Recipe: Chickpea Barley Mash (Vegan)

I usually make a large pot of bean stew early in the week to serve as lunch for the work week. To keep it interesting I rotate through cajun red beans and rice, black bean soup, lentil soup, and hearty split pea soup. I love the bean/legume pressure cooker recipes at The recipes are both simple and full of flavor.

The soupy texture week over week has become a bit too familiar, however, so to change things up this week, and to use the rest of my pearl barley, I went for a legume mashup with less liquid. Combined with the barley, this resulted in a complete protein rich meal! It turned out wonderful–I couldn’t have expected better. This dish was made in the convenience of an electric pressure cooker.


servings: 8


1 cup chickpea / garbanzo beans  (soaked)
1 cup northern beans  (soaked)
1 cup pearl barley
1 carrot (diced)
1 celery stalk (diced)
1 onion (chopped)
3 garlic cloves (minced)

1 tsp basil
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

5 cups water

  1. Heat 1Tbsp of olive oil in the pressure cooker (sauté setting). Toss in onions, carrots, and celery and sauté for 3 minutes, then throw in the garlic and sauté another minute.
  2. Add spices (basil, thyme, salt, pepper) and mix in.
  3. Add the chickpeas, northern beans, and pearl barley.
  4. Pour in water.
  5. Pressure cook on high for 30 minutes.  Natural release (15 minutes).
  6. Enjoy!

Bonus:  serve with roasted cauliflower



Last Minute Holiday Shopping on a Budget

It’s crunch time and you still have not found that gift that puts the “thought” in “the thought that counts”, while Amazon Prime 2-day delivery in time for Christmas is now out of reach?

Feeling a little tight this holiday season and need to work within a limited budget?

Discount retailers to the rescue!  T.J.Maxx, Marshalls, Ross !

While many see Target as the one stop shop for all holiday shopping needs, often times it can put a larger dent in your spending than desirable.

Some smart shoppers may have caught on by now, but for those of you not yet aware of these discount shops, this is the year and holiday to discover some fantastic bargains!

Here you can find legitimate name brand products at a discounted price, from knit hats, designer purses, beddings, gardening tools, toys to home decor. You name it, these stores have some version of a product that will fit someone’s taste and price point.

Example deals under $20:

$14.99All Clad Stainless Steel Pasta Tongs
$12.99T-Fal non-stick Fry Pan
$12.99Calvin Klein knit hat
$11.99Nike Wallet
$9.99Remington Cordless Shaver
$15.99Guess Purse

These are the real deal–no knock offs!

Ross tends to have the steepest discounted items, while T.J.Maxx stores have more options for the name brand lovers out there.

So don’t be discouraged by the ticking of the clock.
Set a spending limit and go shopping–there are deals to be had out there!

More spending tips can be found here:   20 saving hacks at discount retailers

Happy Holidays!
Mrs Practical

Recipe: Honey Mustard Chicken Legs

Looking for a quick and tasty recipe to bake chicken drumsticks? This one’s for you!

No marinating time required!

I like to use an enameled rectangular stone baking dish like Le Creuset.
It cleans up easily and no need for aluminum foil!

Serves 2.


5 drumsticks
2 Tbs yellow mustard
2 Tbs honey
1 Tbs oil
1 Tbs mayo
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper


  1. Pre-heat oven 375˚F
  2. Mix all seasoning ingredients in baking dish.
  3. Wash drumsticks and pat dry with paper towel.
  4. Place drumsticks in the baking dish, rubbing the seasoning mix thoroughly over the drumsticks.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes on each side.
  6. [Optional]:  In the last 5 minutes throw in half broccoli florets (from half a head), carrots and chopped onions.

I just made this for lunch and the husband did not hesitate to reach for a second helping.

Cleanup tip: soak baking dish with soap and warm water. Requires minimal scrubbing.

How to Shop Online Securely

Risk of shopping online

As the internet increasingly becomes a feasting ground for identity theft, we  consumers must remain vigilant in protecting our identity, and exercise precaution when carrying out online purchase transactions. Any legitimate website that require a password should be secure (indicated by an “https:” in the URL location bar, not just http:, the ‘s’ stands for secure).

Controlled Payment Number Feature

If you do a lot of online shopping, you want to minimize the risk of your credit card number proliferating across the web. Luckily some credit card agencies offer a “controlled payment number” feature option through online banking.

