Category Archives: frugal

Moong Dhal

Even though I grew up learning to cook (and eat!) French food, I like to mix things up every now and then. Indian food is one of my favorite cuisines, so I’ve learned how to make a few simple Indian dishes. Moong Dhal is a staple of my limited repertoire of Indian recipes. I originally looked up lots of recipes online and adapted mine based on the balance of spices I prefer. My dhal is probably not as authentic as it could be, but it’s tasty.
Moong Dhal:
     Ingredients:
2 cups moong dhal (yellow lentils)
1 Tbsp Turmeric
2 Tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
1 medium red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
1 chili pepper, finely chopped (I like to use fresh thai chilis if I have them. This time, I used dried thai chilis, and only 1, because the little guy was going to be eating it. Normally I would make it spicier)
8-10 whole curry leaves (I get them at the Indian grocery store and keep them in my freezer)
3 large tomatoes, diced
Salt to taste
Cilantro, chopped, for garnish
     Directions:
1. Wash the dhal in a large bowl several times until the wash water is clear. Cover in water and soak for 20-30 minutes. Drain the water. Put the washed and soaked dhal in a large, heavy-bottomed pot, and cover with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover with lid most of the way and simmer for 20 minutes, until the lentils are soft.
2. While the dhal is cooking, prep the remaining ingredients. Dice the onion and chop the garlic. Heat a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Melt the ghee/vegetable oil. Cook the onions until they begin to be translucent, stirring often. Next add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, ground cumin, chili pepper and curry leaves. Then add the garlic and cook for about a minute. Don’t let the garlic burn! The cumin and mustard seeds should start to pop. Remove from heat.
3. Stir the turmeric into the cooked lentils. Next add the onion and spices from the previous step into the lentils. Stir well.
4. Stir the tomatoes in and cook for a few minutes. Add salt to taste.
5. Serve with naan bread, chapati or rice, and garnish with cilantro.
The most recent version of dhal and homemade chapati (recipe and instructions here) were a hit in our house, little man included.
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DIY Repainted Thrifted Mirror

Ever since we moved into our new house, a year and a half ago, we’ve had plans to put a mirror (and hopefully some sort of tall and narrow piece of furniture) in our front entryway. We hadn’t gotten around to finding something, and when we did look at places like Crate and Barrel for a mirror, they were too expensive and we gave up.
Then, the day after little man and I returned home from France, some very dear friends of ours were moving out of state (sad face), so we went out for breakfast with them to say goodbye. The place where we had breakfast shares a parking lot with a Goodwill (which according to my now-moved-out-of-state friend, is a great Goodwill). So in an effort to keep little man’s jet-lagged self awake longer, we decided to wander through the Goodwill. Unfortunately, we did not find the ever elusive mid-century modern dresser that we’re constantly on the look out for. We did, however, find a mirror that was the perfect size for our entryway. It was pretty banged up and the colors were (in our humble opinions) ugly. But those things are easily remedied, and it was (relatively) cheap at $13. We have plenty of leftover paint from when we completely repainted our house last year. So, we decided to paint the frame of this mirror white, to contrast with our blue entryway wall.
Of course, I forgot to take a true “before” picture. This is after I had already puttied and sanded the holes, and started taping it off.
I decided to try keeping the gold inner trim on the mirror to juxtapose the modern white with a vintagey (is that even a word?) antique gold.

Fast forward about a week, and it’s done! I first painted it in an eggshell finish. Then I decided that it would be weird to have the same finish on the mirror as the wall. So I repainted it in a semi-gloss paint of the same color. Luckily for us, we already had both the eggshell and semi-gloss paint in Super White on hand.

Having the mirror there adds so much more light to the entryway. We love it!