On my quest to introduce more vegetarian recipes during the week, I've discovered lentils. These guys are so cool! First of all, I had no idea that they are so aromatic. When you cook them, by bringing to a boil in 3 parts liquid to 1 part lentils and then simmering until all the liquid is gone, they smell like they've been pre-seasoned. I can't quite place the smell, but it's yummy. As for taste, they are a similar consistency to peas or lima beans, and again, have sort of a natural herb-y flavor. I highly recommend trying them. If you don't know what to put them with, just try them first as a side dish! As always in finding healthy recipes that you'll actually eat, I can't tell you what you're going to like! You just gotta try things! So anyhoots, We first tried them as a side dish to some sautéed shrimp with a little barbecue sauce. Weird, I know, but it actually was pretty dang delish. I know that these little guys are pretty versatile, so after realizing we like them and wanted to do more meals with them, I started doing google searches for lentil recipes. I came across this one, which happens to be vegan. I do not plan on giving up cheese or eggs, even though I'm trying to reduce my cheese serving size from GOBS to something a bit more heart healthy, so I went ahead and adapted it to something that fit my tastes as well as what I had in my pantry. I'm not a huge cheffie, so I don't usually keep fresh herbs on hand. Dried ones do me just fine. The original recipe also called for a "flax egg" (i.e. vegan egg)...I'm gonna be honest, this type of fancy vegan terminology makes me nervous. I am not well versed in the kitchen or how things interact, so I have zero idea as to whether this is for taste, or to add the health benefits of flax, or if it's used as a traditional egg in meatballs would be used as a binder, so I just omitted it and decided to see what happened. The great thing about not adding a regular egg is that I could taste the mixture raw before forming it into balls without any fear of diarrhea...and it turned out damn delicious, so I didn't worry about an egg, flax or otherwise. Here ya go!
Cook 1/2 cup dry lentils in 1 1/2 cup either water or stock. (I used water)
Let cool enough so that you can handle them., then add to a food processor with:
1 diced shallot and 3 cloves diced garlic, sautéed. (To sauté, just plop it in a frying pan with 1 tsp olive oil until fragrant)
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/4 tsp dried parsley
A few shakes of Italian seasoning
Salt/pepper to taste
Blend 'er up. Not pulverize. Just enough to get it blended together, as shown below.
Form into balls, obvi, then heat a frying pan over medium/hi heat and coat with about a tablespoon of olive oil. They aren't going to be super firm, so be gentle with them and once you set them in the pan, swirl them around just a tiny bit so that they don't stick. Sear on all sides. Again, they aren't meat, peeps,...they are going to be delicate :). Next time I may try them baked, but I'm gonna be honest, I really like the crispy outsides, so we'll see.
While all that's going on, get working on some Zoodles or healthy (i.e. not white) pasta and top it all with some pasta sauce and of course, more parmesan cheese. I used 100% whole wheat rotini and Newman's Organic pasta sauce. It had a buttload less sugar than the traditional store brand. Enjoy!
My hubby and I have been trying to eat a little bit more vegetarian/vegan during the week. We're certainly not strict about it, but we're trying to lower our meat consumption (I already don't eat beef or pork, but he's a huge carnivore) and eat healthier fats like avocado and hummus, rather than gobs of cheese. Nothing too crazy, just trying to make healthier choices. Last week we tried some quinoa veggie burgers (the recipe needs some more testing, so I won't be sharing it yet), and I had left over quinoa. I was looking for something easy and delicious and found this baby. So so so so easy and delish. I'll be making this one again, and it's super easy to make with meat too. You could add shredded or cubed cooked chicken, or ground beef or turkey!
Here's my variation on the recipe:
2 cups cooked red quinoa
1 16oz can of rinsed and soaked (to reduce gas!) black beans
1 16oz can of sweet corn
1/2 16 oz can of red enchilada sauce
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powders
1 cup shredded cheddar
Mix it all together, plop into a greased casserole dish and bake at 375 for about 15 minutes. Since everything is already cooked, you're basically just warming it up. Top with some more cheese, lettuce, tomato, or avocado!
