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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hummus, not Just Middle Eastern Anymore

A healthy Snack. Try it sometime.

Hey folks,

If you have known me longer than the past couple of years, you know that my Wife Laura is a Vegan. One of the things I love is trying new foods. Always have. But then again, if you know me, you know I love Food in general. (Smile) That's why I spend time in the Gym.

One of my favorite Snacks of all time is Chips and Sour Cream and Onion Dip. I remember about 15 years ago, my Mentor in the Hotel Business was talking to me about my Weight. I was about 230 at the time. All Stomach pretty much. You see, I quit Smoking and went from 180 to 230 in about Six Months time. He asked me why I did not drink Diet Soda as apposed to regular. I hate the taste was my answer. He then asked what my favorite Snack was. I told him, Chips and Sour Cream and Onion Dip. I will never forget the way he laughed and said, "Why not just drop a scoop of pure FAT in a bowl and eat that?" He told me I should try Salsa. Maybe Join a Gym while I'm at it.

Over the years, I did. I did switch to Diet Soda. I did stop eating McDonald's for my daily intake. I started to get healthy. I started to feel better. Well, I went through a Divorce, moved to Florida, picked up Smoking again, and pretty much went back to doing whatever I wanted. However, I did not change trying to eat healthier, nor did I stop going to the Gym. Then I met my Wife now.

She told me that she was a Vegan. I had no idea what that means. Then I learned over time, that being a Vegan or Vegetarian is not just eating twigs and berries, that there really are GREAT Dishes that can be made. I'm now 249, but is mostly muscle now. And I will admit, though I still eat meat, mostly Chicken, I look forward to "Meatless Monday."

One of the things she got me to try was Hummus. I LOVE HUMMUS. Roasted Garlic and Basil. Sun Dried Tomato. Straight up Hummus. A healthy Snack. Try it sometime. I even tried, and now can't get enough, Hummus and Avocado Sandwiches. Trust me on this.

So in today's Health and Science Segment, I wanted to check out the Health Benefits of Hummus. Is it healthy for you? According to Eating Healthy Foods .org - Take the Healthy Dip – Benefits of Hummus PLUS Unique Recipes

Thinking of making a healthy dip? Then why not try hummus? This centuries-old recipe come from Midwestern origins and is commonly composed of mashed beans, spices and other common ingredients like lemon, salt, garlic, or olive oil. Although you can buy a ready made hummus from groceries and supermarkets, homemade hummus is healthier and fresher. Besides, hummus will set you back at around 6 USD for as little as 20 grams.
I've had Hummus from every store and Restaurant around. Trust me, make it yourself.

That’s expensive especially when you are planning a party. Doing your own hummus recipes (see below for some unique ideas) will certainly save up on the costs and you’ll never run out of dip to serve. Eating healthy foods such as hummus can be easy if you plan.

Traditionally made of chickpeas (also known as garbanzos), lemon juice, garlic, and tahini, this dish has suddenly become a world-wide delight. When enjoyed with raw veggies, whole wheat pitas, or whole wheat crackers, the benefits of hummus are wonderful enough to justify its consumption on a daily basis.

Homemade hummus benefits differ greatly from their store-bought counterparts. While the store bought varieties are filled with sour cream, an ingredient nearly everyone recognizes as fattening, the homemade versions are full of healthy proteins, healthy fats, and tasty spices. Furthermore, homemade hummus has a low Glycemic index, meaning it breaks down more slowly, and releasing glucose more gradually into the bloodstream. Hummus is also rich in vitamin C due to the lemon juice component. It also provides other benefits like copper, manganese, iron, and molybdenum to strengthen the immune system.

Nearly every ingredient has a benefit worth mentioning:

First, the chickpeas: These little white beans are full of protein and nearly void of saturated fats or cholesterol. They can help stabilize blood sugar and prevent the buildup of plaque on your artery walls. With this many benefits from the staple ingredient in hummus, you can eat the dish without fear. Chick peas are also rich in protein and amino acids.

Tahini: Another ingredient that is good for you is the tahini. Tahini is also known as sesame butter, and while it is known for its high fat and calorie count, the good news is that

1)there is only a little tahini in each serving of hummus (how fortunate for us hummus lovers!)

2)most of the fat is unsaturated fat (the good kind); and

3)tahini is high in both calcium and protein.

Lemons and garlic: more staples found in traditional hummus, are greatly valued for their abilities to fight off invasions of viruses or bacteria, their high anti-oxidant properties, and their cleansing virtues as well.

