Peanut Butter Chocolate Hummus

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Clean Plate Club: Peanut Butter Chocolate Hummus! You don’t have to be vegan to appreciate the benefits of hummus, especially this version. It’s more like a reward than a punishment. The peanut-ty taste combined with dark chocolate makes it only a few steps removed from eating a candy bar. But that’s where the dippers come in handy to turn it into a healthy appetizer or afternoon snack. Think celery, gluten-free pretzels, and juicy apple slices. I couldn’t resist a dollop of hummus between two shortbread cookies. Graham crackers would work just as well. Think of the fun you’ll have coming up with more ways to “spread the joy”!

PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE HUMMUS

Ingredients:

15-ounce chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup natural peanut butter, creamy

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

3 tablespoons milk

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions:

Once chickpeas are drained and rinsed well, add to a food processor. Pulse to mix. Combine remaining ingredients: natural peanut butter, pure maple syrup, milk, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract. Blend together until hummus is smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Transfer mixture to a covered dish. Refrigerate one hour. Serve with pretzel sticks, apple slices, shortbread cookies, and celery.

Roasted Chickpeas

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Color of Food: Roasted Chickpeas! If you’re like me, some days instead of three squares, you graze your way through the day. It helps to have a high-protein snack on hand when the cravings kick in for something crisp and crunchy. Sure, potato chips might be handy, but would you really feel good after downing an entire bag while perusing the internet? I think not. Seasoned chickpeas can be just as satisfying with their naturally nutty flavor and fiber-filling benefits. Season them with maple syrup for sweetness, a kick of cayenne for spice, garlic for pizazz, or savory ranch flavoring. The best part is you get to choose. Just remember the basic rules: drain, pat dry, peel the skins, and bake. “Bada-bing bada-boom!”

ROASTED CHICKPEAS

Instructions:

30-ounces canned chickpeas, drained and patted dry. Skins removed.

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine olive oil, melted butter, Worcestershire sauce, seasoned salt, and garlic powder. Mix well. Drain chickpeas. Transfer to a clean tea towel. Cover and rub gently over the chickpeas. This will loosen the skins so you can easily peel them away and discard. When dry, place the chickpeas in a ziplock gallon bag. Pour olive oil seasoning mixture over chickpeas. Seal bag, squeeze out the air, and toss bag to coat the chickpeas all over. Transfer seasoned chickpeas to the parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Roast 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes. Adjust time, if necessary. They should appear browned and crunchy. Do not burn. Cool 10 minutes.

Ginger-Orange Salmon Lettuce Cups

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Front-Runner Favs: Ginger-Orange Salmon Lettuce Cups! Is it an Appetizer or an Entrée? Both. Ginger paired with orange creates amazing flavor, not to mention health benefits galore. Adding grilled salmon for omega-3s is a bonus. But enough about that and back to the lettuce cup popularity. Anytime you cut down on calories, carbs, and gluten it adds up to guilt-free options. Mix things up with seasonal fruits, garden veggies, grilled seafood, and roasted meat for creative favorites. Anything goes!

GINGER-ORANGE SALMON LETTUCE CUPS

Ingredients:

1 cup grilled orange-ginger grilled salmon, flaked

4 ounces Neufchâtel cheese

1 tablespoon horseradish

1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped

1 teaspoon capers

1 green onion, chopped

1/3 cup mandarin oranges

Bibb lettuce leaves

Fresh chives, for garnish

Ground Pistachio nuts, for garnish

Instructions:

Grill ginger-orange salmon according to package directions. Flake salmon; set aside to cool. In a small bowl, combine Neufchâtel cheese and horseradish until smooth. Gently fold in chopped dill, capers, and green onion. Spread onto Bibb lettuce leaves. Equally divide salmon over cream cheese mixture. Add mandarin orange slices. Garnish with fresh chives and pistachios. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Foodstuff Redefined

Whether you sit down for a farm-to-table meal, picnic in your own backyard, or pack a Bento Box and go…food can be customized to fit your current needs. Anything goes! Cooking has been reinvented, mixing the old with the new for award-winning results. By choosing your favorite foods, it automatically turns mealtime into an all-star event. And speaking of stars…Some of my recent posts have been favored by the “Food Network” on Twitter (Snapshotsincursive@DornaGail) as well as Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa, on Instagram @gail_dorna. This remarkable journey of the palate gives me time with you. Thanks very much to all of my guests and followers on http://snapshotsincursive.com for the uplifting support, award nominations, and moving words of encouragement. What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? It’s as simple as A-B-C. I love to cook, and my husband loves that I do it often. Most recipes serve 2-4 people, but can be easily modified. Leftovers are golden morsels to be eaten later or shared with others. Seeing a smile of gratitude keeps me going. Feel free to contact me with questions. Now take a deep breath, inhale the aromas, and join me on a tasteful journey entitled, “EATING MY WAY THROUGH THE ALPHABET: FOODSTUFF REDEFINED!”

