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Crispy Roasted Chickpeas Crunch a munch or is it munch a crunch? Either way, roasted chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, make for a crunchy and healthy snack when you have the munchies. Chickpeas roasted in olive oil, salt, and pepper become a simple and satisfying treat – or kick up the flavors by using your own favorite combination of spices or by adding one of the spice mixtures included below. According SELF Nutrition Data: This food is very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin B6 and Folate, and a very good source of Manganese.

Crispy Roasted Chickpeas
Adapted from a Rachael Ray Recipe

BASIC INGREDIENTS
1 15.5 ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1/2 T to 1 T olive oil
Salt to taste (approximately 1/4 teaspoon)
Pepper to taste, optional
Spice or spice mixture of your choice, to taste (approximately 1/2 to 1 tsp)

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Open can of garbanzo beans and pour into a colander, wire-mesh sieve, or salad spinner.

3. Drain, rinse well with cold water, and drain again for about 10 minutes.

4. Pour onto towels (paper or kitchen) on a flat surface and cover with another towel. Roll the chickpeas between the towels to dry. This also helps to remove any loose skin from the chickpeas. Discard skin.

5. Combine the chickpeas with oil in a large bowl. Add selected spices or spice mixture. Stir to evenly distribute spice mixture.

6. Pour the seasoned chickpeas out onto a parchment paper-lined baking tray and bake until crunchy, about 35 to 45 minutes.

Moroccan-Style Spice Mix:
Fine Cooking Magazine
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp chile powder
1/2 tsp sweet paprika, preferably Hungarian
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Pinch of ground cloves

In a small bowl, mix all of the spices. Store in an airtight container.

Cajun Spice
Whole Foods Cookbook
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon paprika
1/8 cup dried thyme
1/8 cup dried oregano
1 T cumin powder
1 T onion powder
1/8 cup garlic powder
1/8 cup dried sweet basil
1 T freshly ground black pepper
1 T freshly ground white pepper
1 T cayenne pepper
1/8 cup salt

Combine all ingredients. Keep stored in a covered jar in a cool dark place for up to 6 months. Makes 1¼ cups.

Mexican Spice Mixture
Whole Foods Cookbook
1 T chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Combine all ingredients. Keep stored in a covered jar in a cool dark place for up to 6 months.

Homemade Ranch Dressing Seasoning Mix
$5 Dinners
2 Tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried dill
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp pepper

Add each of the dried spices to a bowl and gently stir. Store in a resealable plastic baggie or small ball canning jar with tight fitting lid in your spice cabinet.

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. Canned chickpeas have a fair amount of sodium. To control sodium levels and to have more flavorful chickpeas, it is best to soak and cook chickpeas yourself. Check out this link on How to Soak and Cook Chickpeas. At the very least, to keep this a healthy snack, use low sodium canned chickpeas.

2. Keep in mind that the chickpeas dehydrate while roasting, so one can does not yield a lot of the finished product. You’ll probably want to double the recipe.

3. Bake the chickpeas until they are Corn-Nut-crunchy, unless you prefer them chewy in the center.

4.  About halfway through the baking time, I took the tray out of the oven, stirred the chickpeas around, and then put the tray back into the oven to finish baking.

5. I roasted chickpeas with the Moroccan-Style Spice Mix for the photo.

Enjoy!

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crudities  with dip Instead of serving a tray of high-calorie appetizers at your next party, how about presenting a beautiful platter of fresh crudités? Boring, you say? Not if you serve the crudités with a variety of interesting dips! Don’t be fooled by the simple list of ingredients in the Herb Dip; the fresh herbs really shine in this easy and delicious recipe. Tempt your guests with the cooling flavor of lime juxtaposed against the heat of chilies in the Chili-Lime Sour Cream Dip. Last, but certainly not least, the Peanut Sauce is sure to be a crowd favorite – what’s not to like about peanut butter with a little attitude?

Herb Dip
Recipe by Ina Garten

Ingredients:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 scallions, white and green parts, minced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Place the cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, scallions, parsley, dill, salt, and pepper in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and blend. Serve at room temperature.

Makes 2 cups

Linnell’s Notes:
Due to the cream cheese, this recipe produces a thick dip. To further cut calories, you could experiment with low-fat versions of the cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise. For best flavor, though, you’re going to have to leave some fat in the recipe!

Chili-Lime Sour Cream Dip
Recipe from Better Homes and Garden

Ingredients:
One 16-ounce carton of sour cream
Two 7-ounce cans of diced green chilies, drained
1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup jarred salsa
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon mild or hot chili powder
2 teaspoons finely shredded lime peel
1/2 teaspoon salt
Bottled hot pepper sauce to taste

Directions:
In a large bowl combine sour cream, chilies, cilantro, salsa, garlic, chili powder, lime peel, salt and bottled hot pepper sauce. Cover and chill overnight.

Makes 3¾ cups

Linnell’s Notes:
The level of preferred heat can be adjusted by increasing or decreasing the amounts of chili powder and hot pepper sauce. Also, the type of salsa you use, will affect the heat of the dip. Chilling the dip overnight allows the flavors to meld.

