Chili-stuffed Sweet Potatoes + spiced watermelon

I’m currently writing my first ever iPhone post because clearly I cannot move the 2 feet to fetch my laptop and sending iPhone pictures to my computer is just too much for me to bear.

Today I will bring you one of my stand-by recipes adapted from here: Unsloppy Joes

I started out making the recipe as described- to go between buns or bread in sandwich form. That’s a delicious way if eating it, but I later discovered that an especially delicious mode of consumption is .:drumroll:. as a stuffing. In/on a sweet potato. (Never would have guessed that from the title, right?) So here we go, without further adieu I bring you…

Chili-stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Chili-stuffing

I really enjoy this chili mix. It has a strong flavor that’s perfect for a sandwich or for topping sweet potatoes. The vinegar gives it a good kick.

Chili-stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potato clearly unpictured, but I assure you it was tasted and delicious.

Chili-stuffed Sweet Potatoes

I ate this alongside my typical vegetable mix:

Carrots and Snap Peas

Plus a summer favorite that’s come back into the mix:

Yesterday, I was in the mood for something different, so I sprinkled some Jerk Seasoning on top:

20130603-203119.jpg

Must say, it was quite delicious.

OK: Confession time, I started this post on my phone but switched to the computer for all the editing, recipe posting, font stuff. Maybe one day I will get out a post that doesn’t need much editing to take full advantage of my mobile app.

Exercise Quickie:

Today I did Strong Lifts B workout.

Squats: 110lb 5×5 (poor form on 2 of the reps, so I’m retrying it Friday),

DB Overhead Press: 25 lb DBs 3×4/5/4

Deadlift: 130 1×5

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Who más

Howmis?

Humm is

Him us

Hummus.

Seriously, who doesn’t love hummus?

I grew up eating homemade hummus, and I must say that it has spoiled me into viewing a lot of store-bought hummus with a fair helping of disdain.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some brands (one-that-I’ve-tried) that taste like homemade (Trader Joe’s for the win), but seriously

this just doesn’t taste real to me {Probably because of the ingredient list: Cooked Chickpeas [Chickpeas (Garbanzos), Water], Tahini (Ground Sesame), Soybean And/Or Canola Oil, Garlic, Salt, Citric Acid, Seasoning And Spices, Natural Flavors, Potassium Sorbate Added To Maintain Freshness.}

In my holier-than-thou humble opinion, hummus deserves to be made with extra virgin olive oil and without preservatives. And it’s so easy to make (and cheaper– just think of the cost comparison) that there’s no reason not to!

So without further adieu, I give you hummus. (With the extra-special-secret ingredient my Syrian Uncle told me about)

Hummus

Ingredients
– cooked (or canned) chickpeas/garbanzo beans (about 2 cups worth)
– tahini (sesame paste) (about 1-2tbsp)
– extra virgin olive oil (about 1-2 tbsp)
– juice of 1 lemon
– 1-4 cloves of garlic (depending on your preference)
– a couple splashes of white vinegar (<–secret ingredient)
– a couple grinds of sea salt
– a few good shakes of cumin
– a few good shakes of paprika
– water

Directions
1. Combine all ingredients in your food processor or blender (but seriously, it’s easier in your food processor unless you have a super-high-powered-expensive-blender) except the water. Process until it’s as smooth as it can get.

2. Add water (reserved water from your chickpeas would be really great) gradually until the mixture reaches the desired consistency.

3. Get in your belly!

I’m telling you, the vinegar kicks this baby up a notch! Also- feel free to experiment and add spices/other foods (olives, pine nuts, etc) to make it your own.

What’s one homemade item that you can’t stand to buy from a store?

Have you ever made hummus?

Sprouts!

So lately I’ve been in the mood to do some experimenting in the kitchen.

