Saturday Night Supper-Vegetarian Lentil Tacos

Lentil Tacos

Ingredients

2 onions finely chopped- your choice of color and sharpness (yellow, red-sweet, etc.)

2 green bell peppers finely diced

1 TBS oil of your choice

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp oregano

1 1/2 TBS taco seasoning

2 cups lentils, rinsed well

3 1/2 cups organic vegetable broth

Instructions

In a deep, non-stick pan add oil and heat. Add green peppers and onions, simmer approximately 10 minutes until soft. Stir in the spices and simmer between 30 seconds and 1 minute to bring out the flavors. Add lentils then cook and stir for 1 minute to blend flavors together.

Add broth to the pan and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. (If the mixture starts to dry out, add more broth in small increments to avoid burning.)

Remove cover, simmer an additional 10 minutes until broth has evaporated and mixture is thick.

Spoon into taco shells. Top with favorite toppings.

Suggested toppings – Salsa, taco sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, cheese, avocados, sour cream, jalapenos, cilantro, guacamole or whatever you like! (Mangos are also good if you like sweet and spicy.)

We ate this like tacos. However, we plan to try it next as quesadillas. I think it would work really well as a taco salad or burrito, too.

This easily serves 6 with some leftovers. The amount of leftovers depends on how much you put in the taco shell and how many toppings you use.

And there you have it! It tastes as good as it looks, too-I know because I ate both of those!

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Friday Food Fun!

We made another great meal the other night that also offers lots of options. Because I had a little bit of frozen hamburger meat, I decided to use it.

First, start lentils and rice, following the package directions.

Take one decent sized zucchini for each person, cut it in half then scoop out the middle leaving a “pocket” to fill. I saved the flesh from the center.

Set the oven to 425° to preheat.

Fry the hamburger meat, drain and rinse it, and add back to the pan with just a small amount of olive oil. To that, add diced onions, bell pepper and the zucchini flesh. Cook this just long enough to heat everything up.

Add a can of drained black beans and also one of drained corn into a small pot and heat it until warm.

Put all the above ingredients (Except the hollowed out zucchini) together in a bowl and mix thoroughly.

Using a sheet pan, lightly coated with oil, place the hollowed out zucchini on it. Fill the hollowed area with the mixture and top it with a sprinkling of parmesan and grated cheese. Place it in the oven and cook it for 25 minutes.

I added some mushrooms to mine, too because I like mushrooms.

The fun thing about this is recipe is it can be made so many different ways. It can be made similar to a pizza by filling the hollowed out area with pizza sauce and your favorite pizza toppings, then top with cheese. You could use alfredo sauce and chicken. You could use mixed veggies seasoned with oregano or Italian seasoning, and top with breadcrumbs and tomato sauce…the possibilities are virtually endless, and they are all so delicious!

Friday Food Fun

We had another delicious meal this week that the granddaughter fixed. It was an interesting combination that created a fantastic burrito.

Lentil Burrito

Ingredients

3-4 medium-sized sweet potatoes, thoroughly cleaned

1 cup dry lentils

1 cup dry rice

1-16 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

1-12 ounce package frozen corn

1 medium onion

2 medium bell peppers

1-3 TBS olive oil

Garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, salt, pepper or other spices as desired

6 Tortillas

Sour cream

Shredded cheese

Taco sauce

Directions

Prepare rice and lentils as per package instructions (1 cup dry should make 3 cups cooked)

While rice and lentils are cooking, heat sweet potatoes in a microwave just long enough to make tender enough peel and cube.  Let cool slightly, then peel and cube. Place in large pan with small amount of olive oil, cook until slightly tender. Season as desired.

Slice onions and bell peppers in long strips. Add a small amount of olive oil to another pan, season onion and bell peppers to taste, cook until crisp, but tender.

Cook corn according to package directions.

Heat black beans.

Once everything is cooked or heated, transfer to the table.

Heat tortillas.

Add ingredients to tortillas, roll up and enjoy!

I hope this makes sense, I tried to keep up with what she was doing without getting in her way too much! These were really good!

I would enjoy avocados with these as I really like avocados.

The nice thing about this recipe is it can be tailored to your likes. It would taste great with lettuce, tomatoes (unfortunately I can’t eat tomatoes), raw onions (I can’t eat those either!) or any of a wide range of vegetables.

