Kicking it Up a Notch

Making a plan for weeknight meals keeps my grocery bill lower and helps the nightly routine seem less strenuous. When I know what meals I plan to make it simplifies my week. There are the weeks where nothing sounds good. Nothing. My go-to recipes lose their luster and my attention. What did people do before the Internet and Pinterest? Seriously, how many cookbooks did you have to have to beat the recipe blues? The drama of it all.

So, I hit up the world wide web in search of something new, creative, kid-friendly, and reasonable for this amateur chef — more correctly termed. . . cooking mom and my options were endless. Italian, Japanese, fish, vegatarian, vegan, raw, green jello with bologna layers — you can find a recipe for anything! I decided to pick something I wasn’t sure how my kids would react to. To test their palette as well as my own. The recipe failed to produce rave reviews from them, but it was loved by the adults. It was easy, it was quick, and it was a spicy vegan dish I truly enjoyed. That says something coming from this steak and potatoes Dakota gal.

I found the recipe on The Veg Life and added my personal touch. I enjoyed something completely void of familiarity and I think you will to. Chicken nuggets for the wee ones tonight – I set the table for two and things got spicy.

Kung Pao Chickpeas


  • 2 Cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp honey or agave syrup
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch

For Stirfry:

  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 Cloves of crushed garlic
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 cup kung pao sauce
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts
  • Few shakes of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Green onions, chopped
Fresh from our garden


    1. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the marinade. Add the chickpeas to the marinade, and stir well to coat.
    2. Place chickpeas in the refrigerator and allow them to marinate for 30 minutes.
    3. In a stirfry pan over medium heat, add the coconut oil, garlic, and ginger until fragrant.  This takes only seconds.
    4. Add the marinated chickpeas and Kung Pao sauce and stir to combine. Sauté for 8-10 minutes, until sauce thickens and begins to caramelize and coat chickpeas.

    1. Add the shredded carrots and chopped, streamed, broccoli (I made mine in the microwave) and toss to coat.


  1. Remove from the heat, and allow the chickpeas to cool slightly.
  2. Serve the warm chickpeas over steamed rice, and garnish with peanuts and green onions.

20150721_192603I imagine my husband will read this and make a comment about how I describe spicy things. Out of habit I always say, “that has a kick,” to anything remotely spicy. He wondered whether this was a Midwest comment or just something I conjured up myself. I will never forget sitting at the table while we ate dinner with my mother and her proclaiming the meal had a kick. His eyes lite up. Well, this one is for my dude – “This dish sure has a kick to it.”



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