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Archive for the ‘Friday Food Fotos’ Category

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Aug
30
2013

Foodie Friday: Falafel

Happy Friday Peeps!

Now bear with me today approving comments (and come on – leave me some feedback!) and it might be tomorrow evening before I approve them. Jerry, Ben and I are off to the big city for doctor appointments.

Today’s recipe is for Falafel.  I love love love falafel. And it is so easy to make gluten free.  I want to remind you of my favorite falafel recipe.  I posted this recipe a long time ago – three years ago I think.  Before I had to give up gluten. So to make gluten free just sub the flour for your favorite all purpose gluten free flour mix.  Some times changing a recipe to gluten free changes the texture and even the taste but happily not in this recipe.

Honestly, I used to love the boxed mix.  Homemade is always better but if you are short on time, and aren’t restricted from gluten, the boxed is a pretty good substitute for “the real thing”.   My favorite boxed brand is Casbah.  I think I have even seen gluten free mix but am not sure. If you have the time to make falafel completely from scratch this is the recipe you want. If you are not familiar with falafel, it is a fried ball of chickpeas, dating back to Biblical times, likely originating somewhere on the Indian subcontinent but now popular all over India, North Africa and the Middle East. The Egyptian version  exclusively uses fava beans but I can’t vouch for that recipe as I have never eaten a fava bean falafel. What makes falafel different from many other bean dishes is the beans are not cooked prior to use. Instead they are soaked then ground with other ingredients and deep fried.

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oil for frying

Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain. Or use canned chickpeas, drained.

Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, salt, cayenne, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.
Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.
Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of a ping pong ball, or use a small cookie scoop found here.
Heat 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a skillet or wok and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry about 6 balls at once for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
Serving suggestions:
~ Fill a  pita with falafel balls, chopped tomatoes, onion, green pepper, and pickled relish. Drizzle with tahini sauce. Or any combination of such condiments.  I am not a big fan of tahini but here is a quick recipe for you.
Tahini  Sauce
* 1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
* 4 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
* 1/2 small onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
~Serve as a finger food with a Tzatziki.
Tzaiki is a yogurt cucumber dip that you really need to make the day before and chill overnight.
*Plain low-fat yogurt
*juice of 1/2 lemon
* Medium cucumber, peeled and seeded
* 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
* 1 tsp. dried parsley
Finely dice or grate the entire cucumber. In a bowl, combine 8 oz. of plain yogurt and add the diced cucumber to it. Stir to combine. Add remaining ingredients.  Mix well and add salt and pepper to taste.  Chill overnight.
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So there you have it! Yummy, yummy falafel!  Homemade is always better but if you are short on time, the boxed is a pretty good substitute for “the real thing”.   My favorite boxed brand is Casbah.  If you have the time to make falafel completely from scratch this is the recipe you want. If you are not familiar with falafel, it is a fried ball of chickpeas, dating back to Biblical times, likely originating somewhere on the Indian subcontinent but now popular all over India, North Africa and the Middle East. The Egyptian version  exclusively uses fava beans but I can’t vouch for that recipe as I have never eaten a fava bean. What makes falafel different from many other bean dishes is the beans are not cooked prior to use. Instead they are soaked then ground with other ingredients and deep fried.
My Favorite Falafel


  • 1 cup dried chickpeas or one can chickpeas drained, if you are pressed for time
  • 1/2 large onion, diced chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley or cilantro or both
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of cayenne pepper (not necessary but adds a little heat)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin (possibly my favorite spice in the whole wide world :) )
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4-6 tablespoons flour (all purpose or gluten free blend)
  • oil for frying
Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain. Or use canned chickpeas, drained.
Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, salt, cayenne, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.
Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.
Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of a ping pong ball, or use a small cookie scoop found here.
Heat 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a skillet or wok and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry about 6 balls at once for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
Serving suggestions:
~ Fill a  pita with falafel balls, chopped tomatoes, onion, green pepper, and pickled relish. Drizzle with tahini sauce. Or any combination of such condiments.  I am not a big fan of tahini but here is a quick recipe for you.
Tahini  Sauce
  • 1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
~Serve as a finger food with a Tzatziki.
Tzaiki is a yogurt cucumber dip that you really need to make the day before and chill overnight.
  • Plain low-fat yogurt
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Medium cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
Finely dice or grate the entire cucumber. In a bowl, combine 8 oz. of plain yogurt and add the diced cucumber to it. Stir to combine. Add remaining ingredients.  Mix well and add salt and pepper to taste.  Chill overnight.
So there you have it! Yummy, yummy falafel!
Love and peace to you all!
Namaste!
Sep
14
2012

