Falafel From Scratch + Vegan Rooftop Dinner

Over the weekend, I helped host a friend’s Bachelorette party on the roof of an apartment building in Midtown Detroit. My food contribution was a homemade falafel recipe that I had made once before with success. [Others I’ve tried were not nearly as successful (can we say “falafel waffle”?)] Since we were expecting 20+ girls, I doubled the recipe. It did end up being just the right amount of food, but please beware, DO NOT double the recipe unless you are feeding 20 people. Even one batch is quite a lot of falafelūüôā


Now, two days later, people are still asking me for the falafel recipe, so I wanted to publicly share it, and give credit to its author, Elephantastic Vegan.


  • 2¬Ĺ cups / 500g¬†dried chickpeas
  • 2 onions
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ¬Ĺ teaspoon cumin
  • lemon juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 bunch of fresh parsley
  • ¬Ĺ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ¬Ĺ teaspoon baking powder
  • ‚Öď cup / 30g¬†besan/chickpea flour
  • ‚Öõ cup / 30ml olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  1. Put the dry chickpeas in a large bowl, cover with enough water (the chickpeas will double in size!) and let them sit covered overnight.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 400¬įF/200¬įC.
  3. Peel the onions and garlic cloves. Put them in a food processor and chop.
  4. In a pan with a teaspoon of canola oil, add the chopped onions, garlic & cumin and let it cook on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes or until they starten to brown.
  5. Drain the chickpeas and then work in batches by adding the first batch into the food processor and chop until the pieces are really small (you don’t want to make hummus). In one batch add in the parsley to chop it as well. Repeat until all the chickpeas are used. Transfer everything to a huge bowl.
  6. Add the lemon juice, cayenne pepper, salt, ground pepper, baking powder and the onions and garlic. Mix well.
  7. Add in the chickpea flour and olive oil. Mix the chickpea mixture well and form little balls. If the dough does not stick together enough, add more chickpea flour and oil.
  8. Put the falafel on a baking tray and put them in the oven for about 25 minutes or until they turn golden.
  9. You can eat the falafel like that or put them in a pan with a little oil for re-heating when you need them. They freeze very well, so you will have a nice stash of homemade falafel in your freezer, which is super convenientūüėČ

Note: For this party, I did fry them in a pan instead of baking them. It was a special occasionūüôā


Photo credit: Royce Mathew

The beautiful bride-to-be!

Leave a comment

Filed under Dinner Ideas, Gluten Free, Lunch, Potluck, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian

No-Bake Choco Coco Oat Cookies



  • 2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 4 T cocoa powder
  • 1 T ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter (or any nut butter)
  • 1/2 cup raw cinnamon honey [or regular raw honey (+ cinnamon if you please)]
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2 t vanilla extract


  1. Take a 2-cup glass measuring cup, and fill it with coconut oil, melting it slightly in the microwave, until you reach the 1/2 cup mark. Add honey until you reach the 1 cup mark. Add peanut butter until you reach the 2 cup mark.
  2. Pour this mixture into a medium pot on medium heat, and stir until well combined.
  3. Meanwhile, mix the oats, coconut flakes, cocoa powder and flaxseed.
  4. Take the pot off of the stove and add the dry ingredients and the vanilla. Stir until combined.
  5. Drop heaping tablespoons of the mixture onto a cookie sheet lined with a silpat or equivalent.
  6. Freeze for 15 minutes, and then remove from cookie sheet, and store in a tupperware container in the freezer.
  7. You can eat them right out of the freezer, or let them thaw for 10 minutes before serving.


Feel free to make substitutions to suit your tastes/what you have on hand. It would be hard to screw these up!

Adapted from Dr. Axe


1 Comment

Filed under Desserts, Gluten Free, Snacks, Vegetarian

Chipotle Turkey Apple Chili + Traverse City Cottage

Chipotle Turkey Apple Chili | real food. home made.

I need to take more time on my food photography. The hard part is, once it’s ready, you just want to eat it!


