• Dairy Free,  Gluten Free,  Holiday,  Recipe,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

    Warm Sage & Almond Pesto Roasted Potato Salad

    You know what is a pretty broad term? Salad.

    I feel like I’ve said this same thing many times before, actually I know I have, but it’s as true as ever. Where I grew up in the southern part of the States, every gathering with friends or church potluck was proof of this fact. It may even surprise some of you to know that it’s a common thing to make dessert salads in the mid-west. I kid you not, one popular version of that type of salad includes marshmallows, cherries, and whipped cream. My mom used to make it a lot for parties and we loved it.

    warm-sage-almond-pesto-roasted-potato-salad-3

    I’m just saying, a “salad” doesn’t always refer to a boring pile of greens. In this case I’m calling today’s recipe a salad for lack of a better term, but it could also be called a side dish or something similar. Basically it’s a great way to serve potatoes regardless of what name it’s given.

    warm-sage-almond-pesto-roasted-potato-salad-4

    One of my favorite parts of cooking this time of year are all the herbs and spices that go with the Holiday season. Speaking of which, I’m getting overly ecstatic about how close it is now! Okay, but if I go into that right now I won’t be able to control my desire to chatter your ears off about it. I’ll save my excitement for later and continue what I was saying about herbs.

    warm-sage-almond-pesto-roasted-potato-salad-11

    So we’ve got this little sage plant (named Yoda by the way, isn’t that perfect?) that hasn’t been toughing out the last of the cold weather very well and I thought was going to die on me. As it turns out though, he’s been well named and is a little fighter starting to thrive with the coming of Spring. I keep forgetting to use the fresh sage in my recipes, but I’ve really got to stop because using the fresh leaves is so much better than dried.

    warm-sage-almond-pesto-roasted-potato-salad-8

    What I loved about this dish is how it’s great served cold like a typical potato salad but serving it hot is perfect during the Fall and Winter seasons when you’re wanting a cozier touch.

    One last thing, the pesto, omg! There are so many other things that you can do with the pesto besides just putting it with potatoes, but that is definitely a brilliant way to use it if I do say so myself.

     

    Warm Sage & Almond Pesto Roasted Potato Salad

    Ditch the mayo and pickles and heat things up with this comforting version of a potato "salad" . It makes a wonderful side dish for dinner parties and holidays.

    Prep Time 10 minutes
    Cook Time 45 minutes
    Total Time 55 minutes

    Ingredients

    • 4 - 5 large Idaho or russet potatoes peeled and cubed

    Pesto:

    • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 3 tablespoons one small handful fresh sage leaves, washed
    • 1/4 cup raw almonds
    • 3 large cloves garlic

    Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C) and line a baking tray with foil. Combine all the ingredients for the pesto in a food processor or blender and pulse a few times until mostly smooth, with a little texture remaining.
    2. Toss the potato cubes with about 1/2 of the pesto and spread evenly on baking sheet. Roast for 35 - 45 minutes until fork tender and nicely browned, turn halfway through cooking with spatula. Remove and cool for about 5 minutes, then serve hot as a side dish or first course topped with desired amount of the rest of your pesto. Other options; you can add meat to finish the dish and make it a meal. It's also great served cold during warmer seasons.

     

  • Appetizers,  Dairy Free,  Gluten Free,  Recipe,  Salad,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

    Summer Berry, Sweet Corn, & Basil Quinoa Salad + Seedy Vinaigrette (Vegan+GF)

    I’m not sure how you guys are going to feel about me sharing a salad today.

    I was really kind of hoping you would be excited about it but I also realize that not everyone considers a salad something to get hyped about. What if it has tons of fresh berries and delicious seeds though, does that make it better? Well, at least I’m pretty excited to share it with you. I sometimes get cravings mid-week for something light and fresh to get through the rest of the week. I don’t know, just something about Wednesday says salad time to me, what do you think?

    I feel like this salad celebrates some of the most delicious flavors of the summer. Since I know so many of you are reaching the end of your summers I thought it’d be a good time to share this recipe because it’s the time of year when everyone’s seasons start to get more similar no matter which hemisphere you’re in. For me it’s my way to greet the Spring but for you up North it would also be great to use up the last of your summer basil and berries before it gets cold.

    Either way I’d say this is a definite keeper. Oh my goodness, and the seedy vinaigrette dressing is something you’ve gotta try. It’s kind of hilarious how much it always seems to impress people when it’s actually super, super simple to make. I’m talking throw it in a jar, shake, and pour; done. Plus it’s such a lovely way to dress up any salad, to pretty much bedazzle it with seeds of all different colors.

