Category Archives: Appetizer

Honey Sesame Almonds – Three Ways



Delicious and nutritious, yes, but hardly party food…

…until we add a little sparkle =)

(Ew I’m sorry.  I meant sesame seeds.)


No fuss, no nonsense.  Just quick and easy..ready?

Take this sad, lonely little guy..

HSAsingle2 1 1/2 cups of his closest raw-almond friends and spread them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet.


Don’t do anything to them!  They don’t need oil and they don’t need seasoning yet.  10 minutes later you have perfectly roasty toasty almonds that I could eat all day just like that.


It gets better.

Add whatever seasoning you want.  Get creative! Almost any combination works.  Honey is a real sweetie and gets along with most things. 😉

I tried cinnamon


and spice

(garlic, chile powder, cayenne and salt)


and coated both in honey/brown sugar delight.


I also left one batch unseasoned…just honey and sesame.  They are absolutely every bit as good as the spiced versions.

You can spend as little or as much time on this as you have/can/want. It’s all about that sesame seed coat.


You COULD just throw the sesame seeds on top, give it a stir and be done.  They’ll be unevenly coated, slightly sticky and absolutely delicious.


OR you could take your sweet time.


Tossed in small batches they get perfectly even sesame seed coats, they aren’t sticky at all and they’re absolutely delicious.


It works either way, pick your poison.

Spread them out and let them dry a bit.  It really only takes a minute.


That’s all!  In 15 minutes you can make a fun little treat to share.  Make them as a last minute appetizer.  Make them to munch on tonight to keep that champagne under control.  Make them because they’re tasty and crunchy and satisfying which is as good a reason as any.


Then, accidentally eat them all because they’re perfectly sweet and salty and you can’t stop.

It’s ok, tomorrow is a new year. =)

Here’s to you.


❤ Ellen

Honey Sesame Almonds

1 1/2 cup raw almonds1/2 cup honey2 tablespoons brown sugar1/4 teaspoon saltenough toasted sesame seeds to coat…it depends on your method and your preference 1/2 cup – 1 cup roughly

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Spread almonds in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes or until the almonds smell/taste toasty and have very slightly darkened in color.  Be careful!  They burn quickly.
  3. While the almonds toast,  put the honey, sugar and salt in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat and stir until the salt and sugar dissolve completely and the mixture is a little runnier than just plain honey
  4. ((If you’re adding spices…toss toasted, cooled almonds in spices before coating in honey.  See spice combos below.))  Spoon honey mixture over toasted almonds in a medium bowl and stir until evenly coated.  Add one spoonful at a time until the almonds have a thin coat of honey. If you just dump all the honey on top you might find yourself in a sticky situation…ha!
  5. Either shake some sesame seeds over the honey-coated almonds and stir (for a quick, uneven coat) or transfer just a few almonds at a time to a bowl of sesame seeds, toss to coat and transfer to a piece of parchment paper or wax paper to dry.

Cinnamon Honey Sesame Almonds

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (for 1 1/2 cups almonds)

  1. Toss the toasted almonds in 1 tablespoon cinnamon (for 1 1/2 cups almonds) before coating with honey.  Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to evenly distribute the cinnamon with the honey.  You could also stir the cinnamon into the honey before coating to ensure even coverage.  (I didn’t do that because I was making a couple of different batches with my honey)
  2. Complete the process as described above

Savory Honey Sesame Almonds

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder1 tablespoon chile powder1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper1 1/2 teaspoons salt

  1. Whisk all spices together until well combined
  2. Toss the toasted almonds in the spice mixture before coating with honey.  Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to evenly distribute the spices with the honey.  You could also stir the spices into the honey before coating to ensure even coverage.  (I didn’t do that because I was making a couple of difference batches with my honey)
  3. Complete the process as described above


Filed under Appetizer, Snacks, Uncategorized

Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip

Here it is!  By popular demand.

Daniel can’t get enough.  Guests exclaim.  The bridal shower I made it for practically threatened for the recipe.

I almost hesitate to give it away.  It makes people think I can cook…but it’s so easy you’ll laugh!

The reaction to this dip kind of took me by surprise.  It’s really nothing fancy…but maybe that’s why it’s so great.  It also brings the spinach back to spinach dip.  So often these dips are mostly cream cheese with the occasional hint of green as a nod to its namesake.  This one highlights the spinach and artichoke without sacrificing flavor or texture.

