Jess Finds Balance

My journey to finding a healthy balance with eating, exercise, and life in general

Autumn First September 28, 2010

Filed under: Food — jessfindsbalance @ 7:29 pm
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It’s been absolutely gross here in the Boston area this week, with temps in the 70s and lots of rain. Tomorrow we’re supposed to see some sun, though! Looks more like summer weather than fall, though.

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I found this recipe for squash, lentil and chickpea stew on Eating Well a couple weeks ago and have been dying to make it. Tuesday is the day that I have dinner on my own while Dave is at his class, so I decided that today would be the day to test it out.

This is a slow cooker recipe, which is so convenient for weeknights. It does require planning, though, so if you’re a fly by the seats of your pants for dinner kinda person, you could opt to make it on the stovetop that night instead. I must say that slow cooking is awesome because it melds the flavors so well and everything gets nice and soft 🙂 Whenever I make slow cooker recipes, I always prepare everything the night before, and then put it on to cook in the morning.

To make it, I first soaked 3/4 cup dried chickpeas in water, leaving about 2 inches of water on top of the chickpeas so that they have room to expand. I let them soak overnight.

Last night, I chopped 1 medium butternut squash, peeled (you can peel it yourself or buy it in the store already peeled), 2 large carrots and one white onion and put it in my slow cooker.

Then I added 4 cups of chicken broth,

2 tbsp. tomato paste,

lime juice, lots of ginger (fresh is best, otherwise dried is fine), cumin, garlic powder, a pinch of saffron, a bit of cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.

Did you know that saffron is the world’s most expensive spice? I made sure to conserve and only used a pinch!

I also added one cup of red lentils and the drained, soaked chickpeas.

All ready to go:

I cooked it in the slow cooker on low heat for about 7 1/2 hours. Then I mixed everything well to mash up the squash and carrots. Here’s the finished product:

I decided to just have it on its own, although you could serve it over brown rice, bulgur or whole wheat couscous. It’d also be nice with some fresh chopped cilantro, crushed peanuts or plain greek yogurt.

Another thing I love about stews? Leftovers! This left me with enough for five other meals!

I like to bring a whole bunch to work and leave them in the freezer there. I take them out a few days before I know I am going to use them. Our freezer at home is so crowded, so it helps to make room for everything else in there and means that I don’t have to carry as much to school every day.

For dessert, I made my first baked autumn fruit of the season. This is one of my favorite recipes to make in the fall and is so easy. I started out with one gigantic Jonagold apple, one bosq pear, and one bartlett pear.

I chopped them up into one-inch cubes, then tossed them with some lemon juice (~3-4 tbsp.), apple pie spice, cinnamon and splenda. You could also use honey, agave nectar or maple syrup. Baked in the oven at 375 degrees for about 35 minutes.



I had a few bites for dessert, in addition to some Moose Tracks light ice cream. I know, I shouldn’t be eating dairy with my stomach in its precarious state!

I’m taking it easy tonight, reading my book and watching Glee in T-32 minutes. I actually had to come home early from work today because my stomach was so upset. I felt so bad leaving my kids, especially since they have a test tomorrow, but they did receive a study guide on Thursday of last week! Let’s keep our fingers crossed that they studied sufficiently!


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