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Mediterranean Summer Salad

Long time no see! The last few months since I started my new job I have been trying to play catchup in life and have not been very inspired to cook. This usually happens when I start a new employment until I start to get into a routine. But as of late I’ve been eating out a lot and finally am getting sick of it. So now I’m creating. 🙂
Last night I threw together an experiment and hoped for the best. Thankfully it was a winner! 😀 Thankfully it’s really easy to make as well. The flavors in this salad are perfect for summer as it’s very fresh and light. This dish was inspired by a conversation about the Mediterranean Diet someone at work has been on lately. I think I might look more into it!

I call for “cans of”, but if you want to put in the extra time to cook your garbanzo beans I made mine in a “beyond rice, cooker” crockpot so it could soak for 3-4 hours and then cook for a minimum of 3 hours. I cooked mine in water, pink hymilian salt, and dropped a vegetable bouillon cube in for added protein and flavor.
Give it a try and plan a picnic on a beautiful day. I paired this with red lentils and green beans. Rinse and cook red lentils in chicken broth for 10 minutes, adding onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and 1/2 – 1 tsp dried thyme. Once cooked, add in cooked and drained green beans, and a little olive oil and that’s it. It packs a lot of protein in these two dishes and no meat had to be thawed (which is the main reason I barely eat meat…lack of planning lol!)
So now on to the recipe! 🙂

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Mediterranean Summer Salad

Ingredients:
• 1 can Garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
• 1 can black olives, drained and sliced
• 1 can artichoke hearts, drained (I got the ones in water to cut the cost)
• 1/4 – 1/2 red onion, diced
• 1 green onion, diced
• Lemon zest of 1 lemon
• Juice of 1/2 a lemon
• Olive Oil to coat (3-5 Tbs)
• 1 Tbs Italian seasoning
• Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and marinate in the fridge overnight. It will taste good when freshly made, but even better if you marinate it.
Serves 4-6

I hope you are enjoying the beautiful spring and cooking fresh homemade meals. It really is an investment to your health to cook instead of eating out. I just feel better when I know what goes into my food instead of hoping I don’t get sick from an ingredient someone forgot to tell me, or cross contamination.
Also a recent change to my diet, I have been off corn for almost six months now if not longer, and cheating doesn’t even appeal to me anymore. It really made a difference in my digestion. When I ate corn it was organic as much as possible, and even that bothered me. Now I am starting to cut out nightshades too. I do notice when I eat potatoes on how much it effects my alertness and pain levels. Potatoes are my #1 comfort food too. But I do want to feel even better than I have been and hopefully one day the weather changes will not effect me as much as it does.
Look forward to more creations coming up and fresh meal ideas.
Thank you also for hanging in there while my life was put on hold.

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Avocado Cilantro Hummus

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Avocado Cilantro Hummus

If you love guacamole then you most certainly will absolutely love avocado cilantro hummus, it is simply wonderful!
I happen to have found a very nice food processor for $53 the other day. It’s a Hamilton Beach one at Le Gourmet Chef store and it has made hummus so much easier for me to make. I have tried making hummus in my vita mixer and it gives it a very grainy texture, because it is a thick mixture and tends to get stuck with the style of blade the vita mix has. The food processor gives hummus a very nice creamy almost whipped texture if that’s what you like.
I started out my day by putting my garbanzo beans in the crockpot on delayed timer for 4 hours and then to cook for 4 hours.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Beyond Rice cooker! (I am becoming an electric gadget queen). I used to work for Pampered Chef, so I have a ton of handheld gadgets, but with my aching back, I need to speed up my time in the kitchen!
It is hard to write this post and nosh on this yummy hummus! Thanks to Siri for helping out. 😉
Let’s quit the small talk and get to the chase.

Ingredients for Soaking the Beans:
• 2 cups dry chickpeas (rinsed)
• 7 cups water or water and broth mix (I was out of broth and my beans still tasted pretty good).
• 2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
• salt, pepper, onion powder, cumin, eyeball it.

