Pickled Jalapeno With Red Onion

I love pickled things. Ever since I was a kid, I have loved pickles. The texture and taste could not be more perfect in my opinion. Crunchy, salty, tangy, and tart.

But the flavorings of pickled things can change and become whatever you want them to be.

  • Spicy
  • Garlicky
  • Dilly

And as I grew up and started expanding my food knowledge, I realized that pickled is a term.  A concept.  A technique.  It isn’t just a green cucumber slice, but in fact, it can be whatever you want it to be.

You can go through the whole canning process in creating your pickled concoction or if you want quick results, there’s  a quick refridgerator pickling method.

I bet you can guess which I go for.

A recent viewing of Guy’s Big Bite is the inspiration for my quick pickled Jalapeno with Red Onions.  This took no time to make at all and were ready to eat by dinner time.

Andrea’s Quick Pickled Jalapenos with Red Onions

  • 1/2 Small Red Onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Jalapenos, thinly sliced
  • 3/4C Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3/4C Water
  • 1/2TBSP Salt
  • 1/2TBSP Brown Sugar

In a medium sized glass bowl, add in the onion and jalapeno slices.  In a small sauce pan, add in the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar.  Bring up to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Cook just long enough that all the sugar and salt is dissolved.  Remove from heat, and pour mixture over the onions and jalapenos.  Allow to cool, then cover and place in refridgerator.

Let sit for several hours before serving.

This quick pickle turned out better than I anticipated.  It was perfectly crunchy, cool, and delicious.

I choose to use ACV instead of white vinegar because I wanted that little extra sweetness you get from the apple cider vinegar.

I seeded the jalapenos but if you prefer things a bit spicier, leave the seeds in for extra kick.

The beauty of this quick pickle is that this is just a base recipe. You can add in extra seasonings and spices that suit your tastes.

Next time I make this, I’m going to go for some extra kick.  I’m going to add in some garlic and red pepper flakes.  Oh yes!

I’ll let you in on a little secret.  Not only is it great to eat straight up or on a salad, it makes for a lovely sandwich or burger topper.

Have you tried pickling at home?

And I mean that in a completely G-rated family friendly kinda way, of course.

Have fun guys, and remember, always play with your food! Enjoy!

Pina Colada Smoothie

It’s the end of March and yesterday Columbus was blessed with a snowstorm that lasted all afternoon.  It was the last thing that any of us wanted. Okay, well there might be a few residents who don’t mind but the rest of us were cursing and shaking our fists in the air.

So to beat the winter blues, I’m posting something springy and fun!  Something that nourishes both the body and spirit.

Pina Colada smoothie!  Super green in color to perk up any blah winter day and tasty enough that you might start looking around for some rum.

Andrea’s Pina Colada Smoothie

  • 1C OJ
  • 1C Unsweetened Coconut Milk (like SO Delicious)
  • 2 Large handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1 Frozen Banana
  • 1/2 C Frozen Pineapple
  • 1/4C Frozen Mango

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.  This will be a thicker smoothie, like milkshake or frozen drink style.  Makes enough for two large glasses.

Perfectly tart and creamy. It tastes just like a pina colada but looks like spring. The amounts of frozen pineapple and mango are estimates because I didn’t measure those out.  Go by what you like.  The pineapple is more tart while the mango is more sweet.  You need to use enough pineapple to ensure you get the pina colada taste because that’s what makes the smoothie.

I’m telling you it’s tart so be prepared! But it’s refreshing and will remind you of the warmer temps that will be arriving soon!

Have fun guys, and remember, always play with your food! Enjoy!

Quick and Dirty Guacamole

Guacamole is one of those things that I instantly fell in love with. I didn’t grow up eating it and only ever had it out in restaurants which was nothing fantastic I promise you. But to me it was creamy green heaven.

It took me a while to figure out how to make a guacamole that I liked and I tried everything.  With chunks, without chunks. With tomatoes, with cilantro, and so on and so on. I discovered that what Scott and I really like is just a basic and simple guac that isn’t fancy but highlights the avocado well.

