Category: Appetizers & Snacks

Super Snacks

Hey ya’ll!

I hope you got to enjoy the Beyonce concert over the weekend.  I know I did!

Clearly the Super Dome was NOT ready for her jelly.

I understand what that’s like. Heh. Seriously though… I’ve caused a power outage by being too bootylicious….


That never really happened…


But I do I love Beyonce.

She’s my friend Adrienne’s spirit animal.

You think I’m joking about that…but I’m not.

Alright, alright that’s enough crazy talk for one day. Let’s move on to what’s actually import at here now, shall we?


Now of course, snacks like the recipe I intend to share with you can be enjoyed whenever you see fit. There are certain ones that I save for special occasions and gatherings – like the Super Bowl for example! This is the case for several reasons:

  1. These snacks would be less super and special if you served them all the time.
  2. These snacks will make you super popular among all of your friends, family, and consumers of said snacks. You don’t want people knocking down your door for them all the time.
  3. These snacks are not all that healthy and, as such, should be enjoyed in moderation. (If – ya know – you’re into the healthy sorta thing.)

Two of my personal favorite snacks for special occasion/sporting event and the like are pigs in a blanket and jalapeño poppers.

Pigs in a blanket, because, well, they’re adorable! The crispy-flaky-pastry-crust wrapped around the savory little hotdog is such fun! I have a hard time resisting mini things in general and pigs in a blanket are no exception!

Jalapeño poppers are another one of my most favorite things. I love spicy things. I love cheesy things. Together – ugh – haha – I start to have a hard time with the whole “moderation” thing. Personally I prefer cheddar poppers to cream cheese ones…but I wouldn’t say no to either!

What I’m about to present to you is one of my favorite recipes I’ve ever made ever ever ever.  It’s the love child of the pig in a blanket and the jalapeño popper…and it’s totally flippin delicious. I call them…


  • 1 pack of your favorite hot dogs (8 dogs – big guys! DO NOT use mini dogs for this recipe unless you have LOADS of patience. I don’t.)
  • 2 tubes of crescent roll dough (I always use the Pillsbury Reduced fat ones – because why not reduce the fat where ya can…ya know?)
  • 1 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened (Again…I use reduced fat…do whatever makes ya happy!)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup picked jalapeños, chopped (Jarred or canned. Whichever you can find. I’ve used fresh peppers before, too. It’s delicious either way. I’d only use about 3 fresh peppers.)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the softened cream cheese with the cheddar, jalapeños, and garlic until everything is thoroughly combined.
It will look something like this.


Take your hot dogs and cut a deep slit from one end of the dog to the other, being careful not to slice it completely in half.


Using a spoon (or your hands…or both) fill each slit with the cream cheese mixture.
It’s kind of messy, and it’s okay if they’re overflowing a bit!

stuffeddogs(That photo…not all that appetizing looking…but I urge you to proceed!)

Pop open your crescent roll dough (1 tube at a time) and separate your triangles and slice each in half (You should get 16 out of each tube).
Cut each hot dog into quarters, being careful not to squeeze out too much filling!

To construct your piggy poppers, take one quarter of a dog and place it – cheesy side down – onto on of your crescent wrappers.
Try to stretch the dough around as much of the dog as possible and roll it up.
Place seam side down on a baking sheet and repeat until all of your dogs are wrapped.

Place in the preheated oven at and cook until golden brown – about 12 minutes.


PATIENCE now, my friends, as the cheesy filling is super hot right now.
Let cool for about 10 (okay, who am I kidding, more like 5) minutes before


 These guys right here…they’ll change your life. One delicious bite at a time.


Energy Bites and Peppermint Tea

That’s what making me happy today. 🙂

Energy bites and peppermint tea.

For those of you that know me you know that it’s exceedingly rare I ever go a day without a cup of tea…or four. But these days I do my very best to balance between the caffeinated and decaffeinated stuff.  I usually start my day with a big cup of English Breakfast tea, throw some green tea in the afternoon, and I spend my evenings drinking peppermint herbal tea. I’m telling you, even when I’m in the sourest of moods I find it pretty tough to stay angry when I take a sip of tea. Johnny even says I have a tea face…I think it looks something like this.