Prep Work:
Add all the above ingredients into your crockpot or Beyond Rice cooker and set for 3 to 4 hours delayed time and 3 to 4 hours cook time. Soaking your beans is important because chick peas/garbanzo beans are a very hard bean and takes its sweet time to be ready. You want to make sure that your beans are not hard when you are done because it will give a very sandy texture to your hummus.
When the beans are done cooking I do not drain them because I use the juice in my hummus for the additional flavor.

Ingredients for Hummus:
• 2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (if canned, rinse. If from crockpot method above, don’t rinse).
• 2-3 cloves peeled garlic
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 1 handful cilantro, rinsed
• 1 large avocado
• 2 Tbs water (I used mine from my crockpot bean juice)
• 3/4 to 1 tsp sea salt
• 1/2 to 3/4 tsp cumin
• 1/8 or more cayenne (depends on your level of spice).

Magic happens Here:
Add all the hummus ingredients above into the food processor and pulse or blend until everything is mixed together. If you are nervous about the amount of lemon juice or spices, start with a little bit and add more as you go along. Taste test to see if you need any extra ingredients because the original recipe I was going from was very bland.
Do not worry that you put salt in your beans when they were soaking and then you’re putting more salt in your hummus. I really needed to add a lot more salt because I started with 1/4 teaspoon in my hummus mix and added maybe 1/2 tsp to my crockpot.
I did not add cayenne to the hummus that I made because my doctor wants me to say away from it right now. But I’m sure it will taste absolutely fabulous with cayenne in it. 🙂
You will have extra beans left over from what you had soaked. That is awesome for another batch in case you devour this one and do not share with anybody else. Sharing is caring. 😉
I had gotten some kale at the farmers market last week but it was a very hot day and it wilted before it got home. So I was going to make my second batch as a kale basil hummus and I’m excited about that. If it is a success I will add the recipe to another blog post. 😀
As I’m eating this hummus and enjoying it very much, I just thought of a good idea of maybe adding a quarter slice of onion next time and it would give it a nice little kick! (I love onion in about all my savory dishes).
I hope you like this recipe and it encourages you to eat clean this autumn and to avoid junk food!
I just recently have tried fresh veggies with my hummus instead of rice crackers and I am loving it! Now I can enjoy cucumber with the rest of the masses. Yea!

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2013 in A day in the life of Jeni, Food and drink

 

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Summer Cold Remedy

Well this week I decided to repeat my soup from last week except I made minor tweaks of adding ginger, lots more garlic (I could smell it when I returned home from my errands) and black eyed peas. It smelled wonderful!!

As the title states, I feel like I’m getting sick…and at the worst possible timing. I thank my co-worker who shared this nasty bug with me. I’ve just been achy all day and felt like my head was going to explode this morning…and my “neglected” bird (he just thinks he’s neglected if I go to the other room without him) was NOT HELPING my headache. I think he knows when to pull on that cord…and you would think he would back off after the first time getting in trouble…maybe that’s where the “bird brain” comes into play…

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Anyway I loaded up on the vitamin C at New Seasons Market. Got some strawberries, Valencia oranges, pink lady apples, and some lemons. I forgot some fresh ginger!! >< DOH!
One other treat I had found instead of cough drops were these organic lemon and honey drops. No artificial anything. I also snagged a pomegranate flavor too. Both taste very yummy, not too sweet to twinge your fillings, but just right!

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Ok, my recipes for this week are not the typicals… They are cold remedies. One is sweet and the other spicy, but it only burns for a few minutes. 😉

First the sweet:
Elderberry Tea
• 2 tsp Sambucus Elderberry Extract
• 1/2 organic fresh squeezed lemon
• 1 tsp RAW honey (local preferred)
• warm purified water

Start warming your water to an almost boil.
Add elderberry extract, honey, lemon juice to a mug of choice, then add the warm water. You could even use a pinch of sea salt to help with the inflammation! But it’s important to not boil the water because it will take away from all the natural antibiotics in the honey and the anti-viral in the elderberry extract.
Drink this about 2-3 times a day depending on if you are preventing or actually feel the sickness coming on.

