Garbanzo and White Bean Salad

chickpeas Garbanzo and White Bean Salad

Garbanzo Bean Salad

This is a great recipe for BBQs, quick lunches or just about any occasion you can think of. I also love bean salads, but I always forget to make them! The original recipe called for beans and herbs that I didn’t have so I made my own veggie combination, but stuck with her recipe for the dressing. You really do need the sugar in the dressing or it just doesn’t taste right!
Garbanzo and White Bean Salad

2 15 oz cans of Garbanzo Beans
1 15 oz can of white beans
2 carrots, finely chopped
1/3 red onion, finely chopped
1 cup fresh, finely chopped flat-leaf cilantro
1 Tbsp fresh finely chopped basil
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

 In a large bowl, mix the beans, celery, onion, parsley and rosemary.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add the dressing to the beans. Toss to coat.

Chill beans in the refrigerator for several hours, to allow the beans to soak up the flavor of the dressing.


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Pink Pasta and Bean Salad

PinkPasta Pink Pasta and Bean Salad

Pink Pasta is pink because of the beets!

This is a recipe we made for Rosie from a book called Recipes for Babies and Toddlers. The title could just as easily be called “Recipes for Everyone in the House Who Has Taste buds,” but I guess their title is a little more marketable. The book has great recipes with portions that are appropriate for little bellies. The problem is that when it says “Serves 6-8” that means 6-8 babies, not 2 adults and a baby bug, so each one of these recipes is about one meal for the family. It’s kind of perfect, actually.

I chose this recipe because I realized the other night that Rosie eats all food well, but for some reason does not love beans. So I thought we should start trying to get her to eat them. There are many websites that teach parents to sneak vegetables into their unsuspecting little ones’ shakes or pancakes. “Blend them in and they won’t know they are eating them!” This seems counter productive….the kid continues to think they don’t like vegetables and now you have to clean a blender in addition to everything else you just dirtied to make the kid some dinner. Super lame.

I advocate feeding your kid food you want them to eat and food you like to eat. This recipe has one of Rosie’s new favorites: beets. They turned everything pinky-purple and she loved it! I think this would be a good summer salad for adults too. I used pickled beets because we have them on hand.
Pink Pasta and Bean Salad
½ cup pasta, spirals or penne
14 oz canned black-eye peas, well drained
1 medium cooked beet, peeled and diced
1 stick of celery, sliced
1 carrot, grated
1 green bell pepper, deseeded and diced (or use a ½ c of peas like I did!)*
juice of 1 lemon
½ tsp balsamic vinegar
½ tsp sesame seed oil
½ tbsp olive oil
pinch of black pepper

Mix the pasta, beans and vegetables together in a bowl. Mix the remaining ingredients together, pour over the salad and toss. Makes 6-8 servings.

* I had to skip the pepper because the one I bought had a bug inside it! Boo for bugs in your veggies, but nice to know they aren’t sprayed.

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Garbanzo Bean-Yogurt Dip

YogurtHummusdip Garbanzo Bean Yogurt Dip

Yogurt Garbanzo Bean Dip

Garbanzo Bean-Yogurt Dip Makes a lot (1 ½ cups)

This is a very simple recipe that appeared in Bon Appétit –March 2013

Puree 2 small garlic cloves, two 15 oz cans chickpeas (rinsed), ½ cup plain 2% Greek Yogurt, 3 tbsps olive oil, 2 tsp sherry vinegar, a large pinch of cumin and a healthy splash of lemon juice; season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

That’s it!

If you want to be fancy you can top it with olive oil, pine nuts, mint or pomegranate seeds. Nick and I eat this almost daily for lunch now so we don’t dress it up much.

I found that I had to modify the recipe a bit to get it to the consistency that we prefer, so we added the lemon juice and upped the yogurt a bit so it wasn’t so course.  And I added more garlic, of course.

This dip really is good. My new favorite sandwich involves a tortilla, this spread, avocado and arugula. I warm it slightly in the toaster oven…so good! I may never buy store bought hummus again.

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Pumpkin Dinner Knots

Pumpkinknot Pumpkin Dinner Knots

Hearty Oat and Pumpkin dinner knots

I made these cute little rolls a couple time during the holidays last year and enjoyed them every time! Rosie really loves them too, so we eat them more than perhaps we should…The first time I made these I thought I could save some time and not tie them in knots, but they really do taste better (and look better) if you do it. They are pretty easy and would be great with substantial winter soups!


