Category Archives: Appetizer

Mexican Sour Gherkin Salsa.

We love new things in the garden. You might recall last year we grew mini Sweet Pea Red Currant Tomatoes that were so lovely in my Quinoa Caprese Salad. This year we went for mini cucumbers! They are just as stinking cute as the tomatoes were. This dish could even be made with both the mini tomatoes and the mini cucumbers and be the cutest tea party addition ever. In any case, I have been mixing it with some of our garden tomatoes to make a quick salsa/dip that goes well with corn chips, nachos, tacos, Potato Enchinados, just about everything.

Mexican Sour Gherkin Salsa. Serves two as a condiment with dinner.


8-10 Mexican Sour Gherkins, sliced

1 large garden tomato, diced (I used a purple cherokee)

1 small jalapeño, seeded and deveined, unless you like heat, and diced small

1/4 red onion, diced small

1 T cilantro, finely chopped

1 T cider vinegar, I used Bragg

1 t olive oil

pinch of kosher or sea salt

pinch of fresh cracked black pepper

Combine cider vinegar through pepper in a small bowl, whisking until oil is incorporated. Add remaining ingredients and toss to coat. Refrigerate until ready to use.




Filed under Appetizer, Condiments and Seasonings, Dairy Free, Dip, From the Garden, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Portobello Pizzas.

On Tuesday we go to bingo at a local dive bar. The bingo is free and the winnings include free food and beverages, it is a fairly inexpensive, entertaining way to take the mind off life for a bit. The hubs focuses on winning free drinks so he can enjoy a few and I focus on winning at all! I have pretty bad bingo luck these days. It is fun and several of our friends go, and even though I don’t take part in the libations, it is something to look forward too each week. And besides, just once I might win the last game, it is called Blackout. You have to buy your boards and the first person to cover all of their bingo squares wins the pot. That is what I am really there for. I did win once, but so did 4 other people, including the hubs! Needless to say, I got nothing and neither did he!

The other thing about bingo is that it starts at 7pm and we have to get there a little early to get tickets. The tickets are used to determine tie breakers. If you don’t have the lowest number, you don’t win! So I have to make sure I have a quick meal on the table when the hubs gets home from work. Something that won’t require him to fire up the grill or do a lot of dishes (yes he does the dishes, because this is one lucky girl).

This past week I came up with pizzas on portobello mushroom cups. My version was neither vegetarian nor dairy free, but as with any and all pizza it is all in the toppings and since this is already grain free, go crazy and make it meet your dietary needs.

Portobello Pizzas. Feeds two adults.


4 portobello mushrooms

1-2 T olive oil

4 T pizza sauce (homemade or your favorite store bought)

Pizza toppings of choice such as mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, red onion, turkey pepperoni, green onion


Preheat oven to 350.

Carefully remove stems from mushrooms, reserving one or two to chop and add to your toppings if you like (with the rest you can save them for adding to eggs at breakfast or put in your meat stock stash of veg in the freezer). Clean the gills from the mushrooms taking care not to break the edges of the mushrooms. I use a teaspoon and hold the cap in my palm so that my thumb can support the edge against the spoon.

Brush the backs and edges of the mushrooms with oil. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat. Place one tablespoon of sauce in each cap. I allowed mine to sit for 1-2 hours. This let the sauce soak into the caps a little and made them less watery after baking.

Fill each cap with toppings and cheese.

Bake for 13-15 or until cheese is bubbly.


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Filed under Appetizer, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Pizza, Vegetables

Sweet Potato Texas Caviar.

Both black eyed peas and sweet potatoes are things that I have had to come to terms with. I did not like either during most of my life, but I have embraced them both. Texas caviar was my first introduction to black eyed peas. And you what, I like it! Sweet potatoes I am still a little hesitant about. But got it into my head that I was going to replace the black beans in traditional Texas caviar with them and you know what? It worked. The combination of all of the flavors cuts the overt sweetness that you sometimes get with sweet potatoes. In all, this was a fantastic side (can also be served as a dip with chips) to Serrano/garlic burgers and grilled sweet corn. It’s also super quick and easy to whip up.

Sweet Potato Texas Caviar. Serves 4.


2 sweet potatoes

1 can of black eyed peas, drained and rinsed

2 T cilantro, chopped

1 medium red onion, chopped

1 large bell pepper, chopped

1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped

1 t kosher salt

1/2 t fresh cracked black pepper

1/4 C apple cider vinegar (I used Bragg’s)

1 T agave or honey

juice of 1/2 lime

2 T olive oil


Peel and dice potatoes into 1/4-1/2 inch pieces. Cover with water and boil over high for 8-12 minutes, until the potatoes are tender but not mushy. Remove from heat, strain and run cold water over potatoes to stop the cooking process.

While the potato boil, combine beans, cilantro, onion and peppers in a medium bowl. Add potatoes when cooled and mix.

To make sauce combine remaining ingredients, except the olive oil, in a bowl and whisk well. Add oil slowly, whisking the entire time to emulsify the sauce. Add to the bean and potato mixture. Mix to combine.

Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

***A note! I was thinking of adding corn to this, but I did not because we had corn on the cob with our meal, but I am going to do this next time!! Let me know if you try it out and love it :)


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Filed under Appetizer, Beans, Dairy Free, Dip, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Potatoes, Side Dish, Vegetarian

Sweet Potato and Kohlrabi Fritters.

Food, diet and nutrition are things that I have always been interested in and prided myself in being attentive to (no judging some of the fun, i.e. fatty recipes on this here blog!). Changing ones diet, and the diet of their family, is not an easy road to travel, so I have made the decision to do it slowly and with calculation. I have also decided that I am going to do it in the tastiest way possible. This past weekend marked the beginning of my gluten free journey (I started Thursday) and I had a lot of fun thinking outside of the box with my available garden veggies to create dishes that were nutritious and so tasty the hubs would not even notice (until told) that they were missing ingredients like flour or bread. This fried sweet potato dish was a breakfast hit and one I plan to reinvent with many other veggies!

Sweet Potato and Kohlrabi Fritters.


1 medium kohlrabi, shred

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 small sweet potato, shred

1 tablespoon fresh chive, finely chopped

1 free range egg

1 tablespoon flax seed

1/4 teaspoon zantham gum

kosher or sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

coconut or olive oil


Salt kohlrabi and let sit for 20 minutes in strainer over a bowl. Rinse well and squeeze dry. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Heat oil to 350 degrees (or until a wooden skewer pressed on bottom of pan bubbles) in a deep frying pan or skillet. Spoon mixture into pan and press flat. Fry 5-6 minutes on each side.

Remove, salt and drain on paper towel until ready to eat.



Filed under Appetizer, Breakfast, Dairy Free, From the Garden, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Vegetarian

Kale and Golden Beet Salad.

I still have lots of yummy kale coming out of the garden and we are really loving it raw. This past weekend we went to the local farmers market for some items we don’t have coming out of the garden right now and we got some really pretty golden beets. Since we were going to have kale salad anyhow, I thought adding the sweet earthiness of the beets to the salad might add a good layer of flavor. The salad turned out great, full of vibrant color and lots of nourishing vitamins and minerals and the best part is that this was a very simple salad to make. The only real time consumer was roasting the beets, which can be done in advance.

Kale and Golden Beet Salad. 


2 large golden beets

1 T olive oil

3 oz fresh kale

1 T red wine vinegar

1 T olive oil

1 T agave nectar

1/4 t granulated garlic

1/4 t kosher salt

1/8 t fresh cracked black pepper

1-2 oz crumbled goat cheese (optional)


Roast whole, unpeeled beets in a 400 degree oven for an hour and half in a foil pouch drizzled with olive oil.

Allow beets to cool and peel and chop them. Remove woody stems from kale and rough chop that.

In a medium bowl combine red wine vinegar and all remaining ingredients (except goat cheese). Toss in beets, kale and goat cheese. Serve chilled.


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Filed under Appetizer, Dairy Free, From the Garden, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Salad, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Meatballs with Wings {Turkey & Chicken Meatballs}.

Ok, the meatballs don’t really have wings, but the meat that contributed sure did. The hubs wanted some meatballs and we thought it would be fun to make them out of something other than beef or pork. I think these turned out great. They are light and fresh and great for a spring dish.

Turkey & Chicken Meatballs. Makes 22 quarter sized meatballs (about 3/4 ounce each).


1/2 lb ground turkey (fresh from the meat counter if possible)

1/2 lb ground chicken (fresh from the meat counter if possible)

1T fresh chive

1 medium carrot, shred

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

1/4 t smoked paprika

1/2 t kosher salt

1/2 fresh cracked black pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Form into balls the size of a quarter. You may find that putting a little olive oil on your hands makes rolling these fairly sticky balls easier.

Bake on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet for 20 minutes. Remove and serve with your pasta of choice. I tossed mine into this Pasta with Meyer Lemon & Basil from Serious Eats.


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Filed under Appetizer, Chicken, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Poultry, Snacks, Vegetables

Super Bowl 46 – Some Appetizers!

I just love the Super Bowl because it is all about football food! It is a great “holiday” to make lots of fun little bites for. Especially out here on the West Coast, where festivities begin at noon, there are many hours of eating that happen. Growing up we always had snacks, but being that in the East the game doesn’t start until dinner time, we focused mostly on a big pot of chili and cornbread muffins. So, I really enjoy this new world of an appetizer “holiday’! In honor of the big game, I came up with these appetizers for this year’s party at a friend’s house. I know I am posting this past the big day, but these are versatile enough for any party.

Buffalo Chicken Cups. Makes 32 mini cups. (Recently I have seen similar recipes around, however, I thought this up on my very own before seeing any others.)


8 large egg roll wrappers

1 12.5 oz can of chicken breast meat, drained

1/4 C Frank Red Hot Sauce, or your favorite wing sauce

4 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, room temperature

2 oz blue cheese crumbles

3 green onions

blue cheese dressing

celery sticks


Preheat oven to 350.