This version seriously takes maybe five minutes and then you can get busy stuffing your face with goodness.

Andrea’s Quick and Dirty Guacamole

  • 2 Avocados
  • 1/2 a Lime
  • Hot Sauce (I like Cholula, but whatever floats your boat)
  • Salt
  • Garlic Powder
  • Chili Powder

In a medium sized bowl, cut the avocados and remove the seeds. Scoop out the flesh with a spoon and place in bowl.  With a sturdy fork, mash the avocado until it’s smooth or as smooth as you like it.  Add in the juice of the 1/2 a lime, hot sauce, and all the seasonings.  Stir and taste to see if it’s seasoned enough to your liking. If not add more and stir again until it’s right.

Serve immediately with chips or vessel of choice!

No measurements on the seasonings because it’s totally to taste. I like a lot of salt, a good bit of hot sauce, and just a dash of garlic powder and chili powder. If you really dig on lime, you can add in the juice of a whole lime.

Quick because it takes no time to make and you’re eating right away. Dirty because the hot sauce and chili powder give it a darker hue.

This is great for tacos, nachos, or just spread on bread as a sandwich glue.  It’s great just eating straight with chips and an icy cold brew.

Or ‘rita if you’re down with that.

Do you like guacamole? Do you make your own version at home?

Have fun guys, and remember, always play with your food! Enjoy!


My newest obsession is popcorn! Fresh popped popcorn.  I have a long history with popcorn, we go way back.  I used to love it as a kid and my sisters would make it all the time.  We had an air-popper so I would watch the popcorn come flying out the top and into the bowl on the counter.  The butter conveniently melted in a little tray on the top.  Once the bowl was full, pour on the butter, add some salt and you are golden!

Then an incident with too much popcorn and a donkey basketball game (Yes they exist, Google it.) resulted in an experience that I’ll kindly spare you the details of.

I didn’t eat popcorn for years after that.  YEARS.  The smell alone would turn my stomach.

Then I started eating it again, probably late high school or college.  I told you, I was off popcorn for a long time!

Times progressed and now we had access to microwave popcorn. Easy little pouches of corn that would pop and already be covered in butter when it was done.  All you have to do is pour into a bowl and eat!

That was my standard go-to for popcorn.  I was never into the overly buttered stuff or any of the funky flavors.  Just basic butter but then that started not appealing to me.  It was heavy and greasy along with being full of not so happy ingredients.

I didn’t want to be putting that into my body so I stopped buying it.

A recent grocery store trip found me buying a bottle of popcorn kernels to make fresh popcorn at home.  You don’t need any fancy equipment, just a big pot with a lid.  A touch of oil to the pan, heat it up, and watch the popcorn start to pop!

My method for making popcorn is super easy!

Andrea’s Fresh Popped Popcorn

  • 1/2C Popcorn Kernels
  • Light Olive Oil
  • Seasoned Salt

In a large pot, heat olive oil (about 1TBSP) over medium high heat. Dump in the popcorn kernels and give a shake so that they are covered with oil.  Place lid on top of pot and give a shake to the popcorn every so often, like every other minute.  When you start to hear the kernels rapidly pop, shake the pan a little more often to keep them from burning in the bottom.  Once the popping has decreased, to about 1 pop in 5 seconds, turn off heat.

Pour popcorn into a large bowl, sprinkle with seasoned salt (to taste but remember it can get salty on you fast!).  Serve and enjoy!

Super easy and takes no more than 10 minutes tops to make.  It tastes a heck of a lot better than something from a microwave bag, I promise.  Fresh popped corn is very light and fluffy when it’s not weighted down by heavy butters and oils.  It also lasts a very long time without getting stale.

There are also loads of ways that popcorn can be flavored! Trying using some chili powder or maybe some garlic powder.  How about parmesan cheese sprinkled on top?  Maybe a sweet and savory version, by sprinkling in a little sugar with the oil at the very beginning.

Popcorn is kind of a blank canvas that can be flavored to suit your mood of the moment. :)

Do you like popcorn? Do you ever make fresh at home?

