Easy Make-Ahead Lunch: Spicy Chickpea Curry

spicy chickpea curry

I like to make my lunches for work ahead of time, mostly all at the same time on a Sunday afternoon. That way, it’s all done and I don’t have to think each night before work what I’m going to pack. One of my favorites that is easy to make ahead is Chickpea Curry.

It does have tofu in it, but if that’s not your jam, you could easily substitute cooked chicken or just omit it. But this is the ideal dish to give it a try… the spices are more what you taste than the tofu. My friend who cooked this dish with my last time was not too sure about the tofu, but upon tasting it for herself, she is more open to trying tofu in new ways.

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Spicy Chick Pea Curry

1 medium yellow onion
4-5 garlic cloves
2 tbs. vegetable oil
4 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. turmeric
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
¼ to ½ tsp. black pepper
1 package firm tofu, cut into 1 in. cubes
2 cups undrained cooked chickpeas
2 tomatoes chopped or 16 oz. can diced tomatoes
salt, to taste

  • Place tofu between two plates with a can on top. Drain off liquid periodically, about 15 minutes.
  • Sauté the onion and garlic in the oil for 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent, stirring occasionally. Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, black pepper and cayenne pepper.
  • Add the cubed tofu and cook for several minutes. Then add the chickpeas and some of their liquid. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes and cook until they break down a bit. Add salt to taste. Serve with rice.

How to Update Furniture with a Fun Spring Look

coral dresser update

I love shopping and looking around Goodwill, especially for furniture. It’s almost like a treasure hunt! I found this uhh.. interesting dresser while I was looking around one day looking for something to put in my closet for added storage.

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It was pretty dingy looking and had a stencil on it that was not my taste. This dresser definitely needed a face lift!

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So I added a little paint! I picked a cheery coral color. I went to the local hardware store’s paint department and picked out my favorite shade of coral. It reminds me that spring is coming!
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This dresser fits so perfectly in the little nook in my closet and I love getting dressed in the morning. It adds a little cheer to the morning when I don’t want to roll out of bed.
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BBQ Crockpot Chicken

Brian and I are always looking for easy and delicious lunch ideas. This year he has been much more health-concious and eating healthier, so he was eating a lot of grilled chicken. That was getting pretty boring for him and he was looking for something with more flavor.

Cooking pulled chicken in the crockpot is his new favorite and it is soooo easy too! Just add the ingredients and let the crockpot work its magic for a few hours!

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BBQ Pulled Chicken

Ingredients:

4-6 chicken breasts
1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
⅓ cup chicken broth
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground cumin
2-4 fresh chopped jalapeño peppers, to taste

Directions:

Place all the chicken breasts in the bottom of the crockpot. Add all of the other ingredients on top and stir. Turn to the high setting and let cook for 4-6 hours until the chicken is cooked. Remove each breast and transfer to a cutting board. With two forks, shred the meat. Return to crockpot and stir in the sauce. Serve on a bun or over nachos.

 

Carrot Cake Pancakes with Maple-Cream Cheese Drizzle

So my new obsession is watching Bobby Flay’s show on The Cooking Channel… Brunch at Bobby’s. I love brunch food but I rarely go out for brunch or even make it at home. But this show made me crave something unique to make for brunch.


I love carrot cake on its own, so carrot cake pancakes seemed just too perfect. I made a few tweaks to Bobby’s recipe based on my tastes and what we had available. Here is Bobby’s original recipe. I made the batter and the drizzle and Brian cooked them up.

 

 

Carrot Cake Pancakes with Maple-Cream Cheese Drizzle

Pancakes:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons pure cane sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (but like Bobby, I always use more than it calls for)
1 cup finely grated peeled carrots (about 3 medium carrots)
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 tablespoon powdered ginger
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts, plus more for garnish
Cooking spray or melted butter

Maple-Cream Cheese Drizzle:
8 ounces softened cream cheese
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
4 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Directions

For the pancakes: Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, powdered ginger, baking soda, and sea salt in a large bowl. Whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla in a separate mixing bowl. Add the carrots and orange juice to wet ingredients and mix until smooth. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Fold in the pecans and mix until just combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours.

