Saturday, December 13, 2014

Authentic Hummus: All About That Paste



This awesome parody has inspired me to share my hummus recipe here, which I'm surprised I haven't done before. I worked in an Arabic restaurant for several years, and though I never saw the recipe, this is how they made hummus.

Hummus 6 cups chickpeas (otherwise known as garbanzo beans, Nathan!) 1/4 to 1/3 cup lemon juice 2/3 to 1 cup tahini bean water (if you cooked the beans yourself, save the water. If not, use tap water) Lots of salt! I cook the beans in a crock pot with lots of salt till they are completely mushy. Save the water when you drain them. Add at least 1/4 cup of bean water, 1/4 cup lemon juice and 2/3 cup tahini to a food processor. Slowly add the beans. Puree. Authentic hummus is not supposed to be thick, so I keep adding water until it is the consistency of a dip. You can play with the amount of lemon juice and tahini. I like it less lemony and more creamy, so I use more tahini. I'd use a full cup if I could, but my husband prefers less tahini, so we compromise and I use more water. Serve room temperature with olive oil drizzled on top. Sprinkle some paprika, add an olive and you're all set! Use pita or veggies for dipping.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Vegan Broth Powder

This recipe is straight from Healthy Meals for Less, my 2nd favorite cookbook. Some of the recipes are not whole foods, but most are and can be adapted to a gluten free diet.

Vegan Broth Powder
 1 cup nutritional yeast
3 T onion powder
1 T garlic powder
1 T salt
1 tsp celery seed
2 T Italian seasoning
2 T dried parsley
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. marjoram
1 tsp. tarragon
1 tsp paprika

 The author recommends putting it in a blender or food processor for a few seconds.
 2 tsp of this plus 1/2 tsp salt equals the equivalent of 1 bouillon cube.

 She has a basic Italian seasoning as well:
1/4 cup basil
2 T. dried sage
1/4 cup dried thyme
1/4 cup dried rosemary
1/4 cup dried oregano

Senate Bean Soup

This recipe is adapted from the American Wholefoods Cuisine cookbook, by far my all-time favorite cookbook. Seriously. It's not fancy, there are no pictures, but for $16.22, you get 1300 awesome recipes, many of which are easy to adapt to be gluten free and dairy free. Here is one such adaptation.

Senate Bean Soup
1 pound dried white beans (I use navy beans, but great northern or any whit bean would work)
6 cups water or broth
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 pound potatoes
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt (or another teaspoon if not using broth)
3 tablespoons vegan broth powder (optional)
1/4 cup milk (I use coconut milk beverage)
1/4 cup chopped parsley (optional)

1. Soak the beans in water overnight. Drain in the morning. Put them back in the crockpot with the water, and turn it on high.
2. Chop all things that need to be chopped, and shred the potatoes. The recipe actually calls for mashed potatoes, so if you happen to have leftover mashed potatoes, that would work to.
3. Add all chopped things and spices to the crockpot pot. Save the parsley and milk for later.
4. Cook on low for 8-12 hours.
5. Try and fish out the bay leaf, and then use a stick blender to make this smooth and creamy.
6. Add milk and optional parsley, if your children are not afraid of floating green things. Mine are.

Crockpot Vegetarian Chili

I'm in the process of gathering up recipes to use for freezer meals. I'll create 8 vegan, gluten free, dairy free and soy free bean-based freezer meals, and share the process with you all. Many of them would be good with meat added, if that's your preference.

I'll post the recipes here that I haven't shared already.

Vegetarian Crockpot Chili
1 cup each 4 types dry beans (I use black, kidney, garbanzo, and pinto usually)
1 can tomato sauce, about 14 ounces
2 cans diced tomatoes, totaling 32 ounces
2 teaspoons chili powder
3 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon salt
1 large onion, pealed and chopped
½ head of garlic, pealed and chopped
2-3 cups of water
Whatever veggies you want (I shred zucchini and carrots into this recently. Veggies will basically disintegrate if you have picky children. A great way to use shriveled veggies).

1. Soak the 4 cups total of dry beans overnight. Drain in the morning.
2. Dump all other ingredients into the crockpot. I cook this on high because I have an older crockpot (doesn’t get as hot or cook as fast) and because I use kidney beans.

