One day countdown to Thanksgiving and I successfully navigated my way through Whole Foods without losing my sanity today. Sure, it was crowded, but no where near as bad as I was preparing myself for. And I even got a parking spot in the front without trying. Granted there were two monster trucks on even side taking up parts of it, but my car still fit. :-) I was in and out with my long list in under an hour and have plenty of time for a little relaxing before tomorrows festivities.
Every year I add a Christmas playlist to my iPod that I listen to at work, driving and maybe even while working out because I’m just that strange. Creating that list is always a time-consuming project because I prefer more traditional songs with happy childhood memories tied to them. Here’s what I have so far:
I’ve tried, but am not a fan of newer pop versions of Christmas classics, like Jessica Simpson’s Santa Baby or the Backstreet Boys Holiday albums, etc. I’m all for new music, but overly poppy holiday stuff just doesn’t work for me. What kid of holiday music are you a fan of?
I rarely go out to lunch with co-workers because it’s nearly impossible to decide on a place with everyone’s food allergies and preferences, most of the guys on our team prefer all-you-can-eat pizza buffets or BBQ places and I like something fresh. But this week we did come to agreement on Chipotle and I was edger to go after reading on vegansaurus that a location near my work serves Gardein. I’ve never tried it before and wanted to support a fast food location serving this up as a meat alternative.
Ordering it was a bit disappointing because when I requested a vegetarian option for my burrito bowl, it wasn’t offered to me and wasn’t on the menu. The server started assembling a standard bean bowl when I pointed to the Gardein to ask what it was. Her response was “soy” and I had to ask if I could try it. If I hadn’t noticed and inquired about it, I would never have known it was an option. Which is sad because it was good, very hearty and packing more flavor for what looks like grilled tofu cubes, there was a nice seasoning throughout the chunks. But it wasn’t salty or over flavored as some meat alternative products can be. I was flattered that a guy in my group decided to try it after I ordered it and had good things to say about it. It’s something that I will get again.
I know I’ve been posting a lot of cooked vegan dishes for a raw blog, but this winter I’m allowing myself to eat more cooked vegan dishes for dinner. Currently I have a big raw protein smoothie for breakfast and lunch is either high-raw or all raw, but dinner has been cooked a lot lately especially during this cold week. So I’m about 50-60% raw now and that number will go up as the weather warms up. Last night I was craving another hot bean stew and adapted a lentil soup to use up half a butternut squash in the fridge. It turned out to be a success that hubby enjoyed.
Butternut Lentil Stew
- 2 tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- pinch cumin seeds
- 1 cup dried green lentils
- 2 cups butternut squash chunks
- 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 cups veggie broth
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp. curry powder
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
Heat coconut oil, onion, garlic, ginger and cumin seed in large soup pot over medium-high heat until onions are translucent. Mix in lentils, squash, cilantro, broth, tomatoes, curry, cayenne and nutmeg. Thoroughly stir and simmer over medium heat covered for 30 minutes. Enjoy! Makes 4 servings.
The butternut squash chunks turn into a rich mush while the lentils soften, but hold a firmer texture creating wonderful varying texture in this stew. The coconut oil blends nicely with the sweet squash while the cayenne adds a mild, underlying kick. Best of all – it’s another quick, hearty recipe perfect for a cold, winter’s night.
On that note, it’s time for a little wine, relaxing and figuring out what’s for dinner tonight. Have a wonderful evening!