Spring is at last really truly happening, and if you’re like me, my days are spent heading outside and enjoying the sun. It just feels so good to be out in the air with life happening all around again.
As many of you now know, as much as I enjoy cooking, I try to come up with as many ways as possible to make my time quick and efficient in the kitchen. Here in Louisiana we have had an incredible chilly and wet spring. I am not one to complain much about the weather, but man has it been messing with my tennis game! Our league season is about 2 1/2 months long and the rain has caused us to miss matches as well as the reschedules! So between the raindrops we are scurrying to yet again reschedule and complete our requisite matches before the deadline.
Which brings me to this pale lovely salad. There is not one drop of heat or flame necessary for this dish. I opened a couple of organic canned beans and tossed them into a bowl with the rest of the ingredients and boom! done and done. Several days of lunching or snacking for The Wife and I with no fuss. I can wander in from my rousing morning of wacking that green ball and not have to stop to chop or prepare a thing. Trust me, this is a blessing because you know how it is- tired, hungry and nothing to grab=a pretty good chance I will make less than favorable choices (chocolate I’m looking at you). It also has that satisfying chew from the beans, crunch from the cabbage and cucumber and the bright fresh spark of dill. Just so yummy and fresh tasting.
What I also love about this salad is I use it as the “base” for several meals. I always make up a weekly batch of a whole grain such as brown rice or sorghun, so some days I might toss a little of that in, or throw the salad over some arugula or greens. Got some leftover chicken? Yup, toss that right in there. You’ve got the idea. It’s a way of keeping the interest up at mealtime without having to reinvent the wheel every day.
Healthy fresh food does not have to be a chore, nor does it have to be a bore. Really people, there is just too much good stuff out there.
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- 2 14 oz cans organic canellini beans, rinsed
- 1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
- 1/2 small red onion, minced
- 1 cup finely shredded red cabbage
- 3/4 cup Green Yogurt
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- juice of one lemon
- 2 Tablespoon minced fresh dill
- Salt and pepper to taste
- This is an easy one. Add all the salad ingredients into a large bowl.
- In a separate small bowl combine the yogurt, oil, lemon juice and dill and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the dressing to the bean mix and stir to combine.
- The yogurt may weep a little bit as it sits, please don't be dismayed by this. This is just the whey separating and not a bad thing and very nutritious to eat. You can pour it off if you would like, or simply toss it all again and incorporate it back into the mix.
The Spring feels like it needs to be dragged out of the winter grays. This Spicy Minted Citrus Salad , with all it’s bright colors, is just the thing to do it.
I love to combine different levels of citrus together. The sweet pay compliment to the more tart, and their colors both shine and rejoice in each other’s company. To make things more interesting I’ve added some torn dates and a dusting of red pepper flakes. The sweet chewiness of the dates are a nice contrast Continue Reading
One of the best parts of traveling is gathering with others around tables and eating delicious food. On my recent trip to NYC I had dinner with my eldest daughter at a small restaurant in the East Village. We sat in a dark restaurant after walking the frigid sidewalks of the city and snugged in with bourbon and this simple dish.
I am a huge fan of eggplant, and my daughter, a vegetarian for years, is likewise an addict too. I will say that I am not always satisfied with the preparation. I think the trick to good eggplant is to create a creamy interior without over saturation of oil, and flesh with little bitterness. I have worked on my method and have been able to produce a non-oily lovely dish that I will happily share with you.
Facts About Eggplant
Known by several names, including melongene and my favorite, aubergine- the eggplant is a member of the nightshade family. It is most often grown with a regal purple skin but you may also find varieties in white, variegated purple/white, variegated green/white, yellow and red. The shape may be a pear shaped eggish globe, a long thin shape or a round orb. All equally delicious.
Eggplants are a good source of dietary fiber, yielding 10% of your daily needs in a 1 cup serving. They are also a good source of the Continue Reading
I find it so wonderful that there are more and more organic foods being offered, but I still think there is a bit of confusion as to why, when, and what you should spend your extra cash on. My handy pocket guide of the The Dirty Dozen and The Clean Fifteen will help you choose wisely.
Why is Organic Important?
For many people “organic” means more expensive and less appealing. We know that pesticides are not good for us, but how bad can they be? After all, we’ve been eating Continue Reading
Snacking is an area of your life where you can either boost your nutrition, or sabotage your efforts. Here are some basic guidelines to help you navigate how and what to eat for the best healthy snacking.
Is Snacking a Good Thing?
When I was a kid, other than milk and cookies after school, snacking was frowned upon. My Mother would chide us about eating too much with the threat, “It will spoil your appetite!”. Depending on your eating pattern and levels of daily exertion, snacking can be an integral and important part staying properly nourished.
After a strenuous workout a light snack is essential for rebuilding stressed tissues. If you are a powerhouse at your computer, or in meetings all day, your brain could benefit from a healthy boost too. But there are pitfalls that you can fall into.
