If at First Your Car is Frozen…Take Your Boyfriend’s and Head to the Store

After my first attempt this morning failed, I still had hope that I might actually leave the house.  My strategy…the BOY’s car!  Since I was starting our cars every 3 hours or so, I decided that if it started at 1pm, then I would drive off in it.  And it did!  And so I did!

 

My first stop was the Dollar Store, which was sadly closed.  It’s right next to the grocery store, so it wasn’t really a problem!

 

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After the grocery store, I made a quick stop at the party store.  On my way home, I happened to pass Target and since I had my list with me of things we needed, I swung in there too.  I needed to get child locks for Cooper who continues to crawl into our cabinets under the sink with cleaning supplies.  Do you know how hard it is to find child locks when you don’t actually have a child???  Luckily, the store was pretty empty and there were plenty of people around to help.  Hint: they are in baby not home!  When I got back home, after 2 hours out and about, it felt great to soak in some Vitamin D (even in the sub zero temps).  The remainder of my afternoon was spent in the kitchen, baking up more goodies for next weekend and making food for the week ahead before crashing to watch the BCS championship game.

 

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Although we probably would have been for at least the first half of the week, now we are really all set.  It’s not like me to adapt a recipe out of a crockpot and onto the stove, but since Tuesday’s dinner was in the crockpot, I gave it a shot.  This Meatless Monday recipe turned out pretty good, but still not as tasty as our favorite Indian restaurant. I think that next time, I may use the crockpot to allow the flavors to blend a little better.

 

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And just because my phone is full of photos of him, take a look at how Cooper stays warm (yup he’s right in between the BOY’s legs) and grabs some love at the same time!

 

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Hope everyone stays warm, safe, and healthy this week!!!

And keep your fingers crossed that our cars start tomorrow!!!

 

 

What is your favorite meatless Monday recipe?

Share up your links!

 

 

Meal Planning 1/06/13

Monday: Chana Masala

 

Tuesday: Clean Peanutty Thai Chicken

 

Wednesday: Salmon with Veggies

 

Thursday: Leftovers

 

Friday: TBD

 

 

 

Chana Masala

Adapted From 5 Dollar Dinners

 

Ingredients

3 cups water

1 large onion, diced

1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes

1 6-oz. can tomato paste

2 tsp. garam masala

2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. cumin

½ tsp. cayenne pepper (use less or omit if you don’t want a quick…a little goes a LONG way)

1 tsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. turmeric

1 tsp. sea salt

2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained

 

Directions

Heat oil or cooking spray in a large Pot or Dutch oven.  Add in onions and stir frequently until soft and fragrant, about 7 minutes.  Stir in all of the spices and salt.

The pour in water, tomatoes, and tomato paste.  Stir well and bring to a boil.

Stir in chickpeas and simmer on low, covered, for 1 1/2- 2 hours until chickpeas are soft and flavorful.

Serve with rice or naan.

It’s the Final Count Down

I did my last real run this morning.  4 miles…and it went really well!

 

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The leaves have begun to fall, and it was a beautiful morning!

 

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This morning’s weather got me thinking about this weekend’s weather.  I have heard everything from perfect fall Chicago weather to 70 degrees with thunderstorms on race day.  My plan is to wait until Saturday night and then figure it out from there, but of course I am crossing my fingers for nice, cool weather.

 

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Like this past weekend…which was perfect!

 

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Who knew that crockpot weather and good running weather were one and the same?!

 

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In an attempt to keep things simple this week, I made Monday’s dinner (and today’s lunch) on Sunday in the crockpot.

 

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This curry is a lot of fun because you blend together all of your flavors and seasoning to make a sauce that tops your chicken and carrots.  See note below regarding the red pepper options. I chose to keep it sliced, but you could also blend it into the sauce.

 

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Just a warming, I thought this curry was pretty spicy (I used red pepper flakes), so adjust the spiciness to your taste.

