Happy New Year! I just got done filing almost a year’s worth of paperwork (ahem…I sheepishly admit that last year’s resolution to stay on top of my filing didn’t stick for more than a couple of months….sigh…what do you do?). I feel accomplished and proud for the moment. That feeling will last only briefly, until the baby cries, , my hair stays wet, the laundry that needs folding piles up at the end of the bed, and I realize that I haven’t eaten in six hours. As I stand over the counter scraping avocado out of the shell with a cracker while bouncing just so to quiet the little one, I’m sure the elation of my paperwork success will feel like a distant memory. But hey, I’ll take it while I can get it. Continue reading
Happy Labor Day Weekend! It’s been a while, folks. And I’m sorry for that. But let me explain. In the last three months we have bought a house, sold a house, become a married couple, gone to Alaska on a honeymoon, and started to tackle a lifetime of projects on the 1870 farmhouse we moved to. And through it all, my belly has grown bigger and bigger (and along with it my emotions) as we prepare for the arrival of our first little one at the beginning of November. If I tried to take on anything else, I think you could just assume I’ve gone clinically insane.
And through it all, meals must be made and eaten, day in and day out. In fact, I’ve eaten a lot more and a lot more frequently as the months of pregnancy pass. But have I been stopping to snap photos, write recipes, and post about it? Not so much. When you have to eat every couple of hours, planning for, preparing, and packing food can start to feel like a chore rather than a passion.
Every once in a while though, I come across a dish that just hits all the cravings just right. This dish is one of them. Juicy watermelon, tangy feta, cooling cucumber, and peppery arugula drizzled with lime, honey, and vinegar. Sounds weird, right? Trust me on this one, take hold of the last bits of summer, and enjoy this salad.
If you are looking for last minute inspiration for salads to add to your Labor Day picnics, check out Cooking Light Magazine’s List of Great Summer Salads. In addition to their own version of watermelon and cucumber salad, you’ll find 35 other beautiful, simple salads to fill your picnic table and lighten your barbecue.
Ahhhh…it’s good to be back.
- 1/3 small seedless watermelon (about 6-8 cups), cut into ½ to 1 inch cubes
- 2 small Kirby, English, or other small cucumber with tender skin
- A few handfuls of arugula
- ¼ cup of basil, rolled up and sliced into skinny shreds
- A few pinches of coarse sea salt
- Juice of one lime
- 8 ounces of feta cheese, divided
- 2 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar (optional)
- 1 tsp honey (optional)
- Add cubed watermelon to a large bowl and gently mix in all ingredients through lime juice. Gently toss with half of the feta and crumble the rest on top.
- If adding white balsamic vinegar and honey, mix the two together with a fork or tiny whisk before drizzling on salad.
- Serve immediately! This salad, like many salads, do not hold up well overnight in the fridge.
Happy spring….errrrr….whatever it is. Today is March 25 and we had whiteout conditions for parts of the day. Nevertheless, I have some faith, due to thirty two years of walking this earth, that one day soon the sun will shine, the snow will melt, the crocuses and daffodils will force their way through the thawing ground, and it will be spring at last. Continue reading
I have a interesting quality that I haven’t mentioned on my blog up to this point. I guess I haven’t mentioned it because it’s something I’ve always had so don’t think about it often. But Drew mentions it to friends from time to time and I feel a bit like a carnival act. I have a memory like an elephant when it comes to food. The meal we ate on our first date? Ancho lentil tacos, barramundi cod tacos, a tea, and a chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting. Our meal at the Vierling Tavern? Cajun Blackened Lake Superior White Fish with wild rice pilaf and green beans, finished off with a piece of key lime pie. My birthday meal four years ago? Cedar planked salmon vesuvio. Anyway, you get the point. I remember my meals. The good and the bad.
In the summer of 2006, I had recently begun subscribing to Cooking Light Magazine. One of the first recipes I dog eared and cooked was this golden beet salad. I made it for my packed lunch to eat during a work day on my summer gardening job. That summer I was home from graduate school and was working with my friend, June Moon, in the gardens she designed and maintains around town. That day, we sat at the patio table near the pool at a client’s house (my favorite part of his place was the English garden June had designed for his wife before she passed) and enjoyed this salad. I remember that moment every time I eat this salad. I remember the feeling of friendship. I remember the hot summer day and dipping our feet in the pool to cool off. I remember the feeling of working hard and looking forward to the best part of the day; taking a break to put our feet up and share lunch with a dear friend. I’m grateful for such a good food memory because it is so often tied to memories of where I was, who I was with, and how I was feeling at the moment.
Cooking Light’s recipe for this salad calls for roasting the beets and I can attest that it is a delicious way to prepare the beets–they develop a depth and sweetness that other methods don’t draw out. But when I’m in a bit more of a rush, I opt to boil the beets until just-tender. It takes less time and still yields great results. I also add copious amounts of chopped dill (adding some chopped fresh mint to the mix tastes great too!) because I love it.
