Lentil Sloppy Joes {Recipe}

Last night was a “Whoops!” night. Supper was not planned or started. Time was running out and my brain was blank. I knew my Instant Pot would need to be called on if I wanted supper on the table by the time the ball practices were over.

So I grabbed lentils. I grabbed dehydrated seasonings.  And started throwing them together. I decided I wanted to create a recipe that would be a convenience mix, that could be made up ahead, just needing a few liquids added when it’s time to cook. A go-to in times like this. I saved my chop chop time for the raw veggies I wanted to serve with these Sloppy Joes, and did that while the joe mix was cooking.

Sloppy Joes

Yes, I eat mine open faced.

Lentil Sloppy Joes

 

  • 1.5 cups lentils
  • 1/4 cup dried minced onion
  • 2 Tbl. dried green pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried minced garlic
  • 1 tsp./cube veggie boullion/ no salt veggie seasoning
  • 1.5 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbl. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. unsulphured molasses
  • 1 pt. tomato sauce
  • 3 cups purified water
    (all ingredients organic whenever possible)

Cook at high pressure for 20-22 minutes in the Instant Pot.

Update: Last night was really an Whoops! that led to the Whoops here. What I crossed out above did work for us–twice. But I know better. Putting tomato products in with uncooked beans makes them take longer to cook. It will probably work better to cook the above without the tomato sauce.  It should only take about 8-10 minutes at pressure,  if you let the pressure release naturally (at least for 10 minutes). (For my lentils to get to the consistency we like, and doing quick release to save time, lentils take 11-13 minutes.)  Then add the tomato sauce in after the lentils are cooked. You may need to hit Saute to reduce it down at that point. I will re-make and update better directions here again. Sorry! The above (with the cross out) does work and taste delicious though. Just doesn’t cook the lentils as quick as it should.

Serve on sprouted/ whole grain buns, with plenty of raw veggies on the side.

Enjoy!

 


 

Great Guac

guacamoleOur eldest son came home over lunch today, just as I was finishing making guac. I asked if he wanted any. “Uhhh. I’ll have a taste.” Which became another, and another, and … until he’d eaten about half the bowl. “It’s better than usual.” I’m not sure whether to take that as a compliment or a cut… or neither, since I’m usually not the one who has made it when he eats it.

Regardless, it was great. Our guac really is always pretty much the same, but has slight variations depending on what we have on hand. Here’s today’s version.

Great Guac

Blend all till well mixed. If you prefer chunkier guac, mince the veggies, dice the avocado and mix and mash together.

Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator, (in a Mason Jar,) 🙂  with the pit of the avocado in the guac. That helps keep it from turning brown. (The lemon juice in it does too.)

Variations:

  • Sometimes we use a whole roma tomato, but aren’t huge fans of a lot of tomato in our guac.
  • If we don’t have jalapeño, we leave it out.
  • Sometimes we use lime juice, instead of lemon, if we have fresh limes on hand. And leave out the Lime EO.
  • If I have fresh cilantro, I use about 1/4 bunch cilantro leaves. Sometimes we leave it out completely. A “toothpick” of essential oil means put a toothpick into the oil in the bottle and stir that into the dish you’re making–for times when you need less than a drop.

Do you love guac?

 


 

 

It’s a Tropical Day in the Neighborhood

Rural midwest never feels like the tropics. But how would I know? I’ve ever been to the tropics. I have been to California and Florida–once each, mostly inside at conferences. But I have seen real live palm trees!  But a girl can dream. And a girl can enjoy the tastes of the tropics without going there, in these times. Blessings indeed. And it is even a blessing to be able to get them frozen when fresh is not available.

pina colada green smoothie

Today’s Green Smoothie is straight from the tropics, with a flavor many love, even if they’ve never tasted the real, fresh fruits. Pina Colada–Pineapple and Coconut.

Pina Colada Green Smoothie

  • 1 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh young coconut meat (no they don’t cost near this much locally or through Azure Standard)
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2 large handfuls baby spinach or other greens
  • water kefir (or fresh coconut water or purified water)
  • 1 Tbl. fresh ground flax seed (optional)

As always ingredients should all be organic, as much as you are able to find.

Blend till smooth, in a high performance blender. Enjoy!

What was in your Green Smoothie today? Comment below!


 

Can(‘t) be Beet Veggie Berry Green Smoothie

Beets are a great cleansing food. Fantastic to add to our fresh juices, green smoothies, and grated in our fresh salads. The rich red color indicates a high level of antioxidants. They are also anti-inflammatory and a great detoxifier.

beet-veggie-berry green smoothie

This delicious green smoothie, that doesn’t look very green despite the fact that it has twice as much greens as everything else put together, is higher on veggies, including beet, and lower on fruits than others. But beets and carrots are both naturally sweet, so this is not a bitter, or even savory smoothie. If you aren’t used to eating beets, you may want to start with 1/4 beet, and gradually work up in the amount you include here, due to the cleansing properties. I’ve given amounts to start with. You can certainly add more veggies than listed in the recipe.

