I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since we moved to the Washington state! Almost every day we get a chance to see how different the Pacific Northwest is from our previous home in the Southeastern US (Alabama, to be exact), and to be honest, we love it so far! From the overall laid-back, almost hippie vibe of Whidbey Island, our current dwelling, to the breathtaking views that open up every time you turn around the corner – it’s all worth experiencing in this lifetime. Right now the only drawback is that the weather is quite a bit cooler than what we’ve been used to living on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, but at least I’ve been enjoying the fact that I don’t sweat like a sasquatch when I go running outside.
Speaking of sasquatch…
We see this guy every day passing by Bailey’s Corner, a very laid-back community hangout/corner store/bar just outside of our neighborhood. Who cares that he’s made of plywood, he’s still pretty awesome!
Bailey’s Corner also boasts this handsome guy on its premises:
This past weekend we did a bit more exploring of Whidbey Island. We visited Fort Casey, one of the historic military constructions on the western coast of the island that were built at the turn of the 20th century to protect Puget Sound and Seattle from possible attacks from the sea. The fort has been deactivated a long time ago, and now it’s a part of Fort Casey State Park.
We climbed around the whole place to enjoy views like this (that’s the fort building between the field and the water):
If you happen to be visiting this fort, be careful as we’ve noticed a few possibly dangerous spots – some railing was a bit shaky, some metal sheets looked too rusty and fragile. Common sense always helps, so if it looks unsafe, use caution. Aside from the fort itself, the park feels safe and looks gorgeous!
We also visited Admiralty Head Lighthouse that’s also located on the territory of the park:
More quirks of Whidbey Island: on Saturday, we unwillingly became witnesses to a few local guys and gals skinny-dipping in a local lake in 50-degree weather while we were taking a stroll by the water. (No pictures of that event, obviously 🙂 ) As the Dos Equis guy would say, I don’t always see a bunch of naked people walking around, but when I do, it’s just not swimsuit weather yet.
For our Saturday dinner, I threw together a few things to make this lentil stew that I served over brown rice. It’s a basic lentil stew recipe that I make pretty often, but this time I called it the Traffic Light Stew because I used two types of lentils, green and red. The Traffic Light was complete with the addition of yellow turmeric.
The side salad on the side was both delicious and easy to make: I tossed some red leaf lettuce with tomatoes, red onions, avocado, carrots and yellow bell peppers, and squeezed some lemon juice on top. Who would have thunk that a simple squeeze of lemon works so well as a salad dressing?! It blends the flavors of the veggies and enhances them while not adding any fat or unhealthiness.
A simple and filling lentil stew that's quick to make for a weekday dinner. This easy, oil-free recipe can be turned into a more complex stew with the addition of broccoli, cauliflower, caramelized onions, as well as various Indian spices that you may have on hand.
- 1/2 cup green lentils (the basic regular lentils, they are also called brown)
- 1/2 cup red lentils
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and cubed
- 1/2 can diced tomatoes, or 1 fresh medium tomato, diced
- 2 cups water or vegetable broth, plus more if needed
- 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp curry powder (optional, if available)
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp garam masala (optional, to taste)
- Salt, black pepper to taste
- Line the bottom of a medium-sized nonstick pan with water. Heat up the pan until the water is bubbly. Add chopped onions and carrots, sautee for 3-5 min until soft. Add chopped tomatoes and add cumin, turmeric and curry powder. Cook 1-2 min to warm up the mixture.
- Add both types of lentils; cover with enough water/broth to soak the lentils. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 18-22 minutes, or until green lentils become soft and red lentils disintegrate. If necessary, add more water/broth if the mixture gets too dry during cooking.
- Add garam masala, salt and pepper to taste. Stir well to break down some of the lentils. take off the heat and let cool for 5 min before serving. I like to ladle this stew over cooked brown rice, quinoa, or potatoes, and use leftovers for serving in wraps or pita bread sandwiches.
Your Turn: How was your weekend? Did you have any quirky experiences this first weekend of May?
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