Goodness, Gracious, Great Balls of …… FALAFEL!!! (The Recipe)

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Ahhh, the long awaited FALAFEL post!!! Right???

<Ok, interrupt regularly scheduled programming as I go off on a personal tangent.>

Yes, life has been a little more than busy! This summer has been so much fun, but kept us going from one activity to another (swimming lessons, football, youth groups, appointments, family stuff, vacation, etc etc)! Probably our busiest summer yet! And although it wasn’t as relaxing as past summers have been, so many fun, lasting memories were made and we got a lot accomplished!!! So no complaints here! :) How was your summer?

And I do have to confess – I missed my blogging!!! I love chatting and sharing with you beautiful blog readers!! So I’m very happy to announce – that I’m most definitely BACK~~!!!!

Now that the kids are back in school, and we’re settling back into that familiar routine. I’m catching up with my house, baking, couponing etc. And its a great feeling! Fall is such a fun and beautiful season – with the deep, rich makeup colors, trendy sweaters paired with high-heeled boots, crisp, cool sunny days with colorful leaves falling, hot cocoa, pumpkin patches….Ahhhh….I’m getting excited just thinking about it!

I’ve even done some Christmas Shopping – dare I say!! I also love making Christmas Gifts, so that is also on my radar right now. I often try to make gifts that incorporate family pictures and digital and traditional scrapbooking into them, basically Digital Scrapbooking Hybrid projects~!!! In the past I’ve made brag books out of badge card holders, coasters out of ceramic tiles, digital scrapbooks etc.  Its a wonderful way to preserve memories, while also giving those “made with love” personal gifts~!!! Do you make gifts??? If so, I’d love to hear what kinds of things you do!!! :)

<Now back to your regularly scheduled programming>

 

Great Balls of Falafel

Have you ever had Falafel before? If not, you are missing out!! They are these little balls of yumminess!!! But more precisely, they are made up of ground chickpeas, coupled with amazing spices, then deep fried (or baked). Once cooked, they are put inside a pita alongside condiments such as hummus, tzatziki, feta cheese, onions, pickles, tomatoes and (if you like spice) jalapenos!!! They are a Middle-Eastern delicacy and one we grew up with and adore!!!

Even if you aren’t vegetarian – this is still something you’d love!!! The “meat-eaters” in my house (aka Hubby and sons), love my homemade Falafel!!! Its super hearty and very flavorful, so you don’t miss the meat!!! But I will say, the men in my house aren’t fond of the store bought Falafel mixes. But they adore this homemade recipe! So if you’ve tried the store bought version, and think you don’t like it. Well, I dare you to try this recipe! You might just change your mind! ;)

 

Let’s Make Some Falafel

 

1.  First saute the onions and peppers in a medium skillet over medium heat. Once translucent add the garlic and saute another 3-5 minutes. (I’ll preface this by saying, the amounts you’ll see pictured are actually double what the recipe calls for. Since we had company over, I doubled the recipe. So if you see less in your frying pan/food processor, that’s why.)

 

2.  While you’re sauteeing the onions and peppers; in a food processor, pulse together chick peas, chili flakes, cumin, egg, salt and pepper. Forming a coarse mixture.

 

3.   Next add the flour, parsley, and cilantro. Pulse until mixture starts pulling from the sides of the food processor. I first saw recipe on Guy Fieri’s Big Bite, and after making this several times I’ve found it needs more flour than what the recipe calls for. It calls for 5 tbsp, but I found it could use up to 1/2 cup. This is vital because if the mixture remains too wet, when you drop it into the oil, it’ll just fall apart and won’t hold together. Although I recommend not adding extra flour until the last step, so you can see just how wet/dry the mixture is before making any necessary adjustments. At this step, just add the 5 tbsp of flour the recipe call for.

 

4. Once it’s all pulsed together, take the mixture out of the food processor and add the sauteed onion/pepper/garlic mixture to it.

 

5. This is what the mixture should look like once its fully incorporated. Chill this mixture until you are ready to cook it.

 

6.  Once you are ready to fry them. Roll the falafel into 1 inch balls, keeping them similar in size. You can use a deep fryer, or a deep skillet at 350 degrees. And before you put several into the fryer, drop 1 ball into the oil to not only test the heat but also to make sure it holds together. If at this point, the mixture is still too moist, and falling apart during the frying, add more flour until you reach the desired consistency and it holds together well.

