Saturday, April 15, 2017

Crispy Cracker Coconut Mounds

Loves Food, Loves to Eat // Crispy Cracker Coconut MoundsAlternate title: Dipping Things in Chocolate is Hard.

I recently learned that the reason a lot of people don’t like coconut (according to two people I know who don’t like coconut) is the texture. I don’t really get it. Do these people just not like sweetened shredded coconut? What about desiccated? What about fresh? Or big dry flakes? I feel like there are way too many coconut types and applications to just give it a blanket dislike. I’m the kind of person who loves coconut, both in flavor and texture. I truly think it makes everything better. I was the kid who wished for Almond Joys at Halloween, who requested chocolate cake with coconut pecan frosting for every birthday, and who poked a hole in the bottom of every chocolate in the box, until I found the coconut one. I’m that person.
Loves Food, Loves to Eat // Crispy Cracker Coconut Mounds
These little treats taste a lot like an Almond Joy—gooey sticky sweet coconut filling, crunchy almonds, and a chocolate shell. But then there’s the added salty, buttery crunch of the Ritz cracker, just for fun. I was originally planning on making little shortbread egg-shaped cookies, then doing the topping and the chocolate coating, but got lazy. Hence the Ritz. I’m pretty ok with it though, these fun treats are tasty and come together in a snap, and I actually really like the flavor of the Ritz here. The hardest part is the chocolate. Why is it so hard to get a nice, even, smooth shell? In my mind, these were the perfect little mounds, with perfectly smooth chocolate. What are your chocolate-dipping secrets? Tips? Tricks?

Loves Food, Loves to Eat // Crispy Cracker Coconut Mounds Oh well, I suppose I’ll never be a professional chocolate dipper. Sigh.

Loves Food, Loves to Eat // Crispy Cracker Coconut Mounds I’m calling these Coconut Mounds, because that’s what they are and I couldn’t think of a more appropriate name, but it’s kind of silly, because as we all know, Almond Joys have nuts, and Mounds don’t. But these do. It’s a confusing world we live in.

Loves Food, Loves to Eat // Crispy Cracker Coconut Mounds
Crispy Cracker Coconut Mounds
Makes approx 15.
Note: I also made a batch using almond-based non-dairy cream cheese, which were excellent, but did need a bit of flour to thicken up the mixture enough to scoop.

4 oz cream cheese (half a brick)
1 cup confectioners / powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped almonds (I use roasted salted)
Ritz-type crackers
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips + a tiny bit of coconut oil

Mix together cream cheese and powdered sugar (with stand or hand mixer) until combined and creamy. Add vanilla, and mix. Stir in coconut and nuts. If mixture seems super soft and too loose, you can either add a tad of flour and stir to combine, or pop in the freezer or fridge for a few minutes.

Scoop mixture onto Ritz crackers (I used a 1.5 tablespoon scoop, not filled all the way) in mounds

Melt chocolate in microwave, with just a bit (1.5 teaspoon -ish) of coconut oil, just to thin it

Dip mounds in chocolate, being careful to not dislodge mound from cracker

Chill to harden chocolate, can be stored in fridge

Loves Food, Loves to Eat // Crispy Cracker Coconut Mounds

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

White Bean Dip with Salsa Macha Swirl

Thanks to Good Health Snacks for providing chips and inspiration for this post! 

White Bean Dip with Salsa Macha Swirl \\ Loves Food, Loves to Eat #enjoygooddipping I’ve tried two new things this March!

