Saturday, August 15, 2015

Oven-Roasted Chickpeas

This simple snack is so good- it must come with a warning that you will eat the whole batch regardless of your initial intentions!

Also, you can make these to suit your needs. Sweet with cinnamon? Can do. Spicy with chili powder and cumin? Yes. Simple with just salt? You got it.

"California" Phantom Planet


  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Spices to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Combine chickpeas, olive oil, and desired spices on the baking sheet. Put baking sheet in oven for 40 minutes or until crisp, stirring every 10 minutes to prevent burning.

Soft Pretzels with Spinach Artichoke Dip

Pretzels and cheese has been my comfort food. The perfect combination of texture, your teeth sink into the soft cheese before getting the snap of the crisp pretzel.
I like to think of Spinach Artichoke Dip with Soft Pretzels as the more sophisticated cousin of pretzels and cheese. An adult version of that simple comfort snack.

We could kid ourselves that its a bit healthier, but really, does it matter?

Comfort food is comfort food. Regardless of health concerns. 

To spruce it up even more, feel free to put poppy seed and/or sesame seeds on the pretzels with the salt.

"Unbelievable" Owl City feat. Hanson
This song is seriously my jam right now. I'm in the phase of new favorite where I listen to it nonstop. Three days in and still not sick of it. Possibly true love?

Adapted from Half-Baked Harvest


Soft Beer Pretzels
  • 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 cup beer
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • Canola oil, to grease bowl
  • 3 quarts water, for boiling the pretzels
  • 2/3 cups baking soda, for boiling the pretzels
  • 1 egg, beaten, for brushing before baking
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Poppy and sesame seeds (optional)

  • Spinach and Artichoke Dip Filling

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used 2%, but whatever you have will be fine)
  • 1 ounce cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt (I used 0%)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup (about 5 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1 (6.7 ounce) jar grilled artichoke hearts or you can sub marinated artichokes, chopped


To make the pretzel dough, combine the water, brown sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Add the melted butter, beer, salt, all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour to the mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes. If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead into a ball with your hands.
Coat a large bowl with canola oil, add the dough and turn to coat with the oil. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size. This will take about 1 hour.
About 10 minutes before you're ready to roll out the dough make the filling. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Melt the butter over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Whisk in flour until it makes a paste. Cook over medium-low heat for a minute or two, then pour in milk. Stir and cook one minute, if your paste gets too thick splash in more milk.
Add cream cheese, mozzarella, parmesan and pepper. Stir until cheeses are melted. Stir in the greek yogurt until smooth. Chop artichokes and spinach and add to the sauce. Add the bacon, stir to combine. Dip will be thick, just use some muscle and stir in those veggies!
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Divide the pretzel dough into 8 equal balls and roll each out into a rectangle (about 11x3 inches). Roll the dough up into a log. Pinch the seams together and then very gently roll the dough with your hands to form an even cylinder.
Take the two ends of each filled cylinder and form into a circle that is overlapped by a couple of inches of dough on either side, twist the ends and lay over the opposite side to form a pretzel shape and press to seal. Slowly add the baking soda to the boiling water. Boil the pretzels in the water solution, 2 at a time for 30 seconds, splashing the tops with the warmed water using a spoon. Remove with a large flat slotted spatula or a spider. Place 4 pretzels on each baking sheet, brush the tops with the egg wash and season liberally with sea salt, poppy seeds, and/or sesame seeds. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until pretzels are golden brown.
Remove pretzels from oven and let cool five minutes. EAT!!
Or if needed you can reheat the pretzels at 350 degrees F. for 15 minutes.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Candied Ginger and Ginger Syrup

I'm not a ginger person, but my grandma loves it. When she was little, she lived on a farm and would have a lemonade-like drink with ginger instead of lemon. She swears that ginger can cure every type of upset stomach, indigestion, and even her arthritic pains. 
She's an amazing person. Always keeping busy and getting stuff done.
And enjoying the little things in life.

Seriously, she is so good at design and making things look good.
I wish I had her talent for composition.
Anyway, here is candied ginger (and ginger syrup)

This song (and singer) is also one of her favorites. 
Iz "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"


0.5 lb. ginger, chopped into small, thin slices
2 cups sugar, plus additional sugar for coating ginger if desired
2 cups water


Combine ingredients in sauce pan on medium high heat, until the water begins to simmer. Reduce to medium heat and leave simmering for 40 minutes or until syrup reaches consistency of thin honey. Remove from heat and allow to cool.  If desired, drain syrup while still hot and toss ginger in sugar leaving to dry. OR after cooling, store ginger in syrup.