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Apple Onion Puff


Whenever I see a picture of food and it has puff pastry in it, I always want to eat it immediately.  Unfortunately, I had a bad experience with puff pastry when I accidentally set fire to my boyfriend’s oven.  It was a minor fire, but his housemates were not too pleased about the failed experiment and I haven’t used puff pastry since.  I decided to try to start forgiving puff pastry by using prepared sheets of it instead of making it myself. I wanted to make little appetizer bite for New Year’s Eve and puff pastry seemed like the simplest way to do that.  I just put a few things on top that I thought sounded good and baked them according to the directions.  It was very simple and, I’m proud to say, there were no fires.

I wanted these to be a more savory than sweet so they would be a nice little appetizer instead of dessert.  I used onion, cheddar cheese, and apple on top of a square of puff pastry.  These little bites would be great for a party as an appetizer.  They are flavorful and can be eaten easily as finger food.

Recipe:

Ingredients:

2 sheets of puff pastry (I got mine from Trader Joe’s)

1/2 red onion

1 tbsp olive oil

1 medium apple

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp chili powder

Prep time: 20 minutes

Bake time: 15-20 minutes

Servings: 18 3″x3″ squares

Cooking Instructions:

If using frozen puff pastry, remove from the freezer to begin defrosting.  Cut the onion into thin slices.  Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic powder, and chili powder.  Saute the onions until they are soft and browning.  Remove from heat.  Slice the apple into thin slices.  Cut the puff pastry into 3″x3″ squares.  If using  Trader Joe’s puff pastry sheets, this would be 9 squares per sheet.  Gently press the tines of a fork around the inside of the squares leaving about a half inch margin.  Preheat the oven to whatever temperature specified by the puff pastry instructions (I baked mine at 400°F).  Place a small portion of the onion in the middle of each square topped with a slice of apple and followed by about a tablespoon of cheddar cheese.  Place the squares onto a lightly buttered cooking sheet using two if necessary. Bake for the time specified (mine said 15 minutes, but I baked them for about 20 minutes total).  Allow to cool and then enjoy!

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Cauliflower with Tahini


This sounds weird, I know.  I first saw this combination on a menu at Pita Jungle.  This place is awesome.  All the food is delicious and healthy.  If you have one in your area, you should check them out.  So when I first went there, I thought I’d try something new, “Caramelized Cauliflower with Tahini.”  It was amazing.  I’d go there just to get some of this.

Then I tried it at home.  The first time, I accidentally fried the tahini.  Whoops.  Don’t do that.  The second time I realized how easy it was to make on my own.  I still get it all the time at Pita Jungle because it’s still slightly better there, but I make it for myself a lot too.

This recipe only requires 4 ingredients.  One of which is tahini.  Tahini is sesame seed paste.  It’s quite tasty and is a key ingredient in hummus.  You can find it at Trader Joe’s next to the hummus in the refrigerated section.  You won’t use all of the tahini you buy in this recipe so you could use some to make hummus.  This recipe is delicious as a snack and will make you love cauliflower.

Recipe:

Printable Version

Ingredients:

1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into bite sized florets

2 tbsp tahini sauce (found at Trader Joe’s)

1 tbsp pine nuts

2 tbsp olive oil

Prep time: 15 minutes

Serving size: 1 snack sized portion

Cooking Instructions:

Add the olive oil to a medium sized skillet.  Heat to medium heat.  Once hot (water sizzles when you drip a little on the pan), add the cauliflower.  Saute until soft.  To speed this up, you could cover the pan and stir occasionally. Add the pine nuts and cook for 1 minute longer.  Remove from heat and pour into a serving bowl.  Add the tahini sauce and mix together.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy and don’t forget to go for second helpings!

Chunky Salsa (and how I met my boyfriend)


Salsa is part of the reason why my boyfriend and I are together. The story of this salsa goes back even further than that though.  My sister got this recipe from a chef in Mexico that prepared the food at the hotel where she was staying during a trip.  She loved the salsa so much that she went and asked him for the recipe.  When she got back to the US, she made it for our family, and I became obsessed.  It was the best salsa I ever had.

Fast forward to college, freshman year.  One of my friends got tomatoes from his professor’s garden (that’s the kind of school I went to) so we decided to make salsa.  As we were walking around campus to go buy the rest of the ingredients, I saw two huge bushes.  My name is Holly and I was wondering if there were holly bushes.  A friendly fellow who happened to be walking by replied that they were, in fact, holly bushes.  He introduced himself to me and ignored my friends.  After talking a little bit, we discovered that we were planning on making salsa in the building where he lived.  We promised to get him when the salsa was finished.   Me and my friends parted ways with the friendly person and continued with our plan to make salsa.  When the salsa was complete my friends urged me to go get the guy that was talking to us by the holly bush, insisting that he thought I was cute.  I did, and we’ve been dating ever since. ♥

This is the recipe for that salsa.  From a hotel in Mexico to bringing a couple together in Washington state, this recipe has gotten around.  Aside from the obvious sentimental value, it still is the best salsa I’ve ever had.  If you have a Chipotle in your area, it’s similar to the chunky mild salsa that they make.  So if you like chunky tomato-y salsa, this one’s for you.

