Tag Archives: Parsley

The perfect summer potluck dish

It. Is. So. Hot. Here.

During the winter, my housemates and I try not to use the heater in order to save money. It routinely gets down to 50 in our casa, and we walk around with multiple layers of pants and sweatshirts on. Likewise, during the summer, we try not to use the air conditioner and it routinely gets up to 90 degrees in our house. I have a new rule though: once it hits 87, I get to turn on the AC. I can’t sleep or study when it is that hot! Or eat for that matter, unless it is something cold. The heat has actually been a blessing because I have been getting so creative in the kitchen in order to make summer-friendly meals! Today’s recipe is amazing served chilled and a consistent crowd pleaser. I have brought it to a potluck, a work party, and fed it to anyone who comes over to our house!

Watermelon Tabouli with Goat Cheese

Recipe: Serves ~10 people

1 cup bulgur

2 cups water

1 large cucumber

3 cups watermelon, cubed

1/2 cup parsley, chopped

1 clove garlic

2 tbsp green onion, chopped

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

zest of 1 lemon

1 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled

Directions – Place a large pan on the stove and add the water and bulgur. Turn the heat on to high and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, remove the pan from heat and cover. Let bulgur sit in the hot water for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and let sit for another 15 minutes. Scrape bulgur into a bowl and put into the fridge to chill. If there is any water left, drain first.

Chop the watermelon and cucumber into cubes. Finely chop the parsley, onion, and garlic. Combine all of the ingredients, except the goat cheese, oil, lemon juice, and lemon zest, in a bowl and toss with chilled bulgur. Drizzle the oil, lemon juice, and lemon zest over the mixture and mix again. Right before serving, add in the crumbled goat cheese and a sprinkling of salt and lightly toss one final time. Done!

Benefits

Parsley * is extremely high in vitamin K and also contains vitamin C and A, and some folate. Parsley also contains fairly rare volatile oils that have been found to halt tumor growth in animal studies and are considered “chemoprotective,” which means they can help neutralize carcinogens. Also rich in the antioxidants flavonoids.

Watermelon * a great source of vitamin A, C, B1, and B6. The antioxidants derived from the vitamin A help fight inflammation which contributes to many ailments, including heart attacks, diabetes miletus, and arthritis.

Cucumber * the peel is full of fiber and vitamin K and the meat is mostly hydrating water. Also a good source of potassium, beta carotene, vitamin C, and other antioxidants!
Bulgur * has one of the highest amounts of fiber of any grain. Also contains B vitamins, iron, phosphorous, manganese.
Question: What are your favorite summer recipes? Do share!

the most obnoxious vegetable

Every year, summer rolls around and zucchini and squash take over the town. They are hawked at the farmers market as the vendors desperately try to get rid of their endless supply before it can rot, they are displayed  front and center at every super market with signs screaming sale, and they weezle their way into practically every seasonal recipe.

Thus, I get annoyed with zucchini and especially summer squash.

Like everyone else, I had a massive zucchini that I didn’t want to just waste and throw away, so I set out on a mission to make it taste delicious. I wanted that damn mutantly-huge zucchini to taste so good that I would forget it was 99% water and 1% cellulose. And did I succeed? Why yes. Yes, I did.

zucchini salad with fresh herbs and feta cheese

who are you and why do you taste so good? 

Recipe: Makes 3-4 servings

1 large zucchini

3 sprigs parsley, chopped

1 tsp dill

1 tsp lemon zest

1/2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

dash cumin

salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Directions – Chop the zucchini into cubes. Finely chop the parsley and dill (or you can use dried dill). Toss the zucchini with the parsley, dill, lemon zest, lemon juice, oil, cumin, salt, and pepper. Fold in feta cheese and enjoy!

simple and delicious

Benefits

Zucchini * this veggie is high in vitamin C, folic acid, niacin, potassium, and beta caroteen! It is also high in fiber and eerily low in calories

Dill * aids in digestion, is a relaxant, can help ease insomnia, and contains the antioxidants monoterpenes, which protect against cancer!

Lemon * a great source of vitamin C. Lemons are also said to help aid in digestion by stimulating the secretion and activation of certain enzymes!

Falafels with Labneh Sauce

The workout rocked! I am sore today which used to never happen! The boyfriend says that being sore isn’t a good thing and is merely muscle trauma, but I like it :). He is a big proponent of one set with a weight heavy enough to elicit total failure and inability to do another set. I am similar, but I like to do 2-3 sets with a weight that is heavy enough so that I fail BY 12 reps. Then, with each subsequent set I fail earlier and earlier. And by fail I mean I can not for the life of me lift the weight, no matter how ugly I make my face. As promised…

Weights Workout:

3 sets of biceps curls until failure (max of 12 per set). 15 pounds.

3 sets of  tricep drops or until failure (max of 12 per set). 25 pounds.  [This is where you hold the weight over your head and slowly lower it down to the back of your head and lift back up. I actually failed after 2 sets and couldn’t do a third.]

3 sets of shoulder raises until failure (max of 12 per set). 10 pounds. [Lift the weights up from your sides till you make a T with your arms.]

Repeat 3 times:

12 squats holding a 25 pound weight. Immediately follow with…

Stand on a balance bosu ball and hold a weighted medicine ball over your head. Hold for 20 seconds.

1 set of 20 squats holding weighted ball.