Heh. Get it…because it’s an owl…

Seriously though. When I drink tea I make that face.

Now – onto the energy bites!! I, personally, am a huge fan of Larabars. They’re all natural and come in so many delicious flavors (although Central PA still hasn’t gotten it’s hands on any Carrot Cake  OR Blueberry Muffin ones *sigh*). I love the company as a whole and their dedication towards using all natural/organic/fair trade certified ingredients. HOWEVER – and I may or may not have mentioned this before – I’m poor and can’t justify spending money on them. At least where I shop they’re over $1/bar. Sooooooooo I’ve finally decided to take a crack at making a homemade version of them…with QUINOA!

When I made my Buffalo Chicken Quinoa and Cheese last week, I cooked up some extra quinoa that’s just been sitting around looking for a purpose. Why not throw some extra protein into these energy bites, right?! Right! The dates sweeten everything perfectly, the almonds are filled with protein and healthy fat, the cocoa powder will give you a dose of fiber and antioxidants, and the almond extract boosts the flavor to the next level. I adore these energy bites!

You need a food processor for this recipe and they’re a cinch to whip up! This recipe made 12 squares.

Chocolate Almond Quinoa Energy Bites

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds
  • 1/8 cup unsweetend cocoa powder
  • 4 medjool dates
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Place the dates into the food processor and pulse until they form a sticky ball. Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and let it wiz until everything is combined, scraping down the sides once or twice to make sure everything gets incorporated. Spread the mixture (which will be quite sticky- wet your fingers a bit to prevent it from sticking to you) onto a small pan to form an approximately 5×7 inch  rectangle about 1/2 an inch thick (I used the pan from my toaster oven).  Place in the refrigerator  to set – for at least an hour or two. Slice into squares and munch!!

Here’s what you start with…

the lineup

and here’s the finished product!

chocolate almond quinoa energy bites

My New Favorite Breakfast Ever

Happy Tuesday!

Not that Tuesday is ever all that exciting…

Unless, of course, some of you had off work yesterday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day so you get to enjoy a four day work week! If so, I hope you enjoyed your day off! I can’t say that I’m not jealous…because I totally am…and instead I got to enjoy a full and lazy productive day at work. 🙂

If I had to pick something I did get to enjoy recently, though, it would have to be my new favorite breakfasttttttt!

How many of you are fans of greek yogurt? Show of hands…

GOOD! I can’t get enough of the stuff!! I live off of Wegman’s brand (because I’m poor and it’s the cheapest one when I shop there…and it’s fantastic so I don’t care!)  I went through a brief period where I was eating their nonfat black cherry greek yogurt  with a few walnuts mixed in every morning for breakfast. It’s absolutely delicious.

It also has 18 grams of sugar per 6 ounce serving.



B-b-but…that’s so much sugar for so little yogurt!!

After doing a little research I came to discover that just about any flavored yogurt will have this much sugar in it, maybe more. I’d be cool with having something like this as a treat once in a while, but I really can’t justify consuming that much sugar (that’s not naturally occurring in fruit) for breakfast everyday.

Then…I found this recipe for Cookie Dough Greek Yogurt.

Now, I don’t think this recipe tastes very much like cookie dough, but I do think it’s brilliant and flippin delicious!

Here’s my version of this recipe…I’ve had it for breakfast every day for the last week!

PB Greek Yogurt

  • 6 oz plain, nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon chunky peanut butter (of course you could use creamy peanut butter, but I like the crunch!)
  • 1 packet of Splenda or 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine all of your ingredients in a small bowl and mix well until combined!

How easy is that?! Note that I like to microwave my peanut butter for about 10 seconds before I mix to make things a bit easier – but I also use a giant tub of greek yogurt that I measure out myself. If you have a little container of greek yogurt you can just mix it all up in there and I know it mixes fine that way, too! According to the myfitnesspal calculator, this delicious concoction is about 260 calories with 19 grams of protein and only 9.5 grams of sugar!