Heat a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Coat the skillet with cooking spray or brush with melted butter. Spoon 1/4 cup mounds of the batter onto the skillet, spreading with a spatula. Cook until the tops are covered with bubbles and the edges look cooked, about 2 minutes. Carefully flip the pancakes over and cook until the bottoms are lightly browned, about 1 minute. Repeat with the remaining batter. Keep the cooked pancakes warm in the oven on a baking sheet, if desired.

For the drizzle: Combine the cream cheese, maple syrup, butter, and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment until combined, about 2 minutes. Add in the heavy cream while mixing to get drizzle to a lighter consistency.

To serve: Stack the pancakes on a plate and drizzle (or slather) with the maple-cream cheese drizzle. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts or pecans.

 

 

Bathroom Organization

This past weekend I was not only spending time with family, but on Saturday I cleaned and organized the house hardcore. This included the long overdue bathroom cabinets…

We have two sets of cabinets in our bathroom. One set is the typical under the sink variety with two small drawers on either side. The other ones are actually kitchen cabinets I found at Goodwill and painted a cheery yellow.

I generally like to keep everyday items in the cabinet under the sink and I use the yellow one more for storage and items I don’t use everyday. First I’ll give a bathroom organization tour and then I will provide some of my storage tips and things to think about to customize your own system.

Now to show you my bathroom!

I’ll start with under the sink. I do my makeup and get ready on the floor in front of a long mirror in our bathroom, so I built my system around that. I previously kept my everyday makeup in a large makeup bag on the floor with no real system. My brushes and eyeliners were in jars on a shelf that I couldn’t reach from the floor and they often got put on the bathroom counter after I was done using them. I moved these jars inside the cabinet where I could reach them better. Instead of the big bag for my makeup that I couldn’t tell what was in there, I divided up my makeup into where it is applied to the face. Eyeshadow is in a separate candle jar, lip colors are in a jar, brushes and eyeliner each have their own mason jar. Things like foundation, blush,  and other face products like primers go in a small plastic bin. I also keep my daily-use palates and compacts in this bin because they fit best in there and are very accessible.
I used a turn table to easily store hair and skincare products within reach. These are ones that I might not use everyday, but still need access to at a moment’s notice. The wicker basket (which is really a magazine rack) holds my styling tools like my flat iron, curling iron, and blow dryer when not in use. The medium plastic bin holds most of Brian’s items and also some miscellaneous items like peroxide, etc. There’s also two empty candle jars in front to hold cotton balls and q-tips, eliminating the ugly and bulky packaging.
The yellow cabinet holds more of the occasional use items that I still need access to quickly. The top shelf holds nail polish. You might notice that I don’t use bins for my polish collection. I tried containing my collection, but I find that my polish multiplies quicker than I can keep up with, so I just try to keep it all on the same shelf. I also have a makeup bag with all of my manicure odds and ends like nail files, separators, and polish stickers. To the other side of the top shelf I have some body sprays and perfumes. The second shelf has items that I use pretty frequently but not everyday like pore strips, lip colors, extra cosmetic wedges and spare razors. I put my “going out” makeup in the pink and gold makeup bag.. these are all the glittery things that are definitely not for everyday. The blue bin holds extra cotton rounds and hair clips. The bottom shelf is where the most action is. I have a confession… I’m a shampoo and conditioner hoarder. I am obsessed with Organix products and refuse to use anything else. So the bottom is where the stash is along with body wash, extra shave cream and some extra styling products.
Lastly, the linen closet that is steps away from the bathroom holds several bins of occasional use items… there’s a bin for extra makeup bags, extra shaving items, travel size toiletries, and sun care items. It helps to use this space for a little added storage.

