Spiced Chickpea Wraps

Here is another excellent recipe from the ThugKitchen Cookbook. Let’s do this!

Ingredients:

Tahini Dressing
1/4 cup tahini*
3 tbsp warm water
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp soy sauce or tamari
2 cloves garlic, minced
Spiced Chickpeas
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cups cooked chickpeas**
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Wraps
4 large wraps
Spinach
Cucumber sticks
Carrot sticks

 

 

 

 

 

 

*This is like peanut butter but made out of sesame seeds. It will be near the nut butters or falafel mix at the store
**Two 15-ounce cans if you aren’t simmering that shit yourself

1–To make the dressing, mix all that shit together a small glass until it is smooth and creamy. Set it in the fridge.

2–Now get the chickpeas going. Heat up the olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the chickpeas and fry them until they start to turn gold and pop around a bit. You’ll see what the fuck we mean. This will take 3 to 5 minutes. In a small glass, mix together the lemon juice, maple syrup, and soy sauce. When the chickpeas are looking right, pour the lemon juice mixture over them and stir. Let that shit evaporate for about 30 seconds and then add all the spices. Stir and let them all fry together for another 30 seconds and then turn off the heat.

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Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) ready to be wrapped.

3–Serve these spiced sons of bitches in a wrap with some spinach leaves and thinly sliced carrot and cucumber sticks. Drizzle some dressing over it and wrap that shit up.

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HEAT YOUR WRAP!!! I made the first one without heating the wrap and really regretted it.

OMGhee!

I like butter, a lot. So when I heard I could make butter healthier and still keep the deliciousness, I was pretty sure I was being punk’d. And off I went to the test kitchen (aka my kitchen).

Ghee is not a secret if you are a yogi or a cross fitter or desperately lactose intolerant; it has been around for thousands of years. But if, like me, you are a native midwesterner who was raised on a daily three squares of meat and dairy, than ghee is a bit of a mystery to you.

Here is the deal, ghee is similar to clarified butter (like for crab legs). It is butter from grass fed-and also sacred-cows that has been cooked to remove the milk solids (lactose, whey, and casein) and the water. Ghee  originated in India and is still commonly used in South Asian, Iranian and Arabic cuisines, Ayurvedic medicine, and religious rituals.

Nutritionally, ghee is a more concentrated source of fat than butter since the moisture and the milk solids are removed during its preparation. One tablespoon of ghee has 13 g of fat and 117 calories versus butter, which has 11 g fat and 100 calories per tablespoon.

Why ghee in your kitchen?

  1. Ghee has a higher smoke point than many other “healthy” oils so it is good for frying and sautéing.
  2. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated and has a shelf life of up to 3 months.
  3. It can replace butter for those who are lactose intolerant because the milk solids have been removed.

Why ghee in your body?

  1. It is high in butyrate which is a short-chain fatty acid essential to the colon and the intestinal ecosystem.
  2. Ghee can reduce inflammation when applied to the skin and is used to treat burns in auyrvedic medicine. It can also be used as a skin moisturizer.
  3. This oil is rich in fat soluable vitamins A, D, E, and K.

There are some studies that show this delicious oil may reduce the risks of cancer, lower your cholesterol and support weight loss. But let’s not go crazy here. Keep in mind that it is butter, not magic, and still contains the saturated fats that should be kept to a minimum.

You can buy ghee at most well stocked grocery stores, but I suggest making your own because:

  1. it is easy
  2. if you are thinking about ghee, you have already gone all-in on the health food thing, so you might as well take it to an extremely unnecessary level. That’s how we like to do it around here.

Let’s Make Ghee

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Start with  unsalted butter from grass fed cows. Try not to eat this butter before you turn it into ghee; it is amazing on a spiritual level, as the Hindus already know (even though technically, the butter in the photo is Irish. But whatever). 8 oz of butter makes about 6 oz of ghee when all is said and done.

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Line a sieve with two layers of cheese cloth and strain the oil into a small container. The milk solids will catch in the cheese cloth and the strainer and you should be left with only the oil. If it looks like maybe you still have some milk solids in there (white cloudiness or graininess) strain it again, I did.
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I strained mine twice and then put it into the refrigerator to firm up, but you can leave it on the counter or in your pantry, too.

