The Quirks of Whidbey Island: Our Weekend Adventures, Plus The Traffic Light Lentil Stew Recipe

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…

BigfootWe 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:

DonkeyI’m a sucker for anything handmade and quirky, so seeing the sasquatch and the donkey always gives me a smile when I pass by Bailey’s Corner on my morning runs.

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):

Fort viewThe fort up close was a bit spooky though:

Fort up closeIf 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:

LighthouseThe admission to the lighthouse is free (you can leave a donation), and the visitors get to enjoy a lovely view from the highest point 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.

Lentil Stew 2The 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.

To see more supereasy and quick recipes, check out this post. And if you feel kinda clueless about what to make for dinner that’s both healthy, vegan and plant-based, go over here.

The Traffic Light Lentil Stew Recipe

Prep Time: 7 minutes

Cook Time: PT18-22M

Yield: 2 servings (with possible leftovers)

The Traffic Light Lentil Stew Recipe

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.

Ingredients

  • 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
  • Spices:
  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
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Your Turn: How was your weekend? Did you have any quirky experiences this first weekend of May?

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About Alina

Alina first made a switch to a vegan diet in 2013 to optimize her athletic performance as a marathon runner. Being vegan eventually opened her eyes on the issues of animal welfare, environmental protection, human rights and feminism. Alina hopes that her blog will help its readers on their path to making this world a better place.
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10 Responses to The Quirks of Whidbey Island: Our Weekend Adventures, Plus The Traffic Light Lentil Stew Recipe

  1. Liz says:

    Hi Alina!

    I am new to your blog and truly enjoy reading it. Have a great day and thanks for sharing your recipes and life 🙂

  2. kirsten says:

    Welcome to the Northwest! We moved to Bainbridge Island (your neighbor island) 6 years ago. The best running ever in my opinion due to cool weather & scenic views. I love your island’s deception pass, really beautiful.

    • Alina says:

      Thank you Kirsten! Deception Pass is really beautiful indeed. The weather seems perfect gor running, that’s true, but I’m still trying to get used to crazy hills around here!

  3. Ellie says:

    Everytime I eat lentils I feel like they are so dry. Are they supposed to be that way? I feel like I need to drink about a gallon of water with lentil soup (which is also liquidy). Any suggestions?

    • Alina says:

      Ellie, I’ve never had that happen to me, but you’re right that lentils can come out pretty dry. I usually don’t skimp on adding water to the pot when cooking them. I find that if you pair lentils with something very flavorful, like fresh veggie salad, the whole meal tends to be less dry.

  4. Fell Cheston says:

    Hi Alina, I stumbled across your blog whilst looking for vegan recipes for a party tomorrow night, south end, Whidbey Island, for our WAIF animal shelter fund raiser success celebration. Our MC is a vegan, and I am very close, and wanted to take something to honor her. So glad I found your site and know you (might still) live on Whidbey Island. I am in Coupeville, BTW. 🙂 Fell

    • Alina says:

      Hi Fell! Yes, I still live on Whidbey Island, in Freeland to be exact. Glad to hear that your MC is a vegan, and that you had a successful fundraiser!

  5. Tracey says:

    Yum! Do you cover the lentils when they cook? Also, your side salad looks amazing!!

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