Hey all! What a week! Here I am coming up for a little air and breathing deeply at the thought of a quiet weekend at home – I feel I’ve been a little MIA here the past few days – we’ve just finished up a whirlwind week of kids Christmas concerts, choirs, and gifts for teachers and friends, not to mention craziness at work & the rest of the prep for Christmas……it is now officially time to breathe. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Food
It’s definitely here. As winter creeps upon us and chills our insides, it is important to stay warm from the inside out. This is the time of year that I reach for thick leggings versus pants, as I need extra layers of warmth like I need extra heat in my belly. This borscht recipe is one of my all time favorite ways to seek comfort, and I’ve been making it for the family ever since I’ve been lucky enough to have one (it’s been a few years). Continue reading
You’ll have to forgive me, or rather, let me re-phrase that, I hope you’ll all forgive me. I am having a salad moment (or three or seven).
Ask my kids at any given moment what mom eats, the answer is always the same. Salad. But don’t you worry, because that is where the sameness ends, because when it comes to salads, the chances for finding new and satisfying combos are as limited as your (or my) imagination.
Green Salad. Greek Salad. Bean Salad. Wheat Salad. There are endless grain, bean, nut, veggie, and dressing combos out there and honestly, I do live on salads pretty much 365 days of the year. Today’s salad can (like my last post) be served warm, cold or room temperature, and tastes great days after preparation.
Here, wild rice is cooked and tossed with roasted cubes of butternut squash & more of those wonderful white cannellini beans to make a nutritious and filling meal. Toss it all up with a few herbs & flavoring and you are set.
Less every day grains means a new food to discover. Fewer bread-based lunch ideas means more heart for less heft. Less boring, basic salad dishes means less boredom in your tupperware, so packing a flavor-filled lunch or meal-on-the-go is a joy.
More tasty alternative grains means more variety and spice in your diet (and life). More plant-based hearty proteins means more easy & affordable flavor. More clean simple cooking means more energy to focus elsewhere, so your fuel is ready to fill you as needed.
Wild Rice & Roasted Butternut Squash Salad:
- (1/2) cup dry wild rice
- (1.5) cups water for cooking
- (1) cup cooked cannellini beans (white kidneys)
- (4) cups peeled & chopped butternut squash
- (2) tbsp olive oil for roasting squash
- (1/2) tsp salt for roasting squash
- (3) tbsp mixed chopped herbs: fresh parsley, chives & thyme
- (1) tsp salt
- (2) tbsp olive oil
- (2) tbsp balsamic vinegar
Start by combining the rice and water in a small- medium saucepan. Put the rice up to boil with the lid on and once boiling, turn the heat down and cook, covered for 45-50 minutes, or until most of the water is absorbed.
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. If you are using a large butternut squash, you might get the right amount of squash simply from the top part (I call it the snout). Simply chop the top piece off the squash and peel it with a veggie peeler. Cube the squash with a sharp knife into 1-1.5 inch cubes.
Toss the squash in a bowl with the salt and oil for roasting, and lay it flat on a rimmed cookie sheet. Roast at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes, scraping and turning with a flipper at about the 20 minute mark.
While the rice and squash do their magic thing, prepare the beans and chopped herbs and set aside. Once the rice is cooked, drain it in a colander and let sit for a minute or two to cool and drain (it’s okay if the water isn’t all absorbed, the rice should be chewy but cooked). Once the squash is nicely browned and soft-ish remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Combine the rice with the herbs and beans. Add the squash once it cools for 10 minutes or so and toss with the oil, salt & vinegar. Adjust seasonings to taste and enjoy!
This salad will keep well in the fridge for well up to a week and also heats up beautifully. I enjoyed it served over chopped romaine hearts with an avocado lovingly piled on top.
It was all my co-workers could do to not attack my lunch bowl, but I did promise I would post the recipe soon.Just in case anyone ever doubts my word
I know folks all over the US are celebrating Thanksgiving today, and judging by the posts I have seen from those whose blogs I follow, it feels good to read the words of gratitude, love & thanks from all of you who are part of this lovely community of bloggers.
