Thursday, May 27, 2010

Our Story, Part II, and Stewed Cabbage with Rice and Lentils

Yes, I've been away for too long. Lots going on - vacation planning, a new laptop, training hard for two up-coming events - a sprint-length triathlon in August and a 10-miler in October. It might seem early to be training for an event in October, but you have no idea how hard I have to work to get my head ready for a long distance run! My body is ready looong before I get my head into it!

Now on to the next part of our story, and a quick recipe.

Our Story, Part II
So Paul and I find ourselves a family of four. Two very busy daughters keeping us running constantly and both of us in grad school. No time to plan for or cook healthy meals. Most of our meals during that time were either Hamburger Helper-type deals or fast food. Junk and more junk. During this time, Paul and I reached our heaviest weights. I maxed out at around 254 pounds, Paul at 432. I was wearing a size 24 and Paul's jeans were a whopping size 60.

This is Paul and me at a family reunion in September of 1998.

During this time, Paul was diagnosed with hypertension and Type II diabetes. Before long he found himself on 8 different drugs to contr
ol the two diseases. The diabetes was a bit of a wake-up call. I began to cook more and we began to pay more attention to the amounts of food we were consuming. Paul dropped around 60 pounds. I didn't.

The new resolve didn't last and Paul regained all of what h
e had lost. Then a series of events began that turned our lives upside down. I will condense this very long story to the bare bones. No, there were no tragedies. Paul decided to change careers. He had been doing psychiatric social work for many years and thought it was time for a change. He quit his job and went to work managing a woodcrafters' supply store.

It was a disaster. He hated it from
the moment he started. And when I say he hated it, that is an understatement. He lasted all of 3 days. The store owner was furious with him, but Paul knew it was not where he belonged, so after those 3 days, he quit. And was unemployed. He was only unemployed for two weeks, but those were very long weeks!

Now, anybody who knows my husband at all knows what a conscientious and responsible person he is. To be unemployed with a family was devastating to his sense of responsibility. The anxiety was overwhelming. He began having panic attacks. He couldn't sleep or eat. To manage the anxiety, he began taking long walks. And lo and behold, by the time he started his new counseling job, he had lost around 15 pounds!

He kept walking every day. In the rain, in the heat, in the snow. And the weight kept coming off. I was becoming more aware of the types of food we were eating. I was preparing more fresh vegetables and we cut fast food out completely. I lost a few pounds, but nothing compared to what Paul was loosing!

Then Paul began "branching out". He started going to the gym. I hated him for it. Because he dragged me alon
g with him. I would walk on the indoor track and mutter mean things while he pumped away on the elliptical machine. You see, I had long since made up my mind that I was fat and would stay that way for the rest of my life. Not because I liked it, but because I didn't think I could do anything about it.

To be continued..........

And now for a quick, easy, and delicious dinner......

Stewed Cabbage with Red Lentils and Rice
1 cup red lentils

1 cup basmati rice
5 cups vegetable broth
1 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp garlic granules
1 tbs dehydrated onions (or 1/2 tsp onions granules)
1 tbs caraway seeds

2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp ancho chili powder
1 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
3 cups cabbage, thinly sliced (I used 1/2 red cabbage and 1/2 green)

NOTE: Seasonings for this are flexible. Use flavors and amounts that suit your taste!

In a large dutch oven or soup pot
, bring bring broth to a boil. Add lentils and rice. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add cabbage, tomatoes, and all seasonings. Return to a boil, them simmer covered for another 15-20 minutes, adding water or more broth if it starts to stick or gets too thick. It should be somewhat saucy.

I served this over mashed potatoes and it was soo
oooo savory - comforting and delicious!

1 comment:

  1. Your story reflects what so many are facing. Thanks for sharing both the story and the recipe! It looks delicious.