Á La Mode

Although we most frequently use the term á la mode to get ourselves a side of ice cream, when I first watched the movie Little Miss Sunshine, Steve Carell's character shared it's original meaning..."á la mode" in French translates literally as "in the fashion." I loved that. I also love all things fashion. I know we've started as a food blog here on Buff Chickpea, but I really don't like such set-in-stone restrictions, so let's talk fashion. Maybe tomorrow we can chat about my favorite beauty and skin care products. As long as I have this tiny space inside this enormous cyber-world, I'd really just like to share whatever I'm into á la moment.

Any reference to Mean Girls kills me

I just snagged this gorgeous Red Valentino jacket on clearance at TJ Maxx. I had to. 

Told ya.

Blair Eadie via Instagram wearing this super cute Suno dress

 Grace Coddington. I also  "The September Issue." If you consider yourself a lover of all things wearable, and haven't seen this Vogue documentary, check it out. 

I need to recreate these cropped tee's I saw on the Glamour Mag Instagram. Brunettes for the win!

I love a high-waisted bikini, and recently bought one myself, but does anyone else feel like they need to be vacationing in Europe to get away with it? I guess it won't be the first time my fashion choices stand out. Although I really just wish I was on my way back to Rome (more about that later). 

Acid wash is everything. So are the girls from Target Does It Again. I think we could be great friends. If you adore Target as much as I do, check them out. I bought the dress on the left (at Target of course!), hoping to make it look a little more like the dress on the right. Who knows when that will happen. Any excuse to buy something, right?  

Nicole Richie at the 2013 CFDA Awards killed it in Marc Jacobs. I want to wear designer gowns!



Blueberry + Cucumber + Mint Super Smoothie

I'm a girl of habit. If I find something that works, I typically stick with it. Platforms are everything, yoga pants get me, coconut oil will change your life, and if my hair isn't in a top knot, you've caught me on an off day. I wish I could say those habits also included daily gym sessions, but for some reason I can't get that one to stick. I mean I'm no sloth. I'm good about getting some cardio in a few times a week, but I wish I could get a strength training routine down. I really just need to retire right about now-ish so I can live the quaintrelle lifestyle I was born to live. Working just gets in the way of everything I'd really love to be doing...waking up carefree, sipping a morning green juice, catching up on my favorite websites over my lemon tea, exercising my well rested body before taking down my usual breakfast smoothie...aaahhh the good life. Imagine waking up to a Saturday schedule everyday? I think I'd be really good at that. If I could just somehow transition from my current nanny status to stay-at-home wife/mom status I think I could realize my full potential.

"Hi. I'm Earth. Have we met?" Back to those habits. They most definitely include eating the same food day in, day out for months/years at a time. I go through food phases. I seriously don't get sick of anything (besides working). I know it's good to vary your diet and all, but honestly, when I come up with a new delicious meal, I look forward to eating it. every. day. You do you. I'll do me. And I'll throw in a multivitamin just to cover my bases.

Making smoothies has become somewhat of a routine for me. My sister thinks I've given up on solid food all together. I haven't. It's just an easy way to ensure I'm getting in the nutrients my body needs, and this blend is packed to the brim with all the good stuff. I've come up with some killer frozen drink combinations, but this one is pretty much how I start every day. If I'm fueling up before a workout, I usually top it with some raw chocolate granola. I use coconut water, but use whatever you like - regular old water works great too. I love adding mint to my smoothies, but if I'm all out, I'll throw in some cinnamon. I pretty much always add the blueberries, but I'll vary the cherry part with what I have in the freezer. Pineapple is another favorite. Half a banana is delicious. Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries - all good. The coconut oil is a recent addition, but I find it really makes me feel more satisfied, not to mention how great it is for your overall health and wellbeing. After you measure some into your smoothie, slather some on your face, and get back to that housewife dreaming.

