lentil sausage kale crockpot stew

I have to admit, this dish isn’t too easy on the eyes. Red lentils just dissolve into the stew and leave it a creamy consistency (no cream, cheese or other dairy required!), but unless you add a ton of greenery, it’s a rather dull color.

Fortunately this recipe ends up with crazy amounts of flavor and requires almost no thought.

Into the crockpot on high for four hours:

1.5 C red lentils
3-5 uncooked chicken/pork Italian sausages uncased and cut into bit size pieces
1 small to medium chopped yellow onion
2 chopped carrots
1 chopped parsnip
5 C chicken broth
salt
dried parsley
paprika
black pepper

I threw in a handful of kale about ten minutes before serving; next time I’ll add much more. This recipe will feed a very hungry party of four with lunch leftovers for two or three.

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today’s lunch break at sara’s

And finally, Chrisanthi recently said something in Spin class that is still sitting me: “Your health is a gift, it’s not a chore.”

A nice reminder to embrace the effort to feel healthy.

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Happy THIRTEEN!

Finally, my favorite number has its time to shine…

Happy New Year, y’all!

Any crazy resolutions out there? I still remember my 2011 resolution with Mandy to try every Burgerville seasonal smoothie throughout the year. That was way more fun than dieting and exercise! And because I believe it’s important to really enjoy every moment we’re alive (in the healthiest way possible), my 2013 resolution is to savor. Savor the weather, savor the chocolate, savor the good health, savor the love…

It’s all so fleeting… we go up, we go down, we lose control and find it again. I’m going to try to pause and reflect on the good times as they come.

For me, savoring also means quality and not quantity. My appetite spiked pretty wildly toward the end of 2012, requiring so much of everything to fill me up. Nothing seemed to satiate me, and I wasn’t even thinking about the flavors or value in what I was consuming. And then I’d wake up the next morning starving for anything I could find. What a terrible cycle, resulting in much weight gain!

So with that, I’m focusing on smaller portions (eating half of what Eli eats rather than matching him bite for bite) and slower bites.

New Years Day was a beautiful one for us… more snow shoeing!

on our way up the mountain

on our way up the mountain

And homemade Cioppino for dinner with salad and my Mama’s homemade rye bread!

cioppino

We pretty much followed this Cioppino recipe, using mahimahi, salmon, clams, shrimp and scallops:

  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 Turkish bay leaf or 1/2 California bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 (28- to 32-ounces) can whole plum tomatoes, drained, reserving juice, and chopped
  • 1 cup bottled clam juice
  • 2 cup chicken broth
  • 18 small (2-inch) hard-shelled clams (1 1/2 pound) such as littlenecks, scrubbed
  • 1 pound skinless red snapper or halibut fillets, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound large shrimp (16 to 20), shelled (tails and bottom segment of shells left intact) and deveined
  • 3/4 pound sea scallops, tough muscle removed from side of each if necessary
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
  • Garnish: shredded fresh basil leaves and small whole leaves

Cook garlic, onions, bay leaf, oregano, and red pepper flakes with salt and pepper in oil in an 8-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring, until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in bell pepper and tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine and boil until reduced by about half, 5 to 6 minutes. Add tomatoes with their juice, clam juice, and broth and simmer, covered, 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add clams to stew and simmer, covered, until clams just open, 5 to 10 minutes, checking every minute after 5 minutes and transferring opened clams to a bowl with tongs or a slotted spoon. (Discard any unopened clams after 10 minutes.) Lightly season fish fillets, shrimp, and scallops with salt and add to stew, then simmer, covered, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf, then return clams to pot and gently stir in parsley and basil.

Serve cioppino immediately in large soup bowls.