Category Archives: Sides

Honey Cinnamon Hazelnut Butter


You. Guys. Why on earth does everyone eat peanut butter?  Sure, it’s salty and crunchy and delicious.  But have you ever had HAZELNUT butter?  No? Well me either, until today when I made some.  And I won’t be going back to peanut butter for a long time.  Maybe ever!

You see, it all started when, once upon a time in a land far far away, my sister told me about this sweet hipster joint that “has really good toast”.  This is a thing people.  They literally serve toast.  And coffee.  And you can get some stuff on your toast and I’m sure it’s pretty good, but I couldn’t think of anything MORE L.A. and Portlandia Brunch Special all at once.  I vetoed the idea because, well I was disgustingly hungover and I wanted potatoes and grease, not toast!

But still, something she said intrigued me.  She said they made their own hazelnut butter and it was amazing with the toast!  I couldn’t get the idea of hazelnut butter out of my head.  This was literally weeks ago and I’ve been obsessing ever since.  I went to whole foods and all they had was chocolate hazelnut butter! I don’t want nutella, I want the pure stuff! I went to the farmer’s market and all they had was stupid almond butter for like 30$ a jar!  That’s not what I want!  So, I decided, since I just got a sweet food processor, that I should just make my own.  And it was so easy, I don’t know why I didn’t do it weeks ago!  I don’t know why anyone ever buys nut butters at all!  Ok, it might be cheaper to buy it in a jar than to buy your own fancy nuts and grind them up.  But so worth it!

I used about 3/4 lb. of raw hazelnuts, or 2 cups.  This cost about $7.50 at Whole Foods, and made about 1 cup of hazelnut butter.  Don’t laugh until you try it! Plus I bet that’s the price of 1 toast with a tiny schmear of the stuff at hipster brunch!!

Seriously this is so easy it barely needs a recipe.  But here goes!


Honey Cinnamon Hazelnut Butter 


  • 3/4 lb. raw hazelnuts
  • pinch of salt
  • dash of cinnamon
  • drizzle of honey

Preheat the oven to 350.  Place the nuts on a baking sheet and toast for around 8-10 minutes, shaking half way through.  When you can smell their fragrant hazelnuttyness and their skins begin to crack, take them out! Place in food processor and turn it on.  You have to keep scraping down the sides at first, and it turns into a coarse meal like texture.


Keep processing and scraping until it starts to stick together and look a little more like nut butter.  Add salt, honey and cinnamon if you want (or any other flavorings!) and keep processing until it is a gooey, creamy delight.


Store in an airtight jar or container.  Enjoy on toast!




Filed under desserts, Recipes, Sides

Butternut Spinach and Kale Gratin

Ok guys, time for more butternut!

Thanks again to Trader Joes for inspiring me to make something far more delicious and nutritious than the microwave version I saw in the store! I couldn’t get the idea of a butternut and spinach gratin out of my head as soon as I saw it at TJs.  I had to make it.  And I’m SOOO glad I did! It’s warm, sweet, savory and cheesy. So basically it hits all the main taste groups except spicy!  It’s even good for you.  This would make a great new thanksgiving side dish, or a vegetarian main course.  I was happy with it tonight served with a left over turkey burger!

Butternut, Spinach and Kale Gratin


  • 2 lb. Butternut Squash, Peeled and sliced into 1/2″ thick pieces (the longer the piece the better)
  • 1 1/2 16 oz package of frozen spinach or kale (or combination of both)
  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 cups Chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Salt, Pepper and Garlic Powder to taste

