Saturday, January 21

Honey Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas

It never fails, when I’m at work, right around 3pm is when my sweet tooth hits.  If I was smart I’d have some healthy snacks (baby carrots, an apple, etc.) stashed in the fridge.  But in all honesty, even if they were there, I probably wouldn’t eat them.  When I want something sweet, I want something sweet!  I try ever so hard NOT to visit the vending machine, but every few weeks I find myself grabbing some change and heading down the hallway. Defeated. 

Recently,  however, I came across this recipe for Honey Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas.  Hmmmm…sweet?  Yes! Healthier than the peanut m&m’s that I would typically eat?  Yes!  This could be a solution!

Run beans under cool water & strain

Dry beans

I didn’t know this but garbanzo beans are chickpeas.  The word ‘garbanzo’ originated in Spain, while ‘chickpea’ is of French origin.  These little beans have some great health benefits too.  Not only are they high in protein but also high in fiber.

The recipe below is very easy to make and transforms the beans into a nice, sweet snack.  And while they’re baking they’ll make your house smell absolutely wonderful!  After they came out of the oven, and I coated them in honey, I waited just a few minutes before I tried one.  The honey cinnamon coating satisfied my sweet tooth and they were quite addictive while they were still warm.  My husband tried them and thought they tasted like “little doughnuts”.  So if you’re looking for a yummy snack that’s healthier than a candy bar from the vending machine, try these!  And as a suggestion you may want to make a double batch!

Honey Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas
Adapted from Honey Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas,
Servings:  15 oz (approximately 2 cups)
Prep Time: 5 mins.
Total Time: 45 mins.

  • 15 ounce can garbanzo beans
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey

  1. Preheat oven to 375˚F.
  2. Drain garbanzo beans.  Remove starch by rinsing under cool water for several minutes. Dry off the beans.   Note: You may optionally remove the skins from the beans or you can leave them on (either way is good!). 
  3. In a small bowl whisk the oil, cinnamon, and sugar. Add beans and stir until evenly coated.
  4. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Spread beans on top and bake for 40-45 minutes or until beans are crunchy and no longer soft in the middle.
  5. Place hot, roasted beans in a small bowl and coat evenly with honey. Spread beans back out on the baking sheet and allow to dry. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Saturday, January 14

Ginger Cookies

This past week I was craving something besides chocolate.  Imagine that.  It all started a few weeks ago when my husband and I went to the best sandwich shop in Ann Arbor.  If you’ve never been to Zingerman’s you must go.  It’s life changing.  They have much more than just sandwiches (fresh cheeses, salads, olive oils, vinegars, even homemade chocolate marshmallows!) and the best part is that they’re always offering samples!  When you go to Zingerman’s expect to wait in line because they’re so popular.  But honestly, who can complain when they offer some of the most amazing samples to taste while in line?   That’s how this craving all began. 


I tried a sample of one of their Spice Cookies.  WOW.  Absolutely, utterly, amazing!  A thick, dark, soft, and richly spiced cookie.  Imagine a gingerbread cookie on crack.  That’s how good these were. 

Of course only a few days later I desperately wanted another spice cookie.  I decided I should try looking for a similar recipe and make a batch at home!  I didn’t get my hopes of, however, because I knew any recipe I found would not be able to compete with Zingerman’s.

Finally I settled on the recipe below.  Big and soft?  Check!  Spices?  Check!  Molasses?  Sure!  The only ingredient I didn’t have was molasses.  I’ve never cooked with molasses.  I didn’t even know where to find it at the store, but eventually spotted it in the baking aisle near the sugar.  While I was there I also decided to buy thick, crystallized sugar for coating the cookies instead of regular white sugar.  That’s when I found Sugar In TheRaw.  It’s cane sugar that’s cut in the tropics and is brown in color.  It’s perfect for this recipe as it has just the right sweetness and provides a nice crunchy coating for the cookies.  I highly recommend using it to add a nice sweet texture on the outside.  

