Saturday, July 29, 2006

Lentil tostadas, mac and cheese

Lentil Tostadas with Pico de gallo
These are one of my favorite go to meals when I need something quick. I almost always have cooked lentils on hand, so all I had to do was make some pico. This pico had tomatoes, red onions, cilatnro, pickled jalapeno, lime juice and some of the habanero sauce.
I used my cast iron skillet and corn tortillas sprayed with cooking spray, crisped them up then topped them with the warm lentil/pico mixture. Just before serving, I added avocado and more pico. The zukes and summer squash were steamed and sprinkled with sea salt.

Mac and Cheese

I used low carb macaroni for this. Sometimes I like to use the low carb stuff because it has such a high protein content and a serving size fills me up. I have a tendency to want to overeat pasta, even whole wheat pasta. This low carb pasta had soy flour and wheat gluten flour in it and had 16 grams of protein per cooked cup of pasta. The "Cheese" sauce was based on a mixture of recipes I've read, I just threw it all together in my vitamix. I used 2 cups of plain, homemade soymilk, a handful of cashews, a whole roasted red pepper, lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder, a spoonful of miso, sea salt, and about 2 tbsp of nutritional yeast. I blended it for around 3 minutes and poured it over the hot pasta along with a couple of tbsp of the Light Smart Balance.. (That is vegan, right?? The store was out of Earth Balance.) It was delicious. Hit the spot.

I also made Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.. no pic though, because we lost power last night for around 8 hours and we had to eat it all so it wouldn't melt in the freezer lol.. It was absolutely delicious..... but very fattening due to the cashews I used. I didn't follow a recipe, but remembered hearing people talk about cashew ice cream. I used 4 cups of homemade soymilk. This had stevia and vanilla flavoring in it. I added around a little less than 2 cups of cashews.. (told ya it was fattening!), 2 capfuls of mint extract, stevia and 1/8 tsp of xantham gum and blended it in the vitamix for at least 3 minutes. I chilled that for 3 hours and put it in the ice cream maker and added dark chocolate chunks during the last 5 minutes. (as far as I can tell, Baker's brand of dark chocolate chunks are vegan..well, they have sugar in them, but I'm trying to do the best I can!).. everyone was very impressed... and my husband said he didn't even want to try it. He said that almost sugar free, vegan, cashew ice cream was something he didn't need to even think about, let alone try.. but he did and he liked it. My next ice cream experiment will be Cherry Garcia. I want to find a way to make it rich and creamy without that amount of cashews though. I'm thinking silken tofu, xantham gum and maybe 1/2 of cashews. My ice cream maker makes 1.5 quarts. The stevia works very well, so I don't have to worry about replacing the sugar.

We had a pretty big storm last night. A huge tree in our neighborhood came down on a home and crushed it along with two cars. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but I feel so bad for the people who had so much damage to their home.

My oldest son is home! I'm so glad he's here. Now my younger son is gone until Tuesday, camping with a bunch of friends. I am very uneasy about this, but you have to let go, ya know? He's 13... he'll be having Air Soft Wars in the woods (Can you believe I allow my children to have Air Soft Guns? oy.. I used to say they'd never have ANY sort of toy gun.. and now they have these.. again.. it's about letting go and not making a huge deal out of something.)... the thing that scares me the most though, is that he'll be riding on dirt bikes and 4 wheelers... I trust the people he's with to make sure they stay safe, but it's hard to trust others with your children, especially doing things like this.

**In case you don't know what Air Soft Guns are, they are similar to BB guns, but with small, plastic pellets that won't do damage like BB's will. I am searching for biodegradable pellets... do any of you know where I can buy them? It's all the rage with boys right now.. I've been shot with one and they smart a little, but don't damage like a BB does. Eye protection is required.


  1. Hi Mel, love the post! I am sending good thoughts and positive vibes to your neighbors who were literally hit hard by the storm. That is so unfortunate. This time of year seems to bring on all sorts of unforseen damage with storms that no one prepares for. But how can you prepare for trees falling, flash floods and the like?

    The power was out for EIGHT hours by you? Wow. That is a long time! It went out for four hours at my folks' house last week when i was over there for part of that time and it was so bizarre. We never have that here in SoCal... it's very rare!

    As for your food, i am a huge fan of mac and cheez and have it whenever i can. I also have a difficult time with portion control with pasta dishes. It is hard to stop once you start... and it's not exactly the most "slimming" of dishes the way i prepare it... Way too much cheese or chreez. Lovely lentil tostadas. How can you go wrong with that? I wish i had the patience to make them! The ice cream must have been good! How "awful" to have to eat it all because it would have melted otherwise... NOT! I know, i know, probably it was fattening, but don't the health benefits outweigh (no pun intended) the caloric content? If only, huh!?

