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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Festive Lentil Bean Loaf


However fleeting, I love fall: The weather,  the colours, the smell in the air...ah, it makes me so happy!  I also love Thanksgiving, a holiday that incorporates many things I cherish: cooking, eating, and gratitude.  So this past weekend was bliss for me.

Saturday we took the girls back to the Evergreen Brickworks.  This time Little A was in a much better mood, Big A enjoyed it, and there were no major meltdowns or incidents.  We convinced the girls to let us take them on a nature walk and it was wonderful.  We would have stayed even longer than we did if we hadn't had to get Big A to her gymnastics class at 1pm.

While exploring the farmer's market, Little A insisted on another giant vegan chocolate chip cookie so, of course, Big A had to have one too.  They also convinced me to buy them apple chips from the man from Niagara Try Dry.  He was so nice and helpful, offering the girls a taste of various dried fruits while they nagged me for the goods and giving me a paper bag for each of them when they impatiently tore their bags open, almost spilling them all over the ground.



Monday, Thanksgiving Day, we took the girls to Pumpkinfest at Downey's Farm.  This is the third year we've gone and we all love it.  This year not only did we have lovely weather, we got through the whole visit without a tantrum, until we got back to the car, at least.

Unfortunately, a particularly great long weekend is almost always followed by an especially difficult transition back to daycare/school.  Tuesday morning Little A got into her characteristic state of hysteria that makes her stop turn purple, appear as if she's stop breathing, and leads to diaphragm spasms and coughing fits.  Yes, this kid has been a champion drama queen since the day she was born.

No big, traditional dinner this year though.  Adam's folks went to Ottawa for the weekend, my dad's in England and my mom stayed in Kingston because she's coming to Toronto next weekend, on her way to England to meet up with my dad.

I contemplated making Adam and I turkey, but instead got excited about the idea of a vegan alternative.    Something I could serve with the yummy vegan gravy I made.  This fit the bill and made a delicious, comforting meal, along with mashed potatoes and steamed asparagus.  I am particularly excited about making the leftovers into various lunch creations.  I pre-sliced the rest of the loaf, and froze the slices.  I'm thinking, lentil loaf sandwiches, wraps, or just shoveling the slices into my mouth as fast as possible.  Personally I don't even think it needs gravy.  I also think this tastes better than any meatloaf I've ever had.


Festive Lentil Bean Loaf

1 onion, minced
20 button mushrooms, finely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbls sherry vinegar
1 tbls worcestershire sauce (vegan or regular)
1 tbls balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp Herbamare or regular sea salt
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
1-19oz can pinto beans, pulsed/broken up in food processor or coursely mashed by hand (leave chunky, you aren't making hummus!)
1-19oz can brown lentils, drained and rinsed
1 can tomato paste
2 egg whites or flax eggs (2 tbls ground flax + 6 tbls hot water)
1.5-2 tsp konjac flour (6-575mg capsules emptied out), or cornstarch/arrowroot might work?

Glaze

1/3 cup natural/sugar-free ketchup
1 tbls wocestershire sauce (vegan or regular)
2 cloves garlic, minced

Cook onion, garlic and mushroom in a pan or skillet over medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until they have rendered out most of their liquid and then liquid has reduced.  Add vinegars, worcestershire sauce and seasonings.  Continue cooking untl most of liquid has been absorbed.  Add in beans, lentils and tomato paste.  Remove from heat.  Quickly stir into eggs/flax eggs and konjac flour.  Scrape into a loaf pan that has been greased and lined with parchment.  Spread evenly and smooth top and cover with foil.  Bake in the oven at 375F for 45 minutes.  Meanwhile, whisk together ingredients for glaze in a small bowl.  Remove loaf from oven, discard foil and spread glaze evenly over the top.  Return to oven and continue baking for another 15-20 minutes.  Use parchment to assist removal from pan.  Cut into 8 thick slices and serve as desired.  Keep leftovers in the fridge for 3-4 days or freeze.

This recipe has been included in Vegetarian Mamma's Gluten-Free Friday, and Diet, Dessert & Dogs' Wellness Weekend.