meatless monday: chickpea cider stew

I have said it before, but I will say it again, Fall is my favorite season.  The weather is perfect and the flavors are the best.  Apples and pumpkin are definitely high on my list of favorite flavors and they both make an appearance throughout my eats the entire year.  You know what they say, “An apple a day…”.  One thing that I don’t quite have the appetite for in summer is thick soups and stews.  It’s just not the same eating it in the air conditioning than it is when you’re eating it to help stay warm ;).

Well, today is an air-conditioning type day, but last week fall was upon us and my craving for all things apple came on full force!  Luckily we made a trip to a local apple orchard this weekend to stock up and we have our first bushel of apples in the kitchen.  Since it’s Meatless Monday, I thought (well, this was actually Kinley’s idea but I made it haha) that having apples as the center of a meal would be delicious.  In the past, we’ve made a crockpot stew featuring meat, but chickpeas became the star of the show tonight and they were incredible.

Chickpea Cider Stew

  • 1 1/2 c dry chickpeas, rinsed and picked through in case of small stones
  • 2 apples, cored and chopped
  • 6-8 yukon gold potatoes, chunked into large pieces
  • 5-6 whole carrots, sliced
  • 2t salt
  • 3 c apple cider
  • 2 c vegetable broth
1. In a large crockpot, layer all ingredients from top-down.  I left the peels on everything and you would never notice.
2. Place crockpot on low for 8-10 hours, or until chickpeas are tender.

The chickpeas cook in the cider and soak up the delicious, sweet flavor.  The apples completely cook down so just their flavor is left and the potatoes and carrots are perfectly tender.  It was nice to start off with dry chickpeas (read: no prep) and end up with a deliciously cooked and flavored meal!  I was worried before I left that it was going to end up boiling over since it was so full – I even drove home at lunchtime to take a peek!  Luckily, it was for nothing (well, I got to see Croz for a couple minutes 😉 ).  The stew didn’t cook over, the chickpeas just displaced some of the liquid.  It was a perfect weeknight meal!  Extremely easy prep in the morning as well – you can even have everything chopped up and ready to throw together in the morning!   (Just be sure to NOT soak the beans in anything overnight – the cooking process is enough to rehydrate the dry beans).

falling for meatless monday

In my mind, August is always unbearably hot and so humid you can almost see the water in the air.  Something is definitely different this year.  The mornings and the evenings are cool and crisp, making it seem more like fall than mid-summer.  I even had to forego my Tae-Bo dvd this morning for a walk outside to enjoy the outdoors!  Naturally, my fall taste buds have kicked into high gear.  Good thing we always keep a supply of pumpkin in our pantry!

Kinley actually came up with this recipe – we didn’t even know what we were going to make until tonight and we had all the ingredients to pull this together.  Easy peasy.  Pumpkin in the sauce and pepitas on top.

Gluten Free Chickpea and Pumpkin Pasta

  • 1 can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling, just pure pumpkin)
  • 1 c water
  • 1/2 c vegetable broth
  • 1 1/4t italian seasoning
  • 1t onion powder
  • 1t garlic powder
  • 1t sucanat or organic sugar
  • 1/8t nutmeg
  • 1/4t cinnamon
  • 1/4t cumin
  • salt, to taste
  • red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 8oz brown rice pasta
1. Mix together all of the ingredients except for the chickpeas and the pasta.
2. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding the chickpeas for the last few minutes.
3. Boil water and cook pasta according to directions.  Drain and rinse with hot water (helps the gluten free pasta not stick together.
4. Put the pasta back into the pot and add the sauce.  Stir to combine and heat through.
So simple.  So delicious.
I know Fall will be here before I know it and in some ways I’m excited.  Apple orchards, pumpkin fields, beautiful fall colors, and of course my birthday.  But Fall, I’m not quite ready for you yet.  Give me a few more weeks of summer, please.

chickpea reci{peas}

I absolutely love chickpeas.  Or garbanzo beans.  Whatever you’d like to call them.  I have even started eating them straight out of the can – well, after draining at least.  Is that weird?  Even if it is, I don’t care.  If chickpeas are in something, you can guarantee I’m going to love it.  Chickpeas have often popped up here from time to time…

Whether it was a trio of {hummus recipes}…

In a beans grain green recipe {honey-mustard millet & Beans}…

Served on top of Injera at an {Ethiopian restaurant}…

Added to the delicious {Strawberry Pesto Pasta Salad} by Daily Garnish

Let’s not forget how good it is on {gluten-free vegan pizza} either…

And last but certainly not least how awesome chickpeas made Oh She Glow’s {Heat Wave Summer Salad}…

Obviously, we go through a lot of chickpeas, and this recipe makes them go quite fast as well.  It does slow you down from just eating them from the can however ;).

