March 26, 2012

.roasted chickpeas.

Way back when the man and I were only friends he was deployed to Afghanistan and the very first thing I ever sent him was a card that said, "Hey Garbanzo, how you bean?"

When I found this card I laughed, literally guffawed, in Carrs. Luckily, Alaskans, by nature, are a fairly odd bunch so no one even looked at me. I thought it was the perfect card to send him, as surely he would find it just as hilarious. Much to my dismay he didn't even know what a garbanzo bean was, so the joke fell a bit flat. Wha wha. 

Now, however, I am pleased to say that he is a garbanzo bean, also known as chickpeas, aficionado. He enjoys them with me as salad toppers, as hummus makers, and most recently, as a crunchy little snacky snack. 

Roasted Chickpeas serves 2
1-16 ounce can of chickpeas
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Spread them out on a baking sheet lined with a paper towel, dry thoroughly. Throw the paper towel away, then add the olive oil to the chickpeas. Sprinkle with salt and any other seasoning you want, I also put some dill on them, then toss to coat. 

Bake for 35-45 minutes until brown and crunchy. Inhale. 


March 24, 2012

.apples and carrots.

Yeah, we don't need no stinking bananas up in here. Actually we have banana soft serve for dinner tonight so, that's a lie.

For dinner though I was planning on just roasting some carrots to go with baked chicken and spinach. After our grocery excursion today, however, we had some delicious looking honeycrisp apples. As I was holding a carrot I saw them and a light bulb went on. I peeled the carrots right quick, then cored the apple and cut it into eighths. I only used one apple but that was a big mistake, I would suggest at least 3.

From there I placed the carrots and apple pieces on a baking sheet, drizzled olive oil over them, then gave a liberal sprinkling of chili powder and cinnamon. I figured one goes with the veggies, one goes with the fruit, why not just try both? I let these cook in a 400 degree oven for 1 hour.

After they were done we were generously rewarded with the tasty sweetness of roasted carrots with an extra burst of flavor from the apples. The texture was also great. The carrots are a little chewy and the apples just melt in your mouth.

I have a confession, I've never baked apples before. I've made an apple pie, but never just baked an apple. I have been seriously missing out! I am already thinking of what other things I can try with baked apples. I'll keep y'all posted!


March 14, 2012

.diy: nursery decor.

When I first started thinking of la bebe's nursery theme I had a million plans and ideas. Somehow, however, during my nesting I lost all motivation to do anything even remotely creative for her nursery! I just put things off until I had her and then had absolutely no time to even think about decorating the nursery, until now! I'm very happy to say that for the last few weeks she has been sleeping in her nursery, loving her crib, and this has given me the push I need to get some cute things up for her.

The first thing on my list was the oh-so-popular name decor. I had some different ideas for this and decided on a little project that took me forever but was actually super easy.

I found all of my supplies at Michael's. I started with canvas. I affixed scrap book paper to the canvas, using mod podge (per the instructions on the bottle) and folded the edges like gift wrap. I let these dry over night.

In the meantime I painted her letters with spray paint, the color is Watermelon. I did four layers of paint, doing only a slight misting on each application.

I attached the letters to the canvas using gorilla glue. This stuff expands when it dries so if you use it, be careful! I used very little and used a paint brush to spread it along the middle of the letter.

Do you see the baby head? :)
Just like that, the "art" was done! I don't know if you can really call it art, as it was so ridiculously easy. I think it looks great though and I'm hoping she will think the same thing as she gets older!

Also, after hearing an absolutely terrifying story about a baby swallowing a thumbtack used to hold a picture up I decided to search for an alternative way to put the canvases on the wall. I came across Command picture hanging strips. These things are like heavy duty velcro and work awesome! They also make me feel a lot safer!

So, there you have it. A super easy project that would be great for a nursery or kids room! 


March 12, 2012

.caramel banana nut ice cream, sans cream.

One very hard part about going dairy-free is not getting to eat ice cream. One very hard part about working out like a fiend and trying to get into some sort of shape is not eating non-dairy ice cream (which, in my opinion, is actually tastier than normal ice cream). So, after seeing banana soft serve all over pinterest and on multiple other blogs, I decided I had to give it a try.

The verdict: Winning!

This was incredibly easy to make and very tasty. I made little banana soft serve sundaes with about 2 teaspoons of non-dairy caramel sauce and some chopped pecans, courtesy of our friend Joseph from Texas. Nothing like a Texas pecan, mmmm.

Banana Soft Serve makes 3 sundaes
3 bananas

Chop the bananas into small pieces and put in the freezer for at least 5 hours. I recommend letting them freeze over night.

Process frozen banana chunks in your food processor for about 5 minutes, scraping the sides occasionally. It will take a little while for it to all come together but be patient!

Then, eat the hell out of some banana soft serve! Or you could also put it back in the freezer to let it get a little more firm, I will probably do this next time. You can add anything you want to it, and I will be experimenting with things and I'll let y'all know how they go!


March 2, 2012

.dairy-free chocolatey indulgence.

A few years ago I had the privilege of working for a great couple at their doctor's office. They were always bringing in divine, yet slimmed down, goodies for the staff.

These brownies were office favorites and it's obvious why. These guys are silky, dense and moist. They taste like chocolate pudding, in bar form. They are also oil, butter, egg and dairy-free. Perfect for me right now, as I'm dairy-free for la bebe and trying to work on my fitness. Everyone needs a little chocolate fix here and there though and these do the trick.

I switched them up a little bit, as you are also completely welcome to do. Her original recipe calls for 3/4 cup of sugar but I drop it down to 1/2 cup. I also added the ground flax seed and throw some slivered almonds on top. In the past she brought in some that she put nuts into and some that she put chocolate chips into. You really can't go wrong with the add-ins.

Marsha's Brownies makes 16
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup ground flax seed
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
10.5 ounces silken tofu
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Combine the silken tofu and vanilla extract in a blender.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients, mix thoroughly, bake for 20-25 minutes.

It is really that easy so have a somewhat healthy, delicious, chocolate treat for the end of the night!


March 1, 2012

.money saving tip: air freshener.

Like many other people, I have recently become completely enamored with Pinterest. When I saw a pin for homemade air freshener I knew I had to try it. I, of course, always smell like roses but with the man's stinky PT clothes, la bebe and her cloth diapers and Wally cat's litter box there were definitely some areas in the house that could use some air freshening.

Cheap, easy, non-toxic, homemade air freshening, at that. I used this little how-to by Kelly at The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking.

I found these adorable little jars on clearance at Kroger. Buy one get one free, woot! You can get canning jars just about anywhere though.

Then you poke some holes in the lid with a hammer and nail, cute little shape optional. Fill the jar 1/4 full of baking soda and 6-8 drops of lavender essential oil, or whatever you scent of choice is. Kelly recommends lavender and I happen to have that on hand for la bebe's wipe solution so that's what I used as well.

Every once in a while give the jar a shake and once every month or two change out the baking soda, as it can go stale.

I really like that this uses only baking soda and essential oil. The baking soda eliminates and absorbs odors, while the oil provides a light scent. Not at all over powering like some air fresheners can be.

I love Kelly's recommendation to use this on carpet and upholstery as well. The house we're in now has all wood floors but this would work great if you have a spot in your carpet or rug that you need to de-stink. Just shake onto the carpet, let sit for a few minutes, then vacuum up!