Combine chicken, hot sauce, cream cheese and blue cheese crumbles in a bowl. Cut egg roll wrappers into quarters. Using a mini cupcake tray, grease cups (I use coconut oil, but you can use cooking spray) and line each one with one of the wrapper quarters. Fill each cup with a scoop of chicken mixture. Bake for 15 minutes. sprinkle with green onions. Serve with celery and blue cheese dressing.

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Dip. (Recipe inspired by Healthy Food for Living)


8 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 C Greek yogurt

4 T turbinado sugar

1/2 t vanilla extract

1/4 t kosher salt

1/2 C mini chocolate chips


With a hand mixer, combine cream cheese, yogurt, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Using a spatula, fold in chocolate chips. Put mixture in a serving dish and serve with dippers of choice, I like to use apple slices and graham crackers.

Go team!

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Filed under Appetizer, Casseroles/Bakes, Cheese, Chicken, Dip, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Holiday, Vegetarian

Blue Cheese Kohlrabi Slaw.

If you follow the blog, you might start to notice that we like slaw. Slaw is great, it is chock full of veggies. Since I still have kohlrabi and turnips from the garden I am going to keep making slaw. Tonight will feature a blue cheese vinegar slaw.

Blue Cheese Kohlrabi Slaw. Serves 4-6.


2 medium/large kolhrabi

2 t kosher salt

2 small turnips

2 large carrots

1 t brown or yellow mustard seeds

1 T cider vinegar

1/2 t celery salt

1/2 t natural cane sugar

1/4 t fresh cracked black pepper

1 T oil oil

3 oz blue cheese, crumbled


Peel and shred kohlrabi and put it in a colander. Toss with salt and place colander over a bowl. Allow the kohlrabi to drain for an hour. Rinse well to remove salt and squeeze dry (I use a tea towel for this).

Peel and shred turnips and carrots and toss with the kohlrabi. You may want to use your fingers here to ensure that all of the veg gets mixed well.

In a small bowl combine remaining ingredients, except cheese, with a fork. Drizzle over vegetables, add cheese and toss to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve.



Filed under Appetizer, Edible Plants, From the Garden, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Side Dish, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Chickpea & Rice Crackers.

We all know that good crackers are expensive. Last year for Thanksgiving, I resolved to make my own to go with our cheese and meat tray. I made the ones that Paula Deen makes. They use a stick of butter…needless to say, they were vry good and I never made them again.

This past weekend. the hubs and I were on a healthy snack kick, wanting something light to have on hand through the holidays. We made the kale chips you probably saw earlier this week. We also made these cinnamon apples, made by Lori over at Lori’s Latest – And other tales from the homestead. These crackers were an afterthought, born of the lack of good gluten free crackers at the store. There are a few we really like, a rice cracker and a lentil cracker, but we were looking for something new and the hubs recommended using the chickpea flour we have. Wondering what to combine with it, we thought that maybe the crisp rice we have would work. Turns out, it did. These are not 100% gluten free as I used AP flour for my work surface, but our choice to avoid gluten is not born of any allergies, it is a conscious decision to avoid too much of any one food: meat, corn, wheat, gluten, sugar, salt, and the list goes on. Moderation is much healthier.

Chickpea & Brown Rice Crackers. (Inspired by Alton Brown’s Seedy Crisps)


5 oz chickpea flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)

5 oz ground puffed rice (I used Perky’s Crunchy Rice)

1 1/2 t kosher salt

1 1/2 t aluminum free baking powder (I use this one in all of my baking)

1 t dried thyme

1/2 t granulated garlic

3 T olive oil

6-8 oz water

flour for kneading and working (I used AP, however, if you are making these gluten free, use a gluten free flour)

olive oil and sea salt


Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl with a fork. Make sure that all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Add oil and mix to combine. Add 6 oz of water, if the dough is too dry add a little more. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead several times to fully combine flour into the wet dough. Divide into two balls and cover with a towel to rest for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Roll dough out to 1/8 inch. Using a pastry brush, brush the surface lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Cut the dough into crackers (I used a bench knife, but any knife or pastry cutter will work). Place the crackers on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 6 minutes. Flip crackers and bake for 6 minutes more.

Remove from oven and let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.


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Filed under Appetizer, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Outside of the Box, Vegan, Vegetarian

Baked Fingerling Potato Fries.

This happy accident made the cut at our house. We roast and bake potatoes all the time, but this one struck the yummy nerve with the hubs. It is so simple and such a nutritious replacement for fried, pre-made, bagged, potatoes (though they are addictingly good). We have tons of fingerlings and since they are not the greatest storage potatoes we have been ploughing through them. Using them in Baked Potato Nachos, as breakfast potatoes, both shredded and chunked, and as fries. These are the current favorite though. We have had them with burgers, steak, and just as a snack.

Baked Fingerling Potato Fries. Serves 4.


1 lb fingerling potatoes, sliced into quarters the long way

1/2 T olive oil

1/4 t kosher salt

1/4 t fresh cracked black pepper

1 t dried parsley

1/2 t granulated garlic

1 oz Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 400.

Combine all ingredients, except the cheese in a medium bowl.

Spread on a silpat lined baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese. Serve.


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Filed under Appetizer, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Potatoes, Vegetables, Vegetarian