Bread and Pegboards

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Julia Child would be SO proud right now.

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I have my very own pegboard!!!

And also this awesome new app that does really cool things to photos. Sorry… I’m addicted. Just bear with me….

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In fact, the main reason I’m posting a recipe at all is to actually feature my beautiful baby pegboard… because it is AMAZING. And courtesy of Vati’s superior constructional abilities, many thanks and rounds of applause to Vati! I do get credit for the spray paint, though. And now it’s amazing because I can actually get pots in and out of my cupboards.

What. A. Concept.

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No longer is it like playing pot tetris with the teeny cupboards, where I essentially have to stand on my head to see inside (and there is a support down the very center, which basically reduces the functionality of the storage space by half and makes getting larger pots in and out quite the skill)… NO! I now have only TWO pots stored in the pot storage space, and the rest get to hang out tidily on the pegboard. GENIUS. Absolutely genius. Thank you, Julia Child, for making this a thing. And I don’t care if she didn’t originally make it a thing — she made it awesome.

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So now I’m awesome.

Because I have a teal pegboard, just like Julia. Heeehee.

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I further have teeny mini loaves of tummy friendly quick bread! Because.. this is the ongoing game of finding a system of etting that makes my stomach happy. Which we still haven’t quite found, but I have hopes for getting there, at least. Long story short, this means reduced or eliminated fodmaps and a mega increase in the amount and timing of soluble fiber in my diet. SO FUN, GUYS, SO FUN. ….

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Mostly, I’m just bored stiff with my current diet, and am trying to slowly find things that are acceptable to brain and bod. This is one! Zucchini-banana spelt bread, with walnuts and cinnamon. Mmm. High in the good fiber, fodmap friendly, and refined sugar free. It’s also higher in protein than most quick breads, which I consider a plus. Whether you have tum issues or not, this is one delicious bread. I like the flour blend here because it yields a bread that is moist HYDRATED and dense in just the right way, without being stick-to-the-roof dense or too hydrated. Because there is such a thing and I hate overly hydrated quick bread. It should be able to stand on it’s own, and not just keel over into a soggy lump when you cut it. Just no.

But this one is a great balance between the two — and it’s egg content makes it just that bit… airy? Fluffy? Hard to describe but nonetheless delicious. Let’s go with densely airy just because, well why not. Don’t let my lack of appropriate terminology deter you… it’s amazing. And easy. No excuses!

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See. I told you.

Zucchini-Banana Spelt Bread with Walnuts and Cinnamon

Fodmap friendly, high in soluble fiber, and refined sugar free. Feel free to adapt the flour blend as needed — this could easily be gluten free with a gf blend. This is a remarkably forgiving bread, given that I pretty much improvised as I went along and it still came out fabulously. Yield: 2 mini loaves or 1 small 9 by 5 loaf. A Wait are those Cookies original.

  • 1/2 c quinoa flour
  • 1/2 c white rice flour
  • 1/2 c whole spelt flour
  • 1.25 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • scant 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3 egg whites, beaten until foamy and light (I use an immersion blender for this)
  • heaping 1/6 c coconut sugar
  • 1/6 c coconut oil (liquid)
  • 1 heaping tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 very ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 c grated, unpeeled zucchini
  • 1/4 c chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325, and lightly grease either 2 mini loaf pans, or 1 standard size.

In a smallish bowl, whisk together quinoa flour, rice flour, spelt flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. In a larger, non-reactive bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Whisk or mix in coconut sugar, coconut oil, vanilla, and maple. Stir in mashed banana and grated zucchini. Add walnuts, and stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients with as few strokes as possible, until the batter is incorporated. Pour into the prepared pans, and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the top is firm and a tester comes out clean. Mine were perfect at exactly 37 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes in the pans, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool complete. Store them wrapped in foil in the fridge for best leftovers!

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Like I really needed an excuse for more nut butter

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So. Pancakes!

It’s been awhile since there have been any pancakes on this blog, which is a mild travesty considering they’re one my fave things. Okay okay, breakfast and all associated breakfast things are my fave but you get the idea. Besides, I used to have such epic once-a-week-designated pancake days with friends back in college that it is just lame that I hardly eat them anymore.

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Realistically, I probably love them so much because it gives me an excuse (as if I needed one) to eat more nut butter. Because… I really don’t feel like I need to justify this?! Actually because flat food surface= naked= needs nut butter or seed butter or coconut butter or all three (or just regular butter. I mean, obviously). And then a ton of other toppings because apparently I like decorating my food. And then playing with it. And then taking pictures. Let’s just pretend I grew up, okay?

