Easy Chana Masala Recipe

No, this isn’t an easy version of Chana Masala. As it turns out, the authentic version is easy all on its own!

Easy Chana Masala Recipe

 

Easy Chana Masala Recipe

I took my first stab at making Indian food just a few days ago. I was late to the Indian-food-love overall. I had my first taste (that I can remember at least) at age 27. Why I waited so long, I’ll never know. But I do know now that I indeed love Indian food.

Easy Chana Masala Recipe

After my love-at-first-taste experience with Indian food, I enjoyed eating it frequently. However, I dared not try making it on my own. Indian food seemed to me to be this exotic and impossible-to-reproduce food masterpiece. I thought it was best ordered at an authentic restaurant. But at the coaxing of one of my Indian friends, I finally gave her recipe a try. It was for one of my favorites – Chana Masala!

Easy Chana Masala Recipe

Indeed, it was delicious, wonderful, and the best part – incredibly simple to make. Or is the best part how insanely affordable this vegetarian dish (that my meat-loving husband enjoys) is? Either way…Hazzah! :)

4.0 from 1 reviews

Easy Chana Masala Recipe
 
Prep time
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Talk about a 30 minute meal you’ll want to make ASAP. This easy recipe comes together in a cinch, uses few ingredients (but ok, lots of spices) and boasts an amazing and unique flavor. Chana Masala makes for a great (and easy-on-the-wallet) vegetarian main course or even side dish. Serve with rice and/or homemade naan (yes, homemade – it’s easy and really completes the meal)
Adapted from my friend Yamini’s recipe
*Vegetarian* *Vegan* (Possibly Gluten Free?)
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or canola oil)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ – ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you like your eats)
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped, about ½ cup (or sub canned)
  • 1 – 1½ cup water
  • 2 15-ounce cans chick peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala (should be available in most grocery stores)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • black pepper, if needed
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat a medium sauce pan to medium heat. Add oil to pan. Add onion and cook until onion is translucent and just browning, about 5-6 minutes. Add garlic and cook for one minute, or until garlic is fragrant.
  2. Stir in coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, and salt.
  3. Stir in water and tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are soft, stirring occasionally, about 5-6 minutes.
  4. Using an immersion blender (or stand blender), blend tomato mixture until blended well. Add extra water, if needed.
  5. Add chick peas to tomato mixture and stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Stir in garam masala and additional salt or pepper, to taste, if needed. Simmer chick peas and sauce for 10 minutes.
  6. Serve chana masala with rice and/or naan.
Notes
Serves 4 – But even if you’re only feeding less, make the whole batch – this makes for wonderful leftovers that re-heat great the next day.

If you have the time, homemade naan can’t be beaten. But, if you need a hand, Trader Joe’s has great frozen naan (tandoori and garlic) that heats up in only 1½ minutes in the oven.

Easy Chana Masala Recipe

Remember to check out this post for a link to a simple homemade naan recipe and video! It would go perfectly with this Easy Chana Masala Recipe. You can also buy naan at the store. I get mine from the frozen section at Trader Joe’s. I also recommend picking some up from your fave local Indian restaurant or trying the recipe out yourself. Don’t be a scaredy cat like me. Don’t fear the Indian cooking, embrace it! If I can do it, so can you! ;)

How old were you when you tried your first Indian food?

Slow Cooker Beef & 3 Bean Chili

Looking for a recipe for the superbowl tomorrow or perhaps a pot luck some other time? Then try this Slow Cooker Beef & 3 Bean Chili – sure to please a crowd. Don’t get me wrong, I love this recipe for a regular family meal, not to mention the leftovers freeze well for later. But next time you’re entertaining, by letting the slow cooker do the work, you’re free to take care of other odds and ends with your dinner party.

In fact, I even made this chili when we had people over for New Year’s Eve! Click here to check out the party and to see the yummy desserts I made that night.

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The recipe has a straightforward ingredient list. Feel free to substitute your favorite beans.