    The salad itself is also very simple, but the fresh basil mixed with the lightly tart berries and sweet corn is a combo that I’ll never get tired of. Basically this whole thing is a no-fail situation that I’m really hoping you’re inspired by at the very least. I know I am!

    Summer Berry, Sweet Corn, & Basil Quinoa Salad + Seedy Vinaigrette (Vegan+GF)

    Enjoy some of the season's yummiest flavors in this simple to make salad.

    Prep Time 15 minutes
    Servings 4 servings (or 6 for side portion)

    Ingredients

    Salad:

    • 4 cups fresh salad greens lettuce, spinach, etc., roughly chopped
    • 2 cups cooked quinoa
    • 1 cup whole kernal corn off the cob
    • 1 cup fresh berries of choice washed (stems removed for strawberries)
    • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
    • 1/4 to asted pepitas
    • 1 bunch fresh basil leaves roughly chopped if large

    Seedy Vinaigrette:

    • 1/2 cup sunflower oil
    • 1/4 cup white vinegar
    • 3 tablespoons sugar
    • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
    • 2 tablespoons pepitas
    • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
    • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
    • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
    • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

    Instructions

    Seedy Vinaigrette:

    1. Combine all the ingredients for vinaigrette in a medium jar with a tightly fitting lid and shake very well. Add salt and pepper to your taste then store in fridge until ready to serve.

    Salad:

    1. Gently toss the greens, quinoa, corn, and basil together for the salad in a large bowl using salad tongs. Top with fresh berries, sunflower seeds, and pepitas. Store salad in fridge until ready to serve.
    2. For serving, either gently toss entire salad with vinaigrette immediately before serving or serve on the side for individuals to add as desired.

     

  • Dairy Free,  Gluten Free,  Main Course,  Recipe,  Salad,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

    Greek Tzatziki Chia Fusilli Pasta Salad (Vegan+GF)

    So it seems like my flavor moods recently have been closely related. Today I’m going from my past two middle eastern focused recipes and making my way to the edge of Europe. Greece, to be more specific.

    In all honesty this was totally not planned. In fact, I first made this recipe over a month ago and everyone loved it but that day happened to be one of the darkest and rainiest days ever so trying to capture it in pictures just didn’t happen. I’m actually kind of embarrassed to admit to you guys that I took not just one, not two, but a whopping THREE different sets of photos for this salad. That’s probably a record even for me. Yeah, and I know that probably makes me sound a little obsessive but for some reason this pasta was just not photogenic at all and I hated the way it was looking. I’m still not thrilled with these pics but they’re at least a little better than the last.

    Like I said, the first time I made this was over a month ago but the photos were awful. I decided to go ahead and type out the recipe anyway so that I wouldn’t forget to share it. That’s also one of the ways that I try motivating myself to make a photo shoot work even when I want to scratch the whole thing.

    I was getting backed up on some things last week and really needing something simple to fix for lunch and that’s when I remembered this salad and decided to give it another chance to pose for me. I shot a second set of photos that morning but later I realized that I’d forgotten to add a few of the ingredients that I wanted in the recipe so I had to take a whole new set of pictures later that day. Fine, maybe I am a little obsessive sometimes, but enough about my ongoing photography issues. Let’s talk about this pasta salad!

    Did you know that you can buy chia pasta? Yeah, and it’s really good too. I used a brand that is made and sold here in Chile but I’m sure you can find similar brands wherever you live. Oh and can I just say, thinking of Chilean things reminds me how pasta salad is a pretty funny subject down here. The last time my mom took a bowl of it to a ladie’s gathering with some local friends, well, they didn’t really get it.

    She actually had someone ask her when and how you’re supposed to eat it (in a way that implied they’d never eat it). I think it’s safe to say we won’t try that one again since we’ve figured out that cold pasta is clearly far outside the bounds of Chilean cuisine and they find it really weird. I feel like this is becoming the story of my life in food the longer I live here. Hey, more for us, right?

    If you can’t find chia pasta you could just use regular fusilli or use any shape and type of pasta you like for that matter. It doesn’t necessarily have to be chia pasta. Although I did love using it and I recommend you try it if you stumble upon it at your local grocery store at some point (I’m not advertising anything btw, purely my own opinion here).

