RECIPE WEDNESDAY: BAKED FALAFEL

I kept pondering what to make for myself for Thanksgiving. Hubby wanted his traditional turkey (breast only) and since I don’t eat meat, I needed something I could bake relatively quickly right after the turkey came out of the oven. I adapted this recipe from one I used as a vegetarian; it’s now vegan, nutritarian, and oil-free (except for a small amount on the baking pan, but that’s optional).

 

BAKED FALAFEL

2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (chick peas)…I cooked a 16 oz bag in my Instant-Pot and used roughly half of the cooked beans

1 tablespoon flax meal mixed with 2 tablespoons of water (let sit until it gels a bit; this replaces an egg)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 stalks celery, minced

1/4 cup minced green onion

1 1/2 tablespoons tahini

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 1/2 tablespoons garbanzo flour

1/2 teaspoon red pepper

black pepper and salt, as desired

Mash the garbanzos really well (a few chunks are okay, but you want most of them pretty well mashed). Add remaining ingredients and combine with the mashed garbanzos. Chill for at least a couple hours. (I chilled overnight.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F). Lightly grease a cookie sheet (or line with parchment paper for an oil-free option). Remove garbanzo mixture from refrigerator and form into 6 patties. (Or form them into any shape you want….you’ll need to adjust baking time a bit, though.) Bake 10 minutes and flip the patties; bake another 10 – 15 minutes. Remove from oven and enjoy!

That’s it! Mine don’t last very long, but I think these could be frozen successfully. If you try freezing, please let me know! And keep reading below for some serving ideas….

I like to eat falafel, sans bread, with a little German-style mustard. I’ve also thrown into an Ezekiel Wrap and added lettuce, tomato, and avocado. Try them in a pita with some chopped cucumber, chopped tomato, alfalfa sprouts and a little cashew mayonnaise. Whatever you do, ENJOY THEM!

And please, do let me know what you think and any modifications you made.

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Season of Excess

Let the Season of Excess begin!

I remember as I grew up, stores were closed entirely on Thanksgiving Day. Black Friday was not nearly so black….meaning, there were sales and shopping going on but not with the frenzy of today. Sundays, even during the holiday season, were reserved for worship. And it was still perfectly normal to say Merry Christmas, not Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings.

The time between Thanksgiving (and according to some stores, including Thanksgiving Day) and Christmas mark the days of an all out war to obtain our dollars (or pounds, or Euros, or ….well, you get the idea). Advertisements lead us to believe we need the newest, the biggest, the brightest “whatsit” that we can get. Not only do we need it, we deserve it. It’s our right. It’s not about giving a real gift, but about receiving “stuff.”

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

And that is the crux of the problem. Christmas is about GOD giving something to us which we did not deserve, not for a moment. HE gave us hope incarnated in a baby born in a manger; HE gave us a way out of our mess; HE offered us life if we would just receive it. Christmas is not about sales or parties or excesses. It’s about something beyond our here and now.

Rather than spending large wads of money on gifts no one really needs or fighting crowds in stores for the sake of saving a few dollars, why not give of yourself? Scripture says that whatever we do for the “least of these,” we have done to GOD Himself. If we’re celebrating Jesus’ birthday, how about actually giving HIM a present? ….a present of giving to the “least” among us. 

If we’re going to be prone to excess,

let’s give an excess of love to a hurting world.

GIVE THANKS WITH A GRATEFUL HEART

For the beauty of the earth,

For the beauty of the skies,

For the love which from our birth

Over and around us lies,

Lord of All,

To Thee we raise,

This our hymn of thankful praise.

(F.S. Pierpoint)

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!

David  Letterman has his top ten list every night. Today, I offer up my top ten list, too…of things for which I am most grateful.

(In descending order)

10. The smell of roses after the rain.

9. A cup of hot tea in the middle of the afternoon with a piece of quality dark chocolate…a respite from the craziness that life sometimes throws at me.

