Roasted Red Pepper Hummus


It’s been awhile since I tried a new hummus flavor. I’ve made quite a few different kinds of hummus already–like Avocado Hummus, Lemon Artichoke Hummus, Black Olive Hummus, Black Bean Hummus, Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus, Pumpkin Hummus, and good old regular … Continue reading

Avocado Hummus and a Featured Soup!


Avocados are so good and since I was making some more homemade hummus, I decided to experiment by making an Avocado Hummus. It came out pretty much like I thought it would–really smooth and creamy, with that great avocado flavor, but … Continue reading

Tomato Cucumber Salad with Feta


If you like tart and tangy, savory and salty flavors, then this is a salad you may want to try! I decided to make this when my friend Greg gave me some cucumbers from his garden. You can’t go wrong combining cucumbers with tomatoes, … Continue reading

A Taste of Provence-Tomatoes Provençal


DownloadedFileHave you ever been to Provence? I have never been to France but if I have the chance to go, Provence will be one of the areas I want to visit! This region of southern France stretches from the Mediterranean to the hills of Haute Provence, and from the Rhone River valley to the Italian Alps. It was the site of the first Roman colony beyond Italy and today it’s known for fragrant lavender fields, beautiful beaches like Cannes, Saint-Tropez, and Nice, quaint small villages, and fine wines and food. The cuisine of this area includes lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, seafood, extra virgin olive oil, and nuts–basically the core of the healthy Mediterranean diet.

I learned these things and more about Provence as I was looking through my review copy of Provence Food and Wine: The Art of Living, by François Millo and Viktorija Todorovska. This softcover book introduces you to the geography, history, traditions, wines, and recipes of the region. Here are some images of Provence you’ll find in the book:


Above images used with permission © François Milo.

Isn’t it beautiful? You’ll find more full color photography of picturesque Provence as well as many of the 47 recipes in the book, which are traditional favorites of the region…like Niçoise Salad, Fougasse with Tomatoes, Olives, and Peppers, Artichokes Barigoule, Tapenade, Swiss Chard Tart, Mediterranean Cod with Caramelized Onions, and Lemon Tart. The recipes are organized by the different areas of Provence that they’re popular in–Aix-en-Provence and Haute Provence, Marseille, La Cote Varoise, and Nice and the Riviera.

I decided to try the recipe for Tomatoes Provençal, because I love tomatoes and this is a simple yet delicious way to fix them–fresh tomatoes topped with a mix of breadcrumbs, chopped fresh parsley, and minced garlic. This makes a great side dish and would even work nicely for a spring or summer brunch. The book recommends serving “as a light meal with other Provençal delicacies and some crusty bread, or with meat.” For best results, use fresh, sweet, ripe tomatoes!

 TOMATOES PROVENÇAL from Provence Food and Wine: The Art of Living

Makes 4 servings

This traditional Provençial dish relies on the quality of the tomatoes used; they must be fresh and ripe. It’s best to prepare this dish in the summer, when tomatoes are at the peak of ripeness, sweet, and full of flavor….

  • 4 small to medium ripe tomatoes, halved and stems removed
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (64 g) chopped fresh parsley (I used Italian flat leaf parsley)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs (I used the very fine breadcrumbs you purchase, but I think fresh breadcrumbs would be even better!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Optional: I added some additional chopped parsley for garnish

Lightly dust the cut sides of the tomatoes with the sugar.

In a large sauté pan, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, cut sides down, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until they caramelize.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the parsley and garlic.

Flip the tomatoes and distribute the parsley and garlic mixture evenly onto them, pressing down so the mixture adheres to the tomato. Sprinkle with the 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the black pepper. Distribute the breadcrumbs evenly among the tomatoes.

Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft and fully cooked through. Remove from the heat. Adjust the seasoning to taste.

Transfer the tomatoes to a serving dish and serve warm. Note: I drizzled the remaining olive oil from the sauté pan over the tomatoes and garnished them with additional chopped parsley.

I thought the blend of parsley, garlic, olive oil, and touch of sea salt made a great flavor combination as a topping for the tomatoes.

Have you made or tasted this dish before? And are you ready to take a trip to Provence now? :)

Black Bean Hummus


When I was at the grocery store the other day, I saw some Black Bean Hummus. I hadn’t noticed that flavor before and it  sounded great ! Instead of buying some, I decided to make my own.

