Tahini Yogurt Dip

If I see a savory dip you better believe I’m grabbing a vessel of some sort to try it out.

Dips. There are so many to choose from: brie, smoked salmon, caramelized onion….how can I even begin to name them all. The list is varied and full of tasty options.I find many addicting dips to be laden with sour cream and cream cheese. Of course I could tell you that I try to avoid these types of goodies at all cost, but that would be a lie.

However, that’s why I like a variety of snacking recipes. Everything in moderation, right?The beauty of Tahini Yogurt Dip is that there is no sour or cream cheese. There’s greek yogurt, tahini paste and goat cheese. These elements combined with garlic, green onion and fresh lemon juice create a an ideal creamy, savory and addictive dip (that might be a touch healthier than the other options you’re normally offered).

The cherry on top of this dip is the crumbled Harvest Snaps Lentil Beans (my favorite flavor to use is Onion Thyme). These delicious crunchy snacks add a pop of flavor and color that make the dip well-balanced.

Next time you’re needing to dip into the hearts of your dinner guests (or just you and your favorite people) whip up a batch of Tahini Yogurt Dip, grab a bag of your favorite Harvest Snaps and go.to.town.P.S. Leftovers belong on toast. Now go and dip to your heart’s content.

Tahini Yogurt Dip

  • Servings: servings vary
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Author note: Tahini paste is ground sesame seeds and can be purchased at most grocery stores. Be creative with the flavor of Harvest Snaps you choose to top the dip with. I was drawn to Lentil Bean Onion Thyme. This dip is also excellent as a spread on toast or sandwich. I use 2% fat greek yogurt, however feel free to use the 0% fat option if preferred.

1 1/2 cups greek yogurt

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons tahini paste

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup crumbled goat cheese

1 cup green onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

juice of 1 lemon

Onion Thyme Harvest Snaps, crumbled

  1. Place all ingredients, except for the Harvest Snaps into a medium sized mixing bowl. Stir well to incorporate. Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, place a handful of Harvest Snaps into a baggie. Using a measuring cup (or another preferred hard object) crush the Harvest Snaps.
  3. Remove the dip from the fridge. Top with crumbles and serve with Harvest Snaps and an assortment of veggies.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Harvest Snaps. All opinions are my own and I appreciate your support of the brands and companies I love.

America’s Test Kitchen | New York Strip Steaks with Crispy Potatoes and Parsley Sauce

New York Strip Steaks with Crispy Potatoes and Parsley Sauce

  • Servings: servings 4
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Author note: This meal is a weeknight friendly, one-pan wonder. It was developed by America’s Test Kitchen and can also be found in Cook’s Country’s delicious cookbook, One-Pan Wonders. To read A Pleasant Little Review over this delicious book click here.

for the parsley sauce

1 cup fresh parsley leaves

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup red onion, chopped

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons water

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

for the steak and potatoes

1 1/2 pounds red potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1 inch wedges

1/4 cup vegetable oil

salt and pepper

2 (1 pound) boneless strip steaks, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches thick, trimmed and halved crosswise

  1. For the parsley sauce: Process all ingredients in food processor until finely chopped and well combined, about 20 seconds; set aside for serving.
  2. For the steak and potatoes: Toss potatoes with 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in bowl. Cover and microwave, stirring occasionally until potatoes begin to soften, 5 to 7 minutes; drain well.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Pat steaks dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Lay steaks in skillet and cook until well browned on first side, 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Flip steaks, reduce heat to medium and cook until meat registers 120 to 125 degrees (for medium rare), 5 t0 7 minutes. Transfer steaks to cutting board, tent with aluminum foil and let rest while finishing potatoes.
  5. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to now-empty skillet and heat over medium heat until shimmering. Add potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 10 minutes. Slice steak into 1/2-inch-thick slices, drizzle with sauce and serve with potatoes.