    As for the other ingredients in this salad, they’re all really simple things that you probably already have in your pantry and fridge. Just some super simple prep work and your all set. K, then you make a quick and easy tzatziki sauce and that’s what really brings the whole thing together and makes it so delicious. I didn’t even know half my family liked cucumbers so much until the first time I tried the stuff. Personally, when it comes to the world of veggies, they’re lower down on my list of faves but somehow when you add them to the other things in the tzatziki it creates a sauce that I completely fell in love with at first taste.

    In one of the earlier takes that I made of this recipe I added some avocado and in another one I thought I’d skip the olives for the haters in my gang.

    Greek Tzatziki Chia Fusilli Pasta Salad

    Prep Time 20 minutes
    Cook Time 20 minutes
    Total Time 40 minutes

    Ingredients

    Ztatziki:

    • 1 cup unsweetened plain cashew yogurt
    • 1/4 veganaise
    • 4 cloves garlic minced
    • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves
    • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 1 large cucumber quartered
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon fresh dill
    • salt and black pepper to taste

    Salad:

    • 400 g 14oz chia fusilli pasta (use gluten free if needed)
    • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1 small red onion diced
    • 2 medium ripe avocados, pitted and cubed
    • 1 large tomato diced
    • 1/2 cup pitted green olives
    • 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves chopped
    • sea salt freshly cracked black pepper to taste

    Instructions

    1. Combine all ingredients for ztatziki in a blender or food processor and pulse until nearly smooth but not quite. Pour into a bowl or container and place in fridge until ready for it.
    2. Bring about 5 cups of water to a boil over high heat in a medium pot and add the pasta. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes (a little less if using regular noodles) until just al dente. You want the noodles to still have enough bite left so that they won't get soggy when they absorb the liquid in the salad. Pour into a mesh strainer to drain and rinse in very cold water to stop the cooking, then pour into a large bowl.
    3. Add the salad ingredients and the ztatziki to the pasta and gently toss to combine. Chill salad in refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving. Alternatively you can heat it up and serve it warm if you prefer.
  • Dairy Free,  Gluten Free,  Main Course,  Recipe,  Snacks,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

    Rainbow Veggie Summer Rolls & Tahini Orange Dipping Sauce

    Hey guys, I’ve got a super fun way for us to get our daily veggies to share!

    So you know how last weekend I promised I’d have some healthier stuff soon? Well, I’m really hoping that these summer rolls fit the bill because, I’ve gotta tell you, all of these colors have me pretty excited over here. I adore photographing natural colors and I even tend to get a little carried away with it sometimes. These for example, I took about a trillion photos of them and they’ve definitely been one of the most fun recipes I’ve shot pics of recently. Talk about tasting the rainbow!


    Okay, so these summer rolls are so easy to make and they are great for pretty much any time of day or occasion. Since I needed some yellow to complete my rainbow I decided to use some tofu scrambled with turmeric. If you’d rather, you could use yellow bell peppers instead to complete your rainbow. Also, you could add some avocado. In fact, all the fillings can be switched up with your favorite herbs and vegetables.

    What you absolutely can’t skip is the sauce. It’s all about the sauce. Am I being vague here? The. sauce. is. Everything! How’s that? I could seriously drink that stuff (Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a gross exaggeration but it’s just so amazing!). You’ve got to try it.

    The rice paper used to wrap these might be a little weird to you if you’ve never tried using it before. It kind of reminds me of spandex. Don’t worry if your first few come out a little on the ugly side either, you’ll get the hang of rolling them after a few tries. In all honesty the texture of the wrappers wasn’t that popular with a few of my family members.

    Let’s see, I think that covers all the important stuff that you need to know; these are yummy, healthy, and you can’t skip the sauce. Yep, I think we’re good! Happy veggie munching!!!!

    Rainbow Veggie Summer Rolls & Tahini Orange Dipping Sauce

    Try a fun way of using all those colorful veggies and make these simple summer rolls with the zestiest sauce!

    Prep Time 30 minutes
    Cook Time 20 minutes
    Total Time 50 minutes
    Servings 6 servings

    Ingredients

    Summer Rolls:

    • 12 Thai rice paper spring roll wrappers
    • 1 small red bell pepper julienned
    • 1 large carrot julienned
    • 1/6 large head red cabbage thinly chopped
    • 1 cup white mushrooms thinly sliced
    • 1 cup shredded lettuce leaves
    • 1 small bunch fresh cilantro leaves roughly chopped
    • 1 small bunch fresh mint leaves roughly chopped
    • 1/4 cup thinly sliced pickled ginger
    • 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1/2 14 ounce package organic, firm or extra-firm tofu, cut into pieces (optional)

