Saturday, February 26, 2011

Wow! Can we say MIA?!?

I can't believe it's been almost four months since I have posted!  Life has been crazy busy, as you can well imagine!  The past four months have been so insane that I don't feel as though I've had time for anything. 

Let's see...what has happened...I hosted my first thanksgiving...I started a young professional leadership course in town (which has been an amazing, enlightening, and enthralling experience)...I'm taking an independent study course on Congress & Public Policy (and boy am I behind)...we've gotten a new commander at work which has been incredibly stressful...oh, and I'm now an almost full fledged vegetarian. 

I did Vegetarian Month again in January and really enjoyed it.  I'm just not enjoying meat like I used to; needless to say, I've continued it.  I've had meat a bit here and there, but it was only a few weeks ago that I realized I really needed to do it for my health.  Due to a bad reaction to beef, I came face to face with the fact that eating vegetarian is really better for my body.  I will include fish, but I'm pretty much done with land creatures.

Mad About His Bath
Cooking is still an avid love of mine--I just really love GOOD food.  I have some black beans cooking on the stove right now for dinner and I made a delicious Spinach, Feta, and Tomato quiche for breakfast.  I'm getting ready to have some leftover Mac n Cheese from a local place for lunch.  I had a serious craving this week and Hubby wouldn't let me make any because "it's too much work for a Friday night."  So, on a recommendation from a friend, we went to Mezza Luna for dinner last night and I had their mac n cheese...made with 5 cheeses.  Mmmm....

The fifth anniversary of Whatley's adoption was yesterday.  It's really hard to believe he's been with me for five years!  He is such a wonderful part of my life. 

And finally, because everyone should know this...French Lentils are one of the best comfort foods.  They have become one of my favorite things when pared with balsamic vinegar and fresh Parmsean.  Here's a dish I came up with on Thursday night.  I had taken a sick day and was scrounging around the kitchen for dinner, trying to figure out what to make.  Let me tell you, it worked!

French Lentils with Wheatberries
Recipe by Stacey

1 cup Wheatberries, washed and picked over
4 cups water
salt and black pepper
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced or smashed
1 cup French Lentils, washed and picked over
3 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2" pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable base
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, optional
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
parmesan cheese

Wash and pick through wheat-berries.  Soak in water if you have time.  Put wheat-berries and 4 cups of water in a medium saucepan.  Add salt and black pepper; cover and bring to a boil.  Boil rapidly for 1 hour 15 minutes, until cooked.  Berries will still be chewy.

While wheat-berries are cooking, heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium to medium-high heat.  Add onion and cook until fragrant, translucent, and just beginning to brown.  Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute.  Add cumin, thyme, marjoram, bay leaves, and pepper.  Stir to combine, then add the lentils.  Pour in three cups of water and the can of tomato with juices.  Stir, cover, and bring to a boil.  Boil for approximately 30-40 minutes.

Add the lentils and vegetable base, stirring to combine; recover and cook for 15-20 minutes more, or until potatoes are soft and lentils are cooked.  Taste and adjust salt as necessary.Stir in cooked wheat-berries and simmer for 10 more minutes.  Top with white wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar.  Serve with parmesan cheese and more balsamic vinegar.