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To prepare, it’s as easy as browning some beef…

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…and then mixing everything together in your slow cooker.

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Roughly 8 hours later, you have a delicious bowl of piping hot chili.

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Yum!

Slow Cooker Beef & 3 Bean Chili

This slow cooker chili is a crowd pleasing recipe that is as easy as it is tasty. I especially like to use this recipe for entertaining because I do all the hard work on the main event early in the day and have my hands free to make corn muffins, dessert, or just take care of last minute details before my dinner guests arrive. This chili would also make a great recipe for any day of the week in your standard dinner rotation.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 15-ounce can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 15-ounce can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 15-ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 15-ounce can of stewed tomatoes
  • 2  15-ounce can of no salt added tomato sauce
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small green pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Direction:

  1. Pre-heat a pan over medium heat and brown beef. Skim/drain oil.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on Low heat for 8 hours. Note: You could probably do 4 hours on high, but I haven’t tested this out.
  3. Serve with corn bread and your preferred toppings (we like shredded cheese). Enjoy!

Looking for a lighter version? Try this Slow Cooker White Turkey or Chicken Chili (click for recipe).

Thank you slow cooker!

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Serve chili with these easy and delicious corn muffins (click for recipe).

Guglhupf + Quick Tomato Lentil Soup

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

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I have a new soup recipe to share with you guys, but first…

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Hubby and I are now home, but I have some more photos from my weekend away to share.

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Including this pretty plant at hubby’s mom’s house.

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We lucked out with more bright blue skies today.

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The weather was perfect for brunch with bloggie friends – Sarah, Josh, and Anne!

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We headed out to one of my fave places in Durham – Guglhupf.

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I love the funky-chic interior there – especially those glowing orbs of light.

Guglhupf has a casual brunch on the weekends with self-seating and ordering at the counter, which I really liked. More places should do this.

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I got a cappuccino to drink.

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I love how so many places in Durham do such pretty coffee art. I don’t know of anywhere back home that does this.

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I thought I was just going to miss this chick due to traveling schedules, but we juuust had enough time to meet up. :)

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Hubby even had a guy friend to chit chat with. Boy power!

Us girls had a totally different conversation going on at our end of the table, and it was so great to catch up with Sarah and Anne.

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Hubby got the Eggs Arnold – from the menu – “spinach, artichoke, and tomato topped with poached eggs & hollandaise served on brioche with seasonal fruit

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I tried the Farmer’s Omelette – “with house made country sausage, emmenthaler cheese & caramelized onions, served with seasonal fruit and sliced baguette

I don’t normally like sausage, but I seem to be on a bit of a kick with it lately. I blame the delicious sausage at The Flying Biscuit. lol. Anywho, the omelette was very tasty – especially with the gooey cheese and sweet onions. I wish I would have ordered a little extra veg or something, though. I don’t think I’ve been getting enough this weekend.

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Girl photo – Anne, moi, and Sarah. Hope to see these fab girls again soon!

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Hubby and I swung by the bakery on our way home to pick up goodies to take home, including a loaf of ciabatta to go with soup for dinner. We didn’t have any soup prepared, but I really wanted to bring some bread home and I just love soup with good, crusty bread. So, I figured I’d whip some up later.

I also picked up an almond croissant, which didn’t make it past the car ride home.

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I enjoyed the croissant with some Zen tea we picked up from Starbucks.

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The traffic was pretty busy, but I was thankful to not see any accidents. Maybe the slow-driving kept people safer?

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As we neared home, the sky opened up with the most gorgeous lighting.

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I took a ton of photos.

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And I even caught a couple planes landing.

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Bailey was pretty tuckered out and ready to be home.

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Once home, I got started in the kitchen. I started some soup and some new granola – maple cinnamon.

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I was really excited about the bread going with the soup. We ended up toasting the yummy ciabatta slices and adding a wee bit of real butter.

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As for the soup, I made up a tomato-lentil soup. I like making big batches of soup so I can freeze leftovers for quick meals later. I like how lentil soups are generally pretty filling, and I also prefer doing vegetarian soups because I think they freeze better (though Giada does have a bad-a$$ beef lentil soup).

