Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Chickpeas or Garbanzo Beans?

It's like "I say tomato, you say tomato."  Garbanzo beans and chickpeas are the same thing. Anyhow, every time I go to Costco, I purchase this massive can of chickpeas.  And once I bring it home, I'll make a batch of homemade hummus, and then look at the remaining chickpeas, and think, what am I going to do with all of these??  So, I decided to explore some different ways to eat chickpeas. 
Giant can = $2.99 @ Costco
I am definitely a huge fan of sweets(especially after dinner).  One of my favorites is chocolate chip cookie dough.  So, when I stumbled upon this recipe for chocolate chip cookie dough balls, I couldn't wait to try it out.  The original recipe calls for cashews (which is probably really good) but I wanted to use up those chickpeas.  So I decided to swap out the cashews for chickpeas, and this is what I got!

Chocolate chip cookie dough balls
adapted from AverieCooks
2/3 cup canned chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
1/3 cup old fashioned oats
2 TB agave nectar
1 TB pure maple syrup
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a food processor or Magic Bullet, add chickpeas and oats, and blend until finely chopped.  (should be like a fine flour, but slightly moist from the beans)  Add agave nectar, maple syrup, and vanilla extract.  Blend to combine until mixture resembles cookie dough. (it will be slightly wetter than a normal dough)  Add chocolate chips and stir by hand to incorporate.  Place in bowl and chill for 30 minutes.  Roll into bite size pieces.  Keep refrigerated.

*Note: This recipe can be doubled, tripled, even quadrupled.  When I tested it out, I quadrupled all the ingredients, except the vanilla extract.  I only doubled it.  The vanilla primarily hides the taste of the chickpeas, so adjust to your liking. 

The next recipe comes from Giada De Laurentiis who snacked on this tasty treat while preparing her recipes on her show, Everyday Italian.  I have to give credit to my sister(who has also been known to buy massive cans of chickpeas) for sharing it with me! 

Fried chickpeas
oil for pan frying (I useVirgin Coconut oil; I used enough to cover the bottom of the pan, about 1/8 inch deep)
flour for dredging
1 cup canned chickpeas (rinsed and drained)

In a small saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.  Dredge chickpeas in flour, shake off excess flour.  Place chickpeas in hot oil, and cook for 5-10 minutes until golden brown and crispy.  Remove from oil and place on paper towels to absorb extra oil.  Sprinkle with salt. Enjoy!

*These were especially delicious sprinkled over top of a bowl of chili! Mmmm!

Next, these cookies come from the cookbook Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld.  The cookbook is full of recipes that "hide" vegetables in all different types of food from cookies, cakes and muffins to mac n cheese, burgers, and chicken nuggets. The recipes that hide veggies in sweet food always have me curious, so I decided to try this one out just for today's post!

Chocolate Chip cookies
(Recipe from Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld)

Nonstick cookie spray
1 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
3/4 cup trans-fat-free soft tub margarine spread
2 large egg whites
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1(15 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 cups (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips (I used 1 1/2 cups)
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup old- fashioned oats
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray.  In large mixing bowl,  beat sugar and butter until smooth.  Beat in egg whites and vanilla, then chickpeas and chocolate chips.  Add the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt and mix on low speed until a thick dough forms.  Drop by tablespoonful onto baking sheet, spaced about 2 inches apart.  Bake until cookies are golden brown and just set, about 11 to 13 minutes; do not overbake.  Transfer to a rack to cool.  Store in airtight container for up to 3 days. 

*Note: Although I haven't tried it, I'm pretty sure you can just add chickpeas to any basic chocolate chip cookie recipe you have. If you have issues with texture, it may help to blend the chickpeas until smooth before adding them. And, although you are adding a healthy food to these cookies, they are still cookies and are by no means a good "diet" food. So enjoy them in moderation. 

Last, but not least, my hummus recipe....the whole reason I bought that huge can of chickpeas.