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Because the chicken sees.

Years ago, when I first started yoga, I noticed that most of the “serious yogis” I met had some fairly specific diets. They were vegan or vegetarian and anti-GMO and pro-biotic. They did detoxes and cleanses and only ate natural unrefined sugars. But why? Was it because they were health and fitness enthusiasts or was there something about yoga that was doing this to them?

I had to do a lot of reading and research to get to an answer that made sense to me because there are a lot of elements involved in answering the question, “what is the yoga diet and, OMG, why?

I came across this story Ram Dass tells while I was researching the yoga diet as prescribed by the old traditional yogis. They believed that a sparse diet consisting of fruits and a few nuts was required to achieve spiritual enlightenment (or hunger hallucinations which may have been mistaken for the astral plane).

The story goes something like this:

A holy man gave two men each a chicken and said, “Go kill them where no one can see.” One guy went behind the fence and killed the chicken. The other guy walked around for two days and came back with the chicken. The holy man said, “You didn’t kill the chicken?” and the guys said, “well, everywhere I go, the chicken sees.”

There seem to be 5 straight forward rules when it comes to eating like a yogi.
1–Don’t eat too much.
2–Eat light, healthy, unadulterated foods which are easily digestible.
3–Eliminate foods with strong flavors and smells and reduce consumption of stimulants like caffeine and booze (um, okay).
4–Be aware of where your food comes from and how it is prepared. Avoid foods that involve violence in the sourcing. Obviously, meat requires some killing but this also applies to harvesting fruit or vegetables from a plant before it has fallen to the ground of its own accord.
5–Consecrate the food before you eat it.

The first three rules seem like what the American Heart Association has been telling us for decades–eat healthy portions of a balanced diet and you will be all set. But in yoga, it is more than that.

Those first three rules are about maintaining the physical body so it is ready and able to complete the eight limbs or stages of yoga in the quest for enlightenment. Inherent in those rules are directions for abstinence, austerity, discipline, generosity, and a breaking of bad habits with the idea being that a self-controlled person can better attain spiritual freedom.

The last two rules about awareness and consecration are clearly spiritual in nature. Most of us are good with consecrating our food before we eat it; in Christianity, that is the equivalent of saying grace at the dinner table. Amen. Done. Let’s eat.

However, remember the dudes with the chickens? Well this is where the vegetarians and vegans get on board. Yoga says that GOD is everyone and everything. He is you and me and the apple tree in the front yard–and that chicken.

In yoga, a violent act is a violent act against GOD, and the chicken sees.

This article originally published on www.groundingup.com.

 

 

Basic Maple Granola Recipe

We like to keep granola on hand, not because we eat it for breakfast, but because it is a great snack and a way to quiet down our sweet tooth without feeling guilty later. So when we came across this granola while cooking our way through the ThugKitchen Cookbook, obviously, we had to try it.

And because this is our little corner of the Internet, we are going to give you our opinion about it, which is that it is way too sweet. Everything else about the recipe is fantastic; but when we make it next time, we will reduce the maple syrup a bit, up the salt, or get crazy and do both.

Ingredients
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup sunflower seeds*
1/2 cup almonds*
1/4 uncooked millet**
1/2 cup maple syrup***
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)****

* Basically, 1 cup of whatever nuts you prefer.
**No millet? Fuck it, just add more oats.
***Legit syrup can get kinda fucking expensive. But so can granola. Save up for the good shit.
****Or use any dried fruit you like.

1  Heat your oven to 300°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with some parchment paper.

2  Mix together the oats, seeds, nuts, and milled in a large bowl

3  In a medium glass bowl, stir together the maple syrup, oil, and vanilla. Pour this all over the oat mixture and stir that shit around until everything looks coated. Add the cinnamon and the salt and stir.

4  Pour all of this evenly over the baking sheet and stick it in the oven for 40 minutes. Stir it every 10 minutes so that it cooks evenly. You’ll know this shit is done when everything looks kinda toasted and the oaks feel crispy instead of damp. Stir in the dried fruit now if you’re using any. Let that all cool on the baking sheet and then store it in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

5   Want to mix it up? Try these nut and fruit combos; almonds and chopped, dried apricots or strawberries; walnuts and dried pears or figs; pecans and dried cherries; peanuts and dried apples or bananas. Just use whateverthefuck sounds good to you.

