Monthly Archives

April 2012


Spiced Roasted Chickpeas

April 30, 2012

Hey, all! I hope you all had a happy weekend. Joe and I spent our time up in Minneapolis partaking in bachelor and bachelorette festivities for Joe’s brother, Jason, and his fiancé, Ali. And I solidified my title as worst blogger ever by taking zero pictures of our weekend. Thankfully, someone had the good sense to take a picture this morning at brunch with Ali’s family, or I would have nothing to show you.

Ali has amazing friends. Even though Amber and I felt like the old married women among a group of 21-year-old college girls, a great time was had by all. Special shout-out to Ali’s friend, Kaitlyn, who is about as fun as it gets and is a faithful reader of Espresso and Cream.

Before I left for the weekend, I made a batch of roasted chickpeas to snack on when I want something slightly crunchy and salty. Since chickpeas are packed with protein and low in carbohydrates, they make a great alternative to chips or crackers. The protein also helps to keep you full, which is great for portion control. Now that I’ve seen how easy roasted chickpeas are to make, I think preparing a batch each weekend in preparation for the week ahead is going to become a habit.

And now, because I’m sleep deprived and completely off my writing game, I’m going to leave you with another picture and this killer recipe…

Spiced Roasted Chickpeas
Makes 2 to 3 servings

*1 (14.5-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
*1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
*1/2 teaspoon Spanish paprika
*1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
*3/4 teaspoon ground coriander

*Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Set aside
*In a small bowl, combine all of the above ingredients. Toss to coat evenly. Spread chickpeas in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until chickpeas are toasted and crispy on the outside. Cool slightly before serving.

Happy Cooking!


Chop, Chop!

April 27, 2012

It must be something in the air, but I got the crazy desire today to cut my hair. And cut I did! I can’t say I thought about it all that much. It was impulsive, to say the least. Ahh!

When all was said and done, I think I cut off somewhere around six inches. I can hardly believe it, but I feel even more ready for summer than ever before.

Happy weekend, all!


Crispy Baked Tofu with Marinara

April 25, 2012

Last week when I posted a picture of the tofu I had in my lunch from dinner the night before, I got a lot of requests for the recipe. Honestly, I haven’t had much success preparing tofu at home in the past. Usually it ends up getting stuck to the skillet or ends up tasting soggy and tasteless. Unless, of course, you cover it in a bunch of browned butter or calorie-dense sauce, but I guess that really negates the benefit of heating tofu for a healthy meal, doesn’t it?

Instead of sticking to what wasn’t working, I mixed things up. After consulting a few online sources, I realized that my main problem with making tofu in the past was that I wasn’t buying the right type of tofu, and even when I was, I had no idea how to prep it for cooking. 
First, the type of tofu you buy is key. For dishes like this one, you’re looking for firm or extra firm tofu that is packed in water. Don’t make the mistake of buying silken tofu, which works great in smoothies and healthy desserts but will not make a tasty addition to this dish.

Second, you need to drain some of the water from the tofu in order for it to become firm and crispy in the oven. To do this, line a dinner plate with a couple paper towels. Place the tofu block atop the paper towels and top with a couple more paper towels. Place another dinner plate atop the tofu, followed by a couple heavy cookbooks for weight. This will help drain some of the water and moisture from the tofu. Allow the tofu to drain for about 20 minutes.

My other complaint about tofu? The taste and texture. Coating the tofu in a spiced cornmeal mixture and baking the triangles in the oven was the perfect remedy to both of my complaints. The cornmeal imparted a slightly nutty, crunchy texture to otherwise soft and mushy tofu, and adding a handful of spices made all the difference in the flavor department. If you’re really a fan of bold flavor, I wouldn’t hesitate to boost the spice level a bit more to suit your tastes.

Do you all eat tofu? If so, what’s your favorite way to eat and prepare it?

Crispy Baked Tofu with Marinara

*1 large block of extra firm tofu
*1/2 cornmeal
*1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/2 teaspoon cumin
*1 teaspoon ground mustard
*1/2 teaspoon Spanish paprika
*1 teaspoon chili powder
*1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
*1/2 cup Egg Beaters liquid egg whites or two large eggs, beaten well 
*2/3 cup purchased marinara sauce

*Place two paper towels on a large dinner plate. Place the block of tofu on the paper towels. Top with two additional paper towels and another dinner plate. Put a cookbook atop the dinner plate and allow the water to drain out of the tofu (this will help the tofu crisp up in the oven) for about 20 minutes. Discard paper towels.
*Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray or coat lightly with olive oil. Set aside. 
*Cut tofu lengthwise into two rectangles. Cut each rectangle into two triangles to form four triangles total.
*Place Egg Beaters or eggs in a shallow bowl. In a second shallow bowl, combine the cornmeal, graham cracker crumbs, salt, cumin, ground mustard, paprika, chili powder and ground black pepper. Stir until evenly combined.
*Dip each tofu triangle into the egg mixture, followed by the cornmeal mixture, coating evenly with the dry crumbs. Transfer coated tofu to the lined baking sheet. Bake tofu for 20 minutes, turning once halfway through.
*Serve with the marinara sauce. Makes 2 servings

Happy Cooking!


