Turkish Carrot and Lentil Stew

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Yep, carrots again. But this time, instead of making them sweet and spicy, I adapted a coriander-spiced dish from NPR’s show, The Splendid Table.

I was attracted to this recipe because it

  • sounded like a tummy-warming, tasty, vegetarian winter stew.
  • required a lot of carrots and I’d bought a lot on sale.
  • included bean protein, which is always a good and nutritious thing.
  • would use up the tomato paste languishing in my fridge.
  • needed fresh herbs which I actually had on hand (almost never happens!).
  • would help fill up my teenaged grandchildren who were coming to dinner. (The dinner was cancelled after this dish was made, and we’ve been eating it ever since…but that’s another story.)

So I re-fashioned the recipe: eliminated the oil, used more carrots and, generally, simplified where possible. The result was delicious, had delightful grace notes of parsley, and was every bit as warm and filling as I had hoped.

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Roasted Veggies Redux or “How will I gorge on vegetables today?”

I haven’t talked about roasted vegetables recently, but that doesn’t mean they’re far from my mind. Uh-uh.

As any dieter knows, the only food we don’t have to eat in moderation is vegetables. In fact, we’re encouraged to eat those veggies the way we used to eat chips, mmm, and cookies, yum, and ice cream, delish!, and…but, ahem, I digress.

Back to vegetables. I have many new readers to the blog, and I thought it would be helpful to re-visit roasted vegetables because they provide a really good solution to that never-ending diet question:

How will I gorge on vegetables today?

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Protein-Packed Chocolate Quinoa Cookies

So far, on this blog, I’ve avoided cookies. I have some good excuses—no children at home anymore and, well, fear of the Cookie Monster.

You know this ogre.

She has tentacles that go straight into your sweet tooth and carb cravings. You will try to quit after one or two cookies while the monster manipulates your taste buds so that the first cookie—nay, the first bite—creates a powerful urge to keep right on going.

For those of you who can eat a whole bag in one sitting—YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

So I’ve avoided cookies for good reasons. Then I spotted a recipe that had good health and diet potential because of the quinoa which is high in protein and, therefore, stomach-filling. I did some adjusting to give it even more protein and reduce calories, and I kept the sweetness at a low ebb so it wouldn’t arouse the sleeping, but ever vigilant, monster.

My spouse was the first sampler. “It’s good,” he said, “but I thought it would be sweeter. Cookies are usually sweeter.”

See how the food manufacturers have trained our palates?

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What is an “Incomplete” Protein?

As a result of working on The Bean Bake Blog, I’ve begun to look more closely at beans in general. For example, bean protein is considered an “incomplete” protein.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never really understood the term: incomplete protein. I know we have to “complete” the protein with other food, but what does that mean, and how are we supposed to do it?

Clearly, it was time to do some research, and here is what I learned.

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Sweet Potato-Tofu Bake

Okay, okay, I agree. This dish looks exactly like several others I’ve posted lately—that is, the bean bakes.

But don’t judge a bake by its colour. This dish has nothing to do with beans although its flavour is reminiscent of Pumpkin “Pie” Bean Bake.

The spouse, who professes not to like sweet potatoes very much, has been making this dish on a regular basis for years. We get it on Thanksgiving for sure, sometimes for Christmas dinner, and other times during the year such as yesterday when, for reasons unknownst to me, he gets inspired. (But it’s these unpredictable quirks that keep a 46-year marriage going, don’t you think?)

This bake tastes great, has terrific nutritional value, is a cinch to make, and is good both hot and cold. (Note: the recipe has been doubled in the photo.)

So…from my kitchen to yours…

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Demystifying Root Vegetables + A Get-Started Recipe

Q: I want to eat a healthy diet/lose some weight/keep those pounds off. I know I have to eat lots of vegetables. But how do I get beyond raw carrots, steamed broccoli and salad, salad, and more salad? 

A: Have a wide variety of vegetable dishes at your fingertips.

Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t grow up learning how to be innovative with vegetables. In fact, they were generally just a humble afterthought, plopped down next to the good stuff—meat and potatoes—and followed by the highlight of our family dinner—dessert.

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Kohlrabi Mash with Mushrooms and Cheese

I know what you’re thinking: “What does a food blog have to do with Star Trek?” or maybe, “Food blogging is clearly not conducive to mental health.”

Well, dear readers, food blogging and Star Trek are not so different as you might think.

The show’s slogan was “To boldly go where no man has gone before.” The food blogger’s slogan is “To boldly cook foods never cooked before or in ways never tried before.”

Enter kohlrabi, a member of the brassica family which includes cabbage, kale, and broccoli.

Needless to say, it is full of good nutrients. Needless to say, I had never had the nerve to buy and cook kohlrabi before.

But now I am a weight-loss food blogger who places an emphasis on a high level of vegetable consumption. I have an obligation to buy vegetables I’ve always avoided. Boldly, I bought two tubers and, after studying recipes, boldly merged some ideas together.

Voilà—Kohlrabi Mash!

Now, as you can see, this dish wouldn’t win any beauty prizes, but it’s a winner in other ways.

It’s good to the palate, easy on the diet, a cinch to make, and chockful of vitamins and minerals.

So…boldly go! 

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Tomato Split-Pea Lentil Soup with Carrot and Cumin

This tomato-y soup is a blend of delightful flavours and textures.  It is slightly…

  • spicy from the cumin.
  • sweet from the carrot.
  • smooth from the tomatoes.
  • crunchy from the onion and lentils.

It’s also rich, filling (great for winter’s cold days), and very easy to make: only five main ingredients and a minimum of chopping.

Enjoy!

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