Finding and creating adventures in everyday life.


Tasty Tuesday – Falafel

When I lived in London, on Sundays after church, my friends and I had a few places that were favorites to go for lunch. Going underneath the Thames through the Greenwich Tunnel to Greenwich for noodles at a noodle house or nachos at the Tex Mex place were near the top of the list. I think the place we went most often, though, was Old Spitalfields Market. When I was living in Bethnal Green, it wasn’t quite as cool and trendy as it is now, but there were definitely great places to go. Old Spitalfields Market was such a great place to browse – they had/have market stalls that feature local artisans and crafts people as well vintage goods and antiques, clothes and a wonderful assortment of really random stuff. My husband and I actually had a couple of local jewelry designers who had a stall at Spitalfields make my wedding ring.

oldmarketuse2 OX068374_942longThe other great thing about Spitalfields was the great food vendors. Kebabs, curries, noodles, Eastern European and of course, falafel. It was one of my absolute favorites. All that to say, I was craving some falafel recently. So I thought I would give it a go and see if I could make my own. I was a bit intimidated because I thought it was more complicated than it actually is.

It’s super easy! Who knew?

I was originally going to try baking it and I used this recipe as my inspiration. I ended up just frying it in a fry pan using a bit of cooking spray so it wasn’t deep-fried.

Basically, in a food processor, you mix together some garbanzo beans (chick peas), a bit of flour, some spices, fresh herbs, lemon juice and ta da – you have falafel. I made little patties, fried them for a bit and we were ready to go.

October 2014 141 October 2014 142 October 2014 143I made some cucumber sauce to go with it by blending some cucumber, greek yogurt, dill, lemon juice, salt and pepper. I didn’t actually measure anything for the sauce – just made it to taste.

October 2014 150 October 2014 148I served the falafel with pita bread, a cucumber/tomato salad (I used the cucumber sauce as a dressing), lettuce, goat cheese and green onion. Let me tell you, my falafel craving has been satisfied! It was so good, if I do say so myself.

October 2014 147 October 2014 153 October 2014 149 October 2014 152 October 2014 156I love how tastes are so tied up with memories and how food can take you back to places you’ve been and even transport you to places you’ve never been to. And I also have to say, as I was thinking back to London, looking at some of my photos, I really miss it. I think it’s good to miss things though – it means that place, that person, that time was good. Right now, I’m where I’m supposed to be, but I am so thankful for my years in London and I can’t wait to take my boys there.

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Tasty Tuesday – Cauliflower Fried Rice

This is one of my favorite, fairly recent finds. I’ve made it enough times now that I no longer use a recipe and I’ve adapted it so that it’s quick and easy, using whatever I happen to have in my fridge at the time.

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To start, I use any suitable vegetables I happen to have on hand – in this case, I used carrots and onions, but you can use bell peppers, zucchini (courgettes), cabbage, celery – pretty much whatever takes your fancy. I put a bit of coconut oil and sesame oil in a wok and get the vegetables softening and caramelizing. While that’s happening I take some cauliflower and put it through the grater option on my food processor – just enough to “rice” it.

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Once the vegetables are softened, I add the cauliflower to the wok. Then I start with flavors – again, you can throw in anything you have on hand. I tend to use soy sauce, some fish sauce and sometimes a bit of hoisin sauce if I want it a bit sweeter. Mix it all together, cook over medium high heat until the cauliflower has soaked up all the flavors and become tender and you’re done! Easy peasy!

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I served it here with some tilapia. So tasty and good for you.

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Tasty Tuesday – Ham and Corn Soup

Over the holiday season I stocked up on a couple of hams when they were super cheap – 99 cents a pound? Yes, please. That means that when I cook one up, we’ll pretty much be eating off of it for a week. We had the ham when I first cooked it and then we had breakfast a couple of times and then I made some ham and corn soup. I found this recipe on Pinterest.

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I made a few changes to the recipe and wasn’t very careful in following exact measurements. I also used a slow cooker so it was cooking all day long. I think this recipe would be great if you cooked it on the stove in a short amount of time, but I love the depth of flavor that comes from all day cooking. I used onion instead of green pepper. I didn’t use parsley, simply because I didn’t have any and I only used canned corn.

