15 Delightful Ideas to Jazz Up Hummus

15 Delightful Ideas to Jazz Up Hummus

Switching from cheese sandwich to Avocado Hummus Toast

Never in my life, did I think I would love hummus that much. I used to love my cheese and bread in the morning (not anymore). Just the thought of breaking this craving seemed sheer impossible. Then came the hummus…

“Veganism is not about giving anything up or losing anything; it is about gaining the peace within yourself that comes from embracing nonviolence and refusing to participate in the exploitation of the vulnerable” ― Gary L. Francione

Given the fact that everyone is in a time crunch especially in the morning, the hummus recipe and its variations below is prepared in no time. Actually, they meant to be simple, elegant vegan meals that can be done every day or on a special occasion to vow your guest.

The avocado hummus toast seemed just right for breakfast. I can prepare it the night before or even the day of. The bright side of this dish is you can buy ready made hummus and jazz it up any way you want it. Just assemble, and you are ready to go. Of course, that’s not everyone’s cup of coffee, but it’s an option. I prefer to prep a batch that lasts me a couple of days or more.

 

Dried chickpeas

Why Hummus?

This delicious creamy mousse has found its way into the food chain since over 7000 years. It originated from the middle east and is now available in every supermarket.

The essential ingredients are chickpeas, garlic, olive oil tahini sauce, lemon juice and Himalayan pink salt. The latter is my preference because this salt tastes better than any other in the world.

The WebMD calls hummus a home run. Chickpeas are consistently on the top list of healthy vegetables.

 

Canned organic chickpeas

Canned organic chickpeas

What chickpeas to buy?

Dried or canned?

Canned chickpeas are available in almost every supermarket these days compared to dried chickpeas. If in a rush yes I would open a can too. Once you have tasted the difference between canned and dried, you’ll probably never go back to canned beans.

That being said if you have the time then go for dried chickpeas. Let them soak overnight, then boil them in fresh water.  They only need about one hour and twenty-five minutes to cook.

Another cooking method is to boil them straight out of the bag, after rising them, which takes a little less than two and a half hours.

Organic or conventional?

As with most conventional grown vegetables, they contain pesticides compared to organically grown. Organic chickpeas are not cheap, but worth the investment. With canned organic chickpeas, you want to make sure the lining is free of BPA. Unfortunately, there are only a few brands who offer BPA free cans.

Especially as a vegan, I think it is vital to buy organic vegetables whenever possible. It’s an investment in your health.

 Hummus with Olive oil

Hummus – It’s like a blank canvas

The idea behind a hummus recipe is that you can modify it in a hundred ways. It can be eaten at any time of the day. For example, I use it for cocktail parties as a vegetable hummus shooter. It looks nice and is always a conversation starter.

Almost any vegetable works with it. However, when incorporating vegetables into hummus, it’s best to blanch or roast them before. It will help intensify the flavor.

One of my all-time favorites is caramelized onions and jalapenos with a touch of aged balsamico.  Here are some ideas of vegetables that can be incorporated:

Elegant Vegetable hummus shooter

Vegetable hummus shooter

15 of my favorites vegetables to complement hummus:

With the exception of jalapenos, I recommend adding about one-third the volume of any of the (cooked) vegetables listed below to the hummus. Of course, it’s a personal preference. Whatever makes your taste buds happy. Go for it.

