cream cheese-swirled pumpkin bread

Fall is here and it’s actually starting to feel like it in Northern California.  After experiencing 100º+ temps just the other week, we’re finally waking up to cooler temperatures and cloudy skies and I honestly couldn’t be happier! Bring on all the fall essentials: PSLs and plaid, pumpkin patches and apple orchards, warming spices and cozy nights.

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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)

Cherry-Avocado Smoothie Bowl

This post is short and definitely sweet.  I’m loving this smoothie bowl because it’s thick and creamy- perfect for a post-workout snack or even a filling breakfast.

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Now I’m wondering, why have I not added avocado to my smoothies before?  Silly question since there are hundreds (no, thousands I’m sure) of recipes out there using them.  Duh.  It lends creaminess with all the good fats which result in a perfectly scoopable smoothie bowl.  Almost like ice cream.  With toppings, we’ll just consider this a superfood sundae!

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