Be careful when toasting the pine nuts. It is easy to go from toasted to burned before you know it!
For Cooking Light’s original recipe, click here!
- 3 large golden beets
- 3/4 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion (about 1 small)
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
- ½ cup chopped fresh dill
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons extravirgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 450°.
- Scrub beets with vegetable scrub brush. Cut off any “hairs” growing out of the beets. Cut off tops of beets and slice lengthwise into ¼ inch slices.
- Place slices into a pot and cover with water. Salt water and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer until tender, about 15-20 minutes.
- When tender (but not mushy!), drain and rinse with cold water. Drain thoroughly. Combine beets, onion, and remaining ingredients in a bowl, stirring gently.
- This also tastes quite nice with some crumbled goat cheese or served on top of some quinoa or rice as a more substantial dish.
Christmas is closer than you think. That’s the message behind several of the ads that have been airing from the company I work for as a consumer insights specialist. The ads are really cute and funny and a reminder that we’d better hurry up and get ready for the holidays because they are right around the corner.
I need little reminding about the passage of time. All I need to do is look at our kitty, who suddenly became a teenaged kitty and I’m immediately aware of how quickly time passes.
“The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion…the beet is the ancient ancestor of the autumn moon, bearded, buried, all but fossilized; the dark green sails of the grounded moon-boat stitched with veins of primordial plasma; the kit string that once connected the moon to the Earth now a muddy whisker drilling desperately for rubies…..” Tom Robbins
It’s Sunday at seven. The shadows are getting long and we have food on our minds with no options left in the cooler beyond some crackers and dried apricots. We are heading south toward Grand Rapids enjoying the two lane portion of 131 south and all it’s eccentricities…the concrete statuary, the tree filled with shoes…and feeling that feeling that comes when a weekend is drawing to a close and the next week lies ahead.
August in Michigan is heavenly. It is deep summer, the fields are dusted with flowers, vegetable stands overflowing with corn crop up in front of farm homes, the hay is being baled in the fields. The days are hot, the nights are cool, and you begin to see the random tree already starting to turn colors, an unwelcome reminder that this won’t last forever.
This summer has been full of music, friends, and food. I’ve been so fortunate to be able to travel around with Drew on some weekends for his festival concerts and house concerts. It’s been an exciting journey and I’m so lucky to be able to hear some of Michigan’s finest musicians on a regular basis. We are heading home from FarmFest, where Drew played two tight concerts with his band. We didn’t spend much time there but the setting was beautiful and the stage was one of the coolest I have seen. The festival is held on the grounds of an organic farm east of Gaylord, MI. It is a quaint festival with two stages and tents and various vendors dotting the woods that surround the main fields. After walking past a booth full of tie dye for sale, chioga beets popped into my head. Chioga beets (a.k.a. candycane beets) are the tie dye of the vegetable world. Visually, it is one of my favorite vegetables and the taste is hard to beat too. A milder beet, they fall in between yellow beets and red beets in flavor and look gorgeous mixed with their other-colored siblings, some dill, and goat cheese.
A couple of weeks ago I had a photo shoot with the Grand Rapids Magazine. They plan to have an article about Dinner With Aura in their October issue. I was asked to have a dish photo-ready so created this vibrant and flavorful salad (thanks for the suggestion, honey!), experimenting with the beets to find the best way to showcase their color and flavor. Some of the beets in this recipe are whole-roasted and some are shaved raw. To capture the brilliant color of the chioga beets as shown in the photos, you must shave them raw with a mandoline slicer (never, ever use a banjo, says my ever-wisecracking banjo-picking boyfriend….haha) or with a sharp vegetable peeler so you can see the beautiful patterns and can eat the beets with no trouble despite them being uncooked. Beets are also marvelous grated raw into a green salad and tossed with a vinaigrette. Experiment as you wish with the basic elements of this salad: beets, mild feta, fresh dill, honey-balsamic glaze, and raw pumpkin seeds. You can’t go wrong.
Three Beet Salad with Cow’s Milk Feta, Fresh Dill, and a Honey Balsamic Glaze
- 3-4 large beets; 1 yellow, 1 red, and 2 chioga if you can find them
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Flaky sea salt
- 1 small clump fresh dill, roughly chopped and some left whole for garnish
- 3 oz cow’s milk feta, crumbled (or sub sheep’s milk feta or goat cheese)
- 1 tablespoon pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- Heat oven to 400. Remove beet greens and scrub beets but do not peel. Put one of each color beet in a small to medium covered baking dish (or use tin foil to cover if you do not have a covered dish). Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle generously with sea salt. Roast until you can pierce the beets with a fork, about 1 hour. Let beets rest in the baking dish until cool enough to handle.