Image

I’ve always known and loved alfalfa sprouts, but I’d say that sprouting fully came on my radar when I first laid eyes on this bread:

ImageIntrigued by the packaging which informed me that sprouting allows for the creation of bread without flour and that sprouted grains are more nutritious than their un-sprouted counterparts. Well, I started buying this bread from time to time (because I like it) and didn’t really think of sprouting as something I could do myself. That is, until my friend decided to go raw-vegan a while back. She purchased sprouting trays and sprouted her own legumes. Naturally, I was intrigued and the idea sort of hung out in my head for a while.

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(Me & Idea hanging out)

Until finally, I thought: “Hey, why don’t I try sprouting legumes?”

And that’s what I did.

At the advice of The Sprout People, I elected to buy the EasySprout:

Image

($11.53 on Amazon)

Then, I got down to business and learned that sprouting is pretty much the easiest thing ever.

Step 1:

Soak your legumes/seeds in lots of water overnight or 8-12 hours.

Step 2:

Drain your legumes/seeds by taking the insert out of the outer cup and pouring out the water from the outer cup. Shake some to ensure that all of the water is drained out.

 

Step 3:

Rinse every 8-12 hours for 2-5 days. You will start to see the legume/seed sprout

See those babies grow!

The Sprout People recommend tasting the legume/seed after each rinse to ensure that you “harest” them at the best time. I gave the garbanzo beans one or two more rinses after the above picture.

Step 4:

Serve ’em up (or refrigerate them, or freeze them… depending on the sprout)

Salad of parsley, broccoli, cauliflower, shredded carrots, red bell pepper, and sprouted garbanzo beans with a homemade balsamic-lemon-garlic dressing

I’ve also made sprouted lentils lately:

They also met their end in a salad roughly based on this one: http://www.food.com/recipe/indian-sprouted-lentil-salad-131211

The Verdict:

I enjoy the sprouted legumes. They offer a crisper taste to the salad. I will definitely add them into the rotation and am eager to move on to grains and seeds. That being said, I love their cooked counterparts  whole lot and will still be eating them as well.

Have you ever sprouted anything? 

What do you think of sprouts?

Have you done some experimenting lately?

Is it a crouton?

Is it a kix? Is it a dog-kibble? No! It’s SUPER…roasted-chickpeas!

Peanut Flour Roasted Garbanzo Beans

These are probably one of the easiest, most delicious things that I have ever made. They, believe-it-or-not, sort of taste really like Kix.

Anyone else love this cereal as a child?

But those babies are not kix. They are chickpeas  (AKA garbanzo beans). And they are so simple and interesting that they will make you re-excited about your food once again. Or at the very least pleasantly content with your food choice.

Peanutty Roasted Chickpeas
Ingredients
– 1 can (or 1 2/3 c prepared) chickpeas
– 3 tbsp peanut flour
– 1 tbsp stevia for baking
– 1/4 tsp sea salt

Step 1: Preheat oven to 375˚F. Drain and rinse a can of chickpeas. Spread out on a baking sheet and pat dry with some paper towels. (Alternatively: If you’re like me, and made your chickpeas ahead of time, go ahead and skip the drain and rinse part)

...the convenient things you will find with a google search.

Step 2: Sprinkle the remaining ingredients (3 tbsp peanut flour, 1 tbsp stevia for baking, 1/4 tsp salt) onto the chickpeas. Toss and stir until the chickpeas are nicely coated.

Step 3: Place baking sheet in your 375˚F oven. Bake for 45-55 minutes; shaking pan ever 15 minutes. Taste test starting at the 45 minute mark: you want a dry, crunchy chickpea.

And enjoy!

I enjoyed these as is for a few days as a simple snack. Then, I got creative and decided to add them to a raw and roasted salad. The result was epicly delicious.

(that's nutritional yeast on top)

Alright, back to either non-pleasure-reading for school or maybe just bed. Either way there will definitely be sunflower seed butter involved.

What’s something new that you’ve tried lately?

