Crispy Garbanzo Beans

Have you tried this trendy snack? High in protein, vitamins, fiber, and minerals, chickpeas are full of nutrients. They’re a much healthier alternative to fried potato and tortilla chips.

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

I can’t make them fast enough–they get eaten as soon as I finish with one batch.

Some recipes suggest oven roasting, but I prefer the cooktop, so this is my version:

Ingredients:
2 cans garbanzo beans, also called chick peas (or cook your own)
Oil
Season with sea salt, pepper, hot pepper flakes, garlic powder

Directions:
Drain and rinse garbanzo beans in a strainer, rubbing the beans until the thin, slimy covering comes off, and discard.

Spread out on a baking sheet covered in paper towels or a clean towel. The secret to success is to get the beans as dry as possible.

When they’re dry, empty into a bowl and coat with one tablespoon of neutral vegetable oil. Don’t season at this time.

Over medium high heat add a tablespoon of oil to a large skillet. Add the garbanzo beans in one layer. Let them cook without disturbing. If you hear a few pops, that’s normal. After about ten minutes, check on them and turn the beans so all sides can become crispy and brown.

At this time, add salt, garlic powder, and any other seasonings you prefer.

Keep pan roasting until they become beautifully golden brown and crispy. The drier they were to start with will shorten the roasting time.

Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet to completely cool before storing in a tightly sealed container.

They’re supposed to last a few days but I’ve watched my son eat them all at one sitting, so I don’t have any personal info to share about that.

Enjoy!

Vegan Sweet Potato Brownies

Even if you’re not #vegan, don’t skip this recipe. I bet you’ll find it’s worth a try, especially if you love chocolate as much as I do.

It was so good, I’ve made it twice. The first time I used only five ingredients:

*Sweet potato, one cup cooked and mashed
*Nut butter (I used almond), 1/2 cup
*Maple syrup, 1/3 cup
*Vanilla, one teaspoon
*Cocoa, 1/3 cup

Blend all ingredients by hand or in a food processor. Spread in a pie plate or small square baking dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for about twenty minutes. Let sit until completely cool. If you have the time, the flavors get even better if it’s refrigerated or even frozen. I cut them into bite-sized pieces ‘cos it’s really rich.

You don’t actually NEED frosting, but who ever said no to more chocolate? Here’s my best baking hack for that…https://enchantedseashells.com/2014/09/17/best-baking-hack-ever/

The results were a bit dense, so the next time, I added 1/2 cup flour, and that made all the difference. I used regular white flour, but it would be so easy to blend some oats for oat flour, so that’s definitely an option.

YUM. Delicious AND healthy!

P.S. This recipe isn’t overly sweet, so if you want to add more maple syrup or even a LITTLE sugar, go ahead. I thought it was perfect without any additional sweetener, but I’m a choco-holic.

Veggie Tomato-y Tofu Soup #Vegan

Perfect for this cooler autumn weather…

Last weekend was my monthly refrigerator cleaning project and I thought I’d toss everything I could into a pot and create some sort of soup.

The good news is I have a scrumptious pot of healthy soup to last a few days; the bad news is that now empty refrigerator and a need to hit the grocery store.

Here’s what I found to work with:
-Mushrooms
-Red Pepper
-Carrots
-Celery
-Onion
-Broccoli
-Fresh chard and garden herbs
-Tofu

I first cubed and marinated the tofu in a little olive oil and Italian herbs with spicy dried red peppers.

I didn’t have any Better Than Bouillon  (vegan) which is too bad as it’s amazing, and I didn’t have homemade stock, so I pan roasted the veggies in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil for a long time to develop fond on the bottom of the pan.

FYI: Fond are the brown particles found at the bottom of pans after browning vegetables. It adds flavor and moisture to a dish.

When I saw all those yummy little brown bits, I added a bit of water to make it easy to scrape up, then I added the marinated tofu, along with one large can of San Marzano tomatoes and one can of water.

FYI: I like to use the best Italian tomatoes because I think it really makes a flavor difference, especially when they’re the star of the show.

I added one scant teaspoon sugar and sea salt/pepper to taste along with these garden herbs:

Thyme, bay leaves, sage, oregano, and a lot of basil, saving some to sprinkle on just before serving.

Such vibrant colors! Simmered for about 45 minutes, pulled out the stems of the herbs as the leaves had fallen away as it cooked.

Before serving, I used my immersion blender to make the texture velvety and creamy.