  • 1 lb ground turkey (from a local farm)
  • 2 granny smith apples, 1 peeled and both chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 T pureed chipotle peppers in adobo sauce*
  • 1 t chili powder
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • 1 cup of free range chicken broth
  • 1 cup of bock beer (TJ’s Josephsbrau Heller Bock or Shiner or any other beer you fancy, really)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 can of beans, any variety (I use Kroger’s tri-bean blend)
  • shredded cheddar cheese, for serving
  • 1 loaf of Everyday Crusty Bread, for serving


  1.  Add a bit of EVOO to a large pot over medium-high heat. Add your ground turkey, peeled chopped apple, diced onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until turkey is no longer pink.
  2. Add garlic, chipotle peppers, chili powder and cumin, and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add tomato sauce, chicken broth, beer, cinnamon stick, and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10-15 minutes, adding the beans in during the last minutes.
  5. Remove cinnamon stick, scoop into bowls, top with raw chopped granny smith apple, shredded cheddar cheese and serve with a slice of homemade bread.

*Tip: I buy cans of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, throw the whole thing into the food processor, and puree it smooth. I store it in my fridge, practically indefinitely (well let’s just say, I use it before it goes bad). I use approximately 1 T for every diced chipotle in adobo called for in a recipe.

Traverse City Cottage | real food. home made.

In other news, our family recently bought this amazing Traverse City cottage! We are currently visiting for the first time this weekend, blogging in the living room as the lake-reflected sun blinds us.

Recipe adapted from Iowa Girl Eats!

Leave a comment

Filed under Dinner Ideas, Soups & Chilis

Spaghetti Squash with Fennel, Kale, Lemon & Italian Chicken Sausage


Serves: 4-5


  • 1 spaghetti squash, halved and seeded
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 bulb of fennel plus herby tops
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 T fresh minced rosemary
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 bunch of kale, torn
  • 1 package italian chicken/turkey sausage (from a local farm or al fresco brand), cut into coins
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • shaved parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375¬ļ
  2. Halve and de-seed your spaghetti squash. Brush with EVOO and season with salt and pepper. Bake, cut side up, for 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, dice up your onion, pepper, and thinly slice an equal amount of fennel. Reserve the herby tops in a small bowl for serving.
  4. Mince your garlic and rosemary, and put them aside in a separate bowl.
  5. Heat some EVOO on medium heat in a large pan, and sautée the onion, pepper and fennel bulb pieces.
  6. When they are softened, add in the garlic, rosemary and kale, and cook until fragrant and kale is wilted.
  7. Remove this mixture from the pan, and place in a large bowl. Squeeze one half of the lemon on top, and add your sunflower seeds.
  8. In the same pan, add a bit more EVOO and cook your sausage coins. Add these to the bowl once browned.
  9. When the squash is done, use 2 forks to pull it apart. Squeeze the second half of the lemon on top, and then incorporate into the rest of the ingredients.
  10. To serve, scoop mixture into bowls, and add parmesan cheese and fennel herby tops.

Leave a comment

Filed under Dinner Ideas, Gluten Free, Lunch, Paleo

Goat Cheese, Pesto & Red Pepper Dip (The Best 3 Ingredient Appetizer)

This is an appetizer I bring to many a potluck. It is so easy to throw together, having¬†only 3 ingredients. Today’s potluck is a block party on my street, the Vester Festifall. We will be carving pumpkins, jumping on a bounce house, drinking hot toddies, and listening to a collaborative playlist of Halloween music.

Eliza Bounce House

Eliza is not enthused.

Yesterday, my neighbor Eliza and I made posters for the event. She is an absolute doll. Now, onto the recipe.

Goat Cheese, Pesto & Red Pepper Dip


  • goat cheese log
  • jar of pesto (home made or store bought)
  • red pepper(s)

Goat Cheese, Pesto & Red Pepper Dip (The Best 3 Ingredient Appetizer) | real food. home made.


