Super Bowl’s Best Appetizers


Super Bowl parties are on the horizon. Planning one is never easier. Finger foods and dip recipes are in order. I bet you have the hot wings covered, so lets move into the end zone with some more winning ideas.


Seriously, it’s not a party unless there is dip. Right? Here is my spicy new spin on the Middle Eastern chickpea puree known as hummus. It takes all of 5 minutes to make in the food processor and really tastes even better if made a day in advance. It can be served with the classic pita chips or if you want to get extra healthy and fancy serve it as a finger food stuffed into those cute little mini peppers. Using the harissa avocado mayo from one of my favorite brands, Chosen Foods, eliminates the need for several other ingredients like oil and spices.

Harissa Hummus

1 clove garlic

1 (15 oz.) can chick peas (garbanzo beans), drained, liquid reserved (aka: aquafaba)

¼ cup Chosen Foods Harissa avocado oil mayo

¼ cup plain Greek yogurt

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons sesame tahini

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

With food processor fitted with metal blade and running, drop garlic through the feed tube. When garlic is finely chopped turn off machine. Add chick peas; process about 30 seconds or until coarsely chopped. Add remaining ingredients including 1 tablespoon of reserved aquafaba. Process mixture until smooth scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add additional aquafaba to thin mixture to desired dip consistency. Stored covered in refrigerator. 


Since we all need balance on the field and on the table let’s go from super delicious healthy to super delicious decadence. Let’s face it. Decadence makes us happy. You need this in case your favorite team failed to make the play-offs, so dig in and enjoy yourself.


Can you say Touchdown! These crispy chili beef spring rolls will have your friends coming over whether they like to watch football or not. Make a batch of your favorite chili. Enjoy some for dinner and set a cup or two aside to cool overnight in the fridge in preparation of these hand-held delights. I love this chili recipe from certified angus beef.


Spring roll shells (NOT egg roll wrappers) are a must for a light crispy texture. Do you fear deep-frying? If so, the rolls can be shallow fried just by turning them to insure an even golden brown on all sides. Remember to roll them tightly and seal them well to keep all the beef chili goodness inside.


Crispy Beef Chili Spring Rolls

Make at least 2 per person. For each spring roll you will need:

  • 1 spring roll shell
  • 1 tablespoon shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 2 tablespoons cold beef chili
  • vegetable or peanut oil for frying

Lay spring roll shell down on flat surface with a point towards you. Follow photo below for spooning cheese and chili on top. Fold point over filling and roll tightly sealing ends and sides with a bit of water. Heat oil to 350F. Fry until golden on all sides, about 2 minutes. Serve with your favorite salsa, sour cream, and guacamole for dipping. 


See how super thin they are compared to egg roll wrappers?

The Sweet Stuff


Very early this morning I had a whoosh moment with William. I woke up as I often did (life in the military) worried about him, but as if he were still alive. I was dreaming that he was taking a nap and I needed to be quiet, so as not to wake him. His scout sniper platoon training often deprived him of sleep and that deprivation was the most likely cause of his accident. I felt that bear hug squeeze that only he could deliver. It is a sweet moment. He must be liking the blog.

Military wives and mothers are an amazing group of women at least the ones I have come to know. They are loyal, loving, dedicated pillars of strength. One deployment after another they hold down the fort, alone, with great care and devotion. They are so very protective of their children. I have never met Charlena and Laura Beth, but they knew William. He was “like family”, so ventured out to find me. They bravely stepped forward to share “William” stories and surrounded me with their tender touch. I love them, am inspired by them and thank them for THEIR service.

If there is one thing a person can do to facilitate healing it is to share stories of the one who has been lost.  Don’t be afraid to tell the good, the bad, the ugly and the funny. One does not really know one’s child until others start sharing their personal interactions and secrets, which are now safe to tell. Many tales began with, “If he knew I was telling you this he would kick my a$#!” which always drew laughter.

Write your story in a card or a letter or tell it over the phone. Grab some coffee and come by the house to share a story. In this day and age deliver it by email or private message or instant message. I’ve heard tales from his “brothers”, classmates, teachers, friends and family from far and wide. Every sweet word is cherished, treasured, welcomed and healing.

Clearly, one of life’s sweet moments is William’s homecoming party from Afghanistan. It was just 3 years ago this month. His favorite chili is on the menu. What makes it special is the touch of sweetness it gets from real maple syrup. No other sweetener can match the flavor and richness that maple syrup brings to the table. It brings back memories of a sweeter time when the kids were little and we tried to make our own maple syrup. We tapped the trees, collected the syrup and then nearly stripped the wallpaper from the kitchen walls as the boiling process created so much steam. Lesson learned—buy it at the store! Learn about it here: pure canada maple

home coming chili

home coming chili

Sweet William's Homecoming Chicken Chili

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon minced chipotle chili in adobo sauce

1 pound diced chicken or turkey

1 pound Italian sausage, casing removed

1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes

1 to 2 tablespoons chili powder

2 tablespoons real maple syrup

1-teaspoon ground cumin

1-teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1-cup low-salt chicken broth

1 (15 oz) can small white beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 ½ cups fresh or frozen sweet corn kernals

¼ cup chopped fresh herbs like cilantro, basil, flat-leaf parsley

Heat oil over medium-high heat in Dutch oven or large stockpot. Add onion and bell pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add garlic and chipotle; cook 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add chicken and sausage; stirring, until no longer pink. Add tomatoes, 1-tablespoon chili powder, maple syrup, cumin, salt and pepper; stir well and cook for 10 minutes. Add broth; bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes. Add beans, corn and additional chili powder, if desired; cook 15 minutes. Stir in herbs.  Leftovers taste great spooned over a baked potato with cheddar cheese.