Spicy Chex Mix

When the holidays roll around a lot of people think of Chex Mix as one of the staple holiday snacks.  Growing up we didn’t have it until it started appearing on the shelves in packages.  It was a long time before I realized you could make this yourself.  Maybe that’s strange to some, but the snack wasn’t a staple at our parties.  We’re a more chip ‘n dip kind of folk.

I have to say, that I love the taste of Worcestershire sauce! It is that flavor that drew me in and kept me coming back for more snack mix.  It’s spicy, salty, and so potent. Right up my alley! I prefer the original flavor of snack mix for this very reason. I’m not really into the other flavors and variations of the snack mix.  Call me a Chex Mix purist.

I decided to create my own recipe and of course it has a heavy Worcestershire base to it.  Lea & Perrins happens to be my favorite Worcestershire sauce and when Foodbuzz offered us the opportunity to get a free bottle of it for using in holiday recipes, I jumped at the chance.

The one downside to Lea & Perrins is that they use HFCS in their sauce.  I’ve looked for HFCS free Worcestershire sauces and have not had much luck finding any.  I don’t really care for vegan sauces as they rely heavily on cloves to get that spicy effect and it just isn’t the same.  Therefore I have stuck with Lea & Perrins.

Please take out the HFCS Lea & Perrins! A lot of people would be really happy!

I also like a spicy kick to my Chex Mix and since Scott loves spicy things, this works out well.  This recipe is super easy to make and you can have it ready in no time!

Andrea’s Spicy Chex Mix

  • 4C Pretzel Sticks
  • 4C Wheat Chex
  • 3C Corn Chex
  • 1/2C Light Olive Oil
  • 1/2C Buffalo Sauce (not hot sauce, but actual Buffalo style sauce)
  • 1/4C Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/4C Honey
  • 1TBSP Garlic Powder
  • 3tsp Season Salt
  • 2 1/2tsp Onion Powder

Preheat oven to 350 and line a very large baking sheet with foil.  Spay with nonstick spray and set aside.  In the largest mixing bowl you have, combine the pretzels, Wheat Chex, and Corn Chex.  In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients to make the sauce.  Pour mixture over the Chex and pretzel mixture, combine well.  Put this mixture onto the cookie sheet and into the oven.  Allow to bake for about 1/2 an hour to 45 minutes, stirring the mixture every 10-15 minutes to prevent burning.

Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Serve and enjoy!

Crunchy, salty, and spicy.  In other words, delicious!

If you prefer, you can use a vegan Worcestershire sauce to make this a vegan snack mix.  If you want to reduce some of the oil and add in butter, that’s totally up to you.  I personally just prefer oil over butter in recipes like this.

This is just a base, you are free to add in nuts or other snack bits of your choosing.  Perhaps sprinkling a little ranch dressing mix (dry kind) after pulling it out of the oven might be a clever idea.

Have fun guys, and remember, always play with your food! Enjoy!

Disclaimer: Foodbuzz sent me a coupon for a free bottle of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce to use in a recipe. This recipe is entirely my own.

Holiday Party Foods 2010 Edition

Tis the season! Now is the time when everyone is out and attending holiday parties left and right.  Heck perhaps you are even hosting one!  If you need some ideas on what to make for your next gathering, OHC is here to help you out!

Just out of the oven

You can’t really go wrong with bacon and cheese right?  Bacon wrapped jalapenos are the answer! Very portable and can be made ahead of time.  Just heat right before serving!

Ham and Cheddar Potato Puff

Got leftover mashed potatoes?  Quick and easy potato puffs are great for appetizers! Even if you don’t have leftover mashed, use fresh!  These also can be made ahead of time and just need to be heated up before serving.

Pear and Brie Crostini

Maybe you’re going to a fancier party? Or maybe you just want to wow your friends? Pear and Brie Crostini is a great combo and a perfect way to put that cranberry sauce to use.  It looks gorgeous and tastes just as amazing.

