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Broccoli Chickpea Soup May 12, 2013

Broccoli & Chickpea Soup topped with sun-dried tomatoes

Broccoli & Chickpea Soup topped with sun-dried tomatoes

Broccoli & Chickpea Soup
with olive tapenade & sun-dried tomatoes 

Makes ~8 servings 

These ingredients make up the core of the soup
2 lbs broccoli crowns
1 lb cooked chickpeas
1 quart reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1 large yellow onion
6 cloves garlic
2 tbsp olive oli (to saute onion & garlic)

These are the additional ingredients I used and recommend but feel free to taylor them to your taste
1/2 fresh avocado
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
Spices to taste (I used 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper & a pinch of paprika)

Garnish with sun-dried tomatoes & olive tapenade 


1) Chop & saute onion & garlic in olive oil at medium heat until slightly browned

2) Combine all remaining ingredients (except the garnish) into large cooking pot and blend until smooth using an immersion blender (aka hand blender). Once blended, heat soup in large pot on stove top on high until reaching desired temperature. Stir well.

3) Pour soup into serving bowls and top with sun-dried tomatoes & olive tapenade. Store remaining soup in sealed container in fridge for up to one week or freezer for longer storage (anything beyond a week). If you don’t think you’ll have the garnish ingredients the next them you serve the soup, add them to the soup before storing in fridge or freezer and allow them to mix in so their flavors aren’t missing from your next serving.


Mustard Dill Potatoes April 3, 2012

Brown spicy mustard, fresh dill, and roasted garlic add lots of flavor to this savory side dish.

Mustard Dill Potatoes
with garlic and olive oil

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45-60 minutes

4 side dish servings

-6 medium red potatoes (also called new potatoes) rinsed and quartered
-1 medium sweet potato rinsed and cut into large bite-sized slices
-2 tbsp olive oil
-6 cloves garlic, minced
-1/4 cup fresh dill leaves, rinsed (or 3 tbsp dried dill leaves)
-1/4 cup brown spicy mustard

Optional extras–not necessary to enjoy this dish but they add an extra boost of nutritional benefits– Add one or two of these extras to the dish if desired: dash of turmeric, dash of cayenne pepper, dash of ground black pepper, 1 tsp red wine vinegar.


1) Preheat oven to 375°F. Rinse and cut potatoes into large bite-sized quarters. Peel and mince garlic. Toss 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/8 cup fresh dill leaves, minced garlic and potatoes in a bowl to mix.  Prepare baking tray by coating with 1 tbsp olive oil.

2) Add tossed mixture to tray and place in oven to roast at 375°F for 45-60 minutes until potatoes are slightly crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, shaking tray or stirring ingredients with spatula ever 15-20 minutes.

3) When potatoes have reached desired crispness, carefully remove from oven and place in serving bowl. Combine 1/4 cup spicy mustard and remaining fresh dill. Stir well. Add more mustard or dill if desired.

Delicious when served hot or cold. Leftovers keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.


Creative Kale Salad February 1, 2012

Kale Salad with Creamy Low-fat Homemade Dressing & Naan Croutons

Creative Kale Salad
with homemade Caesar-style dressing & Naan croutons

Serves 2

-1 bunch fresh kale leaves
-1 slice whole wheat naan bread (or any whole wheat bread you have around)

-1/3 cup low-fat plain Greek or European style yogurt
-2 tsp Teriyaki marinade (or Worcestshire Sauce)
-1 tsp anchovy fillets
– 2 minced garlic cloves
-juice from 1/2 lemon
-dash of ground black pepper
-thin shavings of aged Parmesan cheese to taste (about 2 tbsp)
-dash of ground cloves (optional)
-1 tsp olive oil


1) Thoroughly wash kale leaves and dry. Combine garlic, anchovies, cheese, and olive oil and grind together or combine all ingredients and blend. I used a hand blender to mix all ingredients well.

2) Take a piece of whole wheat bread (I used Naan) and toast until crisp, either using your toaster oven or by baking at 375°F for about 15 minutes (check frequently). You can add your favorite herbs or spices to the bread, along with a light coating of olive oils for a flavored crouton.

3) Toss homemade dressing with kale laves and top with your crunch homemade croutons.


Pan-Seared Peruvian Giant Lima Beans January 24, 2012

Giant Lima Beans & Brussels Sprouts: Shown here with lean turkey bacon. Here are 3 versions: 1. Con carne- With crisp, lean, nitrate-free turkey bacon 2. Vegetarian- With thin shavings of aged Parmesan or aged sharp white cheddar. 3. Vegan- With an extra dash of salt and 2 extra garlic cloves (or with soy bacon if preferred)

Pan-Seared Peruvian Giant Lima Beans
with Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Inspired by Gigante Beans, a dish from Ziziki’s Taverna in Addison, this dish prepares beans in a whole new light. The pan-seared, garlic-rich flavor is spiked with savory tastes that make these beans anything but bland.

