Monday, February 27, 2012


I know that several of you have waited along time for me to post my hummus recipe! Several of you have asked for it and I have been unable to deliver. You see my recipe has been someone else's family recipe and I have never bothered to ask her for permission to share it. She was one of my college roommates and her dad is from Jordan and the recipe is very good as you can imagine! I guess I have felt like I am lucky to have the recipe myself and it is kind of a secret.

I am a bit of a hummus snob if you haven't already heard me say that before. My sister worked at a Greek restaurant in Spokane, Washington, where I am from, for many years. I believe it was about 10. I worked there one summer as well which was super fun and a delightfully tasteful job! Many of my paychecks were spent on food. So that is my excuse for being a hummus snob. You can't work there and not become pretty picky about your hummus.

So I worked a little on my own recipe so I would be able to share it with you. Granted most recipes are going to have the same basic ingredients but here is what I have come up with.
Start with one can of organic chick peas. Do NOT drain the juice! You will need all of the juice from that one can. You can just dump your whole can into the food processor and skip the bowl  if you like.

Grab a couple large garlic cloves and run them through the garlic press. Add that to the chick peas and juice in the food processor. You may decide later that you need a little more garlic but it is best to error on not using enough. Trust me. I have made that mistake because I am a garlic lover and forget that it gets more flavorful with time.

You will need some tahini. Tahini is a sesame paste and is what really gives hummus its flavor. You cannot make hummus without tahini. This one isn't necessarily my favorite one but I can buy it here in town and it is organic and raw.

You will need the juice of one lemon. Yes, you must use fresh. If you use that bottled stuff it will taste disgusting and I will be mad at you for ruining perfectly good hummus.
I am not kidding.

This is where my recipe differs from most. I like my hummus to be extra smooth. Remember I am a snob about this! You can make hummus with just this flour and no can of chick peas but it involves a little cooking so I decided to just add it to my recipe plain to see what would happen. I ended up using 1/3 of a cup. It worked.

You will need some ground cumin, paprika, and salt as well. I add about a teaspoon of both the salt and ground cumin to the mixture. Blend well after each addition to the food processor. You will need more cumin for the top with a dash of paprika as well. I also really like pine nuts and a little more roasted chopped garlic on top as well but I didn't have the pine nuts because they are outlandishly expensive!

You will also need a bit of olive oil for the top of your hummus.

It definitely turned out smoother than it has before but I think I will give just the flour a try sometime to see how that turns out. If you are wondering if I ever by store bought hummus the answer is yes! I only like two kinds though. Sabra is my favorite and I like the roasted garlic flavor or Holy Land brand. I refuse to eat all other store bought brands! I do like the hummus at Persepolis in town and I would be willing to try it at another restaurant as well.

Unfortunately, Niko's, the restaurant where my sister and I both worked in downtown Spokane closed. We were completely devastated as you can imagine. I made my sister call the owner and find out why. He said it was just time to be done. I am so sad that I won't be getting anymore Niko's food when I come home for visits! You all know how I love my Greek food.

P.S. I am also a snob about coffee. My excuse for that is that I grew up in Washington state, the birth place of Starbucks, the coffe shack on every corner, and basically the whole coffee craze!

I apologize for my snobiness!

Pam's Homemade Hummus

1 can organic chick peas and juice from that can
1/3 cup garbanzo bean flour
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon Tahini (more if desired)
2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cumin

olive oil
ground cumin
pine nuts

Blend all ingredients in a food processor mixing well after each addition. Place hummus in a serving bowl and top with more ground cumin, paprika, and olive oil

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Blueberry Coconut Overnight Oats

I may have found a new oatmeal love and that is no easy task when I have such a thing for quinoa! It started when I found these at CashWise when I took my mother-in-law there on Saturday so she could stock up on a few items.

Organic Coconut Chips! SUPER CHEAP! And they only have one gram of sugar per serving. They are in the bulk section. If you don't live here check your local bulk section of the health food area or bug me enough to send you some.

Then we also decided to buy some of this after I saw my friend Melissa there with about 4 containers herself. In my mind I was thinking smoothies which I will probably still make but when I decided on overnight oats a light bulb appeared over my head!