The recipe below is simply put together like any other cookie recipe.  Did the cookies taste like Zingerman’s spice cookies?  No, but I knew they wouldn’t.  They were still really good.  They had a nice soft texture and a flavorful blend of spices.  My husband really enjoyed these and before we knew it, we had polished off the whole batch in a matter of a few days. 

Ginger Cookies
Adapted from Big Soft Ginger Cookies by AMY1028,
Servings:  28-30 cookies
Prep Time: 1 hour 15 mins. (includes 1 hour of chilling dough)
Total Time:  1 hour 4 5mins.



  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • Sugar In The Raw (for coating)



  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.  In a medium bowl combine all dry ingredients: flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.  Sift thoroughly. 
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, orange juice, and molasses.
  3. Gradually add the dry ingredients into the molasses mixture.  Note: The dough will be very sticky, so it’s important to chill it.  Chill dough in fridge for 1 hour. 
  4. Remove dough and shape into walnut sized balls.  Sprinkle Sugar In The Raw on a plate and roll dough balls over sugar until coated.   
  5. Place dough balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Lightly press top of dough balls to slightly flatten.
  6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack and cooling completely. Store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, January 4

Split Pea Soup

Over the holidays a close friend invited me and some friends over for dinner.  She surprised us with a very delicious three course meal.  One of the meals happened to be split pea soup.  Can you believe I’ve never tried this soup?  I didn’t even know what to expect.  The soup was rich in color and thick.  Think velvety.  To my surprise there were more ingredients in the soup besides peas.  There were carrots, onions, celery and ham.  All the flavors mixed together made for a savory soup on a cold winters night.  

The best apart about this soup is that it’s made in a crock pot.  Set it and forget it!  What can be more rewarding?!   I own 2 crock pots.  One is very large (7 qts.) and fits my Snebert’s Chili recipe perfectly.  But for a more practical serving size of 2 – 4 people I use my smaller crock pot (3.5 qts.).  The small crock pot is just the right size for this meal.  Keep in mind your crock pot should be proportionate to the amount of food you’re cooking.  The general rule of thumb is that the contents inside should not be less than half or more than two-thirds full.  For additional crock pot tips, visit this site.  You might be surprised to find that you’re overcooking meals without even knowing it!

When buying ingredients for this recipe, make sure to buy the ham at your grocers deli counter.  The ham that is used in this recipe is not thinly sliced, pre-packaged deli ham.  It’s ham off the bone.  Simply request ham off the bone and ask to have it sliced thicker (approximately 1/8 inch).  Order slightly more than a half pound and you’ll have just the right amount for this recipe (2 cups).  Also, while you’re at the store, I recommend buying fresh parsley vs. dried parsley.  Yes, it will take a little extra time to chop, but the flavor will be so rewarding.

After experiencing this soup first hand, at my friend’s house, I had to re-create it at home.  What a wonderful recipe and it’s so healthy too.  I had a feeling my husband would love this dish.  Like me, he too, had never tried split pea soup.  He loved it and mentioned multiple times while we were eating how much he enjoyed it.  If you’re looking for a side to serve with this soup, try cornbread.  We like to crumble it and sprinkle it on top of our soup.  Yum!

Split Pea Soup is very hard to photograph!  Just trust me that it tastes good!

Split Pea Soup
Servings: 8
Prep Time: 15 mins.
Total Time: 4-5 hours (high heat) or 8 -10 hours (low heat)

  • 1 (16 oz.) pkg. dried green split peas, rinsed
  • 2 cups ham off the bone, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks (plus leaves), chopped
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped or 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
  • 1 tbsp. seasoned salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 6 cups hot water

1. In a crock pot layer the ingredients in the order given; pour in water.
2. Do not stir ingredients. Cover and cook on high 4 to 5 hours or on low 8 to 10 hours.
3. Remove the bay leaf. Mash peas to thicken more, if desired.  Serve immediately.
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