Tag Archives: chickpeas

Logan rocks the fishing derby!

15 Jun

As the school year winds down (today is their last day), things have been crazy busy with field trips, birthday parties, sleepovers and scout activities. We are having so much fun, but are definitely ready for summer vacation to get underway so we can sleep in a little later, float around the pool in the afternoons and clean some closets (Shh! The kids don’t know about the closet-cleaning part!).

Last night was the year-end Cub Scout event. Our Scoutmaster lives on 40 acres and has a small lake on his property, so he hosted a fishing derby. Everyone brought a dish to share and the kids had a blast fishing. But the highlight of the evening was my one-and-only Logan, who not only caught the most fish, he took home the trophy for catching the biggest fish! He caught a 14.5″ bass, but his winning catch was a 17″ bass. He was so excited he could hardly stand it. My animal-loving kids had no problem releasing their fish back into the lake. It was definitely a night to remember.

Logan with his Scoutmaster and his 14.5″ catch; Logan with Dad and his trophy-winning 17″ catch

Because I have two boys in the Cub Scout Pack, we contributed two things to the potluck — super easy Chocolate Chunk Cookies (from the Duncan Hines website) made with farm fresh eggs, and a delicious little salad that takes advantage of fresh herbs from the garden (recipe to follow).

I can’t remember if I mentioned this in an earlier blog post, but the wild turkeys that have been visiting our property for the last 5 or 6 years decided this year that my garden looked tasty. About 2 weeks after I got the initial seeds in, they stomped their way through all the beds, digging up dirt, tossing seeds everywhere and leaving large holes in areas I had already planted. What a mess. Because many of the seeds had not even sprouted yet, I decided not to weed or try to figure out what was left until I could identify them above ground. So I waited. It’s been a few weeks now, and I’m left with half a row of peas and half a row of beans still in place. I’m missing all of my Swiss chard and most of the rainbow chard. Though my zucchini and yellow squash are growing, I have discovered squash plants growing in other areas where I didn’t even plant them. To top it off, the weeds have gone crazy. I’m so disappointed in my mess of a garden that I can’t even bear the thought of pulling all those weeds out.

The only thing to truly survive is my area of herbs. I planted these from seedlings I bought at the local greenhouse so they are nice and strong and growing well. They came in handy for this recipe. The Mediterranean flavors of this salad work well with just about anything you grill, but especially with veggie burgers, chicken or fish (ethically raised or wild caught, of course). Though this started as a recipe from Cooking Light magazine (June 2005), I have changed it enough that I’m calling it mine. The nice thing about it is that it actually tastes better the next day, so assemble it ahead if you can. Plus, it can be served chilled or at room temperature, making it ideal for a potluck or summer barbecue.

Mediterranean Chickpea and Fresh Herb Salad
serves 8

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup chopped red onion
20 grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1/4 cup pitted and sliced kalamata olives
1/4 cup sliced green olives

In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. Stir in fresh herbs. Add the chickpeas, black beans, onion, tomatoes and olives. Stir well to combine and coat everything. Refrigerate at least 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Enjoy!

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

17 Mar

Things haven’t slowed down after the whirlwind weekend so I haven’t had a spare minute to get on here and write. But it’s St. Patty’s day and I’m hoping this day brings everyone a little luck.

So here’s an update on the BP. After 2 months on a vegan diet, my blood pressure is still hovering around the 150/100 mark. I’ve increased my water consumption (although I hate water) because it’s supposed to help lower blood pressure by acting as a diuretic. Other than that, I haven’t changed anything. As a matter of fact, I’ve been totally slacking on the exercise thing. In all actuality, I haven’t been slacking — as in sitting around just vegging in front of the TV. I haven’t had time for that, or much of anything else. I’ve just been busy with life. But spring is around the corner and I’m hoping that helps kick my butt into gear so I’ll start walking every day.

I had coffee with a new friend the other day. She’s also using food as a cure. One interesting thing she said was that everyone’s different and we all come from different ethnic backgrounds — how could you expect that what works for one person would work for another. What she said is so true, and it’s true about diet, health care, family life, religion and just about everything else in life.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that you have to keep trying all the things that are recommended for your situation and then stick with the ones that work. I was online the other day looking for other things that might get this BP to drop. I stumbled on a website of testimonials from people who were using apple cider vinegar to help control their BP. Just 2 teaspoons, 3 times a day worked like a charm for about 90% of the zillions of people who had responded. But it’s not your average grocery store apple cider vinegar. You have to buy the one with the “mother” in it. This is the cloudy looking sediment at the bottom of the bottle. You can find this in a health food store. I bought Bragg’s Organic Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mother. I found it in the Kroger Natural Foods section. About 3 days ago I started this plan. You have to mix it with something before drinking it so I’m mixing it with lemonade. Or you can make a salad dressing with it, which I did one night. So far, the BP hasn’t dropped. Going to give it a month and then decide whether or not it’s worth it. Hopefully, this will be the lucky charm for me!

In the meantime, why not celebrate St. Patrick’s day with a little green in your belly?! This soup is a long-time favorite of my kids (they named it). I think it started as a Cooking Light recipe but we’ve modified over the years and here’s where we ended up. It’s loaded with good stuff for your body, including a healthy green — spinach. You could go totally green today and serve it with a big salad.

POPEYE SPINACH SOUP
makes 6 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1-1/2 cups zucchini, diced
1-1/2 cups summer squash, diced
28 ounces vegetable broth
14-ounce can of no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons vegan pesto or minced fresh basil
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups fresh spinach, sliced
salt substitute and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced

In a large stockpot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, peppers and garlic and saute 5 minutes. Stir in zucchini, squash, broth, tomatoes, bay leaf, pesto and oregano. Bring to a boil then reduce and simmer until squash is tender. Remove bay leaf. Add chickpeas and cook 2-3 minutes. Stir in spinach and season to taste with salt substitute and pepper. Scoop into bowls and garnish with parsley. Enjoy!

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