shawarma roasted chickpeas 

When I have the time and motivation, roasted chickpeas are a snack staple in our house. If you didn’t think you could eat two whole cans of chickpeas by yourself, this snack may prove you wrong.  Lucky for me, I have a toddler who loves them just as much as I do so they’re the perfect thing to share.

The flavor combo is adapted from NYT’s chicken shawarma recipe (which, by the way, is SO good) and I wanted to try it out on these little guys.  And guess what?  It works!

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Loaded Ceviche

When the temperature breaks 100° for at least five days in a row, the kitchen is one of the last places even I want to be.

Ok, that may not be a completely true statement since I can’t stay away from cooking for more than a day.  But what better way to combat this crazy heat than with a super refreshing ceviche??  This dish satiates my need to be in the kitchen without turning on the stove or the oven. Win-win.

Ceviche is a dish ordered often around these parts and my husband and I typically eat it as an appetizer or snack whenever possible.  That being said, it is extremely easy to make yourself and completely customizable to suit your tastebuds, so why not give it a go?

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If you’re not familiar with the ceviche, it’s a dish comprised of raw seafood that are essentially “cooked,” or cured, by marinating it in a bath of citrus juice for at least two to four hours.  In this recipe, we opted to marinate three types of seafood: wild-caught Alaskan salmon, snapper and shrimp, finding the flavor was better the longer they marinated.  Since you’re working with raw fish, the dish will only be as good as your ingredients so I recommend purchasing the best quality available.  It is a waiting game with this dish, so plan accordingly!

Once the fish/seafood are done “cooking,” it’s time to get creative with your add-ins.  I loaded mine up with fresh tomatoes and a cucumber for some freshness, onion for a crunchy bite and a roasted poblano for a hit of smokiness.  Finally, a generous bunch of chopped cilantro to garnish, which is absolutely necessary.  Dare I say perfect?

At least for this home cook it was!


loaded ceviche

(makes about 4-5 cups)

This is a no-cook dish and perfect for summer.  Serve as an app with a bowl full of tortilla chips or top some butter lettuce and eat as a side or even an entrée.  Feel free to switch up the fish, use only one type or all three.  Either way, this ceviche is the perfect accompinament to a warm summer evening and and ice cold beer.

  • ½ lb wild Alaskan salmon, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • ½ lb snapper filet, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • ¼ lb medium to small-sized shrimp, cut into thirds or quarters depending on how big they are
  • 1 generous cup lime juice (approximately 4-5 limes)
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 scant tsp fine-grain sea salt
  • 2 serrano chiles, diced (feel free to sub 1 jalapeño for a little more heat)
  • 1 cup diced Roma tomatoes (approximately 1½ tomatoes)
  • 1 cup diced cucumber
  • ¾ cup diced white or red onion
  • 1 roasted poblano pepper, diced
  • 1 avocado, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • more sea salt, to taste

The idea is to chop all ingredients roughly the same size.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the salmon, snapper and shrimp.  Set aside.

In a blender or food processor, combine the lime juice, garlic cloves, sea salt and serrano chiles and blend until smooth.  Pour the mixture over the fish and toss a few times to make sure everything is completely incorporated.  To marinate the fish, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate.  Typically the fish will be ready to eat in about two hours, however, the fish will be completely “cooked” in about four (which is how long I waited for mine).

Once the fish is “cooked” to your desired doneness, toss in the remaining add-ins: tomatoes, cucumber, onion, poblano pepper, avocado and cilantro.  Mix everything together.  Taste and add more salt as desired.

(adapted from Rick Bayless’ Mexican Everyday)

Blackberry Frozen Yogurt (without an ice-cream maker)

It’s finally summer and my favorite time of year- berry season!  Give me all the berries…strawberries, raspberries, cherries and blackberries.  It brings a smile to my face when the little fruit stands on the side of the road that have been shuttered for nine months are now brimming with fresh fruit.  There is SUCH a difference in flavor between store-bought berries and local, freshly-picked berries. No comparison, really.

We recently had family in town from Illinois and it was such a pleasure to share this unique California experience with them.  There we all stood with our cartons of berries, devouring them in the gravel parking space with juice dripping down our chin.  Messy, but the best.  So, with our house constantly full of summer fruit, I decided to find another way to use them instead of eating them straight from the refrigerator.  And since it’s going to be over 100 degrees every day this week (!!), let’s do some homemade froyo!

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Nut-Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies (with Crisp Brown Rice)

My husband is raving about these cookies.  Yes, they’re tasty and crunchy but simply the best cookie I’ve made thus far?  I didn’t think so, but he says otherwise and I’ll take that from my harshest (only) food critic.  I’ll let you decide for yourselves.

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These are nut-butter cookies because they’re made with a combination of almond and cashew butters, though I’m sure substitutions (all almond butter, peanut butter, etc) would work just fine.  Cashews are a bit more mellow in flavor than almonds (in my opinion) so using cashew butter really balanced the strong almond flavor of these cookies.  Add chopped dark chocolate and crisp brown rice (or Rice Crispies) and you’ve got a cookie with lots of flavor and tons of texture.  Top with flaked sea salt for good measure.

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They’re chewy, crispy and chocolaty…you should totally do it.  Happy weekending!


nut-butter chocolate chunk cookies (with crisp brown rice)

These come together in a snap and substitutions are welcome.  If you don’t have cashew butter, 1 cup of almond butter can be used instead.  Or peanut butter. Or any nut butter, really.  Don’t skip the crisp brown rice.

  • ½ cup cashew butter (raw or roasted)
  • ½ cup roasted almond butter
  • 1/3 cup natural cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup muscavado sugar (or dark brown sugar)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 1/4-1/3 cup crisp brown rice
  • ½ cup  chopped dark chocolate (I prefer at least 70% cocoa)

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine nut butters with both types of sugars in a large bowl until everything is combined.  Add in the egg and stir until fully incorporated. Add vanilla, baking soda and salt.

Add chopped dark chocolate and crisp brown rice.  Stir to combine.

Using a cookie scoop, scoop the dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  I then rolled each cookie dough ball between my hands to make sure they were all uniform in size and would spread evenly.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown around the edges.  Let them cool completely on the cookie sheet before removing them.  Store in an airtight container and they should keep for about a week.