Hummus Love

Every Sunday morning we take a family trip to the local farmer’s market. I look forward to it all week (sometimes I even run there and let the hubby and boy meet me there – yay for a little exercise before indulging in everything the market has to offer! The only downside is that now I am shopping hungry. Good thing the hubby brought ALL the reusable bags!). Farmer’s markets have really evolved. They now sell clothing, jewelry, tamales, home made soaps, and even have petting zoos and pony rides! Our weakness, aside from all the fresh produce that I don’t need, but want, and promise the hubby I will find a delicious way to use before it spoils, is that Israeli stand that sells a billion hummus flavors, tziki, flatbread, and other delicious dips. We have managed, through much trial and error, to narrow down our weekly purchases to just the original hummus and the habanero hummus. They are DELICIOUS and very addicting – like, sit down to watch half a football game while the boy is sleeping and suddenly it is gone addicting. There went $10! What?! $10! It’s just pureed beans! Oh golly. ...

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Herb Cheese Crackers

It is November. The cold, crisp air should have me craving a hearty chili, crusty bread, and a steaming cup of tea. Instead, the 85-degree weather and constantly sunny skies have me reaching for a lighter fare more inline with my standard summer spread and it begins with these fantastic herb cheese crackers. I serve these with creamy brie, big red muscato grapes, and a glass of bubbles (or crisp white wine, such as sauvignon blanc).

Herb Cheese Crackers

The Fantastic Cook Could:
Double (or triple!) the recipe and freeze the extra. If well-sealed, it should stay in the freezer for up to 6 months. Just put it in the fridge overnight to defrost. I like to have several varieties on hand so I can please any theme, mood, or cheese selection.

Play around with the mix-ins. Instead of herbs, what about minced pistachios or chopped dried cranberries? The options are endless! If you don’t want to risk making a combination you don’t like, divide the dough in half and experiment.

  • 1/4 pound butter (1 stick) at room temperature
  • 4 oz parmesan cheese (about 1 cup-ish)
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for about 1 minute. Turn the speed to low and add the parmesan, thyme, salt, and pepper. Then, add in the flour and mix until combined. It should be crumbly and dough-like. If it is too dry, add a dash of water (a teaspoon or so at a time).

Dump the dough onto the counter and work into a log shape. Put the log shape onto a big piece of saran wrap and continue to form the log to whatever length and thickness you desire. I like having lots of small, bite-size crackers so I make a pretty long and thin log.

Once done, close up the ends of the saran wrap and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. I think it’s best if it can be left overnight as that gets it really hard and makes it much easier to cut.

When ready to cook them, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the crackers about 3/8-inches thick (don’t measure them. So long as they’re about the same size it will be fine). Place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake them for 20 - 22 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees half-way through.

Cool and serve.

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Spaghetti Squash

I am a warm-weather girl at heart. Heat? Love it! Humidity? No problem! I love spending all day by our bathwater-warm pool in one of those floaties that allows you to be part of the in-pool party without actually getting wet – and comes equipped with a cup holder for my water – or ice-cold adult beverage of choice a homemade margarita, beer, sangria! No pool? No problem! The lake is equally awesome! You know that song “Pontoon” by Little Big Town? It’s a country song. It’s fantastic. And, it’s my favorite. We don’t have a pontoon, but if we did, I would definitely reenact that song every weekend. (I know you’re dying to understand its fantastic-ness so just go iTunes and download it. You can thank me later). ...

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A Beautiful Beginning to 2014

2013-12-31 11.15.32 New Year's Eve normally evokes images of sparkling dresses, stunning heels, champagne toasts, midnight kisses, and all the new beginnings the upcoming year will hold. At our household, we rang in 2014 with the Aussies, opting for a lunch with a view instead of late-night dancing. 99.9% of the reasoning behind this decision is our eight-month old son and the desire to be near him as the clock struck 12, even if he was asleep; the other 0.1% is that we just moved to Austin from DC and didn't want to be experimenting with babysitters. ...

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