Tag Archives: lentils

Making My ‘Scape

I finally made my ‘scape…. my garlic scape concoction! Hi!! I hope you had a great fourth of July!! My weekend has been quite busy, but I’ve had lots of fun. Here’s a recap!

Friday:

Having a Friday off is such a lovely thing. I got up, had a leisurely work out, and then I finally got around to mixing up a batch of garlic scape bean dip. You might recall that I bought some garlic scapes at the farmer’s market a long time ago, and I promised to share my favorite recipe. The original recipe was published in the New York Times last year, and the recipe can be found here. I’ve lightened it up a bit by using only 1 Tbsp. of olive oil, and I don’t think it’s missing a thing! The Times also had a very interesting article, that I really enjoyed. You can check it out here if you’d like to read more about scapes.ScapesScapes are the stems that grow out of the top of a garlic bulb, and they are the part of the garlic that would flower if left intact. They have a very strong garlic flavor, and can be used much as you would use garlic. The tips of my scapes had gotten a bit dried out from all of the time spent languishing in the crisper, but otherwise, they were good to go. 

I removed the dried out parts, and then chopped up 1/3 a cup of scapes. Those went into the food processor with 1/2 tsp. of sea salt and 1/4 tsp. of black pepper. The scapes have a pretty serious heat on their own, so it doesn’t take a lot of black pepper to spice it up. I also added the juice of a lemon. I whirred it around in the food processor until the scapes were pretty finely chopped.

BlitzThen, I added a can of great northern beans that I had drained and rinsed. I didn’t have cannellinis in the pantry, and I knew that these white beans would work just fine. Hooray for the pantry!!

BeansI continued to puree the mixture. When it was pretty well blitzed, I drizzled in 1 Tablespoon of olive oil with the processor still running and continued to puree until it was smooth.

Mmmm....I love this stuff and eat it as I would eat hummus! The scent of garlic really hits you when you take off the lid. Scapes are amazing!! If you can’t find scapes, you could make a similar mixture with a few cloves of garlic in place of the scapes. 

I put some scape dip into a La Tortilla Factory wrap (I was so excited to finally try these!!), along with some sliced cucumbers and Cabot 75% Reduced Fat Cheddar, and voila! I had  a tasty wrap to take to a little pre-National’s game tailgate. 

It's A Wrap!

I was wearing a new dress, and you can see part of it in the photo. It loved it because it had a lot of crazy colors, but… it might look like a tablecloth. 🙂 

I also made a batch of butterscotch blondies (sitting in the chair in the above photo), using a recipe from an old Cooking Light cookbook, “Low-Fat Ways to Cook Family Favorites,” and took some to share with my friends. Sadly, the recipe isn’t on-line and it isn’t my own, so the best I can do is tell you about the cookbook. It’s a good one, by the way!

Butterscotch BrowniesThe Nat’s lost to the Braves, but the game was still fun. The racing President’s are always a highlight.

Poor Teddy!Poor Teddy Roosevelt never gets a break. At least he keeps trying! Way to be a role model, Teddy!

Saturday:

Saturday morning, I went for a walk with my friend, Mrs. W, and then she and I went to the farmer’s market. I loaded up on berries this week, as well as cherries, summer squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, and some chive cheese. Yum.

After our walk and our visit to the market, we lunched on leftover gratin, garlic scape and white bean dip, farmer’s market cucumbers and tomatoes, and some Berry Cherry “Ice Cream.” It was a tasty lunch. I love having leftovers that I feel good about serving to a good friend. She happens to be a vegetarian too, so it was awesome that I had my vegetarian gratin to share. Yum!

Last night, I had another friend, MG, over for dinner. I “griddlered” a farmer’s market pork tenderloin, basted in a bit of barbecue sauce, along with some zucchini and yellow squash. I made some oven fries– both sweet and regular potatoes, and boiled up a couple of ears of corn.

Happy Fourth!It was a healthy dinner, but I think it had a fourth of July feel to it. Oh, Griddler. I love you! Did you eat something festive on the fourth?? I forgot to get watermelon, and I was bummed about it!

For dessert we had more blondies and more Cherry Berry “Ice Cream.” Then, we headed up to the roof of my building to watch the fireworks on the National Mall. There is a clear view of the mall and the monuments from our rooftop, and it’s fun to see all of the smaller displays along the banks of the Potomac as well. I wanted to show you my view, but I never figured out how to take a good photo. This should give you some idea:

Boom!!Directly below the fireballs, you can kind of make out the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building if you try. We have a great view, just not an awesome photographer. Ahem. 

While MG was over, I also made an overly gooey batch of brownies to repay him for watering my plants while I was in Alaska. I do have my kitchen flops, from time to time, and I shouldn’t have tried to do a minor tweak to a previously untested recipe! Silly junior mints. The brownies tasted good, but a spoon might not be a bad choice of utensil. 😦 Sorry, MG. I say– microwave them and top with with ice cream. Yes. I’d eat that for sure!