I like to serve mine with a chopped up apple or banana for dipping!!

greek yogurt of deliciousness



Cheesy Black Bean Dip


The Only Bean Dip Recipe You Will Ever Need

Pretty bold statement – eh. How can I be SOOOOO absolutely certain that this is the ONLY bean dip recipe you will ever need??? Three reasons.

#1. It’s freakin’ delicious.
#2. It’s so easy to throw together a trained monkey could do it.
#3. It’s only FIVE ingredients!

(Heh, can you tell where I grocery shop?)

Oh yes, you heard (well..erm…read) right. FIVE ingredients for the best bean dip ever. Those seven and eight layer dips, sure, they’re tasty. But who wants to go out and buy ALLL of those ingredients for one little dip??? Not I, I say. This dip is so simple it hardly constitutes a “recipe” but I’ll provide you a formal one anyway because I’m nice like that. 🙂

Cheesy Black Bean Dip

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (8 oz) block 1/3 less fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups salsa (whatever ya like, I prefer hot salsa but not everyone in my house can take the heat)
  • shredded cheddar or mexican cheese blend
  • pickled jalapeños

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, add the cream cheese and salsa and mix until it’s combined. Add the black beans and mix until combined.

Transfer the mixture to a baking dish (or you can mix it right in the baking dish, too, if you hate to clean up like I do!). Top with as much cheese as you like and as many jalepenos as you like!

Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted, brown and bubbly on top.

Serve with tortilla chips, or whatever dipping implements you like best!!

Chai Spiced Pumpkin Bread

First and foremost, I’d like to extend a HUGE thank you to all of you who voted for me for Project Food Blog. I can’t tell you how excited I was to make it as far as I did, and I read each and every comment left for me with a smile! Unnnnnnfortunately, I didn’t make it to round four. C’est la vie. Oui? Oui. On the bright side, I had soooooooo much fun with the challenge posts and I found some other fantastic blogs in the process (Notice some new fellow foodies!).

Moving on!

Now that the temperature has finally dropped enough that I can wear cozy sweaters and boots without sweating my tush off , I’ve been drinking boatloads of chai tea. Not to be confused with the Chai Tea Latte – which is so sugary sweet and calorie laden that I rarely bother drinking them. (No offense to you chai tea latte drinkers, it just doesn’t do it for me.) Real chai tea is a strong black tea, spiced with cardamom,cinnamon, star anise and ginger and I can’t get enough of the stuff! No matter what time of year it is, whenever I sip chai, I feel enveloped in autumn. So when autumn really arrives full force, chai is my go to beverage.

What better to do with my favorite fall beverage than add it to my favorite fall pastry? PUMPKIN BREAD!! Pumpkin anything makes me all sorts of happy, but a slice (or three) of moist, delectable pumpkin bread is my favorite fall treat!

This particular pumpkin bread recipe I came up with last fall. I tweaked it a bit this year and I think it’s pumpkin perfection.  The typical sweet, moist pumpkin bread it subtly spiced with real chai tea, cinnamon, fresh ginger and orange zest. I swear to you, if fall were captured in a pastry, it’d be this pumpkin bread!

Chai Spiced Pumpkin Bread

  • 1 (28 oz) can pure pumpkin
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup chai tea, (two tea bags, steeped in nonfat milk)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest, grated
  • 3 cups flour (1 1/2 whole wheat if you want to be a bit healthier)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.
In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, sugars, oil, vanilla, chai tea,
orange zest and pumpkin.
In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Mix well.
Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, stirring until just combined
Pour into two greased 9×5 inch loaf pans and bake for 45-55 minutes,
or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let cool (at least) 10 minutes before serving.

Heh. Isn’t that lil’ punkin in the pictures cute?! Johnny’s momma has a big basket of them, and I thought they made my pictures more exciting!!  Now go make this pumpkin bread! 🙂