As some of you might have seen, I went on a little vacation this past weekend to Tampa. My best friend, her husband, and their puppy, Anyong, live in the sunny state of Florida. For those of you who watch The Weather Channel or live in Florida, you understand that Florida has not been so sunny recently. During my five day stay, it was only sunny for about five hours of my trip. I didn’t mind though. Olivia came up with a long list of day trips and delicious treats that I needed to try. Many “firsts” were created this weekend.
Once upon a time in the land of Starbucks, there was this yummy, moist, perfectly sweet coffee cake; but then, Starbucks reinvented itself and to many baristas’ dismay, the reduced fat banana chocolate chip coffee cake disappeared forever.
I am a person who tries not to fall in love with products. It’s tough not to because let’s be honest, the world is full of amazing things. My problem is that I’m stuck in my ways, so when my favorite perfume that I have come to adore vanishes after years of wearing it, I’m devastated. When Caribou Coffee discontinued their granola bar brand, I was upset for weeks (maybe I still am a little). When the band that I’ve listened to forever suddenly has a falling out and leaves me pining for more. The cut is deep. The cut is very deep.
Happy Weekend! I hope everyone is enjoying their time off. The weather in Connecticut is currently overcast and humid. Bleh. This means that I probably will not spend much time outside swimming or gardening. Instead, I plan on drinking multiple cups of coffee and maybe partaking in a nice workout at the gym. Tomorrow, I made plans to do a bunch of canning with Joshua’s mother. We’re going to make some pie fillings and jams. How fun is that? If you’ve never canned anything before, I encourage you to try. It’s so fun and slightly messy. Jams and jellies make perfect gifts around the holidays as well. They’re extremely personal.
I’ve probably said this before, but breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Snack time is a close second, but I can’t resist a slice of french toast or a Greek Omelette. Ever! At the age of six, my favorite food was the pancake. I did not need any mix-ins like chocolate chips or blueberries to satisfy my craving for a good old hot cake. My sister and I swear to this day that the best pancakes came from a little igloo restaurant in a magical place called Santa Land in New Hampshire. In Connecticut, we have this one diner that makes over 50 different varieties of pancakes and they’re completely irresistible. I digress. I went from talking about breakfast to the ever specific pancake. Excuse my divergence.
A couple of weeks ago, I was caught off guard when I received one specific email. We were still on vacation in Maine (take me back!) and I wasn’t furiously checking my phone as much as I do when I’m home. I opened my inbox one morning on our trip and received a message from the Oregon Raspberry and Blackberry Commission. They kindly asked me to create a salad recipe using their berries because they had seen my lemon sugar cookies with Marionberry frosting. I was honored and gladly accepted the challenge.
I thought my love for berries was insane, but I think the good folks over at the Raspberry and Blackberry Commission have me beat. Through local festivals, informational articles, and relationships with schools, the ORBC celebrates healthy living and innovative ways to use their berries. Pretty cool, huh?
When I was a freshman in college, I had this terrible Sociology class. No one understood our professor’s thick accent. Most of the students in the class were seniors and needed one last general education credit. They all believed that Sociology would be a breeze; however, with this professor, it was the complete opposite. This professor had us write several papers including a twenty-page research paper on 9/11 as well as Hurricane Katrina. Talk about a struggle.
One benefit from this class was that I met Glendy. She always loves to tell the story of how we met. Our Sociology class began at 8 AM and I would arrive to class with a cup of tea from the cafeteria. On this particular day, only a few classes into the semester, I sat down next to Glendy. The class began and I was a little tired. I dozed off, knocked my tea into my lap, and proceeded to try not to scream in pain while Glendy went to get me some napkins. Because of this clumsy event, Glendy and I became fast friends. Did I mention that she’s forty and doesn’t look a day over 32? She’s hip as hang and welcomed me into her family with open arms.
A few years ago, I was an extremely picky eater. I said no to everything including sweet potatoes, squash, red onions, hummus, and avocados. Quite a few things have changed over those years. I’ve become more adventurous with different foods especially beans and vegetables. Not only have I tried new foods, I’ve fallen in love with them. Peppers, which I once detested, are now my favorite fillings in omelettes and quesadillas. Stuffed grape leaves are a necessary topping on Greek salads. I even cook salmon for Joshua and myself with a honey garlic glaze.
As I mentioned earlier, I used to avoid hummus at all costs. It wasn’t until I tried a roasted red pepper version from Sabra that I really enjoyed the texture and flavors in the dip. Since then, I’ve made a homemade red pepper hummus that I’ve never shared on the blog. Today that will all change.
Hummus is a fantastic dip. It’s full of protein and makes for a wonderful vegetarian option at picnics. Although I’m not a vegetarian, I tend to gravitate towards vegetarian spreads and platters when I’m a party guest. This weekend at Dee’s Forth of July Party, I brought a tray of assorted cookies as well as the dip that I’m about to share with you.
Homemade red pepper hummus is such a easy dip to whip up. You only need a few ingredients to make a flavorful hummus dip that will impress your guests. All of the guests at Dee’s party raved about how delicious the hummus was and a few of Dee’s family members asked for the recipe. Joshua asked if I had made a special dish for us at home, but sadly I didn’t. It looks like I’ll be making this one again very soon.
In a food processor, combine garbanzo beans, red peppers, olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and seasoning. Process until smooth and creamy. Remove from processor and place in medium-sized glass bowl.
Top hummus with your favorite mediterranean flavors: red onion, cucumber, tomato, feta, and kalamata olives.
Refrigerate before consuming. Enjoy with pita, pretzel thins, or vegetables.
Who’s excited for the weekend? This gal definitely is! Unlike most Americans who luckily get to enjoy a three day weekend starting tomorrow, I will be serving the coffee to frantic party-hosting people who have a million tasks to complete before their barbecues and fireworks displays. It’s okay though because many of our customers are kind and friendly. I’m positive that we will be EXTRA busy because we work in the same plaza as a package store. Everyone will be running out to grab their alcohol for the big weekend and need their coffee to stay focused.
Busy days at work equal cookie therapy. Isn’t that the truth?