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Lentil Apple Walnut Loaf

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I bought a new cookbook sometime in the past few weeks. Clean Food is just one item that Brent has pointed to as evidence of me having an online shopping problem. He may be right. I may be too bored for my own good. All that is irrelevant, however, because this book has recipes that I wish I ate more of. I was entranced while reading through it, and I began cooking from it as soon as I had time, which was today.

I chose to make Lentil Apple Walnut Loaf along with Winter Green Salad with Sugared Walnuts, Crispy Pears and Pomegranate. Let’s start with the salad, shall we? Today was my first time ever disassembling and eating pomegranate. It was interesting, and man, pomegranate is gorgeous, right? Look at that color!

I loved this salad! One note about the walnuts – I baked them for 15 minutes (the author suggested 20), and they were on the edge of burned, so watch out for that if you cook from this book. I have leftovers of all the ingredients, so I’m making this salad again sometime this week. It was definitely delicious.

On to the lentil loaf. I think I’ve made lentil loaf in the past, and thought “Yep. This tastes super healthy,” which is not a bad opinion, but it doesn’t necessarily make you reach for seconds, you know? Well, maybe lentils aren’t loaf-worthy. This recipe was fine. I thought it would be more flavorful, but was kind of disappointed in that regard. The glaze was delicious, but the rest of the loaf was kind of bland. Brent had seconds, but I attribute that to be a hungry dude, and not his love of lentils. He said it was fine and that “lentils are a nutritional powerhouse” but he did not request it be made again.

Overall, I’m excited to cook more from this book. I love that it’s organized by seasons, as Brent and I are trying to eat more seasonally. I’m making another dish from the winter section tomorrow.

The job search is on! I’ve got a few applications in for nurse residency programs and I’m hoping to hear something back soon! (If you’re a healthcare professional or nurse in the Seattle area, or know someone who is, I would love to connect with you!) In the meantime, I’m cooking and baking and generally enjoying my downtime. I made bagels for like the first time in a year today! Brent was super excited when he got home from work. 🙂 Got to get to bed now! Be back tomorrow with another seasonally appropriate, vegan dinner!

Stuffed Peppers with Millet

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I cooked last week! I even have photos to prove it.

I made Emily’s curried stuffed peppers, which turned out really well. It was actually our first time eating millet, and I was pleasantly surprised with how much Brent liked it. He’s not huge on most of the “weird grains” I bring home, but this was a winner. It was super quick and easy to make. I actually made the mix and stuffed the peppers earlier in the day and then just baked them when we wanted dinner.

I really liked the raisins in this and I actually wish I had added more! I may make this again, given that Brent enjoyed it and I have more millet to use. I actually have a whole bookcase (which I use as a second pantry) full of grains and dried beans to use before we leave! Feel free to suggest uses for: wheat berries, brown rice, quinoa, wild rice, kidney beans, chickpeas and lentils.

Life Updates

Well, you can definitely continue to expect a lack of posting. We’re moving in 3 weeks! We leave from Chicago Monday December 27th after spending the holidays with our families, and I can’t believe how close it’s getting. We’re doing something crazy – Driving!! It’ll be me, Brent, Larry, Lucy, my beloved cooking tools, and some clothes. And that’s it. We’re not moving our furniture, knick-knacks, TV, etc…  The way our relocation is structured is that we could have his company pay to move all of our possessions across the country, OR they’ll just give us a lump sum. We’ve discussed getting a new bed, and a new couch because our current one is a huge sectional that was purchased for a 2200 square foot home, not a city apartment, so we just decided to take the lump sum and use it as an opportunity to simplify. It’s going to be a 3 day drive, but luckily we’ve already found and leased an apartment, so once we arrive we’ll be “home.”

A week from tomorrow is also my last day of nursing school! I cannot express how truly excited I am, not only to be done with school and all that goes along with that, but to be a nurse! I really can’t wait to take boards and start working. I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to go back to school and go into a profession that I really love. 🙂

I Have Been Busy

Very busy! In the past couple of weeks, I’ve gone to The Rally to Restore Sanity in DC…

where I found the long-lost twin of Jerry Garcia…

and dressed as a double rainbow with my best friend.

That wasn’t enough traveling for me, so I also headed to Chicago to pick up my mom so that we could roadtrip to Wisconsin to see family. I hadn’t seen my aunt Sherry and cousins in 5 years!!

It was such a great visit, and definitely worth the 16 total hours of driving.

This past Sunday, Brent and I headed to Kalamazoo, MI on another mini roadtrip for All Stouts’ Day at Bell’s Brewery. I love stouts! The Double Cream Stout was definitely my favorite.

I’m finally back home now, and easing myself back into my routine of blog-reading, cooking and , oh yeah, studying – 4.5 more weeks!

Brent is on me again to cut down our eating out budget, an idea that my waistline can certainly agree with, so I’ve made the effort to cook at home this week. Tonight’s meal was the first “new to me” thing I’ve made this week. I tried the Orange Pan-glazed Tempeh from 101 Cookbooks, which I saw on (never home)maker last week.

I forgot the lime and cilantro because Brent and I were too hungry by then, but both would have been very good I’m sure. My only note on this recipe was that it took me 20-30 minutes for the sauce to reduce down to a “thick glaze,” but it worked well nonetheless. Tempeh is one of those foods I don’t eat or make frequently and I’m still on the fence about whether or not I like it. I found it super filling though! I ate 3/4 of mine and Brent finished the rest.

