Roasted Red Pepper Hummus


It’s amazing the difference between homemade hummus and store bought-seriously! This recipe will convince you to always have some on hand at all times. Pair with cucumber & carrot slices for the perfect Friday night dip or for the kiddo’s lunch, spread on a sandwich bread instead of mayo. Get creative!


  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cups garbanzo beans, cooked
  • 3 tablespoons cooking water from garbanzo beans
  • 1.5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil + a little extra for drizzling
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 roasted red pepper

Yields: approximately 2 cups hummus

How to:

First, halve the red pepper and place face down on a baking sheet. Pop ’em in a 350 degrees oven, for about 20 minutes. When done, let rest for about 5 minutes, as it will allow the skin to peel off easily. When cooled, discard stem, seeds and skin. Next, in the bowl of a food processor, place garlic. Pulse until fine. Add garbanzo beans and pulse until they get sort of stuck to the outside of the bowl. Now, add cooking liquid, olive oil, tahini, salt, pepper, cumin, lemon juice and the roasted red pepper. Pulse all again until smooth consistency is achieved; about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Serve either room temp or cold. Drizzle additional olive oil over the top. Pair with pita chips.

Note: Home cooked garbanzo beans yield a tastier hummus versus using canned garbanzo beans. About 1 cup of dried garbanzo beans yields 2.5-3 cups cooked. (The variation is due to soaking time, cooking time and type of bean.)



Spinach artichoke bites

For my cousin’s NC backyard wedding I was appointed to provide appetizers for the event. I cringed wondering if she would regret asking the nutrition-conscious person in the family to provide to a group of fried-chicken-eating friends! I knew I couldn’t disappoint the bride on her big day but I secretly wanted to sneak some vegetables in any way I could. Always looking for a way to get more nutrients in, I adapted this Ina Garten recipe into my own party-pleaser appetizer! Watch these bites disappear!


Yields: 18-20 pieces


  • 2 packs of frozen spinach, defrosted
  • 1 small jar of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1- 8 oz. tub of Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 3 cup of shredded Parmesano reggianito cheese
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 1 box of phyllo dough, room temp
  • 6-8 tablespoons of melted butter
  • Salt and pepper

Special equipment:

  • pastry brush

How to:

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Then, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together cream cheese and spinach until well mixed. Now add eggs, and parmesan, salt and pepper. Now, take bowl out of mixer holder and fold in artichokes with spatula.  The filling is complete. Now for the phyllo dough. Unwrap dough, and discard top sheet if it feels dry or breaks. Peel one sheet off and place it on the clean counter top in front of you. Using the melted butter and the pastry brush, lightly  brush the sheet. Peel off a new sheet and place it on top of the buttered one. Don’t worry if its not perfect. Be careful not to press hard when painting or the dough could break. Repeat for 10 layers. Now, at the bottom of the rectangle, lay out spinach mixture like a log. Use about half and reserve the other half for the next log. Using your hands, “roll up” the log so it looks really long. Transfer to the parchment lined cookie sheet. With a serrated knife, cut on a diagonal about 8-9 times. Brush with butter. Bake for 375 degrees F for 10-15 minutes. When done, finish slicing. Serve warm.

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Mimi’s garden salsa

A trip to the North Carolina mountains is a unexpected adventure every time. Besides breath-taking mountain views and conversations with kind-hearted locals, there is always fab food awaiting me each time. Whether a local brew at a new downtown hot-spot, a cheesy slice of pizza on-the-go, or vine-ripened veggies at the Farmer’s market, its an incredible culinary experience every time. This time I was impressed with a Hendersonville local, Mary Small, who shared her trusted salsa recipe with me. Using her garden grown tomatoes and banana peppers she whips up a salsa which pleases the whole crowd: her husband, 4 kids and 6 grandkids! Savor the end-of-summer with this healthy goodness!


Yields: 5-6 servings

What you’ll need:

  • 5 garden tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4-5 small banana peppers, chopped
  • 2 jalapeños, chopped AND a couple seeds
  • 1/2-1 lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • garlic salt, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste

How to:

In medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Stir with a large spoon. Taste test to adjust salt, pepper and/or lime. Serve immediately, or refrigerate in glass jar and use within a couple days. Salsa can freeze well too! Enjoy!

Spotlight on recipe author: Mary Small

Mary, nick-named “Mimi”, grew up on her family farm in Hendersonville, NC. As a small girl she quickly learned that hard work translated into good food. Her major farm tasks included gathering eggs and pulling weeds in the garden. Always inspired by the beauty and benefits of a garden, she now continues to care for her own flower and vegetable garden. As recently retired school teacher (37 years!) Mary is able to dedicate her time to her garden, friends, family and her two pugs.