Completing the Beets Meal

     So as the title suggests, this post is about the rest of the beets night meal. For some reason whenever I make beets I’m drawn towards making something with chickpeas in it as the main course. So, I decided to make Heidi Swanson‘s Ultimate Veggie Burger. Because I was only cooking for myself, I halved the recipe. This recipe is pretty cool because the burger serves as a burger-bun that you cut in half and stuff with your favorite fillings. 


Ultimate Veggie Burger Recipe
Ingredients
1 2/3 cup garbanzo beans (chickpeas) ; or 1 15 oz can
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 onion, chopped
Grated zest of 1/2 large lemon
1/2 cup micro sprouts, chopped (try brocolli, onion, or alfalfa sprouts – optional)
1/2 cup toasted (whole-grain) bread crumbs (See recipe note)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 
Directions
1. Blend together beans, eggs, and salt in a food processor or blender.

Should make a thick paste. You may need to add a little water to get it to blend well if you used your own cooked garbanzo beans.
2. Scrape bean-mixture into a medium sized mixing bowl. Mix in cilantro, onion, zest, and sprouts. Stir until well-combined. Stir in bread crumbs. Let sit for a few minutes to allow the bread crumbs to moisten. 
3. Form into 4 patties that are 1 1/2 inch thick. 
4. Heat oil on medium-low heat in a large pan (with a lid). 
5. Add patties to the pan and cover. Cook for 7-10 minutes (until bottoms begin to brown) and flip. Cover and cook for an additional 7 minutes, or until golden.

Note: To make my own whole grain bread crumbs, I simply toast bread in the oven until pretty dry, break the bread into smaller pieces, and blend or food process them until nice and crumby. (1 slice = ~1/3 cup)

I decided to stuff my burgers with sprouts and avocado. In the past I’ve used tomatoes. Heidi has a lot of suggestions on her website for stuffing ideas.
Here’s my complete meal:
It was fun eating the beet and biting into my sandwich– it left a fun purple ring on the burger.


Bzzzzzzzz

>     You ever have one of those days where you feel like you’re busy all day yet still haven’t gotten to half of the things on your mental to-do list? Well today was one of those days for me. I was a busy bee!
     I started the day out with my typical bowl of scrumptious oatmeal. This morning’s batch of steel cut oats contained domestic blueberries, pomegranate arils, and wheat germ. (no picture)
     After my belly was nice and full with oatmeal and coffee, I started out on my mission to cook my very own batch of garbanzo beans! This was my very first attempt at making them myself, and I’m happy to say that I was a great success, and it was actually very easy! (I didn’t even slow-soak them) Read below for my (aka the kroger bag’s) method.

Home-cooked Beans (Garbanzos)
Step 1: Soak beans overnight. To quick soak them, boil them for one minute with 8 cups of water, remove from heat, and let sit for 1 hour.

pre-quick-soak
After soak

It’s hard to tell in the picture, but the beans really get nice and plumped after being soaked.

Step 2: Rinse and drain beans. Then, add 6 cups of hot water per 2 cups of beans. Let simmer with lid tilted for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. And voila! You have cooked beans!
Step 3: Drain and separate each 1 2/3 cup into a separate baggie. Freeze and use in recipes whenever canned beans are called for.
     Since the bean-cooking process was going to take a few hours, and I couldn’t leave them to go to the gym, (note to self: try them in the slow cooker next time) I decided to bake an apple cake with a few apples I had on hand that had lost their crispness. 
     I used a recipe from eatbetteramerica.com but changed it up quite a bit. I do this with a lot of my baked goods recipes- I use a base recipe to get the chemistry right but then I’ll cut the sugar, change out some flour for oats, and substitute any ingredients that I don’t have on hand or just feel like trying. All this tweaking got me to thinking… At what point does a recipe cease to be the cookbook’s or website’s and become your own?
     Anyways, back to the recipe…
Fresh Apple Cakes (it would be cake, singular, but I only had muffin tins available)
Makes 24 cakes (muffins?)
Ingredients
– 3/4 cup natural cane sugar
– 1 cup plain yogurt
– 1/4 cup canola oil
– 1/4 cup apple butter
– 2 tsp vanilla
– 2 flax eggs (combine 2 tbsp flax w/6 tbsp water and beat w/fork until gelled)
– 1 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
– 1 1/2 cup multigrain hot cereal (or old fashioned oats)
– 1 tsp baking soda
– 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp ground sea salt
– 3 apples, chopped (peel on)
– 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
Directions