Then I also remembered I had a couple containers of this left! I almost always eat Greek yogurt but when I am feeling like I need a little flavor I get some Fiber One. They have the least amount of calories and the least amount of sugar, which I believe is only 6 grams. That is really good when it comes to yogurt!

So into my jar went the oats, yogurt, coconut milk, and coconut chips as well as one packet of Stevia and some cinnamon that you can't see. I turned around and looked at Miles and said, "Would you like me to just double this for you too?" He said, "Um, Hmm, well, I really need to eat, um, OKAY, YES!" He was planning on eggs for the morning because we have been trying to be a bit more strict lately.

So I poured all the same ingredients in and mixed it all up. Then I added a few frozen blueberries, mixed it again gently, put the lid on, and stuck it in the fridge with a smile on my face! I like breakfast being taken care the night before!

I divided the mixture among two bowls, heated mine up for about 15 seconds to take the edge off the coldness, but not cook the yogurt, and then topped mine with sliced almonds, more frozen blueberries, and some agave!
The. best. breakfast.
Miles came along later and topped his bowl with the same I think and decided he was super glad he had me double the recipe instead of eating eggs!

Good to the very last drop! I wish I had picked up some more blueberry yogurt at the store today. Perhaps I can blend them into my Greek yogurt first and repeat this for tomorrow morning. I am now craving it!

This is a great recipe to try if you are wanting to get more of those healthy probiotics from the yogurt into you and if you have never tried any of the overnight oats recipes then start with this one! So many great flavors.

Blueberry Coconut Overnight Oats

1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/3 cup Fiber One Blueberry yogurt
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup organic coconut chips
1 teaspoon/packet Stevia
1 tsp. cinnamon
frozen or fresh blueberries

Mix together all ingredients and place into the fridge overnight.
In the morning add: more fresh or frozen blueberries, almonds or nut of your choice, and a drizzle of agave nectar.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

To Die For Date Bars

I have been so excited to finally get to this post to share this great and very simple recipe with you! These date bars are so delicious and they really satisfy ones sweet tooth in a very healthful way without added sugar! My kids even liked them, but I have been told recently that that doesn't mean anything anymore because my kids are too fixed. I suppose there could be some truth in that, but most kids are pretty honest if something isn't good, and my kids are still sugar hounds even though they are good at eating their vegetables!

So I found this recipe for Lemon Ginger Date Bars on a blog I read called The Edible Perspective. That is also where I found Cake for Breakfast and French Toast Oatmeal so it is worth checking out! It sounded so easy and I was planning on making them for small group. I had been looking for a way to use these Medjool Dates I picked up at Sam's.
Medjool dates are one of my favorite alternatives to sugar! They are plenty sweet on their own so you don't need any other sweetener. They also boast some great nutrition facts. They have lots of vitamins and are particularly high in vitamin A, have lots of minerals, especially potassium, they contain zero saturated or trans fats, have no cholesterol, are low in sodium, have some protein and amino acids and of course fiber, and the sugar contained in them is fructose which metabolizes slowly in your system so it is the good kind we need for energy!

So for the scrumptious date bars you need to grind up in the food processor one generous cup of almonds. Sorry for the blurriness of the picture but a picture is worth a thousand words and if I didn't show it you might forget to grind them up.

You will need 2tsp. lemon zest and 1 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice. You will also need 1/2 tsp. ground ginger. Add that to the chopped almonds and then move that to another bowl temporarily.

And about 12 of these delicious dates of course. Don't forget to pit them first though. Process the dates until they are finely chopped. Mine began to form a ball. Add the nut, lemon, ginger, mixture back into the dates and process. The mixture will come together nicely and you should easily be able to roll it into a ball. If it isn't holding together you may need to add more dates.

I pressed my mixture out onto a piece of waxed paper with my hands but that was after I rolled a few balls and popped them in my mouth!

I covered it with another piece of wax paper and rolled it into a nice square. I had to stop a few times and lift the paper and shape it with my hands. I found it actually worked just fine to not have the paper on top.

