Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions

My pantry is full of ingredients. Full of ingredients I bought for one recipe. Special whole grains–amaranth, quinoa, farro, barley–and lots of lentils and beans. I have three (3!) different types of lentils.  I made Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything  because I wanted to make room in my pantry. I now only have 2 types of lentils. 🙂

I cooked a similar recipe from Veganomicon before. It’s a simple vegan comfort-food recipe that’s good when it’s cold outside (even Southern California cold).

You can find the recipe HERE.

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Not Chocolate Mousse

Yeah. It’s Valentine’s Day. Fun times. Didn’t make the Sweet Melissa Sundays recipe selection for the week–Easy Chocolate Mousse. And it’s easy! I’m leaving for Mexican beaches at the end of the week and I wasn’t going to eat it (I’m going to be living in a bathing suit for a week!).Cookies I can bake and stash in the freezer; mousse not so much.

Instead, this is a yummy and healthy vegan recipe. Stir-Fried Sesame Asparagus with Tofu and Ramen. So easy, so delicious. The recipe for the asparagus comes from 1,000 Vegan Recipes–an awesome cookbook of almost every imaginable vegan recipe. Everything I’ve made from it has been delicious. I added tofu, which I baked in the oven at 350° F for 20 minutes and served it over ramen noodles.  I also upped the garlic and ginger in the recipe. It would be tasty over brown rice or any whole grain as well.

Stir-Fried Sesame Asparagus

Adapted from 1,000 Vegan Recipes
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 pound asparagus, tough ends trimmed and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  1. Heat canola oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add asparagus and stir-fry for twominutes. Add garlic and ginger and stir for one more minute.
  2. Add soy sauce and sesame oil. Stir and cover for 3 minutes or until asparagus is tender. Sitr in sesame seeds.
  3. Serve immediately.

Chocolate! Peanut Butter! Scones!

Need I write more? Who doesn’t love the combination of chocolate & peanut butter? Hannah of BitterSweet had the genius of making scones with them. Scones! Yes, scones. A treat you can call breakfast.

Chocolate-Glazed Peanut Butter Scones was the second recipe I tried from Hannah’s book, My Sweet Vegan. Not only is there peanut butter  (chunky!) in the scones, there is peanut butter (smooth!) in the chocolate drizzle.

Like all scones, the dough quickly came together. Instead of making four large scones as directed in the recipe, I made 12 mini-scones. The texture was very scone-like–a little dry, crumbly, and with just a hint of sweet. I’ve made vegan scones that were more cake-like in texture. When I make a scone, I want it to taste like a scone and they did.

I baked them for a meeting and they were enjoyed by all. The problem with making minis is that people can’t just eat one and they were gone quicker than it took to bake them–12 minutes.

If you would like the recipe, buy the book.

Ten in 2010: Two Healthy, Vegan Salads

I stayed on track this week with my Ten in 2010 goals. I did my runs and yoga classes, I exercised 6/7 days, and ate 100% vegan AND healthy. I also lost a 1/3rd of my vacation and holiday weight gain.

The secret to eating healthy (and vegan) and maybe just life in general, is to plan ahead and always have food you can eat available.

This week to help me along I made two healthy, vegan salads. The recipes come from the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart. The first recipe is Couscous Confetti Salad. A colorful mix of whole-wheat couscous, chopped vegetables, and golden raisins.  The dressing is seasoned with curry powder to give a bit of a kick and the flavor combines well with the sweet raisins. This was a big hit, not just with me, but with my friends too.

The second recipe is a Hoppin’ John Salad. Made with black-eyed peas (the first time I’ve had them!), Hoppin’ John is a traditional New Year’s dish. This version was made with brown rice and served cold with a lemon-garlic dressing. This was a big hit too, but only with me. Because I didn’t share it. 😛

I also made a big pot of Cinnamon-Raisin Oatmeal for breakfast. When I didn’t have my oatmeal, I ate fruit with a non-dairy yogurt and 7-grain puffed cereal.

If you would like to join the the Ten in 2010 group, visit Lori at the RecipeGirl blog HERE.

Ten in 2010

Social networking is awesome. In 2009, I made a lot of new friends through Twitter and Facebook and blogs. One friend, Lori of RecipeGirl, with the support and encouragement of Twitter friends has started a challenge for the new year. One quick side note. I’ve met Lori in person. She is beautiful both on the inside and outside. She was actually one of my tablemates that encouraged me to ask Rocco DiSpirito out. 😛Lori’s challenge is Ten in 2010: Ten Weeks to Healthy in 2010. I’m always up for joining groups and have some goals I want to reach this year, so I jumped right in. It’s so open and really there are no rules. You pick your own goals. As of this writing, there are over 230 participants from all over the world. See the list of participants HERE. Anyone can join! You should too!

My Goals

  • Lose my vacation/holiday weight gain. Really it’s mostly holiday. I didn’t really gain anything on vacation. I think wearing a bathing suit every day kept me motivated. I gained an embarrassing number of pounds since I returned home smack in the middle of the holiday season.
  • Eat vegan at least 3 days a week. Last year I successfully ate vegan on Tuesdays for my Vegan Tuesdays. Some days easier than others. This year I want to expand it to three days a week, but rotate the days depending on my schedule. There’s nothing like being stuck in the Dallas airport on a Tuesday trying to find vegan food.
  • Participate in the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart. Starting on January 1, I’m participating in the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart. Check it out! There’s lots of recipes, information, and a meal plan. Once the 21 days are over, I’ll start my 3-days a week vegan eating.
  • Train for my half-marathon. Every year I run a half-marathon, but don’t train for it. This year, because I don’t want to be in pain for a week, I’ve actually decided to train for. I’m pretty fit, but not much of a runner. I may even try trail running this year!
  • Re-commit to yoga. Last June I started attending evening yoga classes, I stopped going in November and want to start up again. It makes me feel great!

I go to the gym very early in the morning before work. I usually just grab a bar and eat it on the way. Here’s a great recipe for you to try. Chia seeds (the same ones as Chia Pets) are a great source of omega fatty acids and contain a bunch of good-for-you minerals and vitamins. They actually have more antioxidents than flaxseed and are an excellent source of dietary fiber.

Raw Chocolate-Chia Energy Bars

From the January 2010 issue of Vegetarian Times.
  • 1 1/2 cups pitted dates
  • 1/3 cup raw unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup whole chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup raw slivered almonds
  1. Purée dates in a food processor until a thick paste forms. Add cocoa, chia, and extracts. Pulse until all ingredients are combined. Add almonds and pulse until nuts are chopped and well-distributed.
  2. Place a piece of parchment paper on work surface and transfer date mixture to it. Using your hands, press mixture into a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle. Wrap tightly and chill overnight.
  3. Unwrap block and cut into 8 bars.

Nutrition: 195 calories, 5 grams of protein, 8 grams of total fat, 7 grams of fiber.