Lentil Soup – THM E

I am anxiously awaiting the cool season here in Senegal. A few weeks ago we had a break in the heat and it seemed as if cooler weather was just around the corner. Sadly the progress is slow going. Now I’m just hoping it cools off by the time my Mom arrives from Minnesota on November 23rd!

Yes, you read that right. My Mom is coming to Dakar! She will be here in 10 days from now! I can’t wait! It has been almost exactly 10 months since I saw her last. I am so excited to have her here with me for a few weeks! It will be fun to show her around and have her meet all my friends here.

In my excitement I am also trying to make sure I have food in the freezer so that we don’t need to be cooking the whole time. Although, we both do enjoy cooking and it will be nice to cook together again! So today I decided to make some Lentil Soup and freeze it.

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All of the ingredients ready to go. Except the tomato paste…I forgot to get it in the picture.

This recipe is one I threw together earlier this fall and liked it so much I have made it a few times. It’s really easy to make, so I thought I should share it! You can also make it more like stew by using less chicken broth.

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Now it’s time to bring it to a boil!

(I’ll try to add a picture of the finished soup when I pull it out of the freezer…I forgot to take one before I put it away.)

My Mom has been following the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating about 1 1/2 years and I have been trying to eat that way as much as possible since June. If you are interested in learning more you can check out the website by clicking here.  This recipe is considered an E, which stands for energizing. It would be really tasty with a slice of homemade sourdough bread! The the recipe I use is from Gwen’s Nest and is also a THM E.

So as you being to feel the chill of fall here is a great recipe to warm up with!

Lentil Soup – THM E

4 cups Chicken broth
1 1/2 cups Lentils (cooked)
or
[2 cups Lentils (uncooked) and 8 cups Chicken broth]
2 Carrots
1 med. Onion
3 cloves Garlic
2 Tbsp. Tomato paste
3 Bay leaves
1/4 tsp. Thyme
1/8 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1/8 tsp. Turmeric powder
Salt and Pepper

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  • Chop carrots and onion. Mince garlic.
  • Add everything to a pot and bring to a boil.
  • Turn heat down, cover and simmer for 30 – 45 minutes.
  • If using uncooked lentil simmer for at least 1 hour.

There you have it…simple! Enjoy!

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Toubab Cooking – Jewish Apple Cake

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Last Saturday I decided it was time to try my hand at some baking…just to make sure my baking skills were the same in Senegal as they were in Minnesota.  As of today I have been in Dakar for three weeks.  The time seems to have simply melted away.  Although it hasn’t been too hot, but it has been windy…so maybe I should say that the time seems to have blown away!

Here in Senegal it is hard to find good sandwich bread like we are familiar with in America and if you can find some it quite expensive…like — for a loaf! So making bread was high on my to-do list.  I was really hoping it would turn out good.  I was worried that the difference in climate and possible difference in ingredients would make it flop.  I used my recipe for Honey Oatmeal Bread and it turned out great!  The only thing I did different was I left out the wheat flour, as I couldn’t find it here.

I also wanted to make something sweet that we had all the ingredients for…so I made a family favorite, Jewish Apple Cake!  My Mom has been making this moist, cinnamon apple cake for as long as I can rem
ember.  But it was my grandma who first found the recipe in a local newspaper in the 1960’s.  The original recipe called for layering the cake batter and apples, but with having a large family and trying to save some time my grandma decided to simple fold the apples in instead!  As a young girl, I always remember my Mom getting complements  when ever she would make this cake for company…so it seemed like the perfect recipe to begin my time in Senegal!

I hope you enjoy making and eating this cake as much as my family and I do!

Jewish Apple Cake

3 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 Tbsp. baking powder

4 lg. eggs

1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

1/3 cup Orange juice (I used mango and pineapple juice)

2 tsp. vanilla

5 apples

4 Tbsp. sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup raisins (opt.)

1 cup nuts (opt.)

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1/4 cup sugar and 2 tsp. cinnamon – mixed together.  Use for dusting the pan.

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Instructions:

– Grease a 9×13 inch pan and dust with cinnamon/sugar mixture.  This works great on a variety of sweet breads and cakes!  Save any extra to top the cake.

– Peel, core and thinly slice apples…I like to use a variety of apples if I can.  Mix cinnamon (2 tsp.) and sugar (4 Tbsp.). Toss with apples until well coated.

– In a large bowl add flour, sugar and baking powder. Mix.

– In another bowl mix together the eggs, oil, juice and vanilla.  Then add to the dry ingredients.

– Mix until thoroughly combined.

– Gently fold in apples and the nuts or raisins.

– Pour into your greased pan and top with any extra cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Bake at 350° for 1 hour

Enjoy!

