Good afternoon! I hope you are a lovely and productive day. I sure am — I’ve gotten 1 document to print already and I’m hoping to get 1 more done soon.  Ahh, the life of a tech writer. 🙂


I snacked on some raisins and nuts around 9:30.


And for lunch, I made "Dal for Dummies"!


Every time I read dal recipes, it seems really complicated and/or involves ingredients I don’t have in my pantry.  So I made a simplified version! 


Ingredients (all measurements are guesses, I just dumped stuff in):


  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 plum tomato, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons curry
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup red lentils
  • Handful of chopped spinach
  • 1/2 cup brown rice, cooked




  • In a small pot with a lid, cook the first 8 ingredients on medium in 1/2 cup of water until the onions become translucent.
  • Add lentils and 1/2 cup of water. Cooked for 15 minutes or until lentils are soft.
  • Add spinach and cook for 2 more minutes.
  • Uncover and let stand for a few minutes before serving over warm brown rice.


I used too much water when I made the dal, so I reduced the recommended amount in the recipe above.  Let me know if you try it!


In honor of Valentine’s Day, please describe the most romantic thing anyone has done for you.  If you are a V-Day hater, describe the most shiteous gift you’ve ever received for any holiday. 


My answers: 


  • Most romantic thing:  our proposal!  The Husband is super romantic.
  • Most lame present:  A crappy answering machine, so an ex could "leave me messages."   Oh, and it was broken, but he never returned it and got me another one.   So it was really no gift at all.  I hope he doesn’t see that, because he’s actually a really nice guy.  It was just a lame gift.


  • Beth February 12, 2009, 11:03 am

    Most romantic: I always used to give my husband crap because he went into debt as a high school student to buy his girlfriend diamond earrings. I would always joke about where MY earrings were after 5 years of marriage. At a surprise party he threw for me one time, he gave me a gift and I jokingly announced to the crowd that of course they weren’t diamond earrings because those were only good enough for his high school GF. He let me go on and on, giving him crap and then whipped out some earrings! What a turd…I cried and cried.

    Worst gift: It wasn’t from a boyfriend, but my grandma got me a New Kids on The Block charm bracelet for my 13th birthday. 🙁 It was weird and I had to wear it because my mom made me.

  • redheadedjournal February 12, 2009, 11:06 am

    Most romantic: this weekend, can’t post details because it’s still a secret!

  • Meg C. February 12, 2009, 11:10 am

    Best Valentines Gift: Flowers – simple and beautiful.
    Worst Gift (Birthday): for my 21st birthday my ex-boyfriend gave me the “idea” of tickets to see a taping of my favorite TV show. He said something like, “I thought it would be really fun to get tickets but when I tried online it said they were sold out.” Instead, I got nothing. So… it’s not just the thought that counts!

  • Elizaeth (thelongweigh) February 12, 2009, 11:11 am

    My most romantic was also my proposal. It was totally unexpected too which made it that much more fun. I was on a girls trip and came back home on the Sunday before Valentines Day (2006). I walked in the door and there were candles everywhere and my husband had made my favorite meal for dinner. I just thought it was an early Valentines celebration. After we ate he said he had soemthing to show me, and he had made a slideshow of all the pictures of us through our dating years to our song. The very last picture of the montage was a picture of a ring in a box and I turned around and there he was on one knee. I freaked out. It was great!

  • tfh February 12, 2009, 11:12 am

    Your dal looks great!

    I’m not sure about most romantic– I consider the small daily gestures like husband having food cooked when I get back from my runs and leaving me notes around the house to be about as romantic as it gets– but I know the WORST V-day ever was when I got some flowers, and lit up b/c I thought they were from my boyfriend, but they turned out to be from a crazy stalkerish guy I did NOT want to be reminded of. Message: it’s not romantic if the person has told you they want you to PLEASE leave them alone!

  • Elizabeth (thelongweigh) February 12, 2009, 11:14 am

    I just realized that story happened and we got engaged three years ago today. Woo hoo!

  • Hallie February 12, 2009, 11:14 am

    Most romantic: The first time my boyfriend and I talked, I mentioned I was training for the 3 Day Walk and was into hiking. So he bought me a book all about walking routes/trails in San Diego and put it on my desk where we worked (when I wasn’t there). I didn’t even realize it was from him. (What guy listens to a girl that closely?) He asked me a week later if I got the book and I was floored…this was all before our first date. He said I had to promise to go hiking with him. I thought it was so sweet.

