Simple advice for a better life.

Greek Tzatziki DipOn our last visit to our youngest son, we snacked on a very tasty dip he prepared, among a nice spread of various other hors d’oeuvres.  It was a great feeling to see that he is becoming a great host, and practices his recipes on his parents.

If you have adult children, you will agree that it makes you feel rewarded, seeing them grow up into responsible, self-sufficient individuals.  It confirms that you have done a good job, and now it’s their time to shine, and show it off.

Now back to the dip.  It was his home made Greek Tzatziki Dip, for which he shared his recipe with me to try at home, and to post for all of you, in case you have never tried making it yourself.

It is very refreshing any time of the year, but even more so during hot summer days.  It may be served as a dip with veggies, chunks of Pita Bread, with Gyros or Souvlaki, or as a salad dressing.

Greek Tzatziki Dip- Sauce - main ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of cucumber, chopped of shredded (one large cucumber-seeds removed, or 2-3 small ones ,with seeds,  as these have very small and tender seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (garlic chopper is perfect for this job)
  • 2 cups  Greek Yogurt, plain (or sour cream if you don’t like yogurt)
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black, or white pepper, ground
  • 1 Tbs dill weed, chopped

Directions:

  1. Peel the cucumbers, rinse under running water, pat dry.
  2. Finely chop, or shred on a large eye hand grater, or food processor.
  3. Salt cucumber and place in a strainer over a bowl, to drain any extra juices.
  4. Mince the garlic.
  5. Chop the dill.
  6. Place cucumbers in a mixing bowl.
  7. Add garlic, dill, pepper, salt,olive oil, lemon juice, and Greek Yogurt.
  8. Mix well with a spoon, to fold in nicely.
  9. Cover and chill for about an  hour.

Serve as suggested above.

TIP: If you are not very fond of Dill, you may use chopped, fresh or dried mint leaves.

Rye Bread Dip 2Labor Day is just around the corner, which means it’s time to start planning a party.  I have already posted several recipes for party foods, but this time I will share one that has been around for a while.

It used to be very popular few years back, and it’s gaining popularity once again.

Actually, one of my readers  asked me to post my recipe for the Rye Bread Dip, so here it is.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups mayonnaise (Hellmans Light, is my favorite)
  • 2 cups sour cream (see TIP below this post)
  • 1 Tbs Italian Parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 Tbs onion, minced
  • 2 Tbs dill
  • 1 packet Dried Beef, chopped(optional if you are a vegetarian)
  • 1 round loaf of Rye Bread

Directions:

  1. In a medium size bowl, mix mayonnaise and sour cream.
  2. Chop the Dried Beef to small chunks.
  3. Blend in the parsley, onions, dill and chopped beef.
  4. Slice off the top of the round rye bread loaf (about 1 inch from the top)
  5. Scoop out the middle section of the bread, and cut up into 2×2 inch squares.  The bread shell will become  a bread bowl.  The sliced off top of the bread may serve as a cover for the dip before serving, or it may be cut up into chunks, for dipping.
  6. Set aside the bread chunks.
  7. Fill the bread cavity with the dip (see TIP below this post).
  8. Place the filled bread bowl on a serving platter, and arrange the cut up bread chunks around it.
  9. Dip in, and enjoy!

TIP: To prevent the “bread bowl” from getting soggy, you can place a serving bowl, filled with the dip, inside the bread cavity, and as begin to run low on the bread cubes, you can cut up the remaining bread, to replenish.

To lighten up this recipe a little further, you may substitute the sour cream with Light Sour Cream, or Greek Yogurt.

Lemon Basil HummusHummus is a great source or protein, quite nutritious to snack on, and very easy to make.   I began using Chickpeas a couple of years ago, when I experimented with The Fat Smash Diet, as it was included in the list of approved foods to snack on.

I used to always buy hummus, but now I prefer to make my own, since it requires very few simple ingredients, and only takes a couple of minutes to complete.

I grow my own garlic and basil, so my hummus is also very fresh, and very inexpensive to prepare.

If you love hummus, you will love this original recipe, or you can add your favorite vegetables for variation, and share your experience with us.

