Quick Chickpea and Cashew Sauce

with Baby Kale, Peas, and Carrots on Rice

Okay, so this post is about cheating… In the kitchen!
Let me start over…
This post is about shortcuts in the kitchen. Much better.

Occasionally, we all find ourselves extra busy. Life can be a little crazy – maybe a little chaotic from time to time. When ever you can add a little convenience, you can lessen the load a bit. If you find yourself in moments of overwhelm, it helps to step back from the situation. Find your breath. Find your calm. If that means stepping into the bathroom or closet and closing the door for a few minutes, then allow yourself that. If the phone is ringing off the hook in your office, turn the sound down, or put that busy message up, and close the door for a few minutes. Maybe step outside, and breathe the fresh air. We sometimes forget how important it is to catch our breaths in the busy of the day. There are many things going on in our lives. Let us not set aside ourselves in the pursuit of accomplishing all the tasks we have. You are important! Those tasks don’t get done without aYou! And you cannot do those tasks as well if you don’t take care of You. Let us not forget the most important function of *you* – living and living well.

Those boxes to be unpacked can wait! I’m enjoying my time in the kitchen right now.

We also sometimes forget how important nutrition is in these busy times. For the sake of convenience and lessening the load, we opt for easy meals that are pre-packaged and full of preservatives – or we drive through the fast-food lane and grab that bite that will get us on our way, making us feel good in the moment… though we might regret those choices when we step on the scale at the end of the week or month. In times of stress, I have done this many times. But the unhealthy choices added up. I later found that not only did the weight gain add to my burden – the poor nutrition made me feel worse and more depressed and anxious.

Break out that old Pampered Chef that’s been sitting in the back of your cabinet or the Slap Chop you purchased from the TV ad. 😀

But over the years – as we have learned more about nutrition – healthy food companies have been born to meet that demand. Other companies compete with them and offer more choices. You can now find options that are free of preservatives and added sugars. You just have to read the labels. Yes, read the labels. The time it takes to scan over a food label while you’re pushing your cart down the food aisle may seem like a burden at the moment – maybe you have kids pulling on your shirt and pointing at all kinds of goodies – but I assure you that the second or two it takes will pay dividends later. You’ll remember which containers you can go back to – becoming staples in the pantry or fridge. You can give kids the option of helping you choose between two good options you find so they feel they are contributing their thoughts and opinions to the family. They’ll feel they’re heard and matter. If unhealthy habits are needing to be broken, use those opportunities to let them know what added sugar does to the body and ask them, do they want to be unhealthy. My guess is, more often their answer will be that they want to be healthy and strong.

Unless you make the naan yourself, you’re probably not going to find too many healthy options. Homemade always gives you more control over the ingredients. The recipe stands on its own, and naan isn’t necessary; we enjoy the occasional splurge from time to time. Do your own research, and listen to your body.

1 container of red pepper hummus, enough to equal 8oz (look for simple ingredients free of preservatives and sugar)
1 jar creamy cashew butter (the brand I use has one ingredient: dry-roasted cashews)
bag of baby carrots
small bag of frozen peas
small container (5oz) baby kale
small bag/container of of dry-roasted cashews (Back to Nature brand is one I rely on that has zero oil – simply cashews and sea salt)
harissa spice
salt and pepper
1 cup dry rice *Be mindful of the type of rice you use. I use white rice in most of my dishes, which is usually done cooking on my gas stove in roughly 10 to 12 minutes.*
avocado oil, optional
*naan bread, optional

“Bam!” was already taken.

Recipe for two:
Start your rice per instructions. Measure out 10 baby carrots and slice on the diagonal, 1/4 inch slices. Measure out half a cup of peas. Chop a quarter cup of cashews. Measure out 1 to 2 Tbs of harissa spice. Scoop out about a quarter cup of cashew butter. Fill a liquid measurer with 1 cup of water. Heat a large pot with about 1 Tbs of oil over medium heat. Add your carrots, about 1/8 Tsp salt and pepper, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring about every minute. Add to the pot 1 cup of hummus, the cashew butter, 1/4 cup of water, and peas. Stir until the cashew butter melts and the sauce thickens. Every time the sauce starts stiffening and sticking to the pot, add another 1/4 cup of water. Keep doing this until you get a desired consistency. 1 cup of water for my pot yielded a thick sauce consistency, almost like a gravy. Turn the heat to medium low, and add the baby kale and roughly 1/8 Tsp of salt and pepper. After the leaves have wilted into the sauce, add 1 or 2 Tbs of harissa. We prefer more harissa spice for lots of flavor. Add salt and pepper to your liking.

This recipe be Slammin!

When your hummus cashew sauce and vegetables are done cooking, what you do next is up to you. If you want to be fancy with your plating – go for it! Garnish with chopped cashews and a pinch of harissa. If you want to dump the rice and garnish into the pot and mix it all up – go for it! Let everyone grab a plate or bowl and relax, knowing that you just quickly provided a meal full of nutrition, and will leave everyone full and satisfied. No shame in these shortcuts. And no feeling bad for this “cheating.”

Enjoy your art and may you live well!

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