a journey from the heart

Posts tagged ‘nutrition’

Currying Flavor

I love rich, flavorful food. Tonight I knew I wanted lentils, but not just regular lentils with a little seasoning. I wanted that deep, pungent flavor that you can only get from Indian food.

Living with another person provides opportunities to dirty more dishes, but also the opportunity to flex those creative muscles to prepare a meal you will each enjoy. Of all the potatoes in the world, sweet potatoes are my favorite. My boyfriend, on the other hand, his least favorite. Being inspired I found a way to create this dish with just as much flavor and tending to not only my palate, but that of my loved one.

So, without any more ado, here’s my recipe for Curried Red Lentils.

Ingredient list:
1 cup dry red lentils
1 sweet potato
4 medium-ish potatoes of varying colors
Cauliflower
Carrots
Kale
Cilantro
Green onions
Garlic
Ginger root
Curry powder ***I make my own ~ ingredient list below.
4 cups water
Lime
Coarse sea salt ***Salt slows the cooking time for lentils; add just before serving.
Fresh ground pepper

Naan bread ***Store bought this evening, due to time.

Ingredient list for curry powder:
Cumin
Coriander
Cardamom
Turmeric
Ground mustard
Cayenne pepper
Cracked red pepper
Ginger

You know your own palette better than anyone else. I do not follow a prescribed combination of theses spices, but rather let my olfactory senses determine the amounts of each. Needless to say, I never make the same curry twice.

Enough said…on to the actual cooking!

Prepare your curry powder first and set it aside. Sauté the chopped whites of the green onion (setting the chopped green tops aside for garnish), garlic, and chopped ginger in a little oil. I used canola this evening. After about 3-4 minutes add your curry powder (I used about a tablespoon), lentils, carrots, cauliflower, cilantro and kale with four cups of water. Stir well and let simmer until the lentils are cooked (about 15 minutes).

While this is cooking, place your chopped potatoes in separate pots with about 1/4 cup water (the regular potatoes may require a little more water) and a teaspoon of curry powder and a dash of salt. Stir well, bring to a boil and simmer until cooked. Drain the excess liquid from the potato pots and pour that liquid into the curried red lentils (there won’t be enough to add any potato flavor, but you get to keep the nutrients).

Serve hot with lime wedges and chopped green onion to garnish. And don’t forget the Naan!

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As always, let your palate guide the amount of each ingredient you use.

Bon apetite!

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Tootin’ Good Time

Last night I really wanted a burger. You know… a big, fat, juicy, cheesy burger. But alas, during my feast of healthy foodie documentaries last week I watched one, “Vegucated”, that turned me off (and a bit green, no pun intended) from eating mass produced meat. I didn’t learn anything new (I’d seen it all before), but somehow over time I didn’t so much forget, as become lazy.

Being on a whole foods kick means getting creative and making burgers in a totally new and different way. I made black bean and quinoa burgers, and let me just say… Yum! Are you ready?

Ingredient list:
Onion
Garlic
1 can black beans
2 1/2 – 3 cups cooked tri-color quinoa
Lime juice, freshly squeezed
Cilantro
Red bell pepper
Basil
Oregano
Cumin
Coriander
Thyme
Rosemary
Cracked red pepper
Coarse sea salt
Breadcrumbs
1 egg (optional)
Avocado

Sauté onion, garlic, red bell pepper, and cracked red pepper in a little olive oil. Set aside to cool.

Rinse your canned beans very well to reduce your sodium intake as most have about 4x the sodium content you need – sodium should be 1:1 or less to calories.

In a bowl (using a hand-held) or in a food processor combine black beans, cilantro, lime juice, herbs and spices, and cooled sauté mix. Process until a little chunky (not completely puréed). Form into patties (6-8) and place in fridge to cool.

After about 10-15 minutes remove patties from fridge and lightly cover in breadcrumbs. (I like to either make my own or buy plain breadcrumbs and season them myself.) Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned.

