Sunday, September 26, 2010
Healthy Fast Food
Most of the time, I eat a healthy diet consisting of vegetables, whole grains, tofu and the like (and the occasional cake ;)). However, I do have my bad habits that kick in sometimes. First of all, I love cereal - and I admit that if I don't need to cook for others than myself, I often resort to eating it for dinner as well (to my defense, not the frosted flakes kind, but some organic whole grain cereal or mysli). The other "bad" food I eat much more rarely, but sometimes I just can't help it. Every once in a while, all I want for dinner is a bowl of noodles or rice - just the plain, white kind, with some soy sauce sprinkled on top. I know this kind of dinner lacks all the nutritients, so I try to only eat it once every few months. Tonight was going to be one of those nights. I was alone at home, I'd been out all day, and the last thing I wanted to do when I got home was cook. My options were cereal, Danish rye bread, or a salad. All those options flew out of the window when I suddenly thought of instant noodles - a dinner in four minutes! The first change to my plan came when I realized we only had whole grain buckwheat noodles. Then I remembered I still had some leftover lentils in the fridge. At the same door opening, I caught the sight of a few sprouting carrots in my crisper. I gave up and told myself I could whip up a healthy noodle bowl in no time, really. I'm so glad I did - it turned out to be such a flavorful meal!

I feel silly even posting a recipe, as this was so simple - but it tasted so good that I think it deserves to be written down. ;) Naturally, this takes some extra time if you use uncooked lentils; but if you have canned or leftover lentils, this meal is ready in no time at all.

The Five Minute Noodle Bowl
  • 1 serving of Japanese soba noodles
  • handful of dried mushrooms, soaked in warm water*
  • 1/3 c (uncooked) green or brown lentils**
  • 3 carrots, grated***
  • 1/2 to 1 tbsp (Hatcho) miso paste
  • 1-2 tsp sriracha or other hot sauce, or red pepper flakes (optional)
Cook the lentils according to package directions. In a wok pan, combine the mushrooms (including the soaking liquid, which should be about 1 c), carrots and noodles. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and the noodles are tender. Mix in the lentils, warm through, and turn off the heat. Dilute miso with 1-2 tablespoons of warm (not hot) water, and pour over the noodles. Add hot sauce/red pepper flakes, if desired, and sprinkle some dried seaweed on top.

This made two servings for me - the lentils make it a very filling meal - so now I have a nice lunch for tomorrow as well! :)

*Soaking time will vary - some types of mushrooms require much longer time than others. Mine are small chanterelles, and if added into hot liquid, they don't necessarily require any soaking at all. Unless I'm in a hurry, I usually soak them in warm water for about 15 minutes. You can also replace dried mushrooms with fresh shiitake, wild mushrooms, button mushrooms, or any other type you like.

**I should also add that the lentils I used had been cooked in (weak) vegetable broth. If you use plain lentils, you may want to add more spices - depending on your own taste.

***Feel free to add garlic, ginger, and any additional vegetables you have on hand. I'm sure grated zucchini and finely chopped bell pepper would be wonderful additions.

After dinner, I took my laptop, parked myself on the couch, and found the new episode of Grey's Anatomy online. :) Accompanied with a second take on my Banana Coconut Bread - turned into muffins.

This time, I replaced the chocolate chips with chopped fresh pineapple, and I much preferred this version - it tasted fresh and not overly sweet, like the chocolatey version (which was still good, too!). I also used a more coarse type of spelt flour, which changed the texture a little - though not in a bad way.

I also made another cup of holiday-ish tea today, Yogi Cinnamon Spice. My boyfriend loves this herbal tea and drinks it almost every morning. Most Yogi Teas (this being no exception) are a bit too peppery to my taste and I seem to be a little allergic to some spice (?!) in them, but I love the scent. I left one tea bag on the counter in my kitchen, and the next time I walked in, there was a wonderful cinnamon scent lingering around.

I'm planning to climb into bed with these (ok, I'm lying a little: I don't actually read newspapers in the bed, as the ink sticks to everything. So I should say - I plan on reading the newspaper and then going to bed with the book ;)). The Guardian Weekly is one of my favorite newspapers and has some really interesting articles on world affairs. The book, on the other hand, is a gift I gave to my boyfriend on his birthday last week. He didn't have the chance to read it before his trip, and kindly promised that I could read it before him (I should admit, I was kind of hoping that. Not that I buy him presents I actually want myself, but it's always an advantage if we both like it - right? ;) My Dad read this book earlier and enjoyed it so much I have been dying to read it myself).

The Tivoli Gardens is closing for the season today - to open its doors again at Halloween and Christmas - and as I'm writing this, I can hear that there is a magnificent firework show going on. Unfortunately, most of my windows are facing the other way and the rooftops are blocking part of the view, so I can only catch glimpses of it if I half hang out of my kitchen window. ;) If I'd realized earlier that it was tonight, I might have gone out for a walk to see it.

 Good night everyone. :)
posted by Seglare at Sunday, September 26, 2010 | Permalink |


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