Stephen's Healthy Lentil Bowl

>> Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Stephen continues to make most of our dinners these days. His awesome Garbanzo Garlic Knots and Perfect Pizza Crust have earned him major respect in the kitchen.

He's always making something as healthy as possible, which both Baby A. and I appreciate tremendously. He was even able to sneak a ton of kale into this dish. Kale I was actually able to eat, despite my recent aversion!


What you'll need . . .
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 3 cups of shredded kale
  • 1/2 teaspoon yellow curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup almond milk

Method . . .
  1. Heat 3 cups of water on high and when it is boiling, toss in the lentils. Cook -- uncovered -- until soft (6 to 8 minutes -- they should be soft and still rather wet). Set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a deep pan. Add the green onions. Saute until glassy.
  3. Add coriander seeds. When they start to pop -- add the rest of the spices and stir until onions are coated.
  4. Add garbanzo beans and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Add in the lentils. Stir. Cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in the kale and almond milk. (Stirring will also soften/mash the lentils.) Cook another 5 minutes.

Stephen served our lentil bowl with some browned Mission wraps. They were excellent for dunking. And -- overall -- the meal was satisfying and much healthier than most I've been able to get down these days.


We're slowly chipping away at the new decor in our living and dining areas. I was stuck on the couch most of the weekend dealing with some pregnancy issues, but we managed to get out and buy a new table runner that better matches the colorful rug we love so much.

One problem: The cats love the runner. And sleeping on our dining room table. Anyone know how to get them to break this bad habit? It didn't used to matter much, so we haven't exactly disciplined them. But we're using the table more and more.

Otherwise, we didn't do much, unfortunately. You can read all about it on (never home)maker, baby! Thankfully I'm feeling better now, but it was the longest weekend ever. And not in a good way.

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(Yet Another) Perfect Pizza Crust

>> Friday, August 26, 2011

As I mentioned this morning on (never home)maker, baby! Stephen has been making our dinners for the past month. And he's become quite a cook. Especially with garlic knots and pizzas. After all, it was Stephen who invented the Garbanzo Garlic Knots.

File this pizza crust recipe away under your MUST MAKE ASAP heading. I know we've declared it many times, but we mean it more than ever: This crust is PERFECT. You'll make it over and over again.


What you'll need . . .
  • 1 cup chickpea/carrot puree (see below)
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 2-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • pinch of salt
To make the puree, drain and rinse 1 can of chickpeas and 1 can of unsalted carrots (of course, you can steam your own carrots if you have time). Blend in a food processor until smooth. You will have enough puree to make this recipe twice. If you plan to make it soon -- refrigerate the leftovers. If not, freeze.

Method . . .
  1. In a small bowl, combine warm water and yeast. Let sit until frothy, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flours and salt.
  3. Whisk the yeast mixture and 1 cup of the puree together. Then add these wet ingredients to the flours.
  4. Mix with a spatula, then switch to kneading with your hands.
  5. Lightly oil another large bowl and let your dough rise in it -- covered with plastic wrap -- for 2 to 3 hours.
  6. Once dough has risen, divide into two balls. Each is large enough to make a large pizza.

To bake:
  1. Preheat a pizza stone at 425 degrees F.
  2. Flatten out your dough into a round. Once stone is preheated, bake on one side for 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Then remove from oven, flip over and start building your pizza on the baked side.
  4. Once topped with toppings, bake for another 12 minutes. Until browned and bubbly.

Toppings suggestions:

Mix of mozzarella/cheddar cheeses
Fresh tomato slices
Green onions
Minced garlic
Fresh basil, oregano, etc.

Today on (never home)maker, baby! -- we're celebrating our entry into the third trimester . . . at least we THINK. 27 weeks!

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Simple Vegetarian Recipes for Newbies

>> Thursday, August 25, 2011

We've received a couple emails/questions related to starting a vegetarian diet -- and just incorporating more meat-less meals in general. But what recipes are easy, satisfying, and not full of foreign ingredients? Well, we thought we'd pull together some of our favorite vegetarian recipes that are not only delicious, but also simple to make and teeming with good-for-you nutrients.