YUM!

Options: Add cooked beans, lentils, pasta. croutons

Serve with fresh basil and vegan parmesan shreds.

Review: Vegan Jewish Deli

By coincidence only, not planned at all, my friend and I went out for lunch on Rosh Hashanah at a brand new deli called Ben & Esther’s.

Portland-based Ben & Esther’s vegan Jewish deli, bakery and bagel shop recently opened in Oceanside.

Named after founder Justin King’s grandparents, Ben & Esther’s is a New York City-style Jewish deli and bakery.

Although the concept initially sold animal products, it eventually transitioned to be completely vegetarian, then to 100% vegan. 

The menu consists of New York style bagels with cream “cheese”, deli sandwiches, knishes, matzo ball soups, lox made from carrots, whitefish made from hearts of palm, and a variety of pastries & sweets.

I had the “lox” on a bagel with cream cheese and capers and it was REALLY good. You could hardly tell that you were eating carrots disguised as salmon.

My friend had the BLT on a pumpernickel/rye swirl bread and couldn’t believe how yummy it was and how “bacon-y” the vegan bacon tasted.

I had a taste of the “whitefish” and that will definitely be my choice the next time we eat there.

The bagels were deli-authentic, which proves once again that you don’t need any form of dead animal to create scrumptious food.

We got chocolate babka for dessert and that was the only disappointment because it didn’t taste NEARLY as good as my homemade version, even though it was filled with chocolate.

https://www.benandesthers.com/

In a Bit of a Pickle

After the winds and rain subsided, I checked on my garden and discovered two previously hidden cucumbers.

I remember planting a few seeds of the pickling variety but everyone was all mixed up and I couldn’t tell which was which until I saw these gigantic specimens.

I haven’t completely decided if I’ll eat them fresh and possibly not pickle them, because I didn’t discover any others that were ready.

And this one, too, not quite as deformed.

I’ve had success with pickling vegetables, here’s a post about that:
https://enchantedseashells.com/2015/07/06/easy-peasy-refrigerator-pickles-meatlessmonday/

There was an unexpected sprinkle this morning; not forecasted, but welcome nonetheless.

Happy Monday!

EASY Three-Ingredient Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream

The Angel Kids always request my homemade ice cream when they visit but that usually involves ingredients I personally don’t like to use or eat, although I do it for them.

Feeling sorry for the chunk of body part that was chopped off a couple days ago, I thought that a bowl of chocolate ice cream would make me feel much better.

I didn’t want to go to the store and buy vegan ice cream loaded with all kinds of chemicals and other ingredients that help it replicate dairy ice cream and I’m allergic to coconut which is the mainstay for most vegan ice cream, so I decided to make my own.

I had an unopened container of almond milk from the kids’ recent visit and decided to do a little experimenting.

The result was SO satisfying. It actually tastes very similar to a fudgesicle and that’s not a bad thing.

It’s not super creamy but it’s very chocolate-y and yummy. Substituting one cup of full fat coconut milk for one cup of almond milk or a little corn syrup would provide a much smoother texture but all I really cared about was the chocolate. If I make it again, I will add a couple tablespoons of maple syrup, but this is a quick and easy recipe.

I think this is a great recipe to use for homemade popsicle molds. I didn’t, but you could add mini chocolate chips or berries and that would be yummy, too.

It’s fun to experiment and I’m never sorry if I fail because I’ll try something different next time, but this was a success.

PS If you’re counting, I don’t consider vanilla to be an ingredient!

Grape + Blueberry Jam

All my grapes became ripe at the same time which made an easy decision to embark on a grape jam project.

I found lots of recipes for grape jelly but I wanted to include some of the texture that a whole grape can provide and not merely strain out the skins and pulp for the juice.

Always experimenting, I also had a half full container of 100% pure blueberry juice that I used for the Angel’s smoothies so they wouldn’t be refused because they were a yucky GREEN color. It perfectly masks the kale and spinach, teehee.

Every summer, my mom and I used to make pickles and jams and preserves, enough jewel-colored Mason jars to last until the following spring, but I haven’t done it in a while.

She was way more scientifically precise than I could ever hope to be as I never had her patience, but most of the time my creations taste pretty good.

It’s hot and humid, not the greatest weather to cook pots of boiling grapes, but once I started, I was committed to finishing this project.

I didn’t can them in a proper water bath but filled containers for the refrigerator and freezer.

