Creamy Chickpea Curry with Peanut Butter

ChickpeanMainwNameNow that we’re already three weeks into 2017, how are you doing on those New year’s resolutions? According to recent research, the most common resolution for Americans in 2017 is to “spend less and save more money.” That’s a bit of a change from the usually most popular “lose weight” and “exercise more” resolutions. Coincidentally (or not), this month’s Recipe Redux theme falls right in line with this nation-wide goal: Budget Eats. Reduxers are challenged to create an entree recipe for less than $3.00 per serving to help keep food spending in check.

One of my professional resolutions of 2017 is to help my clients eat a more whole food, plant-based diet.  There are so many good reasons to adopt this eating style. Eating more plants and less pretty much everything else can help with weight loss, lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and most cancers. It’s also good for the environment as it requires fewer resources to produce plants than it does animals. It’s a practice that’s also “healthier” for your wallet and your resolution to “spend less and save more money.” With all these great reasons, eating a whole food, plant-based diet is kind of a no-brainer.

Take this chickpea curry recipe for example. A 16-ounce bag of chick peas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans, ceci beans) costs about $1.50. Why choose a bag and not a can? A typical can of chick peas is approximately $2.50. You get 16 ounces of beans and -even if you bought the low sodium version- a salty liquid which acts as a preservative. A bag of dried beans is just over half the cost of the can and once rehydrated, you end up with three times the amount of beans! I used to think that “dealing with” (a.k.a. rehydrating) dried beans was a total pain until I found this really easy slow cooker method (click Here). Using a slow cooker omits having to watch, test and pay attention to your hydrating beans. You can set it and forget it. Gotta love that. BulkSpices

The next big money saver in this post are the spices. How many times have you not made a recipe that looked or sounded delicious because you didn’t feel like buying a whole bottle of a spice that you weren’t sure you’d ever use again? Depending on the type and the size of the bottle, spices might run anywhere from $2.99 – 5.99 each. While I use lots of curry, turmeric and cayenne pepper, and always have the full bottle of spice on hand, I went to my local grocery store’s bulk spice section to show how easy it is to just buy small amounts. You can simply spoon in however much you want, add the PLU number and voila! At a fraction of the cost of a bottle of the same spice, you’re purchasing just enough for a single recipe or just a few teaspoons to allow you to decide if this spice is a worthwhile investment for you.

Macerate the onions, garlic and ginger and add to the fragrant spices.

I have to admit, at $1.73 per (pretty size-able) serving, even I was surprised at how inexpensively one could make this meal which is packed with high fiber, low glycemic carbs, plant protein, magnesium, potassium and iron. Incidentally, rehydrating your own beans results in a slightly lower glycemic bean versus the canned variety and if you, like me, prefer a more “al dente” texture of beans than the canned variety, rehydrating your own beans is the way to go.

The $1.73 per serving price even includes the broccoli side dish. For those who need to ease-in to a more whole food, plant-based diet or want to increase the grams of protein per serving, you could even add one large or two small baked and sliced chicken breasts to this curry, increase the number of servings per recipe to 6 and still stay within the $3.00 per serving budget.

Transitioning your diet is easier if you focus on all of the delicious things you can eat as opposed to focusing on what you should reduce or eliminate. Keep in mind Michael Pollen’s famous and brilliant quote: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.” Save all that extra money for a healthy vacation! 😉


Creamy Chickpea Curry with Peanut Butter||Recipe Redux


  • 2 generous cups rehydrated chick peas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans, ceci beans)
  • 1 small or 1/2 medium yellow or white onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup red bell pepper, sliced
  • 3/4 cup grated carrot (approximately 2-3 medium carrots)
  • 2 inches fresh ginger or 2 T. ginger juice (click for technique)
  • 1 cup lite coconut milk (I used Thai Kitchen)
  • 1/2 + 1 tablespoon water, divided
  • 1 tablespoon oil - (canola, coconut, etc.)
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 head broccoli, divided into 4 servings, steamed
  • 2 cups cooked starch of choice (optional) such as rice, brown rice or quinoa OR -my favorite- cauliflower rice


  1. In a small food processor or coffee bean grinder, pulse the onion, garlic, ginger (or ginger juice or paste) and 1 tablespoon water until macerated.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat the oil on medium. Add the spices (curry, turmeric and cayenne) stirring until combine and fragrant - about 1 minute.
  3. Stir the onion mixture into the spice mixture, stirring until heated through, 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the coconut milk and 1/2 cup water, stirring to combine. Once combined, add the peanut butter and stir until melted into the liquid.
  5. Add the chickpeas and heat through, stirring occasionally, approximately 4 minutes.
  6. Add the carrots and red bell pepper slices, stirring occasionally, until peppers are softened, approximately 3 - 4 minutes. Be careful not to overcook causing the peppers to shrivel and the skin to shred.
  7. Ladle into bowl over starch of choice (rice, brown rice, quinoa) OR cauliflower rice.
  8. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with steamed broccoli.