Here's a 3-day sampler of meat-free, energy-packed recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!


Alright. Breakfasts are perhaps the most adaptable. Most of what everyone eats for breakfast is usually vegetarian. But starting the day with the right mix of vitamins and minerals is important and usually requires, at least for us, a bigger, more filling meal than cereal and milk.

DAY 1: Simple Breakfast Burrito and Simple Strawberry Smoothie
DAY 2: Hearty Pecan-Chocolate Chip Micro Muffin and a Green Smoothie
DAY 3: Double-Dipped Vegan French Toast with sliced seasonal fruit


Lunches tend to require a bit of planning, especially if you work outside of the home. I find when I forget to pack a lunch, my options for a vegetarian meal aren't always bountiful -- leading to a less-than-stellar nutritional experience. But a little thought goes a long way.

DAY 1: Simple Hummus Melt
DAY 2: Mayo-Less Egg Salad
DAY 3: Rainbow Stew



We like to dinners made of thick soups, burgers, and other filling items. We have a ton of other dinner recipe ideas on our recipe page, which we admit needs to be updated, so feel free to check it out. It was hard picking just a few meals to share!

DAY 1: Cheap and Simple Chili
DAY 2: Pumpkin Garlic Knots or Garbanzo Garlic Knots and a HUGE serving of crispy kale or steamed collards
DAY 3: Black Bean Burgers

There are so many great foods to choose from, though. So, we'd love your help! Food bloggers (and others) out there: What is your favorite, newbie-friendly vegetarian recipe? Feel free to share it in the comments section below . . .

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Simple Smoothies and Grey Walls

>> Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I try my best to keep things simple. But I make all sorts of delicious foods -- all the time, in fact -- that I often don't deem blog-worthy. Especially lately, as it seems my tastes are changing again due to my pregnancy. Anything ANYTHING will give me heartburn. And I've again developed some food aversions. Most notably: I can't eat collard greens without having an immediate reaction (to put it lightly).

Simple. Easy. Boring? This smoothie, for example. It's so basic, I almost considered skipping it for posting purposes. But what makes this smoothie great is the texture.


What you'll need . . .
  • 1 frozen banana (essential that it's frozen)
  • 3/4 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup almond milk

Method . . .
  1. Toss everything in a blender and blend.
  2. Add more or less milk depending on your texture preference.
  3. To jazz it up, add cinnamon. Or vanilla extract. But I don't think you need to.
I'm also favoring simple foods these days purely because I don't feel like I have much time to cook. We've been constantly on the go visiting friends, fixing up the house, etc. I'm also noticing my energy levels are changing. Our summer work hours have changed back from an 8-to-4 to a 9-to-5, and I'm having the most difficult time adjusting this year. Usually it's no biggie -- but now I can't wake up early knowing I have an extra hour to sleep in. And when I get home . . . I don't feel like exercising or blogging because I feel like it's too late.

Sigh. I can't complain too much, though. We're still getting a ton done. Stephen painted most of our first floor last week. He has some detail and touch-up work to finish, but we're loving the new, bolder color.

We also bought this new rug at as a start to our new color scheme. See the difference? If you've been on our house tour, you know we used to be all beach-y, Young-House-Love-Style.

But that's so not who we really are. I think we went that direction at first because we just didn't know what to do and it was a popular look. Thing is, we're way more dramatic than that. So, the dark grey walls add some much-needed drama. We plan to keep it colorful and slightly bohemian-influenced.

But we have a lllooonnnggg way to go.

That's all for now. I'm going to TRY to sneak in a run this morning. We'll see if that happens! In the meantime, what's your favorite, most basic recipe? Just leave a comment or email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com.

And today on (never home)maker, baby! we're celebrating an early Thanksgiving. We want to know what baby items you've been fortunate enough to borrow . . . or what things you've been generous enough to share!

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Weekend . . . In Photos

>> Monday, August 22, 2011

We've been busy! This weekend, we went to my hometown and visited Erin, John, and Luke. You might remember them from our photo shoot last fall -- which seems like an eternity ago. Well, the little guy has grown. He walks and talks now.