You use black beans instead of garbanzo beans (or chickpeas) in this hummus, but it still has many of the same ingredients you would use in your typical hummus recipe…like olive oil, garlic, and tahini. It also has a little cayenne pepper in it, which adds some spiciness–but if you prefer a milder flavor, leave it out.

This is a smooth and creamy hummus, and I love the flavor combination of the black beans with all the other spices. If you like hummus and black beans, keep this recipe in mind!

BLACK BEAN HUMMUS by NancyCreative

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons tahini (roasted sesame seed paste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Optional garnishes: 10 to 12 Kalamata olives, 1 1/2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Place all ingredients, except for the garnish ingredients (olives and cilantro), in a food processor or high-power blender; process until smooth and creamy. Spoon into a bowl and garnish with olives and fresh cilantro. Serve with pita bread, fresh veggies, or tortilla chips.

I’m enjoying trying out and creating different hummus recipes! I’ve also made these other hummus recipes: basic HummusSun-Dried Tomato Hummus, and Pumpkin Hummus.   Do you have a favorite hummus flavor?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday.

Cheesy Roasted Cauliflower


I really didn’t know what to expect when I was making this Cheesy Roasted Cauliflower. I had never tried roasting cauliflower before, so this was something new for me. I’m not a particularly big fan of cauliflower either, but I do love roasted veggies–so I thought it would be worth a try!

When I had my first taste of this, I thought, “Wow, this is good!” I really did. It surpassed my expectations. Who would have thought cauliflower could have tasted so good? The cauliflower is roasted, along with some sliced red onion, in a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice. Sour cream and shredded Cheddar cheese, added after the roasting, give this side dish a rich, creamy flavor. And the crumbled bacon on top is a nice touch, although this is great without the bacon, too, if you want to keep it meatless.

I’m sure this is something everyone in your family will love. It’s definitely worth making!

CHEESY ROASTED CAULIFLOWER by NancyCreative, adapted from Kraft Foods

Makes 4 to 6 servings

  • 8 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 red onion, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • Juice from 1 large lemon (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup regular or lite sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (8 ounces) , regular or low-fat
  • Optional: 1 slice of cooked and crumbled bacon or 1 Tablespoon real bacon bits

Preheat oven to 450˚F.

In large bowl, combine first 5 ingredients; spread onto foil-covered rimmed 10 x 15″ baking sheet. Bake at 450˚ for 40 minutes, stirring after 20 minutes for even baking (you may get a few burnt edges on your sliced onions and cauliflower, but that’s okay!).

After cauliflower is roasted, spoon back into large bowl and stir in the sour cream. Then mix in the shredded Cheddar cheese. Spoon mixture into an oven-safe baking dish and bake an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese is all melted. Top with crumbled bacon or bacon bits, if using, and serve.


This is a great dinner side dish. And something to keep in mind for special holiday meals. It’s not the healthiest way to prepare cauliflower, but it sure is good! Do you have a favorite cauliflower side dish?

Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus


I’ve mentioned before how much I love hummus, and this time I tried making Sundried Tomato Hummus! I just love sundried tomatoes and I had found a recipe at AllRecipes that sounded good. It’s made with oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes. I halved most of the recipe, because I didn’t need to make 4 cups of hummus, and used more sun-dried tomatoes in it for a stronger, more tomato-y taste. I also needed to use more lemon juice and olive oil in this hummus because the original recipe was really thick. It’s a little thicker and chunkier than other hummus recipes I’ve made because of the sun-dried tomatoes in it, but it is so good-and I love the fresh basil in it, too!

SUN-DRIED TOMATO HUMMUS by NancyCreative, adapted from AllRecipes

Makes about 2 cups

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup tahini paste
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas), drained
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained (I used the Julienne Cut, for easier blending)
  • 1/3 cup finely shredded fresh basil
  • Optional garnish: 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1/8 teaspoon paprika

Place garlic, salt, tahini, and lemon juice in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the garbanzo beans and olive oil, blending again until smooth, scraping the sides of the processor occasionally. If mixture is too thick, add a little more olive oil, lemon juice, or water. Then add the sun-dried tomatoes and pulse until they’ve been chopped into very small pieces and incorporated evenly into the hummus. Add the basil and pulse a few times until it is mixed in.

Spread hummus into a shallow serving dish and serve.