This is the first day of the rest of my life…

I started a new blog a week or so ago and almost immediately regretted it.  I felt I was forsaking this one.  One that has been so good for me.  That is so ME.  Well, like every other person who puts their life online, the ME I let you know.  But what I am going to attempt from today forward is to be a little more real (hang on gals, it could get rough), a little less careful, painfully honest at times and if you can’t handle it  or don’t like it, that’s okay.  I am who I am, what I am and I have a lot of good qualities and a lot of vices.  What I don’t want to ever be is bored.  Or boring.  That would be the most horrible thing to hear about myself:  Susan, you’re boring.  YIKES. So what I have decided to do is move those posts over here over the next few days and share my renewed need to put myself out there for all the world.

Still not going to get “all political” on you or anything of that nature.  I might quip occasionally on the subject but in the spirit of honesty, I will go ahead and put forth my disclaimer, lest some of you think you know me “as your kinda folk” and be slapped in the face one morning and it ruin the rest of your day :)   Now don’t bother saying nasty things to me if you find me a heathen or not of your chosen political mindset because my comments are set to be approved and I won’t give you a voice.  Not on MY blog.  If you decide, even though you have been following my blog for years, that I am not who you thought I was, don’t worry about it.  Just take me out of your blog feed.  You’ll miss me, but you’ll get over it :) As will I.

Okay, hold on to your hats ladies (and gents if you are there)…

I am a Democrat with Libertarian leanings. Though I don’t vote only for Democrats because they say they are Democrats. I vote for who I want to.  Who I believe the most, or distrust the least. But I DO vote, which is very important to me.  I am a proud American who believes men and women have died for my right to step in and close the curtain and participate in the process and I honor them by taking a few minutes to do just that.  But even before I am an American, I am a human being and I try to see myself as a part of that family first.  Accept differences when possible, allow for different ideas, beliefs, philosophies.  Never accept hatred or oppression, genocide, injustice or abuse.  I don’t believe war is the answer we should look to first, second or even tenth, but I also know it is inevitable.  So I support our military personnel and wish them only safety, always.

I believe in equality for everyone. This means all colors, creeds, religions, genders, sexual orientations.  And any other way we humans can figure out to divide ourselves into selfish little groups. I don’t believe the government or anyone else has dominion over my body.  Period.

I am not a religious person, however I do consider myself spiritual. There are things and ways that separate humans from the other animals.  Sometimes the lines are fine and sometimes I wonder how we landed on top when it seems we have less of a grasp of the meaning of life than other species. But I do feel connected to the Universe in a special way…human love I suppose. That and I have opposable thumbs :) I find all religions to have a bit of the ridiculous in their beliefs and teachings.  I wasn’t raised in a religious home so this is just how my life has evolved. Oh, and I do believe in evolution, btw.  I could never ever join a group that thought me and other women anything but equal to men. I cannot tolerate intolerance (I hope that makes sense) and I am nauseated by hypocrisy.  So that weeds out the majority of mainstream religions available to me in my geographic area.  Not that I am looking.  I am most certainly not.  I have no answers to any of the big questions and don’t believe anyone else does.  I try to live my life in a good, useful, helpful  way.  I believe that if you hate anyone then you truly cannot love completely, like we should.  There is not room in the human heart for both.  So practice LOVE.  I think it is perfectly normal and fine to hate things that happen, actions but to pick out one particular person to hate, causes you to think about them far to much and waste too much time on something you cannot change.  So rather than hate them, I choose to just separate myself from them and forget about them.  To find it in me to be indifferent rather than continuously irritated and angry. If I had to pick a religion to know more about or that I find interesting and could abide by most of their teachings, it would be Buddhism.  But only in a very general way.

I hope to leave this world having done no lasting harm to my family, friends and as little as I can on the Earth. I am in awe of what all this world has to offer and I want to see as much of it as I can.  There is always something new to learn.

Am I all that I hope to be?  Nope.  Not even close.  But I am working on it.  That is really all any of us can do.  Perfection is not attainable and really shouldn’t be a goal for anyone.  Your best.  Just do your best.  If anyone asks more than that they are likely working through some things themselves and feeling inadequate to the tasks before them.  Cut them some slack and keep working away at your own life.

