A College Girl's Guide to a Happy, Healthy Lifestyle!

Tag: vegan

The Weather is Weird, Sometimes | Fasolakia | Roasted Salmon | Apple Fennel Salsa | Radish, Watercress, and Basil Salad | One Cook, Two Books

Compared to yesterday, today’s weather was completely different. I’m not sure if it was because of a combination of the fans blowing throughout the house and the dismal, rainy outside, but lunch time today called for some sort of warm, comfort food.   My brother, […]

The Hottest Day of Vacation So Far | Spanish Style Gazpacho | One Cook, Two Books

Well my friends… This is it. Thursday, August 17th was the hottest day of the Summer so far. Or at least, that’s how it felt.   I’m guessing it’s because we have had guests over for the past week and we’ve been spending the majority […]

I Think My Taste Buds are Changing | Spicy Chickpea Stew | One Cook, Two Books

One of two things is going one. One: Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, one ingredient that I use very sparingly, is not as spicy as it used to be.

Two: Crushed Red Pepper Flakes are no longer as spicy because I am more accustomed to spicy food, so I am able to use more of it in my cooking.


I’m thinking it’s closer to the second option, because even with the jalapenos in all of Mina Stone’s recipes it is not uncomfortably spicy the way jalapenos used to be. Now, both Red Pepper Flakes and jalapenos do not add so much uncomfortable heat to the dish, but add a gentle heat with a wonderful flavour.


I’m pretty okay with that.


So today we had a lovely family day. My brother (for once) hung out with us, so he got to choose the movie.He chose The Last Samurai. Ever seen it? It’s pretty good.


I decided that I was going to make Mina’s Spicy Chickpea Stew today because it was a comforting day, and a comforting day calls for a comfy stew.


The process to create this dish was actually very interesting. Even after I soaked my chickpeas overnight, the recipe called to soak them again for a bit of time. This time, they were to sit while being coated in baking soda. Apparently, the act of letting them sit with the baking soda actually softens the chickpeas even more. When I did some research as to why this is a thing, the name Yotam Ottolenghi kept showing up, because apparently this method was created by Yotam. Overall, this process ends up making the chickpeas much softer at the end, which is why many do this when making hummus.

I loved the stew when it was all done. The texture of these extra soft chickpeas was something that I had never experienced before. I was nervous because the title has the word Spicy in it but, honestly, it soup was not that spicy even after having both a jalapeno and hot red pepper flakes in it.


I’m definitely going to be making this recipe again. There was a lot of inactive cooking time so I was able to continue to be with the family while it cooked, and the texture reminds me of something I would love to have on a cool day snuggled by the fire.


Next time I’m going to try and make it a bit spicier!

Soup’s On! | Red Lentil Soup with Cumin and Lime | One Cook, Two Books

Note: the events discussed in this post occurred Tuesday, August 1st. Being a stressed out college student, I’ve been wrapped up in school work and have not been able to post to my blog until today. My apologies!   If you were only allowed to […]

Saying Goodbye with a Falafel Party | One Cook, Two Books

Today’s meal was certainly bittersweet. It was nice to get to the end of an adventurous, food-filled week, but that also meant that it was time for my cousins to pack up and say goodbye.   We ended our festivities on a wonderful note: We […]

Focaccia | One Cook, One Book | Little Beach Street Bakery

“Once you’ve mastered the [basic recipe], the options when it comes to toppings are endless” – Sara, owner of “Don’t Feed After Midnight”, on How to Make Basic Focaccia Bread


I have been planning on making this recipe since last Sunday. Literally. Last. Sunday. Every day I put it off because it was cold and bitter, or cloudy, or rainy. All of those cheerless weather conditions meant that I could not spend time outside in my herb garden.


“But Annie, what does your herb garden have to do with making focaccia?


Well I’m glad you asked, you lovely stranger you! I remember when the bakery I work at used to make focaccia every day. The base, aka the dough, was always really good, but there was one baker in particular that would choose the BEST TOPPINGS! For me, the toppings are what make the focaccia so absolutely delectable. And there was a particular topping in my garden that I have been anxiously waiting to use…


Chive Blossoms.