I got a Ninja cooking system for Christmas and I love it. One of my least favorite things about crock pot cooking is having to brown meat or vegetables in a pan on the stove and then transfer it to the crock pot. With the Ninja, I can do it all in one pot. Love it! It also claims on the box that I will rule the kitchen – I’ve always wanted to try out this royalty thing.

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I garnished my soup with a bit of shredded cheese, some French fried onions and some green onions. It was so tasty and comforting and satisfying. Yummo!

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I served biscuits with the soup and we made homemade butter as a family. It’s so easy. We put some heavy cream in a jar and just shook it until it goes past the whipped cream stage and suddenly, you have butter and buttermilk. I drained the buttermilk, rinsed the butter a bit and added some salt. It was lovely.

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On New Year’s Eve, I made the mistake of trying to make butter using only full fat milk. I looked it up on the interwebs and they said you could use regular milk. I shook and shook and shook and we never got any butter. I shook that jar for hours! I also had the worst sore muscle pain I have ever had, it was awful. Nearly crying awful, pain meds not touching it awful. So we’re going to stick with heavy cream from now on when we want to make butter. Of course, as my husband said, we can always just use the stick of butter that is in the fridge.

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Tasty Tuesday – Roast Cauliflower and Zucchini Lasagna

OK, I have to admit, neither of these things is particularly appealing at the moment. Maybe if I didn’t have to cook them in my 80+F house I’d be into it. There are a few weeks out of the year when I long for air conditioning!

However, in the days before the heat wave, these were both lovely dishes.

I have always been a broccoli girl. I will eat cauliflower, but I haven’t really enjoyed it. Too bland. That all changed when I found a recipe for roasting it. Oh my. It is so good. The roasting gives it a bit a carmelization and heaps more flavor. We’ve had it several times this way and I don’t think I can go back to steaming. So tasty!

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I also recently made Zucchini Lasagna. I used to do a meatless meal once a week, but hadn’t done so for a while. The last few weeks, I’ve reinstituted the plan and it’s great. This lasagna was terrific. I wanted to try out some of the vegetarian fake meat so I used that instead of ground beef or turkey. It tasted good, but still has a surprising number of calories – in the future I will probably just stick with vegetables only or add real meat.

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The lasagna was rich and flavorful – I’ll definitely make it again.

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Now I just need how to feed my family without cooking for the rest of the summer!

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Tasty Tuesday – Easter Feast

My family usually plans at least one great, celebratory meal when we get together. Between my Mom, my Sister and me, we come up with a menu and divvy it up. This year for Easter, my Mom found some amazing recipes and we had so much fun putting this meal together.

March 2013 653March 2013 810Grandma and the boys had a great time making and decorating cupcakes and sugar cookies.

March 2013 648Zane may have enjoyed the cookie making more than the others!

March 2013 811Our Easter table.

March 2013 744I made Scotch Eggs. I’ve only seen Scotch Eggs one time in the States. In an English pub and they were asking $9! So glad to find this very simple recipe. Instead of frying them, I baked them at 325F for 30 minutes – even better! They were so yummy and I can satisfy my craving for this UK food. They may be almost too easy to make. The Pickled Eggs and Beets that my Mom made were so good. They were a nice counterpoint to the saltier foods we had – I loved them with the ham.

March 2013 809My Mom also made Artichoke and Egg Dip. It was lovely – would be great for a party!

March 2013 812The Asparagus and Ham Stuffed Potatoes were amazing. Just amazing.

March 2013 813March 2013 814There was also ham and super greens salad from Costco.

March 2013 742My sister works at a bakery and they made some amazing hot cross buns which are one of my favorite Easter traditions. So good!

March 2013 815Here’s to good food, celebrations and time with family!

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Challenge # 3 Pork Loin with Fennel, Olives, and Sun Dried Tomatoes

I am not being super adventurous with my recipes at the moment since I can’t buy any new ingredients until April. I’m working with what I have & only buying fresh fruits & vegetables & even then nothing too exotic as I am trying to make my $20 stretch!

Anyway, this recipe was originally meant to be made with mackerel, but I didn’t have any & I thought it would be good with pork. You can find the recipe here.

I loved the combination of fennel, olives & sun dried tomatoes. So yummy & it went well with the pork. My boys ate some of it, but weren’t over-enthusiastic though they loved the pork.

Pork Loin with Fennel, Olives & Sun Dried Tomatoes

For details of this challenge, click here.