Friday, March 16, 2012

What I've been doing with Chickpeas

It took me a while to finally realize that I fully enjoy chickpeas (or Garbanzo beans, as the can says.) I was always a big fan of hummus, which -- in case you were not aware -- is very much made of chickpeas.

The great thing about chickpeas is that you can essentially add them to any meal in any way, or you can have them as a snack. They are very versatile, and they are chock full of PROTEIN! They are more delicate in texture, and taste-wise they are by no means overbearing.

Chickpeas are also WICKED CHEAP. 99 cents for a can at Whole Foods -- that's probably the least expensive thing there! So, as I've been on a kick with this funny little 'peas' that are actually 'beans,' I thought I'd share some simple ways that you can get chickpeas into your diet and up your daily protein intake.

I stumbled upon a simple snack recipe from for Crispy Roasted Chickpeas. I had about half a can of chickpeas leftover from a previous use and I thought that this would be the perfect way to use up the rest.

It's very simple to make these. All you have to do is drain a can of chickpeas and dry completely. Remove any skins that come off. Then, lay them out on a baking sheet and toss with about 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Bake in a hot oven, I did 375 degrees since my little stove gets hot so quickly, for about half an hour. Once they are crispy and smelling delicious, remove from the oven and toss in your favorite seasoning. I used Lawry's seasoning salt and basic black pepper.

These were addicting and I would have eaten the whole bowl if I didn't knock half of it on the floor...

Better FOR you than chips, and much more filling. Give them a try when you need to fulfill that 2:30 snack craving!

In Rice and Quinoa
I feel like I am ALWAYS buying bags of rice and quinoa. It goes so quickly around here, but I really prefer these carbs over pasta. So when I was trying to think of ways to stretch my rice and/or quinoa, I thought -- DUH. Chickpeas. I cook my rice and such in a rice cooker. So once it's about 3/4 of the way cooked and the water level has dropped significantly, I pile a handful of Chickpeas on top of the rice/quinoa and mix it all together once it's done. This allows the chickpeas to get nice and tender, and the flavor is soft enough to blend nicely into the rice. I definitely got the BF on board with this trick -- so either this really does hide the chickpeas, or he enjoys them as much as I do!

In Salads

Chickpeas come out of the can ready to eat. This means that you are allowed to get really creative with vinaigrettes, toss the chickpeas in the dressing, and add a protein punch to your salads. They take on flavors really well and are a nice compliment to all those crispy veggies. When I am feeling extra healthy, I try to replace my croutons (weakness!) with chickpeas in a salad. Think: feeling fuller after a salad?! Chickpeas can help with that.

How do you like chickpeas?! Have you done anything creative with them recently? One of my favorite bloggers, Ashley, author of "The Vegetable Life" blog, put them into twice baked sweet potatoes. I'm making these on mouth is ALREADY watering!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Recent Food Adventures

I know, I know. It's been more than a week and I have left you with nothing to cook, eat, or laugh at. I'm quite sorry. Let me tell you this blogging stuff is hard work! And I am also getting into the thick of my exam season, which means most free time must be spent doing math rather than documenting my dinners. It's not about you, guys. It's totally about me.

Ok enough of this relationship break up business. Despite my lack of blog posts, I have been eating some interesting food at really good places! Here's a brief run-down of where I've been recently and the mouthwatering dinners I had there.

Good Eats in Boston:

Cafe 47 - I went here when my good friend, Lisa, and her sis came up to visit Boston. Truth be told it was the NEW YORKERS and not me, the local, who found this place. Also, as New Yorkers, we were VERY satisfied with the pizza here. The atmosphere is probably my favorite part of Cafe 47. It is quaint, dark, with rustic accents throughout. I had the Goat Cheese and Salmon Linguine (basically, all my favorite things on top of fresh pasta). It was outrageously good--sprinkled with a little bit of dill, fresh goat cheese, shredded salmon YUM! I definitely suggest giving this place a try. You can get a delicious dinner at a VERY reasonable price. Great for dates and small groups! .......Oh, I should mention, they had a selection of four desserts and we got one of each. Grilled apple bread, grilled banana bread, a Nutella PB banana grilled sandwich, and chocolate moose. Is your mouth watering yet?

Abe and Louie's - This is a fancy steakhouse located on Boylston street that is VERY good. Cor and I went here with family he had in town, and I must say the experience of going to a really GOOD steakhouse was worth it. The exquisite food was even more so. So you are probably wondering what steak I had.....well, I had the Chilean Sea Bass. Ok, look, it was a special that night and our waitor, Chris, made my mouth water just DESCRIBING the dish. I was NOT disappointed. It was beautifully grilled on top of crispy swiss chard with a jumbo shrimp right on top. I was eating like a queen. Now, don't misunderstand me -- this is a fancy little joint downtown and it will certainly be a long time before another gallivant to a place like this. But if you have a special occasion and a few dollars to spend, head to Abe and Louie''s just divine.

Wagamama - to say and an interesting eating experience, for sure. This restaurant has Asian inspired cuisine, with it's focus on noodle dishes. I had the Yaki Soba, which in a way reminded me of Pad Thai. The thing about Wagamama (say it aloud, go ahead) is that everything is freshly prepared to order so everything comes out haphazardly. Just ignore all manners if your food comes out first, because if everyone'd be eating cold noodles. Overall, though, the food is quite tasty. It's light and fresh, which is somewhat unexpected for such noodle dishes. Also, apparently their chocolate cake dessert is featured on the Boston chocolate tour, so you may be wise to try that out!

Have you eaten anywhere new in your city recently?