Well, there’s a start to the weekend, don’t you think?  If you find I am too much for you, I bid you a fond farewell and wish you all the happiness you can find.  If you stick around, I promise everyday won’t be like this. Much less philosophizing and much more food, sewing, crafting, gardening…you know the good stuff :)   It’s just sometimes, one has to regroup.  Recharge.  Confess.  Start fresh.  Turn the corner.  You get the gist.  So without further ado, welcome to the new NotQuiteJuneCleaver.  And have a wonderful weekend.

People make the statement “Today is the first day of the rest of my life.” for various reasons.  Some have an epiphany, wake up and realized they are in fact on the wrong road of life.  Some have circumstances come to them and change is not their choice but change it is.  Mine is nothing so dramatic, I am happy to report.  It just that I am fat.  Chubby.  Plump.  Fluffy.  I have the middle age spread. If I live to be 106.  Which at the rate I am taking care of the only body I have, is bloody unlikely.

I have lots of excuses if you would care to hear them.  I have had six children.  I was a fat baby.  I have had 5 abdominal surgeries plus my gall bladder removed.  I eat my feelings.  I am a good cook, therefore good food is relatively easy for me to obtain. I have weak ankles therefore I cannot do real exercise. Blah, blah, blah.

The real facts are: I hate to exercise. I eat too many empty carbs and have for a really long time. I am addicted to sugar and soda, diet or not.  But the fact of the matter is really good food doesn’t have to be bad for you.  My ankles might not be weak if they weren’t trying to hold up 70 more pounds, or five stones in Brit-speak, which I love,  than they were made to.

So what am I going to do about it you might ask.  Well, my best.  That is all.  I am going to do my best.  That is not too much to ask of anyone on any matter.  I find later in my life, I have not been keen to do my best always.  But I have people in my life who do.  Always.  And I think I owe it to myself to do the same.

Eating healthy and concentrating on my health will take more time.  But really, time is all any of us have.  We spend it wisely or we don’t.  It will take more planning, but that is one of my strong suits.  I am a plotter and a planner from way back.  And I like a good project as well as the next person.  So, that won’t be a problem. And it won’t cost any more money because I won’t be buying junk to eat.  Or drink.  Not to compare poor choices too closely but I will have to treat my struggle with food like an alcoholic treats their addiction.  It will be an everyday struggle until one day I will not crave the junk any more.

I had an appointment with my doctor this week  to get all my numbers run.  I have every reason to do this and no reason not to.  I need to know just exactly where I am and what I am up against.  And frankly I am running out of time.  I turned 53 on 14 August 2012.  I don’t feel old.  I don’t think I look too old.  But I also don’t feel good.  I don’t feel good about how my body works.  Or how tired it gets.  And I feel weak in spirit that I let this happen.  I haven’t posted a full body picture in many, many years.  But here goes.  Not a great one, but one that is accurate in showing my girth.

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Not a pretty sight.  So now that you have seen me, you might as well know the numbers.

  • 53 years old
  • 194 pounds or 13+ stones (as of today 189 -yay for me!)
  • my measurements are 45-39-49
  • my height is 60.5″
  • my arms are too big for sleeves and my legs are too big for boots at 14.5 and 17.5 respectively
  • and I have 1.5 too many chins

So what do I propose to do about this?  First and foremost, set reasonable goals.  Hold myself accountable.  I would join a group, but I am not much of a joiner.  Not cheat myself by eating the very thing that will make me want to cry later.  Put one foot in front of the other until my body is strong enough to bear me putting one foot in front of the other in rapid succession.  Not compare myself with others by saying things like “oh I don’t know why I try, I will never be that thin” or “well, at least I am not that fat”.  I am going to pay attention to every morsel of food that goes into my mouth.  Every drop of liquid. I am going to enjoy my food.  I am going to take time to choose, prepare and eat meals.  Not fly by life, with a bag of crisps and a candy bar washing them down with a diet soda. I am adopting a mostly vegetarian diet with a serving of fish every now and then when I feel the urge to eat the flesh of a dead animal.  When you say it like that it makes it easier to fore go.  And rather than give myself a weight/size goal to achieve, I am going to give myself time, a year to be exact, because after all that is really all we have…time. And of course I am going to write about it honestly.  Follow along if you like. Later on I want to tell you about the wonderful shake I am drinking every morning.  But if you can’t wait  go to Rockin’Wellness and look for yourself.