Mini Strawberry Pop-Tarts

Every recipe has its own rhythm. When the ingredients are combined, they begin to form personality. With time the cooking rhythm is established, and then a recipe is created.I took my time with the strawberry pop tart. I wanted the recipe to be familiar, but new. There’s a lot handheld pie recipes out there, but my goal was to make this recipe unique.The strawberry jam needed to be sweet with depths of flavor. The frosting not only needed to compliment the crust and filling, but it also needed to stand out on its own.With each batch tested, the closer I came to developing a treat that was worth getting excited about and worth taking the time to bake.One batch, the jam wasn’t sweet enough. Another time, I burnt the crust. I waffled with the frosting even: should it be clear and delicate or white and thick? It took time, but it was fun. With every batch that came out of the oven I made the people I love happy.The perfect hand held pie was finally created. It is full of concentrated strawberry flavor, with notes of marsala and orange that’s wrapped in a buttery crust with a sugary-orange frosting.When I think on the rhythm of strawberry pop tarts, it is obvious— colorful, melodic, thoughtful and happy.

Mini Strawberry Pop-Tarts

  • Servings: servings 4
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Author note: I use Cook’s Illustrated Foolproof Pie Crust recipe. This recipe can be found at Food52 (click here for the recipe). If you don’t have the time or energy to make crust, a store bought dough works well. If you like to be generous with frosting, double the recipe. I use a ravioli stamp to make the pop tarts. A pizza cutter could also be used to make the squares.

2 pounds strawberries, leaves removed and quartered

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon dry marsala

1/2 cup sugar

1 cinnamon stick

zest of 1 orange

pinch of kosher salt

pie crust

frosting (see below for recipe)

for the frosting

1 cup powdered sugar

3 tablespoons heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon orange extract

  1. In a medium sauce pan combine the strawberries, vanilla, marsala, sugar, cinnamon stick, orange zest and salt. Stir and cover. Cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes.
  2. Uncover and stir. Increase heat to medium and cook for 20 more minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Once the strawberries have reduced to a jam-like consistency, remove from the heat and bring to room temperature. Store in an airtight container overnight in the fridge.
  4. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  5. On a floured surface, roll out the dough. With a ravioli stamp, cut out the dough. Lay the pieces on a parchment (or silpat) lined rimmed baking sheet.
  6. Place a small spoonful of strawberry jam in the middle of each dough square. Cover the jam with another dough square.
  7. Using a fork, press to seal the edges of the pop-tart. Then, prick the top of each pop-tart with the fork (this will release air during the cooking process and will prevent the pop-tart from “puffing” up).
  8. Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes, or until the edges of the pop-tart are golden brown.
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  10. Once the pop-tarts are at room temperature add the frosting and serve.

Smoked Salmon Avocado Salad

Smoked Salmon Avocado Salad

  • Servings: servings 4
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Author note: Salt this salad after everything is combined and you’ve tasted it. Smoked salmon tends to be salty on its own and you may prefer minimal to no salt. I find that just a pinch or up to 1/8 teaspoon is plenty.

1/2 cup radish, sliced

1/2 cup cucumber, sliced

1 avocado, diced

juice of half a lemon

3/4 cup smoked salmon, cut into bite sized pieces

2 teaspoons sesame oil

cilantro, chopped

kosher salt

  1. Add the radish, cucumber and avocado into a medium sized bowl. Toss with the lemon juice.
  2. Add the smoked salmon, sesame oil and cilantro. Stir well to combine.
  3. Taste and salt accordingly. Serve immediately.

A Pleasant Little Non Recipe | Cucumber Mascarpone Sandwich

Cucumber Mascarpone Sandwich

  • Servings: servings 1
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Author note: I prefer sourdough bread for this sandwich, however use which ever bread you prefer.

English cucumber

kosher salt

red wine vinegar

sourdough bread

mascarpone

  1. Slice the cucumber and spread out on the cutting board. Top with a few sprinklings of salt and dashes of vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, toast the bread. (If you’re ambitious, butter and then fry in a skillet.)
  3. Smear a generous amount of mascarpone on each side of bread.
  4. Take one slice of bread and cover completely with cucumber slices. Top with the remaining piece of bread. Slice in half and serve.

Spicy Garlic Shrimp Tacos

Spicy Garlic Shrimp Tacos

  • Servings: servings 4
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Author note: Two mixing bowls are required for this recipe. If you prefer a non-spicy option, omit the cayenne. If you want more heat, add additional cayenne. This meal pairs perfectly with black bean puree.

