Crispy Bean Croquettes

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These tasty and hearty little nuggets have quickly become a favorite at my house.  Don’t be afraid of the fact that they are fried…healthy coconut oil is used in place of shortening or other unhealthy oils, and honestly most of the oil should drain away and be left on the paper bag.  I always was intimidated by frying things at home in a skillet because I assumed it would be messy and dangerous.  These taught me that frying can be fun and delicious, not hazardous at all!

Serve these croquettes along side some steamed vegetables and brown rice for a complete meal, or just eat on their own for a yummy snack or party food!

 

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Crispy Bean Croquettes 

2 cups beans, soaked overnight (so far I have had success with black eyed peas and black beans)
1 tsp. cumin
1 handful greens (I like kale)
1 tsp. salt
Coconut Oil for frying

Strain out the beans and place them, uncooked, with the cumin salt and greens into a food processor.  Process until the mixture is mostly pureed but with some whole beans or shreds left.  You don’t want it to be completely pureed.  Dump mixture into a large bowl and set aside.  Bring 1 inch depth of oil to medium high heat in a cast iron skillet.  It will take a few minutes, and you can test the oil by placing a small amount of the batter into the oil and if it starts to sizzle, bubble and dance, then it is ready.  Scoop up a small handful of the batter and shape it into little oval nuggets or”croquettes”.  Place into oil several at a time and cook about 4 minutes on each side.  Make sure the oil does not get so hot that it smokes.  Simple adjustments to the heat will suffice.  Scoop the finished croquettes out with a slotted spoon and place onto a paper bag in order to let the excess oil drain off.  Keep repeating the process until all batter is gone.  This usually takes me about 20 minutes.  I like to eat them with “honey” mustard (see recipe below).

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“Honey” Mustard

1/3 cup agave nectar or brown rice syrup
1 tbsp. high quality dijon mustard

Stir together the mustard and syrup until well combined.

 

Experiment with different beans, greens and spices for a new creation each time! I know I will continue to make these on a regular basis.  They keep well overnight in the fridge, and can be reheated in a 300 degree oven, or eaten cold!  Try wrapping them in a sheet of Nori….!

Tips for a Smooth Transition Into Fall

 

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I love Summer.  I love the warmth, the sunshine, the playfulness that comes out in everyone.  I love spring.  The lushness that takes over the world, bird songs returning, and the air of possibility that is present.  Winter is something I am working on loving.  And even though Fall signals that Winter is approaching, it is my favorite season of all :-).  There is just something so magical about the crisp air, the kaleidoscope of  nature’s beauty, and the taste of that first cup of mulled cider.  I love it, I love it, I LOVE it!

Anyway, as amazed as I am that Summer is almost at its end, my body is starting to feel the shift and pull me naturally toward things that are more warming, comforting and yin in energy.  I find myself craving sweaters, tights and scarves.  I’ve been wanting more squash, more sweet potatoes, more soup.  I’ve been drinking tea like crazy, and even made my favorite pumpkin chocolate chip muffins!

This just goes to show how in sync our bodies and minds are with the season changes, and how when we flow with them in their natural rhythm, we can fully immerse ourselves in the lessons that each season brings.  Fall is a balance of moon and sun energy, yin and yang energy.  The moon is taking more dominance in the sky, as the sun falls back a little.  Weather cools down a bit, providing a need for warmth and comfort.  And this in turn creates an inward energy, where we begin to look inside of ourselves for wisdom and nurturing.  Fall is all about finding balance between day and night, dark and light, good and bad…

Here are my tips for a smooth transition into fall!