    Worst: a boyfriend (now EX)once picked my name as part of a Secret Santa thing we were doing with friends. As a gag gift he gave me a pack of hair ties in front of about 30 drunk college kids whose minds instantly went to dirty places. I was MORTIFIED.

  • livelaughlyss February 12, 2009, 11:20 am

    Most romantic: When my friend asked me to prom, he left a bouquet of 11 roses on my doorstep with a note that said “Will you go to prom with…”. Later that night, he showed up at my doorstep with the last rose and a little note that said “…me?” SO CUTE!

    Worst: When I was a waitress at Ruby Tuesdays, an ex-boyfriend brought me a beautiful bouquet of a dozen red roses and gave it to me via the kitchen in front of EVERYONE THERE. They all thought it was adorable, romantic and cute… little did they know that it was his attempt at an apology for cheating on me.

  • BOBBI McCORMICK February 12, 2009, 11:28 am

    I am on this huge brown rice kick so I will have to try that soon! Most romantic was my now hubby flew of to California and surprised me in phoenix on my layover when we were dating. My grandma had passed away and he wanted to be with me during the hard time…. He was a keeper!

  • Meghann February 12, 2009, 11:29 am

    I know what you mean. All the Dal recipes always look complicated to me too! Yours is much simpler

    Since my birthday is less then the week before Valentine’s day I have never really had anything too special. I usually get the ‘Don’t expect much on Valentine’s Day because I just went all out on your birthday’ .. seriously I have had three guys says that!!

    I think the best v-day gift would have to go back to junior year of high school when my then boyfriend Ryan brought me flowers and a bear to carry around all day. It was my first Valentines Day with a real boyfriend and we had just started dating on my birthday. I wasn’t expecting anything, so it was a big deal to have him give me flowers and then to have all the girls eww and aww in every class. 🙂

  • Kimberly February 12, 2009, 11:39 am

    My ex gave me a key to his apt. one year, which was sort of lame. His heart was in the right place, but frankly, he could have given me the key ANY day of the year, and used Valentine’s for something a little… prettier? Also, he was POSITIVE I would never guess beforehand, and then I did, so that deflated the moment somewhat 😉

    But he also gave me the best, one year in college — since he knew two things I loved were books and getting out of NYC, he surprised me with a trip out to Long Island for dinner at a restaurant THAT IS ALSO A BOOKSTORE. I hated the gift, which was a neon pink super-hi-tech waterproof sports watch, but the field trip was a sweet surprise.

  • Brandi February 12, 2009, 11:39 am

    Most romantic: Definitely my proposal. He knows me too well! He bought a box of mixed dark chocolates, put the ring on top of the middle chocolate, and sealed up the box so I thought I was opening it for the first time.

    I’ve had pretty unromantic boyfriends, but no gifts stick out to me. Maybe cause I didn’t get any from those sucky boys 🙂

  • Meg February 12, 2009, 11:40 am

    My most romantic moment: Our proposal. My husband tied the ring around one of the dog’s neck and had him come out to me!!!!

  • chandra February 12, 2009, 11:46 am

    Well, I’ve never really had any thing romantic for me, I’ve dated a lot of d-bags. But I think this was the sweetest thing ever done for me: I met a guy on my trip to Vegas last July and we kind of hit it off. We hung out every day and really enjoyed each other. Unfortunately I was only there for 3 days. 🙁 We exchanged contact info and stayed in touch, talking via text or email 3-4 times a day. A week after I arrived home I recieved a “mix tape” with a bunch of songs that reminded him of me! It was SO sweet. Unfortnately reality set in and we realized we could never have an Iowa-Vegas distance relationship and I haven’t heard from him since October, but it was sweet for a few weeks!!

    The worst: my story about my BF throwing my stuff in the snow, but it was funny too. 🙂

  • lilveggiepatch February 12, 2009, 11:53 am

    I’ve been reading a lot of dal recipes recently too! Maybe I’ll make some today.

    Last year, I was studying abroad over Valentine’s Day. I talked to my boyfriend over iChat while I was there, but it was sad to be apart (obviously!). Anyway, on the day, I thought he’d forgotten, but it turned out he’d made a video from pictures of our iChat conversations, and written a song called “Veggie” to go with it! I don’t know if anything will ever top that one.

  • Dori February 12, 2009, 12:00 pm

    I have a funny worst gift story. My first year of college, I had a boyfriend and we had only been dating a few months and my birthday was approaching. For some reason I had access to his email account (I think he left himself logged in on my comp?) and as bad as this is, I looked through it and found what he got me for my birthday. I think I had reason to be concerned about this, I think he might have said something that sounded an alarm in my head.

