Meatless Monday: Mujadarrah aka “lentils and rice with caramelized onions”

One of my memories of attending school in the north east is this fabulous middle eastern restaurant that sprung up in our small ocean town. The owner was proud of his fresh ingredients: zesty lemons, ripe cucumbers, delicious creamy hummus, and this fabulous dish of deep brown caramelized onions with lentils and jasmine rice. I used to drag my entire aerobics class to this place after a hard workout to feast on the mellow garlicky fare.

I found the recipe for Mujadarrah (spelled different ways in different cookbooks) in several of my vegetarian cookbooks and settled on Deborah Madison’s version.

Ingredients:

  • 6 (yes, SIX) tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1.25 cups green lentils, rinsed
  • 3/4 cup jasmine rice
  • 1 quart water (I realized after making this that I would much prefer vegetable stock)
  • salt/pepper
  1. heat oil over medium flame in large skillet. Add onion and cook until brown and caramelized (12-15 min) stirring rarely. Too much stirring interferes with the browning process
  2. meanwhile, add 1 quart salted water (or veg stock) to large sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add lentils and simmer 15 minutes.
  3. Add rice to lentils and add enough water to cover. Cover pan and simmer 15 more minutes–adding water if necessary until rice is tender.
  4. Season with more salt and add pepper to taste.
  5. Add 1/2 onions to lentils and rice and stir.
  6. Serve garnished with remaining half of onions.

This recipe is so easy and so cheap! It is also delicious and full of fiber and heart healthy fat from the olive oil. I estimated that it provided 6 generous servings.

We served this with a bright green salad with lemon vinaigrette and lots of fresh parsley to keep the middle eastern flavor going. I also garnished with a mixture of marinated green and ripe olives and feta. You can hold the feta for a vegan dish.

We also toasted some Naan and enjoyed it with the meal.

Verdict? My favorite!! Jeremy thought it was so/so…he’s not a lentil fan. He did love the onions and had two helpings of the salad. Morgan tasted it but was more into his plate full of carrots and ranch. I wonder if it would work pureed for Leighton?!?

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Feeding the Peeps


I’ve been on a roll this past week.

Using Annabel Karmel’s book as inspiration, I finally mustered up the courage to use my food processor and began making baby food.

I started with a simple blueberry rice cereal puree–I steamed 1/2 c blueberries for 3-4 minutes until the skins began to pop open. I then dropped them into the food chopper with 1/4c rice cereal and enough formula/breast milk to make a smooth puree.

Next, I moved on to frozen peas and then sweet potatoes. My sweet potato puree is so elegant and delicious that I think I may serve it for the holidays next year. I had to force myself to stop licking my immersion blender and fill up the baby food trays!

Cinnamon Orange Sweet Potato Puree

serves 2

1 med sweet potato, peeled and chopped

1 stick cinnamon

2-4 tbs fresh orange juice

  • Steam the sweet potato with stick of cinnamon until tender, add fresh orange juice and puree

How simple is this??

She seemed to really like it…

So few things have made her happy while she’s teething.

Don’t worry, big brother and his friends had some fabulous food for their play date this week.

I’m going to leave you with a picture of Morgan over the weekend. He refused to get dressed and insisted on wearing his favorite Christmas jammies for two days straight. He buttoned them himself–looking like the long lost love child of Hugh Hefner and “Pigpen” from the Peanuts cartoons.

Note the crayon containers doubling as a drum set. These paper covered infant formula cans are giving new meaning to the word multi purpose!

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Recharging

Yesterday was exactly what I needed.  I got the kids to school on time and spent the morning sorting through clothes getting ready for a garage sale in the spring. It felt productive and cleansing to see neatly folded shelves and to know that the outgrown items would be of use to somebody else.  It is incredible how much baby stuff gets accumulated in this first year.

Then, I had time for a quick shower and in keeping with my new year’s resolution to “De frump!” I took the time to roll my hair and put on something fabulous in time to pick up Leighton from school and meet two of my wonderful girlfriends for lunch.  My friend L treated us to fabulous gourmet “Bento Style” lunches– butternut squash soup with candied bacon and chevre, seared ahi tuna, mixed greens, zucchini strings and garlicy aioli finished with a yummy little butterscotch bar that was just the right size for something sweet without feeling like we needed to go for a run afterwards.  We laughed until we had tears in our eyes, taking turns passing my little crabby patty who is teething and refusing to nap.

