Freezing Lemons-YES

Cravings

Here in Mexico it’s hit or miss when it comes to purchasing lemons. The small green limes are EVERYWHERE. I’m talking about the bigger yellow lemons. So when I read about how to freeze them, I was on it. And I’m happy to report that it works.

Simply slice your lemons and place in freezer friendly tupperware putting parchment paper in between the layers. This is a good way to keep them for drinks.

Or cut them into quarters and freeze them. Then you can put them into ziplock bags for easier storage.

Freezing the whole lemon is possible too, but the texture is too “crushy mushy”. The juice tasted fine, but I was not a fan.

My preferred option was to juice them and put them into ice cube trays. I let them freeze and then put them in zip lock bags. Each of my ice cubes are about 2 Tbsp.

*Per the internet, lemons will last approximately 3 months in the freezer for the best taste.

 

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Easy Falafel Recipe

Cravings
Any recipe I can put in a food processor and I’m halfway done, is a recipe for me. I found this recipe on minimalistbaker.com. Falafels are a middle eastern dense patty/ball made from chickpeas. They make for a satisfying meal. The Tabouleh I made was pretty to look at, but needs some tweaking.
  
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1 15-ounce (425 g) can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and patted dry
  • 1/3 cup (15 g) chopped fresh parsley (or sub cilantro)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, minced (~ 3/4 cup, 65 g | or sub white onion)
  • 2 Tbsp (17 g) raw sesame seeds (or sub finely chopped nuts, such as pecans)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp each sea salt and black pepper, plus more to taste
  • optional: Healthy pinch each cardamom and coriander
  • 3-4 Tbsp (24-31 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3-4 Tbsp (45 – 60 ml) grape seed oil for cooking (or sub any neutral oil with a high smoke point)
  • optional: Panko bread crumbs for coating (see instructions)

Instructions

  1. Add chickpeas, parsley, shallot, garlic, sesame seeds, cumin, salt, pepper (and coriander and cardamom if using) to a food processor or blender and mix/pulse to combine, scraping down sides as needed until thoroughly combined. You’re looking for a crumbly dough, not a paste (see photo).
  2. Add flour 1 Tbsp at a time and pulse/mix to combine until no longer wet and you can mold the dough into a ball without it sticking to your hands – I used 4 Tbsp.
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. I added a bit more salt, pepper, and a dash of cardamom and coriander. You want the flavor to be pretty bold, so don’t be shy.
  4. Transfer to a mixing bowl, cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours to firm up. If you’re in a hurry you can skip this step but they will be a little more fragile when cooking.
  5. Once chilled, scoop out rounded Tablespoon amounts (~30 g in weight // I used this scoop) and gently form into 11-12 small discs.
  6. Optional: Sprinkle on panko bread crumbs and gently press to adhere – flip and repeat. This will produce a crispier crust but is optional.
  7. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to generously coat the pan – about 2 Tbsp. Swirl to coat.
  8. Once the oil is hot, add only as many falafel as will fit very comfortably in the pan at a time – about 5.
  9. Cook for a total of 4-5 minutes, flipping when the underside is deep golden brown. Repeat until all falafel are browned – the deeper golden brown they are, the crispier they’ll be. They will also firm up more once slightly cooled.
  10. Best when fresh, though leftovers will keep in the refrigerator covered for several days. Freeze after that to keep fresh for up to 1 month.

This is Becoming My Daily Lunch

Cravings

Okay, so this pita/salad is sooo good and you can vary it in so many ways. I can’t get enough.

Here’s what I do. I like my pita/naan/etc. slightly crunchy, so I spread olive oil on it and put it on the stove to make it more of a cracker texture. I then put it on a plate and spread goat cheese on it.

Then I sauté whatever vegetables I decide to use. Today I used olive oil with garlic and onion. I added yellow and red bell pepper with tomato, salt and pepper. I put the veggies on top of the bread.

The last step is simply making a salad, and I took the easy route today. A premade mixed kale salad with a small amount of bottle dressing (just enough to coat the leaves). Put the salad on top and wa-la.