    Now, I am not obsessed with name brands or anything like that, but when I do wear a name I will only wear the real version. I think imitations are silly and why not just have a nice no-name item.

    I saw that he ordered me a fake Fendi wallet from eBay — and it was HUGE. Not something I would have carried, especially at age 10. I would have felt bad telling him it was fake after he gave it to me, but at the same time I didn’t want to use it and have him feel bad that I didn’t use it. I just didn’t want him to give it to me at all!

    Not sure what to do, I had my roommate contact him and pretend she wanted to help him select a gift for me since she knew me for a long time and knew what I liked. It worked! He told her he got me a wallet on eBay and she asked him how he knew it was real and he arranged to meet up with her at the dining hall so he could show it to her.

    They met, she took one look at it and said, “You can’t give this to her.”

    And he never did!

  • ksgoodeats February 12, 2009, 12:04 pm

    What a great recipe 🙂

    No fun stories from me but I love hearing everyone else’s!

  • Jen February 12, 2009, 12:16 pm

    Most romantic…one year for my birthday I came home from work and my boyfriend had all these gifts laying out for me, plus a handmade card from him and one “from” our two cats. I know that sounds ridiculous, but the fact that he took to take the time to make a card from our freaking cats so they could “tell me they loved me” was so adorable. Also one day he wrote on our desk in some play doh that he loved me.
    Least romantic…he’s had plenty of not so romantic moments, too, like when he didn’t get me ANY birthday card and took me to a ribs joint for lunch on my bday (I’m a vegetarian!)

    I’ll take the good with the bad, though 🙂

  • Julie February 12, 2009, 12:32 pm

    Most romantic – I guess I haven’t had one yest! My ex and I used to go out to dinner, but nothing special. Thsi year I think it will be great because I’m w/ a new guy who is actually a friend I’ve known for 10 years and we’ve been together for 1 month as of this weekend! I don’t usually get corny about stuff like this, but I think it’s okay just this once 😉

    Lamest gift – My ex gave me an umbrella for our 2nd anniversary. Granted it was a coach umbrella, but still. It was an umbrella.

  • Missy February 12, 2009, 12:40 pm

    Most Romantic: My boyfriend in high school brought me the biggest stuffed teddy bear ever. He gave it to me in the middle of class and was so proud of it.

  • Susan February 12, 2009, 12:56 pm

    Most romantic: One guy I dated in college actually lived back home, and we used to talk on AIM a couple years prior to dating. He had asked me what my top ten favorite movies were, so I told him. We didn’t date until two years later, but for Christmas I got a giant gift bag filled with all my favorite movies. (I NEVER buy movies so I only had one of them.) I asked him how he knew all my favorite movies since some of them are pretty random, and he pulls out this envelope with a printed version of the conversation about the movies that he had saved. It had a note on it that said, “I tend to save things that I think might be important in the future.” Apparently he liked me even two years beforehand and saved our conversations in case my answers to his questions came in handy if we ever dated. I was floored that he had liked me for so long (I thought he was wayyy out of my league), and it was SO cute.

    Worst gift: Anything my current boyfriend’s mom gets me. She knows I love elephants, so now anytime she sees ANYTHING (and I mean anything) with an elephant on it, she buys it for me. Greeting cards, bookends, trinkets…

  • RhodeyGirl/Sabrina February 12, 2009, 1:05 pm


  • Jess February 12, 2009, 1:42 pm

    Most romantic: My then-boyfriend (now hubby) flew in for a weekend on our one-year anniversary. (We had started dating in college and were now living thousands of miles apart.) My housemates all knew, but I was clueless…I came home from a long day teaching to find him in our living room! Definitely the best thing ever.

  • sarah February 12, 2009, 2:08 pm

    Most romantic: A huge (I mean, huge) bouquet sent to work and a chef to prepare our dinner later…amazing!
    Worst gift: A pair of socks (I wish I was kidding) from an ex.


  • lauren February 12, 2009, 2:08 pm

    I totally needed this Dal for dummies. I will let you know when I try making it. I am bookmarking it now though.

    I am not the biggest V-day fan, but the thing that I still think about was on V-day in High school – my boyfriend had a dozen multi-colored roses delivered to me in school. That was awesome.

  • VeggieGirl February 12, 2009, 2:13 pm

    Hope the rest of your day is productive!!