If desired, you can make a few decorative grooves on top, refrigerate for 1 hour, then drizzle with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with paprika before serving. Serve with veggies, crackers, or pita bread.

I think I could eat hummus every day without getting tired of it! So I’m really glad it’s healthy! Are you a big hummus fan too?

Easy Pantry Minestrone from Weight Watchers What To Cook Now-and a Giveaway!


51NVSI2WbxLLike so many people I know, I’m trying to eat a little healthier during this new year. So when I heard about the new cookbook, Weight Watchers What To Cook Now, I was definitely interested in reviewing it! Not only did I receive a review copy, the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, is also providing a giveaway copy! I’ll tell you a little about the book and share a recipe from it with you, and then be sure to enter the giveaway by leaving a comment–see the end of this post for details on how to win!

This cookbook has more than 300 new recipes and lots of color photos. There’s a wonderful variety of great-sounding recipes to choose from–meals and desserts that your whole family can enjoy. And they look easy to prepare, too. All recipes include nutritional information and the Weight Watcher PointsPlus® values so those of you in Weight Watchers can easily keep track of your points. Even if you’re not in Weight Watches, though, I’m sure these recipes would appeal to any of you who are wanting to eat lighter and healthier.

The book starts out with tips and helpful information on good nutrition, the well-stocked pantry, must-have kitchen tools, food safety, and choosing and preparing fresh fruits and veggies. Then you’ll find recipes organized in the following chapters: Breakfasts and Brunches; Lunches; Appetizers and Snacks; Main Dishes–Beef, Pork, and Lamb; Main Dishes–Poultry; Main Dishes–Seafood; Main Dishes-Vegetarian; 20-Minute Main Dishes; Side Dishes; and Sweets. So there’s lots to choose from! Here are some recipes I’d like to try…

  • Coconut-Almond French Toast with Tropical Fruit
  • Asian Burgers with Honey-Lime Slaw
  • Spinach and Endive Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette
  • Italian Beef and Mushroom Meat Loaf
  • Brown Sugar-Dijon Glazed Ham with Sweet Potatoes
  • Maple-Glazed Grilled Chicken
  • Pan-seared Tuna with Citrus-Avocado Salsa
  • Warm Mozzarella and Tomato Flatbreads
  • Gingery Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry
  • Garlicky Spinach and Fontina Pizza
  • Chocolate Brownie Ice-Cream Sandwiches

For this post, I decided to try the Easy Pantry Minestrone from the Vegetarian section, since I had been wanting to make minestrone this winter. It’s a good, healthy soup with lots of veggies (carrots, onion, celery, zucchini), red beans, and chickpeas. Dried basil also flavors the soup, and you serve it with a teaspoon-size dollop of pre-made refrigerated pesto which also adds nicely to the flavor!

EASY PANTRY MINESTRONE from Weight Watchers What To Cook Now

Makes 6 servings

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 carrots, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 7 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup whole wheat macaroni or other small pasta (uncooked)
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons refrigerated basil pesto

Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery, and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 seconds.

Add broth, kidney beans, chickpeas, macaroni, and basil and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, 10 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and zucchini and simmer until pasta and vegetables are very tender, 10 minutes longer. Ladle into bowls and top each with 1 teaspoon pesto.

PER SERVING (1 bowl): 307 Cal, 6 g Total Fat, Og Trans Fat, 1 mg Chol, 876 mg Sod, 53 g Carb, 10 g Fib, 14 g Prot, 120 mg Calc.

PointsPlus value: 8


I really like the dollop of pesto–it gives the soup an extra little zing of flavor when you stir it in!


THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED! Congratulations to commentor #8, Aline, for winning the book!

Now for the Giveaway…if you’d like to enter to win a copy of Weight Watchers What To Cook Now, leave a comment on this blog post between now and Wednesday, January 22, at 10 p.m. (CST)–the random drawing will be made from the comments on this post only! The winner will be chosen randomly via and announced on Thursday evening, January 23. Winner will be notified via email (if winner does not respond in 3 days, I’ll do another drawing). Giveaway limited to readers in the Continental U.S. and Canada.

First entry: Leave a comment on this post–it would be great to hear what your favorite healthy dish is!

Bonus entry: If you are a new or existing follower or subscriber, you can leave one extra comment telling me the way (or ways) you are following.

Note: If your comment doesn’t show up right away, it just means I need to click on it to approve it before it’s visible–I do this because of spam comments that sometimes come through!

