My beautiful Aunt Karen celebrated her 50th birthday not too long ago, and my cousin orchestrated a surprise party for her. 

You can't have a party without awesome hors d'oeuvres, and I wanted something that looked fancy, tasted delicious and would be healthy. 

Enter: delicious Cucmber Cups with Salmon Whip. 

These Salmon Cups do come with a bit of prep, and an afternoon in the kitchen with my dear cousin getting the fruit kabobs, pita chips and spinach artichoke dip prepared made it easy. 

I will definitely make these again for a special occasion!

You will need:
2 large English cucumbers
1/2 c. low-fat cottage cheese
1 Tbsp nonfat milk
4 scallions, white parts only, chopped
4 oz. thin-sliced smoked salmon
1/4 c. whipped cream chees
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
White pepper
chopped fresh chives

1. In a food processor, add cottage cheese & milk until smooth. 
2. Add scallions, salmon, cream cheese, lemon juice & pinch of white pepper. Process until smooth & creamy. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. 
3. While mixture is chilling, slice cucumber into 3/4-inch rounds. Get rid of the ends. 
4. Use the small end of a melon baller to scoop out the flesh of each cucumber round to form your cups. 
5. Fill cucumber cups with 2 tsp. of the salmon whip. Arrange diced chives to garnish. 

Refrigerate until ready to serve, up to an hour. 
Be prepared to give out this recipe! It's sure to impress. 

I found this recipe online, allrecipes.com to be exact. This is ineffably one of the most delicious things I've made - especially for fall weather. Get your chopping knife, soup pot and can opener ready. Make sure your freezer is clear so you can freeze half and have delicious easy lunch when it really starts getting chilly. I never add any extra salt because the canned goods have plenty. I purchase one can of tomatoes that have green chiles. I always add a little cilantro to mine, too, because I love it. Trust me, it's easy once you have everything chopped. Here's my ever-so-slightly modified recipe for The Best Vegetarian Chili in the World! (Did I mention it's healthy?)

You'll need: 
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 med. red onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp dried oregano
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped - leave seeds if you want spice!
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (12 oz) packages vegetarian burger crumbles
2 (28 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1/4 c. chili powder
1 Tbsp ground black pepper
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 c. cilantro, chopped
1 (15 oz) can whole kernel corn

1. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. 
2. Stir in onion, drop in bay leaves, cumin and oregano. 
3. Cook and stir until onion is tender, then mix in celery, green bell peppers, jalapeno peppers and garlic. 
4. When vegetables are heated, mix in veggie burger crumbles. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 5 minutes.
5. Mix in tomatoes and cilantro. No need to drain, unless you like a thicker chili. 
6. Season chili with chili powder & pepper. Stir in kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and black beans. 
7. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 45 minutes. 
8. Stir in corn, and continue cooking 5 minutes before serving.
9. For non-vegetarians, top with low-fat sour cream and reduced fat cheddar cheese. Garnish with cilantro leaves.

Tip: Spoon leftover chili into individual containers & freeze them. Put a container in the fridge the night before to have a super delicious meal thawed by lunchtime! I also bring a small container with cheese & sour cream too!