Serves 2
-12 fresh brussels sprouts, rinsed and sliced in halves
-6-8 cloves fresh garlic
-About 3/4 cup dry Giant Peruvian Lima Beans
-4 cups water
-3-4 slices lean, nitrate-free turkey bacon (or alternative)
-4 tbsp olive oil
-dash of turmeric
-dash of paprika
-dash of ground cloves (optional)
-pinch of salt and ground black pepper


BEANS: 1)  Soak beans overnight (or for at least 4 hours) in about 4 cups water. Follow the instructions on the package as this may vary slightly with the variety of ginat lima beans.  2) Next, bring beans to a boil and reduce to a high simmer for 1 hour. Check on them to make sure that the water does not evaporate too quickly. If the water becomes very low, add more. 3) Drain beans and add to saucepan with 2 tbsp olive oil and 5 cloves minced garlic. Stir frequently. Sear for about 5 minutes.

B. SPROUTS: 1) Preheat oven to 350°F. Rinse brussels sprouts and cut into halves. Add to a baking tray with 2 tbsp olive oil, a dash of ground black pepper and a very slight dash of salt. I have found that you can use less salt and taste it more if you primarily add it after cooking. Add in 3 cloves minced garlic after the brussels sprouts have already cooked for about 15 minutes. Bake for 30-40 minutes total, shaking tray or stirring with a spatula every 15 minutes.

T. BACON: 1) Preheat oven to 400°F. Follow your bacon’s package instructions. I used lean nitrate-free turkey bacon. Cooked for 17 minutes at 400°F. You can prepare the bacon the day before and keep in fridge to use for recipe the next day. You only need about 3 pieces of bacon for this recipe; it is meant to accentuate the flavors not overpower them. Here is a recipe to try with the leftover bacon strips: Bacon-Wrapped Dates. Otherwise, store in the fridge and use to top soups or salads. Vegetarians and vegans feel free to sub out the bacon for another savory flavor such as from the suggestions below.

PUTTING it all TOGETHER: Combine ingredients in large saucepan and serve hot! Store leftover in the fridge for up to 4 days for best freshness. Re-heat in microwave-safe ceramic bowl or plate (for about 1 min 30 seconds) or reheat the portion you will use on the stove top.

Here are 3 versions:
1. Con carne- With crisp, lean, nitrate-free turkey bacon
2. Vegetarian- With thin shavings of aged Parmesan or aged sharp white cheddar.
3. Vegan- With an extra dash of salt and 2 extra garlic cloves (or with soy bacon if preferred)


A Lighter Veggie Samosa January 16, 2012

These Vegetable Samosas are lightly seared in olive oil, making them a healthier alternative to deep-fried restaurant versions which are often full of oil and salt.

Lightened-Up Vegetable Samosas
with cilantro, peas, and corn

Vegetable samosas sound misleadingly healthy on the menu of your favorite Indian restaurant. These potato pastries are usually fried in plenty of oil,  are high in salt, weigh in at around 270 calories each, and thus do not make the list of healthiest dishes to order at Indian restaurants. You can make your own vegetable samosas to cut down on the oil and salt used while still enjoying the crisp flavor and spices.

-Nasoya All Natural Egg Roll Wraps
-3 large potatoes or 5 small potatoes (I used 5 small organic yukon gold)
-1 bunch cilantro
-1 whole yellow onion
-1/2 cup frozen green peas
-1/2 cup frozen corn
-4 cloves garlic minced
-1/4 cup frozen spinach
-8 tsp olive oil (2 tsp per batch of samosas cooked)
-1/4 tsp paprika
-1/4 tsp salt
-2 tbsp of your favorite samosa spices (such as curry spices)

1. Rinse potatoes and peel. Submerge potatoes in water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium high and maintain a high simmer for 40 minutes to an hour or until potatoes become soft. Drain water.

2. Chop onion and add to a medium saucepan with 1 tbsp olive (or canola) oil and cook at high heat until onions begin to brown. Stir frequently. Mince garlic and add to pan once onions have begun to brown (after about 5 min). Continue cooking for a few minutes then add remaining frozen veggies. Stir frequently. Add cilantro and spices.

3. After draining the water, you can use an immersion (hand) blender to puree the potatoes. If you don’t have a hand blender you can grate the potatoes instead once they have cooled.

4. Combine cooked ingredients in pot and stir well. Add about 2 tbsp of the mixture to each wrap, fold wrap, and cook in sauce pan with olive or canola oil. Use about 2 tsp of oil per batch of 3-4 samosas.

5. Serve hot. You can freeze some samosas for future meals and store the rest in the fridge.


Black-Eyed Pea & Parsley Dip January 2, 2012

Black-Eyed Peas are known to bring luck in the New Year. Eating fresh plant-based foods will certainly boost your health any day of the year.

