Sweet potato “crostini” with roasted beets, figs, cashews and feta


This recipe is great for a gluten-free vegetarian appetizer or party food.  The sweet potato base replaces a cracker or piece of toast in a more traditional appetizer, and the combination of roasted beets, feta, figs or dates, and cashews adds a sweet and salty flavor that is great for the fall or winter season.

sweet potato beet crostini   Sweet potato crostini with roasted beets, figs, cashews and feta


  • 1 large beet
  • 2 large sweet potatoes or yams (I used yams, but sweet potatoes would have been better, I think)
  • about 4 oz feta cheese
  • 1/2 – 1 cup chopped dates or figs (dried or fresh, if available)
  • 1/2 cup cashews or walnuts
  • drizzle of honey or maple syrup for sweetness
  • olive oil and balsamic for roasting the beets


  • Peel and chop the beets and toss in olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper
  • Wrap beets in tin foil and bake in the oven for ~40 minutes on 400 degrees or until tender
  • Scrub and slice yams or sweet potatoes in 1/2″ thick slices, leaving the skin on

baking sweet potato slices   Sweet potato crostini with roasted beets, figs, cashews and feta

  • Bake sweet potatoes on a lightly oiled cookie sheet (or oiled foil) in the oven for about 30-35 minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottom.  You may wish to brush the tops with oil to brown them as well.
  • In a food processor, pulse the roasted beets, feta cheese, cashews or walnuts, and chopped dates or figs.  I added a drizzle of maple syrup (honey would work, too) to moisten the mixture a bit.  Reserve a little cheese and figs or dates to garnish.
  • Top each slice of sweet potato with a spoonful of the beet mixture, and garnish with feta/figs

feta figs and dates   Sweet potato crostini with roasted beets, figs, cashews and feta

  • Using a salt grinder, add a very small amount of sea salt over each potato slice
  • Drizzle just a touch of maple syrup over the sweet potato / beets and serve warm

If you make extra, keep the beets/feta mixture separate from the potato slices.  Heat potato slices in the toaster oven and warm the beet mixture for 15-20 seconds in the microwave and combine.


sweet potato beets and feta   Sweet potato crostini with roasted beets, figs, cashews and feta

January 6, 2013
Food, Recipe


Baby Shower Cake Pops


I rarely bake, but when I do, I start by cheating.  My sister’s baby shower called for going above and beyond and a previous roommate’s cake business had me itching to try my hand in making cake pops.  They are so fancy, delicious, and party-perfect!

Unfortunately for a rookie, it’s a lot of work!  I think once you get the hang of it it’s not so bad.. But I made 66 cake pops or so, and it took all night.

cakepops1   Baby Shower Cake Pops

Blue, white, and brown cake pops make the perfect baby-shower treat!


Cake pop recipe:

  • 1 box cake mix (and whatever is required to make it)
  • 1/2 cup or so of cake frosting
  • lollipop sticks
  • various color candy melts (be sure to buy the most of whatever your base color will be)
  • Sugar and food dye (or colored sugars), sprinkles, etc., for decoration
  • Styrofoam to hold the cake pops for drying and display

For the cake mix, I used whatever brand was on sale.  I tried both a chocolate cake with chocolate icing, and a yellow cake with french vanilla icing.  You can experiment with different combinations of flavors.  For the candy melts, I got chocolate (brown), white chocolate (white), and a white chocolate flavored blue melt.


Bake the cake

  • Bake the cake as directed, and let cool completely.
  • Completely crumble the cake into a large bowl, rubbing between your palms to break up any pieces as much as possible.  Discard any tough pieces that were edges or the tops, if they are not crumbling well.
  • Mix 1/2 cup or so of frosting into the cake mix until it is somewhat sticky.

Make the cake ball lollipops

  • Roll the cake into balls and place on wax or parchment paper and place them in the freezer until cold and no longer sticky, but not solid (about 1 hour)
  • Melt the candy melts per the instructions (be careful, if you get impatient you will ruin the candy melts).
  • Dip the end of each lollipop stick into the candy melt and then insert it about halfway into a cake ball.  This way, the candy melt will harden, holding the lollipop stick onto the cake pop so it won’t fall off.  I began putting the ones I’d finished back into the freezer while completing this step.
  • Let the cake pops set in the freezer for up to 1 more hour.