Toubab – a Wolof word for white person. (Pronounced: to-bob)

Quick story…so last week I visited a local market for the first time.  There were lots of cute little kids running around many of them would come up to us singing, “Toubab, toubab! Bonjour, toubab!”  Many of them may have only seen a white person a few times in their lives.  They were so cute and polite, some of them wanted to come up and shake our hands!  It made my first time to the market a memorable experience.

 

Mac & Cheese Bites

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So…my brother and I both really like mac & cheese bites.  If you have never experienced these deep-fried bites of cheesy goodness you have to try this recipe!  For those of you who have had the opportunity to try mac & cheese bites I think you will be very pleased with this homemade version.  I used this recipe that I found on Pinterest as a springboard.

Mac & Cheese Bites (Makes about 35 bites)

1 box Kraft macaroni and cheese

1/2 cup sharp Cheddar cheese

Batter:

1 egg

3 Tbsp milk

1/4 cup flour

1 Tbsp cornstarch

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp paprika

salt and pepper

Instructions –

Begin by preparing the macaroni according to the directions on the box.  After it is finished add in the 1/2 cup of sharp cheddar and stir to combine.

Next line a 9×9 inch pan with parchment paper.  (You could use a slightly larger or smaller pan.)  Pour the macaroni and cheese in to the pan, then use another piece of parchment paper to press the macaroni down.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Remove from the fridge and cut into “bite” size pieces, mine were about 1 inch squares.  Now put in the freezer for about 30 minutes.

Now it’s time to plug-in your fryer and make the batter.

In small bowl whisk together the egg and milk.  Then add all the dry ingredients and whisk some more.  That’s it, now you are ready!

Take the macaroni and cheese squares out of the freezer and dip each one in the batter before carefully placing in your hot oil.  I was able to fry 7 bites in each batch.

Fry at 400* for 3-5 minutes

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So good…I know you want to try one!

These really were simple to make and I’ve already been thinking of some add-in that might be yummy…bacon, pepper jack cheese, etc!  Let me know what you think if you try making these oh, so, good mac & cheese bites!!!

Homemade Egg Noodles

Beef and noodles.

It doesn’t sound like anything too amazing…but when those noodles are homemade it’s a perfect winter meal!  The first time I tried this amazing dish was 3 or 4 years ago, thanks to a very dear friend.  A few weeks later, I knew I had to try my hand at making homemade egg noodles myself.  So I called my friend for her recipe…well, there really wasn’t a recipe.  She just said break some eggs in a bowl, add a little water, salt and enough flour to form a soft dough.  So that’s what I did.  It’s surprisingly much easier than you may think!

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Step 1 – Crack eggs into a large bowl. I used 8 eggs, but you could use more or less, depending how many noodles you want in the end.

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Step 2 – Add salt and water. Salt: I used about 1/2 tsp of salt, but they were a little bland (that’s what happens sometimes when you don’t use a recipe). Next time I think I would use a 1 tsp. Water: I used about 1/2 cup.

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Step 3 – This is an easy one…whisk!

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Step 4 – Add flour. I think I put in 3 cups before taking this picture. Sorry, it’s been about a month since I actually made this batch of noodles.

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Step 5 – Using a sturdy spoon (I prefer wooden spoons) begin to incorporate the eggs and flour. As you can see, the dough is still quite sticky. Continue adding more flour at 1/2 cup at a time.

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Step 6 – Knead in any more flour you may need to have a soft, but not sticky dough. Then I split the dough into manageable sizes for rolling out.

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Step 7 – On a well floured surface, with a floured rolling-pin, roll your dough out fairly thin about 1/8″ – 1/4″. (The noodles will expand as the cook.)

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Step 8 – Cut the noodles. The easiest way to do this is with a pizza cutter…my Mom taught me that! You can cut them whatever size you want them, it might differ depending on what you are using them for.

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After they are cut I put them on a cookie sheet or plate with extra flour on it and toss them in the flour so that they don’t stick together.

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Ok, so this time I was making turkey and noodles. Not as good as beef or venison, but still good. So, before adding the noodles to the turkey broth I had it boiling in the oven (I think the oven was set at 425*) and then carefully began adding noodles to it. I had also seasoned the broth with celery salt and pepper, you could also add any vegetables you might want at this time. After the broth and noodles begin to simmer again turn oven down to 375* and bake, stirring occasionally, for 30 – 60 minutes.

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Here is the end result…

So if you are the type of person who likes very clear directions…I’m sorry.  I know there was a lack of specifics in this recipe, but that is the way my Mom and I cook much of the time.  So, I don’t actually have a written recipe for these noodles.  As a side note – if you have more noodles then you need at one time, stick the extras in the freezer (leave them on the cookie sheet with the extra flour).  After they are frozen, put them in a freezer bag and back in the freezer for some other time!

If you try this “recipe” I would love to hear how it works for you.  Or, if you have a question, feel free to ask and I’ll try to respond quickly.