Black-Eyed Peas & Parsley Dip
with garlic & lemon

Adapted from this recipe from Eating Well. I used frozen black-eyed peas instead of canned. It is best to use fresh or frozen vegetables when possible instead of canned to reduce possible exposure to BPA and salt added to processed foods. When it comes to beans and legumes, if fresh or frozen are not available dried versions are very economical and healthful choices. Many dried beans require soaking for at least 4 hours and boiling for an additional hour so be sure to check instructions and plan ahead.

-1 cup fresh or frozen black-eyed peas
-1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
-3 tsp lemon juice
-4 tsp olive oil
-5 cloves garlic (minced)

-Dash of lime juice
-Dash of salt
-Dash of ground black pepper
-Dash of cayenne pepper

Combine ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. If you are using frozen black-eyed peas leave in the fridge for several hours or heat in a microwave safe container for about 1 minute and 30 seconds before adding to food processor. Delicious when served with fresh whole-wheat pita chips or blue corn chips and fresh salsa. Keep the dip to chip ratio high to get more veggies in and less empty calories (chips).


Lush Cabbage-Carrot-Avocado Rolls December 21, 2011

Shredded Purple Cabbage, Sauteed Onion, Shredded Carrots, Mini Broccoli Pieces, & Sprouts combine with Avocado and Hummus for a fresh, nourishing meal. Wrapped in a large collard green leaf with green onion tie.

Cool Components: Prep well-rinsed leaf, sprouts, green onion slices, avocado, and hummus while the onions, garlic, broccoli, cabbage, & carrots simmer on your stove.

Lush Cabbage-Carrot-Avocado Rolls
wrapped in Collard Green Leaves

–a perfect lunch or snack–

Serves 2-4
-Large, fresh collard green leaves
-Purple cabbage (I used fresh sliced thin)
-Alfalfa Sprouts (optional- wash well)
-Green onion (chopped)
-1 large carrot (shredded)
-1 ripe avocado
-1/2 yellow onion (chopped)
-3 cloves garlic (minced)
-2 tbsp olive or canola oil
-Your favorite hummus (lemon or spinach & artichoke work well)
-1 small head of broccoli (break off small, thin pieces)

Wrap Filling: Sauteed onions, garlic cabbage, carrots, & broccoli.


1) Finely chop/slice onion, garlic, cabbage and green onion. Peel and shred carrot. In a medium sauce pan, add olive oil and set to medium-high heat. Add onion and stir frequently for about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add cabbage, garlic, and carrots. Break off small pieces of broccoli and add to pan.

2) Rinse and dry large collard green leaf and spread about 1/2 tsp hummus around center. Add sprouts, a few small avocado slices, and chopped green onion. Be sure to thoroughly rinse all ingredients before using and be mindful of any recent recalls in your area (sprouts have had several bad press spotlights in recent years. Skip these if you or a guest has a compromised immune system. For a healthy adult, fresh, well-rinse sprouts are an excellent source of nutrients including vitamin C.)

3) Add ~3 tbsp of your sauteed mix to the wrap, roll it up and serve fresh. Tie with a green onion string or slice in half. For a snack, enjoy with a large glass of water or unsweetened tea (iced or hot). For a meal, serve with a side of brown or wild rice and your favorite fruit-packed smoothie.

Thanks to Tin for the awesome idea to use collard greens for the wraps! I love them!


Recycling: A second life for foods that have passed their edible peak February 17, 2011

An old glass becomes a see-through flower pot and old garlic clove becomes a house plant

Old potato? Garlic sprouting? Instead of throwing it out…. why not plant it?


Fresh Basil & Bok Choy Stir-fry February 13, 2011

This bok choy stir-fry dish is full of color and flavor complexity

Fresh basil, garlic, mango, and subtle hints of ginger give this dish a complex and inviting flavor.

Fresh Basil & Bok Choy Stir-fry

4-5 heads of fresh Bok Choy
3 cloves fresh garlic
Fresh basil leaves (a small handful)
2 leaves red cabbage
Stir-fry cut 100% grass-fed lean beef
1 overflowing cup of beech mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy-sauce
1 tablespoon Thai ginger marinade

Heat olive oil in pan at medium high heat and begin cooking beef. Rinse all vegetables thoroughly and add bok choy stalks cut into bite-sized pieces (save leaves to add in later) once the meat is mostly browned. Stir food frequently. Cut up cabbage leaves into small pieces and add cabbage and mushrooms to pan. Allow these ingredients to cook as you slice the bok choy leaves and fresh basil, then add these into the mixture along with the soy sauce and marinade. Once leaves have wilted, add in a few pieces of fresh (or de-thawed frozen) mango.