Since I was planning on taking these to small group I shaped them into little date squares. I ended up getting 30 out of the recipe and that was after Miles, his mom, and I all taste tested. So probably about 35 would be more accurate.

I know someone will ask how thick I rolled it so here is a picture for you! These little bars of goodness are so refreshing! I was contemplating rolling some into balls for a great energy snack before or after a workout but I have to say the bars are more satisfying. I will do the balls next time though since it will be handy!

Now if you would like to see better pictures and get the full recipe click here on Lemon Gingery Goodness. Ashley cut hers into bars to mimic something more like a Larabar.

I was not finished with just the lemon and ginger however! Something inside me was telling me I needed a chocolate version!

I followed the same beginning steps to process the dates and almonds but this time I also added cocoa, dark chocolate chocolate chips, organic coconut chips, orange zest and fresh squeezed orange juice!

HEAVENLY! Where the lemon ones are a refreshing pick me up, the chocolate ones are an indulgent treat! The chocolate ones are gone now because they were everyone's favorite. If you don't care for orange and chocolate together you could always use vanilla or almond extract instead.

Please try these VERY soon!
They are so awesome!
I am sure you will thank me!

I must now be on the hunt for these dates in town! If you find them first please let me know. If you are making the trek to Sam's I think I paid $8.98 for the tub of these so don't be alarmed by the price. You get a lot of them and they are totally worth it!

These will become a snack we have around here very often!

Inspired by Lemon Gingery Goodness Bars from the Edible Perspective

Chocolate Orange Date Bars
1 generous cup almonds, processed finely
10-12 Medjool Dates, pitted and processed
1/4 cup cocoa (more to taste if needed)
1/3 cup coconut chips/flakes
1/2 cup dark chocolate chocolate chips, finely chopped
2 tsp. orange zest
1 Tbsp. fresh squeezed orange juice

Process almonds then remove from processor. Process dates and add almonds back in along with the remaining ingredients. Process until mixture holds together nicely. If too dry add more dates. Press mixture onto a piece of waxed paper and flatten with a rolling pin to desired shape. Cut into squares or bars or alternatively, roll into balls.

Post Publish Update

I have since also made a Lime Coconut version that is also very delicious. Use the same basic steps to make these. Here is the recipe.

Lime Coconut Date Bars
1 generous cup almonds, finely processed
12 Medjool dates, pitted and processed
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes finely processed
2 tsp. lime zest
1 Tbsp. lime juice (a little more if they are too dry might be necessary)

Remember it is really easy to roll these into balls too and store in a container in the fridge.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Found Something I Love!

Okay so I ate a late lunch and I am not hungry tonight so I scratched the dinner plans in favor of these new pretzels that I found a few weeks back and totally love! I always say if you find something awesome you should share right?? Well I will not share my pretzels with you. In fact I am having a hard time sharing them with Faith but I will share where you can find them. (If 5 year old daughter likes them, no loves them, then you will too!)
Hello pretzels!!!! I have truly missed the cracker/pretzel kind of snack in my life. There just aren't that many healthy versions of crackers and especially pretzels but as I was walking by the aisle at the store the word SPROUTED caught my attention so I stopped to investigate!

I really only eat sprouted grain bread or pita so I was thinking hooray a sprouted whole grain pretzel! Thank you Lord! I just might have a new favorite snack. After reading through the ingredient list and nutrition facts I decided to bring them home with me! Check out how big they are and I can eat 8 of those big pretzels for 110 calories so they are a decent snack! They do not disappoint.

Only 6 ingredients and I am loving the first two for sure!

I found these locally at CashWise in the health food section but good news for everyone, they ship anywhere! Check out how many flavors they make. I didn't see any of the other flavors but I will be looking and if I can't find them I just might have them ship me some! I am thinking garlic and onion next!

You see what I mean about the sharing??? The pretzels are gone. Poor girl. Somebody better get her some more! I actually just sent Miles to the store to get us some more because the crumbs that Faith and I just downed were not enough. He went willingly in case you are wondering. He needed some brownie points!

