Category Archives: appetizer

Kale & Butternut Squash Salad w/ Lemon-Tahini Dressing

kale and butternut squash salad via Chosen Bites

Over the last few years I have added a number of foods back into my diet that previously my system was not able to handle, like dairy, oats, and kale.

Kale is a great source of antioxidants, calcium, vitamin A, C, and a powerhouse source of vitamin K. It’s also chock full of minerals like potassium and iron, and a good source of natural fiber. Kale has become a bit of a fad in the last few years, and it’s been in the news a lot recently both for its health benefits and potential health pitfalls. While kale is a powerhouse source for vitamin K, which is important for calcium absorption, it also contains compounds that, ironically, can interfere with calcium absorption.

All of this is to say, I’m happy to be able to add kale back into my diet, but as with every food, my philosophy is “everything in moderation.” So, eat kale because it’s good for you, but don’t eat too much.

kale and butternut squash salad via Chosen Bites

One of may favorite ways to eat kale is raw in a salad, but wilted first with a dressing of acid (like lemon juice or balsamic vinegar), oil, and salt. There are a lot of recipes that say you need to massage the kale for a while, but I just sort of squeeze it with my hands while I’m tossing it the first time, and then just toss the rest of the time with tongs.

This salad includes one of my favorite vegetables, roasted butternut squash. I used to hate squash with inedible peel (don’t like the texture) but I have since discovered that I actually hate all squash but butternut squash. If you don’t like butternut squash, sweet potatoes would be excellent in this salad too.

Kale & Butternut Squash Salad w/ Lemon Tahini Dressing


1 small butternut squash
1 garlic clove
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 head of kale
3 Tbsp lemon juice
4 Tbsp olive or avocado oil
3 Tbsp prepared tahini
1/2 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup dried blueberries


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Peel and cut butternut squash into 1/2 inch cubes. Smash and peel garlic cloves. Toss with 2 Tbsp olive oil, spread evenly on a baking sheet, and roast at 400 for 25-30 minutes until squash is fork tender but not mushy. Remove garlic clove to a small bowl and mash with a fork. Set squash aside to cool.
  3. While squash is roasting, de-stem and slice kale into ribbons (I roll several leaves up and slice). Place kale in a large bowl. Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, tahini, salt, pepper and mashed roasted garlic, and pour over kale. Using your hands, toss to evenly coat the kale, squeezing handfuls of kale as you do this. Allow kale to sit for 30-45 minutes, tossing again every 10-15 minutes or so.
  4. When squash is cool to the touch, add to kale and toss to coat in dressing. Add dried blueberries and additional salt to taste. Serve at room temperature.

Smoky Roasted Chickpeas {Healthy Snacking}

Savory Roasted Chickpeas

Last year, I experienced a scary anaphylactic reaction to what we think was walnuts. In the aftermath, I saw an allergist who told me in no uncertain terms that I have to carry an epi-pen, and that I should never eat anything that makes my mouth itch or tingle. Of course thinking back on it, walnuts always made my mouth feel a little prickly, I just never thought much of it.

For me, a food allergy is much more terrifying than food intolerance because while my stomach might be really unhappy after eating gluten, I could die after eating a walnut if I don’t have my epi-pen. I was already vigilant about what I eat, but now I have to be even more careful. And as I paid more attention to what made my mouth tingle, I’ve had to completely cut out pecans and hazelnuts (I know!), and I’ve reduced my consumption of other nuts (except almonds) as well.

This is a roundabout way of telling you that I’ve had to get more creative with my snack options, since nuts have played a huge part in my snacking to date. Thankfully recipes for crunchy roasted chickpeas have been popping up all over the interwebs. Not only are chickpeas high in fiber and protein, they also have a good amount of iron (I have trouble with anemia) and are significantly lower in fat than nuts.  If you are nut-free, these roasted chickpeas are a great addition to trail mixes or tossed on salads.

This recipe is perfect for soothing my afternoon snack cravings.

Smoky Roasted Chickpeas {Healthy Snacking}

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes


1 15 oz. can chickpeas
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (if you have convection, use it!) and grease a large baking sheet.
  2. Drain the chickpeas and dry them thoroughly. If you like, remove the outer skin of the chickpeas (optional). In a large bowl, drizzle the chickpeas with olive oil, tossing to coat. Mix together spices, sprinkle over chickpeas and toss again so everything is evenly distributed.
  3. Spread evenly on the baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes until the chickpeas are crispy on the outside and some have cracked open down the center. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Sweet & Spicy Red Pepper Jam

For the Super Bowl this year, AK really wanted a hot dog bar. We made some of the usual hot dog toppings (caramelized onions, pickled cabbage), but I was at Shoppers and red peppers were on sale 4 for $5, which is amazingly cheap at least in my area, so I wanted to do some kind of red pepper condiment for the hot dogs too. I perused through some of the canning and pickling cookbooks we received as wedding gifts and came across a recipe for Sweet Red Pepper Relish in Canning for a New Generation by Liana Krissoff.Continue Reading

Blueberry & Meyer Lemon Refrigerator Jam

I started experimenting with jam last winter when I started reading an awesome blog called Food in Jars. If you have any interest in canning, or just want to see some cool recipes, definitely check it out. Unfortunately I don’t really have space to actually can and store anything, so I stick with refrigerator jams.Continue Reading