Thursday, February 7, 2013

Lentil and Split Pea Stew

Well, Wesley is 3 months old now.  Which means, its about time I thought about losing those final sticky 5 pounds of pregnancy weight I've been holding onto.  OK, I admit it...I've been thinking about those pounds for awhile now. I seem to lose the weight I gain during pregnancy pretty easily until I get down to the final 5 pounds. That's when I hit the inevitable road block. Losing weight at that point becomes really hard because 1. I have all kinds of bad habits I got into during the free-for-all calorie bonanza known as pregnancy (yeah, my BRAIN knows I'm not really eating for two fully grown adults, but my HEART knows I need to give birth to a baby the size of Fat Bastard from Austin Powers) and 2. If I go on a calorie restrictive diet my milk supply suffers and effectively, puts my baby on a diet, which is bad. Babies should not diet.  Plus, I was having some serious issues with sugar cravings that I knew would cause it to be very difficult for me to simply cut back on things like sweets and bread and Caramel Mocha Frappucinos with extra whip.  So, I went to good old Amazon and browsed diet books.  I read reviews.  It was a review for the book The Virgin Diet, by JJ Virgin that won me over.  A woman who did the diet said that she now finds herself eating a meal and then not thinking about food again for 5 or 6 hours until its time to eat again.  That made me jealous.  I was at this point where all I could think about was food.  It took major self-control not to be stuffing food into my face all day long.  I would eat breakfast at work and then start watching the clock for lunch.  I was constantly snacking or going off in search of snacks.  Which gave me the attention span of Dory from Finding Nemo and made me feel like I was giving everything less than 100% effort. 
If the Virgin diet could make me think less about food and more about all the other important things in life than I was ready to give it a try.  I knew if I could just stop eating so much between meals, those final 5 pounds wold probably come off pretty easily.  The long and the short of it is, it worked.  I won't go into the specific details of the was only about 12 bucks to buy the Kindle version and if you want to get rid of food cravings and lose a few pounds I highly recommend it.  Anyway, this is an original recipe that I developed based on the specific restrictions of the Virgin diet.  Its healthy and delicious.  I had a nice big bowl of it and then I only died a little bit inside when everyone else was eating the warm banana nut chocolate chip bread that I made for dessert and couldn't have any of because it contained flour, sugar, eggs, peanuts AND dairy, all of which are forbidden for the first 3 weeks while on the Virgin diet.    

  •  2 tbs coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1/2 white or yellow cooking onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped 
  • 3 large tomatoes, diced or one carton Pomi tomatoes 
  • 1 tspn salt freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 cup lentils (I used red; they're pretty) 
  • 1 cup split peas 
  • 6 cups water
  • green onion, chopped for garnish 
Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium high heat.  Add the onion, carrot and pepper and cook until softened, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds. Add the tomatoes and salt and pepper. At this point you may also add in any dried herbs you like. I used about a teaspoon of dried basil in mine. When the mixture is simmering, add the lentils, peas and water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes until the lentils and peas are fully cooked. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Top with a dollop of sour cream or try my dairy free coconut crema (recipe below) and chopped green onions.
Coconut Crema for garnish
  • 1 cup coconut milk (full fat in the can) 
  • juice of 1/2 lemon 
  • 1/4 tspn salt
 Whisk ingredients in a small bowl. Spoon onto bowls of lentil stew or any other kind of soup.

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