Roasted Chickpea and Vegetable Pitas

I love me some fluffy, warm pita, but you don’t actually need to include it to enjoy this recipe if you’d prefer to leave it out.  The stars of this dish are the vegetables: roasted harissa cauliflower and honey carrots, crispy chickpeas, plus fresh, cooling radishes and pea shoots.  Paired with hummus, yogurt, and (optional) feta cheese and you have yourself a tasty meal filled with protein and veggies. Serve in a bowl, with whole grains or with warmed pita or naan. Don’t overcook the pita like I did in the photo above. Whoops.

 

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Roasted harissa cauliflower and honey carrots

 

 

Ingredients

(serves 4)

-1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed & dried

-1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets

-2 carrots, thinly sliced into 1/4 inch pieces

-3 radishes, thinly sliced

-4 handfuls pea shoots

-parsley, chopped

-1 lemon, quartered

-1 tablespoon garlic powder

-2-4 tablespoons harissa paste

-2 tablespoons honey

-feta cheese (try sheep’s milk feta!  It’s easier to digest)

-1 cup Greek yogurt

-Hummus (homemade or store-bought)

-4 Pita or naan

-Olive oil

-salt, pepper

*Note — For this recipe, it is helpful if you have two sheet pans, but not necessary.  If you have sheets pans of different sizes, you can use the smaller one for the chickpeas and the larger one for the vegetables.  If you only have one sheet pan, just roast the chickpeas first then go on to roast the vegetables.

 

Instructions

  1. Heat stove to 400 F.  Line two sheet pans in foil. Wash and prep your vegetables.  In a small bowl, combine garlic powder, a squirt of harissa paste, about 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper.  In a large bowl, combine the rinsed chickpeas and half the seasoning from the smaller bowl. Toss to coat the chickpeas thoroughly.  Transfer the chickpeas to a sheet pan.  Roast 40 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through.
  2. While the chickpeas cook, add the cauliflower to the large bowl with the remaining seasoning.  Toss to coat, adding more flavoring or oil as necessary, then place on one side of the other sheet pan in an even layer.
  3. Add the carrots to the large bowl.  In the smaller bowl, whisk together olive oil and honey.  Add to the bowl of carrots and toss to combine, scraping up any leftover seasoning.  Lay the carrots out in an even layer on the sheet pan next to the cauliflower.  Once the chickpeas have cooked for 10 minutes, add the cauliflower and carrots to the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes, stirringly every 10 minutes. The vegetables should be tender and golden.
  4. While the food cooks, in another small bowl, combine the yogurt with garlic powder, chopped parsley, salt, and pepper.  Drizzle olive oil on top.
  5. Remove the chickpeas and vegetables from the oven and set aside to cool.  Sprinkle your pita with a few drops of water and add to the oven for 3 minutes.
  6. Spread hummus and yogurt on your pita, then top with the chickpeas and vegetables, radish, pea shoots, and feta. Drizzle with olive oil and divide the quartered lemons among the plates.  Enjoy!

Asian Chicken Meatballs with Vegetables

Recently I’ve been watching videos of this chef organizing her food into bento boxes and have been finding the videos very calming to watch.  I’m kind of like those people who enjoy watching Youtube videos of Koreans eating, though that part I’m not into.  One thing I’ve noticed about the bento boxes it that they always contain majority vegetables, something acidic, a very small portion of protein (about the size of the palm of your hand), some gluten-free grains, and something probiotic.  I was inspired by the bento boxes when I came up with this recipe: Asian chicken meatballs with broccolini, maitake mushrooms, brown rice, and microgreens with lime.  I bought a premade dressing for the microgreens consisting of a variety of probiotics (pickle brine, sauerkraut brine, etc), but you could also add pickled vegetables or kimchi to the meal to include your probiotic component.  Though this meal takes about 45 minutes to cook,  it is a fairly easy recipe even for beginner cooks, and most of these ingredients should be staples in your pantry.

