Mushroom Risotto with Crunchy Kale

mushroom risotto, baked kale chips

I’ll be honest, I hadn’t tried risotto until a few months ago, when it was the only options I liked at a restaurant.

It was a seafood risotto, that was creamy, rich and packed with layers of flavor.

I set out to make my own risotto at home and learned from none other than Chef Emeril Lagasse

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Loaded Hummus Dip

loaded hummus dip

This summer has been unusually dry and hot for the Seattle area! Climate change? Al Gore would say so! Whatever the case, it is often too hot to cook and bake. I find myself looking for a quick dinner using the tomatoes and cucumbers from my little patio garden 🙂


The quickest dinners in our household consist of grilled chicken breast, a large salad and fresh baguette from one of many favorite bakeries. Some days, I would be okay with a bowl of cereal for dinner but Hussein says “that’s not dinner” and “has no protein”.

This recipe was developed on a super hot day. It was 90 degrees and I was not feeling the heat in my kitchen 😛 I grilled some chicken and decided to make a salad and hummus. Then it hit me; we often dip the chicken into the hummus, and add salad to the top for a perfect bite, so why not make it a loaded hummus!

I made my hummus using canned chickpeas, but feel free to use a premade hummus for an even easier dinner! I served this dish with Stacy’s Pita chips 😀


3 cans chickpeas, rinsed
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup tahini
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup cucumber diced
1 1/4 cup tomatoes, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup Kalamta olives, pitted and halved
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons red onion, finely minced



  1. Reserve 1/2 cup chickpeas.
  2. In a food processor combine remaining chickpeas, tahini, garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and fresh lemon juice.
  3. While on low speed, slowly stream in the olive oil and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl mix tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, olives, parsley, mint, oregano, and 1/2 cup chickpeas.
  5. Using a mason jar make dressing by combining olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and red onion. Shake until emulsified. dressing
  6. Pour dressing over salad and toss until well coated.
  7. Smooth hummus over serving plate.
  8. Top with salad mixture and sprinkle feta crumbles over the top.
  9. Serve with fresh pita, pita chips, or whatever you like!
  10. Enjoy 🙂

Loaded hummus, easy hummus, hummus and salad

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First Team Challenge!

What a roller coaster ride! OMG!

The contestants will split into their own teams of ten, but team captains will be chosen by the judges.
The contestants will split into their own teams of ten, but team captains will be chosen by the judges.


The 20 of us who remained arrived at an amusement park only to learn we would have to decide on our teams ourselves! I turned around there was my team… Charlie, Christopher, Jesse, Justin, Kerry, Nick, Shelly, Stephen, Veronica! Dare I say, we were the dream team? 😀

Our captain was selected by the judges and it was Kerry! He is an HR manager and is great with people! We learned we had to feed 500 people! Yes, you read that correctly, 5-0-0!!

We were to make fish and chips with tartar sauce and a burger with onion rings and coleslaw. The time flllleeeeww by! Before we knew it, a line as long as my eye could see formed in front of us. We only had 10 seconds to serve the guest, before they had to move on (which means we would loose that vote).

Thru the chaos, the heat, the never ending crowd, the forgotten onion rings, our team communicated and stuck together! We were rewarded with victory!

After the votes have been counted, the Red Team celebrates their win!
After the votes have been counted, the Red Team celebrates their win!

The losing team had to face the dreaded pressure test and make a dozen cinnamon rolls in 45 minutes! The means making a dough and filling, rolling it up into a beautiful pinwheel, cutting it and placing it into the oven QUICK!

The cinnamon rolls got the best of the sweet, talented Darah.


There are 19 of us now! Who are your favorites?




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Balsamic Chicken with Red Kale Hash

This light chicken recipe is packed with flavor! A delicious and easy summertime dinner recipe 🙂


Makes 4 servings


4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon mustard

2 ears corn

1 bunch red kale, chopped

1 large pealed potato, diced into 1 inch cubes

1 medium yellow onion, diced into 1/2 inch cubes

Salt and pepper



1. Preheat cast iron grill pan and placed corn on. Cook on all sides and remove from pan. Allow to cool and cut kernels off.

2. Whisk vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, tomato paste and mustard in a bowl. Pour over chicken breasts. Cook chicken breasts on preheated grill pan on medium heat. To achieve “perfect” grill marks, cook chicken at 10 o’clock and then move to 2 o’clock. then /

3. Meanwhile, in a skillet, cook potatoes and onion in remaining 2 tablespoons oil on medium high heat. Add red kale, let wilt. Add corn kernels. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Remove chicken from heat and serve on bed of the hash.

5. Enjoy!






*This recipe inspired in part by “weeknight cooking” feature in Food Network Magazine in the June/July 2014 edition.


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Peach Dream

If you’re looking for a light, delicious dessert which uses one of the best ingredients that summer has to offer,  then this Peach Dream recipe is for you!


Makes 4 servings


1 cup old fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup almond slices

1 teaspoon pumpkin spice blend (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger)

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon butter

2 juicy peaches

4 tablespoons room temperature mascarpone cheese

Mint for garnish (optional)



Step 1. Mix the rolled outs, almonds, pumpkin pie spice and honey together and spread evenly onto a baking sheet.

Step 2. Place into a preheated 350 degree oven and bake until golden brown. Approximately 7-10 minutes. Remove and left cool.

Step 3. Melt butter on cast iron grill pan and place halved and pitted peach flesh side down. Cook until the peach is soft (but not too soft) and begins to caramelize. Approximately 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Step 4. Scoop mascarpone into peach center (I used a small ice cream scoop to create a dome shape) and top with granola and mint.

Step 5. Enjoy!












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