Spicy Black Bean & Red Pepper Hummus

Spicy Black Bean & Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

So a friend of mine had a housewarming party recently, and I wanted to make something fun for the guests to nosh on while in attendance. So I decided to make something homemade to take.

I love hummus and I love to experiment with it. Typically, I prefer making mine with cannelloni beans. But this time I wanted something new and exciting.

Hummus is quite easy to make (and even easier to buy). But it’s about having fun making and experimenting with it. So I can’t refuse making it.

I started with a 15.5 oz can of black beans. I find that throughly rinsing the beans makes the freshest tasting hummus. I emptied the beans into a colander and ran cold water over the beans until the water ran clear.

I have made tahini paste by hand before, but this time I decided to purchase the pre-made tahini from the grocery store. And rather than roasting my own peppers, I used pre-roasted red peppers.

Typically hummus calls for the use of a lemon. But I decided that I’d give this hummus a Caribbean flare. So I substituted a lime for the lemon. And I added one jalapeño for a spicy kick. I cut off each end of the pepper and completely removed the seeds and membranes. I diced the pepper into very small pieces.

Garlic is a MUST in any hummus I make. But since hummus isn’t cooked, I decided to use garlic paste. Fresh garlic is so yummy but the paste is just as yummy.

A food processor makes the creamiest hummus but this recipe can also be done in a blender. If using a blender, I suggest adding the beans in two separate transactions. This time I only had access to a blender, so this is how I assembled the hummus:

Half of the beans into the blender, followed by 1-2 tbsp of garlic paste, the finely diced jalapeño and 2 tbsp of cold water. I give this part a good whirl and once combined, I stop the blender and then add 1/3 cup of tahini paste and the juice of one lime and then blend well for a minute or so. Once this is combined, I add the remaining black beans and blend for 1 to 2 more minutes to assure that everything is thoroughly combined. (If the hummus is thicker than you desire add another tbsp of water and blend again. Repeat if you want it even thinner.)

Combine with zesty crackers or carrots. The taste is spicy* and heavenly.

Recipe Items

  • 15.5 oz can of Black Beans
  • 1/3 cup of Tahini Paste
  • Couple of Red Roasted peppers diced
  • 1 Jalapeno seeded and diced finely
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 1-2 tbsp on Garlic Paste
  • Juice of 1 Lime

OhMyYum! Enjoy

Spicy Black Bean & Red Pepper Hummus
  • *While this recipe is NOT a five alarm chili, for those friends who don’t like spicy, suggest the carrots and chips without this yummy hummus.

Curried Pear Salsa

I had a “taste” for salmon and wanted to make it at home. I also wanted something to dress it up; but, I didn’t want a cream sauce. I looked around the kitchen and spied some pears and I thought a nice pear salsa would “pear” quite deliciously with the fish. So I set out to create one. Here’s how I made mine:


  • Juice of One Lemon
  • 1/4 Tspn Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tspn Red Curry Powder
  • 2 Bosc Pairs (Peeled, Cored and Quartered)
  • 1/3 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1/3 Orange Bell Pepper
  • 1/3 Yellow Bell Pepper
  • 1/2 Sweet Onion
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar (plus 1 Tbsp)
  • 1/4 Cup Honey
  • 1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and whisk together the lemon juice, cinnamon, red curry powder and 1 tbsp brown sugar. Then add the pears and toss thoroughly to coat. Spread the pears on a cookie pan and roast for 15 minutes. Remove to cool slightly and then cut into cubes.

While the pears are roasting, dice the peppers and onion. Add these to a small sauce pot and add the brown sugar, honey and apple cider vinegar. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a mixing bowl and add the pear cubes. Toss to mix thoroughly.

I do love a simple fish dinner. I had bought a nice piece of salmon at the local grocery store and dressed it with salt, pepper, butter and a few sprigs on dill and popped that bad boy in a preheated 450 degree oven and baked it for baked it for 15 minutes.

Once cooked, I added the pear salsa and OhMyYum! was it delicious.

Here’s a pic of the dinner.


Cheers and Enjoy!

