>     You ever have one of those days where you feel like you’re busy all day yet still haven’t gotten to half of the things on your mental to-do list? Well today was one of those days for me. I was a busy bee!
     I started the day out with my typical bowl of scrumptious oatmeal. This morning’s batch of steel cut oats contained domestic blueberries, pomegranate arils, and wheat germ. (no picture)
     After my belly was nice and full with oatmeal and coffee, I started out on my mission to cook my very own batch of garbanzo beans! This was my very first attempt at making them myself, and I’m happy to say that I was a great success, and it was actually very easy! (I didn’t even slow-soak them) Read below for my (aka the kroger bag’s) method.

Home-cooked Beans (Garbanzos)
Step 1: Soak beans overnight. To quick soak them, boil them for one minute with 8 cups of water, remove from heat, and let sit for 1 hour.

After soak

It’s hard to tell in the picture, but the beans really get nice and plumped after being soaked.

Step 2: Rinse and drain beans. Then, add 6 cups of hot water per 2 cups of beans. Let simmer with lid tilted for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. And voila! You have cooked beans!
Step 3: Drain and separate each 1 2/3 cup into a separate baggie. Freeze and use in recipes whenever canned beans are called for.
     Since the bean-cooking process was going to take a few hours, and I couldn’t leave them to go to the gym, (note to self: try them in the slow cooker next time) I decided to bake an apple cake with a few apples I had on hand that had lost their crispness. 
     I used a recipe from but changed it up quite a bit. I do this with a lot of my baked goods recipes- I use a base recipe to get the chemistry right but then I’ll cut the sugar, change out some flour for oats, and substitute any ingredients that I don’t have on hand or just feel like trying. All this tweaking got me to thinking… At what point does a recipe cease to be the cookbook’s or website’s and become your own?
     Anyways, back to the recipe…
Fresh Apple Cakes (it would be cake, singular, but I only had muffin tins available)
Makes 24 cakes (muffins?)
– 3/4 cup natural cane sugar
– 1 cup plain yogurt
– 1/4 cup canola oil
– 1/4 cup apple butter
– 2 tsp vanilla
– 2 flax eggs (combine 2 tbsp flax w/6 tbsp water and beat w/fork until gelled)
– 1 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
– 1 1/2 cup multigrain hot cereal (or old fashioned oats)
– 1 tsp baking soda
– 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp ground sea salt
– 3 apples, chopped (peel on)
– 1/3 cup chopped walnuts

1. Heat oven to 350˚F and prepare muffin tins. (I just used liners)
2. In a large bowl combine the sugar, yogurt, oil, apple butter, vanilla, and flax eggs. Beat on low until blended. Add the flour, multigrain cereal (or oats), baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Beat on low  until well blended. Fold in the chopped apples and walnuts.

the batter is truly delicious

3. Distribute into muffin tins. And bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

30 minutes later…. voila! You have deliciously delectable apple cakes!

I took the liberty of calculating the nutrition for all you folks (and myself) via That site is awesome for calculating the nutrition of recipes and also logging your daily meals and activities.

     Not bad for a dessert, huh? And they taste pretty darn good too! I brought them to a meeting, and everyone gobbled them up. 
     So, as you can imagine, as I was cooking beans and baking apple cakes, my food was digesting, and I was starting to get hungry. I had a dilemma on my hands because I also wanted to go to the gym as soon as everything was done. Ultimately, I probably should have just eaten lunch, but I ended up snacking on an orange, my cocoa-yogurt-cereal-concoction, and mixed nuts to tide me over. 
     Finally I made it to the gym and did my Circuit routine (except with skull crushers for triceps) and headed out to do some grocery shopping. 
     By the time I got back to my apartment, it was time to start cooking dinner! I decided to make a recipe from The Vegetarian Cook’s Bible by Pat Crocker. My boyfriend had gifted me the book last Christmas, but I never got around to actually making something from it until today. I’m always interested in trying new ingredients, so I decided to make the Amaranth Chili. The recipe notes, “Amaranth is the only grain known to provide the human system with the most effective balance of protein matched only by milk.” Naturally, I was compelled to give it a try. 
Amaranth Chili (from The Vegetarian Cook’s Bible by Pat Crocker) 
– 1/4 cup amaranth grains, thoroughly rinsed
– 4 tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped (I used a can of unsalted diced tomatoes and 1 T tomato paste w/a bit of water to give a stew consistency)
– 1/2 onion, chopped
– 1 green bell papper, chopped
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 2 cups vegetable stock
– 1 cup dried lentils
– 1 potato, chopped (I used a sweet potato)
– 1 cup chopped carrot
– 2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 19-oz can)
– 2 tbsp chili powder
– 2 tsp ground cumin
– salt to taste
1. In a skillet, toast amaranth over medium-high heat, stirring constantly for about 10 or 15 seconds until the seeds pop. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
2. In a large saucepan, combine tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add stock. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Add lentils. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 15 minutes until lentils are tender. 
3. Add amaranth, potato, and carrot. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until tender. Stir in chickpeas, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Cook for 1 minute or until chickpeas are heated through. Serve immediately. 
I swear, it tastes a lot better than this picture looks
As you can see, it makes for a very chunky chili. And it was quite delicious. 
     To go with the chili, I sauteed some Collard Greens. First, I washed them, cut them from their stems, and then cut them in half lengthwise if they were too wide. Then I rolled them like cigars and cut them into 1/4 inch slices. I sautéed them with some olive oil over medium-high heat. Once they were almost done cooking, I added 4 cloves of garlic and cooked for 30 more seconds. Then I removed them from the heat, squeezed half a lemon into them and added a few dashes of cayenne pepper. 
soooo goooood

     Soon after cooking dinner I had to run out the door for school, so I had to pack my meal and enjoy it in class. 

     Once back at the apartment after class and a club meeting, I was huuungry. Not eating a good lunch caught up with me. So I put together an Almond Butter-Apple-Cinnamon Sandwich with the rest of the apple on the side.