Recipe: Vegetarian Brown Rice and Lentil Casserole

There are several reasons why I love this vegetarian recipe for a brown rice and lentil casserole.

First, it’s ridiculously easy. You should allow about 90 minutes bake time, but other than that, the assembly comes together quickly and effortlessly.

Second, it’s packed with good stuff. The lentils are a good source of protein, dietary fiber, iron, folate and vitamin B1. The brown rice contains magnesium, iron and B vitamins. I always add one 28-ounce can of tomatoes, which provides additional nutrients like vitamin C and carotene lycopene, an antioxidant.

Third, it contains low-cost ingredients and provides leftovers, thus making you a frugal cook who knows how to stretch your dinner dollar!

Finally… it’s yummy, plain and simple. :) Hubby and I have been enjoying this recipe for months now.

P.S.– If you skip the cheese (and use vegetable broth, of course) this makes a delicious vegan dinner, too!

Get the recipe over at Food.com!

Hubby and I are having a baby!

Vegetarian PregnancyMany apologies for being MIA lately… I have a GREAT excuse! :D

Late February, the day after my 38th birthday, I took a pregnancy test and it was positive!  I tried not to get too excited though… we had been trying to conceive for more than two years and the positive test result felt more like a dream than reality. Still, I shared the news with hubby and we kept things between us until I took a second pregnancy test nearly a week later… the result was still positive! This was really happening… “we” were pregnant! :D

I wanted to make an effort to revive this site this year, and the baby news definitely gave me the inspiration for that, but what I didn’t count on was how sick I’d be in my first trimester of pregnancy. :( It’s been a constant day-long nausea since the beginning of March. For the past two months, I’ve struggled tremendously with food. I’m talking about things like not being able to cook dinner for two months… not being able to go near the kitchen sink if it had any dirty dishes in it… and consuming some of the most bland, boring, carb-heavy edibles you can imagine: bagels, pizza, cereal, bread, rice, macaroni and cheese, etc. I couldn’t even think about fruit and vegetables without my stomach churning… such a weird concept to wrap my head around! But, my body rejected any sort of highly nutritious food I tried to take in. :( It’s safe to say I was adverse to most foods… even favorites, like chocolate! (I still can’t fathom eating chocolate. I hope this changes soon!)

I’m finally starting to feel better and regain my interest in food. I cooked spaghetti for us Friday night and didn’t gag once! ;) I don’t say that to be gross, but as I was stirring the pasta sauce that evening, I realized how much I enjoy cooking and how much I missed it while I was sick.

Come November, when we welcome our first child into this world, I know these past few months of being ill will seem like nothing, just a tiny little bump in the road to achieving greatness! :D

What can YOU expect going forward as a reader of this blog? More posts, more often. I’m so excited to share my experiences with you! Yes, many of them will be centered on my pregnancy, but I promise I’ll keep the gushy stuff to a minimum. Besides… do you really want to miss out on some of the bizarre cravings I’m likely to have?!? LOL I did consider creating a “baby blog” to document my pregnancy, but talking about it here made more sense to me. I’m a 38 year old, plus-sized vegetarian woman working her way through her first pregnancy… my hope is I’ll have lots of insight to share as our mixed-diet household transitions from a couple to a real family!

 

Recipe: Chocolate Berry Loaf

Vegan Chocolate Berry LoafWas doing some reminiscing tonight… and I realized that it was exactly four years ago today that I posted the recipe below on my former blog which, at the time, was still in its infancy. I’ve reposted here most of the recipes that had appeared there, but this one for Chocolate Berry Loaf wasn’t carried over yet, so I thought tonight would be an appropriate night to share it with you. :) This recipe was adapted by me from a women’s magazine, and makes a delicious vegan dessert.

Chocolate Berry Loaf
(makes 3 mini loaves or one standard-size loaf)

1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/3 plus 3/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Egg replacer for two eggs
1/3 cup oil
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup Tofutti brand sour cream
1/2 cup soy yogurt
1/2 cup dried fruit, chopped
3 tablespoons chocolate chips

1) Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat the three mini loaf pans with cooking spray or oil.
2) In a small bowl, mix together cocoa powder, 1/3 cup sugar and 1/3 cup water until it’s a smooth consistency. Set aside.
3) In a larger bowl, mix together flour, bakig powder, baking soda and salt.
4) In a medium-sized bowl, mix together remaining 3/4 cup sugar, your chosen eggs substitute, oil and almond extract. Whisk in sour cream.
5) Stir sour cream mixture into the flour mixture until well-blended. Mix 1 1/2 cups of the batter in with the cocoa mixture, along with the chopped berries, until no white streaks remain.
6) Drop alternating spoonfuls of batter into the mini loaf pans, then swirl a knife through the batter for a marble effect. Top each loaf with one tablespoon chocolate chips.
7) Bake at 350 degrees for 35-50, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each loaf comes out clean. Cool loaves on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pans to cool completely. 

A few of my own notes:
1) Recipe originally called for dried cherries… I found a dried berry mix at my store and used that… couldn’t resist a package of dried cranberries, blueberries, cherries and raspberries all mixed into one!

2) For the eggs, I used flax meal and water… two tablespoons flax meal mixed with 6 tablespoons water, whisked together and heated in the microwave until gooey.

3) Recipe originally called for one full cup of sour cream… I initially wanted to try this recipe with a full cup of soy yogurt in place of the sour cream, but I had a half-used tub of Tofutti sour cream in my fridge and, seeing as how I rarely use sour cream, I didn’t want the leftovers to go to waste so I used half Tofutti SC and half soy yogurt. If anyone tries it with only soy yogurt, let me know how it turns out!

4) Next time, I might try topping the loaves with a combination of chips and nuts, or just chopped nuts. What can I say, I’m nutty like that! ;-p