Category Archives: Snack

Appetizer Snack

Spiced Popcorn with Pecans

Hi food friends! So sorry for being MIA last week. There has been so much I want to talk about on the blog, but honestly just not enough hours in the day to sit down and write at the end of the day. I’m sure you’ve been there.

Things have been waaaaay busier than usual at my job and Travis and I have been working away trying to figure out where we want to get married — so many decisions! With all that’s going on, I’ve been neglecting this blog more than I would like. Thank you for understanding!

I am excited to pop in quickly today to share this Spiced Popcorn recipe that I threw together this weekend.

Spiced Popcorn with Pecans Recipe ll Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, Refined Sugar Free ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

We love hosting friends at our apartment and when they come over, I always like to have a range of snacks out for them to munch on. I get this from my mom, who is a pro at putting out the best snack spreads. Your average chips and salsa can get boring, so I try to making something unique that’s also healthy and addictive.

I threw together this Spiced Popcorn with Pecans and Raisin mixture and I love the way it turned out! It’s sweet, spicy and salty all in one.

Spiced Popcorn with Pecans Recipe ll Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, Refined Sugar Free ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

It’s so easy to make, all you really need is a stocked spice cabinet. Popcorn is a great healthy snack because it’s low in calories, but contains a good dose of fiber and whole grains.

I hope you like this one!

 

Spiced Popcorn with Pecans
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2.5 cups popped popcorn (about ⅛ cup popcorn kernels)
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix the popcorn and the pecans in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a small skillet, heat the coconut oil over low heat. Add the spices (cinnamon through ginger). Stir constantly for 30 seconds and then remove from heat. Stir in the maple syrup.
  3. Pour the spice mixture over the popcorn and pecans and toss to coat.
  4. Spread the popcorn and pecans onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes. Remove from oven once the pecans are toasted.
  5. Let cool for 15 minutes and stir in the golden raisins.
 

Spiced Popcorn with Pecans Recipe ll Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, Refined Sugar Free ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Gluten-Free Snack Vegan

The Best Spicy Mango Salsa

Today is Cinco de Mayo! So what better day than today to introduce you to my incredible Spicy Mango Salsa recipe!?

The Best Spicy Mango Salsa -- Perfect for Summer BBQs! l Vegan + Gluten-Free l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I don’t mean to brag, but this stuff is GOOD. Like really good.

I know, because the first time I made this salsa, Travis ate it all in one sitting. He inhaled it so fast that I’m pretty sure he forgot to breathe.

So yeah, it’s some good stuff.

The Best Spicy Mango Salsa -- Perfect for Summer BBQs! l Vegan + Gluten-Free l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

This Mango Salsa is a little bit sweet and a little bit spicy. I can’t handle ultra-spicy food, so the heat level is perfect for my tastebuds — I’d say it’s about medium.

If you’re feeling more daring than me, feel free to increase the amount of jalapeno in the recipe.

The Best Spicy Mango Salsa -- Perfect for Summer BBQs! l Vegan + Gluten-Free l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I love this salsa with corn tortilla chips, but it’s also delicious with grilled white fish like mahi mahi or tilapia. It’s a summer meal I always look forward to — plus it’s super easy and healthy!

The Best Spicy Mango Salsa -- Perfect for Summer BBQs! l Vegan + Gluten-Free l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I know you’ll love this spicy mango salsa and it only takes 10 minutes to throw together! So run to the store, grab the ingredients, and celebrate Cinco de Mayo with me, why don’t ya?

The Best Spicy Mango Salsa -- Perfect for Summer BBQs! l Vegan + Gluten-Free l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

P.S. Don’t forget to enter my Chef’s Cut Real Jerky Giveaway! One winner will be selected tomorrow, so don’t miss out!

