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Kicked up Pimento & Cheese

25 Jun

If you’re from the South like me, then pimento & cheese was probably a staple around your house growing up. But when mom and I offered to bring pimento & cheese to a get together at a friends house, they had no clue what we were talking about. They’re from the North. So if you’re also from the North, do yourself a favor and make some pimento & cheese.

pimento and cheese

Not only does P&C offer wonderful flavor, but it’s simple and makes for a quick meal. Spread on some toasted bread and you have a wonderful sandwhich. To use it as an appetizer, spread it on crackers or celery and watch peoples’ faces light up with happiness!

pimento and cheese 3.1

For the pimento & cheese:

  • 1 8-oz block sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 8-oz block pepper jack cheese
  • 1 8-oz block sharp white cheddar
  • 1/2 cup mayo (or greek yogurt)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped jalapenos
  • 1 4-oz jar pimentos
  • 1/2 teaspoons pepper or McCormick Hot Shot

Shred the three blocks of cheese. Don’t cheat and buy pre-shredded because you’ll regret it. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until moist.


If you don’t like spicy, leave out the jalapeno and substitute more cheddar or monetery jack cheese for the pepper jack. If you’d like to turn it into a warm dip, add an 8-oz block of cream cheese and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until cheese gets melty and bubbly. Enjoy!

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Black Bean ‘Hummus’

10 Jun

Black Bean Hummus

It may not be the prettiest looking thing, but where it lacks in looks it makes up for in taste! I’m not a huge fan of hummus, but put black beans in front of me and I go crazy. So I decided to combine the two beans (black and chickpeas) in attempt to make a healthy snack I could stand.

This type of recipe is so versatile. You’re pretty much free to add any type of flavorings you’re taste buds crave. I started off going spicy then added sesame oil which gave it a smokier, Asian flare. No matter, have fun making this recipe your own!

For the ‘hummus’:

1 can chickpeas

1 can black beans

1/4 cup liquid from each can

1/4 onion

1/4 red pepper

1/2 cup salsa

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

about 1/4 cup pickled jalapenos

1 tablespoon jalapeno juice

1/8 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until you have a smooth mixture. If you don’t have a large enough food processor, blend in a blender or pulse in smaller batches.


Black Bean Hummus2

I really enjoyed the flavor of this dip, especially served on toasted bread pieces. It can also be served with various crackers or veggie slices. For a hot dip, try adding cream cheese and shredded cheese and baking in the oven.

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Brownies

28 May

Dark chocolate sea salt brownie

Confession: I’ve never been a major chocolate eater. But that didn’t stop me from buying four (yes, 4!) bars of chocolate recently. The chocolate isle must have cast a spell over me because I absolutely couldn’t resist. After getting home and eating the red velvet cake flavored bar, I moved on to devouring the black currant and almond one, which happens to be my new favorite. With my chocolate sweet tooth satisfied and two bars of chocolate left, what was I to do? Turn them into brownies, of course!

Dark chocolate sea salt brownie 3

I’m sorta picky when it comes to my taste in brownies. I don’t like them too rich or too gooey. After searching and searching, I finally found a recipe I thought would be to my liking, and they did turn out delicious! If you enjoy a mix of sweet and salty flavors, this one’s worth trying.

Dark chocolate sea salt brownie 2

For the brownies:

7 oz dark chocolate, chopped

-I used Lindt Dark Chocolate with a Touch of Sea Salt and Ghirardelli 72% Dark Chocolate.

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into quarters

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

3 large eggs

1  1/4 cups sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch baking dish with foil and spray lightly with nonstick spray; set aside.

In a double boiler or a pan set over simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate stirring occasionally. Once melted, stir in the cocoa powder and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt; whisk until combined. Add the chocolate mixture and whisk to combine. With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour until just combined.  

Pour the mixture into the baking dish and smooth the top. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a small amount of crumbs stuck to it. Transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Remove brownies from pan using the foil, cut, and serve!


I had added an extra 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt to my batter but found the crunch and super salty bites were too much for me. If you would like the added salt, feel free, although I believe the salt amount would be just perfect only using the sea salt chocolate bar. For those of you who really enjoy the dark chocolate flavor, using dark chocolate cocoa powder and a higher percentage dark chocolate bar would work. I rolled a few of mine in crushed pistachios for serving. I adapted my recipe from Annie’s Eats.

Limoncello Italian Ice

22 May

Okay, okay, so this recipe doesn’t use actual Limoncello, but it’s delicious all the same. I remember as a kid I used to get all giggly and excited over Italian ice from the summertime vendors that would pop up around town. The bright colors and exotic (to me) sounding flavors were so tempting, though, never fail, I always chose plain ole’ grape. Thankfully my taste buds have developed since then yet I still crave that Italian ice when the summers get sweltering hot (as they already are in Florida). Simply mixing fruit juices with simple syrup and throwing it in the freezer only gives you a hunk of flavored ice. When I found this recipe on Annie’s Eats I was ecstatic! The addition of a tad of sweet, white wine makes this freeze up just enough while still being icy, since alcohol doesn’t freeze.