    Tahini Orange Sauce:

    • 1/2 cup cold water
    • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
    • 3 cloves garlic minced
    • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds plus more for topping
    • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
    • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce check label for vegan
    • 1/2 cup soy sauce or tamari if gluten free
    • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
    • 1 tablespoon orange zest
    • 2 tablespoons cup rice wine vinegar
    • 1/2 cups brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon chili garlic paste
    • 1/2 cup tahini sesame seed paste

    Instructions

    Summer Rolls:

    1. Wash and dry your veggies then slice and prep them according to the ingredient list so that everything is ready to fill your rolls.
    2. If adding tofu, heat 1/2 tablespoon of oil in a small skillet. Add the tofu and scramble as it cooks then season with the turmeric, salt and pepper and remove from heat.
    3. Fill a pie tin (or wide, shallow bowl) with cool water and dip one rice paper at a time for a few seconds then lay on a clean towel and allow it to soften for just a moment. Now place on a cutting board or clean work surface and add a few pieces of each veggie, a few pieces of pickled ginger, a sprinkle of cilantro and mint, and a small amount of scrambled egg (again, only if using). Fold in the sides and gently roll the rice paper up around the veggies and gather them as tightly as you can to make secure rolls.
    4. Serve with the tahini orange dipping sauce or any sauce you'd like.

    Tahini Orange Sauce:

    1. Whisk cornstarch and water in a small bowl and set aside. Cook garlic, ginger, and sesame seeds with sesame oil in a small saucepan or wok over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes until browned. Add the hoisin, soy sauce, orange juice and zest, vinegar, sugar, and chili garlic paste then bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring often. Continue boiling until the sauce is just starting to thicken a little, about 10 minutes. Pour in water/cornstarch while stirring and stir until thick. Remove from heat and stir in the tahini until sauce is smooth. Pour into a bowl for serving and garnish the top with sesame seeds. You can serve the sauce hot or chill in fridge for a few hours and serve cold.

     

  • Dairy Free,  Recipe,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

    Crunchy Ramen Noodle Salad with Thai Red Curry Sauce + Sesame Caramelized Cashews

    I’ve been in Asian food mood for the past few weeks and then I was reminded of a salad that my sister’s been talking about forever and she’s been asking me to make it a lot recently. I originally thought it sounded kind of weird to put ramen on a salad but, wow!

    I know that ramen noodles are not the healthiest thing ever, but hey they’re in a salad you guys, and plus you ditch msg packs in favor of much better flavors, so that’s good right? There are so many levels of yum going on. You’ve got all the fresh and vibrant veggies for the actual salad part, then there are the salty/sweet candied cashews that may not even make it to the salad if you start sampling them.

    Okay, then the dressing is a perfect balance of spicy, sweet, and tangy, but feel free to add extra red curry paste to kick up the heat if that’s how you like it. Last, but definitely not least, we’ve got the crunchy ramen noodles that come and completely steal the show and take the whole thing over the top. You have to try it!!!!

    It’s also a vegan salad (assuming you double check some of your ingredient labels to be sure) which means that it’s perfect for a summertime side at your next group picnic. Oh, and if you do what I did and make like fifty pounds of it, the leftovers make a great addition to stir-frys, egg roll filling, or potsticker filling. Sounds strange but it works.

    Crunchy Ramen Noodle Salad with Thai Red Curry Sauce + Sesame Caramelized Cashews

    Thought there was only one way to eat ramen? Think again. This salad is full of all the tastes and textures!

    Prep Time 25 minutes
    Cook Time 10 minutes
    Total Time 35 minutes
    Servings 6 servings

    Ingredients

    Thai Red Curry Sauce:

    • 2 cloves garlic minced
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
    • 2 teaspoons red curry paste *see note
    • 1/4 cup peanut butter
    • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
    • 1/4 cup soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons lime juice
    • 1/3 cup sugar

    Crunchy Ramen:

    • 2 3 ounce packs of ramen noodle (ditch the seasoning packs)
    • 1 tablespoon oil
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • dash of white pepper

    Caramelized Cashews:

    • 3/4 cup raw shelled cashews
    • 1 tablespoon oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
    • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoons honey
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
    • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds

    Salad:

    • 2 cups green cabbage shredded
    • 2 cups red cabbage shredded
    • 1 large carrot shredded
    • 2 medium cucumbers thinly sliced
    • 1 large red bell pepper seeds removed and sliced
    • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
    • lime wedges for serving optional

    Instructions

    Thai Red Curry Sauce:

    1. Whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl until well incorporated and smooth. Cover and place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld.

