As you may remember, my wife and I were apart for about 7 months in 2014 due to her military training away from home. As you can imagine, that was one of the roughest times of my life. We truly do everything together. She’s my best friend, and being apart for so long was hard on us both.
One of the hardest parts for her honestly was the food. During basic training, she had to learn how to eat meals in less than ten minutes. At that point, you’re basically just shoveling and swallowing a full meal that would fuel you through all your training. And on top of that, getting down 3 glasses of fluid. Let’s just say, food turned into something dreadful and not so pleasant. Many of her letters home said how much she missed my home-cooked meals and just being able to enjoy food.
When I saw this Western Union video, I was brought to tears thinking about how my wife must have felt being so far from home and her comfort-zone. I didn’t expect a Western Union video to be able to pull at my heart-strings, but when I saw what this was all about, I was reaching for the tissues.
It’s crazy how food ties us to some of our fondest memories. As children. As adults. We are drawn to food as a way to bring us closer to emotions that you’re longing to feel.
In one of my wife’s letters home, she specifically said she missed my meatloaf and cozy sandwiches. Those are the foods that made her think of home the most. And that’s really saying a lot, as my meatloaf is vegetarian. No meat. Just full of comfort, love, and deliciously real food.
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup lentils
- 1/2 small yellow onion , diced
- 1 cup quick-cooking oats
- 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 1 large egg , beaten
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup BBQ sauce (I used Jack Daniels BBQ sauce)
First, you will need to cook the lentils. You can do this earlier in the day to save on some prep time if you'd like, as they do need to cool slightly. In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups of water and salt to a boil. Add lentils and drop the temperature down to a very slight simmer. Cover and let simmer for about 25 minutes, checking about every 7-10 minutes to be sure there is still plenty of water and the lentils aren't burning. The lentils will be done when water has boiled out and the lentils are tender. Roughly mash with a fork while hot and set aside to cool down.
Once the lentils are cooled, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
Add the lentils to a large bowl with the, onion, oats, cheese, egg, tomato sauce, and seasonings. Mix really well until it's all combined. It may work best to use your hands to be sure everything gets worked together.
Put lentil mixture into the prepared loaf pan, mashing mixture down into the pan. Spread bbq sauce on top of the mixture and place in the oven for 45 minutes or until the loaf seems dry and cooked through.
Let sit for about 5 minutes before cutting into and serving.
If you'd like to make serving easier, line the pan with foil before spraying with non-stick spray. That way you can just lift the loaf out of the pan before slicing.
If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a picture, upload it to Instagram and tag me (@happyfoodholly) and use the hashtag #inspiredbyholly
You may be wondering how a company that helps money transfers take place is related to food. This whole project began when Western Union held a customer-appreciation event at their retail location, where they spoke with customers and invited them customers to share their stories around food, family and culture on camera. They were struck by the cultural diversity of the participants, their strong sense of family and their love of native foods. It’s clear that food is a part of someone’s cultural identity and a link to family and good memories.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
Looking for More Vegetarian Comfort Food?
Veggie-Filled Enchilada Pasta Casserole – Kitchen Treaty
Melty Roasted Veggie Sandwiches – Happy Food Healthy Life
Portabella Stroganoff – Oh My Veggies
Nachos with Vegan Cheese – Happy Food Healthy Life
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