Vegan Falafel with Cardamom and Coriander Oils & Tahini Sauce

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I became a fan of falafel the day I sunk my teeth into one of those warm balls of crunchy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside, pillows of delight at an Israeli restaurant in Chicago on my lunch break.  Sorry I don’t have a photo.  I will take one the next time we make them and post it.

My husband is part Lebanese and grew up eating all sorts of Mediterranean foods.  He’s gotten me into eating some foods that I normally wouldn’t have tried.  Falafel with tahini sauce has become a cheap, healthy and easy dinner for us.

Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) is one of the main ingredients in falafel and is a great source of iron, protein, fiber, manganese and folate.  There are also pecans in this recipe, so there’s a little more protein for ya!  All around, it’s a great side dish or meal for any day of the week.

I found this recipe online and tweaked it a little to my liking and to sub in some essential oils for the dried herbs (dried herbs have much less flavor and aren’t as potent!).

Enjoy!



FALAFEL
  (Vegan)

INGREDIENTS:

1 15-oz can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, rinsed & patted dry
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced (~ 3/4 cup | or sub white onion)
2 Tbsp finely chopped pecans (or sesame seeds)
1 1/2 tsp cumin, to taste (or cumin essential oil)
1/4 tsp each sea salt and black pepper, to taste
2 drops Cardamom essential oil (send me a message for my brand)
2 drops Coriander essential oil (send me a message for my brand)
4 Tbsp whole wheat flour

3-4 Tbsp grape seed oil
Tahini Sauce for serving (see recipe below)
OPTIONAL: Panko bread crumbs for coating


INSTRUCTIONS:

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to generously coat the pan – about 2 Tbsp.  Swirl it around to coat.

Add chickpeas, parsley, shallot, garlic, pecans, cumin, salt, pepper, coriander and cardamom oils to a food processor and mix/pulse to combine, scraping down sides as needed.  You want a a crumbly dough, not a paste.

Add flour, 1 Tablespoon at a time, and pulse/mix to combine until you can mold the dough into a ball, but not sticky.  Taste and adjust seasonings as necesary.

Scoop out rounded Tablespoon amounts and gently form into 11-12 small discs (about 1/2” thick or more).

OPTIONAL STEP: Sprinkle on panko bread crumbs and gently press to adhere – flip and repeat. This will produce a crispier crust but is optional.

Once the oil is hot, add only as many falafel as will fit very comfortably in the pan at a time – about 5.

Cook for a total of 4-5 minutes, flipping when the underside is deep golden brown.  Serve warm with tahini sauce or hummus, inside a pita atop a bed of greens.

 (NOTES: Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator covered for several days. Freeze after that to keep fresh for up to 1 month.)



TAHINI SAUCE FOR FALAFEL

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup tahini sesame seed paste
3/4 cup lukewarm water, or more for consistency
3 cloves raw garlic (or 5 cloves roasted garlic)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (or more to taste)
1/4 tsp salt (or more to taste)
2 tsp fresh parsley, minced (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Put tahini paste, lukewarm water, garlic, lemon juice and salt together in a food processor or blender till sauce is creamy and ivory-colored.  You may need to scrape the sides of the processor periodically during processing.

After a few minutes of blending, sauce will turn into a rich, smooth paste.  If mixture is too thick, slowly add more water until it reaches the preferred consistency.

Taste often during the blending process; add more lemon juice or salt, if desired.

 

DIY Facial Serum

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I LOVE THIS FACIAL SERUM!!  My skin looks so much smoother and healthier when I wake up in the morning.  I would never have guessed that making my own serum would work just as good, or better, than the name-brand stuff I used to buy.

Facial serums are an important part of a skin-care regimen, just as much as a good cleanser and moisturizer.  Facial serum will provide nourishment and soothing to your skin.

If you have acne-prone skin, you would benefit from a light, astringent serum to keep your face moisturized and nourished without clogging pores.  And you will also want to use as a toner, either Bragg’s apple cider vinegar, or organic witchhazel – or both combined (witchhazel-based toner is the best for your skin, as it will not dry it out like an alcohol-based toner would). Toner is a must in any skin care regimen because it firms, tightens and tones the skin.

If you are 25 or older, I would highly recommend using an anti-aging facial serum.  It’s never too early to start nourishing aging skin.  As your skin ages, it loses its elasticity and starts to sag.  Without proper moisture and nourishment, you may end up looking like an American bulldog by the time you are 60.  Sorry, it’s truth – and the truth hurts…

Let’s get started!


FIRST, choose your carrier oil – which is your main ingredient.  It’s also known as the “base oil.”  Below are a list of very light base oils that will penetrate your pores quickly and not leave your skin feeling sticky or greasy:

  • Argan oil (for dry, aging, oily, normal, or acne-prone skin)
  • Jojoba oil (for dry, aging, oily, normal, or acne-prone skin)
  • Apricot kernel oil (for any skin type, but especially dry, aging skin)
  • Sweet almond oil (thicker, and takes longer to sink in, but nourishing)
  • Grapeseed oil (for normal, oily, or acne-prone skin)
  • Avocado oil (for dry and aging skin)
  • Hemp seed oil (for any skin type, also very light)
  • Calendula oil

My favorite base oils are jojoba oil or sweet almond oil.  They are very lightweight and do not clog my pores.


