Exam Eats

Wow. April has been quite a month. What’s being going on in your ends of the neighborhood? I haven’t been here for a while.

It’s been that exam-y time of year again, all books and no fun. The end of this term was rough, I was feeling stupendously stressed out about the looming graduation. I’m not sure if I’m ready to be done school yet. I’m not sure if I’m ready to grow up yet. Having a degree sure feels like a grown up sort of thing to have, as does having a house, but so much of me is balking at the grown-up-ness of it all.

Being all stressed out, my tummy has been giving me issues. Having a nervous tummy really takes a lot of the fun out of being a culinarily inclined person like myself. While I was avoiding eating to avoid feeling sick, or attempting stop from throwing up, my normal exam time diet fell through: no hint-of-lime tostitos with salsa, none of these lovely roasted chickpeas. On a normal year I live off of that tasty snack-y food, but no such luck for a Dana with a sore tummy.

I did find a new, tasty and quick to prepare exam snack, though, one that covers three food groups, and takes less than 10 minutes from start to finish. When you’re elbow deep in notes and textbooks it’s just the perfect thing.

Cheddar Apple English Toasts

(makes 2 servings)

2 English muffins

1/2 Cup sliced or grated cheddar cheese

1 apple, cut into slices.

  • Set the broiler to high.
  • Sprinkle the cheddar cheese evenly over the English muffins.
  • Put the English muffins under the broiler until the cheese melts and begins to bubble.
  • Arrange the apple slices over top of the unctuous melted cheese.

Sweet, salty, gooey and crunchy, they’re a little bit of everything and you can eat them with one hand while you read.

Mister, who is normally the one with the nervous tummy but was fine because he wasn’t the one writing the exams, suggests that these toasts be made with sharp or old cheddar rather than medium, so that they would have more flavor contrast. Frankly, I couldn’t agree more.


Roasted Chickpeas, the Perfect Studying Snack

I am not anti-snack.

Especially at this time of year, studying for and writing final exams, I am very pro-snack. I’ve been too busy reading to get around to cooking much of anything, and a little nibble here and there helps to curb the boredom of reading about nucleic acid synthesis for days on end. Sometimes you don’t want to stop and eat a large meal that will take away from precious time with the textbooks.

A girl cannot subsist on Hint of Lime Tostitos and salsa alone, though, so I made myself a new snack.

Roasted chickpeas are one of my favorite snacks, and the recipe is a standard from the way back then days of high school and veganism. It is as simple as taking a can of chickpeas, seasonings of your choice and a drizzle of olive oil, and letting them roast away in the oven. When they are done you have a lovely, healthy, crunchy snack that is oh so edible on its own, but also goes well on salads or in pasta sauces.

With roasted chickpeas you can go as simple or complex as you want; roasting them with only salt as seasoning, or roasting them with combinations of flavors. This time, I made one of my favorite seasoning combinations, but feel free to make it your own and experiment.

On the topic of chickpeas: they are high in protein, calcium, folate and magnesium, among other things. Research by Pittway, Robertson and Ball suggests that chickpeas also aid in lowering cholesterol. Not only are roasted chickpeas a tasty snack, but they are good for you. That made teenage vegan Dana happy, but it should make the anti-snackers out in the world happy too!

Everyone wins! Hurray for snacking! Vive le goûter!

Roasted Chickpeas

(adapted from Roasted Chichers in Robin Robertson’s Vegan Planet)

1-18 oz can of chickpeas

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp lemon pepper

1 tsp dill

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp paprika

  • Set oven to 375° F.
  • Open the can of chickpeas, empty it into a colander, and rinse thoroughly. The water the chickpeas are packed in has all kinds of dissolved solids in it and doesn’t taste very good, nor does it have a nice texture. I rinse until the chickpeas shine in the light, when they come out of the can they will be rather matte.
  • Place the rinsed chickpeas in a resealable bag, and add olive oil, stirring to coat.
  • Add lemon pepper, dill, garlic powder and paprika to the bag.
  • Seal the bag, and shake until the seasonings are evenly distributed among the chickpeas.

  • Pour the seasoned chickpeas onto a baking sheet, and shake the sheet until the chickpeas are in a single layer.
  • Place the baking sheet in the hot oven, and bake until the chickpeas are browned and crunchy (~25 minutes). Stir the chickpeas about halfway through cooking, to help prevent sticking.

The mister agrees that roasted chickpeas are a tasty snack!