A Day Out – Hollywood Riviera and San Pedro

I dropped off a buddy at the airport (LAX) and decided to do a little scouting afterwards. It was a morning flight so I decided to have breakfast after she was safely at the departures area.

I initially thought of heading over to El Segundo but decided to head a little further south. I ambled along Pacific Coast Highway south and passed Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and most of Redondo Beach. At the very south end of Redondo just before Hawthorne is a neighborhood called Hollywood Riviera. I’m sure in my many years in LA, I’ve passed by it but this time I decided to park and explore.

For breakfast, I stopped in at Good Stuff and had a most yummy Eggs Benedict. According to the menu there are three other South Bay locations. This gives me more places to discover.

After breakfast I walked around this charming little village within a village. I happened upon this Angel and it reminded me of Della Reese’s autobiography: “Angles Among Us“. Angels really are everywhere if we are receptive to experiencing them.

I also loved this art on the side of a shop:

The colors were so vibrant and beautiful.

After walking around for an hour or so I decided to head down to San Pedro. (Any other location this would be pronounced Paydro, but here in LA it’s pronounced PEEEdro. But hey, that’s LA.). The Friendship Bell was a gift from South Korea to commemorate the friendship between the two countries and to commemorate the Bicentennial of the United States. Here are some photographs:


Near the parking area are these two delights.  If we could all be as happy as these two depict:

And on rare occasions we have such beautiful clear days in LA after it rains.  This is a shot of the Angeles National Forrest from San Pedro.  It’s a distance of about 45 miles and you can easily see the snowcapped mountains.

After leaving San Pedro, I drove over to Wilmington and up to Norwalk and then eventually back home.  It was a great day that was later capped off with dinner with friends and a show.

All-in-all another wonderful day in my Paradise.

Much Love and Peace to all.

The Nutty Attache’

Oh the delights of Diplomatico Rum.  There are several flavors and so far I have been digging these three:

From left they are Mantuano, Planos and Exclusiva.  These are a little slice heaven in a bottle and are imported from Venezuela.  Aside from its beautiful people, Venezuela has delivered a most beautiful Rum.  There are a few other varieties and once I save up my coins, I will give the Mac-daddy versions a try.  (I accept monetary gifts if you are so inclined. )

For the Nutty Attache’ I have chosen to use Planos.  It’s smooth and clear and combines nicely with the other ingredients.  I have chosen to combine the Planos with Midori and Orgeat.   The sweet yumminess of the Melon Liqueur combines so smoothly with the creamy nuttiness of the Orgeat and they balance each out with precision.

And this recipe is so easy and quick:

It’s quick and easy and vibrantly beautiful.  Give it a try and post a comment if you enjoyed!

Peace & Love,


Autumn Leaves

After living in Los Angeles for years and years, I began to crave seeing seasons dramatically change.  LA does have seasons but the seasonal changes are quite subtle.  There’s the rainy season (often 2 or 3 days a year), the Christmas season, one quick week of winter and then a very long a dry period called summer.  And when the Santa Anas blow, your skin is as dry as parchment paper.  That season weaves in and out of summer.  But living in LA I didn’t have oily skin.  Ever!

A couple of years ago, the craving for autumn leaves got the better of me.  I found an very affordable cross-country airline fare and off East I went.  I landed in Newark and then took Amtrak to Philadelphia.

It’s always fun to take the train.  It’s quick and efficient and I love the rocking back and forth.  Arriving at 30th Street Station I was submerged into old school charm.

The station is clean and well attended and downtown is just steps away.  Philadelphia is full of wonderful architecture.  Remember, it was once the capitol of the US.

I love public art.  And Philadelphia has an old installation at the Municipal Services Building called “Board Game Art Park” and it speaks to my youth:  Monopoly, Checkers, Dominos and Chess.  Look at these adorable pieces:

I so have a Small Sweet Tooth.  I can go days on end without eating anything sugary.  But when I travel I always want to find a little nosh in the afternoon to keep my walking energy Up.  (At least that’s my excuse…). So over the years I have settled on A Doughnut.  Just one.  I looked online and found recommendations for Beiler’s.  It’s an Amish Bakery shop located in the Reading Market.  They also have several varieties of pickles and cheeses, but I wanted the doughnut more.  And, Coconut is my favorite flavors.  

