cucumber bites

Hummus Cucumber Bites

These hummus cucumber bites are tasty and easy to put together, so you won’t be in the kitchen all day.

I like English cucumbers for this because the seeds are smaller than traditional cucumbers and the skin is a little more tender.

The filling is hummus and olive tapenade with a garnish of sprouts. If you like to make your own hummus, use the recipe below or try this roasted carrot version. Otherwise, premade hummus from the store is fine but look for one that is organic and doesn’t have many preservatives.  A bean free option is this zucchini hummus.

Olive tapenade is made in a food processor with calamata olives, garlic, lemon and olive oil. Add it on top of the hummus cucumber bites or it can be swirled into the hummus before filling the cucumbers.

Of course, there are multiple options for filling little cucumber cups. You could try mushroom filling, cranberry relish, hemp and pine nut spread, or even guacamole.

Hummus Cucumber Bites

Tasty bites for sharing and celebrating
Prep Time30 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bean sprouts, cucumber, hummus, kalamata olives
Servings: 6
Author: Chef Kim

Equipment

  • food processor

Ingredients

  • 2 English cucumber
  • 1 cup hummus packaged or homemade
  • 1/2 cup olive tapenade
  • 1/2 cup sunflower or clover sprouts

Hummus

  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-4 tbsp water

Olive tapenade

  • 1 cup kalamata olives
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Instructions

Hummus

  • Combine ingredients in a food processor or blender and mix until smooth and creamy. Add more water to reach desired consistency.

Olive Tapenade

  • Combine ingredients in a food processor and pulse on and off until you reach a finely chopped consistency. You want a little texture, not a paste.

To assemble

  • Wash and cut the cucumber in 3/4-inch slices. Using a teaspoon, scoop out some of the seeds in each slice, forming a small area to hold the filling.
  • Using a tablespoon, scoop the hummus onto each piece of cucumber.
  • Top each hummus mound with a small amount of the olive tapenade and garnish with sprouts.
  • Place onto a serving platter and treat your family and friends to this healthy treat.

Raw Zucchini Hummus

Oh, my goodness, this raw zucchini hummus is so good! Have you ever tried a bean free hummus? Or maybe you’re looking for a new recipe using zucchini. This is perfect for the summer when zucchinis are ripening, but it’s also a great party recipe as zucchini are available year round.

In this recipe, zucchini takes the place of the chickpeas that are typically used in hummus recipes. You can spice it up the way you like it, maybe try a little curry spice or stir in some sundried tomatoes or olives. The recipe below uses the traditional spices of cumin, garlic and a little ginger. If you want to try a chickpea hummus, check out this roasted carrot hummus.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Raw Zucchini Hummus

The perfect spread or dip to share.
Prep Time15 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: cumin, tahini, zucchini
Servings: 6

Equipment

  • Food processor or blender

Ingredients

  • 3 cups zucchini, chopped
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp ex virgin olive oil

Instructions

  • Peel the zucchini and roughly chop. Add to food processor or blender.
  • Press or mince the garlic and add along with remaining ingredients.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Serve as a dip with sliced vegetables and crackers or use in lettuce wraps or tortillas with sliced veggies to make a satisfying lunch.
gluten-free biscotti

Nutty Gluten-free Biscotti

These nutty gluten-free biscotti came to the rescue when I decided to go gluten-free to support my thyroid. I knew I’d miss biscotti with coffee as a special treat and wanted to find something a little sweet and crispy to fill the void.

I’ve tried making these gluten-free with different nut and seed flours and they all work pretty well. Keep that in mind because you can substitute if you don’t have almond flour on hand but have some sunflower seeds, you can grind those and use it in place of the flour.

The stir-in ingredients can be switched up as well. Use chopped dried fruit or berries of your choice and use some whole nuts or seeds to give them some crunch and texture.

Get creative and make different combinations. these would make great holiday gifts.

Nutty Gluten-free Biscotti

Crispy, slightly sweet and satisfying
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 d 45 mins
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: French

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond flour sub, almond meal, hazelnut meal, sunflower or pumpkin seed meal
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp flax meal
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit, chopped apricot, apple, cherries, goji berries, raisins, blueberries
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup toasted haxelnuts
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extr.

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir well, pressing with each stir to really distribute the maple syrup. Stir until the mixture comes together into a dough.
  • Split the dough in two portions and place onto a sheet of parchment paper. Form each into two rectangles about 5X7 and 1 inch thick.
  • Pick up parchment and place onto a sheet pan. Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let cool for about 15 minutes. Turn the oven heat down to 275.
  • Cut each loaf into 3/4 - 1 inch strips and flip each one onto a cut side.
  • Bake for another 20-25 minutes until edges are lightly brown. Let cool and enjoy!
  • Store in sealed container for a weak.
kale chips

Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips

Don’t knock kale until you’ve tried these Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips, they are the bomb! I can sit and eat a whole bowl, easy.  And the benefits of kale are through the roof. They are full of minerals, fiber and phytonutrients that help improve immune response and reduce risk factors of disease.

