Un-recipe for Grilled Hummus Sandwich

Hello!

A quick “un-recipe” for you to celebrate my Veggieversary #3! (Three years this past weekend since I decided to eat vegetarian). Hooray!  It’s been an awesome journey, and I’m living the way that I think I always knew deep down was right for me.

Why is this an un-recipe? Because I’m not good with precision when I experiment, which I suppose gives you more freedom too, right? This grilled hummus sandwich has been a regular thing for me this year because I do always have sandwich bread to use up. And it has cilantro. See the connection? Just kidding, there isn’t much of one, but I love anything with cilantro. LOTS of it. I did not follow a recipe with this…just sort of thought of it as making grilled cheese for my boys for lunch one Sunday.

ingredients for hummus sandwich

Grilled Hummus Sandwich-vegan version

2 slices sandwich bread

hummus-pre-made or go for making your own

Earth balance buttery spread or you favorite non-dairy margarine/spread

Optional: fresh cilantro leaves, Romaine lettuce leaves (or any green you prefer), green or other assorted slices olives, sliced tomato, sliced onion, black bean and corn mix (I keep a batch in my fridge most weeks), or anything else. This is great for helping use up leftover odds and ends of produce.

Procedure:

Heat your non-stick pan on medium. Spread Earth balance or similar spread on one side of one slice of bread. Place this in the pan, buttery side down and then carefully put a big old layer of hummus all over that piece. Add the extras that you think can stand up to the heat. For me (this week at least) that was the cilantro, olives, and black bean and corn mix. Put your other buttered slice on top (buttery side facing outward) and cook until both sides are browned, flipping the sandwich carefully when appropriate. Take off the heat, open your sandwich and add the toppings you did not add initially, like lettuce.

This time my cilantro was a little too warm and wilted, so I may wait until the end or mid-way through next time.

grilled hummus sandwich

Enjoy the creamy, warm, yumminess!

What I’ve Read Lately…Whole by T C Campbell

Whole by TCC

This was not a quick easy read. At times I felt like I was pushing myself as if I had an exam coming up or a paper to write. But I wanted to read it and get the big picture. This won’t be a detailed review, but here are a few pearls I am taking from it. You’ll see why there’s an apple in my photo…

First, a quick but necessary summary: As anyone who knows of Dr. Campbell, The China Study, Forks Over Knives, etc. will recall, he advocates a whole-food plant-based diet (no animal products) without added oils/fats that don’t occur naturally in a whole plant food. One of the main points of his book is that the whole food is better than the “reductionist” view of researching and supplementing certain nutrients and adding them to foods, which by default will be a processed food.

One example he alludes to is, don’t eat globs of ketchup for the lycopene, eat fresh tomatoes for all the nutrients the whole food provides. We don’t even have a grasp of everything that is potentially in our plant foods, he purports, but they will lead us to much better health than animal foods and processed stuff. We are missing the forest for the trees by focusing on research and foods with endless combinations of single nutrients/vitamins, etc. instead of what has already been shown to bring better health (refer to The China Study for his evidence).

Yep, I agree with him pretty much. He’s brilliant, he fights the “system” and the greed of U. S. corporations, government policy makers, and influencers. I think the book reads as the book of an older man who wants to make his point STRONGLY, because folks, he’s just about 80 years old.

Here’s what struck me:

His example of a colleague, Professor Liu and his team…they found that 100 g of fresh apple had an antioxidant, vitamin C-like activity equivalent to 1, 500 milligrams of Vitamin C. But when they analyzed the 100 g of whole apple, there were only 5.7 milligrams of vitamin C….The vitamin C-like activity from 100 grams of whole apple was an astounding 263 times more potent as the same amount of the isolated chemical … (p. 152-153).      (Obviously, in the context of why the whole food is better than worrying about the individual nutrients. Dr. Campbell is not into supplements).

“the livestock population of the US consumes five times as much grain as the country’s entire human population”  !! (p. 166).  (In context of why our current food patterns are terrible for the earth).  O.k., as a citizen in a country with plenty of food insecurity, this just makes me mad. Some statistics just make my jaw drop, and this is one of them.

Here’s an interview I found online with Dr. Campbell that summarizes some other concepts of the book, that are just as important.

Here’s another interview with the New York Times in 2011 that summarized his concepts also.

Although I am somewhat skeptical about ever buying into anything 100%, I do recommend reading something by Dr. Campbell. His life’s work is about something real, and we (I don’t mean this judgmentally, I am referring to society as a whole) need to thoughtfully consider it.

Recent Discoveries and Strategies

Finally, a really free Saturday. It’s early afternoon and I’m still in pajama pants. I even threw caution to the wind and paid the paper girl in wild hair and full pajamas!  I just wanted to say hi, hope you are having a good weekend, and spread some veggie cheer and ideas.

1. Today I cooked the basic tofu scramble from Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. She has it on her blog here. Wow, I found this recipe was way better than I expected. Tofu and I have a contentious relationship, to say the least. The only change I made was to reduce the cumin-I used 1 and 1/2 tsp instead of the 2 teaspoons. I’ve just learned that sometimes her recipes overwhelm me with too much cumin. Seriously, if you have been afraid to try a tofu scramble, this is delicious. Sorry, forgot to take a picture. Here’s a picture of the book I seem to be obsessed with.

2. A friend who is a vegetarian and works full-time gave me this suggestion: She buys a case of black beans and a case of canned corn at Costco. She mixes a can of corn and a can of black beans in a storage container and then makes things from it all week. I tried this (I bought the beans but used my frozen corn instead-I cooked it slightly). During the week, I added it to lentil enchiladas for two meals. Later in the week,  I pulled out Veganomicon (also by Isa Chandra Moskowitz) and found the essential ingredients of a vinaigrette-equal amounts red wine vinegar and oil, salt and pepper-and poured it over the mix. I added in lots of fresh cilantro and LOVE it. I made a light but satisfying dinner last night when I got home late.

3. I fixed this Gardein brand Mandarin Orange Crispy “Chik’n” for myself one night after work after everyone else had already eaten (I work long days, but only 2 days per week). Plant-based and very very tasty.

4. Meal Planning. This structure has helped me to make one list and one shopping trip per week usually (as long as I use the planning system, ha ha). I didn’t want to blog about it until I used it over a decent period of time. I have a history of meal planning failure, or should we call it opportunities for growth… I have used this system for most of the weeks since the new year began. I plan at least three cooked dinners, usually including one or two new recipes,  and try to make enough for leftovers. I might cook something simple for my lunches at work or home. “Other” is usually a dessert or just something fun I want to try if time permits.  I make a thorough shopping list and then make one big trip to the grocery for the week. I adapted mine from a similar sheet used by Diana at Veggie Next Door blog, who is obviously much more structured than me. Here is mine…created with the table function in Word.

meal plan chart

What have you been cooking? Whether you are a full-time vegetarian or not, I’m curious what you think of Gardein products if you have tried them…Let me know!