Hearty Oat and Pumpkin Dinner Knots

1 cup milk
1 Tbsp butter
½ cup cold water
½ cup canned pumpkin
3 Tbsp honey
4-5 cups bread flour
½ cup quick oats
1 Tbsp yeast
1 Tbsp salt

Egg wash
1 egg
½ tsp  water
3 Tbsp sesame seeds (optional)

  1. Heat milk and butter in a small saucepan until butter melts, stir in cold water, pumpkin and honey. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Mix four cups of flour with all dry ingredients.
  3. Add milk mixture slowly. Stir until you have a thick batter; let stand for 10 minutes. Mix in enough additional flour to make a soft dough and knead until smooth.
  4. Let rise for 20 minutes or until doubled in size. Heat oven to 400. Divide dough into 36 golf ball sized pieces. Roll each ball into 6’’ long rope and tie in a knot.
  5. Tucking ends under, place on parchment lined baking sheet and let rise for 10 minutes.
  6. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until tops are a deep golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet.


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Zucchini and Corn Salad

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Zucchini and Corn Salad


Welcome to summer! It is officially the hottest day of the year in Chicago since 1999!  I’m never a huge fan of crazy hot weather and now that I’m 7 months pregnant 100 degree temps and 110 heat indexes make me melt and swell at the same time. I feel like Veruca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate factory, but at least I haven’t turned blue!


While I have been complaining about the heat, the summer veggies seem to be rejoicing in it.  This salad celebrates two of the best summer vegetables: Zucchini and sweet corn! For extra protein you can add some feta cheese and pine nuts (if you can find some that aren’t too pricey!) If you don’t want to go that extra mile, no problem, it is delicious as is.


This is a nice side salad that would go well with tacos or other Mexican food. Here is the recipe!


Warm Zucchini Corn Salad

4 Servings/1 pt. ea. (about 2/3 C)

1 1/2 cups whole kernel corn, boiled and cut from the cob.
2 1/2 cups diced or shredded zucchini
2 T green onion, chopped
1 t. olive oil
1 T lime juice
1/8 t. freshly ground pepper
1/2 t. salt
4 T fresh cilantro, chopped

Toss corn, zucchini and green onions with olive oil. Pour into large skillet, and cook, stirring frequently, until zucchini is fork-tender. Remove skillet from heat, and mix in lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper.


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Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Mango

Quinoa 614x410 Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Mango

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Mango


When I get invited to a barbecue I immediately start going through my list of recipes: potato salad, macaroni salad, lentil-beet salad, tofu burgers, etc. I love all of these recipes, but they have to make room for one more because this spring I found a perfect picnic salad recipe in the Veganomicon—Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Mango.


The wonderful thing about this recipe is how flexible and quick it is to make. You can use any left over grains, beans or fruit you have in the house. Lately we’ve been using a lot of quinoa though because I need the extra protein, but imagine Israeli couscous, bulgur or wheatberries would also be nice!


It is perfect for picnics because there is no dairy, it is fast and tastes better at room temperature than it does chilled.


And now the recipe!


1 mango, peeled and cut into small dice

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced as small as you can get it

1 cup chopped scallions

1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

2 tbsp grapeseed oil

¼ tsp salt

2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled*

1 (15oz) can black beans drained and rinsed



Combine the mango, bell pepper, scallion and cilantro in a mixing bowl. Add the red wine vinegar, grapeseed oil, and salt, and stir to combine. Add the quinoa and stir until everything is well incorporated. Fold in the black beans. You can serve immediately or let it sit for a bit for the flavors to meld.

We also added two handfuls of spinach just because we had it on hand. I think it is best to add the spinach right before you serve it so it doesn’t get too oily or wilted.


*if you don’t already have some cooked quinoa, don’t fret! It is very easy. Just bring 1 cup of dried quinoa and two cups of water to a boil in a small pot. Once it has started to boil, lower the heat so it is simmering and cook for about 15 minutes, until all the water has been absorbed. Then remove from the heat and fluff with a fork. Set it aside and let it cool while you prep the other ingredients for the recipe!

