what the heck is a lentil?

Like I said before, my adventures in gallbladder disease have let me to explore all kinds of new foods. I used to be a meat-and-potatoes girl, but now I love eating things with, you know, color. Colorful looking, colorful names, colorful recipes.

COLOR!

Luckily for me, my boyfriend is also trying new things lately. He has been reading up on Tim Ferris, and got his book. While reading it last week he said to me “Do you know what a lentil is?” and I said “Of course! It’s a ..bean-like.. pea-like..soft..um..its in soup..?” Clearly, I wasn’t sure what a lentil was. So our next visit to the grocery store, we sought out the grain bins (which we have never noticed before) and got a bag of loose lentils, and then a can of lentils.

So what is a lentil? They come in all sorts of colors and names, but basically they’re a soft seed that grows in a pod from a plant. Lentils are tradiationally used in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking, frequently mixed with rice.

Lentils

How do I cook them?!

Lentils aren’t going to do you any good unless you cook them. Boiled in a pot with some water for 20 minutes should do it, it’s not rocket science.

Are they good for me?!

Are you serious? They’re crammed with protein, iron, amino acids, folate, and more. I can never get enough protein, so this new discovery is great!

So, how did the great lentil experiment go overall? The boyfriend liked them, but I think he found them a little boring. I had a mouthful of plain, cooked lentils and thought they could use some hot sauce. That is until last night. We made rotini with onions and sauce, and at the last minute I added 1/2 cup of cooked lentils to my bowl. INSTANT MEAT SUBSTITUTE. The texture was not unlike adding ground beef to the sauce.

Ding! Of course,  I’ve heard of lentil burgers. Why didn’t I think of this before? Lentil’s high protein qualities and its malleable form lend itself to be a great, filling additive to all kinds of meals.

I’m already planning more lentil pasta, lentil lasagna, and of course, tasty burgers.

Did I mention a can of lentils only costs around a buck?

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May 9, 2011. Food. Leave a comment.

tea biscuit bliss..

Image : foodandspice.blogspot.com

Image : foodandspice.blogspot.com

Yesterday was a big day. I successfully baked soft and chewy whole wheat biscuits. This has never happened before.

I usually decide to bake on a whim, and that means I usually have to improvise with some of the ingredients since I don’t have them on hand. Instead of milk I used water, I skipped shortening and used margerine. I mixed all the dry ingredients (whole wheat flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt), cut in the margerine, and slowly added water while mixing. As soon as the dough started to pull away from the sides of the bowl, I tossed it onto my already floured (and cleaned) counter. The recipe only required a few minutes of kneading, but I gave that lump a good shiatsu session.  Once I was satisfied with the consistency , I rolled the dough until it was about and inch thick, and cut out the biscuits with a small cup.

15 minutes in the oven at 400 degrees and you have yourself some yummy treats! Great with some tea, with breakfast, or with jam for a quick snack.

May 1, 2011. Recipes. 2 comments.

my new favorite recipe..

Since my change in eating habits I have been trying different recipes and restaurants, opening myself to experimenting with flavors, seasonings, and vegetarian influences. I’m also working two jobs right now, and just finished school. The temptation to grab some fast food or order a pizza at lunch or on the way home is strong, believe me. Not having that option is causing me to seek out easy-to-plan meals on a tight budget. Most of all though, I need something :

  • quick and easy to make
  • that can be thrown in tupperware and brought to work
  • low-fat and healthy

This all culminates to my new favorite food, broccoli salad! It is so easy and quick to make. Today, I threw a bowl together while waiting for my kettle to boil. Yeah, it’s that easy.

There are several variations on the broccoli salad. Some add peppers, or raisins, etc. But the main elements are usually broccoli, onion, and bacon all tossed in a mayo dressing. I use this recipe from Kraft.

Now, if I’m going to be making a lot of this I have to take a few extra steps to make it as low fat as I can. I use low fat whipped dressing, chicken or turkey bacon as it can have up to 70% less fat than pork bacon, and I use shredded reduced-fat cheese. You could even fore-go the cheese, and the salad is just as delicious. As a meal, snack, or side dish you can’t go wrong.

But easy with the apple cider vinegar. The right amount gives the salad a good zip, but too much can make the taste dressing somewhat sour.

