I thought it would be interesting to put together a list of my favorite foods so my readers can have a peek into my foodie brain and see what really makes me swoon. But it would be so hard to think of everything! To maker it a little easier (and more fun), I decided to do an A to Z list! I’ve also included recipes that I want to try (or have tried) with some of the the foods listed. Here you go!
A: Apples: I like green better than red, and my favorite varieties are Golden Delicious and Granny Smith. An apple is one of my favorite snacks, and they are also really good when baked in dessert recipes like my cranberry-applesauce bars or apple cranberry crumble. I also love the Jewish tradition of dipping apples in honey during Rosh Hoshana as a symbol of a having sweet new year.
B: Banana: Bananas are one of the most versatile foods. They’re good by themselves, with oatmeal, cereal or yogurt, with peanut butter alone or in a sandwich, in a smoothie, as an ice cream topping, dipped in chocolate, and they can be used in just about every baking recipe. Recipe to try: Banana Pudding
C: Clif Bars: My go-to energy bar and on-the-go snack. There are so many flavors to choose from and some really good ones around the holidays. My favorites are Cool Mint Chocolate, Coconut Chocolate Chip, Carrot Cake, and I loved this year’s new seasonal flavor, Peppermint Stick.
E: Espresso: Starbucks Cafe Americana, please! Sometimes if I’m in the mood for a little more flavor, I’ll add one of their sugar-free syrups. Usually I’ll go for vanilla, but peppermint mocha was a hit this holiday season!
F: Feta Cheese: So much flavor is packed into this cheese that you really don’t need much of it. Greek food is one of my favorite cuisines, and I love that feta is used in pretty much everything — crumbled in salads, baked into a casserole, in a stuffing mixture for meat, poultry or fish. Recipe to try: Greek Spinach Feta Burgers with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce
G: Guacamole: I never liked guacamole until very recently and now it’s one of my absolute favorite dips. Tortilla chips and a good homemade guacamole will always make me happy. Add in a margarita and we’re good to go! Recipe to try: Skinny Guacamole
H: Hummus: Another one of my favorite dips. I like to have it with cut-up veggies, pita chips or pretzels. Just like guacamole, it’s always better when it’s homemade. You can definitely taste the difference between store-bought hummus and the hummus you get at a Greek restaurant (or any Mediterranean-style place, for that matter). It has a fresher taste and sometimes still has chunks of chick peas still in it, like the hummus I had at Taverna Opa, which was delicious! Recipe to try: Red Pepper Hummus
I: Ice Cream: I usually opt for fat-free frozen yogurt if I go out for a sweet treat, but every so often I will let my guard down and totally indulge in a rich, delicious, total fat kid ice cream dessert. Go big or go home, right? Recipe to try (if I had an ice cream maker…): Coffee Toffee Ice Cream
J: Jelly Beans: My secret obsession…no one really knows how much I love jelly beans. Jelly Bellies are my favorite. I like closing my eyes and picking one and then trying to guess the flavor from the back of the bag. Starburst makes really good ones, too, and I’ll even succumb to a generic bag of store brand jelly beans if I have to, but I will not go anywhere near the black ones!
K: Kasha: This is a Jewish staple food. Kasha, or buckwheat, is typically made as a side dish with bow tie noodles. But you can use it in many different ways. My aunt made her Thanksgiving stuffing with it and my Bubby made it with veggies instead of noodles.
L: Legumes: My favorites are lentils, soybeans (edamame), and chickpeas. Legumes (beans) are a great way to get protein if you aren’t a big meat eater. Recipe to try: Lentils with Spinach and Goat Cheese
M: Margarita & Mojitos: My two favorite cocktails. I like my margaritas on the rocks, salt-rimmed glass, and lots of lime. As for mojitos, the classic is always good but sometimes the flavored ones have more of a kick to ’em. They have to be made just right though; it’s easy to mess up a mojito if the mint isn’t perfectly muddled. Recipes to try: Watermelon-Mango Margarita and Cranberry Mojito
N: No-bake Cheesecake: So easy, so delicious, and so many varieties! For an easy low-fat no-bake cheesecake all you need is reduced fat or fat free cream cheese, fat free cool whip, sugar or sugar substitute, and ready-made crust. Additional ingredients would depend on whatever you want the flavor of your cheesecake to be — use purees, or pudding mixes, flavored extracts, nut butters, flavored yogurts, and top with fruit or crumbled pieces of candy or cookies. An example would the be no-bake pumpkin cheesecake I made a couple months ago. Along with the ingredients listed above, I also used pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, and vanilla extract.
