Chickpea Salad

I didn't think of taking photographs of it until I had nearly ravished it all.

I didn’t think of taking photographs of it until I had nearly ravished it all.

I was raised vegetarian and then somewhere along the way, I strayed into the meat-eating world. Three years ago, I decided that I was going to go back to my roots and the day I thought about it, was the day I started, having never looked back. It has been relatively easy, but I must admit, I still have a rough time when I see someone eating a tuna salad sandwich. That was one of my absolute favorite sandwiches of all time. I even tried to convince myself and my husband during pregnancy that probably my body needed that protein and if I only ate tuna and then stopped again once she popped out, it would be good for her. Thank goodness my level headed, non-craving filled husband helped me stay strong and vegetarian. (She was perfectly healthy without the tuna, by the way!)

Now, I am not a cook, so I have had a tiny bit of difficulty being creative in the kitchen. I started scouring the internet for vegetarian recipes to help me (and my poor, overly-fed-with-pasta family) and began a wonderful Pinterest board to keep everything I find in one place. I had seen a handful of recipes dealing with chickpeas/garbanzo beans and I adore hummus so I knew I would get on well with these. However, besides roasting them with a Mediterranean Spice mix (which is amazing), I never got around to trying any of the others.

Until today. Oh…my…heavens to Betsy. This was so incredibly mouth-wateringly delicious. I read a few recipes and then with those recipes and my personal tuna salad recipe as my guides, I came up with my own mixture. My friends, I give you… Erica’s version of a Chickpea Salad:

  • one 15 oz. can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans
  • one large dollop of mayonnaise (to your liking- mine probably equaled about 1/4 cup)
  • a tiny bit of mustard (to your liking- mine probably equaled about 1/4 tsp)
  • one stalk of celery, cut up chunky
  • salt and pepper (to your liking)

I drained and rinsed the chickpeas and then poured them in a bowl. I had a wonderful helper, Miss Rudelle Mae, and she was rather enjoying eating them whole, so she got pretty upset when I started mashing them with a fork. Mashing then ceased so I would say mine was 50/50 mashed and whole beans. Next time I may use a food processor or mash them a little more with a fork, but the texture was not bad at all when it was still very chunky. I then added the rest of the ingredients and mixed it all up. That’s it! This is pretty much the exact same way I used to make my tuna salad. I ate it mostly just with a fork standing at the counter, but I did end up putting a little on a piece of bread and having it in sandwich form. Either way is delectable.

Garbanzo beans.

Other ingredients.

Extreme Close Up!

Coffehouse Crouching

Rudy Mae

I have been a little under the weather, two separate occasions with barely any time at all between them. I have thus been slacking on anything “ericanichole” related and I was itching to get something up, but a) since I have not been doing much, there’s not much to post and b) since I have to go to work soon, I really think I ought to nap so I don’t feel like double crud before a long shift. So, I wanted to make this short and sweet. This photograph was taken a week or two ago when my husband and I went to our local coffee shop with Rudy Mae for a quick pick me up (chai tea for me, hot chocolate for him, and a blueberry muffin for all).

Some Favorite Presents – Toddler Version

As the holiday season really kicks into gear, I thought it might be fun to showcase some of the presents we have received, to be able to share with those who are interested what things we were super excited about. Today, I am going to show a couple of Rudy Mae’s presents that she is really loving from Caleab and I.

These photographs are a mixture of two presents, both of them from the company Melissa & Doug. The first one we purchased at our local toy store here in Yellow Springs, Mr. Fub’s Party. It’s called “Pizza Party” and is a wooden play food set that the individual pieces stick together with velcro. The second is called “Wooden Kitchen Accessory Set” and we bought it on Amazon.com. It consists of three wooden pots and pans with lids, two wooden utensils and an oven mitt.

Rudy picking a topping off of her pizza.

Rudy picking a topping off of her pizza. This topping we call “Veggie-roni” instead of “Pepperoni”.

Oven-mitt and 'za.

What Rudy really likes to do is take all of the pizza toppings and put them into the big red pot and stir it up.

What Rudy really likes to do is take all of the pizza toppings and put them into the big red pot and stir it up.

Pizza Topping Stew.

