Posts Tagged 'carrots'

Red Lentil and Carrot Soup

Mike just turned 31, and the celebration lasted days.  Pizza one day, cake another, and on day 3, the Vitamix arrived.

Ellie was almost as excited about it as he was.

If I’d had this when I made this soup, I definitely would have pureed it, but since I was feeling exceptionally lazy (and was still without this amazing blender), I just left it chunky.  I think it would be great either way.  It’s incredibly simple with just a few ingredients, and with a thick piece of crusty bread and a simple salad, dinner is done!


(adapted from BBC Good Food)

Udon with Peanut-Hoisin Sauce

I think I sometimes take for granted how great it is to have a happy, healthy kid.

Ellie was a little bit sick a few days ago and it was pretty much the saddest thing ever. She only had a fever of 101 and it was very short-lived, but for about 24 hours, she was totally not herself.

Our loud, independent girl suddenly morphed into a timid baby who just wanted to be held for hours on end. We were happy to provide her with all the cuddling she needed, but it was a huge relief when her temperature and personality went back to normal.

I got this cookbook a couple weeks ago and have been using it constantly. I’m always on the lookout for fast, healthy meals, particularly those that contain lots of vegetables.

This recipe called for linguine but I think udon makes more sense with the flavors. Plus, peanut sauce is one of my favorite things ever, so I knew I would like this.


Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This is my favorite cake. Last year out of nowhere I decided I wanted carrot cake with cream cheese frosting as my birthday cake, which was a serious departure from the chocolate-on-chocolate birthday cakes of the years before. Now I’m pretty sure it’s my favorite cake ever. I just have 2 simple requirements: raisins and pineapple. The pineapple flavor compliments the spicing SO perfectly, and the raisins add just the right amount of textural contrast.

I found this recipe on the absolutely beautiful Sweetapolita and made just a couple changes. I halved the recipe to make a 6″ cake (because as much as I may have wanted to eat a bigger cake, that’s probably the last thing Mike and I need right now. I also added raisins because it’s just not carrot cake without them. I left the coconut and sour cream out of the frosting to keep it simple. Plain cream cheese frosting is a beautiful thing.

In other completely random news, Mike was feeling a little nostalgic about Korea (it happens rarely, but it does happen), and picked up a few things at the Korean grocery store up the street.

I think it’s hilarious he actually bought Hite, because the entire time we lived in Korea, we both complained about how awful it was. In the bowl are the crunchy snacks you can’t have beer without. The little square plastic container has yellow pickled radish that quickly became one of my favorite foods in Korea.

My running this week was kind of sporadic. I have been really tired lately, so I think I need to switch back to morning treadmill workouts to make sure I get the miles in. Yesterday morning was absolutely PERFECT – 60 and sunny, so I did an easy 6.5 miles and felt awesome.

There were a ton of people running around the lake, including lots pushing their kids in running strollers. I can’t believe that will be me in just a few months!

After my run, I came home to my new obsession.

I was really skeptical about $60 socks, but I LOVE these, and I see why they’re so popular! I haven’t tried running in them yet, because I feel like you look ridiculous in them unless you’re really fast, but people say they actually DO make you faster, so I might have to try it someday.

(adapted from Sweetapolita

makes 1 6″ layer cake; double the recipe for a 9″ cake

1 8-oz can crushed pineapple in juice, drained
2 cups grated carrot
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
pinch ground ginger
1 stick (4 oz) butter, softened
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp golden brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup raisins

12 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) butter, at room temperature
1/2 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
2 cups sifted icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease two 6″ cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger together in a medium bowl.

Stir the vanilla and milk together in a small bowl.

Cream the butter in a stand mixer and add the sugar. Beat for about 3 minutes on medium, or until fluffy. Mix in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.

Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix gently. Stir in half the milk and. Repeat with remaining flour and milk, ending with the flour. Stir just until all traces of flour disappear. Fold in the carrots, pineapple, and raisins.

Divide evenly among pans, and bake for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the eges and turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

When cool, cut each layer horizontally in half so you have 4 layers.

Fill and frost the cake, then refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

French Green Lentils with Tomatoes

Obviously, dessert posts are MUCH more popular than posts like this. Which sounds better, a brownie or a bowl of stewed lentils? Pretty sure you’re going to go with the brownie. But sometimes, honestly, we just need this simple, healthy food.