Wishing all of my south of the border friends & readers a wonderful holiday weekend!
- Are you a fan of wild rice?
- What are your thoughts on Thanksgiving this year?
With love & thanks & many continued blessings.
Yours in Less,
I recall a recent convo I had with a girlfriend who was looking forward to making this raw Brussels sprout salad I posted a while back after our Canadian Thanksgiving last month. The salad was to be enjoyed by the whole family, just not her dad, who prefers his sprouts on the ‘plain’ side. Read: just steamed or boiled, as is, & with no flavoring at all. And while I love these little beauties all ways (steamed they are delicious), I think the best part about them is how well they go with so many other foods.
So if you aren’t my girlfriend’s dad (who also happens to be my boss), you might just
like love this take on sprouts. Here, they are roasted to sweetness and tossed warm with a few of my favorite ingredients for a sophisticated, somewhat Mediterranean style side dish.
Roasting Brussels sprouts is certainly not new to the food world, and I recall my first experience with them 15 years ago at an old job. I worked in a gourmet deli where I passed the kitchen at least 20 times a day. Which meant at least as many roasted sprouts that were destined for the deli case ended up in my mouth as I went by.
For this dish, I soaked and cooked my own Cannellini beans, but you can find these babies canned in any grocery store and make throwing this dish together that much easier.
Less boring, boiled Brussels sprouts means folks might actually learn to love them. Less buttery, starchy side dishes means more fiber, and easy roughage. Less traditional takes on our old favorites means more exciting flavors at the table, so dinner together gets a whole lot more appealing for all.
More cabbage family veggies means more easy on the tummy digesting. More plant-based proteins means less tax on the tummy. More tasty takes on veggies means more ways to get folks excited, so meal time is always a cause to celebrate.
Thyme Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Cannellini Beans:
- (15) medium – large Brussels sprouts
- (3) tbsp olive oil for roasting sprouts
- (1/2) tsp salt for roasting sprouts
- (1-1.5) cups cooked Cannellini beans (white kidney beans)
- (1/2) cup soft sun-dried tomatoes (either oil-packed or soft as is)
- (1/2) cup feta cheese, cubed (vegans: sub 1/4 cup capers for a salty finish)
- (1/2) tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped (2-3 sprigs)
- (2-3) tbsp olive oil for finish
- black pepper to taste
Start by rinsing the fresh sprouts under cold water and draining well in a colander. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Oil a flat rimmed cookie sheet with (1) tbsp of the olive oil for roasting and begin to prepare the sprouts. Using a large bowl, trim the butt end of each sprout off and cut them in halves. Peel any rough outer leaves off and discard, along with the butt ends.
Once the sprouts are all halved, toss them with other 2 tablespoons of oil and the salt. You can either add the thyme now to the sprouts or add it after roasting for a slightly different flavor, I have tried them both ways and they are both fantastic. Lay the oil tossed sprouts onto the oiled flat pan and put into the oven once it reaches temperature.
Allow the sprouts to cook for 15-20 minutes before opening the oven to toss them gently and make sure they aren’t sticking to the pan. Once tossed, leave them to cook further for 10-15 more minutes, until soft and showing some brown/blackish spots. Remove from the oven to cool.
While the sprouts cook, prepare the beans, feta (or capers), and tomatoes in a mixing bowl. Slice the tomatoes lengthwise vs. chopping as they look (just a little) prettier (of course totally your call!). Throw in your chopped thyme.
When ready to serve, toss the warm, hot, or room temperature sprouts gently with the rest of the ingredients (I use my hands to make sure I don’t break the feta pieces) and finish with olive oil and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve as is with a feast, or as a feast unto itself. I enjoyed this delicious & satisfying combo many times this week and ate it cold, warm, and all things in between.
Re-heated quickly on the stove this combo made a wonderful lunch accompanied by a bit of roasted squash (my next post) and a splash of good balsamic vinegar.
Last week we cooked with a bunch of kids in need (who isn’t a kid in need though, right?), and I said I’d post some more info on that. There will be more to come, and if you are interested in more photos & info, visit us on Facebook here.
