Lentil Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie feat. Dijon Mashed Potatoes

We’re starting to get some lasting snow and ice on the ground. That means it’s time to start cooking up what I like to call hibernation food—warm, hearty dishes to fend off the cold and build up a sturdy winter bod! (Any excuse to feast during this time of year right?)

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This shepherd’s pie is a great starting point for comfort food and a generally swell vegetarian option. It can work with adding any spare vegetables you’ve got around in your fridge if you sautee them into the filling.

The real MVP here is the creamy warmth of the dijon mashed potatoes. The tang of the mustard cuts the earthy quality of the mushroom lentil filling with contrast and a buttery mouthfeel.

…I’m going to stop writing like Martha Stewart now and let you at this recipe.

Lentil Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie feat. Dijon Mashed Potatoes
Serves 4-6
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For the Potatoes
4-5 medium yukon gold potatoes
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
Milk (non-dairy OR dairy is fine)
Sea salt
Butter (optional)

For the Filling
2 c. brown lentils, cooked
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 package (227g) brown or white mushrooms, sliced
2 medium carrots, diced
2-3 celery stalks, diced
1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)

2-3 tbsp. soy sauce or tamari
1/3 c. red wine (optional)
1 c. vegetable stock (optional)
1 tbsp. arrowroot flour or cornstarch (optional)

1. Prepare the potatoes by quartering them and putting them in a large pot. Cover with water, salt generously. Bring to a rolling boil over medium heat and cook until fork tender. Drain the water and mash the potatoes vigorously. Stir in mustard and splash with milk, mixing to a thick, desired consistency. Add butter and salt to taste. Set aside.

2. In a large pan, sautée the garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until golden and fragrant. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes until slightly translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook until brown and slightly shrunken, stirring occasionally.

3. When the mushrooms are cooked, add the celery and carrots, stirring until slightly softened. Now it’s time to add the lentils! If using the canned variety, drain and rinse them before adding, stirring to ensure everything is evenly mixed.

4. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Now add the soy sauce and red wine to the lentil mixture, stirring until it has evaporated. Add your peas and stir through, fresh or frozen. Taste the mixture to check your seasonings.

5. Optional step: if you want a thicker consistency for your filling, whisk 1 tbsp. arrowroot flour or cornstarch into 1 c. vegetable stock. Pour into the pan, turning up the heat to simmer and activate. (If using arrowroot, whisk quickly!)

6. Pour the lentil mixture and spread evenly into a deep, square ovenproof dish— roughly 10 x 10. Cover the mixture with the dijon mash, spreading evenly. Bake in the oven until the potatoes are browned on top–about 20 minutes.

7. Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes to let the ingredients “settle.” Serve and enjoy!

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Birthday Cake Smoothie

On my birthday, my mom used to let me eat cake for breakfast.

She’d wake me up and bribe me down to the kitchen with it. CAKE! FOR! BREAKFAST! I’d leave school sugar high and pumped that I’d ditched the oatmeal for once. (Thanks for being cool, mom!)

Even though she doesn’t wake me up on my birthday anymore, the craving for that a.m. cake fix is a time-honoured tradition that I cannot and WILL NOT ignore. (I’m an adult damnit!) This smoothie is my 27-year-old compromise. It combines the YUM of cake mix with healthful ingredients like a l’il protein powder, yogurt, and frozen strawberries, a throwback to all the birthday breakfasts that have come before, covered in summer fruit. (Happy Summer Solstice, y’all!) I know, I know, healthy schmealthy… But a smoothie made with ice cream is just a milkshake, and that’s a different blog post.

Side note: lots of recipes I saw said sprinkles were optional… That is false. Sprinkles are only optional if you hate happiness or have food allergies to dye.

Birthday Cake Smoothie
Serves 1 (Easy to double and share the joy!)
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1/2 c. frozen strawberries
1/2 banana, frozen in chunks
1/2 c. plain or vanilla yogurt (regular or Greek)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 c. white or yellow cake mix, dry*
2 tbsp. vanilla protein powder**
1/3 c. cup almond (or other) milk
Sprinkles(!!!!)

