Category Archives: Appetizers

Goat Cheese, Pesto & Red Pepper Dip (The Best 3 Ingredient Appetizer)

This is an appetizer I bring to many a potluck. It is so easy to throw together, having only 3 ingredients. Today’s potluck is a block party on my street, the Vester Festifall. We will be carving pumpkins, jumping on a bounce house, drinking hot toddies, and listening to a collaborative playlist of Halloween music.

Eliza Bounce House

Eliza is not enthused.

Yesterday, my neighbor Eliza and I made posters for the event. She is an absolute doll. Now, onto the recipe.

Goat Cheese, Pesto & Red Pepper Dip


  • goat cheese log
  • jar of pesto (home made or store bought)
  • red pepper(s)

Goat Cheese, Pesto & Red Pepper Dip (The Best 3 Ingredient Appetizer) | real food. home made.


  1. Preheat oven to 325º
  2. Spread the pesto over the bottom of a baking dish.
  3. Chop up the goat cheese and arrange it down the middle.
  4. Dice your red pepper(s) and place them along the sides.
  5. Bake for 15-30 minutes.
  6. Serve with your favourite crackers, pita chips, or baguette slices.

Note: You can either make this in a smaller baking dish, with a small goat cheese log, a small jar of pesto, and one red pepper. Today, however, I am using a monster cheese log, a lot of pesto and 2 red peppers.

In the oven, the pesto will sautée the pepper, and the cheese will melt. Yum yum yum! What a gorgeous Fall day for a block party. Gotta go!

Recipe source: The Polohouse


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Filed under Appetizers, Gluten Free, Potluck, Vegetarian

Sauerkraut, Mushroom & Onion Pierogies

Sauerkraut, Mushroom & Onion Pierogies | real food. home made.

This recipe has two steps.  First you have to make your sauerkraut.  This will be great to have on hand at all times.  It will store in the fridge practically indefinitely, so you can choose to make your pierogies at any time.  You can also feel free to buy pre-made sauerkraut.  Western Market in Ferndale has some incredible sauerkraut varieties, I noticed when I was there today.  I highly suggest making your own sometime, though.  There is something so magical about eating something that has fermented in your basement for a fortnight.  😉

Roasted Jalapeno & Garlic Raw Sauerkraut (from Practical Paleo)


  • 1 large head of green cabbage, sliced into thin strips (set large outer leaves aside)
  • 1-2 T sea salt
  • 2 large carrots, shredded
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic, finely sliced (2 if large, 4 if smaller)
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers, roasted then sliced
  • Black pepper to taste


  1. Place 1/3 of your sliced cabbage into a large bowl and sprinkle 1 T of salt over it.  Using your hands, squeeze the cabbage until water begins to come out of it.
  2. Repeat this process, adding the remaining cabbage and salt 1/3 at a time to the bowl.  This will take time and will be a great workout.
  3. Add the shredded carrots, garlic, jalapenos and black pepper to the mixture and combine with your hands.
  4. Fill two 32 oz mason jars evenly, pressing the mixture down so that water releases and raises above the line of the vegetables with 2 inches of air space remaining at the top.
  5. Wedge the large outer cabbage leaves into the top of the jars so that the mixture is pressed below and the water level raises above the leaf.  A shot glass serves nicely as additional weight to keep the mixture held securely down.
  6. Store the jars in a secure, cool, dark place where they will not be disturbed.
  7. Check on your sauerkraut every few days to make sure that all the vegetables remain under water.  If needed, add some fresh water on top, but you should be okay, especially if you use a shot glass weight.
  8. After two weeks, your sauerkraut will be ready to eat!
  9. Store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to make your pierogies.