Rosemary Lemon Roasted Turkey

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? After the Holidays: Rosemary Lemon Roasted Turkey! Did you know a frozen turkey will last up to two years in the freezer? First and foremost, it’s only a bargain if you have the space to store it. That being said, roasting a turkey is a great source of lean protein. A whole bird provides healthy meat that can be served several different ways. Unfortunately, our bodies need protein and cannot store it. We need to replenish protein in order to build strong bones, repair muscle, heal skin, and help keep blood sugar levels even. All the other vitamins and minerals are a bonus. A few words of advice: Remove and discard the skin of the roasted turkey, no matter how tempting that crispy, golden outer covering calls your name. It’s main purpose is to keep the meat moist. That, and for taking fabulous snapshots, of course.

ROSEMARY LEMON ROASTED TURKEY

Ingredients:

4-6 sprigs of fresh rosemary

2 lemons, quartered

12-pound turkey, thawed

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325°. Rinse turkey, pat dry. Insert rosemary and lemon pieces in the cavity of the turkey. Truss the turkey by wrapping the bird in cooking twine. Secure the legs and tuck the wings underneath. Transfer turkey to the roasting pan with the breast side up. Brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with kosher salt and garlic powder. Bake uncovered for 4 hours, or until a meat thermometer reads 180°. The juice of the turkey will run clear when the center of the thigh is cut. Remove from oven. Cover. Allow turkey to rest for 15 minutes before carving. Garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs and lemons.

Heart-Healthy Honey Cakes

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Elevated Edibles: Heart-Healthy Honey Cakes! Way down south, in the Florida panhandle, grows an unusual tree that produces the “Cadillac” of all honey varieties known as raw Tupelo. The tree blossoms are short-lived and delicate, creating a nectar that is nothing short of superbly exquisite. The finespun flavor is buttery, highly distinctive, and almost magical. If you happen to put your hands on a jar of Tupelo honey, first unscrew the lid and place a couple droplets on your tongue. You owe yourself a genuine taste of the liquid amber gold before adding it to your culinary portfolio. Then, by all means, elevate everyday favorites.

HEART-HEALTHY HONEY CAKES

Ingredients:

1 cup flour plus 2 tablespoons

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup Tupelo raw honey, reserving 1 1/2 tablespoons for drizzling over the batter

1/2 cup sugar

2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup coffee

2 1/2 tablespoons orange juice

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Generously grease six mini bundt pans with nonstick oil. Set aside. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Mix well. Add vegetable oil, raw honey, sugar, brown sugar, egg, vanilla extract, coffee, and orange juice. Mix thoroughly until no lumps remain. Pour batter into prepared mini bundt pans, filling each just over halfway. Do not overfill. Drizzle reserved raw honey over batter. Bake 30 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven. Cool 10 minutes, then invert pans to remove honey cakes. Cool on wire rack. Garnish with fresh lemon thyme.

Table Food

Most people have pretty busy schedules nowadays, no matter what stage of life you are living. Fast food, carry-out, and dining in food joints can supplement our weekly meals, that’s for sure. Yet, if you desire a more efficient way to stretch the budget, think low-key menu planning. This segment on the food blog, entitled “Table Food”, can be another option to reduce the stress of figuring out what to eat. I tend to follow my own grocery store shopping rule as much as possible: Shop the perimeter of the store for most of my grocery list. Usually that includes produce, bakery, meat, fish, and dairy products as a top priority. It keeps me from binge-buying junk food in a moment of weakness. Obviously, pantry staples need to be replenished from time to time. Basically, I try to fuel my body with healthy options. When I slip, I’ve learned to let go of the guilt. Some of my posts have been favored by the “Food Network” on Twitter (Snapshotsincursive @DornaGail) as well as Ina Garten’s The Barefoot Contessa, on Instagram (gail _dorna). You can even find me on Pinterest at Gail Dorna. I’d love to connect with you there as well. I also met Chef Michelle Tribble of Hell’s Kitchen reality cooking show. Fun times. Experience different flavors and textures one bite at a time. Catch a glimpse of “Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Table Food!” This remarkable journey of the palate is unique because it gives me a few moments with you. Thanks very much to all of my guests and followers on http://snapshotsincursive.com for the uplifting support, award nominations, and moving words of encouragement.

Clean Eating

Welcome to the world of buzz words. Some call this a lifestyle change, others refer to it as common sense. First of all “Clean Eating” doesn’t mean wash your fruits and vegetables, and yet I suspect you already knew that. Essentially, it means choosing foods that have been minimally processed with natural nutrients being at the forefront. It involves limiting artificial foods as much as you can. Check the ingredient list for added sugars (high fructose corn syrup is a well-known culprit) as well as unhealthy fats (like palm oil). Foods may be craftily disguised as “all-natural” but still contain growth hormones. It’s exhausting. The bottom line? Learn to pay attention to your body’s reaction. It goes a long way to help with weight control and a positive attitude. You can do this! Some of my posts have been favored by the “Food Network” on Twitter (Snapshotsincursive @DornaGail) as well as Ina Garten’s The Barefoot Contessa, on Instagram (gail _dorna). You can even find me on Pinterest at Gail Dorna. I’d love to connect with you there as well. I also met Chef Michelle Tribble of Hell’s Kitchen reality cooking show. Fun times. Experience different flavors and textures one bite at a time. Catch a glimpse of “Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Clean Eating!”. This remarkable journey of the palate is unique because it gives me a few moments with you. Thanks very much to all of my guests and followers on http://snapshotsincursive.com for the uplifting support, award nominations, and moving words of encouragement.