Slow Cooker Vegetable Lentil Stew

It’s been a cold and dreary day here in Southern California, which matched my mood because I’m becoming sick. Ack! Damn sinuses, anyway, it is the perfect kind of day for a hearty soup to warm you up. I love slow cooker stews and soups because of the aroma they bring to your home as the flavors warm and meld together throughout the day. The scents almost tease you, leaving you wanting the soup to be done sooner; alas, you have to wait another three hours.

Winter has some of the most delicious vegetables to offer, among them are a few of my favorites for dishes like these. You can’t go wrong with carrots (my sister would disagree!), beautifully dark leaves of dinosaur kale, and although the celery root is one ugly edible, it’s taste brings a lot to soups and vegetable roasts. The mushrooms bring an earthy flavor while balancing with the sweetness of the tomato, there’s a lot of components to this stew and that’s what makes it delicious.

For this recipe, you will need a fairly large crock pot; mine is roughly 4 quarts. I like my soups chunky, so most of the veggies are chopped, if you’d like a finer texture, dice them.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Leeks, Chopped
  • 1 Cup Carrot, Chopped
  • 1 Cup Celery Root, Chopped
  • 1 1/2 Cup Celery, Sliced
  • 1 1/3 Cup Button Mushrooms, Sliced
  • 1 1/2 Cup Kale (I used Black/Dinosaur Kale), De-stemmed and chopped
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Cup Dried Red Lentils
  • 1 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
  • 5 oz. Tomato Paste
  • 4 Cups Vegetable Broth, I use Rapunzel No Salt Added
  • 3 Cups Water

Directions:

  1. Put everything but the tomato paste, vegetable broth and water into a large bowl and stir until it is mixed well. I find that this helps to keep the ingredients more integrated, as mushrooms and leeks tend to float in the crock pot.
  2. Place the contents of the bowl into the crock pot. Stir the tomato paste into the vegetable broth so that it is not chunky, then pour the broth and water into the crock pot.
  3. Turn the crock pot to high heat for 6-8 hours (depending on the crock pot), check the hardness of the lentils and carrots to see of the stew is done cooking.

I definitely need to make these more often, it’s such an easy way to make dinner! Maybe, I’ll look into doing a casserole type of thing next. Do you have any great recipes for a slow cooker/crock pot? Let me know! šŸ™‚

 

Green Grape Smoothie

After the past week of spending time with family and celebrating the life of my grandmother, I’m certainly in need of a cleaner meal plan. I sometimes struggle with portion control and a balance of comfort food vs. healthier food when I’m not at home. When you’re in an emotionally charged environment, or possibly hungover ;), over-indulgence is almost guaranteed to happen.

Soon, I will be back at home, in a kitchen that I fully know my way around, with all of the herbs and spices I’m familiar with. Back on the healthy train, and back to the gym! Here to help jump-start that is this delectable smoothie. This recipe is pretty high volume, so it is extra filling, but is still light, creamy and sweet. After cooking all day long the last thing you want to do is put a lot of effort into another meal.

Serves 1 Huge Smoothie, or 2 Smaller Ones

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Red Seedless Grapes
  • 1 Cup Packed Greens- I used lettuce but Kale and Spinach are even better
  • 1 Medium Pear, Cored & Chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Frozen Pumpkin PureĆ©
  • 2 Tbsp. Avocado
  • 3/4 Cup Coconut Water
  • Optional: Ice Cubes

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients into a blender and pureƩ until smooth! (This is why I love smoothies, so easy)

 

Gingerbread Oatmeal

I have three main breakfast meals that I resort to during the week: smoothies, cereal and most definitely, oatmeal. That’s why there are so many oatmeal recipes on my blog! When you find yourself eating the same type of meal often, it’s important to change it up so that you don’t get bored with it. With this recipe I took inspiration from one of my favorite winter desserts, and put it into a delicious and filling breakfast.

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Rolled Oats
  • 3/4 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Milk
  • 1 tsp. Earth Balance Buttery Spread
  • 2 Tbsp. Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. Molasses
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp. Ground Cloves
  • Pinch of Salt

Directions:

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a small pot over medium heat, and continually stir until the rolled oats are cooked and the consistency is to your liking.
  2. Taste while it is cooking and adjust the amount of spices to suit you, pour into a bowl and drizzle a little maple syrup on top.


Try out this oatmeal for a comforting breakfast with substance and a good amount of flavor. Break apart some ginger snaps and sprinkle them on top to add some crunch and texture.

Here are the approximate nutritional facts, for those of you who asked!

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