Repeat 3 times:

20 lunges to the side holding a weighted medicine ball (do 10 to one side and then 10 to the other). Immediately follow with…

25 bicycle abs. [I don’t work on abs unless its just to kill time and recover from something else.]

1 set of 50 leg/butt raises per leg. [This where you get on your hands and knees and lift your straightened leg up as high as you can and bring it back down, slowly.] [Do the first 30 with a full range of up and down motion and the last 20 up at the top with a smaller motion.]

1 set of 30 side kicks per leg. [This is where you lift your leg out to the side like a dog peeing on a fire hydrant. Kick out. HIYAH!]

3 sets of 20 airplanes. [This is where you lie down on your stomach and lift your upper body up as far up and back as you can. Simultaneously bring your arms straight out and back, like an airplane.]

Within 30 minutes, get at least 15-20 grams of pure, easy to utilize protein. I use All the Whey protein isolate in Cinnamon Bun flavor. Half a scoop of that, half a cup of milk, ice, blend, DONE!

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I know that some people believe that this is not necessary and that you are fine with just your dietary protein, but I think this is really important. Unless your body is a total pro and can perfectly utilize every drop of protein you put into it, then if you want to build muscle, you need to supplement with a bit extra and at the right time. Within 30 minutes seems like a good, safe guess. This is just my personal view, some people do not need the extra protein, but I can tell that I do much better with it. Times when I tried other people’s style of eating less protein have lead me to muscle and weight loss and NOT in a good way.

While I sipped my smoothie, I prepared this amazing Lebanese style dinner. This was not difficult to make and tasted amazing. I felt like I was in the Middle East for a little while :).

There was actually 2x the amount of falafel and 3x the amount of labneh, but for aesthetic purposes I took a picture of it before plopping the rest on my plate.

Recipe: Serves 1

Ingredients list: 3/4 green onion, 4 mushrooms, 1 tbsp EEVO (or more if you want!), 2 cloves garlic, 3/4 cup chickpeas, 1/4+1/8 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs, 1 egg white, cilantro, cumin, parsley, 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, salt, and optional mint

Place a pan on the stove and heat to medium low.

Dice 3/4 of a green onion (both the white and green parts) and a few small mushrooms into very small pieces. Add 1 tsp of EVOO, the onions, and the mushrooms to the pan and cook until soft.

Finely chop two cloves of garlic. Without draining first, blend 3/4 a cup of chickpeas and garlic  in the blender until smooth.

Scoop the mush into a bowl. Add the soft green onions and mushrooms. Chop up 1 tbsp worth of fresh cilantro (this is key!). Add the cilantro, 1/2 tsp parsley (dried or more if fresh), 1 egg white, 1/8 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs, and several shakes of cumin. Stir.

Pour 1/8 cup whole wheat bread crumbs onto a plate. Shake to evenly distribute. Grab a handful of chickpea mix and toss back and forth in your hand to form a patty. Press the patty into the breadcrumbs. Repeat until the chickpea mixture is gone (this can make 2 large or 3 smallish patties). Use another 1/8 cup whole wheat to cover the tops of the patties. Lightly press the breadcrumbs into the patties so that they are completely covered.

Increase the heat on the stove to medium high and add 1 tsp of EEVO (or more if you wish). Lay the patties in the pan and let them cook. Don’t flip them until they are medium brown on the bottom and a bit firmer! When they are ready to be flipped, scoop them onto a plate and add 1 more tsp of EEVO to the pan. Then place them back in the pan and let the other side brown.

For the Labneh:

Mix 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt with 1/2 tsp fresh ground sea salt. Traditionally, labneh has mint in it. I didn’t have any, but if you do, chop some up and mix it in!

To serve, you can put the falafels and labneh into a pita stuffed with greens. Or, you can place them atop a salad. I used the labneh to cover my falafels and as a salad dressing. Arugula, tomatoes, and mushrooms went together quite well!

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I don’t post calorie counts for my dishes mainly because I feel that counting calories detracts from one’s quality of life and I don’t want to encourage that. Our bodies do a really good job of monitoring our calorie intake. If you take in more than usual on one day, you will most likely feel less hungry on a subsequent day, and eat less. In the end, the body is eerily good at balancing energy input and output. However, this ability does begin to deteriorate the more and more overweight a person becomes. Excess fat (particularly on the stomach) becomes an organ that can cause the secretion hormones. These hormones can cause a person to feel hungry when they shouldn’t be or to not feel full when they should. So, I do think that for people who are trying to lose weight, keeping a general idea of your caloric intake (or counting, if that is what you feel you need to succeed) is a good idea. I am going to post the nutritional information for this meal because I want to show that one can make a “bready, fried dish” that is healthy and balanced! Also, there is 30 grams of protein in this dish and it is vegetarian ;).

Nutritional Info: For all of the falafel and labneh sauce (but not the salad or a pita)

Calories: 530

Total Fat: 16.8g

Sodium: 636 mg /  Potassium: 489 mg

Carbs: 71.2 g — Dietary fiber 12.3 g — Sugar 4.7 g!

Protein: 30 g!

Vitamins and percent daily values: B12 – 10%, B6 – 46%, C – 37%, D – 8%, Calcium – 20%, Copper – 22%, Folate – 32%, Iron – 19%, Manganese – 55%, Niacin – 9%, Pantothenic acid – 17%, Phosphorus – 33%, Riboflavin – 27%,  Selenium – 12%, Thiamin – 10%, Zinc – 14%