Sloppy Sams: A Lentil Adventure

Here’s a few thoughts:

  1. Lentils are dirty.  If you’re going to use them, rinse the heck outta them.  And then, if you’re me, after you cook them, rinse them again.  Gross.
  2. Despite wolfing down many during camp lunches, I don’t really remember what Sloppy Joe’s taste like.
  3. I know that Sloppy Sams taste great.

Unlike the whole Soy Chorizo situation, I didn’t seek out this recipe to replace some sort of meat that was missing in my life. I just saw a recipe online, and figured “I have good memories of Sloppy Joes, right? Lots of camp memories, lots of laughter at the old lady in Billy Madison, let’s do this thing.”

Alas, I didn’t don a sexy lunchlady outfit for y’all.  But I found a great recipe!  Then I changed it to fit my needs.

Sloppy Sams from Marian at All Recipes!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup lentils, rinsed (THEN RINSE THEM AGAIN!!)
  • salt to taste (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped tomato One can fire roasted tomatoes, and a handful of fresh tomato
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup ketchup a liberal squirting of ketchup, but I didn’t measure it out
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder RATS I didn’t have any, I wish I did
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (then more because I’m a spice monger)
  • 3 tablespoons molasses Tomatoes are already sweet, why add more sweetness?
  • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 hamburger buns, split Whatever bread you have!
  • Cheese and jalapenos for topping!
Makes about six servings!

Directions

  1. Combine water and lentils in a saucepan; season to taste with salt if desired. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, cook onions with the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until the onions have softened and turned translucent, about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes (and can of tomatoes) and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, ketchup, mustard powder, chili powder, molasses and Worcestershire sauce; simmer 5 to10 minutes until thickened.
  3. Drain lentils and reserve cooking liquid. Stir lentils into sauce mixture, adding cooking liquid or water as needed to obtain the desired “sloppy joe” consistency. Serve on buns toasted wheat breadwith a sprinkle of cheese and some jalapenos!

I enjoyed the HECK out of this!

De-LIGHTFUL!

I also sprinkled a bit of cheese on top and, next time I’ve got em, I’ll add some jalapenos (pickled or fresh) on top for a little heat.

I will say, though, this recipe makes enough for about 6 servings.  Now I have a Simba-sized tub of leftovers.

How about THIS?!

Consider me Rafiki!

That ought to tide me over (had to check on that phrase, I never know if it’s Tie or Tide) for a while.

Dessert was what I like to call The Friend Killer.

DESTROYER OF LIVES!

It may look like just a banana with some peanut butter to YOU but, to me, this is basically a weapon.  In college, two of my the people I was closest with (and one that I continue to be close with, since he’s my boyfriend and all) were deathly allergic to these two ingredients (one to bananas, one to nuts).  If I’d eaten this around them, they’d basically both go into anaphylactic shock and die.

Well, when the friends are away, the Jordan will play…. with her food. I may or may not have “Pew Pewed” holding this banana like a gun a few times, before eating it.  Normal.

(No friends [or enemies] were hurt during the writing of this blog).

Back to work!

Are you allergic to anything? Especially food?

When I was younger, I was allergic to eggs…. but clearly that’s faded. Nothing else, other than that. I guess I’ll just have to keep eating random foods until I find something.

Meatless Monday: Soy-WHATNOW?

We’re all lucky that my keyboard allows my wrists to rest on it because, after today’s workout, my arms weren’t feeling up to much action.  In fact, I think my brain was also a little wonky post-workout… Hence my ridiculous tweet upon my return to the house.

I promise, that made sense in my head. Translation: Sore arms are about to become jelly. Then, I’ll just have to be a jellyfish.

Right?

I don’t know.

The point is, it was a SOLID day at the gym!  I was having major workout ADD, and couldn’t decide what I wanted to do.  Solution? DO IT ALL!

A Hodge Podge of working it!

I hit up the group fitness room at the gym for a 5pm CX Worx class. CX Worx is a “revolutionary core workout” by Les Mills that is choreographed to some cool jams and lasts about 25-30 minutes.  I’ll do a more serious post about this one day, but, to sum it up, it tears your core a new one.

At 5:30, the always-crowded Body Combat class was scheduled.  I fended off the dozens of newcomers in the room to secure myself a spot and, as always, after only a few minutes, I was drenched in sweat. It’s such a killer cardio workout but, I’ll be honest, sometimes I get a little bored just punching and kicking for a full hour.  Time to switch it up!

