Monday, September 28, 2009

Honey Mustard Chickpeas

This recipe has been a favorite of our family. I've made it like the basic recipe here or added vegetables to our liking or according to what I had on hand at the time to fill it out a bit more. Some of you may recognize this as a non-vegetarian recipe in the More With Less cookbook.

I have three ways to prepare this dish: baking, stove top, or crockpot. See my vegetable variation below the basic recipe as follows. You can add tofu (bean curd) for another variation. Enjoy!

Honey Mustard Chickpeas

1/3 cup oil (I have used part coconut oil and part extra virgin olive oil)
1/3 cup honey (more or less, depending on how sweet you like it)
2 Tablespoons prepared mustard (any kind)
1 teaspoon salt or seasoned salt
1 teaspoon curry powder (or more)
4-5 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained (reserve liquid)

Stir to combine all ingredients. Add liquid to almost cover chickpeas and any vegetables that you decide to add (see below). It can be reserved chickpea cooking liquid, veggie broth, pasta or potato cooking water, or any combination of these, etc. This will produce a nice liquid to keep everything moist. It works very well if you are serving the chickpeas with rice or other cooked whole grain, or pasta. You can use a slotted spoon and keep the extra liquid for another meal, however you like. The amount of liquid you had will decide how moist or dry this dish will be. You can find out what you like best. (Please comment how your family likes this dish.)

Recipe can be multiplied.

To bake:
Bake in 350 degree F oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Stove top:
Cook in medium size saucepan on medium low until heated through. If desired you can continue cooking on low for longer to allow flavors to blend.

Heat on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 8-10 hours. The great thing about a crockpot is that your schedule can determine how long you cook this dish. It just needs to be heated through, but flavor is better with longer slower cooking.

Vegetable Variation

In addition to the chickpeas you can add vegetables. Using the vegetables you like in the amounts you like, will greatly enhance this dish. Some that we have used in the past (all or some of the following):

onions, sliced or chopped
cabbage, chopped
garlic, whole cloves or coarsely chopped
zucchini, chopped
bell peppers, chopped
green beans, cut into 1 inch lengths
carrots, shredded or chopped
celery, chopped

Though not necessary, sometimes when I add vegetables (especially onions and garlic), I saute them first in a skillet, using the oil in the original recipe, before adding to the other ingredients. Then proceed as usual. When adding 3 cups of vegetables or more, you may want to double your sauce ingredients (all but the chickpeas in the original recipe) for more flavor.

Another Indian tip I learned a few years ago while my husband was at seminary...When adding vegetables to saute, first heat the oil, then add your curry powder, stirring to cook a little, then add your onions, etc... to give it an even better flavor.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Spices...In The Round

Moving into a different home recently has put me into organizing mode once again. I am always wanting to try new ways of doing things to see if I like something better. But since some ideas can be pricey to try out, I stick to new ways that don't cost anything first.

One of my usual organizing dilemmas, the kitchen, has me wondering two months later if I still have it right. I am in there quite a bit, so I'm always thinking about the best solutions. For example, I have had my herbs and spices organized two different ways (other than my usual) since moving here and I still don't like it. So this week I'm pulling out my organizing friend once again. Good 'ole Miss Lazy Susan. It certainly does a great job at keeping my bottles in order.

I have two double tiered lazy susans that hold my herb and spice bottles. Since I make a lot of my own herb and spice blends for cooking, I have quite a collection. A few years ago, I decided to buy bottles that were the same size, so I purchased two dozen amber spice bottles to start with. I ordered them through our local food co-op store. They were only a little more than one dollar each purchased this way. Since then I have bought two more dozen to keep up with my growing collection. Although I don't use them all, I very nearly do with experimenting with new herbs and spices here and there.

To keep things organized, I made very simple labels. I made a list (Allspice, Bay Leaf, Cinnamon, etc...) on my computer using a font I liked and then spaced the list 2 or 3 spaces apart down the page. I then cut them apart and neatly taped them onto my bottles with clear packing tape.

You can organize alphabetically or in groups of most used together (cinnamon, cloves, and ginger together and/or basil, oregano, and thyme together, etc...). No more searching high and low for the herb or spice I want, digging back into cupboards with odd sized bottles here and there.

The nice thing is, I can refill my bottles by going straight to the local food co-op (a different one now) and getting just the amount I need from their bulk spices without extra packaging. They weigh the empty bottle for me and then again after I've refilled the bottle for the price.

It was fun to create this homemaking project. I really love how my collection looks and it's organized too. Not only pretty, but practical too.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Go Paperless

Living in a home means having bills. Electric bills, gas bills, phone bills, water bills, and all manner of other services that come to mind. Then there's insurance and bank statements and such. And that usually means paper... invited or not, there is a way to make it easier.

