Dal for Days

 

It was cold and rainy in New York City this past week. To warm up my belly without putting too much strain on my wallet, I decided to make dal. Dal is an Indian lentil stew and boy, is it good!

Sometimes I get intimidated by making Indian dishes because of the number of spices used, etc. I want to do it “right” but don’t always have the opportunity to stock my pantry with every seasoning. The recipe I go by is as minimal as it gets.

If you make the spice blend ahead of time and keep some on hand, your prep time will be even shorter. Let me know if you have any variations you’d like to share!

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Easy Dal

What you’ll need:

  • cutting board
  • chef’s knife
  • high sided non-stick pan
  • medium sauté pan
  • garlic press
  • small bowl
  • measuring cup
  • measuring spoons
  • can opener

Dal Spice Blend (make this first)

  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds (ground)
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seed (ground)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne or paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Mix together in a small bowl. Taste a tiny bit to gauge heat/flavor. Feel free to add a little more or less depending on how you like it.

Ingredients

  • 3 tsp olive oil (2 tsp + 1 tsp)
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled + minced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
  • 2 tsp dal spice blend
  • 1/2 cup red split lentils
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 can lite coconut milk (do not open until ready to pour)
  • 1/2 bunch kale, washed and roughly chopped
  • chili sauce, sriracha, liquid aminos (you’ll see later why they are no measurements)
  • cilantro, roughly chopped (sub parsley if you don’t like cilantro)
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • Rice (start cooking before the lentils) or naan (toast in the last 5 minutes until warmed through)
  1. In a high sided non-stick skillet, heat 2 tsp of olive oil over medium high heat. When hot, sauté the ginger and shallot for 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Add the dal spice blend, salt to taste, and stir.
  2. Shake the can of coconut milk and open. Add the coconut milk, 3/4 cup water and red lentils to the pan. Bring to a simmer then lower the temperature to medium, stirring occasionally. Cook for 20-22 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Squeeze the juice from 2 lime quarters into the lentils and stir.
  3. After the lentils have cooked for about 10 minutes, heat 1 tsp olive oil in a medium sized pan over medium high heat. Add the kale – be careful for any spattering from the water hitting the oil. Sauté the kale until wilted. Season it with some chili sauce and liquid aminos if you’d like. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Evenly distribute the lentils into two bowls. Top with the cooked kale, carb and cilantro. Enjoy!

Tip: Great for lunch the next day. You can double recipe easily- just test the spice blend before adding. You can top the dal with any sautéed or roasted vegetable and protein!

Can’t get any easier: Chia Pudding

Weight Update: I’m at 169lbs (down from 181lbs)! Finally below 170! Only 4 more pounds until I reach my first goal. This is the slowest, most agonizing process but I have to keep going. Follow me on Instagram for more frequent updates.

Happy Sunday everyone! It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post so I’m going to give you two recipes to get you through your week. It’s the same base, two different ways, and an endless number of possibilities.

I drink a meal replacement shake every morning and it doesn’t change much. 1 scoop protein powder (I use IdealShape!) almond milk, almond butter, chia, and banana (239 calories). Yum!!! But it gets kind of boring after 10 or 15 of these. So when I need to switch things up but still want to keep it low cal + healthy, I make chia pudding.

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View from the top of the breakfast hunger

If I forget to make it the night before, I toss all of the ingredients into my Nutribullet and voila! Easy breakfast.

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Blended Chia Pudding – great breakfast for the office!

Blended Chia Pudding

What you’ll need

  • high speed blender
  • spatula
  • tablespoon
  • 1/2 c. measuring cup
  • small container with a lid

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice (almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, cashew milk, etc)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • cinnamon
  • toppings! fruit, nut butter, nuts, cacao, dried fruit, coconut, granola, whatever you like

Instructions

  1. Combine the chia seeds, milk and maple syrup in the blender. Sprinkle cinnamon to taste.
  2. Blend on high for about 1-2 minutes, until thick and smooth. It will be slightly gelatinous to touch. Pour into the container and top with your favorite things. Enjoy!

