Friday, September 29, 2023

Spiced Lentils in The Instant Pot

I love my lentils cooked firm, not mushy. The Instant Pot is the perfect (and easy) way to get a perfect lentil.

This spicy lentil recipe is delicious. It can be eaten as a plant-based entree with a salad and or a cooked vegetable such as butternut squash, or it can be made into my delicious (link to recipe) lentil loaf or even lentil meatballs.

Vegetable, Lettuce, Romaine Lettuce

However, my favorite way to eat spicy lentils is in a lettuce cup. 
After easily making my lentils in the Instant Pot, I simply use Romaine lettuce leaves and fill them with the hot or room temperature seasoned lentils. I spice up the lentils rather nicely, so they are quite tasty. I also sometimes use the lentils the next day when they are cold right from the refrigerator.

Low-fat Lettuce Cups With Spiced Lentils 

Try them on (GF) bread with avocado, tomato, and basil
cooked dish on plate

Plant-Based meals help save the planet 
It's up to us to save our environment!!
"If each and every person in the United States gave up meat and dairy products on one or more days of the week; ideally, all days of the week, we would save the environment from thousands of tons of carbon emissions.  In fact, in one year, animal husbandry creates as much carbon emissions as the entire transportation sector." (source)
Perfect Lentils in the Instant Pot 
It doesn't get easier than cooking lentils in the Instant Pot. For this recipe I simply wash the lentils, open a jar of chunky organic salsa, add some water and seasoning and set the Instant Pot to pressure cooker for 12 minutes. The result is amazing.

All the Prep (chopping) Ingredients in One Jar
I'm obsessed with using chunky salsa in my recipes. 
I use an organic brand that contains organic onions, tomatoes, sweet pepper, hot peppers, and garlic (It's from Aldi's).  I love the combination of flavors and it saves me time finding quality organic vegetables and prepping and chopping them. I'm amazed myself what a time saver it is and how much I've grown to depend on substituting salsa for chopped vegetables (onions,garlic, chopped tomatoes, peppers, etc.) in many of my recipes.

Lentils are hearty and filling protein sources for fall and winter 
Although this lentil recipe would taste great during the summer, I tend to eat lentils when the weather gets a little cooler. Since our temperatures dipped into the low 50's this week, I started to think about some heartier warming meals. Lentils are a rich protein source that feels hearty and warming to me.

tri colored fall mums in a planter on the porch

Instant Pot Spicy Lentils

2 cups of dry brown lentils, washed well
2 cups of chunky salsa (mild, medium, or hot- you choose)
3 cups of water 
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 tablespoon of whole cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
Optional: additional hot pepper

Pour the lentils, salsa, water, cumin, garlic powder, and cumin seeds into the metal liner of the Instant Pot. Set the timer for 12 minutes. When it is done, allow the Instant Pot to sit for about 25 minutes until all the steam has escaped. When all the steam has escaped, carefully open the pot and enjoy your spicy lentils.

bowl of brown cooked lentils

My Notes: 
1. This plant-based recipe is naturally gluten-free and vegan.
2. Eat it with :  
  • Steamed Butternut Squash 
  • Mashed Potatoes 
  • Baked Sweet Potato
  • Steamed Baby Spinach or Broccoli
3. If you like a lentil that is more wet and saucy, try my recipe for 

a red bowl filled with lentil dal, vegan,

If you are interested in a healthier plant-based lifestyle and recipes,  you can find lots of free inspirational recipes right here on my blog, or at websites such as  Forks Over Knives or Plantiful Kiki   

Future Food Summit In Philadelphia (Oct 20-21)
 Mark your calendar for Oct 20-21 for the Food Summit in Philadelphia. Chef AJ will be teaching a cooking class on desserts, along with many other amazing speakers. Truly an impressive gathering! It will be held at the Cira Center in Philadelphia - a beautiful building with a waterfall and live plant walls. The documentary film, the Spirit of Rice by Sheri DeMaris will be shown. Tickets are $125 or $225, good for 2 days. Vegan food will be served Details at Future Food Right Now

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Pumpkins and Mums, But Where is Fall?

I'm starting to get ready to pack up for Florida for the winter. 
We will be leaving in 3 weeks, so I'm really hoping to enjoy some fall weather here in Pennsylvania before we leave. 

trees on a street

I bought 3 pots of colorful mums today for our front porch and one for under our tree. The rust colors and bright yellow and golds feel like fall. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Air Fryer Roasted Potatoes-Oil-Free

potato wedges on white ceramic plate with rosemary

Roasted potatoes can be made in the air-fryer and are absolutely delicious. I make them oil-free, which substantially reduces the calories and fat yet they still taste really good.

What do I use instead of oil to crisp up the potatoes? 

Sunday, September 24, 2023

The 25 Hour Fast and Yom Kippur

Free Synagogue Jewish photo and picture

Tonight at 6:30 PM EST,  I will begin a full food and water fast that will last for 25 hours. It is the Jewish day of atonement, called Yom Kippur!

It is the holiest of all Jewish holidays lasting from sundown to sundown. It comes just 10 days following the beginning of our new Jewish New year according to the original Jewish calendar.  

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Not Eating Red Meat? Plant-Based Iron Sources

Not eating red meat? 

Where will you get your iron? It turns out that there a plenty of plant-based (vegan) foods that supply a significant amount of iron, in fact in many cases, more iron than in beef! 