Sauerkraut, Mushroom & Onion Pierogies


For the dough:

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 large pastured egg
  • 2 tablespoons organic sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup water

For the filling:

  • 1 tablespoon grass-fed butter
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 14-ounces home made sauerkraut
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, coarsley chopped
  • Several grinds of black pepper

For cooking and serving:

  • more butter
  • the other half of the onion, sautéed
  • more sour cream
  • salt to taste


  1. Knead the dough ingredients together, and store it under a towel until required.
  2. Heat the butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and mushrooms, and cook until sufficiently wilted.  Add the sauerkraut, and cook for a few minutes.  Add the pepper, and taste for seasoning.  Add some salt if it needs it.
  3. Transfer the filling mixture to a bowl and let cool.
  4. Start a pot of water boiling.
  5. Flour your workstation.  Take out your dough, and roll it out until it is pretty thin.  I run the dough through my pasta maker, which makes it a bit easier, but I’ve made many a pierogi without one.  If you don’t have a rolling pin, use a pint glass or a 40.
  6. Use a glass or small bowl as a cookie cutter, to create multiple little dough circles.
  7. Taking one dough circle at a time, roll it out slightly bigger, add filling, moisten the edges, and crimp shut around the edges with a fork.
  8. Drop 6 pierogi at a time into the boiling water, letting them swim for about a minute.  Remove them from the water, and place immediately into an adjacent frying pan lined with butter set at medium-high heat.  Fry the pierogi on both sides until desired level of brown-ness has been achieved.  At the polish banquet hall I used to work at, they liked us to brown them ever-so-slightly.  I myself prefer them a darker golden brown.
  9. Serve with sautéed onions and sour cream.

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Filed under Appetizers, Dinner Ideas, Vegetarian

No Bake Carrot Cake Balls

No Bake Carrot Cake Balls | real food. home made.


  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats (make sure gluten free if allergic)
  • 1/3 cup cashews, chopped
  • 1 T ground flax seed
  • 3/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 3 T honey or maple syrup
  • 1/4 t ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup (packed) grated carrot
  • 1/3 cup raisins


  1. Thoroughly combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Form into comfortably sized balls, and refrigerate for at least one hour.
  3. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.  If there are leftovers, pop them in the freezer to enjoy any time at a moment’s notice!

I love these little guys.  They are perfectly satisfying when you feel like a quick, healthy snack.  Forget processed granola bars!  These are the real deal.

Adapted from Cookin’ Canuck

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Filed under Appetizers, Breakfast, Desserts, Gluten Free, Potluck, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetarian

Tempeh Portobello Potstickers

Tempeh Portobello Potstickers | real food. home made.


  • 48 wonton wrappers
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 8 oz tempeh, crumbled
  • 6 oz portobello mushrooms, chopped small
  • 2 T ginger, minced
  • 1 cup cabbage, grated
  • 1 cup carrot, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T liquid aminos
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 T rice vinegar
  • coconut oil for frying


  1. Prep all of your ingredients.
  2. In a large frying pan or wok, heat the sesame oil over medium heat.  Add crumbled tempeh, mushrooms and ginger.
  3. Once the tempeh starts to brown and the mushrooms are wilted, add in the cabbage, carrot, and garlic, and cook for a few minutes.
  4. Add in the liquid aminos and rice vinegar.  Then the green onions.
  5. Remove from heat and let cool.
  6. Prepare your workstation!  Fill a custard cup with water, and prepare a clean dry surface.
  7. Lay out one wonton wrapper at a time, fill with about a tablespoon of filling, dip your finger in the water to wet the edges of the wrapper, and then pinch the edges together so they stick.  Repeat 48 times.  (Or if you’re like me, do 8-10 at a time).
  8. Use this time for meditation.  Meticulous potsticker stuffing will be only as annoying or as rewarding as you make it.
  9. Heat a bit of coconut oil in a large frying pan or electric skillet over medium-high heat (let’s just go ahead and say 7, can we say 7?)  Add 8-10 potstickers to the pan.  When they reach your desired level of golden brown, add a splash of water and cover with a lid to give them a little steam.  I turn off the heat at this point.
  10. Cook the rest of your batches and then you will finally finally be done!

Hope the party guests tonight like my new concoction!

Optional Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup liquid aminos
  • 1/2 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 t ginger, minced
  • 1/2 t sesame oil
  • 1/4 t red pepper flakes
  • 1 t chopped green onion


Filed under Appetizers, Potluck, Vegetarian

Spinach Quinoa Flax Balls

Spinach Quinoa Flax Balls | real food. home made.


