Mini Vacation

April 11, 2011

I find myself daydreaming a lot lately.

Wishing I could escape. I just want to get away from my “adult” life.

There are more mornings when I wake up now wishing I didn’t have to go to my job, than there are mornings that I’m excited to go to work.

I am still in the ever evolving process of finding myself and what it is that I want to do with my life. There are three things that I know for sure.

1. I love cooking/baking. Being in the kitchen just makes me happy.
2. I love fitness and nutrition. Even though I bake a lot of bad goodies, I am actually really obsessed with my healthy living lifestyle.
3. I love blogging. It’s acts as my diary, my outlet, and helps me to connect to so many people.

I hope to one day figure out how to mesh all these love together and be able to create a career from it. Something that I’m excited and passionate about. But, until I figure out how to do that, I’ve got to give myself some mini vacations.

The best way to take a mini vacation…make an international dish!

I was so excited when I saw this recipe from Andrea. This is just what I needed.

Mediterranean food is something that I’m just starting to explore, and am finding that I’m really loving.

The best thing about this dish is that the chickpea patties are actually baked and not fried! WINNING!

Some of the traditional ingredients were not in my pantry, so I had to make some substitutions, like tahini sauce ranch dressing and pita bread naan, but the flavors were spot on!

My first bite in to this soft, warm, jam packed falafel sent me to a land far, far away.

I suddenly found myself slowly trotting along the sand dunes of Egypt on the back of a camel.

Pyramids on the horizon.

Warm, hot sun, beating down on me.

Where seeing a palm tree is like seeing a flourishing rose bush.

…then I swallowed, and was brought back to my living room and my episode of “The Real Housewives of Orange County”.

Thank goodness I still had a whole falafel to finish!

[print_this]Baked Falafel
adapted by Can You Stay For Dinner

15oz can chickpeas
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
2 garlic cloves chopped
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 pieces of naan
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup chopped green leaf lettuce
1 tbsp ranch dressing



Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Combine all falafel ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well blended. Scoop the bean mixture into a bowl and shape into 8 equal sized patties. Place on a greased baking sheet, brush each with olive oil and bake for 20 minutes.

Place naan on a baking sheet and heat in oven with falafel patties for the last five minutes of baking.

Divide the hot falafel among the two warmed pieces of naan and top with chopped lettuce, tomato, thinly sliced red onion, crumbled feta, and ranch dressing.


{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Elizabeth April 11, 2011 at 9:51 pm

This looks fantastic. I was just looking for a great vegetarian dish when this came up on my Facebook news feed. Perfect timing!


2 Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food April 11, 2011 at 9:51 pm

love love love those falafels! I have to try them because I love the classic recipe but they’re just too heavy! 🙂


3 yummychunklet April 11, 2011 at 10:19 pm

These look so good! And, I just made some naan, so I’ll have to try this recipe with those!


4 April 11, 2011 at 11:00 pm

Well you can be a journalist/baker/fitness guru… does that job title exist?!? :))

Love the falafel, Steph… I saw ‘feta’ and I was in!


5 Lindsey@Lindselicious April 11, 2011 at 11:01 pm

Oooh these look good. I love that they are baked too!


6 Natalie April 12, 2011 at 5:01 am

I love falafels! And these don’t have breadcrumbs which is great. I am doing a detox at the moment so no dairy, meat or wheat. I’ll just sub the flour for chickpea flour, thanks!!


7 Nikki April 12, 2011 at 5:46 am

I’m glad you liked these! You’re the second blogger I’ve seen make them and I’m planning on making them this weekend. I have a can of chickpeas just begging to be made into something delicious.


8 Becky April 12, 2011 at 6:11 am

These look wonderful, and I’m always looking for healthy, delicious recipes. Lovely presentation!


9 RavieNomNoms April 12, 2011 at 6:34 am

I hear ya lady…Sometimes you have to take those little mini “vacations”. I think this looks extremely yummy, thanks for sharing.


10 Vicki @ Wilde in the Kitchen April 12, 2011 at 7:40 am

This looks delicious, I love a good falafel. Baking it makes me want to make these even more, so healthy! I think I even have tahini in the house, I know I have Ranch dressing 🙂


11 Melissa (MelissaLikesToEat) April 12, 2011 at 10:27 am

I hear you girl. There are days I feel the same way. 🙂
Your pictures are fantastic. I want that in my belly right now! Winning!


12 Kelsey April 12, 2011 at 10:38 am

I love falafel, but shy away from it because I don’t want the mess or calories of frying. I’m so glad you posted this. It’s on next week’s menu!