I might have them with some of my favorite green drink, "Green Goodness" from Bolthouse Farms. You can find this just about anywhere but when I saw the two pack at Sams for only $5.98 I snagged them up quick. They are gluten free, have no preservatives, no artificial colors or flavors, and no GMO ingredients. (genetically modified organisms) It tastes so yummy. Don't be too alarmed by the sugar content. It is all natural sugar from the fruits and veggies it contains. I still only enjoy it occasionally though, mainly because it is a bit spendy.

I know it doesn't seem like much dinner but I will probably eat some fruit and veggies with it as well and I am not really that hungry! Now go get yourself some pretzels! I do mean NOW!

DVR here I come!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Italian Pizza Salad and Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! We started our morning off with our usual tradition of going out to breakfast! We gave up on a romantic dinner out on this day years ago. It isn't romantic to worry about making reservations for Valentine's Day in January and then be in a very crowded restaurant where you feel very rushed to finish so someone else can have your table. We've made this more of a day to remember our love for each other as a family and the one and only true love we receive from above, the love of Jesus Christ! I am going to make a fun dinner at home for all of us though! Maybe I will even light some candles.
So on to salad. If you ever wanted to get a man to like a salad then this is the one you must feed him! I have been meaning to pick up the ingredients for this for quite some time and somehow kept forgetting the essential ingredients. Yesterday Miles and I ate this for lunch and Miles was very excited about it. Then several hours later on the drive home from the dentist in Marshall he commented again on how much he liked it and how it really hit the spot. When you eat as much salad as we do you really need to change it up everyday! This is one of our favorites and I can't believe it has taken me this long to share it with you really!

This is why he likes it so much! Turkey pepperoni is an awesome substitute for the real thing and makes an excellent salad topping. You can have 17 slices for only 70 calories and chopped up into fourths makes it feel like you get even more on your salad.

The rest of the ingredients include green onion, chopped tomato and sun-dried tomato, Greek peperoncinis, and lettuce of course. I always like to mix my lettuce so it was spinach and romaine yesterday.

For the dressing I would suggest this Light Sun Dried Tomato by Newmans or to make your own Italian with these 4 simple ingredients. I start with about 1/3 cup olive oil and added some of the brine from the peperoncinis. I am guessing it to be about 1/4 cup but you know by now I never measure this kind of stuff. Then I add some of this Italian Pesto seasoning but any Italian seasoning will work or use some oregano, basil, and thyme or parsley. I think I added about 1 tablespoon and about 1 teaspoon of garlic powder. I would normally just use fresh garlic but I was in a hurry.

It ended up making this much dressing and Miles and I each had plenty on our salads and I have leftover in the fridge for today!

So if you are tired of the same old salad with ranch dressing and you need to change it up or be motivated to eat more salad then try this. I promise you or any man in your life will not be disappointed!

Even though we have technically already celebrated Valentine's Day I will still make something fun for us tonight. Yesterday on the drive to the dentist I finally took the time to look more thoroughly through my new Clean Eating Magazine and found this...

Hmmm.....I think everyone would love this I thought to myself. Now let me see how they cleaned up ravioli????? I think I can make that work! Plus it is served with red marinara sauce which will be great for Valentine's Day.

Doesn't it look delicious?

Plus check this out! Only 135 calories for 4 ravioli with 2 tbsp. sauce and only 3 grams of sugar that comes from the tomatoes, which is the right kind of sugar to have! That is incredible! Now I will be off to hunt down whole wheat ravioli so wish me luck!

I will serve it with a Ceasar salad tonight and I will be working on a homemade Ceasar dressing that is a bit more healthy and something else red.....

We picked up a big container of these at Sam's on Friday evening so they will be perfect for tonight! Yum!

Happy Valentines' Day! I hope you have a great day celebrating the ones you love!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hello Quinoa! I have Missed You!

I broke my carb, fruit, sugar fast this morning with a big bowl of my favorite breakfast food, quinoa and Greek yogurt with frozen blueberries and agave! It tasted pretty darn good! That is the amazing thing about going without for a few days. Those foods really do taste better then you ever thought they could!

