avocado chickpea sandwich spread

I have a pretty huge test tomorrow so naturally I’m making dinner, blogging, and watching Parenthood.

It’s the exam that I need to pass to eventually have a license to be an audiologist, which is pretty crucial given the 8 years of school I will have put into it.

My understanding is that it’s 120 multiple choice questions that represent a mix between extremely easy Audiology 101 type questions, questions about things that are so outdated they aren’t even taught in Au.D. programs anymore or obscure laws/formulas/rules, and questions that don’t actually have one correct answer but rather you have to pick “the best” of the bad choices.

I’ve been trying to study a little bit each day at work. Of course my co-workers have all taken and passed it so they seem unfazed. “Oh, no one fails the Praxis. I mean, people fail it I guess. But no one I know.”

I think that was supposed to make me feel better.

Luckily it’s a computer-based test so I’ll know immediately whether I passed and can start day drinking, or whether I failed and will need to spend $115 to take it again and can start day drinking.

Until I’m a real audiologist I will continue to post recipes that cost about $6 total.


Avocado Chickpea Sandwich Spread

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

2 ripe avocados

2 tbs red onion, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

8-10 basil leaves, chopped

juice of one lime

salt and pepper, to taste

I decided to make this a chunky spread, but feel free to toss it all in your food processor to make some kind of delicious hummus/guacamole hybrid. I just really hate to clean my food processor.


This would also be great as a vegetarian sandwich/wrap, but I added some turkey and cucumber slices to mine just to make it extravagant on this wild Friday night I’m having.


Wish me luck! Fitting this fat sandwich in my mouth, and passing the test.


broccoli salad

Last night after work I decided to drive home. I had an overflowing laundry hamper in my back seat and for some reason the thought of driving the 67 miles home and paying $4.40 in tolls seemed more favorable than sitting in a ghetto laundromat and spending $15 on laundry in questionable machines.

I ended up elliptical-ing and catching up on The Bachelorette (so lame), mooching a black bean burger, hanging with Kev and my parents, and sleeping over.

This wasn’t well thought out, because I didn’t bring work clothes for today. The outfit I pulled together at 6:00 this morning was: the dress I wore to my cousin’s wedding, a cardigan that I’m fairly certain my mom was intending to donate to Goodwill, and the shoes I wore yesterday which (sort of) matched. Okay, they’re neutral.

I’m not sure why I think it’s acceptable to go to work without brushing my hair or putting any makeup on, but that’s how I roll. Today was no exception.

One of my patients said: “I love your hair! Is it real, or did you buy it?”

The hair she was referring to can be best described as a side bun/rat’s nest.  I’m also not sure why she would think that anyone would spend money on hair that looks like this. It wasn’t good. Maybe the rat’s nest scrunchie is new trend at Claire’s like those bracelets that just looked like rubber bands and were mainly worn by girls trying to be “goth.”

After work I schlepped my sloppy self into Wegmans, on a mission to re-create this broccoli salad that I had this weekend in Rhode Island (which was lovely, by the way). We had a big dinner with the GS’s family on Saturday night and this salad was one of many dishes in the spread, crafted by Nana Joy. I was helping pack leftovers in tupperware after dinner (aren’t you proud, Mom?) and I wanted to snag this and covertly stick it in my bag for the plane ride home (pride: vanished).

I didn’t actually ask for the recipe because I’m such an awkward human, but did my best to re-create it.

Broccoli Salad

2 broccoli crowns

1/3-1/2 cup Craisins

1/3-1/2 cup unsalted cashews

1/4-1/3 cup chopped carrots

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon sour cream

1 tsp white vinegar

1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp dried mustard

1/4 tsp black pepper

salt and pepper, to taste

Steam the broccoli until it is bright green, then stick it in an ice bath to cool it down and stop the cooking. Chop it so that you just have the florets and they’re in pretty tiny pieces.


Chop the carrots and cashews, and add them to the broccoli with the Craisins.


I attempted a sort of coleslaw-like dressing, so if you have a recipe that you like you can feel free to use that. I just mixed the mayo, vinegar, sour cream, mustard, sugar, and black pepper. Stir the dressing in with the broccoli mixture, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Best served cold or at room temperature.


I started snacking on the cashews and Craisins before I even left the store because I am a class act. Make your own trail mix while chewing! You know what I’m saying.

cleansing again

Hey friends!

My supervisor just said “One Thursday a month we have business meeting. You’re not invited. Go do something else.”

Why, good morning to you too!

So I thought I would share some photo evidence of my fooding this week. As I mentioned I’m doing the cleanse again, but I modified it this time.

I think the reason I started to feel so yucky toward the end is because of all the red meat. I eat red meat MAYBE once a month. Not because I don’t like it but because I usually can’t afford to buy the good stuff, whether that means a good steak or some grass fed ground beef for burgers.

