CURRIED ROASTED CHICPEAS

As part of my “obligatory eat healthier” resolution, I’ve been trying to keep some healthy snacks around to ward off the sugar cravings.  I’m not sure where I first got the idea for these, but they are a great crunchy snack and can be seasoned any way you like.  I tried curry but you could make these as simple or as complex as you like with flavor.

Picture6These are really simple to make too since the hardest part is waiting for them to come out of the oven.

Ingredients:

1 can garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas)

1-2 Tablespoons olive oil

1-2 teaspoons curry (or whatever seasonings you’d like)

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and coat a 9″x13″ cookie sheet with non-stick spray.  First drain and rinse beans in a collander; roll out on paper towel and pat dry.  Place in large mixing bowl and add olive oil.  Mix to coat and then add seasonings.  Mix again until beans are evenly coated with seasoning.  Spread in one even layer on a cookie sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden.  These should be crunchy so if the center’s still a little soft, pop it back in for a few minutes.

Once cool, store in an airtight container up to a week (if they last that long!).


2013 LET’S DO THIS

I declare that 2013 will be the best year EVER!  2012 was pretty awesome and will be tough to beat, what with getting married to the loveliest man in the whole world and all, but 2013 is up for the challenge, I just know it.  I’ve decided to start things off with a bang (i.e. risk!) by quitting my job that while has perks such as working with my family and a steady, cushy salary, has left me unfulfilled and craving a life that feels more like my own.  No more 9-5 desk job!  Bring it on craft life and blog life and housewifery!  I’m ready to devote my life to making things pretty on a full time basis.

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Since I happen to be leaving my job in January, it feels like the perfect time to set some resolutions for this new life I’m creating for myself.

Resolution 1: The Obligatory Eat Better and Exercise More Resolution.  Everyone makes this one right?  I know I do every year and I always start off with some strict plan that inevitably fails me and makes me feel like a big fat failure.  There’s a fine line – I believe you should have a plan, but it should be realistic enough to follow the plan.  And now that I won’t be having to get up at 5am to hit the gym before work, and I don’t have kids, there’s really no excuse is there?  Plus I really do love to cook, so I resolve to make sure our meals are healthy and delicious about 90% of the time (any more than that and life is just not worth living!)

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Resolution 2: Make a Life List.  I first heard about this concept on Snippet & Ink and loved the idea but never did one.  It’s time I write down – and then set about doing – things that make me happy and that I may or may not ordinarily get around to doing.  The point of the life list is that hopefully if you’ve committed yourself to doing it, you’ll actually do it rather than letting time pass by without enjoying the simple things.  For example, this past fall I thought it would be fun to go apple picking.  But life got in the way and we found excuses to stay home rather than make the drive.  And I still hate that we never got around to apple picking!  I feel certain a life list will make me more proactive and help me really enjoy the present rather than letting it pass by.

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Resolution 3: Photograph More.  I used to be really in to photography.  And by “really in to” I mean I majored in it in college.  And then I promptly found a 9-5 job upon graduating that paid me a salary and gave me health insurance and I kind of fell out of making pretty pictures.  But this year I’d like to get back to my creative roots, and first by starting to photograph more again.  Here’s one from my college days:

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Resolution 4: Less Coffee, More Tea.  Ugh, I hate that I love coffee so much!  I hate that I need to dump a bunch of sweetener and half and half in to it in order to drink any.  I hate that if I don’t have my coffee I feel sluggish and get headaches.  Oh but I do love the warmth and richness of coffee in the mornings.  So that’s why I resolve to not give it up, just try to drink less.  And on occasion  drink hot tea instead.  Tea drinkers seem so sophisticated and well traveled too, so maybe I’ll seem sophisticated and well traveled?!  Here’s hoping!

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Resolution 5: Less Internet, More Books.  Before I got my iPhone, I was like “who needs internet connection on their phone anyway?”  I used my phone as a phone only and browsed the internet like a normal person on a computer.  Now I can’t even wait an entire stoplight without checking my phone – craziness!  So this year – and this is going to be the hardest one of all to stick to, I just know it – I resolve to try to be better and unplug more often.  Read books before going to bed and not mindlessly check my pinterest, instagram, twitter, google reader, that cute kitten video chasing a laser pointer…  All that fast paced, image driven, instant gratification is wonderful, but it has given me ADD, I’ll tell you what.  And I don’t read nearly as much as I used to.

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Resolution 6: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”  I mean let’s face it, something like 80% of people fail their resolutions in the first couple weeks of January, right?  So instead of throwing my hands up and just going back to old habits, I resolve to let myself fail – and not beat myself up – and then start again when I can.  Sounds kind of wussy, and maybe it is…but maybe if we all gave ourselves permission to fail as long as we got back up on the horse, eventually we’d stop falling off the horse as often.  And thus, better habits would be formed!  Hallelujah!

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So – with that I declare it’s officially ON with 2013.  Let’s do this! (So much declaration in this post.  Makes me think of this hilarious Office episode).


