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Category Archives: Manicures/Nail Art

Chickpea Salad Wraps {Mock Tuna Salad}

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The Jey of Cooking is donating $1 to the American Heart Association for each heart-healthy recipe that is linked to her fundraiser, and I thought this was a fun way to spread the word on the importance of heart health, so I decided to post this particular recipe because it’s chock full of ingredients to keep your ticker in tip-top shape!

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States.  In 2008, 616,000 people died of heart disease.  Studies have shown that lowering blood pressure and cholesterol can reduce your risk of developing of heart disease, and this recipe perfectly fits into a dietary plan focused on doing both.

The chickpeas and celery add dietary fiber (and so will your tortilla, if you choose a whole wheat one), which is well-known for naturally lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.  What you may not know about onions  is that they stave off heart disease by promoting thinner blood and breaking up blood clots.  They contain a powerful antioxidant called quercetin, which can help with high blood pressure.  These benefits are most powerful when onions are eaten raw, as in this salad.  And last but not least, the sunflower seeds add some heart-healthy poly- and monounsaturated fat into the mix, not to mention a tasty crunch!

Now that we know how healthy this recipe is, let’s talk about how it tastes.  Eating foods for the sake of health is all well and good, but I’m a firm believer that those foods should also be full of flavor to make it an enjoyable experience.  And this salad certainly fits the bill!  It tastes very similar to tuna salad, and if you like tuna salad, I know you will like this as well.  The beans make it creamy, with a lovely contrasting crunch from the celery, onions and sunflower seeds.  You might be surprised how similar this tastes to tuna salad, and if you are following a vegan diet, this would be a great substitute.

Chickpea Salad Wraps

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ cup celery, diced
¼ cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds
¼ cup mayonnaise, Miracle Whip or Vegenaise
3 tablespoons red onion, diced
3 tablespoons dill pickle, diced (or use dill relish)
2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced (or 1 teaspoon dried)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce
½ teaspoon prepared mustard
Salt & pepper to taste

Place everything in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse until it is the texture you desire. I wanted mine to be slightly chunky and a little creamy, which took about 20 pulses. Serve in burrito-size tortillas, other wraps, or on bread as a sandwich.

Recipe source: adapted from Oh She Glows

*Sources for information on heart health: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, How Dietary Fiber Lowers Cholesterol, The Healing Power of Onions, Nutritional Power of Sunflower Seeds

And you know you want to see my First Day of Spring manicure (I did it yesterday):

I forgot the grass but still love it.  Guess how many nail polishes I used on it?  Every single one of these:

I know. I’m crazy.  Big thanks to Suzie, who gifted me with a gazillion polishes, some pictured here.  You know you’re feeding my problem, right Suze? ;)

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Baba Ghanoush Two Ways: Classic & Tahini-Free

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After last week’s sugar & booze fest, I thought it was time to break out a beautifully healthy AND delicious recipe.  I’m feeling the need to cleanse my system after indulging in a few too many “tastes” of my creations and this is a perfect way to do it: with baba ghanoush!

Never heard of it?  Baba ghanoush is a Middle Eastern roasted eggplant dip that is similar to hummus, but eggplant stands in for chickpeas.  All other ingredients are pretty much the same!

I’ve always loved hummus but was never impressed with the baba ghanoush I ordered at restaurants.  It was either too smoky or too bland, but I’m stubborn and I had it in my head that if it was prepared properly, I would love it.  So when Jenna posted a recipe for it, and her beautiful pictures mesmerized and dazzled me, convincing me that indeed, I would love it if I made it myself, I ventured forth.

Behold, the baba ghanoush.

There was much jubilation in my kitchen upon the first bite, proof that baba ghanoush is delicious!!

I made the first batch and ate it within a week, then made a tahini-free batch the following week (I ran out of tahini, plus, leaving it out made the recipe 17 Day Diet-friendly).  I actually liked the tahini-free version better, but that is more likely due to me roasting the eggplant longer (the first batch was a little undercooked) than the lack of tahini.  I definitely recommend roasting your eggplants thoroughly (like Jenna says, when you think they’re done roasting, roast them a little more), because it makes a great difference in taste.

I tell you I can’t get enough of this stuff.  I have half a jar in my fridge right now and I had to get up and take a spoonful as I was writing this blog.  And that’s my favorite way to eat it, by the way.  Straight from the jar (or the food processor) with a spoon.  I use it more like a side dish than a dip, but it’s really good with pita chips too!