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Quick Tomato Lentil Soup

Vegetarian/Vegan if you use the appropriate broth/soup

Most lentil soups seem to have directions requiring hours of cook-time. This affordable soup can be done in under 45 minutes (or less if you’re quick). The soup also doesn’t use fancy ingredients or even that many, making it an easy go-to soup for even busy weeknights.

Also, you can use the leftover broth/soup from this pot roast recipe to make this one…at least that’s what I did. ;) You may have more than 2 cups of broth/soup left, but you can just add it to the soup as long as you don’t mind if it’s a little more brothy.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups beef broth (or vegan/vegetarian broth)
  • 2 cups french onion soup (broth version in carton, not can) (use vegan/vegetarian version if you prefer)
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup french lentils, rinsed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 10 baby carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, washed, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat a medium/large pot over medium heat. Add EVOO. When oil is warm enough, add onion, celery, and carrots. Cook till onions turn translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 60 seconds.
  2. Add broth, soup, tomatoes, and lentils to the pot. Add basil, oregano, salt, and pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook 25-40 minutes depending on how pressed for time you are or how tender you like your lentils. Taste the soup frequently past the 25 minute mark to check the texture. Add extra salt/pepper to taste.
  3. Serve with nice, hearty bread and enjoy!

Tip: Freeze leftovers for easy meals when you’re pressed for time later

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After the soup, I was eyeing my homemade granola.

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I enjoyed a mini parfait over some vanilla Oikos (*).

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The granola is not bad, but it needs work. I’m going to tweak the recipe before sharing with you guys.

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Oh and lookie at what Sarah gave me – an adorable note pad.

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I love the note – “For CHIC recipe ideas!” Yes…this will be perfect for new recipe development…thank you Sarah!

***

By the way, I updated my Recipe page (click to view)! Be sure to take a looksie!

***

I don’t know about you, but I’m not quite ready for my vacation to end. Luckily, I have more holiday vacation time ahead! How many days off work are you taking for December holidays? I think I’m going to have 7 hard-earned and carefully saved up days this year.

Black and Red Halloween Eats

When it comes to Halloween eats, I usually prefer trick over treat. That is, I prefer to style things (food, decor, etc.) on the scary side vs the funny. Instead of going more the classic orange and white (the colors of pumpkins and ghosts), I like to go black and red…the colors of night and blood. Bwa hahaha. But I don’t like to go off the deep end. No, no Rob Zombie stuff here…that’s too extreme for me. I prefer to go for scary sophisticate a la Martha Stewart, as evidenced by Foodie Halloween party yesterday.

I didn’t get as scary with the eats at yesterday’s party as I like to, but there’s still time to celebrate Halloween!

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Here’s a good example of a black and red food combo that is a bit nerve-wracking at the looks, but delicious to the taste buds.

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I served some of the leftover meatballs and tomato sauce from the party over some black spaghetti.

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Your imagination can run wild with dark names for this dish, but it’s really just spaghetti and meatballs.

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The pasta is colored with squid ink.

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My total feast was not so scary looking as the individual dish. Had I served this at a dinner party, I’d try to make the sides more scary-themed, too.

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And don’t look now but a particular creepy-crawly has it’s beady little eyes on you.

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Another fine black and red color combo here.

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These spider cupcakes almost look like they could jump off the table at you!

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In fact…there were a lot more of these guys yesterday. Wherever could they have all run off to? Hmm…

What are your favorite Halloween color combos?

Vega Sport Performance Optimizer Review + Breakup Recovery Week

Waste not, want not!

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I had half a leftover Flying Biscuit pancake this morning with more yummy peach topping, a fried cage-free egg and nice, hot coffee.

