Friday, February 7, 2014

Cooking Up Something New: Red Lentils

Song of the Day: One Republic - Counting Stars

Have you ever bought some new food thing to try, and then have no idea what to do with it?  Well, I have been in that boat many many times, and finally found a solution.  Look on the package.  Seriously.  Most packaging contains not only directions for basic cooking, but a new recipe to try.  My new product was Bob's Red Mill Red Lentils. 

They were on the top shelf in the area full of other dried stuff in bags that I'm intimidated by.  I made them following the directions, and realized that I have no idea if they turned out correctly or not.  But they were good as a side to my salad for lunch.  Plain was okay, but I kept feeling like I should do something more with them.  Of course, I could have made this simple with a google search, but instead they sat in the cupboard.  About a week has gone by and I decided to take a look at them again.  I took a look at the recipe on the bag and realized that I had most of the ingredients.  I considered half-ing the recipe, just in case it didn't turn out, or I didn't like it, but instead decided to just go for it.  I wasn't going to go to the store, so I had to make a few changes:

I didn't have any celery, so I just added more carrots.  I had baby carrots, and I wish that I would have cut them length wise before dicing them (I just did a carrot coin type cut) so they would have cooked more. 

I definitely used more garlic than needed.  I almost always use more garlic than recipes call for.

I also only have chopped bay leaves for some reason, so I used a small amount of that instead of a whole bay leaf.

I used diced tomatoes instead of crushed tomatoes.

I used about a cup of spinach, because I love spinach.

I only had seasoned rice vinegar, so that's what                            I used.

It was delicious!!  Caroline loved it too, and Elliot didn't want to try it, which is pretty normal since he hasn't been feeling too well.  It made a ton of soup so I am able to freeze some for later.

I was kind of weirded out about adding the vinegar, so I tried the soup before the vinegar and added one tablespoon at a time.  I did end up adding 2 tablespoons, and it definitely gave the soup a more dynamic flavor!  In the future I would maybe add more spinach, because as stated before, I love spinach.  

I still have a ton of red lentils left, so I'll be looking for more recipes to make and share! 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

So Great, So Terrible: Kale Fail

Song of the Day: The 1975 - Chocolate

On Tuesday I was home with Caroline because she had a terrible cough, watery eyes, and runny nose - all around, she just wasn't feeling good.  We took Elliot to school so she could actually be lazy at home, otherwise she just wants to play with him.

I took this extra time at home to try something new with my breakfast smoothie - also my bananas were still green, so I had to do something else.  I bought two bunches of kale last week and have been making kale chips with it using coconut oil and cayenne pepper, YUM, but I've heard of putting it in smoothies so I thought I'd give it a try.  Now, from the little I know about kale, I know that there are different kinds of kale, and some are more fibrous than others, and the curly kale that I had was very fibrous.  This is great for making kale chips, not so great for putting it in a smoothie.

                Different Kinds of Kale
Curly Kale - Use for a smoothie at your own risk

My smoothie fail included: 1 cup kale, 1 cup baby spinach, 1 cups almond milk, 4 tsp chia seeds (this may seem like a lot, but a recipe that I saw called for 1/4 cup (12 tsp) of chia seeds, and that made 2 servings, so I assumed a third of the 1/4 cup would be a good start).

Now, between the chia seeds and the kale not "liquifying" as I directed on the blender, this was a, um... chunky smoothie.  I added a little bit of coconut water to break it up, then tried liquifying again to no avail.  It was just, ugh, so terrible.  Such a let down.  I tried to choke it down as much as I could, but no.  I ended up tossing half of it and making the rest of the kale I had into kale chips for breakfast.  The kale chips were actually pretty delicious.  And I think from here on out, I'll be going back to spinach for my smoothies.