• Go for Gold Turmeric Curry Hummus with Minted Roasted Chickpeas

    When the ingredients in your snack taste fantastic and have heaps of health benefits, it’s an Olympic-sized win.  My “Go for Gold” Turmeric Curry Hummus with Minted Roast Chickpeas may have international flair (this type of bean dip does hail from the Mediterranean), but it’s undeniably all-American when it comes to quick assembly and convenient versatility.  By using canned chickpeas (garbanzo bean) and Instantly Fresh freeze-dried herbs, hours are lopped off the prep time.  The only cooking required is roasting a few of the chickpeas for a crunchy topping, but even this step can be omitted to keep the recipe a no-cook, 10 minute appetizer.

    If you’re not familiar with turmeric, you need to get acquainted ASAP. While it’s the primary spice in many Indian dishes (such as curry) and lends everything it touches (including hands) a golden yellow to orange hue, turmeric is consumed not just for its warm and mildly peppery taste, but also for the many purported health benefits. I won’t get much into those health claims here, you can consult with your physician. Loads of studies suggest that turmeric’s active component, curcumin, helps alleviate or reduce the incidence of everything from certain cancers to depression – and it’s is highly touted as a natural pain-killer and anti-inflammatory.

    I know many athletes, myself included, who take turmeric in capsule supplement form or eaten turmeric-rich foods to help recover more quickly from intense workouts.  Whether you’re an elite athlete focused on food for performance or aspiring to be the best version of yourself possible, turmeric is definitely a beneficial addition to your diet.

    I do advise using fresh turmeric along with the dried ground turmeric as directed in the recipe. The fresh has a more pleasingly distinctive aroma, flavor and health benefits in root form (technically a rhizome like ginger) than from the ground powder.  However, the ground turmeric helps distribute the golden-orange color evenly.

    I suggested serving this turmeric curry hummus at your next party, potluck or gathering - guests are going to rave! Wedges of pita bread are the traditional accompaniment, but Naan bread, light crackers, or vegetable slices would be quite complementary.  I have even tossed my leftover hummus into warm pasta or steamed zucchini noodles and piled up high on a vegetarian sandwich.

    If you love the crunch roasted mint chickpeas that I’ve used to garnish the top, double up that part of the recipe and keep the extra batch for snacking right off the pan – or to use as grain-free “croutons”

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  • Make Back To School Easy with 5 Ingredient Mango Habanero Bowls

    I’m always amazed every year when I enter my local big-box store and see all of the ‘back to school’ garb floating around the aisles. I don’t even have to go back to school and it really makes me sad. I’m not a parent, but I can understand that parents might have opposite reactions to their kids going back to school. Sweet, sweet freedom. That might be a bit of a stretch but I know plenty of parents that feel more stress that their children head back to school. Back to school means more chaos and rush and a need for easy dinner meals that are quick to prepare which is why I’m serving up this delicious Five-Ingredient Mango Habanero Chicken Rice Bowl today!

    But first, let’s chat a bit about some tips on how to manage the ‘back to school’ stress:

    1. Plan your week ahead of time: Get as much meal/lunch prep done on your weekend to ensure that your kids and you are all eating healthy throughout the week and that when you get home in the evening you’re not scrambling around to prep and prepare dinner. Make sure to keep in mind all of the after school commitments that your children have so that you know if there will be even more of a time crunch to get your family fed.
    2. Get to bed on time: This isn’t just for the kids, it’s for parents as well! Parents and children that don’t get enough sleep get really cranky and it won’t help to be sluggish during the day. Summer months can mean that sleep schedules are out the door. One to two weeks before school begins try to get your family back on a regular sleep schedule.
    3. Create a calendar: Have a large calendar that is visible to the entire family so that everyone knows what is coming up for the week. I only manage my husband and that’s chaotic enough! I can only image how difficult it is to have 1…2…3 children to chase after with after-school activities. If everyone knows the schedule it will be easier to keep them all on the same page.

    Meal prep is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It will ensure that your family is well-fed healthy and balanced meals. This Five-Ingredient Mango Habanero Chicken Rice Bowl is really easy to prepare on the spot or you can prep ahead of time by marinating the chicken, cubing up the mango and dicing the green onions. I like this rice bowl because it’s packed with flavor and protein. And don’t be afraid of the habanero dressing. It only adds a slight bit of spice that I think your entire family will enjoy.

    What are some of the ways that you stay stress-free during back-to-school season?

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  • Blue Cheese & Fire-Roasted Tomato Queso

    The first Friday of every August is International Beef Day and, honestly, that’s truly a food and beverage holiday I can get “hoppy” about! With the mission of “uniting the world through beer,” this refreshing celebration is all about raising a frosty mug up to toast good company, good times and good brew – and also about trying new things!

    Considering the number of beer-drinking countries on the planet (errr, every single one), amount of beer brands and various classifications of beer (like IPA, lager, pilsner, ale or porter), the enormous options in selecting a “new-to-you” beer are mindboggling.  So many beers, so little time!  I’ll be the first to admit that I often grab my beer out of the cooler based on colorful labels and clever names, but you seasoned “hopivores” may have completely different criteria!

    Sampling a new type of beer isn’t the only way to expand horizons on International Beer Day, so is trying a new snack! A recent study on snacking revealed that 94 percent of Americans snack daily and I’d wager a bet that 100 percent of us snack while sipping on (or chugging) a beer.  Salty snacks like chips, pretzels, popcorn and nuts seem to be the main munchies spotted alongside an ice-cold beer – with the occasional bowl of salsa, onion dip or traditional queso.

    But, when it comes to dips I want you to widen your mind (and mouth) for the appreciation of my Blue Cheese & Fire-roasted Tomato Queso. It’s a unique cheese dip that will make your taste buds flip thanks to the bold attitude of Simply Artisan Reserve Blue Cheese Crumbles and smoky flame-kissed tomatoes. A dash of Instantly Fresh Italian Herb Blend and dried red pepper flakes make this dip decidedly a beer-pairing winner.

    Don’t be worried that the directions require a whisk, this blue cheese queso is surprisingly simple to prepare, coming together in just 15 minutes or less– and you can keep it warmed for a party but pouring into a small slow cooker.

    Serve with pretzels, artisan chips, or chunks of crusty bread. I’ve even reheated the leftovers and poured over cooked noodles and topped with shrimp for an impromptu pasta dinner.

    Now, if you just don’t have it in you to whip out dip but need a little nosh, I say just sprinkle some blue cheese on top of a fruit slice – like apple, pear or peach – and pop the top off that beer! Cheers.

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