SECOND, you will choose your “extra” oil, for added nourishment (optional, but very beneficial).  Here are some options of “extra” oils:

Tamanu oil (good for acne-prone or oily skin, or skin with scars)

Sea buckthorn oil (for all skin types, but especially aging or dry skin)

Rosehip seed oil (regenerating, firming, anti-aging)

Carrot seed oil (super nourishing! – you only need a miniscule amount of this oil.  Beware, it does not smell like carrots!  It has a pungent, earthy scent).  Some say it’s a natural SPF, but I don’t know if that is accurate.

Borage oil (high in oleic acids – for most skin types, especially oily and acne-prone skin)

Evening primrose oil (acne, aging, normal skin)

Neem oil (antimicrobial and healing – for acne and oily skin)

Emu oil (emollient, protective and nourishing – for dry or aging skin)


THIRD, choose your favorite essential oils that work best with your specific skin care needs.  You will only need a few small drops of essential oil as they are mega potent (if you have the good stuff – thereapeutic-grade from a reputable company that shares where the oils are sourced from, and how much testing they go through for purity and efficacy.  If you are not sure where to find them, please comment below and I’ll help you).

Here are the most-used essential oils in skin care:

Lavender (oily or dry skin)

Peppermint (oily or dry skin)

Chamomile (soothing for sensitive skin)

Rose (for aging, dry and normal skin) (Unless you are the CEO of Microsoft, you may not be able to afford this oil!)

Geranium (for dry, sensitive, aging, and normal skin)

Lemongrass (brightens/tones – for normal or oily skin)

Rosemary (moisturizes oily skin)


LAST, take the dropper top off of a 1-oz glass bottle and:

1.  Fill your bottle just under 2/3 of the way with your base oil.

2.  Add “extra” oil until the bottle is just about full (If you are using carrot seed oil, only use a few drops)

3.  Add 5-7 drops of essential oil.  (Less if you’re using peppermint!! – and make sure to keep away from eyes).  Put the cap on your bottle and shake well.  You should be able to smell the oils, but it should not be overwhelming.

Apply 2-3 drops to face and neck after cleansing, and before your moisturizer.  If you use toner, use it after the toner.  You will not need a moisturizer after applying the serum – it should give you enough moisture on its own.  Keep your serum out of the sunlight (use a dark colored class bottle, such as amber or cobalt blue).  Give it a little shake each time before you apply the serum, to make sure the oils are well combined.  It should be good for up to 12 months.

This recipe may need tweaking, to accommodate your skin care needs.  We all have different skin types, and an oil that is good for one may not be good for another.  I would suggest by making only a small amount at first.  If it ends up not working for your face, you can always rub it on your body to moisturize before bed, or add it to your whipped body butter (see my recipe HERE).  The mixture will still benefit your skin, and does not need to go to waste.

To learn more about essential oils, or where I get mine from, please email me at:  karekorn@gmail.com.


Blessings,

Karen

Homemade Toothpaste with Coconut Oil

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Have you ever looked at the ingredients in your store bought toothpaste?

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Yeah, I didn’t either until I started caring more about what I put in and on my body.   The ingredients listed below that I am most concerned about are the sodium laurel sulfate, carrageenan, “flavor,” and sodium hydroxide. According to http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002487.htm, sodium hydroxide is found in many industrial solvents and cleaners, including flooring stripping products, brick cleaners, cements, and may also be found in certain household products, including:  aquarium products, drain cleaners, hair straighteners, metal polishes and oven cleaners, etc.  Why is it in our toothpaste?! So, over the weekend, I ran out of toothpaste.  I need to save money, so I figured I’d make my own toothpaste with my essential oils.  I found a recipe on Pinterest, and tweaked it a little bit to my liking. Here are the ingredients I used (the recipe will be posted below)

You simply mix all of these ingredients in a bowl, scoop it into your container, and you’re done! Tada!  The final product!  My, my, that is some tasty-looking frosting toothpaste.  It is about the same consistency as storebought toothpaste.

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Peppermint Toothpaste

1/4 cup + 2 TB coconut oil, softened

1/4 cup aluminum-free baking soda

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

1 tsp bentonite clay (I used liquid bentonite)

½ tsp liquid pure stevia

10-15 drops peppermint essential oil (use your own judgment)

5 drops thyme essential oil

5 drops of myrhh essential oil

In a medium bowl, combine the coconut oil and baking soda.  Mix thoroughly.  Add in the remaining ingredients and mix.  Store in a jar or a squeezable bottle. (Note: When mixing bentonite clay, please use a wood or plastic spoon. Bentonite clay should not come in contact with metal because it deactivates the clay’s detoxifying properties.  Bentonite clay isn’t necessary for this recipe, it is an added benefit.) How simple is that?!

UPDATE:  Since I started using this toothpaste, my mouth and teeth feel cleaner, my teeth look whiter, and my lips aren’t so dried out.  Usually, I apply chapstick as much as 20 times a day!  But, I feel that the coconut oil provides the needed moisture.  I am loving this toothpaste – my husband even loves it!

For more information on essential oils, or to find out where to purchase the oils I specifically use, please contact me at:  karekorn@gmail.com.  Happy to help!

Blessings,

Karen