  1. Avocado
    I think the avocado and hummus is a match made in heaven. Maybe I am exaggerating now, but it’s so versatile. You decide if you go for a tangy or spicy theme and surprise your guest or your taste buds.
  2. Spinach
    Sautée shallots and sliced garlic in avocado oil until translucent. Add organic baby spinach and wilt slightly.
    Let cool and add to chickpeas than follow the recipe below.
  3. Carrots
    I prefer to use baby carrots, but regular carrots work too. Peel, wash and slice carrots into half-inch pieces. Add avocado oil and roast in the oven at 350 degrees until soft. Usually 20 to 30 minutes. Some carrots take longer.
  4. Jalapenos
    Wash and slice jalapenos. Sautee in avocado oil until soft, then add to chickpeas. For more intense heat cook jalapenos with seeds, otherwise, remove them.
  5. Black beans
    Cook black beans just like chickpeas. Soak overnight and cook for about one hour and thirty minutes. Add to the recipe.
  6. Eggplant
    Peel and chop eggplant and onions into half inch pieces. Sautee in avocado oil until soft. Use a quarter onion for every eggplant. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Sweet Potatoes
    There are two methods you can roast sweet potatoes. Whole with its skin on or peeled and chopped.  The peeled potatoes are usually easier to work with since they just need to be added to the recipe. The whole potato, on the other hand, needs to be scooped out, which is more work.
  8. Butternut
    Very similar to sweet potatoes, however, peeling is more appropriate.
  9. Bell Peppers
    Roasted peppers are a great addition to the chickpeas. They add a beautiful sweetness to the hummus that truly satisfies.
  10. Beets
    I prefer to steam them since I have a steamer on my job. I know I am spoiled when it comes to equipment. You can boil them in water, which takes easily one to two hours, depending on how small the beets are cut. Roasting is another good option. Just remember to wear gloves because beets will stain your hands (and shirts). It’s just a headache to clean your hands afterward. With beets, it pays to go organic since most beets are genetically modified (GMO) in the US.
  11. Broccoli
    Steamed, roasted or boiled broccoli lends the hummus a light green color. It also gives it a health punch. Studies have shown that broccoli has anti-carcinogenic and cancer-fighting agents.
  12. Broccoli Sprouts
    Take it up a notch from broccoli. These incredibly healthy sprouts have shown to add great benefits to your hummus. From anti-aging antioxidants that reduces wrinkles to cancer-fighting compounds. Due to its high amount of sulforaphane, broccoli sprouts are credited for normal brain development, and some studies suggest it prevents autism. Talking about incredible health benefits here. For that reason, I like to sprinkle broccoli sprouts on all my salads and of course my hummus avocado toast, as shown in the picture.
  13. Olives
    Use any olives you like. I prefer calamata olives. They have an intense flavor and work great with the caramelized onions in the hummus.
  14. Tomatoes
    Slow roasted tomatoes taste especially good with hummus. They lend it a mild sweet flavor.
  15. Caramelized onions
    Who doesn’t love the sweet taste of caramelized onions? It uplifts any recipe. Add a touch of aged balsamic and you have the perfect duo.

Multi grain French bread

Multigrain French bread

Hummus the Energizer

According to Dr. Axe, hummus is full of healthy goodies.

  • Supports heart health
  • Rich in fiber, minerals, and vitamins
  • Has Anti Inflammatory effects
  • Reduces hypertension
  • Helps with digestion

Hummus avocado toast with broccoli sprouts and radishes

Hummus avocado toast with broccoli sprouts and radishes

The Ultimate Vegan Power Breakfast

I must say I really have come to love my hummus avocado toast in the morning. Actually, it’s not really a toast, but a toasted multigrain french bread.

Even my sons adapted this breakfast sandwich, and they are not vegans – yet. It’s so delicious and satisfying that I sometimes eat too much of it.

Avocado hummus sandwich on multigrain bread

Avocado hummus toast on multigrain bread

I had just finished taking the pictures when my son came in and said that looks delicious. “Are you done with taking pictures?” he asks. I nodded and gone was the toast.

Hummus and the multigrain bread provides the protein and the fiber needed for a good meal. The avocado provides the necessary fat vegans need. This simple avocado hummus multigrain toast, as I call it, provide a punch of vitamin C and E. This sandwich keeps me satisfied until lunch, hence it also delivers the important breakfast meal most of us vegans need to get us through the day.

 A simple hors-d’oeuvre with style

One of my favorite hors D’eouvre is the vegetable humus shooter. I think it makes a nice presentation and adds some color to the buffet table. The hummus makes a great dip for any crudités instead of using a greasy, unhealthy blue cheese or ranch dip.

Hummus vegetable shooters

Hummus vegetable shooters

It has the same ingredients like the caramelized onion hummus with the exception it’s served in a shooter with Crudités vegetables. I always like to spice it up with some cayenne pepper.

Avocado hummus crostini

Avocado hummus crostini

On the buffet, I like to strategically place the shooters on a silver tray throughout the buffet some elevated on a riser.  It is also the go-to vegan hors D’eouvre on parties where meat and dairy are served. Just imagine what an all- vegan buffet looks like. I just leave that for a later post.

The hummus shooter is usually favored by the ladies, as it is rather a low-calorie appetizer.