My Hummus
1 cup chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
2 TB light mayonnaise
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4-1/3 cup of water (use less water for thicker hummus)

Combine all ingredients in food processor or Magic Bullet, and blend until smooth.   Serve with pita chips or crudites.(< what? who talks like that?  I mean raw veggies)

So,if you don't already like chickpeas, you may be thinking, "why should I add them to my diet?"  Well, let me tell you.  Chickpeas are chock full of nutrients and minerals including folic acid and calcium.  They are also an excellent source of protein and insoluble fiber.  You can find more nutritional information at 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Distressed Clay Pot

Restoration Hardware

I will be honest, if there is one thing I'm not good at, it is gardening and keeping plants alive. This Spring, on a quick trip to Walmart, I happened upon one of my favorite things...a topiary! I LOVE topiaries but hate how expensive the fake and preserved topiaries can when I came upon a live one for only $12.00, I threw it in my cart with the quickness! Much to my surprise, it lasted on my porch all Spring and Summer. Because it is considered a shrub, it would probably be fine staying outside in the colder weather, but since we are expecting "Frankenstorm" this week, I figured now would be a good time to bring it inside before it was blown over (again).

The pot that I had originally used had fallen over a couple of times throughout the summer, officially cracking with the final fall last week. I was running errands yesterday and figured I could pick up a new pot while I was out. Little did I know that NO ONE carries plant pots at the end of October! I finally found a terra cotta clay pot at JoAnn Fabrics. Once I brought it home, I realized it was a little too orange for my liking, so I did what any good DIYer does...I distressed it!

I had leftover white acrylic paint from this project so I grabbed a brush and got to work. To give the pot a distressed look, I simply wet the end of my paint brush and lightly dipped it into my paint and proceeded to brush it onto the pot. You will want to brush the paint on very lightly...I learned this the hard way and ended up having to sand down the paint on one side of the pot.

I'm pretty happy with the distressed look that the pot is now sporting. Matches my style much better than the original look! (The picture in the right corner is a better representation of what the pot looks like, for some reason the pics in front of the fireplace look more white than it looks in person)

And because we like to keep things real around here, I will show you all what my living room looked like while I was taking pictures of the fireplace...

Despite how it may look, "Frankenstorm" has not hit my living room. More like "Felicitystorm!" Haha

So, do you like the "distressed" look or is it not for you? Are you like me and makeover brand new items? Talk to me in the comments!

Sharing with Home Stories of A to Z, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Savvy Southern Style and Thrifty Decor Chick

Friday, October 26, 2012

Inspired by Hooch...

to make Bug's Halloween costume!  Seriously, I wouldn't be surprised if there are many of you who were also inspired to make a costume too after Monday's post. So here's the problem: out of the three of us I am definitely the least crafty.  I asked Hooch to guide me in the right (a.k.a easy) direction.  She showed me a picture she found on Pinterest of a ghost costume.  It looked easy enough.  And it was.  Trust me if I can throw this together last minute and have it look cute, then you can too!

Here is what you need:
A plain white shirt (I found mine at Target, of course!)
A few sheets of black felt
Googly eyes
Fabric glue
Pretty ribbon
A friend like Hooch who can make tutus...but really any kind of white skirt would look cute!

First I found one of Bug's toys that was an oval to trace for the eyes.  I think I used one of her teapots.  I traced it on paper then taped it to the felt and cut out two eyes and used the fabric glue to glue on the google eyes. 


Now for the hard part...making a mouth.  Honestly I must have drawn 10 different mouths.  To me, they all looked bad.  Then when I tried to cut them out of the felt they looked even worse.  And to make matters worse, I am the world's worst cutter.  I cannot cut in a straight line for anything. Its bad. But finally I was able to make one that looked decent.  I also had some orange and black ribbon that I tied in a bow.  I used the fabric glue and glued all the pieces on to the white shirt and this is what I got:

Not bad for my first attempt! Its not anything as intricate as anything Hooch has made, but maybe next year I'll go for something more difficult.....then again maybe not!
Here's a sneak peek of the whole costume!