What I am not going to do is judge others for what they eat, don’t eat, drink or don’t drink.  I am responsible for my own intake. I will also not hate judge others who are thinner than me or  take the weight off easier than I do.

I would have told you a year, even six months ago that everything tastes better with bacon drippings.  Or some other form of animal product.  But really it isn’t necessary.  It’s delicious, don’t get me wrong.  But not necessary and not good for you.  You know ignorance is bliss many, many times.  And I think my ignorance about healthy eating knows no bounds.  But I am learning.

Those of you that know me in real life know I am not a wagon jumper.  The band brand of wagon.  I believe almost nothing of what I hear and only about half of what I see. And the friend that introduced me to this new plant based way of life knew that about me when she approached me.  She knew not to tell me how amazing the information was. Or how scary.  She just ask that I watch a DVD with an open mind.  Our friendship spans nearly 40 years, so I trusted her.  The DVD she asked me to watch was Forks Over Knives.  I have to say, I am so glad she cared enough to ask me to watch it.  The information was eye-opening to say the least.  I won’t go on and on about it because, I am assuming, we are all adults here and you don’t need me jumping up and down shouting how incredible it is.  Follow the link, read the reviews and if you have time and are interested in that sort of information, you will find it very informative.  Possibly life changing.

Here is an example of how I am trying to cook for myself.  My love of food makes the prospects of new recipes, healthy eating very exciting to me.  So you might not get your standard recipe format but I will try to share things I find that are tasty, and are good for us. A few nights ago I sauteed a variety of vegetables for my supper.  I brushed my skillet with a little, very little, EVO.  I added green onions, garlic, 3 colors of bell peppers, broccoli, brussel sprouts and celery.  I took out a little bowl for my supper and then to the skillet I added about 2 cups of vegetable broth, leftover corn, peas, limas and a can of diced tomatoes.  I added some chives, parsley, thyme and let it cook while I ate.  I couldn’t resist the aroma!  I had to have a little bowl of soup too.

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So delicious.  I think I will add a little okra to it for supper tonight.  And whip up some gluten free corn muffins.  Even though there is a heat advisory for today, I am thinking towards Autumn…and this bowl just looks like Autumn.  And reminds me of my mom’s vegetable soup.  She would save vegetables thru the week from our meals and dump it all in a pot on Friday night for soup served with cornbread.  My mom was not a big meat eater.  In fact many of our meals were meat-less long before it was “a thing”.  We were on a very tight budget and beans were less expensive than meat.  So beans it was.

One more addition and then I will get off of here and get busy and let you do the same.   I am so glad to catch up with all of you and thanks for stopping by.  ENJOY!

This recipe is gluten free and Ovo-Lacto-Vegetarian.  I left out the oil called for to cut some of the fat content and honestly, they were a little dry and slightly packy.  However, dipped in the vegetable soup  they were delicious!

cornacorns

2/3 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
1 TBSP aluminum free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup milk (I used 1/2 rice milk)
2 TBSP all vegetable oil (omitted)
Preheat oven to 425F and place pans in oven. Whisk together  flour baking powder, and salt into bowl. Stir in corn meal. Add egg, milk, and oil, if you use the oil. Mix until just smooth, about one minute, do not over mix. Brush pans with light coating of oil. Put about 1 TBSP of batter in each acorn mold. Bake in hot oven (425 degrees) 9-12 minutes.
acorn pan
NOTE: You could make this recipe into another shape if you don’t have the acorn pan or similar pan.  A madeline pan is very good for these little cornbread yummies.  Or mini muffin tins and of course regular size muffins as well.

Have a great day.  Eat good things that are good for you.

With warmest regards,

Susan

Nov
12
2010

Foodie Friday – COOKIES!

