Home In Disarray

May 16, 2014

Delicious homemade green falafel

Ok.  I’m gonna be honest here.  I haven’t made falafel in quite some time.  These photos are from like a year ago. But, it doesn’t make them any less relevant.  I hadn’t actually made falafel before coming upon this recipe during my pretty hardcore clean eating kick last year, and it intrigued me because I got to use my meat grinder!!!!  Regardless, I have kind of taken it upon myself to make a few changes.  Here you go!
Ground up falafel mixture

4 cups garbanzo beans/chickpeas
3 medium-large white or yellow onions, cut into large chunks
5-10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced, chopped, whatever
2 bunches parsley, rinsed thoroughly, stems chopped off
2-4 jalapenos, cleaned ribs removed if you don’t like too much heat
1-2 T diamond crystal kosher salt (less is you’re using mortons)
2 tablespoons cumin

*2-4 days before you plan to make your falafel, soak and sprout your beans.  Or don’t sprout them, you can just soak them overnight also, then just drain before assembling.
*When you’re ready to go, start running the mixture through your meat grinder (on the smallest setting).  I usually would grind some beans, then throw a hunk of onion in, then some parsley, etc.  Don’t grind all your onion at once.  It gets super watery and pretty gross.  Alternatively, you can finely chop the onions and parsley, and this will prevent your mixture from turning green.  I kind of like the cast it takes, so I just grind everything.  Less effort.
*Grind everything.  Stir in spices.  Alternatively, you can use a food processor. I have not tried this, so I can’t make any assertions to how it affects the texture of the patties.

Ground up falafel mixture
Mix thoroughly, then form into patties. I suggest making one patty, then cooking it and tasting for seasoning.  You can then adjust as necessary.  I can fit 35 of them on a half-sized sheet pan.  I then freeze them, then pop them off the silpat and stick them in a gallon sized freezer bag.  When I want some falafel, all I have to do is heat up my pan, pop several out of the bag into the pan, and crisp up.  You can fry these up, as is traditional, or do what I do, put a little bit of olive oil in a nonstick pan, and gently cook through until crispy on one side, flip over, and crisp on the other.  Not quite as good as deep frying, but you don’t have to have that much oil on hand.
They’re great in a lettuce wrap, on top of a salad, with lamb meatballs, whatever, really.  I’ve even served these as hors d’oeuvres, topped with a cucumber yogurt sauce and a little thinly sliced bell pepper.
Nutrition Info, Per Patty (1/35th of this recipe) excluding oil for frying:
Calories: 35
Carbs: 6g
Fiber: 1g
Fat: 1g
Protein: 2g
May 16, 2014

Sprouted Kidney Beans – it really is that easy

Sprouted Kidney Beans – it really is that easy

Ok, so there’s a lot of hullabaloo about the healthiness of legumes.  Based on my internet research, the argument against legumes is that they’re starchy, and contain phytic acid, which affects your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients inside.  For me, the reason for eating them is that they’re very cheap, delicious, high in fiber, contain protein, and low effort to cook.  While we don’t usually eat large quantities of beans as a result of the carb and overall calorie content, sometimes it’s nice to have them!  And when I was shopping at Costco earlier this week, I was hungry, so I got a 25lb bag of dried kidney beans for somewhere in the neighborhood of $18.  Knowing that we have a taco night coming up with friends in a few days, I figured I’d soak and sprout some beans, and we could have those with our experimental tacos (there may be more on that at a later date).

25lbs of kidney beans

Aren’t beans just so gorgeous!  Goodness!

dried kidney beans

Anyway, here’s the recipe… get some beans, cover them with lots of water.  Leave.

soaking beans

Come back several hours later.  For me, it was closer to 10 hours.  I started soaking them when I went to work in the morning, then drained them when I came home.  You basically want to rinse and drain them a couple times a day after that. For me, that’s when I get up, and when I get home from work.  I’ve had beans take 3-5 days til they begin to sprout(rinsing twice daily), and some take under 24 hours.  It has been warm the last few days, in the 80s, so I assume that’s why these sprouted so fast.  Plus, fresher beans, faster sprouting.  Costco has high turnover, so I assume the beans are fairly fresh.  Who knows.

This morning, 24 hours after the soaking took place, I had sprouts forming.  Based on my research, a sprouted bean has a much higher vitamin C content (a couple oz of beans a couple times a week can apparently cure scurvy, more effective than lemon juice), also you get increases in bioavailable B, C, E, and A vitamins. The enzymes that develop also help make the beans more digestible, resulting in far less gas after you eat them, and phytase breaks down the phytic acid (the one that affects your ability to absorb certain nutrients).  Basically, the nutritional breakdown of the bean begins changing from a bean/seed to a plant.

sprouted beans

Here the beans are this morning.  I rinsed them and I’m gonna let them go til either tonight, or tomorrow morning, then either refrigerate to slow down the sprouting, or cook them with a small slab of ham, some onion, garlic, and celery, and turn them into some incredible beans for burrito bowls.

