Success Is The Teen Asking For Seconds

Kirk was gone last week on a business trip on the East Coast, which for me leads to feeling stagnant. It is hard to get inspired to cook when I am facing a picky teen and a small stomach toddler as my companions. The toddler will eat most anything, but what, eats 10 bites and is full. So yeah, my dinners were not creative. Heck, we ate leftovers for 2 nights! Having Kirk home again means I wanted to create. I came across a deal on pretzel rolls at Costco which were everything I had dreamed of in a roll – and of which I blow at making. Hence, I cheated and brought home a package. Thinking of Sunday lunch ideas I looked at what we had in the pantry – and this is what I created:


Pretzel rolls stuffed with a snappy chickpea salad. So the blog title? Well, The Teen went out and came back mid-afternoon and was hungry. I offered to make him a sandwich. He muttered and grumbled but finally agreed to try it at least. A few minutes later I hear “Hey Mom!! Is there anymore? If so, can I have another one?”

That is success. Gold. I made him another one. I mentioned it to Kirk, who after watching The Teen finish up his lunch, told him that not only had he had pickles, but also pickled carrots and bell peppers. Hehe. And enjoyed them.

Btw, this was a great recipe to use up garlic chip pickles I had on hand. I had grabbed them on accident one time, when I meant to buy bread and butter ones. They were very strong in flavor for snacking on, in a chickpea sammie filling though? Perfect. I used a bit of everything in the jar.


Chickpea Salad 


  • 1 can 15 to 19 ounces chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • ½ cup pickles & veggies, drained
  • Italian dressing, to taste


Finely chop the pickles (I used an equal assortment of pickles, pickled carrots, red bell pepper and garlic), add to a mixing bowl.

Add the beans to a mini food-chopper, drizzle in a Tablespoon or two of dressing, process until smooth as you like, adding more dressing if needed (or to taste). Mix into pickles, chill for a couple of hours for flavors to develop.

Seve on pretzel rolls or other favorite crusty bread.

Makes about 8 mini bun sammies.


Walker had us laughing on Sunday. When he was around a year old we bought him a chair that matches our couch. It sits next to the couch, so he has his own seat. Hence, that means then, if a box is around, why should he use his fancy seat, no? So yes, he pulled a Wholesome Sweeteners box out of the recycling and plopped it down in front of the TV and sat down. He loved it 😉



Fall Chickpea Tart

I saw a version of this tart online and snagged it awhile back, it was originally posted by author Dreena Burton. Although it has many a version of it out on the internet. Even my version is an adaption and I had to research who the recipe “belonged to”. Anyhow, it was a wonderful dish. Or as The Husband put it “so is this vegan Quiche?” Hah……

It is easily prepared in advance, then chilled. Reheating is a snap. I could happily eat this as part of a Thanksgiving dinner – who needs turkey?

Fall Chickpea Tart


  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 large stalks celery, chopped
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp granulated garlic
  • 1 15-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained (reserve 1/3 cup)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (1 medium lemon)
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • ½ tsp dry sage
  • 4 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ¾ cup toasted walnuts
  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed (see below)
  • ¼ cup Traverse Bay Fruit Co. Dried Cranberries

Crust and Topping –

  • 1 9″ whole wheat pastry crust, thawed if frozen
  • 1½ Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp walnuts, finely chopped


Heat a large skillet over medium-high, add oil, onion, celery, salt and pepper, sauté for 10 minutes, stirring often. Take off stove and stir in granulated garlic.

Meanwhile add the chickpeas through thyme to a food processor, add in the sautéed vegetables. Process until finely chopped.

Add in the walnuts and oats, pulse until mixed and walnuts are chopped.

Place the thawed spinach in a mesh strainer, drain. Squeeze with hands to press out extra water.

Transfer to a large mixing bowl, add in spinach, cranberries and reserved chickpeas, stir gently to mix.