And at 16 months, he certainly made me work for these shots!

Thankfully, Erin and John were patient as I snapped away. Now that I'm almost in my third trimester, I'm finding my usual lay-on-the-ground-and-roll-around technique of taking kid-photos quite difficult.

OK. It's nearly impossible to shoot the way I used to. But I still love all of these pictures. I might even venture to declare the very last photo I'm sharing my all-time favorite of all the photos I've ever taken!

Look at those blue eyes . . .

So, thanks for understanding our light-on-the-posting blog-status. We're getting back into the swing of things again . . . only to prepare for yet another out-of-town trip this weekend.

It's not all hard work, though. We definitely sneak in some fun!

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His and Hers Breakfast Beverages

>> Thursday, August 18, 2011

My mornings usually go one of two ways. Either I wake up feeling wonderful. Or I drag myself out of bed feeling not-so enthusiastic to greet the day. Today -- already at 7 AM -- my allergies are terrible and I have a nagging headache, so I most definitely started the day feeling the latter of the two.

The cats don't seem much better . . .

But we're not all feeling icky. Stephen sprung right up, ready to finish various projects -- including painting the entire first floor of our house. More on THAT sometime soon. Oh, and he also completely reorganized our kitchen on Monday!

Anyway, when I'm not feeling well, I like to drink hot chocolate. Even if the forecast calls for temperatures in the mid 80s. The following is my favorite recipe from when I was younger -- veganized. The second recipe is Stephen's feeling-great-I-must-eat-greens-for-breakfast smoothie.


What you'll need . . .
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar in the Raw (or sugar)
  • 1 cup almond milk (unsweetened)

Method . . .
  1. In a large mug, whisk together the cocoa powder, sugar, and 3 tablespoons of the almond milk.
  2. Then add the rest of the almond milk and stir well.
  3. Put mug in the microwave and heat on high for 1 minute. Then stir. Heat for an additional minute and stir again.


What you'll need . . .
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • Frozen banana
  • 1 solid handful of kale
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • 1 scoop Midori Greens (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats, uncooked

Method . . .
  1. Put everything into your blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Add a bit of maple syrup for sweetness, if you like.
So, good morning. And hope your day is going better than mine is!

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Tahini-Fudge Squares

>> Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What happens when you . . .

a.) are hungry for sweets, but impatient?
b.) run out of peanut butter, but still crave something more than simple chocolate?

You get creative -- no-bake style. With tahini! (Really. Just keep reading. This seemingly icky flavor combo is actually quite amazing.)


What you'll need . . .
  • 1 cup rolled oats, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1-1/2 cups chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Method . . .
  1. Line an 8 x 8 square pan with plastic wrap and set aside.
  2. In a food processor, pulse together the rolled oats, walnuts, and coconut flakes. You want to form a fine meal.
  3. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips, tahini, and coconut oil. Heat at 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted together.
  4. Add your vanilla extract and maple syrup to the chocolate mixture and stir.
  5. Then, in a large bowl, add the oat mixture and chocolate mixture together. Start with a spatula. It will be thick -- so you may wish to eventually just use your hands to combine it.
  6. Toss the chocolate-tahini ball into your prepared pan and press it down until it is even and smooth (you may wish to use another piece of plastic wrap to help you do this).
  7. Then cover and let set in the refrigerator until firm.
  8. Cut into squares. Store in the fridge.

The texture is just like fudge. However, I sometimes find fudge boring, so I like the slight crunch from the walnuts, oats, and coconut flakes. (The nutrition doesn't hurt either!) The flavor isn't something that I had experienced before. Sort of like a peanut-butter-and-chocolate-grows-up taste.

I also like how with this dessert, a little goes a long way. I have this immense capacity to gorge myself with sugar. With these, I take a few bites . . . and I'm good. Hopefully they'll last more than just a couple days, which is what's typically the case in our house.

If you're looking for something a bit healthier, check out yesterday's Apple-Oat Bars. I'm having one again for breakfast today! And on (never home)maker, baby! you can check out my latest craft project for the nursery.