There are a lot of dressings you can try as a coating for kale chips, but this is easy and fast. Just a little oil and vinegar and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. This is one of my favorite ways to eat kale. Let me know how you like your kale.

If you have a dehydrator, you can use that to make kale chips overnight, but these work great in the oven. I hope you give them a try.

Salt and Vinegar Kale chips

Pucker up as you enjoy the crispy crunch of these kale chips.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: kale
Servings: 2
Author: Chef Kim

Equipment

  • 1 sheet pan

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch Kale, curly
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs cider vinegar
  • dash salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • Remove stem from kale leaves and tear leaves into pieces.
  • Rinse and dry leaves. Drizzle with oil and vinegar and mix well using your hands or tongs, coating the leaves completely.
  • Ley onto the sheet pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, check for crispness. Bake 5-10 min longer until completely crisp.

Spring Green Mint Smoothie

This creamy mint smoothie is packed full of nutrients to nourish you from head to toe. It’s not too sweet because it’s made with veggies instead of a lot of fruit.  Feel free to swap out what you have on hand, you want to have some good fat from nuts, seeds or avocado, some green leaves for high mineral concentration, vegetables to bulk it up and add complex carbohydrates, fiber and more vitamins and minerals, a green apple and some dates or a sprinkle of stevia leaf, and a plant milk or a few tablespoons of oats and water.

Spring Green Mint Smoothie

refreshing and light but packed with nutrition
Prep Time15 mins
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: American
Servings: 1
Author: Chef Kim

Equipment

  • blender

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 T flax seed meal
  • 1/2 cup zucchini
  • 1-2 dandelion leaves optional
  • 1 cup oat or almond milk or 2 T oats and 1 c water
  • 1/2 green apple
  • 4 dates pitted or pinch of stevia leaf
  • ½-1 cup ice optional or warm water

Instructions

  • Combine everything except the ice in a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Add ice, if using, and blend again until thickened.
  • If you don't like cold drinks, this works with added warm water as well.

Notes

To swap out some of the ingredients is fine to accommodate your taste or what you have on hand.
For hemp- try almonds, cashews or Brazil nuts
For Spinach- try romaine or baby kale
For zucchini or green apple - try thawed frozen cauliflower, celery, pear, or peeled broccoli stem
Any plant milk will do, so use what you like.

 

Fruit

Cucumber-Pineapple-Kiwi Pops

Healthy tastes great with these cool and cleansing popsicles that hit the spot!  It’s hard to find healthy fruit popsicles. Fruit pops in stores have added sugars and artificial flavors. Ingredients you don’t want.

These cucumber fruit pops are so easy to make, there’s no excuses for not having a healthy, fun and delicious treat in your freezer. The ingredients can be tweaked to your liking.  If you’re not a fan of pineapple try mango or watermelon, if you want to ramp up the nutrition even more, add a handful of spinach or kale. Berries make a great add in but you could try sliced banana and orange wedges too.
Another easy way to have popsicles on hand is to make an extra large smoothie when you make one for breakfast or lunch, and freeze some of it to have as a popsicle later.

Who doesn’t like popsicles? They are a wonderful alternative to the sugar laden frozen desserts that temp us in the grocery isle. Go ahead and make your own healthy version.

Cucumber-Pineapple-Kiwi Pops

Cooling and cleansing pops that hit the spot when you crave something cold and sweet, but without the sugar!
Prep Time20 mins
Course: Dessert
Keyword: cucumber, kiwi, pineapple, popsicle
Servings: 10
Author: Chef Kim

Equipment

  • blender

Ingredients

  • 1 Medium cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple chunk
  • 3 kiwi, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Pinch sea salt

Instructions

  • In a blender, combine the chopped cucumber and pineapple, 1 kiwi, lemon juice and salt. Blend to completely purée.
  • Divide between popsicle molds or Dixie cups.
  • Divide kiwi slices among the molds.
  • Insert sticks and freeze until firm, about 4 hours.
    When ready to serve, dip molds in cool water to gently remove molds or if using Dixie cups, tear the cup away from the frozen pop.

Notes

If kiwi is not a favorite fruit, try berries or slices of banana.
Lemon protein balls

Cool Lemon Protein Balls

Need a snack or quick fix that’s high in phytonutrients and good for you? Here you go! These cool lemon protein balls have everything you need for a clean snack packed with whole food nutrition.