Salsa is always a winner! And super easy to transport! Black bean and corn salsa will bring a fresh twist and taste to the party table.

Switch up pasta salad with some Orzo and Roasted tomato. Can be served warm or room temperature.  This also transports easily and can be made ahead of time!

These are just a few ideas for your next party or gathering but feel free to search OHC for even more ideas.

Happy Holidays from OHC!

Cheddar Chipotle Puffs

If you recall a previous post where I talked about Columbus’s Beer Family’s First Potluck, then you will remember that my contribution to the event was Cheddar Chipotle Puffs.

Cheddar Chipotle Puffs that were paired with Rogue Chipotle Ale.  Cleverness!

To briefly recap, the idea behind the party was to pair a craft beer with a food item that you made.  I really wanted to bring a Rogue beer since it fit the criteria of a craft beer and it’s also easy for me to get my hands on.  Then I had to decide what to pair it with.  Once I knew that I was going to use the Chipotle Ale then a dish utilizing chipotles was the obvious choice.

I didn’t want the chipotles to be too overpowering though.  They can really bring the heat and I wanted to keep the heat level moderate enough that you could tell it was there but it didn’t blow your socks off.

I decided to make little “puffs” because they are bite size and would be super easy to transport.  After a few tweakings I got the recipe down.  It is a food of love type recipe which means it will take you some time but it’s totally worth it!

Andrea’s Cheddar Chipotle Puffs

  • 2C Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1C Unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2tsp Baking Soda
  • 1tsp Salt
  • 2tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2tsp Chili Powder
  • 1/2tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2C Water
  • 1/2C Light Olive Oil
  • 2 Chipotle peppers + 2 tsp of the adobo sauce
  • 1tsp Honey
  • 1C Grated Cheddar Cheese

In a large mixing bowl add in the flours, baking soda, salt, garlic powder, smoked paprika.  Whisk until combined.  Place mixing bowl in fridge.  Also in the fridge place the 1/2C of water and 1/2C of olive oil.  Allow to chill for at least half an hour.

Then add the dry ingredients to a stand mixer bowl.  In a food processor, add in the water, oil, chipotles with sauce, and the honey.  Pulse until the chipotles are broken down and fully incorporated into the wet ingredients.  Add this mixture to the dry ingredients gently combining them all.  The dough will be dense and thick.  Once the ingredients are combined, add in the shredded cheddar until it is mixed throughout the dough.

Roll the dough out onto a flat surface sprinkled with flour and give it a few extra kneads.  Wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge for an hour or until it sets back up.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment or a silpat.  Remove from fridge and split dough into two parts.  One part goes back in the fridge while you work with the remaining half.  On a floured surface roll dough out till about a 1/4 of an inch thick.  Using a small round cookie or biscuit cutter, cut dough into several pieces.  Rerolling out the dough as needed.  You should get several puffs just from one half of the dough.  Place puffs on cookie sheet and they can be relatively close together.  They “puff” up not out.  Bake for about 10 minutes.  The puffs should be “puffed” and springy to the touch.  Remove from cookie sheet and allow to cool.

Repeat with remaining half of the dough.

These are best served slightly warm but can be eaten at room temperature as well.  Depending on the size of the cutter you use will determine how many puffs you end up with.  I used a small biscuit cutter that was almost 2 inches in diameter which resulted in a ton of puffs!  YaY!

These puffs smell so so good as they are baking!  They are also mighty tasty too! Scott loved them and so did I.  These also freeze very well and can be pulled out when you want a quick snack or a quick appetizer for guests.

I also made these subbing in some spelt flour instead of the whole wheat and they worked just as well.  You can add more cheese if you like, just keep in mind that you want these to puff up, so too much cheese might inhibit that a bit.

Using cold ingredients helps make these puffs puff!  I have also made a batch with cold ingredients but did not put the dough in the fridge before rolling it out and baking.  It turned out alright and will work if you are short on time.  However if you have the time, allow the dough to chill for a bit first.  It makes the puffs a little more fluffy.

