Posts made in February, 2014

Falafel

I love falafel but until now, I’ve never been able to make it. This recipe is perfect.

I got the recipe from The Shiksa in the Kitchen. I hope you don’t mind that I repost it here!

Here is the recipe, but I recommend you follow the above link because she gives a lot of good tips and easy to follow instructions:

  • 1 pound (about 2 cups) dry chickpeas/garbanzo beans
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3-5 cloves garlic (I prefer roasted)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of ground cardamom
  • Vegetable oil for frying (grapeseed, canola, and peanut oil work well)

I didn’t use as much oil as she did, so as you’ll see in the photos below, my falafel are not as evenly fried. I also used safflower oil, because that’s what I had on hand.

My tips:

  • You absolutely must use dried chickpeas. Soak them overnight or during the day while you’re at work. Canned won’t give the right texture.
  • Also, don’t skip the fresh parsley. Just don’t do it.
  • I used my cast iron skillet to fry them, which worked perfectly.

And my photos:

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Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas

I can’t stop eating these.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Use cooked or canned chickpeas. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. Toss with olive oil and spread the chickpeas onto a cookie sheet.

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Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until brown and crunchy. (Be careful. They go from crunchy to burnt very quickly!)

These are the perfect protein snack or salad topper. And they are so addictive!

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Bison Stuffed Italian Shells

I was craving meat recently (it doesn’t happen often) and so this recipe happened. This is a Kelly Taylor original, so be ready for approximate measurements.

To begin, heat olive oil, over medium-high heat, in a heavy bottomed pan (such as a dutch oven). Add:

1 1/2 pounds of ground bison

Season with salt and pepper. Sauté until it it has absorbed all of the fat and has browned. Then add:

1/2 a small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 large or 2 small cloves of garlic, minced

Allow to cook for a few minutes, then add:

2 large tablespoons of tomato paste
3/4 cup of white wine

Turn the heat down to medium-low and allow the meat to simmer.

In the meantime, either heat up or cook your favorite marinara sauce. Also, bring a large pot of water to boil and cook a package of jumbo shells for 4 minutes. Do not cook the shells all of the way, otherwise they will overcook in the oven.

Add a couple ladles of marinara sauce to the bison meat. This helps to add more flavor and make it extra moist. Also add:

2 large handfuls of chopped parsley

Stir it all together. It should look like this:

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Next pour some marinara sauce onto the bottom of a large 13×9 baking dish (just enough to cover the bottom). Then carefully spoon meat into each shell and line the shells up into the prepared baking dish.

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Once each shell is full, top the shells with marinara sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese.

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Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes, covered, and an additional 5-10 minutes uncovered.

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When done, sprinkle the top with fresh parsley and enjoy!

My basic marinara sauce: 

1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
red pepper flakes
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 6 oz can of tomato paste
1/2 cup of white wine
2 28 oz cans of whole tomatoes, pureed, or frozen tomatoes, also pureed
salt and pepper

Sauté the red pepper flakes and onions until soft, about 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic and let cook for one minute. Add the tomato paste and wine and let cook for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes and season again with salt and pepper. Let simmer for at least an hour. Do ahead and refrigerate or freeze.

During the summer months, I also add fresh herbs, such as basil. Dried herbs are fine, as well.

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Myths about Healthy Eating

Anyone who knows me well will know that I’m not a “I’ll just have a salad” girl*. I eat, and I eat a lot. But I’m also very active, which is the primary thing that fuels my hunger, and most (but not all) of what I eat is fairly healthy. And because I so often hear myths of what it means to be a healthy eater, I feel compelled to write this post and straighten a few things out.

  1. Myth #1: People eat healthy food to be skinny. I can’t speak for all women, but healthy eating, to me, has nothing to do with dieting or waist size. I eat healthy so that I wake up most mornings feeling good, so that I can run a 5k or do a long bike ride, and so that if I ever do get sick, I hopefully have a good starting chance of fighting the disease. And, even more importantly, I eat healthy so that when it comes time to go into motherhood and other stages of life, I’m able to physically and mentally take on anything that comes my way.
  2. Myth #2: Healthy food is bland and boring. If you think so, you’ve obviously never had a good vegetarian curry. The typical midwestern diet, which seems to be primarily composed of meat, grease, and cheese, is what’s bland and boring.
  3. Myth #3: People who like healthy food never eat unhealthy stuff. I love butter. I love making and eating super cheesy pizza. And cake with buttercream frosting. And fatty chicken wings. Oh do I love fatty chicken wings. Do I feel guilty or less healthy eating these things? Nope. Since I eat healthy most of the time, I don’t feel guilty about eating an unhealthy meal.
  4. Myth #4: If you eat healthy food, you don’t need the flu vaccination, and you’ll never get sick. Living a healthy lifestyle can help keep your immune system strong and help prevent heart disease, diabetes, etc., but healthy eating isn’t a replacement for a vaccination.
  5. Myth #5: Detox and drinking a majority of your meals is good for your body. Detox is not healthy. In fact, some of those detox drinks are just plain scary. Don’t get me wrong: I love smoothies, mostly just because I love fruit, and smoothies are an excellent way to get extra vegetables and nutrients into your body. BUT! juicing to lose weight is not healthy. Protein drinks or juices shouldn’t replace meals.
  6. Myth #6: Packaged health food is good for you. Don’t believe health claims. Stick with whole foods and homemade food.
  7. Myth #7: Eating healthy is like being on a never ending diet. Truth: if you just eat healthy, you’ll never have to diet again.
  8. Myth #8: Being healthy means being gluten-free, paleo, a vegan or a vegetarian. Some people are sensitive to gluten, some people are not. Some people rather not eat animals. What works for one person may not work for another. You can live a healthy lifestyle without cutting out certain foods. Figure out what works best for you body and your ethical beliefs and stick with it.
  9. Myth #9: Fat-free and sugar-free are healthy choices. On the contrary, these are almost always the unhealthiest choices. Plus, if something is fat-free, you’re probably going to use a lot more of it since it has less flavor. And more studies are starting to come out that show the dangers of artificial sweeteners.
  10. Myth #10: If you eat healthy, you’ll always feel hungry. If so, you’re not eating the right things. Though I often say that I’m always hungry, it’s because I’m active, burn off calories quickly, and have a high metabolism. After I eat, I feel quite full. But if your lunch consists only of celery sticks and peanut butter than yes, you’re going to be hungry.

So dear world: Stop dieting. Stop worrying about your waist size. Instead: Exercise! Be active. Cherish food.

*I love salads, though. I mean I really love salads. I often make big, mixing bowl-size salads and eat it all right out of the mixing bowl (in fact, I may be doing that right now), and I also love salads at restaurants, so I’m not against ordering salads. There’s a difference between eating a salad because you don’t want to gain weight and ordering a salad because it looks and sounds amazing. Besides, many restaurant salads are actually quite unhealthy once you factor in the dressing and toppings.

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