One of my favorite quotes is by J.R.R. Tolkien: "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." Here I'm giving glimpses of all I am deciding in the time that is given to me. Enjoy! All pictures and posts are mine, thank you! Please ask permission for photo use.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

chickpea muffins?

The name of the recipe is "Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Mini-Muffins." But one of the main ingredients is chickpeas!

The entire time I was preparing this recipe, I was a little disgusted. Maybe that's too harsh of a word, but chickpeas in muffins? I'm not a fan of the way chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, smell right out of the can (or in this case, out of the BPA-free pouch from Fig Food Company--get BPA out of your life, friends!).  But I love chickpeas in hummus, salads, Indian and Mediterranean dishes, and etc., so I thought I'd better give it a try.

Trying not to get my hopes up, much like during my vegan Alfredo experiment, I was mentally preparing myself not to like this food (I hate being disappointed by food, don't you?). I tried to get everything as smooth as possible in my Vitamix (who wants chunks of chickpeas in your muffins?) and held my breath while stirring the chocolate chips into the batter.

In the end, these muffins turned out to be super delicious! I'm so glad I tried them--they seem like a healthier version of a breakfast muffin (no eggs, flour, butter, etc.). I modified the recipe in two ways:

  1. I don't have a mini-muffin tin, so I made regular-sized muffins, and this recipe only yielded five muffins. I actually really appreciate the low yield, because I don't have any business baking an entire dozen for me to eat (my fiance isn't a huge fan of chocolate chip baked goods--weirdo!). 
  2. I only used half a cup of sugar instead of 3/4 cup (you really don't need that much--the chocolate chips sweeten the muffins well). 
I put the muffins in a 350-degree oven for 15 minutes, but they weren't quite done in the middle, so I lowered the temperature to 300 and put them back in for another five minutes. The muffins were cooked through, though the inside is very soft even when fully cooked (I guess that's why they are called cookie dough muffins?). 

For you brave souls willing to try it, here's the recipe:


shamrock explosion

My shamrock used to look like this.

Now it looks like this!!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

pumpkin spice granola

I'm officially hooked on this! I made one batch which was eaten rather quickly, then made a double batch and we're still eating it up just as eagerly!

I've been eating it with unsweetened vanilla almond-coconut milk, and it's divine.

Here's the recipe:

Happy eating!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sunday, June 16, 2013

du jour - 16 June 2013

  • Slept in until 9! (This is HUGE. I rarely sleep in on weekends, and treating myself this morning felt wonderful.)
  • Attended Friends Meeting (Quaker church)
  • Walked in the park with my honey
  • Pre-ordered Miranda, a hilarious British sitcom starring Miranda Hart (for anyone who is watching Call the Midwife on your local public broadcasting station, she plays Chummy)

Yesterday, I spent the first half of my day with my favorite pony, Dixie, at Simple Changes Therapeutic Riding Center. We took a trail ride in the woods and I saw a family of deer by a stream. 

Today on our walk, my honey and I spotted a doe resting in a thick patch of trees, a blue heron wading in a pond, turtles basking on logs, and a poor group of tadpoles struggling in a tiny, drying puddle (please come, rain!). On our drive home, we stopped the car to let a groundhog cross the road. 

How was your weekend?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Oh my, Oyamel

My honey and I had a fabulous date day on Sunday. I call it a date "day" because it really was an entire day, not just a date night.

We started off at church, where I played hand bells in our last song before we broke for the summer. After church, we went on a long walk, exploring a route we'd never taken before. It was fun to try something new, a long loop near my old neighborhood, and sure, we did get caught in a summer rain shower and we did have to hold our noses as we quickly moved past a poor dead raccoon at one point, but it was an adventure, one we did together, and it was fun.

I briefly went shopping for some DIY wedding supplies, and then we ended up at Oyamel, a Mexican restaurant in Washington, DC near the Archives/Navy Memorial. I've been wanting to eat there for the longest time, and I'm so glad we finally went! The food was excellent.