    Crunchy Ramen:

    1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet or wok and add the broken up ramen. Sprinkle with white pepper and soy sauce and stir over heat for about 2 minutes until toasted. Remove pan from heat and pour noodles onto a separate plate.

    Caramelized Cashews:

    1. Line a tray with wax or greased parchment paper and set nearby. Using the same pan from the ramen, add another tablespoon of oil and 1/2 teaspoon ginger to pan. Place back over medium heat and stir for about 2 minutes until ginger is browned and fragrant. Reduce heat to low and stir in sugar, honey, soy sauce, and sesame oil until combined then add sesame seeds and cashews to pan and stir for 1 to 2 minutes more until nuts start to brown slightly. Remove from heat and pour them onto prepared tray and use a rubber spatula to separate them as much as possible before they cool. Once cooled, break up or chop any larger chunks that hardened together.

    Salad:

    1. Combine all of the salad veggies in a large bowl and toss to combine. Top with black sesame seeds, caramelized cashews, and crunchy ramen. Just before serving drizzle with desired amount of the curry sauce (you may not need to use all of it) Serve as soon as possible with additional lime wedges for squeezing if desired.
  • Appetizers,  Dairy Free,  Recipe,  Snacks,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

    Mini Cheese Pizza Bagel Swirl Bites (Vegan)

    I’m sharing a little pizza my heart with you guys today……….and apparently it comes with some added corn too, haha. It’s a package deal.

     

    Yeah, I’ve been very punny recently and I blame it on some of my good friends who I’m beginning to think only think and speak in puns. It’s catchy, to say the least, and my whole family has become like this non-stop reel of cheesy comebacks to every statement. It’s on the border of becoming annoying. Borderline.

    So I saw this awesome post on Food52 about childhood favorite snacks the other day and it was such a blast from the past. You know what though, I realized that one of the things on the list was very similar to something that I’ve been making all the time recently, pizza bites! They are always a favorite snack recipe for my hungry gang of peoples, and yes, they are pretty much the same idea as pizza bagels. Did you not love those growing up? From what I remember they were one of those things that my mom rarely, if ever, bought because we all know that they’re trash. I think I ate them at friends houses sometimes though, or traded lunches at school for some.

     

    The great news is that when you make them at home it’s a different story altogether. I mean, they still aren’t exactly health food but at least you can control what’s going into them. I’ve even managed to camoflouge some vegetables in these on occasion, but I’ll keep it simple today.

    For those of you who didn’t catch my last post, I did the catering for a friends casual wedding party/ reception last weekend and I’m very happy to report that my first wedding cake ever didn’t crash in front of the crowd! But oh how I stressed and lost sleep over it. It was a great party, and as I told you guys yesterday, I’m sharing some of the recipes that I made for it starting with these little yummies.

     

    These were probably the biggest hit of everything I made so I thought I’d share them first. They are really easy to make, which I think is part of their charm. I seriously can’t crank these out fast enough at home because the kids can put them away so fast. I guess that’s the point of making entire pizzas instead, but these are just way more fun and definitely better for serving at a party. They’re also the perfect tailgating snack for the guys.

    I also made them in taco and bbq chicken flavor and those are just as easy, but like I said, I really wanted to keep it simple today so I’ll save those for another time. You really need these in your life!

    Mini Cheese Pizza Bagel Swirl Bites (vegan)

    Whole cheese pizzas are great and all, but what about bite size, totally snackable pizzas???

    Prep Time 15 minutes
    Cook Time 35 minutes
    Rising Time 1 hour
    Total Time 50 minutes
    Servings 36 spirals (about)

    Ingredients

    • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
    • 2 talespoons sugar
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 1/4 cups water
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
    • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 cups your favorite pizza sauce
    • 8 ounces vegan mozzarella style shredded cheese
    • 1/4 fresh basil leaves roughly chopped

    Instructions

    1. Stir water, sugar, salt, and yeast together until yeast is dissolved and allow to sit for about 5 minutes. Pour into a large mixing bowl and whisk in oil until combined. Add flour and mix until dough comes together. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes. Place in oiled bowl and cover, then place in warm place to rise until doubled in size.
    2. Heat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C) and line a tray with parchment or silicone mats. Divide dough in half and roll out one half on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle, roughly 1/4 inch thick.
    3. Spread half of the pizza sauce and sprinkle half of the cheese and basil on top.
    4. Roll dough, starting from a long edge, into a log shape and use a sharp knife to slice into spirals about 3/4 inch thick (you can adjust the size to your needs). Place them about 1 inch apart on tray and bake for 12 to 18 minutes until edges are golden and cheese starts to brown.
    5. Allow them to cool for a moment then remove from tray and serve warm!
  • Appetizers,  Dairy Free,  Holiday,  Recipe,  Snacks,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

    Easy Raspberry Jalapeno Dip & Homemade Wheat Thins

    Did you all have a really great weekend?