sprouted beans

May 15, 2014

Delicious Steak Salad – 418 calories

Delicious Steak Salad – 418 calories

Craig and I are on a weight-loss kick.  I lost about 20lbs doing very low carb eating a couple years ago, felt great, then went off for the month of December.  Come January, we tried other less restrictive methods of eating, but despite making an effort at eating healthier, all of that weight, plus 5lbs came back.  I am fat, and need to drop weight, both for my health, and so I look better naked!  This time, I’m doing it the “old fashioned” way, not doing any fad diets or extremely restrictive ways of eating.  I’m sure there will stumbling blocks along the way, but I’d love to get to my wedding weight.  We are simply cutting back on calories, with a tendency to avoid carbs, just because they don’t tend to keep you that full, and they’re not good for you, metabolically.  Breakfast is usually an egg and 2 egg whites, cooked in a little grassfed butter, or a little cottage cheese, or some chicken with hot sauce.  Something simple, and under 300 calories.  Lately for lunch, I’ve been having a can of tuna mixed with some rice vinegar, sriracha, and some pickles.  It kind of sucks, but keeps me full til dinner, when I can eat what I feel like is a satisfying meal.  Sometimes it’s a burrito bowl, sometimes it’s miso glazed tofu with sweet chili and soy sauce based dipping sauce.  This week, it’s been hot, so we are having salads.  I was hungry on Tuesday afternoon and dreaming of a big juicy steak.  I redirected that desire into a big steak salad with funky bleu cheese dressing and big chunks of juicy tomato.  I assembled first the dressing on the scale in my blender, then the salad in a pie plate on my scale, which made A) eating it easier, as the pie plate is huge B)tabulating calories easier as I could determine just how much of everything I added.

Bleu Cheese dressing
Salemville Amish Gorgonzola Cheese – 80g
Creme Fraiche/Sour Cream – 40g
Rice Vinegar – 80g
Buttermilk – 80g

Combine all ingredients in blender… blend.  After scraping out the blender, I ended up with about 240g, so I input that into myfitnesspal as a recipe with 240 servings, so now I can make the dressing, and weigh my salad before I add it, then input the number of grams I put on the salad as servings, and be accurate.

delicious bleu cheese and steak salad, under 425 calories

Salad Ingredients
Organic Spring Mix Greens – 85 g – 25 calories
Salemville Amish Gorgonzola Cheese – 15 g – 50 calories
Grassfed Flank Steak(nearly fat free, really, VERY lean) – 150g (5.5oz) – 125 calories
Heirloom Tomato, Raw – 150g – 27 calories
Bleu Cheese Dressing – 60g – 191 calories

The dressing made this salad.  I’m making this salad again tonight, however I’ll be using 40 g of dressing and splashing rice vinegar around on top to make some additional liquid.  I did it with a semi-cobb salad last night and it was delicious.

Nutrition –
Calories – 418
Carbs – 18g
Fiber – 5g
Fat – 22g
Protein – 39g

Posted in: Clean Eating, Cooking, Food
May 5, 2014

Buffalo Tofu Lettuce Wraps

Buffalo Tofu Lettuce Wraps

Alrighty folks…. this is it.  The ultimate “healthy” meal.  It is vegan, carb free, and loosely paleo.  The reasoning behind paleo avoiding legumes, in addition to the generally pretty high levels of carbohydrates, is that unsprouted legumes and whole grains contain “antinutrients.”  I’m not going to get into lots of science here, but antinutrients basically inhibit your body’s ability to absorb certain nutrients.  Sprouting legumes and whole grains not only helps to nullify the antinutritional properties, it also reduces the carbohydrate content in them, as the chemical process of sprouting makes the seed convert the carbohydrate energy into growth.  Regardless, Wildwood brand (which can be gotten at Fred Meyer as well as many other retailers) has zero net carbs.  And a 15oz package contains about 400 calories.  So there you are.  I’ve been having a mad hankering for buffalo wings for weeks now, but we haven’t made it to my “spot” for wings lately, so I’ve been just putting Frank’s Red Hot on everything. Not quite as satisfying as wings, but it’s pretty much just vinegar, chiles, and salt, so whatever, it helps tide me over until we make it to get a few wings.

OK, so here’s how it goes.  Get your tofu out, drain it, then wrap it in either a clean kitchen towel, or a few layers of paper towels, put something heavy and flat on top, and let it drain for an hour or so (if you’re patient enough for that).  Then cut it into cubes.

Your next step is to heat up some neutral, “healthy” oil in a nonstick pan.  I used sunflower oil.  Then put half your tofu in, and let it cook on medium heat until the first side begins to become golden (this takes a little while).  Then turn each cube, and let it continue cooking.  Each batch takes 20 minutes or so, but it’s almost entirely hands-off time, so it’s not really what I’d consider a time-intensive recipe.

fried tofu cubes

When the tofu is sufficiently crisp, put it in a bowl (or huge yogurt container) and drench it in Frank’s Red Hot.  Shake it around until it’s coated.

buffalo tofu

Then I just stuck them in some little romaine hearts, and ate them as little lettuce boat things!

buffalo tofu lettuce wraps

If dairy isn’t a problem for you, either add a little strained, grassfed yogurt, or a little crumble of bleu cheese!

buffalo tofu lettuce wraps

The main thing that I love about these , besides them being organic, fairly low calorie for what they are, and generally something that I have the stuff to make any day of the week, so it’s any easy enough thing to throw together when I haven’t made a dinner plan.

Posted in: Clean Eating, Food, Paleo
May 1, 2014

A fun way to say “I love you.”

A fun way to say “I love you.”

I am the last person to be giving marriage or relationship advice.  I recognize that, yet I still feel compelled to share one of the ways that Craig and I do to let each other know that we’re thinking about the other one.  We love to make the other one laugh. It started off by taking photos of the TV screen when we paused something and a character was making a funny face, then texting that photo to each other.  Then it expanded into sending funny pictures we’d find online.  It’s kind of like a really weird version of emojis.  Sometimes Craig will be sitting on the sofa and I’ll be cooking dinner and he’ll send me one.  Then we make eye contact and both break out into laughter.  Kind of silly, but sending and receiving these little images throughout the day makes me smile, and I am always on the lookout for something new and crazy.

Here, for your viewing pleasure.

Posted in: Misc