Monthly Archives: October 2011

Comfort Food: Dal Curry

For the past few months, Binks has decided to cut meat (save fish) from his diet.  My job has then been to make sure he incorporates healthy proteins to ensure he is full and satisfied with what he eats.

The easiest, cheapest and tastiest way to do this?

Lentils.  Specifically, dal curry.

There are several ways to prepare dal, but this is the absolute favorite for me.  It’s comforting and flavorful.  On top of it all, it packs a healthy punch.

I used to make this version often (given to me by my MIL) until I perfected this version.  Now, it’s one of those dishes where I’m absolutely satisfied with the results and acts as a “go-to” recipe for me.

For this recipe, I use yellow split lentils as it cooks fairly quickly and does not need the overnight soak that other lentils typically require (i.e. urad dal).  You can also use masoor dal (red lentils) as it cooks quickly, as well.

Dal Curry
Ingredients:

–  1 cup dal (I use yellow split lentils or toor dal)
–  2 cups water
–  1/4 tsp turmeric
–  1 tsp salt
–  3 tbsp olive oil
–   1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (adjust to your taste – if unsure, start with a scant 1/4 tsp and go up if you want)
–  1/4 tsp cumin
–  1/4 tsp turmeric
–  1/2 tsp coriander
–  2 tsp ginger paste (you can also just grate fresh ginger)
–  2 serranos, diced (you can use jalapenos and/or adjust the amount per your taste)
–  1 small onion, diced
–  3 cloves garlic, minced
–  2 small tomatoes, diced
–  big pinch of garam masala
–  salt to taste

For tadka:
–  1/2 tsp cumin seeds
–  2 dry red chili, tear apart with your hands
–  pinch of asafeotida
–  1/2 tsp garam masala
–  2 tbsp olive oil

Directions:
1.   Place 1 cup dal, 2 cups water, and 1/4 tsp turmeric into pot and boil until the dal until the dal is soft.  Mash some of the dal in the pot.  Add salt to the dal mix.
2.  In a separate pan, heat oil over medium-high heat, and add cayenne pepper, cumin, turmeric, coriander and ginger paste (or grated ginger) and fry until the raw smell of the spices vanish, about 2 minutes.
3.   Add the onion, garlic and serranos (or jalapenos or any other pepper you decided to use) and saute for another 4 minutes until the onions have browned a bit.
4.   Add the tomato and cook for another 5 minutes until the tomatoes have softened and mixed with the spices and onion mix.
5.  Add the dal mixture (water and all), and lower the heat to medium.  Now, taste to see if you need more salt and add if you need.  Once properly salted, add a pinch of garam masala to ‘finish it off’ and stir to incorporate.  Cook the dal over medium heat for about 10 minutes.  (At this point, if you want the consistency to be more watery or soupy, add boiled water, 1/4 cup at a time until it reaches your desired consistency.  I prefer my dal a bit thicker so I just usually add 1/4 cup.  Remember, as the dal cools, it thickens so add water accordingly.)
6.  While the dal is cooking, in a separate pan, you prepare your tadka.  Over medium-high heat, heat olive oil.  Once the oil has heated, add cumin seeds and let it sputter for approximately 1 minutes.  Then add the dry red chili, asoafeotida, and 1/2 tsp garam masala.  Cook until the raw smell of the spices is gone and the red chili peppers have toasted a bit.
7.  Pour the tadka into the dal and stir.
8.  Serve hot, preferably with rice.

I love the combination of this dal curry with brown rice.  Talk about hearty and perfect for a fall night.

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8 Comments

Filed under Dinner, Favorites, Indian, Vegan, Vegetarian

Chocolate Chip Cookie Covered Oreos

You think you know but you have no idea.

When you assume that this is just a Levain-style chocolate chip cookie, you make a cookie “ass” out of you and me.

It’s the inside that matters.

Yes, I went there.

And, it started like this.

That led to me deciding that these would serve as a perfect baby shower favor.  Now the only question is how many to put in one bag.  Each cookie is quite hefty, which is perfect for those that want to die of an immediate sugar high right after the shower.  Or those that want to kill themselves from baby shower boredom (I don’t fool myself into thinking that it’s fun just because it’s mine – that’s why we’ll serve liquor.)

