roasted carrot hummus

This twist on hummus is, without a doubt, the BOMB.

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Full of flavor and color, this couldn’t have fallen into my lap at a better time. I mean, that vibrant orange…doesn’t that just scream “autumn” to y’all?

Gorgeous presentation aside, this hummus packs a nutritional and flavor punch. We all know that carrots are full of beta-carotenes and antioxidants. They’re a great source for both vitamins A and K. It really doesn’t get much better than that, BUT! – we’re adding in fresh lemon juice and zest in here, too. Said fruit adds in another vitamin kick, that of vitamin C. This is powerful stuff, and powerful food!

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A great dish to put out for a Halloween party, or to dress up a tailgate, this is sure to win the crowd over. You won’t have leftovers with this one, I promise.

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Roasted Carrot Hummus {recipe adapted from Power Hungry}

This is a wonderful twist on a classic dip – roasting the carrots not only enhances the flavor, but results in a beautifully hued dish. Wonderful served cold or warmed!

Ingredients:

1 lb. carrots {about 6 large} cut into 1/2″ slices

6 cloves of garlic, with the skins still intact

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. paprika

juice and grated zest of 1 large lemon

1/4 to 1/2 cup of low-sodium chicken stock

salt and pepper, to taste

To Prepare:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Toss the carrots and garlic with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread in an even layer onto the baking sheet. Roast, stirring occasionally, until tender and browned – about 25 t0 30 minutes.

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Let cool, the squeeze the garlic clove out of their skins.

Add the carrots and garlic into a food processor, and sprinkle with paprika. Pulse for about 1 minute, then stop and scrape down the sides. Allowing the machine to run, drizzle in the chicken stock until it reaches your desired thickness.

Transfer hummus to bowl, and serve with toasted bread, vegetables, or crackers…whatever you like!

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ramen bowls with chicken & vegetables

Broth-based soups are the perfect canvas for taking on any flavor you want to impart.

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Whether we’re talking a seafood or meat based, a vegetable base, or a combination of sorts, there is really no limit to the imagination what you can do with a good box of stock {or homemade, if you have that!}. It makes for an easy dish, and warms you to the core.

But sometimes, you want a soup that comes together quickly, no? Sure, using the crockpot is great, or letting it slowly simmer on the stovetop for an hour or so, but sometimes that just won’t do. Tempting as it is, you might want to call in take-out…I won’t judge! But next time you’re thinking of doing so, consider making this soup! It’s bursting with flavor, texture, and color. It comes together in just a quick bit, and most of the ingredients you probably have on hand. If not, go crazy and throw in a few substitutions! – short on arugula?…throw in some kale or spinach. – don’t have any chicken?…frozen shrimp would be great!

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This soup is adaptable to any palette, and soooooo.much.better than any take-out can deliver. It can be easily doubled or tripled for leftovers the next day, too!

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Ramen Bowls with Chicken &Vegetables {recipe adapted from How Sweet Eats, original recipe from Easy Gourmet}

Quick to put together and full of flavor, this ramen bowl will warm you through and through. I especially like it drizzled with some sriracha sauce for a bit of extra flavor – and even more drizzled if I’m feeling a bit under the weather. 

Ingredients:

4 large eggs

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1 cup sweet corn

1 medium onion, finely diced

1 Tbsp. olive oil

8 ounces arugula

1 quart low-sodium chicken stock

6 ounces ramen noodes {I get them at a local Asian market; if that’s not available, a pack from the grocery store will work just fine!}

6 ounces cooked chicken

4 green onions, thinly sliced

optional: toasted sesame oil for drizzling, nori/seaweed pieces from serving

To Prepare:

Begin by soft boiling the eggs so that they can cool. Heat about three inches of water in a small saucepan over medium heat until boiling. Once boiling, reduce the heat until it’s barely a simmer, add the eggs gently and cook for 6 minutes. Remove eggs with a slotted spoon and place in an ice bath. Let cool completely before peeling.

Prepare the ramen noodles by bringing a pot of water to a boil. Once there, drop in the noodles and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until al dente. Drain and set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat the butter and add the corn, stirring to coat. Add in the onion. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Once warmed through and the onions are slightly translucent, transfer to a bowl.

