Curry Squash & Lentil Stew

Guess what I did again on Wednesday night? I got my dance on at my old dance studio! For anyone who may have missed it, you can catch a little blurb about my dance journey if you click right here. Since I was sick last week I didn’t make it to class, but was able to go this week and it felt GREAT. I am really feeling the aftermath of it. My body is screaming. I love it.

Onto Thursday…

Lately I have been making myself a breakfast smoothie to enjoy on the ride to work. Yesterday I threw together what was sure to be a delicious smoothie. In the mix: cherries, blueberries, banana, coconut almond milk, and hemp protein powder.I gave it the standard whirl in the blender, poured it into my to-go cup, and made my way to work.

I was so looking forward to this smoothie but to my dismay there was some crunchy bits that kept coming through my straw. I thought it was just a fluke and maybe it was a bit of cherry skin that hadn’t quite pureed completely, so I kept sipping. More and more hard little bits. I came to the conclusion that it had to have been a cherry pit that was accidentally missed. So much for my breakfast smoothie.

I made a pit stop at the gas station for an impromptu banana and string cheese. Carbs and protein. I did my best given my time constraint and options available.

Enough of the smoothie rant. Lunch was great. I made myself a bowl of shredded chicken (crock pot style), peas, and avocado. I seasoned it all with salt and pepper and called it a protein packed bowl of goodness. Alongside the chicken I had an apple and carrot sticks and some chocolate chips and peanut butter for dessert.

After work my body was seriously sore. Dance really kicked my rear. I wanted to get some type of physical activity so I opted for yoga. The particular OnDemand yoga session was about 25 minutes long and focused on ab strengthening. It was a doozy and I mean that in a good kind of way. It was a “beginner” level but I would not have categorized it as such. Intermediate would be more appropriate. I’m not that out of shape.

Dinner

We still had a few varieties of squash lying around from our last trip to the farmer’s market. Actually, that’s not true. The squash on the left is now gone. I ate half of it a couple of weeks ago. It was okay but nothing to write home about. 😉 So that means I still had a spaghetti squash and a buttercup squash to work with.

I made a quick scan of the cupboards and then got creative in the crock pot. I threw together brown lentils, chickpeas, cooked and cubed buttercup squash, chicken broth, and other spices (recipe below). I let this simmer on low for 6 hours, covered; stirring occasionally.

After it was done mingling, I ladled it into my pretty blue ceramic bowl from our wedding, and topped the stew with fresh chopped cilantro and chopped unsalted peanuts.

The stew turned out so great! The flavors all worked together so nicely and the dish was hearty, warm, and comforting. I’m pretty sure this was my first time ever cooking with lentils and it was my first time working with buttercup squash. Double score! I have lots of lentils leftover and will definitely be using more of them in my future. I am thinking lentil sloppy joes.

Here is the recipe for ya and my inspiration came from Eating Well.

Curry Squash & Lentil Stew
Print
Cuisine: NOTE: To make SCD legal, remove chickpeas and add in your favorite SCD legal white bean instead
4 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups buttercup squash, cooked, and cubed
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • ¾ cup chickpeas
  • ¾ cup brown lentils
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ cup no added sugar spaghetti sauce*
  • 2 cups chicken broth**
  • 1 tsp. dried ginger
  • ¾ tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. curry powder
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup unsalted peanuts, chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • *Tomato paste can be substituted; you would need about 1 Tbsp.
  • **Vegetable broth can be used if cooking vegetarian.
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients except peanuts and cilantro into slow cooker.
  2. Cover and set on low for 6 hours; stirring occasionally.
  3. Ladle stew into bowls and top with peanuts and cilantro.

 Exciting News

I mentioned in my last post that I would be traveling out of the country in less than two weeks. It’s reveal time. The destination….

Bogota, Colombia!

Dana and I are going to visit my brother Jeff who lives and works out there. I am so insanely excited and can’t believe it’s so soon! I can’t wait to spend time with him, meet his friends, see where he lives, and learn more about Colombia (and hopefully drink some really great coffee and eat delicious chocolate). That is my fun news! I will be snapping lots of photos to share with you all when I get back.

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Anyone else thrilled that it’s Friday? I can’t hide my enthusiasm. Apparently it’s strong coffee Friday too. Usually it’s me that accidentally  makes the coffee a little too strong, but this week the finger points elsewhere. Maybe that’s why I’m extra enthusiastic this morning.