This recipe is highly adaptable, and could be made with any flavor fruit juice or soda you’re craving. I first tried it with pomegranate and was very pleased. I thought I’d share my attempt at trying it with a soda. Limoncellino Sorrento-style Soda to be exact, which I found at World Market. It’s similar in taste to a slightly sour lemonade but with carbonation.

Limoncello Italian Ice

For the Italian Ice:

1 cup juice/soda of choice

1/4 cup sugar

2-3 tablespoons sweet, white wine (such as Moscato or Riesling)

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine 1/4 cup of the juice/soda with the sugar and heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add in remaining juice/soda. Stir in the wine. At this point you can either chill the mixture in the refrigerator and then freeze it in an ice cream maker, or simply put it straight in the freezer, covered (like I did since I lack an ice cream maker).


Freezing the mixture in an ice cream maker will probably produce a smoother texture, but simply freezing mine gave it the icy consistency of Italian ice which I love. Using the Limoncellino soda gave this a nice, crisp flavor making for a wonderful daytime snack or after dinner dessert. And no worries, the wine doesn’t make it inedible for kids.

Quiche Lorraine Scones

20 May

As you may, or may not, know.. it’s National Quiche Lorraine Day! I thought it’d be fun to try a quiche recipe, but lacked the eggs to do so. Thankfully, before I gave up on Quiche Lorraine Day all together, I happened upon this recipe for scones, and am I ever glad! I’ve admittedly never made, nor eaten, scones before but I have a feeling they’re going to become a new regular on my menu. Sort of a glorified biscuit, these scones were flavorful and smelled absolutely amazing. I had a difficult time resisting the urge to open the oven, pluck one off the baking sheet, and gobble it away.

Quiche Lorraine Scones

For the scones:

2 cups + 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour, divided

1 tablespoon baking powder

Dash cumin & garlic powder

1 teaspoon each salt & pepper

8 tablespoons cold butter, diced

1/2 cup half-and-half

2 eggs

4 ounces swiss cheese, diced

3 green onions, thinly sliced

8 strips bacon, cooked and crumbles

egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Prepare the bacon, onion and cheese. Toss these ingredients together with 1 teaspoon flour; set aside. In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cumin, garlic, salt and pepper. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until the butter is pea-size.

With a fork, lightly beat the eggs and half-and-half and add to the flour mixture. Add the bacon, onion and cheese mixture. Using a wooden spoon, fold mixture until it begins to come together.

Turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead gently for less than one minute. Pat dough to ¾ to 1-inch thick and cut using 2-inch biscuit cutter or cut into squares or triangles. Place the scones on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with the egg wash.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until golden brown.


As I said, these scones were delicious! If you’re unsure how to cut butter into flour, here’s a nice tutorial. Best served warm and straight from the oven, scones make a wonderful breakfast or tea-time snack. They can also easily be reheated under the broiler or microwaved covered with a damp paper towel to ensure they don’t become too dry. I found this recipe at BrownEyedBaker.

Cinco de Mayo Salsa

5 May

There’s almost nothing I love more than going out for Mexican food. The melted cheese, jalapenos, and fresh salsa are irresistible! Oh, and of course the margaritas. I thought this Cinco de Mayo I would share a delicious salsa recipe I recently got the chance to try from a friend in South Carolina. It makes a large enough batch for serving at a gathering/party.

You will need:

1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes or 6-7 small tomatoes

2 cans (10 ounce) Rotel (I use original)

¼ cup chopped onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1 whole jalapeno, seeds and all

¼ tsp sugar

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp ground cumin

½ cup cilantro

Juice of ½ a lime

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until desired consistency is reached. Refrigerate for at least an hour.


I’ve known multiple people who have suffered death after fighting cancer so I wanted to take this opportunity to put the word out of how important cancer research can be and to show my support for Relay for Life. Clicking the photo will link you to their homepage where you can find an event, start an event, or simply donate.

Simple, Healthy Chocolate Muffins

2 May

When I first tasted these muffins, I instantly loved them. Once I learned what they were baked with, I was amazed! And trust me when I say “simple” is an understatement. Instead of the usual oil, eggs, and water, these little jewels are baked with pumpkin making them much healthier and, in my opinion, more moist. The best part is, people will never know! Adam ate his fair share before I informed him of the pumpkin baked inside and he still came back for seconds.

You will need:

1 box chocolate cake mix (I used devil’s food)

1 can pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Simply mix the canned pumpkin with the dry cake mix (don’t add the oil, eggs, and water). Once well combined, scoop mix into muffin tins (I made mini muffins). Bake according to directions on box, or around 15 minutes for minis.


I sprinkled the tops of mine with powdered sugar but they could easily be iced for making cupcakes or baked into a cake. A spice cake mix could also be used in place of the chocolate for a more fall inspired treat. These are a much healthier alternative to regular cupcakes/muffins, and are very kid friendly. If I remember correctly, I was told this is a Weight Watcher’s recipe.

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