Monthly Archives: July 2011

Favorite Ingredients: Chickpea & Arugula Salad

I’ve been wanting to find a way to incorporate some of my go-to recipes for awhile now. Somewhere along the way, I realized that it’s not so much the recipes, but the ingredients I re-visit time and time again.

Initially, my goal was to feature a specific ingredient each month, with a new recipe using that ingredient posted each week. But given the fact that I can barely muster one post a week, that may be ambitious. For now, we’ll start with one ingredient and one recipe!

Chickpeas.

I love me some chickpeas. They’re a bit of a super food, being high in fiber and protein and being a “healthy” carb. And as a frequent eater of “unhealthy” carbs, chickpeas are my savior.

One of my new favorite recipes is adapted from the one and only Mark Bittman and his cookbook, How To Cook Everything Vegetarian.

Warm Chickpea Salad w/ Arugula

A couple bunches of Arugula
3 T. Olive Oil
1 T. Fresh Ginger (I use a refrigerated tube of it that I bought at my grocery store. Lasts long since I rarely use it.)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tsp. Honey
1 T. Red Wine Vinegar
Salt and Pepper

While these are the recommended measurements, I typically eyeball everything and haven’t had it turn out wrong yet!

First, rinse your arugula and throw it in a bowl. Then, add your olive oil, garlic and ginger to a skillet on medium heat. Let the garlic soften and add the chickpeas. Add a little salt and pepper and let the chickpeas get hot, stirring occasionally. After about 3 minutes, remove the pan from heat and add the honey and red wine vinegar. Stir and begin to mash the chickpeas against the side of the pan. They should be soft, and you don’t need to mash them all, it’s more about roughening the mixture up a bit. Add the chickpeas to the arugula and toss. You could also add other salad toppings (onions, hard boiled eggs, etc.), but I never have.

This salad may require a stove and a pan, but that doesn’t mean it’s hard. The arugula gives it a bitter taste, but it’s softened with the sweetness of the chickpea mixture. By warming the chickpeas, the salad is comforting, making it great for every season. Last but definitely not least, because you’re essentially marinating the chickpeas in the dressing, the salad has just the right amount of dressing. I *hate* overly dressed salads, and this is simply perfect.

Served alongside an equally easy pork loin that I’ll have to share, too.

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Filed under foodie, Recipes!

The Registry

This past weekend, DD and I registered for the wedding. Sure, we’re still over 8 months out, but I enjoy being ahead of the game. Also? I’ve kind of been looking forward to registering longer than I’ve been looking forward to the wedding itself.

I swear I’m not totally gift-grabby, though what bride doesn’t stalk her registry? Honestly, I’m just so excited to choose things for *us* and begin to coordinate the stuff that will make up our to-be-determined living space so that it feels like home.

As excited as I’ve been about registering, I’ve been just as terrified of it. I was terrified of making decisions on which sets of pots to get and which color towels to get and blah blah blah. After all, part of the point of this is to find and receive things that will last us well into our married life. And I won’t lie, I was also afraid of trying to find common ground with DD since I know our tastes are different.

After a solid two hours in Bed, Bath and Beyond, we exited in one piece with our relationship still intact and with a lengthy list of items. No fights were had, not even a small skirmish.

Here are a few keys to our success:

  • Research. I spent many hours perusing BBB’s website to get an idea of china patterns I liked, bedspreads I liked, and kitchen appliances I wanted. When we got there, I was able to quickly narrow down a few choices that gave us a jumping off point to make a final decision together.
  • Lists. It’s the kitchen stuff I’ve been most excited about updating and expanding because currently most of my stuff is hand-me-downs. Over the last couple months I’ve kept a list of things I’d want as I came across them. When I had to bake cookies, it reminded me that I really need cooling racks. It also reminded me to get a bigger mixing bowl. When I made soup, it reminded me that I’d like a bigger stock pot. I also printed off several “what to register for” lists from the Interwebz and used those just to make sure I didn’t forget anything.
  • Compromise. DD doesn’t cook at all, so he let me rule the kitchen department. He held the gun, I told him what to scan. When it came to picking colors for bedding and bath, we compromised and each picked a color. I decided to be OK with neutral bedding instead of trying to talk him into a pattern that I’d like, but he wouldn’t. And as for the china, well, I really have no idea how we came to that decision so easily. It was my greatest fear as far as finding something we both liked and the choice came scarily easy. Maybe our tastes aren’t so different after all.
  • Helpful Staff. Our salesperson walked us through the china and fine gift section right away, which made it super easy to get that knocked off the list. Once we selected a pattern, she added everything in that category to save us time. We can of course go in and delete things we don’t want. After that, she gave us a quick “tour” of the store, pointing out the brands/products that were least likely to be discontinued or were the best in their class. That was helpful for the few things I hadn’t researched, like pots and pans. She was also good about leaving us alone but still being available if we had questions.