Honey Roasted Carrots with Goat Cheese and Thyme


I like lots of different veggies, but I’ve never been very crazy about carrots. I wish I liked them better because they’re so good for you! The only way I really like them is if they are cooked with some kind of glaze on them. I became inspired to try some kind of carrot side dish after I saw this recipe that included carrots, goat cheese, and thyme. I thought I’d add some honey, too, for a little sweetness, and I used more olive oil so I’d have a little extra glaze to spoon over the carrots. I love the lightly sweet flavor of the honey-olive oil glaze on these! The savory fresh thyme really compliments that flavor and the tangy crumbles of goat cheese add a nice punch. This side dish is a great combination of lightly sweet and savory flavors–hopefully with recipes like this I’ll be eating more carrots from now on! :)


Makes about 6 servings

  • 2 pounds whole carrots
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (about 5 to 7 sprigs of fresh thyme, depending on how big your sprigs are)
  • 1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese (chevre)
  • A few extra fresh thyme leaves from another sprig or two, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line a 10×15″ baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

Peel carrots and cut diagonally into thirds–if carrots are large, halve or quarter the pieces (doing this makes all the carrot pieces a more uniform size so they’ll cook evenly).

In a large bowl, mix olive oil and honey together, blending well. Add carrots and toss in olive oil/honey mixture. Season with a few dashes of salt and pepper. Add the fresh thyme leaves and toss all ingredients again until salt, pepper, and thyme are evenly distributed among the carrots.

Spread carrots on lined baking sheet and roast at 400˚F for 20 minutes, until tender–stir carrots halfway through the baking time so they are evenly heated.

Spoon carrots into a serving dish and crumble goat cheese over the warm carrots; garnish with additional fresh thyme leaves and serve immediately.


Do you like carrots? What’s your favorite way to prepare them?

Lemon-Thyme-Rosemary Roasted Potatoes


Roasted vegetables are so good, especially roasted potatoes! I had the opportunity to try a new kind of potato recently, compliments of Albert Bartlett–the Rooster Potato, grown by farmers in the U.S. The rooster potato has RoosterPotatoesa nutty, buttery taste, and I discovered when making these Lemon-Thyme-Rosemary Roasted Potatoes that it also roasts really nicely. The outer skin is pink, but when baked turns golden brown, and the inside is light yellow with a nice fluffy texture. It somehow keeps its fluffy texture inside even when it’s roasted! The Rooster Potato is a great-tasting potato and works wonderfully in recipes like this one.

These Lemon-Thyme-Rosemary Roasted Potatoes have a great lemony taste that really makes them different from your typical roasted potatoes. I love the tanginess of the lemon and the savory flavor of the herbs in this recipe. I found it at Southern Living and made a few changes…I added extra lemon juice, along with some rosemary, onion powder, and garlic powder for a little extra savory flavor. I never would have thought of flavoring potatoes with lemon, but I thought they were really good. And it’s easy to make, which is always a plus!

LEMON-THYME-ROSEMARY ROASTED POTATOES by NancyCreative, adapted from Southern Living

Makes 4 to 6 servings

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 pounds Rooster Potatoes peeled or unpeeled, and cut into chunks (or substitute red potatoes)
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons each of finely chopped fresh thyme and rosemary (or 1 teaspoon of each, dried; or you can use 4 teaspoons of just fresh thyme or 4 teaspoons of just fresh rosemary)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line a 15 x 10″ baking pan with aluminum foil; set aside.

Cook olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 3 to 4 minutes, until butter begins to turn golden brown. Remove butter mixture from heat and add in the chunks of potatoes, tossing gently until potatoes are all coated (the olive oil/butter mixture may splatter a little when you add the potatoes to it, so add them carefully!).

Spread the coated potato chunks in a single layer in a 15 x 10″ baking pan. (I lined my pan with aluminum foil so the pan would be easy to clean up).

Bake at 400˚F  for 40-45 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown and tender, stirring twice during the baking time so the potatoes bake evenly (I baked my potatoes for 45 minutes). When done, transfer the potatoes to a large serving bowl and toss with the lemon juice, thyme and/or rosemary, salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder, until well coated. Serve immediately.

I hope you get a chance to try this recipe, because it’s soooo good! It’s a great side dish for a special meal any time of year!

What’s your favorite way of making potatoes?