Tag Archives: snack

Simple Guacamole

Avocado: a delicious healthy fat that tastes good on top of or mixed into anything. Seriously. There are avocado brownies, avocado toasts, avocado ice cream, fried avocados, stuffed avocados, the list goes on. Avocados are everywhere! But one of my favorite ways to eat those delicious, fatty, green guys remains the classic guacamole. Perfect for topping salads, sandwiches, tacos, dipping, or eating with a spoon. I mean…what? Guacamole can get really fancy; you can go spicy, sweet, and with all sorts of mix-ins, but this “recipe” (I feel bad even calling it that!) is one of my favorite ways to make a flavorful yet simple guac that will go good with anything. It’s quick to make, with minimal chopping, and loved by my whole family. In fact, I left my toddler with a bowl of it in her near vicinity, and when I came back into the kitchen, she had climbed up on a chair and was licking guacamole off her hand, saying, “mmm that’s good ‘cado!” I couldn’t even be mad because it was so cute, and I was glad she was getting her healthy fats in! Anyways, let’s get to this super simple recipe that can transform any meal!

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My guacamole thief 🙂 

Simple Guacamole

Serves 4-5. Definitely double this recipe if you’ll be feeding a big crowd.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • Juice of one lime (I use this juicer to get out every last drop!)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1/4 finely chopped red onion
  • Other possible mix-ins
    • diced tomato
    • fresh garlic (just a little!)
    • fresh or pickled jalapenos
    • a splash of your favorite salsa
    • charred corn
  • Chips to dip

Directions:

  • In a small mixing bowl, combine the flesh of the avocado and lime juice
  • Mash until semi-smooth
  • Add remaining ingredients
  • Stir until combined
  • Dip, spread, or spoon (not just me, right?) away!
  • Store leftovers, covered, in fridge. It will turn a little brown due to oxidizing, but just give it a stir and it will be fine!

And that’s it! Easy, huh? Adding a little guacamole will seriously transform your dinner. Boring chicken breast? Top with guacamole and you have “Fiesta Chicken”! Boring salad? Nope. Add guacamole and it’s “Taco Salad”! You get the point 😉

For more delicious dips, check out my Classic Garlic HummusDairy free Garlic Herb Ranch, and Spicy Garlic Salsa. For some simple dinner ideas that would go perfectly with this guac, check out my One Pan Chicken and Shrimp FajitasSalmon Burgers, or Spicy Garlic Chicken Nachos. These are all good ideas for any March Madness parties you may be throwing, too! I know you’ll find something easy to make that the whole family finds easy to eat. Add a little guacamole, and it’s a party! Party on…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase using the links, it is of no extra cost to you, just a small commission for me to keep my pantry stocked! Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy!

Kale Chips Two Ways

Cheap, Clean Snacking

My husband and I were just talking the other day about how drastically our snacking habits have changed. It’s embarrassing to admit, but I kid you not, between the two of us, we could sit down to watch a movie and eat an entire bag of salt and vinegar chips… and then because we were basically human salt licks, would follow that *light* snack with something sweet. So, yeah, we were the icons of health. (read more about our food journey here) After doing Whole30, we pretty much stopped snacking altogether because when you fill your body up on nutritious food you’re not hungry 30 minutes later! I know…shocker!

Sometimes, though, the munchie monster comes around, usually with my dreaded Aunt Flo, and I have to have something salty and crunchy. I was perusing the health aisle at the store for something healthier to munch on, and picked up a bag of kale chips… then promptly put them back down when I saw the price! Convenience isn’t worth my daughter’s college fund. Slightly hyperbolic, obviously, but if you buy a $6 bag of kale chips every week, that will add up! You can get one big bunch of kale at almost any grocery store for around $1, and you likely already have a bottle of olive oil and some salt in your pantry, right? If so, you can make your own kale chips!

My whole family loves crispy, salty kale chips for snacking, but they are also delicious atop a taco salad or to add texture to a creamy soup. Kale is high in vitamins A and C, and has been called a “super food”; so why not eat your super food in chip form?!

Kale Chips Two Ways

Makes about 3 loose cups.