    I hope so, I had one of the best ever! This was my first Christmas as an aunty and also my last one as a teenager (omg, that’s kinda sad ;( ). My nephew was so cute opening his first presents ever, absolutely adorable and hilarious at the same time.

    Anyone have plans for New Year’s? Is it just me or is it a very anti-climatic holiday after the hype of Christmas? I’ve always thought so. We don’t have any traditions or anything special that we do as a family. Most years we just spend the weekend trying to cram in replays of our favorite Christmas movies before it’s too late and contemplating taking down the decorations. This year though, we’re doing a Thanksgiving dinner; take 2! Confused?

    Well, some of our really good friends that we get together with all the time recently had a loss in their extended family so our friend Eric had to fly out of town for a few weeks right before our big Thanksgiving dinner. We all knew that he was looking forward to that dinner so much so we decided to have a little redo in his honor and also because, why not? It’s not like we had other plans an I’m totally up to one more feast before the year’s out.

    It is making this week a little busier than past years though, so I thought I’d try to make things easier on myself and share one of my favorite easy recipes today. This one is actually a recipe inspired by my aunt Debbie (Thanks DebDeb!). By request, she would bring this to just about every holiday party I can remember, when we all lived in the same state that is. It’s only 4 ingredients for the dip and I feel like I’m cheating with the crackers here because the recipe for them is one of the first ones I posted on my blog when it was just a few empty web pages with terrible photos.  The only difference being that I made them into cute holiday shapes for the holiday. That makes it kind of like new, right?

    Be warned everyone, this is super addictive and I have to tell you that the crackers are well named ’cause they’re like crack. You want to eat the whole batch once you start (one is too many and eight is not enough). The dip is a perfect blend of tart, sweet, spice, and creaminess with a nutty crunch on top. I would say that you can’t make the dip without the crackers, but I know some of you are going to want to so I guess that’s fine. It’s good with all kinds of dippers actually, veggies, chips, pitas, you name it.

    So I hope this helps inspire you on this mid-holiday Monday. Have a great week guys!

    Easy Raspberry Jalapeno Dip & Homemade Wheat Thins

    A party just wouldn't be the same without a perfectly addicting dip to socialize around. This dip is a family holiday favorite.

    Ingredients

    Homemade Wheat Thins:

    • 1/3 cup coconut oil
    • 3 1/2 tablespoons sugar
    • 3/4 cup water
    • 1 teaspoons salt plus extra for sprinkling
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
    • 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour plus extra for rolling

    Easy Raspberry Jalapeno Dip:

    • 1 8 ounce package non-dairy "cream cheese", at room temp
    • 3/4 cup raspberry jelly
    • 1 tablespoon canned jalapeno pepper + 1 tablespoon juice from can
    • 1/3 cup chopped pecans

    Instructions

    Homemade Wheat Thins:

    1. Beat coconut oil and sugar until smooth. Add water, vanilla, paprika, and salt and continue mixing. Last, add flour and stir until smooth.
    2. On a floured surface, roll out dough into a rectangle. Make it a very thin layer. Use a pizza cutter to cut lines vertically and horizontally to create about 1 1/2 inch squares or cut into whatever shape you want. just make sure to keep them fairly thin.
    3. Space closely together on a parchment lined baking tray. If you want to them to be on the salty side then sprinkle salt lightly over crackers.
    4. Bake at 400 degrees F (200 C) for 5-10 minutes watching carefully. When the edges start to darken pull from oven and let them cool.

    Easy Raspberry Jalapeno Dip:

    1. Spread the "cream cheese" into a smooth layer in a high-sided plate or dish (a pie pan will work also). Chop jalapenos until they're very fine, then mix them and 1 tablspoon of the jalapeno juice with the raspberry jelly in a small bowl. Scrape the bowl out onto the cream cheese layer and also spread this layer smooth. Sprinkle chopped pecans over the top and serve with crackers or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve (you'll need to set it out about 30 minutes before to soften it again.).