Preheat oven to 400°. Roll out pie crust to fit pie plate. If any overhang, trim off and save. Place pie plate on a baking sheet, spread filling inside, smooth out.

Mix the oil and soy sauce together in a small bowl, brush all over the top, sprinkle walnuts on.

If there are crust scraps, roll out and cut out decorative pieces, place on a small baking sheet.

Place both in oven, tart in upper third, crust cutouts below. Bakes for 10 minutes, remove crust cutouts and let cool, continue baking tart for 20 to 25 minutes more (for a total of 30 to 35 minutes), until golden.

Let cool for 10 minutes, cut into 8 slices and serve. Decorate top of tart with the baked cutouts as desired.

To make in advance, let cool to room temperature, refrigerate until needed. Reheat one slice at a time in microwave for a minute or so.


To tast the walnuts quickly, as you heat the skillet for the vegetables, add the walnuts in the dry pan and shake to toast for a couple of minutes.


Also, really, really excited: Have you seen the banners for Flirty Aprons on my blog? I own two of their aprons, they are beyond gorgeous! Anyhow, next Monday is going to be an AMAZING SALE! Free shipping and 40% off!!
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Make In Advance Baked Chickpea & Veggie Eggrolls

I had picked up a huge head of green cabbage at the farmers market and considering it was taking up over half of one of the crispers….I came up with a new recipe for baked eggrolls. Playing with them I realized a better way of baking – most recipes say to spray the rolls with oil (or cooking spray) before baking. Don’t! I have done this in the past and they get chewy. Instead, bake for ¾ the time and then spritz. Crunchy! I made a huge batch so I could freeze them in advance, baking a few when we have stir fries for dinner.

Be sure to read your eggroll wrapper package to ensure you are getting a good choice. Some brands are better than others. Eggroll wrappers are one item I am OK with buying premade… isn’t worth my time for how much work is involved!

On the chickpeas? Consider them a boost in protein and fiber, it makes the rolls filling. Less an appetizer, more a meal!

Baked Chickpea & Veggie Eggrolls


  • 1 Tbsp sunflower or neutral vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 4 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 head green cabbage, cored and chopped (5 to 6 cups)
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 15 ounce can chickpeas or 1½ cups cooked, rinsed and drained and chopped
  • 4 tsp raw sesame seeds
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup lower sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • ½ tsp sugar or favored sweetener
  • 1 pound package eggroll wrappers


Heat a large skillet over medium-high, add the two oils and onion, sauté until the onion is translucent. Stir in the garlic and ginger, sauté for 30 seconds. Add the cabbage and carrots, cook until softened, stirring often. Sprinkle on the sesame seeds and red pepper flakes, stir in with the chickpeas.

Whisk the soy sauce, cornstarch and sugar till smooth, drizzle over the vegetables, toss to coat and take off the heat.

Lay out the eggroll wrappers on a dry work surface, add a heaping ¼ cup to the middle of each wrapper. Wipe down all 4 sides of the wrappers (do one at a time) with a wet finger (have a bowl of cold water). Fold over one end (start in diamond shape), then fold over the sides, then roll up and make sure the end is sealed.

To bake immediately –

Preheat oven to 400° and place eggrolls on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, take out and spritz with oil or cooking spray, return to the oven for 5 minutes more. If desired, when you spray them, flip over before spraying to get browned on both sides.

Let cool a bit before eating, they will be very hot inside. Serve with favorite dipping sauce!

To freeze for later –

Place on a parchment paper or wax paper lined baking sheet or dinner plate, freeze until solid, then transfer to a freezer bag. Thaw in the refrigerator, bake as above.

Makes about 2o eggrolls.


Chickpea Sammies

Well…I hit a stumbling block in our un-processed world. It appears that fresh-baked bread is giving Kirk really bad gut aches and the culprit seems to be the yeast. It got worse when I opened a new bag of yeast (since I buy it in huge quantities from Costco). Every symptom he was having led back to intolerance of yeast. Oh yay. So if my yeast is a year old in the frig, not so bad. The worst is when our daily loaf doesn’t have proper cooling time and we eat lunch with warm bread.Staler yeast, maybe less whole wheat? Make the bread the night before? I don’t know….