The problem with snacking is they are often enjoyed on the run, away from home and jammed into our mouths somewhere between inhale and exhale. This is a fact of life that no one can deny, so it’s important to prepare in advance so that when the hunger pangs hit you don’t reach for junk foods and load up on empty calories.
The Definition of a Healthy Snack
If you’re like most people you know little about turnips. You know that they are over in that obscure area of the market along with the rutabagas, kohlrabi, and other assorted winter root vegetables. You might be surprised at what you will learn, and this may become a new favorite vegetable. Out with the potato! In with the Turnip!
What’s a Turnip?
With so many choices in the market these days, it may be confusing when trying to eat healthily. Use these guidelines to help navigate the aisles with confidence.
1.Choose food items that are as close to their natural state as possible.
2. Think quality, not quantity. Mega farm raised food that is shipped long distances may not be the healthiest.
3. Don’t buy items that list sugar as its first three ingredients. No High Fructose Corn Syrup. Ever.
4. Shop the perimeter of the market where most of the whole foods are located: but beware, grocers are catching onto this and shelving processed foods in unlikely places.
5. Given a choice of a whole fruit or vegetable or a prepared one, choose the former. This goes for things such as fruit cups.
6. Avoid lettuce sold in plastic shells or plastic bags. The containers are perfect breeding grounds for bacteria, and the containers are unnecessary waste.
7. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient, avoid eating it. Continue Reading
Now that the Winter is upon us, I find myself searching for ways to bring life into my, well… life. In my office I have amaryllis and paperwhites blooming, along with Christmas cactus and a few dishes of succulents. They bring me peace and happiness, and some vitality amidst the paperwork and glowing computer screen. Now, in my kitchen I also have sprouts!
My home is in a small city, which offers many things, but not a variety of sprouts. In the warmer months there is a fantastic grower at the farmer’s market who produces sensation hydroponic sprouts. He has a few different mixes, one is a spicy version that I just adore. When I couldn’t get my own, I remembered an article I read (somewhere, who knows when), about using takeout containers to grow your own little counter garden. So here we are, my green thumb experiment.
How To Grow Sprouts
The process really couldn’t be easier. The first thing is to find a reliable container. I used some storage containers, those plastic shells from salad mixes, and I also used a little tin pail (seen below) that I had kicking about. I just thought it would look adorable on my counter- and it did! You just need something that will hold water- a cup, a bowl, really any vessel will do. Continue Reading
I love the holidays, but all the celebrating can make one “hungover” from all the indulgences. I live most of my life in a wholesome way, but I do enjoy the treats of the season. To me this is what living a life in balance is about. I never want any of my clients to think that they must abandon all the things they enjoy. What I do like to promote is a healthy balance of all things.
Food means so many things to all of us. It represents comfort and love and emotional nourishing. To think of food as only it’s nutritional components is missing out on the joy and pleasure of food (and eating). I often get into discussions about “evil” foods and I hear many people pontificate about the things that are MUSTS to avoid (I’m talking about you gluten and high fructose corn syrup). There is no doubt that there are some food substances well best on the shelf, however, it dismays me to think about all this negativity, angst and hatred. I would much rather look at the joys of food, and they way clean eating makes you feel.
So many look to start the New Year off with a wholesome approach. For that I say BRAVA! and I am here to help. It is my extreme joy and passion to create and pull together recipes that are nutritious and delicious. More importantly, my mission it to make you love the food you are eating and show you how to incorporate healthy food into your daily life. The good news? You don’t have to be a BoHo nymph to be healthy, nor do you have to embrace gloppy juices or obscure ingredients.
Over the next few weeks look for some free downloads to guide you through these initial transitions. ( If you sign up for the mailing list they will be sent directly to you) Or check out our weekly menu plans that are just amazing. (This week for example is Chicken Quinoa Stew, Baked Falafel, and Cioppino for New Years Eve dinner).
In the meantime, please enjoy this gorgeous lentil salad. In some cultures lentils are eaten on New Years for luck. The shape of the lentil resembles a coin and when they are cooked they swell, insinuating growth and money expansion. I say the nutritional power of lentils absolutely makes them “money”.
Happy New Year! It’s been a great year and all of you have touched my heart with your support and your desire for a healthier life. Here’s to YOU!
- 1 cup french du puy lentils
- 3 cups water
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed, or 1/4 teaspoon powder
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 3 tablespoon capers, drained
- 1/2 cup roasted chopped almonds
- 1 small head radicchio, shredded
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- In a medium saucepan bring the water to a boil and add a pinch of salt. Rinse the lentils in a sieve, then add to the saucepan. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the lentils are tender and most of the water is absorbed, about 35 minutes. Taste for doneness. They should be firm but not hard. Add more water if necessary and continue to cook, testing every 3-5 minutes. Drain any remaining liquid, and set aside to cool as you prepare the rest of the salad.
- In a medium bowl combine the vinegar, coriander seeds, garlic, capers and oil. Whisk smooth. Add the warm lentils and toss. Then add the radicchio, almonds and parsley. Toss together and serve.