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Friday, February 19, 2010

flashback to lentils: curried coconut lentil bisque

i love lentils. so does my husband. so does my daughter. remember when i 1st started this blog and wrote about why lentils are amazing? remember when i made taco meat out of lentils? yum. remember when i posted lentil meatloaf? it's still fabulous. it sounds scary - it's not. i promise. (and yes, i have a label for lentils - i realize that is scary.)

i recently fell in love with lentils all over again when i made this fabulous meal last week.

i like ANYTHING made with coconut milk... coconut meets lentil and curry? has to be even better. this is one of those ultra-complete meals - it was dirt cheap, pretty, it felt good on its way down, it is super healthy and balanced and it tasted fabulous. and don't let the peas scare you - the sweetness of the peas is the perfect balance to the curry.

curried coconut lentil bisque
mildly inspired by recipe here
6 servings

a dash of olive oil
1/2 an onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 cups carrots, chopped
2 teaspoons curry powder (another teaspoon if you want it hotter)
1 1/2 cups dry lentils, rinsed
6 cups chicken broth
1 can light coconut milk (always 99c at trader joe's!)
1 pinch cinnamon
1 pinch cumin
1 pinch ginger
salt and pepper to taste

1 cup white rice, cooked in 2 cups water for 2 minutes
1 12 oz bag green peas, cooked according to directions

1. heat oil in large pot. add onions and carrots. cook 5-6 minutes. add garlic and curry. cook 1-2 more minutes or until curry is fragrant.
2. add chicken broth, lentils and coconut milk. bring to a boil. reduce heat and simmer 35-40 minutes or until lentils are soft.
3. add other spices. use immersion blender to blend soup into a bisque (a thick soup). salt and pepper to taste.
4. put rice and peas in a bowl. pour bisque over the top. enjoy!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

spicy pasta with broccoli

here's a quick and easy meal i made a few weeks ago. it was delicious - and even without the parmesan!

spicy pasta with broccoli
adapted from culinary in the country
4 servings

12-15 ounces dry short pasta (i used penne)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 head broccoli (roughly 1.5 pounds), florets sliced into bite-size pieces
1/3 cup water + a little more (i used 1/2 lb more broccoli than the original recipe...)
salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 ounces (about 1/2 cup) fresh grated Parmesan, divided (optional)
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, seasoned and cooked according to your liking

in a large pot of boiling salted water, add pasta and cook according to package directions. reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, then drain and place back into the pot off heat.

meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium. stir in garlic and crushed red pepper - cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. add broccoli and 1/3+ cup water - season with salt and pepper. cover skillet and cook until broccoli just begins to soften, about 5 to 8 minutes. uncover and continue to cook until the excess water has evaporated and the broccoli is crisp-tender, about 1 to 2 additional minutes.

scoop broccoli mixture into the pot with the pasta and add 1 ounce (about 1/4 cup) parmesan and enough of the reserved pasta water to create a thin sauce. serve with the remaining parmesan scattered on top. serve with chicken on top.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

avocado shakes: my new favorite snack

since going dairy-free for my baby boy, snacking has been slightly more painful for me. my favorite snack is fruit, which still works, but i really love to snack on cheese during the day and a few bites of ice cream is a perfect snack right before bed. clearly i needed a solution to this problem.

i found one! thanks to my little brother. an avocado shake. no ice cream or yogurt needed - the avocado makes it smooth and creamy. if you love the taste of avocado then try just that. if you want it to be subtle - add more fruit! my hubby's favorite is avocado-banana-apple. my fav it avocado-apple.

skinny bovine's avocado shake

puree the following in your blender:
  • crushed ice (less for 1, creamier shake - a little more for 2, slightly icier shakes. see about how much in pic below.)
  • 1 ripe avocado (makes 1 or 2 shakes, depending on how much ice and fruit you add)
  • milk (i use vanilla soy milk, just enough to get it to blend)
  • sugar (a few spoonfuls, but add to taste. if you have a little extra cash lying around, i think this shake would be fabulous sweetened with agave nectar - and healthier too!)

other yummy things to add:
  • other fruit - we've tried and liked grapefruit (see pic), apple (the whole thing, decored of course) and banana (for 2 shakes i'll do 1 avocado, 1 whole banana and 1 whole apple)
  • apple juice (instead of part of the milk)
  • a dash of lime juice

Thursday, February 4, 2010

perfect deviled eggs - perfect for your super bowl party

i'll admit, i'm not a football fan and i honestly won't be watching the game on sunday. i will be eating yummy food along with the rest of the world though - just to celebrate life instead of football! :) here's one of my favorite appetizers. i only like them the way my mom has always made them, so here's our family recipe!

perfect deviled eggs
recipe for 36 deviled eggs (18 whole eggs)

18 hard boiled eggs (see here for my method), shells removed
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (and more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard (and more to taste)
light mayonnaise to taste
salt to taste
paprika, sprinkled on top for decoration if desired
1. after removing shells, cut eggs in half lengthwise. put all yolks in mixing bowl and set whites aside. see below.

2. add 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard as a base and mash into egg yolks in bowl. add mayonnaise a little bit at a time, as well as a bit more vinegar and mustard and salt, taste testing as you add. mix and add until consistency and taste is to your liking.

3. sprinkle top with paprika, if desired. chill in fridge - serve cold!

healthy cooking on a budget

disclaimer: i don't claim to be an expert on cooking, weight loss or even healthy eating, but i do love to cook, find healthy, taste bud-friendly tricks and most of all, i love to eat!

qualifications: what qualifies me to blog on cooking healthy on a small budget? well, as my husband is still a student, my budget is not what you'd call large. and as for the healthy part, when i was 10 i was diagnosed with pancreatitus - a disease that doesn't effect me much anymore unless i eat food that is too greasy or has too much fat (in which case, well, let's just say i get really sick). this had steered my experience and limited cooking expertise in a health-conscious direction.

please feel free to comment, criticise, rate recipes, try ideas and make requests for future posts!