Next, we checked out a boutique in our area that is known for fabulous finds. We all totally lucked out in the sale racks! L and I got designer jeans that were normally 188.00 for $46.00. SCORE! S got a beautiful sweater for a steal. The sales ladies fell in love with the L Bug, passing her around and showing her all of the pretty sparkly things. They said “que hermosa!!” and put my little princess on a pedestal (literally) in front of a three way mirror and laughed while she waved her chubby little arms and “talked” to the beautiful girl in the mirror.

Then it was time to pick up our kiddos from preschool and we all headed home. It was such a wonderful way to recharge before the weekend.

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Sleep Deprived

We haven’t slept much this week. Teething and toddler resistance have made for a very long week.

Here’s hoping that next week’s blogging is better. I’m looking forward to getting a bit of rest this weekend and cocooning up in the house. My agenda includes a pot of black bean soup and some long walks with the family.

See you on the other side 🙂

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Meatless Monday: couscous and chickpea pilaf

So I’m sipping a beer and chastising myself for not blogging for so long…it’s been a busy few days.

We took a weekend road trip to Cloudcroft, NM and stayed at a haunted hotel called The Lodge. I scared myself silly listening to the bartender tell crazy tales of the red-headed ghost, Rebecca, that haunts the place. I ended up scanning our hotel room every few minutes all night long…looking for any evidence of the  supernatural. We’d been told that a couple left in the middle of the night because the ghost was offering chocolate to their child while sitting on his bed. EEK!


I sat up googling on my phone and found numerous sightings of this particular ghost–including a few that occurred in our room. Let’s just say I didn’t see anything…nor did I get any sleep.

The Lodge was truly lovely, though. The staff was great with the kids and the restaurant was awesome. I just wish that my imagination and fears hadn’t run wild!

We cleaned out the crisper drawer for Meatless Monday and ended up with a keeper.

I’m calling it Green Couscous Pilaf with lemon Dijon vinaigrette.

Ingredients:

1 cup couscous

1 cup vegetable broth or 1 cup water and 1 veggie bullion cube

1 english cucumber, peeled and chopped

3 green onions, thinly sliced

1/4 c chopped red onion

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

2 broccoli crowns, chopped and steamed

Feta Cheese (crumbled) ***optional

1/4 c chopped fresh dill

Dressing:

1 lemon–zested and juiced

2 Tbs dijon mustard

1/3 c olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp all purpose seasoning (I used trader joe’s every day seasoning, but I think any mix you like would work here)

2  cloves garlic, pressed

1/3 cup water

Instructions: Prepare couscous according to package directions, using broth for water.  Place prepared couscous in fridge to chill while chopping/prepping the remaining ingredients.

In large bowl, combine chopped veggies, steamed and cooled broccoli, beans, and cooled couscous with chopped dill

For dressing: using wisk or hand blender, emulsify ingredients and pour over top of salad. Stir gently to combine.

Chill 1 hour to allow flavors to combine. Stop here for a vegan dish or garnish with feta cheese.

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The Mom Bag

What’s in your bag?!?

I had a moment today in T@rget. I was stocking up on Kleenex, Goldfish, Boogie Wipes…the usual suspects. I reached into my bag looking for chap stick, lip gloss…NADA. I peered into the depths of what has become the Mama Bag and just started laughing. It was chaos in there…and nothing that you would expect to find in a purse…especially not my gorgeous Tori Burch bag.

When I was a young, single, convertible driving chick, I carried teeny little handbags. Inside you would find:

Keys

Cell Phone

Lipstick

Starbucks Breath Mints (because you never know!)

My gym card (because I was a Nazi about working out in those days)

Movie Ticket stubs…I used to go all the time

a plastic bracelet from a club (often hastily removed in the hospital parking lot on my way to work)

And in the “secret zipper area?” Motrin. For those days that I am removing the plastic bracelet mentioned above.

 

Now? My handbag is filled with stuff that doesn’t belong to me.

Keys??? Um…no. My keys would never be anywhere that conspicuous!

A half empty–or half full (Depending on your state of mind) bag of Teddy Graham’s

A changing pad and two diapers (because you never know!)

Boogie Wipes

A dusty binky  that no one ever loved

A plastic dinosaur (great for bribes)

A gym membership (I keep hope alive)

Cell Phone

A receipt from Starbucks. Lack of sleep makes coffee a necessity. Marriage makes breath mints kind of obsolete.

Teething toys

ONE SOCK. Why do babies lose socks so often???

A ticket stub from Chuck E Cheese (Because who the hell gets to go to the movies??)

And in the “secret zipper area?” Lollipops–great for BRIBES and Motrin. Great for days when I haven’t slept because of two small children.

 

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