Tuesday, February 21, 2012

falafel is my favorite

falafel is my favorite meal. after many failed attempts at cooking this at home, i think i've finally perfected a no-fail recipe that i'm so excited to share with you.

just remember, if you skip a step or don't follow directions exactly, you'll end up with a pile of burnt crumbs floating in your cooking oil.

[at least that's what happened to me the first several tries.]

falafel {mediterranean chickpea patties}

1 cup dry chickpeas
1 small onion
5 cloves of garlic
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1 bunch fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt (or more. i like more)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons flour
Oil for frying

1. soak the chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) in plenty of water overnight.
2. in a large food processor, combine onions, garlic, parsley and cilantro. add the chickpeas and spices and chop until you have a pasty mixture. mix in the flour and baking powder, which will make the mix into more of a dough.
3. cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. after waiting patiently for at least two hours (it's important!), remove the falafel mix from the refrigerator.
4. in a large pot, heat up vegetable oil for frying, careful not to let it smoke too much. to form the falafel balls, I use a medium-sized pampered chef scoop, probably about 2 tablespoons, and form the mixture into a patty shape. it takes just a couple of minutes to deep fry each side. remove onto some paper towels. 
5. i serve with red onion, tomato and a yogurt cucumber sauce. my kids like theirs in pitas, but i like mine without. this recipe serves 4-5 people (about 20 balls) and i always double it and freeze the leftovers.

muhummara is a middle eastern dipping sauce with a roasted red pepper and pomegranate molasses base. i tried it for the first time several weeks ago and it is my new favorite thing. you can order the pomegranate molasses from amazon for a pretty reasonable price. i highly recommend it! [enough to use an exclamation point.] this recipe is so easy, just a matter of tossing in ingredients into a food processor. that's it. you could even use a blender if you don't have a food processor yet.


a 7-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained*
2/3 cup fine fresh bread crumbs
1/3 cup walnuts
2 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1. combine all ingredients except oil in food processor. mix well. [i actually chopped an old dinner roll first to get my 2/3 cups bread crumbs, then added the rest of the ingredients].
2. add oil slowly with mixer going until oil is incorporated.
3. you can serve this dip with pita wedges or like we did, with hearts of romaine.

*to save you some grocery store wandering, you can find these by the jarred olives, peppers and pickles.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

fresh courage take

From Brené Brown's TED talk The Power of Vulnerability:

Shame is really easily understood as the fear of disconnection. "Is there something about me that, if other people know it or see it, that I won't be worthy of connection?" The things I can tell you about [shame]: it's universal; we all have it. The only people who don't experience shame have no capacity for human empathy or connection.

Courage, the original definition of courage, when it first came into the English language came from the Latin word cor, meaning heart and the original definition was to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.

[I've found in my research that people who were resilient to shame] had, very simply, courage. The courage to be imperfect. They were willing to let go of who they thought they should be in order to be who they were. They fully embraced vulnerability. They believed that what made them vulnerable  made them beautiful. They talked about the willingness to say, "I love you" first, the willingness to do something where there are no guarantees. They're willing to invest in a relationship that may or may not work out.

This is what I have found: to let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen; to love with our whole hearts, even though there's no guarantee, to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror, when we're wondering, "Can I love you this much? Can I believe in [something] this passionately? Can I be this fierce about this?" just to be able to stop and say, "I'm just so grateful, because to feel this vulnerable means I'm alive."

This has been a week of private sorrows followed by, as it always happens, some heaven-sent help in a desperate and dark hour. This time, in the form of my BYU Alumni magazine that had been sitting on my nightstand for weeks and weeks.

So many tender mercies. So much patience and long-suffering extended on my behalf.

From the article His Grace Is Sufficient by Brad Wilcox:

“Grace shall be as your day”—what an interesting phrase. We have all sung it hundreds of times, but have we stopped to consider what it means? “Grace shall be as your day”: grace shall be like a day. As dark as night may become, we can always count on the sun coming up. As dark as our trials, sins, and mistakes may appear, we can always have confidence in the grace of Jesus Christ. Do we earn a sunrise? No. Do we have to be worthy of a chance to begin again? No. We just have to accept these blessings and take advantage of them. As sure as each brand-new day, grace—the enabling power of Jesus Christ—is constant. Faithful pioneers knew they were not alone. The task ahead of them was never as great as the power behind them.

From the hymn God Moves in a Mysterious Way by William Cowper:

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

So, gird up your loins my friends. We can make it together.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

winter running playlist

hello friends! this winter's been unseasonably warm here and i've enjoyed more than a few outdoor winter runs.

amazing. i'm feeling like we've cheated mother nature with a beautiful summer, long fall, and now this.

here's my winter playlist. click here for a sample. ;-)

1. Feeling Without Touching - Glass Candy
2. Paradise - Coldplay
3. Do It Again - Holy Ghost!
4. Normandie - Shout Out Louds
5. Verona - Geographer
6. Trojans - Atlas Genius
7. Mixtapes - Plushgun
8. Walk This Way featuring Aerosmith - Run DMC
9. Safer Than Love - Bell X1
10. Called Out In The Dark - Snow Patrol
11. Swing Tree - Discovery
12. Eyes As Candles - Passion Pit
13. All Of This - Naked and Famous
14. Block After Block - Matt & Kim
15. After Midnight - Blink-182
16. Anyway You Choose To Give It - The Black Ghosts
17. Punching In A Dream - Naked and Famous
18. Girl - Beck
19. Beatbox - Sounds
20. Lazy Eye - Silversun Pickups
21. Night Winds - Geographer
22. Hummingbird - The Weepies
23. Derezzed - Daft Punk