 

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The BOY and I both LOVED this dinner and it reheats well.  My crockpot has made some really amazing dinners recently, making meals (and life) super simple, which is exactly what I needed this week.  I’ve got one last mini run before the big race and the rest of the week will be all about resting, drinking water, and trying not to injure myself!

 

 

Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Chicken

From Sweet Treats and More

 

Ingredients

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes

5 large carrots, peeled and diced

1 medium onion, peeled and quartered

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1 large bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 (5 oz ) can tomato paste

1 (14 oz) can coconut milk

1  tsp salt

1 tbsp curry powder

1 tbsp garam masala

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

2 tbsp water

1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch

**NOTE: I didn’t have as much chicken as I thought (not quite 2 lbs), so I added in 1 15oz can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained.

 

Directions

Grease your slow cooker with cooking spray. Place the chicken, carrots, and red pepper on the bottom of slow cooker. Add chickpeas if using.

Place the rest of the ingredients (except water and corn starch) in a food processor and process together until mixture is mostly smooth.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and veggies, mix well, then cover and cook on low for about 6 hours.

An hour or so before serving, mix cornstarch and water together in a small bowl until cornstarch is dissolved. Pour mixture into the slow cooker, stir to combine, and continue cooking for another hour.

 

Author’s Notes:

-The cornstarch will thicken up the sauce. When the sauce is to your desired thickness, turn slow cooker to warm setting until ready to serve.

-If you want, you can chop the bell pepper into larger pieces and place it with the chicken or you can process it in with the sauce.

7 miles and Another Weeknight (Crockpot) Dinner

It’s finally cooling off which makes morning runs so much more enjoyable!  This morning’s run was a 7 mile race pace run along the path.  My race belt and I hit the trail on this gorgeous morning.  Since my runs haven’t been real fast, I wasn’t sure what today would look like.  But I’ve run a 1:50 half marathon, so I should be able to run 7 miles in less than 63 minutes…right?!. 

 

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Two miles in I found my stride and felt strong, even with the race belt weighing me down.  For fuel, I went with a cappuccino LaraBar (a few bites at 42 minutes and the rest post-run).  I finished 7 miles striding into the driveway at 62:28.  Hooray for a race pace run (and a slight negative split)!

 

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With the marathon approaching, I have been paying attention to stretching and taking time after each run to lengthen my legs and back.  When it’s not too hot, I can stretch outside but for the most part, I’ve been working the foam roller and using my yoga strap in front of the TV on the floor of my living room.

 

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After my run, I showered and finally took one of my bikes in for a new tire.  Both of my bikes have flat back tires, which is a total bummer.  Instead of loading two bikes onto my car, I took my hybrid, which I knew I would be using soon.  There was a sign saying that the service department was closed today, but a really nice guy working at the store helped me find a new tire and fixed it up for me.  I was so grateful!

 

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I had just a few minutes when I got home to heat up some leftovers for lunch and throw dinner into the crockpot.  I’m telling you, this is ONE EASY MEAL to throw together.  I even messed up a few ingredients on my grocery list and made it work. 

 

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Number one, I only had 1 tablespoon of curry powder left.  Yikes!  So I subbed in a tablespoon of garam masala and crossed my fingers that they’d blend well.

 

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Number two, upon searching the refrigerator drawers for an onion that I thought I saw recently, I came up with only a red onion.

 

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Number three, the original recipe is made with sweet potatoes but to save time on chopping potatoes and because the BOY doesn’t like sweet potatoes, I left them out.  I’m sure regular or new potatoes could work but then we’re back to the time issue.  There was just enough time to change into work clothes, press start on the crockpot (10 hours should do), and walk out the door for work (leaving instructions for the BOY on what to do with dinner).

 

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I got home real late tonight and the BOY had already eaten half of the crockpot.  I guess it gets his seal of approval : )  I poured myself a bowl over a brown rice mixture and dug right in.  Despite a few of my shortcomings on the recipe, this turned out really flavorful and satisfying.