Ingredients

For the Sauce:

-1/2 cup Teriyaki sauce or hoisin

-1/2 cup tamari or soy sauce

-1 tsp. or more of sriracha depending on how hot you like it

-1 tbsp. honey

 

For the Meatballs:

-1lb. organic ground chicken

-1 egg

-1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs

-3 scallions, sliced thinly and white bottoms separated from green tops

-1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger or ginger powder

-3 minced garlic cloves or 2 tbsp. garlic powder

-salt and pepper

 

For the Rice:

-1 cup brown rice

-2 cups water

-2 pinches salt

-1 tbsp. ghee, or preferred fat (oil, butter)

-1 lime + zest

-sesame seeds

 

For the Salad:

-Microgreens

 

Instructions

Note- Allow the rice to soak overnight or for some time before cooking (I soaked my rice this time for 40 minutes).  This will reduce cook time, release nutritional enzymes, and make the rice more digestible.

  1.   Fill a medium-sized pot with water, rice, fat, and salt.  Bring the water to boil then cover and reduce heat to simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from heat leaving the lid on. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.  Add lime zest and fluff rice with a fork.
  2. Wash and prep your vegetables while the rice cooks.  In a small bowl, make the sauce.  Zest the lime in a small bowl using a microplane then quarter the lime and set aside. In a large skillet, heat oil and add the white bottoms of the scallions, ginger and garlic and cook about 1 minute or until aromatic.  Transfer to a large bowl and wipe out the pan.
  3. Add the ground chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, half of the sauce, and the salt and pepper to the bowl containing the onion, ginger and garlic. Mix the ingredients and allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes so it’ll be easier to form the meatballs.
  4. Reheat the pan to medium-hot and add enough oil to evenly coat the bottom of the pan. Add the broccolini and mushrooms and toast in the oil.  Let cook without touching while you form the meatballs.
  5.  Flip the broccolini and mushrooms and brown the other sides.  Get two large bowls ready so you can divide the vegetables between the bowls when they’ve finished browning.  Wipe out the pan.
  6. Reheat the pan over medium-high heat and add enough oil to form a thin layer on the bottom of the pan.  Add the meatballs, cooking 4-6 minutes per side.  You’ll know when the meatball is ready to turn when it’s no longer sticking to the pan.  Once cooked, add 1/4 cup water and the remaining sauce to the pan.  Toss the meatballs in the sauce to evenly coat and scrape up any remaining fond in the pan. When the sauce has reduced, remove from the heat.
  7. In the bowls containing the vegetables, add brown rice, the salad, lime, and the meatballs. Dress the salad with the lime, garnish with the green tops of the scallions, and sprinkle sesame seeds.  Enjoy!

Healthy Wings Two Ways!

It’s nearly Fall again, which means it’s time for layers, pumpkin spiced everything and football.  With NFL season gearing up, I thought it would be appropriate to share a chicken wing recipe.  But not just one recipe, two recipes!

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My wings are no fry with no breading, and they’re ridiculously flavorful, mouthwatering and healthy.  I’m definitely proud of myself for these, as I just experimented in the kitchen and came out with something my friends loved.  I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

Asian-Style Wings (aka, honey, garlic, five spice wings)

 

Ingredients

-6 organic chicken wings

-1 teaspoon sea salt

-1 teaspoon pepper

-1.5 teaspoons garlic powder

-1.5 teaspoons Chinese five spice

-1 teaspoon onion powder

-honey (preferably raw and locally-sourced)

-1 tablespoon melted ghee or butter

 

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Instructions

1- Heat oven to 450 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with tin foil and preheat the baking sheet.  Rinse chicken and pat completely dry with paper towels.  Place in a large plastic ziplock bag.

2- In a bowl, combine the spices and mix together.  Add the spices, about a tablespoon of honey and melted ghee/butter to the bag of chicken and shake to fully coat the chicken. Remove the baking sheet from the oven.  Place the chicken on the sheet and place in the oven for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes, flip the chicken and cook for another 20 minutes.