Now for the spicy:
Cough Remedy
¼ teaspoon Cayenne
¼ teaspoon Ginger (I used powdered)
1 Tablespoon Cider Vinegar (an organic one, like Bragg’s, is preferred.)
2 Tablespoon Water
1 Tablespoon raw local Honey

Dissolve cayenne and ginger in cider vinegar and water. Add honey and shake well. Take 1 Tablespoon as needed for cough. (Warning: warming sensation down your throat!)
Note: this doesn’t dissolve perfectly. Always shake well before using.

If you make this in small batches as the recipe is written, there is no need to refrigerate.
If you prefer, you may refrigerate this. It keeps as long as you need it. I like to make small batches (it is so easy to mix up.) and use it up in a just a few days.

So pick your poison, but I’m gonna beat this as natural as possible. Oh one more potion I’m going to try, (I haven’t tried it yet because I haven’t been sick in a long time). It’s the dōTerra OnGuard essential oil blend and I’m hoping will be the magic key. I just have to get a hold of my rep so I can skip the shipping time. I think they ship pretty fast, but I need this like pronto and don’t want to pay the expedited shipping if you know what I mean.

** hopefully the link for the dōTerra site works, the website was doing maintenance at the time I copied the link. The link I was trying to grab gives a small discount if you make an account, which I think on a single oil covers shipping, but for multiple oils is a better bargain.

 

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Detox Green Smoothie!

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Here’s what I drank today: throw in VitaMix in this order, almond milk, orange & lemon (peeled and quartered), 1/2″ fresh ginger peeled, handful of spinach, bee pollen, chia seeds, spirulina, kelp granules, raw honey, frozen mango. Then blend till green! 😀

It’s quite zippy! But my skin has been feeling like leather lately and it’s time for some natural vitamins to take over!

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The ginger, spirulina, and kelp are really good for anti-inflammatory. The almond milk for protein. The citrus and spinach is good for the skin, and the chia great for intestines. And lastly the bee pollen and raw honey for allergies. 🙂
There you have it, natures cure! So drink up and get healthy! 😀

 
 

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Tropical Fruit Smoothie

After wanting to drink coffee in the mornings so bad, (insomniac here), I got out of the habit of making my (very good for you) smoothies. :-/
So today I had to pull away from the coffee pot (well electric water boiler…I don’t use a coffee pot for just me). And decided to use the fruit that is over ripening in my fridge… Let’s hope it turns out good!!

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So here’s what’s inside:
•1/2 of small cantaloupe cut up
•1 small ripe pear (adds sweetness)
•1/2 lemon (juiced, so it blends smooth)
•1 tsp of raw honey (surprising hard to find in Oregon!?!)
•1 hand size papaya (mine I found out was not as ripe as I thought, this was a new fruit for me to try)
•6 ice cubes (or half a tray)

Then blend on lowest speed working up to high, being sure to push down ice cubes while blending. (disclaimer: NOT with your hands! Use designated tamper tool).
Makes 2 glasses or one “supersized” glass.

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I was surprised actually tasted as good as it did! The pear really added a nice touch and it’s not too tart from lemon.
The combo of lemon and raw honey is good for cold season too! Lots of Vit C and natural antibiotics going on in here!
Drink sloooowly…or you’ll get a brain freeze like me >< Ooooooo!
And be sure to put the sweetness craving birdie back in the cage or you're gonna have a battle on your hands! 😛

healthy quote from: http://www.fitwatch.com/weight-loss/top-7-healthy-orange-fruits-and-vegetables-686.html

"Orange vegetables contain beta-carotene, a form of Vitamin A, which is great for eyesight and eliminating free radicals. The beta-carotene gives the vegetable its orange color.

Papaya contains digestive enzymes, which help break down some of the more difficult foods in our stomach, such as beans, dairy, and even meat. Due to the high fiber content, papaya also helps with constipation and even upset stomach.
• The one thing papaya has been known for around the world is its ability to prevent nausea, including morning and motion sickness if taken in the juice form.
Orange fruits and vegetables are a great way to battle off illness and disease. Combine them with a few servings of dark green vegetables and you have yourself a winning combination."

So I'm not a total meanie…I do let my birdie have the leftovers after I'm done. 🙂

 

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