Heat the chicken stock just until it’s boiling, and season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Begin preparing the ramen bowls. In separate sections {it makes for a pretty presentation!} add in the noodles, corn, arugula and chicken.

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Ladle broth over the top, and finish with sliced green onions. The eggs can be halved and served right in the soup, or on the side. Enjoy!

thirsty thursday: the fallen apple

Gone are my cravings for cocktails on the lighter side. While I still love a good mojito if the sunshine is out {because how can you go wrong with that drink?}, autumn cocktails need to be warm, comforting, and full-bodied.

We’ve had a bottle of apple wine {a favorite of mine from a local winery} waiting to be crafted into something fun and new. I adore this wine on its own, but have been itching to transform it into something different! So I spent the better part of an afternoon thinking and dreaming researching how we could best do that.

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And then I saw the drink I’m sharing with you all today. I’ve taken a bit of a liberty and tweaked it from its original form, but the end result is nothing short of spectacular. The maple bourbon we’re using hits the perfect note of warmth and sweet; the mulled simple syrup adds a bit of spice and flair thanks to the honey, and the apple wine itself creates the perfect canvas for these flavors to meld as one.

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The Fallen Apple {recipe adapted from What Sarah Knows}

With my newly found and developed love of good bourbon, this cocktail was a no-brainer to make on a chilly Friday evening. Perfectly balanced with the warm notes from the simple syrup, the sweet bourbon, and the crisp apple slices, this cocktail will make you feel comfortable and cozy. 

For the Mulled Simple Syrup:

1 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup honey {use local if you can}

1 tsp. mulling spices

To make the syrup, bring all ingredients to a  boil on the stove top, making sure to stir constantly. The sugar may burn if you don’t! Once all ingredients are dissolved, remove  from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Store in the refrigerator, tightly covered, when not in use. 

Ingredients:

2 ounces Crown Royal Maple Bourbon, or whatever you like

2 ounces apple wine {apple cider would be a great substitute}

1 Tbsp. mulled simple syrup

thinly sliced apple, for garnish

To Prepare:

As directed above, prepare the mulled simple syrup and set aside to cool.

In a shaker add ice, bourbon, apple wine, and mulled simple syrup. Shake and pour into a glass. Top with sliced apple.

Cheers!

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Let’s Discuss: are you a fan of mulled wine? What do you like/not like about it?

100 posts!

We’re celebrating 100 Posts today, y’all! Time to party, so put on your hat, grab a flag, and let’s dance around!

I am so grateful to share my recipes and experiences with you all here on Kitchen Konfidential; you’ve made it incredible so far, and I can’t wait to see where the next 100 Posts take us :)

I’ll leave you with a bit of exciting news I received at the end of last week…take a look…

socialscenecoverThat’s my name on the cover! AHH!

A local publication, the NRV Social Scene Magazine, has written a feature article detailing my blog and what I love to share with you all :) It was a great way to kick off the weekend, that’s for sure!

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Be sure to check out the link, and let me know what you think! Happy Tuesday, my friends!

pumpkin chili

Chili is one of the quintessential dishes of the autumn season. It’s versatile, comforting, and can be transformed into thousands of different variations. Some people take it on top of rice, others with spaghetti….left plain, or piled high with cheddar cheese and sour cream and Fritos and onion, it’s a safe bet that few and far between people take theirs exactly the same way.

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The recipe that we’re making here today is probably one of our favorites here in the KK house. I still remember seeing this pop up on my feed, via Skinnytasteat least 2 years ago. My initial reaction was – pumpkin in chili?! So I bookmarked it for later, not sure if it would make it into the crockpot.

…I am so thankful that it did, and the hubs is too! This chili is seriously one of the best flavor combinations that I’ve yet to find in chili. It combines my favorite traditional chili spices {cumin, chili powder, & LOTS of oregano}. The onions and garlic give it that extra punch we all love.

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The great northern beans, when mixed with the green chili and creamy pumpkin, results in the most luxurious mouth feel; it’s truly one that I have not yet been able to replicate in any other recipe. And if you’re concerned that the pumpkin flavor may be too pronounced, fear not! It lends the perfect taste of fall; it lets the other flavors and ingredients shine and takes the back seat. It gives a gorgeous color, however!