  1.  Clear out clutter, mentally and physically!  Start the season with a clean home and mind.  Release any toxic thoughts, habits, and relationships from your life.  Your outer environment is a direct reflection of your inner environment, so by working both on organizing your physical home and on organizing your mind to contain only positive thoughts, you can radically improve your life!  It feels great to love your home, and you can’t do that properly if you are always stressed trying to find things!  It also feels great to love yourself, but you can’t do that properly if you are always telling yourself “I’m too fat”, “I’m too stupid”, “I can’t do that!”…
  2. Change your diet.  Summer is a time for eating fresh, light foods like salads and smoothies.  Those are the foods that are most cooling to the body.  Fall is a time for moving into eating more root vegetables and foods that are starchier, and eating more soups.  Of course you can still eat salads and smoothies, but pay attention to what is in season.  In Fall I love to eat baked or mashed sweet potatoes, roasted root vegetables, lentil soup, chili and cornbread, casseroles, and baked apples or homemade applesauce for dessert.  I switch out my iced teas and iced coffees for hot ones.  I especially love rooibos tea in the Fall.
  3. Oil up.  Applying warm oil to your skin and hair is amazing for it, and will help keep moisture in much better than any commercial lotion you will find.  For this use coconut, almond, apricot or sesame oils (untoasted).  I mostly use coconut oil.  Just heat it in a pan until warm, not hot, and then massage into your entire body, beginning at the scalp and working all the way down to your toes.  Not only will this moisturize, but it will get circulation going all over and will give you beautiful glowing skin.  A little goes a long way, so you do not need much at all.  I try to do this at least once a week. I use room temperature coconut oil to moisturize on a daily basis.
  4. Switch out your decor.  Now I don’t mean to go run out and buy new fancy fall decorations.  I personally do not believe in having any decorations that are not functional, used on a regular basis, or are intimate to you, like you picked it up on a travel adventure or inherited it from a family member.  If it is just there for looks, it is a waste of money.  Just my opinion :-) Anyway, what I do mean by this is to make your home feel like Fall inside to match the way nature feels outside.  This really makes the transition a whole lot easier! I love to have a cool collection of beautiful leaves that have fallen, acorns and pinecones.  Making a Fall potpourri is very easy.  Just combine cinnamon sticks broken into bits, orange peel, whole cloves, and dried ginger.  Add a couple drops of essential oils of cinnamon and clove.  Anytime the mixture starts to lose its scent just reapply the essential oils.  Pull out your blankets and place them in convenient locations like the back of the couch, or slouched over a big chair, that way someone can snuggle up when it starts to get chilly.
  5. Make sure to still get outside every single day.  It can be tough to want to go outside if there has been torrential downpour all day, or if it begins to get quite cold.  But being outside is so important to our health.  And it is not just being outside, but having bare skin contact with the ground.  This can be running around the backyard or a park barefoot, or gardening with your hands in the soil.  When Winter comes, many of us will not be able to touch the bare ground for months, so it is especially important for us to get in as much time as we can before Winter.  Even if you are unable to get your feet or hands in the ground, fresh air, sun on the skin and the sight of nature are crucial for a happy and healthy existence.  Make it a priority!

As we transition into this most magical season, let us all remember it is here to remind us to go inward, to find our wisdom and to provide ourselves with all of the comfort and nurturing we need.  :-)

How do you transition to Fall?

Persian Rice Pilaf

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This is a delicious, hearty dish with a mild curry flavor.  It makes a great lunch on its own, or serve in place of plain rice with curries, vegetable dishes, etc.  It is also incredibly easy to make, as all ingredients go into the same pot at the same time!

Persian Rice Pilaf

1 cup uncooked brown rice
1/3 currants
1/2 cup lentils
3 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp. curry powder

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to near boiling, careful to not fully boil as this will make the lentils mushy.  Reduce heat to simmer and cover with a tight-fitting lid.  Cook for 45 minutes.  Turn off heat and let sit covered another five minutes or so.  Fluff with a fork and serve.

Variation: Use 1/2 cup millet and 1/2 cup brown rice for an earthier version.  You could also add some seeds like sunflower or pumpkin for some crunch!

Cucumber-Ginger Green Smoothie

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yummmmm….This utterly refreshing smoothie is the perfect drink for summer energy.  Pour it into a big jar and head outside, barefoot if you dare :-)

Cucumber-Ginger Green Smoothie

1 banana
1 large handful greens (mine was a blend of spinach, kale, chard, mizuna and arugula!)
1 small cucumber, skins and seeds remaining
1 small chunk of ginger, peeled
1 small handful frozen fruit (whatever you have on hand!  Today I used mango, but usually I use berries)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. Maca powder (optional)
1 tsp. Astragalus powder (optional)
1 handful ice

Throw all ingredients together in a blender, it is that simple!  Ahhhhhh, it is so good!

BBQ Tofu Wraps

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Sweet and zesty barbecued tofu meet tangy potato salad, in this wrap that sums up summer :-) This recipe was inspired by a wrap I used to get at one of my favorite vegan restaurants in Seattle, Hillside Quickies (or The Sage Cafe…same place).  I was hooked the first time I tried it and have been recreating it at home ever since.  You don’t have to do a wrap either…a burger  or sandwich would be just as yummy…or just eat the two things on their own!

Barbecue Tofu 

1 lb. tofu, cut into strips
4 tbsp. ketchup
1 tbsp. tamari (soy/shoyu)
1/4 tsp. liquid smoke
1 tbsp. agave or maple syrup
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Mix all of the ingredients (except tofu) in a small dish.  Lightly oil a baking dish and place tofu strips into dish.  Splash each piece with a little tamari.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and bake tofu for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and top with barbecue sauce, spreading as evenly as possible over the tofu strips.  Bake in oven another 10 minutes.  Serve hot in a bun or wrap, next to potato salad!

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Potato Salad

5-6 medium potatoes, cut into chunks and steamed
1 green onion, sliced
1 celery stalk, sliced
1/4 cup freshly chopped dill
1/2 cup vegenaise
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
salt +pepper

Once the potatoes have cooled, combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir together. So easy!

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