Foodie Friday!

One of my New Year’s Resolutions (besides the one about actually posting to my blog!) is all about eating.  It’s so easy to stand in front of your pantry and pick the fastest 20 minute meal that you make all the time.  I decided after one such “default” meal, that I would start working a little more on meal planning.  I’m not yet willing to make vast weekly menus, with everything planned to a T – plans stress me out too much!  But what I will do, is sit with my favourite cookbooks and my coffee on Saturday morning, make a list of 5-6 recipes to try during the week, and add any special ingredients to my grocery list.  It especially makes me sad when all these awesome veggies start going by in the crisper drawer, so this week I did it, and made some really great recipes!

These are my current favourite cookbooks – I have yet to make a recipe from any one of them that I didn’t LOVE! Very Whole Foods-y, super great. Even though google is a go-to, I still love using a book.

My favourite triumph this week:

Indian Lentil-Cauliflower Soup:

Indian Lentil-Cauliflower Soup from the “Oh She Glows” cookbook (photo by Antonia James)

This one is so warm, with super rich curry flavours…

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons curry powder, to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup uncooked red lentils, rinsed and drained (I used green lentils)
  • 1 medium cauliflower, chopped into bite-size florets
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 large handfuls baby spinach
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • chopped cilantro for serving

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 5-6 minutes, until translucent.  Stir in the ginger, curry powder, coriander, and cumin and sauté for 2 minutes, until fragrant.  Add the broth and lentils and stir to combine.  Bring the mixture to a low boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes more.  Stir in the cauliflower and sweet potato.  Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low.  Simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the cauliflower and sweet potato are tender.  Season with the salt and pepper, and add more curry powder if desired.  Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted.  Ladle the soup into bowls and top with cilantro, if desired.  (Serves 4)

My only deviation was we didn’t have any spinach, so I crumbled in 2 handfuls of frozen basil leaves – definitely a yummy addition!



Spicy Tomato and Lentil Soup

This has got to be the easiest, most delicious soup ever…  This is from the Les Mills Combat Nutrition Guide and is 100% WIN…..  I think these portions are for 1 person, so probably make MORE.

  • 1 tsp EV olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 2/3 cup cooked lentils
  • 1/2 cup low sodium organic broth (I used chicken, it says to use vegetable)
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes (I used Fire Roasted – added this smoke that made it SOOOOOO amazing)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • sea salt to taste

Heat oil in a skillet over med-high heat, cook onion, stirring frequently – 3 minutes or so.

Add lentils, broth, tomatoes, and cayenne, cook 5 minutes or until heated through

Season with salt if desired


Smokey Black Bean Hummus

Smokey Black Bean Hummus

Even though “Hummus” is actually Arabic for “chickpea”  and there’re no chickpeas here….

Start to finish @ 25 minutes; Makes: 1 2/3 cupsblack-bean-green-chile-hummus

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions (I used chives from the garden
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp canola oil (I used EVOO)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained (or make from scratch!)
  • 1/2 cup water (I didn’t add this….)
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp finely chopped canned chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Saute onions in oil with coriander and cumin until very tender, stirring (10 minutes or so)

Transfer onion mixture to a food processor or blender; add black beans, lime juice, chipotle pepper, cilantro, and salt; blend until smooth.  SO here’s where you could add 1/2 cup of water.  I looked at it and thought “why would I do that, it looks perfect….”

We had this spread on a whole wheat tortilla/wrap with spinach, romaine, tomato, green pepper and a sliced grilled chicken breast.  It was a PERFECT lunch!!!!

Chicken & Vegetables en Papillote

I made these delicious packets of goodness for dinner tonight and they were WONDERFUL!  Just the right amount of tanginess from the lemon and artichoke, and just the right cookedness for the asparagus   Prep: 35 minutes; Bake @ 30 minutes; Oven 400F; 4 servings

  • 1lb boneless Moldiv_1399946664099skinless chicken breast halves
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano (or 1tsp dry)
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dry)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 10 oz asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces (2 cups)
  • 6 oz pea pods, trimmed (2 cups)
  • 1 cup (I used the whole can) canned artichoke hearts, quartered (I halved)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tbsp (or more!) chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup fresh chives or chopped green onions

1. cut chicken breasts into 1 inch slices (I cut the long way to make strips, but it says to go crossways).  In a medium bowl combine oil, oregano, thyme, lemon peel, lemon juice, salt, pepper.  Add chicken and toss to coat, let stand while preparing veggies

2. on “large enough” pieces of foil, arrange asparagus, pea pods, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, and parsley – I layered them all; top with servings of chicken; then with servings of the green onions (amount will depend on how many packets you want to make).