  1. Peel and slice the squash into thick long pieces as best you can.  It’s hard but just try to make sure they are all about the same thickness.
  2. Defrost Spinach or Kale and squeeze out all the water.  Squeeze out as much as you can!
  3. Sautee greens in olive oil until the water cooks out and it starts to stick.  I used my dutch oven to minimize dish washing!  Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.
  4. Mix in 1/2 of the parmesan cheese and stir
  5. Set aside 1/2 of the greens.  Smush the remaining half down in the bottom of the dutch oven so it is flat (or oven proof casserole dish if you don’t have a stove/oven safe pan).
  6. Layer 1/2 of the squash on top, arranging so there is an even layer on top of the spinach. It’s like a puzzle!
  7. Cover squash with remaining spinach and flatten.
  8. Make a top layer of the rest of the squash, as flat as you can.  Pour chicken broth evenly all over the top.
  9. Cover with remaining parmesan and breadcrumbs.  Spray with olive oil or cooking spray.
  10. Bake at 425, covered for 40 minutes or until squash is easily pierced with a knife.  Uncover and bake for another 15-20 minutes until top is browned, bubbly and golden!


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Filed under Healthy Living, Main Courses, Recipes, Sides, Vegetables

Southwest Black Bean and Corn Salad


This salad is light, refreshing and tangy.  It’s super easy to make and super healthy.  I ate it with turkey meatballs as a lettuce wrap (what? crazy I know) and it totally satisfied my tex-mex cravings without all the cheese and grease.  I didn’t even miss it!  Ok, maybe a little.  If you are going to eat this right away, definitely add some chunks of avocado.  If you are going to save some for later, leave the avo out because it will turn all brown and mushy and yucky.  If you bring this to a party, don’t expect to have any left!  I think another great addition would be some quinoa.  I will try that next time. Or you can, and let me know what you think! oooo, or some queso fresco.  That might take away from the healthy factor of this salad, buy hey, queso fresco.  It’s amazing.  Ok now I want to go buy some right now to add to my left overs!


  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 bell pepper (orange, red, or yellow), diced
  • 2 medium ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • chili powder
  • cumin
  • garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • juice of 1 lemon or lime

Mix ingredients in a bowl. Let sit for at least 30 minutes for flavors to mix.  Enjoy with grilled chicken, shrimp or beef and a green salad.  Or as a messy lettuce wrap!

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Filed under Healthy Living, Recipes, Sides, Vegetables

Homemade Hummus, Hurray!

hip hip hooray!

Ok guys.  Why have I been buying hummus all my life?  For some reason I thought it was something that was hard to get right.  I think I had a gross version that someone made once and thought that only factories and restaurants could produce delicious, tangy, healthy hummus.

I was so wrong! It’s so easy it’s a sin.  Is that a saying? Maybe.  Seriously, you just throw some stuff in a blender and it makes a magical, creamy, tangy, protein filled dip that is lower in fat and preservatives than the store bought kind.  And it’s so much cheaper!  Hummus costs like 5$ at the store for a tiny little tub.  Making your own batch probably costs like 2 dollars.  For all of these reasons, I think we should start a hummus revolution and make our own!

If you want to get crazy (you know you do), try adding cilantro and jalapeños, basil, sun dried tomato, even olives!  I’m just listing my favorite flavors of hummus from Trader Joe’s, but I bet home made versions would be even better.

Tahini is a paste made of ground roasted sesame seeds.  I used to buy this awesome kind at a natural foods store that was literally addicting.  I found this jar at Fresh and Easy for only 4$!  I think Trader Joes sells a smaller tub that is more expensive and not as strong.  I say, go to a health store or find this jarred kind. It’s buy the peanut butter, weird.

your ingredients

Homemade Hummus


  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 2 Tbsp Tahini
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic (skip this if you’re worried about your breath)
  • drizzle (light drizzle!) of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water or chicken broth

Put ingredients in blender.  Blend until smooth.  Top with smoked paprika for extra fancy points.  Let sit in fridge for 30 minutes, then serve with veggies, bread, crackers, chips, on a sandwich or eat it by the spoonful (just kidding but not really).   If you like a smoother/thicker consistency, add water slowly and adjust to your liking.  Hip Hip Hooray Hummus!

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Filed under Healthy Living, Recipes, Sides, Vegetables