Make the colored sugar

  • To make colored sugar, you can take plain white sugar and add it to a shaker or tupperware container.
  • Add 1 or two drops of food coloring (depending on the desired result) per half cup of sugar).
  • Shake the container vigorously until all sugar is uniformly colored.  This worked great for me and saved me some money!  This is how I created the baby blue sugar.

Decorate the cake pops

  • Melt the desired candy melt color for the base of your pops in a deep narrow container that still has some room on the sides if you were to put a cake ball in it.  As the candy melts begin to cool you will have to reheat them slightly.
  • Take a cake pop by the lollipop stick and dip it into the  container at a slight angle, and twirl until the cake pop is coated.
  • Remove the ball from the candy melts and twirl it between your fingers to remove excess candy coating, and tap gently on the side of the cup to again remove any excess.  The candy melts go on thick so it’s a bit of work to get the right amount on each cake ball without overusing the coating.
  • Place the lollipop stick into a styrofoam base (flower arrangement foam works well here too) and immediately decorate by drizzling colored sugar, sprinkles, or whatever you wish on top, before the candy coating dries.
  • You can also drizzle a contrasting color of candy melt on top by melting them in a plastic bag and snipping off the corner of it, then squeezing it out as you move the bag back and forth over your cake pops.
  • Continue until all are complete!

You’ll note that sometimes the cake pops crack.. I’ve heard this can have to do with the candy melts being too thick or the cake pop being too cold and then expanding as they warm.  Don’t leave your cake balls in the freezer for too long before decorating.

After you’re done, place them back in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.  They last for several days at least before drying out, as the candy melt coating keeps the inside moist!

cakepopsclose   Baby Shower Cake Pops

For display, I bought a basket from Michael’s crafts, laid the styrofoam inside at an appropriate height, placed the cake pops in the foam, and then covered the foam with decorative crepe paper.  They look great and everyone loved them!







Sweet & Spicy Chicken Thighs

This spicy rub followed by a sweet honey and apple glaze is the perfect combination. The skin was just the right level of crispness and the chicken thigh was juicy and moist.  The sweetness of the honey/cider vinegar glaze hits your tounge first, followed by the spicy rub. It is an easy recipe to throw together with ingredients that are almost guaranteed to be in your pantry. It requires no marinating so it took all of 20 minutes from start to finish. Just the type of recipe I need for a last minute meal. I served it with a small side salad, as well as a lentil and kale sautee.

   Sweet & Spicy Chicken Thighs

   Sweet & Spicy Chicken Thighs

   Sweet & Spicy Chicken Thighs

   Sweet & Spicy Chicken Thighs

Sweet & Spicy Chicken Thighs

Servings: 4 chicken thighs

Serving Size: 1 chicken thigh

Nutrients per Serving: 110.9 calories; 3.3g fat; 57.3mg cholesterol; 657.0mg sodium; 251.3mg potassium; 7.6g carbohydrates; 14.3g protein

  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 skinless, boneless, chicken thighs
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  1. Prepare a small cookie sheet by covering it with foil and spraying it lightly with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a medium-size bowl. Add chicken thighs to bowl and toss to coat them thoroughly.
  3. Turn broiler on.
  4. Place chicken on pan and broil chicken for 5 minutes on each side. Careful not to let cook any longer or dry rub will burn.
  5. Combine honey and cider vinegar in a bowl. Whisk together.
  6. Remove chicken from oven and brush honey/cider mixture on chicken.
  7. Broil 2-3 minutes. Remove chicken from oven and turn over. Brush honey/cider mixture on the second side.
  8. Broil 2-3 minutes.
  9. Make a mini-slice in the under side of one piece of chicken to ensure that it is thoroughly cooked.


March 31, 2011
Food, Recipe