Friday Food Fun

We made another delicious vegan casserole. However, it was a little labor intensive, but worth it! I forgot about pictures until it was too late!!

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients

1 medium onion

1 1/2 cups uncooked brown or green lentils (red lentils don’t work well)

4 cups vegetable stock

3 pounds yellow potatoes

1-12-ounce bag frozen mixed vegetables

3-4 TBS vegan butter

1 TBS olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Peel and dice onions.

In a large pot over medium heat, sauté onions in 1 TBS olive oil until lightly browned and caramelized (about 5 minutes).

Add lentils and stock, then stir. Bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to simmer and continue to cook until lentils are tender (about 35-40 minutes).

During the last 10 minutes of cooking, add frozen vegetables and stir. Cover and cook for the remaining 10 minutes.

While the lentils are cooking, thoroughly wash and peel potatoes (peeling is optional).

Cut potatoes in quarters and place in a large pot. Fill with water until just covered. Bring to a low boil on medium-high heat then salt, cover and cook for 20-30 minutes or until soft.

Once cooked, drain and put in mixing bowl. Mash thoroughly. Add vegan butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside.

Preheat oven to 425°. Lightly grease a 9×13 pan and set aside.

When lentils and vegetable mix are finished, pour into prepared pan. Top with mashed potatoes, making swirls or fork marks as desired.

Place the 9×13 pan of casserole on a baking sheet to catch any overflow. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are browned on top.

Cool briefly before serving. It will thicken as it sits. Cool completely before covering leftovers. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Can be reheated in microwave. Freezing is not recommended.

Whew!! I hope that makes sense-the recipe I used didn’t, so I adjusted it!!

Great Casserole Recipe!

This is another adapted recipe. If you are following a whole-foods, plant-based diet this does contain cheese, but I think it would still be tasty without cheese!

***Update-this also has eggs, I forgot 😏. Thanks for the reminder, Lynn! For those allergic to eggs or on a vegan diet, you can substitute ground flax seeds. To substitute ground flax seed-for each egg-mix 1 TBS of flaxseed to 3 TBS water. You need to let mixture sit for a few minutes to absorb the water.***

Rice and Lentil Casserole

2 1/2 cups cooked lentils

4 cups cooked brown rice

1 yellow onion, diced

3 TBS olive oil (reserve 2 TBS for later)

1 cup milk

2 large eggs

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese (reserve the 1/2 for later)

1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese (reserve the 1/2 for later)

Salt and pepper

Coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with 1 TBS olive oil. Heat oven to 375°F.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in large frying pan over medium heat until the oil flows smoothly, quickly coating the bottom of the pan.

Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent.  Remove pan from heat.

Whisk together milk, eggs and 2 cups of the grated cheeses in a large bowl. Add rice, lentils, onion and garlic powder. Season (if desired) with salt and pepper. Stir to thoroughly combine. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish.

Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and place on center rack in oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle with remaining grated cheeses. Continue to bake 10 to 15 minutes more, until bubbling and golden-brown.

This will serve 8-10 people.

(It is delicious, too! The brown rice gives it a somewhat crunchy texture.)

We served a broccoli, cauliflower and carrot mix with the casserole.

Further Adventures in Foodland-Stuffed Butternut Squash

The idea for this meal came from:
https://beautybeyondbones.com/2018/04/18/spring-stuffed-butternut-squash/. 
We made several changes due to allergies and some dietary restrictions. However, it turned out delicious, and beautiful!

Ingredients:
1 butternut squash, halved lengthwise
6 carrots, diced (ours were shredded)
2 pears, diced
3 Granny Smith apples, diced
A small bag of Brussel sprouts
Half of a small bag of spinach

Sauce Ingredients:
1/4 cup cashew butter (can use peanut or almond butter)
1/3 cup water
1 TBL honey (You may want to taste first, then sweeten to taste. We found with the cashew butter it took a little more water to get the consistency of a sauce, and a bit more honey for the sweetness.)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the top and bottom off the butternut squash.

Stand it up on a flat end, and carefully, cut in half lengthwise. (This can be tricky-so be careful!)

Scoop out the seeds and either discard or save them to roast for a snack.

Brush with olive oil, and place cut-side-down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and sprayed with olive oil.

Bake for about 45-50 minutes, until tender.

On a separate baking sheet, line it with aluminum foil and spray with olive oil. Spread out the carrots, pears and granny smith apples in an even layer.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until tender and beginning to caramelize.