Ingredients:

  • Four cups (about 2 small bunches, or one large bunch) of fresh kale, de-stemmed, and roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp light olive oil (any other light oil would be fine, too, like grapeseed or avocado, a more robust oil will change the flavor)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • For Chili Garlic Kale Chips:
    • all ingredients listed above plus
    • 2 tsp of garlic powder
    • 2 tsp of chili powder
    • 1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 F
  • Grease a large, rimmed baking sheet
  • Lay kale out on prepared baking sheet
  • Drizzle with oil
  • Sprinkle with kosher salt
  • Massage kale until slightly wilted and softened
  • Add remaining seasonings if you’re doing Chili Garlic Kale Chips, ensuring all the greens are evenly coated in seasoning
  • Lay kale out in an even layer on baking sheet
  • Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, until dark green and crisp
  • Keep an eye on them – they burn quickly!
  • Once completely cooled, kale chips will keep in a sealed container or bag at room temperature for 3-5 days

For delicious dips to combine with your newfound love of veggie chips, check out my Spicy Garlic SalsaDairy free Garlic Herb Ranch, and Classic Garlic Hummus. And if you need a little something sweet to follow your salty snack, I’ve got you covered with my Wholesome Chocolate Chunk CookiesBanana Bread with Granola CrumbleChocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie Bars, and Dark Chocolate Paleo Brownies to name a few. See what other sweets I have by using the drop down arrow on my “desserts” menu. Don’t forget to pin all your favorites by using the “Pinterest” button at the bottom of the post!

I hope your family enjoys these kale chips as much as my family does. Don’t let the munchie monster get you down! Happy snacking…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

Cinnamon Applesauce

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase using the links, it is of no extra cost to you; just a small pantry fund for me. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy!

Fall Traditions

I’ve just recently learned that going apple picking is a thing people do in the autumn months. I’ve never gone apple picking, but growing up we would pick pears off my grandparents’ trees; my grandpa would put us in the bucket of his tractor and lift us up high enough to pluck off the pears. It was always terrifyingly amazing, and my sisters and I would giggle and shriek as Pappy lifted us up into the trees. And every Father’s Day, as a gift for my dad, we would go berry picking in the hot Texas sun; running from bees and trying to not get jabbed by thorns. We complained a lot as kids, but, looking back now, we all enjoyed picking the sticky sweet berries in the hot morning sun, enjoying a shady picnic lunch before driving home, then eating berries and cream for dessert that night. So, based upon my fond memories of harvesting other fruits, I am thinking it’s time to instate a new family fall tradition- apple picking!

If you’ve gone apple picking this fall, I have the perfect dish to use up all those apples: Cinnamon Applesauce! Or if you’re like me and didn’t go apple picking, pick up a few extra apples at the grocery store, and it will be well worth it. Because whether you went apple picking or not, there is never a bad time for a warm bowl of homemade applesauce! Unlike many store bought versions, this applesauce is free of refined sugar, it is simple to make, it seriously tastes like the filling for an apple cobbler, and your house will smell amazing as it simmers on the stove. *drool* Not to mention, it is an enjoyable and healthy snack for your kiddos! I hope this sweet, spiced snack makes its way to your kitchen soon!

Cinnamon Applesauce

Serves 6-8, and could easily be doubled.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 pounds of gala apples, diced, with or without skin (I left the skins on)
  • 1/2-1 tbsp of ground cinnamon, depending on taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup of coconut sugar
  • Enough water to cover the apples, about 4-5 cups

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients in a large pot
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cover
  • Let simmer about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft and water is reduced
  • Carefully mash apples to desired consistency
  • Serve warm (my favorite!) or cold
  • Store covered in refrigerator for 2 weeks

If you love the welcoming smell of apples and cinnamon, you would like my Apple Cinnamon Stovetop Scent! And for more warm fall-y treats, be sure to check out my Pumpkin Bread with Crumb Topping and Banana Bread with Granola Crumble; both are delicious gluten free, refined sugar free breads, and are amazing served warm with butter. With Thanksgiving fast approaching, all these healthier treats will sure be nice to have on hand! I hope you bake something scrumptious for you and your family. Make some new fall traditions…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

 

Classic Garlic Hummus

hummus

Generational Food

Hummus has gained popularity in the last few years as a healthy, good-for-you food, and it is! But at the risk of sounding like one of *those* people… “I was into hummus before it was popular”.  Actually, though, hummus and I do go way back.