What are your kids being for Halloween?? And what about this Frankenstorm that we're supposed to get?  Talk to me in the comments!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Coffee Table Makeover

One day, this past summer, I was driving past a house post yard sale and found my next DIY project.  A leftover coffee table that hadn't sold was placed near the side of the road with a FREE sign on it, and I promptly sent out my favorite "go to" guy (Ronnie) to pick it up.  I'm all about taking something old and making it into something new.  And to find a free piece of furniture to experiment with, I figured I couldn't lose.  I decided that I wanted to transform this piece into a bench.  Here's how I did it. 

First, I removed the doors from the front of the table, but I left the hinges because I wanted to paint them too.  I also removed the knobs on the doors. Then, with sandpaper, I sanded all the surfaces that I would be painting including the doors.
After sanding, I used a bucket of water (and a splash of multipurpose cleaner) to clean the dust off the table.
Next, I painted the table and doors with a high gloss black paint. (*I did not use primer.* I figured whether I used primer or not, I would still need to put two coats of the black paint on, so I skipped the primer.) I used two coats of the black paint and I used a paintbrush to apply because I like the "brushed on" look. And I allowed the paint to dry overnight before applying a second coat.
 Once the table and doors were dry, I reattached the doors and added two new knobs that I purchased at Lowes. 
Next, I used a 3in density foam as the padding for the bench.  (I purchased it from JoAnn Fabrics when it was on sale for 50% off as it can be rather pricey.)  I did not have an electric knife like they had at the store to cut it, so I used a bread knife which worked but it helped to have someone else holding the pieces while I cut. 

Then I measured and cut the fabric (that our facebook fans chose as their favorite!!) leaving extra around the edges to be pulled up underneath the table and stapled in place.

I layed the fabric face down on the floor and centered the padding on it, then placed the table upside down on the padding. 

With Ronnie's help, I pulled and placed the fabric while he stapled it with a staple gun. 

When I got to the corners, I folded it just like you would fold wrapping paper on a present.

*To make sure all corners were alike, I stapled along both long sides of the table and then folded and stapled the corners as opposed to working from one corner and going the whole way around. 

 And that's it! 

Sharing with The DIY Showoff and Jennifer Rizzo

Monday, October 22, 2012

Costumes of Halloween's Past

For the last four Halloweens, I have made my daughter a homemade costume. Since I JUST finished this year's costume today, I thought it would be fun to look back at four year's worth of Halloween costume fun!

Many people ask me why I make her costume every year instead of purchasing them...and honestly, I have a couple of reasons for doing so. Reason number one is that store bought costumes are often times very expensive. I spend my fair share of money on silly things, but I cannot seem to justify spending up to $50 dollars for a costume that is worn for a whopping two hours. Reason number two is that, most of the time, I am disappointed in the lack of costume options available at the stores. And of course, reason number three is that Halloween gives me an excuse to be crafty and hang out at the fabric of my (secret) favorite past times! So, let's jump right in with the costumes of Halloween's Past...

2009 (AKA 1st Halloween) Ladybug

For this costume, I used black and red tulle to create a tutu. I also dressed her in red and black tights and a red onesie that I painted with black polka dots

2010 Cindy Lou Who

We decided on Cindy Lou Who this year because my Dad thought she looked just like the cartoon version of her every time I would put her hair in pigtails. My Step Mom helped me sew a smock dress out of pink felt like fabric, and she wore red bows in her pigtails and carried a Grinch doll. The Grinch doll came in handy when people asked the golden question "what is she supposed to be?"

2011 Snow White

This was the first year that Felicity had a say in what she wanted to be for Halloween, and of course she picked a Disney princes...Snow White to be exact. My husband (who takes Halloween a little too seriously at times) tried to convince her to be Cinderella instead, because he couldn't picture a blonde Snow White! Haha! I had to remind him that she wasn't trying out for a part in the upcoming Snow White film, just going Trick or Treating. :) For this costume, I made a long tutu out of yellow tulle and pinned red, blue and yellow felt flowers that I made onto a red shirt. Felicity also carried a red apple with her on Halloween night.

