Welcome to Manic Monday!

Turn your Mania into Mindfulness with Powerful Sweet Potato & Red Lentil Stew


Super Simple Sweet Potato & Red Lentil Stew

The recipe you’ve been waiting for on my Instagram page! Please visit me on RenatasKitchen on Instagram for lots more pics and videos.

Pile ingredients in the pan and walk away for 30 minutes!

(with Roasted Kale Chips in story!)

  • 1 large sweet potato (2/5 cups) peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup dried red lentils
  • 1 (14 oz) can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 chopped shallot
  • 1 veggie stock cube
  • 4 cups water

Put all ingredients in the pot. Turn on medium-high heat and cook 25-30 min, or until all water is absorbed. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed.

Serves 4 generous cups of stew with each serving calculated below:

  • 263 calories
  • .5 g fat
  • 15 g protein
  • 18 g fiber
  • 7 g sugar
  • 49 g carb
Bragg’s Nutritional Yeast is a great topper for these easy kale chips!

Add ons:

  • 2 T curry added with all ingredients at the beginning
  • drizzle of coconut milk
  • chopped parsley
  • chopped cilantro
  • roasted kale chips with nutritional yeast sprinkles (spread kale on cookie sheet, spray with oil, sprinkle with nutritional yeast and salt, roast 30 minutes at 375F.)


“It’s a B-flat minor kind of day”, said Lisa Flynn on WFMT in Chicago today, and I couldn’t agree with her more. I don’t know if it’s the Polar Vortex of 2019, or just the usual Monday mania, but I agree.

Today’s sweet potato and red lentil stew has the sweetness to keep me comforted, but the power of protein and fiber in the lentils to keep me humming along nicely through the day. At 263 calories, it will help me make room for any Valentine’s Day treats I consume this week.

If you are feeling somewhat low this week, then welcome to my new weekly blog called “Manic Monday”! It is designed to cheer us both up. I wondered about calling this blog “Mindful Monday” but then I got real. The only way to get mindful, for me anyway, is to admit that there is a bit of mania floating around my soul, and only when I recognize those feelings can I then become mindful about how to manage them.

Chicagoland friends, I want to encourage you to hang in there this week. We survived the deep freeze, but there is still plenty of snow on the ground. Kids are sick, back muscles are sore from shoveling, and we have the potential to turn on the ones we live with and start picking on them. Right around this time we also need to choose something sweet to give them as a reminder of our love! This conflict plays out better in symphony than it does in real life.

We may not be able to control the weather, but we can set ourselves up for success by cooking things that turn our madness into creamy goodness that will sustain our health with tons of fiber and protein, without doing any damage to our bank account or waistbands.

If you are looking for more calories for this low-cal meal, you can pour heavily from the jug of coconut cream, which is laden with fat but of the most delicious kind. Or you could simply double the recipe for hungrier appetites.

This recipe is so easy to prepare, is ready within a half hour of coming in the door, and has a beautiful orange hue that your spirit will welcome after a walk through grey-white snow.

Adding the kale chips super-powers your meal, and these little darlings are one of the most nutrient-dense things you can eat on earth! It’s got protein, vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and is so low calorie at 36 calories per cup. It’s also been studied as a cancer-fighting food with anti-inflammatory properties, so load them up!

The sprinkle of nutritional yeast gives you more B vitamins, protein, and tastes a little bit cheesy, with a low calorie content. I buy a bottle at the store of Bragg’s brand, and then refill it with bulk nutritional yeast I get at WholeFoods.

Load up the baking tray with kale, spray a vegetable oil like avocado oil on the leaves, and watch them glisten. The spray makes it so easy to get into all the nooks and crannies, and also brings the calories down dramatically. I use avocado oil on these instead of olive oil spray because it makes the kale pieces nice and crispy.

Remember my mantra: Roast it with Renata at 375F! The kale chips won’t stick to the pan hardly at all. You could line the pan but I don’t. It was very easy to clean up.

I hope this recipe and story helped support your Monday Mania, and keeps your body and spirit brimming with good health.

How is your Monday mania coming along? Please let me know if you have any questions about this recipe or others! I love getting comments, and am delighted to cover any other problems you may have in future “Monday Mania” posts. What do you find puts you in a “B-Flat Minor” kind of mood on Mondays? I can’t promise to fix it, but I will do my best to support you with a recipe or two!


We all need to start making some changes to how our families eat. Now, everyone loves a good Sunday dinner. Me included. And there’s nothing wrong with that. The problem is when we eat Sunday dinner Monday through Saturday.

-Michelle Obama

I sprayed avocado oil on my kale chips for nice crisp at 375F


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