Lentil Dal with Spinach and Carrots {healthy recipe}

dal 1

When I was kid, my parents didn’t sneak vegetables into my meals, per se.  (Though, my step mom did occasionally “hide” Brussels sprouts under a blanket of Velveeta cheese.)  Rather, it seemed like they picked the vegetables they knew the kids would eat.  BROCCOLI.  POTATOES.  POTATOES.  POTATOES.  This worked out well for me, because as a kid I hated most cooked vegetables, including green peppers, tomatoes, and CARROTS.  Oh, how I loathed the mushy cooked carrot.

dal 2

This dal recipe has three cups of minced carrots and ten ounces (two regular-sized bags) of spinach (or more, if you like).  While the spinach is discernible, the carrots blend right in with the lentils and you forget they’re even there.  Hallelujah.  This lentil dal is a very healthy dish, yet hearty and satisfying.  I’ve made if many times over the last several months, and finally made the effort to write down the ingredients on the last batch.  This recipe is forgiving — add as little or as much of the seasonings as you like.  Extra veggies always welcome.

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First Impressions

First impressions are EVERYTHING.  How often have you heard that expression in life?  Work?  Relationships?  First impressions.  They either make ya or break ya.

When I first got the Betty Crocker 300 calorie cookbook, I was beyond excited


I was SO excited, that I spent my lunch break thumbing through the pages and flagging all the recipes that sounded delicious. 


(Overzealous, much?)

Could it be true?  300 calories of home cooked goodness?  Sounded like it was right up my alley!

Shortly after, I tried out my first recipe in the book:  Chicken and Spinach Skillet.  I picked the recipe because it used two of my favorite ingredients (chicken and spinach, obviously) and it was an extremely simple recipe.  How can you go wrong with that?

It seemed as though the stars were aligning.  Hundreds and hundreds of healthified recipes at my fingertips.  All hinging on this first recipe.  This first recipe that was, well, a big fat flop.  It was blah.  So blah, in fact, that I threw the leftovers away… and that is simply UNHEARD of in the Fervent Foodie household.

And so the book sat.  Poor little Betty Crocker and her 300 calorie recipes sandwiched between a bright green cover with fun yellow letters… dozens of pages flagged with anticipation…

Months passed.  FINALLY, this week I pulled the cookbook down from the bookshelf and my heart churned over the little yellow flags peeking out of the book.  And I decided to give it another go.  I decided to give Better Crocker a second chance.

This time around, I went with the Chicken Enchilada Pie:


Annnnnddddd it was…..  meh. 


Better than the Turkey Spinach Skillet, but not good enough to even bother posting the recipe on the blog.  I mean, I’m not throwing away the leftovers or anything, but let’s just say the tour de Chicken Enchilada Pie won’t be coming round my house again.


Hmmmm… well….  crap.

So, do I give Betty a THIRD shot, or what? 


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Hallelujah it’s Friday!

With September here already (where the heck did August go, by the way?), I’ve already got my head in “fall mode”.  My favorite time of the year is BY FAR the last quarter – October, November, and December.  I love the weather, the excessive parties and family activities, and I also love how things just seem to slow down from the fast pace of summer.  Speaking of fast-paced summers, it saddens me that I haven’t been doing much cooking lately.  The good news is I’ll have plenty of time to cook… in two more weeks!

Breakfast #1

Ever since last weekend’s awesome breakfast fit for vacation, I’ve been craving the spinach and tomato breakfast burrito.  (Let’s be honest, I’ve been craving the potatoes and pancakes too) …  So last night instead of doing my usual batch-scrambled eggs, I made a double serving of the spinach and tomato scrambled eggs.

First up, I chopped up:

  • 2 tbsp red onion (I used white onion last time, but didn’t have any on hand)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chiffonade spinach
  • 1/2 a roma tomato, diced


I sprayed a skillet down with some cooking spray, and once it was hot I tossed in the garlic and onions. 


While these guys were cooking I whisked together the following in a bowl:

  • 2 whole eggs
  • 6 egg whites
  • Splash of water

 Once the onions were soft, I poured the egg mixture on top and seasoned everything up with S&P and red pepper flakes.  I let the eggs start to cook up, and when they were about 1/2 way done I added the tomato and spinach:


Look how delicious:


While the eggs were getting their groove on, I also roasted up some broccoli that was seasoned with black pepper and garlic salt:


Is it just me, or does that broccoli look really happy to be here?

