Category Archives: Appetizer

Pumpkin Pie Almonds


A few weeks ago I bought some spiced almonds from Sprouts Grocery Store to have around when we had a lot of company in town.  These nuts were a hit!  I wanted to find a cheaper and healthier way for me to make these nuts.  Thanks to Pinterest, I did!


2 C Raw Almonds (I’ve also used Pecans)
3 t Cinnamon
3 t Pumpkin Pie Spice (Trader Joe’s makes a great one!)
4 T Honey
1 t Vanilla
Sea Salt to taste


Mix all ingredients together with the exception of the nuts in a mixing bowl.  Blend together.  Next throw the nuts in the mixture, toss to coat.  Dump out nuts on a lined cookie sheet.  Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes.  It will smell amazing as they cook.  Let cool a few minutes, then enjoy!

Knead to Cook



Avocado Caprese Salad


One of the best appetizers of the summer is a caprese salad.  Fresh basil… Ripe tomato… Avocado….

Avocado? Wait a second, isn’t that last ingredient mozzarella?

While I love the gooey yummy taste of mozzarella, my stomach does not.  I have been making caprese salads with only tomatoes and basil for years now, but at a party last month I heard of a great alternative for mozzarella cheese, avocado!  The creamy texture and calming taste of avocado fits in super well with the basil and tomato, so much so that you don’t miss the mozzarella.


1 bunch of fresh basil leaves, washed
1 ripe tomato, sliced
1 avocado, sliced
1/4 C olive oil
1/4 C balsamic vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste


Arrange the basil, tomato and basil leaves artistically on your platter.  Drip olive oil & balsamic vinegar across the tops of the veggies and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Enjoy!!!


Baked Kale Chips


I have a love hate relationship with Kale. It is a superfood, so good for you!
But really, it is kind of disgusting tasting! I have tried countless recipes trying to make it taste good and have failed each time. The best way I have found kale to be used is to hide it in smoothies.

I’ve tried numerous kale chip recipes and there were okay, but never great. But this weekend, I finally hit the jackpot! We ate all of the kale chips and were left wanting more.


1 bunch of kale
3 T grapeseed oil
1 t seasoning salt


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush a cookie sheet with grapeseed oil. Cut up kale into chip sized pieces and place on the cookie sheet. Using a basting brush, brush grapeseed oil over each “chip.” Shake salt over the chips.

Bake 12-15 minutes.


Basil Heirloom Tomato Salad with Blueberry Vanilla Goat Cheese


This recipe really is an ode to Trader Joe’s and the amazing creations that keep appearing in their store. One of my favorite summertime vegetables is Heirloom Tomatoes. We’ve been growing them and receiving them in our CSA box, but we always eat them up so quickly, so I bought us some more from Trader Joe’s. I love the produce at Trader Joe’s, they always have plenty of organic fruits and veggies for reasonable prices.

On that same shopping trip, I discovered their Blueberry & Vanilla Goat Cheese, you can read more about that product here. I had no idea what I might use it for when I bought it, but really how can you not buy a creation with that delicious combination?? Finally I had some leftover Basil Vinaigrette to use, which by the way, was made with all Trader Joe’s ingredients.

Here’s what I came up with, and it was an amazingly refreshing treat on a hot summer night.


3 Heirloom Tomatoes

1/2 Log of Trader Joe’s Wild Blueberry & Vanilla Chevre Goat Cheese

2 T of Basil Vinaigrette

2 T of Olive Oil


Slice the tomatoes thinly and arrange artistically on platter. Crumble the goat cheese on top of sliced tomatoes. Drizzle the vinaigrette and olive oil on top of everything. Let each flavor dance on your tongue as you enjoy every refreshing bite.

Thanks Trader Joe’s for being so great!

–Jennifer Gunther

Apple Chips


1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

2. Pour 4 cups unsweetened apple juice (I used water) into a large pot. Add two cinnamon sticks (I used ground cinnamon) and bring to a boil.

3. Cut off the top and bottom portion of each apple and discard. Hold the apple firmly, and use a sharp knife to slice into 1/4-inch chips.

4. Add slices to boiling apple juice. Return to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Lift apple slices out of apple juice with a large slotted spoon. Place slices on paper towels to absorb excess juice and pat dry.

6. Spread slices into a single layer on wire cooling racks and place on middle shelf in oven. Bake 30 to 40 minutes (Took me nearly an hour!). Remove from oven when slices are golden brown.

7. Leave apple chips on racks to cool. Serve alone or with a cup of yogurt for a healthy snack. Store any leftovers in an airtight container.


Herb Goat Cheese Log


1 8 oz Chevre goat cheese log, plain
1/2 c chopped and crushed of any kind of nut
1/2 c chopped of any fresh herb
1/2 c chopped of any dried fruit
1/4 t black pepper

Combine nuts, herbs, and dried fruit on flat surface.
Roll goat cheese log firmly in the mixture coating all surfaces.
Serve with crackers.

–Cooking with Trader Joe’s

**Definitely adds a yummy fun flavor!

Green Goddess Dip


2 c chopped avocado (about 2)
1 c plain yogurt (I used goat milk yogurt which is lactose free!)
1/4 c fresh lemon juice
1/4 c white wine vinegar
2/3 c chopped fresh chives
1/2 c chopped fresh parsley

1. Put avocado, yogurt, lemon juice, vinegar, 1/3 c chives, parsley, and salt to taste in a food processor and puree until creamy. Stir in most of remaining chives, reserving some to garnish dip.

2. Serve with fresh vegetables, lightly steamed vegetables, and/or chips.

–Women’s Health