Recipe:

Printable Version

Ingredients:

5 roma tomatoes

½ white onion

3 jalapeños

Juice from 2 lemons

½ cup cilantro

1 tsp garlic powder

Dash of salt

Dash of black pepper

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Servings: Makes about 4 cups (nutrition facts for 1 cup)

Cooking Instructions:

Remove the seeds and core from the jalapenos. Finely chop the cilantro, tomatoes, onion, and jalapeños and place in a large bowl.  Add the lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  Mix all the ingredients together.  Add a little bit of water if the tomatoes were not juicy enough to blend the flavors together.  Serve immediately with tortilla chips.  The salsa will save a few days, but the tomatoes may get a little wrinkly after some time.  Enjoy and don’t forget to go for second helpings!


Stuffed Pita


This the final post in three part series involving recipes for piquillo pepper hummushomemade pita (or pitta), and now stuffed pita.  The hummus is amazing and the pita is the best I’ve ever had.  Combine with a few more simple ingredients and you have a scrumptious snack.  This snack, or light meal, is also quite healthy even though it does not taste like it at all.  I feel like it’s a treat even though it’s good for me, and I’m not one of those people that enjoy eating tofu and call it “yummy.”  My skinny jeans wish I was though.

 

When I was going to make dinner, I was planning on making stuffed zucchinis.  I’ve made them before, and they were awesome.  I chopped up the onion, and I pulled out he zucchini and….the zucchinis had begun to rot.  I was VERY bummed.  But, I had just made pita and hummus and my mom sent me falafel mix I had been intending to try.  So I took the lemons that life handed me and made stuffed pita.  This turned out to be a very good decision.  I didn’t have feta cheese which is typical in stuffed pitas so I used a different kind of goat cheese crumbles.  The tangy flavor of the goat cheese really complimented the other flavors in this pita in an unexpected, yet harmonious, way.

Before the recipe, I would love input regarding what types of recipes you, my audience, would like to see more.  More bread?  Healthy options?  Vegan recipes?  I would also love input about my writing, photography, and recipes.  Do you like having the nutrition facts and printable versions?  Since this is a very new blog, I’m still trying to find out the best way to cater to my readers.  I think the best way to do this is to ask my readers.  Please comment or email at hollyshelpings@gmail.com if you have any suggestions, questions, or just want to say “Hi.”  Now, for the recipe.

Recipe for Stuffed Pita:

Printable Version

Ingredients:

1 pita pocket

1 tbsp piquillo pepper hummus

2 prepared falafels*

Torn off bit of Romaine lettuce

1 tsp chopped red onion

1 tbsp goat cheese crumbles**

*I used a falafel mix.  I tried to make my own and, as my sister put, they were fa-AWFUL.  I used Telema® brand.  They were slightly salty, but very easy and yummy in this stuffed pita. I got the mix from my mom and will update with where she bought it.

**I used Montechevré brand crumbled goat cheese “fresh & natural” from Fry’s (a Kroger owned supermarket).  This cheese has a very strong and tangy flavor so I did not use very much.

Active Time: 5 minutes

Inactive Time: 0 minutes

Makes: 1 stuffed pita

Cooking Instructions:

Using a serrated bread knife, cut the pita in half. Take one of the halves and spread the piquillo pepper hummus on the thicker side inside of the pita pocket.  Sprinkle the goat cheese in the pocket in an even manner.  Do the same with the onion.  Make sure the front of the pocket has as much goat cheese and onion as the back of the pocket.  Wrap the falafel ball in a tiny bit of romaine lettuce and stick it in the pocket.  Do the same for the other half of the pita.  Devour.

This snack is so amazing, healthy, and easy that you must go for second or third helpings.

Since there were  so many variants in this recipe, I have not posted nutrition facts.    The pita is 100 calories, the hummus would be about 25 calories, and the falafel brand I used would contribute approximately 50 calories.  However, I used a very specific brand of falafel mix and goat cheese and these factors could change the nutrition content significantly.  I would say that it is likely to be no more than 250 calories per whole stuffed pita (2 halves).  If you have questions about this, please leave a comment or email (address above) and I will do my best to answer.

Also, I love to talk to people about food and read food blogs.  Please comment so I can visit your blog too!

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