  • Erin February 12, 2009, 2:28 pm

    Most romantic: Last valentine’s I had a rehearsal that was going horribly and had to stay late. When I got back my boyfriend had made a beautiful dinner, found my favorite wine, and had my gifts on laid out on my bed. It was so sweet and thoughtful!

    I’m not sure about least, I think when a boy in high school gave me “Lord of the Flies” as a present. He was really nice, just not romantic!

  • luckytastebuds February 12, 2009, 2:32 pm

    what an awesome recipe!!!
    Most romantic: hmmmmmmm I think it’s when I least expect a surprise (i.e. I’m expecting not to see my bf that night) yet he appears at my door magically after a long day of work just to see me.

  • Monica February 12, 2009, 2:55 pm

    Your dal is very similar to mine, but somehow manages to look more delicious. Mmm, I love me some lentils!

  • Bec February 12, 2009, 3:17 pm

    That Dal looks sooo good, hope you had a great day!

  • imadedinner February 12, 2009, 3:34 pm

    Most romantic: when my fiance proposed in a hollowed-out pineapple at our sushi place. I still tear up when I really think about that night 🙂

  • Erin of Care to Eat February 12, 2009, 4:25 pm

    We don’t really celebrate, but…hmm…one year Rob did something cute. He bought me birds of paradise (I hate having flowers around the house but I love those), brought home a box of chocolates, and started reading one of my relationship books on the couch.

  • Mica February 12, 2009, 5:04 pm

    I love daal! It’s so good, I could eat it every day (which I did once)!

    Ohmygosh, how about I apparently have the least romantic relationship ever? My most memorable Valentine’s present was that time that Leonardo DiCaprio drew a naked picture of me with a giant heart-of-the-ocean necklace. Wait, no. That wasn’t me. 🙁

  • Sharon February 12, 2009, 6:04 pm

    Most romantic gift: when my husband dropped down on one knee and proposed to me!

  • Anonymous February 12, 2009, 6:12 pm

    Try thickening your dhal with a dollop of natural yogurt.

  • Meredith (Pursuing Balance) February 12, 2009, 6:23 pm

    Thanks for posting the dal recipe!
    I’m not sure about most romantic, but my bf has done tons of great things for me. Like last year, just after I moved into my apartment and was unpacking, he called and was asking me some questions about my new living quarters, saying he would see if he would remember in 2 weeks when he was supposed to visit. There was a knock on the door, and I told him to hold on, and when I opened it there he was!!!! He also surprised me on my birthday (it was in the middle of the week, and wasn’t expecting to see him until that weekend) when he showed up at the restaurant I was at with my friends. And a few times when I’ve gone up to Gainesville there have been rented chick flicks and chocolate waiting for me 🙂 Yeah, I’m a lucky girl 🙂

  • Victoria February 12, 2009, 7:00 pm

    Mmmm. That dal looks really good. I’ve never really gotten gifts for Valentine’s day. Brent cooks for me every V day, which I think is so sweet, plus I like traditions, so I’ll probably keep making him do it for the next 50 years.

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point February 12, 2009, 7:04 pm

    you guys are so funny! and so many of your men are so romantic. i like it that there are more romantic gift than lame gift stories!

  • thecleanveggie February 12, 2009, 7:44 pm

    holy smokes – Caitlin this looks amazing!

    i also bought some apricots today and LOVED them. my new obsession is all thanks to you! haha

  • Susanah February 12, 2009, 9:26 pm

    not sure if u can find “garam masala” at ur place..if u do, u just need that as ‘seasoning’ for the dhal and it taste awesome..drop me an email n i can give u an even simplier (but yummy) dhal recipee..*lol* 🙂

  • ChickPea February 12, 2009, 11:04 pm

    I’ve always loved that heart-shaped dish of yours…where did you get it?

  • Anne P February 13, 2009, 2:04 am

    ooo awesome idea with the easy dal! i always think it looks so good but then am too lazy to deal with the 23049230948 ingredients that i don’t have as well. so i’ll be trying yours out soon!

  • Bridget February 13, 2009, 2:22 am

    Dal is so hard to get right! Looks like you did an amazing job!

    My late fiancee was always quite romantic, but the single sweetest thing he ever did was take me to the emergency room when I had a horrible migraine (he thought I was having a stroke because I couldn't focus my eyes or talk). I couldn't find my insurance card, so he paid up front for the whole thing. Knowing that he cared that much meant the world to me.

    I hope that you guys have a fantastic first married V-Day together! <3

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