2012 Peacock

This year, I asked Felicity what she wanted to be for Halloween and she replied "a peacock." I honestly have no idea where she came up with that one, and I also had no idea how I was going to manage to make a peacock costume. Of course, I scanned Pinterest for some inspiration and was able to come up with some direction. I created a half tutu that is open in the front and forms a tail in the back. I started with brown tulle on the sides and blended into a variety of blues and green. I then tied some peacock feathers into the tulle. The tutu looks super cute when she walks, it sort of humps up in the back like a real peacock's feathers! I also created a headband for her to wear using two feathers. She will be wearing the tutu and headband with brown leggings and a blue turtle neck shirt. I will also paint a design around her eyes using blue and green face paint. I will be sure to post a picture of the whole costume together once Trick or Treating is all said and done this year!

So, tell you make your kid's costumes or purchase them? What have you or your kids been for Halloween in the past? Discuss in the comments!

P.S. How crazy is it to see how much a child has grown and changed just by looking through old Halloween pictures!! Time definitely flies :)

Linking up with The DIY Showoff and My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia and Savvy Southern Style

Friday, October 19, 2012

Reuniting with the Housewives

One thing that me, Stonf, and Hooch have in common is our love of TV!  Between the three of us, we watch a wide variety of TV from soap operas to reality shows to dramas and comedies.  And one thing we love to do is discuss it!  So, I decided for today that I would discuss one of my favorite shows to watch: The Real Housewives on Bravo!  Both the New Jersey and New York seasons of the Real Housewives just ended, and the best part of these shows has to be the reunion at the end where all the girls get together with the host and discuss everything that happened over the past season.  So with that said, shall we discuss?  Let's go.

Starting with the Real Housewives of New Jersey, all I can say is move on girls!  These women have been fighting for what seems like a decade, and it just doesn’t stop.   Let’s not forget, this show has been drama since season one when we were dealing with Teresa v. Danielle.  But, this new fight that has been going on between Teresa and all the other ladies seems to be dragging on forever.  And the one real problem seems to be that Teresa does not own up to ANYTHING she says or does.  It really seems to be what has been getting in the way of things moving forward.  And it’s gotten to the point where the reunions aren’t even enjoyable to watch because it’s just a bunch of yelling and denials.  The faces and smirks and eye rolling that goes on between these women (Caroline has been wearing that same pout all season long) is comparable to the presidential debates.  What I really can’t understand with the Housewives (and the politicians) is that if there is concrete evidence (do these women forget that their lives are being taped) to prove that you did or said something, how on earth are you still denying it?  Oh well.  It seems to be a battle that cannot be won.  And it reminds me of Kelly from the RHONY…they used to go in circles with her until they realized, you can’t reason with crazy.  Other than that, there wasn't much else to talk about it.

Alright, time for me to take my own advice and move on!  Raise your hand if you're ready!

Next, we had the Real Housewives of New York reunion.  Now, these girls had no problem owning the things that they said and did this season.  Whether it was right or wrong, they did it and they admit it.  And I like that!  Some of them, ahem  Carole, tried to say they were being funny when they say mean things about the girls behind their backs…it’s almost like Teresa saying the things she wrote in her cookbook were supposed to be a joke.  As soon as these women get called out for being mean, they always want to say they were just trying to be funny.  I liked that the Countess admitted that she was trying to push Carole’s buttons during one conversation they had.  And I thought Heather was a Class Act.  Between Sonja showing up with the different logos and Ramona saying that Heather’s look has improved the most over the season, Heather had every right to be over the top mad at these women, and for the most part, she held it together, said what she needed to say, or just smiled and nodded.  Way to go girl!  