Tummy Love-Roasted Veggie Sandwich

Cravings

This veggie sandwich makes my tummy oh so happy. Below is the recipe from thegardengrazer.com. I have both roasted my veggies and sautéed them on the skillet. I do prefer the roasted veggies, but the sautéing is pretty darn good too (and a lot quicker). I’ve also switched up my veggies to whatever I had on hand.

 

Vegan (with dairy cheese and vegan pesto)
Gluten-free (with gf bread)
Makes about 4 paninis (reduce if desired)

Ingredients
3 bell peppers (I use 2 red, 1 orange)
1 onion
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
Asparagus
Dairy-free shredded mozzarella
Pesto (try homemade!)
Italian bread (2 slices per sandwich)
Olive oil
Kosher salt

Directions
Preheat oven to 425.
Cut pepper and onion into strips, and asparagus in half.
On a baking sheet, toss veggies with olive oil and kosher salt.
Roast for about 25-30 minutes.
On a skillet over medium heat, place a slice of bread. Sprinkle mozzarella.
Add a generous layer of vegetables. Spread pesto on a second slice of bread and place on top, lightly pressing down.
Heat about 5-8 minutes on each side or until warmed through and cheese is melted.

One Month Vegan

Cravings, Wellness

I have once again jumped on the vegan bandwagon and it has officially been one month. Here’s what I’m feeling.

 

  • The biggest change physically is how much lighter, less lethargic I feel.
  • My digestion has improved dramatically. My almost constant bloat I usually have has disappeared.
  • I realized I do not crave meat or eggs, and this was from day one.
  • I’ve probably ate more vegetables this past month than I have the entire year.
  • Eating healthy, I’m less hungry. I’m assuming because I’m eating more nutritious foods.
  • I feel good about what I am putting in my body and what I’m keeping out.
  •  I’m much more of a conscious consumer in general.

 

I went vegan earlier in the year for 3 months and stopped due to how fat and mushy I was getting. This time around I am actually unintentionally losing weight. The difference is I’m keeping the breads/tortillas/pastas at a minimum. I’ve also implemented 3 veggies/fruits minimum per meal. Lastly, a handful of nuts is very satisfying when I’m feeling the munchies.

The hardest part of eating vegan is figuring out what to eat. I read somewhere it helps the beginner vegan to have 10-15 go to recipes. I probably have 3 at this point. So my goal is to get 10 easy vegan recipes under my belt to start the new year off with (and without chickpeas. Turns out, I hate chickpeas. Bummer.)

Vegan Lentil Soup- So Good!

Cravings

I made a lentil soup today that I found on cookieandkate.com. It’s delicious. Two thumbs up for this one!

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INGREDIENTS

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 large can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 cup brown or green lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped fresh collard greens or kale, tough ribs removed
  • Juice of ½ to 1 medium lemon, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Warm the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. One-fourth cup olive oil may seem like a lot, but it adds a lovely richness and heartiness to this nutritious soup.
  2. Once the oil is shimmering, add the chopped onion and carrot and cook, stirring often, until the onion has softened and is turning translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, curry powder and thyme. Cook until fragrant while stirring constantly, about 30 seconds. Pour in the drained diced tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes, stirring often, in order to enhance their flavor.
  3. Pour in the lentils, broth and the water. Add 1 teaspoon salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper. Raise heat and bring the mixture to a boil, then partially cover the pot and reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape.
  4. Transfer 2 cups of the soup to a blender. Protect your hand from steam with a tea towel placed over the lid and purée the soup until smooth. Pour the puréed soup back into the pot and add the chopped greens. Cook for 5 more minutes, or until the greens have softened to your liking. (FYI: I skipped the blender step due to laziness.)
  5. Remove the pot from heat and stir in the juice of half of a lemon. Taste and season with more salt, pepper and/or lemon juice until the flavors really sing. Serve immediately. Leftovers will keep well for about 4 days in the refrigerator, or can be frozen for several months (just defrost before serving).