These snack balls are made with nuts or seeds, dates, prunes or raisins, protein powder (this is the one I use) nut/seed butter, cinnamon, lemon zest and juice. Pretty simple, you just need a food processor to make it really easy. If you don’t have one, it takes a little more muscle, but it’s doable.

Give them a try and let me know what you think.

Cool Lemon Protein Balls

A whole food snack that's makes for the perfect bite.
Prep Time20 mins
Course: Snack
Keyword: gluten free,, nut free option, protein, vegan
Servings: 14 balls
Author: Chef Kim

Equipment

  • food processor

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dates, prunes, or raisins
  • 1 cup nuts or seeds (brazil, walnuts, cashews, pumpkin, sunflower, hemp)
  • 1 scoop plant based vanilla protein
  • 1 Tbsp nut/seed butter (almond, cashew, sunflower)
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

Instructions

  • Place the dates, prunes or raisins in the food processor and add your choice of nuts/seeds. Process by pulsing until finely ground.
  • Add remaining ingredients except the lemon juice and mix until combined.
  • Add the lemon juice only if needed to make the mixture softer and stickier so that it forms a dough.
  • Shape dough into balls, about 2 tablespoons, and place in the freezer. Taste great and cools you off when eaten right out of the freezer. Keep refrigerated or frozen to extends the shelf life.

If you do not have a food processor:

  • Lay the dates, prunes or raisins on a baking sheet and place in a warm oven, about 300 degrees, for about five minutes. This will soften them.
  • Transfer them to a bowl and using a wooden spoon, mash them into a paste. This will take a little muscle. Once you have a paste, chop the nut or seeds you choose to use very fine and stir those into the paste.
  • Stir in the remaining ingredients, mixing well to evenly combine the ingredients.
  • Form into ball and refrigerat or freeze.

 

Granola bars

Molasses Granola Bars Conquer the Snack Attack

The snack monster is real, and these molasses granola bars conquer that snack attack by supporting the body’s needs with satisfying taste and healthy nutrients.  Usually when we give in to snacking we can feel like a failure afterwards.  These bars can make you feel awesome because you’re taking care of yourself and the ones you love.

You can customize these bars to suite your needs and tastes by substituting ingredients you want to include to help you reach your health goals.  Think along the lines of different kinds of dried fruits, adding nutritional powders, whether its plant protein or super food powders, adding in spices, or using almond or cashew butter in place of the tahini or maybe try switching up the molasses and using yacon syrup, coconut nectar, brown rice syrup, or honey. There are so many varieties you could make. I hope you give them a try.

Molasses Granola Bars

Crunchy or chewy, you decide. These bars are full of flavor and satisfy those snack cravings.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: almonds, oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower, walnuts
Servings: 24 bars
Author: Chef Kim

Equipment

  • large mixing bowl
  • 9X13 pan,
  • parchment paper,
  • saucepan,
  • Spatula
  • rolling pin, optional

Ingredients

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped raw nuts walnuts, pecans, almonds or sunflower/pumpkin seeds (mixture)
  • 2 cup gluten free old fashioned oats
  • 1 ½ cup gluten free crispy rice
  • 1 cup dried fruit raisins, cherries, chopped dates or apricots or mixture
  • ½ cup flax hemp or sesame seeds
  • ½ cup kale chips crushed (optional- add a nice nutritional punch)

Wet Ingredients

  • ¾ cup molasses or maple syrup or mix both
  • 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons tahini sesame butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt

For Savory bars;

  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp fresh cut herb: thyme or rosemary

Instructions

  • Prepare a 9x13 baking dish by lining it with parchment paper, extending the paper over the edges. Have that close and ready.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients: nuts/seeds, oats, crispy rice, dried fruit, flax/hemp/sesame and kale chips, if using.
  • In a small saucepan, combine the wet ingredients: coconut oil, tahini, molasses/maple syrup, coconut sugar, vanilla, salt and herbs, if making savory bars.
  • Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat to low and simmer for 3 minutes, while stirring constantly. It should be bubbling as you stir.
  • Being careful not to burn yourself, pour into the oat mixture and stir quickly to coat everything.
  • Transfer mixture to the prepared pan and use another sheet of parchment to cover mixture and press the mixture evenly into the pan. It is also effective to use the flat bottom of a measuring cup or rolling pin to evenly press down the mixture.
  • For chewy bars, place pan in the refrigerator to chill.
  • When completely cooled, cut and store refrigerated for two weeks. Freeze for longer life and individually wrap for a quick snack to grab on the go.
  • For crispy bars, bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool and cut into bars.
Apple snacks

Tahini Caramel Dip is Perfect for Fall Snackin’

The leaves on the trees have turned and all the sweet and tart apples are in season. What’s your favorite kind of apple? This time of year I think tahini caramel dip and apples make the perfect snack. Sweet, crunchy and satisfying.