Have I mentioned that I finally bought a rice cooker a few weeks ago? I freaking love that gadget! So worth it. 🙂

Zesty Wheat Berry-Black Bean Chili

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As I said, I went to visit my parents this weekend, which meant I needed to stock up on things unavailable in the Fort. Essentially this means that every time I go home, I go a little crazy at the bulk bin section in Whole Foods. This past weekend was no exception, and I left the store with 3lbs of wheat berries, among other things. Now I just needed a way to use those wheat berries, without Brent objecting too much. Brent has already made it clear he is not a fan of the “weird chewiness” of wheat berries, so I sought a way to disguise them a bit.

One of my favorite recipe sites is Eating Well, and so I checked there first. One of the first recipes that came up was this chili recipe. I like beans, chili and wheat berries, so it sounded like a good fit to me. The only change I made was to use fire-roasted diced tomatoes because I love them in a big way.

Loved, loved, loved the flava of this chili. It was a total winner. Even Brent said “Yeah, the flavor is really good. I can tolerate the wheat berries.” Praise of the highest sort, obviously.

Things are going pretty fantastic here at casa Monroe, so to celebrate, I dragged Brent out for a drink. We went to Old Crown which is definitely my current favorite place for cocktails in the Fort. In fact, when we sat down, the bartender said “Hey. You guys were here last week, right?” Guilty.

After a magnificent whiskey sour, we got back home in time for The Biggest Loser, and I’m going to hang out with Brent and catch up on some Hulu shows.  🙂

Catching Up is Hard to Do

I always find it difficult to muster up the motivation to blog after an absence, even one as short as a week. It’s not that I don’t want to blog; it’s simply that I don’t know where to start. I hate trying to squeeze everything into a massive post, but I don’t blog frequently enough to update you on everything, so alas. I usually just jump into it and skip what has already passed.

Brent and I ate wheat berries for the first time last week. Brent was not a fan. He referred to them as “weird and chewy.” I don’t know what his problem is. Weird and chewy are two of my favorite adjectives when it comes to food! I wasn’t sure what to do with them, so I made them into a salad with black beans, red bell pepper and mango. The salad recipe is a quinoa salad recipe from Veganomicon, but I just subbed wheat berries. I thought their chewiness went well. I really loved it.

What is perhaps even more exciting, is that I made my first soup of the fall season this weekend! I was so excited about the cooler temps, I was determined to celebrate by making soup. So glad to have it back in my life! I made some of my minestrone along with some unpictured Artisan Bread.

I’ve been busy with things other than soup-making as well. School is starting to pick up the pace, and today I spent the day volunteering at the MDA Telethon. Unfortunately one of the things keep me busy has been our German Shepherd, Lucy.

That photo cracks me up every time I see it! Lucy has developed an ear hematoma, which means her ear has filled with blood, as a result of her chronic ear infections (she was abused when she was younger, and has a “broken” ear, which is prone to infection as a result), and she’ll be going in for surgery tomorrow morning. She’ll have to be put under general anesthesia for the surgery, which is always a little worrisome. I’m hoping the procedure goes well and will prevent the hematoma from recurring. Wish Lucy good luck for tomorrow!

Grilled Peppers & Lentil Salad

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On the way back from Chicago Brent drove while I menu planned for the week using the new issue of Cooking Light. Nearly all the recipes in the Enlightened Vegetarian section sounded wonderful, including tonight’s dinner: Grilled Peppers & Lentil Salad.With so many flavorful ingredients, I thought this salad would taste delicious, or be too weird. Lime juice, cilantro, olives and fennel are not necessarily ingredients I would put all in the same dish.

I was really impressed! I thought it was really bright-tasting and I loved it. Brent “liked the flavors, but just doesn’t like lentils that much.” I did, however, have to change the recipe. Since moving into our townhouse, Brent and I don’t have a grill anymore, so rather than grill the peppers, I broiled them and proceeded with the recipe, and it worked just fine for me! I’m sure a charcoal grill would add even more flavor with smoky deliciousness.

Brent’s company does a “Corporate Challenge” in conjunction with our local YMCA, and the team competes in a bunch of sports, like flag football, basketball, dodgeball, etc… Well apparently they did not have enough women for the requirement, so Brent got recruited so that I would play. I have football practice on Wednesday. This should be pretty interesting – I am, by far, the least coordinated person I know, but I think it’ll be a lot of fun!

Orecchiette with Cherry Tomatoes and Kalamata Tapenade

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Brent picked tonight’s dinner from Vegan with a Vengeance. Dude loves anything with a brine so he was all about a sauce made entirely from olives and capers. I, being the ever-loving wife that I am, was happy to oblige. The recipe is easy. Makes some tapenade, saute some tomatoes and onions, cook pasta and mix it all together.

I like this pasta, and the orecchiette was a new shape of pasta for me to use at home (always fun), but I kind of hated the tomatoes in it. Everything was tasting all briny and delicious and then suddenly there’s a large hot, bursting tomato in my mouth spoiling the party. That could just be me. I’m not so much into just a cooked tomato. Tomato sauce is all well and good but the tomatoes in this situation really did nothing for me. I would make this again, but maybe (probably) do something different with the tomatoes.

In other exciting news, I’m going to the Healthy Living Summit in Chicago! I”m very excited and totally nervous about it at the same time! If you’re going and have a blog leave a comment in the comment section so I can read up on everyone I’m going to meet!