Broccoli is a great source of vitamin C, fibre, and cancer fighting goodness. To get the highest benefit of these features it’s best to eat raw or steamed. Boiling can greatly reduce the amounts of vitamins and antioxidents.

BONUS : Do you throw out the broccoli’s stalk? Well wait a minute, they’re full of the good stuff too! You can shred that bad boy to make broccoli slaw, or like I do, peel and cut it into strips and serve with hummus dip. Steam for 3-4 minutes if you find them a bit tough.

Ok, now I’m off to have some of my salad!

April 30, 2011. Recipes. Leave a comment.

if it makes you happy..

it can’t be that bad, right?

Well, food has always made me happy. Recently, however my relationship with food has hit some bumps in the road and has changed dramatically. Do you want to know why?

This guy, an artist’s rendering of my gallbladder. My smug, sneaky gallbladder. Yes, the dreaded gallbladder disease has knocked on m door, gallstones in tow. I’ll spare you the gruesome details, but suffice it to say that my last 3 months have not been fun. For the record, I will be having laparoscopic surgury next month to remove the failing organ.

So, how has this affected my relationship with food? For one, it has made me infinitely more aware of the effect that the foods I put into my body, affect my body. Not just in that waist, but also my organs and bodily processes. Before, I used to eat whatever I wanted and not worry, as long as I drank lots of water and worked out I figured I was in the clear. Now I know that even though I’ve worked off the calories, I was taxing my digestive system with loads of fat and salt.

Pictured : Something I couldn't eat even if I wanted to.

Pictured : Something I couldn't eat even if I wanted to.

So, though our relationship with food has changed, my love for it is just as strong. I may be posting more health-concious content, but a foodie I remain.

April 28, 2011. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

holidays season treats and eats.

so i havent blogged in a while. but can you blame me? final papers, exams, and making my way back to the island for christmas takes up a lot of time! ill have some new posts on yummy eats soon, but for now im sitting in my old bedroom waiting for my mom’s cooking : pork chops and mashed potatoes.

last night craig and i drove around looking at christmas lights, and i got a candy cane hot chocolate for the drive. mmm-mmm 🙂

December 21, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

the king of clubs

oh my goodness, people. do you have a favorite sandwich? my all-time favorite is a clubhouse. it’s just so hard to mess up a club. toast, turkey, cheese, bacon, tomato, mayo. its everything good! when i was younger, and had a more-than-slight aversion to trying new food, i would only order clubs when i went to restaurants.

YUM!

so, when craigs mom was in town last week and suggested we all go to ‘your fathers moustache’, i was thrilled. why? well only because the moustache is the home of the best club sandwich in halifax. would you like to see the menu’s description?

” boneless breast of charbroiled chicken, with melted mozzarella, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and onion, on grilled french bread with our special sauce”

yep.

so the moustache is a pretty well-known restaurant downtown, but it was the first time there for me.

it has a nice feel, great staff, and the tables by the windows have a pretty sweet view of spring garden road down below. it was a little more cramped than i was expecting, but once we were seated with our drinks i didn’t notice at all.

so down to the good stuff. i ordered the pub club with a side caesar. when it arrived, people, it was gorgeous.  it’s a great looking sandwich, great presentation. the french bread was soft and fresh inside, with a small crunch outside. it was the perfect consistency to absorb the sauce, which was a good amount of tangy. the lettuce and tomato were crunchy, which i like in a club. the bacon was chunky and flavourful, and finally, the chicken was so tender! craig also ordered the club, and as we ate we kept glancing at each other, eyes wide and nodding. i could barely finish, craig needed his packed up. i was so satisfied!

i would for sure, for sure, for sure recommend that the pub club be tried. it is truly the best clubhouse sandwich i have eaten…so far.