I always heard (well, in the last couple months when I was actually paying attention to pregnancy-related things) that the second trimester was by far the best. There were promises of increased energy and no more nausea. Um, where do I sign up for that? I got a couple weeks of slightly more energy but now I’m back to feeling really tired and sluggish, plus now I get these super fun headaches. I know it will be worth it in the end, and I know it could be a lot worse, but sometimes I just wish I could have an extra 3 or 4 hours a day to sleep.

I’m not totally Debbie-Downer though. I found out today that I got a good review from my principal, and I’m not getting a pink slip! (That’s kind of unusual for first year teachers in California – there were about 20,000 handed out but I got lucky.) I’ve also been baking a ton lately which is always fun if not completely healthy. And I’m still running. Kind of. Once since that 18 mile slog on Sunday… At least it’s light until 7:30 now!

Other than that, I’m constantly finding new ways to avoid writing a huge paper analyzing my teaching. I can procrastinate with the best of them. I’m reading Girls of Riyadh, obsessively playing 7 simultaneous games of Words with Friends, re-organizing my classroom, and of course perusing way too many food blogs. But it’s good, because it inspires delicious vegan dinners like this one!

Ina Garten isn’t exactly the first name that comes to mind when I think of vegan recipes, but she has a TOTAL winner here. French green lentils are so much more appealing than the standard brown ones, and the mix of curry powder and tomatoes and sweet carrots is just ridiculously comforting and delicious. Plus after eating a big bowl you just feel so healthy, and who doesn’t want that?

(adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home)

2 tsp olive oil
2 yellow onions, diced
4 medium carrots, diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 cup French green lentils
2 cups water or vegetable broth
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp dried thyme
1-2 tsp salt

Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook for about 5 minutes, or until soft. Stir in the garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute.

Add the tomatoes, lentils, water or broth, curry powder, thyme, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper to the onions. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to low, cover, and cook for about 45 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Check on them about every 15 minutes and add more water or broth if needed. Taste and adjust seasonings before serving. Excellent served over a mix of jasmine and brown rice.

Bulgur and White Bean Salad with Tarragon

Once again the weekend went by WAY too fast, but at least it was a good one and I don’t feel like I wasted a moment of it! Here’s a little re-cap (which I promise WILL tie in with this recipe).

Saturday started VERY early at the National Science Teachers Association conference.

I went to a bunch of different presentations which all (obviously) revolved around teaching science. It was really inspiring and convinced me even more than I already was, that I’m in the PERFECT profession for me. That’s a good feeling.

After that Mike came into the city and we did some shopping. I am nowhere near ready to shop the maternity section yet, but I definitely need tops with a little more room. I’m still at that awkward “is it a beer belly or a baby?” stage, so I’d like to disguise it as much as I can. Mike had been talking all week about surprising me on Saturday night. He had a restaurant picked out but wouldn’t give me any clues about it until we arrived. He picked a winner!

Gracias Madre is a vegan, organic Mexican restaurant and it is AWESOME! I tried to take pictures of the food but it was dark inside, and nobody wants to see overly grainy, yellow pictures of unidentifiable food, so I’ll spare you. Their vegan Caesar was INSANE. Romaine in a perfect, creamy dressing with chunks of avocado and topped with toasted pumpkin seeds. I kind of wanted to go stalk the open kitchen until I figured out the dressing, because it was so good. I also got mushroom enchiladas (good, but the mushrooms were over-salted and the tortillas were under the filling and sauce instead of wrapped around them, which was kind of weird). The mole was superb though… just the right amount of sweetness. They came with black beans and the BEST kale I’ve ever had. Ever. And I’ve eaten a fair amount of kale in my life. It was crisp but not undercooked, slightly spicy, and really garlicky. LOVE.

Usually after Mexican food I just feel bloated and gross, but even though I ate until I was pretty full, it was a satisfied and good full, not an I-need-to-put-on-sweatpants-immediately-or-I-will-pass-out full. It definitely helped that they didn’t bring chips to the table…

The time change kind of messed with me like it always does and I didn’t get started on my 18 mile run until 8:30 (SUPER late for a long run!) The highlight of the run? I saw some buffalo!