 

The Best Spicy Mango Salsa
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: 1 cup
Ingredients
  • 1 large mango, diced into ¼ inch cubes
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, diced
  • ⅛ cup red onion, minced
  • ⅛ cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon jalapeno, minced
  • 1-2 Tablespoons lime juice, to taste
  • ⅛ teaspoon each salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl combine the mango, bell pepper, red onion, cilantro, jalapeno and 1 Tablespoon of lime juice. Stir in the salt and pepper. Taste, and add additional lime juice, salt or pepper as needed.
  2. Chill for 15 minutes to let the flavors come together before serving.
The Best Spicy Mango Salsa -- Perfect for Summer BBQs! l Vegan + Gluten-Free l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Breakfast Gluten-Free Smoothies Snack Vegan

Gingerbread Smoothie

The holiday season turns me into a cookie monster! Everywhere I turn there are cookies and sweet treats: our office, holiday parties, ahhh! Give me aaaaall the cookies.

Gingerbread Smoothie Recipe - Vegan and Gluten-Free

But seriously, I have little self control around dessert, so I make an effort not to keep any in the house during the holidays because there are enough temptations elsewhere.

That means, when I have a sugar craving or need something sweet after a meal, I have to get creative. That’s why I LOVE this Gingerbread Smoothie! It’s deliciously creamy and it has the same flavor profile of your favorite gingerbread cookie recipe.

Gingerbread Smoothie Recipe - Vegan and Gluten-Free

The Almond Breeze Almondmilk Cashewmilk blend makes this smoothie a bit creamier than using regular almond milk (however, I am sure that would work fine, as well).

I also added a couple tablespoons of plain greek yogurt for added protein and creaminess, but that’s totally optional.

Gingerbread Smoothie Recipe - Vegan and Gluten-Free

Now don’t skimp on the molasses and spices here – that’s what makes it taste like gingerbread.

Enjoy this smoothie for breakfast, as a mid-day snack, or whenever a sweet craving strikes. Happy Holidays!

 

Gingerbread Smoothie
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: 1 Large or 2 Small
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Almond Breeze Almondmilk Cashewmilk Blend
  • ½ frozen banana
  • 3 large ice cubes
  • 2 Tablespoons plain greek yogurt (optional for additional protein)
  • 1 Tablespoon molasses
  • Dash each cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, to taste
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until desired consistency. Garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg and drink immediately.
 

This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk. Enter for a chance to win the Ultimate Kitchen Prize Pack, get great savings and ideas for delicious Blendabilities at AlmondBreezeBlendabilities.com. As always, I greatly appreciate your support with sponsored posts!

Appetizer Snack

Brie Crostini with Spiced Raisin Compote

The holidays are upon us!

I don’t know about you, but every store I’ve been in recently (CVS, Home Goods…) already has Christmas decorations out. I thought that always started after Halloween, no?

Brie Crostini with Spiced Raisin Compote

Since I am trying to keep up, I started testing a few new holiday recipes last weekend.

You’re going to LOVE these Baked Brie Crostini with Spiced Raisin Compote. They’re the perfect little hors d’oeurve for a holiday get-together.

Brie Crostini with Spiced Raisin Compote

I tried to make these crostini healthier than most recipes I saw by reducing the amount of cheese (a little goes a long way), using a whole wheat baguette instead of regular, and cutting way down on the sugar in the compote. Raisins and apples already provide plenty of sweetness – why add copious amounts of sugar?

The results were amazing! There’s so much flavor in each bite.

Brie Crostini with Spiced Raisin Compote

If you have a large group, feel free to double or even triple this recipe. You can also make the raisin compote ahead of time and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to prep the crostini.

Brie Crostini with Spiced Raisin Compote

I know your friends and family will be begging you for this recipe!

Brie Crostini with Spiced Raisin Compote

Brie Crostini with Spiced Raisin Compote

 

Brie Crostini with Spiced Raisin Compote
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 1 medium granny smith apple, peeled and chopped (about 1.5 cups)
  • ¼ cup red onion, sliced very thin
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • 1.5 Tablespoons white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon packed light brown sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Pinch each salt, ground ginger, nutmeg
  • 2 ounces Brie
  • Whole wheat or multigrain baguette, sliced ½ inch thick
Instructions
  1. Combine the apple through nutmeg in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring every 7-8 minutes. Uncover and cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°.
  3. Spread 1 heaping Tablespoon of raisin compote over each baguette slice. Top each with 1 piece small slice of brie. Arrange the slices on a large baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 5 minutes or until cheese melts.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light
 

Gluten-Free Snack Vegan

No-Bake Nut and Oat Granola Bars

Where did June go!? Is it me, or did it just fly by? We were so busy all month with our trip to Chicago, friends’ events and a recent visit to New Jersey. I feel like I’ve hardly had any time to pop-in and say hi to you guys.