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That would be three kinds of butters in one meal. I think I have a problem.

Also cat selfies. Ha.

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And pretty things! Mother Nature is so beautiful she doesn’t need a filter.

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But back to pancakes.

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These have actually become my favorite lunch of leisure lately, especially after some morning jazzercise general sweatiness. This particular recipe is so beyond easy to whip up, it’s stupid. And it contains less than five unprocessed ingredients, good fats, protein, and good carbs…exactly what I want after a workout. AND I can eat them with nut butter, which means I see absolutely nothing wrong with this picture. They are super light and fluffy, not overly sweet, and leave you feeling satisfied and not stuffed or comatose (hello traditional wheat-sugar-gluten-bad fat-undeniably delicious brunch, I’m looking at you).

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Indulge yourself! It’s almost Friday, you know you want breakfast for dinner…

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Banana Pancakes

Grain free, gluten free, refined sugar free, dairy free, paleo. Serves 1, yields about 4 good sized pancakes.

  • 1 banana
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • scant 1/4 c zucchini, finely grated
  • 1 tsp coconut flour*
  • optional: a sprinkle each of cinnamon and nutmeg

*I vary this amount according to how much zucchini I use; the batter is runny so a little thickener doesn’t come amiss. However, if you hate coconut or don’t have coconut flour, you can leave it out no problem.

In a bowl, mash the banana like a boss, then whisk in eggs until mostly smooth (lumps are totes fine, these are your pancakes after all so no one can judge your lumps). Stir in grated zucchini, coconut flour and spices if using. Let sit while your prep your griddle or pan: grease pan of choice (I like a flat griddle, a sauté pan is fine) with some organic butter and heat over medium. Once hot, spoon batter out into roughly four pancakes (or go crazy and make silver dollar little bitty ones)… blah blah blah, y’all know how to make pancakes… let the edges solidify and the tops get that bubbly-sheen to them before attempting to flip… let cook until cooked through… plate prettily and serve, preferably with a truckload of various nut/seed butters and some fresh coconut aaannnnd plain yogurt. Mmmm.

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Because, BEETS!!!

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I’m having a moment.

Like, RIGHT NOW.

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Because I just took a bite of my lunch and my insides kind of exploded, it was so good. BEST LUNCH EVER! Okay. Not really, probably, but extremely delicious at this particular point in my life and too good not to share. Because, lunch. Which can unfortunately be extremely boring and sad, if not given the proper attention. I know for me it goes something like this: “going about my day lalala… shmaybe some jazzercise, oooh I think I’ll bake bread! And clean things! And OMG I’M STARVING how is it already noon?? Wander wander into the kitchen, yank open fridge and… ugh. Nothing exciting and I am too starving to seriously consider making something interesting. So… eggs. AGAIN. For the elevendy billionth time. Someone save me from the inevitable scrambled eggs!!!” And then no one does so I eat them anyway. Laaaaame.

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BUT!! Today. Today was different.

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Because there were BEETS in the fridge!!! And I looooove beets [Probably excessively. I have never met a beet salad I didn’t like]. Alas, no goat cheese… but that forced me to improvise with cute my beet-lets. And so. Have you ever shredded a beet with cheese grater?? It’s actually quite fun, they’re easier than carrots and don’t fly everywhere like zucchini. No, I don’t spend ALL of my time grating different vegetables. Just kind of… a lot of it, apparently, enough to make me an expert on inadvertant grated vegetable projectiles. Ahem. Moving on.

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This bowl.

A perfect balance of sweet, savory, chewy, crunchy, eggy, nutty, beety. What more could you want out of your normally marginalized midday meal? Give your lunch (and indirectly, yourself) some love and make it delicious. I promise it makes your day ten billion times better! But seriously. This is super fast, easy and delicious… AND full of whole foods just doin’ all kinds of fab things for your bod.

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Red Beet, Roasted Corn and Zucchini Hash, with Egg and Avo

A Wait.. Are those.. Cookies original! Straight from my brain box, don’t say I didn’t warn you. But seriously… make it! Gluten free, full of antioxidants, and vegetarian. Serves 1 [adapt amounts as needed! It’s ridiculously forgiving]. This could also be a really good breakfast, if you’re weird like me and crave veggies in the am. Super fast as well, provided you’re using precooked beets.