Tomato hummus crostini

Tomato hummus crostini

The guys, in my opinion, prefer the crostini, as it adds some crunch and texture to the hummus. As with any other hors D’eouvre, the sky is the limit when it comes to toppings.

Fancy avocado hummus Island

Fancy avocado hummus Island

An Elegant Vegan Appetizer

So simple yet always a crowd pleaser. At first, I wanted to add three colored tacos, but I changed my mind. Why not stay with a gluten-free appetizer for a change. Even though the tacos would go well with the avocado. The radishes provide a little crunch and a touch of color. The golden gooseberries add a surprising sweet but tangy flavor to the dish. A perfect vegan appetizer with a touch of elegance.

Avocado hummus Island

 

 

To simplify this recipe I have used cooked chickpeas, which I had prepared the day before. Feel free to use canned beans instead.

What’s your take on hummus? Do you have a favorite way to serve hummus? Leave a comment below.

Print Recipe
Avocado Hummus Toast
To simplify this recipe I have used cooked chickpeas, which I had prepared the day before. Feel free to use canned beans instead.
Hummus avocado toast
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Cuisine Mediterranean
Prep Time 25 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Hummus with Himalayan pink salt
Avocado Puree
Multi-grain Bread
Cuisine Mediterranean
Prep Time 25 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Hummus with Himalayan pink salt
Avocado Puree
Multi-grain Bread
Hummus avocado toast
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Hummus
  1. Add all ingredients to food processor and blend until smooth.
Avocado Puree
  1. Mash avocados with a fork until smooth then incorporate all other ingredients.
Assemble Avocado Hummus Toast
  1. Scoop about two tablespoons of hummus on the multigrain toast.
  2. Top with a dollop of avocado puree.
  3. Decorate with diced onion, tomatoes, sliced radishes and some broccoli sprouts.
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts
Avocado Hummus Toast
Amount Per Serving
Calories 203 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 6%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.02g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.01g
Sodium 580mg 24%
Potassium 61mg 2%
Total Carbohydrates 32g 11%
Dietary Fiber 7g 28%
Sugars 2g
Protein 10g 20%
Vitamin A 2%
Vitamin C 25%
Calcium 4%
Iron 9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

Black Bean Vegetable Wrap with Chipotle Mayo

Black Bean Vegetable Wrap with Chipotle Mayo

After raising two boys into young adults I realized we have grown up in a fast food society where processed foods rule. Thinking back I regret having done some fundamental errors. I always thought – OK – if the kids behave I will reward them with a treat. And the treat was the kid’s meal at Mc Donald’s (that’s when they were really small), since they had an indoor playground where they could play after their meal. What a terrible mistake. I instilled junk food as a way of an incentive for my kids. I can never forgive myself for that. I remember my kids knew all the burger joints by name before they were able to read. I know it’s my fault, I didn’t know any better than. However, I always eat by example. For instance my kids would say I eat trees for breakfast. That tree like food was home-baked whole grain bread with lots of nuts and seeds. They rather loved the mushy white bread, which I refused to buy. Today, I must say they eat the same way as I do putting fibers, fruit and vegetables first.   It could have gone wrong, too.

Black bean wrap with spicy mayo

A Change is in the Air

Being a chef has helped me choose the right foods to be part of a healthy cuisine. I was always an advocate of a healthy diet and try to help out with tips and hints among my friends and family members. For that reason I have decided to change my core concept from the very general Culinary Blog to a more whole foods approach with healthy eating habits. I’m planning to carry out this change within the next month or two.

Black bean wrap

Look Out for My New #Healthy Friday Series

As of next Friday I’m introducing a new series of Healthy Friday posts, where I will uncover and analyze unhealthy foods, eating habits and suggest healthier alternatives. I will expose the very foods and ingredients that make us sick and emphasize the ones which keep us healthy. If you haven’t signed up to receive my posts my mail I hope you consider doing so. Subscribe to Kraemer’s Culinary Blog by Email

The Future of Our Health is Determined by the Choices We Make….

That is in particular true with the type of food we choose to eat. Well, some get away with eating junk food all day long and still don’t get sick. However the growing obesity rate in the world suggest otherwise.  We have never had so many obese children. Our healthcare cost is through the roof.  If we don’t change the way we eat we essentially program our bodies to fail, which is unsustainable for a nation.

