Cold Snap Millet and Lentil Stew (Vegan and Soy and Gluten-Free)

by Maria Theresa Maggi on January 10, 2014

Cold Snap Millet Stew

Spending some time outdoors, even on the most unforgiving coldest days in Winter, is a must for my well being. While I hate it when it rains on the snow, then freezes at night into smooth sheets of black ice, I never fail in my love for the crisp cold air of Winter. Even when it freezes my eyelashes and nose hairs. On such days our walks are brisk and cannot involve letting the dog linger too long over clumps of leaves with interesting smells. (They’re all frozen anyway.)

Romeo loves the cold too. Because his breed is so trim, people worry that he is too cold. But he actually comes alive in the cold weather, will bound across terrain I have to pick my way over, his tail up and his spirits soaring. (Of course he won’t let himself get too far away. If he senses I’m having trouble, or what he considers trouble, he won’t leave my side. After having let him off the leash for a few minutes, he stops and waits for me to catch up, never more than 50 yards away. Even if I tell him I’m alright, he waits to make sure for himself.) With such a wonderful cold weather walking companion it’s easy to see why I brave those cold days with a sense of adventure.

Still, it struck me funny the other day to realize that I might spend more time outside in Winter than some completely able- bodied people I know: two daily walks, and quick forays out to the barn for wood or out back to dump compost and put garbage out.

But the very cold days, the ones in the teens or the single digits make very plain when it’s time to get back inside and warm up. I was having one of those moment back in November as we neared our block. My hands were frozen even swathed in gloves and hidden in my pockets. My nose hairs were frozen, my cheeks were stinging. And I was hungry.

Often as we walk, I think about what food I’ll make, what art, what poetry. Parts of recipes and lines of poems come to me. Or subjects I want to draw. Often, too, this involves compiling an ingredient list and whether or not we should hoof it on over the co-op before heading home. Or go back first and then go out again. (Luckily for me, all these points are within a  mile of one another.)

This one morning, even near noon it was so cold that I thought “I can’t be out anymore. What have I got at home that I could make something hot with the minute I get home?” Visualizing hot food on the stove was helping to keep me warm as we moved.  Of course, if you read this blog at all, you’ll know I had millet on hand. And lentils. Good, no need to presoak those. This Slow Miracle foodie started channeling my own version of Jeff Novick’s fast food sensibility and took mental inventory of what frozen veggies I had in the freezer: green beans, spinach and–score!–some frozen butternut squash cubes! And there was a big “box” of strained tomatoes in the cupboard. A hot meal was in sight within the hour–or less. Just the thought of it made the sound of my Yak Trax grinding on the icy snow as we clipped along seem to have a little more zip. But not too much. One foot has to be all the way down before the other one comes up, so as not to slip.


I finally faced blog facts and realized I have so many recipes with millet as a major player that it deserves its own category. So now there’s a category called “Millet” on the blog where you can find all the nifty things I’ve dreamed up to do with millet so far.

Hope everyone is staying warm!!Maria (moonwatcher)





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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Marcia January 12, 2014 at 4:09 am

Just reading your recipe made my mouth water! Love that you have a Millet category, yum. I recently learned that millet was really good for people with Diabetes so I’m on a quest to find more recipes. You have made it so tasty and easy for us, thank you!


2 moonwatcher January 12, 2014 at 9:38 am

Thanks, Marcia! So glad you’re happy with the recipe and the new millet category. To me, it really is one of the ultimate healthy comfort foods. Enjoy!


3 MaryEllen January 12, 2014 at 1:29 pm

I love your website. I love your recipes. I love your writing!! I am trying this soup this week! 🙂 Thanks for being so real!


4 moonwatcher January 12, 2014 at 1:32 pm

You’re welcome, MaryEllen, and thanks so much for letting me know–you made my afternoon! 🙂


5 Lee January 13, 2014 at 9:07 am

Maria, this looks so good!! It’s rare that I immediately print out a recipe, but I just did–I’ll be making it this weekend. I’m a bit of a winter-hater (I’m working on changing that), but this looks like just the thing to warm up a chilly day. Thanks for posting!


6 moonwatcher January 13, 2014 at 9:19 am

Thanks, Lee! I hope you like it. It’s easy as can be, and quite adaptable to leftovers. Even those of us who love Winter start to hate it just a little when it’s still snowing in March. . .hope this warms up a chilly day for you!!


7 Veronica January 13, 2014 at 11:39 am

I need to start utilizing millet more! This looks so warming and delicious. Perfect for the chilly days.
Romeo is such a sweetheart! Kudos to you for getting out in the cold so regularly! I can’t say I do the same, but there is something about getting outside, it does make you feel good. Perhaps I’ll go for a little walk this afternoon, despite the cold… 🙂


8 moonwatcher January 13, 2014 at 12:52 pm

Hi Veronica! You’re such a good cook I’m sure you’ll do something wonderful with millet. 🙂 I often grouse about getting ready to go out in cold weather, but once I’m out there I’m glad I went. It can be quite “elemental” but it really does lift the spirits in Winter to get outside a little each day–and in all seasons. Hope you enjoy a winter walk now and then. 🙂


9 Pongodhall November 8, 2014 at 2:45 pm

This sounds good moonwatcher.
I have been standing by the window watching a beautiful, shimmering moon tonight. So wondrous, peaceful.
I enjoy millet too and good jewel colours shimmering in and around my food. It is good to have light and joy in the darkness we have all winter.
The tastes I get seem almost like a bonus.


10 moonwatcher November 8, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Welcome, Pongohall–thank you for this lovely comment–glad to hear you are a fan of millet! 🙂


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