Confession time.  I love Kane’s donuts in Boston.  But THIS is the Best Doughnut I have ever had.  BEST!  If a doughnut could levitate because of it’s lightness, this one would fly.  The cream was heavenly and the coconut as fresh as if it had just been plucked form the tree.  My GF Cyndee asked me why I didn’t bring one back to LA for her.  The truth is that doughnut would never have taken off from Newark outside of my mouth.  NO way!

Reading Terminal Market is such a cool place to visit.  It’s the old train depot and it’s full of vendors selling all types of wares.  Doughnuts were only tip of the iceberg.  And the place is full of fun and fancy neon signs.






And one “Oh Hell No!” item

There is a limit.  I am Southern and we may “Eat most Everything on the Pig but the Oink” but for me, I draw the line.  No ears or feet!  Period!

Like so many wonderful cities, Philadelphia has wonderful outdoor art.

And of course one of the most recognized sites in Philadelphia.  The Rocky Stairs (aka Philadelphia Museum of Art):

And with all of life, LOVE is the greatest gift of all.  And Philly has love in many languages.  Here are two of them:

And I live in Love!

So about that color I was craving.  Turns out I was a couple of weeks early, but there were some starts to the change.

And all too soon, I was back at 30th Street Station and queuing up for the train back to Newark and glowing from all of the fun times had in Philadelphia.

I love to travel.  And Philadelphia is such a friendly city full of history, culture, food, sites….  I highly recommend a trip there.

Peace and Love (y AMOR)



I know for those of us who imbibe, we might have had that ONE thing that we enjoyed a wee bit too much.  I love Gin, but the number of peeps that say “Oh Heavens to Betsy NO, I don’t do gin…”  Or scotch or tequila or or or.  Me, I had never been a fan of rum.  But perhaps that’s because I had never experienced  GOOD Rum.  That has changed!  Over the next few weeks I will share with you some of the goodies that I have come to know.  F\But for now…

When I moved to Eastern TN, I was turned on to the best spirits house in town: Parkway Discount Liquors.  They have a great variety of spirits.  On my first visit, one of the employees insisted that I give Bumbu a try.  I informed Terry that rum wasn’t my go-to.  She said you will try it. You will like it.  Since it’s booze, so I said “OK”.  (And truly I was a little afraid to say no to her.  LOL). She told me that she had hers chilling in the fridge and just the weekend before she had enjoyed it straight with frozen strawberries.  Even though I was originally skeptical, I now know that Terry “done schooled me.”  This Bumbu is simply heavenly.  And now I maintain a bottle in my fridge.

So for the tasting notes.…. yeah, about that…. I can only tell you if I like it.  If you click the link for tasting notes you will see what others say.  I already know I say YES!

If you even remotely like rum, I encourage you to seek out Bumbu.  It’s a product of Barbados.   If this is the goodness of Barbados, I need to schedule a trip there.  Enjoy Bumbu and feel the tropics wash over you with a peace of Island Life!   BTW, the Food & Rum Festival is the 18-21 of October.  Let’s Go!

Cheers and Enjoy and Peace and Love!



There are four glasses.  Who wants to join me?  I’d love it!

Berry Patch

My good friend George challenged me to make a Blueberry drink.  So I took up that challenge.  I decided I wanted to make an after-dinner drink, a dessert type drink.

I tried to make a drink with fresh blueberries as a base.  I love blueberries; however, they’re really not that sweet.  I tried several different ways, but none suited me.  But my frustration only spurred me on.

I then set out in a different direction.  I decided to try a Blueberry flavored Liqueur.  I went in search of one. At my “happy place” in Knoxville – McScrooges, I found Vergnano’s Mirtillo Liqueur.  Honestly I thought Mirtillo was such a cute name.  It means Blueberry in Italian.  “Old Dog Learns New Trick” moment.   Once I brought it home, I had to have a little taste.  I wanted to know if I’d like it on its on, and would I think it would mix well.  And the answer to both questions is Yes!

