Tag Archives: healthy food

Real Food: Chickpea Burgers with Cucumber sauce

I started following the Jillian Michaels food plan about 2 months ago. I will tell you that honestly this is the first time I have followed a meal plan and NOT been bored!!  I get to choose what I like from her recipes, although for the first 6 weeks I followed her meal plan strictly.  Now I have learned portion and meals so  can modify and substitute proteins and veggies!  One of the recipes I really love is Chickpea burgers!  In the JM recipe she uses 19 oz of chickpeas and a tahini sauce.  I use 15 ounces of chickpeas and I make a homemade Tzatiki , aka cucumber yogurt sauce.  I prefer the tanginess and crunch of the Tzatiki with the smoothness of the chickpea for some texture and taste variety.  I also like to put sliced tomatoes on the burger.  VERY yummy!

Chickpea Burgers with Cucumber Yogurt sauce

  • 15 ounce(s) beans, garbanzo (chickpeas)
  • 2 scallion(s) (green onions)
  • 1 egg(s)
  • 2 tablespoon flour, white whole wheat
  • 1 tablespoon oregano, fresh, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon oil, olive, extra-virgin
  • 2 pita, 100% whole-wheat
  • 1/2 cup(s) yogurt, low-fat plain, drained
  • 1/2 cucumber, chopped and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon low fat sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preparation

To prepare burgers: Place chickpeas, scallions, egg, flour, oregano, cumin and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor. Pulse, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides, until a coarse mixture forms that holds together when pressed. (The mixture will be moist.) I tend to process until it is smooth, but coarse is okay as well.  Form into 4 patties.Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties and cook until golden and beginning to crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully flip and cook until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes more.To prepare sauce: Meanwhile, combine yogurt, chopped cucumber, lemon juice, sour cream and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Divide the patties among the pitas and serve with the sauce. Sliced tomatoes are quite delicious on this sandwich also.To make ahead: Cover and refrigerate the uncooked burger mixture and sauce for up to 2 days.

Ingredients for burger

Ingredients for burger

Place chickpeas, scallion, cumin, four, egg, oregano and salt into the processor:

Chickpeas

Chickpeas

Peas and scallions

Peas and scallions and egg

Peas, scallion, egg and flour

Peas, scallion, egg and flour

peas, scallion, egg, flour and oregano

peas, scallion, egg, flour and oregano

fresh oregano from the garden

fresh oregano from the garden

Peas, scallion, egg, flour, oregano, cumin and salt

Peas, scallion, egg, flour, oregano, cumin and salt

all blended up.  Can be smooth or coarse

all blended up. Can be smooth or coarse

I then divide the mixture into 4 sections for making the patties.

divide into 4 sections

divide into 4 sections

I then scoop each section and make a patty, that is placed into a hot pan with a little EVOO.

scooping patties

scooping patties

Two in the pan

Two in the pan

all 4 in the pan

all 4 in the pan

Cook them for 4-5 minutes on one side, then flip and cook for 4 more minutes until brown and crispy.

crispy...yum!

crispy…yum!

For the sauce I take the yogurt and drain it.  I think the texture of the tzatiki is better when the yogurt is thicker. There are many different methods people use to drain the yogurt.  Mine is pretty low tech.  I put two paper towels in a plastic container and place a rubber band around the top of the paper towels to hold them in place.  That way the yogurt can drain into the bottom of the container.  I use plain nonfat yogurt.  It is best to let it drain for at least 30 minutes to an hour.

yogurt with paper towels and a rubber band.

yogurt with paper towels and a rubber band.

whey from yogurt after draining.

whey from yogurt after draining.

While the yogurt is draining I take a cucumber, peel it and slice it in half and remove the seeds.  I rough chop it and place it into a food processor where I blend it up.  This creates a lot of cucumber “water”. You can drain it the same way you drained the yogurt or just squeeze it out.

cuke in processor.

cuke in processor.

After processing.  See the liquid.  I usually just squeeze it out.

After processing. See the liquid. I usually just squeeze it out.

I mix the lemon juice, salt, sour cream, processed cucumber and drained yogurt together in a bowl

before mixing

before mixing

after mixing.

after mixing.

Quite often I make the sauce first and pop it into the fridge so the flavors can “shake hands” as my mother would say.  Then I make the burgers.  It is also a nice contrast to have the cool sauce on a hot burger.