But before you run to the refrigerator for another bite of healthful hummus, stop–there is one possibility that hummus may not be for you. Be honest about what you are eating with it. Are you using it as a dip for your favorite brand of fried potato chips? Throw out the hummus. It will merely be more calories on top of the chip pile. If, however, you enjoy it in the typical Arab custom, such as in pitas or as a dip for veggies, by all means enjoy the meal without guilt. One of the best and tastiest ways to enjoy hummus is slathered inside a whole wheat pita with tomatoes, green leaf lettuce, sprouts, and cucumbers. This sandwich will not only be tasty–it will be healthy, filling, and energy-boosting at the same time. Or add a bit of red pepper flakes to your hummus, as well as a bit of cumin and chili powder, to make a fiery-tasting dip for crudites.

Hummus is not only easy to make–it is filling, and can be used in a multitude of sandwich combinations. It is healthy, and full of fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. it is tasty, with infinite variations on flavoring. And best of all, it lasts for many days in the refrigerator, so it will always be available when you need a bite to eat.

There are several different hummus recipes that you can try, the basic ingredient are mashed chickpeas, Tahiti or olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. Doing your own hummus, you can be assured of what ingredients will be going into it, and best of all, no preservatives!

If you are tired of the same old traditional food you should try something different: you can create some unique hummus recipes that will delight your family and friends.
I'll be honest, I WILL be trying all three of these..Can't wait.

Unique Hummus Recipes:

A hummus sandwich is quick and easy to prepare and you do not have to be a master chef to make one. If you love beefsteak tomatoes this dish will become an absolute favorite.

Grilled Beefsteak Tomatoes with Hummus and Arugula

Prep Time 15 Minutes
Serves 2

Ingredients
4 Slices 12 grain wheat bread
4 Tbsp hummus
1 Large ripe Beefsteak tomato
2 Slices Swiss cheese
1 Cup arugula
1 Tbsp olive oil

Directions
Slice the tomato and set aside. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Assemble your sandwiches with cheese, tomatoes and arugula and place in the hot oil. Grill and turn when it starts to brown. Serve with additional hummus for dipping if desired.

If you are looking for a great dip try mixing hummus and artichokes. The flavors work well together and taste delicious on flat bread, crackers or in a sourdough bread bowl.
OK. I'll give you FOUR Recipes..

Delicious Hummus and Artichoke Dip

Prep Time 15 minutes
Serves 10

Ingredients
2 jars of marinated artichoke hearts
2 cans of garbanzo beans (chickpeas) drained
6 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Cloves crushed garlic
3 Tbsp tahini

Directions
Place artichoke hearts, tahani and garbanzo beans in a food processor. Blend and add olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. Continue blending until smooth.

If you are making your own hummus, you do not have to use Tahini paste or sauce. It is delicious, but if you are looking for a hummus recipe without tahini that is lower in fat you might want to try this.

Black Bean Hummus Tacos

Prep Time 35 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients

Taco Recipe
1 Can black beans
1 Can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
2 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp dried parsley
2 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
2 Cups diced cooked chicken
1 Cup shredded red cabbage
4 Corn tortillas
1 Cup sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Salsa Recipe
1 Large can diced tomatoes
½ Cup diced fresh cilantro
¼ Cup diced canned jalapeno’s
½ Spanish onion sliced
1 Tbsp chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions For Salsa
Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate before serving with your delicious black bean and hummus tacos.

Directions For Taco’s
Place the black all of the ingredients except for the chicken cilantro and cabbage into a food processor. Blend until creamy. Heat the tortillas in the oven for about 5 minutes. Remove and fill with the chicken, hummus and cabbage. Serve with sour cream and salsa.
And number four? Hummus and Avocado Sandwiches. Hummus, Avocado, Honey Wheat Bread. I like mine with Onions, but if you do not like Onions, leave them off.

The next time you are looking for an unusual hummus recipe use your imagination. This delicious paste will go with almost anything. Try it on toast or use it as a base for your next chicken lasagna. You will be surprised at how versatile garbanzo beans can be.
OK I will admit this too. Never heard of Chicken Lasagna. I think I may pass on that one. But I love Hummus. Trust me folks. If you never had Hummus, you need to try it. At least once. Better for you than all those Fatty Snacks you have been eating. And it TASTES GREAT too.
Peter

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