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I promised some simple snack recipes, so here they are!

My favorite is hummus and veggies-so I tend to whip up hummus with many different "flavors" to suit my mood.  Hummus is a fiber and protein rich, creamy dip that can also provide a sandwich with a nice different taste if you're trying to lower your animal protein intake.

But more on the "lunch and sandwich" aspect of hummus when we get to our brown bag blog.

Back to hummus: (here's a basic recipe to start with)

2 15 oz cans of garbanzo beans, drained
3 cloves of crushed garlic
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp of lemon zest (optional)
1 tbsp tahini (sesame seed butter) or other nut butter

Simply put all this into a food processor or blender and let the machine do it's magic for 30 seconds to a minute.  With the motor running, slowly add 3 tbsp of hot water.

Now I know most recipes use olive oil here instead of the hot water, but I'm always looking for ways to cut down on unnecessary fat.

Now, for exchanges and additions!  If you like a different white bean-feel free to switch them out. Sometimes, I love to use 1 can of garbanzo and 1 can of cannelloni beans.  Or, sometimes I use all cannelloni.  Then I add a tbsp. of chopped fresh rosemary from my garden.

Add a couple of tbsp of flat-leaf parsley (more flavor than the table parsley).  Add a tsp or two of cumin.  Add a chopped up roasted red pepper for a nice flavor and lovely pink tinge.

Like yours with a little substance?  Drain some water-packed artichoke hearts and chop them up and stir in before serving.

You get the idea-the beans are a "clean slate". Add the herbs or spices and other veggies that you like.

And don't just use carrots and celery!  Blanch some asparagus, green beans, cauliflower and broccoli.  Serve some mushrooms and slice up some zucchini and jicama.  The last one is one of my favorites-crunchy, slightly sweet, a cross between a potato and apple in texture.  Use some spears of colorful bell peppers!
This column is going on much longer than I intended-so I'll stop and let you munch on this for a couple of days and come back Wednesday with some cereal mixes and some nuts to ponder!



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