Saturday, January 22, 2011


I just spent the morning playing with our Wii Fit -- yes, it does make exercising fun for those of us who hate, hate, hate it. I'll admit I haven't been using it every day as I had planned, but I am using it at least 2-3 times a week, which justifies the purchase :) I am happy to report that when I stepped on the board today, I discovered that I've lost 8.5 pounds since starting to use it on the 3rd, the day we switched to vegan eating. I haven't been doing a lot of exercise because I have a herniated disk that has decided to be unruly again, but I have shoveled a few times and again I've been using the Wii Fit on and off....I think though, I need to credit the loss with being vegan! My goal is to lose 20 pounds within 6 months- which I've done before in much less time- but the goal is to not think of it like a diet, but as a way of life.

It feels so gratifying to know what's going into my food; to know that the ingredients I'm cooking with are fresh and the majority of them unprocessed. I'm feeling healthier, more alert, more active- and it feels good! I'm still at the point where I'm craving cheese and desserts, but I think if I just continue to avoid cheese for a few months it will become a thing of the past and as for desserts, I'm learning not to deprive myself, but to concoct healthier alternatives like fruit salad or a mug of hot chocolate.

Last night I was starting having only eaten a muffin I grabbed on the go (which was not vegan, but I was in a rush and unfortunately most places don't have vegan options) and an apple all day. My boyfriend suggested we us our second "out to dinner" pass (we get 2 a month- a decision made to save money and to make eating out a special thing rather than a habit). He passed out on the couch and I wandered into the kitchen to search through the cabinets for inspirations.

We had a butternut squash left over from the Portland Winter Farmer's Market and a recipe in Vegan on the Cheap for Linguine with Lentils and Roasted Butternut Squash. I bit my lip and wondered if I should risk making it. My boyfriend is NOT a fan of lentils, though I prepared a lentil soup for him last winter that he loved and said was the first time he'd had them and liked them. Looking around our empty fridge and cupboard, it looked like this was my only option.

I'm glad I took the risk! He loved it and so did I. It's a great recipe though it does take quite a while to prepare which isn't optimal when you're as hungry as I was! Nevertheless, here's the recipe with a few modifications (the writer of this book LOVES garlic, and I'm Italian too but I don't need to ward of vampires for a month!). Enjoy!

Linguine with Lentils and Roasted Butternut Squash adapted from Vegan on the Cheap

1/2 cup green lentils
1 med. butternut squash, peeled, halved, and seeded (this takes forever and I'd suggest just buying on that's already dismantled at the food store)
Salt & pepper
Olive oil
1/2 cup minced yellow onion
1 garlic clove, minced (she uses 4...I used 1, try what you'd like!)
2 tsp crumbled dried sage (I'm going to try using fresh next time as I think the flavor will be...well fresher!)
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup veggie stock (make it yourself!)
12 oz linguine

Bring a pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add lentils, return to boil and then reduce to low. Cover & cook until tender, about 45 mins. Drain & set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 & lightly oil a 9x13in baking pan. Cut the squash into 1/2-in dice and spread in the pan in a single layer. Drizzle with some more oil and season with salt & pepper. Roast until tender, turning once halfway through, about 30 mins. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat some oil. Add onion, cover and cook about 5 mins. Add garlic and cook about 30 secs. Stir in the sage, tomatoes, and cooked lentils. Stir in the stock and season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer to blend the flavors, about 5 minutes. Stir in the squash and keep warm over low heat, adding more stock if needed for a saucelike texture.

In a large pot, boil salted water and cook the linguine over med-high, stirring, until al dente about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Add the lentil-squash mixture and toss gently to combine. Serve hot.


  1. The easier approach for the squash: halve it, scoop out the seeds/stringy insides, then cube it and slice the rind off the cubes.