O: Oreos: I’m a sucker for any dessert that has Oreos in it. I know they’re so bad for you, but I don’t care. They are just so good, especially crumbled on top of frozen yogurt (or cookies and cream ice cream!!), in cheesecake or brownies, or dipped in milk until they’re so soft, half of the cookie breaks off and sinks to the bottom of the cup. These are the ultimate bring-me-back-to-childhood food, at least for me. Recipe to try: Oreo Cheesecake Cookies
P: Pineapple: One of the sweetest and most delicious tasting fruits out there. It adds a nice, fresh taste to salads, and it’s also great in stir-fries, such as the Thai chicken and pineapple stir-fry I made before. Grilled pineapples is another good treat, and pineapple juice is a great mixer for cocktails!
Q: Quaker Oatmeal: When I go out for breakfast I always indulge in a good veggie egg white Omelette and hash browns, but if I’m making breakfast at home, nothing beats a good hearty bowl of oatmeal with lots and lots of cinnamon. Sometimes I’ll throw in a banana and/or some raisins, too. Oatmeal is another really good ingredient in baking and I tend to use it often. You can’t go wrong with an oatmeal cookie either… Recipe to try: Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Larabar
R: Red Chili Pepper Spread: You already know about my love for this product from my previous post…and poem.
S: Seafood: When I go out to eat, I always look at the seafood section of the menu first. I’ll opt for fish over any other protein. I love shrimp, scallops, crab, and just about every fish, even dolphin, but my favorite is salmon. Living in Florida has allowed me to try some great fish caught locally and I haven’t really tried one that I don’t like…yet.
T: Thai: One of my favorite cuisines. I love Asian cuisine, especially sushi and Thai, which are almost always offered together at restaurants. It makes finding a place to go for dinner easy when I’m in the mood for that type of food. I love that spicy nutty taste of Pad Thai that you get from the crushed peanuts. I can really only handle spicy food when I’m having Thai; otherwise I don’t like it. My mouth may be burning and I may be sweating while I’m eating, but there’s something about those flavors that allows me to completely overlook those facts. Recipe to try: Lightened Up Asian Peanut Noodles with Chicken
U: Utz Special Dark Pretzels: Best pretzel ever made! I don’t know what it is that makes these pretzels “special” but they really are. If someone knows the secret to their deliciousness, I’d really love to know. Recipe to try: Pretzel Crusted Honey Mustard Chicken Strips
V: Vino: I love wine. End of story. I’ll drink red or white, depending on my mood and what I’m eating. My favorite white is Riesling, my favorite sparkling white is Moscato (my favorite for making white sangria, too) and my favorite red is Cabernet, or something fruity and sweet. I like a few different red blends as well. I was given a red blend as a gift awhile back in Jersey and I cannot remember the name, but it was the best red wine I’ve ever had! I wish I could remember what it was.
W: Watermelon: There is something about a juicy piece of watermelon on a hot, summer day that just makes everything alright with the world. Watermelon is light and refreshing, and especially good when ripe enough that the pieces have a little crunch when you bite into them. Recipe to try: Watermelon Salad
X: CheX MiX: One of my absolute favorite snack foods is Chex Mix. All the different flavors and combinations they put together are always so good. My favorite part of the original and bold mixes are the rye crisps and the darker chex pieces. Right now I have a Garlic and Parmesan Herb (new flavor!) and Caramel Crunch in my pantry.
Y: Yogurt: For a sweet treat, frozen or not, yogurt is the way to go. The frozen yogurt trend was on point. Self-serve spots are doing so well for a reason! People love that they can get the same great taste as full-fat ice cream from non-fat or low-fat frozen yogurt. It’s genius! And don’t even get me started on Greek yogurt. Non-fat, plain Greek yogurt topped with fresh fruit is the way to go. Yogurt is one of the best foods to have in the house, not only for eating, but for baking and cooking too. You can substitute any creamy ingredient for low or fat-free yogurt to lower the calorie count on whatever it is you’re making.
Z: Zucchini: One of my favorite vegetables. It’s good raw, cut into sticks and dipped in hummus or a veggie dip. It’s good steamed or baked in a casserole dish, and it’s especially good grilled! Recipe to try: Baked Zucchini Sticks