Everything else has some wiggle room but you definitely need at least


and artichoke hearts.

Oh, and cheese.  Plenty of cheese. I don’t care what kind but make sure there’s plenty.

This bowl (made by Daniel! That talented guy.) includes mozzarella for the melty gooey effect,  Parmesan for a punch of flavor, and feta because we’re obsessed.

This couldn’t be easier.

Get your onion, garlic salt and pepper situation together then:

Chop it all up, mix it all together with the creamy bits, bake, eat.

Seriously.  Done.  Do it.


❤ Ellen

Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip

Recipe adapted from this recipe

13.75 oz jar of artichoke hears (I used the kind packed in water, not marinated), drained
Spinach [either fresh (use two 6 oz. bags, chopped) or frozen (10 oz package), thawed and squeezed]
1/2 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup fat free Greek yogurt
1/2 cup  mayonnaise
1/3 cup (freshly grated!!) parmesan cheese
1/3 cup feta cheese
4 oz (at least) mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper to taste

 **Choose whatever cheeses you want!  Make sure you include mozzarella or another soft melty cheese to get that awesome texture.  Also let’s be real: want more cheese? Do it.  Go crazy.
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

2. Finely chop the onions and garlic.  A food processor makes life easier here but a knife will work just fine.  Coarsely chop the artichoke hearts and combine with the onions and garlic.  I like to leave nice big chunks of artichoke

3. Combine all the ingredients (including chopped veggies, yogurt, mayonnaise, salt and pepper) in a medium bowl until everything is well distributed

4. Spread evenly in an oven proof dish, grate more Parmesan cheese in a thin layer on top and bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes, or until hot, lightly browned and cheese is melted.
Serve immediately with pita chips (or any delicious scooper).  You could also just eat it straight up.  With a spoon.  You would not be the first.
Note:  This dip is just as tasty (if not tastier) reheated.  You can absolutely make it the day before and warm before serving.


Filed under Appetizer, Dips, Sides, Snacks, Uncategorized

Dill Pickles

I’m having another “what the heck took me so long to try this!?” moment.

Dill pickles.

(Did you just cringe a little?  It’s cool. You either love ’em or you hate ’em.)

((I’m pretty firmly in the love ’em camp.))

I have wanted to try pickling for a while.  When I stumbled across this recipe at Annie’s Eats I was struck by just how ridiculously simple the whole thing is.  Seriously…what was taking me so long, anyway?  I’m so glad I finally got to it.

Lately, I’ve been noticing that a lot of foods make me think of certain people.  This is another food that makes me think of grandpa.   Grandpa foods are rice pudding, tall glasses of milk, buttered toast and dill pickles.  Grandma is applesauce and iced tea.

Daniel foods are tacos and banana bread.

Jordan foods are turkey sandwiches and wheat thins but only if eaten at 6 30 in the morning.

Lauren food is Chipotle.  Stephen food is macaroni and cheese.

Mom foods are iced tea, junior mints and chicken sandwiches.  Papa gets tuna steaks, hot sausage and oranges (just hopefully not all at the same time).

They aren’t necessarily their favorite foods.  They’re just foods that will always and forever bring that person to my mind.

Sorry for the tangent…it’s just a thing I’ve taken note of recently.  It’s interesting to me how intimately linked food can be to memories, experiences, people.  I enjoy it and appreciate it.  Thought I’d share.

For what it’s worth…I bet Ellen foods are peanut butter and chocolate.

But for now we’re makin’ pickles.

So easy it almost hurts that I haven’t done it yet.

I’m rockin’ some fresh dill, garlic, black peppercorns, in a brine of white vinegar, salt and water over some classic cucumber spears.

But please…play around with it!  Apple cider vinegar! Sugar for sweet pickles! Different herbs! Different spices! Cayenne pepper for hot pickles!  Different veggies in the brine!

Let me know if you have a good combo.  I’ll play too…and I’ll share any good ones here =)


(the food and whatever else it brings)

❤ Ellen

Dill Pickles

I followed the recipe for dill pickles on the blog Annie’s Eats.  Check her out…she has so many great recipes and this one is no different. I added a handful of peppercorns but otherwise I did the exact same thing.  ((Note: They’re pretty salty.  Don’t be afraid to reduce the salt a bit))


Filed under Appetizer, Hodge Podge, Sides, Snacks, Uncategorized