Roasty Toasty Chickpeas

I like foods that are crunchy.  OK, it is more like LOVE.  I LOVE crunchy foods.  Yep, that’s more like it.  Love.

Anything and everything from tortilla chips to carrot sticks.  Toast to crisp apples.  It doesn’t really matter.  If it is crunchy, I will probably enjoy it.  I even like the corners of lasagna and the edges of stuffing because it is crunchy.  Rice cakes anyone?  Crunchy, crunchy, crunchy.  So when I ran across recipes for roasted chickpeas and the claim that they were crunchy and healthy…I had to give them a try.

 

 

And I am so very glad that I did.  They are quite tasty and crunchy.  And guess what?  They don’t taste like chickpeas.  Phew, what a relief.  I am not a huge fan of chickpeas – which would be a surprise if you glanced in my cupboards.  I found about ten cans of chickpeas…I apparently think that I like them or at one time was going to try my hand at hummus? ( which I don’t like either).  Who knows…

 

I tossed the beans with onion and garlic powder, a bit of paprika and cayenne pepper, and a touch of salt.  A spicy snack fit for any afternoon hunger attack.  So I have spicy down and a million other combos to go.  A simple salt and pepper mix would be good – who doesn’t love salt and pepper chips?  Cinnamon and sugar?  Why not?  Oh the possibilities are endless!

 

 

 

Roasted Chickpeas

4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 Can Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans) 15 ounces cans, drained and rinsed well.
  •  4 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line a baking sheet with tinfoil.

Drain and rinse chickpeas in a colander and rinse until water is no longer foamy.  Transfer chickpeas to paper towel lined counter top and gently pat dry.

In a medium sized bowl, mix together olive oil and all of the spices.  Add the chickpeas and with a wooden spoon or spatula toss the chickpeas in the olive oil/spice mixture to coat.

Pour chickpeas out onto prepared baking sheet in a single layer and place in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes. Half way through baking time, gently stir/toss chickpeas and place back in oven to finish roasting.

Remove from oven and season with a bit of extra salt (optional).  Serve!

Store in airtight container.

 

 

 

Nutty Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

I have a kitten napping on my lap.  His name is Stanley.  He is my new roomie.  I like him.  I think I’ll keep him.  However, he is quite a hindrance on my activity level.  I can’t disturb the cute ball of fur.  That would be mean.  The lyrics to “Soft Kitty” is running through my head.  I watch too much TV.

 

It took everything I had today to just bake these here cookies.  And in the end, I found out that he doesn’t even like cookies.  Who doesn’t like cookies?!?  He prefers turkey.  I can’t make cookies with turkey.  Maybe I will give it a try down the road.  Thanksgiving is coming up.  Weird cat lady here I come.

 

 

Yes, I tried to feed him a bit of cookie.  I didn’t include any chocolate.  Can cats even have chocolate?  Are they like dogs?  I stuck on the safe side of life and gave him just a plain bite.  Maybe he didn’t like it because there was no chocolate …. I can understand that.  I’d be picky too.

 

No matter what Stanley says, these cookies are good.  Nice and nutty and dotted with chocolate chips.  Seriously, how could you go wrong?  Well, maybe if you had a nut allergy these would be wrong for you.  And in that case, I feel so sorry for you…a life without peanut butter would be downright horrid.

 

Nutty Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Bon Appetit November 2011

Makes 2 Dozen

Ingredients

  •  1/3 Cup Smooth Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Toasted Pecans
  • 3/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Egg
  • 3/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1/4 Cup Quick Cooking Oats
  • 1 Cup Chocolate Chips

 

 

 

Directions

In a food processor, combine the peanut butter and roasted pecans and blend until an almost smooth paste forms.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together flour, salt, and baking soda.

In a large mixing bowl, blend together sugars and butter until light and fluffy using an electric mixer.  Add vanilla extract and egg and mix until combined.  Then mix in the peanut butter/pecan mixture and blend until well combined.

Add dry ingredients and mix to combine.  Add both types of oats and mix on high speed for about one minute.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Cover with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Scoop out cookie dough into rounded balls ( golf ball sized) and place on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 8 to 12 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool on tray for about 3 to 5 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.  Enjoy with a glass of cold milk.

Apple Cider Muffins

I learned a few things recently…

1) Plum colored nail polish is my new/only fav

2) I enjoy being the voice over for cats…

3)  Texans love Texas…Like really really love.  I kinda dig it.

4)  Armadillos stink as roadkill.  Like really truly smell.

5)  If you live in Texas, you must own a truck.  Texas edition at that (see #3)

6)  I learned a pole dance move…beer was involved.