So how did these pair with the Chipotle Ale?  AMAZING!  A bite of puff followed with a swish of ale totally brought out the chipotle flavor of the ale a great deal.  The ale became spicy with some heat at the finish creating a very unique drinking experience.  Since the ale is cold, the spicy and heat give your taste-buds a sort of tingle that they weren’t expecting.

These little puffs are great for entertaining or bringing to your next potluck.  If you like savory flavors and cheese, you’ll love these!

Have fun guys, and remember, always play with your food!  Enjoy!


The idea of taking quinoa and creating a crunchy snack isn’t a new one.  However this is my take on the concept of “Quinola” which is like the second cousin twice removed and added back of the granola family.

This is the concept that made me fall in love with quinoa and realize that there’s more this little grain then just being regulated to standard side dish status.

Do you ever think that foods aspire to be the main dish? The star of the show?  Or is that just me?

Just me?  Okay then.

Quinola is super easy to make and put together.  It does take a while to bake and that’s the longest part of this recipe.

Andrea’s Quinola

  • 1C Uncooked Quinola
  • 2C Water
  • 1C Soymilk
  • 2TBSP Maple Syrup
  • 1/3C Peanut Butter (the good kind!)
  • 1tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2tsp Ground cinnamon

In a medium sauce pan add the water and bring to a boil.  Add the quinoa and cook until it’s done, about 15-20 minutes.  Fluff, place in a large mixing bowl, and then set aside letting it cool.

In a smaller mixing bowl, combine the soymilk, peanut butter, extract, and maple syrup.  Stir until the peanut butter breaks up a bit and blends into the soymilk.

Once the quinoa is cool, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Add the cinnamon to the quinoa and stir.  Then add in the soymilk and peanut butter mixture, stirring till combined.

Line a large cookie sheet, either with parchment or foil.  If using foil, spray with nonstick spray.  Spread the quinoa mixture onto the cookie sheet in a thin layer.  Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes.

Yup, 50 minutes.  It takes a while to dry out and get crunchy.  When it’s dried out and crispy, remove from oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before eating.

As the quinola is baking, you do need to keep half an eye on it just to make sure it doesn’t burn in places that are really thin.  If you’re using a convection oven, it probably won’t take a whole 50 minutes but will still at least take 30 minutes.

Quinola is crunchy and nutty.  The peanut butter gives it a nice background flavor which is accentuated by the cinnamon.

The first time Scott and I had this we fell in love immediately.  It is so tasty!  It is great to eat on it’s own or mixed in with some yogurt.

Kept in an air tight container, it lasts for a long while.  It’s a great way to utilize quinoa in a new way and if you’ve got leftover quinoa, a nice way to get it used up!

Have fun guys and remember, always play with your food!  Enjoy!

Quinoa Spice Cookies

Naturally when I started playing around with quinoa, I immediately went the dessert route.  “Hey I bet I could make cookies.  How awesome would that be? Protein powered cookies!”

This was actually my first baking experiment with quinoa.  I wanted something that sort of reminded me of fall, cozy times, and early sunsets.

These cookies totally deliver and are actually one of the few cookies that get better with time!

Andrea’s Quinoa Spice Cookies

  • 1.5C Cooked Quinoa
  • 1C Whole Wheat Pastry Flour + 4 TBSP
  • 2tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2tsp Allspice
  • 1/2tsp Ground Clove
  • 1/2tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4tsp Baking Soda
  • 2TBSP Sugar
  • 2TBSP Ground Flax
  • 1/2C Dried Cranberries
  • 1/2C Crushed/chopped Walnuts
  • 1C Soymilk
  • 2TBSP Molasses
  • 2tsp Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven at 350 degrees.  In medium sized mixing bowl, combine soymilk, vanilla, and molasses.  Whisk until combined, set aside.  In a large mixing bowl combine all remaining ingredients.  Mix until everything is combined.  The flour will start to coat the quinoa.  Add in the liquid mixture to the quinoa mixture slowly.  Stir until everything is combined.  If the mixture seems thick and like you might need more liquid, add a splash more of soymilk.