Sunday:

I woke up with a serious hankering for French toast. I haven’t had it in ages! I mixed 1/4 cup of eggbeaters, 1 1/2 T. of unsweetened vanilla almond breeze, 1/4 tsp. of sugar and 1/8 tsp. of vanilla extract together. I soaked two slices of multi-grain bread in the eggbeater mixture, and then I cooked the slices in a nonstick skillet coated with butter flavored cooking spray. I had some lovely raspberries that I bought at the farmer’s market yesterday as my side dish, and there was a little bit of maple syrup on the top. I love that I could taste the vanilla in the egg mixture. I didn’t completely drench it in syrup, the way I would have back in the old days, and I like that it stayed a bit crisp as a result. It really hit the spot!

French ToastAfter my special breakfast, I decided to take Coby out for a ride on the Custis Trail. Get ready for a quick switch from French toast to feet. I thought I’d warn you. There was no good segue that I could think of for this one! 

Along the way, I did something rather ungraceful while turning abruptly onto a little wooden bridge on the trail. Yes. My toenail is purple. Coby is fine, and the rest of me escaped unscathed, but I’m just not sure what this purple toe is going to do. I guess we will wait and see. I strongly suspect the toenail will not be with me much longer. Ewww, right? I hope I didn’t gross you out too much. At least I didn’t post a photo. I thought about it. 🙂

Ok, back to food…

I wanted to use the rest of my garlic scapes as well as two eggplants I bought at the farmer’s market so I decided to make a quick stew for dinner. I had to improvise a bit to avoid taking my purple toe to the store, so I used things from the pantry. Here’s what I came up with:

Din Din“Not Going to the Store” Garlic Scape, Eggplant and Red Lentil Stew

Ingredients:

1 tsp. olive oil

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp. chili powder

2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. salt

cooking spray

1/2 medium sized onion, chopped

1/4 cup of garlic scapes, chopped

2 medium sized eggplants, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes (undrained)

1/3 cup dried red lentils

1 1/2 cups of water

Salt to Taste

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a deep sided skillet. Add the cinnamon, chili powder and cumin, and heat the spices, while stirring, for thirty seconds. They should become fragrant. Add the onions, garlic scapes and a few sprays of cooking spray. Cook over medium high heat for seven minutes, or until the onions start to soften.

Add the eggplant to the pan, along with 3/4 tsp. of salt, stirring well to incorporate the onions, and let the mixture cook down for eight minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the can of tomatoes, the lentils and the water. Stir well. 

Increase the heat as needed to bring mixture to a boil. Cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 20-25 minutes, testing to be sure the lentils are tender. If the lentils need longer, make sure that there is still some liquid in the pan, adding a splash more water if necessary, and let it simmer a bit more. Mine were done in 20 minutes.

Give it a nibble and add extra salt, if needed, to suit your tastebuds.

Red lentils are key in this dish when it comes to using dried lentils. They cook the fastest of all of the lentils, and they will get tender in the time it takes for your veggies to nicely stew. If you wanted to substitute any other lentils, I would recommend cooking them first. If you decide to do that, I would reduce the water in the stew to 3/4 a cup.

Makes approximately 6 one cup servings

FinThis stew made a yummy dinner atop a bowl of rice, and my apartment smells amazing!! I’ve used the rest of the scapes, and my eggplants have been saved from a few more days in the crisper drawer. Hooray!

I worked out with my trainer this evening, despite the purple toe, and I think I may need to put some ice on it now. The pain wasn’t bad during class, but now it is not feeling so happy. I’m off to find an ice pack.

Thanks for making it to the end of this very long post. I had a lot to tell you about!

I hope you have a great week!! Ciao for now, y’all. 🙂

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Filed under Cooking Light, D.C., Farmer's Market, Fitness, Food, Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetarian Recipes, Washington, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story, Weight Watchers

A Day in the Life…

I have this very nice arrangement which allows me to work from home on Thursdays. I look forward to Thursdays all week long, and I’m amazed at how productive I can be in my pajamas. I’ve enjoyed several blogs over the last few years in which the blogger basically keeps a photo diary of the things he or she ate during the day. I don’t think I have the patience to snap a photo of every morsel of food that I eat, but I appreciate those who do. Having said that, I think it might be fun to do it every once in awhile, and work at home Thursdays seem like the perfect opportunity! 

 So, drumroll please…. Here’s what I ate today.