 

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I always find myself floored with how good of a cook my crockpot is!!!  She is hired for Thursdays the rest of the year!

 

 

Crockpot Chicken Curry

Recipe adapted from The Lemon Bowl

 

Ingredients

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 medium onion – thinly sliced

15 oz can chickpeas – drained and rinsed

½ cup light coconut milk

½ cup low sodium chicken stock

15 oz can tomato sauce

2 tablespoons curry powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cayenne powder – optional *I used 1/4 teaspoon

2 tablespoons lemon juice

cilantro – optional garnish

 

Directions

In the bottom of the slow cooker, whisk together coconut milk, chicken stock, tomato sauce, curry powder, salt and cayenne.

Add chicken breasts, onion, and chickpeas. Gently stir ingredients together to ensure that everything is evenly coated.

Cook on Low for 8 hours or High for 4 hours per crockpot instructions.

Stir in lemon juice 5 minutes before serving.

Serve over rice and with cilantro if using.

All Done

The BOY and I are All Done with Passover!

As is his tradition, he had pizza for dinner.  I’d show you a picture but the entire pie was gone by the time I walked in the door after work.

I wanted something a little healthier and because it’s a week night…easy!

 

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I found this delicious looking recipe in Mama Pea’s cookbook for Thai Veggie Burgers.

 

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I prepped my ingredients in the food processor last night and then refrigerated them.  I have never tried this with veggie burgers before, but I figured it it worked, it would be a great way to make healthy weeknight meals.

 

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When I came home, I heated up a skillet and rolled out my burgers.

 

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I fried the burgers in cooking spray ~7 minutes each side until they were warm on the inside and crispy along the edges.

 

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The Thai flavor in these burgers is strong and the texture is spot-on.  I ate my burger plain with a side of green beans.  The premade burger mixture worked perfectly!  I will definitely do it again!

 

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For dessert, I whipped up a batch of Mama Pea’s brownies (that I found a few pages later).  The toughest part was making these yesterday and having to wait to eat them today.

 

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I was a little nervous because they are healthy and vegan (although I didn’t use vegan chocolate chips, so they are not fully vegan).

 

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I sprinkled the top with powdered sugar, and the BOY and I dug into them right after dinner.

 

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I was a little nervous that he would notice the texture difference in the brownies, but he grabbed them and ran.

 

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When I asked about the brownies, he answered with a nod, smile, and a mouth full of chocolate.  That’s usually a good sign : )  These brownies are rich and cake-like…you’ll never know that they are healthy (whole wheat flour) and vegan (minus the chocolate chips)!  I bet you have all the ingredients in your house right now, so go preheat your oven.

 

On the exercise front…

I got in my first double workout this morning.  I was at the track early for a 30 minute run before changing into my bathing suit for a 15 minute swim.  It was an awesome workout with some well-deserved hot tub time at the end.  I am super sore from ‘Barbara Lite’ yesterday, and I am hoping to get registered for my triathlon this week!

 

 

Here are the recipes for Thai Veggie Burgers and Double Chocolate/Single Chin Brownies from Peas and Thank You.

Enjoy!!!

Meatless Monday for All

Hooray for Meatless Monday!

Even more exciting…the BOY participated this week : )

 

Source

 

For dinner, I decided on Curried Veggie Burgers from Pinch of Yum.  And to my surprise, I got no protests from my roommate.  Although we both eat meat, I love exploring vegetarian recipes that focus on quality ingredients and fragrant spices.  I picked up all of my ingredients at the grocery store today.  I was impressed with all of the nutrient-packed ingredients in these burgers, and couldn’t wait to see how it all came together.

 

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My one hiccup came when I couldn’t find canned lentils at the grocery store.  Does anyone know where they are?  Instead, I boiled up a batch of my own lentils, which was a bit of a disaster.  I always use lentils in recipes, but have never made them plain.  What I got was a huge mushy mess.  I didn’t worry about that too much though because I knew they were heading into burgers.