 

7. Don’t crowd the fryer, or you’ll drop the temperature of the oil too much. Only do around 5-8 balls at a time, depending on the size of your skillet/fryer. Cook for approximately 5 minutes at a time, until they become golden brown. Once cooked, remove to a paper-towel lined, oven-safe platter and sprinkle with salt. You might want to put them in the oven (with the oven set to warm), to keep them all nice and hot, until all of the falafel are fully cooked.

 

8. And here they are!!! Goodness, Gracious, Great Balls of FALAFEL~!!!!

 

9. Now when you are ready to serve them, put around 2-3 balls on a pita. Along with any and/or all of the condiments: Hummus, Tzatziki, Feta Cheese, Tomatoes, Pickles, Pepperoncini, Cilantro and/or Jalapenos. Pictured above, I’ve added a bed of hummus, 3 falafel, tzatziki, feta cheese, tomatoes, onion, pepperoncini and cilantro. That’s my magic combo, but you can alter it to suit your tastes!

 

10. Now doesn’t that look delicious??? All ready to eat!!! Now this is MY kinda “comfort food”!!! And served alongside a greek salad - its PERFECTION!!! If you’d like a wonderful Greek Salad to accompany this recipe, I’ve already posted one here. Its a good ole family recipe~!!!

 

Goodness, Gracious, Great Balls of …… FALAFEL!!! (The Recipe)
Recipe Type: Entree
Author: Creative Life of a Glam Wife (Adapted from Food Network’s Guy Fieri)
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 1 hour
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, plus extra for frying
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 1 large green pepper pepper, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans chick peas, drained
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons – 1/2 cup flour (start out with 5 tbsp, and increase if the mixture remains too moist after incorporating all ingredients)
  • 1 cups freshly chopped parsley leaves
  • 1 cup freshly chopped cilantro leaves
  • Pitas
  • Toppings: hummus, tzatziki, diced onion, chopped tomato, chopped cilantro, crumbled feta cheese, pepperoncini, jalapenos, pickles etc (any or all)
Instructions
  1. In medium skillet over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons oil and sweat onion and peppers 2 to 3 minutes then garlic and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a food processor, pulse together chick peas, red chili flakes, ground cumin, the egg, salt and black pepper to form a coarse consistency. Then add flour, parsley, and cilantro. Pulse until mixture starts pulling from the sides of the food processor.
  3. Remove mixture to a large bowl and mix in the onion mixture. Chill falafel until ready to cook.
  4. Roll falafel dough into 1-inch rounds.
  5. In a thick-bottomed skillet heat 1/2 inch of canola oil over medium heat to 350 degrees F. Cook falafel balls a few at a time, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Be sure to turn them so they do not burn or stick to the bottom of the pan. Drain on a paper-towel lined, oven-proof platter and sprinkle with salt while still hot. Then put into a warmed oven, to keep warm until all falafel are cooked.
  6. Open the pita bread to make pockets. Place 3 to 4 falafels inside. Stuff with hummus, tzatziki, feta cheese, onions, cilantro, tomatoes and pepperoncini. Serve immediately.

 

Have you ever made Falafel??? If you have any tips/tricks/recipes to share, I’d love to hear them!!! I hope this inspires you to make some wonderful, different, ethnic food!!! Its easy and FUN!!! And the flavor pay-off is amazing~!!! And don’t hesistate to double the recipe, and freeze half. These freeze wonderfully for an easy weeknight meal later on~!!!

Hope you are all transitioning into the back to school routine seamlessly~!!! Thanks for sticking with me, and for all of your feedback!! I very much value it!! <3

Until next time Chicklets, change up your dinnertime routine by keeping those meals different, ethnic and always homemade~!!! And I very much do encourage you to play with your food!! You’ll never know what amazing cuisine you can create, if you don’t~!!! HUGS and LOTSA LOVE!!!  xoxo

 

 

Mexican Spiced Black Beans – Vegetarian, Low-Calorie, Low-Fat, and FULL FLAVOR!

 

Hola Chicas~!!! How’s everyone’s weekend been? We’ve had a fun-filled and busy weekend! Kids went to see the new Spiderman with my hubby! They loved it and said it was the best Spiderman yet!! Have you seen it??? I’m usually not into superhero movies, but from what they said, I might end up having to watch it!!!  We’ll see!!! ;) If you’ve seen it – what did you think???

