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Success Is The Teen Asking For Seconds

Kirk was gone last week on a business trip on the East Coast, which for me leads to feeling stagnant. It is hard to get inspired to cook when I am facing a picky teen and a small stomach toddler as my companions. The toddler will eat most anything, but what, eats 10 bites and is full. So yeah, my dinners were not creative. Heck, we ate leftovers for 2 nights! Having Kirk home again means I wanted to create. I came across a deal on pretzel rolls at Costco which were everything I had dreamed of in a roll – and of which I blow at making. Hence, I cheated and brought home a package. Thinking of Sunday lunch ideas I looked at what we had in the pantry – and this is what I created:

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Pretzel rolls stuffed with a snappy chickpea salad. So the blog title? Well, The Teen went out and came back mid-afternoon and was hungry. I offered to make him a sandwich. He muttered and grumbled but finally agreed to try it at least. A few minutes later I hear “Hey Mom!! Is there anymore? If so, can I have another one?”

That is success. Gold. I made him another one. I mentioned it to Kirk, who after watching The Teen finish up his lunch, told him that not only had he had pickles, but also pickled carrots and bell peppers. Hehe. And enjoyed them.

Btw, this was a great recipe to use up garlic chip pickles I had on hand. I had grabbed them on accident one time, when I meant to buy bread and butter ones. They were very strong in flavor for snacking on, in a chickpea sammie filling though? Perfect. I used a bit of everything in the jar.

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Chickpea Salad 

Ingredients:

  • 1 can 15 to 19 ounces chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • ½ cup pickles & veggies, drained
  • Italian dressing, to taste

Directions:

Finely chop the pickles (I used an equal assortment of pickles, pickled carrots, red bell pepper and garlic), add to a mixing bowl.

Add the beans to a mini food-chopper, drizzle in a Tablespoon or two of dressing, process until smooth as you like, adding more dressing if needed (or to taste). Mix into pickles, chill for a couple of hours for flavors to develop.

Seve on pretzel rolls or other favorite crusty bread.

Makes about 8 mini bun sammies.

~Sarah

Walker had us laughing on Sunday. When he was around a year old we bought him a chair that matches our couch. It sits next to the couch, so he has his own seat. Hence, that means then, if a box is around, why should he use his fancy seat, no? So yes, he pulled a Wholesome Sweeteners box out of the recycling and plopped it down in front of the TV and sat down. He loved it 😉

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Chickpea Sammies

Well…I hit a stumbling block in our un-processed world. It appears that fresh-baked bread is giving Kirk really bad gut aches and the culprit seems to be the yeast. It got worse when I opened a new bag of yeast (since I buy it in huge quantities from Costco). Every symptom he was having led back to intolerance of yeast. Oh yay. So if my yeast is a year old in the frig, not so bad. The worst is when our daily loaf doesn’t have proper cooling time and we eat lunch with warm bread.Staler yeast, maybe less whole wheat? Make the bread the night before? I don’t know….

To test it I went back to Dave’s Killer Bread and no tummy aches. Sigh. At least I can get a quality product but ya know…it messes up my goals! 😉 Until I can work around it I will get the Good Seed Light for the guys (it is the same as their regular bread but is a smaller loaf!)

Yesterday I made egg salad with organic eggs I sourced at the farmers market from a local farm. I hadn’t had an egg salad sandwich in years, if not a decade or more and I truly enjoyed it. It had SO much flavor. The eggs had bright yellow yolks and tasted so clean. Sure, they are $5 a dozen (ack!) but it was worth every bit!

Anyhow, our lunch today was a chickpea salad with provolone cheese. Crunchy and satisfying.

Chickpea Sandwiches

Ingredeints:

  • 15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 Tbsp dried onion (see notes)
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp dried dill weed
  • Fine sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Cover the dried onions with ¼ cup cool water, let rehydrate for at least 30 minutes.

Mash the chickpeas in a mixing bowl, add the onions and remaining ingredients, stir to mix.

Serve on bread with cheese if desired.

Makes 4 sandwiches.