CIRCUIT TRAINING! The last 30 minutes of my 1.5 hour workout were spent with a new trainer, Jessica, doing circuit training with medicine balls, steps, mats, and ViPR tubes!

ViPR Tubes, racks on racks! (click image for source)

These hollow tubes of various weights and sizes do some SERIOUS damages on your shoulders as you’re flinging them around, lifting them, throwing them, rolling them, or jumping around them. Though I’ve only just tried ViPR training for the first time, I know that this is definitely a hardcore workout and, if there are any other free classes offering them (they’re normally $15 a session), I’ll definitely sign up.

With all the punching, planking, ViPR-ing, and pushups, my body was furious with me.  I decided to suck up to it with a special meatless treat.

Taco Pizza with Soy Chorizo!

(Hilarious bonus: Russ realized that the name of the product, Soy Chorizo, translates to “I am sausage.” His response?

No, you’re beans, not delectably ground up little piggies.

Bahaha.)

All the good stuff

With a base of (what else?) Trader Joe’s whole wheat pizza crust, I layered on lots of salsa as the “sauce” and decided it was time to try this Soy-rizo out.  After reading the directions (which explicitly state to REMOVE the casing before cooking it) I removed the heck out of that casing.  The faux-meat bits crumbled out of the plastic(?) casing and into my frying pan. It smelled so good as it was cooking and I knew I was in for a treat (despite my initial fears that soy-whatever would be lame and nasty).

I also fried up some red onion, sauteed some spinach, and added some avocado bits (which should be a topping on anything/everything) and a lowfat mexican cheese blend.  Pre-heated?

Don't worry cheese, I'll melt you soon.

And then, about 14-18 minutes later (I just kept checking for a golden, crisp crust), I pulled out a molten pie of cheese and fake meat.

You're so money, and you don't even know it.

This “meat” MADE the pizza! It had a great amount of spice, the texture wasn’t off-putting at all, and while I didn’t bite into it and think MEAT I did bite into it and think “Man, I wanna take another bite.”

Soy chorizo, I wanna put you inside of all my dishes. Salad, maybe an omelet, enchiladas? Why not? And, for $1.99 a tube, that’s a bargain if I’ve ever seen one (and I have. They’re all I seek out.)

Have you ever tried a vegetarian/vegan replacement for something and found yourself pleasantly surprised?

I love this and I’m a huge fan of the Morningstar Hot & Spicy breakfast “sausage”. Mmm.

Eggplant Stack Attack!

You know what I don’t use enough of?

a. My grill pan.

b. My loaf pan.

c. Eggplants.

d. All of the above

If you guessed d, you might already have an idea of what I whipped up for dinner the other night.  One of this week’s goals in my fitbook was to try a “Meatless Monday” this week. It had nothing to do with plans to be vegetarian or vegan (I have 3 pounds of pork in the slow cooker right now, and just used bacon grease to cook my beef burger for dinner).

Might as well be a burger. (not.)

Part of the move followed an episode of The Chew from last week, in which the entire hour was devoted to meat-free meals and snacks, which is normally what they mock Daphne Oz for pushing.  But as often as I’m laughing AT Daphne and not with her, I like the idea of reducing my carbon footprint.  It’s so hot, right now (by it, I mean the Earth… global warming and all).

It was actually easier than I thought it’d be due, in part, to the fact that I can’t resist a good deal on a giant purple fruit tube.

Sorry tube, you go in a tummy

I cut the eggplant into slices and pretended that they were like the noodles in a lasagna.  This is especially important to note because I don’t really love lasagna all that much.

But I loved this meal.

Sauce Boss

I loved it even more when the cheese melted.

Loaf Pans are supposed to be full of cheese, veggies, and sauce. Never bread. Is that right?

