Tag Archives: Pecans

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
  • 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
  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


Whole Wheat Blondies with Pecans

Well friends, I had fun travel plans scheduled for this upcoming weekend, but I think they might be foiled by the ridiculous blizzard that’s about to hit the east coast.

Tomorrow morning, I am supposed to fly to Washington DC to visit my BFF Emily, who is getting married in 9 short months! The plan was to do some wedding dress shopping and snuggle up on the couch with a good bottle of wine and catch up all weekend long. Now I am worried that all this snow will mean my flight will be cancelled, but I am keeping my fingers crossed that I can get out of LA tomorrow!


Anyway, if you happen to be stuck inside all weekend from the snow, I’ve got a delicious baking project for you!

Whole Wheat Blondies with Pecans Recipe l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I found a recipe for Whole Grain Blondies from Cooking Light, and after a couple of tweaks, I finally perfected them and made them my own.

These blondies are buttery and sweet, just like a traditional blondie recipe, but this recipe calls for whole wheat flour and waaaaaay less butter than usual.

Dear 2016 Resolutions, you’re welcome.

Whole Wheat Blondies with Pecans Recipe l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

If pecans aren’t your thing, I think mini chocolate chips would be DELISH. Travis requested that I try that next time.

Whole Wheat Blondies with Pecans Recipe l www.littlechefbigappetite.comWhole Wheat Blondies with Pecans Recipe l www.littlechefbigappetite.com


Whole Wheat Blondies with Pecans
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 16
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1.5 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 16 toasted pecan halves (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8x8 inch square pan with unsalted butter or cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, warm the oil, butter and brown sugar. Cook until the butter is melted, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Pour into a large bowl. Add the vanilla extract and eggs to the sugar mixture. Stir to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine. Add the flour mixture and the chopped pecans to the sugar mixture and stir until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  4. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Arrange the pecan halves in 4x4 rows (as seen in the photos).
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 22-24 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack (at least 30 minutes) and then cut into 16 squares.
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light.

Whole Wheat Blondies with Pecans Recipe l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

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
  • 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
  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.

Appetizer Gluten-Free Side Dish

Honey-Mustard Green Beans with Pecans

When the weather is warm, Travis and I try to use our grill as much as possible. We don’t have air conditioning in our apartment, so if the temperature goes above 80 degrees, the thought of turning on the oven or stove sounds dreadful. (Although, admittedly we live by the ocean so it’s rare that it ever gets too hot around here).

If Travis is grilling outside, I typically make a quick side-dish indoors and I am always pleased if it requires less than 10 minutes of oven or stovetop time.

I’d put these Honey Mustard Green Beans with Pecans in the arena of perfect BBQ side-dishes: easy, healthy, and quick.

Honey-Mustard Green Beans with Pecans Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

This recipe came out a desire to throw together something healthy using ingredients I already had on hand, and I’ll bet you have them in your pantry as well. These green beans are ultra-easy to make, even the most novice of cooks should be just fine (just don’t burn the pecans!)

Honey-Mustard Green Beans with Pecans Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

Try these Honey-Mustard Green Beans alongside a burger, grilled chicken or fish – they really go with anything!


Honey-Mustard Green Beans with Pecans Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2-3
  • ¼ cup pecans
  • ¾ pounds green beans, trimmed
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  1. Heat oven to 375° F. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast in oven, tossing once, until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Be careful not to burn the pecans, check regularly. Let cool, then chop.
  2. Steam the green beans until tender, about 6 minutes; let cool. While beans are steaming, whisk together the olive oil, honey, and mustard and season with a pinch each salt and pepper. Toss the green beans with the dressing and sprinkle with the toasted pecans. You can either refrigerate for a few hours or serve immediately. Just before serving, toss with the red wine vinegar.
Recipe adapted from Real Simple Magazine

Honey-Mustard Green Beans with Pecans ll 10 minutes, Vegan, Gluten-Free ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Main Meal Salad Side Dish Vegetarian Meals

Citrus Quinoa Salad

Now that I have started a full-time job, Sundays for me are all about food. I spend about hour figuring out what meals I want to make that coming week (both for dinner and to bring for lunch), then probably too much time at the grocery store(s), and a good part of the rest of the day cooking in the kitchen.

I am a big promoter of bringing your own lunch to work. In my opinion you save so much money and it also tends to be a lot healthier.

Recently, I have been hooked on making big batches of grain salads (like this farro salad) on Sunday and then I have it for the rest of the week. This past week I was loving this citrus quinoa salad.

Citrus Quinoa Salad Recipe

The fresh fruit and homemade citrus dressing makes this absolutely delicious. The original recipe called for candied pecans, so I decided to make my own. Sometimes pre-made candied pecans have so much sugar you would forget there was even a pecan inside.

Citrus Quinoa Salad RecipeCitrus Quinoa Salad Recipe

Sometimes I worry that vegetarian meals won’t fill me up, but the quinoa and beans in this salad have enough fiber and protein to keep you going for awhile.

Citrus Quinoa Salad Recipe

I brought this to work for lunch last week over fresh spinach. So yummy!

Citrus Quinoa Salad Recipe



Citrus Quinoa Salad
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 4
For the salad:
  • 1 orange, peeled and chopped
  • 1.5 cups fresh pineapple, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup black beans, strained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup scallions, chopped
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup candied pecans**
For the citrus dressing:
  • (makes more than needed for the quinoa salad)
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1.5 Tablespoons agave
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Combine all the salad ingredients in a bowl. Serve on its own or over a lettuce of choice. Dress the salad to taste.
**To make your own candied pecans, heat 1 Tablespoon of butter in a saucepan on low until melted. Add 1 cup of raw, unsalted pecan halves to the pan. Then add 1 teaspoon of sugar and a dash of salt to taste. Stir until the pecans are fully coated and slightly toasted. Make sure to watch them constantly so that they do not burn.

Recipe adapted from: Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body