My darling decided, after eating, that he likes El Centro D.F. better. Oyamel has a noveau twist--it was a little too "exotic" and creative for him. Still, we both enjoyed all of our food and we each tried something new (horchata for him, cactus paddle for both of us). The plates are small and meant to be shared, and we didn't shy away from ordering plenty. We had to walk around outside for a few blocks afterward so we weren't waddling back to the car!

Our menu:

We started off with homemade, tableside guacamole, chips, and salsa, and I ordered a blood orange chile pequin margarita--a delicious concoction with a spicy kick!!

The first plate to arrive was papas al mole. They were actually papas fritas (french fries), but that didn't deter me. I'm the only one who likes mole, so I got to eat it all to myself.

Our quesadillas came next. I had quesadilla huitlacoche (I talked about huitlacoche when we visited El Centro D.F.). It had this wonderful sweet corn salsa in it, was served with a spicy salsa verde, and was one of our favorite dishes of the evening. His quesadilla was a special seasonal one, and it had nice big crunchy chunks of asparagus in it. Yum!

He had seared scallops with chile, pumpkin seed sauce, orange, pumpkin oil, and pepitas (Cayo de hacha con pipian de chile pasilla), as well as a Yucatan-style pit BBQ pork taco with pickled red onion and Mexican sour orange (Cochinita pibil con cebolla en escabeche). I don't eat meat or seafood, so I didn't want either, but he assured me they were both great.

We shared an amazing Brussels sprouts plate that had chile de arbol sauce, pepitas, peanuts, and lime (Col de bruselas estilo San Quintin). It really was remarkable, though, we both agreed, a little on the salty side. I ate most of the cactus paddles (Nopal asado con salsa molcajete), and loved every bite!

We split a horchata for dessert. Their desserts sounded marvelous, and I really wanted to try one, but we both were so stuffed that we couldn't bring ourselves to order one, not even to share.

If you love Mexican that is more authentic than your everyday Pancho Villa's on the side of a highly-developed street and are willing to try a few new flavor combinations, I highly recommend Oyamel.

Below: decorations at our booth.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

new for summer

So it may not technically be summer just yet (the summer solstice is Friday, June 21 this year), but in my mind it's already here. Schools are letting out, the cicadas in northern Virginia are buzzing loudly like the din of heavy machinery, the temperature has been in the 90's for the past several days, and shorts, sandals, and breezy dresses are making their way back into my wardrobe.

I'm welcoming summer early and in the spirit of a new season I'm sharing five new things I'm excited about:

1. Mango sorbet: mango isn't my favorite fruit, but recently my sister, brother-in-law, and I made homemade sorbet by blending half fresh, half frozen mango with a little bit of water. No sugar is needed if your mangoes are ripe enough (ours were!), and it's a super yummy, healthy, perfect-for-summer snack.

2. Donut World doughnuts: I've always loved doughnuts, but after Dunkin Donuts sort of re-branded themselves I lost a taste for theirs, and Krispy Kremes can sometimes make me feel like I've got diabetes settling in after eating them. When I last visited family in Greensboro, NC, I was introduced to the magical wonder that is Donut World. You must believe me when I say they are the best doughnuts I've ever had in my life, even beating out Mexican doughnuts from a panaderia in Guadalajara and homemade doughnuts at a church's Fastnacht (celebration before Ash Wednesday, on Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras night). If you ever find yourself in Greensboro, NC, don't miss out on these.

3. Elderflower lemonade: I found this gem at Whole Foods, and it's got a touch of sparkly fizz, a delicious flavor, and it's small enough to fit in your purse if you need to sneak it into a movie, say, Fast and Furious 6 (hello, fun summer movies!).

4. Hula hooping: I never knew how to do this as a kid, but my sister recently trained me on how to swing a hoop around your hips. It's tons of fun and I find myself sweating in mere minutes--a great way to exercise! I bought my own hoop last night and I can't wait to start swinging. I'll bet it's a great way to get swimsuit ready, too!

5. HBO's True Blood! The new season starts on June 16. Now that I have to wait for Grimm to start back up in the fall, I have my favorite summer guilty pleasure to hold me through until then (as well as a ton of DVR to catch up on!).

What are you excited about for this summer?

Below: I'm also excited to see my plant continuing to grow!