On its own, the Mirtillo isn’t very sweet.  I has a wondrous hint of blueberry.  And it’s smooth.  Very smooth.  So it makes for a great sipping drink all on its own.

  It’s #OhMyYum

Now I felt I was on the right track.  As with my Lucky Black Cherry, I love to use Chambord.  (See my earlier yummy recipe.). Chambord is such a yummy Black Raspberry liqueur.  And it makes such a great addition to drinks and also as a stand-alone bit of yumminess.

Now that I was sold on two major ingredients, I needed a base.  I have a few go-to’s to that I love.  For an after dinner drink, I find Vodka works best.  Recently I have discovered Effen Vodka.  Not only does Effen make great vodka, they make really great flavored vodkas.  I chose the Black Cherry version for this recipe.  (The Blood Orange will be featured soon.  Stay tuned!). But for now, the Black Cherry is the star of the show.

And here is my recipe for Berry Patch:

Pour the first three ingredients over a few cubes of ice and shake vigorously.  Pour into a punch cup and fill the with the desired amount of Half & Half.  Garnish with a Black Cherry, a Raspberry and a Blueberry.

Enjoy responsibly.  And often!  I drank mine while I enjoyed a bowl of berries.


Peace & Love!!

PS:  I love “fancy skewers and glasses”.  And Crate And Barrel makes some really cute, cool and affordable barware.  Elevate your drink each chance you get!

Seafood Salad

Today’s post comes about because I get the “Munchie Mondays” blues.  Somedays I want something simple and tasty, easy to make, and not too filing.

One thing that I like to make fresh is a simple seafood salad.  You can easily buy one of these at the grocery store, but I prefer to make my own.  It’s super fresh and oh so easy.  And I know how long it’s been on the shelf because I made it myself.

I started with 3/4 of a pound each of Cooked and Deveined Shrimp and Imitation Crab Meat.

My biggest task is not to eat all of the ingredients before completing the salad.  (You can also use other types of seafood, but it must be cooked and cooled beforehand.)  Even though the shrimp is cooked, after I pinch off the tails, I give them a rinse in a colander.  Once washed I add crab to the colander.  I also added some chopped up celery to give the salad a bit of a crunch.

Next I add some seasoning.  Today I used  Dill Weed and a little Orange Zest and notched it up a bit with Tony Chachere’s It’s Spicy More Spice Seasoning.  I love Dill Weed.  I add it to lots of egg dishes and almost all seafood creations.  Adding the Orange Zest gives this seafood salad an extra nice fresh touch.  You can use lime or lemon zest too.  But today I wanted the smoothness of the Orange.  And the Tony Chachere Seasoning adds a whallop of zing and wow.  This seasoning isn’t for the faint at heart.  So I use it a compliment, not as a cover-up.

As usual I create my wet or binding in a separate bowl so I can fold it into the main ingredients.  Today I used 1 heaping tablespoon of Duke’s Mayonnaise and one teaspoon of Woeber’s Reserve Champagne Dill Mustard.

Once I have all of the ingredients combined, I put it in the fridge for an hour or so to let the flavors settle and marinate.  If I’m making this for a party, I usually spread some on Pepperidge Farms Dark Pumpernickel squares or on a lettuce leaf.  I garnish it with a little extra Dill Weed and Parsley.  Since I am my only guest today,  I’m eating it just as it is.


OhMyYum.  This is so Tasty and Easy.



Peace and Love


Crooked Halo

You know you either have one or you wish you did.  lol. Come on now, be Honest.  A Crooked Halo might be a bit of fun.

And when it comes to my newest drink creation, it’s way more than just fun.  It’s delicious.

The inspiration came from the wonderful people at Angel’s Envy.  They have pledged to plant a white oak tree for each post tagged with #ToastTheTrees (click the link) and of course I thought if they can do something this great, then I could create a drink to celebrate their pledge.  And that is the backstory of my Crooked Halo.  And it’s super easy to make and is made with things you might already have.  But if not, get to shopping!