And, most importantly, I thought they all looked fabulous!! But here are my  two favorites of the night.
Favortie Dress: Sonja Morgan

 Favorite Shoe: Heather Thompson

Alexandre Birman Caged Python Sandal

For more pictures and personal blogs from the Real Housewives, you can check out
Remember, this is all just my opinion.  If you want to share your opinion, please do so in the comments below.  I love a good Housewives discussion!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fall Fashion Favs

So admittedly I am not a fall lover.  I like summer and the hot weather.  I prefer summer clothes too...shorts, flip flops, sun dresses, ect. But I have to say that in the past few years, I've warmed up to fall clothes.  I feel like they somehow got cuter or maybe I am slowly converting into a lover of fall. Regardless, I'm going to share with you some of my favorite fall items that I own.  Now some of these things are old and from a few years ago, so they might not be trendy anymore, but I still love them!

The first thing that comes to mind for fall is, of course, boots. And I love the riding boots that are popular now. Here are my two favorite (and only) pairs.

The black pair is new, just bought a few weeks ago from Macy's.  Here is the link in case you're interested. Black Riding Boots.  I admit they are a little pricey, but they were on sale when I bought them and I had a coupon. And every once in awhile a girl deserves a little splurge, right?!

My brown boots are my all time favorite.  I got them a few years ago from Macy's (I think).  And they are the perfect fit, height and color for me.  I wear them the most and they match almost every outfit I have.

Now what goes better with riding boots than leggings! And seriously is there anything more comfortable to wear? Not in my opinion!  I am so glad that leggings are fashionable now.  Here are my three favorite pairs.

The black and gray pair are the ones I wear the most and they are from Target (black) and Macy's (gray).  But you can find these kind of leggings almost anywear. The jeggings are new this year. I was nervous to wear them at first and asked Hooch and B what I should wear them with and what shoes go with them.  I may have even sent them a picture of me in the jeggings to get their approval! These are the jeggings I have: Dark Jeggings.  I also found these ones which are very similar to mine:Dark Jeggings 2

I'm also a sucker for pretty sweaters, cardigans in particular.  Anytime I see a cardigan on sale I usually end up buying it.  So I have alot of cardigans!  I just think they are something that's easy to wear and always looks cute.  And I'm a fan of layering too so for me they are perfect! 

The one on the left that's hidden is, in my opinion, perfect for fall. Its oversized, cable knit, and super warm.  I've only had for about 2 weeks and I've worn it at least 5 times already.  Here it is:Cable Knit Cardi.  The gray one in the middle is just a long, plain cardigan.  I have one in black, yellow and white too.  They are all from the past few years and from all different stores.  Its so easy to throw one on over a cami or a v-neck t-shirt with jeans and look great.  The animal print one is really cute too, but I admit I haven't worn it yet (as evidenced by the tag still on it). Here is the link for that one: Animal Print Cardi.

And lastly, my favorite accessories for fall are scarves! They are cute, warm and go with just about any outfit.  I have probably ten scarves total but here is a sampling of some of my favorites.

I pick up a scarf pretty often when I go shopping so these are from all different stores: Macy's, JC Penney's, Target, Marshalls.
So if you put together the boots, leggings, cardigans and scarves you have a pretty cute fall outfit.  And even though these are all my own clothes that I bought, this is how you can usually find me looking on any given fall day.
In a hoodie, sweatpants and sneakers!!
What are some of your favorite fall items?


Monday, October 15, 2012


We are excited to announce that we will be hosting a new series on the blog that we will refer to as "HSB Goes..." The plan is for HSB to try new adventures from time to time and report back to our blog readers! For our first "HSB Goes" adventure, we participated in a local 5K run in support of breast cancer that was held this past Sunday.

Before we get into all of the dirty details, let me start by giving a little bit of background to how we got to this point. About three weeks before the 5K, I met up with S and B for lunch at one of our favorites, the Pizza Hut lunch buffet. As we sat around the table stuffing ourselves with pizza, B brought up a goal that she had of running a 5K. She had started running in April and was hoping to get a 5K in before the weather got too cold. Believe it or not, I had already successfully completed two 5K races before, so I agreed to join B for the run. Stonf, on the other hand, wanted no parts of the running because, according to her, she has "weak ankles." LOL Instead, she agreed to come out and cheer the two of us on the day of the race.