Today I’m bringing you one of our all-time favorite bean recipes!!! They are delicious, low-cal, low-fat and FULL of yummy flavor!!! Oh and did I mention – SUPER easy to make!!! Yes, that’s a win-win in my book!!! Its Mexican Spiced Black Beans~!!!!

Don’t they look yummy??? This dish is an amazing accompaniment to a meal that you need a hearty and delicious side dish!!! We’ve often made this along with Fajitas, Enchiladas, Ribs, Burgers etc etc. You could even incorporate them into Huevos Rancheros, Taco Salad, Tostadas, or into a burrito instead of the traditional refried beans~!!!

 

Ok, Let’s Cook Some Beans!

 

1. Start by frying the onions in oil until they are translucent. Once translucent, add the crushed garlic and jalapeno and saute for a couple of minutes. Follow by adding the beans, cumin, salt and pepper. Saute 10-15 minutes. (Make sure when you drain the beans, that you keep the liquid just in case they become too dry during cooking.)

 

2. Just before serving add the cilantro, lime juice and zest and garnish with green onions. And that’s it~!!!! How simple is that??? So easy, yet soooo delicious~!!! And don’t forget – this dish is full of protein and fiber and so healthy!!!

 

Mexican Spiced Black Beans – Vegetarian, Low-Calorie, Low-Fat, and FULL FLAVOR!
Recipe Type: Side Dish (or entree)
Author: Creative Life of a Glam Wife
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
  • 4 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 (15oz) cans black beans, (drained, not rinsed, and liquid reserved)
  • 4 tsp ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 limes, zested and juiced
  • 3/4 cilantro, finely chopped
  • Garnishes (any or all):
  • Cilantro, Chopped Scallions, Crumbled Cotija or Queso Fresco, Sour Cream
Instructions
  1. Saute onions and jalapenos in oil until translucent, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add minced garlic and saute 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add Beans, cumin, salt and pepper. Saute another 10-15 minutes. If mixture gets too dry, add some reserved liquid from the beans. These beans shouldn’t be too dry.
  4. Once almost ready to serve, add lime juice, zest, and cilantro. Saute 2-3 minutes, garnish and serve!!!

 

I hope you will give this a try!!! And let me know if you do!!! What’s your favorite bean recipe??? I’m always looking for new bean recipes!!! Don’t forget, if this recipe makes too much for your family you can always scale it down or even freeze the leftovers~!!!

Until next time, my friends: You can always keep your recipes simple, easy, and healthful, while still keeping it FLAVORFUL~!!! Hugs,  Blessings and Lotsa <3 Chicklets~!!! xoxo

 

Tomato, Corn, Fresh Mozzarella Salad

 

With summer finally upon us, we’ve hit grilling season, right??? Along with grilling our favorite meals, comes the all important task of finding side salads that compliment each meal!!! I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for new kinds of salads to serve my guys!! And while the standard green salad or caesar salad are delicious accompaniments, its always nice to change it up and serve a different kind of salad…one that has different textures, flavors and is also hearty!!

Which is why our family loves “Tomato, Corn, Fresh Mozzarella Salad”~!!! Its all of those things, lots of different textures, coupled with bold, delicious flavors, and is very hearty!!! In fact, I’ve made a whole meal out of just this salad!!

This is again one of our favorite “Recipe Renovations”. The original came from Food Network, and after making it the first time we realized it need a few extra “boosts”~!! So with the necessary improvements, I bring you this new and improved recipe!! I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we do!!

 

Are You Hungry Yet??? Let’s Get Cooking!!!

1. First of all, I have to start out by saying this is super simple, yet super delicious!! And there’s no special or particular order to making it either!!!  Just start chopping and dropping your salad ingredients into a large salad bowl.

 

2. Now if you are going to serve your salad immediately, no need to get other dishes dirty. Go ahead and just pour your dressing ingredients into your salad bowl! If you aren’t going to serve it for several hours, then I’d recommend mixing your dressing ingredients in a separate container and store it in the fridge until your ready to serve it! And if you prefer, you can always combine your dressing ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. But that’s totally optional, not required!!!

 

And that’s it!!! So simple and easy, yet a fun and different salad from our “usual” salads!! I hope you will give this a try!! Don’t forget to play around with it, and make it your own!!! Every family hasn’t different tastes and nutritional needs, so use this as a guideline and create something amazing for your family!!!