Est. 203 calories without toppings

Overnight Chia Pudding

What you’ll need

  • small container with a lid
  • tablespoon
  • 1/2 c. measuring cup

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup milk of choice (almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, cashew milk, etc)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • cinnamon
  • toppings! fruit, nut butter, nuts, cacao, dried fruit, coconut, granola, whatever you like

Instructions

  1. Combine the chia seeds, milk, maple syrup, cinnamon to taste. Give it a good stir.
  2. Let sit in the fridge for a least 4 hours. It should thicken up immensely and have a gelatinous, tapioca like consistency. If it’s too thick when you’re ready to eat it, add a little extra milk to loosen it up. Top it with your favorite things. Enjoy!

Est. 215 calories without toppings

Tip: Feel free to add 1/8 tsp of almond or vanilla extra or 1/4 tsp orange zest to brighten the flavor. You can also do milk blends. I personally like using almond milk and canned, cooking coconut milk. It makes it so creamy!

 

It’s what’s on the inside that counts.

If you’re in the NYC metro area today, you’re probably experiencing the same rainy and dreary day that I am. Everyone has her or his own way of dealing with unpleasant weather. Today, I’m reflecting on the best part of the season instead of the confusing winter we seem to be having. As the kids are saying these days: Go home, Winter. You’re drunk.

Can you name the citrus featured in the photo?

It’s a cara cara orange, known for its sweet, pink flesh that’s less acidic than its traditional navel neighbor. This fruit is a well traveled (Venezuela to Florida to California) mutation of the Washington navel and can be spotted in grocery stores between December and April-ish. They’re smaller than the average navel oranges and the skin sometimes has a pink mottled look to it. I rely on the produce staff to label the oranges correctly but I have been duped before (as I refer to as the Great Blood Orange Fail 2015).

What can you do with it? It can be difficult to peel but it’s so worth the effort. I also like to juice it for smoothies, cocktails and schorle. Why should you eat it? Well, other than the obvious reason of it being a fruit, healthy, vitamins, etc., it’s easily the best orange. Ever.

Let me know what your favorite citrus is or if you share a mutual fondness for this sweet savior!