3- Remove from the oven.  Lightly drizzle honey over the wings and serve.

 

 

Indian-Style Wings (aka, Crispy Wings)

 

Ingredients

-6 organic chicken wings

-1 teaspoon turmeric powder

-1 teaspoon curry powder

-1 teaspoon garam masala

-1 teaspoon coriander powder

-1 teaspoon garlic powder

-1 teaspoon onion powder

-1 teaspoon cumin

-1 teaspoon sea salt

-1 teaspoon pepper

-1 tablespoon melted ghee or butter

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Instructions

1) Heat oven to 450 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with tin foil and preheat the baking sheet.  Rinse chicken and pat completely dry with paper towels.  Place in a large plastic ziplock bag.

2) In a bowl, combine the spices and mix together.  Add the spices and melted ghee/butter to the bag of chicken and shake to fully coat the chicken. Remove the baking sheet from the oven.  Place the chicken on the sheet and place in the oven for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes, flip the chicken and cook for another 20 minutes.

3- Remove from the oven and serve.

 

Looking for more recipes?  Check out all my other recipes on my blog, or reach me on my website.

Health Benefits of Honey

To some, honey may seem like a “naughty” sugary treat, grouped in with white sugar or sweeteners.  Really though, honey is a fantastic superfood to incorporate into your diet, as long as you know the right honey to buy.

honeyDue to diet, our environment, and stressful, crazy lives, lots of us rely on coffee or caffeine to get through the day. Sometimes, often around 3PM, I know I find myself nibbling on chocolate for the energy boost, but some hot tea with honey or toast with honey are much better ways to get that energy I’m hoping for.  In the mornings I like to add honey to my breakfast smoothies before or after a workout, because honey boosts performance and endurance and reduces muscle fatigue.

Honey is a powerful immune system booster.  It’s antioxidant properties help the digestive system and aid in cancer prevention. I like to put some honey in my tea or hot water with lemon, especially if I’m sick or have a sore throat. So soothing.  For centuries people have used honey to repair cuts and burns also.  Other health issues honey can help with are allergies, arthritis, yeast infections, athlete foot, and trouble sleeping.  Honey reportedly helps hangovers too!

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My morning smoothie. Organic strawberries, banana, a couple handfuls of spinach, 2% Greek yogurt, almond milk, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, and organic, locally-harvested bee pollen.

In India, Ayurvedic medicine has used honey for thousands of years for healing and balancing the body.  Ayurvedic medicine reports that honey improves eyesight, weight loss, cures impotence and premature ejaculation, urinary tract disorders, bronchial asthma, diarrhea, and nausea (Source: care2.com).

unnamed-2There’s some debate about the practices used to harvest bee pollen.  Bee pollen is loved by health enthusiasts for its superfood qualities and high levels of protein.  My photo above is actually of my bee pollen, but I bought it straight from the bee keeper at my local farmers market and was aware of his practices.  I have read that collecting the pollen can involve the death of large numbers of bees, but that’s something I need to research more.

So now that I have you convinced as to why you should eat honey, it’s important to know what honey to buy.  Go organic or locally-made and treat it as a medicine.  Stay clear of commercially-made honey.

Don’t:

-Don’t buy honey made outside of the U.S. Honey made in places like China is often mixed with other syrups.

-Don’t buy the commercialized, pasteurized honey.

-Don’t use honey as a sugar substitute.

Do:

-Buy locally grown honey.

-Buy organic or wild, non-pasteurized honey.

-Use honey in small amounts as a superfood.

-Use as a medicine topically for cuts and burns.

(Source: Renegade)

Home Remedies for Dry Skin

I’m all about moisturizers and soft skin, especially when the weather is this chilly.  The air and wind outside have stripped my hands of moisture and sometimes hydrating just isn’t enough to restore skin.  Store-bought lotions and potions are often expensive stews of chemicals, alcohols, solvents, and synthetic fragrances, which actually increase skin’s dryness.  Some products even contain carcinogens or trigger allergic reactions.