Note:

Why do I call for dried onion? Pretty simple. It doesn’t have the harsh “onion” flavor and smell that fresh does. In cold dishes I prefer it. Most grocery stores sell it in the spice aisle, I get mine at Costco – cheaper and fresher. 2 Tbsp soaked gives about half an average onion. And hey, no work either!

~Sarah

Summer Dinners: Veggie Burgers, Vegan Cheese & Roasted Sweet Taters

Last night we had a wonderful relaxed dinner. Not being pregnant encourages me to dream of what to grill and to make the time to go outside – that and having a 2-year-old who loves being in the back yard is helpful. And Kirk is the master of the grill, so even better! I made a new recipe of veggie burgers up, based on chickpeas and hazelnut meal (although any seed or nut can be used, I had a theme going with my dinner!) Well, something worked because the Toddler ate 1½ burgers for dinner! I was shocked, he just went crazy for them and then had another one for breakfast, cold, smeared in ketchup. That made them a winner in my eyes.

I made s’mores after dinner and enjoyed the balmy sunny day (it actually hit 70° finally!). I let Walker stay up late and we walked down to the lake at dusk for the fireworks. Why travel to a sanctioned city event when you can watch private citizens blow up thousands of $$ in fireworks (legal and not) over our lake. Ford didn’t want to go….lord knows if anyone saw him in the dark with his parents he might die of teenage embarrassment…hah. The Toddler and Baby were happy and both stayed awake till we came home – after 10:30! And both promptly passed out. It was a very nice 4th of July, our 8th here 🙂

A little fireworks on the lake:

So lets start on that menu! First up was the vegan cheese, which I found the recipe on My Sister’s Pantry blog. It is a winner. While it isn’t a stiff cheese you can slice it or spread it on thick. The taste is perfect, serve it on crackers and no one would guess it is vegan.

Vegan Cashew Basil Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • ½ tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 fresh basil leaf, large
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1½ Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes

Directions:

Cover the cashews with filtered water in a bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight. Drain and add to a food processor bowl with the remaining ingredients. Process on high, stopping to scrape the sides often, until it is smooth.

Line a small container with plastic wrap, with extra hanging over, pack the mixture into it and wrap the excess over, gently pressing down. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

To serve, slice thinly or spread on.

Vegan Veggie Burgers

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup Hazelnut Meal/Flour
  • 15 ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained or 1½ cups cooked
  • 2 cups carrots, finely shredded
  • 1 cup onion, finely diced
  • ½ cup white whole wheat flour
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper

Directions:

Add the hazelnut meal and flour to a large mixing bowl.

Add the chickpeas to a food processor bowl, process until finely chopped, add the carrots, onion and pepper, pulse a few times. Add to the dry and mix with hands until combined. Shape into 6 patties (or 8 smaller) and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Let sit for 30 minutes to set up.

To make on grill – brush or spray both sides with vegetable oil lightly, grill for 3 to 4 minutes on each side

To make in a pan – heat a small amount of vegetable oil (such as sunflower) in a large skillet over medium heat, cook for 3 minutes on each side, doing the burgers in two batches, adding more oil as needed.

Makes 6 to 8 patties.

Ready to go on the grill:

On the grill:

Burgers served, topped with thin slices of the cheese:

I adapted this recipe from the October 2011 issue Better Homes and Gardens. It called for adding 2 cups arugula and twice the salt, neither of which was missed. The vinegar adds a neat punch of flavor.

Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Hazelnuts

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp each fine sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup raw hazelnuts, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°. Peel the sweet potatoes, wash and dry, slice into wedges. Toss with the oil, salt and pepper, spread on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast on top shelf for 15 minutes, stir and roast for another 15 minutes. Take out, add the garlic and hazelnuts, tossing to coat gently. Roast for another 5 minutes. Sprinkle the vinegar on top, turn off the oven and let sit in it with the door open for the vinegar to evaporate while you finish dinner.

~Sarah

Italian Chickpea Spread

This easy to make hummus is from Short-Cut Vegan: Great Taste in No Time, on page 49.

If you are not a tahini fan (I am not a fan of it), hummus can be a disappointment. This has great flavor and pulls together in a matter of minutes, with a wonderful change in what you expect. Great on sandwiches too!