8. My senses. The ability to taste, touch, hear, smell, and see. Add to that the sixth sense, which man calls intuition, but I call the Holy Spirit.

7. My ability to think and reason…..a brain is a marvelous thing!

6. The universe….from the vegetation and oceans of earth to the brightness of the sun to the twinkling stars millions of miles away…the universe is awesome beyond comprehension.

5. My house…a roof over my head, complete with air conditioning for the hot summers of Houston and heat for a cold day in winter, and all of the other comforts that make a house, well, comfortable.

4. My country and the freedom which I was born into and the many people, living and dead, who have made that possible.

3. Friends…my true friends are not plentiful, but they are priceless.

2. Family…my husband who completes me, my daughter who was, and still is, an incredible gift, my son-in-law who is the son I couldn’t have, and two delightful, intelligent and beautiful granddaughters who make me laugh with pure joy.

1. GOD, Who in HIS grace and love through HIS Son Jesus, the Christ, gave me physical life and life eternal, Who put the pieces together, and continues to have a grand design for my life.

That’s my list; what’s yours?

If someone believes God, trusts His goodness and knows he or she is personally loved by God, they cannot help but be thankful. If you are not thankful, perhaps it is because you have stopped trusting God. Thankfulness is the language of faith.   Francis Frangipane


RECIPE WEDNESDAY: THANKSGIVING

No recipe from me today. Sorry. Traveling has taken all of my energy; besides, I just went grocery shopping yesterday and I had a meeting last night. BUT, I do want to share a Pumpkin Pie Filling recipe with you from Carrie. This young lady has created some wonderful recipes and this one  looks scrumptious; it’s also the one I’ll be trying today for the big meal tomorrow. I’ve never been a fan of crusts, so baking it up in little ramekins appeals to me. (And I DO recommend following Carrie’s blog!)

http://www.carrieonvegan.com/

If you would  like a crust, this one looks appealing:

http://food.dailybuzz.com/blog/45672-not-so-traditional-pumpkin-pie?utm_campaign=dailybuzz&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter

And if Carrie’s Pumpkin Filling and the above crust don’t get you excited, here’s another pumpkin pie recipe that looks delicious (it’s the one I was going to make until Carrie posted hers):

http://veganspoonful.com/2007/12/27/traditional-vegan-pumpkin-pie/

All of the above are vegan and nutritarian friendly recipes. Have fun creating your feast!

BLESS THE LORD!

One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 103. It has always had such beauty and meaning to me. The Psalm begins like this:

Bless the LORD, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (NKJV)

Yesterday I returned from a trip to visit family. Long drive…emotionally harrowing…not very much fun. There was one highlight, though…a song, 10,000 Reasons, by Matt Redman. Every time I could catch it on the radio, it brought a transformation to my attitude. It’s all about Bless the LORD, O my soul!

Here’s a video link….have a listen…and I hope it touches your spirit as much as it does mine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=XtwIT8JjddM

RECIPE WEDNESDAY: ASIAN SALAD WITH PEANUT SAUCE

As promised last Saturday, here’s the recipe for the salad I put together for my church picnic. This makes a bunch, so be prepared to share it, pare it down, or eat it all yourself. (I personally opt for the latter!)

ASIAN SALAD WITH PEANUT SAUCE

(Vegan, Oil-Free, Added Salt-free, Nutritarian)

Ingredients:

2 good size broccoli crowns, pulled into florets (I cut off  most of the stems for use in a broccoli slaw later)

2 red peppers, coarsely chopped

1 lb carrots, sliced

1/4 cup chopped green onion

1 16 oz bag frozen green garbanzo beans (or 2 cups canned or home-cooked regular garbanzos)

1 full recipe of Chef AJ’s peanut sauce (see link below)

Directions:

Steam broccoli florets for 1.5 minutes. Drain and allow to cool a bit.  Steam green garbanzos for 4 minutes. Drain and allow to cool. (Steaming is not necessary for canned or home-cooked garbanzos.)