I'll give you a hint: It rhymes with kilt.

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Apple-Oat Bars

>> Monday, August 15, 2011

These bars are fantastic for dessert. They are equally lovely for breakfast. They are sweet, but not too sweet. Dense and moist (I hate that word, but they are MOIST). And the best I can describe the flavor is this: They're like a hot bowl of apple-cinnamon oatmeal. In bar form.

With or without walnuts.


What you'll need . . .
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance (melted)
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon flax meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats, uncooked
  • 1 small apple, skinned and chopped into small pieces
  • 1 to 2 handfuls crushed walnuts (optional)

Method . . . 
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 8x8 square pan. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the Earth Balance, maple syrup, applesauce, vanilla, baking powder, and flax meal until well combined.
  3. Add the oat flour, oats, and cinnamon. Mix until well moistened.
  4. Then toss in the apples and walnuts. Mix just briefly until well distributed.
  5. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake for about 25 minutes -- until the edges are golden brown.
  6. Let cool before serving.

What's new on (never home)maker, baby! -- 25 Weeks and Running: How my favorite activity feels now that I'm 25 weeks along.

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Pace Workouts On Your PC

>> Thursday, August 11, 2011

We've been relatively quiet with running posts for the past several months. But that doesn't mean we haven't been hitting the pavement. Some of us harder than others, of course. Stephen recently reaped the reward for all his hard work -- earning a new 5K PR.


He beat his HIGH SCHOOL time, finishing in 16:42.

I thought I'd ask him to share with you his favorite online training tool. (When you have a pregnant wife, you rarely say "no.")


Stephen regularly visits a training calculator on Upon first examination, this site seems more suited for purely recreational runners. Don't be fooled. This particular tool is incredible -- providing multiple, detailed speed workouts to meet goal times at all race distances.

For example, when I get back into running, I have a goal to finish the half marathon at 1:40:00.

1.) Visit the Paces From Target Time Calculator on

2.) Plug in your desired distance, time, age, and sex. Hit "calculate."

3.) From there, the site gives you a handy chart with equivalent race times/paces. You can use this information in a number of different ways. One: Compare your goal race time to how you've done at other distances to see if your new goal is within reach.

4.) Then, you get ALL THESE WORKOUTS tailored to your goal.

1. Mile repeats
6 x 1 mile at 10km pace
Pace: 109 seconds per 400m, or 07:19 per mile
Rest between efforts: 109 seconds
2. Fast miles

3 x 1 mile at 3km pace
Pace: 101 seconds per 400m, or 06:47 per mile
Rest between efforts: 3 minutes
3. Kilometre repeats

5 x 1km at 5km pace
Pace: 105 seconds per 400m, or 04:23 per km
Rest between efforts: 2 minutes
4. The Pyramid

All done at 5km pace (105 seconds per lap), recovery half of effort time.

400m in 105 seconds, 53 seconds rest
800m in 03:31, 01:45 rest
1200m in 05:16, 02:38 rest
1600m in 07:01 (this will hurt!), 03:31 rest
1200m in 05:16, 02:38 rest
800m in 03:31, 01:45 rest
400m in 105 seconds.
5. 800 metre repeats

8 x 800m at 5km pace
Pace: 105 seconds per 400m or 03:31 per 800m
Rest between efforts: up to 105 seconds
6. Two and one

5 sets of 800m then 400m, all at 5 km pace
Each set consists of:
800m at 5km pace (105 secs per lap, 03:31 for 800m), 30 secs recovery
400m at 5km pace (105 secs per lap)
Rest between sets: 90 seconds
7. Eight, six, two

3 sets of 800m, 600m, 200m
Each set consists of:
800m at 5km pace (105 secs per lap, 03:31 for 800m), 105 secs recovery
600m at 3km pace (101 secs per lap, 02:32 for 600m), 101 secs recovery
200m at 1 mile pace (96 secs per lap, 00:48 for 200m)
Rest between sets: 1 lap jog
8. Unlucky for some