No-Bake Nut and Oat Granola Bars Recipe

I thoroughly enjoyed being home for three days over 4th of July weekend. June’s schedule left me very little time for recipe development, so I was excited to have a few extra hours to spend in the kitchen. I have a backlog of recipes I’ve been meaning to try this summer.

No-Bake Nut and Oat Granola Bars Recipe

On Sunday we had exactly zero plans (yay!), so I spent the afternoon trying three new recipes. These No-Bake Nut and Oat Granola Bars were one of them. I am usually wary of no-bake recipes because the texture can often be pretty funky. But, these bars were GREAT! All you have to do is press the mixture into a baking dish, place the dish into the freezer for a couple hours, slice, and enjoy! Easy peasy. Freezing is key – otherwise if you try to slice them, they’ll just fall apart into a crumbly mess.

No-Bake Nut and Oat Granola Bars Recipe

I absolutely loved the flavor of these granola bars. They’re packed with fiber (oats and dried fruit!) and healthy fats (nuts and chia seeds!), making them a healthy and delicious mid-day snack. Plus, they’re gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and refined-sugar free! So you can definitely make them for your friend who has ALL the food allergies…you know who I am talking about ;-)!

No-Bake Nut and Oat Granola Bars Recipe

The recipe makes 10-12 bars. If you’re only making them for yourself, you can cut the recipe in half OR place half the sliced bars in the freezer until you’re ready to eat them.

 

No-Bake Nut and Oat Granola Bars
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: 10-12
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dates
  • ¾ cup almonds, toasted
  • ¼ cup pecans, toasted
  • 1.5 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1.5 Tablespoons chia seeds
  • pinch sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup raisins or dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup almond butter
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Line an 8x11 or 9x9 baking dish with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, soak the dates in water for 15 minutes.
  3. Place the almonds and pecans in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until roughly chopped, about 15 seconds. Make sure not to process the nuts too fine - you still want chunks. Combine the almonds and pecans in a large bowl with the oats, chia seeds, salt, and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Stir in the raisins.
  4. Drain the dates, reserving a few Tablespoons of the water. Place the dates in the food processor with the almond butter and vanilla. Process until smooth, adding one Tablespoon of reserved water as needed. Add the date mixture to the nut and oat mixture. Stir well - you may need to use your hands to thoroughly combine.
  5. Spread the mixture into the greased baking dish, using the back of a rubber spatula to press the mixture completely flat. Cover and place the dish in the freezer for 1.5-2 hours until hard. Remove from the freezer and using a sharp knife, slice into 10-12 bars. Wrap individual bars in saran wrap. Store in fridge or freezer until ready to eat.
 

Breakfast Snack Vegan

Avocado Toast with Strawberries

I almost feel silly writing an entire blog post about this Avocado Toast recipe, but the combination is so darn good I just had to share.

Avocado Toast with Strawberries Recipe

I’m not sure why it took so long for Avocado Toast to become the hot new trend. Avocados taste amazing and they’re loaded with nutrients (hello healthy fats!).

I love eating avocado toast for breakfast with an egg on top for added protein. Avocados + eggs = a power couple.

Avocado Toast with Strawberries Recipe

This weekend, I had a carton of organic strawberries in the fridge that were going to go bad, so I decided to experiment and add them to my toast.

BAM! Avocados and strawberries, what a combination!

Avocado Toast with Strawberries Recipe

If you love sweet and salty things like peanut butter and jelly, chocolate covered pretzels, and salted chocolate chip cookies, this recipe is for you!

Large grain sea salt, sprinkled at the end, really helps to enhance the flavor of this toast, so don’t skimp on that part!

Avocado Toast with Strawberries Recipe

I didn’t have any on hand this time, but I think burrata cheese would taste incredible on this avocado toast. If any of you guys try that, please report back!

 

Avocado Toast with Strawberries Recipe
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 slices whole wheat bread (or bread of choice)
  • 1 medium hass avocado
  • 6-8 strawberries, stems removed and sliced thin
  • buratta (optional)
  • sea salt and ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Toast the bread. Immediately remove from toaster and spread each slice with ¼ of the avocado. Lightly mash the avocado with the back of a fork.
  2. Place the sliced strawberries on top of the avocado and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper to taste.
 