Free Plate of Assorted Vegetables Beside a Plate of Nuts and Beans Stock Photo

How much iron does a man or post menopausal woman need? 
8 grams of iron per day (a pre-menopausal woman needs 18gm/day) 

Beef: A 4 oz serving of lean ground beef provides 2.5 mg of iron which is about 14 percent of your daily value (source)

Which non-meat (non-heme) sources have more iron?

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Black-Eyed Peas With Onions and Spinach

bowl of cooked black-eyed peas on paisley table cloth

Have you ever cooked black-eyed peas? They are flavorful, creamy, and easy to make.

If you are looking for ways to increase your fiber intake, beans may be a logical solution. With just 80 calories and zero cholesterol, a cup of cooked black-eyed peas provides over 8 grams of fiber as well as many valuable nutrients and some protein. (other beans contain up to 15 grams of fiber)

Thursday, September 14, 2023

End of Summer Recipes and Fall Soups

Free Sunflowers Field photo and picture

Summer has been slow to say adieu with the mid-day temperatures still lingering in the lower and upper 80s. Thus, local summer farm produce is still readily available. I a finding an abundance of corn, cherry tomatoes, eggplant, and zucchini still available at the farm stands!

I was looking through end of summer recipes that I had posted over the years (13 years of blogging) and selected six of my favorites to share today. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Cape Cod Zucchini Mint and (Vegan) Feta Salad

This zucchini, mint, and feta cheese (I used vegan cheese) salad makes a perfect side dish or interesting appetizer! I'm calling it Cape Cod zucchini salad because that is where I first was introduced to it.

Friday, September 8, 2023

Waldorf Salad with Vegan Dressing

Red Apples hanging on the branch of a tree

It's the beginning of apple picking season, and I have Waldorf salad on my mind!  I'm sharing my vegan spin on this popular classic. 

Free Apple Fruit photo and picture

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Computer Issues and The Story of Three Technicians

Free From above of unrecognizable woman sitting at table and typing on keyboard of computer during remote work in modern workspace Stock Photo

Why haven't I posted on my blog in a week? It's a long story!

My husband and I pay for a yearly computer service with a major chain store that gives us free yearly computer tune ups. They go through the computer and look for viruses, unneeded programs, and lots of other stuff to help it run faster. They work remotely, so I don't have to take my computer anywhere. 

Free Desktop Computer with Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Stock Photo

The other day, I decided to sign up for the tune up. It was rather painless and quick. My computer was worked on remotely for about an hour and half. 

However, when the remote technician was done ( it's a big company and the tech person may have been working from overseas) my Facebook, instagram, and lots of features were no longer working and the technician was gone (without a goodbye or any communication) too!! 

Free Mosque Stock Photo

WHAT!!!!! My computer worked fine before the tune up, and now it was obvious that something was amiss.

Since my computer was no longer capable of accessing the program for remote access, after a few phone calls, it was decided that I needed to drive the computer to the actual store in my local area. They made an appointment for me, and I waited to take my computer in. 

Free Usa Flag Waving On White Metal Pole Stock Photo

It was Labor Day, so I was surprised they made an appointment for me for that evening at 7:40 PM.  When I arrived, the major chain store was EMPTY and the employees were laughing, goofing off and just plain having fun together. 

Free DIY Emoji Easter Eggs Stock Photo

The young man who was scheduled to assist me looked disappointed that he had to leave his friends. His disinterest in my computer problem was evident. After explaining the situation to him, he opened my computer and verified everything I had already observed. I tried to explain to him that the remote tech person may have deleted a program by mistake or forgot to re-instate it and I wanted him to check for such an error. 

Free Grey Bird in Close-up Photography Stock Photo

Nah! He was too disinterested and just decided that I would need to leave my computer for 2 days so a REAL tech person could work on it. 

A day later I was notified that the REAL tech person went through and found 4 threats that the remote tech person missed. Satisfied, they deemed that my computer was now fixed and ready for pick up. 

white iMac

I return to the store and was greeted by the disinterested tech guy from the night before who didn't recognize me despite spending 20 minutes with me before closing (duh??). Anyway, he proceeds to retrieve my computer from the "fixed" pile and proceeds to check me out. 

"Wait ! Stop"!!  I said to him.

red stop road sign on green grass field during daytime

"Could please turn on the computer to make sure all is working before I drive back home". 

Well what do you know?? It still wasn't working!!!!!

dead end signage

Now I am FRUSTRATED AND FURIOUS as I explain to whoever would listen that there was NOTHING wrong with my computer when "they" did the tune up, and NOW I can't use Instagram, Facebook, my mail, Blogger, etc. 

The REAL tech person just shook her head as if she had no part in this and wasn't getting involved, but the disinterested tech person all of a sudden became interested and actually listened to me when I said, "Let's figure out which program is needed to use FB, Instagram, Yahoo mail, and Blogger." 

I asked if my Javascript was working (which I had also asked the day before and was ignored).. and a light bulb went off in his head and he said "that must be it". 

Free Clear Light Bulb Placed on Chalkboard Stock Photo

He (disinterested tech) re- enabled Javascript ( something I did not know how to do) and problem solved!!  all's well that ends well. My computer is working!! YAY! 

Free Word Printed on a Card Stock Photo

My computer was out of commission for 4 days due to the 'tune up" . This is my first post for the month of September!!

If you have ever read Lori's blog  at  Culinary Adventures with Lori , you may be familiar with her weekly post that includes "Who Needs a Good Slap"? 

This week I am giving a good slap to: 

Remote tech person, disinterested tech person and REAL overnight tech person- JEEZZ!!