Italian Chickpea Spread

Ingredients:

  • 15 ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), organic, ¼ cup liquid reserved
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Italian herb seasoning blend
  • ½ tsp garlic, minced (1 clove)
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

Add everything but salt to a high-speed blender, such as a Vita-Mix. Process on high until creamy (a shy minute) tamping as needed. Season to taste with salt.

Before serving drizzle a little more oil on top and sprinkle more herbs on top. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator.

~Sarah

Gluten Free Coconut Biscuits and Chickpea Gravy

If it is Sunday morning it is often B&G time! I tried a recipe for the biscuits that I saw on Bob’s Red Mill’s site, adapted to be vegan as well as gluten-free. To top it, I made a chickpea gravy recipe I had done before, but changed how I made it. I definitely prefer this version and it has less work as well! I grabbed a bag of frozen chickpeas out of my deep freezer, no need to even thaw them, the heat in the skillet does it for you. Gluten-free, vegan and delicious!

Chickpea Gravy

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups cooked garbanzo beans (*see below) or 1 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp neutral vegetable oil
  • 2½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder (not onion salt)
  • ¾ tsp thyme
  • ½ tsp rubbed sage
  • ½ tsp marjoram
  • ¼ tsp crumbled rosemary
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 8 dashes Tabasco sauce or favorite hot sauce, or to taste
  • ¼ cup potato starch
  • ¼ cup garbanzo bean flour (*see below)
  • 4 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk (used almond)

Directions:

Heat a large skillet over medium-high, add the oil and the garbanzo beans and spices (through pepper), cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes, stirring often.

Turn down to medium, whisk in the potato starch and garbanzo bean flour, cook for about 2 minutes, whisking. Slowly whisk in the milk and let thicken over medium-low. Season to taste with hot sauce and salt (if desired). Serve over the biscuits.

Gluten Free Coconut Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup Organic Brown Rice Flour
  • ¼ cup Organic Coconut Flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • ¼ cup non-hydrogenated margarine (such as Earth Balance) or butter (non-vegan), cold and diced
  • ½ to ¾ cup non-dairy milk (used unsweetened almond)
  • 1½ tsp apple cider vinegar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450°, cut two sheets of parchment paper to fit a large baking sheet.

Stir the vinegar into the milk, let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Add the “butter” and work in with fingers until finely crumbled. Add in milk, stirring, until a soft dough forms (mine took all the milk).

Knock the dough out onto the lined baking sheet, pat into a ball, top with the second sheet of parchment paper and flatten out into a ½” thick circle. Peel off the top paper, cut into 8 wedges. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, until golden on top.

Makes 8 biscuits.

Making Garbanzo Bean Flour:

Yes, you can make it! Well…it does help to have a high power blender like a Vitamix and their dry container (or a grain mill). Simple as processing the dry uncooked beans until a fine flour. That is it! Fair warning it is very loud though!

Easy cooked beans?

Use the slow cooker method!

~Sarah

Chickpea & Green Pea Smash

A quick and vegan friendly sandwich filling. While I didn’t use any, a pinch of sweetener might be desired – or add fresh herbs chopped up. The pretty green color goes well with a hearty seed and nut filled bread.

Chickpea & Green Peas Smash

Ingredients:

  • 1½ – ¾ cups cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans) or 1 15-ounce can, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed (unsalted preferably)
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp each sea salt and ground black pepper

Directions:

Add everything to a food processor, pulse until mostly smooth. Season to taste.

Use a sandwich filling or a dip. I served ours on Dave’s Killer Bread with a sprinkling of 2% mozzarella cheese in the middle.

Makes enough for 4 sandwiches.

~Sarah

Sweet Potato Hummus

This IS the best hummus I have ever had – made by me or commercially made. Is it making the tahini fresh? The sweetness of slow cooked yams? I don’t know but I will just say it is spectacular. Does having a Vitamix blender help? Yes, considerably. The hummus is light, nearly fluffy when done. And silky smooth. It is the worth effort to make everything from scratch although taking the shortcut and using canned beans is fine to do.