Black bean wrap with chipotle mayo

I choose this vegetable wrap because it appeals to kids as it does to adults. Who doesn’t like a wrap? I don’t believe in meaty sandwiches all the time and this vegetable wrap is a refreshing change. Obviously, adding a piece of grilled chicken or steak would complement this wrap too.

Black Bean Vegetable Wrap with Chipotle Mayo
Recipe Type: Vegetarian, sandwich, healthy cuisine,
Cuisine: American
Author: Kraemers Culinary Blog
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Chipotle mayo
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle peppers, minced
  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp honey
  • <a class=”zem_slink” title=”Sandwich wrap” href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandwich_wrap” target=”_blank” rel=”wikipedia” data-mce-href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandwich_wrap”>Wraps</a><br data-mce-bogus=”1″>
  • 4 large black bean wraps
  • 8 leaves of lettuce, romaine or green leave
  • 4 fire roasted red peppers, store bought
  • 1 eggplant, thinly sliced & sautéed in olive oil
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 small can of black beans,
  • 1 red onion
Instructions
Chipotle mayo
  1. Mix all ingredients together.
Black Bean Vegetable Wrap
  1. Toast wraps over grill or in oven until hot.
  2. Spread chipotle mayo over the center of wrap
  3. Spread lettuce, sliced red peppers, eggplant, avocado, onions and beans in the center of wrap.
  4. Fold the left and right side of wrap towards the center.
  5. Now roll up the vegetable wrap from the bottom keeping everything centered and within the wrap.
  6. Cut in two pieces and enjoy.
Notes
This vegetable wrap can be eaten hot or cold. For a hot wrap heat all ingredients except the mayo. Than roll up all hot ingredients into wrap.

Did or do you have any issues raising your kids with healthy foods?

Do you eat fast foods and how does it impact your eating habits.

Are you trying to eat healthy?

 

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A Messy Bowl of Oatmeal with Blueberries

A Messy Bowl of Oatmeal with Blueberries

a spoon of oatmeal with blueberries

Eating healthy is easier said than done. Almost every day I think about to diversify my diet, yet I hardly do something about it. My problem is; I love the good old wholesome bread with lots of grains and fibers. Although there is nothing wrong with that I just have to eat more veggies and fruits. With a busy job all that goes up into smoke and by the end of the day all I have eaten was my breakfast and a lousy snack. Does that sound familiar or am I the only one struggling to eat better?

Ingredients for oatmeal with blueberries

A Bowl of Oatmeal Everyday

Well my New Year’s resolution is among a few other things to eat healthier. Foods like a bowl of oatmeal with blueberries, grilled fish, salads and more fruits are on the agenda. Yeah-yeah it’s all talk – talk – talk. I‘ll be a better eater next year?!  All these damn resolutions, serious! If I want to eat better I’ll better start right now. What do I need a New Year’s resolution for – there are for procrastinators. So here is bowl of oatmeal with blueberries. I started to eat healthier just a few moments ago and it’s up to me to keep it up!

 

Healthy Oatmeal with Fruit

A Chef’s Weakness – The Diet

It sounds paradox, but many chefs have at one point in their life struggled to eat a wholesome diet. One would think chefs have everything at their disposal. While that is certainly right it is common for chefs not to eat all day. Yes, chefs taste their wonderful creations, yet what is a teaspoon of food here and there. It’s a teaser nothing else.

Of my twenty odd years as being a chef I have always enjoyed cooking. Believe it or not there was a time in my life where I couldn’t eat all day while cooking in the kitchen.  This is a well-known problem among chefs. We stay in the kitchen all day tasting and smelling food, to the point that our appetite is completely turned off. I’m not telling you a story just check anyone who works in a kitchen, they will attest to that.

Worse is – when I came out of the kitchen – I got hungry, really hungry. And you wouldn’t guess what I was craving for: Junk food, salty, greasy unhealthy food.  Which is a shame, because I was right at the source. Fruits, vegetables, steaks, fish and my favorite bowl of oatmeal with blueberries was always at my fingertips. One day I became very ill and that’s when I changed my diet.  Now I’ll eat on time every time. Although sometimes I’ll catch myself craving for junk food but that passes after a few minutes.

So, as for my part I’ll forget about all these healthy New Years resolutions and start to eat healthier now, this moment and then – keep it up! Cheers to healthy eating!! Happy New Year!

Messy bowl of oatmeal with blueberries

 

What are your New Years resolutions?