Thanks to ThugKitchen for the recipe. We didn’t technically ask them for permission to publish their recipe, but those assholes can just fucking get over it.

This article was originally published on www.groundingup.com.

Thug Kitchen Cookbook

Is this racist? Can a vegan cookbook even be racist? I found myself asking that question earlier this week as I thumbed through my latest amazon.com acquisition.

You see, in an effort to shake up our vegetarian cuisine routine in the kitchen, my husband purchased the #1 New York Times Bestselling cookbook, Thug Kitchen: Eat Like You Give Fuckbecause it came highly recommended and we do indeed give a f%@k about what we eat.

A few years back, an anonymously written BLOG called ThugKitchen, featuring vegan recipes and healthy eating tips, where “you can be verbally abused into a healthier diet,” became poplar, prompting the spin-off of a series of cookbooks. Hence, our new cookbook and this BLOG post.

So what is racist about it? Well, the anonymously written content suggests a black male humorously intimidating the reader into preparing a healthy meal. As it turns out, a young white couple living in Los Angeles is standing behind the counter at Thug Kitchen.

This revelation came to light in 2014 prompting the debate: is this harmless inauthenticity designed to encourage healthier living or is it cyber blackface for profit? Is it wrong for two white people to pretend to be black people writing about food?

I’m not going to take a formal position; people can make up their own damn minds. And, while the concept of the cookbook does raise an eyebrow (unless you Botox), it also serves up some really stellar information and recipes in favor of healthy eating for everyone, no matter who you are.

So while the Internet debates just HOW racist this cookbook is, we have decided to try some of the recipes.

Warning: if foul language offends some of your more delicate sensibilities, this cookbook, including the recipe below, is not for you. Turn back now.

TEMPEH PEANUT NOODLES WITH BLANCHED KALE  

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Our notes: This cookbook offers simple recipes that don’t require obscure ingredients, take forever to prepare, or trash your kitchen.

PEANUT SAUCE
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter*
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 teaspoons soy sauce or tamari
1 teaspoon maple syrup or agave syrup
1 teaspoon chili-garlic paste or Asian-style hot sauce (optional**)

NOODLES AND VEGGIES
12 ounces noodles***
6 cups kale, sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 teaspoon grapeseed or refined coconut oil
8 ounces tempeh (Tempeh is not our thing; next time we will use sprouted tofu)
1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup sliced green onions

* Don’t buy peanut butter that has anything other than peanuts, a little oil, and salt listed   as ingredients. Anything else is unfuckingnecessary.
** Optional but you should suck it up and do it.
*** Soba, udon, spaghetti, whatthefuckever.

1–First make the peanut sauce. In a medium glass bowl, whisk together the peanut butter and water until it looks creamy. Add all the other ingredients and keep stirring until everything is incorporated. Simple shit.

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Our notes: We used our stick blender to mix this sauce because that is the only way to emulsify anything in a reasonable amount of time.

2–Now cook the noodles according to the package directions, but use a larger soup pot than usual. In the last 30 seconds of cooking the noodles, add the kale to the pot and stir it into the water to make sure it’s all covered. After 30 seconds, drain the pasta and kale and run it under cold water to stop the cooking process and keep the kale green. That’s called lazy-ass blanching. Some people might say to do that shit in separate pots, but those are usually the motherfuckers who don’t wash their own dishes, so fuck them.

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Our notes: This is a picture of lazy-ass blanching and it is our new favorite kitchen hack. This cookbook paid for itself with this one tip. Sorry for the crappy picture; I’m not a photographer, I work for an insurance company, and I don’t know how to photograph steam.

3–Grab a big wok or skillet and heat up the oil. Crumble in the tempeh in bite-size pieces and saute it around until it starts to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, and garlic and cook it for 30 seconds more. Turn off the heat and add the noodles and three-quarters of the peanut sauce. Mix it all up to make sure everything is covered and that the tempeh is blended into the noodles. Taste it and it isn’t saucy enough for you, add the rest of the sauce now. Otherwise, hold on to that shit because the noodles really absorb the sauce as they sit, so it’s nice to have extra for leftovers. Top with the green onions and serve warm or at room temperature.

