Family Traditions..and Chickpeas

We celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary on September 5 and with that day  has evolved an amazing family tradition we started 9 years ago when Rachel was 14 and Kirsten was 11. The girls cook and serve us a special dinner restaurant style.  They plan the menu, buy all the groceries (I was sent out with a list before they could drive:)  cook the meal from start to finish, set the table, serve us and then clean up.  The menu has become more and more amazing and complex every year and every year we say it was the best one yet!

This year was no exception…6 courses with wine and so delicious. What a blessing! What I love the most is the effort, the desire to serve us and the love that both our girls are developing for cooking healthy, delicious meals from scratch. More and more they are searching for recipes that include the freshest ingredients that are in season either growing in our own garden or at the local markets.

This year’s menu (which we captured in pictures only in part, forgetting before a bite or two was already taken:) included “Garbanzo Bean and Sundried Tomato Spread served on toasted baguette”, “Pear and Candied Walnut Salad”, “Fresh Tomato and Basil Soup”,

“Risotto with Pesto”

, “Crusted Salmon with Roasted Beets and Steamed Green Beans”

and a family favorite dessert, “Chocolate Lava Cake served with Raspberries and a scoop (or two) of Soy Ice Cream”.

Teaching our children to cook real food, to appreciate the bounty of fresh grown food we are so privileged to enjoy is one of  the best gifts we can give them. If you haven’t started involving your kids in cooking yet, I encourage you to start now.  I don’t think it is ever too late, not even for you to start cooking more often from scratch:)

And Chickpeas… 2 recipes you will be sure to enjoy:)

Hummus…Finally a recipe we love!

1 tin chickpeas no salt added (540 ml) or 2 cups cooked chickpeas (reserve 2 tbsp)

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/3 tahini

3 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

½ tsp cumin seed toast then grind to powder

½ tsp salt

3-4 tbsp unflavored non-fat greek yogurt or water

¼ hot red pepper sauce

Extra splash of olive oil

 Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan on medium-low heat. Add chickpeas and garlic and sauté slowly, stirring often for about 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add to food processor or blender or with a hand blender, the sautéed chickpeas and garlic, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, ground cumin, salt, yogurt and red pepper sauce.  Pulse until combined then gently blend until smooth.

Top with reserved chickpeas.

Serve immediately with toasted pita bread or fresh cut vegetables as a dip. Refridgerate for up to 2 weeks.

 Cilantro Pesto (used to top hummus recipe especially when serving at a buffet table for guests)


2 cloves garlic, peeled

1 jalepeno , coarsely chopped

1 cup picked fresh cilantro

¼ tsp salt

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

 Chop garlic, jalepeno in processor. Add cilantro and puree. Blend in salt and oil. Drizzle about half of the pesto around edge of hummus. Freeze the rest in ice cube tray.

Garbanzo Bean ad Sundried Tomato Spread (Extra Vegan Za by Laura Mattias)

 1 cup sundried tomatoes

14 oz can chick peas, drained and rinsed

2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ tsp sea salt

2 tbsp olive oil

¼ cup fresh basil, packed

2 tbsp tahini

3 cloves garlic, minced


Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and process on high until an even, smooth consistency is reached. Transfer to a bowl and garnish with fresh sprigs of basil. Serve as an appetizer on toasted sliced baguette, pita bread or crackers.


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