Baba Ghanoush

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

3 medium eggplants
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup tahini
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/3 cup parsley, minced
Chips or bread, to serve

Prick each eggplant with a fork until the surface is covered with holes. Place the eggplants under a broiler (or on a grill) and cook for about 40 minutes, until blackened and slightly shrunken, turning occasionally. When they’re very tender, let them cool.

When cool enough to handle, scoop the eggplant flesh into a the bowl of a food processor with a spoon, discarding the skins. Add the lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and cumin. Process until desired texture, then add the parsley and pulse to combine. Serve with chips, pita bread, a baguette, crackers, etc.

Tahini-Free Baba Ghanoush

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

3 medium eggplants
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cumin
1/3 cup parsley, minced
Pita chips, crackers, or vegetables, to serve

Prick each eggplant with a fork until the surface is covered with holes. Place the eggplants under a broiler (or on a grill) and cook for about 40 minutes, until blackened and slightly shrunken, turning occasionally. When they’re very tender, let them cool.

When cool enough to handle, scoop the eggplant flesh into a the bowl of a food processor with a spoon, discarding the skins. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and cumin. Process until desired texture, then add the parsley and pulse to combine. Serve with chips, pita bread, a baguette, crackers, etc.

Recipes source: adapted from Jenna’s Everything Blog

OPI Be a Dahlia Won't You

A closer look at my manicure at the time I took the photos of the classic baba ghanoush: decked out in OPI’s Be a Dahlia Won’t You (I love this color! I’m a pink-aholic). I just added a few nail decals instead of trying to do nail art by hand-much easier (and prettier)!

Thankful Thursdays #67: ding dong, the glasses are dead!

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Happy happy, joy joy!  I never thought the day would come when I would be thankful for the death and destruction of Den’s glasses.  I often threatened to burn them, to run over them, to toss them in the trash, but alas I couldn’t do that to my hubby, who was hopelessly devoted to them.  He was bound and determined, it seemed, to keep them for all eternity.  But blessedly, the day has finally come when they snapped under the pressure of being the ugliest, oldest pair of glasses on the planet.  I think the shame of their ugliness led them to commit suicide.

Dennis bought these glasses in 1985, people.  I was five years old when he bought them!!  Who keeps a pair of glasses that long?  They turned gangrenous the way cheap metal does, and there is some really horrid-looking stuff seemingly growing beneath the nose piece. BLARF.

I can’t believe I even touched these. *shudder*

I feel the urge to soak my hands in bleach just looking at this photo.

By the way, on a total random note, but sort of related since I’m thinking of my poor hand, check out the wicked manicure I did for St. Patrick’s Day:

ANYWAY.  Although this style of glasses actually came back into fashion recently (seriously, who keeps something so long that it goes in and out of fashion before you get rid of it???), they were never a good look for him.

To prove my point, I submit exhibit A, B & C:

Not. a. good. look.

In contrast, here is Dennis wearing the glasses that I helped him pick out:

Much better.

The old glasses have made me gag since the first time he put them on in front of me.  He doesn’t wear his glasses all the time (though he’s supposed to), only for driving, so the first time we went for a ride together, despite not knowing him very well, I laughed out loud.

“What us UP with your glasses?!  They make you look like a beefcake.”

Unbeknownst to me, beefcake actually refers to a hot semi-nude male, which Dennis took great delight in telling me.

Only momentarily flustered, I countered, “OK, well, it makes you the opposite of a beefcake, then.  Like a beefy jock, and not the beefcake kind, that is illiterate and maybe was dropped on his head as a kid…and uses steroids that makes him look fluffy instead of defined.  Those glasses totally take away your definition.  They are so. wrong.”

Yes, I was harsh, but need I remind you how bad his glasses were???

Dennis never had any great rebuttals to my tirades, which he was exposed to many times over the years as my hatred of the glasses grew, as did the many ways I plotted to destroy them if he refused to throw them away, but he always found them hilarious.  (Honestly, I would have stopped if it hurt his feelings, but I did it mostly for the satisfaction of making him laugh.)

My hatred for his beloved glasses became a running joke between us, to the point that when we witnessed the ear piece fall off when he tried to put them on before an errand, we both laughed uproariously.  Dennis asked if I was going to burn them the next time we went camping, a scenario I had vocally fantasized about on numerous occasions, but I told him no.  They had suffered enough.  They deserved to rest in peace.

Fare thee well, my tenacious gangrenous foes.  Enjoy your afterlife in the dump.

Amen and amen.

P.S. Can you tell what kind of recipe I’ll be sharing on Friday? :)

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