On a lined or greased cookie sheet, drop the cookie mixture by the spoonful. These take a little bit longer to cook than regular cookies.  About 12 minutes or a few minutes longer.  Just until the cookies firm up and a toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool for a few minutes and then serve.

I know that looks like a lot of ingredients but don’t let it scare you away!  It’s mostly spices and these cookies are really easy to put together.

These cookies turned out exactly like I was hoping they would! They remind me of a nice spice or gingerbread cookie that are common around the holidays.  Every time Scott and I eat these cookies, the phrase, “Dang this are some good cookies!” is frequently heard. :p

What I’m finding with quinoa is that it does make batters heavy and increases the cooking time.  This is the case the with the cookies, they cook longer than regular cookies.  Just keep an eye on them to make sure you don’t over cook them.

Just an FYI, all the cookies (and most everything actually) I make freeze wonderfully.  This cookies will last in the freezer and just zap them quick in the microwave when you want a nibble.

These cookies are chewy, crunchy, and spicy.  They are perfect little bites of a healthy dessert.

Have fun guys and remember, always play with your food!  Enjoy!

Cranberry Irish Soda Bread

I used to buy Irish Soda Bread at Whole Foods all the time when they had it out.  It was fantastic! It was also the first time I had tasted it before.  Irish Soda Bread wasn’t something I grew up with nor heard of until I saw it at Whole Foods.  I guess I just didn’t run around in circles where it was mentioned.

At some point I think Whole Foods might have changed their recipe because I don’t care for their version anymore.  Something about it just tastes off and I can’t quite put my finger on it.  I never really thought about soda bread again after that until I came across Happy Herbivore’s recipe for Irish Soda Bread.

It was her recipe where I learned that one could curdle non-dairy milk with a little bit of acid, either lemon juice or apple-cider vinegar.  Did you know that?  I didn’t so I was excited to learn something new!

Why curdle non-dairy milk? Because traditional soda bread calls for buttermilk but if you are looking to keep things vegan you need an alternative.  I remembered from my smoothie making that cranberry juice will also cause soymilk to curdle, although you need equal parts of cranberry juice and soymilk.  I decided to run with that concept and make my own version of Irish Soda Bread.

Andrea’s Cranberry Irish Soda Bread

  • 3C Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1C Unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • 1C Unsweetened Cranberry Juice
  • 1C Soymilk
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1C Dried Cranberries
  • 2TBSP Organic Cane Sugar

Preheat oven to 350.  In a small mixing bowl, combine cranberry juice and soymilk, set aside for about five minutes.  The soymilk will start to curdle and separate.  In a large mixing bowl, combine all the other ingredients and whisk together.    Slowly add in the liquid mixture and stilr until everything is combined.  The dough will be sticky but will come together to form a heavy dough.  If needed, a splash more soymilk will help the dough form if there is still some flour not incorporated.

Sprinkle flour on a flat surface and kneed the dough for about a minute.  Dough will still be sticky.  Form into a large round loaf and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  You can make a large X across the top of the dough with a knife to create the look of four sections.

Bake for about 40 minutes (could be longer) or until the bread has set.  A toothpick should come out clean.  Allow to cool before slicing.

I expected the bread to be tasty but didn’t quite expect it to be amazing, which it is.  Both of us love this bread!  It has just the right amount of sweetness to it that makes you want to keep eating and eating.  I used cranberries because I like them over raisins in baked goods.  Plus they have a great color which leads well to presentation.  Raisins don’t have a lot going for them in the aesthetic department.

The Irish Soda Bread that I’ve had before had been really dry.  This bread is not.  It is not a super moist bread like a quick bread but it is not dry like a biscuit.  It holds together well and has a nice soft chewy bite to it.

It’s great at room temperature and also slightly toasted.  Goes well with coffee and a nice accompaniment with yogurt and granola.  I sliced mine up and froze the slices for easy access when the mood strikes.

Now that I have the method of curdling soymilk under my belt, who knows what else is in store!

Have fun guys, and remember, always play with your food!  Enjoy!