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Cream Biscuits

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The Biscuits!

So Chicago and most of the country was hit with a crazy storm last night and it continued well into the day today. Since the snow was making it almost impossible to get around the city unless you take the trains, the restaurants where I was supposed to shoot canceled. I was disappointed, but then I had a snow day! What do I do on snow days? Sleep in, have an awesome breakfast, bake and play outside of course! These fluffy warm biscuits are the perfect food for a day like this. The baking warms up the house and they keep you from getting too hungry between rounds of shoveling!

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Our backyard this morning at about 9:30.

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Nick had to walk home last night during the peak hours of the blizzard so I made him a ‘Hero’s Breakfast’ for making it home in one piece. The breakfast was scrambled eggs with spinach, onions and cheese AND a puffy pancake with apples. After such a big breakfast we had to do something to earn our next treat so we ran, more like stumbled, through the snow banks and took some pictures of the deep snow. When we got back for lunch I made Cream Biscuits! These little guys should be made at least once a month. They are so delicious and pretty easy! My only complaint is the dough was really sticky, I think next time I will add a tiny bit more flour so half the dough doesn’t end up on my hands. Anyway, here is the recipe!

Here is what you need:

2 cups all purpose flour

2 ½ tsp sugar

2 tsp baking powder

¾ tsp kosher salt

1 ½ c heavy cream (divided)

parchment paper

8×8 pan

Preheat the oven to 425 and line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper that goes across the bottom and up the sides of the pan.

Then mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl and slowly add the cream. The original recipe says to withhold ¼ c of the cream to use to get the dry bits on the bottom. I tried this and I deem it a stupid suggestion. Use the whole amount of cream whisk well and there won’t be dry crumbs on the bottom of the bowl and the dough won’t be so damn sticky when you turn it out onto a floured surface.

So you dump the dough on the floured counter and knead it briefly (about 30 seconds) and then plop the whole thing into the 8×8 pan. Flatten with a well-floured hand and then cut into biscuit sized pieces.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the tops are golden.

Nick said, “These biscuits remind me of the ones they serve at Sweet Maple.” I can’t think of a better compliment! They taste amazing plain, with a little jelly, or you can add some herbs or cheese if you want to get fancy. The recipe suggests the dough can handle as much as 1 cup of cheese (!) The original recipe came from The Kitchen.

Enjoy the snow Chicago! It will be around for a long time and safe travels to those trying to escape our fair city!

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World Cup Tapas!

toastednuts 615x410 World Cup Tapas!

Yes, yes, the World Cup was a long time ago, but I am just posting about it now. Nick, Kathy, Martin and I watched the final together and say what you will about the final itself (I think it was boring and awful) the food we ate while we watched was fantastic.

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I tried to follow the loose theme of tapas since the finals pitted Spain against the Netherlands. For starters we had roasted herbed almonds and olives, stuffed cucumber and baked goat cheese with tomato sauce. For dessert we had a Dutch spice cookie. The recipes can be found if you follow the links.

I am posting this now because it seems like these dishes would be good to have on hand for a New Year’s Eve party. I particularly recommend the almonds since these can be made ahead and eaten at room temperature. Anyway, enjoy! These recipes were delicious!

Dutch Spice Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. ground cloves

1/2 tsp. ginger

1/8 tsp. salt

1/2 cup sliced almonds
In large mixing bowl combine butter and vanilla with both sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Add beaten eggs and blend well. Sift the flour and all remaining dry ingredients together and beat into the butter mixture. Mix in the sliced almonds by hand, so as not to crush them. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions and chill overnight.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Roll the cooled dough into 1/4-inch thick portions and cut with cookie cutters or shape with a special speculaasmold or other cookie mold . Bake for 10-15 minutes and store in an airtight container.

Makes 36 cookies

Click here for the cucumber recipe. But I would double the spices.

Click here for the herb roasted almonds. I had to use slivered almonds, but I think now because of the holidays you can get whole blanched almonds.