Muddle an orange slice in a glass.  Add two ounces of Angels Envy and one half ounce of Grand Marnier and stir together to incorporate.  Fill glass with ice and finish off with ginger ale.  (Fever Tree is a great Ginger Ale.)  Garnish with an orange wedge.  I served mine in a vintage Playboy rocks glass.  I’m cool like that.  Here’s the results:

Cheers to Angel’s Envy for their mission.  May it be a Success!

Enjoy often and responsibly.


Love & Peace



Comfort Food Deluxe

One of my all time favorite comfort foods is Chicken Salad.  Especially since there are dozens of ways to make it good.  And I make it great!  No brag, just fact.

I like to sample with variations of my theme, but for the most part, I follow these simple steps:

I always use both white and dark meat.  I find that the addition of thigh meat gives the chicken salad a depth that white meat alone doesn’t seem to bring.  Because breast and thigh meat cook at different speeds, I typically use breast strips.  I cook both in the same skillet.  Opposite of cake batter where I typically prefer oil, I only use butter when frying up my chicken for this recipe.  I also use a citrus juice as my acidic tenderizer.  Today, I used an orange.

I also use an electric skillet.  I love the heat this skillet gives and also the easy clean-up.  I used about 3/4 of the orange in the cooking.  Half of the orange at the beginning of the cooking and about a fourth once I turn the meats.  With steak and pork it’s all about the resting of the meat after cooking.  I feel the same way about this chicken.  I cook it until an internal temp of 165 and then I plate it and cover it to rest.  With chicken salad, the chicken needs to cool completely.  Here are my bird parts hanging out to rest.

Up next comes the creative part.  Here are my staple ingredients.

From previous posts you will glean that I adore pickles.  And for my money there is only one brand that is the best:  Mt. Olive Pickles.  For chicken salad, I lean toward the sweeter side of pickles.  Dill are great, but for my chicken salad I always choose sweet.  And for this one, I chose three different kinds of sweet pickles.  Again the Simply Vidalia version is heavenly. And to that I added Simply Relish and Sweet Relish.  All together a pickle rapture.  (The Simply Vidalia are slices, so I diced them up.)

Now I will share with you a few of my “tips” (or hang-ups).  Occasionally, I like to add nuts to my chicken salad.  The only nuts I will incorporate early on are almonds.  If I use pecans or walnuts, I only add them as an after delivery add-on.  In today’s version, I also added dried cranberries.  Here too is another hang-up.  For any type of fresh fruit, I add it upon serving.  I may do a quick toss just before serving, but since I make large batches of chicken salad, I estimate left-overs.  And there are some things that I prefer to leave out for the storage (ie fresh fruit and certain nuts).

Wet and Dry:

I assemble all of the dry ingredients (chicken, celery, diced onion and almonds) in one bowl and give mix them up well.  Separately, I combine the wet ingredients (mayonnaise, mustard and pickles). There are two reasons.  I want the wet to be completely mixed together into one wet ingredient.  And then when I fold the wet into the dry, I will get an even blend.  I almost always use both mayonnaise and mustard, in a 4 to 1 ratio.  I don’t want mustard here and not there.  I want it smooth.  It’s a great recipe, not a haphazard one.  lol

Now let me tell you about some YUM.  When I moved to TN, I discovered some mustards that I hadn’t run into before.  (I may just have never noticed them, but oh boy are they great.)  Inglehoffer (by Beaverton Foods) makes several different mustards and I have fallen in love with both the Creamy Dill and Honey Mustard varieties.  If you haven’t tried them, I highly recommend them.  And then there’s the King of Mayonaises, Duke’s.  Enough said!

After I assemble all of the goodness in one bowl, I sample and sample and then finally I put it in the fridge to chill and be ready for Netflix.  I can and do eat chicken salad when it’s first prepared, but I find that it marinates so nicely and the YUM factor simply increases after an hour or two of chilling.


Here’s my assemblage. After plated, I added a few extra Simply Vidalia Bread and Butter pickles and a few extra cranberries and a extra pinch of fresh dill.  Trust me when I say Netflix asked to Chill with Me and My Chicken Salad.  What comfort!

Peace and Love and OhMyYum!


Thank you my dear sweet friend George for having your Martha watch over my Paula always.  XOXO