  • 1 cup red or white quinoa (or blend of both)
  • 1 3/4 cups organic free-range chicken broth
  • 2 boxes of frozen spinach, defrosted and water thoroughly squeezed out
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter (grass-fed)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 t ground black pepper
  • 1/2 t sea salt
  • 3 T tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup oat flour (make sure oats are gluten-free if allergic)
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese


  1. Bring quinoa and chicken broth to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and cook for 20 minutes.
  2. Make your flour mixture by adding a handful of almonds and a handful of old-fashioned oats to a food processor and grind – Make a 1/2 cup of flour total.
  3. Mix quinoa, flour, and all other ingredients together in a large bowl.
  4. Refrigerate for an hour or overnight.
  5. Preheat oven to 350*
  6. Grease baking sheet with coconut oil or butter.
  7. Roll mixture into balls and bake for 20-30 minutes.

These are so pretty!  If you use red quinoa, the red and green colour scheme make them perfect for bringing to Holiday parties!

Adapted from Lauren Kelly Nutrition

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Filed under Appetizers, Gluten Free, Potluck, Snacks, Vegetarian

Grass-Fed Corn Dog Bites

Grass Fed Corn Dog Bites | real food. home made.

This advertisement came in the mail yesterday, and I burst out laughing.  I am going to start collecting these prime examples of our country’s sickening problem with food.  We are equating the word “protein” with “corn dog”?  How did we let this happen?  Protein is one of the prime building blocks of life, I feel so sorry that the word has to appear so large alongside this abominable “edible food product”.

However, corn dogs are not inherently bad.  I believe that as long as you make a dish home made from quality real food ingredients, nothing is off limits!  Not even corn dogs.  Following is a recipe for mini corn dog bites – they are an excellent appetizer to bring to a superbowl party, or any other gathering under the sun (except maybe a vegan potluck).

Grass-Fed Corn Dog Bites | real food. home made. 

Grass-Fed Corn Dog Bites

Yield: 36 mini-muffins


Now, contrast that list with the State Fair corndog ingredients:

Grass-Fed Corn Dog Bites | real food. home made.

When reading the labels on packaged food products, ask yourself the question: “Are these the ingredients I would use to make this item”?  If the answer is no, which it will be more often than not, do not risk it.  Remember, your body is not a garbage can.


  1. Preheat oven to 375º
  2. Whisk butter and sugar together, add eggs, then buttermilk, whisking them all together.
  3. Whisk dry ingredients in a seperate bowl: cornmeal, flour, baking soda and salt.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients.
  5. Spray a mini muffin pan with coconut oil.
  6. Add a glop of batter to, then press a hot dog section into the center of, each cup.  Each cup should be nearly full but not quite.
  7. Bake for about 15 minutes or until cornbread just starts to brown.
  8. Let them cool for as long as you can stand it, and then transfer to a tupperware to bring to the party.
  9. You can serve these at room temperature, or re-heat them in the oven for a bit at serving time.

Grass-Fed Corn Dog Bites | real food. home made.

Now that’s a fun source of protein I can get behind!

Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

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Peanut Butter Stuffed Medjool Dates

Peanut Butter Stuffed Medjool Dates | real food. home made.

These look much more appetizing in space than they did on my plate.

You know that feeling when you try to go to bed and you can’t sleep because you are hungry? This is the perfect cure for that feeling! It can also be served as an appetizer, a dessert, a mid-morning or after-school snack. It is simple, requiring only 2 ingredients that you should already have in your pantry!

Peanut Butter Stuffed Medjool Dates | real food. home made.


  • medjool dates (Natural Delights are the best!)
  • natural peanut butter (home made or make sure the ingredients list contains only peanuts and salt)


  1. Cut open your dates and remove the pits (very important!!!)
  2. Stuff with peanut butter.
  3. Watch your hunger pangs disappear!

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Filed under Appetizers, Desserts, Gluten Free, Paleo, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetarian