A Twist on Mujaddarah: Lentils Gone Right

A Vegetarian Nutritionally Dense Meal

Side view.

Side view.

 

Mujaddarah is a popular Middle Eastern dish made of brown lentils and rice. Some variations serve it with tomato sauce while others prefer plain yogurt. In the past I used to make Mujaddarah with brown lentils and rice topped with browned onions, aside organic plain yogurt and a diced salad. Today I took the recipe on a twist.

My father purchased Certified Organic Basmati Brown Rice and I wanted to give it a try with this dish. I know that it takes longer to cook so I soaked it for 1 hour in water. Instead of just onions on top I threw in red, orange, yellow and green bell peppers as well as fresh chopped parsley. I have to say my entire family was pleased with this dish.

Lentils are very beneficial, high in both protein and fiber and known for heart benefits. Throwing in brown rice adds fiber and whole grains too. Aside I made a salad with avocados (my favorite!), fresh parsley, lettuce, tomatoes, and bell peppers. I topped it with some hot sauce and had a delicious yet nutritious meal!  

 If you’re a person who gets bloated or GI issues from eating lentils and beans, I highly recommend that instead of running away from them, try soaking them or buying pre-sproated lentils. 

Ingredients:
2 cups brown lentils, soaked and washed

2 cups Certified Organic Brown Basmati Rice, soaked

Himalayan Pink Salt, Ground Cumin, other spices of your choice for taste

5 medium onions sliced intro long strips

1 red, yellow, green, and orange bell pepper sliced into strips, organic 

Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

 

Directions:

  1. Soak the brown rice and lentils in separate bowls for 1 hour.
  2. In a pot put about 6 cups water and add brown lentils. Boil on high heat for 15 minutes. Add the brown rice and spices and allow to boil for about 10 more minutes (until tender).
  3. When the water goes down cover and lower the heat for 5-7 minutes

    IMAG6498

    Brown lentils & Organic Brown Rice cooking until tender

  4. Put the oil, onions and peppers  in a skillet and stir fry on high heat until the onions brown well
Skillet w/ oil, bell peppers, onions, and chopped parsley.

Skillet w/ oil, bell peppers, onions, and chopped parsley.

       5. Place the Mujaddarah in a serving platter. Top with onion mixture.

 

Mujadarah gone right.

Mujadarah gone right. Top it w/ the onion & pepper mix.

 

             6. Serve with salad, grass-fed yogurt, and hot sauce if desired.

I served it with avocado, parsley, pepper, lettuce, tomato salad.

I served it with avocado, parsley, pepper, lettuce, tomato salad.

Advertisements

Tea Please

Okay so the past few months I’ve had a daily dose or two of some Starbucks tea. While my friend would order a green tea with raspberry syrup and lemonade, I opted for an unsweetened iced green tea. Eventually I started ordering it with no “H2O” to make it stronger.

Just today my friend decided to try making her raspberry tea at home and purchased an entire bottle of the Starbucks raspberry syrup from Starbucks. Lol. I read the ingredients and freaked out. I knew it was bad, that’s why I didn’t get it in my order prior. But now I was confirming how bad it was. First ingredient read: sugar- and it got worse. Red dye, potassium sorbate, and more long multisyllabic words I only recognized as chemicals. It sounded more like a bathroom cleaner product than “food”. It’s not only Starbucks with such, but whenever you purchase drinks from restaurants you need to be wary. 

Anyway….the competition went on. We used my usual organic green tea from home, and made an entire jug. After it cooled down she added lemonade and raspberry syrup, creating the ultimate same old drink.

I took on a different role. I squeezed fresh lime and lemon and added it to my tea. Then an idea hit me. I opened the freezer and grabbed bag of my frozen organic raspberries. I smashed them in a sandwich bag and threw them in my tea. I “shake the bottle” well since at Starbucks they are known as “Shaken ice tea” since they literally shake them well.

Point is, I loved my tea and was impressed. I couldn’t tell a difference in the color between the two. Other than the pieces in the bottom of my cup, which I enjoyed coming up the straw, they were twins.