  1. Preheat oven to 325¬ļ
  2. Spread the pesto over the bottom of a baking dish.
  3. Chop up the goat cheese and arrange it down the middle.
  4. Dice your red pepper(s) and place them along the sides.
  5. Bake for 15-30 minutes.
  6. Serve with your favourite crackers, pita chips, or baguette slices.

Note: You can either make this in a smaller baking dish, with a small goat cheese log, a small jar of pesto, and one red pepper. Today, however, I am using a monster cheese log, a lot of pesto and 2 red peppers.

In the oven, the pesto will sautée the pepper, and the cheese will melt. Yum yum yum! What a gorgeous Fall day for a block party. Gotta go!

Recipe source: The Polohouse

Leave a comment

Filed under Appetizers, Gluten Free, Potluck, Vegetarian

Easy Acorn Squash with Mushrooms & Roasted Onions

Easy Acorn Squash with Mushrooms & Roasted Onions | real food. home made.

I love dinners that are practically all vegetables, yet have enough different colours, textures and tastes where you might not even notice. You might even say: “it has meal appeal out the wazoo!” And did I mention it’s quick? I¬†got off work at 4:30 and have already swung by the¬†post office and bank, stopped at the grocery store for my ingredients, made dinner, did the dishes AND wrote this blog entry and it is only 7:00pm.

Easy Acorn Squash with Mushrooms & Roasted Onions


  • 1 acorn squash, halved, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 red onion, cut into 1/2 inch wedges
  • 10 oz baby bella mushrooms, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T fresh thyme
  • 1 T fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
  • extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
  • splash of balsamic vinegar


  1. Preheat oven to 475¬ļ
  2. Toss squash and onion pieces with EVOO and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast on an even layer for 15-18 minutes, until squash is tender.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a skillet on medium heat, add EVOO, your chopped mushrooms, garlic and thyme, and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Cook until mushrooms are tender (adding a splash of balsamic vinegar halfway through cooking), then turn heat to warm and add parmesan and parsley.
  6. Arrange squash and onion pieces in a radial manner, add mushroom/parmesan mixture on top, and serve immediately!

Leave a comment

Filed under Dinner Ideas, Gluten Free, Vegetarian

Lunchtime at Work: Discussions About Food with Average Americans

Lunchtime at work regularly tends to bring up various discussions about food. ¬†I find these conversations very insightful, as I regard my coworkers as “Average Americans”, and I like to analyze their perspectives. ¬†I also like to help them see food in a new way, which unfortunately tends to fall on deaf ears.

During one¬†memorable¬†lunchtime discussion, a coworker said that he feeds his dog this expensive dog food because his¬†veterinarian¬†said it’s better for him. But while he is saying this, he is feeding himself $1 Campbell’s soup!¬†Probably because his doctor doesn’t recommend anything different. Isn’t that strange?

Lunchtime at Work: Discussions About Food with Average Americans | real food. home made.

So many humans think we are not animals and therefore we have different rules to live by, which is not true.

On a different day, another coworker made a reference to the few of us in the lunchroom who were eating “rabbit food” (referring to fruits and vegetables) and I wanted to say “This is just called food. ¬†We are animals just like rabbits.” Or something like that, but I couldn’t find the right words.

On¬†my Dad’s birthday, I brought in my¬†Black Bean &¬†Avocado Brownies. ¬†I received 2 positive comments, and the rest were a varying degree of negative, including: “I took one bite and then slam dunked it into the garbage”, and “I ate the whole thing, I’ll eat anything”, etc.

This was by far my favourite remark:

“I wish all desserts tasted like this, because then I wouldn’t want to eat as many.”

How insightful! ¬†Desserts ARE supposed to taste like this! And we AREN’T wired to want to eat¬†them in excess! ¬†What a revelation.

By the way, this month I am celebrating the 1 year anniversary of my blog. I would love to post more often, so please tell me, what kinds of things do you wish to see? Recipes? Musings? Anything in particular?

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized