Homemade Hummus

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Mmmm hummus.

It’s one of my faves.  But I do not love the store bought stuff.  How do you make something so healthy taste so chemical-y?  They find a way, I’m telling you.

So I made my own!  Homemade tahini and everything.

This is perfect with fresh veggies and whole wheat toasted pita bread.  I could go eat some right now, and I just might.

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I even accidentally stabbed myself with my blender to make this stuff, so sacrifice was involved.

That’s how good hummus is.  I’m willing to give some blood for it.

But somebody’s gotta do it, ya know?

Oh, did I mention how easy it is to make this?  Even homemade tahini is so simple!  Just blend up the tahini, scrape it out and make the hummus right away.  No clean up involved.  It only took me about 30 minutes, and I was on my way to Greek food heaven.  Maybe gyros will happen this weekend?  It’s so possible.

Follow the directions like this and you will have a perfectly smooth hummus!  Any other way might not end up with the best results.  Go with your gut, but keep in mind, this is my recommendation 😉

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Spoon tahini into a blender.

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Add fresh lemon juice…

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Blend away!  Let it just blend for a good two minutes.  Scrape occasionally.

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Add a bunch of chopped garlic!

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And some salt.

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And some paprika!

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And don’t forget about the olive oil.  My favorite of all the oils.

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Blend it up!  I actually used a little too much paprika so mine looked kind of reddish orange.  You do not have to make my same mistakes, but you can if you want.

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Add chick peas and blend until smooth and creamy.  (At this point, it will be thick, so add some water to get it to the desired consistency).

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Have I ever mentioned how good hummus is with warm whole wheat pita bread?  It’s da best.

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Ingredients:

2 cans chickpeas

2 Tbs. tahini

Juice of 2 lemons

8 cloves garlic (you may use less, I recommend this many though)

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. paprika

1/4 c. olive oil

2-4 Tbs. water, to thin (I needed 4)

Drain chickpeas and rinse in cold water.  Set aside to drain all of the water out.

Spoon the tahini in a blender and squeeze as much lemon juice as you can in with the tahini.  Blend together for about 2 minutes, scraping occasionally.  Add garlic, salt, paprika, and olive oil.  Blend for a few more minutes, scraping sides occasionally.

Add chickpeas about 1 1/2 cups at a time.  Blend thoroughly so that the hummus is nice and smooth.  Add water to thin to desired consistency.

Makes about 4 cups.

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Delicious.

*This recipe is vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free!

*Paleo: Replace chickpeas with roasted eggplant or roasted cauliflower.

XOXO Sara

Twice Baked Potato Skins

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Potato skins are perhaps one of the most delicious things known to man, if I do say so myself.  How could you not love a potato stuffed with bacon and cheese and sour cream?  Excuse me, but I don’t hear anyone complaining.

With Superbowl right around the corner, I knew I had to make something that would stand out but was still greasy enough to make it to the game.  And by greasy, I mean delicious.  Greasy does not always equal bad.  Unless you’re on a diet.  In which case, it’s time to splurge a little, okay?

Potato skins actually proved to be a bit of a struggle for me as I was pressed for time in order to also watch a movie in between writing this post and going to bed.  Yeah, I know, my priorities are really straightened out here, but Sunday movie night is important okay?  (Tonight, my bedroom is featuring Peter Pan).

This whole being “pressed for time” thing ended up with me having slightly demolished potato skins because the potatoes did not get cooked quite as long as they needed to be (thanks to my microwave for saving the day).  So they became twice baked potato skins.  You know when bad situations turn into really, really great ones?  Yeah, that’s how twice baked potato skins came to be.  Things happen for a reason, friends.

So therefore, let me prove to you that not everything a food blogger prepares comes out looking all that appetizing and pretty…

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See?  Doesn’t look very appetizing.  But taste wise?

Oh hell yeah.  These things take the cake.

Or the potato.  Whatever floats your boat.

Enough with the cheesy sayings already, Sara.  Show these people how to make these delicious suckers.  (By the way, CHEESY?!  Did you see that?  I’m full of them today).

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Ingredients:

2 small russet potatoes

Olive oil

1/4 lb. bacon

1/2 lb. sharp cheddar cheese, grated

2 Tbs. sour cream + more for topping

1 Tbs. butter

Salt and pepper, to taste

2-3 Tbs. chives, chopped

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Preheat oven to 400* F.  Scrub potatoes thoroughly and dry.  I recommend using 1/2 a potato per person if it’s for appetizers, and 1 potato per person you’re serving this as a meal.  They’re very filling!

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Brush the potatoes with some oil.  Olive oil will be oh-so-fine.

Place them in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until fork tender.

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Meanwhile, chop up some bacon.  I apologize from here on out about the picture situation.  The lighting in my kitchen goes away at about 3-3:30 in the winter, which as many food bloggers know, is a curse.

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Then crisp up that bacon in a frying pan.  Drain on some paper towels when it’s nice and browned.

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Also, grate up your cheese for fun.  (As we all know, grating cheese is not fun so just smile while you work and listen to Tom Petty and it will seem better, I promise).

When the potatoes are good and ready, cut them into quarters.  Scoop out the insides but make sure to leave enough to make a shell to hold everything together, or you will end up with lots of mashed potatoes and no twice baked potato skins.

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Mix about half of the insides with the butter and sour cream.  Mash it all together.

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Then add about 1/2 c. of cheese, about 1 Tbs. chives, and some salt and pepper.

This is when my natural light completely left and I forgot to keep taking pictures.  Sorry for any inconveniences.  Luckily, this recipe is not too complicated!