2 happy campers:


One of which I brought to work with me today to introduce to my friend Heinz:



Stats on B#1:  205 calories, 15g carbs, 5g fat, 23g protein, 2g fiber

B#2 = OO 😀

OVERNIGHT OATSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!  What a great way to end the workweek!


Doesn’t that just bring a smile to your face???  😀



Stats on B#2:  233 calories, 44g carbs, 5g fat, 6g protein, 7g fiber


What better way to end the Bruegger’s Bagels giveaway, then to have Bruegger’s for lunch, of course!


Today I went with the Spinach & Lentil soup, and a half sandwich with turkey and lots and lots of veggies.  I can’t believe this is the HALF sandwich.  It was HUGE!

The Bruegger’s Giveaway ends tonight at midnight (eastern time), so get your posts in!

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A sandwich BUILT for Hummus

It’s Thursday, and I am one happy lady.  Thank you to those of you who commented on yesterday’s tell me something happy post.  Each one of your comments resulted in a big smile on my face, and I thank you again and again for sharing your happy thoughts with me!

Breakfast #1

Today I planned on eating the last of the scrambled eggs I cooked up on Sunday, but I was in the mood for something a little different.  Something with a little kick.  And when I’m in such a mood, I turn to my friend Frank.  Frank’s Red Hot that is 🙂

Come to think of it, I can’t leave out my good friends George and Mama Lupe either!  Frank, George, and Mama Lupe all contributed to my yummy breakfast wrap.

Leftover scrambled eggs + several shakes of Franks atop a Mama Lupe low carb tortilla:


Then I wrapped it up burrito-style and grilled on the George for about 5 minutes, until the eggs were hot and the tortilla was crispy. 


I also heated up the broccoli in the microwave… Unfortunately my microwave doesn’t have a human name…  Frank, George, Mama Lupe, and Emerson (I guess Emerson could be  a last name).


I swear the George Foreman grill is one of the most amazing kitchen gadgets on earth–or at least the most amazing one in my kitchen!

Stats on B#1:  208 Calories, 15 g carbs, 8g fat, 24g protein, 6g fiber


Breakfast #2

Overnight oaty goodness:


It’s getting cold in the mornings now…  I have a feeling pretty soon I’ll be saying farewell to cold oats and heading back to the warmth the traditional hot oats.  *Sigh*


Stats on B#2:  233 calories, 44g carbs, 5g fat, 6g protein, 7g fiber


Ive blabbed my Trader Joe’s sob story on this blog many a time.. Sooooo far to drive (~1 hr away) to the nearest TJ’s… So sad.  Luckily, my mom picked me up some Trader Joe’s Hummus on her last trip to TJ’s!  WOOOOOOT!

The hummus was not an afterthought for today’s sandwich, not a mere condiment to go on the bun.  No.  Today’s sandwich was BUILT specifically for Trader Joe’s Cilantro Jalapeno Hummus.

This sandwich consisted of a Pepperidge Farm 7 grain deli flat & a four ounce grilled chicken breast:


That I topped off with sliced tomato, onion, and the STAR of the show:  Trader Joe’s Cilantro Jalapeno Hummus


Then I added some fresh spinach and some sprouts.  Excessive veggies?  Perhaps.


Check out the height on this sucker:


I also had some leftover roasted cauliflower on the side.  Cauliflower might looking boring, but trust me. It was fab.


Layers of FLAVOR.


Stats on Lunch:  364 calories, 35g carbs, 5g fat, 46g protein, 11g fiber

QUESTION:  What did YOU have for lunch today?  I’m always looking for ways to shake up my lunch routine!

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Spinach Caprese Quesadilla

While at work yesterday, my mind kept drifting to dinner–but nothing was sounding good to me.  Since I have an abundance of tomatoes and basil (thank you backyard garden for your fruitfulness 🙂 ) I decided to do something caprese inspired. 

Caprese is one of my all-time favorite Italian dishes, and it typically consists of tomato, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil.

Before diving into to the caprese, I got to work on some brussel sprouts.  I halved 10 brussel sprouts, trimmed down any rough ends of the stem, and then made a small slit down the core of each sprout half.  I read that making this little slit on the rougher part of the sprout helps to ensure even cooking.  I put the sprouts on a cookie sheet that was liberally sprayed with cooking spray, then seasoned them with S&P, and gave them a good toss before throwing them into a 415 degree oven for 17 minutes.

