Spicy Lentil Stew with Butternut Squash, Chickpeas, and Goat Cheese

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I apologize in advance for the brain-dump this is about to be…it’s just one of those posts!

This week Sean, Casper, and I made a quick overnight trip to Seattle. I wanted to go to Jessica’s book signing and Sean wanted to visit his BFF. It was super quick, but so fun! Casper and I met up for coffee with Jessica and her mom (who is SO sweet and friendly) before the event and she is the best! Really, just as warm, funny, and conversational as her blog. I loved it. It’s always super fun to meet someone you correspond with on the internets, in real life. On a side note, the book store where the signing took place, The Book Larder, is AMAZING. It’s a bookstore exclusively dedicated to cookbooks and it’s wonderful. If you are ever in Seattle, definitely go there.

After that Casper and I met up with Sean, his BFF and his wife, and had pizza and salad at their apartment and met their HUGE, soft, sweet Burnese pup.  It was a fun, whirlwind-ish mid-week trip. I was a little nervous how Casper would fare, being in the car for 3 hours each way, roaming around Seattle, and sleeping in a strange place, but he was a total champ and mostly napped the whole time. I was super impressed, and a little jealous of his napping skills, ha!

After we got home, I discovered all of my succulents had spider mites…insert cringey-face-emoji!!! I am super squeamish about any kind of insect, even the teensiest ones, so I moved those suckers outside and am currently mourning the loss of my succulents/trying not to freak out/itch my face off.

Now that I’ve grossed you out with bug-talk, lets talk food. I know…cringe…SORRY.

Anyway, before I left, I made this stew…and full disclosure, I’ve totally posted a similar recipe on the blog before. This version is a bit different and I thought it was worth a revamp/revisit. I love this stew and it’s variations for a lot of reasons. It’s easy and quick, filling, warm from all the spices, vegetarian, and pretty cheap to make with on-hand pantry staples…plus, it’s totally adaptable. This version contains plenty of butternut squash that brings a bit of welcome sweetness against the spiciness of the serrano chiles. Red lentils and chickpeas make this stew hearty and filling without the addition of meat. I love to serve this stew with a tangy, creamy cheese one top, or even a hefty dollop of greek yogurt, for some tang and creaminess. Fresh cilantro and lemon brighten up the party and are a nice contrast to the warm spices. 

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Spicy Lentil Stew with Butternut Squash, Chickpeas, and Goat Cheese

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 carrots, diced

2 ribs celery, diced

2 serrano peppers, seeded and diced

1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced

1 clove garlic minced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

3 cups diced butternut squash

1/2 cup dry, red lentils

1, 15.5 ounce, can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1, 28 ounce, can crushed tomatoes

2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock

salt to taste

juice of 1 lemon

soft goat cheese

cilantro

lemon wedges and pita to serve

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat and add the onions, carrots, celery, and serrano, plus a small pinch of salt. Sauté for a few minutes until the vegetables begin to soften and the onions are translucent. Add the minced ginger and garlic, and cook about 1 minute before adding the tomato paste, cumin, cinnamon, and turmeric, stir well to combine and cook for a few minutes until the tomato paste becomes deep red. Then, add in the butternut squash, lentils, chickpeas, tomatoes, and chicken stock, all at once. Stir well to combine, taste for salt, then bring the stew to a boil. Once the stew is boiling turn it down to a simmer, cover the pot, and cook for about 20 minutes or until the lentils and squash are tender. Taste again for salt, season as desired. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Serve generous portions of the stew with crumbled goat cheese, cilantro, lemon wedges, and warmed pita bread. [/recipe]

Hazelnut Streusel Apple Muffins

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I’m learning a lot. Big things and little things.

Big things like what it means to be the mother of an amazing, wailing, little nugget of baby-boy cuteness, while also being a wife and partner.

Little things like how to get in that daily shower, work with this new dang camera, and fit in making a batch of these muffins complete with a photo (or two) and blog post.

So, while I balance my babe on one arm and type with the other, let me tell you about these muffins. They are the first thing I’ve baked since before Casper was born and they are pretty damn good. The recipe is an adaptation of Joy’s Brown Butter Blueberry Muffins with tart apples in place of the berries, a bit of hazelnut in the streusel, and plenty of cinnamon for some autumnal warmth. Even though this summer has been really good to me–baby! house! beautiful blue sky days!–I’m always ready for fall with it’s crisp air, fallen leaves, and cozy indoor days. These muffins are perfect for the transitioning season–not too long of a bake time, so you don’t heat up your kitchen too much, but just enough warmth and carb-y goodness to make things cozy. WIN.

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Hazelnut Streusel Apple Muffins

Makes about 18 muffins.

If you don’t have, or want to use, flax and wheat germ reduce the milk to 1/3 cup.

Streusel:

3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter

1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup hazelnuts, chopped

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Muffin Batter:

8 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup milk

1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons ground flax seeds

2 tablespoons wheat germ

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 cups diced granny smith apples (from about 2 peeled and cored apples)

Preheat the oven to 350º F and line two muffin tins with 16 paper liners (I do 12 in one tin, and 6 in the center of the other).

In a bowl pinch the butter into the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and chopped hazelnuts to combine. Set aside.

In a skillet or saucepan melt the butter and heat over medium until the butter becomes foamy, the butter separates, and the solids become brown and smell fragrant like toffee. Remove from the heat and pour into a dish to cool. Set aside.

In a measuring cup whisk the milk, egg + yolk, and vanilla until well combined.

In a mixing bowl whisk together the flour, flax, wheat germ, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon.  In a separate bowl toss the chopped apples with the remaining cinnamon.

 

Pour the milk and egg mixture into the mixing bowl of the flour mixture and fold until just combined. Fold in the apples. Divide the muffin batter between the lined muffin cups, filling about 3/4 full, and top each muffin with streusel. Bake the muffins in the center of the oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool before serving. [/recipe]

 

 

 

 

 

Blueberry Froyo Ice Pops

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Hey, there! While I am away snuggling this brand new babe and trying to navigate parenthood (aka keep him alive) I’ve asked a few friendly bloggers to share a recipe with you. Next up is my blog-pal-turned-real-life-pal Megan of Take a Megabite!

Blueberry Froyo Ice PopsI’m so excited about Cindy and Sean and Casper! I knew I wanted to make something with blueberries since there’s a boy happening, and stuff. I somehow made these ladylike with the gingham tray and the not-so-blue pops, but just believe that I had that little fella in mind for real!

So these ice pops are seriously blueberry goodness. I used two whole pints and kinda winged it with the mix-ins and yogurt amounts. Next thing I knew it filled up all 10 of my ice pop molds exactly! That’s the kind of thing that can only happen when you don’t try, I think. So just know these are dreamy, tart, and the blueberry-est.

Blueberry Froyo Ice Pops

So mostly, congrats, Cindy! And yay Sean! And I can’t wait to meet you, Casper! I can’t wait to visit and split a donut with that dude.

So freeze these up in honor of Cindy’s mad momming skills!

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Blueberry Fro-Yo Ice Pops (makes 10)

2 pints blueberries

1/2 cup + 2 T sugar

2 heaping T goat cheese

1 cup greek yogurt

2 T maple syrup

1 t vanilla extract

Place the blueberries and sugar in a saucepan. Cook until boiling and mash with a potato masher for 5 minutes. Puree and strain through fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Whisk in goat cheese.

In a separate bowl stir the greek yogurt, maple syrup and vanilla together. Layer the blueberry puree and yogurt in ice pop molds. Insert sticks. Freeze overnight! [/recipe]