The Ultimate Foodie Guide To Summer: 100 Ways To Spend Your Vacation

  1. Make your own potato chips.
  2. Use a foodie pickup line on someone. Example: “I think we’d grow a great organic garden together.”
  3. Pick your own berries.
  4. Overdose on berries while out picking them.
  5. Come home and realize you actually didn’t have room for 20 pounds of berries in a freezer.
  6. Make up three new recipes for said berry and then go out and buy a chest freezer to house the rest.
  7. Learn to sing a drinking song in a another language. Host a party and require all guests to learn it.
  8. Diversify your mason jar collection.
  9. Find a way to incorporate sea salt into everything you eat for 24 hours.
  10. Learn how to prepare eggs at least ten different ways.
  11. Pair a dinner menu with a playlist.
  12. Go vegan for a week.
  13. Take your lunch to work in a mason jar.
  14. Refuse to go shopping for an entire week and see what recipes you can concoct from what’s in your pantry.
  15. Write a food cart business plan.
  16. Schedule a date to bone luge.
  17. Go a week without taking a photo of a single meal.
  18. Learn how to shuck an oyster.
  19. Master a chocolate cake recipe so that you know it by heart.
  20. Visit a farm.
  21. Infuse. Anything.
  22. Cook breakfast outside, even if you’re not on a camping trip.
  23. Brew your own beer.
  24. Bake something and send it to a far away friend. Priority Mail of course, you don’t want things to go stale.
  25. Master a summer cocktail and bring it to every dinner party you go to.
  26. Consider getting chickens.
  27. When you have been woken up by your neighbor’s chickens three days in a row, opt out of getting chickens.
  28. Get goats instead and start making your own artisan goat cheese.
  29. Follow up every food remark you make with, “trust me, I’m a food blogger” just to see what happens.
  30. Two words: fennel pollen.
  31. Beer margarita? Yes, please.
  32. Plan a meal without the help of a cookbook or the internet.
  33. Rhubarb, raspberries and basil… go.
  34. Join a co-op.
  35. Invest in a red wagon. You will need it when going to the co-op.
  36. Start your own kombucha.
  37. Invite your friends over and gross them out with said kombucha.
  38. Attend an underground supper club.
  39. See how many different liquids you can make ice cubes out of.
  40. Learn how to can.
  41. Learn how to pickle.
  42. Invest in a cookbook without images.
  43. Keep a food journal, and instead of taking pictures of your food, write about it.
  44. Honey, ginger and cardamom… go.
  45. Find something to muddle other than mint.
  46. Stick to a $10 a day food budget and see where it takes you.
  47. Refuse to eat at any restaurant that has a menu in Helvetica for a whole week.
  48. Harvest your own sea salt.
  49. If you’re not into harvesting your own sea salt, at least carry around a travel container with some in it everywhere you go.
  50. Make your own yogurt.
  51. Order a pina colada on a first date, just to see your date’s reaction. Then follow up with a whiskey.
  52. Find a Le Creuset at an estate sale.
  53. Keep simple syrup on hand in your kitchen at all times.
  54. Invest in a good spork.
  55. Figure out a new use for truffle oil.
  56. Get your mother to teach you how to make a pot roast.
  57. Seduce someone with food. And only food.
  58. Buy a cookbook from the 70s.
  59. Laugh at said cookbook from the 70s.
  60. Revamp a few recipes from your 70s cookbook.
  61. Draft the outline to a sketch comedy food show.
  62. Plan a road trip based around regional specialties.
  63. Make your own ice cream.
  64. Lavender, chocolate and lemon… go.
  65. Color coordinate your food and plates and see if your guests notice.
  66. Learn some key food phrases in French.
  67. Find ten different ways to use quinoa.
  68. Brew your own cold brew coffee.
  69. Go foraging.
  70. Eat figs with something other than goat cheese and honey.
  71. Throw a hot sauce tasting party.
  72. Marinate some cucumbers; it’s easier than pickling.
  73. Eat dinner outside… in the rain.
  74. Make cookies with bacon in them.
  75. Learn how to make fresh cheese.
  76. Film the intro to your new food television series.
  77. Cure your own fish.
  78. Build a picnic table. With reclaimed wood of course.
  79. Read The Omnivore’s Dilemma and if you’ve already done that, read Food Politics.
  80. Start a truck farm.
  81. Mix up a few jam drinks.
  82. Draw your most recent meal.
  83. Hand write the menu for a dinner party.
  84. Paint one of your kitchen walls with chalkboard paint so you can write on it and feel like you’re in a restaurant.
  85. Buy cheap wine and make your own labels for it. Your friends will never know the difference.
  86. Perfect your own sangria recipe.
  87. End every meal with espresso.
  88. Drive to a small town just to eat at the local hotspot.
  89. Buy a trashy food magazine. It’s like brain candy.
  90. Stop buying Nutella and make it yourself.
  91. Host a party where all ingredients come from within a 100 miles radius.
  92. Plant an edible flower garden.
  93. Get to know a farmer at farmers market on a first-name basis.
  94. Take a coffee roasting class. Someone has to.
  95. Pickle eggs.
  96. Learn how to make an actual pie crust.
  97. Opt for cobbler instead.
  98. Screen print your own apron with your favorite food quote.
  99. Drink a kir royale.
  100. Sign up to be grape harvest seasonal help. Fall is just around the corner after all.

The Ultimate Foodie Guide To Summer: 100 Ways To Spend Your Vacation