What to Expect from Sister Vegetarian Recipes...

Sister Vegetarian knows the importance of nutrition without breaking the bank. In lieu of this, I keep the meals to a cost that anyone can create and still stick to a budget. I also include raw vegan meals. Sister has acquired a Raw Vegan Chef Certfication through The Raw Food Network-Ekaya Institute of Living Food Education. I love to cook meals from Africa, India, the Middle East, Greece, Italy, and the list goes on. When I cook, I call it traveling the world without leaving my home. I see cooking as a way to experiment and learn about other cultures, as I also learn more about my roots.

Enjoy the meals. Enjoy the travel. No Passport Required. Just an appetite for delicious and healthy meals.

Peace & Love, Sister Vegetarian.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Bring your lunch series: Hummus! Make Hummus in 10 minutes or less for the week!

Lunch Bag found at Natural Nirvana .
Natural Nirvana sells only animal-friendly products, geared toward vegetarians.

Brown Bagging. A lunchtime green tip that I have been practicing since elementary school. My mother embedded this "Green" action in me from an early age, and it just carried over into my life after college. I just like having control of what I eat for lunch at work since this will replenish me to handle my afternoon activities productively, and not sluggishly with processed foods. As a vegetarian, brown bagging is one way to make sure that you have a energy, replenishing lunch where you can choose what you eat rather than settle for a selection of small vegetarian choices at restaurants, your work cafeteria, or processed frozen foods.

This is one of a series of lunch time brown bagging meal ideas that will be featured in Sister's Recipes.

Visit Sister's Green Tips  for brown bagging ideas as to the many choices of lunch bags and containers available to carry your quick and easy homemade meals.

Hummus is as ubiquitous to Middle Eastern Cooking as it is to vegetarians. From ovo-lacto vegetarians to vegans, hummus is the queen of quick meals, snacks, and appetizers.

What is hummus? Hummus is a spread that is made from chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans). Hummus recipes are not set in stone, so one recipe varies from the other in the Middle East and Northern Africa.
Hummus originated in Egypt, and is one of the oldest ubiquitous foods known dating back as far as 7000 years as a popular dish.

With hummus recipes, you can basicially make the recipe your own by adding things such as roasted bell peppers, chipotle pepper, more garlic or less garlic, more Tahini or less Tahini, natural peanut instead of Tahini, spinach, archtichokes, and more. You can also blend hummus via your food pressor or blender to your liking by making it smooth, creamy, or chunky. I prefer my hummus between smooth and chunky for lunches. For me, smooth-chunky hummus on my collard leaves or flatbread wraps makes a nice wrap that holds. I also provide below wrap and wrap stuffers ideas for an even more healthier and filling lunch.

Hummus brings out your creativity which means good-bye to humdrum lunches; and, "HELLO!" to fun, jazzed up lunches!

Without further ado, I present to you: Hummus

Serving Size: 5 lunches
Cost: approximately $5.00 *cost based on stuffers and wraps selected to make it a hearty meal
Cost per serving: $1.00 a day, or per lunch meal (based on 5 lunches). Now that's cheap and nutritious!!!

Nutritional Facts:
Chickpeas (aka: Garbanzo Beans): a good source of protein and cholesterol-lowering fiber. Lowers cholesterol. “Garbanzo beans high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia (whfoods.cm)"

Tahini: Tahini is crushed sesame seeds. Think peanut butter, but made from sesame seeds. If you are allergic to peanuts, then Tahini may be a good alternative; but, check with your Allergist first! Tahini is an excellent source of calcium, Vitamins B and E (vitamin E is known to help reduce the rate of body cells ageing), and essential fatty acids that helps to maintain healthy skin. Tahini fats are unsaturated which means good for you.

Kale: High in Vitamin, C, Calcium, and Fiber. “Kale, is known to reduce the risk of a number of cancers, especially lung, colon, breast, ovarian and bladder cancer…provide significant cardiovascular benefits as well (whfoods.com).”

Collard Greens: an excellent source of the vitamins C, E,  A (all three are essential antioxidants). Collards are also an excellent source of folate and vitamin B6 to help protect against deformities and cancer.
 Organic Collards  purchased in the organic aisle of my local grocery store.

Spinach: an excellent source of Vitamin K, C, A, Calcium, and Iron. Other benefits: promotes cardiovascular protection and gastrointestinal health; the flavonoid's in spinach helps to combat ovarian cancer; and, vitamin K and calcium in Spinach contributes to stronger bones.

Hummus Recipe:
1 15oz can chickpeas, drained
1 TBSP dried parsley or 2 TBSP Fresh parsley
3 TBSP chopped onions
1 TBSP Tamari Sauce *(Soy Sauce can be used in its place)
1/4 cup Tahini * (besides whole foods stores, many grocery stores are now stacking up on Tahini in the health food section; but, if Tahini is still hard to find, use natural organic peanut butter in its place)
2 cloves of garlic (less if you are not a garlic fanatic as I am)
1/3 cup of lemon juice
1 1/2 tsps ground cumin (* instead of cumin, try ground curry and it adds an even stronger spiciness)
1/4 tsp ground chipotle pepper * adds a nice smoky pepper flavor
2 to 3 drops of liquid smoke * for additional smokiness
Additional Ingredients to make it as a lunch:
Wrap ideas: Collard leaves; Sister's Homemade Chapati; Flatbreads sunch as Lavash Bread.
Wrap Stuffers ideas: Kale, Spinach, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Raisins, peanuts, or your spark of creativity.

Organic Spinach Epinards and Organic Cucumbers from my local grocery store.

Process all the above ingredients in a food processor, or blender until it is smooth, or reaches the consistency you prefer.

Remember, hummus is a spread that you can change and adapt to your tastes; or, event you may be planning (i.e. appetizer for parties). Take away some of the ingredients above, or add more. Making your own hummus is cheaper and healthier than purchasing it in your local store.

Wrapping Hummus:
  1. Starting with the wrap: I love to use collard leaves to form my wrap. After cutting off the large end of the stem after cleaning, I slice down the collard leaf in the center of the large vein. Sometimes I just keep the leaf whole and wrap the hummus the long way. Whatever you prefer, it's all delicious! Other ideas are homemade Chapati bread which is excellent for vegans too because I make mine with extra virgin olive oil instead of ghee. Checkout Sister's Chapati Recipe in Sister's Recipes           
  2. Stuffers: You can make your hummus sandwich different everyday depending on your stuffers. Before I roll the collard leaf wrap (or, whatever wrap you choose), I stuff my sandwich with spinach or kale leaves, sliced cucumbers, and occassionally raisins and/or nuts. Just be creative, and enjoy the process of putting your love into this quickly made meal!

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