3. Cook until beans are soft (about 8 hours).

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Updated Banana Bread Recipe

I have been using an updated banana bread recipe that I thought I'd share. I make this every Sunday morning as a higher protein option before church.



Gluten Free Banana Bread
2 eggs
3 Ripe Bananas
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup maple syrup, honey or sugar
1 tablespoon Baking Powder (I mix my own)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 cups buckwheat flour
1/2 cup Jarrow Formulas Brown Rice Protein or more buckwheat flour
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (optional: I use these chips or these chunks )

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

To make my life easy, I put the eggs, water, and bananas in a blender and blend them thoroughly. I dump that into a bowl. If you don't have a blender, you can just mash the bananas with a fork and beat the eggs with a fork.

I measure 1/4 cup oil and then 1/4 cup maple syrup in the same 1/4 cup measure. The oil lines the cup and the maple syrup comes out easily. Mix briefly.

Add dry ingredients and mix well. Dump into an 8-inch round pan that has been greased. Bake about 40 minutes.

I also started using my bread machine when we were living in a hotel last year. I still use the blender, dump the blender stuff into the bread machine pan, add the rest of the ingredients except the chips, and let the machine do the work. There is a 2-hour quick bread setting (this will vary based on your machine). I add the chips 1 minute before it stops stirring (again, will vary). The above picture was made in the bread machine.

Another side note - one reason I like using buckwheat flour is because it does not require an additional gum to hold together.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Whole30 Challenge

Hello to my blog readers!

I am doing the Whole30 Challenge and realized a lot of my recipes already fit the criteria.



If you've not heard of the Whole30 challenge, you can read about it here. Basically you commit to 30 days of whole, non-inflammatory foods like meat, veggies, fruit and nuts.

I know I have lots of people who come here and look for recipes and figured I'd start compiling the recipes for Whole30 in one place.

More posts to come!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Baltimore Marathon 2013: Marathon #2

Last year, I registered to run the Baltimore Marathon to raise money and awareness concerning child sex trafficking. We were in the process of a move to the area - a move that did not happen as quickly as anticipated.

I ran Hartford Marathon instead and deferred Baltimore - just in case.

I did not plan on running a marathon this year. As of August, my longest training run was 13 miles, and that was in May. Not exactly stellar training.

I met a woman in my running club who was running Baltimore. I thought maybe we could run in together. We did a training run together in September: 16.5 miles. And then I did a solo 20 miler.

Ready for a marathon? Just really sure - but I was going to do it!

The week of the marathon, she decided to go all out and try and hit a personal goal of hers which was out of my range. I thought I'd try and run with the pace group aiming for a 4:30 marathon.

Can I just stop and say I loved this marathon? The whole thing is basically in the city (here is the course map). Over the course of 26.2 miles, you travel through beautiful parks with lakes and rundown neighborhoods with boarded-up buildings. I loved that. I loved the homeless guy who ran a couple blocks with us and the street preacher who warned us about the end of the world. I loved the people taking iPad videos of us out their apartment windows. The crowd support was consistent throughout, more so than any other race I've done. It was just an all-around great race.

Back to my race :) I ran with the 4:30 pace group for 11 miles, but lost them after a pit stop. 

This marathon is hilly. It was painful. I swore I'd never do it again. Did I mention it was hilly? My quads hated me for days after. The last 6.2 miles felt like 10+. My stomach did OK, with some painful cramps around mile 14, but the salt pills seemed to help. I also kept fueling simple: water, a LaraBar and organic jelly beans (not sports beans - actual jelly beans).

I eventually settled with the 4:45 pace group and finished just ahead of them for a final time of 4:45:12 (I started in front of them - hence the difference).

This was a 13 minute PR from Hartford.

Here I am, smiling at my family as I crossed the finish line.





Trying desperately to smile at the end, blue lips and all:


The Medal



And now I surf the web for other local marathons to run......I seemed to have caught the bug :)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

It's Fermenting Season!

Some of my favorite fermenting options are in season right now, and that means it's time to ferment!

We were in upstate NY this weekend for my father's celebration of life service, and I popped into a little unmanned farmstand to see what was available.



Cukes were 4/$1 and blueberries were $3/pint. I also snagged a bag of dragon beans for $3 and a bunch of large patty pan squash for 2/$1. I did not buy any summer squash because I didn't know if it was GMO (it's a common GMO item).