Have you had any problems eating healthy and what did you do to change that?

What are your favorite healthy foods?

Chefs, please don’t hesitate to tell your story.

 

A messy bowl of oatmeal with blueberries

Recipe Type: Breakfast,
Cuisine: American
Author: Kraemers Culinary Blog
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 8 cups of organic vanilla soy milk
  • 21/2 cups / 225 grams organic oatmeal (<a class=”zem_slink” title=”Oatmeal” href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oatmeal” target=”_blank” rel=”wikipedia” data-mce-href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oatmeal”>quick oats</a>)
  • 3 tbsp organic flax meal
  • 3 tbsp organic sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup / 30 grams walnuts (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 organic apple finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup / 100 grams your choice of organic granola
  • 1 tsp of honey
  • 1 1/2 cup organic or wild blueberries
  • 1 tangerine or any other fruit you like
Instructions
  1. Except blueberries cook all ingredients in a stainless steel pot for about 5 minutes on medium heat.
  2. I usually add blueberries towards the end so they get a little warmed up in the oatmeal.
  3. Decorate with apple slices and tangerine.
Notes
Once the oatmeal is cooked and served in a bowl I like to pour a bit of cold soy milk on top. [br] The reason my bowl of oatmeal is so messy is that I used frozen blueberries and poured the leftover juice over it. Deliciously healthy!

 

 

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Crudite Shots versus Platters? What is Your Favorite?

Crudite Shots versus Platters? What is Your Favorite?

While I prepare myself for my upcoming trip to Germany, here is an old favorite snack of mine served a bit different than usual. – Before I get to this I’d like to mention the little story that lead me to write this post in the first place. I was recently invited on a party, which was held at a fairly decent catering hall. Among the appetizers was a crudite platter. A boring platter with carrots, green peppers, celery and cherry tomatoes served with I think was store-bought ranch dressing (which is OK).  The platter had no decoration at all. – My question is: Is it so difficult to make a crudite platter more appetizing? Don’t get me wrong there are many chefs and caterers out there who take great pride in serving brilliantly decorated appetizer platters. What I learned in recent years is that caterers have come to the point of dropping this hors d’oeuvre from the menu completely. Yet many customers ask for it. So why not reinvent the old?

Crudite served in shot glassesWhy do we serve hors d’oeuvres?

An hors d’oeuvre is served to simply whet your guests appetite to what is yet to come. (except on receptions). It is usually served before the actual dinner starts, so guests can mingle and get comfortable. However, in my opinion an hors d’oeuvre as well as the famous amuse-bouche is testament of what the chef & his or her team is capable of. So whether it’s a simple crudite served in shot glasses or platters  – as a host it is my job to impress my guest with the very first opportunity. – The Hors D’Oeuvre

Crudite Shots

Crudite Shots

Crudite Shots versus Platters? What is Your Favorite and Why?

Crudite shots are not very useful when drinks are served. Yes they look great, but having two glasses in your hand leaves you with confusion. So it’s important to keep this in mind before deciding of either.   I just think crudite shots are fun – dipping, eating and chatting – walking around with your little shot glass. Having someone passing the crudite shots around is another fun way. The colorful little glasses make a nice impression on a party.

Simple Crudite Shots Spice it up a bit.

To make this old-fashioned appetizer “pop” I added jalapeno peppers and avocados to the ranch dressing. The jalapeno gives it a little zing and the avocado some depth. There are lots of alternatives to add flavors to your dipping sauces. From peppercorns, herbs, cheese, chilies to horseradish, the sky is the limit. However, the foundation is always the same; it’s either mayonnaise or vinaigrette based (there are exceptions). I prefer a mayonnaise based sauce, because it sticks better to the vegetables. I know it’s more calories, but more flavor too.

Unfortunately,  I had limited vegetable at hand for my crudite. I usually would add red radishes, button mushrooms and broccoli just to mention a few.

 

Veggies for Crudite

Veggies for Crudite

Organic or Not Organic?

I prefer to buy organic produce, because they are free of pesticides. That said organic produce is expensive and I’m not always willing to pay the high price. You can find out more and form your own opinion about organic foods by visiting the EWG (Environmental Working Group). There, you’ll find a ton of information and you might end up supporting them by subscribing to their newsletter. But hold – sign up to receive my blog post first – I would really appreciate it. 🙂

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Let’s not forget the health factor in these little crudite shots. Organic or not, both produce are nutritional and packed with vitamins and minerals.

Shot glasses for crudite

Shot glasses for crudite

Do you like crudite? Do you prefer them served in shot glasses or platters?

Do you think they are old-fashioned ? What’s your opinion?

Organic vegetables or not. Does it matter to you?

I would love to hear your opinion. Leave a comment

 

Crudite Shots
Recipe Type: Appetizer, Hors D’Oeuvre
Author: Kraemers Culinary Blog
Prep time: 25 mins
Total time: 25 mins
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1/4 romaine or iceberg lettuce, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, cut in 8 – 3 inch long slices
  • 1/2 cucumber cut in 4 -1/4inch thick slices & 8 – 3 inch long sticks
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut in 8 – 3 inch long slices
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut in 8 – 3 inch long slices
  • 1/4 red cabbage, cut in 8 – 3 inch long slices
  • 8 asparagus, cut 3 inch long with head on
  • 4 grape tomatoes each on a 4 inch skewer
  • 4 – 4 inch long celery stalks with leaves on
  • 1 cup ranch dressing
  • 1/4 avocado, mashed
  • 1 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Mix avocados, jalopeno with the ranch dressing.
  2. Fill the shot glass with an inch of lettuce as a bed for the ranch dressing. Spoon about 1 tbsp of the ranch dressing into the glass than add all other vegetables. Add an extra spoon of dressing to it.
Notes

If you don’t serve the crudite right away, keep the vegetables moist. That is done by covering the vegetables with a moist towel. It is also possible to submerge them for a few minutes in ice-water to keep them hydrated. However, keeping the vegetables too long in the ice-water will drain them of essential vitamins and minerals.

 

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Very Berry Minty Smoothie

Very Berry Minty Smoothie

 

We all know how difficult it is to teach our children to eat healthy. I remember when my kids were young and the kind of conversations we had. “Dad, can I eat some ice-cream?” my son asked. “Son, you just had some chips, you are eating too much junk food” I replied. “And?” he responded.  So I told him I’ll make him a sweet delicious tasting surprise. He went along with my idea and patiently waited in the living room.  So instead of serving him a big bowl of ice-cream I decided to mix him a smoothie. I for myself usually make the really healthy ones with kale and spinach…you know what I mean. However that kind of smoothie wasn’t sweet enough for this occasion. I pulled out some frozen assorted berries from the freezer, a banana, Greek yogurt, just to name a few. Once he saw me placing the berries in the mixer he got really excited and he ask me if he could help.  So what is better than to lead by example?  To engage them in healthy eating habits, that way they will hopefully continue to make healthy choices for themselves; and most importantly for the rest of their lives. That was many years ago and rest is history…

Very Berry Minty Smoothie

Very Berry Minty Smoothie

I prefer to get organically grown or wild berries so I don’t have to worry about pesticides. This is in particular important for berries, since you can’t scrub them clean. I didn’t use ice-cream in this recipe, but Greek yogurt. Guess what, he never realized the absence of ice-cream. However, if you do have a sweet tooth, like me, go for it.

Another important aspect is the health benefits of berries. Don’t under estimate the incredible power that berries bring to the table, literally! There are packed with antioxidants, vitamin C and cancer fighting ingredients. The darker the colors the more health benefits they have. Many guides also recommend using a variety of colored fruits, ranging from red, blue, orange to yellow, that will increase the intake of different vitamins and minerals. So make it colorful.

Very Berry Minty Smoothie - Ideal for kids

Very Berry Minty Smoothie - Ideal for kids

Try the very berry minty smoothie with your kids and let me know how they liked it.

What is your twist to get your kids to eat healthy?

Very Berry Minty Smoothie
Recipe Type: Snack, healthy food
Author: Kraemer’s Culinary Blog
Prep time: 10 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 0.5 cup strawberries
  • 0.5 cup cherries
  • 0.5 cup raspberries
  • 0.5 banana
  • 1 Greek vanilla yogurt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 0.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 0.25 cup pomegranate juice
  • A few mint leaves,
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a mixer and blend until well incorporated. Pour in a 6 oz glass and decorate with a leftover fruit. Enjoy
Notes

I used frozen berries for this recipe, but you can certainly use fresh berries.
Tip: If the smoothie is too thick add some soy-vanilla milk. For vegans: exchange the Greek yogurt with soy yogurt.