So this time I decided to do the first four days the same way (fruit, veggies, fruit & veggies, bananas and milk), and then tomorrow I’m going to probably finish up all the fruit and veggies I still have but not be too restricted with whatever else I need to eat to get through the day.

This week feels like The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I ate…

One whole watermelon


One pound of asparagus and one (small) butternut squash


A whole bunch of other fruit including apples, nectarines, grapes, and blueberries. And a whole bunch of regular old salad with raw green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onion. I let myself use tiny amounts of olive oil to roast some veggies, and a little oil and vinegar on the salad. Very little salt and pepper overall. I also didn’t bother making the soup this time around because I didn’t really like it last time- kind of a waste of ingredients.

And today is my favorite day of all, bananas and milk!


I made my banana drink this morning- one banana, ice, milk, cinnamon, and a little flax.



I need a manicure, but look how pretty my building is with the exposed brick!

I’ve been trying to keep my workouts this week lower impact- more yoga and less intense cardio. I also have shin splints which are a bitch so I haven’t been able to run anyway. I went to my favorite yoga studio on Tuesdsay for hot yoga and it was changed last minute to outdoor yoga in the park across the street.

I thought my OCD wouldn’t be able to handle the change in plans but it was actually really nice.


I’ve also been going to bed way earlier which I LOVE. Nothing like climbing under the sheets with my Kindle when it’s still light out.


I’m going to Rhode Island this weekend to visit the GS’ family (yay!!) so hopefully I’ll get inspired and have some new summery recipes next week.

Happy almost weekend!

bone-in pork chop w/ zucchini & onions

When I left work on Friday I ran into the grocery store to grab a few things to bring out to camp. I was informed that we needed bread for sandwiches, and started obsessively reading the labels due to my new-found awareness of processed foods. Apparently anything with more than 5 ingredients and/or any ingredients that you can’t pronounce is bad news.

I stood there for a while examining each brand until a creepy man approached me and said,  “Hey babygirl, can I help you find something?”

I grabbed one that said “15 Grain” thinking it couldn’t be that terrible, and left.

The bread was fine, and we had another successful weekend out at camp. I feel sort of guilty for some reason that I’ve spent two weekends total in Rochester since I moved here (and that one of them was devoted entirely to Season 2 of Orange is the New Black) but I can’t help but take advantage of the lake this time of year.

Yesterday I spent a good chunk of the day down on the dock reading Someday, Someday Maybe because I’m obsessing over Lauren Graham right now in Parenthood, and I loved it. Highly recommend. I even listened to part of the audiobook on my drive there and during my long walk/run yesterday- you know my favorite thing is to have books on my phone and my Kindle. Lauren Graham narrates it which makes it even better.

And now I’m back to cooking for one, after we had about 25 for dinner on Friday and 5 last night. You never know out there. You can easily multiply this if you’re feeding friends!

Bone-In Pork Chop w/ Zucchini

1 pork chop

1 tbs paprika

1 tsp brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 zucchini

1 onion

2 tbs spicy brown mustard

2 tbs olive oil

Mix the paprika and brown sugar with salt and pepper. Rub both sides of the pork chop with it and set aside.

Roughly chop the onion and zucchini and saute with 1 tbs olive oil, salt and pepper. Let the veggies cook until lightly browned and softened.

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Sear or grill the pork on each side for 3-4 minutes. Toss the cooked vegetables with brown mustard, and season to taste with additional salt.

I liked this because the pork was a little bit sweet from the rub, and the veggies were spicy from the mustard. Easy, mostly healthy weeknight meal.

pork and zucchini 008

I’m cleansing starting tomorrow so I’m realizing now I should have ordered a pizza for myself tonight or something, but unfortunately I have the worst mouth burns EVER from trying to inhale taco dip straight out of the oven.

pork and zucchini 010

Maybe I binged enough this weekend.

power smoothie

I’ve been reading In Defense of Food. Forgive me while I briefly climb onto a soap box.

I’m trying to incorporate some non-fiction into my summer reading. Partially to seem more cultured and partially to wean myself off of the school-work train.

Although I’m still sort of on that train- I’m trying to get my thesis published (big mistake- big pain in the ass) and I’m taking the Praxis in a couple of weeks so I’ve been pretending to study for that. But non-fiction on my Kindle- this is my real focus.

This book is giving me a sort of a slap-your-forehead DUH moment. It talks about how eating real foods (fruits, vegetables, meat, whole grains) is better for you than processed foods. Scientists went through a period where they figured out (or attempted to figure out) what specific nutrients were in healthy foods, and then crammed them into a bunch of other stuff. Focusing on these individual components in naturally healthy items rather than what they are as a whole is a big mistake.

The big focus on eliminating fat in the diet is also a problem. We neeeeed it. And not just for emotional well-being. He isn’t advocating that we throw caution to the wind and start wolfing down extra cheese pizza, but choosing the low-fat or fat-free items may not always be the healthier choice. And this one stuck out to me- any food that has to advertise that it’s healthy, probably isn’t. Have you ever seen a produce aisle that says “Pick me! I’m HEALTHY!” Probably not.

