Hors d'oeuvres

How I entertain with Saffron Roads

How cute are these!!!  Who knew "chips" aka Saffron Roads BeanStalks could be so good looking! I think I mentioned before that Ayla, my almost 3 year old daughter eats based on the color and shape of the items she's eating.  So of course, these bean stalks were on the top of list of things she approves eating.  Although I completely approve of her eating these Saffron Roads bean stalks, because they are made from three different types of beans and have 3 grams of plant-based protein in every serving—but with 50% less fat than potato chips, I had to continue the mind games with her and tell her she's allowed to have some only if she's a good girl.    Mothers of toddlers, you know what I'm talking about with the mind games, right?

These Saffron Roads bean stalks are so pretty I wanted to do something extra with them.  And what better way then to entertain with them!  For me, the hardest thing about entertaining is timing.  I always want to make so many different dishes and hor d'ouvers that I end up overwhelming myself.  What I love about these Bean Stalks is they are so effortless.  I can basically just present them in a pretty ceramic bowl and they would automatically elevate my party from zero to hero.  Which is exactly what happened when our friends called us at 7:30 pm and told us they are stopping by because they're in the area.  I sprinkled fresh dill on top of the lebne and BeanStalks and also put some fresh dill in a bowl for that extra pop of color.  

In the top pictures I used lebne (which tasted amazing with the barbecue flavored Saffron Roads bean stalks but feel free to substitute with sour cream or greek yogurt if you don't have access to lebne) I used the lebne as a nice bed for the bean stalks BUT I do warn that they should be consumed immediately because the lebne will make the BeanStalks soft if kept on there for too long.  

Put lebne in a ziploc bag and cut the corner so you create a piping bag and pipe the lebne inside the Beanstalk

Put lebne in a ziploc bag and cut the corner so you create a piping bag and pipe the lebne inside the Beanstalk

There are SO many things to do with these BeanStalks.  They're just the perfect tube shape, it allows for more flavor on the inside and out.  The interesting shape also makes it fun to use in multiple ways to entertain.  In these pictures I used some parchment paper in a french fry cone holder and served the BeanStalks that way.  Such a great party idea to give out to kids and also feel good about feeding it to them.

This post is sponsored by Saffron Roads, all opinions are my own.

Source: http://saffronroadfood.com/beanstalks/

Blue Cheese Stuffed Medjool Dates

I am obsessed with dates; medjool dates in particular.  I feel like they have such a bad reputation though because they look so similar to prunes, sorry prunes.  They're wrinkly and not a bright fun color.  The taste though is anything but!  They are the perfect sweetness it's unbelievable!  The texture combination with the sweetness is perfect.  

The health benefits are tremendous too; they actually have more potassium than a banana and more antioxidants than blueberries!  They are so rich in dietary fibers and help sustain energy and stabilize blood sugar.  They're truly a superfood in more ways then one.  

There are a ton, over a hundred, of different types of dates in the Middle East but in the US there are only about 5; Medjool and Deglet dates being the most popular.   Medjool date is considered the "King of Dates" as it was reserved for the King and his family because of its large size, its chewy firm texture, sweetness and extremely labor intensive cultivation process.  In 1927 a disease struck the Medjool date palm in Morocco and threatened their existence but an American by the name of Walter Swingle brought back 9 offshoots to California.  Interestingly enough the medjool dates of today are the descendants of the surviving moroccan palms!   Another fun fact is the medjool date is the oldest cultivated fruit, dating back to 6,000 B.C in ancient cultures in the Middle East!  It is because of this that the date is so entrenched in middle eastern cuisine especially dessert.  And now, thankfully, the American mainstream has caught on to the secret exotic King of Dates and I can find dates in all natural grocery stores, vegan restaurants and all sorts of trendy LA restaurants.     

So this is all great, the health benefits, the taste, the history but I actually also consume a lot of dates especially when I have people over because of pure laziness haha.   It's soooo simple and yummy!  This is a super simple way and super delicious way to serve dates; stuff with blue cheese (or goat cheese, or cream cheese) and a sliver of crunchy red apple.  The color of the apple is a nice contrast to the white cheese and brown date and also adds a nice variety of texture.   Let's be honest, a wrinkly brown date doesn't stand a chance in appearance next to a bright beautiful bright red strawberry or a bright orange peach and we all know that people eat with their eyes first, or is that just me?? hmm insert pondering emoticon here.  So adding the bright red apple is a key touch for flavor and visual. 

When serving dates ALWAYS remove the pit and make sure it is clean on the inside because unfortunately sometimes they can be bad dates undetectable from the outside.  You want to NOT eat it if you see a bunch of tiny little dots, and you'll know when you see it.  I was hoping I would find one so I can photograph it for reference but fortunately and unfortunately I didn't have a rotten one.