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Our notes: This is the finished product. We garnished with chopped peanuts and limes in addition to the scallions because they made it prettier.

Overall, we loved this recipe and will work it into our menu rotation; however, the tempeh, which is fermented soy beans, was a little to funky for us (because it is fermented soy beans), so we will make this recipe using firm sprouted tofu next time. Otherwise, enjoy!

Thanks to www.thugkitchen.com for the recipe. We didn’t technically ask them for permission to publish their recipe, but those assholes can just fucking get over it.

This article was originally published on www.groundingup.com.

 

Veggie Burgers You Actually Want to Eat

Even before I became a vegetarian, hamburgers and cheese burgers were never about the meat for me. They were about the fixins and the buns. Loading a burger with mayo, ketchup, mustard, tomatoes, avocado, and cheese was the only reason I would consider eating one.

So when I went veggie, I took a brief tour through the pre-made veggie patty market and found a few that were okay but looked weird and had strange ingredients and consistencies. Not to mention the fact that they were the definition of processed and pre-packaged food.

I had heard that people were doing great things in the non-meat burger world with black beans so I did a search for some recipes and tried a few with varying degrees of success and satisfaction. Some tasted terrible and some didn’t have the right consistency to act like a burger patty.

That is why I am happy to offer you the following recipe. After several weeks of very scientific ingredient combinations and experiments in our test kitchen (okay, my kitchen), I finally came up with something that looks, holds together, and even tastes like a burger.

Ingredients:
Olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup fresh basil
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup barley
2 (15 oz) cans of low sodium black beans (drained)
1 egg
2 Tbsp chia seeds
1 cups bread crumbs ( or more if needed)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Step #1: In 1 tablespoons of olive oil, saute 1/2 c of chopped onion, 3 cloves of garlic, and fresh herbs until soft and translucent; about 5 minutes on medium heat.IMG_1600

Step #2: Rinse and boil 1/2 cup of pearled barley until tender. Drain the barley well, and set aside.IMG_1603

Step #3: In a food processor, combine 1 can of the black beans (drained), the sauted onions, garlic, herbs, and the drained barley. Add the egg. Pulse the mixture, scraping down the sides as needed, until well combined but sill slightly chunky.IMG_1604

Step #4: Transfer the mixture in the food processor to a large mixing bowl. Add a second can of black beans (also drained), chia seeds, 1 cup of bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Stir by hand until well mixed and evenly combined.IMG_1607

Step #5: Let the burger mixture rest for 15 minutes to allow the bread crumbs and chia seeds to absorb excess moisture and bind the burger mixture together.

Step #6: Once your mixture has set, test its consistency. Form it into a ball or a test burger patty. Does it stay together without sticking to your hands? If so, you are doing great. If the mixture is gooey, sticks to your hands, and won’t form a patty, add breadcrumbs until you get the consistency you need. I make my patties from 1/2 cup of mixture each, which yields six to seven patties.IMG_1616.jpg

Step #7: Black bean burgers can be cooked in an oiled skillet (which is how I typically do it) or on a BBQ grill.

For the skillet cooking method: Preheat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Sear the burgers for 2-3 minutes on each side and then reduce the heat to medium low and cook until heated through, about 5-10 minutes more. If you are adding cheese, now is the time!

For the grill cooking method: Make sure your grill grates are very clean and well oiled with olive or another vegetable oil as your burgers will want to stick. Preheat your BBQ grill as you normally would. If you can determine the temperature of your grill, aim for a temperature in the 400-450 degree range. Oil the grill grates once more before placing your burgers on the grill. Cook for 3 minutes on each side and then gently move them to a part of the grill with no direct heat. If you are adding cheese, add it now and allow the cheese to melt and the burgers to heat through.

Once the black bean burgers are cooked, you can treat them just like any other burger. Dress them up with a bun, lettuce, tomato, onion, etc.

The article was originally on www.groundingup.com.