4 sets of 1,000m at 3km pace plus 300 metres hard
Pace: 1 km at 101 seconds per 400m or 04:13 per 1 km, 300 metres in 66
Rest between efforts: jog forward 100 metres after the 1km efforts; jog forward 200 metres after the 300 metre efforts
9. Quarter repeats at 3km pace

2 sets of 8 x 400m at 3km race pace
Pace: 101 seconds per 400m
Rest between efforts: up to 96 seconds
10. Fast 800s

4 x 800m at 1 mile pace
Pace: 96 seconds per 400m or 03:11 per 800m
Rest between efforts: up to 03:11
11. Quarter repeats at mile pace

3 sets of 4 x 400m at 1 mile pace
Pace: 96 seconds per 400m
Rest between efforts: 96 seconds
Rest between sets: jog a lap
12. Fast 400s

5 x 400m at 800m pace
Pace: 88 seconds per 400m
Rest between efforts: up to 02:57
13. Accelerating 300s

2 or 3 sets of 3 x 300m, accelerating to faster than 800m pace
Pace: 68, 66 and 64 seconds per 300m
Rest between efforts: 2 minutes, jog back to the start.
Rest between sets: 5 minutes – jog 500m.
14. Basic 200s

3 sets of 3 x 200m at 600m pace
Pace: 43 seconds per 200m
Rest between efforts: up to 1 minute
Rest between sets: Lap jog
15. Frank’s Killer Tempo Run

25 laps, alternating between marathon pace and 5km pace
Pace: Alternately 119 then 105 seconds per 400m lap
25 continuous laps (10km) with no rest.
Total time: 46:47

Pretty great, right? So, even though I'm taking my own running much less intensely these days -- I can still plug in my goals and think about the training that's to come. I'll be writing more about my 25-Week running adventures tomorrow on (never home)maker, baby!

Today, I wrote about the rest of week 25. It's been rough between interrupted sleep, new food aversions, and my growing belly.

Now, to tour the hospital!

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Sweet Potato Brownies (2.0)

>> Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Continuing with our sneaky trend of hiding veggies in desserts like Chocolate Chip-Banana Bread (and everything else), we've modified the much-loved Sweet Potato Brownie recipe we gave you several months ago. At the time when we first posted it, we were shocked at how dense, moist, and intensely chocolatey they turned out.

Only problem was . . . they wouldn't come out of the pan.

So, we set out to make them again last night, but with two new criteria. They needed to be just as healthy, if not MORE so. And they needed to be portable. After careful tweaking and taste-testing, I'm happy to report that we succeeded!


What you'll need . . .
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil (we used walnut oil, but veggie or canola works)
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats, uncooked
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2/3 cup sweet-potato puree (we used a half/half mix of sweet potato and carrot puree we had been using for garlic knots)
  • 1 flax egg (see directions below)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Handful chocolate chips
  • Handful peanut butter chips
  • Handful pecans or walnuts

Method . . .
  1. Spritz a 8-inch square baking pan with some canola oil. Set aside.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. In a small microwave-safe bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon golden flax meal with three tablespoons water. Then heat on high for 30 seconds. Stir and set aside to cool.
  4. If you don't already have it, make your sweet potato puree. I used the microwave to heat a sweet potato (first prick it a few times with the tines of a fork) -- then put it on a plate and zap for 6 minutes on high. Alternatively, you can boil the potato if you're not a fan of microwaves. Scoop out the flesh, mash or puree, and let cool.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  6. In another bowl, combine the sweet potato puree with the oil, flax egg, vanilla, and maple syrup. Mix until smooth.
  7. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry. Mix until everything is well moistened. Then stir in the chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and nuts.
  8. Pour into your prepared pan. Then bake for 25 minutes. The batter will appear wet, so be sure to poke through the center with a toothpick.
  9. Let cool before slicing. They may still be quite moist, but I assure you, they will come out of the pan!
As always, my favorite way to devour these brownies is to smother them with peanut butter. Nutella might also be a great compliment. Any sinful spread, really.

And for those of you following our baby blog, we wrote all about our girl's ever-expanding closet today on (never home)maker, baby! Go see what she'll be wearing that's old, new, borrowed, PINK, and more!

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!

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