{Spicy* Baked Chickpeas}

  • 1 can chickpeas (sometimes referred to as garbanzo)
  • 1T grapeseed oil (or olive oil)
  • 1/2t paprika
  • 1t cumin
  • 1/8t cayenne pepper
  • 1/4t black pepper
  • 1/2t salt

*The recipe wasn’t actually that spicy, so adjust the spices accordingly.

1. Drain the chickpeas.  Place into a plastic bag.

2. Add the oil into the bag and toss to coat.

3. Sprinkle in the spices and roll around until all the little chickpeas are covered.

4. Bake in a 400* oven for 30-45 minutes, turning occasionally.  Make sure to not burn them.  Mine burnt due to a too high of oven (the temp is adjusted here), but they were still all eaten within a matter of days.

Feel free to play around with the spices to change the flavorings or spicy-ness.  You really can’t go wrong.

Oh my chickpeas.

easy vegan pizza toppings

What’s better than an easy to throw together pizza for dinner on my first day of work?  Nothing that I can think of anyways.  I think I’ll put together a post of my favorite things at work so far tomorrow, but I want to keep tonight’s post relatively nice + simple.  And oh hey, it’s Monday so it’s time for another Meatless Monday idea!  Remember my Veggie Fried Rice or my Meatless Monday on the Grill?  Well, it’s just gotten a whole lot simpler!

Without having gluten in my diet, pizza is one thing that I have missed, especially for busy days where all I feel like is ordering up a delivery pizza.  Luckily, I found Sami’s Bakery.  Their Millet & Flax goodies are absolutely delicious and there is a store nearby that carries a lot of their products, such as bread, bagels, wraps and PIZZA CRUST!  They come frozen so I can have them on hand at any time.  Now, it’s not exactly like regular pizza crust, but it’s not extremely thin either, which I think a lot of gluten free crusts end up being.  And I am not a thin-crust kind of girl, I much prefer the hand-tossed variety.  Well, no matter what crust you end up getting you can still make a delicious vegetarian (and even vegan!) pizza on a busy meatless Monday in your home!  (Or even as a late-night pizza snack if that’s what you’re up for.)

BBQ Chick’n Pizza

1. Prepare your crust accordingly.

2. Drain the chickpeas and toss in some bbq sauce.  Also spread some extra bbq sauce on the crust itself.

3. Top the pizza with the chickpeas + bbq sauce and the rest of your toppings.  Why the random toppings on this pizza?  Well our garden is just flourishing!

4. Feel free to top with any cheese or non-dairy cheese, or even just some nutritional yeast.  I ate it as-is and it was extremely delicious!

5. Bake according to your crust directions until done (pretty exact, I know 😉 ).

Other topping options?

  • pizza sauce (Trader Joe’s)
  • peppers
  • onions
  • tomatoes
  • spinach
  • olives
  • mushrooms
  • tofu
  • tempeh
  • fried eggs (no, I am not kidding)

You can really have fun with this meal, especially if you have friends or kids around.  Just have a handful of toppings and sauces available for them to be able to choose their own combination!

No matter what topping you decide to go with, it will be delicious and such a nice option for any meatless weeknight meal!

these are a few of my favorite things

Guest Post by Kinley Weaver, Sister

And no, I promise I won’t break out into song and start singing songs from the Sound of Music (hear raindrops on roses and wiskers on kittens…), but I am pretty sure my mom has a nice Beta tape with me singing that in church when I was about 4, so seek her out if you really want to hear it :D.

But anyways, as you read this, Kels and I will be partaking in one of my favorite things, refueling after a long run!  But I am here today to offer a guest post on another of my favorite items in the world… hummus!

I have no recollection of when my love for hummus started, but I think it is safe to say we have been tight for the last 10+ years ;).  If any resturant we go to has hummus, it’s a pretty safe bet that I WILL be ordering that hummus as either an appetizer or just not even pretending and scarfing it down for my main meal.  But despite my love for homemade hummus/restaurant made hummus, I have never really found a packaged store-bought hummus that satisfies my criteria for good hummus!  Maybe it has something to do with the overprocessessyness of it and how long it sits on the shelves??  Who knows, but since I currently cannot live without hummus at least once per week, I have had to create a recipe of my own that I can whip up and chow down on, so here it is!

Don’t worry, I don’t eat THAT much hummus in a week, I used this to make enough (and then some) hummus for the Sissy’s grad party a few weeks back.

