Saturdays are something else. It feels like being a kid allover again. When you have the day off from class or work, that big window in your day opens and you are free to do whatever you want – almost like you were ten years old again even if that means tackling your to-do’s and honey-do’s. And I don’t know many ten year olds who did that. But still, Saturdays. You wake up fresher faced than you did on Friday without the realization that you’re back on schedule come Sunday night. There’s an intoxicating childish giddy glee in not waking up early and turning in a little later than usual and not forcing yourself to keep too strict a schedule.
My perfect Saturdays for me take me back a few weeks ago where I woke up early to go to one of the gigantic farmer’s markets nearby to see the Amish farmers and gain new food inspiration from the other venders. Slinging my resusable tote I purchased from the Market years ago over my shoulder, I stop by a local café for a chai because it’s still chilly minus the cobalt sunny blue sky overhead. This time, my fiancé is with me as I treat him to a drink. Curried butternut squash soup is among one of today’s specials on the menu today. A lover of curry, my fiancé orders a cup as well and it warms his belly as my chai tastes like Christmas in a cup as we watch the locals in the community go in and out of the café conducting their usual transactions, dressed stylishly and just living life.
It is afternoon now. We start dreaming of married life and dream up ideas for how we’re going to outfit our living quarters after the wedding this summer. We go antiquing and look at the furniture envisioning what kind of people and their lives they led predated the pieces of estate jewelry and furniture for sale and up for auction. For dinner, we try the local African restaurant which gives African refugee women work opportunities in exchange for cooking comfort meals from their homeland.
A great weekend of relaxation, dreams and adventure has inspired our meal for that Sunday after liturgy. After a relaxing, soulful day, neither of us could have been inspired by a more nostalgic meal the day after than the classic sloppy joe. Everyone knows how to make a classic sloppy joe, but have you had any idea how fabulous a Lenten sloppy joe is? I just use the adaption using green lentil beans and tomato paste from the Veganomicon but my fiancé wanted to do something a little bit differently to make it special. He adds a variety of spice to the bean mixture to turn up the volume for a grown up spin on this nostalgic favorite that looks and taste very similar you will be surprised you can have this during Lent – but you can. Oh, you can!
Vegan lentil sloppy “Bob’s”
1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil
4 ounces onion, diced
4 ounces red, yellow, and green sweet pepper, diced
4 ounces of celery, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons chilli powder
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika
1 cup (200g) green lentils
1- 23.5 oz jar tomato sauce
5 ounces tomato paste
4 teaspoons Sweet Chili sauce
2 teaspoons salt
6 Kaiser Rolls cut in half for serving
Heat the coconut oil in a medium, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the diced onion, pepper and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes, or until they soften. Sprinkle in the cumin, chilli powder, black pepper, turmeric, cayenne, and paprika; cook for an additional minute.
Add the lentils, 3 cups of water, tomato sauce, tomato paste and Sriracha. Increase heat to high and bring the lentils a boil. Drop heat back to medium. Cook uncovered for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow the water to slowly dissipate until slightly thick.
Taste the lentils, and if they are sufficiently tender (stoves and pots may vary) add the salt. Stir well and serve on a Kaiser Roll.