We have plans to celebrate mom’s birthday this weekend. It’s a special year for her. We will be hosting dinner over at our house on Saturday night. I have a great menu planned and am excited to have some of the family over. More on that later gators.

Have a super Friday friends! xoxo. I hope this enthusiasm rides out all day.

Dance Like No One’s Watching

I love to dance.

I began taking dance classes when I was three years old at a community center in the area. At my first recital, the girl standing next to me during the routine literally stood next to me the entire time. She was terrified. I was in my glory. Sure the only reason I knew what I was doing was because my dance teacher was off in left stage dancing the routine for us to copy, but I still did my best to hold my own. I was shy, but there was something about being on that stage that really made me feel confident.

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I continued to take classes at the community center for a few years, and then took a couple of years off to give gymnastics a shot. I love that my parents encouraged me to try many activities, and then gave me the freedom to decide which ones I liked and wanted to continue. Gymnastics was great and all, but after a short while I knew I wanted to go back to dance.

My aunt Marie (aka my second mom) who lived just a block away from my family growing up, had her daughters Betsy and Steph (my cousins) enrolled in a dance studio in the neighborhood. I had gone into the studio to watch my cousins dance and my mom and Marie got to talking. The next thing I knew I was enrolled at the same studio!

I had to “audition” to determine which level to be placed in. All I wanted was to be in Betsy’s class even though she was a year younger than me. At first I was placed with girls my age, but talked to the owner of the studio and eventually she put me in the same class as Bets. At the studio we took tap, ballet, jazz, lyrical, modern, hip hop, musical theater, and more.

Getting into the studio was the best thing that could have happened to me at that point. I fell in love with dance. And so began the millions of memories…

  • Dance camps
  • Nutcracker
  • Recitals
  • Competitions
  • Red lipstick
  • Costumes
  • Endless hours rehearsing
  • Choreography
  • Blood, sweat, tears…

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And the best part of it all is that I shared these memories with my best friend. Throughout the years my friendship with Betsy grew stronger and stronger as we continued our dance journey together. She was always there for me to show me steps I wasn’t quite understanding, keep me focused, laugh with me, cry with me, and stand up for me.

Our friendship has only gotten stronger over time. I was ecstatic when I found out she would be joining me at Mankato State for college, she was my Maid of Honor in my wedding, and my lovey bug to this day. Whenever we get together even just to hangout in our sweats and eat puppy chow, I am just the happiest gal ever. I love that girl so much.

We continue to shake our groove thing whenever we get the chance.

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I am so lucky to have so many wonderful memories of dance and to have been able to share them with Bets. xoxoxo

So speaking of shakin’ it together when we get the chance…

On Wednesday evening I had the opportunity to walk down memory lane and take a dance class offered at my studio for alumni. I was extremely hesitant about going being that I hadn’t been to an actual dance class in about 8 years (not including Zumba, aerobics, etc.), but Bets and my other cousin Emmy had taken the class the previous weeks and convinced me that I had to join them. They said not to worry, just come have fun and I promise you will not feel silly if you can’t touch your toes or do a pirouette.

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I pulled out my leotard and dance shoes and headed to class with the girls. We jumped right into the warm up full of stretches that used to be a lot easier. Then, we moved into strides and leaps across the floor just like old times. Finally, we began some choreography. The theme for the week was Michael Jackson and we were taught a jazz dance to “Smooth Criminal.” I picked a great week to go, huh?! Love me some MJ.

I was very appreciative of our teacher (also an alumni) who took the steps very slow for us folks who were kicking the dust off of the old dancin’ shoes. I was sort of able to remember the steps and crank out the routine. What a great way to keep the mind sharp! By the end of the class I felt enlightened, nostalgic, and very sweaty. I proved to myself that I can still do it. Sure I may not be as flexible but I still have rhythm and can move, and you better believe I won’t stop dancing!

You can find me on the dance floor at every wedding, dancing around the house like no one is watching, Zumba’ing, and now, taking classes time and again at my old dance studio. Dance gives me such incredible energy and is a great stress reliever too. There’s a song for every mood you’re in. It’s powerful.

“If you get the choice, to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.”

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I am off to enjoy the weekend! Have a wonderful day my friends. Much love to you all.