There are various recipes out there for homemade moisturizers and creams using limited ingredients.  Everyone has different skin and needs tailored products, but most natural moisturizers contain plant oils.  Some oils to look for are: shea butter, cocoa butter, almond oil, jojoba oil, and avocado oil.  Products may additionally contain other plant compounds or essential oils, like rosemary oil or lavender oil, or essences, like rose water.  Ensure that products are “paraben-free,” or “phthalate-free.” A good rule of thumb when choosing products (or even with food) is to skip over products with any ingredients you cannot pronounce.  It’s just not natural.

Keep It Simple

Save money on fancy moisturizers and use the extra-virgin olive oil in your kitchen on skin after moisturizing.  Take several drops of olive oil and smooth on skin while skin is moist from cleansing.  What’s great about olive oil is that it’s rich in monounsaturated fats, which hydrates skin without leaving skin greasy.  Alternative oils are wheat germ oil (rich in Vitamin E), almond oil, jojoba oil, argan oil, coconut oil, or grapeseed oil.

Make a Gel

An alternative, easy, natural recipe is flaxseed and water.  Stir 1 teaspoon flaxseed into 1/2 cup cool water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the mixture becomes thick and gelatinous.  Cool and pour through a sieve to strain out the seeds.  Dab the strained gel onto skin and massage in. Keep refrigerated and this moisturizing concoction should last a few days.

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Sweeten Up Your Skin

Honey has long been enjoyed for its benefits on the skin.  In fact, honey is a potent antiseptic, helping to ward off bacteria that cause acne and other skin problems.  Honey also doubles as an anti-inflammatory, reducing redness and irritation, and it seals in moisture improving skin hydration and minimizing the appearance of fine lines.  To make a honey mask at home, pick up the following items from your local store:

-4 ounces plain yogurt

-2 teaspoons raw honey

-1/4 teaspoon olive oil or almond oil

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.  Apply to face and leave on for 15 minutes.  Rinse.  Repeat one or two times per week.

-Tieraona Low Dog, M.D.

Author and integrative medicine expert

All-Natural Moisturizing Lotion Recipe

Different oils will suit different moisturizing needs.  Do some research, experiment and see which oils work best for you.  Here is a basic recipe:

aloe-rose-moisturizer

-2 tablespoons pure aloe vera gel

-2 teaspoons vegetable glycerin

-1/2 teaspoon jojoba, grapeseed, apricot kernel, or avocado oil

-1 teaspoon pure beeswax

Combine aloe gel, glycerin, and oil in a bowl.  Melt the beeswax in the top of a double boiler.  Add the melted wax to the ingredients in the bowl, whisking rapidly until blended, then more slowly until the beeswax mixture thickens and cools, about five to seven minutes.  Transfer the lotion to a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid.  Keeps two to four weeks.

Shaving Cream

Save that vegetable glycerin from the moisturizing lotion recipe and use it for your homemade shaving cream.  Because shaving strips away the outermost layer of skin cells, sensitive “new” skin is exposed every time.  Many store-bought shaving creams contain petroleum-derived chemicals, including isopentane and additional compounds that are irritants, hormone disruptors, and potential carcinogens.  Use safer shaving creams and try the following homemade recipe:

-1 cup real witch hazel extract

-1/2 cup high-proof vodka, rum, or brandy

-1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable glycerin

-10 to 20 drops each peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils (thyme or rosemary essential oils also work)

Combine the ingredients in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid.  Shake well to blend.  To use, pat a little mixture onto freshly-shaven skin.  The lotion keeps indefinitely.

-Annie B. Bond

Better Basics for the Home

Have a homemade moisturizer recipe?  I’d love to hear it!  Please leave your ideas in the comment section below.