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When it comes to the style of meat used, I take a note out of Gina’s book and go with the ground turkey. However, I use a less lean version…we’re going with a 93% lean. But feel free to take liberty, and sub in your favorite! You could go even leaner with the turkey; ground chicken is great {I can attest to this!}, or even mix it up with a spiced sausage and beef mixture {chorizo, anyone? WOW!}.

Just make sure you serve a side of tortilla chips with this dish – you’ll be happy you did!

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Pumpkin Chili {recipe adapted, slightly, from Skinnytaste}

Rich and creamy due to the pumpkin puree added during the cooking process, this chili is sure to warm you through. With just the perfect amount of smoky spice {thanks, cumin and chili powder!}, this is the perfect fall dish.

Ingredients:

cooking spray

1 lb. ground turkey {I like to use 93% lean, but you can substitute as necessary!}

1 medium onion, finely diced

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

1-1/2 tsp. chili powder

3 bay leaves

1 tsp. cumin

1-1/2 tsp. oregano

1 {15 ounce} can white northern beans, drained and rinsed

1 {15} ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1 {15 ounce} can pumpkin puree

4.5 ounce can chopped green chili

2 cups low-sodium chicken stock

salt and pepper, to taste

optional toppings: baked tortilla chips, low-fat sour cream, low-fat plain Greek yogurt, chopped cilantro, chopped chives

To Prepare:

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and lightly spray with cooking spray. Add meat and cook, breaking it up until white, about 5-7 minutes.

Reduce the heat slightly and add in the diced onions and garlic, stirring to distribute through the meat. Add in the spices and cook until the onions have softened, about 5 minutes.

Add in the meat/onion/spice mixture into the bottom of the crockpot. Add in both of the beans, the chopped green chilis, and the pumpkin puree. Stir to combine, then add in the stock and the bay leaves. Give one final stir and cover.

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Cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 8 hours.

Once complete, remove the bay leaves and ladle into bowls. Serve with desired toppings – enjoy!

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Let’s Discuss: how do you like to dress your chili? 

thirsty thursday: how to make mulling spices

In a bit of a twist on my post for this week’s “thirsty thursday,” I wanted to share the base for one of my favorite cold-weather drinks. It may not be as popular as making spiked hot chocolate, or an Irish coffee, but I think it deserves its time to shine. Does anyone have a guess?…anyone?

We’re talking mulled wine!

A “mulled” drink is a drink which has been prepared with certain spices, and is heated in a pot for a period of time. The spices are strained off, and the drink is enjoyed piping hot. Oftentimes, you may see mulling spices dotted with dried fruits such as raisins, apples, or citrus rinds. They add another dimension of flavor; not to mention, they give off the most wonderful perfume when the drink is steeping!

The combination of spices typically varies from user to user, so today  I wanted to share my favorite method of preparation! And be sure to take notes, because you may be seeing this pop back up again in the near future {hint, hint}.

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Mulling Spices {recipe adapted from 30 Pounds of Apples}

The perfect combination of sweet and savory spices makes this bar staple a must-have in your home during the winter months! Super easy to prepare and can be stored for a long period of time {tightly covered}, it makes the perfect pick-me-up when you’re having a dull day. 

Ingredients:

6 ounces whole cinnamon sticks

10 whole nutmegs

2/3 cup dried orange peel

2/3 cup dried lemon peel

3/4 cup whole cloves

1/2 cup allspice berries

1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger

optional add-ins: 1/2 cup dried raisins, 1/2 cup dried cranberries, 1/2 cup dried cherries, half a vanilla bean

To Prepare:

Crush cinnamon sticks and nutmeg by placing in a zippered freezer bag and beating with a heavy-bottomed skillet. Chop ginger into small pieces. Combine with the rest of the spices and store in a covered container {a screw-top Mason jar works perfectly here}.

Note: this recipe will yield about 32 servings. To use for making mulled wine, combine 1/3 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a large pot on medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add in one {750 mL} bottle of red wine and about 2 tbsp. of the mulling mixture. Reduce heat to low, and heat until the wine is hot. Strain out any of the spice mixture and serve!

lately: our 2nd anniversary!

The hubs and I celebrated our 2nd year anniversary not too long ago! {we got married on October 6th, 2012} 

He planned a wonderful weekend full of camping, hiking and wine tasting – here’s a glimpse into our adventures; I hope you enjoy!

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