    About the gun thing... i always said if/when i have kids, no guns. But that is not what happens. I have six nephews and i know. Even the most sensitive, mild-mannered ones... they love the "cops vs. robbers" thing and paint ball is like the greatest thing to some of them. Crazy stuff!! But boys will be boys... and some girls too. I was not the Barbie doll type of girl growing up but neither was i rough-and-tumble. I knew and know plenty of both! Still, guns never were my thing and they are not today. It must be difficult to deal with that, Mel. Innately, boys are wired for this kind of thing, i really believe that. I hope that doesn't sound prejudicial on the part of guys, but it seems like what it is.

    I won't even start on the pro-hunting faction where i work!!! ARGH!

  2. The curry recipe you posted on Cafe Cyan looks delicious! I may have to try that sometime soon as I only have one curry recipe but love its flavor!

  3. Those meals look great. That mac n cheese looked like cow cheese to me, and I am so excited because I love this list of ingredients and haven't had mac n cheese in over 7 years. Yum.

    My mom said the same thing about low-carb pastas, that they aren't terrible like they sound and are filling. As for the Smart Balance, I thought it had whey or some sort of milk derivitave but I am unsure.

  4. Just a correction to the list of ingredients for the cheese sauce.. I added several squirts of yellow mustard too.. that helped with the flavor and the color.


  5. I'm really feeling the tostadas.
    I'm glad that a lot of tastey ice cream eating came from the power outage :)


  6. mmmm that ice cream sounds delicious. Actually everything does.

  7. Mint Chocolate Ice Cream? Vegan? Where do I sign???

  8. God both those look good!

    Mel- Farm Sanctuary is definitely worth the trip (we travel about 5 hours to get to it... and cross the border). Their gift shop is really awesome too, it's 100% vegan stuff.

  9. I've been reluctant to make fake cheeses because of the unusual ingredients (tried nutritional yeast once with poor results), but your mac and cheese recipe looks "normal". My non-veg daughter loves mac/cheese -I think I could get her to try your recipe and the lentil tostadas.

  10. Mmmm tostadas! Mmmmmm! Macaroni & Cheeze! Ice Cream! You're killing me over here. I can't wait to hear how the Cherry Garcia turns out.

  11. I’ve made lentil tostadas before, they were easy and delicious! Maybe I’ll have some for dinner soon, I just picked up a few heirloom tomatoes at the farmers market that would be perfect for some fresh pico de gallo.

    I love your mac’n’cheez picture! I also like that your recipe is lighter on the nutritional yeast than others that I’ve seen. I want to experiment with other brands because the smell has put me off of the stuff I have right now, but I hate buying new products if I’m not sure I’ll like it and I also don’t want to waste what I have on hand. I bet with just a couple tablespoons in a whole batch I would be ok with it though. I’ll be giving it a try.

    The ice creams sounds awesome, I’m jealous! What a “shame” you had to eat it all so quickly…lol. Can’t wait to hear how the “Cherry Garcia” turns out.

  12. Double yummers. I love Mexican food, especially in the summer. Your mac-n-cheese looks like it could convert a few omnivores.

  13. damn. that looks great!

  14. I am really digging the looks of those tostadas! Great work. :)

  15. Ooooh love the lentil tostadas... gotta try that one.

    I am real eager to try mac and cheez too... will have to get cooler before I try that though.

    Great post!

  16. Yes!! Mac & Cheese. Mmmmm! So yummy. I made a huge pot of 15 bean "mush" tonight for dinner and as soon as we polish that off, I'm definitely making some mac & cheese. They tell us that the power can go out for long times here and being from SoCal, I'm not used to that. I'm not even sure if I could find a flashlight if something happened tonight. Thanks for the reminder. I'm going to get prepared this week.

  17. Too bad about the storm. I love storms, but hate storm damage. At least you had ice cream to keep you company! I love mint ice cream and mint chocolate rocks too.

    I kinda went overboard the other night - bought 2 scoops (although I can rarely finish 1 scoop) 1 scoop of Minnesota Mint and one of Double Chocolate. I figured I'd eat half and put the rest in the freezer...well, that didn't happen. Oops!

    Love the mac and cheese recipe - thanks!

    I had to fire a real gun (rifle and handgun) in my community police academy class. I've held a fear of guns for so long and I thought I could be strong and shoot them, but I broke down shaking and crying. It was so traumatic for me. Ugh...I still get the shivers just thinking of it. The police officers were really kind to me about it.

    So, I can imagine it would be hard even with fake guns. At least he's keeping active!

    Oh yeah - thanks for the curry recipe! I will try that tonight I think. Thanks again!!


  18. Lentil tostadas - yum! Why didn't I think of that?

  19. Tostadas, mac and cheese and homemade mint choc chip ice cream!!! OMG!! Everything looks and sound so good. I am going to try your mac and cheese. I love nutritional yeast, though, and I usually add petite peas to it.

  20. Melody,
    Thanks so much for sharing your great ideas with us! I love this blog!!! It helps me so much!

  21. Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

    Its my favorite.. thats the one I get from co-op and whole foods all the time..