Makes 1 1/4 cup of hummus.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can Chickpeas (I used Progresso 20 oz)
  • 5 large basil leaves (about 2 Tbs), chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and quartered (one is enough if you prefer a lighter flavor)
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. Tahini paste
  • 1 tsp Soy Sauce, low sodium
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, ground

Directions:

  1. Drain the chickpeas over strainer, reserving 1 Tbs of the liquid.
  2. Rinse under running water.
  3. Place the chickpeas in a food processor, add remaining ingredients.
  4. Cover and process until the mixture is smooth.
  5. Serve with your favorite crackers, for dipping.

TIP:  This dip is also excellent with raw veggies, such as celery, cucumber slices, or peppers.

If you like it on a thinner side, you may mix in little bit of water.

For another variation, you may add 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes to the above recipe.

Rice Krispies

Rice Krispies Treats make an excellent snack for kids and adults.  They are very simple to make, require very few ingredients , and best of all, a short preparation time.  It can’t get any better than that!

You can make them plain, or dress them up with colorful sprinkles, M&M, drizzle with melted chocolate, or to make them extra yummy, cover them with chocolate ganache.….ahhhh.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups of Rice Krispies Cereal
  • 1 bag of Marshmallows (10 oz)
  • 2 Tbs of butter
  • Optional decorations: sprinkles, M&Ms, melted chocolate

Directions:

  1. Measure 6 cups of Rice Krispies cereal into a bowl, and set aside.
  2. Melt 2 Tbs of butter in a large pan, keeping pan on low heat.
  3. Add Marshmallows, and continuously mix with a spatula, or a wet wooden spoon, until marshmallow dissolve and turn into a smooth paste.
  4. Gradually keep on adding cereal, and continue to work it into the marshmallows, until all cereal in fully mixed in.
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Generously grease a glass casserole dish, 9 x 12 inches.
  7. Transfer the Rice Krispies/Marshmallow mixture into the casserole dish, and spread it evenly.
  8. Press gently down, using your fingers dipped in water (to prevent from sticking), or with a wooden spoon, also periodically dipped in water.
  9. If you want to use them plain, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to cool.
  10. If you plan to decorate them with your favorite accessories, this is the time to do it.
  11. Cover and set aside to cool completely.
  12. Once cooled and set, use a sharp knife to cut into serving portions.

Store any leftovers in a plastic zip-lock bag, to prevent from drying out.

ENJOY!!

TIP:  If you want to be creative, you can cut the Rice Krispies into interesting shapes, using your cookie cutters.

Helpful Hints – Living Green

Creative Commons License photo credit: aaronx

I found another very helpful hint to save energy and money, posted on ecomi website.

This one is about laundry, how to get the job done, and save money at the same time.

You already know that washing clothes in cold water, not only saves energy by not heating your water, but also extends the life and appearance of your clothes, especially the dark colored ones.

Check these out, save energy and money:

Wash Laundry with Cold Water

What?
Save energy and money by washing your clothes in cold water.

How?
Avoid using the hot or warm water modes unless it’s truly warranted, such when you need to disinfect something.  Otherwise, leave the dial on “Cold.”

Why?
According to the EPA, approximately 90% of the total energy consumed by a standard top-load washing machine goes to heating the water.

Did You Know?
The average American household does 392 loads of laundry per year.

That’s more than once a day.

No wonder using cold water will save you a bundle.

To increase your savings even further, here are some additional tips on drying your laundry.

However, before you decide to put out a display of your freshly laundered garments, do your homework, and find out if your neighborhood allows it.

Some developments have special deed restrictions, not allowing outside clothes drying rack, or clothes lines, which could result in a fine, if not adhered to.

If that is your dilemma, then you can dry smaller loads of laundry in your basement, garage, or laundry room.

What?
Save money and energy by line drying or rack drying your clothes.

How?

Do it the old-fashioned way: String up a rope or cord outside, and attach your clothes with pins. Or if you live in an apartment, purchase a rack that you can use indoors.

Why?
After the refrigerator, the dryer is the biggest energy-draining appliance in your home.

Did You Know?
You can potentially save up to hundreds of dollars a year on your electric bill by reducing your dryer usage.

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