 

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Healthy Tomato Crostini Three Ways

Healthy Tomato Crostini Three Ways

Using perfectly ripened tomatoes picked just of the vine, (from my garden), will promise for some tasty tomato crostini. Just the smell of these tomatoes is incredible. Enhanced only with a few ingredients such as basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and red onions makes this hors d’ oeuvre an instant hit on any party.

Tomato Crostini Three Ways

Let Them Ripen…

Tomatoes can only ripen to perfection when on the vine, so it is important to let them grow until fully developed. Once tomatoes are picked, they won’t get sweeter or improve in taste. Only their color will change from green to red.  Well, if you couldn’t get perfectly red tomatoes, keep them in a dry dark place to ripen until red (not in refrigerator). Unfortunately, most tomatoes we buy in our supermarkets are not properly ripened at all.  Most of them ripened in a box on their way to the store. For that reason I suggest that you buy your tomatoes at the farmers market. They’re probably organically grown, taste better and are much healthier for you. When choosing tomatoes select firm, red and silky ones and stay away from too ripe or soft tomatoes. Get in the habit of smelling your tomatoes, too. The stem is the best spot to do that. If they don’t smell right the tomato probably won’t taste either.

Perfectly Ripened Tomatoes

Perfectly Ripened Tomatoes

A Few Health Benefits of Tomatoes:

We all know tomatoes are healthy, right? Did you know that they fight fat, cancer and infections, too? Yes, tomatoes are cancer fighters according to Dr. Leo Galland MD of the Huffington Post. They are packed with antioxidants and vitamin A, C and E. The reason they fight fat is of their anti inflammatory properties, which will allow your weight loss hormones to work properly.

Perfectly ripened tomatoes don’t need much more attention. What I mean by attention is spices or condiments. I rather let the tomatoes speak for them self. Tomato crostini are a great way to portray that perfectly ripened tomato recipe. In case you are a vegetarian, exchange the cheese with tofu. Here are three different examples:

Tomato Crostini

Healthy Tomato Crostini

Healthy Tomato Crostini Three Ways:

Tomato & Blue Cheese Crostini

Plum Tomato & Goat Cheese Crostini

Cherry Tomato & Basil Crostini

Tomato Crostini Devoured

Tomato Crostini Devoured

Recipe:

Crostinis

1 French Bread sliced on a bias, aim for 12 slices. 4 slices for each recipe.

7 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped

1 cup olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

Mix garlic, herbs, salt, olive oil and let stand for at least 30 minutes.

With a brush spread the garlic oil on both sides of the bread slices. Bake them for 6-8 minutes at 365° Fahrenheit or until golden brown.

Tip: Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese over crostini before baking. This will make a delightful crostini. Making Crostinis on a BBQ works well too. Place bread slices on medium hot grill and turn after 1.5 minute. Keep it longer on the grill for more charred flavor.

Balsamic Reduction

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tsp honey

Cook vinegar and honey over medium heat until reduced to half. Set a side to cool.

Tip: Aged balsamic works even better and you don’t have to reduce it, since it becomes sweeter through aging.


Tomato & Blue Cheese Crostini

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 small red onion, finely diced

1 tsp finely chopped basil

Dash of olive oil

Dash of balsamic reduction

4 tbsp blue cheese, (Saga, Gorgonzola works fine)

4 tbsp cream cheese

4 tbsp Greek yogurt

Toss the first five ingredients together and set aside

With a fork mix the two cheeses with yogurt to a creamy paste and spread over 4 crostini. Then spoon the tomatoes on top of cheese.


Plum Tomato & Goat cheese Crostini

2 Plum Tomatoes, sliced and halved

3/4 cup of goat cheese

12 tbsp Greek yogurt

1/4 cup finely chopped chives

Combine goat cheese, yogurt and chives and spread a good amount over 4 crostini. Now place 3 or 4 slices of tomatoes in an angle over the goat cheese.

Cherry Tomato & Basil Crostini

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 red onion, finely sliced

1 tbsp basil, finely sliced

1/2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp balsamic reduction

Spoon tomato mixture over crostini. Assemble one of each tomato crostini on a plate with fresh basil and a few drops of balsamic reduction. Enjoy

 

How do you like to prepare your Tomato Crostini?

Do you buy organic or regular tomatoes?

 

 

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