Make the peanut sauce. Recipe, from Chef AJ’s book, Unprocessed, here: https://sites.google.com/site/hgkprintablerecipes/spicy-peanut-noodles-with-broccoli (The rice noodles in Chef AJ’s  recipe work well with all of the other veggies above, too!)

Combine all of the veggies with the peanut sauce in a large bowl. (I usually have too much sauce so I save it and use later over steamed veggies.) Put into your desired container and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours. I let mine sit overnight so the flavors mingle really well.

I don’t know how many servings this makes, but it’s at least 10 regular serving sizes. If you’re using as a main dish, it’s at least 4-6 servings.

ENJOY!

SUPERMARKET FIND!

I tried to post to my blog from my phone yesterday….didn’t work. Maybe it was just that I needed to update the software (which I did last night), but the post never happened. As a result, I’ve modified it a tad and posted for real this time. 

I love garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas). Look what I found yesterday! They’re FROZEN! All I have to do is steam them for 4 minutes.

Today, I used one bag (I bought two) in a salad I’m making for a church picnic tomorrow. The garbanzos almost didn’t make it into the salad….way to easy to keep popping them into my mouth and the taste was way too yummy. To pull the salad together, I used the peanut sauce developed by Chef AJ (check out her book, “Unprocessed”); hopefully this will prove to my friends that vegan cooking can be exceptionally tasty.  And yes, come Wednesday, you’ll be seeing the recipe for the salad with a link to Chef AJ’s out-of-this-world sauce.

RECIPE WEDNESDAY: PURPLE LIME SMOOTHIE

I start my day with a smoothie. On the days I do have something different, I wind up “starving” all day….meaning I want to eat constantly. My smoothies manage to fill me up and keep me satisfied for hours. Each day’s smoothie is a little different, but today’s made me extremely happy…so I thought I’d share it. (Keep in mind that some of the measurements are approximations….I just throw things in to the Vitamix!)

Purple Lime Smoothie

(makes about 40 ounces)

Ingredients:

1 cup coconut water (or almond milk)

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon hemp hearts

1/2 tablespoon alcohol-free vanilla

2 Medjool dates, pitted

2 celery stalks, cut into chunks

3 medium size kale leaves, stems removed and torn in pieces

1 cup red seedless grapes

1/2 cup fresh (or frozen) cranberries

1-1/4 cup frozen blueberries (Costco has organic wild blueberries which I use)

1 lime; slice off the ends and peel with a knife

Directions:

Put everything in to a high speed blender and whirl until smooth. Add ice to the consistency (and coldness) you desire. Pour into a glass, add a straw, and sip away.

I can drink a whole smoothie by myself, but feel free to share with a friend or two!

About my straw…..this is a glass straw made by Glass Dharma and available on Amazon here (lots of choices): http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=glass+straws

ELECTION DAY 2012

Texas has early voting so I voted a couple of weeks ago, but today is the “official” election day.  Although our country was founded over 200 years ago and men have been voting since the inception of our country, it was only 90 years ago that women received the right to vote. (For an excellent timeline of the journey see: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/naw/nawstime.html )

The Nineteenth Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, was ratified on August 26, 1920. It was a very long journey, filled with prison stays, mental hospital stays, forced feedings, and worse. I am incredibly thankful for those who led the fight to give women the right to vote. Their work was successful. Women now hold powerful government positions and have huge political influence….in just 90 years! No woman has yet held the office of President of the United States, but women have run for that office. Those early proponents of women’s suffrage would be dancing in the streets if they could see the success of their efforts.

And so, today,  I give thanks for our electoral system,  but I also give thanks for those women, who, through the years, dedicated themselves to the cause of obtaining the right to vote. I cherish their legacy and take the responsibility seriously. Let’s take it one step further: in addition to voting, let’s pray for our government’s leaders. Regardless of political affiliation, we can pray that our leaders make wise decisions and seek justice according to the laws of our land.

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people–for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4 (NIV)