A bowl of connection

When I made jewelry a few years ago, I sold exclusively online.  I had tried selling in galleries and stores but didn't like that I had no connection with the customers.  When I focused on online selling, you'd think I'd have been even more removed but it was quite the opposite.

I made some wonderful connections from customers, blog readers, Facebook readers, etc.  So frequently my customers would tell me their stories and how it related to the piece of jewelry I had made.  I had one guy tell me he was plucking up courage to propose to the girl her loved - even though he was really scared and hadn't told anyone else.  I had people tell me sad stories and how something I made helped them focus on the positive.  It was stunning and a real privilege to get to know people that way.

Since doing my health coaching, I've had less e-connections. Some from my blog, but not as many.   But one of them I do enjoy is with Mary Lou.  She found my facebook page and got in touch.  Now we are keen readers of each other posts.

A week or so ago she posted a lovely sounding recipe called The original Yumm Bowl from Cafe Yumm in Eugene, Oregon.  I thought it looked like a great lunch dish.  It is a Buddha Bowl - if you know what that is. Basically a bowl that starts with a grain like brown rice or quinoa and on top you add different veggies like avocado, black beans, garbanzos, tomato, leafy sprouts etc and then it all comes together by the addition of a yummy sauce.

So I changed the recipe a little - took out the oil and changed the dried herbs and beans to what I had in the cupboard - and delish!

I call it my "bowl of connection" as it was a lovely way to connect with Mary Lou and also because the sauce in the dish connects all the other ingredients together - binding it to create a whole, rather than separate ingredients.

Let me know if you give it a go.  If you do, I know you'll enjoy it. And of course, you can make it yours by adding what veggies and grains you like. I made a to-go version, used brown rice with lentils, quinoa and brown rice, pomegranate seeds, ....whatever was on hand.  A nice flexible lunch.

Hope you enjoy the connection.
For the "Connection" Sauce:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup ground almonds/almond meal
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
3/4 cup garbanzo beans
1 garlic clove
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder (I used Madras)
2 teaspoons of dried Italian herb seasoning

For the "Connection" Bowl:
Brown rice and/or other grain
Black beans and/or garbanzos
Diced fresh tomato
Sliced avocado
Arugula sprouts or other leafy sprouts or cilantro

For the connection sauce: In a blender, process the almond meal, nutritional yeast, garbanzo beans, garlic, curry and italian herbs together until blended.

Scrape down the side of the blender and then, with the machine running, add the lemon juice and water in a steady stream.  Scrape down the bowl again and blend for 1 minute until the sauce is smooth and creamy. Add more water if you want a runnier sauce.

Refrigerate the sauce as it will be enough for a few dishes.

To assemble the Bowl of Connection:
Put a scoop of rice/grain in the bottom of an individual bowl. Top with the other ingredients around the bowl and then pour the sauce in the center.  Enjoy!
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Chickpea crepes (and upgraded Moroccan Bean Stew)

As I said a couple of days ago, I made a yummy Moroccan bean stew this week - enough for a few meals.

Reheating it, I've added a few other ingredients - which has bulked it out a little so it's gone further, and also improved the flavor, I think.

First of all I added a bunch of kale, fresh from the garden.  Yummy. Tastes even better because you feel all that green is good for you!

And for my last bowl, I've added a handful of currants. I loved the sweetness as part of the spice mix, and wanted to build on that a little, so the currants did the trick.  Not too sweet, like I think raisins could have been, but the currants lift the flavor nicely.

These photos also show my chickpea crepes I made to go with it.  I tried using the batter to make small blinis, but they tasted heavily of "bean" so I wasn't that keen on them.  But the thin crepes don't taste beany at all - so could go with sweet or savory accompaniments.

Here is the chickpea crepe recipe: Makes 6 crepes.
150g chickpea flour (garbanzo bean flour)
1 egg or egg replacement
200ml water

I made the crepes on my aga, so put a non-stick sheet directly on the simmering plate (no frying pan needed) and poured the batter on there, so I didn't need any oil.  I love making pancakes, crepes etc on the aga, directly on the plate!

But if you don't have an aga :-(, heat a little coconut oil in a frying pan.  Add some batter and swirl it around the pan to spread it out into a circle and cook on medium heat until the edge start turning golden (~1minute).  Flip it over and cook for another minute.  Remove from the pan and keep warm.

These will make nice wraps too - quite flexible and strong enough to place lots of vegetables in them.

Do you change your meals throughout the week when you make a big pot of something? What sort of things do you add?

Red Pepper Hummus

I made fat free hummus today - and while that is not a surprise for me, the thing that was different about it, was that I cooked my own garbanzo beans (chickpeas)!

Yes, I bought dried beans instead of the cooked ones. I soaked them overnight and cooked them for 3 hours this morning.

I wasn't doing this just for hummus - there are a few other dishes I'm using them for, but I thought it would be interesting to try my hummus recipe and see if it was more flavorful with the home-cooked beans.

I do actually prefer it, and if I am cooking garbanzos again for another reason, I'll save some for hummus again.

Here's the recipe:

1 drained can of chickpeas - or cook your own garbanzos
Juice of two lemons
1 teaspoon of Bragg Liquid Aminos
3 tablespoons water
2 roasted red peppers - I used Mezzetta

Blend all the ingredients together and enjoy!

I served mine with poppadoms for a health snack with lots of fiber.

Most hummus has tahini in it, or olive oil - but I love the taste without and don't need the fat and extra calories.