 

Sure here’s the recipe.

2 cups organic green tea brewed

Water as you prefer

Ice cubes

¼- 1/3 cup fresh lemon or lime juice

¾ cup smashed frozen raspberries

 

Brew the tea and add it with the water, lemon juice, water, and raspberries. Shake well. Add the ice. Enjoy.

*If you dislike little raspberry bites floating in your cup you could sift it. 

My tea :) Unsweetened Organic Green Tea, fresh lemon and lime, and organic raspberries.

My tea 🙂
Unsweetened Organic Green Tea, fresh lemon and lime, and organic raspberries.

Can you tell which is which? ;)

Can you tell which is which? 😉

Read your ingredients my friend!

Read your ingredients my friend!

Extra raspberries and floating limes...

Extra raspberries and floating limes…

Easiest Luscious Garlic

The benefits of garlic are vast, and the more I research and learn about them, the more I eat them! I now put fresh garlic in almost every dish I make, soups, salads, dressings, and main dishes. The best way to eat garlic is fresh of course, much better than ground or granulated. So this recipe is from my mom, and we enjoy altering it every now and then. The spices you can throw on these are unlimited! You want them spicy then throw on some red pepper, and if you prefer simplicity then salt and pepper do the job. I enjoy adding cayenne pepper, Layan doesn’t eat from it anyway. 😉

*A special fresh garlic salad and dressing coming soon! 😉

Ingredients:

8-10 fresh garlic heads

Extra virgin olive oil (amount as desired, usually a teaspoon per garlic head is sufficient)

Himalayan Pink Salt/Celtic Sea Salt

Black Pepper

Rosemary ground (I grind this fresh)

Red Pepper, ground mustard seed, crushed pepper* optional

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut the top of the garlic straight with a knife allowing the cloves to peek through. Top with extra virgin olive oil followed by the seasonings (Putting the spices first will cause them to not stick).

Place a wax paper on top of a piece of foil and wrap well, making sure the wax paper won’t stick out. Close it tightly at the top. Do each garlic individually wrapped using the same method. Bake for about 20-25 minutes. Enjoy!

Props to my bro again for letting me use his amazing DSLR mashaAllah :-)

Props to my bro again for letting me use his amazing DSLR mashaAllah 🙂

Examine the wax topped with foil, wrapped tightly at the top.

Examine the wax topped with foil, wrapped tightly at the top.

:)

🙂

Quick & Easy Steamed Beets

I was not planning to put the beets recipe up now but since I was asked to I will. Beets are a very healthy vegetable which unfortunately many people don’t eat. You may have tried them canned or fresh, either way they are packed with over a dozen nutrients (the canning process does kill a good amount of phytonutrients though).  The red betalain pigment scares many away, but hey, that’s where all the benefit is! So this recipe is fairly easy, the hardest part is peeling the beets without looking like you just walked out of an art classroom. Other than that, it’s a quick and trouble-free method.

Ingredients:
5-6 medium fresh beets

3 fresh lemons squeezed

2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt (this is real salt you should use, full of numerous nutrients!)

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Fresh mint leaves

Iceberg lettuce (for décor, and eating 😉 )

Directions:

STEP 1

Wash and peel the beets and dice them into cubes. Place them in your steamer and if you don’t have one then in a small pot filled with VERY little water (that  you shouldn’t toss out afterwards, since a good majority your vitamins will be in the water). Cover and allow steaming for about 15 minutes.

STEP 2

Mix the lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, and seasonings together in a small mixing bowl.

STEP 3

Lay out the lettuce on the serving platter. Top with the beets, and then drizzle the dressing. Garnish with fresh lemon and mint leaves.

Awesome top view. I absolutely love fresh mint leaves.

Awesome top view. I absolutely love fresh mint leaves.

Noor's quinoa, beets, and lemon-full barley.

Noor’s quinoa, beets, and lemon-full barley.