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I celebrated Starbucks Monday with a grande vanilla soy latte. I had to re-charge my card…using my Starbucks card gets me discounts on the syrup and soy upgrades. Actually, they’re free with the card! :)

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For lunch #1, I had a turkey sandwich on Great Harvest WW with romaine and dijon mustard. I planned to eat my sandwich first strategically. The reason? As I learned recently, meat and gluten are hard for your body to digest. Your body uses energy to digest food…this energy could be energy your body could put towards other things like exercise, and I wanted all the energy I could have for my post-work workout.

Plus yerba mate tea.

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Lunch #2 was easier on the body to digest – a strawberry salad: romaine, cucumbers, tomatoes, SC strawberries, almonds, and Trader Joe’s poppyseed dressing.

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Odwalla Strawberry Pomegranate Odwalla bar.

Vega Sport Natural Plant-Based Performance Optimizer

Post work, I had a wonderful workout planned – ZUMBA!

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But, before my workout, I had an exciting experiment to kick-off – sampling one of the Vega Sport Natural Plant-Based Performance Optimizer packets (*)!! I decided to try out the lemon lime flavor first.

According to myvega.com, this optimizer has many features & benefits:

  • Immediate and sustaining energy
  • Increases endurance, aerobic and anaerobic capacity
  • Enhances mental focus and motor performance
  • Reduces stress and enhances immune system function
  • Replenishes electrolytes lost during exercise
  • Reduces inflammation, joint and muscle pain
  • Improves body composition and reduces body fat
  • Supports healthy weight management

I often start feeling tired during my zumba classes. I’ve tried everything to give myself more energy:

  • stay hydrated
  • hydrate well the day before
  • eat a good pre-workout snack
  • avoiding heavy meals beforehand

Some days these things work (I think they’re good to do anyways), but often times I still find myself tired! Very frustrating!

So, today, I was extra happy to be testing out this energy boosting pre-workout drink.

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The package even matched my zumba pants!! :lol:

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Nutrition – only 70 calories.

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Add the dry mix to water, shake, and enjoy! The mix looked a lot like the health optimizer stuff I’ve been enjoying, but it tasted totally different – more tangy. I sort of expected it to taste like gatorade…not sure why. It didn’t. I won’t say I loved the flavor, but I I think it may have been because I was expecting something different. I can see myself growing to love it, though. It’s not too sweet and is smooth (not gritty).

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Bottoms up!

The gym where we had our work-out was MUGGGGGGYYYY from all the rain we had today. Did I mention the gym doesn’t have AC? Yep…the environment conditions themselves made the workout hard…let alone being tired from working a 9 hour day.

The Result: I was surprised at how effective the drink was. I’m sure a lot of things factor into energy levels beyond just energy drinks. I had hydrated well all day. I had eaten healthy meals earlier and given my body plenty of time to digest the food. But I was feeling a bit drained from work and from the heat and humidity in the air. Still, I had a steady stream of energy throughout class. Some days I start feeling tired during class and I wonder if it’s almost over. Today, I just enjoyed every minute and put my attention towards dancing and having FUN! It was awesome.

I have another sport performance optimizer packet to sample, so I can’t wait to see if the results are the same. I sure hope they are!

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I whipped up a quick dinner at home – lemon garlic sauteed shrimp, steamed broccoli and that 3 grain blend TJ’s pilaf I picked up Saturday. That pilaf is good stuff! I loved the chewy textures of the different grains and the box made a TON. We have lots of leftovers, so I’m hoping to use them later in the week. Yum Yum!

Hubby and I enjoyed dinner whilst watching Twilight – New Moon and as I finished up some projects. Can you believe I waited this long to see that movie? It seems like everyone raved about it when it came out. I thought it was pretty good, though a little teenager-y-sappy.

Breakup Recovery Week

I have a friend, who will remain anonymous, who is recovering from a recent break-up. So, to help them out, I’ve decided to post some breakup recovery tips that you guys send in. I’ll be posting your tips all week. So far, I’ve received a few via twitter and some others via email. If you have a breakup recovery tip to share, please leave it in the comment section and I’ll try to blog it later this week.