Tear off the first one or two layers of outer leaves from the Brussel sprouts, then cut in half lengthwise.

Using a large frying pan, sautè the Brussel sprouts over medium-high heat in 1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Let them cook for a couple of minutes. Then add the spinach. Stir them around for 1-2 minutes, until the Brussel sprouts leaves have become bright green. Place the Brussel sprouts and spinach in a large bowl and set to the side.

Mix together ingredients for the sauce.

Remove the carrots, pears and apples from the oven and toss in the bowl with the Brussel sprouts mixture, mixing well.

Scoop a generous portion of the Brussel sprouts mixture into the butternut squash cavity and drizzle liberally with the cashew sauce.

Enjoy!

Roasted Veggies with Brown Rice, Quinoa and Black Beans Recipe from Adventures in Foodland!

We roasted a variety of vegetables then served them over the brown rice, quinoa and black beans. We made enough for six and had leftovers.

 

Recipe

Ingredients

1 cup brown rice

1-1/4 cup quinoa

1 can organic, low sodium black beans (or you can make them from raw beans and follow package directions-we forgot to start them!)

2 yellow squash

2 zucchini

10-12 cherry tomatoes

6 carrots

1 large red onion

1 bunch kale

Garlic and onion powder to taste

Oregano to taste

Directions

Begin rice first as it takes longest to cook. Follow directions on package for rice.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Slice squash, zucchini and carrots into bite-size medallions.

Halve tomatoes.

Line baking pan with parchment paper, place vegetables (except kale) in a single layer on a pan, sprinkle with garlic and onion powders, plus oregano to taste.

Place pan in preheated oven, cook 30 to 35 minutes.

Start quinoa, following instructions on package.

In a medium-size saucepan add approximately 1/4 cup of water. Heat almost to boil. Add kale and cook to taste, adding spices as desired.

After rice and quinoa have cooked, mix them together.

Layer rice and quinoa on a plate, top with black beans, then add roasted vegetables, finishing with kale.

This is a very tasty and filling meal.

If you want dessert you can make steel cut oatmeal (use a little less water than instructions call for), then add blueberries and maple syrup to taste. It’s almost like a cobbler!

If you have any questions, ask. You can probably tell I’m not in the recipe writing business, but I hope it’s easy to read and follow!

Update from Melissa

We did add Balsamic Vinegar to the roasted Veggies and some red peppers, but both of those are really up to your taste. We added pineapple to the kale. Just cooked it on a hot pan to caramelize it then added into the kale, once drained, and cooked briefly with seasoning to marry the flavors. The best part with this sort of meal is you can basically change out the roasted veggies for whatever is in season or to what you like.

Add some Nutritional yeast on top and/or some nuts and all your basic nutrients are met and this is actually a high in protein and iron meal too 🙂

(As I said, I am not a recipe person! I just wing it, then have to remember what I did, LOL!!)

Guest Blogger – Wholefood for a whole life

Some of you already know a little about me from previous posts sharing stories from our lives or from talking with me in comments. For those of you that aren’t familiar, I’m Robbie’s youngest daughter, Melissa. Mom asked me to “guest blog” today about my health and diet after many of you have shown interest in learning more. While this is the condensed version and I’m going to keep it mostly to my journey, as well as how to get started on a whole food plant-based diet, I suggest getting a beverage of your choice. It’s time to settle in and get comfortable. If there’s a lot of interest I will be happy to do more guest blogs as requested. If you enjoy what I’ve shared with you, be sure to reply, like, and reblog to let mom know you want more!

I’ve always been a very active and health conscious person, yet I struggled like most people, with the misinformation that regularly bombards us. I worked out and ran daily, regularly did calisthenics, ballet, hiking, and ate what I thought was healthy. I would splurge, drinking soda or eating sweets, but never thought it was doing much harm with occasional treats. All of my life I’ve suffered from autoimmune troubles that would cause pain or injuries. I chose to reconcile myself with this and live my life to the fullest anyway, not letting it stop me or slow me down. In my 20s I contracted Lyme disease; regretfully the doctors didn’t realize what it was and took months to treat it appropriately. The long-term damage to my joints and nerves were irreversible. Given I already suffered from autoimmune concerns, this added more complications and frustration to a growing list of health troubles. A few years later I suffered multiple herniated discs with sciatica that caused nerve damage in my foot, with some loss of feeling and weakness. Despite all my efforts with exercise, physical therapy, and staying active, by my mid-twenties arthritis and inflammation was already a problem in several major joints. At this point, not being physically capable of doing my normal activities and exercises, anxiety and depression started sinking in and becoming unbearable. The realization hit me that exercise and an active lifestyle wasn’t enough, I needed to help my body to recover and be strong enough to fight off the decline that was rapidly descending upon me. The thought nagging constantly at me was, “If I’m putting into my body things that cause inflammation every day I’m making it harder for my body to actually recover!” Something had to change.