 

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I was surprised to see cashews in these burgers and excited to toast them up, take a taste, and then create the paste.

 

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Also into the mix…chickpeas, onions, carrots, spices, and brown rice.  Somehow, I didn’t have any TJ’s brown rice in the freezer, but this mix made the perfect substitute.

 

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NOTE:  This is important!  If you have a smaller food processor (like mine which is 7 cups), you might want to cut this recipe in half!  I had to do 2 batches in my food processor which made it difficult to evenly mix the spices.

 

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Ok, so once you have your doughy mixture, there is a decision to make.  To bake or to fry? 

Since I had an abundance of burger mix, I knew that I could try both.  So I threw one batch of burgers in the oven and pan fried the rest.  In the end, I think I finished with, like 20 burgers.  The fried ones were warm and soft (I liked the olive oil coating).

 

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But the baked ones were toasted and crunchy.  Both tasted great, but I think next time I would add some extra curry powder!  BTW, Lindsay suggests baking then frying the burgers!

 

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The BOY made his burger into a wrap with a variety of toppings.

 

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We both had roasted broccoli on the side, and I spread a layer of hummus over my flavorful burger.

 

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I have plenty of leftovers, so it looks like I am all set for lunch this week.  Topped with hummus and avocado, I know this will make a filling midday meal!

Lindsay’s website has the full recipe and all of the tasty details, so definitely head her way before next Monday!

 

 

Did you go Meatless today?

What are your favorite meat free meals?  Links Welcome!

 

 

More Meatless Monday Ideas

Baked Barley Casserole with Mushrooms and Squash

Chickpea Tagine

Moroccan Couscous with Saffron

Spiced Quinoa Stuffed Squash

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry

Vegetable Quinoa Burgers

Second Workout of the Year

I slept 12 hours last night!

 

I’m not exactly sure what that means or why that happened, but my eyelids were heavy around 9:30pm last night and when I opened them this morning it was almost 10am.  Crazy!

 

First thing I did this morning was check on my STEW.  Then, I whipped up some breakfast (so I could take this morning’s round of antibiotics) and for the sake of my stomach threw back a GoodBelly shot.

 

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Breakfast was an egg with spinach on a sprouted wrap covered in salsa.

 

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The perfect pre workout fuel which I devoured while watching last night’s Biggest Loser episode.  After breakfast, I bundled up (check out my adorable new headband) and hit the path for a run.

 

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I had a few things working against me on this run.  The main one being the war waging in my gut between my antibiotic and probiotic.  I wanted my antibiotic to win the battle in my sinuses and was hoping the probiotic could pull out victory in the gut.  Since it was my first run in over 2 weeks, I had little expectation.  I set out on a 4.6 mile out and back route knowing that I could walk at any time and even cut the route by 1/2 mile if needed.  By the time I made it to the path, I was happy that I had worn my trail shoes.  Despite the almost fully melted snow in our neighborhood, the concrete path was about 50% snow with intermittent patches.  But the sun was shining bright and the forest preserve peaceful…it was easy to put one foot in front of the other and enjoy my first run of the year.  I was slow and tired when I rounded the corner back onto our street and my runner’s high was slightly lessened by the dull ache in my sinuses.  My watch read just under 47 minutes making this morning’s run a slow and steady second workout of the year.

 

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I was definitely ready for a late lunch.  I poured Chickpea, Butternut Squash, and Red Lentil Stew onto a mix of couscous and quinoa for a satisfying post run meal.

 

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The entire time I was eating my lunch, I kept exclaiming how amazing this stew tastes!

 

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This is seriously one of the best meals that has ever come out of my crockpot!

 

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And my crockpot works hard so that is definitely saying something!  I ate lunch with some cucumber water (I have been getting really tired of plain water, so if you have suggestions on how to spice it up, please let me know) and a grapefruit that I split with the BOY (who was not interested in trying my stew).