Tahini caramel dip can also be used swirled into a brownie recipe, thinned and drizzled over banana nice cream or even added to a cup of joe or chai. Give it a try, I think you’ll agree it’s a recipe that delivers on taste without all the sugar found in traditional caramel.

 

Tahini Caramel Dip

Perfect sweet and gooey caramel
Prep Time20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: coconut, dates, tahini
Servings: 8
Author: Chef Kim

Equipment

  • food processor

Ingredients

  • 8 oz (bag) shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup dates pitted and soft
  • 2-4 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  • Pour shredded coconut into a food processor, cover and turn on. Process the coconut until it starts to get creamy. This will take about 3-4 minutes.
  • When the coconut begins to come together into coconut butter, add the dates, vanilla and salt. Process again until the dates break down completely and the mixture starts looking like thick caramel.
  • Stop and scrape the sides of the container. Add 2 tablespoons of tahini and blend until completely incorporated. Stop and taste. If cloyingly sweet or not quite creamy enough, add 2 more tablespoons of the tahini.
  • Store in a sealed glass dish or jar. Can be stored at room temperature for up to two weeks. Longer in the refrigerator. Allow to come to room temperature or warm under running hot water to make it dip ready.

Notes

This dip can be thinned with water or plant milk and whisked to make a sauce or drizzle.

 

 

Pumpkin granola w/ yogurt

Pumpkin Granola – Not Just For Breakfast!

This is the time of year pumpkin and pumpkin spice are found everywhere. This pumpkin granola hits all the marks when it comes to tasty healthy breakfast, snacking or other uses.

It’s perfect for breakfast. Most mornings, I  grab a bowl of granola and yogurt along with a cup of chai in the morning. The warming spices hit the spot on these cool fall mornings. But it’s definitely great for more than just breakfast. I will, on occasion, add granola to my lunch salad, and also keep a baggie of granola with additional dried fruit added in the car for when I find myself hungry while doing errands. I also use the granola in cookies or raw power balls and definitely on top of banana nice cream, yum!

The bulk of this pumpkin granola can be oats with nuts, seeds and dried fruit or the oats can be omitted if you don’t want the grains. Remember though that oats are a great source of protein, vitamins and minerals, so if you tolerate them, find gluten free organic oats to add to this recipe.

The nut and seeds can really be any combination you like. I typically add sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds and then walnuts, almonds and pecans. I like crunchy granola and adding variety increases the nutrient diversity. But you can certainly trim down the additions and stick with just seeds, or just nuts or one or two of your favorites.

Dried fruit can vary also, but with the pumpkin flavors in this granola I like dried cranberries- it just makes it all the more fall inspired.

The pumpkin binder in this granola is a combination of pumpkin purée, honey, maple syrup, molasses, pumpkin spice and a little oil. You cook this for a bit and then stir it into the oats, seeds & nuts.

 

Pumpkin Granola

Fall flavors with a lot of crunch
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Keyword: almonds, oats, pecans, pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, sunflower, walnuts
Servings: 12
Author: Chef Kim

Ingredients

  • 4 cups gluten free oats
  • 1/2 cup walnuts chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecans chopped
  • 1/2 cup almond chopped
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tbs molasses
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbs coconut oil grape seed or mild olive oil
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice combine cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2-1 cup dried cranberries substitute dried fruit of choice

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
    Combine the oats, nuts and seeds in a large mixing bowl. You can use whatever combination of nuts and seeds, more or less, or omitting the oats and adjusting them to the overall for a total of 6.5 cups.
  • In a small saucepan, combine the honey, maple syrup, pumpkin puree, molasses, water and oil. Bring to a simmer, stirring to combine. Let simmer for five minutes. It will foam up, so keep an eye on it and stir so that it doesn’t boil over.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla, spice and salt.
  • Pour this over the oat & nut mixture and use a spatula or wooden spoon to stir to coat everything well.
  • Transfer the mixture onto two sheet pans. Bake for 15 minutes. Stir and bake for another 15 minutes, rotating the sheet pans on the shelves.
    The granola may be done at this point, if it’s golden brown. If not bake for an additional 15 minutes, remove and let cool. The granola crisps up as it cools.
  • When the granola has cooled, add the desired dried fruit.
    Store in an airtight container for up to a month.