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  • 4 steamed and peeled beets, shredded on the large holes of a grater
  • 1/2 a large zucchini, shredded
  • small handful of fire roasted corn
  • small glug of good quality olive oil
  • 4-5 pecans, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 of a perfectly ripe avocado, cubed
  • salt+pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is warm, toss in shredded beets, zucchini, and corn. Sauté for a few minutes, until the veggies soften but are still just a bit crunchy. Season with salt and pepper, and toss in chopped pecans. Turn off heat and let sit for a second. Make your egg (simultaneously, in separate skillet if you’re a talented multitasker) however you like (I like a runny yolk for this but mine broke, so it cooked through. Wah). Top beet hash with egg, cubed avo, and more salt and pepper. Devour like no one’s watching, it’s that good! Or maybe I was just super in the mood for beets. Either way, enjoy your lunch!

Oh… one last thing. Obligatory New Year’s Day eating: cabbage with BACON (!!!), black eyed peas with BACON (!!!) and hot sauce. All my southern heritage in one bowl.

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What to do with quite demanding vegetables

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I have very demanding, rampaging vegetables on my counter.

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Cue late summer, bountiful garden harvest booty sitting in the kitchen yelling at me. Sort of. As much as a vegetable can ever yell at you, which is actually very little… except when it isn’t. Which is what’s happening right now as two extremely spotty, very disgruntled looking bananas clamor for my attention [helloooo, can you SEE how spotty we are?! Obviously you should make us into banana bread] right next to several massive, rando summer squash things that sprung from the compost and are slightly less delicious than zucchini. Who of course want to be made into zucchini bread. Or I guess technically that would be ‘random green-squash-variety bread’, but don’t tell them that. They were giving me enough dirty looks for a vegetable as it is. And threatening to roll all over the place and off the counter. Rude little suckers, aren’t they?!

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So I did what any sensible person would do when confronted by mass amounts of demanding produce…

I made BANANA ZUCCHINI BREAD. So there, clamoring veggies and spotty bananas. You have a baked goods home now, please leave me alone?!

Except don’t because having an excess of produce is probably the best thing ever.

At least in my life, it is.

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I had a friend over the other day and as I opened up the fridge, she goes, “Oh my god you have the most produce in your fridge I’ve ever seen!!” bahahha. Best situation ever. You can NEVER have too much fresh stuff. Even when it starts haranguing you to make it into things. Homemade chicken stock does that too, there are several jars in there wanting to become soup but ick it’s a thousand degrees outside and I already ran the oven like an idiot so no.

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I’ve just realized the amount of grammatically (no autocorrect, not dramatically) incorrect things in this post… too bad!! Studying for the GRE means I don’t have to be coherent in my personal blog space.

I told you I was pretty much five years old on the inside, right?! Well yeah. Case in point. But hoooomg was it delicious.

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So anyway. It’s hot and if you have an abundance of late summer produce, bake away! regardless of the fact that it will make your kitchen nastily hot. Don’t sweat it, just have a dance party in there while you’re baking and it will be like you’re sweating on purpose. Clearly I’m a genius.

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Banana Summer Squash Bread

I baked this in an 8 by 8 pan just to be different, though a loaf pan is totes fine too. Yield is about 9 good sized squares from the square pan. Can easily be adapted to be gluten free with all oat flour. Refined sugar free, whole grain, and vegan. Hooray! Also you get sneaky veggies, and who would say no to that?! The recipe is adapted from Hummusapien, here!

  • 1 c oat flour [I grind my own in a food processor]
  • 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed+6 tbsp water
  • 1 c mashed, overripe bananas (the super spotty ones that are being annoying on your counter)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp raw coconut nectar
  • 1 c grated summer squash variety, squeezed [I use a paper towel] after grating to remove moisture
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly grease your pan of choice (I used coconut oil, as always).

In a smallish bowl, whisk together flax and water and set aside to gel for your flax egg. In a large bowl, whisk together oat flour, whole wheat, almond flour, salt, baking powder and soda, and cinnamon. In a smaller bowl, mash bananas and stir in vanilla extract. Pour wet into dry, add flax egg, and stir until mostly incorporated. Fold in grated squash and chocolate chips. Spread the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for about 30 minutes, until a tester comes out clean (the time will be closer to an hour for a standard loaf pan). I found that a tester came out clean in mine at 20 minutes, but it would have been way too gooey so I stuck it back in for another 10—your call if you like SUPER gooey bread. I turned mine out onto a cooling rack immediately, but watch for breakage. Store in the fridge for super freshness! I like mine cold anyway, preferably with a good smear of almond butter.

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Lemon+curd=heaven, Just sayin’ (even though this post is actually about chickpeas)

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I’d like to announce two things.

