The Girls Next Door

Our neighbors across the street have two adorable little girls. The other day we were hanging out in their yard and the girls were showing off their vegetable garden. They had some ripe tomatoes and picked a few for the boys to sample. Talk about peer pressure, even Liam and Dylan popped a few in their mouths. As we were heading back to our house the girls proudly presented us with one of their cucumbers.

When we got home I could barely wash it fast enough – the boys ran to the kitchen table and sat waiting for me to slice it up. In the past cucumbers and tomatoes have not exactly been a huge fave around here; but that cucumber disappeared in about two seconds flat.  Was it the girl’s influence? Or was it my honey mustard dipping sauce?

Our own attempt at a vegetable garden last year was a bit of a bust. We don’t get a lot of sun in our yard so growing anything but weeds is a challenge. We did manage to grow a few tomatoes; but some animals ate them before we could. There was one lone cherry tomato left on the vine for all of us to share. It was pretty pathetic…

But maybe we don’t need to even bother growing our own– if I tell the boys that I walked across the street and the girls gave me some veggies SPECIAL for them, perhaps they will eat them…

Falafel with Tahini Sauce 



1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 egg

1 garlic clove, minced

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp lemon zest

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup AP flour

1 small onion, finely diced

2 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped

2 Tbsp olive oil, for brushing

Pita Bread



Chopped tomato, seeds removed, lightly salted

Chopped cucumber, diced


Tahini Sauce

4 Tbsp tahini

6 Tbsp warm water

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Salt, to taste



For the sauce:

Whisk the tahini and lemon juice with the warm water until smooth. If the sauce is too thick just add more water a little at a time until it is the desired consistency. Add salt to taste.

For the falafel:

Place chickpeas in a pot and cover with water. Bring water to a boil. Then remove from heat and let sit for about 2-3 hours. This is an optional step but I found that it made the consistency of the chickpeas softer and helped keep the falafel together when baking.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Drain chickpeas and place in food processor with garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, coriander, cumin, paprika, and salt.


Pulse until you get a chunky paste, remove from processor and place in a mixing bowl. Add in the onion, parsley and flour.


Grease a rimmed baking sheet with half of the olive oil. Roll the falafel mixture into small balls and flatten into patties. Brush the top with the remaining olive oil. Bake until golden, approximately 15 minutes per side.


Serve in a pita topped with vegetables and tahini sauce.


And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (age 6): “I don’t like it in the bread – Is there butter on this?”

Liam (age 4): “I hate ballafull – do you want me to spit it out?

Dylan (age 4): “Only give me cucumber”

2 out of 3 ate some of it. Not bad… but my plan didn’t work – they didn’t care where those vegetables came from!


4 thoughts on “The Girls Next Door

  1. Ahhh, that was really cute. Ok so try chummus heated rather than cold, it has an entirely different flavor. In Israel I have eaten a more Arabic type with the chickpeas almost whole, but slightly smashed in the chummus and warm and the pita bread heated as well. Also try and put corn kernels in with the falafel or chummus, gives it a sweet flavor.

    There must be some veggies that grow in the shade. I will ask my friends who live in England and who are avid gardners and in England there is rarely any sun at all as you may know.

    Love, Judy and Bill

    • Hummus and corn – that is an interesting combination. I will have to try it.
      If you find out anything from your gardener friend let me know – I do not have a green thumb so it has to be something that can pretty much survive on its own!

  2. That is funny that your kids were delighted to try the fresh veggies. Of course, I think home grown veggies always taste better. 🙂

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