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Serve warm with fresh avocado, hot sauce, or your favorite sides.

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End result: Delish! (Yup, even the boyfriend thought so.)

A few things to keep in mind:
1. Without the egg as a binder the burgers were a bit crumbly. Next time I would use the egg (I have found a local farmer who raises her hens as I would raise mine if I could actually raise my own).
2. When you think you have enough seasoning, add more. The beans, quinoa, and breadcrumbs are quite bland alone and take quite a bit to flavor.
3. And finally, get creative; next time I will be adding jalapeños.

Here’s to your health and wellness.

Trying New Things

Today is my third day of mostly whole foods and it has been quite an interesting adventure thus far.

Yesterday I tried soy milk for the first time. Unsweetened soy milk that is…and all I can say is, “Blech”!

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Suffice it to say I will not be drinking that again anytime soon. While I like soy beans a lot, I will try almond milk next. I plan to attempt to make my own soon, so stay tuned….

Tonight, however, I had a great time preparing Bok choy for the first time. My boyfriend and I chopped and sautéed all the veggies, cooked some tri-color quinoa and mixed it all together. Yum!

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I’m not much for using measuring cups or spoons; I usually let my palate and mood dictate food prep. So here instead is my ingredient list:

Onion
Garlic
Fresh ginger
Red bell pepper
Sesame seeds
Bok choy
Spinach
Asparagus spears
Portobello mushrooms
Fresh squeezed lime juice
Cracked red pepper
Coarse sea salt
Olive oil
Tri-color quinoa

Sauté onion, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, lime juice, and cracked red pepper on a little olive oil. Add all other veggies and sea salt with 1/4 cup water, cover and steam for about 10 minutes. Add 1 cup cooked quinoa, mix and serve.

Bon apetite’

Adventures in Eating

I have begun a new adventure in eating. Well, that’s not entirely true. I am returning to a journey I have taken a various times over the years. This time the adventure begins at the age of 43, recognizing that if I want to get to 100 I am going to have make some modifications to what I eat and how I eat it.

Now let me just say, I am a foodie. I love good food. I love healthy food. I like junk food (okay, some of it I love). If its made with cheese, or chocolate I am in heaven. I have been a blinking-vegetarian (one who eats fish – they don’t blink) and an omnivore, more often the latter, but I have never been a vegan. Regardless of which wagon I was on I always loved fresh veggies and fruit, and the less cooked the better.

I have read books, watched documentaries, hung out with cooks and chefs, (I’ve waitressed in quite a few restaurants) and in good friends’ kitchens. I have spent time with hunters (I’m too squeamish) and fisherfolk (I love to fish). And I have been inspired by vegetarians and vegans alike.

Last week I watched a fantastic documentary, Hungry for Change, and then proceeded to also watch about a half-dozen others, all related to the foods we eat and our quality of life. Inspired by all the yummy food and stories of health and reclaimed health, I have decided that now is the time to embark (once more) on a whole-foods adventure. I’ll share my recipes, my successes, my flops and my discoveries as they occur. It should get interesting as I prepare to go camping for a week with my family who eats mainly processed foods and as I gear up for a week-long backpacking trip in September.

I invite your recipes and your stories. Bon apetite!

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Tonight’s supper:

Sautéed onion, garlic, cracked red pepper and almonds in the naturals oils of the onion and almonds. After about 5 minutes I added sliced carrots and kale with about a half cup of water and a pinch of coarse sea salt to steam. After about 5 more minutes I added some fresh squeezed lemon juice, pearl tomatoes, yellow bell pepper and broccoli. A final 5 minutes to steam and viola’!

On the side, long grain rice, cooked with no butter or oils, seasoned with a smudge of coarse sea salt and fresh ground black, red, green and white peppercorns.

Not only did it look and smell great, but it was quite delish. Even the boyfriend enjoyed it!

Here’s to your good health.