13 Stephanie @ okie dokie artichokie April 12, 2011 at 11:17 am

Girl, you are so funny with your vivid images of riding a camel in the deep desert. I actually really envisioned you eating your falafel while trotting along! My imagination surpasses me sometimes. :-p

I know you will eventually figure out what it is you want to do in life to pursue your passion. I felt exactly like how you did when I still worked at my last job — depressed, not wanting to go to work. All I looked forward to was getting back home to my hubby, cooking something delicious, and having a glass of wine! I quit my job several months ago to go to culinary school, work on my blog, and do personal cheffing gigs. I am so happy now.

You’re so good at baking! And I know I’ve told you this before, but you really shined on video. Maybe you should look into doing that some more? We may be looking at the Next Food Network Star!! :-p

Take care, Steph!

Sorry for the novel… :-/


14 Natasa April 12, 2011 at 11:53 am

hey you!
ive been reading your blog for a couple weeks. its addictive!
you are so cute:)
i know what you mean about finding the right shelf to fit in, but its a learning progress, enjoy the ride.
I live in Denmark, if you know where it is in Scandinavia. Ive been through a lot of crappy jobs and never felt completely happy. I was working as a pastry chef and thats where i found my dream career, but had to quit because of my boss:(
now ive just started training as an stewardess. Its very different but great, and until i find a new job as a chef im gonna do my thang;)

you are awesome!!


15 Steph April 13, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Thank you so much for your kind words!! They really help!


16 Lauren@LYK April 12, 2011 at 1:51 pm

I feel the saaaame way! Your not alone girl. I also made this exact same recipe this weekend and packed it into a picnic lunch for the boy and I. We rode 9 miles to the beach and then enjoyed falafel and watched the waves. It felt like a much needed mini vacay 🙂


17 Celia April 12, 2011 at 2:35 pm

I feel you on needing to get away! These falafels look like an awesome way to do it – and healthily baked instead of fried, to boot.


18 irena April 12, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Love your recipe, I am big fan of falafel and this is great recipe to try and make my own.
Beautiful, ingredients.
Thanks for sharing:)


19 Happy When Not Hungry April 12, 2011 at 7:37 pm

This looks amazing!! I’ve never thought of making homemade falafel. What a great idea Steph!


20 Evan @swEEts April 12, 2011 at 8:36 pm

I’ve been craving Greek food (we don’t have any restaurants in central TX!) and now I can make it myself at home! It’s a good thing I have 3 cans of chick peas in my pantry.. I can’t wait to try this.

ps You and I totally have the same aspirations and I am an avid Housewives watcher 🙂


21 Steph April 13, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Better get on it! Put those cans to use 🙂


22 Charlie April 12, 2011 at 9:46 pm

I love falafels but never made my own! Yours look sooooo good, I’ll definitely have to make them :).


23 Veronica April 12, 2011 at 10:53 pm

LOL, I feel ya girl. If I had my way I’d not do much more than cook, blog and keep the house clean. You just have to figure out a way to get as popular as Pioneer Woman and then I bet you’d get paid enough for blogging to quit your day job! I’m not motivated enough to try. I do the mini vaca instead. 🙂 These falafels look sooo good! A little different than the ones I usually make–I’ll have to try it!


24 Hester Casey - Alchemy April 13, 2011 at 4:03 am

That’s it – I am packing my tastebuds up and sending them to Egypt too – they are flying Air Steph! I love the idea of mini vacations via exotic dishes and these Falafel are just the job.


25 Steph April 13, 2011 at 11:55 am

LOL!! This cracked me up!!


26 Claire April 13, 2011 at 5:15 am

I’ve been feeling the SAME way lately! Adult life isn’t fun all the time. Perfect little mind vacation and taste bud vacation though!


27 Lizzy April 13, 2011 at 5:59 am

Mmmmm…this looks SO good! Hey, I’m probably twice your age, and wondering the same thing! You’ll figure it out…go with your heart, my friend~


28 Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit April 13, 2011 at 12:56 pm

I am totally in the same boat! I love all the things you do… but haven’t quite figured out how to get them to support me 100%. All in time though, I’m confident that the universe provides what we need at the right moment!


29 citronetvanille April 13, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Hmm I think we all need a mini vacation! and we can start with this falafel, it certainly makes you travel to some parts of the Mediterranée!


30 Kita April 14, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Looove me some falafel. It fulfills that meat craving, is delicious and fills the belly all at the same time! Now I may need one just to get me to Egypt.


31 Val August 18, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I love the idea of baking the falafel. It looks like they turned out really well and didn’t miss any of the oil nor the frying. Here in Israel I normally opt to go to a great falafel place when I crave one but this looks like the sort of recipe I would totally make at home. Looking forward to trying it out!


32 Sawsan@chef in disguise August 18, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Baked flafel!
You are my hero…
I can totally relate to the feeling of wanting to escape adult life..oh if only I could


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