Alone in Ann Arbor

    Since the bf has planned a bunch of road trips in the weeks leading up to my move, I find myself alone in the kitchen a lot which forces me to be creative because, let's face it, one can only watch so much television.

    The other day I invented the most amazing brownie sundae with warmed brownie, peanut butter, and chocolate chips covered with a scoop of caramel swirl ice cream. It was divine and totally hit the spot. Next year I probably won't be able to afford ice cream, so I am savoring the moments when I can curl up with a pint of Hudsonville :)

    Most recently, I am making it my mission to discover cheap yet tasty meals - meals fit for a girl on a budget and loads of schoolwork. I started thinking about what's cheap and I came to the conclusion that beans are pretty affordable and they can be spiced up very easily. Here are a few ways to turn a canned nightmare into a culinary wonder:
    1) Cannellini beans: These are just white kidney beans, essentially. Drain and rinse a can and add some salt, pepper, garlic powder, fresh garlic, chopped basil, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. It's filling and tasty and you can spice it up with red bell pepper or feta cheese, if you have some.

    2) Pinto beans: These are pretty creamy in texture, so I warm and mash them, adding jalapeno, salt, and maybe a little Tabasco. Cover with sour cream and/or cheddar cheese and you have a refried beans-esque meal.

    3) Lentils:

    Super simple to cook. My mom would make these for me for lunch when I was little. Just prepare the dried lentils as stated on the package and serve with oil and lemon juice. Lentils are chalk full of protein and super cheap, so this is a great carry-along lunch or easy dinner if you make a lot at the beginning of the week.

    4) Chickpeas: Drain and throw into a salad for a quick protein fix OR do the following. Fry 2 onions, thinly sliced, and 4 cloves of garlic. Add them to 2 or 3 cans of chickpeas then fry some cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, poppy seeds, and cardamon pods in oil until the cardamon pods pop (don't get hot oil on yourself). Add this to the onions and mix in a heaping spoon of sour cream and some Greek yogurt. If you like cilantro (or you can use Italian flat-leafed parsley as an alternative) chop some and throw that in at the end. Season with salt and pepper.

    I will be making #4 for sure in the near future so get psyched for pics! If you have any recipes that YOU like, send them my way, too :)

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