Lentil Salad

A couple weeks ago, I made a lentil salad to bring to a potluck. The dish was SUPER easy to make and turned out delicious! *full recipe below

To start, I chopped one onion and sautéed it in a little bit of coconut oil until it started to brown:

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Next, I added 1 cup of brown lentils, 3 cups water, and 2 chopped carrots:

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After stirring around, I added in 1 tsp each of rosemary and thyme:

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I let everything simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 40 minutes until all of the liquid was gone:

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Once finished, I let the lentils cool on the stove for about half an hour before transferring to the refrigerator and serving cold the next day. This recipe required very little active time and tasted great at the next day’s lunch!

Lentil Salad
 serves 10 as a side dish
 Ingredients
 - 1 onion
 - 2 carrots
 - 1 cup lentils
 - 3 cups water
 - 1 tsp. thyme
 - 1 tsp. rosemary
 Method
 - chop onion and saute in saucepan with coconut oil or
 other oil of your choice until starting to brown
 - add lentils, water, and chopped carrots
 - stir and then add thyme and rosemary
 - simmer for 30-45 minutes, or until water is gone
 - serve hot or cold

In other news…

Noah and I recently enjoyed a brief visit to a toy store we found near Hadar Mall in Talpiot. The exterior of the store drew our attention, so we peeked inside to see what it was all about:

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SPOTTED: an Israeli version of a minecraft building set:

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That looked fun, but princess puzzles are more my sort of game:

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And finally, a big highlight from my week…

receiving a ‘Shanah Tovah’ (literally ‘good year,’ said as a greeting around Rosh Hashanah) chocolate with my Aroma coffee:

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There is something so completely lovable to me about the visibility and commercialization of Jewish holidays in Israel. I guess sometimes it’s nice to not be in the minority. 🙂

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Blue Nile

Although trying new restaurants around Minneapolis is one of my favorite activities, I rarely have a completely new eating experience. ‘New’ in the sense of a cuisine or eating style I’ve literally never tried before. Last weekend, however, I had a completely new eating experience at Blue Nile. Blue Nile is an Ethiopian restaurant and lounge located in the Seward neighborhood.

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The exterior of the restaurant is beautifully painted with murals and geometric designs:

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The interior is casual and comfortable with big comfy chairs, drapes, and large booths:

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The restaurant area (pictured above) is separate from the bar area. Having never eaten Ethiopian cuisine before, the menu was a little overwhelming. The meats used in Ethiopian cooking are: chicken, lamb, and beef. There were also a wide array of vegetarian dishes featuring beans and lentils. I ordered a vegetarian combination platter which came with a variety of bean and lentil dishes – plus hot sauce and yogurt in the center:

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Ethiopian food is traditionally served with biddeena (or injera) – a flat bread made with teff.

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The best way to describe the biddeena is as a slightly thicker and spongier form of crepe. Ethiopian food is not eaten with a knife and fork but, rather, you use the biddeena to scoop up the food. It’s definitely a messy process! Hot towels are brought with the food so you can clean your hands and use it as a napkin throughout.

This was definitely a unique eating experience. After getting past the initial surprise at the eating style, it was pretty fun to scoop up food with my fingers. The food itself wasn’t my favorite. The vegetarian sampler plate got a little monotonous – although differently spiced, the bean and lentil dishes all sort of started to taste the same. If I came back to this or a similar restaurant, I would definitely want to order a meal with more variety in taste and texture.

Overall, I would say this could be a fun restaurant to try if you’re looking for something new, but I wouldn’t advise it for a first date or fancy occasion!

Bestowed: March

YES.

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It’s time for my March bestowed package. When this beautiful orange box arrives in the mail, it is always one of the best days of the month.

Bestowed is a monthly delivery program of healthy living products – mainly food with some beauty and fitness thrown in. This month’s package was full of lovely surprises.

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Goodies include…

Oloves Hot Chili Mama Olives – I am not an olive fan. In fact, I do not eat olives at all, so this item was fairly disappointing. They are green olives spiced with hot habanero and lemon. I you’re into it, could be a good snack. As for me, I’m looking to give them away. Anyone like olives?
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Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars – These I am very excited about. I like figs as a healthy satisfaction for a sweet craving, and I plan to have these for either breakfast or a snack in the near future.
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Happy Family-Happy Squeeze Smoothie – This is the sort of item I would never buy on my own at the store. I’m happy to try it when I get it in the mail though! The flavor I received was pomegranate, blueberry, and pear. These smoothies are made from all organic ingredients and have 6 grams of protein.
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iTrain $25 gift card – This gift card can be used to buy workouts, downloaded right to your iPod or other MP3 player. I haven’t checked out iTrain at all yet, so I don’t know what sort of workouts they offer or how useful it will be – but I will update you once I get some!
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Nature’s Earthly Choice – Easy Quinoa Lentil Soup Mix – Quinoa + lentils = you can’t go wrong. Even though I love cooking, the appeal of instant foods is difficult to resist sometimes. I’m excited about this product since it will provide a quick meal option without all the sodium and fat that’s usually in prepared foods.
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Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts – Although not as big as chia or flax, hemp is definitely getting more attention in the health-food world these days. I’ve never tried it before, but I’m excited to taste it with yogurt or soup. The package also suggests sprinkling it on salads.
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Artisana Coconut Butter – I saved the best for last. I was absolutely thrilled to see this inside the package. I have been wanting to try coconut butter for a long time, but I haven’t had any luck finding it at my regular grocery stores. Plus, I don’t know if I would really want to eat it enough to warrant buying a whole jar. This individual serving package will be perfect for giving me a sample. Who knows, maybe it will a new coconut butter addiction. 🙂
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Look at all of my beautiful things…

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If you haven’t seen my previous bestowed package, make sure to check them out:January 2013
February 2013

Lentil Cakes

While rummaging through my pantry this weekend, I came across a nearly-full bag of lentils. Hmm…interesting. I immediately went online to tastespotting.com (great recipe finder if you have a general idea of what you want to make!), and came across a Sprouted Kitchen recipe for lentil ‘meatballs.’ As per usual, my recipe ended up being something completely different entirely – but it’s still good to remember our roots. 🙂 full recipe below

First, bring 2 cups lentils and 3 cups water to a boil on the stove:

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Once boiling, cover and simmer until the liquid has been absorbed – approximately 20-30 minutes. After the lentils are cooked, transfer to a food processor and pulverize to mush:

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Meanwhile, get out the other ingredients:

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Transfer the lentil mixture to a bowl and add beaten eggs, ricotta, garlic, basil, and thyme. Stir to combine:

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Stir in rolled oats:

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Use a spoon to place small ‘cakes’ onto a baking tray:

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Cook for 20 minutes at 400°, flip once in the middle.

Lentil Cakes

makes 22 small cakes
Ingredients
- 2 cups lentils
- 3 eggs
- 1 heaping cup reduced-fat ricotta
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1 scant teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 cup rolled oats
Method
Prepare lentils on the stove top (I cooked 2 cups lentils in 
3 cups water for approx. 30 minutes).
Pulse cooked lentils in a food processor until mushy.
Transfer lentil mush to a mixing bowl and stir in beaten eggs, 
ricotta, thyme, basil, and garlic.
One combined, stir in oats.
Drop with a spoon onto lightly greased baking trays.
Cook for 20 minutes at 400°, flipping once in the middle.

I suppose that if you wanted larger ‘cakes’ (or to just make one big loaf), you could do that, but you would likely need to adjust the cooking time.