It kind of reminds me of the whole low ingredient diet philosophy. Not that I eat a lot of processed foods. The worst thing in my diet is probably eating cereal every morning, but it’s not like I’m eating Lucky Charms. I pick something with whole grains.

Although according to Michael Pollan, if it’s advertising whole grains it probably has a bunch of crap in it that I shouldn’t be eating.

This smoothie might be a better breakfast alternative.

bean salad smoothie 006

Power Smoothie

(these are rough measurements- makes 1 large or 2 small smoothies)

1/2 cup chopped pineapple

1 container Greek yogurt, any flavor

1/3 cup berries (I used blueberries)

heaping teaspoon of ground flaxseed

1/2 cup baby spinach


Blend it together and sip!

bean salad smoothie 007

Now that I bought flaxseed for this recipe I might just start adding it to everything.

bean salad smoothie 005

In fact, I just sprinkled a little over my Honey Bunches of Oats. Hello, Omega-3s, meet Post Cereal.


three bean salsa

I somehow made this way more complicated than it needed to be.

I was planning to whip up this salsa/salad concoction one night last week for dinner, but when I got home from Wegmans I realized that I don’t have a can opener.

This is one of the downfalls of living alone- all those little household items that you realize you never personally owned.

Instead I made myself a smoothie for dinner which I’ll share with you very soon. You may not be on board with the whole drinking-your-dinner thing, but you can be normal and make it for breakfast or a post-workout snack.

So then the following night on my way home from work I stopped to get a can opener. I’m not entirely sure why I thought a can opener that cost $1 would be high quality, but it didn’t even come close to working. This is how I got the beans out of my cans:

bean salad smoothie 008

Poking some triangle shaped holes and then aggressively hammering the remaining tin with the base of a spatula.

I’m a noisy neighbor.

I ended up throwing out the can opener in a fit of rage. I’ll suck it up and buy the good Pampered Chef one.

Then I threw some other stuff in there (less aggressively) like onions and peppers and celery. I was also dreaming of adding grilled corn and tomatoes and avocado and maybe a jalapeno. But maybe that’s a different salsa altogether.

bean salad smoothie 009

Three Bean Salsa

1 can black beans

1 can black eyed peas

1 can garbanzo beans

3 stalks celery, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

1/4 red onion, chopped

chives or scallions, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

roughly 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

roughly 1/4 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

After my violent preparation of this, it came out deliciously. Of course now I have enough to feed an army so I’ll probably get creative and add it to rice, pasta, salad, or attempt to use some sturdy scoop chips on it. Tonight I just dumped it on top of chicken.

bean salad smoothie 010

Which I overcooked.

The simple things.

sweet & savory waffles

Happy long weekend everyone! I hope you all enjoyed your 4th of July celebrations, I know I did.

My cousin Jamie got married yesterday and was THE most beautiful bride. I know people say that about every bride but really, she could be on a magazine cover.


The GS came into town for the wedding, as well as Matt and Aaron, the lucky gentleman suitors of my sisters. The three of them went golfing with my dad on Friday which was adorable, and they also hung out with Kevin a lot which just melted my heart.

jamie wedding 003

Yesterday while I was getting my pre-wedding workout in, they apparently got the brilliant idea to order a boatload of Tully’s Tenders. As I emerged from the basement I saw Kevin at the counter in a state of chicken tender induced bliss. They ordered enough tenders to feed all 28 McDermott grandchildren.

I was thinking “What are we going to do with all the leftover tenders?!”

The fact that this crossed my mind means I should probably be forced to forfeit my Syracuse birth certificate.

There was definitely some post-wedding snacking on the tenders, and then I fixed chicken & waffles for the GS this morning for breakfast since today is his birthday! Happy quarter century, old man.

jamie wedding 021

The rest of the family opted for a sweeter option- strawberries and whipped cream.

jamie wedding 020

I followed this recipe exactly for the waffles and they were really the best I’ve ever had. The only challenging part of it is the egg whites. I clocked it and it took me 13 straight minutes with a whisk to get the stiff peaks I needed. We have a hand mixer but I didn’t want to wake anyone else up this morning.

In the future, do yourself a favor and use the appliance. Yes it’s an alarm clock for the rest of the house, but hey, you’re providing breakfast. They can get out of bed.

Also, pay attention to how much batter you’re pouring into the waffle maker. And maybe slide a plate under it. And maybe spritz some cooking spray on the iron first.. Rookie mistakes.

jamie wedding 019

There will be some changes coming to Spill the Beans in the next couple of weeks. Sheila has decided to move on to greener pastures, and perhaps a new blog! Don’t worry, it was an amicable split.  If she ends up starting her own page I will be sure to pass on the link!