Lentils Shmentils

I guess I haven’t quite finished the gluten-free segment but I am getting a little board of it for now. So instead, on this lovely Sunday morning, I wanted to talk about lentils. Because it’s snowing outside and I am thinking of making a stew. I mean look at these beautes…

I love em’. These little but mighty guys top the fiber-rich charts and also provide essentials like magnesium, folate, and lean protein. And did I mention low calories? To be more specific, 1/4 cup cooked lentils has 15 grams of fiber, 12 grams of protein, and 60 calories! (unfortunately lentils are missing one or more amino acids and are not a complete protein, so when you cook them combine them with grain or cereals).

Green and black lentils keep their shape better when cooked and yellow lentils cook faster and break down more. To cook, add to a pot with plenty of water (I love to throw in some chopped onions, garlic, carrots, and a bay leaf) , bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until tender but retaining a little bit of a bite (20-40 minutes). Drain and season.  Or if you want to get fancier try these renditions…

Salad: Toss together cooked lentils; canned or fresh salmon; diced red bell pepper and red onion; chopped parsley; and lemon-dill vinaigrette. It’s fun to serve this in butter-lettuce cups.

Meat loaf: Instead of bread crumbs, mix half a cup of cooked, partly mashed black, brown, or green lentils into your regular meat-loaf recipe.

Dal: I don’t think lentils without thinking Indian! Mix cooked yellow or red lentils with premade red curry sauce, chopped fresh tomatoes, silvered onions, and cayenne pepper to taste. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and serve with basmati rice.

Also check out RECIPES above for a braised Le Puy lentils with Chard!

*recipes complimentary of deliciousliving magazine

V-Day on it’s Way

The other morning I caught a little bit of Good Things Utah (I’ve officially turned into a middle-aged house wife). Janae was a guest highlighting her totally healthy totally delicious Valentines truffles. I loved this recipe and all the good insights she had on raw foods. Check out the segment here. She is teaching a class on March 10 and I want to go, who’s coming with me!

Valentines Truffles; Courtesy of Janae:

Ingredients:

Truffles
1½ cup almond butter
½ cup cacao powder
2 Tbsp. coconut oil or cacao butter, melted
2 tsp. vanilla, almond extract, or other flavor extract
1 tsp. salt

Toppings
Cacao nibs, Chopped nuts
Shredded coconut, Cacao powder

Directions:
Mix all truffle ingredients together in a bowl until well combined. Refrigerate several hours until mixture becomes solid. Scoop out 1 teaspoon full at a time and roll into a ball. Put topping of choice in a bowl. Roll truffle in topping and coat well. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Can’t wait to make these bad boys for V-day.

Butternut Squash

Someone once asked me what my favorite vegetables are.

Easy, kale, green beans, and butternut squash. Butternut squash is so divine. It is a powerhouse of nutrients and antioxidants. And the orange color? Caratenoids. The same antioxidant pigmentation that is found in carrots and pumpkins, so you could say butternut squash can support healthy vision.

However as healthy as this veggie is, prepping the cement-like gourd is no easy task and has even the most skilled cooks ready to rip their hair out. Lucky for you, I am here to offer some tips to handle this bad boy.

  • First, peel the skin off with a vegetable peeler, like you would potatoes or carrots
  • Second, halve the squash lengthwise and scrape out the seeds
  • Next, nook it in the microwave in one minute increments until soft enough to cut
  • Once the squash is cooled, chop and cube!

Now you have pretty little cubes to add to your favorite recipes. Check out some of my favorites here:

Butternut squash, kale, and gnocchi

Butternut Squash Bisque

Roasted Butternut Squash and Pear Salad

Or you can just halve it (skip the peeling if you want) oil up some tin foil and line a baking sheet, and plop the halves right on. Bake at 400 degrees for 45-1 hour. Sprinkle your favorite spices (I like cinnamon and butter) and enjoy as a side. Yum yum!

Greatest Granola

I’ve become sort of famous among my friends for my granola. The credit really goes to my mom though, it’s her recipe. I thought I would share it here today…

Grains have sort have been a touchy subject for me lately. So many people are developing gluten and wheat intolerance and others claim our expanding waist lines could be secondary to our excessive and unnecessary grain intake (See this book.) Regardless, have you all seen the new MyPlate method developed by the FDA?

1/4 of your plate should be grains! This would include things like pasta, rice, potatoes, breads, cereals (ahem, granola), corn, grains, and legumes and squashes if you want to get technical. Grains provide instant energy and the glucose from carbohydrates are what essentially feed our brains. So in my opinion, yes, we need grains in moderation.

Unfortunately for the gluten free people out there, oats are not considered gluten free. Which really is a shame because they don’t actually contain gluten. By the way, gluten is a protein found in grains; it’s what makes bread dough stick together and makes those long elastic types of threads. But because oats often times are produced in facilities where there is cross contamination with other gluten products, it’s put on the no-no list. However, I hate to post a recipe that is prejudice, so consider buying Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oats and cutting out the wheat germ (you could add flax meal instead)!

Greatest Granola

6 cups oats

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup powdered milk

1/2 cup wheat germ

Mix above ingredients in large bowl

2/3 cup canola oil (make sure this is pure canola oil and not vegetable oil labeled as canola oil, annoying I know but it happens)

2/3 cup honey or agave

2 Tbsp water

1 Tbsp Vanilla

Mix above liquids separately from dry ingredients and then pour over dry ingredients. Mix well. Pour onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake @ 300 degrees for 30 minutes, stir at fifteen minutes!

Enjoy with Greek yogurt (unsweetened or plain, the granola will add the sweet), your favorite milk and berries, add with nuts and dried fruit for a trail mix, or eat plain, it’s that good.

Bon Appetite!

(sorry I have no picture, next time I will be better at that)