The first step, I thought, was to remove soda and overly processed sugars entirely from my diet. This was much more difficult than I imagined it would be. Should be simple, just drink or eat something else! The problem is your body becomes accustomed and, essentially, addicted to these sugary bombs of endorphins. I had to gradually wean myself off the sodas and work hard, over several months, to lower my intake of processed sugars. While I started to regain some energy and mental clarity I was still regularly in pain and would often have a multitude of flair-ups. I spoke with my physical therapist and doctor, they would joke, “If you were overweight we’d talk about diet, but you aren’t so let’s focus on your exercises.” The exercises helped, but I was only getting by. I wanted to thrive.

By what I believe to be a gentle nudge from above, I stumbled on to a review of the book, “How not to die” by Dr. Greger. At first, I was skeptical. I study science, mostly behavioral, and with this education and experience, I’ve learned to question everything. Dr. Greger was thorough enough to include information to look up every single study he talks about in his book. This sent me down a deep, twisting rabbit hole of science and information that was not readily available to me prior. I buried myself in research and regularly visited his website while cross-referencing everything back to the studies themselves to read through all of them for any inconsistencies. I desperately wanted to prove it wrong. My doctors never spoke about diet as an option, they totally discounted it. How can any of this be true? Milk causes inflammation? Eggs are not healthy? Meat is a carcinogen?!? Processed meats are listed as Group 1 carcinogen (the same as Tobacco and Asbestos, according to WHO)? Yet time and again the studies and research showed this could be true, everything Dr. Greger said (and everyone else I looked into) was true. To solidify my resolve I watched “Forks over Knives”. While much of it is a bit over the top I felt like I had finally woken up, I had taken the red pill and was no longer in the Matrix. I couldn’t unknow what I had learned.

After a lot of soul-searching, I made the switch. Gradually I cut all animal products out of my life. There were ups and downs, many times I fell back to old habits, but I stuck with it as best I could. I started by removing meat, then eggs, eventually milk and cheese. The cheese was the hardest one to let go. A few months later I eliminated most processed foods in general and sustained a predominately whole food, plant-based diet. After some time of fully plant-based, it became easier to adjust recipes and make meals. Everything was becoming second nature and it wasn’t a daily struggle of, “What on Earth do I make for dinner?!” As time went by something amazing happened, my anxiety was mostly under control and the pain I lived with most of my life was subsiding. I called my mother and said tentatively “I don’t want to jinx it mom, but that constant nagging pain of level seven or eight I’ve always had? I actually forgot about it for several days. I haven’t had pain, sure normal aches, but not MY aches.” As I continued on this path my energy levels increased, mental clarity and sharpness heightened, the pain was minimal, and overall I was thriving. I was once again able to do my workouts and be more active which allowed my body to heal more and continue on a better path to recovery.

Do I believe everyone would have these results? Honestly, I don’t know. Do I believe everyone could benefit from a whole food, plant-based diet? Absolutely! Will it cure all your troubles? I’m not a doctor so I can’t say if that’s possible but I can encourage you to look into it yourself. Listed below are some websites and links to pages that helped me along my journey. I’m listing only Dr. Greger’s pages because he has the science and studies to back the information. If anyone is interested in other suggestions I will happily share those as well. You’re welcome to ask questions here and if there’s interest I’ll return for a Q&A or more guest blogs. The most important information I can give you is to do the best you can for you and to allow yourself to thrive. Don’t fall into a trap of “getting by.” Stay positive and keep striving to be the best version of yourself.

Dr. Greger’s site
https://nutritionfacts.org

Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen, which greatly simplified my transition
https://nutritionfacts.org/video/dr-gregers-daily-dozen-checklist/

We will address questions and comments on Tuesday, June 26th.

#Forksoverknives  #Drgreger   #hownottodie   #plantbased