We’re home from a super fun trip to New York. Our mini vacation was jam packed with incredible food (hello Thanksgiving leftovers for breakfast), adorable cousins (five kids under age 7), city sites (Central Park), and celebrity sitings (Tom Brady at the Zoo!). Dylan was a total rockstar in the car but we are all happy to be home and find our rhythm again.

The city was already sparkling with holiday lights and this island isn’t holding back either. I decided to test out a potential gift, Ina Garten’s new book Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust, by borrowing it from the library. I’ve cooked two recipes and have a third planned. Both were fabulous so I’m sure some lucky duck will find this book under the tree with their name on it.


I am thankful for too many things to name but they range from my first cup of morning coffee to down jackets and our little family. My mom left Dylan a beautiful newly knit sweater so seeing him cozy up in it is now officially on the list.

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Nick declared these Tuscan Mashed Chickpeas the best thing I’ve made in a while (remember when he did that before) and I love the idea of making this spread for a holiday buffet – so simple, flavorful, and a nice break from heavy holiday fare.  I’ve adapted Ina’s recipe slightly, replacing fresh tomatoes with little sundried beauties packed in olive oil.


Tuscan Mashed Chickpeas
serves 6 to 8
slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust

2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas
1/2 cup chicken stock (I used vegetable)
3 tablespoons good olive oil, plus extra for serving
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes packed in olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (substitute chopped olives for vegan)
3 tablespoons mined fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper
toasted bread


Pour the chickpeas into a colander and rinse them under cold running water. Drain well. Place the sundried tomatoes in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse until fine but still chunky – remove. Put the chickpeas and stock in the food processor and pulse until the chickpeas are coarsely chopped but not pureed.

In a medium (10-inch) saute pan, heat the 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the tomatoes and saute for 3 to 4 minutes, until the tomatoes are softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the chickpeas, stirring to combine with the tomatoes and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan, parsley, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and taste for seasonings. Pile in a serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and serve warm or at room temperature with shards of grilled country bread.