Using a combination of items from my CSA, from a little farmstand in upstate NY, our garden, and a couple of items from the store, I came up with this:


Store items:
Organic carrots: $.65
Organic dill: $2.99 (I used all of it, but I went a bit overboard!)

CSA items:
2 heads garlic

Garden items:
2 red peppers

Farmstand:
Cucumbers: $2
Beans: $3 (didn't use them all)

Miscellaneous items:
Sea salt
Peppercorns

Not too bad for under $10! 

We didn't try to grow much in our garden this season, but I'll be doing a jar of pickles from our garden as well soon! That's if Chuckie the pilferer doesn't get them first! He seems more interested in tomatoes. 

Have you been fermenting this season?

Friday, June 14, 2013

"Open My Hands" by Sara Groves

"Open My Hands"
by Sara Groves

I believe in a blessing I don't understand
I’ve seen rain fall on wicked and the just
Rain is no measure of His faithfulness
He withholds no good thing from us
No good thing from us, no good thing from us

I believe in a peace that flows deeper than pain
That broken find healing in love
Pain is no measure of His faithfulness
He withholds no good thing from us
No good thing from us, no good thing from us


I will open my hands, 
will open my heart
I will open my hands, 
will open my heart
I am nodding my head
an emphatic "yes"
To all that You have for me

I believe in a fountain
that will never dry
Though I've thirsted
and didn't have enough
Thirst is no measure of His faithfulness
He withholds no good thing from us
No good thing from us, no good thing from us

I will open my hands, will open my heart
I will open my hands, will open my heart
I am nodding my head an emphatic "yes"
To all that You have for me

No good thing from us
No good thing from us
He withholds no good thing from us

I will open my hands, will open my heart
I will open my hands, will open my heart
I am nodding my head an emphatic "yes"
To all that You have for me

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Perseverance and Patience

Life is hectic, friends. New job, training for that job, a very heavy semester at grad school - everything else has to be minimized and/or pushed to the side.

Like running. And writing.

I desperately miss both.

Life feels hard right now. Maybe it's grief (my father passed away November 9th), or the move, or the location change, or the classes I chose this semester.

But I'm drained. And tired. That kind of fatigue that creeps into your bones and lingers.



Running is therapeutic for me. Something happens on my long runs of 13+ miles. At a certain point, my mind completely clears. Nothing matters anymore. Nothing seems too difficult. Life becomes manageable.

I have not experienced that feeling since September. That was my last training run of 13+ miles. The farthest I've gone since the marathon is 12 miles.

I've shared before that I've been having some trouble with my legs for some time now. I remember exactly when it started. March 16th, driving home from an early St. Patrick's Day breakfast. It began as excruciating pain in my right hip and inner knee. My husband said he'd never seen me in such pain (which is saying a lot, considering we saw me through an unmedicated homebirth).

Through several rounds of PT, visits to the doctor, and rest days galore, the pain moved from my hip to behind my knees. It's stayed there. Sometimes coming around front, but mostly hanging out in the back of the knee(s).

So, I've been doing cross-training. Spin class, interval training, walking, elliptical, and most recently Piloxing (a combo of Pilates and boxing). One of my strength training teachers told me that due to my legs being different lengths and my severe hip weakness, running is setting me up to need hip replacement.

Not really what a runner wants to hear.


Yet I cannot escape the fact that I am a runner. I will likely never place in a race (unless I'm 80). I'll always be a mid-to-back-of-the-packer.

But I'm still a runner. I've become one. Through and through.

The day after I was told I'll likely eventually need hip replacement, I ran 8 speedy miles with friends. One mile was 8:28. The cross-training is making me stronger; for that, I'm thankful. But it's difficult to avoid discouragement.

I'm going to try some new things. A new strength and stretching routine. A training plan with less running that is more concentrated. Some dietary tweaks. We'll see if anything helps.

Despite the challenges, I have had some beautiful runs. Just a bit shorter :) I'm enjoying running in new territory, making new routes, learning new places.

See the deer?

I'd love prayers as well. I've experienced miraculous healing before. I'm certainly open to God doing that again.

More than anything, as always, I deeply desire that God be glorified.

My psalm this year is Psalm 25. Verses 4 & 5 are literally carrying me these days. I encourage you to read them out loud with me.


Show me your ways, O Lord,
    teach me your paths;
guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long.


All day long, Lord. All day long.