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Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Cream Sauce

August 3, 2014

Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Cream | Espresso and Cream

I mentioned last week, but my post-vacation self was in serious need of a little detox after our trip. For me, detox is never about juice cleanses or major restrictions, just focusing on putting as many nutrients into my body as possible in the form of veggies, whole grains and lots and lots of water.

Of course, being pregnant has made the whole “eating nutritious foods” fairly difficult, but I’m trying my best. This pregnancy has been rather strange; some days I feel almost normal and the next day I feel completely horrible. Most of the time I can count on feeling pretty good in the morning but I’ve been hit with morning sickness in reverse, feeling miserable as the day drags on. The benefit of having a rocky pregnancy past is that even when I’m feeling my worst, I still feel incredibly thankful for each day I have with this baby.

Baby Photo 10 Weeks


This past Friday we had another appointment and ultrasound. I was incredibly nervous; it had been 2 1/2 weeks since our last appointment, and this appointment, just shy of 10 weeks, felt like a huge milestone to me. We’ve never made it anywhere near this far with either of our two previous pregnancies, so it was hard to imagine going to the doctor and getting good news. Right before our vacation I got extremely worked up and questioned whether I should have taken our doctor up on her offer to do a scan before our trip, but Joe and I talked it over and felt strongly that God was asking us to trust Him, to go out into the unknown and wait until our trip was over to get our ultrasound.

When we saw our little one, who looks so much more like a baby now, on that ultrasound I was blown away. At 9 weeks 5 days we could see him/her moving around and got a video of the heartbeat, a strong 178! For most of this pregnancy I have held back on letting myself feel truly excited about this pregnancy for fear of getting my hopes up, but I finally feel as if I’m allowing myself to think about the future and what life will look like come March 2nd. For now, we are done with ultrasounds for a while. Our doctor offered to do another one in two weeks, when we will be at the 12 week mark, but I told her I was comfortable hearing the heartbeat on a doppler at that appointment instead.

I’ve said it a thousand times already, but thank you for your prayers. Every single e-mail I’ve received has been such a blessing. Some days I feel confident and secure, other days I have to pray through the fear hour by hour, and the e-mails that have been sent my way have meant so much on those tough days. Sometimes I wonder why we are being gifted this miracle. I don’t have a clue, because it’s certainly more than we deserve. My prayer is that this baby would be a constant reminder to many of God’s grace, compassion and ability to do miraculous things despite what science or statistics might say.

And because this post suddenly became extremely long-winded, I am rewarding those of you still reading with this amazing recipe. It’s one of my new favorite spreads/dips/sauces in part because of its versatility. I made a batch (it makes quite a bit!) and drizzled it over a bowl of whole wheat couscous and roasted summer squash for dinner the other night. My mom and Joe both had the same meal and raved about how delicious it was, mainly because of the sauce. Since that meal, I’ve also used this as a dip for chips and a spread for sandwiches. The possibilities are endless!

Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Cream 1 | Espresso and Cream

Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Cream Sauce
Recipe type: Sauce, Dip, Spread
This sauce is great on pretty much anything, but my favorite way to eat it is on top of roasted veggies and whole wheat couscous or rice. It's absolutely delicious!
  • 1¾ cups cashews roasted and unsalted (soaked in water for at least 4 hours)
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 roasted red pepper from a jar
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Drain cashews from the water they have been soaking in. Place cashews, water, red pepper, garlic and salt in a high-powdered blender or food processor. Blend 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides as necessary, until mixture is completely smooth and creamy. Use immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.



Curried Sweet Potato Hummus

January 10, 2014

It seems like we’ve been in a constant state of football watching over the last three weeks. Does anyone else feel that way? Not that I’m complaining considering my love for football rivals that of my former football player husband. With bowl games and playoff games and the like, we’ve been doing a lot of entertaining as well.