EASY PEASY DINNER SALAD

Planning meals is always a chore for me.  Finding delicious-yet-nutritious dinners especially gives me anxiety and most weeks I find myself pouring over the internet for much longer than should seem necessary.  But when I came across this vintage Cupcakes and Cashmere post, not even looking for recipes, I thought to myself “Oh. Duh, a roasted vegetable salad.  Doesn’t get much easier than that”.  I tend to make things way more complicated than they need to be…must work on that.

This recipe epitomizes all the things a weeknight dinner should be: tasty, healthy, easy, and husband approved.  Summer veggies are so plentiful and full of flavor right now, so we roasted yellow squash and zuchini.  I cut up some romain lettuce like Emily suggested, but also added green onions, feta cheese, avocado and steak – all of which I already had in my fridge and wanted to get rid of.  I could definitely see doing this in a myriad of other variations, whether it be with chicken and black beans, grilling fruit and adding nuts, shrimp and avocado – whatever you feel like and/or have already on hand.  It was such a light, yummy summer meal and the hubs went crazy for it.  Plus, it looks beautiful with its bright colors, glistening with olive oil, spread on a crisp white plate.  Presentation goes a long way in making a dish appetizing.  I highly recommend, and will definitely be putting this dish on heavy rotation.

Here’s the dressing I copied straight from Emily – it is light, and adds just enough flavor to brighten up the dish and doesn’t overpower or compete with any of the other flavors:

Dressing:

-1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
-1/2 cup olive oil
-1 tsp dijon mustard
-1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon (or 1 tsp freshly chopped)
-salt and pepper to taste.


HONEY DO LIST

This weekend Parker installed shelves for me.  What a very handy-husband like task.  I felt like such an established married couple this weekend, with him in the dining room working on the shelves and me in the kitchen baking banana bread.  They are from Ikea so he didn’t build them exactly, but I was proud nonetheless.  Have you ever tried to put together Ikea furniture?  My baby put up shelves!  Just for me so I could display some of my favorite treasures.  All of these were accumulated for the wedding, or given as gifts from the wedding so they hold sweet, sentimental value.

I jumped on the blue mason jar bandwagon hard.  And I absolutely love them still.  I know it’s a popular trend right now in weddings, but it’s one of my favorite colors (I have a whole board devoted to my favorite color range here) and they have such a sweet, vintage charm.  I collected them for the better part of a year, picking up one or two here and there from flea markets and antique shops in small towns.  That’s my secret – go to small town shops, they have the best prices.

The silver was my grandparent’s – there’s a fabulous silver pitcher that goes with it that will have to be displayed somewhere else.

The white platter and cake stands were wedding gifts (from my girl Martha), the vases all collected for the wedding from antique shops and the little bowl was my Grandma Lucy’s, who gave me that during the week we were staying with her and Grandpa before our wedding.  Things like this just give me the warm and fuzzies.  I love having things that feel special.

These shelves, and the things on them make this room so pretty.  It’s important to make things pretty, ya know.  Because everytime I walk by the dining room now, I just linger and smile and think “that’s so pretty..”


HOMEMADE THAI BASIL ROLLS

Basil rolls are my favorite Thai dish by far – so fresh and simple, they are filling without feeling heavy.  Parker and I have been on a Thai food kick lately and when I was meal planning this weekend, trying to think up healthy and yummy dinners for us to eat during the week, I kept thinking “basil rolls!”.

They are super easy to make, which is always the first requirement of any dinner following an 8-hour work day.  I did have to wander in to the International Farmer’s Market on my lunch break and search around for the rice paper wrappers, but they are so cheap and come with so many that I will be able to use the same package for a while (they don’t go bad).

I bought shredded carrots so that I could further simplify and reduce prep time, used bean sprouts that don’t need any kind of prep, then just cut up some green onions, lettuce, boiled some noodles, pinched off some basil from our plant and assembled.  Super easy.  I bought frozen shrimp and just thawed them in the fridge overnight so they were ready when I came home.

I also threw together some dipping sauce from a couple of things I thought looked like what I’m used to eating with these in restaurants.  I’d say I used about 2 parts of the ginger teriyaki sauce to one part hoison and a couple of splashes of soy sauce.  Probably nowhere close to what you’re supposed to eat with these things, but it was close enough for me and I thought tasted quite yummy.

 

This meal was awesome – and so pretty!  The wrappers make a really beautiful presentation since you can see all your colorful veggies and shrimp peeking through.  Lovely Monday night dinner.

 

Basil Rolls

makes 8 rolls

1 package rice paper wrappers

1 cup rice noodles, cooked and run through cold water

1 cup chopped lettuce

1 cup bean spouts

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1 cup shredded carrots

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves

24-30 medium sized shrimp (depending on how many you want per roll, I use 3-4)

 

For the sauce:

1/4 cup ginger terriyaki sauce

2 T  hoison sauce

3/4 T  soy sauce

 

Preparation

If using frozen shrimp, thaw and clean thoroughly and set aside.  Chop all veggies and assemble in tiny bowls for pretty presentation and to make things easier on yourself. Soak rice wrapper in pie dish of luke warm water for 15-20 seconds or until the wrapper is flimsy and squishy.  Set on a cutting board or plate and assemble along a straight line with shrimp, veggies and noodles.  Roll up like a burrito – ends first, then the sides – and you’re done!

For the sauce, just whisk together all ingredients and serve in a small bowl for dipping.