Appetizer Gluten-Free Snack Vegan

Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bites

As promised, I am sharing a DELICIOUS snack recipe with you guys today. Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bites!

Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bites Recipe

I whipped up these Bites last week and devoured them all within just a few days. Whoops!

Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bites Recipe

They are super easy to make and I bet you have most of the ingredients in your pantry already. Even if you don’t, no worries! This recipe is extremely customizable. Feel free to substitute dried cranberries for raisins, change up the variety of nuts, sub semi-sweet chocolate for dark, make it your own! This recipe is gluten-free and if you want to make it vegan, just use maple syrup instead of honey.

Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bites Recipe

Make sure you follow the ratios in the recipe, though, or else your bites won’t hold together. You need the correct amounts of wet and dry ingredients or else you’ll end up with Peanut Butter Trail Mix mush, and nobody wants that!

Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bites Recipe

Hope you love these trail mix bites as much as I do! Peanut Butter lovers, this one has your name ALLLLLL over it!

 

Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bites Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 14-16 bites
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cups unsalted almonds*
  • ⅓ cup unsalted cashews*
  • 1 Tablespoon flax seeds
  • ¾ cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup dates, chopped
  • ⅛ cups raisins
  • 2 Tablespoons dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon stevia
  • 2-3 Tablespoons honey (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup peanut butter*, melted
  • salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. In a food processor grind the almonds, cashews, and flax seeds for about 15 seconds or until there are still some chunks of nuts. DO NOT grind to sand-like texture. Remove the nuts from the food processor and place in a large bowl with the oats, dates, raisins, dark chocolate, and stevia. Stir well.
  2. In a small bowl combine the honey (start with 2T and adjust to desired sweetness), vanilla, and peanut butter. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the nut and oat mixture and stir well. Taste mixture and add a pinch of salt if desired. Line a baking sheet or large plate with parchment paper. Using wet hands, roll the mixture into 14-16 balls, slightly smaller than the size of a golf ball. Make sure to pack the mixture tightly. Place the baking sheet in the fridge for at least one hour to harden, then enjoy.
  3. Trail Mix Bites should last in the fridge for 10 days.
Notes
*If using salted nuts and/or peanut butter, I do not recommend adding salt at the end.
 

Gluten-Free Snack Vegan

Pumpkin Hummus

Clearly I am hooked on making dips right now because today I bring you the most delicious Pumpkin Hummus recipe.

Pumpkin Hummus Recipe

If you’re one of those people obsessed with pumpkin-EVERYTHING as soon as fall hits, you’re going to love this hummus. Even if you’re not, I bet you’ll think this Pumpkin Hummus is A++++ (if I do say so myself).

The pumpkin flavor is faint, but you still definitely know it’s there. The addition of cumin and paprika give this hummus a nice punch of spice.

Pumpkin Hummus Recipe

Bessie REALLY wanted love and attention while I was making this, so I plopped her on one of the dining room chairs, looking into the kitchen.

Bessie Chair

There was something about sitting where “the humans” sit that made her extra content. She settled in and slept on the chair until I was done cooking.

It’s been almost a year since Travis and I first picked her up from the vet to foster her (we only officially adopted her this past July). We have no clue when her birthday is, so we decided we will celebrate it (yes, we’re those people) on the day in January when we first brought her home. The vets estimate that she is 7-8 years old, but we just like to pretend she is only 2, and hope that she lives a loooooooong time.

OK, back to hummus.

Pumpkin Hummus Recipe

Some of you will have all of the ingredients for this hummus in your pantry already. It is very easy to whip up and it lasts in the fridge for about a week. I made a double batch of this hummus for a holiday party, but at the last minute I wasn’t able to attend, so Travis and I ate A LOT of hummus that week. We loved it so much, not a bite of it was wasted!

Enjoy!

 

Pumpkin Hummus
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cups canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained, skins removed
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons tahini
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth (about 30 seconds), scraping down the sides as needed. Serve with whole wheat pita and veggie sticks.
 

