Blogging is a funny thing, sometimes I have so many ideas and think to myself “You are a genius Jess!” but then other times, like right now, I sit at my desk in my sweats and watch the cursor blink, mocking me like “So…do you have any thoughts?”
My brain has been drained a little bit lately as I get ready for another round of exams coming up and with the weather being particularly freezing lately I have wanted to go into full-fledge hibernation mode. Homework has been piling up because I am the worst at doing any sort of homework during Christmas break. As much I curse my procrastination, I did need the downtime to relax and not overthink everything to death. But now we are the second week of 2015 and I had to get right back into the full-schedule, juggling school and work full time. Blasted adulthood!
Mark has also returned to school and started his internship at a Toronto fine dining restaurant to complete his culinary degree. Nights at our house have become pretty lonely when I am not working and I usually have dinner by myself (with the exception of Barb snuggling on my lap). I haven’t really wanted to cook for myself too much since it always seemed like a waste but I asked myself why I thought like that. Perhaps I read too many women’s magazines in my youth (thinking that adults actually did these things) and thought that the phrase “Cooking for One!” was pathetic. Just because they put an exclamation point at the end and in a cheery bright font does not make the phrase any better. However the act of cooking a proper healthful dinner for myself should be a priority and I must devote some time in my evening to do so. A daily devotion to myself and my well-being. A dollop of hummus, peeled carrots and some pita sometimes doesn’t cut it as a proper dinner since I usually use the hummus container lid as a plate for the veg and pita. Oh how my mother would cringe.
Roasting vegetables with some chickpeas is pretty easy, comes together quickly and is versatile when you get tired of the same vegetables you have been eating all week. You can make this dish go even further when served on a bed of cooked grains like brown rice, quinoa or millet (all gluten free grains!). I cook my grains on a Saturday morning before work so I can eat them for my long shifts on the weekends and have some left over for school. I soak my grains on Friday night after work to get them all sprouted to cook the next day. Living it up. “Sorry guys can’t go out, I have to sprout my grains…” Don’t worry I have never said that.
Mark is appreciative of the leftovers he gets when he comes home late from his internship and I get an actual dinner. Double win.
P.S. I am digging this new addition to my pantry: za’atar, a savoury Middle Eastern spice blend that I have been sprinkling on everything. I also made this hummus with it.
- 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seed oil
- 1 tablespoon white miso
- ½ teaspoon pure maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon za’atar + more for garnish
- Splash of filtered water to thin out if necessary
- 1 medium sweet potato, unpeeled and cut into ¼ inch coin
- 1 head of broccoli, cut into bite size florets
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 4½ teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- ¾ teaspoon fine grain sea salt, divided
- ¼ teaspoon za’atar
- 5-6 green kale leaves, stemmed and shredded
- Cooked brown rice, quinoa or a combination of cooked grains
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, white or black
- Parsley for garnish
- Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until fully incorporated, adding some water if necessary. Massage the shredded kale in a third of the sauce and let sit until the bowl is ready.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, toss the sweet potato coins in 2 teaspoons of olive oil + ¼ teaspoon sea salt. Transfer to one of the paper-lined sheets and line in a single layer. Add the broccoli to the now empty bowl and coat with 2 teaspoons olive oil + ¼ teaspoon sea salt. Transfer to the other side of the baking sheet with the sweet potatoes in a single layer. Bake for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile in the now empty bowl toss the chickpeas with the remaining olive oil, salt and za’atar. Transfer to the other lined baking sheet in a single layer.
- At the 15-minute mark, flip the sweet potatoes and broccoli and put the chickpea sheet in the oven and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Serve between two bowls and drizzle with za'atar tahini sauce. Sprinkle with extra za’atar, sesame seeds and parsley. Serve immediately.