Sunday, February 17, 2013

Recipe: Falafel Hot Dish

Whoever said "Always walk with your head up. Don't look at the ground." never lived in Minnesota during the winter. Those sidewalks are skating rinks! Try not only walking on the sidewalk, but while carrying 40 pounds of groceries. Downhill. I'm proud that I didn't fall.

Anyway, those groceries are being put to use right away. I was craving falafel, but falafel is a little too fussy for me, plus the fresh veggies that go along with it tend to not last as long as I need it to. So, I did what any smart Minnesotan would do: made hot dish.

The rest of the country may call it casserole, but they're silly. It's a hot dish. Casserole doesn't even mean anything. Hot dish is pretty self-explanatory. And this one is healthy and simple!

20+ ounces of spinach/kale/dandelions/some sort of leafy green.
1 block of soft tofu
2+ cups of feta (or another kind of cheese. I like feta)
2 T fennel seeds
1 box of falafel mix (or your own falafel recipe, just don't make it into balls yet)
2 large tomatoes, diced.
1/2 cup of tzatziki sauce

(NOTE: Don't add any salt. There is enough in the falafel mix. You don't need it.)
(Note 2: You could, however, add some other things. This is just the starting point for my first time making this dish. I would think tabbouli, or chopped onion, garlic or cucumber would add to it. Some basil/parlsey/cilantro would probably taste good too. Lemon juice would give it a nice zing. Maybe some chicken or lamb if you eat meat. I added about a 1/2 cup of quinoa tabbouli, but I imagine it would taste just fine without it)

Preheat oven to 350.
Prepare the falafel mix according to box (just add water!)
In a large kettle, steam the spinach down until it's really sad looking.
In a large mixing bowl, mix tomatoes, tofu, fennel, tzatziki and half of the feta.
Add the spinach, and mix well to make sure the spinach isn't clumpy.
Pour spinach mixture into a hot dish pan (13x9ish size) or casserole dish, if you're not from around here.
Spread the falafel mix over the top, and cover with the rest of the feta.
Bake for 30 minutes, and let sit for a few minutes before serving.

Serve with toasted pita, crudite and hummus. And tea!

Nutrition info (including the tabbouli) per serving (8 servings total):
Calories - 285
Fat - 15 grams (8 saturated)
Cholesterol - 41 mg
Sodium - 955 mg
Potassium - 596 mg
Carbs - 22g
Fiber - 7g
Sugar - 6g
Protein - 22g
Vitamin A - 160%
Vitamin C - 52%
Calcium - 40%
Iron - 28%
Taste - 1 million yums.
Filling - full but not bloated.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Saturday night cravings

As I was sitting around this fine Saturday evening, feeling a little hungry but not wanting to go buy something, even though I have almost no food in the house, I started Googling recipes. At the top of the list was "Feeling hungry on a Saturday at 8pm but don't want to order a pizza?"

Yes, Google, thank you. You were only 2 minutes off, too. (It was 7:58) In any case, the giant search engine led me to try to get more creative with my toaster oven than bread and cheese.

So, I am now waiting patiently for my "pizza" on bread with cheese to cook. Maybe not so creative, but I am getting rid of some leftover marinara sauce, as well as satisfying my cheese craving besides just eating plain cheese. And not just plain cheese and bread (I hate myself for calling it "plain." It's heaven to taste, but it's not very adventurous is all I mean).

I did not win on the low-calorie battle, though. It's 2 slices of bread, 2 ounces of cheese, 2 boca spicy chicken patties and some homemade marinara sauce. It's basically a full meal, but I suppose I didn't have dinner today.

I was trying to only have a lunner and a small snack later because I got a mocha this morning from my manager, which, considering it is a only cup of soy milk with chocolate and espresso, sure has a lot of calories. The whole is the greater than the sum of its parts, and I'm not entirely sure how it does that. Must be a lot of fancy chocolate syrup or something. Cuz it's 330 calories without whip cream, and I know 16 ounces of soy milk is only 180 calories tops, and espresso is maybe 1 calorie.

I am pairing it with some diet cola made with my Sodastream machine. Love it. If you don't have one, you should seriously consider getting one. I don't even drink that much soda, but it's worth having.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Giving Back or Staying Sane?

I have been thinking I need more in my life. Don't get me wrong, I love coming home from work and not having any cares beyond deciding if I should work out or what I should have for dinner, but I also feel like I need something more.

So, I had been considering committing to a volunteer opportunity or perhaps getting a part time job for 6-10 hours a week. One such option would be to volunteer less than 5 hours a week at a non-profit organization, and making it a regular thing so my work schedule would be consistent. It would still leave me plenty of time to bum around and do nothing or go out with my friends.

I thought about getting a part-time job, but decided the probably low pay wouldn't be worth the extra responsibility and time.

I settled on doing office work for OutFront MN instead for a few hours on Wednesday afternoons. OutFront is a LGBT advocacy organization officed in South Minneapolis. Last week I stuffed envelopes. I think I might be doing data entry tomorrow.

I hope it's more rewarding than not having anything to do. I do like sleeping and playing pokemon.