My grandmother, Elizabeth Aijian Munroe, was a first generation American whose parents fled Armenia to escape the Turks. Because of their traumatic experiences in Armenia, they wanted to raise their children as Americans not Armenians. So they spoke English in their home and did not keep many Armenian traditions…except food. While my sisters and I wish that we knew the Armenian language or some of the customs and traditions, we are all thankful we grew up with the tradition of Armenian hospitality and food.

As a child, we lived about 6 hours north of my grandparents so it was always quite the ordeal driving down to Mimi and Papa’s. Whenever we would arrive, Mimi would always, without a doubt, have out an appetizer spread which always included hummus. To be honest, I hated it as a kid. I would much rather eat the pita bread, Armenian cheese, and kalamata olives she’d set out. Now, however, I love hummus!

My Mimi and Papa were married for 64 years, and just last year, they passed on into eternity a mere 12 days apart. So now, I see hummus in a whole new light: a love of culture, food, and hosting loved ones in your home…all in one little dip. In fact, when I was making this hummus, Zemirah helped me squeeze the lemon juice and I felt a rush of emotions (and maybe my eyes watered a bit) and gratitude as I thought about the history and love in this little bean dip. I imagined my great-grandmother making hummus with my grandmother, my grandmother making hummus with my mom, my mom making hummus with me, and now, here I was, continuing on in the tradition.

This recipe is based on the one found in the cookbook, Armenian Cooking Today, which was gifted to me by my sweet mom, who was wise and kind enough to have herself and Mimi write notes in the margins. Food has such history, can tell incredibly vast, beautiful stories, and brings us all together to enjoy eating with ones we love. I hope this simple, healthy dish can bring some history and love to your table, too.

Classic Garlic Hummus

Serves 10-12. Delicious as a veggie or chip dip, or as a spread.

Ingredients:

  • One 15 oz can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • Water as needed
  • Optional garnishes:
    • a drizzle of olive oil
    • chopped parsley
    • a sprinkle of paprika

Directions:

  • Combine chickpeas, tahini, and olive oil in blender
  • Blend until smooth
  • Add remaining ingredients
  • Blend until smooth
  • Adjust consistency with water if needed (I like mine thicker, but not too oily and heavy, which is why I use water)
  • Best if chilled overnight before serving
  • Garnish before serving, if desired

Thank you for letting me share a little about myself and my family. I hope you keep this easy hummus on hand for a quick snack or spread, but just be warned, you might want to pop a breath mint after eating it haha! Although, garlic is nature’s antibiotic, so eat up and stay healthy! Eat all the garlic…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

Spicy Garlic Salsa

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Sad Salsa No More

Confession time: one of the things I miss most about Texas is Tex-Mex. I know some people think it’s gross or inauthentic, but I am not one of those people.

In fact, I wish I could sit down right now with some salted chips, spicy salsa, and a frozen margarita. SoCal Mexican food is very different from what I grew up with, and I like it, too, but it’s not home.

We often have more than one jar of store bought salsa in our fridge, but nothing beats fresh, homemade salsa. And it’s healthier, too; it is lower in sodium, sugar, and has no additives!

What really amps this salsa up is the charred jalapeno. Seriously. Don’t skip this step! You can either lay the jalapeno on top of your gas burner on the stove, which is what I do, or you can put it in the broiler, just make sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn. Once your jalapeno is all black and blistery, you just need to blend up your ingredients and that’s it! I’ve included a picture of the ingredients so you can see what the jalapeno looks like after it’s been charred.

salsa ingredients

Enjoy this versatile salsa with your eggs in the morning, with your beans and rice, on top of tacos or fajitas, or to dunk your plantain chips in.

salsa

Spicy Garlic Salsa

I make a small batch for just the two adults in our family, but feel free to double up the ingredients if you want.

Equipment Needed:

  • Blender or food processor

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 to one charred jalapeno, with or without seeds, depending on taste
  • 1/2 tomato
  • 1/3 cup tomato sauce (no added salt or sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • Juice of half a lime

Directions:

  • Char jalapeno either on gas stovetop or in the broiler, making sure it doesn’t burn
  • Once charred, add all ingredients to blender or food processor
  • Blend until desired consistency
  • Store in airtight container in fridge for up to a week, although it never lasts longer than three days here

I hope this salsa adds some spice to your meals and snacks! Dunk away…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

 

 

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