June 15, 2009

Monday Upgrades and my Mo-Rockin' Lentil Recipe

Hello, my name is Diana and I'm a health food store addict.

Ever since embarking on a Radventure to clean up my eating and health habits, I feel like someone stuck a new pair of eyeballs in my head. All of a sudden, fun little health food stores are springing up all around me, and I can't resist their siren song. When I walk through the farmer's market, my head turns as I walk past each stall. I feel like a skirt-chaser looking at vegetables that way. (Who says "skirt-chaser" anymore? Am I 80 years old? Apparently. An 80-year-old MAN, at that.)

Turns out there's a really decent organic market across Union Square Park from where I work. Not even five minutes' walk! Who needs the organized chaos of Whole Foods when I can go to a mom-and-pop market with aisles so tiny I have to do my Kate Moss impression while browsing. Check out my finds of earlier today:

Local strawberries (from the farmer's market), organic almond milk in unsweetened original and vanilla (on sale for $2.19 each!!!), cheddar style almond "cheese," chia seeds, Bragg's Liquid Aminos.

The strawberries I know how to use. The other stuff requires an instruction manual. KIDDING! (Kind of...) True, the chia seeds and Bragg's will require a little practice until I know how I like to use them best (I'm thinking chia in homemade raw puddings, Bragg's on top of salads and Asian stuff), but there was actually specific motivation behind the almond milk and cheese. Conventionally speaking, those products come from cows, but after a lot of armchair research, I've decided to more or less go off cow stuff - that includes both the moo and its juice. We'll see how it goes, but at least for now, I can't find an argument that would tell me that this is a bad decision. At the very least, if I'm going to have cow dairy, it will need to be organic, and that's pretty much that. I have enough hormones of my own without taking on those of a farm animal as well. Upgrade status: confirmed.

So let's do vegan for dinner, shall we?

Mo-rockin' Lentils make your Belly Dance

  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup onion, diced
  • 2/3 cup carrots, sliced
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped
  • 2 tbsp golden raisins
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • heaping 1/2 cup lentils
  • 1 tsp each cumin, cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/4 tsp each coriander, ginger
  • pinch salt
  1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high. Add garlic and onion and cook until sizzling and soft, a couple minutes.
  2. Add carrots, spinach and raisins. Stir to coat with the oil/garlic/onion mixture and allow to cook for a couple minutes.
  3. Add marinara, water and lentils. Stir.
  4. Add spices. Stir and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer until lentils are tender, about a half hour.
  6. Serve with whole wheat cous cous and toppings as desired (I used pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of honey).
Serves 2

The proportion of lentils to cous cous that I made was extremely off, in the traditional sense of serving a lentil dish over a grain. I ended up with maybe 2/3 cup cooked cous cous for both servings, whereas one lentil serving was more likely a heaping cup that overfloweth with spicey goodness. There was nothing for it but to make the cous cous one of the toppings, as opposed the base. Didn't bother me one bit, since the lentils are so hearty, but yeah, fair warning that what you see above does not represent typical ratios. I just spooned the cous cous into a halo around the lentils and sprinkled on the pumpkin seeds, drizzling the whole surface with a little honey.

And for dessert, what goes better with Moroccan food than figs? Ok, I don't have any figs right now, so Fig Newmans will have to do.

Accompanied by a chilly glass of hemp milk for dunking, of course. Well, not "of course," but I would say that hemp and almond milks are currently duking it out for status as my favorite non-dairy beverage right now. I even took the plunge of substituting hemp milk for the usual skim milk in my coffee this morning, and I definitely noticed a big difference, but it was good! A week or two of that and I doubt I'll miss the moo juice one bit. The good fats in the hemp and almond milks give them a really nice richness, which helps compensate for their "different" taste. But like I said, it's only a matter of time until they don't taste so different any more!

Ok kids, another Monday in the books. Any chance you haven't visited the "You might be a health blogger" list yet? It's not too late to enter the giveaway!

Buenas noches, my little taquitos.


Caitlin said...

That lentil recipe looks delicious!
I recently made the switch to almond milk and it grew on me like mad whoa! Also, I love braggs! It's a great soy sauce or tamari substitute in recipes and if you are interested in some really good recipes that use it, I would recommend How it All Vegan or the Garden of Vegan. Those girls love their braggs and the majority of the recipes I've tried from both books are really great!

ChickPea said...

It's OK--I'm a health food store addict too;) I am still trying to figure out what to do with my chia--let me know if you get any ideas!

fattymcbutterpants said...

I'm curious what do you do with chia seeds? I have seen other bloggers who buy and eat them as well so I'm curious what do they do for the body? And, how do you use them?

Katrina said...

That recipe looks A-MAZING!!!!! drool...

Gena (Choosing Raw) said...

Hemp milk? Yum.

Dori said...

I'm the same way with the health food stores! I see one, I need to go in and spend insane amounts of time in every aisle. Skirt chaser -- haha! You're hilarious. I'm trying to cut down on the cow's stuff too (you are right -- nothing says it is a bad idea, and it can only help digestion).. but I am sure I will cheat at restaurants and all.

Brandi said...

i'm the same way with little health food stores.

those lentils look great! i love all those spices - so good with couscous.

MizFit said...

I need to make more lentils. For me and so the Daughter gets used to them and finds her love of them earlier than I did!

K from ksgoodeats said...

Skirt chaser! Haha!! I love uncovering hidden gems as well!

That recipe looks seriously good! I may have to break out the pots and pans for that.

Jenny said...

mo'rockin haha.. you're a regular riot miss Diana! and quite the awesome chef, too.. that recipe looks incedibleeeee!

holla for HFSAA (health food store addicts anonymous, of course)


RunToFinish said...

you are so right the more I have gotten in to the health foods, holy cow the more places I see new ones I want to try

Missy said...

I could stay in a health food store all day! I just end up leaving with way too much! I used to drink Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar every day! I want to start again! (with honey) It def. was a nice cleanser.