For breakfast, I had 1/2 cup of egg beaters cooked in the microwave because I need a little protein in the morning to get me through until lunch. I tossed in some dried dill and topped them with a little Tabasco. I also had a piece of toast made with Nature’s Own Double Fiber bread spritzed with spray butter and topped with Smucker’s Sugar Free Raspberry Preserves. Then, I had a baked apple for “breakfast dessert.” I washed it all down with a latte made with 1/2 cup skim milk, 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond breeze and a little bit of sugar free chocolate Torani syrup. (3.5 points)

Eggs and Toast

 

Baked AppleI usually eat lunch around noon, but I went to a lunchtime kickboxing class today so I needed a little snack to get me through until after class. I had one of my favorite combinations: blueberries, Fiber One cereal and a container of Weight Watchers lemon cream pie yogurt. (1.5 points)

Berries, Yogurt and Crunchy Fiber oneAfter kickboxing, I had lunch. Today’s lunch included a 3 point serving of chicken salad (I’m planning to share that recipe another day…), 2 slices of bread, and a bowl of my Lentil, Carrot and Tomato Soup. For dessert, I had one of my favorite little 1 point bars from Safeway. (7 points)

Lunch

 

BarMy snacks this afternoon included a peanut butter fudge vitatop along with 1/2 cup of skim milk as well as 1/2 ounce of toasted pumpkin seeds. (2.5 points)

Vitatop and Milk

 

Pumpkin SeedsFor dinner, I had a serving of curried cauliflower on top of some Hodgson Mill Bulgur Wheat with Soy and topped with 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt. It was good and VERY filling! I followed that up with a bowl of vanilla pudding mixed with pumpkin, and I was stuffed! (5.5 points)

My Dinner

 

Pumpkin and PuddingNow, I’m enjoying my last treat for the night. I mentioned that I was trying to finish off my Christmas holiday teas before Valentine’s Day, and I am one bag away from being done. Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride is gone until next year, and Gingerbread Spice is on its way out as well. Along with my tea, I had an Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Kashi cookie. I think these are very yummy, and I don’t mind spending 2 points on one at the end of the day. I also think that enjoying something small like the cookie along with a big mug of steamy tea makes it last longer and keeps me from wanting to have a second cookie. (2 points)

TeatimeGrand total: 22 points (my daily target) Now it is time for me to finish the laundry and get ready for FRIDAY!! I’m so excited about the weekend!!

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Super Quick Lentil, Carrot and Tomato Soup

Red Lentils

I hope you didn’t think I had forgotten to make my “big batch” food this week. Because I will be living on a strict points budget for the next few days as I attempt to balance out my birthday festivities, I knew that I needed something super filling. I also had a pretty busy weekend and needed to whip up something with the items in my pantry. I have had a pretty jar full of red lentils sitting on the buffet for quite some time, and I decided to make a batch of lentil, carrot and tomato soup. I made this soup a few times back in the fall, and it is quick, easy and good! I also had some amazing lentils as part of my main course at the inn so I had lentils on my mind.

I know that I promised the other day that I would try not to post recipes with hard to find ingredients. I may have a compromise. I promise to try not to post recipes with ingredients that aren’t readily available unless I can suggest a substitution. That is the case with this recipe.

From time to time, I buy a new cookbook and set out to experiment. The last time I embarked on one of these little adventures, I found myself at the big international grocery store in nearby Falls Church, VA. I was on the hunt for a number of things including Za’atar. As you will see in the photo, I found it… but only in a rather large quantity. I’ve used it in this soup a couple of times before. It is also delicious sprinkled on top of olive oil and eaten with bread or used to dust the top of a Focaccia. If you are able to find it, you will probably find plenty of uses for it. I considered making this recipe with the substitution that I’m going to suggest, but, I have a huge container of this stuff so I decided to just stick with the Za’atar. 

Za'atarSuper Quick Lentil, Carrot and Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

1 tsp olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

2 medium sized carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

1 cup dried red lentils (you could use another type of lentils, but the cooking time might be slightly longer)

1 28 can crushed tomatoes

8 cups water

1 Tbsp. Za’atar or 2 tsp oregano, 2 tsp basil and 1 tsp thyme

1 3/4 tsp salt (plus more if you desire)

Pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat oil in large pot (1 used my 8 qt. soup pot).

Sauté the onions and carrots in the oil for seven minutes or until they start to soften. Add tomatoes, water and lentils to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil and then cover. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove soup from heat. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.

Unofficially, this makes 6 BIG servings at 2 points each.

Onions and CarrotsMake sure to slice the carrots thinly so that they will be finished cooking when the rest of the things in the pot are ready. At the end of the 20 minutes, the lentils will have started to break down, which I prefer as it makes the soup a bit creamy, but the carrots will probably still be a little bit al dente.  I think that carrots usually get lost in my soups so I’m glad to highlight them in this one. 

This Week's Big BatchReady for the Fridge

As you can see, this recipe makes a lot of soup for very few points. That’s just what I need this week. I’ll bet you can guess what I’m having for lunch. I hope everyone has a great week!! Spring is coming… I can’t wait to get my mitts on some fresh spring veggies, but I’ll keep enjoying my hearty soups until then.

Big Bowl

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Filed under diet, Food, Uncategorized, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story, Weight Watchers