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Olive Zucchini Bread

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Olive Oil Zucchini Bread

Over the summer we, like anyone with access to a garden, had way too many zucchinis. You can make the usual suspects, but after awhile I just get tired of zucchini. So this year, I shredded the zucchini and froze it. So far I have used it in soup and I have made some baked goods out of it. I wanted to mention this bread now because it is savory. Around Christmas all the recipes you see for baked goods are sweet and this is a refreshing change from all the sugar.  I think it would a great bread for Christmas morning, a brunch or for lunch with a big salad.

The original recipe was way, way too salty because it calls for olives and salt. I omitted the salt the second time around and it was fine.  Here is the recipe if you feel like having a little quick-bread this season!

Zucchini and Olive Breakfast Cake, French-Style
Makes 9×5 inch 1 loaf

1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan and drizzling
1/2 pound zucchini,
1 teaspoon salt
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 large eggs
1/3 cup milk
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced

Heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with olive oil. Grate the zucchini on the coarsest side of a box grater. Place the zucchini in a colander in the sink, and toss with 1 teaspoon of salt. Let drain while preparing the rest of the recipe.

In a large bowl, whisk the minced garlic with the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. In a separate, medium bowl, lightly whisk the eggs, then whisk in the milk and olive oil. Use a rubber spatula to fold the wet ingredients into the dry until barely mixed. Fold in the crumbled goat cheese and the sliced olives.

Press firmly on the zucchini in the colander, pressing out as much water as possible. Quickly fold the zucchini into the batter.

Spread the batter in the prepared loaf pan, and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Bake loaf for about 45 minutes, or until golden and a knife inserted in center comes out with a few crumbs attached.

Transfer to a rack to cool in pan for 5 minutes. Run a knife around edge to release. Turn out loaf onto rack to firm up before slicing, about 30 minutes; using a serrated knife, cut into 3/8-inch slices, then cut into halves or quarters.

Adapted from The New York Times.

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Two winter soups

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Vegetable Soup

As some of you guys might know, I go through periods of time where I worry that I’m not getting enough protein, enough, fruit, enough veggies, enough calcium/dairy, etc. This past week, I got a little concerned that I wasn’t getting enough vegetables. I know that sounds crazy because I’m a vegetarian, but I felt like I was mostly eating oats, cornmeal, wheat, all kinds of delicious grains, but they lacked for veggie content, obviously. I always struggle in the winter to make dishes that have a variety of vegetables and that can be served multiple times in a week. After surveying the contents of the frig and deep freeze I made two awesome soups from stuff we had on hand! The first one was a mushroom rice soup and the second was a tomato based vegetable soup that featured leftovers from the noodle party.

The beautiful thing about both the soups was there wasn’t really a recipe, just throwing stuff in until it tasted right, but here is a list of ingredients and the order I added them so you can use it as a jumping off point for your own soups!

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Mushroom Rice Soup

Mushroom Rice Soup – Makes 6-8 servings and takes about an hour to an hour and a half depending on how fast you chop your vegetables and how soft you like your rice.



½-1 c rice mix (wildrice and white—depends on how much soup you want or how thick)

3 or 4 carrots

2-3 parsnips

1-2 C mushrooms

3-4 C veggie broth

4 stalks of celery

herbs: celery salt, white pepper, black pepper, and a little red chili

Start by sautéeing the onions and garlic in butter until fragrant then add the carrots, parsnips, mushrooms and celery. After a few minutes add the broth and the rice. Simmer over low heat until the rice is tender.

If the broth gets soaked up by the rice just add more and adjust your spices. Peas probably would have been good in this too, but I didn’t have any in the frig.

Vegetable Soup –This made about 12 servings and took about 2 hours with prep and cook time.

5 bags of tomato puree (about 10 cups)



3 or 4 carrots

2-3 parsnips

4 stalks of celery

1-1 1/2 Cups Kidney Beans

1-1 ½ Cups Chick Peas

2 Cups corn

2 Cups of cooked noodles

For Seasoning




Onion powder

Garlic powder



If you are using canned beans just throw them in the soup, but if you are using dried beans, make sure they are mostly cooked before throwing them in with the rest of the soup or you will over cook the vegetables while you try to get the beans to soften up.

Start by sautéeing  the onions, garlic, carrots, celery and parsnips. Then add the tomato puree. Let that simmer for awhile and then add the beans, chickpeas, corn and noodles. Simmer until all the flavors have come together, about an hour.

pixel Two winter soups
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