How it works

This feature allows you to create a temporary credit card number that is tied to your real credit card account, and use that temporary number to make your purchases so you do not have to disclose your original credit card number to the online merchant. Therefore your card number does not get stored in their database to risk getting compromised.


You can track your past purchases made with that credit card number at anytime by logging into your online credit card banking account. The transactions will show up as they normally do, in either the recent transactions or billing statements.

This controlled payment feature allows you to set the expiration date and the spending limit. That credit card number can then be reused up until the date you set it to expire or until you hit the spending limit. I set the expiration to the minimum of 2 months and set the spending limit to the amount of the purchase transaction I’m about to execute. This way each online transaction has its unique number. You can choose to set a higher limit of course.

This feature service is free!

Don’t be a victim of identity theft. Sign up for one of these cards to take advantage of this valuable security feature!

Example credit card agencies that offer this free security service:

Disclaimer: has no affiliation with these credit card agencies. We have had a positive experience using these features and are simply looking out for number 1 🙂

Happy safe shopping!

Mrs. Practical



Recipe: Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole is our staple side dish for Thanksgiving dinner.

green bean casserole


1 Tbsp butter
1 cup fresh mushrooms (sliced)

1/2 cup onions (diced)
3 garlic cloves (minced)
2 cups green beans (sliced into thirds)
3 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
1 can cream of mushroom soup (10.75 ounce)
1 (2.8-ounce) can French-fried onion rings
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
pinch salt
two slices bacon (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F
  2. Melt the butter in a large skillet. Saute the mushrooms in the butter. Add the onions. Add the garlic.
  3. Boil green beans in chicken broth for 10 minutes and drain.
  4. Add the green beans, cream of mushroom soup, 1/2 can onion rings, 1/2 cup cheese, salt and pepper, to the onion mixture. Stir well.
  5. Pour into a greased 1 1/2-quart baking dish.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes
  7. Top the casserole with 1/2 can onion rings and 1/2 cup cheese.
  8. Bake 5 minutes.

Adapted from:




Recipe: Cranberry Orange Muffins

When life hands you cranberries… make cranberry muffins!

This recipe works with either frozen or fresh cranberries. If you have frozen cranberries left over from Thanksgiving that didn’t make it into that cranberry sauce, this recipe will ensure your cranberries do not go to waste!

These muffins come out moist and guarantee compliments to the chef!

Yields a dozen muffins

1 cup fresh cranberries
3/4 cup raw sugar
2 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom (optional)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup orange juice
1 egg

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400˚F.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in large mixing bowl:  1/2 cup sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cardamom.
  3. Mix in cranberries.
  4. Mix wet ingredients in medium mixing bowl:  beat eggs, orange juice, olive oil, vanilla extract.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into into the dry all at once. combine until moist.
  6. Spoon into muffin cups.
  7. Sprinkle top with raw sugar.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes.

Adapted from





The Silver Lining in Daylight Saving

Every 6 months when daylight saving comes along, everyone’s work schedule seems to come in sync again for at least the first few weeks, manifested through long lines of traffic on our way home from work. In the fall in particular due to sunset time shifts, our sense of when it gets dark outside dictates when it’s time to leave work so we end up leaving around the same time.

We can get passed this though.
Daylight saving does not have to be a one gain to multi pain scenario!

We can see this as an opportunity to jump start a new habit of sleeping earlier and waking earlier. Aim to get a regular sleep schedule if possible (reference NIH sleep article).

Immediate Benefits to sleeping earlier:

  • Good for the health of your liver as its detox schedule is between 11pm-1am.
  • You’ll wake up feeling more well-rested.
  • A regular sleep schedule prevents weight gain as your body’s metabolism is also accustomed to a schedule.

Immediate Benefits to waking earlier:

  • You end up getting more done when others are still asleep (e.g. shorter lines at the grocery stores, post office, etc.).
  • Less traffic on the road heading in and out of work, resulting in more zen and less stress.
  • You take full advantage of what daylight saving time was meant for: to get more daylight (more vitamin D)! When you get home from work there is still some day light to tend to your own activities.

So take the road less traveled (with less traffic)–take back that hour that’s yours and put it to use to reap the benefits of daylight saving.

Mrs. Practical