No Fat Talk Tuesday: Chelsy’s Story

April 24, 2012

Today’s No Fat Talk Tuesday post comes to us from Chelsy. She is a longtime Espresso and Cream reader (and recently won the Chobani giveaway), and blogs about food and life over at Mangia. Chelsy brings a unique perspective to the series, having majored in Kinesiology. And in May she will officially be a certified ACE personal trainer. It’s amazing to read her story of how she came to be such a healthy, beautiful and confident woman. Thanks for sharing, Chelsy! – Madison
Ciao lovely readers of Espresso and Cream! I have been following Espresso and Cream since the beginning of time, and when Madison started her No Fat Talk Tuesday pledge I was super excited! I thought that this was the ultimate test for me, to see if I had the strength and courage to tell my story. Before today, not even my best friend or closest relative knew of my story.
I guess they are going to know now. I started to develop issues with my body image around the 7th grade. I attended a private, catholic school, where I was required to wear uniforms and forbidden to even think about wearing a drop of makeup. However, that didn’t stop my friends and I from sneaking our hot pink lip-stick and bombshell red blush. Now, I wasn’t the skinniest girl in the group, but I wasn’t overweight either. I also was really active in school, on drill team, then basketball, and head cheerleader in Jr. High. However, I always felt the need to compare myself to other girls, who were skinnier and had “boyfriends”, and there I was no boyfriend, and 145 pounds! I felt like no one was ever going to love me, beside my parents who told me they loved me every single day. At such a young age, I thought “they have to say that,” and I just wanted to yell at them and say, “then why don’t I have a boyfriend like the other girls.”
Fast forward to the summer before my sophomore year of high school. I was really active all summer, swimming, riding my back, and even running with my younger sister who was an elite athlete. I remember that one day my younger cousin, Tyler, came over and he had lost 15 pounds! He looked great and when I asked him what he was doing, he told me it was this little diet known as the Atkins diet. I was sold. So, I started doing the Atkins diet with him and lost about 20 pounds. When I went back to school after summer every one was baffled about how great I looked and the compliments just kept rolling.
The problem was, after being off carbs for so long, you feel like carbs are off limits for the rest of your life. This was a problem. At the time I was still playing basketball and was a cheerleader, so I needed healthy carbs to keep my energy up. I started skipping lunch, and the next thing I knew I was eating “low-carb” toast with 1/2 cup of peanut butter and “low-carb” ice cream for dinner every night. Then, I started counting calories, and scheduling my meals, avoiding family events, and always making excuses when people would ask me out to lunch by saying things like “oh I already ate,” or “I’m still stuffed from breakfast.” It was as thought I had this little person in the back of my head telling me that if I ate lunch, I was going to gain a pound or two. My eating habits continued like this throughout high school and into my first year of college. By now I had lost at least 10 more pounds and was hovering somewhere between 110-112 pounds. 
 Now, on a girl who is 5’7 you can imagine how thin I looked. My freshmen year of college I started to take a p.e. class, and although I ran every single day, I found it difficult to lift weights, or perform a 1 mile run test for time. I still kept avoiding lunch. What’s worse is that I think my teachers knew that I had an eating disorder, yet none of them approached me. Thank god for my parents and my sister because they approached me and tried to intervene twice. I made excuses for myself every time, saying things like “it’s my body,” and “I look fine.”
Third time was the charm, I was about 100 pounds, and I finally agreed to admit myself to an eating disorder clinic. I went twice and then things took a turn for the worse in my family. I would share this event but it’s too personal. After all was said and done, I took it upon myself to get my act together. I started seeing a nutritionist once per week and stopped exercising every single day. I also started allowing myself to have a dessert every day. I was determined to get healthy all by myself. I did it. It took two years and I did it! I gained close to 30 pounds and my weight fluctuates somewhere between 128 and 130. 
Not only do I look healthy, but I feel healthy, I eat three square meals, a couple of snacks when I am hungry, and because I am a food blogger, I have dessert more than 3 times a week. You know what? I am the happiest that I have ever been in my entire life. I look back on my struggle with anorexia and disordered eating and I think to myself…”I could have died.” Without the love and support of my family, I don’t think I would be alive today. Here is a tid-bit, I majored in Kinesiology and I will be a certified ACE personal trainer at the beginning of May…whoo-hoo! I hope that you will share my story with others and really take it upon your-self to help others who are going through the same thing. It can make a difference in the end. Believe me.
 I’m looking for more women who are willing to share their No Fat Talk story with others! If you’re interested in doing a guest post on No Fat Talk Tuesday, email me ( for more information!

Online “Clothing Sale” for Charity

April 20, 2012
Twice a year, I go through my closet and do a little sorting and purging. I get rid of old items I haven’t worn in the past year and bring them to my local consignment shop or Goodwill, depending on the condition they are in. This spring I wanted to do things a little differently. Most of the clothes I was thinking of getting rid of were in great shape, some had hardly been worn more than a few times (I have a bad habit of buying shoes I think I can squeeze my feet into but can’t), so it seemed a shame to just give them away. 
So this year, I thought it might be fun to host an online “clothing sale” where the proceeds of the sale go to a charity organization. Freedom From Hunger is a great organization that helps to keep women and children around the globe from going hungry. You can find out more about them by visiting their site,  
Want to be a part of the clothing sale? Well here’s how you can be a part of it!
 1. Make a donation. I will be collecting photos of items from my own closet, as well as items from yours, and putting the items up for sale on Ebay where people will be able to bid on them. If you think you have something that might be a good fit for the sale, shoot me an e-mail ( and let’s chat. The bidding will begin on Monday, May 14 and go through the week.
2. Buy something! As mentioned above, the items will be going up on Ebay on Monday, May 14 with 100% of the proceeds going to Freedom From Hunger. You get a great new item for your closet and you’ll help feed the hungry at the same time. A total win-win!
Have a great weekend, everyone!