Thirty-Five with a Chickpea Sandwich…for Jill.

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I am thirty five. I can’t believe I am thirty five. While vacuuming, obsessively pondering and churning with emotion of this realism, I thought about all the others before me, who have been thirty five at some point in their life. Did they have these feelings of vacancy, grief, or even disbelief? I am sure they have and did, some must have! However, as I continued vacuuming up all the million particles that can end up on one’s floor, I started to ask myself if I would want to hang out with someone like me who was not so excited about aging. The truth is, no I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t want to hang out with me and the moodiness of self-pity that I have pulled, like a blanket from a linen closet to wrap my whiny self in. I would want to be alongside with someone who embraces age with every wrinkle, spot, and limitation. I would want the atmosphere around me to be lit with excitement and hope, adventure and awe, of the amazing, fruitful things that can only be revealed through time and grace. I made a commitment to myself, this afternoon, vacuum in hand, which I will no longer stretch the truth about my age, telling people I am 28, when in actuality, I am thirty five. It is time to stop this nonsense of the stunted growth syndrome, and be the age appropriate woman I really am. To age or not to age, is no longer the question. I am aging. I feel like I need a buy a cake with a cape on it to symbolize the breaking out of the old self into the new self, like the way a superhero breaks forth with force out of the restrictions, bondages, and restraints from his oppressors. It is a new hour, a new day, and a new challenge, one in which I will do with acceptance, grace, and forbearance.

As I no longer mourn being thirty four, but rejoice in being thirty five, I have prepared for myself a sandwich filled with nutrients, freshness, and promise. My life is no longer what I don’t have, but what I do have.

Perfected Chickpea Salad Sandwich

Inspired by Oh She Glows

Ingredients:

1-15oz can chickpeas rinsed and drained
2 stalks celery, diced
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped dill pickle
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
2-3 tbsp vegannaise
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp yellow mustard
2 tsp minced fresh dill
1 1/2-3 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper.
Toasted bread crackers tortillas or lettuce for serving.

How To Play:
In a large bowl, mash chickpeas until they are flaky in texture. Add remaining ingredients and serve with toasted bread, crackers, or lettuce. I loved it with spinach, sprouts and avocado! MMMMMMMMMMMM so good!!!

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Enjoy.

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Green Chickpea Medley.

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Being from the coast, I remember countless times of being at my grandparents’ house, a house situated right on the beach, and my parents taking their aluminum motor boat out into the depths of the West Coast sea. My sister, grandparents, cousins and all the rest of the family, would sit around the bonfire telling stories. I was quite young, so probably didn’t make for an interesting conversation piece, but never will I forget my foot being scorched by an ember from the fire that was hidden underneath all the ash. My uncle came to the rescue by pouring his cold beer all over my 5 year old foot. My grandma would often collect oysters along the shore and fry them up for the next evening’s dinner. If mom and dad caught a salmon, then it would be there for dinner time as well, with new baby potatoes from grandma’s garden, along with some beans, and last but not least ketchup for Papa. A Vancouver Island dinner, a true living off the land and sea kind of meal. Well, this dinner isn’t so much a Mountain man experience, but Sean did catch the fish I used to go along with this meal, from the West Coast of Vancouver Island this summer. I baked salmon with a smudge of mayonnaise, squirt of lemon juice, a dash of dill, salt and pepper, and a drizzle of grapeseed oil. This is a wonderful dish for a BBQ, a luncheon, or as a simple side platter rested upon fresh cut tomatoes. The Chickpea Medley is from Oh She Glows. When I make this, I find myself eating it for lunch, dinner and then lunch again for the next day. I also prefer parsley over cilantro, but either way, it is super yum.

Green Chickpea Medley

(Oh She Glows)

Ingredients:

For the chickpea medley:

2 cups dried/uncooked chickpeas (makes 5.5-6 cups cooked)

1 (5-ounce) package baby spinach

1.5 cups cilantro, large stems removed (or parsley)

3/4 cup red onion, chopped finely

For the dressing:

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)

3/4 tsp kosher salt + ground pepper

How To Play:

1. To cook chickpeas: Soak 2 cups dried chickpeas in a large bowl of water overnight. Drain and rinse the beans in the morning and add to a large pot of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, uncovered, until fork tender, about 40 minutes

2. Rinse and drain the spinach and cilantro (or parsley). Spin until dry in a salad spinner.

3. In a food processor, add the spinach and cilantro and pulse until chopped very small. Add the processed spinach and cilantro, drained cooked chickpeas, and chopped onion into a large bowl and stir.

4. In a small jar, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, minced garlic, cumin, maple syrup, and salt.

5. Pour the dressing on top of the spinach chickpea mixture and stir well. Let stand for about 10 minutes (or overnight) to let the flavors develop.

Enjoy.

Wilted Spinach Salad

Wilted Spinach Salad
with olives, feta, and garlic-balsamic vinaigrette

From Rebar

Ingredients:
Vinaigrette-
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tsp honey
1 1/2 Tsp Dijon Mustard
1/2 Tsp Sea Salt
1/4 Tsp cracked pepper
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (I use grapeseed oil)

Salad-
1 lb spinach leaves, washed and stemmed
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and julienned
1 red onion, finely julienned
1/4 cup chopped mint
1/4 pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

How To Play:
Thoroughly combine the first seven ingredients in a bowl. Slowly drizzle in oil, whisking all the while. Correct seasoning to taste. Prepare the remaining salad ingredients. Combine spinach, olives, peppers and onions in a large salad bowl. Just before serving, heat dressing over medium heat in a small pot. When it begins to simmer, remove from the heat and drizzle over the salad while tossing with a pair of tongs. Gently mix in the fresh mint and garnish with pine nuts and feta cheese. Serve immediately.
Tastes scrumptious with a fancy baguette spread with either coconut oil or butter!

Enjoy.

Home Made Pizza


Today I weighed myself and I am 186.5.  That means, I have 20.5 more pounds to go.  Whoo hoo!  This is a familiar weight, I have been here 3 times now.  Last night I made a vegetarian pizza meets the meat-eater.  The great thing with home made pizza, is one can do whatever they want with whatever they have.  This pizza worked out really well for the family.  I was a bit sneaky and added chopped spinach quite finely, and no one seemed to notice.  The joys of being in the kitchen preparing for the red meat lovers.

Home-made Pizza

Ingredients:
preferred dough, whether it be home-made or store-bought (I used TJ’s fresh dough)
3/4 cups preferred pasta sauce (I used TJ’s Tomato Basil Marinara)
parmesan cheese
hand-full of spinach, chopped finely
1/4 cup red onion, chopped finely
1/4 cup green pepper, chopped finely
1/4 cup red pepper, chopped finely
12 slices of salami, chopped finely
1 1/2 cups of cooked ground beef, seasoned with salt and pepper
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup mozzarella, grated
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated

How To Play:
Heat oven to 500 degrees. Grease a baking sheet sprinkled with organic cornmeal. Prepare dough accordingly. When dough is ready, stretch out onto the prepared cookie sheet. Place in the oven for about 5-8 minutes until it begins to cook. Take it out, let it cool for about 3 minutes. Spoon pasta sauce and smear generously onto the pizza base. Sprinkle a fair amount of parmesan cheese onto the pasta sauce. Evenly lay out the spinach, red onion, peppers, and meats. Sprinkle the cheeses all around. Turn the oven down to 475 degrees, cook pizza for 10-15 minutes or until cooked to perfection.

Enjoy.