Blueberry + Cucumber + Mint Super Smoothie
If your blender is not very high-powered, try peeling your cucumber for a smoother drink
Makes 1 large smoothie

1 cup coconut water, almond milk, or liquid of choice 
1/2-3/4 cup frozen wild blueberries
1/2 cup frozen cherries
1/2 cucumber, unpeeled and diced
a few sprigs of mint
vanilla protein powder (I use this one)
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
2 cups spinach, packed
a few stalks of lacinato kale
1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)

Add everything to your blender and give it a whirl. Although I wish I could say I blend this up every morning with my Vitamix, unfortunately I'm still waiting on that one. I do use the Nutri-Bullet however, and love it. Really. It's a little on the small side, so typically I blend everything but the spinach, then jam in as much spinach as possible for round two of blending. It creates such a smooth drink, I imagine it being similar to the holy grail of blenders, just on a smaller scale. But if you're ever looking to surprise me with a gift, I'll gladly accept a Vitamix!

*BTW, I took the smoothie picture before adding in the spinach/kale. Greens have a way of muddying up the color of a lot of drinks. Sometimes the colors are so pretty, I refuse to add the greens.


My So-Called Pinterest Life

In honor of the heat wave currently going on in the Northeast, it's all things frozen that I'm drooling over on Pinterest. Grab your popsicle molds and ice cube trays and chill out...

Roasted Strawberry + Coconut Milk Popsicles from The Year in Food

Chocolate + Salted Caramel Pudding Pops from Endless Simmer

Striped Fruit + Yogurt Pops from the one and only Martha Stewart

Coconut Milk + Avocado + Green Tea Pops from Munchin with Munchkin

Grown-Up Freeze Pops from TSOGB

Maple Brown Derby Cocktail Pops from Hungry Girl por Vida 

Vegan Fudgesicles from Life as an Artistpreneur 

Peach Pie Popsicles from I Eat Grass 

Berry Banana Yogurt Pops by Jamie Oliver for The Chalkboard Magazine 

Piña Colada Pops from Butterfly Food 


Caramelized Cauliflower + Onion Bisque

I know it's almost July, and a recipe for hot soup is probably not what you're looking for, but when your air conditioner is in the kitchen (your favorite room in your house), and the kitchen is where you can be found at all hours of the day, you're going to make something hot to warm up those bones of yours. I mean I can only wear so many layers in the height of summer without looking completely nuts. And yes, I do take advantage of the heat and make my way outside to eat, but I'm also paranoid that I'm getting a sunburn pretty much everyday of the year. So if you don't have a large umbrella and a hat for me, maybe invite someone else over - we'll meet up again come October. 

Even if you have to wait a few months, make this soup. It's delicious. Roasted anything will pretty much guarantee you a sweeter, more flavorful meal. And when you're throwing onions into the mix, they basically come out caramelized, and like a fried egg, caramelized onions can send any recipe over the top. If you've made Greek lemon-roasted potatoes before, this is sort of a soup version of that, just lightened up a bit with the addition of cauliflower. And I'm not sure who's familiar with the Plymouth, MA area (pilgrims, mayflower, think back to your early school days), but my absolute favorite breakfast/lunch/dessert spot, Blue Blinds, serves an incredible butternut bevy soup, where rosemary-roasted butternut squash meets creamy feta meets my mouth. And somehow, in my crazy mind, this caramelized cauliflower and onion bisque is on it's way to being that coveted butternut bevy, with a lot less butter I'm sure. Even without any changes it bares a pretty strong resemblance, but if I sub the majority of the potatoes with butternut squash and throw in some feta cheese, I think I'll find my new favorite thing- check back for an update on that.    

If you're ever in the Plymouth area, make sure you check out Blue Blinds Bakery. Located in America's homeland, in a gorgeous old colonial, everything is made in house, and primarily organic. Their breads are out of this world (all my friends swear by the jalapeno cheddar). They're hours can be a little tricky, and they're closed on Saturdays, so make sure you call ahead to guarantee they're open. I'm sure everything on the menu is delicious, but my frequent visits include the aforementioned butternut bevy (soups are always changing with the seasons), caprese sandwich, egg and cheddar on cranberry almond bread, incredibly fluffy and nutty spelt pancakes, dried fruit, nut, and carob clusters (appropriately named plymouth rocks), and an iced lemon maté to wash it all down. And if that doesn't entice you, come for a little history of where it all began. 