Finally I put the burger into a pita:

burger in small whole wheat pita

burger in small whole wheat pita

Top with a tablespoon of sauce:

put 1 or 2 tablespoons of sauce on top

put 1 or 2 tablespoons of sauce on top

And finally top with some sliced tomatoes.  I picked this yellow tomato from the garden.  Yellow tomatoes are lower in acid, but taste just as yummy as a red tomato!

YUM!!  Enjoy!

YUM!! Enjoy!

This burger in a pita with sauce is a very reasonable 375 calories!  It is very filling and wonderful lunch or dinner meal!

Enjoy!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Real Food: Why my family is now eating organic!

I have struggled with my weight for many many years! I have written blogs about it, complained about it, and had finally given in and decided to accept it when something amazing happened to me.

Karol and I went to see Jillian Michaels.  Going was kind of a fluke.  We love Jillian Michaels, and to be honest I had no idea she was doing a speaking tour.  I happened to stumble upon the information on Facebook, and checked out the price of tickets.  I went to the web page, squinted my eyes, took a deep breath, and hit the button to see the prices.

I was quite surprised to see how affordable the tickets were.  So I texted Karol and asked her if she wanted to go see JM.  To say she was excited would be an understatement!! So tickets were purchased, and we waited with bated breath. The night came and we went to see the amazing Jillian Michaels.  The first hour she talked about food and the second hour she talked about living a full life without “shoulds” and guilt, etc.  I have spent years in therapy, that stuff I knew. But the food stuff that I should have known, had eluded me somehow.

I have written about my huge grocery bills. Switching to an organic diet was daunting to say the least.  I was worried about the cost, and how I was going to afford to feed my family of 5 and not break the bank.  But Karol and I were committed to eating better.  No more pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and other nastiness in our food. However, the cost of switching really concerned me.

So we entered the Real Food genre slowly.  Just purchasing the food we were making for ourselves.  The interesting thing was the first week we purchased all organic for ourselves we reduced our grocery bill by almost $100.00!!!

Photo courtesy of Blue Planet Green living

Photo courtesy of Blue Planet Green Living

So we ventured out farther into the organic realm and purchased organic meats and dairy.  I have to say that the milk was the hardest for me.  Spending $6.00 a gallon almost gave me a heart attack, but I figured it was the right thing for my family, so I just took a deep breath and put it in the cart.  Two of them…..  The most interesting thing is, my boys like the organic foods.  They say they taste better!!!

We bought organic peanut butter, organic crackers, cereal, creamer, etc.  It has been an interesting transition.  Last week the grocery bill was a bit higher than the first week, but we had cat litter, cat food, and some cleaning supplies, so it was not all food.

I have even found “healthy” alternatives to candy and soda.  I no longer indulge in candy made by any of the huge chocolate companies that immediately come to mind.  Instead I have switched to Unreal Candy.    Their products have NO high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors or flavors.  No chemicals!!!!  Just wonderful natural ingredients!  Currently you can find these products at CVS and Target stores!  The price is the same as the other ones in the candy aisle, so why not spend the same and get a MUCH MUCH better product?  Seriously! CANDY!  lower in sugar and healthier?  This stuff is amazing, you have to try it!  (not paid by the company for my endorsement). I used to avoid candy like the plague, never thinking I could fit it into my daily calorie “budget”.  Now I can, and so can you.  Why feed you and your kids crap when you can feel them foods without chemicals?

Photo courtesy of getunreal.com

Photo courtesy of getunreal.com

I used to be a Diet Pepsi junkie.  As a matter of fact I drank 2-3 cans of caffeine free diet pepsi every day.  After seeing Jillian, we decided to no longer use artificial sweeteners.  Then one day while shopping we found Zevia.  Stevia sweetened soda.  They have a wonderful assortment of flavors.  Root Beer, Dr Zevia, Cream soda, orange, grape, cherry, cola, caffeine free cola, among others.  It was a bit more expensive than other sodas, but at only one can per day it was completely affordable. The next week my local Harris Teeter had it on sale buy one get one free, so mama stocked up!! You can buy this product at Jewel, Acme, Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, Kroger, Safeway, Target, Walgreens and more.  You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo courtesy of Zevia.com

Photo courtesy of Zevia.com

So we are on a new trend. Eating REAL food, drinking naturally sweetened sodas, and guilt free candy!

It is working!!  Two and a half weeks in I am down 5 pounds, and have lost inches in my stomach, hips and thighs!!  Karol is taller and has a faster metabolism than me.  She is down 7 pounds!!

I am excited to keep going and see how healthy we can get!! No more chemicals, hormones, or antibiotics for my family!!