Monday, March 01, 2010

Molly MacRae Monday: Secret Weapon for Victory

I can't believe it's the first Monday of March already but I am definitely welcoming spring and of course the monthly post from my mystery writer friend, Molly Macrae! Molly is back to discuss her physical feat. And what it took to get her there... - AA

As you read this on Monday morning, March 1st, I will be savoring sweet victory in a grueling athletic endeavor. Victory because I plan to finish, even if I have to crawl.

Sunday, February 28th, my friend Pat and I are participating in Hustle up the Hancock. We’re joining several thousand other people who think climbing the stairs to the top of the John Hancock Center in Chicago is a lark and a great way to raise money and awareness for the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago. Pat and I are actually only doing the Half Hustle, climbing only 52 floors, from the midpoint to the observation deck. We didn’t get to be as old as we are by being total loons. Our victory will come in finishing the climb, not in any setting any records for speed.

Am I ready for the Hustle? You bet. How have I prepared? Climbing a lot of stairs, over and over and over. But, even better, I’ve been fortifying myself with the food of the gods – Vegetarian Haggis. This stuff is fabulous. It doesn’t really taste like haggis, something in its favor, no doubt, in many people’s minds, but it has the right consistency and pepperiness.

How do I know Vegetarian Haggis will give me the edge I need to make it to the top? Take a look at this leg. Looking good, don’t you think? Come Monday morning, I know I’ll owe it all to Vegetarian Haggis. That or argyle socks.

Vegetarian Haggis
(my own secret recipe revealed)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 large carrots, shredded
3 oz. brown lentils, soaked for two to three hours
2 oz. steel cut oats, soaked for one hour
1 ½ cups cooked pinto beans, chopped
1 ¾ cups vegetable broth
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
⅔ cup pecans, chopped
1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to lightly oiled 3 ½- to 4-quart slow cooker.

Drain lentils and oats, rinse. Add to slow cooker with rest of ingredients. Stir. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.

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