Is That a Challenge?

I don’t know about you, but I love a good challenge. Lucky for me,  November seems to be the month of Challenges!

There is a little trend on some social networking site, where people post one thing that they are thankful for each day of November. I’ve decided to accept this…and to take it a step further. I’ve created a page on this site where I will post my items.  Check it out!

My second challenge? I joined an online group!  I don’t usually like to join groups on the sites I use… but I have a huge goal that I am finally going for in the next few months (more on that later…) and decided that this would be something to help me on that path…and to keep me accountable.

So, I took the plunge and joined a group called the “50 day Challenge!!” on MFP. Basically, it’s to help members stay on track to reach a personal goal by December 18. I am aiming to shed a few more pounds or a pants size, but more importantly, I just want to stay active. I’d hate to see all of my hard work from the last few months go to waste. Because of this group, I’ve added a lot of MFPals in the last week or so…and it’s great, although I do find myself distracted by all of the activity on my page.  No matter, I have people to keep me on track. Boom.

 We also started a new series in our small groups and at church. It’s called The Circle Maker.

In our first meeting, we were challenged to pick something to pray about for 21 days (“drawing a circle around it,” if you will).  We were to come up with an end goal/dream/request and ask God to help us attain that end result. Every day. I have a couple of things that I could pray about, but I’ve got it narrowed down.

So, here I am, doing this. I do pray every day. But I don’t typically ask for something for myself, so this is definitely a new experience. I’m learning as I go.

I’ve also got a race coming up! The hubs and I will be running the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving and I am pretty excited. Lots of running to get in before then and I am hoping for a PR!

Lastly, the hubby and I have been eating a lot lately. We’ve been eating out…And not very well…so I am challenging myself to eat better, cleaner and cheaper this month.

No, I won’t be depriving myself of all the wonderful goodies that come from November (Hello, Turkey and Pumpkin Pie!!!), but I will be paying attention to what I eat and challenging myself to eat at home. This means getting up in the morning to make breakfast, planning my lunch the night before and–gasp!!!–making coffee/tea at home instead of going to Starbucks. It’s on!

It’s going to be a month of self-discipline. But I am ready!

Do you have any challenges/goals for this month?  Tell me about them!


Roasted Chickpeas

My friends, we are onto another food obsession. Chickpeas. Garbanzos. Whatever you like to call them, they are delicious.

Now, don’t get me wrong, these tasty little beans have always held a special place in my heart. Hummus? I love you. Salads? Not the same without this little extra. Smashed up with fresh herbs and some spices? Instant sandwich. I’m not gonna lie, sometimes I will just eat them plain, too.

But a couple of weeks ago, I decided to try something that has been on my cooking to-do list for a while. And I am so glad I did.

Sadly, I didn’t take any photos…because I was so gosh-darn hungry that I forgot…and because, well, I think everyone knows what a chickpea looks like.

I also may have forgotten to change the temperature on my oven and inadvertantly set off my smoke alarm… the world will never know.

Anyway, this is a super simple and quick recipe that can be adjusted according to your tastes. Per usual, experiment with your flavors! If you don’t like spicy, rosemary and garlic would be great, or how about curry?! Also, these aren’t exact measurements, so adjust accordingly. This is a super easy and delicious snack, especially if you’re having unexpected company or need another finger food!

Roasted Chickpeas:  adapted from various recipes

2  (15 oz) Cans Chickpeas

About 2 tbsp. olive oil-I used a chipotle infused oil for a little extra flavor

A few good cranks of black pepper

A good sprinkling of sea salt (we have an awesome hickory smoked black salt that is to die for!)

2 or 3 tsp smoked paprika, obviously.

2 tsp. garlic powder

a good sprinkling of crushed red pepper

a good sprinkling of parsley

And if you’re feeling adventurous, a pinch or two of chili powder

What to do:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Rinse, drain and pat dry chickpeas.

Combine all other ingredients in a large bowl.

Toss in chickpeas until evenly coated. 

Transfer to baking sheet and bake for about 25-30 minutes, tossing two or three times while baking.

When finished, chickpeas will be a golden brown and have a crispy outside-the inside will still be a bit soft.

Let cool slightly and enjoy!

Note: If your oven tends to run hot, as mine does, set at 350 and adjust cook time accordingly.