Forgiveness Dip (Crack)

I realized my last few posts have all been very healthy; and man and I'm so very sorry about that. It was never my intention to make you suffer through (delicious but) healthy food, especially when the posts trick you into thinking I'm a healthy eater. I eat well, but I don't eat well. To make it up to you, here is one of my all-time favorite snacks. This has always been a family favorite at parties, and is one of the main reasons we have such a hard time eating dinner after apps have been served.

Oh, it looks gross? Yeah move past it Buster Rhymes (That is my joking name for Busta Rhymes however a quick google search informs me there was a real athlete named Buster Rhymes. Shit.). Every single person who has been intimidated by this appetizer looks-wise has overcome their trepidation the second they tried this life-changing dip. So move past the fact that it doesn't photograph well and give this a try; your arteries will thank you (no they won't).


Serves: 15 as a party appetizer, 5-6 as serious afternoon snack
Total Time: 5 minutes
Ingredients

  • 1 stick plain cream cheese
  • 1 jar salsa - mild is the usual go-to, but I go medium when I'm feeling spicy. If you're a spice person go for something hotter but honestly I get a good kick from the medium (although I'm a weakling). Also, chunky or regular salsa but never ever cantina style salsa here! Makes everything watery and gross.
  • Bare minimum one party size bag Fritos or Tostitos (more on that below), preferably 2 bags

Instructions

  1. Let cream cheese soften by leaving on counter for 10 minutes, then cut into small cubes.
  2. Add cubes to large bowl along with jar of salsa, then blend with hand mixer on low until well-combined, where dip turns pink and very little cream cheese bits are still visible. Cover and chill in fridge until ready to serve.
  3. Serve with Fritos (scoops are a favorite here) or corn chips (Tostito Scoops are also a hot commodity).

 

There is a lot of controversy over how to serve this: I always go cold, but one of my best friends was horrified in college since her family always covered the final version in cheese and heated it in the over like a seven-layer dip. Either is amazing, so do what makes you happy! I'm a little too eager so 98% of the time I hop right in.

Cheers! Hope we're friends again.

Roasted Chickpeas

If it's salty, I'll eat it. With pretty much only one exception (nuts, because I'm allergic), anything that is salty and I can grab a handful of is right up my alley. I've read all sorts of reviews of toasted chickpeas lately, and I figured I'd give them a spin during that past-lunch-but-don't-want-to-spoil-my-dinner-appetite times.  This was really easy, I really spent the most time working on peeling off the chickpea skins which you apparently don't have to do. 

Working reminds me of the new Diddy son - did you know he has a new album? And it's under his old name Puff Daddy instead of P Diddy or Diddy. My personal favorite is Workin with Travis Acott and Big Sean because it's just hilarious and driving and a whole lot of fun.

But anyway, the chickpeas! The other bonus is that the different toppings were all things o had on the house, so there's nothing else you really have to go out for. I made three different kinds - plain with sea salt, spiced, and honey cinnamon. I'd say the honey cinnamon was my favorite, but my mom preferred the plain with sea salt. Overall these were good, but honestly next time I'd probably make a big batch of popcorn. I think I was looking for a relatively healthy but salty snack, but by the time you'd make these chickpeas salty enough you might as well chug a bottle of sodium (or get hot and sour soup at a Chinese restaurant). I definitely honk these are worth trying at home, and I'm open to suggestions for better flavor combos to make these little guys shine.

 

Serves: 2-3 as a snack

Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 1/2 tablespoon sea salt

For Spiced Chickpeas:

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

For Honey Cinnamon Chickpeas:

  • 1/2 tablespoon EVOO
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Small pinch sea salt

Instructions:

  1. Drain and rinse chickpeas in a colander. Dry well with paper towels and let sit to dry for at least a few minutes. If any skins are peeling from chickpeas, pull them off, otherwise leave on. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Line pan or baking sheet with aluminum foil (if using baking sheet, roll up sides to avoid chickpeas falling into oven), and add chickpeas, EVOO, and sea salt. Toss to combine and roast for 25-30 minutes, shaking halfway through.
  3. While chickpeas are roasting, prepare flavors. With either topping option, combine thoroughly in small bowl to add hot chickpeas to when finished roasting. 
  4. Once chickpeas are browned (and some may pop! That's normal) and a sample chickpea is crispy all the way through and not soft inside, remove from oven and split into groups, adding chickpeas to each bowl you've created a flavor for. For plain chickpeas, add 1 teaspoon sea salt, and 1/2 tablespoon EVOO if chickpeas appear too dry for you.

