Coconut Vegetable Stew

One pot meals make my kitchen life so easy at times. If I can nail a recipe that I will enjoy making and eating many times, it’s even  better. This recipe is just that. I got inspired to make this after reading a post from this amazing blogger: Pumpkin and peanut butter. I wanted to make her recipe as is the first time I read it but had to modify because of what I had on hand. I have since made it twice and every time it becomes something slightly different. The version I am sharing with you today is one that my husband raves about. I decided it was time I wrote down exactly how I made it so I could make it again. I made this to bring to a big family trip to the mountains we just had last week. I made a huge batch so it could feed 12 of us. I am sharing that recipe here. You can either half the recipe to make a smaller batch, or better yet, make a huge batch and freeze some for use!!!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 inch cube of ginger, grated
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 TBS cumin
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower,chopped
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 2 talks of celery,chopped
  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 9 cups water or vegetable broth (I mixed both)
  • 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 19 oz can of coconut milk (smaller or bigger is fine)
  • salt to taste

Steps:

  • in a large pot heat the oil and add the onion
  • cook onion for a few minutes until it becomes transluscent
  • add the garlic and spices and cook another couple minutes until the fragrance comes out
  • add everything else and cook covered on low for about 30 minutes or until all vegetables are soft
  • serve as is or with a side of black forbidden rice and rosemary roasted potatoes like we did

Since making this dish ahead of time, all the flavors got to marinate really nicely together. This is a dish that gets better as it sits. Freezing some of it would not be bad idea!

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Think Ahead, Lazy Parenting

Advance meal prep is where it’s at when trying to be a lazier parent. Although I truly love being in the kitchen and can spend hours creating, cooking, mixing, etc…. There are days when I don’t have time, or I just don’t feel like it. I started doing serious advance meal prep when I was pregnant with my first child, almost seven years ago (!!!!) And I have since done that at the end of each pregnancy. As the due date approached, I would start cooking like crazy and freezing a bunch of stuff so that we would have an abundance of wholesome foods to eat once the new baby arrived, without me having to spend much time in the kitchen, therefor having more time to snuggle with my new baby 🙂 Combine this with the generosity of friends dropping off food, we always had a very easy and healthy first 6 weeks postpartum. I did this with all three pregnancies, and for some reason, once we ate all the food in the freezer, I would go right back to cooking everyday from scratch. But not this year! I have already started filling up my freezer and will keep doing it.

I am sharing this post with you for two reasons:

  1. Maybe you haven’t been doing this for your family, and I can help inspire you to start making big batches of food and freezing them for future meals, therefor easing your stress around meal prep at times.
  2. To share with you some of favorite go-to freezer meals that we eat throughout the “winter”.

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This was my freezer last year at this time, since I was about to give birth to my 3rd baby. There are several batches of muffins: carrot muffins, zucchini muffins, blueberry muffins. There are several soups: carrot soup, butternut squash soup, lentil soup. As well as some veggie stews, and chili. There are some curries in there and some apple sauce. As well as my go to raw energy bites. I had also made huge batches of raw granola, that I kept in the pantry.

I cannot share enough how nice it is to have a freezer full of nutritious wholesome meals. If I have time and energy, I truly like prepping my meals fresh, but I also like to be able to stay out an extra hour if we are having a good time somewhere without the worry of having to go home and cook a meal. Or if I know ahead of time that I will be out late, I can take one of the pouches of food out and let it thaw in the sink all day so that when dinner time comes we will have a meal just waiting to be heated.

And I love having a variety of muffins ready to be grabbed for my daughter’s school lunches and snacks.

I use a vacuum sealer. It keeps food fresh longer, without the unfortunate layer of ice that can form in jars. And it also saves so mud space. The soups and stews can be stacked, avoiding the clutter of too many jars.

I hope you find this post useful. What do you do to make your life easier in the kitchen? Any tips are greatly appreciated!  I truly value eating nutritiously, and I also value having fun, being lazy and living in the present, which a little bit of thinking ahead can help me accomplish 😉