Banana Bread Granola

Hi friends!  We had an awesome long weekend celebrating my youngest brother’s wedding this past weekend.  The Bell family just keeps growing! The wedding took place at Trump National on Lake Normal and the venue couldn’t have been more beautiful.  Welcome to the fam, Sara!

On Monday I had the urge to dirty up the kitchen a little bit and I am more than happy with the banana bread granola that I made.  The ingredient list is short and your kitchen will smell AMAZING as you bake the crunchy goodness.  The granola is perfect for snacking by the handful (yes, please), on top of yogurt, or with a little milk in a bowl.

The base of the granola is oats along with walnuts and pecans for the nuttiness that we all love in banana bread.  For sweetness, maple syrup and a little raw sugar.  I love coconut in banana bread and this recipe calls for coconut oil to help it “clump” and become granola. Everything is spiced with a little cinnamon and salt and a mashed banana lends it’s flavor to really give it that banana bread flavor.

bananabreadgranola

Addicting.

A little sweet.

Super crunchy.

Nutty.

And tastes just like Momma Bell’s banana bread.

Best Ever Microwave Hummus

No, that’s not a typo.  I made hummus in the microwave and it was amazing.

I’ve made hummus before and I’ve never in my life seen a microwave used.  But now I’m a believer.

This hummus is perfect for several reasons:

It’s delicious.

It’s healthy.

It makes an amazing lunch or snack.

It only requires six, SIX, ingredients.

BOOM.

microhummus

Here’s how you make it:

Place a can of chickpeas (including the liquid) plus a few cloves of garlic (I used four) in a microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave for about 5 minutes.

In your food processor, combine the chickpeas, garlic, about 1/2 cup tahini, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (the recipe called for lemon juice, but I didn’t have any so I picked another acid).  Whirl and drizzle in 1 tablespoon on EVOO.  Scrape the sides and whirl again.

I popped mine in the fridge for a little bit and then topped it with a sprinkle of paprika for a little extra color and smokiness.

Ta-Da!  Microwave hummus!!!

 

Spanish Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

We’re wrapping up our Labor Day Weekend around here!  Saturday was spent cheering on the Pirates and yesterday was spent soaking up the sun and spending time with friends.  Today we’ve been semi-productive…a long walk and we spent some time cleaning up the garden (the watermelons were OUT of control).  Now we’re settling in for a low-key evening.

These stuffed peppers were enjoyed last week and I was thrilled to be able to use our homegrown peppers.  I’m really going to miss this summer produce once it really becomes fall.  And the best part of these stuffed peppers was the leftover Spanish Quinoa that I enjoyed for days.

The quinoa mixture was a combination of cooked quinoa (I cooked ours in chicken stock for even more flavor), salsa, cumin, chili powder, garlic salt, black beans and homegrown corn.  The peppers are then stuffed and baked.  Even Big Guy loved these stuffed peppers.  I topped ours with a sprinkle of diced red onion and some diced avocado.

quinoapeppers

Alright – back to enjoying the last moments of our looooooong weekend before a busy, busy week.

Crispy Avocado Tacos

Daylight Savings Time begins this weekend.  And I’m so incredibly excited.  I could care less that I’m losing an hour of sleep.  Bring on the extra sunlight in the evenings (even if there are nights I’m in bed before it’s dark – true story).

Extra sunlight in the evenings = Prettier pictures of our dinners

And that makes me happy.

My pictures of our crispy avocado tacos aren’t that great.  In fact, I’m not a fan at all.  But I am a fan of how delicious the tacos were so I simply had to share.  Bad photos and all.

avocado

I know baking avocado seems a little weird but weird can be fun.  And delicious.

Avocado slices are dipped in a mixture of milk (I used almond milk) and olive oil before being dredged through a panko mixture with salt, pepper, cumin and garlic powder.  I went a little heavy handed on all the spices to make sure there was plenty of flavor.

The avocado is then baked in a 450 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until crispy and browned.

While the avocado is baking, pickle your radishes and warm up the corn tortillas.

The sliced radishes are simply soaked in a mixture of red wine vinegar, a tablespoon of sugar and a pinch of salt.

Once the avocados are browned, assemble your tacos!

avo taco

Soft, delicate corn tortillas.

Zippy radishes.

Creamy yet crispy avocado.

A little heat from the Sriracha.