Roasted Beet Salad

 

I feel like there hasn't been a lot of middle ground here. The food I make (and eat) is either super healthy or really unhealthy. That might be my perfect life balance though - simple and quick food that is super rich and dense and usually also salty, battled with very light meals or snacks that make you like yourself again. Or maybe that's not the best way to phrase it. Liking yourself is why you have those treats, and wanting to keep liking yourself and not feel like an oompa loompa is why you switch over to healthy food on occasion.

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If you've never heard of this save it for a time you don't mind being totally freaked out by an animated clip.

This lunch is part of that healthy end. As I mentioned before, I'm not really into salad (except quoting Salad Fingers) unless there are a lot of fatty and salty items on top - bacon, heavy dressing, handfuls of cheese. Cobb salads are where it's at. This little guy though is for when you're in between meals or planning on a big holiday feast for dinner and want to feel like you can go, well, H.A.M.

 

Beets are like the easiest thing to make, and they are insanely delicious. There's something about making everything you eat them with a little pink mess that is just a blast, from a full salad with Craisins and veggies to some mixed greens and feta or goat cheese, which is what I've done here. I like to make my own salad dressing for this since I've found prepackaged ones are a bit too heavy here and don't hit the beet/cheese combo just the way I'd like, but feel free to skip my steps and use whatever you have on hand!

In the past I've cut the tops and bottoms off of my beets, slathered them in a little olive oil, sea salt and pepper, and peeled and cut them after they're out of the oven. I went a little Ina Garten (I have a lot of mixed feelings to share about Ina another day) and cut off the skin and chopped them before roasting, which I have to say was pretty genius. In about an hour you'll eat so well you'll feel like you deserve a big plate of nachos or tub of ice cream for dinner.

Total Time: 1 hour

Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 4 medium beets
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 pinch crushed black pepper
  • 3 cups packed mixed greens
  • 3 tablespoons crumbled feta or goat cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Vinegar (I use white Modena for feta and Balsamic for goat cheese)

Instructions

A little wrap example/size comparison

A little wrap example/size comparison

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.  Cut tops and bottoms off of each beet, then wash and dry thoroughly with the rest of the skin on. Some people recommend washing and using the beet greens, but I've never been impressed enough with the ones I get to follow through.
  2. Cut off remaining beet skin. I bet you could use a vegetable peeler, but I had a good knife and found it came off pretty easily once you're underneath the skin to cut everything off. Cut beets into smaller pieces that are about double what you would deem bite-sized.
  3. Add beets to the center of a piece of aluminum foil large enough to wrap at the top. Cover with 1 tablespoon of EVOO and sea salt and pepper. Mix around with your hands to coat.
  4. Close aluminum foil up tightly, and place inside/on another pan lined with foil (broken foil drippings in an oven are no joke! Trust.). Bake in oven for 40 minutes and let cool for 10 minutes before serving or you will burn your tongue off.
  5. Prepare mixed greens - I go for a prepackaged, prewashed deal that encourages me to live my sloth life - with your choice of cheese and other veggies or toppings. In a small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of EVOO with your choice of vinegar, salt and pepper (honestly I sneak a little sugar in there too to give it some warmth), and pour over salad. Add warm beets and enjoy!

I've found the best way to store beets is to put them in a bowl that you put inside a large resealable bag. This keeps them fresh and keeps beet-colored juice from destroying everything you love. Anyone else make this salad? Any different ingredients or salad dressings I should know about?