3. fold up foil packets, place on baking sheets, and bake for 20+ minutes at 400F.  Check and see if chicken is pink.  (I ended up cooking for 35 minutes, but my chicken strips were THICK)

If you make this into 4 servings:  250 calories each, 8g fat (1g saturated), 498mg sodium, 13g carbs, 6g fiber, 31g protein

The Sonoma Diet

So I found The Sonoma Diet, by Dr. Connie Guttersen, at Goodwill yesterday.  I went through a phase a while ago where I did a LOT of French cooking and totally wished I lived in Provence, so of COURSE the cover of this book appealed to me.  The Sonoma Diet is an “eating lifestyle” inspired by sun-drenched vineyards, embracing simple flavorful meals of vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains ~ a Mediterranean diet.  Really, we already pretty much eat this way, but the book has a meal plan and is about 50% recipes, so it’ll be fun to just follow it.  The tagline on the cover says “trimmer waist, better health in just 10 days!” ~ that’s after the phase one stage of the actual diet, I suppose…  The diet (if you were dieting….  we’re just EATING) is divided into 3 phases.  In the first phase the focus is removing sugar, processed or not, so you aren’t supposed to have fruit and certain vegetables are on the do not fly list…  But it’s pretty straight forward, there’s a list of phase 1 veggies, lean meats, acceptable fats ~ especially olive oil, and whole grains.  But even better, there’s a complete meal plan, followed by all the recipes.  They haven’t gone so far as to prepare the shopping list, but that was pretty easy to compile – no weird ingredients, everything is easy to find, though I’m guessing at how many red peppers I could possibly eat in a one-week period – according to the recipes, A LOT…. The first phase is just for 10 days – sugar detox and rapid weight loss if that’s what you’re after. Phase 2 allows the addition of fruits and power food berries, some of the no-fly veggies, and this is where one would just stay until goal weight was reached.  Then in Phase 3  (keeping in mind I haven’t read the whole book yet, just the beginning) you add some of the fats that were restricted, butter, bacon…. Maybe there’s never any bacon…  But that’s pretty unrealistic…  ANYWAY, by phase 3, you’ve attained your goal weight, you’ve eliminated sugar cravings and only have occasional sugary treats, have replaced refined flour products with whole grains, and have eliminated hydrogenated and, for the most part, saturated fats.   Part of the point of this style of eating is to savor amazing, healthy food.  Too often the way we’re living our lives at high stress, high speed, and yet high LAZINESS, results in quick, shoddy food choices, scarfed in a hurry because we’re starving.  I think taking the time to buy nice whole, unprocessed foods, and then taking the time to actually cook with them ~ finally leading to savoring them, is so much better!

SO I think I love this book, and I think I love the recipes.  We’re actually going to follow the 10 day phase 1 plan starting tomorrow (though I’m going to keep having Shakeology for breakfast), I’ll keep posting about it and about the recipes.  Tonight we had lemon-garlic pork chops and a salad topped with lemony vinaigrette dressing and feta cheese. It was like ambrosia! I’m not sure why we ever BUY salad dressing, because making it at home is SO MUCH YUMMIER….

Lemony Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped shallots (I used chives from the garden)
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 clove garlic (squished through the press)
  • 3 tbsp EV olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (I used parsley and thyme from the garden)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper

I put all the ingredients into a jar, capped it, and shook.  This is a tangy, wonderful, magical dressing.  I tossed it with a mixed salad with spinach, romaine lettuce, parsley, tomatoes, radishes, green pepper, and feta – it was fantastic!

The pork chops were cooked on the barbeque, but here’s the recipe for the marinade:

Lemon-garlic pork chops

  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp fresh tarragon (didn’t have it, used basil and dill instead)
  • 4 cloves garlic (squished through the press)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

I mixed all the ingredients together in a bowl and turned the chops every 10 minutes or so for about an hour, then drizzled the remaining mainade over the meat as it cooked on the grill.

The whole meal was delicious and totally simple!