Can(‘t) be Beet Veggie-Berry Green Smoothie

  • 1/4+ beet with greens (from whole beet)
  • 1+ carrot
  • 1+ celery stalk
  • handful strawberries
  • large handful (or 2) baby spinach
  • 1 Tbl. fresh ground flax seed
  • water kefir (or purified water)

As always ingredients should all be organic, as much as you are able to find. Strawberries are #1 on the Dirty Dozen list for pesticides. Celery and Spinach are also in the top 12.

Blend till smooth, in a high performance blender. Enjoy!

What was in your Green Smoothie today? Comment below!


 

1-2-3 Avocado Pudding

1-2-3! It’s time to revisit Avocado Pudding again. Even though I’ve never posted the recipe here before. Not sure why, since I’ve posted it in social media several times.

avocado pudding

This is a revisit because I’ve been working at converting some of my recipes from natural sweeteners to whole food sweeteners–experimenting with dates and other fruits. Since I use dates as my sweetener in a lot of recipes, I decided to try them in my Avocado Pudding. Success!

1-2-3 Avocado Pudding

  • 1 Avocado
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 Tbl raw cacao powder
  • 3 juicy medjool dates, optional to soak first (originally, 1/4 cup maple syrup)
  • 1/3+ cup water (May need up to 1/2 cup depending on size of avocado and whether you soaked dates)

Blend until smooth.

Yum!


 

Food Happens

Food happens with you start throwing things together. Good food.

Put my blueberries in before cooking my steel cut oats in my Instant Pot, because they were frozen. Had some homemade coconut yogurt I wanted to eat up. Have been experimenting with date paste as sweetener in more recipes, so had a bit of that left to use. And, as always, a sprinkle of a Tbl. of ground Flax Seed always boosts the goodness.

Result? FANTASTIC tasting Breakfast!

Blueberry SC Oats

 

What did you fuel your day with today?

 


 

 

Stir-fried Veggies & Brown Rice

My Instant Pot likes to play leading role in the kitchen these days. Last night it had to play second fiddle to the wok. Stir-fried Veggies & Brown Rice. ‪#‎simplywhole‬ ‪#‎freelyeat‬ ‪#‎instantpot‬

stir fried veggiesbrown rice ipot

 

Brown Rice instructions here.

Stir-fried Veggies:

  • Cut up lots of veggies (for long veggies, on the diagonal)–Carrots, Celery, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Onions, Garlic, Mushrooms, …
  • Stir-fry them

We like to add a sauce of:

What was in your Instant Pot last night?

 


 

Brown Rice {Instant Pot Recipe}

Rice is a staple food for many cultures, including mine personally when it is whole grain. I eat brown rice for breakfast, lunch and supper–and sometimes for a snack. Although short grain is better for “sticky” rice, in desserts and sweet dishes, and long grain better for fluffy, non-sticky dishes, and basmati and others can be more flavorful, much of the time I just use plain ol’ organic long grain brown rice, because that’s what I use the most of, so that’s what I buy in bulk, 25# bags. 

Instant-Pot-1-300x300Making rice on the stove was never my thing. I purchased rice streamers and cookers early on. My Instant Pot has simplified perfect rice even further–by cutting the time down.

Like most things around here, I keep it pretty simple, just cooking it plain, so leftovers can be used in a variety of ways. If I make unflavored, plain rice for supper, to serve super flavorful Savory Mushroom Gravy over, like I did last night, I can eat the leftover rice as a sweet breakfast, with fresh organic strawberries and coconut milk poured over it, like I did this morning. 

I make flavored rice, and use it in casserole type recipes too, but for today, we’re focusing on the basics. Make up a large pot of plain brown rice in the Instant Pot, and use throughout the week, for breakfast, lunch, supper, or snacks. I’ll share the Savory Mushroom Gravy recipe next time I make it–if I remember to take a picture (which I didn’t last night, and it’s all gone.) This morning, the little bit of leftover rice, got coconut milk and strawberries added. So here it is.

 

 
To make brown rice in the Instant Pot, use 1.25 cups purified water for each cup of organic brown rice. Just measure rice into pot and add water and close the lid. Cook on high pressure for 21-22 minutes. Quick release, and fluff with a fork right away, then let it sit on keep warm until ready to serve. 