The first is March Madness. I had never filled out a bracket before because I care approximately negative zero percent about watching college and/or professional basketball. I should like it, but I’m just not that into it. Here’s my history with basketball: when I was in 5th or 6th grade, all I wanted in life was a Space Jam basketball, and I got one for Christmas (along with a black bomber style jacket with Looney Toons characters on the back, and fake brown leather sleeves. Around the same time, I had my first sort-of French kiss outside the gym during a high school basketball game…that my silly parents somehow let me go to unsupervised. But clearly that jacket was the hot fire, amiright!?). My Space Jam basketball was black and had the logo and characters painted on it. What I didn’t have was a basketball hoop. My dad installed one, nailed to a wooden post on the top, flat part of a sloping dirt and poky weed-covered hill on our country property. And every time I missed the backboard, I had to run down the little hill into a thorny thicket and hope the ball didn’t go into or under the barbed wire fence. I played basketball in school, from 5th-ish to 8th grade, and scored exactly once. When I was in high school, I was a basketball cheerleader for two years, and I became weirdly good at making three point shots. One time, at a basketball tournament in the middle of nowhere in Oregon, I won a 3-point contest at half time. In my cheerleading uniform. My prize was a two liter of soda. I’d like that to be my claim to fame, but literally no one has ever talked about it since basically the moment it happened. All of this is to say, I know about basketball. I don’t hate it? I don’t know.

White Bean Dip with Salsa Macha Swirl \\ Loves Food, Loves to Eat #enjoygooddipping So this year, for the first time, I’m participating in March Madness at work. And while I haven’t watched one game, my competitive spirit has taken over, and I’m checking the leaderboard constantly. If my team makes it to the end, I might even tune in to a game. We’ll see.

The second new-to-me thing of the month is salsa macha! I had it for the first time at a restaurant a couple weeks ago, and fell in love. If you’re not familiar: it’s an oily paste of ground dried chilis, nuts, garlic, and sesame seeds… things I never would have thought to combine. It has a unique nutty-smoky (but not spicy!) flavor.

White Bean Dip with Salsa Macha Swirl \\ Loves Food, Loves to Eat #enjoygooddipping When I saw that Good Health’s Organic Black Bean and Rice Tortilla chips pair well with salsas and the like, I knew I had to try my hand at salsa macha. But then I read that their Sea Salt Eat Your Vegetables chips pair best with hummus-type dips, I decided to kill two birds with one stone, and make a creamy white bean dip swirled with oily salsa macha. The bean dip has lemon for acidic tang, and garlic for a slight bit of bite, but I kept it pretty mild, compared to other white bean dips out there, since we’re topping it with salsa macha and I wanted the flavors to jive. The combo is really, really good. Even if my team loses the sports thing, I’ll consider myself a winner (I’d like my coworkers to consider me a winner as well, since we put money on this).

White Bean Dip with Salsa Macha Swirl \\ Loves Food, Loves to Eat #enjoygooddipping March Madness. Good Health chips. Creamy white bean dip with salsa macha swirls. This is essentially the chip and dip version of winning a 3-point contest in a cheerleading uniform with a Space Jam basketball.

White bean dip with salsa macha swirl
Salsa Macha slightly adapted from this recipe
This makes extra salsa macha, but not to worry, it’s fabulous on roasted vegetables, eggs, chips, tacos, a spoon… 

White Bean Dip
2 cans of white beans (I like Great 
Northern), drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic, diced
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
1/8th teaspoon salt (plus more for 
taste, as desired)

Salsa Macha
1 cup olive oil
½ cup peanuts (or almonds, if you’re 
allergic) + 1 tablespoon chopped for garnish
5-6 cloves garlic, chopped
5 mild dried Mexican chili peppers (I 
used 4 guajillo peppers and 1 ancho, 
but feel free to add a spicy pepper into 
the mix), stems and seeds removed, torn or 
cut into smaller pieces
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 heaping tablespoon sesame seeds

For the White Bean Dip
In food processor or high power blender, pulse together dip ingredients until smooth and creamy. Taste, and add more salt as needed. 

For the Salsa Macha
Heat a large, high-sided skillet over medium heat, and add olive oil. 

Add 1/2 cup of peanuts and the garlic, and cook a couple of minutes, until lightly golden and fragrant. Add peppers, and cook another minute or two. Make sure garlic and nuts don’t burn. 
Remove from heat, let cool about 10 minutes. 