One. I very nearly almost just fell off my balance ball that I’m currently sitting on. As in, I got up and when I tried to sit down again it had rolled away. Luckily, since I am of superior intelligence (no comments please), I outwitted it and somehow managed to land back on the rolly round thing. HA.

Two. I think I ate my weight in lemon curd today. Ugh those scones are just SO GOOD and then the lemon curd is just SO GOOD ALSO and I just.can’t.stop. I mean, it would be such a shame to waste any, right??! Right. Lemon+curd=heaven. Just sayin.

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And three. Even though I only said two, too bad. Aerial yoga! It’s fun!! Just hangin’ out on a casual Tuesday night.

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But also.

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Chickpeas! Or alternatively garbanzo beans. Or whatever. Regardless, they’re delicious. And a hefty source of protein and fiber. Nothing to quibble over here, they’re clearly good for you. I’m absurdly obsessed with this lunch. Varying my diet? Ha. As if. I feel like I’ve eaten this for lunch the last several days in a row. Minus today, of course, when apparently I ate scones and lemon curd for lunch (reference above picture if you were at all confused about my devotion to anything that combines the words lemon and curd in the same sentence).

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But anyway. This makes a fab lunch or dinner, and can be thrown together in less time than it takes to actually eat it, which in my book is a plus when I return from yoga and needfoodnow. Also, this is one of those fabby dishes where you take whatever is lurking in your fridge, and voila, lunch! Love that. Almost as much as I love lemon curd and very nearly but not really falling off my balance ball.

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Chickpea Vegetable Sauté in Pumpkin Mustard Sauce

This recipe comes from my grey matter, and the depths of my fridge. Serves one, unless you mega increase ingredients. This is how I usually make it, with preferred ingredients, but feel free to substitute in whatever you have lurking about. Gluten free, dairy free, vegan, high protein, high fiber.

  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/2 a zucchini, chopped
  • 4-5 button mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 good handfuls of greens (mine are usually chard+spinach+kale, or arugula)
  • a good glug of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 c chickpeas, if canned–drained and rinsed
  • 2 healthy spoonfuls of pumpkin puree
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a few squirts of stoneground mustard, to taste
  • sliced avocado for topping
  • chopped nuts for topping (I like cashews+walnuts)

Heat the glug of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Toss in celery, zucchini, mushrooms, and greens, and sauté them for a few minutes until the veggies begin to soften. Add chickpeas, pumpkin, and salt and pepper, and let cook until everything is heated through. Pour out in to a bowl, and stir in mustard. Top with avocado and chopped nuts! Diced cucumber is also good as a topper if you happen to have that around.

This makes great leftovers too, I’ve taken it for a work lunch more times than I can count.

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Full-tilt jungle madness [ie holiday whilst working retail]

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Happy Solstice! I was definitely wishing I was at Stonehenge tonight [not Sconehenge. We already know I’ve been there…].

Four days till Christmas?

Yep.

Holiday retail madness is in full tilt jungle mode. Oi. We had a line to the back of the store for the majority of my shift today, and I literally felt like a ping pong ball trying to get from the back of the store to the front. “Excuse me, excuse me, oops sorry, ‘scuse me” don’t mind me, I’m just carrying two FULLY LOADED hanger caddies which are awkward and heavy and no, it’s fine if you just sort of stand there, no big deal, it’s just a really good thing that I’m nimble and quite agile…

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Path of least resistance becomes a game of finding the smallest spaces between people and convincing yourself that you really do in fact fit through them. Oh. And yes, I most definitely DO work here, thanks for asking… I mean, as much as I find folding pants therapeutic, I don’t usually fold them for fun, you know?! Especially when they’re exploding out of the pant wall due to extreme being-shopped-ness. Literally exploding. Seeing is believing, people.

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Good thing too that this bit of deliciousness awaited me on my break. Thankfully, or I might have passed out due to a potent combination of hunger, cash/wrap repetitiveness, and energetic dancing (obviously— you have to move around a lot when you’re ringing at the register to get the blood flowing).

Can I unscrew my smile now? I think my jaw is permanently stuck.

Mmm. For times when you need a hefty dose of iron and some delicious flavors, this recipe should be in your back pocket.

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Afghani Beef with Acorn Squash

Recipe adapted from Afghan Online, here. Mom discovered this one a while ago, and we’ve been fans ever since. It comes together fairly easily, and serves 3 with plentiful leftovers. Gluten free and paleo! Also delicious sans acorn squash if you don’t happen to have any, you could totally serve this over couscous or quinoa, spaghetti squash, or zucchini noodles from your spiralizer… you name it, it’s probably delicious.