When it comes to entertaining for bowl games and playoff games, I like to keep things pretty simple. Last week I made a big pot of my mom’s amazingly easy chili and served it with corn chips and cheddar cheese. It meant I could keep the soup hot in the slow cooker, people could help themselves when they were hungry, and I could focus on watching the game instead of tending to guests. Which perhaps makes me a bad host now that I think about it.

I’m also a huge fan of serving dips like hummus and layered taco dips because they’re equally as easy and a little more substantial. In the name of mixing things up, I decided to add a little creaminess and sweet flavor to my most recent batch of hummus by using cooked sweet potato and a sweet curry our friend brought back for us from the Philippines when he was home for Christmas. The flavors played so nicely together that I had to find a similar type of curry if you’re interested in buying some for your home. Just follow the link below for a similar curry to the one I used!


Sweet Potato Hummus 
Makes about 2 cups hummus
1 can (15 oz) chickpeas/garbanzo beans
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet and spicy curry powder (such as this kind)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less depending on the heat level you like)
1/2 medium sweet potato, peeled, cooked and cut into cubes
2 to 4 tablespoons water
Salty chips (such as pita chips) or veggies for dipping

In food processor, combine chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, garlic, curry powder, salt, cumin, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Blend or process until well combined and smooth.

Add the sweet potato and process, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until smooth. Add enough water to reach desired consistency. I used about 2 tablespoons because I like my hummus a bit on the thicker side. Transfer to a storage container and refrigerate.

Happy Cooking!

*This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. I recommend and stand behind any products with links listed and receive a small amount of compensation if you purchase a product through these links.


Making Hummus at Home

October 13, 2013

Being a vegetarian, I consume a lot of hummus. It’s a great source of protein and makes a super healthy dip to enjoy while watching football games on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. It’s no secret that I slather hummus on everything from sandwiches to veggies to pizza.

I’ve known that making hummus at home is easy for a long time, and I’ve even made a couple batches of hummus in the past, but I never got into the habit of regularly making it at home from week to week. Instead, I would shell out a lot of money for hummus at the grocery store. I think what deterred me was the fact that most good hummus recipes called for the inclusion of tahini, or sesame seed paste, in order to get the taste and texture achieved by store brands. And since a jar of tahini can be a little pricier (on par with a nice jar of almond butter) I thought it seemed silly to buy a jar just to use a couple tablespoons in a recipe for hummus. I didn’t really take the time to think about the fact that a single jar of tahini could last me weeks of not months.

For the past couple months, I’ve been making it a weekly routine to whip up a batch of hummus for the week. It’s much less expensive than buying it at the store and the results are delicious. Plus, I love being able to customize the hummus I make and control what ingredients are put into the mix. This recipe has been in heavy rotation at our house, and I think the addition of buffalo wing sauce really punches up the flavor. It’s not so much that you’re overwhelmed with buffalo flavor, just enough to add a little heat. Of course, you could leave out the buffalo sauce and sub a little bit of extra olive oil and water instead.


Buffalo Hummus
*2 cans (15 oz each) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
*1/4 cup buffalo wing sauce
*2 tablespoons olive oil
*2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
*1 to 2 tablespoons water to thin, if necessary/desired
*1/2 to 1 tsp. salt (taste at 1/2 teaspoon and add more salt if desired)
*1/2 teaspoon paprika
*1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped

*Combine all the above ingredients together in a food processor and process 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of bowl as necessary, until hummus is smooth and well blended. If desired, you can add 1 to 2 tablespoons water to thin the hummus a bit, or omit the water completely for a thicker hummus. Transfer to a plastic storage container to store. Store in refrigerator.

Happy Cooking!

Caramelized Onion Bean Dip

October 10, 2011

A couple weeks ago when Joey asked how I wanted to celebrate my birthday weekend, the answer was simple. All I really wanted to do was watch the Gators play football and have a weekend filled with relaxing, exercising, and eating some great tailgating food.

For Joey, that meant me making his mom’s cheesy beef dip. I’ll admit that I had a hard time buying Velveeta at the store, but seeing his face light up when I served it for the game was priceless.