Pumpkin Spice Macaroons [Recipe Redux]

bannermacaroonsWho says people don’t change? I’m a perfect example of it. Well, when it comes to baking, anyway. When I was a kid, there was nothing I’d rather be doing. But I’ve exchanged that love of baking for a love of  finding enjoyment in cooking… when I’m in the mood, that is. Whether one is in the mood or not, however, ’tis the season for baking! This month’s Recipe Redux theme is “Trimming the Table” and asks members to show the healthy holiday dessert we’ll be sharing with family and friends this holiday season.


It’s no secret that the holiday season is fraught with over-indulgence. With all the special (read: “rich”) foods often reserved for the holidays, dessert is often the last thing we want or need. “Just a bite (or three) of something sweet” is usually right up my alley. macaroons1Unlike regular coconut macaroons (also delicious) these celebrate the spices of the season: cinnamon, ginger, clove, allspice and nutmeg – a.k.a. pumpkin spice. Truth be told, I am not a big fan of pumpkin pie spice because I don’t love allspice and the overwhelming flavor of cloves. So while it’s easier to use pumpkin pie spice, I provided an alternative in the recipe.macaroons3I thought about trying to add actual pumpkin to this recipe but was talked right out of it by my real, live chef friend who said: “that won’t work.” He explained why and I’m glad I listened because the result is a perfectly delicious, festive macaroon with just the right amount of decadence. Happy Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Spice Macaroons [Recipe Redux]


  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (OR: 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon + 1 teaspoon ground ginger + 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves + 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg)
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 4 cups unsweetened coconut flakes


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (if desired) and spray with cooking spray. (Parchment not required, but makes for easier clean-up)
  2. In a small saucepan, combine water, sugar, honey, salt and vanilla. Bring to a boil. Stir until thickened and remove from heat, about 1 minute.
  3. Combine coconut flakes and pumpkin spice until combined. Add egg whites and stir until well-combined.
  4. Using a 1 or 2 tablespoon scoop, form dough into balls and place onto baking sheet, approximately 1 inch apart. Bake for 7 minutes. Turn pan and bake for 4-5 more or until edges begin to brown.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before removing from pan.

High Protein Blueberry Pancakes (gluten free)


pancakebanner2When you’re hosting family and friends over the holidays, breakfast can be a bit tricky. No one wants the inevitable sugar crash that the bagel or donut breakfast brings. The sure-fire way to avoid it (and cranky kids and hangry grown-ups) is to eat a breakfast with high fiber carbs and PROTEIN. Yes, protein my friends, is the key to a peaceful holiday season. Ok, maybe not, but it will help you stay fueled and energized and able to deal with those wonderful family gatherings. 🙂


High Protein Blueberry Pancakes (gluten free)

Yield: about 2 (hearty) servings

2 large or 3 small-medium pancakes

Calories: 285 per serving*

Fat: 10g


  • 1/2 cup rolled oats ("Old Fashioned" not instant)
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tblsp. chia seeds (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice (lowfat, almond, hemp, flax, etc...)
  • 1/2 cup lowfat cottage cheese
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 cup blueberries, divided
  • 4 tblsp. pure maple syrup (optional)


  1. In a high speed blender or food processor, process the rolled oats to a fine powder.
  2. Pour oats into a medium bowl. Place egg whites, eggs, chia seeds, vanilla, milk, salt, and cottage cheese into blender (or food processor) and blend until well combined.
  3. Pour blender ingredients into bowl with oats and mix well.
  4. Gently fold in 1/2 cup blueberries.
  5. Warm the other 1/2 cup of blueberries on stove or in microwave.
  6. Heat a non-stick pan to medium-high heat.
  7. Pour batter in circles, approximately 1/3 cup per pancake. Cook 2-3 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Flip, and cook another 2 minutes.
  8. Top with warmed blueberries, or for added decadence (and more carbs and sugar) drizzle each serving with 2 tblsp. maple syrup.

*Calories per serving without maple syrup. Add 100 calories and 29 grams of sugar per 2 tblsp. syrup.

Each serving contains 21 grams of Protein.


Update-from-the-90’s Broccoli Salad (Halloween Edition)