So I missed that part of the Healthy Living Summit where everyone learned to write perfect, printable recipes.  Here’s what you get, instead:

Ingredients

  • 8 slices of giant eggplant (cut relatively thick)
  • Sauteed spinach (I prefer fresh, but have tried it with frozen and it worked A-ok!)
  • Sauteed onions, peppers, or whatever you like (If I ate olives, I bet there would’ve been some in there)
  • Mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese
  • Sauce (Sockarooni if you’re a smarty)
  • Crushed red pepper and oregano
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a loaf pan with some cooking spray (I like the Olive Oil kind)
  2. Grill those eggplant slices.  I did it in olive oil and salt and pepper, on a grill pan.
  3. Layer them in a loaf pan, four across.
  4. Top THAT layer with your sauteed spinach and veggies.
  5. Top THAT layer with a sprinkling of parmesan and mozzarella.
  6. Repeat steps 2-4 again
  7. Top the final layer of cheese with a flew blobs of sauce
  8. Cook in the oven for about 15 minutes-ish, or just check it periodically until you like the “done-ness” of it all.
  9. Spatula it out of your loaf pan, cover it in crushed reds, and serve!

    You should have about 2 servings, so save one for the next day’s leftovers (it just gets better after a night in the fridge).

Certainly won’t be featured in the Joy of Cooking anytime soon, but that’s exactly how I did it.

Hot enough for ya?

What’s your favorite “Meatless Monday” recipe?

Share, it’s a new thing for me! I’m always late to the party (especially when the party has no meat.)

Top of the Hill Goes Green! And a beer review!!

Good evening ladies and gentlemen!!

I actually went to Chapel Hill’s Top of the Hill last night for dinner with the beau.  I’ll admit, I’m a huge fan of Top of the Hill (or TopO as most of us Tar Heels call it).  However, to be totally honest, most of my nights there look something like this:

Sucking back lemon chasers post birthday-cake shots...

Stalking Tyler Hansborough (or any other UNC superstar)

You know… the usual.

The drinks are a little more expensive than your average UNC/Franklin Street bar but, honestly, you get what you pay for: the food’s good, the beers are handcrafted, and the view… well you can’t beat it.

Love it. Source

However, last night, thanks to a LivingSocial deal from a while back, we had a date night to TopO followed by a viewing of Harry Potter 7:2 (it was amazing… but that’s a post for another day.)  I decided I wasn’t in a beer mood, and went with a diet coke to drink.  I stepped out of my box in other way, too, and ordered this:

Edamame Burger, if you please!

On the menu tonight: The Edamame Burger, a house-made soy bean vegetarian patty with lettuce, tomato, red onions, tzatziki sauce & sweet potato fries. And for my stepping outside of the box… I was rewarded!  The burger was delicious!!  It certainly didn’t taste anything like a burger, but it was light, it was flavorful, and the tzatziki sauce paired nicely with it (though the sauce was a little thin for my liking.) The rest of the toppings (onions, tomato, lettuce) were crisp and fresh, good quality. On the side, the sweeet potato fries, which I love in a romantic sense.  Normally, I’ll get the sweet potato fries appetizer, which includes the fries covered in cheese (cheddar and gorgonzola!!!!!!! AHHHHH!!!) but I knew that the fries stood strong on their own, so I enjoyed every last bite.  I’d recommend this to anyone, vegetarian, meatatarian, pizzatarian…. it’s just a superior dish, and a steal for less than $10 (but only by 1 penny.)

Since I didn’t have a beer last night at TopO, Ryan and I decided to pair dinner tonight with a new beer we’ve never tried!!

Cottonwood Endo IPA, in a Harp glass. Don't get confused.

The Cottonwood Endo IPA from Carolina Beer Company (the website is very weird/confusing, but there’s the link if you’d like) poured a lovely gold color, lots of carbonation, and honestly, I was just excited because it was from Mooresville, NC (not even 3 hours from where I live, and the hometown of a friend of mine!!)  The smell was hoppy, and I was pumped to take a sip.  It was the sip, though, that burst my bubble.  It’s not that this is a bad beer, don’t get me wrong.  Even at first taste, I thought I tasted maybe some sort of citrus flavor somewhere.  But after letting it sit on my tongue for a bit, the taste went away and was replaced with a bare bones beer flavor (or lack of flavor).  Basically, what I’m saying is that the flavor was short lived, and there was little to no mouthfeel of any sort.  Like a pale ale that just kind of gave up…  It’s a shame, because I wanted to love this beer.  Alas, there’s plenty of love lost.

The only redeeming quality of this beer: drinkability.  I am already on my second one and think, if I wanted, I could have another.  I don’t want to…. but if I did, I’d be set.  I still have hopes for Carolina Beer Company… but not high ones.