Rustle up the following:

  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 lb ground beef (grass fed organic)
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 16 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 c water, divided
  • 1 mediumish zucchini
  • 2-3 c raw spinach
  • 2 acorn squash, halved
  • avocado oil

Preheat oven to 425. To roast acorn squash, brush them with avocado oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Flip them cut side down on a jelly roll pan or rimmed cookie sheet, and roast until fork tender, about 20-25 minutes.

Using a food processor or a powerful blender (I don’t possess this, so food processor it is), process onion and 1/2 c water. Pour this into a saucepan over medium heat, and add beef. Cook until the beef is browned, then add the other 1/2 c water, garlic, coriander, pepper, and tomato sauce. Grate zucchini into the pan, and toss in rinsed spinach. Let the whole thing simmer for about 20-25 minutes more, until ready to serve.

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A lentil and squashlet autumnal party

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You can never have too many lentils.

Ever.

My nickname at work is lentil. That explains a lot.

Besides, lentils are bomb since they give you a protein source to pair with all of the autumnal squashlets (no, auto correct, squashlet IS in fact a word, so there). Wheeeee SQUASH! Not only did I use pumpkin yesterday, but I also got to bust out a (homegrown!) butternut squash! Get ready, there’s going to be an abundance of orange coming in the next few months…

I love that squash coincides with my birthday. It feels like nature’s birthday present!! Large, orangey deliciousness.

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Butternut squash always reminds me of a particularly memorable game of Cranium that took place ohhh, probably sometime in high school… my pair was supposed to be acting out butternut squash, and it was maybe one of the more hilarious things I’ve watched: First word: sounds like…*points at butt*… second bit: *mimes being a squirrel burying something*… lastly and rather violently smooshes hands together—-I had been guessing as she was miming and somehow I guessed it!! Excellent mime skills right there. But anyway… I can’t really cook a squash without thinking about that, hehe.

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Skillet Popped Balsamic Lentils

Recipe adapted from Happy Healthy Life, here! I made one cup of lentils, which, supplemented with all the veggies, fed my fambam of 3 with enough leftovers for at about one meal. My butternut squash was small, so it only made enough puree for 3. Feel free to play with the seasoning—mine was an eclectic bunch of flavors that somehow came out tasting good. Funny how that works, isn’t it?!

  • 1 c green lentils, rinsed
  • 2 c water
  • 3-4 tsp good quality balsamic vinegar, divided
  • a few grinds of cracked pepper
  • judicious sprinkles of salt
  • 1 butternut squash, cubed
  • a tbsp or two of milk beverage
  • 1 tsp butter (or vegan butter)
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 4-5 mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 massive handfuls of spinach, rinsed
  • a bit of chicken (or veggie) broth
  • a good glug of olive oil
  • seasoning to taste*

*I used fresh marjoram, basil, and oregano to sauté the onion, then added cinnamon, cardamom, nutritional yeast and coconut aminos (and more balsamic) to the veggies after I added them in to sauté.

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For the lentils:
Add 2 cups of water to a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Add lentils, reduce heat, and simmer until the lentils are done (about 30 minutes). They should be soft but still have some bite to them. Rinse and drain.

Heat a skillet over medium, and add a small bit of olive oil. Once the skillet is hot, add about a cup of lentils, shaking the pan to ensure that they’re evenly spaced. They should sizzle and pop and make all kinds of fun noise. Let them sit for a few minutes, then toss in a tsp of balsamic and a bit of salt and pepper. Stir occasionally. You’ll know they’re done when they get a bit toasty and crispy around the edges. Remove the first batch, add more oil, and repeat until all the lentils are used.

For the butternut puree: Peel and dice squash, discarding stringy and seedy inner bits. Using a steamer basket or your preferred method of steaming, cook squash until very fork tender. Remove from the steamer and mash with a potato masher or a fork (or a food processor, but I didn’t want to do extra dishes). Add a bit of milk beverage (I used unsweetened almond) to smooth it out, and (obviously) a bit of butter and salt.

For the veggies, I did a simple sauté with a bit of chicken stock added. Chop and dice all yo’ veggies, add olive oil to a deep skillet, and let it heat over medium. Once hot, add onions and sauté until translucent. Add cinnamon and cardamom and a bit more olive oil, then the rest of the veggies (zucchini, pepper, mushrooms, and spinach. I added a bit of broth after about 4 minutes of sautéing, then chucked in all the spinach and covered the skillet to let it reduce. Add coconut aminos, nutritional yeast, Bragg’s, or whatever other seasonings you like here, add lentils, and let it cook on low for a few. Serve warm, over butternut squash puree!

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