I have no idea why Golden Gate park has buffalo, but they do…enclosed in an electric fence AND a tall chain-link fence. The run was pretty awesome until about 15 miles. Then I started feeling kind of dizzy and weak, so I chugged a bunch of water and walked for a few minutes. I felt a lot better after my walk break, and my knee held up pretty well, so that was a plus. Boston is only 5 weeks away!

Between the run and the amazing vegan dinner, I realized I’ve been relying WAY too much on bread and cheese as staples lately, and I know I can do better for myself and my little parasite/fetus. So I need to make a lot more things like this. I mean, I still have a brownie recipe I’ll share later this week, and I made some pretty fabulous (but not so healthy) pizza on Friday night, but I’m going to try to get back to focusing on healthy, whole food vegetarian and vegan meals. Lets see how that goes…

This was the first time I think I’ve ever had fresh tarragon, and if you like fennel, you will love it! It has a slightly licorice-like flavor, and it really mixes nicely with the vinegar and shallots here. I love fine bulgur, because you don’t even need to cook it! Just give it about 15 minutes to soak and it’s ready. The recipe originally called for green lentils, but I really liked it with white beans instead. And the toasted walnuts are a must for both crunch and flavor! Mike made lettuce wraps with it, which looked pretty tasty.

(adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook)

2 cups cooked and drained white beans
1 cup fine bulgur
1 1/2 cups water
1 large shallot, finely chopped
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 medium carrots, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
3 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted until fragrant
romaine leaves (optional)

Combine the bulgur and water in a medium bowl and set aside to soak for about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Stir the vinegar and chopped shallot together in a small bowl and let stand for about 10 minutes.

Put the celery, carrot, and beans in a large bowl. Stir in the bulgur, shallot mixture, and tarragon and drizzle with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over romaine if desired, topped with a sprinkling of toasted walnuts.

Guinness Beef (or Tempeh) Stew

Two years ago we spent the two weeks before Christmas in Ireland, and pretty much everyone we met there thought we were absolutely nuts for leaving beautiful California and going to Ireland for such a cold, rainy time of the year. But lucky for us, the weather was perfect, the Guinness was plentiful, and we ate ridiculous quantities of hearty meat-and-potatoes Irish fare. One of the best things we brought home from the trip was a cookbook by Darina Allen, who is, as far as I can tell, the queen of Irish Cooking.

For Christmas Eve dinner this year, I wanted to incorporate as much Guinness as possible into the meal, and also to use up that giant bag of potatoes I seem to be writing about in every other blog post. So I turned to Darina for boxty pancake and Guinness beef stew recipes, (substituting tempeh for the beef in my portion because I no longer eat meat). It was a great dinner, but really made me wish there was a pub down the street where we could go to catch a traditional music session. Maybe next year…

Note: I made this recipe in two slow cookers. I made about 2/3 of the recipe with 1.4 pounds of beef in a large slow cooker, and 1/3 of the recipe with 4 ounces of tempeh in a small slow cooker. This was more than enough to feed myself and three meat-eaters.

Also: Christmas may be over, but if you’re still feeling that giving spirit and you’ve had a food blog for at least a year, Kristen over at <a href=";Dine and Dish is still looking for mentors for Adopt-a-Blogger. Read all about it and sign up HERE

(adapted from Irish Traditional Cooking by Darina Allen)

2 pounds lean stewing beef (or two 8-ounce packages of tempeh)
3 tbsp oil
2 tbsp flour
salt and pepper
2 large onions, chopped
3 tbsp canned tomato puree, mixed with 4 tbsp water
10 fluid ounces Guinness stout (look for the bottle with the yellow label, NOT the cans or bottles of Guinness draught)
5 large carrots, cut into chunks
a few tsp fresh chopped parsley

Cut the meat or tempeh into bite sized cubes. Toss the beef with the flour and a few pinches of salt and pepper (omit this step if using tempeh).
Heat the oil in a dutch oven or wide, heavy skillet. Brown the meat on all sides (or briefly saute the tempeh cubes).
Add the onions and tomato puree-water mixture (and salt and pepper, if using tempeh), cover, and cook for about 5 minutes.
Transfer to a slow cooker.
Pour about half the Guinness into the dutch oven or skillet and bring to a boil while stirring.
Pour that and the remaining Guinness into the slow cooker and add the carrots.
Cook on low for about 6 hours.
Taste and adjust the seasonings, then sprinkle with a little fresh parsley to serve.


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