Here are today’s tips:

  • @Zoziku – Plan a vacation to look forward to. And do something she’s always wanted to do to her hair :)
  • @healthyashley – Get a pedicure! Write down a list of all you want in a future partner.
  • @possiblymaybe – I would take this opportunity to assess what you really want out of a partner. Then spoil yourself silly with a massage, facial, pedicure and a fun evening out with your girl friends.
  • @karathon – Your poor friend :( surrounding yourself w/ tons of supportive friends is my best recommendation! Also ice cream helps :)

If you tweeted or emailed me tips and you don’t see them, I’m probably saving them for tomorrow!!

If you have some breakup recovery tips to share, please, I encourage you to leave them in the comments section and I’ll add them to blog posts throughout the week.

Tidbits

Check out this interesting article I stumbled upon by WSJ on gardens saving people money.

I read about a neat house-organization trick in my Real Simple the other day – Game 29 or “29 Pickup” as I like to call it. The concept – pick up 29 things every day. 29 should be subbed out for your age if you want to play along. I’m hoping to incorporate this little game into my every day life to help me get things together. I played 29 Pickup last night and it was surprisingly simple and effective.

Good night everyone! :D

Be sure to leave your break-up recovery tips in the comments (or submit them via the Contact page).

Flatouts for Taco Night

Before I start the blog post, can I ask…how is it May already!? This year is flying by!

After our fabulous dessert (click), we hit up the grocery stores to get food for dinner and the work week ahead. I didn’t photograph everything, but here are some interesting finds:

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Per the usual, I bought one of the Trader Joe samples I tried: Three Grains Blend. I love the mix of grains in this and how quickly it cooks up.

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O.N.E Amazon Acai drink. I can’t wait to dig into this. The container is large enough that I think I can drink a little every morning all week! Woohoo!

By the time we were done shopping, after some quick errands in the house, it was time for dinner.

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Hubby poured me a Diana-size brewski. I’m not a big beer drinker, but I like a little. This tiny sample size was perfect for me for tonight and I sipped on it whilst cooking up dinner.

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On the menu – TACOS! I cooked up some grass-fed beef with some Simply Organic Southwestern taco mix.

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Other ingredients: jalapeno monterey jack cheese, homemade guacamole, tomatoes, and multi-grain with flax Healthy Grain Flat Out wraps.

We decided to try these Flatout wraps instead of traditional tortillas so we can use the leftovers for sandwiches later in the week.

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I also decided to bust out a new Food Should Taste Good sample bag (*) – one of their new ones – Blue Corn. I adore blue corn chips, so I was really excited to try these. (note – these are a new flavor, which are just rolling out into stores – they may not be available at your store yet, but you can purchase them online)

Chip info:

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Suggested accompaniment – guacamole?! How convenient since I just whipped some up tonight!

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Great packaging – great product info.

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I layered up my Flatout – grated cheese, beef, tomatoes, homemade guacamole.

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I thought I’d eat more salsa…

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…but I was too busy polishing off this bowl of guacamole! I think I ate almost a whole tomato and whole avocado tonight between the taco and the guac. :lol:

Tidbit alert! Oh, and see the avocado pit in the bowl? That helps keep it from turning brown! Use it to keep your guac green when you’re taking it to dinner parties, etc. It’s a totally neat trick.

As for the chips – I really liked them! They are decidedly less oily and much lighter tasting than others I’ve had before. I liked the crispy texture and the salty taste. The blue corn flavor is perfect for a tex-mex themed dinner party or to take to a summer barbeque with your homemade guac, pit included. ;)

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Well, it’s been a long day, so Ima going to enjoy this Earthfare whole wheat vegan chocolate chip cookie whilst catching a double header of Cold Case. Score! What’s better than Cold Case? Back-to-back episodes of new shows!

Ecto tried to eat my page, but I re-wrote it.

Click here to check out my latest page – Garden!! :)

Have a great week everyone! Anyone interested in celebrating Starbucks Monday with me? I’m already looking forward to my vanilla soy latte tomorrow…mmm!

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