Eating with the Armstrongs

You know those people who are just comforting and refreshing? Being with them is easy, a breath of fresh air? This week we’ve spent time with two different couples who bring us so much life.

One of those couples is my parents who visited for the weekend from Dallas. We laughed, we shared deep conversation, we ate, we worked in the yard, and overall we just relished in each other’s company. My parents are two of the world’s best.

It also comes in handy that they enjoy yard work (or at least we say they do) because Matthew & my dad picked up 23 massive bags of leaves and my mom and I planted some flowers and ferns in a garden bed that needed some love.

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The other couple is a husband and wife from church that we are just getting to know but who are two amazing people. I told them tonight that they need to name their house “the refuge” or “the haven” because every time we go, that’s just how we feel. And I really need to tell you the menu of the dinner they prepared because it was divine: steak, homemade challah bread, grilled avocado, grilled portobello mushrooms, roasted potatoes and a spinach and feta salad. Now that was glorious enough, but dessert was over the top: homemade strawberry pop tarts with homemade vanilla ice cream and fresh fruit. The pop tarts were flaky and buttery and the vanilla ice cream was sweet and perfect.

But even more refreshing than the food was the conversation. Conversation is an art form and tonight it was woven together with strands of good question asking and stories and life-stirring wisdom.

Who in your life do you need to set the table for, think of some good questions, and invite over for an evening of refreshment? It doesn’t have to be fancy or as gourmet as last night, just thoughtful and genuine. Here are some recipes we’ve enjoyed lately to help you plan:

Black Bean & Quinoa Enchilada Bake from Two Peas & Their Pod
A yummy & healthy tex-mex inspired casserole. You really won’t miss the meat but you could easily add some cooked chopped chicken or cooked ground beef to make it heartier.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies from Our Best Bites
No butter and no wheat! These cookies are sweet and decadent with just a couple of ingredients.

Scrambled eggs with Smoked Salmon from Pioneer Woman
Wow! These are so scrumptious and add a little bit of gourmet flare to your scrambled eggs. I made my eggs using my tip for the best ever eggs.

Collard Green Falafel with Hummus from Minimalist Baker
Don’t be afraid of collard greens. They are a great leafy green with a bit of a spicy bite similar to arugula. This is a fabulous vegan and gluten free falafel recipe, best served with lots of hummus.

Warm French Lentils from Ina Garten
I’ve recently discovered my love for lentils. They are super healthy, filling and inexpensive. This recipe is packed with flavor and you can easily add whatever vegetables you want to. It’s definitely one of my new favorites and Matthew loves it too.

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Eating with the Armstrongs

Hi hello! First of all, the weather is SPECTACULAR here which is wonderful as the last two weeks were rainy rainy rainy.

Second, as promised, here is what we are having for dinner this week. I’m going back to a couple of tried & true recipes as well as attempting a new soup AND we are eating vegetarian for not one, but two dinners this week! (Don’t tell, Matthew).

Monday: PanRoasted Chicken & Potatoes with Garlicy Lemon Green Beans

Trying this recipe for the first time tonight! I trust Real Simple’s recipes and expecting it to be incredible.

Tuesday: Roasted Broccoli & Cheddar Soup

A lighter version than the typical soup, but so flavorful and delicious!

Wednesday: Crockpot BBQ Chicken Tacos

**For these tacos, you can follow the recipe for Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork Tacos substituting chicken for the pork as well as substituting 3 cups of your choice of BBQ sauce for the can of Dr. Pepper and omit the chipotle peppers, if desired. Otherwise, it’s the same simple steps and absolutely delicious!

Thursday: Baked Falafel

Friday: Dinner at a friend’s house

Saturday: Leftovers

Hope these recipes give you some ideas for meal planning! Enjoy!


Baked Falafel

Have you seen The Help?? It is SUCH  a GREAT movie! I really recommend seeing it. I’ve seen it twice and I want to go again.

Anyways, last night Matthew and I went to see The Help and because he got off work late and I had a lot going on yesterday, we ended eating this delicious baked falafel in about 5 minutes in the car on the way to the movie. We scarfed it down and I’m sure smelled up the movie theater, but it was tasty tasty!

I don’t know if this picture looks appetizing. In fact, I kinda think it doesn’t…so you’ll just have to trust me. This is delicious. And yet another successful vegetarian meal for my meat eating husband!

I’ve always loved falafel, but most falafel is fried. I adapted this baked version from this recipe. However, the spices they used tasted a little too Indian for me (not a fan), so I toned it down a little.

The combo of the baked falafel, warm pita bread, and tangy feta is just lovely. And I do recommend actually sitting down and enjoying at your kitchen table rather than spilling down the front of your shirt on the way to see a movie.

Ingredients:

2 cans of garbanzo beans

1 tablespoon of flour

2 tablespoon of garlic bread crumbs

2 teaspoons cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium tomato, diced

1/2 cup of onion, diced

1/2 cup of crumbled feta

2 cloves of garlic, minced

juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons of chopped basil

4 pita bread rounds, or flat bread rounds.

To make: 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drain and rinse garbanzo beans. Combine garbanzo beans, flour, bread crumbs, salt, cumin, and one teaspoon of olive oil in food processor until well combined. Roll mixture into 12 little balls (looks like cookie dough) and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.

In a bowl, combine remaining olive oil, tomato, onion, crumbled feta, garlic, lemon, and basil. Salt to taste.

Warm pita in microwave for 20 seconds. Put each pita round on a small square of foil. Spread some of the feta mixture on each pita round, put three falafel on each pita, wrap up in foil. Eat like a burrito!