Gluten-Free Snack

Sun-Dried Tomato Dip

I love eating tapas-style because that way I get to try small bites of many different things. More and more restaurants are offering shared small plates instead of larger dishes, and it is always my preference to order this way, as opposed to getting my own entree. This is probably why I always look forward to snacking at the appetizer table during the holiday season – lots and lots of delicious nibbles to try. Although, I will admit, it is very hard for me to exercise self-control with such a variety in front of me, and I often fill up before the main meal. Oops.

Unfortunately, we all know that a delicious spread of cheeses, breads, crackers, and other bite-sized goodies can often be our winter-diet downfall. So many of these appetizers are calorie-heavy and high in fat. Sure, they taste mighty good, but they aren’t the healthiest option.

Sun-Dried Tomato Dip Recipe

So when Chobani contacted me about creating a recipe for their #MadeWithChobani campaign, I knew right away I wanted to create a healthy appetizer for the holiday season. I cook and bake with greek yogurt a lot. I especially love using yogurt as a substitute for mayonnaise and sour cream in dips. You get that creamy, tangy taste without all of the unnecessary fat and calories. Plus, when you add greek yogurt to any recipe, you give it a great boost in protein!

Sun-Dried Tomato Dip Recipe

If you like sun-dried tomatoes, you are going to love this dip. I had all the ingredients in my fridge and chances are you do, too! This recipe requires only four ingredients and comes together in under five minutes, so it is perfect if you are pinched for time!

Sun-Dried Tomato Dip Recipe

We chowed down on this dip with baked pita chips and carrots sticks. It would also be delicious with sliced bell peppers and warm whole wheat pita. Bring this to your next holiday gathering and people will be begging you for the recipe.

 

I was asked by Chobani to participate in their #MadeWithChobani campaign. This recipe as well as all opinions stated are my own. 

 

Sun-Dried Tomato Dip
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • ½ cup crumbled feta
  • 1 cup Chobani nonfat plain greek yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes, packed in olive oil (drained)
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl mash the feta crumbles. Stir in the greek yogurt, olive oil, and sun-dried tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with pita chips, veggie crudites, or warm pita bread.
 

Gluten-Free Snack Vegan

Maple Chili Popcorn

I remember growing up, every holiday season my dad would receive a massive tub of popcorn from work. The tub was divided into three delicious flavors: butter, caramel, and cheese. Given that I’ve always had a sweet tooth, the caramel was my favorite – I could eat myself sick with that stuff.

Maple Chili Popcorn Recipe

Now that I try to keep a (much) healthier diet, snacks like that caramel popcorn don’t typically make it into our apartment. Travis, in particular, loves to munch on popcorn while watching TV (he always makes his own on the stove as opposed to buying the microwaveable kinds). So this popcorn recipe comes from a desire to please both mine and Travis’ taste buds: sweet for me and savory for him.

Maple Chili Popcorn Recipe

This Maple Chili Popcorn takes less than 10 minutes to make, so you really have no excuse not to try it 😉 I realize that you may not have popcorn kernels on hand, but this recipe is way healthier than any packaged variety, so it is certainly worth buying the kernels to pop yourself.

Maple Chili Popcorn Recipe

This popcorn is a very good balance between sweet and spicy – neither of the flavors overpowers the other. Of course, if you prefer maple or spice, feel free to adjust the flavors to your liking.

Maple Chili Popcorn Recipe

Be prepared to share – this stuff is addicting!

 

Maple Chili Popcorn
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • ½ cup popcorn kernels
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. In a small microwaveable bowl, mix the maple syrup, butter, cayenne and salt. Microwave on HIGH for 20 seconds, or until the butter is melted. Stir and set aside.
  2. Heat a large pot with a lid over medium high heat. Add the canola oil and once hot, add the popcorn kernels. Place the lid over the pot and shake repeatedly. You should hear the kernels beginning to pop. Place the pot down on the stove and after a few more seconds, shake again. Repeat for about 1 minute. Once you begin to hear a 1-2 second pause between each pop, turn off the heat. Shake the pot again.
  3. Remove the lid and pour the popcorn into a large bowl. Pour the maple mixture over the popcorn and mix well. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then serve. Adjust seasonings to taste.
 

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