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Dinner Time

Growing up, my family was always the kind that sat down to dinner at the dining room table together. Sure, there were a few exceptions to this. If I had a friend over for a sleepover, we’d be allowed to eat in the basement while watching a movie (probably Grease, half of the jokes in which went straight over my head as an innocent little 10 year old). There were also the times my dad was away on business trips, which were fantastic as far as my sister and I were concerned. Why you ask? It wasn’t that we wanted my dad to be away – he’s a pretty fun dad. It was because my mum, who is not the most enthusiastic when it comes to cooking, would take us on a whirlwind drive-thru dinner tour. We’d stop at about 4 different restaurants and pick up our favourites. These included:

  • Dairy Queen onion rings (for mum) and slushies
  • McDonalds french fries and ketchup (for my sister and I, who hated onion rings)
  • Arby’s roast beef sandwiches
  • KFC cinnamon twists (for dessert)

Then we’d head home, smelly food in tow. We’d put on a fantastic chick flick (rented from Rogers or Blockbuster, when they weren’t going bankrupt), gather in front of the TV, and have an all-out veg fest. And by veg, I’m not referring to vegetables. Come to think of it, I think the closest we came to veggies on these nights were the potatoes warped into french fries and the tomato paste in McDonalds’ ketchup. Nutrition at its finest. :D

But these were rare occasions. Most nights, we ate cake.

Just kidding. Most nights, our dinners really were reasonably healthy meals. Spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, homemade chili, and burgers barbequed by my dad were all in the regular lineup. There was always some sort of vegetable too – a salad, mixed peas, carrots and beans, or corn on the cob are the ones that immediately come to mind. At the time, veggies didn’t excite me as much as they do now. Here’s evidence:

Beets were always a vegetable that I didn’t go near. My dad liked to pickle and can them himself, and he kept a bountiful supply in our basement storage room along with his home-brewed wine. I remember often opening the dishwasher to find pinkish-purple beet juice that had been left behind on his dinner plates splattered all over. Not only was it dangerous to go near for staining purposes, but it smelled terrible! Well, at least I thought so when I was a kiddie.

No matter how many times we tried, my sister and I couldn’t seem to get the message through to my dad that we weren’t at all interested in trying his canned pickled beets. He even tried to make them really appealing by advertising that they’d give us purple poops. Wouldn’t that be something great to boast about at recess?

Fast forward to my adolescence and early adult years. I remained a beet-free girl up until July of 2010, where I decided to give them a shot on Try Something New Tuesday 13. Turns out, they’re not as bad as I thought they were. (They also weren’t pickled, which I believe, makes a difference.) Although I don’t buy them on a regular basis, I do like to incorporate beets into my diet from time to time. Last week was one of those times, and I had this crazy idea that perhaps they’d be good in a spread. Like maybe… a hummus spread?

Oh I did.

The thing about this hummus is that the beets are so delicious and vibrant, they even make other boring veggies taste great. Yes celery, I’m looking at you.

Roasted Beet Hummus

by Angela

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 45 mins

Keywords: blender roast appetizer snack gluten-free low-sodium nut-free soy-free vegetarian vegetables chickpeas spring summer

 

Ingredients (4 cups)

  • 350g raw purple beets, thoroughly scrubbed
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • ¼ cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375F.

Scrub the beets well with a brush. (You can reserve the greens and use them in green smoothies – they’re really good, and good for you too!)

Roast the beets for 40-45 mins in the oven, or until tender when pierced with a fork.

When they’re cool enough to touch, peel off the beet skins. Chop the beets into small chunks and toss them in the food processor with all remaining ingredients.

Process on high until the mixture is completely smooth. You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your blender bowl. Add a little lemon juice to get things moving if necessary.

Scoop hummus out of the processor bowl and into a ramekin or other dish. Serve with fresh raw veggies, pita triangles, or crackers, or use as a spread just like you would with traditional hummus.

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Click here for the full recipe.

Another great thing about purple beets? They’re purple. Obviously, you say. But it’s not just a pretty colour. Foods that are purple are loaded with antioxidants. They also have a tendency to stain things.

You might wanna think about switching shirts.

Comments

  1. says

    thanks for sharing your dinner memories, angela! i love how your mom would hit up more than one drive thru, and i get you all had a lot of fun eating and movie watching. and i totally relate to your mom not loving cooking!
    our family was similar – homemade meals except when dad was traveling. to help, that’s when mom bought fish n chips/easy-to-reheat dinners. we loved it (but did miss dad)! (prepared foods was a treat!).
    talking about purple poops – if that won’t convince kids to eat beets, nothing will! bathroom humour and intrigue never fails!
    i dislike beets but have also only had them pickled, as a kid. just can’t bear to try them again, to be honest!

  2. Danielle says

    Haha I laughed reading your post today! I have similar memories to my Dad going away – we often had “special” food! It’s funny. Most recently my Dad was away and I cooked vegetarian meals for my Mom and sister for the week! It was a lot of fun. (But how time changes)

    I bought a beet hummus several months ago at a market and having been wanting to recreate it ever since! Now I can :)

  3. says

    You had me at every facet of this post.
    We too did dinners together every night. I can’t think of a reason one of us would miss—-it was pretty much a nonnegotiable.

    I ‘liked’ it back then & I look back and love and APPRECIATE the time together.

    • says

      I’ve decided I’m making it a non-negotiable for my family in the future too. I think it’s really important and a lot of people I know weren’t raised that way… I can’t imagine my childhood without family dinners!

  4. says

    That picture of you eating cake is priceless! One of my close girlfriends has a 2 year old… every time she introduces her daughter to something new, I get a picture of a baby with food all over her face. It SO entertaining!

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