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!

 

Sunday Snacks: Roasted Chickpeas

Happy Sunday! I was thinking of featuring a favorite snack on Sundays. Thoughts?

Today we’re chomping on roasted chickpeas. In the spirit of this wonderfully quick snack, I’ll keep today’s post short & sweet, but mostly savory.

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Roasted Chickpeas

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 large baking sheet lined with foil or parchment
  • colander
  • spatula
  • Paper towels or a very clean dish towel

Ingredients:

  • 1 29oz can of chickpeas, drained OR 2 15oz cans, drained
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • any other herb/spice your heart desires

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400. f you haven’t already, drain the chickpeas in the colander.
  2. Carefully and slowly pour the chickpeas onto a dish towel or layer of paper towels on the counter. Dry the chickpeas until they have an almost matte like texture. Air drying works great too.
  3. Transfer to the foil/parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with about 1-2 tbsp olive oil and stir to evenly coat with oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Bake for a total of 30 minutes, checking and stirring every 10 minutes, until chickpeas are lightly browned. Caution when stirring the chickpeas while they’re baking- some might pop at you!
  5. Remove from oven and transfer to a bowl. Toss with your favorite spices. I have a homemade za’atar blend that I like to put on chickpeas, yogurt, and popcorn. Enjoy!

Tip: These are seriously the best when they are warm. Also, while these are delightful and vegan, chickpeas are high in protein and in calories so be sure to eat the amount that works for your diet.

Cinnamon Synonymous with Savvy

I noticed a few weeks back that I had a bunch of pantry items that I haven’t used in a while like the 1lb bag of confectioner’s sugar I bought to make royal icing for Star Wars gingerbread cookies (cookies were made, frosting was not). So I made it my goal to use everything I could before I move out of my apartment in May.

Surprisingly, I didn’t have chocolate chips around to make cookies so I settled on what I had the most of: cinnamon. It was also my birthday recently so cake was on my mind. Put those two together and you have a cinnamon cake. Boom. A savvy way to use up ingredients just hangin’ around.

Oh, so if you didn’t know, there are many conversations happening around the “realness” of mass produced cinnamon. I enjoy observing these conversations the way one shamelessly delights in watching reality television. Pass the cake please! We’ll be here for a while.

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I didn’t swirl the cinnamon/sugar filling and it basically made two disjointed layers of cake. Still delicious though!

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

  • 2 medium to large mixing bowls, hand mixer, bundt pan

For the cake:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cups unsalted butter, softened (1.5 sticks, must be softened not melted)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup milk

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp milk

How to make it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and lightly flour the bundt pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat in the butter until crumbly. Add the eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, and milk. Mix until well incorporated.
  3. In the other mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon using a fork to mix. Set aside.
  4. Pour half of the batter into the bundt pan. Sprinkle the brown sugar/cinnamon filling evenly around the pan. I recommend taking a thin utensil like a chopstick to gently swirl. Pour the remaining half of the batter on top so that the filling is covered.
  5. Bake for 55-60 minutes until browned and cook through. While the cake is baking, whisk the confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon and 1 tbsp of milk in the bowl the filling was in. Add 1 more tbsp of milk for a smoother consistency. Add a little more milk if needed. Set aside.
  6. When the cake is done, allow to cool in  the pan for 20 minutes. Flip onto a plate to cool completely. Remove cake from pan. Drizzle the icing over the bundt cake. Enjoy!

 

Crock Pot Chili

I’m embarrassed to say that before this evening, I did not have a chili recipe posted on my site! I make chili pretty often- it’s a great way to clean out your fridge and it’s packed full of hearty, healthy veggies. I prefer my chili to be on the spicy side so I added a bunch of cumin and a large jalapeno pepper. The recipe below is pretty mild but feel free to add or omit as you please!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 small/medium jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium sweet potato, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 24 oz chopped tomatoes, drained
  • 1 15 oz can of kidney beans, drained
  • 1 tbsp chipotle chili powder
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (vegan)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Chop all of the vegetables and put into a medium crock pot.
  2. Add the spices and let simmer on high for 2 hours (or low for 3).
  3. When the vegetables are tender, add the beans and let simmer for another hour or so, depending on how hungry you are. The longer you let it simmer, the better!
  4. Top with cheese, yogurt, cilantro or pair with your favorite roll or cornbread. Serve hot. Enjoy!