That’s right. Chive flowers. Apparently those things are edible! I had absolutely no idea about that until just a few weeks ago when my chives started sprouting their lovely blossoms. I panicked, because I was always told to remove the flowering tops off of herbs. Keeping the blossom takes the energy away from the plant itself, and then focusses on the flower head. That’s not ideal for herbs, especially because (in most cases) the herb is not the flower, but the leaves and roots. It was this past school semester that I came to realize how much we waste, and decided to look up if chive blossoms are edible. That way, they would have a purpose in this dish and would not end up with the chickens.


Turns out, they are absolutely edible! Chive blossoms have an oniony flower the way the stalks do. They’re very good as garnishes, but I’ve also seen many “chive blossom vinegar” recipes and some “pickled chive flowers” recipes as well. I haven’t personally tried any of those recipes, but I’m very excited to in the future! In this case, we are using these beautiful blossoms as a garnish on the focaccia.


Let’s rewind now, and talk about the wonderful process of making the dough.



I have to say that making dough is one of the best things ever. I love working hard to create this dough, only to come back after letting it sit to see that it’s aged and grown! Is it weird to say dough is like my baby? I watch it grow up and mature……. And then I eat it.


Okay. Actually, let’s not say it’s my baby. That’s weird.


Though the Goddess only knows that in future blog posts I’ll be calling dough my baby again. Let’s cross that bridge when we get to it.


Anyways, one thing that I did after letting the dough sit is press my fingers in it to push the dough down. Why do you do this? Well… I have no idea. Let’s take a moment and research it.


(Okay, first thing’s first. I should have cut my nails before dimpling because you can see my nail marks all over the place!)


So this process here is called ‘dimpling.’ It’s when you press your fingertips into the dough to create cute little holes. These are little ‘pooling’ areas for excess olive oil because why should you let it go to waste? You shouldn’t. Keep it in those holes so you get that explosive flavor while you bite into the focaccia!


Sorry, I’m a little excited tonight.



Anyways, here is what the focaccia looked like pre-cooking! We first brushed oil all over the focaccia. We used the oil from my packed sundried tomatoes, because it was a way to use up some of that oil that would have ended up just sitting around! We then cut up some sundried tomatoes for tang, and spread chipped oregano and chives. The last thing we added were the bits of the purple chive flowers.


Look at how beautiful and glamorous it looks with all those blossoms!



When it came out of the oven? We didn’t even give it a few minutes to sit. We cut right into it and dug in!



The texture of the dough is absolutely fantastic. It reminds me just of what I used to eat weekly at the bakery, so it was almost nostalgic in a sense. Definitely a very successful recipe!



Price talk time! This is super important, right? So to make one focaccia bread, which made about 12 servings, cost me about $3.32

After researching some alternatives:

  • Standard bakery slice: $2.25
  • Italian Herb and Garlic Focaccia Bread Mix: $4.59
  • The Prepared Pantry Tuscany Tomato and Herb Focaccia Bread Mix: $10.76

It was actually a bit difficult to find alternatives. Apparently it’s not common to find focaccia anywhere! I compared my bread to that of a nearby bakery focaccia that is sold by the slice, and then two different mixes found on amazon. You can see that the price is all over the place! What I enjoy about the recipe that I have made here is the minimal list of ingredients, many of which were grabbed from my back yard! It was a super fun afternoon activity as well. I definitely see myself making this again in the future.


Onto the question of the day!


Would you like to live in a town like Mount Polbearne? Why or why not?

I would absolutely live in a town like Mount Polbearne! I love the closeness of all of the inhabitants and how they all help each other out. It also is so fascinating that they’re essentially stranded there during high tide… It just makes it seem so secluded, but in a good way! It just seems like an amazing paradise to escape the reality of growing suburban and city life. Sounds like just the place for me!






Easiest White Bread | One Cook, One Book | Little Beach Street Bakery

The smell of fresh bread baking in the early hours of a spring morning is one of the most comforting smells. I woke up early this morning with the intentions of starting the first recipe of this challenge– Easiest White Bread– at 7:00 am… but […]