Slow cooker lentil soup

soup2This week I’m trying out some light meal planning, particularly for lunch. I never quite know what to eat and too often I end up buying fast food. My fast food lunches aren’t that expensive, usually about $3.75, but I know I can eat healthier and cheaper when I make food myself.

So for the next few days I’m going to try and have homemade soup and salad for lunch and see how that goes. Maybe a sandwich sometimes if I need some extra food.

Early this afternoon I made a pot of lentil vegetable soup in my slow cooker. I’ve never made soup before using the crockpot so it was a bit of an experiment. I just tried it and it’s pretty good! Basically you just put all the ingredients in and set it to cook for 7-8 hours, it’s very easy. Here is the recipe 🙂

Slow cooker lentil soup

  • 8 ounces brown lentils (1/2 of a one pound bag), rinsed
  • 5 cups water or chicken broth
  • 3 chicken bouillon cubes (omit if using broth)
  • Tomato paste, 2 heaping tablespoons
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme, optional

Add everything into the slow cooker and set on low. Cook for 7-8 hours.

I stirred the soup around hour 5 just to mix everything together, but this isn’t necessary.

Hot chocolate recipe: dairy-free and sugar-free

I love dairy but recently dairy just isn’t loving me back and I’m finding that I get fatigue, bloating and just generally don’t feel well when I have dairy products.

I’ve been switching over to non-dairy milks, including almond, coconut and soy milks and I’ve definitely been feeling better because of it, so I think it’s a lifestyle change I’m going to try and stick with (although I do love real Parmesan cheese with pasta that’s a tough one to let go of).

Today was super cold and this afternoon I had a craving for a treat, specifically something chocolatey. However I didn’t want to have a calorie monster like a big slice of cake or a giant cookie and ruin my appetite for dinner, and also possibly bring on a binge.

So I gave it some thought and decided to try and make hot chocolate. I really enjoy hot chocolate, it’s delicious, soothing and warm and felt just right for what I needed today.

I had some of the ingredients at home already but I needed to buy the cocoa powder and vanilla extract.

I like the recipe I came up with, however because I’m not using standard ingredients like dairy milk and white sugar you may definitely need to tinker with it to have it fit your taste needs.  I made it for myself, so the recipe only serves one. As a bonus, it’s  also low in calories!!

The ingredients I used:

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Hot Chocolate: Dairy-Free and Sugar-Free

Serves 1

1.5 cups almond milk, unsweetened (sweetened is fine, you may prefer to use less stevia)

1/4 cup non-dairy creamer

1.5 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon stevia powder, or to taste (note: check the label of your stevia as sweetness levels can vary widely)

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch salt (optional)

In a saucepan add all ingredients except the vanilla extract. Over medium heat whisk in all the cocoa powder. When hot chocolate begins to gently simmer turn off heat and add the vanilla extract. Serve and enjoy!! 🙂

Super simple iced tea recipe

Iced tea is definitely one of my favorite drinks. It’s healthy, simple and also very inexpensive if you make it at home (an added bonus). You can drink it as-is or give it a little extra sparkle with lemon, lime, sugar or whatever else you like.

A few months ago I came up with this simple recipe and I think it makes delicious iced tea. Essentially it’s just two tea bags and some water! It’s not an exact science so feel free to modify the recipe however you like. Here’s how I make it:

Super simple iced tea

2 tea bags, black tea

water, to fill a pitcher 2/3 to the top

Directions:

Microwave a mug of water for 2.5-3 minutes. Very carefully remove from microwave and set on flat surface. Add tea bags and let steep for 15-20 minutes until tea has cooled down.

Fill a pitcher with water about 2/3 of the way to the top. Water can be cold or room temperature. When tea has cooled remove tea bags and pour into the pitcher. That’s it!  🙂

The iced tea tastes best chilled or over ice.

Some photos are always helpful 🙂

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Water and the cooled tea before they have been mixed together.

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A close up of the tea. It has steeped for about 20 minutes and has cooled down. Steeping it for long time gives the water extra flavor which is good for iced tea so it doesn’t become too diluted.

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The finished product! This pitcher of iced tea will last me a couple of days. It’s an easy, inexpensive drink that I really enjoy.

Super Simple SautĂ©ed Cabbage

I made this simple and delicious side dish to go with dinner tonight. I had my favorite rice and beans recipe which is also easy to make.

Cabbage is one of my best-loved vegetables because it’s cheap, cooks quickly and is delicious. Adding cabbage to soups, stews and casseroles can also give them healthy volume without being heavy.

Having a good amount of vegetables in a meal can be helpful for me in preventing a binge. If I feel full and healthy after a meal I often feel better about myself and this can be helpful in not bingeing afterwards.

Super Simple Sautéed Cabbage

Serves 2

1 small head of savoy or regular cabbage, or 1/2 of a regular sized cabbage

2 teaspoons canola oil

1 chicken flavored bouillon cube

1/3 cup warm water, plus more if needed

Pinch of ground pepper (optional)

Remove any damaged leaves from the cabbage and rinse.

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Carefully slice the cabbage into thin slices.

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Dissolve the bouillon cube in the warm water.

In a large skillet with a lid, heat on medium heat and add the canola oil. When the pan is warm add the cabbage and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the water (with dissolved bouillon) and mix well into the cabbage. Stir for another 30 seconds. Cover the pan and turn the heat down to low. Let the cabbage steam, stirring occasionally for 4-5 minutes or until soft but still bright green in color.

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Serve with your favorite meal! Add a pinch of ground pepper on top for extra flavor.

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Real life recipe: Beans and Rice

In the past few weeks beans and rice has become one of my favorite go-to recipes. It’s fairly simply to make but really delicious and healthy. I always feel good, body and soul after eating it. It’s also an inexpensive meal to make which is a great bonus.

I made this recipe for dinner tonight. Overall I’m feeling pretty ok about my eating today. I didn’t binge which is a huge victory. All day I’ve been suffering the effects of yesterday’s binge, the symptoms include bloating, a feeling of heaviness and fullness in my stomach and headache. I feel like tonight though that the effects of yesterday’s binge are starting to lessen, I hope I feel better tomorrow.

Beans and Rice

Serves 2-3

3 cups cooked brown rice

1 medium yellow or sweet white onion

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

2 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

In a saucepan cook the brown rice and set aside. Warm up a frying pan on medium heat with the oil and add the onion. Cook until onion is fairly translucent and starting to look cooked.photo4

Add the black beans and stir until fully mixed with the onion. Add salt and pepper to taste. Next, mix in the brown rice and cook until warmed all the way through. photo5

I serve this with cooked steamed vegetables on the side. Tonight was green beans. Salsa and wedges of lime are also nice.

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