Spicy Chipolte Maple Hummus with budget in mind



IMG_1763Editor’s Note: This blog is written by Kelly’s Choice intern Celina Rescott.

I’m a college student. I’m here to tell you today that it is possible to eat healthy but cheaply in college (or for anyone who needs to live on a budget). I’ve lived it. I’ve breathed it. I’ve figured it out (or so I think).

When you can get a Triple Cheeseburger from McDonald’s for three dollars, but a market salad from Wegmans costs eight dollars, and you just dropped hundreds of dollars on textbooks last week, which one do you think the poor college student is going to opt for?

Cooking for yourself is the answer!

Today I’m going to give you a cheap and easy-to-make snack that’s also delicious and good for you. What more could you ask for?

The recipe starts with a can of chickpeas-generally around 65 cents! A half cup of chickpeas gives you 6 grams of protein. Less than a dollar for 4 servings of plant based protein sounds perfect for my poor self!

I’ve made swaps for ingredients in traditional hummus recipe that help you save money and make the taste even better! Typically, hummus is made with tahini. But tahini can run very expensive. So I’ve done two things in place of that. The tahini works to water down the hummus in a sense and give it that creamy texture.

So you’ll notice that the recipe calls for aquafab water. It’s just a fancy way of calling what the chickpeas are soaked in. So be sure when you drain your chickpeas, you keep that water to help thin out your mixture. Bonus: the chickpea water is calorie free!

The second thing I did was add in a little bit of peanut butter to the mixture. This gives the hummus this delightful nutty flavor without being too overpowering. DO NOT SKIP THIS INGREDIENT. Trust me.

So there you have it: my first recipe, developed all by myself! I’ve won over everyone I’ve made it for and it’s my favorite snack now! Pair it with some chopped vegetable, crackers, put it on a salad, or just eat a spoonful of it (guilty). I hope you guys make this recipe and love it as much as I do! Let me know what you think in the comments!


SERVING SIZE: 1/8 recipe



  • 16 oz can             Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
  • ¼ tsp.                    Garlic Powder
  • ¼ tsp.                    Onion Powder
  • ¼ tsp.                    Red Pepper (Cayenne)
  • ¼ tsp.                    Salt
  • ¼ tsp.                    Ground Black Pepper
  • ¾ tsp.                    Cumin
  • 1 tsp.                     McCormick’s Grill Mates Seasonings: Chipotle and Roasted Garlic
  • 1 tsp.                     Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp.                     Paprika
  • 1 tsp.                     Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp.                     Lime Juice
  • 1 tsp.                     Siracha Sauce
  • 1 tbsp.                  All-natural Peanut Butter
  • 1- 1½ tbsp.          Pure Maple Syrup*
  • 4-5 tbsp.              Aquafaba (Chickpea water)

*see recipe notes


  1. Add all ingredients to a high powered blender or food processor and blend until completely combined
  2. Start with 4 tablespoons of the Aquafaba and add more as needed until desired consistency has been reached
  3. Adjust salt and sweetness to taste
  4. Serve cold with fresh vegetables, crackers, or chips
  5. Can stay fresh in covered container for up to a week in the refrigerator

* Adjust the sweetness to your liking. I tend to add a little more than a tablespoon but you might just like it with one!

* Honey can also be used as a substitute and it tastes equally as good!





How Not to Gain Weight this Holiday Season (Blog 2 of 2)



In my last blog, I gave you five extremely effective tips for not letting holiday parties add to your waistline. Did you try them yet? Well, guess what? I have five more! If you apply all 10 of my tips, there’s a high likelihood that you will breeze through the holiday season without gaining a pound! How’s that for a Christmas miracle? Here are my five final tips!

Tip #1: Don’t “Save Up” Calories

Fasting before a big meal can backfire. Low blood sugar from hunger increases cortisol levels, which leads to cravings for fatty, salty, and sugary foods.

Instead of saving up for the big meal, it’s better to snack on healthy goodies like raw veggies, nuts, and fruit throughout the day to avoid a full-blown indulgence where no crumb is left behind.

Tip #2: Eat Low to High

Are you thinking, “What on earth does that mean?” I’m talking about calories here. Start with a broth-based soup or salad, then move on to lean protein, and by the time you reach the double fudge brownies, a few bites will be all you need to feel satisfied.

Tip # 3: Veg out on the Veggies

Okay, so I have some tricks for you if you are the one preparing a holiday feast! Try swapping light pureed cauliflower for carb-heavy mashed potatoes and add side dishes with more vegetables, like ratatouille, to bolster the nutritional value of the meal and keep you satiated so you don’t overeat. Bonus: All that extra fiber will help keep you regular, even if you do overindulge a bit on the cheese platter.

Tip #4: Beware of the “Health Halo”

I just advocated veggies, but even with the world’s healthiest veggies, you still need to be careful. You can gain weight even if you eat healthy. You can overdo it with the veggies and dip or creamy asparagus soup, just like you can with ice cream—except with the ice cream at least you know it’s an indulgence. So make sure you’re not eating something based solely on its health-food aura and keep an eye on your portion sizes.

Tip #5: Change your Mindset around Holiday Treats

Most people eat particular foods like pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving or down cups of eggnog at a Christmas party because “that’s what we do during the holidays. Do you really even like pumpkin pie or eggnog? Or if you could have any treat, would you choose your favorite ice cream or hot cocoa instead? Just because it’s limited doesn’t mean you have to eat it.

The other thing to think about is the fact that holiday treats don’t need to be restricted to the holidays. Make pumpkin pie later in the winter; make “Christmas” cookies for Mother’s Day. This tactic will help prevent some of your “last chance” eating!