The most time consuming part was separating every grape from its tiny little stem–thank goodness my grapes were seedless — so I set aside about four cups to use whole, and cooked the rest of the grapes separately to strain. I might have zero patience but I’m clever!

At the last minute I decided to add ginger and cinnamon. Those two ingredients elevated the flavor more than I could have imagined.

I lost the identification tag, so I don’t know exactly what type of grape I have, but they’re seedless and very sweet. This was only half of the grapes I used.

I cooked them in two pots, added the sugar equally along with ginger and cinnamon, and skimmed off the white foam:

Strained the one pot of grapes that weren’t cleaned as diligently…

After that, I combined both pots of grapes, added the blueberry juice and pectin, let it come to a rolling boil for another minute, and the mixture was ready to fill freshly sterilized containers. I wasn’t going to use pectin because I thought there was enough natural pectin, but I had some and it’s vegan, so I added it.

Disaster! I’m sure most people are smarter than me and wouldn’t fill plastic containers with boiling liquid. Life lessons, right? I licked a bit off the counter and it’s DELICIOUS. Don’t you think that container reminds you of Picasso’s melting clocks? I do! Such a mess.

Much better!

I had to hurry and sterilize a lot of glass jars and didn’t have time to scrape off the labels, but they’re clean and bacteria-free. After cooling, it jelled beautifully. I’m very happy with the results!

Here’s the recipe I created.

Happy Valentine’s Day | For Chocolate Lovers | Vegan Lentil Brownies

I’ve had a bit of success with Black Bean & Beet Brownies and Lentil Cookies but I’ve never tried simply Lentil Brownies, so I baked some this morning before it got too hot to have the oven on.

They look good, right? But the real question is how do they taste?

If you’ve ever had Black Bean Brownies, you might have detected a slightly weird beany texture, so I hoped this lentil version would eliminate that.

These brownies are TRULY surprisingly yummy! They’re very moist and chocolate-y. I can’t tell they contain lentils, which IS a wonderful source of protein, so this is also a healthy snack.

Tips:
1. Really cook the lentils until they’re mushy.
2. Refrigerate the pan for at least a couple hours after frosting before cutting and eating.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Healthy Super Bowl Recipe! Easy Veggie Burgers

These veggie burgers would be great for the Super Bowl along with guacamole and a gigantic pitcher of margaritas.

Add vegan mayo and/or ketchup and it’s so delicious, trust me!

I continually experiment with different ingredients to try and provide as much nutrition as possible and still taste good.

This is a complete meal for lunch or dinner or even on the go and it’s super easy because this time I used canned beans. Of course, you can always start with dried beans, but I used what I had on hand.

TIPS:
*Quantities can be adjusted for your specific needs; I like to make a lot so I can freeze some.
*They can be ovenbaked or in a pan on the stove.
*Use whatever veggies you like.
*I like to cook them until they’re crispy and crunchy on the outside for texture and because they hold together better, also because it makes them easier to pack and freeze.
*They’re delicious hot or cold; perfect for a hike or beach day.

Seriously Amazing *Vegan* Herb Crackers

Since we’re in a seemingly neverending spiral of virus mutations, the unvaccinated, and overworked healthcare professionals, I’m still trying to limit my exposure to PEOPLE. Not that it’s too difficult for me as I’m solitary by nature, but it’s still kind of annoying.

I had done my Traders shopping and when I came home, I realized that I had totally forgotten to get the kind of crackers I love to accompany Miyoko’s vegan cream cheese. Read about my love for THAT here: https://enchantedseashells.com/2021/04/06/yum-miyokos-vegan-cream-cheese/

Instead of doing what was normal practice in the old days, I didn’t run out and make that one purchase. Resourceful me decided to bake my own crackers. I haven’t done that in years and it’s so easy, I wonder why it took me this long to remember that! An added plus is no wasted plastic or containers, so I’m helping the environment too…

Tips: I substituted 1/2 cup buckwheat flour for all purpose flour. Next time I won’t do that because buckwheat is such a strong flavor. While it’s lovely in pancakes and soba noodles, it’s a bit too much here.

On the other hand, I gotta say that the smell of the herbs in the oven was so fragrant! It perfumed the entire house. I used all the herbs I have in the garden, but you can add whatever you like, including poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds. **Roll extremely thin for crispiest crackers. I didn’t cut them in perfect shapes or use a pizza cutter because I was too lazy and wanted them done in a hurry, but I kind of like the rustic look.