Warm French Lentils

Years ago, I made a Warm French Lentils dish on a whim when we had my former boss and his wife over for dinner. We served it along with freshly caught scallops, some greens and a good bottle of wine. The scallops were supposed to be the star of the meal but these lentils literally stole the show. While cooking, they made our house smell so amazing the guests asked if we could skip appetizers and go straight to dinner!   Their our mouths were watering! I have since tweaked the recipe a little, to use turkey bacon instead (which the girls preferred and is easy to get nitrate free!). The recipe below for French Lentils has become a regular on our rotation and a meal the girls request often.  So popular it was even requested as their birthday dinner meal and as a Christmas eve dinner. There are many lentils out there but the best lentils to use for this is are Puy.  Puy lentils are very small and dark in color and are from an area of France called Le Puy in the Auvergne (hence … [Read more...]

Fava Bean Brown Rice Salad

My kids like their rice plain or only with a little tamari if given the choice. The funny thing is they will eat rice dishes in restaurants but at home it’s a different story. I’m always looking for new ways to do rice and love the idea of rice salads for Hubby and I. Earlier this week we went to the beach and brought a picnic dinner and I thought it was the perfect time to try something new. Usually beach picnics go two ways: I have to either drag them out of the water to eat and re-charge, or they charge at me wanting a quick meal. I had been marinating my Maple Miso Mustard Chicken to cook and bring along so I thought I’d try a cold rice dish with Asian flavors. Given my soy sensitivity, instead of using edamame I tried the dish with fava beans instead. It turned out great and the girls loved it, though they did say I might have put too much orange flavor in (recipe has been adjusted!!). Try this out for your next picnic or summer dinner. Travels well and great for lunch … [Read more...]

Pomegranate Baby Kale Salad with Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

In spring-summer my go-to lunch is a salad. Rarely the same one, often thrown together with last night’s left-overs or veggies and beans we prepped Sunday night. I love creating a pseudo-salad bar in my fridge where I can just reach in and throw different items together for lunch. Today’s lunch is an example of that. I had bought pomegranate arils for Twin A who put them in our cart at Trader Joe’s on Sunday but hasn’t “been in the mood” to eat them all week so not wanting them to spoil I threw them into our salad! Love the pop of color and crunch they provide plus the hint of sweetness.   These little gems are known to be one of the oldest fruits, originally found in Persia. It has long been toted as a fruit very rich in antioxidants, nutrients and a symbol of vitality, fertility and health. A delicious add-on to today’s lunch! I have always loved mushrooms and often pick them out of a stew or tomato sauce when no one is looking. I just love ‘em!! Portobellos though, were never a … [Read more...]

Fiesta Quinoa Salad

I had some girlfriends over for lunch last week, something I love to do. Entertaining is a different story when it’s a smaller group of adults versus a few families. I love to do both but it was bit more relaxing to just prep food for a few other moms. One of my friends is vegetarian and another is a tri-athlete often training for the next big race. I wanted to make something that would suit everyone, taste delicious and not require a lot of heavy lifting in the kitchen. I drafted up several menus beforehand, which is typical me, even for a casual small lunch I still had so many ideas and plans, but I kept coming back to this easy, delicious quinoa salad. I love quinoa for so many reasons: taste, texture, its filling, quick to cook, very versatile, gluten-free, a great source of vegan protein, plus it is rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Quinoa, unlike most grains (though technically it is a seed) is a complete protein, which means it contains all the essential amino … [Read more...]

Vegan Buckwheat Coconut Risotto

When we used to eat out more often, Risotto was one of those dishes that my husband jumped at ordering if he saw it on a menu.  It was always made with butter, cheese and sometimes a cream or milk that put this dish on the “do not eat” list for someone like me with dairy allergies.  When we first starting dating I thought he ordered this because he didn’t want to share his food, which was fine because to me it was just a bowl of rice sometimes topped with a seafood or meat.  It didn’t entice or appeal to me much but I’d be a little curious when I watched his reaction to this dish.  For the good risottos, his reaction reminded me of an Italian operatic “AHHHHHH AHHHHH”!!  Pure delight, satisfaction and culinary bliss.  He would rave about the risotto and savored it with his wine.  Was it really that good?  What makes this rice dish so amazing?  We tried a few times to make a vegan version at home but I was never blown away by it nor could I make a meal of our it.  Rob reported that … [Read more...]

Rainbow salad

With two young girls, our lives are very colorful to say the least. It’s hard to imagine life without them.  My twins are very colorful little people and big artists, always creating something...very colorful of course!  To play on their love of color, I like to talk with them about why it important for us to eat lots of colorful foods, and play the "rainbow plate" game (see past post) or when we go to the grocery store or market to pick out the most colorful fruit and veggies they can find.  It’s a fun way to teach them about healthy food and for them to try new versions of things, something which is not always easy with young kids. I love coming back from the store this time of year and throwing to together what ever I have and making a “rainbow salad”, sorry not always good at coming up with names for my salad bowls but they really are rainbow salads!  One tip I'll pass on which is nothing new but that I have found to be incredibly helpful is to pre-chop some items ahead of … [Read more...]

Sardines on Endives

Sardines, what can I say, they were not top on my list as a favorite food growing up.  I somehow always linked sardines to Popeye the sailor cartoon…even though I know that his main thing was spinach.  I have no idea why I link him to Sardines!!  Regardless, this fish was not one that I remember seeing at our local markets, nor did I know much about them. I think I remember seeing them in the canned fish aisle but I classed them with anchovies whose smell was a little overpowering for my younger self.  When I travelled as a teenager, I had seen them on the menus in the south of France and Italy but I hadn’t been adventurous enough to try them on my own.  It wasn’t until one of French cousins prepared a quick dinner for us on a busy night that I got to try sardines in a tomato sauce over angel hair pasta.  At first I was ready to pick them out of my noodles and tell her “I don’t eat these” but I imagined my grandmother looking over my shoulder, encouraging me to give it a little … [Read more...]