I tested these at our neighborhood National Night Out and everyone LOVED it.  I cannot stress LOVED enough.  So much that one neighbor said these cookies were ‘sick’.  It took me a while to realize it’s a good thing.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Covered Oreos

Recipe from Picky Palate  (she is a genius)

Ingredients:
–  2  sticks of unsalted butter, softened
–  3/4 cup light brown sugar
–  1 cup granulated sugar
–  2 large eggs
–  1 tablespoon vanilla extract
–  3  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
–  1 teaspoon salt
–  1 teaspoon baking soda
–  10 oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips*
–  1 package of Double Stuffed Oreos

Directions:
–  Preheat oven to 350F.
–  In a bowl or with your stand mixer, first beat your butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar.
–  Add in the two large eggs and vanilla extract just until incorporated.
–  Once the wet ingredients are mixed together well (be careful not to over mix), add the flour, salt and baking soda, and mix until combined.
–  Add chocolate chips and stir.
–  Once you have your chocolate chip cookie dough ready,  take a cookie scoop and place one scoop of the dough on the top of the Oreo and one scoop on the bottom ( as pictured above).
–  Press the dough down a bit without cracking the Oreo and once the sides of the chocolate chip cookie scoops meet, seal them together.  Make sure the entire Oreo is covered with dough.
–   Place each covered Oreo onto your baking sheet (I ran out of parchment paper so I used foil paper) and bake for approximately 9 – 13 minutes (12:30 minutes worked for me perfectly).
–  Cool the cookie for about five (5) minutes before moving to a wire rack.

*When I repeat this, I will use less chocolate chips.  My chocolate chips were actually in a 12 oz bag.  So, next time, I’ll double the dough and use only one bag of 12 oz chocolate chips.

My batch made 21 perfect cookies.

18 Comments

Filed under Cookies, Desserts, Uncategorized

My Favorite {Pregnancy} Things

Baby Binks is now approximately 32 weeks and now seemed like the best time to share with you my favorite pregnancy things up to date.  These aren’t baby-related – but just pregnancy-related (aka – all about me)!

1.  Old Navy

Here’s my math.  Pregnancy lasts 9 months.  And, for at least the first three months, you can fit into everything you had before.  So, I just have to shop for 6 months.  I refuse to spend a lot of money or redo my wardrobe for such a short period of time.  Call me crazy – or call me cheap – I can admit to both.  Enter Old Navy.

a.  Leggings

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I have lived in these leggings for longer than I want to remember.  I wear it under almost every dress and T-shirt I own.  I cannot attest to a more comfortable pair of leggings.  Mostly b/c I don’t own any others.  Thank God for maternity leggings.

b.  Jeans

Jeans are always tough.  I usually buy Gap jeans but the price and the fit of these maternity jeans sold me.  I got flare-legged jeans the day that I started noticing my thighs were widening.  I’m not a fashionista, but I think it helps.

 

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After experiencing maternity jeans, I’m not sure how I can ever go back to a button again.  You feel me?

2.  Gap

a.  The Dress

After finding out that my cousin’s rehearsal dinner required American dressy-casual clothes, I had to go look for a dress.  Luckily I found this:

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I really am pleased with it.  It’s plain.  It’s black.  It fits and hugs in all the right places.  I’m happy.

b.  The Cardigan

I can’t find the exact one but it’s similar to this, except it’s black (of course).

[Source]

3.  Burt’s Bees Body Butter

I found this on sale and randomly picked it up as a belly butter rub, and I am extremely glad I did.

[Source]

I use it every other day on my stomach and some dry areas (elbows, feet, etc.) and it’s perfect.  It’s not greasy and absorbs fairly quickly.  Either that or my skin is so dry it sucks up any moisture it can get.  I hope it’s not that.  It has a great smell and the one tub should last me until the very end!

4.  Babycenter

Yep, there’s an app for it.  And, I have it.  And, it’s free.