Last week when I had free time I baked a box of sweet potatoes I had bought at Costco (a real bargain). Then after letting them cool I peeled and mashed them. I froze them in 2 cup bags (spread flat in a quart freezer bag). By doing this ahead of time I have ready to use potatoes – which thaw quickly. As for the beans, I cook them in my slow cooker.

Raw Tahini

Ingredients:

Directions:

Add the oil and sesame seeds to a high power blender (Vitamix). Start on Variable 1, turn to 10 and then to High. Using the tamper, push down until smooth, about 1 minute. The mixture will be very thick, unlike commercial tahini.

Store tightly sealed in the refrigerator.

Sweet Potato Hummus

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups mashed sweet potatoes, cooled
  • 1½ cups cooked garbanzo beans or 15 to 16 ounce can, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup raw tahini
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (1 large lemon), strained
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced (2 cloves)
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Directions:

Add everything to a high power blender (Vitamix). Start on Variable 1, turn to 10 and then to High. Using the tamper, push down until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. Taste for seasoning, add more salt if desired.

Store tightly sealed in the refrigerator.

Note – can be made in a food processor, process until smooth.

~Sarah

Gluten Free Biscuits with Garbanzo Bean Gravy

I saw the recipe for these two items in the most recent issue of Vegetarian Times (April/May 2012) on page 46. Having everything in my pantry outside of potato starch and poultry seasoning I decided to adapt the recipes and see how they turned out. Lets put it this way…I haven’t been thrilled with my attempts at gluten-free baking but since I bought so many flours awhile back I keep trying. I’d say the recipe was well-tested though. It worked and tasted good, while the biscuits are not mile high and tender they had a great cracker like texture and there was no off flavor (which I attribute to the biscuits not containing sharp tasting flours and xantham gum). Both the biscuits and the gravy can be made into vegan versions easy enough as well (they were vegetarian in the original recipe). I included at the end an easy way to make garbanzo bean flour if you can’t find it – Bob’s Red Mill makes it though.

Gluten Free Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown rice flour + more for dusting work surface (called for white rice flour)
  • ½ cup garbanzo bean flour (*see below)
  • ½ cup arrowroot powder (called for potato starch)
  • 4½ tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) butter or vegan non-hydrogenated margarine, cold and diced
  • ¾ cup milk (dairy or non-dairy) + 2¼ tsp white vinegar or lemon juice (called for buttermilk)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375° and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Stir the vinegar into the milk, let curdle for 5 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl whisk the rice flour, garbanzo bean flour, arrowroot, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Add the diced butter and work in quickly into fine crumbs with your fingers. Stir in the soured milk.

Liberally flour a work surface with more rice flour, knock the dough onto it and duet the top with more flour. Pat out to about 1″ thick, cut into 16 biscuits with a 2″ biscuit cutter, carefully transfer to the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 12 to 20 minutes, until golden brown on top.

Makes about 16 biscuits.

Garbanzo Bean Gravy

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups cooked garbanzo beans (*see below) or 15 ounce can. drained and rinsed
  • 1½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder (not onion salt)
  • ¾ tsp thyme
  • ½ tsp rubbed sage
  • ½ tsp marjoram
  • ¼ tsp crumbled rosemary
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup butter or non-hydrogenated margarine
  • ¼ cup cornstarch (called for potato starch)
  • ¼ cup garbanzo bean flour (*see below)
  • 4 cups milk, dairy or non-dairy

Directions:

Add the chickpeas and seasonings to a food processor and pulse a couple of times until crumbly. Heat a large skillet over medium-high, add the oil and the garbanzo bean mixture, cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Transfer to a plate.

Turn down to medium, add the butter to the skillet, whisk in the cornstarch and garbanzo bean flour, cook for about 2 minutes, whisking often. Slowly whisk in the milk and let thicken. Stir in the beans and heat through, seasoning to taste (a shake or two of hot sauce is good). Serve over the biscuits.

Serves 6.

Making Garbanzo Bean Flour:

Yes, you can make it! Well…it does help to have a high power blender like a Vitamix and their dry container (or a grain mill). Simple as processing the dry uncooked beans until a fine flour. That is it! Fair warning it is very loud though!

Easy cooked beans?

Use the slow cooker method!

~Sarah

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