Caramelized Cauliflower + Onion Bisque
make sure to leave the cauliflower, onions, and potatoes pretty chunky for roasting
slightly adapted from The First Mess

2 heads cauliflower, core removed and chopped into rough florets
2 lg Vidalia onions, chopped into 2-inch pieces 
4 sm-med yukon gold potatoes, chopped into 1-2 inch pieces
3 sprigs fresh rosemary, minced
4 tbsp olive oil
sea salt + pepper
1 lemon, halved, plus 1 more for after pureeing 
4 cups vegetable broth
3 or so cups water

Preheat your oven to 400ºF. 

Spread the cauliflower, onions, and potatoes onto a couple baking sheets, and divide the rosemary and olive oil between the two. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked black pepper, and give it a toss. 

Roast the vegetables for about an hour, tossing everything a few times along the way to promote even browning. When everything is nice and caramelized, remove from the oven, and squeeze your lemon halves over the top, dropping the lemon rinds themselves onto the hot pans afterwards. Scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of your pans while you spread the lemon juice around. 

Throw everything into a big soup pot and add your broth. Using an immersion blender (or let cool slightly for a regular blender), puree the soup, adding water along the way until you reach your desired consistency. Leave it slightly chunky for some good texture (no baby food here). Stir in the juice of an additional lemon (I LOVE lemon, so maybe start with half, or none at all), taste for seasoning, and pour yourself a bowl of comfort on this warm and sunny Saturday. 


Coconut Cream + Oatmeal Parfait with Raspberries + Papaya

Breakfast is my reason for waking up in the morning (to be clear, not my only reason, but an important one). Sometimes the only way I can make myself stop snacking the night before is to tell myself "You will eat again - in a mere 8-10 hours. And it will probably be something delicious, so stop before you're too guilty to consume anything but a green smoothie (also delicious)." I'll study Pinterest for creative inspiration, and then dream deeply about how I can somehow turn breakfast into a morning dessert. 

Like many of you, I'm big on presentation. And what's more beautiful than colorful layers of delicious ingredients? Here I layered fresh raspberries and papaya with chewy oats, silky coconut cream, and crunchy almonds and cacao nibs. I started mixing yogurt with my oatmeal awhile ago, and it's been a real game changer. I would dump the ingredients together and give it a good mix, often throwing some frozen fruit inside to keep everything on the same page temperature wise. But while it tasted amazing, it really never looked that beautiful. I don't know why it took me so long to do the layering thing, but isn't that usually the way? Parfaits have since become one of my favorite breakfast options. 

My favorite yogurt brand Whole Soy & Co., has been having some relocating issues (don't worry, they will be back!), so after a quick panic attack, I got to thinking. I tried the life changing coconut cream-from-a-can-of-coconut milk when it hit the blogosphere about a year ago, and knew I'd have great success using it as a yogurt substitute. I wasn't wrong. There's something truly magical about sticking a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight, and waking up to a can of coconut whipped cream (click that link above for step-by-step instructions). It's right up there with the wonders of churning homemade ice-cream. I could seriously eat an entire bowl of this stuff. Which is exactly what I did over the next couple days. 

Coconut Cream + Oatmeal Parfait with Raspberries + Papaya
Feel free to substitute yogurt for the coconut cream
Serves 1

Coconut cream (I sweeten mine with maple syrup or honey)
1/4 cup oats
2 tablespoons raisins
1/2 cup raspberries, mashed up a bit
1/2 cup papaya, also mashed
1 tablespoon cacao nibs
1 tablespoon toasted, slivered almonds
1 tablespoon shredded coconut, unsweetened 

Cook your oats according to package instructions, stirring in the raisins during the last couple minutes of cooking. Set aside. Mix together the cacao nibs, slivered almonds, and shredded coconut in a small bowl. Set aside. 