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 teaspoon paprika

zest of 1 lemon

juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup chopped chives

1 pound shrimp

tortillas

chopped cilantro, for toppings

sliced radishes, for toppings

queso fresco, for toppings

lime wedges, for toppings

sour cream, for toppings

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl place 2 tablespoons of oil, 2 cloves of chopped garlic, ½ teaspoon of salt, ¼ teaspoon of cayenne, ¼ teaspoon of paprika and the lemon zest. Stir well to combine
  3. In a second medium sized bowl place 1 tablespoon of of oil, 2 cloves of chopped garlic, ½ teaspoon of salt, ¼ teaspoon of cayenne, ¼ teaspoon of paprika, juice of 1 lemon and the chives. Stir well to combine and set aside.
  4. Add the shrimp to the first bowl (the bowl without the chives) and turn the shrimp several times to coat.
  5. Pour the shrimp mixture onto a foil-lined baking sheet. Spread the shrimp out into an even single layer.
  6. Place the shrimp into the oven and cook until pink, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  7. Remove the shrimp from the oven and with a slotted spoon place the cooked shrimp into the second bowl.
  8. Turn the shrimp several times to coat well.
  9. Warm the tortillas, in the microwave, on the stove top or in the oven.
  10. Once the tortillas are warmed, add the shrimp, chopped cilantro, sliced radishes and queso fresco. Top with a spritz of fresh lime juice. Salt to taste.

Orange Cream Soda

I made fun and tasty plans for the first day of spring break, but a problem quickly appeared.

I forgot a few key ingredients…actually I forgot all ingredients.A few weeks ago, while walking through Market Street, my little assistants spotted adorable straws in the ever-colorful Floral Department. They were quick to beg for them, and I was quick to justify the purchase for a spring break homemade soda party.

How cute would these look in little glass jars with homemade orange cream soda!Into the basket they went, along with dreams of making homemade orange cream soda with my little ones during the highly anticipated break.

Well, Sunday rolled around and the groceries were bought and alas, no ingredients for orange cream soda.

Ooops.I’m not quite sure how it slipped my mind, my children have been reminding me about their exciement for quite some time because of the cute little straws (pink for her, green for him).

A soda party was not the only goal for that first day of break. I also had the fantastic plan to stay in my jammies all day.Thinking quick on my feet, I was relieved (and elated) to remember that Market Street recently rolled out STREETside (click here to experience STREETside), an online grocery shopping experience in my neighborhood. And since it was my first experience with this service, I used the promo code STREETSIDEALLEN for $10 off my first order (you should use this code too for the discount!).

Tap, click, clack.

My online order was made and the scheduled pick-up time was confirmed. A fun and delicious day at home in my jammies was still attainable after a quick jaunt to the store.To be honest, I was tempted to select the grocery delivery service. The normal $9.99 delivery fee is waived on the first order, buuuut I decided to save that amazingness for a sick or rainy day. I mean I was already getting $10 off my entire grocery bill.

Pick-up was a breeze. I pulled the car into the designated parking spot and called guest services to confirm my arrival. An assistant was out in a flash and I didn’t leave the car. All groceries were tucked safely in the back of my SUV for a quick drive home.

Once home, the kids (and I) were eager to start our orange cream soda party.She poured, I grated and he stirred. Time together, in the kitchen, creating.

My heart was full and all our jammies were still on…

Cheers to spring break, family time and online grocery shopping.

Orange Cream Soda

  • Servings: servings 1
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Author note: To make this drink extra creamy, add an additional tablespoon of cream. This recipe was featured in The Dallas Morning New, click here to read the story and watch an online instructional video.

7 tablespoons orange simple syrup, chilled (see recipe below)

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

2/3 cup club soda, chilled

  1. In a glass, add the simple syrup and heavy whipping cream then top with the club soda. Stir well. Serve by itself or over ice.

Orange Simple Syrup

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

zest of 1 orange

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon orange extract

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

  1. In a small saucepan combine the sugar, water, zest and extracts. Cook over low for about 5-10 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add the orange juice. Stir well.
  3. Strain the syrup into a glass container. Chill.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Market Street. All opinions are my own and I appreciate your support of the brands and companies that I love.

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