Brussel sprouts!

Now onto the caprese!  First, I sliced up 1 roma tomato and 1 Sargento light mozzarella string cheese and put them into a bowl:

Then, I drizzled the tomato and mozzarella with 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar and a 1/2 tsp olive oil and sprinkled with some salt and pepper.  Next I added 3 sliced up fresh basil leaves and tossed everything to coat.

Meanwhile, I topped a Mama Lupe’s Low Carb tortilla with some fresh spinach and topped with the tomato mozzarella mixture:

I topped this off with a second Mama Lupe’s low carb tortilla, then I popped this baby onto the George foreman grill for about 5 minutes (until the tortilla was crisp and the cheese was melty):

None of these pictures do the quesadilla justice!  If you like caprese, you will love this:

I’m hoping I get some tips on taking pictures of food indoors at the Healthy Living Summit!  I can never seem to get indoor pictures quite right!

By the way, if you love caprese too check out the recipe I tried for hot caprese! I also added a “rating” scale to my recipe page :mrgreen:

Stats on dinner:  325 calories, 43g carbs, 12g fat, 20g protein, 14g fiber


A few hours after dinner, it was time for my night time snack.  I was craving a green monster smoothie, so I put the following into the blender:

  • 1/4 cup Stonyfield Farms Fat Free Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup Almond Breeze unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/2 cup fresh frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh frozen blueberries
  • 1 packet Truvia
  • 1 ice cube

Green Monster:

This guy was so much GREENER in person than in these photos… my camera was being stubborn last night!

Stats on the green monster:  119 calories, 24g carbs, 2g fat, 8g protein, 6g fiber


Question:  what’s your favorite “healthified” Italian dish?

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A Truly Green Monster

Maybe it was all the green grass around me, but all I could think about while mowing the lawn this afternoon was making a giant green monster!

Into the blender: 

  • 10 small fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond breeze vanilla almond milk
  • 2 packets Truvia
  • 2 cups spinach
  • ICE
  • 1 tbsp oikos plain yogurt (would have used more, but that’s all that was left in the container)

 Gave it a thorough immulsification:

 That is a seriously green monster smoothie: 

 Stats on the GM:  64 calories, 15g carbs, 2g fat, 4g protein, 3g fiber

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Pita Pizza & a Green Monster

Some nights I am really amped to try out a new recipe…. And some nights, I just want pizza.  Tonight was one of THOSE nights. 

I decided to use a Joseph’s Middle East Bakery Low Carb pita as my base.  I topped that off with:

  • 1/4 cup Classico Fire Roasted/Tomato Garlic spaghetti sauce
  • Sprinkling of garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley, dried oregano, black pepper, and red pepper flakes
  • 1 ounce thinly sliced grilled chicken (leftover from the batch I grilled up sunday night)
  • 1 light babybel cheese sliced into four super thin discs
  • 1 tbsp fat free ricotta
  • thinly sliced red onion
  • a couple thinly sliced cherry tomatoes

Popped it into a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Then, I topped it with some chopped basil from the back yard garden:

I served the pizza up with a side salad that consisted of romaine, cherry tomatoes, red onion, banana peppers, and 2 tbsp Ken’s Steakhouse Lite Northern Italian dressing with Basil and Romano:

The salad was delicious.  That Ken sure does know a thing or two about dressings 😉

And the pizza was..  in a word… Umm…. YUM.  Ok, that’s two words, but regardless this pizza really hit the spot:

Soooo goood!!!  Why don’t I make pizza more often?!

Check out this huge banana pepper I’ve got growing in the back yard:

He might have to go on my next salad 🙂

Stats on the pizza: 197 calories, 20g carbs, 6g fat, 20g protein, 5g fiber 

Stats on the salad:  97 calories, 13g carbs, 5g fat, 3g protein, 4g fiber

All together now:  294 calories, 33g carbs, 11g fat, 23g protein, 9g fiber


I’ve previously eluded to the fact that I’m a messy cook.  Given the simplicity of my dinner tonight, you’d probably assume that my kitchen would be in pretty good shape.  Whelp, you’d be wrong! 

Take a look at this monstrosity:

I wish I were kidding.  Can you imagine the disasters I could create if I had a big kitchen?