7)  Laughing with an old friend is a pretty great thing.

8)  My new boots weigh 4 pounds…

9) I can wear 7 pairs of shoes in 5 days

10)  I think I would always go with the forty-four.

 

As you can guess, I was in Texas last week.  80 degree weather, blue skies, warm breezes Texas.  I got a bit of an extension to my summer.  It was pretty fantasterrific y’all.

But now that I am back in Cleveland, it’s back the normal grind.  Baking, work, and blogging must resume.  Kinda sorta in that order.  First up, muffins.  Oh, and I think I need to buy rain boots, a rain coat, a canoe, and oars too …it hasn’t stopped raining since I reentered the state!

Apple Cider Muffins or they could be called Apple Cinnamon Streusel Muffins…I can’t decide.  How about Cinnamon Apple Cider Streusel Muffins…that sounds a bit ridiculous.  So, right up my alley.  These are good and hearty.  Chock full of cinnamon and apples, with a hefty dose of crunchy streusel.  Seriously, you can’t go wrong with these.  Promise.

 

 

Apple Cider Muffins

18 Muffins

Ingredients

Muffin

  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Ginger
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Egg
  • 4 Cups Apple Cider (reduced down to 3/4 Cup)
  • 1/3 Cup Apple Butter
  • 1/3 Cup Buttermilk
  • 1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Smallish Apples; peeled, cored, and finely diced (Granny Smith)
  • 2 Tbsp Flour ( to toss the diced apple in)

Streusel Topping

  • 1/2 Cup Flour
  • 4 Tbsp Butter, softened
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon

Directions

Bring apple cider to boil and cook until the liquid has reduced to about 3/4 Cup.  Set aside and let cool a bit.

Preheat oven to 375°F and prepare muffin pans.

Combine all streusel ingredients and mix with a fork.  It will be coarse and butter should be in pea sized pieces.

Sift together flour, sugars (brown and white), baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together vanilla, egg, apple butter, apple cider reduction, buttermilk, and vegetable oil.

In another small bowl, toss diced apple pieces in 2 tbsp of flour.

Pour liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.  DO NOT OVER MIX!  Fold in the diced apple pieces.

Scoop batter into lined muffin tins.  Fill each cup about 2/3rds of the way full.  Place one teaspoonful of streusel atop each and slightly press down.   Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before removing from muffin pan and then let cool on wire rack completely before enjoying.

Pumpkin Bread

Can you believe that the first full week of October is nearly over?  High school football is already in week seven?  Halloween is 3 weeks away and Thanksgiving is just under 6…sorry if I just gave you a heart attack, but fall just seems to be flying by and before we know it, we are going to be knee deep in that white fluffy stuff, singing Jingle Bells.   Ugh!

By my calculations, autumn seems to be the most popular season.  ( my calculations were totally scientific in nature, therefore legit)  What do you love about fall?  Or do you call it autumn?

I love it because…

1. The oranges, reds, and yellows that blanket the landscape

2. Crisp fall air

3. Soups

4.  Apples and Pumpkins

5.  Playoff baseball

6.  Hoodies

7.  Cardigans

8.  Lazy football Saturdays

9.  Rainy days ( I LOVE overcast/rainy days)

10. Bonfires

 

 

It’s also baking season.  OK, so it’s baking season year round, but this time of year I don’t mind the oven being on and actually welcome the bit of warmth is provides.  So, if you can imagine…I bake more.  Yes, that may be hard to believe, but it’s true.  The consumption of butter, sugar, and flour definitely increases from September to April…The duration of time spent in sweaters, hoodies, and yoga pants also increases…coincidence?  Nah.  It’s just cold outside.

 

 

Pumpkin bread is a must during this time of year.  It’s everywhere.  Pumpkin baked goods in general are everywhere.  Pumpkin donuts ( or is it doughnuts?  hmmm…), pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin lattes (yum!), pumpkin muffins…see, everywhere and in everything.  But this gal is not complaining.  Nopers.  I love pumpkin.  Oh! I forgot pumpkin pie…so, pumpkin pie.  I feel like Bubba Gump…

A pecan, brown sugar streusel runs through the center … a mapely pecany stream, eh more like a river.

You will need a fork to eat this.  And maybe a pat of butter…

And a glass of milk or warm apple cider.

And eat it, wearing a cardigan, with a crisp fall breeze floating through your windows, while playoff baseball is playing on the radio.  Ok, fine…watch it on TV, but baseball on the radio…well, its better.