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I usually rely on my apps to get me through the day.  Facebook, Twitter, Words with Friends, Yelp, INRIX, TV Guide, Pandora, and now…Babycenter’s pregnancy app.  I use it often to find out what the update is on the BittyBinks.  It gives you a check list of things you should be doing at certain times so that you don’t run behind (e.g. Kegels, signing up for birthing classes, finding a pediatrician, etc.).

5.  Flats

I was never a flats wearer before, but when the heels were getting too much, I went and bit the bullet.

[Source]

Are they most attractive pair of shoes I own?  No.  But, I love them.  I wear them everywhere.  I can’t imagine a better pair to accompany me through the pregnancy.  Side note:  Do you know it’s not safe/good for your feet to be completely flat?  So, I made sure to get some ‘flats’ that had a slight heel to help keep my feet in good condition.

6.  An extra pillow…or two.

I didn’t buy a special maternity pillow.  I refused to.  No other reason than I’d rather spend the money on something else.  Instead, I just added an extra pillow to my sleeping schedule.  I keep it between my legs.  (TWSS!)  Sometimes when I feel the need to be especially cozy, I put an extra (extra) pillow behind my back.  It keeps me in place.  Think of Ethel and Fred preparing for bed in that cheap motel.  No one said I was trying to win the sexy pregnancy award.

7.  Other Bloggers

You cannot imagine how thrilled I am to have at least 5 pregnant bloggers – all around my same due date.  It’s like having a pregnancy club where you are reassured that what you are going through is normal.  And by club, I mean one where I’m in it and no one else knows they are in my club.  🙂

My favorites:  Rhodeygirl Tests, The Daily Garnish, Legally Fit, and The Fitnessista.

At a time where none of my friends and/or family are pregnant or have been pregnant (in the past 2 years), reading about their experiences really has helped tremendously.

8.  My Binks

I will avoid being mushy.  I have been very fortunate – nay – blessed to have a super supportive partner/teammate who puts up with the good, the bad and the hormonal.  I couldn’t have come this far so well without him.  🙂

So, whether it be your partner, friend, family, etc., the support of a loved one goes a long way.

So what’s your favorite thing right now?  Pregnancy or not.

12 Comments

Filed under Favorites, Life, Pregnancy, Uncategorized

Catch Up

I’ve been gone for a while – I apologize.  Well, I apologize if you missed me.  If you didn’t, well hello there!

I’ve been busy doing some family stuff and trying to catch up to some semblance of normalcy.  Let me see if we can update each other (me first) on what’s been happening on this end.

1.  I made the most delicious red velvet cupcakes with the most dreamy cream cheese frosting.

The recipe comes from none other than Ms. Deen herself.  I had it once at a chili-cook off and finally made it myself.  I can’t wait to make it again – with a slight twist that I’ll be sure to share.

2.  I’m attempting to be crafty.  

Mind you, I have no creative bone/nerve in my body.  But, when I saw this, I had to try.  Here is my current progress.

I can’t wait for the finished result.  So far it’s been easier than I thought.  Well, I’ll probably eat my words once the felt flowers come into place.

3.  We have been eating out more.  And the spicier the better.

Now that we have been balancing more with my mom/sister and making sure that we have a lot of family interaction to make this transition somewhat easier, I have been ignoring my home-cooking duties.  Therefore, a lot of lunches and dinners taken to go.

I thought my pregnancy spicy-cravings would decrease as time went on but alas – no.  I can handle the heat and the some.  It’s quite pathetic.  When someone asks me what I want to eat, my answer has almost always been ‘something spicy.’

Luckily, I work across from one of my favorite Thai restaurants in Dallas (Thai Soon), and they have an excellent lunch special.

Pictured above is a beef enchilada and puffed taco from Ojedas.  What is not pictured is the pitcher (yes, pitcher) of salsa that I drank with a side of chips.

4.  We have been painting.

What started out as a project just to paint the nursery turned into a whole-house paint project.  Working closely with our favorite Benjamin Moore paint and advice we read online, it’s been a project that’s mainly done by Binks.  Although I work very closely at the end to make sure he knows all the places he missed.  I’m sure he loves that.  🙂

I’ll show you finished projects soon!

So tell me, what are you up to?  

15 Comments

Filed under baking, Cake, Desserts, Life, Lunch, Uncategorized