To test it I went back to Dave’s Killer Bread and no tummy aches. Sigh. At least I can get a quality product but ya know…it messes up my goals! 😉 Until I can work around it I will get the Good Seed Light for the guys (it is the same as their regular bread but is a smaller loaf!)

Yesterday I made egg salad with organic eggs I sourced at the farmers market from a local farm. I hadn’t had an egg salad sandwich in years, if not a decade or more and I truly enjoyed it. It had SO much flavor. The eggs had bright yellow yolks and tasted so clean. Sure, they are $5 a dozen (ack!) but it was worth every bit!

Anyhow, our lunch today was a chickpea salad with provolone cheese. Crunchy and satisfying.

Chickpea Sandwiches


  • 15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 Tbsp dried onion (see notes)
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp dried dill weed
  • Fine sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste


Cover the dried onions with ¼ cup cool water, let rehydrate for at least 30 minutes.

Mash the chickpeas in a mixing bowl, add the onions and remaining ingredients, stir to mix.

Serve on bread with cheese if desired.

Makes 4 sandwiches.


Why do I call for dried onion? Pretty simple. It doesn’t have the harsh “onion” flavor and smell that fresh does. In cold dishes I prefer it. Most grocery stores sell it in the spice aisle, I get mine at Costco – cheaper and fresher. 2 Tbsp soaked gives about half an average onion. And hey, no work either!


Summer Dinners: Veggie Burgers, Vegan Cheese & Roasted Sweet Taters

Last night we had a wonderful relaxed dinner. Not being pregnant encourages me to dream of what to grill and to make the time to go outside – that and having a 2-year-old who loves being in the back yard is helpful. And Kirk is the master of the grill, so even better! I made a new recipe of veggie burgers up, based on chickpeas and hazelnut meal (although any seed or nut can be used, I had a theme going with my dinner!) Well, something worked because the Toddler ate 1½ burgers for dinner! I was shocked, he just went crazy for them and then had another one for breakfast, cold, smeared in ketchup. That made them a winner in my eyes.

I made s’mores after dinner and enjoyed the balmy sunny day (it actually hit 70° finally!). I let Walker stay up late and we walked down to the lake at dusk for the fireworks. Why travel to a sanctioned city event when you can watch private citizens blow up thousands of $$ in fireworks (legal and not) over our lake. Ford didn’t want to go….lord knows if anyone saw him in the dark with his parents he might die of teenage embarrassment…hah. The Toddler and Baby were happy and both stayed awake till we came home – after 10:30! And both promptly passed out. It was a very nice 4th of July, our 8th here 🙂

A little fireworks on the lake:

So lets start on that menu! First up was the vegan cheese, which I found the recipe on My Sister’s Pantry blog. It is a winner. While it isn’t a stiff cheese you can slice it or spread it on thick. The taste is perfect, serve it on crackers and no one would guess it is vegan.

Vegan Cashew Basil Cheese


  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • ½ tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 fresh basil leaf, large
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1½ Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes


Cover the cashews with filtered water in a bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight. Drain and add to a food processor bowl with the remaining ingredients. Process on high, stopping to scrape the sides often, until it is smooth.

Line a small container with plastic wrap, with extra hanging over, pack the mixture into it and wrap the excess over, gently pressing down. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

To serve, slice thinly or spread on.

Vegan Veggie Burgers


  • ¾ cup Hazelnut Meal/Flour
  • 15 ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained or 1½ cups cooked
  • 2 cups carrots, finely shredded
  • 1 cup onion, finely diced
  • ½ cup white whole wheat flour
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper


Add the hazelnut meal and flour to a large mixing bowl.