After dinner, I couldn’t wait for late-night snack time to roll around.  I decided earlier in the day that I’d make up a green monster smoothie for my snack to give me lots of energy for my run in the morning.

Threw the following into the blender:

  • 1/2 cup Almond Breeze Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1/4 cup Oikos plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 packet Truvia (stevia) all natural sweetener
  • 1/2 cup fresh frozen strawberries
  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup fresh SPINACH
  • 3 ice cubes

It’s green.  It’s delicious.


Thankfully, the green monster gave me the energy I needed to clean up that disaster kitchen:

Stats on the green monster: 105 calories, 18g carbs, 2g fat, 9g protein, 5g fiber 

Blog Updates

I recently updated my About Me page to incorporate some comments I had posted on the blog.  I also added a Foodie Q&A page where I plan to keep a running list of questions readers ask.  And as always, I am continuously linking all my recipe posts to the Recipe Page.  This page is actually getting pretty long, so I think I’ll be reformatting it in the near future.

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Cold and crunchy Monday

It’s Monday!  Woot. 

😉 actually today has been a pretty decent Monday thus far.  The office is super quiet since many of my coworkers opted to use our floating holiday today.  I decided to bank mine and take my birthday off (next week) instead.

Hope you all have a fabulous fun/food/framily filled weekend!

The PB2 Giveaway ended last night!!!  Read further for the lucky winner 😀

Breakfast #1

It’s been so hot these past few days, that I was craving something super cold for breakfast this morning.  I decided a fruit smoothie would be the ticket to cooling things off.  I threw the following into the blender:

  • 1/2 cup Almond Breeze unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup Trader Joe’s Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 1 cup fresh frozen strawberries
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1 packet Truvia (Stevia) all natural sweetener

Once I blended everything up, I opened the fridge to put the almond milk away and saw a lonely half-empty bag of spinach sitting on the shelf begging to be eaten. 

I’ve read lots of posts on the “green monster” smoothies, especially on Julie’s blog, but I’ve never tried one myself… Until today that is!

I grabbed a handful of spinach and threw it into the blender and gave it a good pulse. 

Yes, that is spinach you are seeing

The result:

One huge smoothie with “monster” flecks:

This was surprisingly tasty!  You can’t specifically taste the spinach itself, but it gives the smoothy a hearty fullness.  It also cuts on some of the sweetness of the fruit, so I was glad I used a whole packet of truvia.  I think I’ve officially jumped on the green monster bandwagon 😀

If you’re intrigued — check out the Green Monster Movement.

Stats on the Green Monster:  197 calories, 37g carbs, 2g fat, 12g protein, 6g fiber

Breakfast #2

O…. O…..   mmmmmm…. haven’t had overnight oats in a few days, so I went with the go-to OO Combo: 

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup Almond Breeze unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • sprinkling of cinnamon
  • fresh strawberries

All stirred up:

Overnight oats… oh how I’ve missed you :-*

Stats on the oats:  208 calories, 38g carbs, 5g fat, 6g protein, 6g fiber


Keeping on with today’s cold theme, I thought I’d add a little crunch to my lunch with a nice salad.  Last night, I threw together a monster salad that consisted of:

  • 1/2 bag fresh express romaine
  • 1 roma tomato
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/4 cup white onion
  • 1 serving baby carrots
  • 1 link of Jennie O’s hot turkey sausage

Topped it all off with 2 tbsp of fat free ranch dressing:

Stats on the Monster Salad:  295 calories, 28g carbs, 10g fat, 22g protein, 7g fiber

And the winner of the PB2 Giveaway ……………

Drumroll please……

Based on the random number generator, the lucky winner is:

Monique at She’s Going the Distance!!!


Thank you guys for taking the time to post on my blog!  I really love seeing what you guys have to say, and as cheesy as it may sound (who doesn’t love a little cheese?) it really brightens my day 😀

Monique – please send your mailing address to:  ferventfoodie@gmail.com

Everyone else – you can purchase PB2 online at www.netrition.com.  Since it’s flat rate shipping, I’d recommend getting some Mama Lupe’s low-carb tortillas, Joseph’s low-carb pita, and some carba nada pasta 🙂

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Carb tooth strikes again

Happy July!!!!

Can’t believe it’s already here… There is so much going on over the next few months (my birthday, vaca, parties, get-togethers, HLS!!!), I’m sure they are going to fly by!  Psst… don’t forget to comment on the PB2 giveaway by Sunday!