For those of you who so generously donated, I salute you, and thank you sincerely! My heart is giant as a result of your generosity and knowing there are kind-hearted supporters (and true friends – xx) out there from all parts of this beautiful world is nothing short of incredible & immensely encouraging. We go back to do it all over again in less than two weeks!
- What is your favorite way to enjoy Brussels sprouts?
- Are you preparing for Thanksgiving? If so, how?
Wishing everyone a super-charged, super-fantastic week!
Yours in Less,
Life really is a funny thing. As we move forward (which we inevitably have to), it is certainly impossible to know what might inspire us from day-to-day, week to week, and so on. It could be a conversation over lunch, or a person you haven’t seen for years that suddenly pops into your life. It could be a season, or the way you feel after spending quality time outdoors in the fresh air.
I know that for me, I am happiest and most inspired when I’ve got a full, balanced plate in front of me. Pardon the corny food metaphor, but it’s just so apt! Not too much, and not too little. Just the right amount. Having too much (of anything) can certainly cause a feeling of being bogged down. The goal (for me anyways) is always to find some sort of precarious balance and this week, I am finding much strength in looking at ways to further embrace the philosophy and idea behind this blog.
Less is always more (except when it isn’t). Simple & easy might rule around here for a while, as we kick off our next set of NSF cooking classes (pumped!) which are just around the corner. Stay tuned for an update on what we are doing next week as we finalize the recipes, write the ingredient lists, and round-up the best volunteers in the whole entire world (love you guys!).
Of course, we’ll also get to some really great recipes too. Lots of them, in fact! Starting with this amazing version of a popular favorite. Yes, broccoli pesto it is, and it is wonderful, especially when you see what it goes with!
Less oil-heavy sauces means fewer calories and fragmented foods. Less traditional pesto ingredients means more variety and fun ways to eat different things. Less calorie & dairy rich appetizers means lighter eats to snack on anytime, so good taste and light feelings come together.
More fiber filled broccoli means more chlorophyll and vitamins. More lemony, zesty flavor means more punchy bright taste. More pumpkin seeds & fresh herbs means more plant-based nutrition, so eating adventurously is just this good for you & healthy.
Broccoli & Lemon Zest Pesto:
- (1) broccoli floret, washed and chopped (about 2 – 2.5 cups chopped)
- (1/3) cup pumpkin seeds
- (1) clove garlic (optional)
- (1) tsp salt
- (4) tbsp lemon juice
- (1) tsp lemon zest
- (2) tbsp olive oil
- (3/4) cup fresh parsley
- (1/4) cup fresh basil leaves
Start by putting up some water to boil in a small saucepan and steam the broccoli for 2-3 minutes until bright green and tender, but not mushy. Once cooked, remove the broccoli from the heat and set aside.
Roast the pumpkin seeds in a 350 degree oven for 2-3 minutes until turning brown and fragrant. Prepare the lemon juice, lemon zest, & fresh herbs and set aside.
Once the seeds are toasted, remove from the oven and add them directly to the blender warm with all of the prepared ingredients. The mixture might need some agitation with a spatula to get going, but should get going to a nice bit of pureeing in little time. Blend on high until well mixed and bright green.
Serve within a day or two to ensure the best color from the broccoli and the best nutritional value. Broccoli pesto will keep in the fridge for several days and is delicious served with chickpea flat bread, or as a dip for crunchy crackers.
In my next post, I’ll share with you the latest version of chickpea flat bread that has won my heart for good.
Since our return from France in August (and the recipes I brought home from Provence), I’ve had the pleasure to try a many of these, and this one is so far my favorite! So stay tuned for an easy, filling, and nutritious version of what is fast becoming a popular food here at home (and for very good reason).
Stay tuned, you’ll want to make this one, I promise! Also do let me know if you’ve got any streamlining to do as a result of a (rather) full plate, and what is your first thing to let go!
- What do you do when you feel bogged down by details?
- Have you tried a broccoli pesto or chickpea flat bread yet?
Have a wonderful remainder to the week my friends and thank you as always for reading, for your kind comments, and your wonderful feedback on the recipes
Yours in (just a little) Less,