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Oven

Crunchy Garlic Lentil Snack

Crunchy Garlic Lentil Snack

I’m not much of a snacker these days, largely because I just stopped buying snack food. I used to mindless munch away all afternoon, which never made me feel amazing nor enjoy dinner as greatly. And then I realized, snacks are rarely as tasty as dinner. Or as healthy. So I stopped.

Crunchy Garlic Lentil Snack

That’s not saying snacks don’t have their place. Sometimes a little mid-day recharging is a necessity. And if I were to ever cut bananas and peanut butter out of my diet, my refresher of choice, my life would not be the same. Please don’t do that to me.

These days when I do have a snack, I’m limited to the fruit and nuts I keep on hand. Lately, these lentils too. They’re my newest favorite salad-topper, and mid-day crunch.

Crunchy Garlic Lentil Snack

When New Years resolutions pour in along the lines of healthy eating, it can be helpful to have pre-made healthy options already laying around. Cut the snack-buying and begin the snack-making, and that way you can watch every single ingredient that’s going into your food. And then you can nosh on handfuls of things you feel good about, too.

These are simple and protein-packed, perfect for when your roommate’s/husband’s/whoever’s Oreos are calling your name. Cookies won’t beat lentils when it comes to how you feel, so no need to feel like you’re missing out on something there. Plus, cookies were so last month.

Feel free to play around with herbs and season these as you please!

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Roasted Red Onion and Brussel Sprouts

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Onions

Easter in my family’s house is rarely traditional. Deviled eggs will always be on the table, but that’s about the only consistency we’ve got going. Lucky for me, I like variation, and I like deviled eggs too.

At the peak freak-out-about-life age of 22, the biggest surprise every year is whether there will be an Easter basket waiting in my old room. When there is, I still freak out in joy. Even at 32, 42, 52 years of age, I’m doubtful that being surprised with chocolate will ever get old. At least I hope not. That’s a youthful consistency I hope to keep forever. (Although, I did request for a basket of contact solution this year, too.)

Anyway, so every year I’m faced with a dilemma of what to bring for Easter. As a cook, of course I want to whip something up, but guessing on the year’s menu is never easy. It’s never like “Grace, you make the green beans. Your sister’s making the mac & cheese. And I’m making the ham.” Likely, none of those classic items will show up on the table (though, my sister does make some killer mac & cheese). It’s usually more of a situation of me pondering over what I should pair with the obscure soup my mom’s making or the Indian feast she’s whipping up, etc. etc.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Onions

This year she mentioned salmon, so I’m thinking of whipping out this recipe. It’s super simple and quickly pulls together. Plus, its colors shine of spring. Red onions have really been winning me over lately.

Feel free to add some shaved Parmesan on top if you feel like jazzing these up once out of the oven.

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Gifts for the Coffee Lover: DIY Coffee Bean Roasting

My brain is always spinning with ideas. Probably a little too fast and a little too often, but that’s where yoga comes in to shut it off every now and then. Anyway, nearly every week I seem to find a new hobby, the latest being DIY coffee roasting. The key idea? One day I’ll open up a coffee shop. I’ll live out my culinary dreams of healthy foods and never-ending hummus. And my pastry aspirations, too. I’ll fill rustic tin trays with decorated carrot cake and bittersweet chocolates, so utterly sinful but worth every last bite. I’ll spin my favorite tunes and hang art and photos on the wall, and do all the other secret things to make this coffee shop special. One day.

Who knows if I’ll ever launch this vision. At this young age in my life, I don’t really care. Have dreams, or live a motionless, insipid life. What I do care about is learning and exploring my attainable interests. And playing with coffee to  fill my kitchen with toasty, sense-heightening smells. For me, food experiments are almost always fun, and that’s what life should be about. Fun.

For the foodies in your life, this kinds of DIY project makes for a good holiday gift. You can purchase a variety of different beans at Sweet Maria’s, where you can also learn about roasting, too.

For a sneak peak of what this gift will entail, see below.

Virgin territory.

Roast time.

Toasted time.

Shake, shake it time.

Goodbye skin time.

Beam and shine time.

Crunch and taste time.

Grind time.

Brew time.