Original recipe cred: Damn Delicious
I was talking to one of my "fit friends" today. She's a clean eater and loves to workout, but she doesn't work in the fitness industry or endorse any type of product. Predictably as a fit chicks, both of us get asked for advice from time to time and today we chatted about the fact that people are always interested in your "transformation", but never want to hear about all of the hard work it took to get there. For me, personally, I get asked about how what I drink (Shakeology) compares to other diet drinks. This makes me CRINGE. I don't blame them, because they just don't know the difference. I know that there are LOTS of diet shakes out there that promise people insane results in a short amount of time, but that's not Shakeology. Shakeo will ensure that you're getting incredible nutrition. It will likely boost your energy, help curb cravings, and improve your digestive health. It may even help you lose some weight. One of my challengers from last month incorporated shakeo, cut down on processed snacks, and lost 7 pounds! But it's NOT a weight loss drink; it's a health drink. It's a powerful TOOL in your weight loss journey, but for real, lasting results, you have to put in actual work in the kitchen and with exercise as well. If a product is telling you that it will help you lose a significant amount of weight by any other means, flip it over and look at the ingredients. It likely reads like a science experiment. And if you're cool with putting chemicals into your body just to lose weight, go for it. Do yo thang boo. For me though, I do this FOR my health, so I'm not trying to throw cancer causing chemicals into my bloodstream just to get skinny. I'm worth more than that. So anyways, back to my friend. I always thought maybe because I'm so obsessed with what has worked for me, that maybe I was being judgey when people didn't want to exercise or change their diet to lose weight. She told me about someone who wanted her help, and when she tried to offer her advice (eat clean and go out walking!), the woman basically told her why she can't do that and ended the conversation. My friend got the feeling that this person was hoping she'd say that she used a magic pill or secret drink. Phew! So it's not just me! It's frustrating sometimes because when I tell people what I've done, which is to make serious changes my food choices and exercise, they don't seem satisfied with it, or immediately give me a list of reasons why they can't (I had a list too, but I got over it and did what I could!) As for workouts, I have NEVER fallen off with my exercise. I can confidently say that aside from a few times where I've been injured, I've exercised on average 4-5 days a week since I started in 2012. That's what it really takes to get fit and care for your body as it ages. I've also maintained a true 80/20 lifestyle. I consider myself a food addict, and I love greasy, cheesy, creamy foods, but I have to turn them down sometimes and make healthier choices. It's not always easy, but again, you have to put in the work. I also fucking hate vegetables (that's why this girl NEEDS her shakeology), but I choke them down so I can get to the rest of the good stuff on my plate (carbs!!!). I make sure I don't go crazy on processed and unhealthy foods, but I don't deny myself anything either. I have had to work hard at eating well, even though I literally never want to. I mean, if I could lose weight AND BE HEALTHY by eating pizza and chicken wings and just drinking a magic drink, I'd do it in a heartbeat. But it really does not work that way. To truly be healthy, you have to take care of your heart, joints, and the rest of your body as you get older, and provide your body with good nutrition. If you're thinking about a change, want to get healthier and more confident, but also understand that it's going to take some work and real commitment, I'd be more than happy to have you in my group of fit chicks. We don't stress about the scale or getting a six pack. We just work towards being our healthiest and happiest selves and support each other the whole way. If this sounds like a group of women you wanna hang with, check out the deets here!
Hi! I'm Andrea Cummings. I am passionate about living a healthy lifestyle that I can MAINTAIN and that still lets me feel like I'm not being deprived. I like to exercise, but I also love to eat (nachos!). My main focus is to be healthy, not skinny, and to help others do the same! I love Jesus, but I also say fuck a lot, so if you're offended, I may not be the gal for you.