Flash forward three weeks and B and I find ourselves standing outside in forty degree weather waiting to run 3.2 miles. B was nervous but was feeling prepared, but me, not so much. Even though I had ran two previous 5K races, one thing was different for me this time around. My first two races I had trained pretty extensively in order to survive them...for this race, the last time I had officially ran was back in July! I do go to the gym about 3-4 times a week, but lately, instead of running I have been putting in about 2.5 miles on the elliptical machine. I was about to find out that working out on the elliptical does NOT equal running 3.2 miles on pavement!

Stonf showed up with our cheering squad before the race got started. She was nice enough to take these very flattering pictures of us stretching before the big race! (insert sarcasm here)

Soon after we finished stretching, the time had come for us to head over to the starting line. As you can see from the pictures below, B was very serious about her starting position, while it looks like I had decided to take a seat right on her head (I promise its just a bad angle and I did not actually stick my bum in B's face!)


Stonf did a great job of cheering us on at the beginning of the race, even holding up homemade signs that she had created especially for race day

But, as the picture below proves, her excitement soon started to fade by about 30 minutes into the race...leaving her wondering where the heck we were (in our defense, we never claimed to be fast!)

Soon after, B was seen making her way through the finish line...she did it!!

And a couple of minutes after B, I finally crossed the finish line. Although, I have to admit that unlike B, I wasn't running in victory through the finish line...Instead, I could be heard saying "I am so done with this race! OVER IT!" haha

In the end, it may not have been my best 5K performance but what counts is that we both finished the race and even more importantly, the race raised money for a very good cause. I also wanted to end with a quick shout out to did awesome and Stonf and I are super proud of you! Goal accomplished!!

Have you ever ran a 5K or accomplished a goal that you had set for yourself? Tell us about it in the comments!

Friday, October 12, 2012

The highlight of our Fridays

Sometime last summer when Bug was about 14 months old she noticed the garbage truck coming down our hill.  She seemed to be very interested in it so I told her it was a parade and we waved to the garbage men.  The next Friday I made sure we were outside again when I heard the "parade" coming down the hill. Again we waved to the garbage men and this week they noticed us and waved back.  And so began our love affair with the garbage truck and men.  Every week from then on we had to be outside waiting for the "parade".  Bug pointed and waved, they waved and sometimes blew their horn and Bug laughed. It was magical.  Then winter came and I do not like to be cold, so Bug had to settle from watching from the front window.  I thought the garbage men would forget us, but no! They saw us standing at the window and waved!  At Christmas I gave them a card with a tip in it and told them that Bug thinks they are her own personal weekly parade. And the next week my garbage cans were brought up for me with this attached to the lid.
A thank you card, along with 2 bags of candy!! How freakin cute is that?!?! Since then they have continued to bring up my garbage cans and take whatever I put out.  Recently they saw me get my neighbors garbage cans so now they bring her's up too! Seriously best garbage men ever.
Bug waving to the parade before they even get close!
On this particular day the garbage truck actually broke down on our hill, so it was a little bit of a tease for Bug.  But she still stood there waiting for the parade.
Since the truck was broken down, not only did we get more time to watch the garbage truck/men, our garbage man proved once again that he is the best.  He got my trash and my neighbor's trash, took it up to the truck and then brought our cans up for us!  He also probably thinks I'm nuts for taking pictures of him doing this.
So there  you have it, my daughter loves the garbage truck.  No matter what she is doing, even if it is something really great, like eating ice cream or watching Jack's Big Music Show, she will drop everything to go watch it.  So what does this mean for her? Will she someday be a garbage woman? Will she marry a garbage man?  Will she someday invent a musical, colorful garbage truck that does actually look like its a parade? Only time will tell I guess.
What are some of the different/odd things your kids are entertained by? Share them with me!