Add the chickpeas to a food processor bowl, process until finely chopped, add the carrots, onion and pepper, pulse a few times. Add to the dry and mix with hands until combined. Shape into 6 patties (or 8 smaller) and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Let sit for 30 minutes to set up.

To make on grill – brush or spray both sides with vegetable oil lightly, grill for 3 to 4 minutes on each side

To make in a pan – heat a small amount of vegetable oil (such as sunflower) in a large skillet over medium heat, cook for 3 minutes on each side, doing the burgers in two batches, adding more oil as needed.

Makes 6 to 8 patties.

Ready to go on the grill:

On the grill:

Burgers served, topped with thin slices of the cheese:

I adapted this recipe from the October 2011 issue Better Homes and Gardens. It called for adding 2 cups arugula and twice the salt, neither of which was missed. The vinegar adds a neat punch of flavor.

Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Hazelnuts


  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp each fine sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup raw hazelnuts, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar


Preheat the oven to 400°. Peel the sweet potatoes, wash and dry, slice into wedges. Toss with the oil, salt and pepper, spread on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast on top shelf for 15 minutes, stir and roast for another 15 minutes. Take out, add the garlic and hazelnuts, tossing to coat gently. Roast for another 5 minutes. Sprinkle the vinegar on top, turn off the oven and let sit in it with the door open for the vinegar to evaporate while you finish dinner.


Italian Chickpea Spread

This easy to make hummus is from Short-Cut Vegan: Great Taste in No Time, on page 49.

If you are not a tahini fan (I am not a fan of it), hummus can be a disappointment. This has great flavor and pulls together in a matter of minutes, with a wonderful change in what you expect. Great on sandwiches too!

Italian Chickpea Spread


  • 15 ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), organic, ¼ cup liquid reserved
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Italian herb seasoning blend
  • ½ tsp garlic, minced (1 clove)
  • Salt to taste


Add everything but salt to a high-speed blender, such as a Vita-Mix. Process on high until creamy (a shy minute) tamping as needed. Season to taste with salt.

Before serving drizzle a little more oil on top and sprinkle more herbs on top. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator.


Chickpea Veggie Soup

It might be June but it isn’t exactly “summer” here (that usually occurs after the 4th of July!). 60° and raining leads to soup for dinner. This is a hearty soup, almost more vegetables than broth. Perfect with a loaf of No-Knead Sweet Potato Bread served with it.

Chickpea Veggie Soup


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into thin coins
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1½ lbs zucchini, trimmed and sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 quart (4 cups) lower sodium vegetable broth
  • 1½ cups cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans) or 15-ounce can, rinsed and drained
  • 14.5 ounce can petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup finely sliced fresh basil leaves
  • Salt and or Parmesan-Reggiano cheese, finely grated


Heat a large pot over medium, add the oil, onion and fennel, cook until onion is translucent, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the carrots, cook for another 5 minutes. Add in the garlic, cook for a minute.

Stir in the broth, chickpeas, zucchini, tomatoes and pepper. Bring to a simmer, turn to medium-low and let simmer until the zucchini is tender, season to taste. Stir in the basil and serve with finely grated cheese on top, if desired. A microplane grater works well for this task.

Serves 6 to 8, depending on serving size.


Chickpea & Green Pea Smash

A quick and vegan friendly sandwich filling. While I didn’t use any, a pinch of sweetener might be desired – or add fresh herbs chopped up. The pretty green color goes well with a hearty seed and nut filled bread.

Chickpea & Green Peas Smash


  • 1½ – ¾ cups cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans) or 1 15-ounce can, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed (unsalted preferably)
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp each sea salt and ground black pepper


Add everything to a food processor, pulse until mostly smooth. Season to taste.

Use a sandwich filling or a dip. I served ours on Dave’s Killer Bread with a sprinkling of 2% mozzarella cheese in the middle.

Makes enough for 4 sandwiches.


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