 

Tomato, Corn, Fresh Mozzarella Salad
Recipe Type: Salad
Author: Creative Life of a Glam Wife
Prep time: 25 mins
Total time: 25 mins
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • Dressing:
  • 2-3 limes, zested and juiced (depends on how “limey” you like it!)
  • 1 large bunch packed fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Salad:
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 jalapenos, finely chopped (depends how spicey you like it)
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 4 cups corn, fresh or frozen (don’t use canned!)
  • 2 pounds cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, diced
Instructions
  1. Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Combine the dressing ingredients in a separate bowl (or process it until its smooth in a food processor).
  3. Toss dressing and salad ingredients together. Serve and enjoy~!!!

 

 

Ok Chicas, that’s it for me today!!! What’s your favorite summer salad recipe??? What kinds of salads do you love, aside from the standard ones??? Let me know!!!

Remember it’s all about changing up those salads while also keeping them fresh, healthy AND HEARTY~!!!! Till next time, HUGS, LOVE, AND BLESSINGS to you all~!!! xoxo

 

Instant, Microwave, Single-Serving Chocolate Cake

 

Chocolate Cake. Two little, yet heavenly words, right? Normally you have to spend a lot of time and effort to bake a cake, and then you’re left with the delicious leftovers that only serve as added temptation ALL week long!!! Well with this recipe – problem solved! You can get a delicious chocolate cake fix without the added temptation of eating TOO much cake! It’s “Instant, Microwave, Single-Serving Chocolate Cake”~!!!

Hola Chicas~!!! How’s everyone doing??? It’s been a busy month of June for us.  With the end of school for both of our kids and a fun vacation to L.A. and Vegas – we’ve had an eventful, and very busy start to summer!!! I have to say, I did bring my laptop on vacation with me with great intentions to blog while on vacation. BUT, of course, we were SO busy sightseeing and having fun with the kids, that my laptop sat ignored! ;)  Now that we’re home and settled in though, I”m so excited to be BACK and bringing you some new fun, delicious, and interesting articles!!!

And how better to get back into the blogging routine, than to bring you an easy, yet yummy chocolate recipe~?!?!?! Right??

Besides the fact that this recipe is single serving which makes it very convenient and easily tailored to any family; I also love this because there are no preservatives or chemicals!!! Unlike the similar counterparts sold in stores!!!

This is one of my “Recipe Renovations”. The original one I found in the Food Network Magazine (love that magazine!) and just changed it up a bit to suit our tastes!!!

 

Ready to Start “Baking”???

1. First measure your dry ingredients in a large/oversized mug.

 

2. After measuring your dry ingredients, make sure to mix them all very well.

 

3. Now its time to add your wet ingredients. Mix very well to incorporate and microwave on high for about 2 minutes.

 

4. Once you take it out of the microwave, it will look a little moist on top. And that’s totally ok – you don’t want to over-cook your chocolate cake or it will become dry.

 

5. Aaaand your done~!! Its that easy!!! You can eat the cake right out of the mug if you’d like! Or you can take it out, cut it in half and dust with some icing sugar!! Or add some icing – whatever you are in the mood for~!!! But that one big mug made both of these “not so small” halves~!! Definitely enough to share!! ;)

 

Now if you don’t have any oversized mugs, you can always go ahead and cook it in a bowl. I cooked one in a bowl and took this picture so you could see what it would turn out like….

And actually cooking it this way, you could cut wedges and share the LOVE~!!!  This would also be delicious topped with some ice cream – you’d have a great and easy dessert~!!!

 

Instant, Microwave, Single-Serving Chocolate Cake
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Creative Life of a Glam Wife
Prep time: 8 mins
Cook time: 2 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • *Dry Ingredients*
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • pinch cinnamon
  • pinch salt
  • 1-2 tbsp chocolate chips (depending on how chocolatey you like it!)
  • pinch instant coffee (optional)
  • *Wet Ingredients*
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil or melted butter
  • dash of vanilla extract
  • *Optional Toppings*
  • Icing Sugar/Icing/Ice Cream
Instructions
  1. Measure all of your dry ingredients in a large/oversized mug. Mix well to incorporate them.
  2. Now add your wet ingredients to your dry ingredients and whisk them all together well.
  3. Microwave on high for about 2 minutes until puffed.
  4. Add toppings and enjoy~!!!