I still ate very simple meals for the rest of the day however because I liked the last few days! For lunch I had this.....
Since I had quinoa already made up in the fridge I just added some pilaf mix and dried red and green peppers that I got at the local health food store in town. It is right next to Jake's Pizza for you locals and is called Potpourri. Excellent store! I just used a couple tablespoons of the pilaf blend and mixed it with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar and tossed it all together to serve over my bed of greens. It looked like it was missing a bit of something though.

It asked me to add feta. I swear!

Then later for a little treat I had some nuts and a glass of green tea with mango that I also purchased at Potpourri. AMAZING! I started out with warm tea and half way through thought it might also be good iced so I filled a cup with some ice and poured it over. I was right. It was GREAT! I have been wanting to add more green tea to my life. I think I have found the way. The mango in there is just divine!

Dinner tonight was brought to me courtesy of the Schwan's Man! Have you heard me talk about how much I love these turkey and spinach meatballs???? Even Faith eats these and that girl wants to be a vegetarian. Quick and very delicious and even healthy!

So we ate them with a side salad topped with soy nuts, some cut up fruit, and just a few baby baker potatoes that also came from the Schwan's Man. We don't eat potatoes too often because you can't really call them a health food but they aren't bad food either. They are an occasional food! Super easy, quick, healthy and I didn't even have to dirty up my kitchen tonight. I just sat and talked to my husband while the meatballs and potatoes were in the oven. I don't usually let Miles in the kitchen when I cook. I have issues with needing to cook alone.

So even though I added fruit and carbs back into my diet today you can see that I stuck with complex carbs like quinoa and still didn't eat any bread. The potatoes on the other hand aren't so complex but I didn't even finish what was on my plate.

I promise I will get back to being more creative soon but I hope that you can see that eating healthy can be very quick and doesn't require a ton of thought and preparation all the time.

Enjoy your evening! Some DVR catch up is on the agenda for me!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Simply Simple

I have really forgotten how much I love simple cooking. Being very restrictive these last few days has caused me to remember how much easier it is to eat simply. I have used no recipes, eaten no carbs, sugar, or even fruit, and have spent very little time in the kitchen, yet we have eaten some delicious meals!

I guess that will equate to a very simple post!

Dinner last night.....

I sliced up some chicken sausage and peppers and onions and cooked them with a bit of garlic in some olive oil. I steamed some broccoli and corn, which was mainly for the sake of the kids. Corn doesn't really have that much nutritional value and I don't serve it often. I also needed to use up the last of my brown tomatoes so I sliced them and tossed some balsamic vinegar over them and topped with a bit of mozzarella. Lots of veggies and a very quick and healthy dinner!


I had some leftover 8 layer Mediterranean Dip from Sunday's Super Bowl Feast. Instead of dressing I used this to top my simple salad of lettuce, spinach, tomato, and cucumber. We ate this salad yesterday for lunch as well. It is DEFINITELY my new favorite salad. I also added some soy nuts for crunch.

Dinner tonight.........

I baked some chicken I rubbed in one of my favorite spice blends and topped it with Parmesan cheese. I also cooked some black eyed peas and added tomato, green and red pepper, cucumber, and green onion to make it a salad. I made a simple dressing with olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, and garlic. It was delicious!

I wish I had some red onion instead of green for color and a bit stronger flavor.

I think I have posted before about Pepper Creek Farms bread dipping blends. They do make excellent dipping flavors but I love to use them in all kinds of foods from salads to meat like I did tonight. The Greek one is my favorite of course but this was super tonight especially with the Parmesan cheese on top of our chicken. You can order these online but oddly enough I usually find them at TJ Maxx or Home Good Stores. Check there if you are fortunate enough to live close before ordering.

Simple post indeed! It took me only 15 minutes, which just might be a record! Now it is possible I might be able to watch the Biggest Loser on the actual night it is on.

I will continue to eat this way for a few more days. It really isn't bothering me. I am not really feeling deprived. In fact I have been reminded like I said at the beginning that this is how I prefer to eat. I just forgot for a while. My body is thanking me! Although you all probably are not. Sorry to be so boring!

Now on to my snack for the evening. Sugar Free Jello.