Rowing Your Boat Towards Good Health: Noor’s Zucchini Vegetable Stuffed Boats

I recall loving the zucchini boats my mother made as a child, they were stuffed with diced onions, ground beef, and amazing spices. They would be baked to perfection.

I wanted to make something different, quick with time. At the same moment of this craving, I debated making my famous smashed sweet potatoes but didn’t think they’d match. Instead, I used carrots to make some delicious mash!

This is a very quick and easy recipe, and vegetarian friendly. It’s a great way to hide veggies from the little ones and have them enjoy eating “boats”.

 Minus the extreme amount of garlic I threw in, Layan liked these. If you’re feeding the kids, minimize the garlic. 🙂

Ingredients:

4 zucchinis (or more if desired)

1 medium round tomato, organic preferred

4 mushrooms

5 cloves fresh garlic, peeled

2 large carrots, organic preferred

Spices (onion powder, Himalayan Pink Salt or real unrefined sea salt, turmeric, rosemary)

***you can stuff any veggie you like (artichoke, bell peppers, etc)

Raw pine nuts for garnish and fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, etc)

Directions:

STEP 1

Preheat the oven to 350. Wash and slice the carrots and place in a very small pot with about a cup of water. Cover and allow to cook on medium high.

Image

2 Carrots washed well.

Image

Chopped and added to the pot with 1 cup of water.

STEP 2

Wash the zucchini, mushrooms, and tomato and “unstuff” them. Place their stuffing in the pot with the carrots. Place the vegetables in an oven safe tray.

Image

Veggies

Image

Empty out the tomato. Remove the mushroom stems and inside of zucchini.

Image

Don’t throw out the stuffing though! Toss them in with the carrots! =)

STEP 3

Pound the fresh garlic and add it to the pot. Add your spices here as well and mix slightly. If more water is needed add it now. Turn off the heat.

Image

Fresh garlic cloves

Image

Pounded

STEP 4

Use a hand blender (food processor, or regular blender) to puree the vegetable stuffing.

Image

Puree

Image

Puree the veggie stuffing…

Image

…until smooth.
*I got carried away at this point it was soo good I ate it alone (like mashed potatoes) =)

STEP 5

Fill the vegetable boats with the stuffing and bake for about 15-20 minutes.

Fill the boats up.

Fill the boats up.

STEP 6

Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and sliced almonds or pine nuts.

 Serve with a side of cooked Quinoa, rice, etc.

Garnish with pine nuts and fresh herbs;serve.

Garnish with pine nuts and fresh herbs;serve.

Side view.

Side view.

Learning to Improvise, When Green Vegetables Saved My Day

I woke up yesterday intending to make chick pea vegetable patties and grill them up in coconut oil with a side of hummus (chick pea, tahini and lemon juice dip). Things didn’t go as planned.

I planned to begin with the hummus dip (since the patties consist of hummus I won’t have to wash the food processor: D) so I dumped all the ingredients and, BAM, it doesn’t work! I tried to make sure it wasn’t the interlock safety mode but it wasn’t so…

I took out the blender. I made the hummus dip as usual and scooped it into the serving platter. I started at an extra cup and a half of chick peas and green vegetables and then, a light bulb lit. I tossed in the chick peas, greens, some spices, a drop of tahini to thicken it, and pulsed away! The results: amazing!

So I present  what I’d like to call “Green Hummus to the Max” since the maximum amount of  Vitamin K, Vitamin A, and a bunch of other nutrients are sky rocketing high (thanks to the kale and mustard greens) and no one can tell.

*Props to my brother for the awesome photography skills using his DSLR camera, thanks Sully! 😉

For the regular Old-School Hummus:

Ingredients:

1 can chick peas washed real well and drained (or pre-soaked dried chick peas)

About 1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

¼ cup organic tahini paste (ground sesame seed paste)

Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt (Layan likes this salt b/c her name happens to be in it :P)

Pinch of ground cumin

½ teaspoon granulated garlic powder (if using my food processor I use fresh cloves)

*cold water if it’s too thick

*Cold-Pressed Extra virgin olive oil for garnish, fresh mint or spring mix veggies

Directions:

Toss all ingredients in the blender (use a food processor if you have one!) and pulse until smooth to the desired thickness you prefer. Place on serving platter and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and garnish with fresh mint or spring mix leaves. Serve with pita bread or vegetables as a dip.

