Friday, September 17, 2010


Falafel is probably one of the most delicious Mediterranean foods I have ever eaten. If you're unfamiliar with this tasty vegetarian treat, falafel are smallish, crispy patties made of chickpeas. They are typically fried in oil, spiced with cumin and garlic, and served in a warm pita with tahini or yogurt dressing. I found an easy falafel recipe online (I cannot recall where) and did some personal editing to make it my own. I added ground coriander and extra cumin, garlic, and parsley to the recipe. I decided to skip the frying step and instead bake the falafel to perfection. The end result was healthier and just as crispy. Enjoy!

Vegetarian/Vegan Falafel

-1 cup chickpeas, cooked
-1 small onion OR 1/2 large onion, diced
-2 cloves garlic
-1 Tablespoon flour
-1 1/2 Teaspoons ground cumin
-1 Teaspoon ground coriander
-2 Teaspoons dried parsley
-Salt and pepper, to taste
-Canola oil, if frying

Heat oil in a skillet OR preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grind the garlic cloves in a food processor. Add the chickpeas and pulse until smooth. Scoop mixture into a large bowl and add diced onion, flour, cumin, coriander, parsley, salt, and pepper. Mix with clean hands until all ingredients are well-incorporated into the ground chickpeas. Form mixture into balls (about the size of meatballs) and slightly flatten to form patties. Bake falafel on a sheet of parchment paper for about 15 minutes. Turn broiler on high (this is how the falafel get crispy) and let falafel crisp up on each side, flipping once to allow both sides to get golden brown. Remove from oven and ingest.

I also make a homemade Tahini Dressing to go with my Falafel.

Tahini Dressing

-equal parts of tahini and water
-a splash of rice wine vinegar OR lemon juice
-a clove or two of garlic
-ground black pepper

Whirl all ingredients in a food processor until creamy. Serve alongside falafel.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Spiced Banana-Oat Vegan Waffles

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I am definitely a "morning person", and I think this is so mainly because I eat well-balanced, nutritious breakfasts that are loaded with fruit, protein, fiber, and whole grains. A good breakfast energizes me so that I can perform to my fullest potential throughout the day. How do I do it? I do all the hard work when I have time (the weekend). Below is a recipe for Banana-Oat Vegan Waffles. The batter can be prepared entirely in a food processor or blender, making clean-up a dream. I added in some fun ingredients to transform my waffles into fancy gingerbread-style waffles. Feel free to add in what you like!

Banana-Oat Vegan Waffles
(originally from )

2 cups oats (I used rolled oats)
2 cups water
1 banana, sliced
(Add in the 5 ingredients below to make my gingerbread-style version)
1 Tablespoon blackstrap molasses
1 Tablespoon ground flaxseed
1/2 Teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 Teaspoon ground cloves

Preheat your waffle iron. Combine all ingredients in a blender or large food processor. Blend until smooth. Batter may seem thin and watery; this is OKAY. The oats will absorb the water more as they cook in the waffle iron.

Lightly grease the preheated waffle iron, and pour in the batter. Regrease the waffle iron after each batch of waffles is removed. Be sure to mix the batter prior to pouring it in order to redistribute the oats throughout the batter.

Freeze or serve immediately with fresh fruit and blackstrap molasses.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Coconut-Lime Macaroons

I enjoy reading information. A good cookbook is very similar to a scientific textbook in that both present valuable knowledge to the reader. Cookbooks provide golden information, as well as inspiration, that can be utilized in future recipes.

I was browsing one of my first ever cookbooks the other day, Children's Quick & Easy Cookbook by Angela Wilkes, and I came across a three ingredient baking recipe. This is a rarity. I edited the recipe by adding a special ingredient (lime zest) and replacing an existing ingredient (ground almonds) with another (shredded coconut). Below is my recipe for Coconut-Lime Macaroons.

Coconut-Lime Macaroons

-2 eggs, separated
-1 1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut (I used Bob's Red Mill Unsweetened Medium Shredded Coconut)
-3/4 cup white sugar
-zest of 2 limes
-pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350F, and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Separate 2 eggs, placing 2 egg whites in a large clean bowl. Save or toss the yolks.

Add salt to the bowl containing the egg whites and whisk with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gradually fold in lime zest, sugar, and shredded coconut with a rubber spatula. Add the zest, sugar, and coconut in several batches in order to preserve the fluffy nature of the whisked egg whites.

Place tablespoon-sized dollops of the mixture on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown in color. Immediately remove the macaroons from their baking sheets and place them on a cooling rack. Cool and enjoy these zesty melt-in-you-mouth cookies.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Super Sweet Beet Salad with Feta Cheese and Sunflower Seeds

I have always been curious about beets, that bloody red root vegetable that always seems to get a bad wrap. In fact, when I spontaneously brought beets home from the supermarket, my mother felt it necessary to remind me of her unpleasant childhood beet memories. She apparently was forced to eat taste-less boiled beets. Her hate for beets grew deeper, and her mother continued to cook them for her. Her mother and grandmother have a history of being amazing cooks, so I do not know how "taste-less" those beets actually were. I'm sure I would gobble down those beets if I was sitting at that dinner table! I had no idea how to prepare/cook beets, so I did some research on the internet before I jumped into the kitchen.

I decided to roast the beets in a super-hot oven with salt, pepper, and a little balsamic vinegar. Beets are one of the most naturally sweet vegetables on earth, and I wanted to bring out their delicious sweetness. They took about an hour in the oven. I let them cool to room temperature and peeled of their skin. I was in a rush (I had work), so I quickly threw them in the fridge for the next day.

I was not planning on eating cold beets, and I now needed to brainstorm a bit. It was a hot summer day, so a cold, crisp salad would naturally be the best choice. Beets in a salad? Yes! I grabbed some ingredients that mesh well together and started chopping. My recipe for a Baby Spinach Summer Salad with Marinated Beets, Feta Cheese, Toasted Sunflower Seeds, and Garden-Fresh Tomatoes follows. I used a homemade Honey-Balsamic Dressing.


-2 cups packed baby spinach, chopped
-1 handful of bite-sized tomatoes, halved
-1/4 cup feta cheese
-1/4 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
-1 big handful of roasted beets, peeled, halved, and marinated in the Honey-Balsamic Dressing (recipe follows)

-1/4 cup high-quality balsamic vinegar
-1/2 Tbsp honey
-Freshly cracked black pepper

Whisk together all three ingredients of the Honey-Balsamic Dressing and add beets. Let beets marinate in dressing for at least 30 minutes (I never wait this long because I get too hungry!).

Chop baby spinach and tomatoes on a large cutting board. Toast the sunflower seeds in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant and golden brown in color.

Arrange the baby spinach, tomatoes, marinated beets on a cold plate. Top with toasted sunflower seeds and feta cheese. Drizzle Honey-Balsamic Dressing in which the beets have been marinating over the entire salad. Enjoy.