 

 

Pumpkin Bread

Adapted From Honey and Jam

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 1 + 1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 + 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Ginger
  • 1/4 tsp All Spice
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 Cup Pumpkin Puree
  • 3/4  Cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 Cup Whole Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla

Filling/Topping

  • 1/2 Cup White Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp Butter, melted

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Butter bottom and sides of loaf pan, set aside.  (Parchment paper cut to fit the bottom of the pan eases removal of loaf when its cooled.)

In a medium bowl, sift together whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, all spice, and salt.  Set aside.

With an electric mixer or stand mixer (paddle attachment), beat together pumpkin puree and 3/4 Cup light brown sugar until combined.  Add eggs, one at a time, butter, and vanilla.  Scrape down the sides and bottom.  Beat until well mixed.

Add the flour mixture, alternating with milk. (flour, milk, flour, milk)  Mix just until combined, do not over mix.

In a small bowl, mix together all filling/topping ingredients with a fork.  Reserve 1/4 Cup of mixture.

Pour 1/2 of batter into prepared loaf pan.  Sprinkle filling mixture over batter, evenly.  Pour remaining batter over filling.  Sprinkle reserved filling mixture over the top of the batter and place in preheated oven. ( I topped with a few more whole pecan halves for the heck of it…)  Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick comes out kinda clean.  ( It will not ever be completely clean because of the filling, so be careful not to overbake!)

Remove from oven and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes.  Remove loaf from pan and then let cool completely.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Caramel Popcorn

What did you do this past weekend?

Football game?  Corn maze?  Pumpkin patch?

Did you eat an entire roaster of caramel popcorn?  No?  I did.  Well, I should say my family and I did.  But I think I did the most damage.  I have no willpower when it comes to caramel popcorn.  Two of my favorite things in the world, uniting…it is heaven.

I, however, am a picky caramel popcorn eater.  I refuse to eat the stuff that lives in those holiday decorative tins that claims to be caramel corn.  It isn’t.  It never was, it never will be.  Oh and Cracker Jacks…you are not caramel corn either.  Plus, your prizes inside the boxes, well…they kinda stink now too.  Just sayin’.

The pickiness can be blamed on my grandma.  She made caramel corn whenever the urge struck.  We had it for Christmas and for 4th of July fireworks.  We had it as an after school snack and for weekend movie night.  See, we were spoiled.  It was awesome!

I am now the maker of caramel popcorn.  I gave myself this title this past weekend.  So, what makes this caramel corn so amazing?  It is the caramel sauce.  It is thin enough to coat each piece of corn, but thick enough to remain chewy.  Even when it cools.  Plus, it is super simple to make.  You must give it a try and forever give up the decorative tin caramel corn.

Lets get popping.

Freshly popped popcorn.  We are talking like 6 to 7 quarts of this stuff.  4 cups to 1 quart.  Do the math.  It is a lot of popcorn.  I love it.  Go ahead and use microwave popcorn if you want, just make sure it is plain.  No movie butter or light butter or anything to do with butter.  Just plain Jane popcorn.  Or pop your own.  That’ll work too.

Butter, brown sugar, corn syrup…OK, so I never said this was waistline friendly.  Hey, its sweater/sweatshirt season…which means, butter is in season too :)

Bring it to a boil and let boil.  Please be careful.  It is hot.

Stir in vanilla and baking soda when its done boiling.  Baking soda?  Yep.  It helps the caramel thin out a bit and coat the popped corn.  But it will cause the caramel to foam.  So, please be careful.

Caramel waterfall…heaven help me.

Bake it low and slow and after a few rounds of stirring…you are left with some of the best caramel popcorn you have ever eaten.  Promise.

 

And after it is cooled…you are left with these little clumps of caramely popcorn goodness.   That counts as a single piece.

 

 

Caramel Popcorn

Serves:  a lot

Ingredients 

  • 6 Quarts Popcorn, popped ( I used natural microwave popcorn, Black Jewel brand)
  • 2 Sticks Butter
  •  2 Cups Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Light Corn Syrup
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract (optional)
  • 1 large roaster

Directions

 Preheat oven to 200°F and place popped corn in a large roaster.  Set aside.

Place butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup in a medium/large saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil.  Let boil for 5 minutes.  DO NOT STIR during these five minutes.  When the time is up, remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla.  Be careful, this will cause the caramel to foam.  Immediately, pour sauce over popcorn in roaster and with a spatula or wooden spoon, stir to coat popcorn.

Place roaster, uncovered, in preheated oven for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  If you want a chewier popcorn, remove from oven after 45 -50 minutes.

Eat warm or let cool completely before enjoying.  It will cool and be rather stuck together, but it will break apart rather easily.