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Falafels with Labneh Sauce

Posted Jun 10 2010 10:38am

The workout rocked! I am sore today which used to never happen! The boyfriend says that being sore isn’t a good thing and is merely muscle trauma, but I like it :) . He is a big proponent of one set with a weight heavy enough to elicit total failure and inability to do another set. I am similar, but I like to do 2-3 sets with a weight that is heavy enough so that I fail BY 12 reps. Then, with each subsequent set I fail earlier and earlier. And by fail I mean I can not for the life of me lift the weight, no matter how ugly I make my face. As promised…

3 sets of biceps curls until failure (max of 12 per set). 15 pounds.

3 sets of  tricep drops or until failure (max of 12 per set). 25 pounds.  [This is where you hold the weight over your head and slowly lower it down to the back of your head and lift back up. I actually failed after 2 sets and couldn't do a third.]

3 sets of shoulder raises until failure (max of 12 per set). 10 pounds. [Lift the weights up from your sides till you make a T with your arms.]

Repeat 3 times:

12 squats holding a 25 pound weight. Immediately follow with…

Stand on a balance bosu ball and hold a weighted medicine ball over your head. Hold for 20 seconds.

1 set of 20 squats holding weighted ball.

Repeat 3 times:

20 lunges to the side holding a weighted medicine ball (do 10 to one side and then 10 to the other). Immediately follow with…

25 bicycle abs. [I don't work on abs unless its just to kill time and recover from something else.]

1 set of 50 leg/butt raises per leg. [This where you get on your hands and knees and lift your straightened leg up as high as you can and bring it back down, slowly.] [Do the first 30 with a full range of up and down motion and the last 20 up at the top with a smaller motion.]

1 set of 30 side kicks per leg. [This is where you lift your leg out to the side like a dog peeing on a fire hydrant. Kick out. HIYAH!]

3 sets of 20 airplanes. [This is where you lie down on your stomach and lift your upper body up as far up and back as you can. Simultaneously bring your arms straight out and back, like an airplane.]

Within 30 minutes, get at least 15-20 grams of pure, easy to utilize protein. I use All the Whey protein isolate in Cinnamon Bun flavor. Half a scoop of that, half a cup of milk, ice, blend, DONE!

I know that some people believe that this is not necessary and that you are fine with just your dietary protein, but I think this is really important. Unless your body is a total pro and can perfectly utilize every drop of protein you put into it, then if you want to build muscle, you need to supplement with a bit extra and at the right time. Within 30 minutes seems like a good, safe guess. This is just my personal view, some people do not need the extra protein, but I can tell that I do much better with it. Times when I tried other people’s style of eating less protein have lead me to muscle and weight loss and NOT in a good way.

While I sipped my smoothie, I prepared this amazing Lebanese style dinner. This was not difficult to make and tasted amazing. I felt like I was in the Middle East for a little while :) .

There was actually 2x the amount of falafel and 3x the amount of labneh, but for aesthetic purposes I took a picture of it before plopping the rest on my plate.

Ingredients list: 3/4 green onion, 4 mushrooms, 1 tbsp EEVO (or more if you want!), 2 cloves garlic, 3/4 cup chickpeas, 1/4+1/8 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs, 1 egg white, cilantro, cumin, parsley, 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, salt, and optional mint

Place a pan on the stove and heat to medium low.

Dice 3/4 of a green onion (both the white and green parts) and a few small mushrooms into very small pieces. Add 1 tsp of EVOO, the onions, and the mushrooms to the pan and cook until soft.

Finely chop two cloves of garlic. Without draining first, blend 3/4 a cup of chickpeas and garlic  in the blender until smooth.

Scoop the mush into a bowl. Add the soft green onions and mushrooms. Chop up 1 tbsp worth of fresh cilantro (this is key!). Add the cilantro, 1/2 tsp parsley (dried or more if fresh), 1 egg white, 1/8 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs, and several shakes of cumin. Stir.

Pour 1/8 cup whole wheat bread crumbs onto a plate. Shake to evenly distribute. Grab a handful of chickpea mix and toss back and forth in your hand to form a patty. Press the patty into the breadcrumbs. Repeat until the chickpea mixture is gone (this can make 2 large or 3 smallish patties). Use another 1/8 cup whole wheat to cover the tops of the patties. Lightly press the breadcrumbs into the patties so that they are completely covered.

Increase the heat on the stove to medium high and add 1 tsp of EEVO (or more if you wish). Lay the patties in the pan and let them cook. Don’t flip them until they are medium brown on the bottom and a bit firmer! When they are ready to be flipped, scoop them onto a plate and add 1 more tsp of EEVO to the pan. Then place them back in the pan and let the other side brown.

Mix 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt with 1/2 tsp fresh ground sea salt. Traditionally, labneh has mint in it. I didn’t have any, but if you do, chop some up and mix it in!

To serve, you can put the falafels and labneh into a pita stuffed with greens. Or, you can place them atop a salad. I used the labneh to cover my falafels and as a salad dressing. Arugula, tomatoes, and mushrooms went together quite well!

I don’t post calorie counts for my dishes mainly because I feel that counting calories detracts from one’s quality of life and I don’t want to encourage that. Our bodies do a really good job of monitoring our calorie intake. If you take in more than usual on one day, you will most likely feel less hungry on a subsequent day, and eat less. In the end, the body is eerily good at balancing energy input and output. However, this ability does begin to deteriorate the more and more overweight a person becomes. Excess fat (particularly on the stomach) becomes an organ that can cause the secretion hormones. These hormones can cause a person to feel hungry when they shouldn’t be or to not feel full when they should. So, I do think that for people who are trying to lose weight, keeping a general idea of your caloric intake (or counting, if that is what you feel you need to succeed) is a good idea. I am going to post the nutritional information for this meal because I want to show that one can make a “bready, fried dish” that is healthy and balanced! Also, there is 30 grams of protein in this dish and it is vegetarian ;) .

Nutritional Info: For all of the falafel and labneh sauce (but not the salad or a pita)

Calories: 530

Total Fat: 16.8g

Sodium: 636 mg /  Potassium: 489 mg

Carbs: 71.2 g — Dietary fiber 12.3 g — Sugar 4.7 g!

Protein: 30 g!

Vitamins and percent daily values: B12 – 10%, B6 – 46%, C – 37%, D – 8%, Calcium – 20%, Copper – 22%, Folate – 32%, Iron – 19%, Manganese – 55%, Niacin – 9%, Pantothenic acid – 17%, Phosphorus – 33%, Riboflavin – 27%,  Selenium – 12%, Thiamin – 10%, Zinc – 14%


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