Out To Eat With Toddlers

Rudy Mae

What our lunch started out as. Aw, look at these little angels…

Sammy G

Now, you might read this title and wonder if this is going to be a post with helpful tips and ideas about going out to eat with little ones. Oh no. This is exactly the opposite. This is me asking anyone, no, begging anyone, for their helpful tips and ideas.

My best friend Raven lives an hour away so we try to get together at least once a month. That is at best and does not usually happen. We are both extremely busy and often have conflicting schedules. So when we do finally make it happen, we like to have fun and often will do a quick lunch out with the girls. Now, the older they are getting, the more difficult this is becoming. Rudy Mae is 21 months and Sammy G is nearing 18 months. They absolutely do not want to be in highchairs. They do not want to keep a reasonable volume. They do not want to eat what we order. For both Raven and myself, these little stinkers are our third child. We have done it all before. However, both of us have nearly a 10 year age gap between the girls and their next sibling. So maybe we’ve forgotten the little things, but whatever we’re doing is not working. And we ARE ‘doing’. We’ve tried:

  • preventative measures such as bringing along a little snack while they waited for food.
  • After that was gone, ordering them a little snacky to continue to hold them over.
  • drawing, coloring, playing…
  • taking them out of their seats and letting them sit on our laps.
  • letting them walk around a little bit to get their energy out.
  • etc, etc, etc…

I really do not want to have to say “Well, we are just going to have to wait until they are a bit older to continue going out to eat with them.” We barely ever get to see each other, we have been best friends for over 20 years, and I really cherish the time I get with them. Of course, we do not HAVE to eat out, I realize this, but it is just a fun little thing that we really enjoy. If it really came down to it, we would temporarily pause this custom and start back up after they are a little older.

For now, though, if anybody has any amazing A-HA! ideas, please let me know. We could use all the help we could get.

What our lunch started to turn into.

What our lunch started to turn into.

Bashing drinks. General crankiness. Trying to explore away from us.

Gone Berry Pickin’

So I’m still trying to catch up with postings and updates since the boys arrived back home but with being so busy with Operation Make Up For Lost Time, school starting back up, work, regular life craziness, etc, I am finding that what I am posting about is further and further in the past. Hopefully I can get on top of it and be back to real time, or as close to ‘real time’ as I can get as far as blogging is concerned. It’s just that I really have a preference for chronological order, with the rare case inserted here and there when I’m particularly excited about something and have to get it out of me right away (case in point, the ‘Fresh Baked Banana Bread’ post I made recently). Therefore, today’s post about going berry picking actually happened on August 26, an entire month ago. Enjoy all the same:

When trying to think of things that we could do as a family for Operation Make Up For Lost Time, my head kept coming back to a local orchard where you can pick your own berries. It wasn’t even about the berries. Yes, I thought they would taste good, and sure, all three kids can completely go through two whole grocery store packs of raspberries in one day, but more than that, I just kept seeing my kids together, laughing, loving, helping each other…it was the memory that I wanted more than anything. And I did get the memory, although it wasn’t as completely idyllic as I envisioned.

A few of our crew ended up being more concerned with the bees than the berries and left two of us to finish the picking while they went and walked around the shop. It all worked out, though, because it gave me some alone time with my eldest, and the other group found some awesome purple Amish Country popcorn that we popped up that very night in our Whirly Pop Popcorn Popper.

On our way to the field.

Ziven walking ahead on the path towards the berries.

She ate way more than she got in the basket, sweet little thing.

I was quite surprised that I could barely even smell this compost pile until I was right above it, taking a photograph of it, but, boy, then could I!

Besides the berries, this was our Piefer Orchards purchase.

As I was washing off the berries, etc, I was serenaded with some lovely ukelele songs.

Fresh Baked Banana Bread

Yesterday, I decided to bake a loaf of homemade whole-wheat banana bread. Since it was on such a whim, in my unpreparedness, I did not have enough bananas or butter, but I made do. Needless to say, it was a tad dry, but I thought it was delicious and I have not baked bread in a very long time so it felt really good.

Still warm, just popped out of the bread tin, the whole-wheat banana bread made the house smell simply delightful.

The bread sat and cooled, but not for too long, before I had a tiny sample.