Ingredients

  • 1 16 oz can organic garbanzo beans (read the label and make sure they are not putting anything weird in the can as you are going to need the gravy), peeled or 2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (from dried), peeled
  • 1/4 cup reserved liquid from the garbanzo bean can or if using homemade, reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid
  • Juice of 1/2 of a lemon or 1-2T lemon juice
  • 1/4-3/4 tsp cumin (the more cumin, the more bite this will have. I like it somewhere in the heavy 1/2 tsp range)
  • 1/2 Tbsp garlic powder (can go for more or less, you can also use fresh garlic but I really HATE the smell and taste of raw garlic so I much prefer the powder)
  • 1-2 Tbsp Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Additional salt to taste

Plus, if you are feeling fancy, any mix in ideas you want to try i.e. olives, carmelized onions, sun dried tomatos, pesto, other spices/herbs, etc (I am currently a big fan of adding 1/2 Tbsp honey and 1/2 tsp curry powder – skip the cumin in this one)

Now on to the annoying part,

Step 1: Peeling the banzos!

This may seem super tedious and rather annoying and if you are not as commited to hummus as I am, an optional step that CAN be skipped, but I am not going to do that because the end result is sooooo much better when you do this!  Drain and rinse your beans and set yourself up with the empty can and a bowl.  Take each bean and remove the little outer skin that surrounds the meat by gently pinching/rolling the bean between your fingers.  You will probably even see a few loose “skins” in your bowl if you have rinsed your beans thoroughly.  Place your “skins” in the empty can and your “meat” in the bowl.  Once this very annoying but very crucial (to me) step is completed, you are on to…

Step 2: Make the hummus base!  Add the peeled beans, reserved liquid, lemon juice, cumin and garlic powder to your food processessor.  Blend for a good minute, scrapping the sides down 2-3 times. You will know you are ready for step 3 when you no longer see any chunks in your hummus.

Step 3: Emulsify!  I suppose if you were really not into having a little healthy fat in your diet, you could stop right here and eat away, but I really love the extra creamyness and flavor adding a little oil brings.  (Plus, I prefer to skip the tahini in my base recipe to reduce the extra fat as I find it does not add enough flavor/texture for me to shell out $6+ for a container of it! – so this recipe is already a bit healthier than most).  Be ready to turn your processor on and leave it on for this step.  I normally measure out my oil in a little dish and have it ready to pour.  Then, turn on the machine and slowly drizzle your oil down the feed chute of your food processor until you can tell the hummus has emulsified and has creamed and whipped up.  I normally let this go about another minute or so.  If will be visibly fluffy if you have done this correctly :D.

Step 4: Try really hard not to eat this all in one sitting, your family members will thank you!  Also, note to self, keep mints in your drawer at work so all your co-workers are not forced to smell your stanky garlic breath EVERY day at work!

As for dippers, my current favorites are tortilla chips, carrots, green peppers, spoons, broccoli and cucumbers. I also am quite found of hummus sandwiches, especially hummus, broccoli and tempeh sandwiches.  (Please don’t judge until you try!  But I am currently experimenting with a wheat free diet for awhile so this will have to be cleared off the menu plan for the time being 😦 ).  Hummus also makes a delicious salad dressing or topper for pretty much any meal!  So I hope now you don’t think me completely insane for ranting on and on about a bean dip, but once you try this, you probably will want to as well!

And did I forget to mention that my post-race refueling is hopefully including PUMPKIN HUMMUS??? Excited!!!

one “pot” wonder

Rice cookers are a wonderful thing.  I had never had one growing up, and was never the biggest fan of plain rice.  Well… I recently found out that rice cookers are not just for rice anymore.

A few mornings a week, rice cookers are used for steel-cut oats.

And a few nights a week rice cookers are used for various grains.  I have yet to make rice in it.  Although I do believe today is the day ;).

Going back to grains, dinner on Tuesday night was a random combination of stuff we had in the pantry and in the freezer, but it turned out really good.  It even makes delicious leftovers served cold!

I started by cooking millet in the rice cooker.  1 cup millet + 2 cups water, cooked for 25 minutes.  Let sit for another 20 or so minutes and then fluff with a fork.

Add in a mixture of your favorite beans and vegetables (I slightly warmed some kidney beans, chickpeas and lima beans from the freezer, and then added fresh spinach), and then tossed in with the millet in the rice cooker which was still on the warm setting.  Also add in 1/2 cup liquid (vegetable stock in this case).

Close the lid and keep warm in the rice cooker until you are ready to eat.  I think this got left for 45 minutes to an hour, the beans were still slightly frozen when I added them and they  heated up perfectly.

Once we were ready to eat – a simple vinaigrette was made to add to the rice cooker.  3/4T mustard + 1T honey + 1T vinegar +1T oil.  We also topped with hummus for an added protein punch.

Simple and delicious.  Only one pot to clean.  And infinite possibilities with variations of grains, vegetables and sauces.