1. Heat oven to 350˚F and prepare muffin tins. (I just used liners)
2. In a large bowl combine the sugar, yogurt, oil, apple butter, vanilla, and flax eggs. Beat on low until blended. Add the flour, multigrain cereal (or oats), baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Beat on low  until well blended. Fold in the chopped apples and walnuts.

the batter is truly delicious

3. Distribute into muffin tins. And bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

30 minutes later…. voila! You have deliciously delectable apple cakes!

I took the liberty of calculating the nutrition for all you folks (and myself) via Livestrong.com. That site is awesome for calculating the nutrition of recipes and also logging your daily meals and activities.

     Not bad for a dessert, huh? And they taste pretty darn good too! I brought them to a meeting, and everyone gobbled them up. 
     So, as you can imagine, as I was cooking beans and baking apple cakes, my food was digesting, and I was starting to get hungry. I had a dilemma on my hands because I also wanted to go to the gym as soon as everything was done. Ultimately, I probably should have just eaten lunch, but I ended up snacking on an orange, my cocoa-yogurt-cereal-concoction, and mixed nuts to tide me over. 
     Finally I made it to the gym and did my Circuit routine (except with skull crushers for triceps) and headed out to do some grocery shopping. 
     By the time I got back to my apartment, it was time to start cooking dinner! I decided to make a recipe from The Vegetarian Cook’s Bible by Pat Crocker. My boyfriend had gifted me the book last Christmas, but I never got around to actually making something from it until today. I’m always interested in trying new ingredients, so I decided to make the Amaranth Chili. The recipe notes, “Amaranth is the only grain known to provide the human system with the most effective balance of protein matched only by milk.” Naturally, I was compelled to give it a try. 
Amaranth Chili (from The Vegetarian Cook’s Bible by Pat Crocker) 
Ingredients
– 1/4 cup amaranth grains, thoroughly rinsed
– 4 tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped (I used a can of unsalted diced tomatoes and 1 T tomato paste w/a bit of water to give a stew consistency)
– 1/2 onion, chopped
– 1 green bell papper, chopped
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 2 cups vegetable stock
– 1 cup dried lentils
– 1 potato, chopped (I used a sweet potato)
– 1 cup chopped carrot
– 2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 19-oz can)
– 2 tbsp chili powder
– 2 tsp ground cumin
– salt to taste
Directions
1. In a skillet, toast amaranth over medium-high heat, stirring constantly for about 10 or 15 seconds until the seeds pop. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
2. In a large saucepan, combine tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add stock. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Add lentils. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 15 minutes until lentils are tender. 
3. Add amaranth, potato, and carrot. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until tender. Stir in chickpeas, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Cook for 1 minute or until chickpeas are heated through. Serve immediately. 
I swear, it tastes a lot better than this picture looks
As you can see, it makes for a very chunky chili. And it was quite delicious. 
     To go with the chili, I sauteed some Collard Greens. First, I washed them, cut them from their stems, and then cut them in half lengthwise if they were too wide. Then I rolled them like cigars and cut them into 1/4 inch slices. I sautéed them with some olive oil over medium-high heat. Once they were almost done cooking, I added 4 cloves of garlic and cooked for 30 more seconds. Then I removed them from the heat, squeezed half a lemon into them and added a few dashes of cayenne pepper. 
soooo goooood

     Soon after cooking dinner I had to run out the door for school, so I had to pack my meal and enjoy it in class. 

     Once back at the apartment after class and a club meeting, I was huuungry. Not eating a good lunch caught up with me. So I put together an Almond Butter-Apple-Cinnamon Sandwich with the rest of the apple on the side. 
mmmm