Eat Well, Spend Less: Five Ways With Lentils (Curried Lentil Soup)

This month for our Eat Well, Spend Less series we’re talking about emergency preparedness. We were hit fairly hard by Hurricane Irene recently and lost power for 18 hours; others fared much worse.

We were scrambling a little for things like flashlight batteries and warm blankets, but all in all, we didn’t suffer much during the outage. Still, it was a fair warning that we could -and should- be better prepared next time. While the Texas fires may not be warming our doorsteps, we never know what we might need to be prepared for. Certainly a few snow days are in my future, although I’ve got a few months before I have to worry about that!

We’ve talked about the benefit of a well-stocked pantry, but how much more valuable does it become during a crisis or natural disaster predicament? Suddenly those cans of lentils, tuna and beans are looking particularly fine, wouldn’t you say so?

Lentils are one of my favorite staples to have around – for main meals or sides – and today I’m going to show you why.

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Eat Well, Spend Less: My Top Five Frugal Meals (Recipe: Lentil Shepherd’s Pie)

Welcome back to another post in our Eat Well, Spend Less series. Last week we talked about Homemade Substitutes for Grocery Staples, and today I’m bringing you some of our ‘cheap eats’.

How fortunate that some of our most frugal meals are also our favorites.  Our family’s love of legumes definitely helps. Meat – especially organic – is one of the ingredients that quickly drives up the cost of a meal, so we aim to eat vegetarian meals three or four times a week.

Four of the five thrifty meal suggestions below are vegetarian, and most would adapt easily to be vegan; in particular, today’s recipe: Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato Topping.

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The Everything Beans e-Book (recipe: Black Bean Burgers)

Beans are a staple in our home and I’m fortunate that both Danny and the boys enjoy them any way I serve them. While they insist they don’t get tired of bean & cheese burritos or Frijoles rancheros, I sometimes feel like I want to mix things up in the bean department.

Enter a new e-book from Katie Kimball, The Everything Beans Book: 30 Frugal, Nutrient-Packed Recipes for Every Eater.

Perfect! Back in January, Katie of Kitchen Stewardship and I shared a drink at Blissdom where she told me about the exciting new project she was working on. If I wasn’t already convinced that a bean cookbook sounded right up my alley, a sample of Katie’s Black Bean Brownies was the clincher. They were moist, rich, and totally credible, – and yes, the recipe is in the book (as Grain-Free Fudgy Brownies).

The Everything Beans Book

Since my time with Katie, all the recipes have been tested, the writing completed, and The Everything Beans Book is now available. I have to tell you, I’m eating up my copy.

Hit the jump to read more about the bean cookbook, get a recipe for a healthy burger, and enter to win your very own copy of Katie’s e-book. (Sorry!  this giveaway has ended)

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Simple Food for Winter e-book Giveaway (recipe: French Lentil Soup)

This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Char, Megan, and Josie Landon, our three winners! You’ve been notified via email. Thank you to all who entered.
There’s a cookbook I want you to know about, because it is different from anything that is propped up on your bookshelf right now. Simple Bites contributor and Nourishing Days blogger, Shannon, has just released Simple Foods for Winter, a 58-page e-book containing 30 original recipes that emphasize real food and sustainable living. I’ve been cooking from it for a few weeks now, and each dish has been a hit – with grown-ups and children alike.

Simple Food for Winter not only contains easy to follow recipes, but practical advice on live food storage, cooking with dehydrated vegetables, and lacto-fermentation, that all-important immune-system boosting method of preserving. At the end of the post I’ll share a recipe from this remarkable cookbook and give you all an opportunity to win one of three copies, so keep reading!

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