2 16 oz cans chickpeas, rinsed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, smashed
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 handfuls fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves coarsely chopped
1 handful fresh cilantro, leaves coarsely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons flour
1 egg

Vegetable oil, for frying

Pulse chickpeas to coarsely grind in food processor, not until smooth but with no whole chickpeas remaining either. Add the baking powder, onion, garlic, spices, and herbs; process until the mixture is pureed; scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Add flour and egg and mix well.  Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate while heating the oil, this should take about 15 minutes.

Pour 3-inches of the oil in a deep fryer or deep heavy pot and heat to 375 degrees F. Roll the falafel mixture into ping-pong size balls. Carefully slip a few at a time into the hot oil, making sure they don't stick to the bottom. Fry until the chickpea fritters are a crusty dark brown on all sides, turning as needed, about 5 minutes per batch.  You can optionally smash slightly and pan fry in a very small amount of olive oil.

Remove the falafels with a slotted spoon and drain on a platter lined with paper towels.  Serve immediately with pitas and tzatziki or tahini sauce.

Cucumber Sauce (Tzatziki)

1 (6 ounce) container plain yogurt
1/2 cucumber - peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon mayonnaise

Shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, chopped cucumbers
8 warm pitas, store bought or homemade


My favorite banana bread

1 1/4 c sugar
1/4 c butter
1/4 c applesauce
2 eggs
1/2 c plain yogurt
3-4 mashed ripe bananas
1 t vanilla
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
2 1/2 c flour
Chopped nuts(optional)

Cream butter, applesauce and sugar, add bananas, eggs, yogurt, vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients until just mixed.

Pour in greased pans and bake at 350. Time depends on pan size. I usually do 2 small pans and 1 medium sized pan. The small ones bake for 30-35 min, until done. The bigger pan bakes for about 40-45 min. If you did 1 big pan, it would take about an hour.


Soft Sugar Cookies

My favorite sugar Cookie recipe to date(adapted slightly from my friend Allison's recipe):

Soft Sugar Cookies
Cream together:
1 cup softened butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup sour cream
6 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda

Refrigerate an hour to overnight. Roll out and cut with cookie cutters. This dough is much easier to work with than my previous recipe. Bake at 400 degrees for 5-7 minutes 'till just barely brown (do not overcook). Makes 4-5 dozen. Frost with your favorite frosting (I like cream cheese).


Chicken with Romesco Sauce

We've been making a lot of recipes out of the Flat Belly Diet Cookbook lately, and this is one of our favorites. The chicken is kind of an afterthought to the Romesco sauce. Its rich, bold flavor is nicely accented by the crunch of the almonds. Possible side dishes include rice, salad, veggies, etc.

• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 slice firm whole grain bread, crust discarded and bread torn into pieces
• 1/2 cup slivered almonds
• 1 cup drained roasted red peppers, coarsely chopped
• 1 tomato, seeded and coarsely chopped
• 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
• 1 tsp smoked paprika
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Toast the garlic and bread in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add the almonds and continue cooking and stirring for 3 minutes, or until the almonds are toasted. Transfer to a food processor fitted with a metal blade or a blender. Add the peppers, tomato, vinegar, paprika, salt, and oil and puree. Set aside.

Coat the same skillet with olive oil cooking spray and return to medium heat. Add the chicken and cook, turning once, for 5 minutes, or until browned. Remove to a plate. Add the reserved almond mixture and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Return the chicken to the skillet. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, or until chicken is done. 4 servings.