For regular utilities, why not sign up for paperless bills online? You can even get bank statements online. You can keep notices and important papers filed right in a web based email account (so you can access it from any computer with internet) and never worry about having to file beyond that. When and if needed, go and print what you need if you need proof of payment.

Having less paper come into my house means less work for me. Sure I have paper files for the few things that do come in for utilities for example. It's a very thin file and if I wanted to eliminate that, I could even scan and "file" those things on a computer...and still be able to print those out, if it ever becomes necessary.

Check out for a easy way to pay regular bills. They even have a way for you to schedule your payment based on the best time for you (before the due date, of course). For other bills not listed there, ask the companies that you do business with to see if you can go paperless with them. You save a stamp each time or even save gas if you are used to paying in person.

For questions about privacy, check with each company you deal with for details. Make sure that the sites are protected when it comes to your details and personal information.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Buy Organic

Our potential exposure to chemicals can come from many different sources. The air we breathe, the things we put on our skin and in our hair, the water we drink, the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the building materials in our house, our furniture and list goes on and on. It's everywhere.

There's one thing we can do to limit our exposure. We can buy foods that are organic. I would add that organic is best combined with gmo-free. The Environmental Working Group has a great resource called the Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce. This full list is worth looking at for more information.

The list includes the cleanest foods to buy that have the least residues and the worst foods that have the most residues. The idea is that you can make more informed choices about the produce you buy to choose more "clean" produce and less chemicals. This list is especially helpful if you can't find everything organic. There is a quick guide you can download here from their website.

I hope that you can use this list to help you make the best choices for your family. Children are more sensitive to these chemicals because they are smaller than adults and still actively growing. May we all benefit from healthy choices all through life! =)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sarah's Raw Salsa

The last of the reader's contest entries that I haven't posted before. Enjoy.

Sarah's Raw Salsa

4 tomatoes, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper
1/2 onion
a few cloves of garlic
1/2 cup (or so) fresh cilantro.

Chop in a food processor or blender. Add salt and lime juice to taste. Sometimes I process the tomatoes separately from the rest of the veggies and puree them a little more. Sometimes I put them in all together and leave it a little more chunky. I typically leave the seeds in the pepper and use whole tomatoes. If you seed the pepper you might want more than one to achieve the desired spice level.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Donna's Great Raw Guacamole

Another great contest entry from a reader. Enjoy.

Donna's Great Raw Guacamole

3 ripe avocados, mashed
1 small onion, chopped very fine
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 T chopped fresh cilantro
½ t cumin
¼ t cayenne
¼ t sea salt
fresh juice of one lemon
1 diced Roma tomato (optional garnish)

Mix together, chill for 20 to 30 minutes and serve. Great served with raw veggie sticks!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Lisa's Raw "Ranch" Dressing

Another really yummy raw idea from a reader's contest entry. Enjoy.

Lisa's "Ranch" Dressing

1 cucumber-diced
1/2 lemon-juiced
1/2 cup oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp dill
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Blend in blender until combined and refrigerate for 1/2 hour before using. Tastes just like ranch dressing without dairy or mayo.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Kristi's Raw Green Energy Drink

Another reader's contest entry. Enjoy.

Kristi's Raw Green Energy Drink

1 cup cucumber juice
1/2 cup kale juice
1/2 cup celery juice
dash of lime juice

(Blog author note: this requires the use of a juicer that can handle leafy greens.)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Tiffani's Raw Herb Stuffed Mushrooms

Another (really yummy and creative idea) reader's contest entry. Enjoy.

Tiffani's Raw Herb Stuffed Mushrooms

1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup soaked sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup chopped mushroom stems
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 red pepper
2 green onions
1 tsp Herbs de Provence
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tbs lemon juice
3 sundried tomatoes, rehydrated
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 packages button mushrooms
olive oil for brushing mushrooms

Preparation: De-stem and clean mushrooms. Brush with olive oil. Set aside. Process nuts and coconut together until light and almost fluffy. Do not over process. Add remaining ingredients and pulse chop until well blended. Stuff mushroom caps. Eat or dehydrate for 2-4 hours at 115F.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Zelda's Raw Carrot Cashew Dip

Today I am visiting my reader's comments and sharing with you some entries from my contest I had last December. Enjoy.

Zelda's Raw Carrot Cashew Dip

PLEASE NOTE all measurements are approximate.

1 1/2 cups chopped raw carrots
1 cup raw cashews
large handful fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped raw organic broccoli (organic tastes different than non-organic)
1 clove garlic
1-2 in piece of fresh ginger root
juice from 1/2 organic lime (organic tastes different)
sea salt to taste
black peppercorns to taste
slight amount of spring water if needed for desired consistency
green onions chopped for garnish

Place all ingredients except green onions in blender and blend. Enjoy with whatever you typically "dip". For me, it's veggies since I'm gluten free.

(Blog author note: it helps to have a powerful blender for this dip.)