Grab a mason jar, or whatever your favorite breakfast bowl may be, and start layering. 

Put 1/2 of the oatmeal raisin mixture in the bottom of the jar. Next add 1/2 of the mashed raspberries followed by 1/2 of the papaya. Top with a few tablespoons of coconut cream (the more the better), and sprinkle with 1/2 of the cacao, almond, coconut mix. Repeat the previous steps starting with the oatmeal and ending with the cacao, almond, coconut mix. Dig in.  


My So-Called Pinterest Life

Pinterest. Life changer. I know I'm not alone.

I thought it might be nice to break up the recipes with a few other things I enjoy in life, Pinterest being one of them. Basically a collection of what I'm obsessing over in the wonderful world of Pinterest. Ya dig?

Fully-Loaded Spring Samosas with Sweet n' Spicy Mint Chutney via My New Roots

Retro gallery walls via DustJacket

Bedazzled Miu Miu via Frenzie's Outcast 

Tomato + Peach Salad with Buttered Bread + Pistachios via Joy the Baker 

Maxis, cat-eyes, and platforms via Clarabelle

Everything about Barbara Palvin via Little Plastic Horses 

Perfectly round frames via Little Plastic Horses 

Raw Almond Joy Bars via Rawmazing

Retro curls via Sea of Shoes 

Denim shorts, baseball tees, and Lana del Rey. America. via They All Hate Us 


Let's Talk...I brought hummus.

Some things never change. It's been almost four (!) years, and I still can't relax before a good meal until I snap a blog-worthy photo first. These days it's more like insta-worthy, but then again who's not a professional photographer when you have X-Pro II at your disposal? But for real, I can't believe something I looked forward to doing each day has sat idle for so many years, just waiting for me to love it once again. The truth is, I never lost my love for blogging, and I had sincere intentions of picking it back up time and time again, but that same time I speak of got the best of me. Life still happens, days become months, then years, and a younger Buff Chickpea's break from college had come to an end. I was moving back on campus, and that meant no more fully stocked kitchen, but more importantly, no more countless hours during the day to photograph my gourmet meals before all the natural light disappeared into the dark. So while I packed all my clothes to take with me to school, I packed up Buff Chickpea, and tucked her under my bed for safe keeping. I've changed a lot over the past four years (I hope for the better), but one thing has not changed, I'm still eating, and I hope you are too! So I come with a peace offering, carrot hummus to be exact. What better way to dust off Buff Chickpea, than with chickpeas (and carrots)? Because I know it's hard to put on real pants when you could cancel your plans and flop all night. But you should really go catch up with your friends, it's good for you, and they'll probably have dip. Real friends chip and dip.

Carrot Hummus
Za'atar spice would also be great in this, but it's so hard to find. When I get my hands 
on some, this is the first thing I'm making with it. 

1 (15-oz) can of chickpeas, drained + rinsed
1 lb carrots, steamed until soft*
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1-2 tablespoons fresh oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
Sea salt, to taste
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil

*I use a 1 pound bag of baby carrots set over a double boiler for 5-10 minutes. 

I know it seems tedious, but when I'm making hummus, I always take the little skins off the outside of the chickpeas, before boiling the skinned chickpeas for about 10 minutes. This will soften things up, and make the hummus warm and creamy. You can use some of this boiling water to thin out your hummus for a lower fat alternative, or just stick with olive oil like I do here. 

Once your chickpeas are skinned and boiled, drain the water, and add the chickpeas to a food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients, then hit puree. I'd say start with 1/4 cup of olive oil, then drizzle in more until you reach your desired consistency. Grab your preferred method of dipping (pita chips, rice crackers, veggies, etc.) and get snacking. Or do like I do, and slather hummus on every single piece of food you eat. Toasted cinnamon raisin english muffin, carrot hummus, poached egg, melted cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes...all day, errday.   

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