Southwestern Chickpea Patties
May 18, 2009, 11:13 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

In realizing that it’s now officially shorts and t-shirt weather, I decided I really need to go a little more lo-cal on some of my favorite dinners.  Falafel is something that D.Jones and I both love, as is anything Mexical and/or southwestern.  I found a Weight Watchers recipe that is sort of an interesting combo of the two.  I added my own spin  to it and came up with this…

Southwestern Chickpea Patties

1 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/3 cup low fat sour cream

4 garlic cloves

2 tsp cumin

1 to 2 tsp hot sauce (Tapatio is what I used)

1/4 white cornmeal

fresh salsa (homemade or store bought from the dairy area, which tastes much fresher and usually has more cilantro and onion to it.  Yum!)

Combine chickpeas, sour cream, garlic, cumin and hot sauce in a food processor.  Scrape bowl and stir to combine.  Form mixture into 5 medium sized patties.  Heat small amount of olive oil in skillet, or to reduce calories, spray skillet with olive oil spray.  Cook patties on medium heat until browned.  Turn and brown on second side and remove from heat to serving plate.  (If you are using olive oil spray, spray the top of the patty before flipping so it will brown better on the second side).


Serve topped with a spoonful of salsa and a small dollop of low fat sour cream.

You can make these as spicy as you like by altering the amount of hot sauce in the recipe or using a hotter salsa for topping. 

Served with a side salad, these made a delicious, low calorie, spicy and perfect dinner.   And really, they couldn’t be much easier!



Banana Nut Muffins for Health
May 6, 2009, 7:54 pm
Filed under: Breakfast

My parents have both been laid up with some nasty cough and upper respiratory thing.  I’ve refused to go near their house for fear of catching it, but I did bake up a warm breakfast to run over to them this morning.

I thought I’d try to get as much nutritional benefit into them, so I made some slight changes to a basic banana bread recipe.  The result was pretty tasty…and pretty good for you. 

Banana Nut Muffins for the ‘Rents

1 stick of butter, softened to room temp (or softened slightly in the microwave, which is what I did)

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 c. whole wheat flour

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 c. pure maple syrup

1/2 c. sugar

2 eggs

3 ripe bananas

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 c. chopped walnuts

olive oil spray for prepping the muffin tin


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix dry ingredients together.   Fork mash the bananas in a large bowl.  When they are mostly smooth, add the stick of butter, maple syrup, eggs and vanilla and beat with hand mixer.  When well-combined (it may still be lumpy or look weird, that’s okay), add it to the dry ingredients.   Mix with spoon until well-blended, but still lumpy.  Stir in walnuts.

Spritz muffin tin with olive oil (or you could use a non-stick spray…I just don’t like them).  Spoon batter into muffin cups about 3/4 to full. 


Bake approximately 40 minutes or so, until they are beginning to brown on the top and a toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from muffin tin to cool slightly before serving.


Cooper and I delivered them on the above pictured plate while they were still warm and my Dad had eaten two with his morning coffee before we left, so I think they were a hit.


Brew Review – Robert the Bruce from Three Floyds
May 6, 2009, 1:53 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

D.Jones has been a huge fan of everything that has come out of Three Floyds brewing in Indiana.  He hasn’t yet found a beer from them that he doesn’t love and on a recent trip to Illinois, he was able to pick up quite a selection from them to bring home to sample.

We couldn’t wait to check out the Robert the Bruce Scottish Style Ale, and it doesn’t disappoint.  The first thing we noticed after the pour, which was very dark amber with a nice head, was the apparent aroma of pipe tobacco.  The flavor is full of caramel malt.  It’s thick and hearty and creamy.  The tobacco again shows up in the taste, along with hints of roasted malt.   6.5% A.B.V and 35 I.B.U.s.   This one is sweet and yummy.  I call this dessert.  Cheers!

Two thumbs way up for Robert the Bruce.


Sunday Pizza Apologies and a Double Brew Review from Buzzards Bay
May 5, 2009, 1:14 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

First, a quick apology for the absence of a Sunday pizza review.  My pizza partner, aka my husband, was out of town, and didn’t want to miss out on any of the places on our list, but it will resume shortly….we promise.

Upon D.Jones’ return from out of town, he brought with him a mind-blowing assortment of various brews from around the country that we intend to try in short order…beginning tonight with two selections from Buzzards Bay Brewing in Westport, MA.   This place was a recommendation from a friend in Boston so we were eager to open ’em up and check ’em out.

First up was their Pilsner, which poured light golden and well carbonated with a nice head. 


It’s hoppier than a traditional pilsner which gives a nice bite at the back of the tongue, and finishes dry.   This beer is not particularly complex, but offers more of a bitterness than may be expected from a traditional pilsner.   It’s drinkable and the A.B.V.  of only 5.1% includes it in the “session beer” category for the hopheads amongst us.

Next up we poured the Gold Medal Lager…


This one also poured light golden and highly carbonated.   Their website describes this beer as a “hearty, easy drinking brewski” and we would concur.  D.Jones called it thicker and almost creamy, which I guess I can see a little bit.  The very end offers perhaps a hint of caramel and overall it has a good mouth feel to it, for what is essentially their self-proclaimed session beer.  A.B.V. is 5.4%.

Two thumbs up for both of our first selections from Buzzards Bay!

Garlicky Tomato and Basil Couscous
May 3, 2009, 9:35 pm
Filed under: side dishes and salads

If you’ve read any of my prior posts, you probably get that I love couscous.  In particular, Israeli couscous.  So, with that in mind, I try to incorporate  couscous into many of our meals at home.  It helps that our three year old is also a fan.

You also may have read in prior posts that my husband is a pickier eater, at times, than said three year old.  He tries very hard not to criticize anything that I make, but sometimes it’s apparent that he’s not overjoyed….the other night being one of them.

The other night he announces that he doesn’t really like Israeli couscous.  Ooops.  Oh well.  He could have said something like a year ago….

Today though, he’s out of town, so out comes the Israeli couscous!  That, added with one of my favorite combos of tomato and basil, and I have one totally yummy salad for lunch.

Garlicky Tomato and Basil Couscous

1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous

2 cups water

15-20 grape tomatoes

fresh basil leaves (8 to 10 leaves or so)

1/3 c. pine nuts

3 to 4 cloves of garlic, finely diced or put through garlic press

olive oil (1/3 cup plus 1 or 2 T.)

1/2 lemon

salt and pepper to taste

Cover bottom of medium saucepan with olive oil (1 to 2 T.).  Add 2 cups Israeli couscous and toast on med-low heat, stirring constantly until beginning to brown.  Add 2 cups water and increase heat to bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to low.  Let simmer for approximately 10-15 minutes or until water is absorbed.

Remove couscous from pot and let cool in large bowl.

While couscous is cooling toast pinenuts in skillet over low heat, just until warmed.  Then add to couscous.

Cut grape tomatoes in halves or thirds and add to couscous.  Wash basil leaves and tear into small pieces.  Add to couscous.


For dressing:

Whisk together 1/3 c. olive oil, juice of 1/2 lemon, 3 to 4 garlic cloves put through a press, and salt & pepper to taste. 

Pour over couscous, tomatoes, basil and pinenuts and toss.


I love the crunch of onion in cold salads, so I also added about 1/4 of a red onion, finely diced.  The salad is wonderful without it,  and some may find the onion overwhelming, but I like it with the onion.  Also, right before serving, I added a little bit of freshly shaved parmesan to the bowl.  I also found that to be a nice addition.