1. Combine milk, yogurt, extract, and frozen fruit in blender until smooth. Add in protein powder and cake mix, blending again, scraping down sides if needed.

2. Add a few extra tablespoons of milk at a time if the consistency needs tweaking to your liking.

3. Top with sprinkles and a dusting of extra cake mix and enjoy! Happy birthday! …Or Wednesday… Or whenever you want this. Mama isn’t here to judge.

*If you’re wondering what to do with extra cake mix, Buzzfeed has lots of suggestions! Alternatively, you can go to your local bulk food store and buy a specific amount just for this! Or make this a bunch more times.

**If you don’t have protein powder just sub this with MORE cake mix!

Cut Me Some Flax Banana Muffins

Once, two years into my English degree, I almost dropped out of university to become a professional baker. The lightning bolt hit—carb-pe diem! I did end up graduating, and now, just bake in my spare time for fun. Still, it’s a tough hobby to keep up when you’re trying to lead a healthy lifestyle, even one with room for the occasional treat.

The ongoing mission is to find healthy bakes that actually taste good. Not dry bakes, not “pretty good for being healthier” bakes—food that is fun to make and produces tasty results that are good for you.

These muffins checked off the boxes—they’re dense, moist, chewy, and delicious!  Plus, they have 4g of fibre a piece, and at only 260 calories, you can add a tablespoon of peanut butter, a coffee, and a piece of fresh fruit for a whole breakfast. Yaaaaaaaaas.

Cut Me Some Flax Banana Muffins
(Adapted from Anecdotes and Apple Cores)
Makes 12 (approx, 260 calories each)

1 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. whole wheat flour
1/3 c. ground flaxseed meal
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

4 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 c. almond milk
1/2 c. greek yogurt (I had none so I used sour cream)
1/2 c. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners or grease well.

2.  In a large bowl whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and flax meal. Set aside.

3. In a smaller bowl, stir together mashed bananas, milk, yogurt, maple syrup and vanilla. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until just combined—it’s okay if there are little streaks of flour! Better a little bit of that than tough muffins!

4. Divide into prepared muffin pan, and place in preheated oven, lowering temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pans at the half way point, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

5. Allow to cool in pan for five minutes before removing to wire rack.

Banana, Chocolate, and Peanut Butter Overnight Oats

Uh, bananas, chocolate, and peanut butter—BCPB, y’all.  If you’re not interested after that, there’s just nothing I can do to help you.

Banana, Chocolate, and Peanut Butter Overnight Oats
Serves 1

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1/3 c. steel cut oats
10 g. chocolate protein powder (approximately 2 tbsp.)
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tbsp. chia seeds
Pinch of salt

1/2 c. unsweetened soy milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 medium banana, sliced
1 tbsp. all-natural peanut butter

1. Combine oats, protein powder, cocoa powder, chia seeds and salt in your container of choice! (I use a mason jar for #HipsterCred).
2. Add soy milk and vanilla, stirring to ensure even saturation
3. Add in sliced bananas and PB, stirring again.
4. Cover and let sit in the fridge overnight.
5. Stir up and enjoy!

Peanut Butter and Date Overnight Oats

A little late for Valentines day, but get your love on with some dates!

This recipe is chewy, sweet, creamy, peanut-buttery and filling. With your morning cup of coffee, tea, or water, it’s a healthy, but indulgent way to fuel up. At 500 cals it might be a little spendy, but it’s the first meal of the day—so make room, people! #WorthIt.

Peanut Butter & Date Overnight Oats
Serves 1

1/2 c. soy milk (or milk of choice)
3 tbsp. plain full fat yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 c. steel cut oats
1/4 c. chopped, pitted dates
1/2 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tbsp. all natural peanut butter
1 tbsp. chia seeds

1. Combine soy, yogurt, and vanilla in your container of choice! (Jar, bowl…whatever…)
2. Stir in oats, dates, and peanut butter, making sure everything is evenly distributed
3. Taste–if you want more sweetness, add the maple syrup (if not, -25 cals!)
4. Stir in chia seeds, cover container, and put in fridge overnight.
5. Enjoy!

