My Favorite Summer Cheese Board: Chickpea Salad Recipe and Sweepstakes!

This post was sponsored by Blue Diamond® Nut-Thins and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Ready for a summer cheese board? This one is the BEST and is gluten free too! Also, a chickpea salad recipe and a fun #sweepstakes! #ad #NutThinsContest #IC

You know what I love most about a summer party?

If you’re thinking ice cream, that is certainly a big one. I do love a good dessert platter, but ultimately I am all about a cheese board or plate or platter. Whatever you want to call it, it makes me incredibly happy. And now I make my own!

What are my secret ingredients? Cheese, of course, and I use havarti and swiss and colby jack, and pretty much anything. Then I love pepperoni and salami. I pair it all with a chickpea salad (homemade, of course) and some antipasto – store bought or thrown together easily at home with provolone. When you have all that goodness, what’s the most important food pairing? This is an easy question. It’s crackers, of course. And that’s why I’ve found a love with Blue Diamond® Nut-Thins.

They are my go-to snack for the summer, and also for my summer entertaining, with July 4th, Labor Day, and all of our birthdays crammed into two months of parties. They make for a delicious snack that is crunchy and crispy like a potato chip, but sturdy enough for dips and toppings. That’s why it’s perfect for my summer gatherings because I dip them, put cheese and pepperoni on them, or use them as vehicles for antipasto and chickpea salad. This is important for many of my friends that they are wheat & gluten free, and made with real Blue Diamond® Almonds. There are no artificial flavors and there’s a crispy, crunchy texture that is oh so good. I love that there is a wide variety of flavors to try and enjoy as well.

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Homemade Chickpea Salad:

What You Need:

2 cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup Edamame
1/2 cup red and green peppers
1/3 cup carrots, diced
2-4 Tbsp dried cranberries
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt & Pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp sunflower or grapeseed oil
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp sugar
Seasonings – basil, rosemary, thyme, etc.

What You Do:

1 – In a large bowl, combine your garbanzo beans, edamame, peppers, carrots, cranberries, and garlic.

2 – In a smaller bowl, combine the oils and seasonings and whisk until blended

3 – Pour the contents of the smaller bowl over the beans mixture and toss with salt and pepper

4 – Enjoy!

YUM, right? It is one of my favorite recipes. And I love that it goes perfectly with Nut-Thins. They are crispy and sturdy and every flavor holds my salad well, but I think the original flavor is my favorite to pair with it. They all work!

Ready for a summer cheese board? This one is the BEST and is gluten free too! Also, a chickpea salad recipe and a fun #sweepstakes! #ad #NutThinsContest #IC

What’s your favorite item on a cheese board? Other than cheese, of course!

Ready for a summer cheese board? This one is the BEST and is gluten free too! Also, a chickpea salad recipe and a fun #sweepstakes! #ad #NutThinsContest #IC

Be a Block Party Hero With Chicken Bacon Quinoa Salad.

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BlockPartyHero #CollectiveBias

Sometimes I love to remember the block parties of my youth.

They’re everything you can imagine about an 80’s or 90’s era block party! Short shorts, hot dogs on the grill, neighbors milling around with wonderful plates of food. I was so delighted, when after about 5-6 years of roaming around after college, we finally settled down in Northampton, and got invited to our first block party within only a few months! It was as good as I remember block parties being – and I was happy this tradition was living on in my adulthood. It has a certain something.

Spirit. Love. Togetherness. Exploration. And.. FOOD!

Now that summer is coming, or is even here for many, the block party is BACK! It’s a time of year for summer cookouts and block parties – which are great times to be with friends, family, and neighbors – while sharing incredible meals.

This year? Sam’s Club has got its members covered.

Des and I went before the holiday weekend, to be covered for many parties to come. We picked up Swanson Broth and truRoots Quinoa to make one of my favorite “pasta” salads, that uses quinoa instead of pasta, and your choice of fill-ins.

One fun trick I’ve learned with quinoa is to cook it in chicken broth instead of water. Why? The number one reason is infused and intense FLAVOR. I love the versatility of Swanson Chicken Broth, and how you can buy a six-pack from Sam’s Club.

In the next aisle, I found truRoots! It’s Certified USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, gluten free & full of ancient grains.

And then I set to work. In the true spirit of block parties, my neighbor brought me olive oil, which I used to lightly toast the quinoa, before cooking it in the chicken broth. The whole process takes about 20 – 25 minutes. You can fluff it with a fork.

Why do I choose Swanson Broth? I always have. With it’s unique blend of flavors, and being trusted by chefs (and I’m not one but maybe it would be cool to learn to be one), it’s always my first choice for cooking. It smells delicious on the stove.

These unique products are making me a #BlockPartyHero!

And now, it’s recipe time!

Chicken Bacon Quinoa Salad.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4

Chicken Bacon Quinoa Salad.

This is like a perfect summer pasta salad, but it's made with quinoa instead of noodles, and you can play around with the meats, cheeses and vegetables any way you want. The quinoa is cooked in chicken broth instead of water, infusing it with a lot more flavor.


  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup rinsed truRoots quinoa
  • 2 cups Swanson Chicken Broth
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 10 grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Red pepper to taste
  • Bacon pieces
  • Shredded or cooked carrots
  • 2 TBSP red wine vinegar
  • Juice of half a lemon


  1. Cook your chicken or buy it, and set it aside.
  2. Cook bacon using your desired method, chop it into bits, and set it aside.
  3. Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
  4. Add the truRoots quinoa and stir for about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the chicken broth and boil for five minutes.
  6. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer about 15 minutes.
  7. Let quinoa cool for a bit.
  8. Then mix in your desired meats, cheeses, vegetables and spices.
  9. Drizzle with the 1/4 cup of olive oil and stir.

It’s a great time to be with friends and family, isn’t it? This recipe will come in handy year-round, though.

With chicken, bacon, Parmesan cheese, and a nice taste of real garlic and lemon, you might be going for seconds. Feel free to take on your own spin. You can use Feta cheese instead of Parmesan, and maybe add olives, to make it a Greek Quinoa Salad. You can also add Italian dressing and some great meats. You can make it rainbow colored with summer vegetables! Anything goes, but the unique flavors of the Swanson Broth and the truRoots will always be in my recipes. Just LOOK:

What would you put in your Quinoa Salad?