November 24, 2010. Halifax, Restaurants, Reviews. Leave a comment.

pillsbury cookies.

we had a halloween bake sale at school two weeks ago. we being my library tech program. i offered to bake something while in a half-awake, (prescription) drug-riddled, study frenzy. the night before the sale, i had no ingredients for anything, and low cash flow. the charming tall man came to my rescue by picking up some pillsbury ready-to-bake halloween cookies.

like this, but with orange bits.

i should first say, it took great willpower not to eat those little jems raw. i was relieved. it wasnt going to be anything fancy, but everyone likes cookies! right!?

in a rush i stupidly jammed all 24 cookie bricks onto one cookie sheet. i plopped on the couch, and waited it out. when i got up to check on them, they were a little..crowded. but i wasnt concerned. they were going to be great! everyone one would say ‘oh sam, how festive and clever and yummy! please, place your cookies front and center!”

DING! time to take them out, this was too easy.

nothing could go wrong...

 

…horror. they had become one giant, square, mega-cookie. a giant square, crispy, dry, mega-cookie. i couldnt even scrape them off the pan! i stared at tall man with a mix of desperation and psychosis. they were ruined. i was the failure of the bake sale. i was a fraud.

nooooooooo!

the, like the hero that he is, the tall man reached into the fridge and pulled out a SECOND PACKAGE of ready-to-bake cookies. he knows me.

this time i learned my lesson, spaced out the cookie bricks, and watched the baking process closely. they turned out thin, but delicious!

i tucked a halloween-y piece of fabric from the dollar store into an orange tupperware container, and piled the cookies in. i wrote my name on a piece of tape and stuck it to the top. it was very church-ladies-tea-social of me.

verdict? i dropped them off at the bake sale, and they SOLD OUT! i guess mine was the first empty tupperware removed from the table. if they only knew!

 

November 10, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

the best nachos in halifax..

hey there.

so saturday was gorgeous. after a morning at the farmers market (which will get it’s own post some day) i returned home and convinced the tall man that we should go downtown for a walk. and walk we did. so much that we worked up a mean appetite.

downtown

the local paper, every year, prints a ‘best of halifax’ article, and the ‘best nachos‘ category has been retired because downtown spot ‘economy shoe shop‘ has won every. single. year.

so of course, we have been talking about trying the nachos for months.  i have never been to the shoe before, and i love going to new places! so i convinced him to go. and it was the best decision ever.

i love this area of town, and the street is lined with little cafes and restaurants. we weren’t exactly sure which door to go in, and once we walked in it was a little  dark and disorienting. we snuck through the narrow aisle of seats and stools, took a turn to the right, and i fell in love.

inside the shoe

the restaurant is dim and rustic, with nooks and crannies and benches and booths and tiny lamps and adorable wall sconces and so much more. we chose a tiny table up in a corner, and i must have said  ‘i love this place’ four times before we got our menus. the menus were small but everything looked delicious. however, ew stayed on track and orders the large nachos, with chicken (and no banana peppers). i also ordered a rickards white, and he got an iced tea and a rum+coke.

 

 

 

and here there are!

the best in halifax..

 

 

they were piled at least 5 inches high. i could tell right away that the cheese has interspersed between the layers of chips. this is crucial, trust me. the chicken, green peppers, and onion were all cut thick and square, which is also crucial for stacking. we dug in, and within the first few bites agreed that the dish lived up to the hype. surpassed even. i barely touched my beer because i could not stop loving those nachos!

we decimated them. i left the shoe shop very, very satisfied. i loved the food, i LOVED the atmosphere, if i lived a life of luxury, this would be the place my friends and i would get together for drinks or lunches. ‘lets meet at the shoe!’, we would say. i am definitely coming back here, for the nachos and more.

November 1, 2010. Tags: , . Halifax, Restaurants, Reviews, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

a food blog? but how.

i wasnt really prepared to post an image..but heres manwich sauce, ground beef, and a baked potato. the high of my culinary skills.

hey no one.

i wanted to start a food blog, mostly, because im a poor 20-something student. i dream about food. i make creative concoctions from what i find in my kitchen. i scour local dives for the best cheap eats. food is my preoccupation.

i dont really have a direction right now. im thinking something along the lines of recipes i find, reviews of places and things i eat, and post about things i want to eat.

who am i? im sam. i live in halifax, nova scotia. im going to school to become a library tech, a professional book nerd, if you will. i live with a tall handsome fellow nerd, and we love food.

hopefully i keep at this, and become rich and famous, and will finally be able to afford to eat in nice restaurants!

thanks for reading, the one or two of you that find this.

October 27, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.