There were a few things that didn’t go perfectly as planned:

  • Sticker shock. Even though I’m not buying the stuff for myself, I was still well aware of how much some of our items cost. There were certain things I really wanted to include, regardless of price. But once those were added, I was afraid the other items we’d picked were too high. This lead to a slightly heated discussion in the knife aisle where I refused to select the $200 set and opted for an $80 set. First world problems, clearly.
  • Storage concerns. DD and I don’t know exactly where we’re going to live yet. The goal is a 2-bedroom apartment in Detroit, but we won’t start looking for a few more months. As the china settings and coffee makers and kitchen aids piled up, I grew increasingly concerned about where the hell we’d store everything. But, the beauty of registering early is that we can always remove things if we need to, and do it well before any pre-wedding parties, so I’m not too worried.
  • Really use v. want to use. As DD and I wandered the aisles, I had grand visions of dinner parties that would require fine china and fancy serving trays. DD had grand visions of morning coffee and evening espresso. But truthfully, will the visions come true or will the serving trays and dishes and espresso maker collect dust in the corner? Only time will tell I guess!

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Filed under DD (aka My Man), decisions, list mania, Wedding

Super Outfit (and Super Girl) returns!

I’m breaking the blog silence to discuss something VERY important.

It’s not Casey Anthony. It’s not even the Royals’ impending USA tour. Because according to recent media, those two things are THE! MOST! IMPORTANT! EVAR!

I disagree. What’s most important to me these days? What to wear for our engagement photos.

We’re getting them taken in a few weeks and heading to Michigan State University to have them done. Both DD and I went there, and while we didn’t know each other in college, I figured that since we’ll have plenty of wedding photos in Detroit, we might as well get some additional photos at one of my other favorite places.

But, as per usual, I’m pretty stupid when it comes to fashion.

I’m really hoping not to buy a new outfit, but I suppose that’s an option. I’d like to have two outfits — jeans and then a dressier option. But of course, the original options I thought I’d selected just don’t look as good as I thought they did. Or, maybe it’s just me. So…enter YOU!

Without further ado…here’s the first few options. I could scrap the dresses and go for white or black capris in addition to the jeans. I love the wash and fit of these jeans, so I’m definitely wearing them, I just need to decide on a top!

Also, yes, the photos are bad. And yes, I did crop half my face out. I’m trying to maintain some semblance of anonymity on this thing, however futile it may be.

Dresses!

Option 1, the shirt dress. I really liked the idea of this. I like the way it fits on top, but sometimes it can look weird on the bottom. I’ll likely pair it with red pumps (as shown in the second photo) and would also likely try to find a red belt to go with it and break up the dress a bit — right now it just has a black belt that came with it.

 

 

Option 2, the pink, cotton dress. This is a late add after I wore Option 1 today and decided I maybe wasn’t totally sold. This is one of my go-to dresses for summer weddings, but I don’t think it’d be too formal for our photos. It’s summery and comfortable, but also has some bunching/static cling issues because of the fabric. Might be annoying to worry about during the photo shoot.

The jeans!

Option 1. This was my main plan and I’d pair the outfit with black slingbacks. But, if I wear the pink dress, it’d be way too much pink. Also, yes, I’d wear a tank top underneath…I’m not in this photo.


Option 2. A late add when the whole “too much pink” came up. I really like this shirt and I think it flatters me, but I’d hoped to go with more vibrant colors, like pinks, blues or greens.

Option 3. Just for fun. Similar to option 2, but a darker color. Again, if I go with the shirt dress, I wouldn’t do this since it’d be too much black. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll do this one anyway. While I like the shirt, it has a bubble hem that I’ve never loved.


What do you think? Should I scrap the dresses and try capris? And what shirt should I wear?!?!

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Filed under DD (aka My Man), Detroit, glass half full, Super Outfit!, Wedding