And bright lime juice.

Such a simple dinner.  And vegetarian, too.

You can amp up the protein with some black beans, if you wish.  Or add some salsa if you’re feeling really wild.

Simple is all you want sometimes.

(p.s. bring on the sunshine)

Mediterranean Baked Sweet Potatoes

I think I’m going to have to start eating dinner at 5pm now that the time has changed.

And it’s not because I’m hungry.

It’s because I’m preparing beautiful dinners and they look horrific because there’s no natural light what-so-ever at 6:15pm.

One thing that the time change does bring – my desire to eat warm dinners every.single.night.

Gone are the nights of cheese plates and salads.  I want a hot meal.

And these Mediterranean Baked Sweet Potatoes are not only warm but they are packed with flavor.  And they are incredibly healthy.  In fact, their both gluten-free and vegan.  But totally filling and comforting.  And despite the fact that “vegan” and “gluten-free” make recipes daunting, these potatoes are super simple and come together in under 30 minutes.

I’m also kind of obsessed with this dinner because the base was homegrown sweet potatoes.  Cut them open and their vibrant orange flesh made me smile.  It’s incredibly satisfying to grown your own food – especially potatoes.  (Please not that I did not grow anything, my husband did – I get no credit besides cooking what he grows.)

How genius is it to cut the sweet potatoes in half before roasting?  It’s totally genius and I wish I would have thought of it.  Simply cut in half and place on a baking sheet coated with an olive oil spray and bake cut-side down for 30 minutes.  In another baking try, toss the chickpeas with a little olive oil and spices – cinnamon, cumin, coriander and smoked paprika.  This spice combination is incredible.  And it smells so…warm!  The chickpeas are also roasted at 400 degrees with the potatoes for 25-30 minutes (I stirred them around once during the cooking time).

While the potatoes and chickpeas are roasting, prepare your sauce.  It’s a simple mix of tahini, lemon juice, dill, garlic and water (to thin).  I also ended up adding salt since I used tahini and not hummus.

And finally, toss together diced tomatoes with parsley and lemon juice.

To serve, simply scatter the roasted chickpeas on the sweet potato and drizzle with the tahini sauce.  Finally add some freshness with the tomato and parsley “salad.”

I can’t even put into words my love for this meal.

 

 

 

Friday Favorites {top 6 instagrammers}

If you know me, you know I love Instagram.  And I’m not ashamed.

Instagram > Facebook

All day, every day.

So today I’m sharing with you my top Instagram accounts to follow.  I took this task very seriously – I follow quite a lot of folks.  And I follow a lot of folks for a lot of different reasons.  But here are my favorites along with one of their Instagrammed photos (in no particular order).

@howsweeteats

glitter is my middle name. my blood runs neon.

She likes butter.  And chocolate.  And bacon.  And cheese.  What’s not to like?

Her blog is one of my absolute must reads every.single.day.

@minimalistbaker

ice cream enthusiast, part-time runner, writer, and blogger at Minimalist Baker

food, coffee, being active, my husband, taking photos, blogging, dancing, these are just a few of my favorite things

Her food always makes me want to lick the screen on my phone.  And her photography skills are undeniably amazing.

Seriously, I want to be her friend just so we could eat together.

Check out her blog.  I’m obsessed.

@lillypulitzer

Follow us as we Instagram from the Pink Palace, Palm Beach and beyond…

Lilly just makes me happy.  I can blame Big Guy for this love.

@whatsgabycookin

Chef. Author. Food Writer. Recipe Developer. Food Traveler. Adventure Girl. Publisher @ WhatsGabyCooking.com

Gaby adores guacamole.  She also goes on pretty amazing trips.  I always want to eat whatever she posts.

@laurenconrad

I’ve basically been obsessed with Lauren (LC) since her appearance on Laguna Beach.

@rdubaton

A collaborative, photo-only Instagram project for Raleigh, Durham & Chapel Hill. Founded by @brittanyiery & @slbrinkley.

The concept behind this Instagram account is so cool.  Basically, a different person in Raleigh, Durham or Chapel Hill “holds the baton” (is in charge of the Instgram account) each day.

They show you their “best of” and “favorites” of the city they’re in.  I love to follow this account because it’s places I actually go.  Regularly.  And it always gives me ideas of restaurants and bars to try.

Who is your favorite person to follow on Instagram?