 

Hummus

Hummus

Now for the star of the show, the Green Hummus to the Max recipe:

Ingredients:

1 can chick peas washed real well and drained (or pre-soaked dried chick peas)

2 cups organic kale, mustard greens, or even spinach!

About 1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

1-2 tablespoons organic tahini paste (ground sesame seed paste)

Pinch of Himalayan Pink salt

Pinch of ground organic cumin

½ teaspoon granulated garlic powder (if using my food processor I use fresh cloves)

*cold water if it’s too thick

*Cold-Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil for garnish, fresh mint or spring mix veggies

 

Directions:

Toss all ingredients in the blender (use a food processor if you have one!) and pulse until smooth to the desired thickness you prefer. Place on serving platter and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and garnish with fresh mint or spring mix leaves. Serve with pita bread or vegetables as a dip.

The Green stuff...the taste was family approved!

The Green stuff…the taste was family approved!

Tri-Hummus Brunch.

Tri-Hummus Brunch.

Brunch.

Brunch.

***I served fresh vegetables as well as these oregano baked breads as dippers:

Dippp Away

Dippp Away

Oregano, EVOO, and Organic Cheese

Oregano, EVOO, and Organic Cheese

Round  whole wheat buns, oregano and extra virgin olive oil as well.

Round whole wheat buns, oregano and extra virgin olive oil as well.

Black Bean Brownies

A bite of yum… Dark raw cocoa powder w/ dairy free choc chips 

Noor's famous sunnah-full black bean brownies.

Noor’s famous sunnah-full black bean brownies.

Yes, you’ve read it right: Black Bean Brownies.

Let me first introduce myself. My name is Noor Salem. I graduated from the University of Michigan and began this blog two years ago while a student there. I grew up with a passion for baking and cooking, always being around my mother while she was in the kitchen. I’m currently a Holistic Health Coach, which explains a lot. My love for healthy eating combined with enthusiasm for baking results in remarkably scrumptious healthy eats and treats. I consider baking a skillful art; I can throw together a few healthy ingredients and mock scrumptious and extraordinary brownies, dinner entrees, appetizers, and so much more!

I am a health activist and believe there could be such thing as good taste and good health- in one bite that is. I enjoy being in the kitchen, and even more enjoy choosing foods full of real ingredients. I am an activist in helping clients lead happy, healthier lives by learning the roots of their sickness, rather than bandage them with one prescription medicine after another.

I make my clients more aware of looking into food labels and learning what’s really in food, something many simply don’t do! Flipping over a “food-like substance” package results in the discovery of long words we cannot pronounce- they sound more like chemistry and art to me!

Happy baking, happier eating!

Here is a picture of my scrumptious, chemical, preservative, hydrogenated oil free, simply exotic black bean brownies with organic almond butter swirl. The recipe and detailed pictures will be posted soon. Enjoy!

These are, the famous, the delicious, the….black bean brownies!

Who ever thought something this delicious good be guilt-free?

Click to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. My healthy recipes and food investigation will be sent straight to your email, in case you get off track. :)

Disclaimer

©2014 Noor Salem- All rights reserved. This information on this blog, blackbeanbrownies.wordpress.com is provided for educational and informational purposes only, and not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease, or any other physical or mental ailment of the human body. ALWAYS seek consultation from your physician or health care provider for any medical related questions, or before initiating any diet or health program, trying a new food product, dietary change, supplement, or exercise. All content and images on blackbeanbrownies.wordpress.com may not be reproduced or distributed unless permitted in writing. Noor Salem and blackbeanbrownies.wordpress.com disclaim liability for any misinterpretation or misuse of any information provided here or from any injury, sickness, or damage from the use of any recommended products. This information is not provided to replace seeking a licensed physician or health care provider.