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Guest Post! Baked Sweet Potato with Kale & Goat Cheese

1 Dec

Happy post-Thanksgiving!!  I don’t know about you all, but I am a solid five lbs heavier from all the deliciousness, and don’t regret it for a second.  However, my aging metabolism dictates that I should probably relax on the extra creamy garlic mashed potatoes for at least these next few days.  Good thing we have today’s Guest Post! You know who you are :). They are super quick, healthy, and only three cheap ingredients.  I give you, baked sweet potato bites with kale and goat cheese!

Sweet Potatoes with Kale and Goat Cheese

Check out the recipe here and enjoy!


Friendsgiving Appetizers from Food & Wine Magazine

20 Nov

It’s almost Thanksgiving… you know what that means?! It means the occurrence of the equally important tradition known among many friend clans as Friendsgiving.  For several years now, my group of close friends have made it a point to feast together before everyone departs to home for the holidays.  We all imbibe on some red wine and eat to our hearts content in comfy (and definitely stretchy) pants, undoubtedly reminiscing on a funny story from years past and being grateful for one another in our own ways.  Each clan member is responsible for bringing a delicious Thanksgiving-esq dish for this gluttony marathon, and the gracious host is always responsible for dealing with the bird.  I was late to the email chain laying claim to side dishes, but after devouring Food and Wine Magazine’s Thanksgiving issue, I knew I didn’t have a problem.  Enter: Friendsgiving Appetizers!

Exhibit A: Kale Salad with Root Vegetables and Lemony Vinaigrette

I took a few liberties with the recipe to give it more of my own flare, but the basics are the same.

You’ll need:

  • 2 lbs curly kale (I got two full heads)
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. agave nectar
  • 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar (my personal addition to the dressing)
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, roughly diced
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 scallions (thinly sliced)
  • Parmesan cheese (grated)

In a large bowl, massage one of the kale heads with  apple cider vinegar and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.  This makes the kale more tender and extra-sweet. In a baking pan, tear apart the second kale head into large pieces and toss light with some olive oil.  Bake kale for 20-25 minutes or until crispy.  Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1 tablespoon lemon zest, soy sauce, agave nectar, and a 1/4 cup olive oil.  This was a bit sweet for my taste, so I added a tablespoon on red wine vinegar.  Whisk together and set aside.  Use a peeler to strip the carrots into thin ribbons.  Add carrots, chopped apple, scallions and Parmesan cheese to the kale salad in the large bowl, and mix in crispy kale when ready.   Toss entire mixture with vinaigrette for a super healthy, vibrant Turkey day salad!

Kale Salad with Root Vegetables

Kale Salad with Root Vegetables

Exhibit B: Roasted Eggplant & Garlic Dip

This is one of several appetizer dips featured in the magazine, and it turned out to be a marvelous idea.  Think about how much time your loved ones sit around waiting for the gravy to finish or someone to arrive with the mashed potatoes.  This dip is the perfect solution! Pair with blue tortilla chips or pita chips.

You’ll need

  • 2 large eggplants
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 2 8oz. containers of plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp each of minced parsley, cilantro and mint

Slice the eggplant vertically into 1 inch pieces. Lay flat on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Broil in the oven for 5 minutes, or until slightly charred and softened.  Turn the oven down to 375 degrees.  Add chopped garlic cloves and scallions to the eggplant, and bake for an additional 35 minutes.  Make sure eggplant is super soft before removing from oven, and allow to cool completely.  Scrape the “meat” out of the skins and put in a colander for 15 minutes, or until totally drained.  Mince eggplant, scallions, and garlic; transfer to a bowl and add in the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, and herbs.  Mix thoroughly together, and serve at room temperature with some dipping chips.

Roasted Eggplant Dip

Roasted Eggplant Dip

Did any of you participate in a Friendsgiving??

Smoked Salmon Toast Snack

13 Nov

Happy Wednesday and a belated Happy Veterans Day! How many of you fellow DCers made it to The Concert for Valor on the Mall last night? Thousands of people packed themselves in front of our nation’s capitol to celebrate all veterans, active duty service members, and their families in honor of their monumental courage and sacrifice.  In between performances by Jennifer Hudson, Jessie J, The Black Keys, Dave Grohl, The Zac Brown Band, Carrie Underwood, Bruce Springsteen, Metallica, Rihanna and Eminem, the jumbotrons broadcast awe-inspiring stories about these veterans, about what they have achieved, and the incredible obstacles they have overcome.  These veterans were in the audience, getting the standing ovation that they deserve.  It was almost surreal to witness this directly in front of the Capitol building, and no one could have asked for a more beautiful November night.  My friend and I, both lucky to have the day off, parked ourselves on the Mall very early in the afternoon to secure a great viewing spot and enjoy what was undoubtedly one of our last 70 degree days in DC.  I doubt you’re surprised at this point that I made sure to bring snacks.  What I decided upon is a recipe idea I stole from a great friend at my August birthday gathering, and all you need is four ingredients!  Stop by Trader Joe’s and pick up:

  • Sliced loaf of Whole Wheat bread
  • One avocado
  • Small package of herb goat cheese
  • Small package of smoked salmon ($7.99 and the most expensive item)

Goat Cheese, Smoked Salmon, and Avocado Toast on Whole Wheat Bread

Toast the bread and spread on the goodness! The goat cheese adds an awesome zing under the smoothness of the salmon, and it’s a snack full of protein and good-for-you fat so it will tide you over (even while you wait for five hours on the National Mall).  Tried and true success!

USA! USA! – Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers

22 Jun

Who’s ready to watch the USA dominate in today’s World Cup match against Portugal!? I know I’m excited. You’re hopefully equally as jazzed and headed to some viewing party, whether it be at a bar or a friend’s house with a massive TV.  If you’re doing the latter, why not bring something delicious to score some points of your own!  The below recipe is a tried and true success.  I made them this past Friday for a going away celebration with coworkers, and our office’s head honcho gave them an A+, which is no easy feat. Eight cheap ingredients, forty minutes of prep and cook time, and you’ve got yourself the most amazing poppers you ever did see.

You’ll need:

  • 12 jalapenos, halved and seeds removed
  • 1 box puff pastry (2 sheets)
  • 8 ounces (one container) cream cheese
  • ½ cup bacon pieces (you can buy these already cooked and chopped in a bag)
  • 1 cup cheddar, shredded
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 egg
  • Olive oil

Makes 24 poppers.  I bought the 12 jalapenos at $3.99 a pound, so it’s not too pricey to double the recipe.  Cut the stem off the jalapeno, cut in half lengthwise, and remove seeds.

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In a bowl, mix together cream cheese, bacon, cheddar, and garlic. The recipe says to roast the garlic for 30 minutes prior, but due to time constraints I simply chopped up the four cloves and threw them in a pan with some olive oil to brown.  Spoon cream cheese filling into jalapeno halves.

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On 9×12 inch baking sheets, lay out the thawed puff pasty sheets.  Cut into 3×3 squares to make 12 squares on each baking sheet for a total of 24 squares.  Place each jalapeno in a square and wrap puff pastry dough so entire popper is hidden.

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Whisk together egg and 3 tablespoons of water.  Brush mixture on top of each popper.  Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

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Take a glorious bite!

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Put in tupperware to transport.  If they’ve cooled substantially, ask your host/hostess if you can put them in the oven to warm up for 10 minutes at 200 degrees.  Prepare to wow the crowd!

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So close to wine


By Amy Purfield-Clark

Discovering new Foodventures with each bite

Madison Sheffer

a creative communicator

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