 

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After lunch, the BOY and I went out to run a few errands.  It was such a warm and sunny day!  Check out what we discovered while out and about 4 minutes from our house.  A Yogurtland!!!!

 

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A few hours later, we came home to drop of our groceries and shopping bags.  Then, decided on an early dinner at Mediterranean.

 

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There was some talk while we were out about planning meals for the weak, but we really didn’t hammer anything out.  Although I’d like to get back to meal planning this year, I was okay winging it this week because we have tons of homemade leftovers crowding the fridge.  For dinner, I ordered a salad with juicy and flavorful chicken.

 

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It was a healthy way to end an entire day of clean eating and exercise!  I’ve got a few dark chocolate squares for dessert and I know the BOY will be eager to find a few of these hiding in the freezer.

 

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As of now, I am resting my tired legs (man, it feels SO good to be sore) while watching the Indiana v Penn State Basketball game.  After the long weekend, I feel like I am still on vacation (did I already forget those 3 days of work last year).  I have a full week back in the swing of things coming up, and I have a feeling I will be in bed early again tonight (although I don’t think I can get another 12 hours of sleep).

 

Hope you had a Marvelous Monday!

First Workout of the Year

Finally!

I made it to Hot Yoga yesterday morning with my Mom!

 

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recycled picture but we were just as bundled up!

 

I really haven’t done much activity the past few weeks, so I had to remind myself a few times during the intense class that it is okay to hold back and rest.  But I LOVED getting back into my weekly workout routine, and it was even more special to have my Mom yoga-ing right next to me.  After class, I tried to convince her to come to Whole Foods with me, but she was headed another direction in search of veggies for her own Healthy New Year Soup.

 

I love shopping at Whole Foods!

 

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I picked up some fresh fruits and veggies to make one of Jenna’s hearty stews.

 

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And then came home to chop veggies and warm up the crockpot.  Right on cue, the BOY started to smell the Indian flavors from upstairs and hollered down ‘Honey, what are you making? Smells Good!’

 

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I’m hoping that he will dig right into the stew and won’t even notice the butternut squash.

 

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Without interesting (to me anyways) football today, I was a little bit lost with what to do with my Sunday.  After I got my stew into the crockpot, I baked up some Pumpkin Pear Bread.  Then did a little bit of cleaning and organizing before settling into some comfy clothes on my couch.  I was really excited to finish my book Eat & Run, and it did NOT disappoint!

 

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This recipe requires about 10 hours to get a thick and hearty stew.  Perfect for a Sunday!  The only problem…I was exhausted last night and not going to be able to stay awake until 10pm.

 

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So I put the BOY in charge of unplugging the crockpot and putting my stew into the fridge before he came up to bed.

 

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I was eager to see (and taste) the results this morning!

 

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These pictures don’t even do it justice!  Not only is this the ideal stew texture, but the flavors are incredible.  Everything blends together marvelously, so you know what I will be eating for lunch today.  I love having a house full of healthy food options and fingers crossed, I will be getting in workout number 2 today!

 

 

Crock Pot Chickpea, Butternut Squash

and Red Lentil Stew

From Eat, Live, Run

 

Ingredients

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 tbsp olive or canola oil

2 large carrot, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

2-3 tsp garam masala

1 butternut squash (about 3 lbs–average sized), peeled and chopped

1 28-oz can diced tomatoes in tomato juice

1 quart vegetable broth

1 cup red lentils

2 15-oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1-2 tsp sea salt (to taste)

 

Directions

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion, carrot and jalapeno and sauté for about six minutes. Add the minced garlic and sauté for 30 more seconds, and then add the garam masala, stirring well to coat. Take off heat.

Place the chickpeas, butternut squash, canned diced tomatoes, red lentils, vegetable broth and onion mixture in your slow cooker. Turn the heat on LOW and cook for 8-10 hours…the longer you cook, the thicker your stew will be.

Season with sea salt to taste and serve with minced cilantro on top (I didn’t do this). This stew freezes extremely well and will keep in the fridge for up to five days.