Here’s to you this holiday season! You can make it through without gaining a pound! What a great way to start the New Year, but wait there’s more! In my next blog, I will give you some tips for not sabotaging your success so far at the New Year’s Eve Party!








My New Favorite Treat: Setton Farms Blueberry-Flavored Pistachio Chewy Bites



One of my favorite things about being in the nutrition business is that I get to try nutritious foods before they hit the market.  I am so excited about a nutrient-dense treat that hits the market TODAY: Setton Farms’ blueberry-flavored Pistachio Chewy Bites. And I am going to GIVE AWAY three bags of them to one lucky reader! Keep reading to find out what you have to do to be a contender for this awesome prize!

First of all, let me get it straight about what it means for a treat to be nutrient-dense and then I will tell about how yummy these treats are, how they qualify as nutrient-dense, and I will also give you some scenarios where it would be PERFECT for you to have these treats on hand.

Nutrient-dense foods are food choices that are loaded with nutrients but relatively low in calories, saturated fat, and trans fat. It’s often difficult to find nutrient-dense snacks. Virtually all fruit and veggies would be considered nutrient-dense as would raw nuts and seeds.

But what about packaged food? Sometimes you just crave a candy bar, right?

When examining a nutrition label, some markers of a good, nutrient-dense selection in my opinion are: less than 250 calories per serving, less than 4 grams of saturated fat, at least 5 grams of unsaturated fat (these fats are GOOD for you), at least 3 grams of fiber, and at least 4 grams of protein.

I can’t think of a candy bar that qualifies as nutrient-dense, but Setton Farms’ brand-new blueberry-flavored Pistachio Chewy Bites are the perfect alternative. They’re so sweet and yummy. Made with pistachios, blueberry-infused dried cranberries, maple brown-PCB BLUEBERRIES - IMG_5843-Edit-2rice syrup, and coconut, you cannot go wrong with this treat. And here are some markers of their nutrient density!

Each serving (2 chewy bites) has:

  • 200 calories
  • ZERO trans fats
  • Only 2 grams of saturated fat
  • 9 grams of unsaturated fat
  • 4 grams of fiber
  • 5 grams of protein

Here are some scenarios where these treats would be great to have on hand:

  • Great to have in your desk drawer at work for that 3:00 dip in energy.
  • Keep them in your purse for when you are out and about longer than planned and need something to hold you over before your next meal.
  • Attention athletes! These are the perfect fueling snack and can also work effectively as a recovery snack!
  • Got kiddos? These are a great choice to add to their lunches! My girls even asked for them for dessert one night!
  • These are also perfect to pass around as an appetizer at a dinner party!

In the comments below, by Friday June 9 at 8:00 PM EST, tell me why YOU would love to try these tasty snacks for a chance to win three bags (9 servings) of Setton Farms’ blueberry-flavored Pistachio Chew Bites. I will announce the winner over the weekend!





Summer Travel Food Essentials



How many road trips have you been on so far this summer? And how many of those trips involved low-quality food consumption? You very well may not have craved those types of foods (you know: fast-food burgers, candy bars, greasy potato chips, gas station pizza), but you didn’t have much choice in the matter. Believe me, I have been there. This summer, I made sure to not let that happen.

When my family travels, we make certain to have plenty of healthy snacks on hand; here are some of my favorites.

Instead of sugary sports drinks…

Hydration is key when traveling. Your best bet is a lot of pure water. But it can get expensive buying bottle of water after bottle of water. I recommend the Grayl water bottle! These nifty little water bottles purify in filter water super quickly!

Electrolytes are important too of course! I love Motive Pure. Motive Pure minis are these little bottles of electrolyte concentrate that you mix with water; they are sweetened with stevia and calorie-free. How awesome is that?! And they come in five great flavors; my favorites are berry and pink lemonade. You can even bring these with you on an airplane; each bottle is only an ounce. You can save a lot on Motive Pure purchases by signing up for their subscription plan. Have Motive Pure shipped right to your door and save 20 percent!

Instead of greasy potato chips…

One of my latest obsessions is Beanitos. No NOT Doritos…Beanitos! Beanitos are bean-based chips that are packed with protein, fiber, and are always free of gluten and corn. If you like your chips plain, you’d love their Original Black Bean or Simply Pinto Bean varieties. If you are a tortilla chip lover, you’d love the Beanitos alternative—Hint of Lime or Restaurant Style. If you are more of an adventurous chip consumer, you would love the Beanitos flavors that hit the market earlier this year, including: Mac-n-Cheese Crunch and Garden Fresh Salsa. The best “dipping” Beanitos chip also hit the market earlier this year—Skinny Dippers.

Instead of candy, Oreos, or any other high-fat cookies,,,

Who can resist a sweet treat every now and then? I know I can’t. So many of the packaged cookies on the market are loaded with way too many chemicals and sugar so I tend to avoid them. There are some good brands out there though. My sweet craving go-to is Enjoy Life cookies. Their wholesome cookies are so tasty and are made with allergen-free ingredients like rice flour, buckwheat and millet. You have GOT to try their Crunchy Chocolate Chip Mini cookies; they are so, so good and they come in individually-packed portion bags to help you avoid overindulging.

There is still over a month of summer, so if more travel is in your plans, consider these great, healthy, convenient snacks I mentioned. They’re great for business trips too!

“Food “for your Skin/Instead of conventional sunscreen…

And hey, let’s talk about a non-food essential item too! Sunscreen. Do you know that a lot of commercial sunscreens contain harmful parabens and other toxins? Whatever you put on your skin is as important as what you eat because you absorb what you put on your skin and it enters your bloodstream. So, please try to avoid toxic sunscreens. I highly recommend Suntegrity sunscreens! They’re free of harmful chemicals, super protective and safe for all ages…babies to centenarians.