To reheat, put 1/2 cup water in Instant Pot, put the trivet in and set a an oven safe bowl of leftover rice on the trivet. (I use Pyrex or stainless steel bowls.) Put the Instant Pot lid on and Steam (high pressure) for 5 minutes, then quick release. This is the time usually needed for my glass bowls straight from the fridge. In stainless steel, for small amounts, or not so cold, it might not take 5 minutes to heat through.

Enjoy the Whole Grain Goodness!
How do you like to eat rice?

Savory Mushroom Gravy {Recipe}

Savory Mushroom Gravy has become a family fave (except for 1 son who hates mushrooms). We love it over rice or potatoes. Although I don’t make the gravy in the Instant Pot, I do make its underpinnings there. This no-fat gravy is rich, hearty and flavorful. (You meat eaters will never miss the beef.)

Savory Mushroom Gravy

Savory Mushroom Gravy

Dry or water Saute:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

Add:

  • 3 cups veggie stock/broth (or water with 2 veggie bouillon cubes, stir to dissolve and disperse).

Add:

  • 3/4-1# mushrooms, chopped (crimini)
  • 2 Tbl. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • black pepper

Simmer until mushrooms start to soften.

Mix (I shake in a small mason jar):

  • 6 Tbl. fresh ground whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup water

Whisk in. Simmer till thickened.

Serve over Brown Rice or baked or mashed Potatoes.

I cook both Brown Rice and Potatoes in my Instant Pot. The Brown Rice link will take to instructions.

red potatoes brocolli iPot

For Potatoes:

  • approx. 3# medium red potatoes

Place 1 cup water in Instant Pot pan. Place potatoes on trivet set in pan. Put lid on. Seal. Hit Manual and 10 minutes. Quick Release is fine, or let it sit on Keep Warm until you’re ready to serve dinner.

To add the frozen Broccoli, I stopped the Instant Pot with 2 minutes left. Added the frozen Broccoli in a stainless steel pot that fits. Restart Instant Pot for 2 minutes. Quick Release. (If using fresh broccoli, you may need 0 minutes.)

Add a fresh greens and veggies salad and enjoy this hearty, potatoes and gravy dinner. Try it and let me know what you think.

 


 

 

 

Lisa’s Easy Veggie & Lentil Stew {Instant Pot Recipe}

Quick and easy, delicious and filling, and Good for You-Naturally!™ Those are the criteria I am looking for in developing most of my recipes (and looking for in others’ that I try). In other words, Freedom & Simplicity™ that’s Good for You-Naturally!™ This one fits the ticket!

It’s a recipe that had become buried in the box. We used to really enjoy it but somehow it hadn’t been made recently, and certainly not since I’d got my Instant Pot. It was time for it to come back to life. Especially now when I needed something quick and easy (time was short), something warm and hearty (spring blizzards are no fun), and as always, something both very yummy and health promoting.

Veggie & Lentil Stew

Here’s my recipe as I developed it years ago. Below that is my adaptations yesterday, when we were in a hurry. We all dove in and I didn’t think to take a pic until I was jarring up the leftovers. Yes, it makes a pot full! Fantastic lunch for today.

Lisa’s Veggie & Lentil Stew
(all ingredients are organic here, get as many as you can that way)

  • 12 c. purified water (approx.)
  • 1 c. brown rice
  • 1.5 cups lentils (dried)
  • 1/4 tsp. dried minced garlic (approx.)
  • 2 tsp. dried basil
  • 3 bay leaves (optional)
  • 1-2 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 chopped onion (or 3-4 Tbl. dried minced)
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped (or a handful dried)
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1-2 cups corn
  • 1-2 cups peas
  • 2 cups green beans
  • 2 cups tomato sauce (or whatever they’ve shrunk that can down to now)
  • 1 qt. crushed tomatoes (or whatever they’ve shrunk that can down to now)
  • nice squirt of Bragg’s liquid aminos

Add it all to the pot and simmer until done.

How it came together yesterday:

Was out of bay leaves, so they truly are optional. Used dried onion and celery. Had a big bag of frozen mixed vegetables on hand–carrots, corn, peas, green beans. Well how perfect is that?! I used 4 cups of the mix, and added an extra cup of frozen corn. I threw everything into my Instant Pot (6 qt.), filling with water to about the 4 L line. I have no clue how much water that was. I hit the buttons for high pressure and 22 minutes (the time needed for brown rice, the longest cooking ingredient) and left for Good Friday church service. We got home to stew done and on Keep Warm. (i.e. Natural Pressure Release–it was full enough it probably would have splattered if I tried to Quick Release.) The water was all absorbed, so I added more. Served it with fresh veggie sticks, and whole grain oatmeal muffins.

Mm-mm Good for You-Naturally!™ Mushrooms would have been a fantastic add-in (that I will add to the recipe card), but didn’t think of at the time (and not sure I had any on hand.)

Let me know if you make this recipe and how you like it!