Winter’s Bounty

Sometimes, you have to be excited about salad.

Sometimes you have to be excited about pictures of that salad, and make a blog post to show more than one.

This salad, Allison Day’s Winter Chopped Salad, is just that good, okay?

I think I finally understand arugula.

Meal Prep and Momentum

Confession: I love telling stories and I love cooking, but I never read the prose part of recipes posts on food blogs… So I’ll keep this short. This weekend, I started a new fitness Instagram (#fitstagram?) to keep me motivated. (Follow me at @rilesrunswild!) This morning I woke up, geared to cook lunches and dinners for the week, so I did. This afternoon, I went for a good Couch to 5K run. I’m feeling pretty good, and I’m hoping this momentum lasts!

Butternut Squash & Black Bean Enchiladas – 320 cals per serving
Serves 3-4 (how hungry are you?)


Enchiladas

1 tbsp olive oil
3 cups butternut squash, cubed
1 1/2 cups black beans
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
9 small corn tortillas
1/2 cup old cheddar cheese (optional)

1 cup of Red Enchilada Sauce (adapted from Budget Bytes)
2 tbsp canola oil 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp chili powder
2 cups water
4 oz. tomato paste
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)

Directions:
1.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Toss cubed butternut squash in olive oil, salt and pepper. Put into over to roast until fork tender, 15-20 minutes.

2. Get saucy! Combine canola oil, flour and chili powder in medium saucepan. Whisk until combined and bubbling over medium heat, about 1 minute.

3. Add water, tomato paste, cumin, and garlic powder to the saucepan. Whisk and bring to a simmer, letting it thicken as it heats. Stir in salt to your desired taste.

4. Sautee onions and garlic in a saucepan until fragrant. (Lazy tip: I emptied the sauce into a measuring cup and used the same saucepan.) Add black beans, a few spoonfuls of sauce and stir to combine, gently heating until warmed through.

5. Remove the squash from the oven and stir into black bean mixture. Reduce heat to 350 F.  Warm up your tortillas in the oven for a minute to increase pliability.

6. Spoon enchilada sauce into the bottom of a baking dish (9×13 or 9×9, use whatever you’ve got). Now assemble the enchiladas. Spoon some squash and bean filling into each tortilla. Roll up as snugly as possible and place seam side down in the pan.

7. Complete with the rest of your tortillas, and snuggle them into the pan together.(You may have some filling leftover. Lucky you, it’s delicious by itself!) Add the rest of the enchilada sauce over top, smoothing it into cover the tortillas.

8. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with cheese and return to oven for five minutes until melted. Serve with your favourite toppings: red onion, avocado, salsa, sour cream…the possibilities are endless!

Lentil & Mushroom Stroganoff feat. Cauliflower Potato mash with fresh Spinach – 350 cals per serving
Serves 4

Stroganoff
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp olive oil
4 cups (340g) mushrooms, diced
2 cups brown lentils, cooked
1/2 – 1 cup vegetable stock
1 garlic pickle, chopped
1/2-3/4 cup greek yogurt or sour cream
2 cups fresh spinach

Mash
1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into large florets
2 medium red potatoes, chopped
Salt to taste
1/4 cup soy milk (or milk of your choice)
Butter (if desired)

Directions:
1. Prep the mash. Put cauliflower and potatoes into a pot of water and bring to a boil. Salt the water and boil the vegetables until fork tender. Drain and then mash, adding milk, salt and butter to desired consistency and taste. Set aside.

2.  Add olive, garlic and onions to a large saucepan. Cook until fragrant. Add mushrooms and cook on medium heat until most fluids have been released and mushrooms are brown and cooked down.

3. Add lentils to mixture. Stir to combine, then add vegetable stock and simmer to desired consistency. Stir in chopped pickle.

4. Allow to cool slightly and then stir in yogurt or sour cream. (it’s okay if it “breaks”, it will still be tasty!)

5. To serve, line the bottom of a bowl with 1/2 cup fresh spinach, top with 1 cup mash, and then 1 cup of mushroom and lentil mixture.