trickortreatbannercoleen_7scary4You think that’s scary? I’ll tell you what’s scary. The 90’s are back. Yes, the 1990’s. And to honor the decade’s resurgence your teenager will horrify you with the buying and wearing of “mom jeans” and “chokers.” Just like with any resurgence of anything, there’s a twist. You can’t just pull your 25 year old jeans out of the closet and expect them to work, because they so won’t. So off to the store you go – for 2016’s version of your 1990’s jeans. broccoli-salad-3Similarly, you can’t just whip up a 90’s version of Broccoli Salad and expect that you’re eating something good for you. Back then (really? the 90’s are now “back then?”) most Broccoli Salads had way more fat and sugar than broccoli. I assure you, this salad is still good. Really good. As a believer that the food we eat should be real (as opposed to fake) and whole (as opposed to processed), I even used real bacon and whole milk cheese. I think the real, whole versions impart much better flavor so you can use a lot less of each. baconandcheddarI did cut back on some “bad fats” (and in doing so, added a bit of protein and calcium) by substituting some of the mayonnaise with nonfat plain yogurt. I also switched out granulated sugar for pure maple syrup, and don’t think anyone will be the wiser. Granted, sweetener is sweetener (they have a similar effect on your system) and there is nothing holier-than-thou about pure maple syrup. I simply prefer to use natural sweeteners in my blog post recipes when possible. If you prefer to use granulated sugar, cut the quantity back to 1/4 cup. bumperbroccoliWhat inspired me to revamp the 90’s Broccoli Salad was the “Bumper Crop” of broccoli at the Farmer’s Market this past weekend. OK, truth be told, I was home obeying Dr.’s orders for post-op recuperation, while my sister was being lured by the “Buy one head for $1.99 and the second for $1.00 sale.” The result: a win-win-win. broccoli-salad-2This throwback will make an appearance at a Trick-or-Treat viewing/dinner party this evening where we’re sure the treats will be well-represented. So what better contribution than a nutritious yet delicious vegetable addition? Forewarning, this recipe makes a quantity perfect to take to your next picnic, potluck or dare I suggest Halloween party? Maybe I’ll walk in with it while donning my mom-jeans and choker and call it a costume? Happy Halloween!

Update-from-the-90’s Broccoli Salad (Halloween Edition)


  • Dressing:
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 8 ounces plain yogurt (I used Siggi's, of course)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup (NOT Aunt Jemima's. You're better off using white sugar than that which contains high fructose corn syrup)
  • 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Apple cider vinegar
  • Salad:
  • 2 pounds fresh broccoli, chopped into large bite-size pieces (the pieces shrink while in the dressing, so make the pieces slightly larger than bite-size)
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 2/3 cup sunflower seeds (I used 1/3 cup roasted, salted seeds and 1/3 cup raw, unsalted seeds)
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 8-10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the Dressing ingredients. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the salad ingredients together. Pour the dressing over the broccoli mixture and toss to coat.
  3. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 90 minutes.
  4. Re-toss the salad just prior to serving.


kswrapsbannerI am not a “sandwich person.” Give me a salad over a sandwich any day. It’s not that I don’t like sandwiches, I just rarely eat them. But when Sabra introduced a contest for Recipe Reduxers to use the new Sabra Spreads in creative ways, I knew I had to get on board mostly because…well, its Sabra. You know Sabra for the delicious hummus and maybe also the guacamole and salsa. The newest kids on the block are “Sabra Spreads” and I couldn’t wait to wrap one up and (sort of) banish my sandwich ban.

As a Recipe Redux member, I received free samples of Sabra Spreads mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Sabra and am eligible to win prizes associated with this contest. I was not compensated for my time.

I know that this is blasphemy to some people’s ears (particularly my nephew, a Chef) but to me, sandwiches are simply a culinary solution for a person “on-the-go.” They shouldn’t take a lot of time to make (which to the contrary, is music to most people’s ears). So it only makes sense that to keep the whole process quick, what’s goes inside the bread, pita or wrap shouldn’t take a lot of preparation. My wrap has a combination of leftovers and yours might have every and anything but the kitchen sink.

I happened to have some leftover rotisserie chicken, some roasted and sauteed vegetables from last night’s dinner and some lettuce on hand. I piled those ingredients onto a light FlatOut flatbread on which I had spread about 1 1/2 tablespoons Sabra Spreads Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper and in 2 minutes, had a really delicious, slightly peppery lunch to go. When was the last time you made a lunch as good-looking as this in 2 minutes? The convenient squeeze bottle means I didn’t even have to dirty a knife!

kitchensinkwrapsQuick and Tasty? Check and check. Convenient? Check. And at 75% less fat per serving than mayonnaise, Sabra spreads are lighter and better for you. For this recipe, any of the 3 flavors: Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper, Roasted Garlic and Herb or Honey Mustard would have worked and been delicious. Since I am partial to sea salt and black pepper, however, I chose that flavor. And a good choice it was…I may have just become a sandwich girl.

“Kitchen Sink” Wraps with Sabra Sandwich Spreads: [Recipe Redux]


  • 1 wrap (I used FlatOut flatbread wraps, light)
  • 1/3 cup cooked chicken, shredded
  • 1/2 cup leftover roasted or sauteed vegetables (pictured are: shiitake mushrooms, orange bell pepper, onion and asparagus)
  • 1/2 lettuce leaves of choice
  • 1.5 Tablespoons Sabra Spreads, flavor of choice. Pictured: Sea Salt with Cracked Pepper


  1. Spread Sabra sandwich spread onto the flatbread/wrap. On 1/2-3/4 of the wrap, top with chicken, then vegetables, the lettuce. Roll up from the side with the ingredients. Slide in 1/2. Enjoy!