Lots of Lentils

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A close friend of mine recently found out that she is slightly anemic.  If you’re not sure, people afflicted by anemia have a deficiency of red blood cells or hemoglobin (the protein on red blood cells that binds to oxygen and transports it to your body).  Because of this lack of oxygen, or rather, oxygen inefficiency, anemia can make you tired and weak.

Often, anemia is caused by an iron deficiency, as iron is used to make hemoglobin.  Iron deficiency is of particular concern in vegetarians and vegans; I went vegetarian for about a month until my mother expressed overwhelming concerns about such a deficiency.  It’s tricky to find natural sources of iron, and my Flintstone 1-A-Day vitamins weren’t up to my mom’s standards, for better or for worse.

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Lentils, however, do contain natural iron.  Per cup, lentils provide around 37% of your daily recommended value for iron.  Pretty good, huh?

This is a spiced up version of lentil soup.  It’s quick and easy to make: throw it all in the pot and you’re practically done.  It’s also a forgiving recipe, so feel free add/subtract what you like.

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And, finally, anemia is not just a veggie problem.  There’s nothing wrong with a little bit more iron, so even if you think your T-bone steak has got you covered, lentils can throw some fiber and protein, too.  Try them!

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{curried lentil soup}

–serves 4–

olive oil

salt, to taste

3/4 cup chopped carrot

1 medium chopped yellow onion

1 T + 1 t yellow curry powder

1/3 cup barley

3/4 cup lentils

4 cups vegetable broth or water (or combination of the two)

plain yogurt

lemon zest and juice

in a large soup pot over medium heat, saute carrots and onions in olive oil until onions are translucent.  add curry powder and salt and stir.  add barley, lentils, and liquid of choice, and bring mixture to a boil.  reduce heat to a simmer; cover for 45 minutes.  add extra liquid if needed.

5 cups vegetable broth or water (or a combination of the two).

to serve, top with dollop of yogurt, lemon zest, and drizzle of olive oil. enjoy!

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Salty Oat Cookies

I’m sure you’ve heard of the whole salty/sweet combination thing that’s been really popular for the past year or so.  Salted caramel, anyone?  Yeah, thought so.

But have you tried salty cookies?  At first thought it sounds gross, I’ll admit.  But it’s not!  Especially not when salty is combined with sweet chocolate, crunchy oats, and savory coconut.  The yum never stops.

These cookies, in addition to being delicious, are very hearty.  As in, eat-a-cookie-for-breakfast hearty.  You can totally do that, especially if you substitute raisins instead of chocolate chips (but even if you don’t….I won’t tell).  Judgment-free zone right here.

Oats are healthy.  So these cookies are healthy.  Right?  Here’s the deal.  These cookies do have oil in them.  These cookies do have chocolate in them.  But oats, coconut, and whole-wheat flour take away some of the guilt.  And if you’re going to eat a cookie, why not eat one that has fiber and healthy fats and will load you up with energy?  Vote oats 2012! (Seriously, oats are looking like a much better candidate…)

Annnddddd, oats are a very versatile ingredient.  They are complemented by so many other things: chocolate, coconut, dried fruit, salt, cocoa powder, nuts, etc.  Which means that you can get creative with these cookies.  As in, you don’t have to do everything I tell you (shocking!  I know).

So even though mine are delicious, you have the freedom to make your cookies in whatever way you enjoy most.  Get baking!

recipe

makes ~22 cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour (I used half whole-wheat, half regular)

1 t baking soda

1 t baking powder

1 t salt

1 1/2 cups canola oil

a bit more than 1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 t vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips/chunks

good quality sea salt

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a large bowl of an electric mixer (with paddle attachment), beat oil and sugar until creamy.  Add eggs, one at a time.  Add vanilla.  Beat to combine.  Add oats and coconut and stir.  Add chocolate and stir some more.

Using an ice cream scooper, shape 22 cookies on baking pans.  Sprinkle generously with sea salt.  Bake at 350˚F for 13 minutes, rotating pans halfway through.

[Try to] allow the cookies to cool before enjoying 🙂