For me, tailgating food means lots and lots of raw veggies served with some type of hummus/bean dip and maybe something sweet on the side. So when I saw Jenna’s recipe for White Bean Dip with Pita Chips, I got to making my shopping list.

When I actually arrived at the store, the red onions were calling my name. I figured anything and everything tastes better with caramelized onions, including bean dip. So my version is slightly varied from the original I was inspired by. The results were outstanding, with a sweet-savory flavor profile and smooth consistency. And it makes a lot of dip, so be prepared to have leftovers or enough to serve a group!

Caramelized Onion Bean Dip
Adapted from Jenna at Eat Live Run  

*1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
*2 tablespoons olive oil
*2 cloves garlic, chopped
*Juice from 1/2 lemon
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
*1/2 teaspoon paprika
*1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
*2 (15-ounce) cans white beans (cannellini beans), rinsed and drained

*In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion to the skillet and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the onions are softened and caramelized, stirring frequently.
*Add the garlic to the pan during the last three to four minutes of cooking. Remove from heat.
*Transfer the caramelized onion mixture to the bowl of a food processor. Add in the lemon juice, salt, black pepper, paprika, cumin and beans. Process until mixture is smooth, about three minutes, adding extra oil if necessary to reach desired consistency. Serve with fresh veggies or pita chips. To store, transfer to an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator.

Happy Cooking!


Back to Basics: Eggplant (Baba Ganoush)

October 8, 2010
A few weeks back, I issued a challenge to J. – each week pick out one vegetable you’ve never cooked before and learn how to cook it. I promised to guide him through the process, thinking it would be a less-intimidating way to approach cooking and learning new skills. 
While I helped him cook asparagus over the phone, I decided I could use a bit of my own advice. Typically, unless I have a specific recipe in mind, I tend to buy the same veggies every week: broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, asparagus, lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, sweet potatoes and summer squash. Consequently, the eggplants, hot peppers and cabbages, among others, get overlooked. But not this week! This week was the week of the eggplant. 
When it comes to eggplant, I’ve found that people have some pretty strong opinions. You either love it, or you hate it – there doesn’t seem to be much wiggle room. I can’t put a finger on why this veggie is so polarizing, but I do think baba ganoush is the middle ground eggplant lovers and haters can meet at. For those unfamiliar with baba ganoush, it’s probably best described as eggplant’s equivalent to hummus. Used as a dip or spread, baba ganoush is a simple, healthy middle eastern staple. 
And since health is her specialty, I went to Ellie Krieger for the recipe. Of course, like most hummus recipes, this baba ganoush recipe called for tahini, or sesame seed paste. But I’m far too cheap to break down and buy an entire jar just to use a few spoonfulls, so I substituted a little bit of purchased hummus and called it good. The result was a slightly tangy, smooth spread with a zippy lemon finish that made a fresh compliment to toasted slices of French bread.
Side Note: A few months ago, I partnered with Better Homes and Gardens and General Mills to create and film some fun snack videos. They are up on the web now, and you can see them here!
Homemade Baba Ganoush 
Adapted slightly from Ellie Krieger’s Babaganoush
*1 large eggplant 
*2 cloves garlic, minced
*1/4 to 1/2 tsp. salt 
*1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 2 Tbsp. dried basil
*2 Tbsp. hummus 
*2 Tbsp. lemon juice
*Bread or pita chips (optional)
*Preheat oven to 450°F.

*Prick eggplant with a fork and place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake the eggplant until it is soft inside, about 20 minutes. Let the eggplant cool. Cut eggplant in half lengthwise, drain off the liquid, and scoop the pulp into a food processor. Process the eggplant until smooth. Add in the garlic, salt, basil, hummus and lemon juice and continue to process until well combined.
*Serve on toasted bread or with pita chips. Garnish with additional fresh or dried basil, if desired.

Happy Cooking!


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