I have not fallen off the face of the Earth.  My week was turned upside down when my sweetie came home a day (and two hours – but whose counting? ;) ) early from Tunisia.  He called Tuesday afternoon and said his flight home had been moved to Wednesday night  at 9:30.  Well Wednesday was a crazy busy day.  Busy enough that Ben and I didn’t make it to the Human Society.  But we did get an ortho appt, chemistry class, groceries, some outside work and a good bit of the inside work done.  I had just walked in from chemistry class when the phone rang and it was Jerry saying he thought he could catch the 6:45 out of Atlanta and he’d call right back.  I jumped in the shower and told the kids they would have to “root hog” for supper and waited to hear from him.  Yep…I was out the door by 5:45.  I pulled up to the airport and two minutes later he walked out!  Talk about timing!  So yesterday we just mostly hung out and watch TV, napped and ate a not heart healthy supper.  Like my friend whose husband works the same kinda schedule mine does “The first day they are home, they eat what they want.  It’s the law.” Ü

I had a few cookies to make for a friend and made extras for the fam.  Their favorite: Cream Wafers.  Well, as you know, I have been having H-E double hockey sticks with my tummy and have decided it’s gluten.  I know, I know.  NOT something else.  Yep.  I have an appointment with my allergist next Friday for some tests but from trial and error I am fairly certain it’s the culprit.  So after making these cookies I got to thinking, why not just try a 1/2 batch gluten free substituting rice flour for the all purpose flour?  So I did.  Honestly, not too shabby for my first attempt  at gluten free cookies from scratch.  I have tried some packaged things and was none to pleased. In fact decided doing without was much better.  I am ordering xanthan gum today to see if I can improve on this recipe. The texture of the cookie was a little grainy and much more delicate than the original which is already delicate enough.  I will keep you posted. But all in all a fine substitution until I can perfect the formula.  I will be trying other recipes. But for now…a fine, FINE substitute.  And NO tummy trouble after eating a couple – so goal accomplished! Rachel liked them too.  They are just gluten free but do have dairy, just so you know.  I very well might attempt a gluten free/dairy free version soon.  I know people that are looking for gluten free, many times need dairy free as well.

All I really changed was the flour content from all purpose to white rice flour and used pure cane sugar for the cookie coating before baking.  I used filling I had left from the regular batch to fill them.

glutenfreecreamwafers1

Okay now for all you I promised my Sugar Cookie Recipe to, I have two versions.  One is a little softer cookie from the addition of the brown sugar.  If you need a very sturdy crisp cookie use the first recipe.  If you like your cookies a little softer, the second should suit you.

NotQuiteJuneCleaver’s Sugar Cookies

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Whisk these three things together in a separate bowl.  Beat until light and fluffy:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar

One at a time add:

  • 2 large eggs

Beating well after each.  Then thoroughly mix in:

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract

With your  mixer running on slow, gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until combined well.  Don’t over beat cookie dough…makes ‘em tough.

Divide your dough into 3rds or 4ths and wrap each in waxed paper, put them in a freezer bag and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.  This dough can be frozen for later use.  Just thaw in the frig the day before you need it.

Preheat oven to 350.

On a lightly floured pasty cloth roll your dough 1/8 inch thick.  Cut it out as desired with floured cutters.   Place on parchment lined baking sheet.  If you want to add sprinkles or colored sugar, now is the time.  Otherwise bake them plain for decorating with icing.  Bake 8-10 minutes depending on the shape of your cookies.  Pointy cookies like stars will be too brown on the edges if you over bake so watch your time.  Slide your parchment off onto a flat surface to let them cool or remove  them to a wire rack. When they are completely cooled you can decorate them as you wish.  This makes about 3-4 dozen depending on the size cutters you use.

Susan’s Sugar Cookies

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter flavored shortening
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 vanilla bean (optional ~ cut the vanilla bean in half then slit one half lengthwise and scrape the insides out with the blade of your knife, add this scraping to the dough before adding the flour)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, soda and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter, shortening and sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time and then the flavorings (including the vanilla bean if you choose to use it). On low speed or by hand, mix in the flour combination. Divide the dough into thirds, wrapping each third in a piece of waxed paper. Place dough in freezer bag and refrigerate 2 hours or over night. This dough can be frozend for up to 3 months.

Preheat oven to 375.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut out desired shapes and place 2 inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Let cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Decorating:

Royal Icing
I use Martha Stewart’s Royal Icing with one acception…I add 1 TBSP light Karo syrup. Makes it shiny and very smooth and she has some great tips for decorating cookies as you probably already know. So check out her website for technique.

We keep a wide variety of cookie decorations…sugars, pearls, dragees, jimmies…you name it we have it! A couple of great place to purchase these things is Fancy Flours and Country Kitchen. You can get a crazy wide variety of cookie cutters at Cookie Cutters Online.

Now have fun!

Xmas Cookies5cookiesforSam

Valentine1

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