 

Here’s the link to the recipe I found in the Food Network Magazine:

Instant Chocolate Cake via Food Network

Well I hope everyone is enjoying their summer vacation and building fun and lasting memories~!!! Have you ever tried making a microwave cake before? Do you have a fun or interesting twist to this recipe you’d like to share??? Drop me a line and let me and everyone know!!! I love hearing from you – its wonderful sharing tips and tricks so we can all discover  and learn more in the cooking world~!!!

Well that’s it for me Chicas~!!! I hope I’ve inspired you to try something new!!! It’s all about keeping it easy, fast, and homemade while also satisfying your sweet tooth~!!! Till next time – HUGS~!!! xoxo

 

Homemade, Single-Serving, Microwave Macaroni and Cheese

 

Ever come home from a long, busy day and don’t know what to make for dinner? You don’t want to hit the drive-thru because of the processed, calorie-laden food, and boxed dinners at the store aren’t a much better option, right?

Well I have a great option for you!!! It gives you a great, healthier, and cost saving option to buying the processed box dinners (ie Kraft dinner, Pasta Roni or Hamburger Helper). And I love that this only has a few ingredients, ALL of which we can pronounce; no preservatives or chemicals~!! Oh and by the way – its MUCH tastier too~!!! SO cheesy and delicious~!!!!

Its a homemade, single serving, microwave Macaroni and Cheese!!! Easy to make, fast, simple and using ingredients we all have on hand!!! I also want to mention, this is a great kid-friendly recipe, since no stoves are involved!!! Its delicious as is, but is also a great starter to customize it in SO many ways!!!  Don’t be afraid to customize it so its something you and your family will enjoy~!! ;)

Let’s Get Cooking!

1. Start by measuring out your shells or macaroni in a large, microwave safe bowl. Add the water and salt. Microwave on high for 5-6 minutes.

2. After you pull the dish out of the microwave, add the milk, cheese and (real) bacon bits (or strips of bacon, crumbled). Mix to combine.  Now put it back into the microwave on high, for another 2-3 minutes.

 

3. Aaaand you’re done~!!! Its THAT easy!!! Just go ahead and garnish it with whatever you like. I’ve added some fresh cracked pepper, parsley and fresh grated parmesan cheese. (It would also be delicious with some chives on top)

 

Now, tell me: Who needs Kraft Mac and Cheese or any of the other boxed dinners; when you can cook up some homemade Macaroni and Cheese THAT fast and easy???!!!! And the beauty of this recipe, is you usually have all the ingredients on hand, so its always something you can throw together last minute.

This would also be great if you added some other mix-ins after you’ve cooked it fully. Think steamed broccoli, or green onions, or some chicken, beef, or salsa, or pesto sauce, etc etc. You can really take this recipe in many different directions. So if you don’t just want to serve Macaroni and Cheese, you can make it Mexican Style or Italian Style~!!! You are only limited by your imagination and taste buds~!!! ;)

 

Homemade, Single-Serving, Microwave Macaroni and Cheese
Recipe Type: Entree
Author: Creative Life of a Glam Wife
Prep time: 2 mins
Cook time: 8 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup Whole Wheat Shells or Macaroni
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheese of your choice
  • handful of REAL bacon bits, or a couple strips of cooked bacon, crumbled
  • Garnish:
  • Ground pepper, fresh parmesan, parsley, and/or chives
Instructions
  1. Measure the shells, water and salt; and add it to a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 5-6 minutes. Check on it every now and then, to ensure all the liquid hasn’t evaporated.
  2. Add the milk, cheese, and bacon. Mix to combine. Microwave on high for another 2-3 minutes.
  3. Garnish and serve! ENJOY~!!!

 

I just want to thank all of you who voted in my Facebook poll again! I love hearing what all of you enjoy reading on my blog,  and its given me renewed direction!!! Coming up, I have some more fast, fun and yummy recipes, as well as a follow up to my Spring and Summer Beauty Trends post. The second part to this article will be about how you can incorporate these colors and trends into your wardrobe and beauty routine easily and inexpensively~!! Also I’ll be doing a feature on an amazing and creative Photography business~!!! And last but not least, I”m working on bringing you all more features on making homemade beauty products!! FUN FUN~!!!

Hope you have all had a wonderful and safe Memorial Weekend, and I just want to honor all of the men and women and their families that have served , or are currently serving in the military!! As well as, all of those that have given their lives in service of  our country!!! We honor you and are forever grateful!!

Well that’s it for me peeps~!!! Till next time, you can always keep it fast, easy, kid-friendly, and delicious, while also keeping it HOMEMADE~!!!! HUGS~!!! xoxo