Friday, January 21, 2011

Chickpeas Please

I was pulled out of my cooking daze by my boyfriend saying, "You're patting your chickpeas... you need help."

I burst into laughter when I looked down to notice that I was patting my chickpeas with my spatula like I might pat a puppy on the head. I can't help myself! I just love chickpeas! But there are only certain ways I like them. Not a fan of them sprouted, but love them in hummus (roasted red pepper, especially!) and... roasted. And that's how I was adoring them in my kitchen tonight.

The amazing thing about roasted chickpeas is that you can make a whole line of them just by using different spices: cinnamon if you want them sweet, or curry/coriander/turmeric if you want them savory. You could also do garlic-y chickpeas with garlic and onion powder. The list is as long as your spice rack.

And it's unbelievably easy to make.
1. Cook (or buy canned) chickpeas. If you're cooking them - soak them overnight and rinse them before cooking to help reduce the gassy effect of beans. Then cook them on medium heat with enough water so they are constantly covered until they're soft. If you're going for the canned variety, just make sure to rinse them off before using so that you take away some of that added sodium (salt).
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
3. Put them in a bowl, and mix them with whatever spices you want to try. The chickpeas should be coated.
4. Put the chickpeas in a pan and stick them in the oven.
5. Cook for about 35 minutes - you want them to be a little crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Roasted chickpeas make a great snack... you can replace your peanuts with them on Superbowl Sunday to help reduce your caloric intake that day, or if someone has a nut allergy in the house.

Nutritionally-speaking, they've got a good amount of fiber (good for satiety, lowering cholesterol, slowing the release of sugar for diabetics), folate (good for cardiovascular health, nervous system, and it's needed to make new red blood cells), manganese (helps many functions in the body), and protein.

Give it a try and let me know what your favorite spices are!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Pomegranate Power

Unlike most people I know, I grew up eating pomegranates. October would come around, and I would get excited because that meant the pomegranates were on their way. I loved opening them up to reveal hundreds of dark red tiny sacs of tart juice. I would eat the seeds individually or just chomp into them and let the juice drip down my chin like a vampire. Actually - in my family, we would always pull out some old shirt for pomegranate-eating so we didn't stain our clothes. And if you were friends with me when I was a kid - that automatically meant you were going to be introduced to pomegranates.

So, a few years ago when POM first started advertising their juice (before they started selling it), I reverted to that kid when October was drawing near. I could finally get the taste of pomegranate all year round! I knew fruits in general were good for me, high in vitamins and minerals and all that, but the research had not yet come out on just HOW good pomegranates are. Seriously - they kick butt. More flavonoids (a type of antioxidant) then the esteemed red wine (without the negative effects of alcohol like an increased risk of breast cancer), potassium (can help lower blood pressure), calcium (good for bones, muscles), and actually 2.5 grams of protein per fruit! Check out the article I wrote about the mighty pomegranate on FYI Living.

Friday, January 7, 2011


Woah! An organization that I love (Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine) has got some serious chutzpah! The group, headed up by Dr. Neal Barnard, is suing the USDA and HHS (Health & Human Services) for not having a healthier alternative to the latest food pyramid ("MyPyramid"). Many find it confusing to read and understand. You have to admit... having a confusing food pyramid is a particular problem considering the number of people who are obese and have subsequent health problems (diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis) because of it. PCRM believes that the government should be more directly addressing these problems with MyPyramid and catering less to agribusiness. They propose using what they created - the Power Plate - which emphasizes beans for protein, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Yum.

What do you think?