Peanut Sauce
Recipe originally from Sunset Hors D’oeuvres Cookbook

Ingredients:
1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons chili sauce or ketchup
1/2 – 1 teaspoon soy sauce, to taste

Directions:
Mix ingredients until well-blended. Serve with raw vegetables (cucumber, jicama, bell pepper, carrot and celery)

Makes 3/4 cup

Linnell’s Notes:
After tasting this at one of her parties, I begged my friend Tina for this recipe. Because it’s a crowd-pleaser, I double or quadruple this recipe when I make it!

Enjoy!

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My husband will wonder if I’m throwing an impromptu party when he finds a container of freshly stuffed mushrooms and cherry tomatoes in our refrigerator. Yes, I’m having a party, but just a party for one! With only two months left before my son’s wedding, I would still like to lose some weight. Since my son became engaged, my husband has managed to lose over twenty pounds. What about me? Well, despite the fact, that I eat a small-portioned, healthy diet and work in a mix of cardio and strength training on a regular basis, I’ve not lost a single pound! My trainer tells me not to fret, since I have lost inches and body fat. So what about the appetizers in my refrigerator? Other than at the gym, I hate repetition. Bored with the usual snacks of apples, celery, and carrots, I decided to reward my progress with some healthy gourmet snacks!

Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes Italiano
Recipe as found in Deborah Anderson’s cookbook Easy Gourmet-Style Cooking With 5 Ingredients

Ingredients:
36 cherry tomatoes
1 – 15 oz. can of cannellini beans, drained
1 bunch of fresh basil, plus 24 leaves
2 tablespoons garlic-flavored olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions:
1. Rinse the tomatoes and set aside.
2. Also wash and set aside 24 small basil leaves and chop remaining basil.
3. Cut 12 tomatoes in half, squeeze out all the seeds and juice, dice and set aside.
4. In a food processor or blender, puree the beans, basil, garlic oil and lemon juice until it reaches a finely chopped consistency.
5. Place pureed bean mixture in a medium bowl. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and chopped basil.
6. Remove top 1/4 portion from remaining 24 tomatoes and discard.
7. Slightly squeeze out the seeds, liquid and pulp using a small spoon, so you can create a cavity within the tomatoes.

8. Fill tomatoes with the bean mixture.
9. Garnish each tomato at the top with 1 basil leaf.

Makes 2 dozen.

Linnell’s Notes:
1. Having large ripe tomatoes sitting on my kitchen counter, I decided to dice those instead of the cherry tomatoes.
2. I used a little bit more lemon juice than called for, just to give it a fresher flavor.
3. I added half a shallot, a little salt and freshly ground pepper to the food processor before adding the beans.
4. You don’t want to over process this bean filling. It should still have small chunks of bean in it.
5. The recipe confusingly adds the basil twice – once to the food processor and then again to the pureed bean mixture. I ended up adding some to the food processor, and added in a bit more with the tomatoes. Although I love basil, I would probably not add as much the next time I make this recipe.
6. I did not discard the tomato tops as instructed in step 6. Instead, I diced them and added them to the bean mixture. I hate to waste food!
7. I used the small side of the melon baller to scoop out the tomatoes and then inverted the tomatoes on a paper towel to drain. A small demitasse spoon was used to fill the tomatoes and the mushrooms with bean filling.
8. Garnishing the tomatoes and the mushrooms in the photo are tiny Globe Basil branches from my garden.
9. The bean mixture is also delicious in baby bella mushrooms.

Enjoy!

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Stones, tumbled by the sea, collect on the shore. The waters have worn some smooth and round, while others remain irregular and pockmarked. That they existed in the same turbulent waters, but weathered the forces differently, can only be attributed to their individual compositions and, perhaps, the length of exposure. If you were one of these stones, which one would you be? What are you made of? What qualities do you possess to help you weather the ups and downs in life?

#1- Top Five Regrets
Recognizing that this blog is about sharing and encouraging joy, I was at first hesitant about linking to the Top Five Regrets of the Dying as recounted by palliative care nurse Bronnie Ware. As I read through the article, though, I realized that it reinforced the belief that an authentic life is a life of joy. Here are the top five regrets, but to get the most from these lessons, it’s best to read the article in its entirety:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

#2 – Another Way to Recycle Newspapers
Here’s a creative undertaking that involves recycling newspaper in an unusual way. Italian artist Ivano Vitali uses strips of newsprint and, without the use of any adhesives, spins them into balls of yarn and crochets them into pieces using custom-made hooks and needles. Check out his Zero Impact Global Art website and be inspired to find new ways to recycle.

#3 – The Game You Can’t Stop
In The Game You Can’t Stop small balls of different colors drop from the top of the game that you must try to deflect using your computer mouse which controls a large ball at the bottom. As you deflect the small balls, you must attempt to connect three balls of the same color to score. Warning: Don’t play this brain game unless you have a little time to spare!

#4 – Super Bowl Snacks
Is it possible to serve healthy Super Bowl snacks? Sure it is! It just takes a little conscious effort and the willpower not to succumb to media ads. Here’s a quick recipe from one of my favorite periodicals Nutrition Action Healthletter:

Quick Quesadillas
Toss together 1 cup of black beans, 1 cup corn kernels, 1/2 cup of reduced-fat shredded cheese, and 1/2 cup of jarred salsa. Spoon the filling onto 4 whole wheat tortillas, fold in half, and sauté each in a non-stick pan in 1 tsp. of canola oil.

#5 – Possibilities
Nothing is IMPOSSIBLE, the word itself says “I’M POSSIBLE“!
Audrey Hepburn

Enjoy your weekend!

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