Brush your potato skins with olive oil or butter and bake in the oven for 5 minutes on each side.  Set your oven to broil.

Fill the skins with about 1-2 Tbs. of the filling and top with some cheese.  Broil for about 2 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Finish them off with some bacon and chopped chives.

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Might I recommend serving them with ranch? (I would).  Why don’t you check out my recipe for The Best Ranch Ever?  I made it specifically for these little guys, and oh my lanta was is so worth it.

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I might go eat some leftovers right now, actually.

Please excuse me.

XOXO Sara

Cream Cheese Sausage Roll Ups

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Midterms are finally over.  Hallelujah.

This past week was what I liked to call “hell week”.  First, midterms all week.  Also, school from 9ish-12ish everyday, work from 12:30-6 after that, and then go home, study, and go to sleep.

Needless, to say, I did not eat healthy or work out all week.  Partly because I didn’t have time and partly because I was feeling sorry for myself.

Because normally my work day and school day only goes from 6:30-12ish.  Which gives me plenty of time to do homework, clean, make dinner, and exercise.

I’m kind of a princess aren’t I?

But this week should be much, much better, and it’s only a four day week because this coming weekend is Nevada Day (Thanks Nevada!)  And my mom is coming to see me!!!  Needless to say, I’m excited.  SO EXCITED.

Plus I got to make these delicious roll ups for dinner this weekend.  Like I said, I normally cook healthy.  But on the weekends I like to have more fun with my cooking by making whatever I want.

The normal schedule is dinner out on Friday, easy meal/breakfast for dinner Saturday night, nice Sunday night dinner.  Anyone else have these kinds of traditions?  It’s what my mom does at home too!  Some things never change, even if you move away 😉

Anyways, about these cream cheese sausage roll ups.  It’s one of B’s faves and it’s a family recipe.  His brother sent it to me and I adapted it just a tad.  And thus, Brandon was a very, very happy man 🙂

P.S. These taste kind of like biscuits and gravy, which is one of my favorites!  Luckily, these are easier!

P.P.S. These are great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Ingredients:

1-2 package(s) refrigerated croissant dough (cresent roll dough)

1 lb. breakfast sausage, regular

8 oz. cream cheese

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. mustard powder

Salt and pepper, to taste

First, prepare by opening the roll(s) of dough.  Spread it out so that it is flat.  Preheat the oven to 350* F.

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Brown the sausage in a pan.  Drain fat.

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Add cream cheese, garlic powder, mustard powder, salt, and pepper.  Mix together.

(I know, it’s not very pretty.  But it’s delicious!)

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Place about 3 Tbs. of mixture into each triangle (for 1 package dough) or 1-2 Tbs. of mixture into each triangle (for 2 packages of dough).  (I like it better with less filling, so next time I will use 2 rolls of dough.  If you like lots of filling though, go for 1 package :))  Roll them up around the dough and place on greased baking sheets.  Some of them were messy because Brandon and I had an important rerun of The Office to get to, and the commercial break was over!

Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.

Serve these babies!  Yum!

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They’re even kind of pretty rolled up and baked (in my opinion).

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I would serve them with orange juice.  Just my opinion.

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You could even make them mini for appetizers!

Because that’s what I would do.

Have a great week everyone!   And if this is your hell week, good luck my friend.

XOXO Sara

Chicken Apple Walnut Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

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I’m finally back! 

*Hawaii* was the best vacation I have ever, ever been on but now I’m back, unpacked, and ready for a relaxing few days before I move to Reno.  

This summer, when I’m not out of town, I have been obsessed with salads!  They’re perfect for light summer lunches (and little bikini waistlines).  

With all of the fresh produce available in the summer, there’s so many possibilities to delicious, easy salads.  Plus, the ingredients are inexpensive and go a long way.  

Another bonus is that making salads will help you avoid turning on the hot stoves and ovens (although I did bake 8 dozen cookies yesterday.  Steamy kitchen anyone?)

So, since there’s only a few weeks of summer left (sigh) break out your cutting board and chop up some fresh ingredients for a nice summer salad.  Start with this one, and then down it with a few homemade cookies (;

*Look for a post in a few days about my trip to Hawaii!  I will show you the best things to do and the prettiest places to go*

 

Ingredients for Salad:

1 c. mixed spring greens

1 c. baby spinach

2 Tbs. feta cheese

4 oz. chicken breast, cooked thoroughly 

1/2 apple, diced (I used Gala)

3 Tbs. walnuts, chopped

 

Ingredients for Dressing:

1/2 heaping cup frozen raspberries, thawed slightly

3 Tbs. canola oil

2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp. honey dijon

2-3 Tbs. honey, to taste

2 tsp. poppy seeds, toasted

Salt and Pepper, to taste

 

To make dressing:

Combine raspberries, canola oil, apple cider vinegar, dijon, honey, and salt and pepper in a blender.  Blend until completely smooth.  Strain the dressing through a sieve to remove any chunks or seeds.  Stir in poppy seeds.

 

To prepare salad:

Toss all ingredients in a large bowl.  Drizzle 2 Tbs. of dressing on the salad and enjoy!

 

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The dressing in this salad rocks!  Tangy and fruity all at once.  

I hope you guys enjoy this delicious summer salad.

 

Alternatives:

Vegetarian:  Replace chicken with extra veggies or fruit.

Vegan:  Replace chicken with veggies or fruit.  Replace feta with vegan cheese or exclude altogether.  

Paleo:  Replace cheese and walnuts with veggies or fruit!

Gluten Free:  This recipe is gluten free!

XOXO Sara