Add vinegar and salt, and add to blender or food processor. Pulse until you have a well incorporated but slightly gritty paste. 
Stir in sesame seeds. 

To serve, scoop dip into bowl, and top with a swirl of salsa macha. Add extra peanuts for garnish. Serve with Good Health chips!

Wait, there's more! #EnjoyDippingGood with these other tasty dips + Good Health chips! And thanks to Chicano Eats for hosting such a delish link party! 

Salvadoran Chimol by Sour Then Sweet
3 Dips en menos de 5 minutos by The Blog By Taina
Mango & Pineapple Salsa by BearsnUnicornsLA
Roasted Red Pepper, Thyme, and Goat Cheese Dip by Appeasing a Food Geek
Poza Rica-Style Peanut and Chipotle Salsa by Flan & Apple Pie
Sambal Tahini Carrot Dip by Wit & Vinegar
Charred Carrot and Avocado Dip by Sun Diego Eats
Chunky Guacamole by Chicano Eats


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Chicken Salad Pita Sandwiches with Lemon, Dill, & Pancetta

Chicken Salad Pita Sandwiches with Lemon, Dill, & Pancetta // Loves Food, Loves to EatThe last few weeks have been full of: cold but sunny blue skies, blooming cherry blossom trees, pouring rain, hail, and snow. The glimpse of clear-skied weather on the horizon, paired with an even more soggy dreary grey, has me longing for spring and summer so hard. I miss sitting on a patio, sipping a cool crisp white or rose as the sun sets. I miss using the grill and watching things grow in my garden bed. I miss jogging outside with bare arms. I miss sun ripened berries and stone fruits. Deargod I miss nectarines.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Raw Layered Cashew Cheesecake

A few months ago I decided to do the Whole 30. But really, I decided to do a Whole 5. If you don’t know about Whole 30, the gist is that it’s a 30-day elimination diet, wherein you don’t eat things that cause inflammation, including dairy, grains, legumes, processed sugar and maybe a few other things. Then at the end of the 30 days, you’re supposed to slowly add back in those items, which should help you find out if you have particular sensitivities. They can’t stress enough the importance of doing the entire 30 days, and they basically say you shouldn’t even bother doing just one week, because that’s not enough time for the toxins or whatever to leave your body.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Cream Wafers with Grapefruit Blood Orange Filling

Cream Wafers with Grapefruit Blood Orange Filling \\ Loves Food, Loves to EatAs I write this post, my valentine is off on a work trip, and I can hardly stand it. A lot of my friends think Evan and I are pretty independent because we have our own hobbies that, after years and years of being together, we don’t try to push on each other. He has his nerd things and video games and electronic music, I have cooking and being in nature and scary movies and reading. We’re pretty good about doing our own thing and being totally cool with it.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Feeling the Weight

For a while I thought “it’s bound to get better,” or “things will slow down.” But in reality, the hits keep coming. And maybe that’s what life is and what being a grownup out in the world is. Or maybe some people are just luckier than others… but even then, it’s all relative.

In 2014, six weeks before my wedding day, my dad passed away. I was 29 years old, and our little family unit—my mom, dad, sister, and myself—we were closer than most families I know. We had never spent a Thanksgiving or Christmas apart. The grief of losing him was overwhelming and all encompassing. I felt cheated that he didn’t get to be at my wedding. That he would never meet my future children. But then, my sister didn’t even get to share her engagement with him. My mom had been with my dad since she was sixteen, more of her life with him by her side than without. Grief is personal. Grief is all relative. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Buffalo Chicken Rolls

Buffalo Chicken Rolls // Loves Food, Loves to Eat | #foodiefootballfansToday is the final post in the #foodiefootballfans recipe collaboration! My team didn’t make it to the big game, which means I can actually focus on the halftime show and the food this year. And that’s a big win (sigh, sorry hawks), because we’re having buffalo chicken rolls! 
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