The key to organization is to stay organized. If you implement a system that you can’t maintain, it’s pointless and frustrating. You need to make sure your system work for you and your routines. Here are some quick suggestions for when you decide to create your own system:

  • How often do you use the item? Think of what you use daily and what you use less often which can be in storage. Are there things that you may not use everyday, but on a frequent enough basis that you want to get to it easily?
  • Where do you get ready for the day? Think of your morning and evening routines and where you need to store your everyday items that you need to be accessible? Do you get ready in front of your bathroom mirror? Or do you prefer your dresser mirror? One of my friends actually gets ready at the kitchen table while her daughters eat breakfast. It really doesn’t matter where, it’s just what works best for your life.
  • The right storage containers and systems make a world of difference! A must to maintain a system is to have a place for everything so there is no question where something is or where it is supposed to go back. Some helpful storage solutions I’ve found to be helpful include small baskets and plastic bins, empty candle jars, mason jars of all sizes, turn tables meant for spice storage, and makeup bags.
Well, that’s the tour of our bathroom organization system. I hope my tips and tour inspire you to rethink your storage and offer some solutions for any trouble-areas you didn’t know what to do with. Let me know what you think or if there’s other areas of the home that you want to know how I organize!

 

…I’m Back!

It’s been about a year since I last posted here when it was named Hipster Housewife. Life was also very different one year ago. I worked at the company next to my dad’s business and did a lot of blogging in my free time at work. I was engaged to the love of my life and we were searching for the perfect apartment to call home. We have lived in our homey Germantown apartment for 9 months now. We also have two little kittens running around, or at least until nap time. We got Alice and Zooey from Brian’s sister Amy and her husband Camron. 

 



Suspicious and excited, I asked my mother-in-law one day if they were getting us a kitten for our wedding. Smiling, she said no, and didn’t let on that they were getting us not one, but two kittens. Now they are almost one year old!

 

 



Another huge life change – we got married! It’s still a little weird to think about, but it’s a very good weird. It was nothing short of the best day of my life.

 





 



Brian still works at the same place but I have been on the move with jobs. I quit my high school job at a grocery store after seven long years; I worked at Kohl’s Corporate editing the online ads, thinking it would lead to bigger and better things, but it just didn’t pan out; I was laid off twice at other jobs in 2013, which really took a toll. But 2014 is already my year – I landed a full-time, permanent (which was soooo exciting after working temp jobs) receptionist job at an awards company that is ten minutes from our apartment. It has been such a relief knowing I now have stability in my work life. 


Now my next venture is a creative one: reinventing this blog. I renamed it Cupcakes and Kittens. I intend to post more about my love of baking, especially all the cupcakes and delicious desserts I bake in addition to my regular content.


Another hobby of mine is organizing. I love taming the chaos of everyday life and making my family’s or someone else’s life easier by integrating an organized system. Pinterest has fueled this obsession… 

And I can’t forget the latter of Cupcakes and Kittens… Our kittens Alice and Zooey are little troublemakers, but they are pretty darn cute, so I’ll be sure to share some kitten cuteness on here too. Case in point…. 

 



So please follow my blog, “Like” Cupcakes and Kittens on Facebook, follow me on Pinterest, and also on Twitter to get all the latest posts! I love receiving feedback, so please drop by and let me know what you think! Thanks and see you next post on Cupcakes and Kittens!

March Forth for 100cameras!

I love photography. It’s one of my favorite things to read about and research and when I have the time, I love to go out and do photo shoots. I recently learned about an awesome organization where a friend, Jayme Markus is interning called 100cameras. It’s a charity that brings photography to children in need while providing aid to them and their community.

As the 100cameras mission puts it, “It’s simple, really. We give a camera to Jackson. Jackson snaps a photo. Then you buy his photo. 100% goes back to Jackson. And Jackson is empowered.”

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I love that these kids have the opportunity to empower themselves and bring change to their community. We also get the chance to see through the eyes of the child through their photography and what their life is like.

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Co-founded in 2008 by four women in NYC, 100cameras has implemented projects in South Sudan, New York City, Cuba, and India.

In one year, the sale of the children’s photography has raised $10,000 that has funded hundreds of meals to neighborhood children and purchased 1,000 eyeglasses, 20 cameras, 6 sewing machines, and medical supplies that were delivered in November for community members that currently do not have access to these important supplies.  Additionally this winter, the remainder of this money will fund a vocational training project where women in the community will learn the trade of sewing in order to start their own business, helping generate income for themselves and their families. ~100cameras.org

This is just truly amazing to me… to empower young artists while raising such a large amount of money for their community… they must be proud and rightfully so!

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You can purchase these and other prints from 100cameras.org. You can also read about the young photographers involved with each project! The funds from your purchase provide medical care along with food and pay for educational costs.