The first day of every month my firm brings in a “Birthday Breakfast” to celebrate all the employees whose birthdays fall in that month.  The spread always consists of fruits and a variety of carblicious goodies to tempt me:

I really wanted to toast up one of those bagels and smear it in cream cheese and hot sauce (if you haven’t tried it and you like hot food, TRY IT NOW).  Something about baked goods and breads make my mouth water….  I wish I could get past it, but my body is head over heals in love with these unhealthy treats!!!  Darn you, carb tooth!

Since my birthday falls in this particular month, I allowed myself a tiny sliver of a blueberry muffin.  Ridiculous.  I just picked up some Bob’s Red Mill low-carb baking mix, so maybe I’ll try and make some healthified baked goods this weekend 🙂


Breakfast #1

For breakfast today, I had the leftover Canadian Bacon Eggins I made earlier in the week.

Just as tasty the second time around 🙂

Stats:   147 calories, 6g carbs, 1g fat, 26g protein, 0g fiber


Breakfast #2

For breakfast #2, I had 1.5 cups Trader Joe’s Vanilla greek yogurt with 1/4 cup blueberries.

I love all the fresh fruits and berries this time of year!  Cannot get enough.

 Stats:   171 calories, 28g carbs, 0g fat, 14g protein, 1g fiber



My sandwich yesterday was so frickin delicious, I decided to make a similar one today.  I took a 3.5 ounce chicken breast, 1 cup spinach, 1 tbsp Trader Joe’s Spicy Hummus, tomato, and onion and smashed it into a Joseph’s Low Carb Pita.

Also had some sliced up red pepper on the side.  I looovvveeeeee hummuss…. mmmmm…..

Stats on stuffed pita & red pepper:   240 calories, 25g carbs, 7g fat, 28g protein, 9g fiber


I tried the Trader Joe’s Mocha yogurt, but was NOT a fan. 

It had a weird tartness about it… and overall was just different than I was expecting.  First thing I’ve purchased from TJ’s that I didn’t enjoy!

QUESTION OF THE DAY:  What are your favorite healthified cookout recipes?

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Getcho run on!

What is it about running first thing in the morning that makes me feel like I can tackle anything the day brings me?  This morning I completed Day #3, Week #2 of my interval training plan.  Woo hoo!  That means Friday I’ll be up to 2 minutes walking, 4 minutes running… and still no knee pain in sight 🙂


Breakfast #1

In honor of the fabulous PB2 GIVEAWAY, I decided to make a grilled fruit and nut butter wrap using Chocolate PB2

I took 2 tbsp of powdered chocolate PB2:

Then added 1 tbsp water:

Then smeared it on a  Mama Lupe’s low carb tortilla and topped with 1/4 cup each of strawberries and blueberries

I wrapped everything up, and put it on the george foreman for 5 minutes.  Then wrapped in foil and stuck in my purse:

And enjoyed at my desk at work:

Mmmmmmm…. love love love the grilled fruit and nut butter wraps!!!

Stats on the wrap:  145 calories, 21g carbs, 4g fat, 9g protein, 7g fiber


Make sure you post a comment on the PB2 giveaway by midnight Sunday July 4th!


Breakfast #2

Bowl of overnight oats consisting of:

  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond breeze almond milk
  • 1 packet Truvia (stevia)
  • Cinnamon
  • Fresh Strawberries & Blueberries (added this morning)

I <3 overnight oats.

 Stats on the oats:  203 calories, 39g carbs, 5g fat, 6g protein, 7g fiber



Last night when I was packing my lunch I was really craving a sandwich.  (The carb tooth strikes again!) 

Sunday night I grilled up a big batch of chicken breasts seasoned with McCormick’s Montreal Chicken Seasoning.  So I packed one of the breasts (about a 2.5 ouncer), 1 cup spinach, tomato, onion, a Pepperidge Farm 7 grain deli flat, and 1 tbsp Trader Joe’s Spicy hummus.

Can you say YUM?  Yum. 😀

Stats on the sammy:  230 calories, 29g carbs, 5g fat, 22g protein, 9g fiber


Women Power

Tonight I’m headed up to Cleveland for the Athena Women’s award dinner.  This opportunity came up through my involvement with the Knowledgeable Network of Women through the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce.

And I’m taking my camera.  First time for me to let my inner food blogger out at a business function… should be interesting 🙂

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