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/olive-oil-crackers-recipe.html. They were delicious, but took a while to bake. I ended up getting tired and freezing three of the dough balls. I pulled them out of the freezer on Monday, let them defrost, and then rolled them out and baked them up. There were just as good as the first time I made them. I also tried mixing garlic powder into some of them, and that was also delicious. Other varieties I made included parsley, red pepper flakes, and Dalmatian herb mix. I loved them all.

But back to the hummus. My first batch was just a simple hummus, made from a can of chickpeas, a few squeezes of lemon juice, salt, a little cumin, a few tablespoons of olive oil, and a clove or two of garlic. It was delicious. But I decided to branch out and try some more varieties. In retrospect, I can’t decide which variety I liked best. The Hummus En Fuego may take the prize…

Basic Hummus

1 can chickpeas, drained, juice reserved
1 clove garlic, peeled (or two)
salt, to taste
pinch of cumin
few good squirts of lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil

Place all ingredients in a small food processor and pulse. Add reserved bean juice or hot water as needed, and season as desired.

Hummus with Roasted Red Pepper:
Cut 1/4 of a red pepper in strips, toss in olive oil, and roast until tender. Add to the hummus, puree, and enjoy!

Hummus En Fuego (see www.101cookbooks.com/archives/hummus-en-fuego-recipe.html)
I toasted about 1/2 walnuts, ground them in the food processor, then added the fire oil and some extra red pepper flakes. I left out the cumin and the lemon juice (I think?) and only used one clove of garlic.

Spinach Hummus
This time, I toasted about 1/4 cup of almonds and ground them first. Then I added in the rest of the ingredients (sans cumin), about 1 cup spinach leaves(?) and pureed. I’d like to try it with a little lime juice next time…

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We wanted to serve Nachos Bel Grande for our team dinner this week, and to introduce Suzana to this food, but we can’t buy nacho cheese sauce here. So we decided to try to make it, and with help from a recipe on Allrecipes.com (and cayenne pepper I added), about thirty minutes later we were enjoying genuine nachos, complete with the hot, spicy cheese. And Suzana? She was in heaven. I think it’s her new favorite food.

Nacho Cheese Sauce

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
7 slices cheddar cheese “singles”
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Add milk, and cook, stirring occasionally, till thickened. Add the cheese, salt, and cayenne pepper, melt, let thicken, and serve! Makes about 4 servings.

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It’s always fun to introduce my Croatian friends to America’s favorite foods. Since I’ve never seen anything resembling Caramel Corn in Split, I decided to try to make some for Suzana and Tea when they came over the other night. They loved it, and the four of us finished a bowl of popcorn in just a few minutes. I like this recipe because it’s lighter and not quite as sickeningly-sweet as commercially produced popcorn, can be made without corn syrup (which isn’t available at stores here), and with some peanuts thrown in, makes a satisfying snack!

Kristin’s Caramel Corn

4-5 cups popped popcorn

1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. honey
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1/2 cup raw peanuts

Preheat oven to 300 F (15o C).

Melt together sugar, honey, butter, vanilla, and salt in a pot on medium heat. Cook until bubbling, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and drizzle over the popcorn and peanuts, mixing in a big bowl to coat evenly. Return to the pan and cook for about another minute, stirring.

Spread popcorn mixture onto a parchment-paper lined baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from oven, let cool, and enjoy!

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