- In the meantime, heat honey and vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and quickly reduce heat to low. Let simmer until the mixture reduces into a glaze, about 15-20 minutes. After what is called for in this recipe, you will have plenty left over for other dishes–this will keep for weeks in the fridge.
- At this point, if your beets are cool you can remove the skins. The beets will slip right out of their skins if you pinch them! Once all of the beets have been skinned, stand each beet on its head and cut into wedges, about 1/2 inch thick on the outside. Keep the yellow and pink beets separate from the red beets to avoid staining.
- Toss the yellow and pink beets with the dill and feta. Arrange red beets amongst the others. Shave several slices of chioga beets and arrange around the plate. Sprinkle with pepitas and drizzle lightly with honey-balsamic glaze. This can be served at room temperature or cold. Will keep for a few days in the fridge.
Wow wow wow….this summer is flying by! July is drawing to a close and I have barely caught my breath. But it’s been such a good summer…I dare say the it may be best I’ve had. I’ve gone for many summer walks, the temperatures have been wonderful other than one intense week of 90’s, my pears are growing like crazy on the tree in my yard, we’ve gone trout fishing (catch and release) in some gorgeous Michigan rivers, and we have had some wonderful dinners with friends. It’s pretty magical to sit outside on the patio until the sky is dark and the fireflies come out.
It has been a summer of music! We’ve taken the ferry to Manitowac, WI for Acoustic Fest (photos above!) and enjoyed Buttermilk Jamboree, NorEaster Festival, and Roots on the River. I have met so many incredible people at these festivals and feel so invigorated by these new friendships.
My work has begun to feel more routine and I really enjoy getting to know my coworkers. I’ve flown around on the corporate plane doing research in stores in Indianapolis, Michigan, and Ohio and feel like I’m making a difference for a company I believe in. Yes, things are turning up.
I’m really excited to share the good news that Grand Rapids Magazine plans to publish an article about me in their October issue this year. I’ve been interviewed for content and in two days a great local photographer is going to do a photo shoot with me! I can’t tell you how excited I am! I’ve never had a photo shoot before! Wish me luck!
A couple of weeks ago, I whipped up this quinoa salad after having one at our friend’s camp, the Tosebo Camp For Boys, over the fourth of July weekend. The salad is very healthy and has the perfect combination of textures and flavors; crunchy, soft, sweet, and spicy. It was the perfect meal for hot days when I stayed far, far away from the stove. This is a great dish for potlucks, one dish dinners, and lunch and is easily adaptable to your taste preferences. Enjoy!
Quinoa Salad with Corn, Black Beans, Avocado, and a Chipotle-Lime Dressing; Serves 4-6
- 1 cup multi-colored quinoa (red, black, white)–or any color
- 2 cups water
- 1.5 cups black beans (I cook my own but you can use canned)
- 1.5 cups corn kernels, frozen or fresh
- 1/2 roasted red bell pepper, diced
- 1 green onion, chopped (or you may use red onion, finely diced)
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 chipotle in adobo sauce, minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar
- 1/2 avocado, cubed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Put quinoa and water into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Immediately turn down to a low simmer and cover. Simmer the quinoa in the water until the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. I’d check it as it cooks–sometimes I feel that the water absorbs better than other times and I’ve burnt it from time to time!
- Mix the quinoa, black beans, corn, red pepper, onion, and cilantro in a large bowl.
- Mix the oil, lime juice, chipotle, adobo sauce, cumin, agave nectar, and salt and pepper in a small bowl.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss. Serve topped with more cilantro and cubed avocado.
Happy Memorial Day! I’m thrilled for the extra day of this weekend. It’s been a busy few weeks. Today I want to share a great recipe I found in Cooking Light’s May issue for another use of pea shoots, which I featured last week in my pea shoot and beet salad. The recipe I am sharing today is a carrot and pea shoot salad with spring onions and is the epitome of spring.
But first, I want to tell you about a few of the BIG changes going on and some of the things we saw on the trip we just returned from.
One of the first BIG changes is that I will be going from working remotely in my home office to working at (gulp) an office five days a week. I will be leaving my job as a research manager at a market research company and joining forces with Meijer’s Consumer Insights team. I’ll be working on internal research to help improve the retailer and it’s brands. Very exciting stuff. My life will be much more structured but at the end of the day I’ll have more time each week because I’ll be going from a 50-60 hour workweek to a 40 hour workweek.
Another BIG thing is that Cooking Light added my profile to their Bloggers’ Connection site and I’m thrilled! Check it out here. You’ll notice that I’ve added the Cooking Light Bloggers’ Connection badge to my page and I’ll just be sharing with you all a couple of the things I read about in Cooking Light each month. I have subscribed to Cooking Light for years and have shared their recipes with friends and family during those years. Now I’ll be sharing some of them with you!
Now onto this trip. We went on a tour of America’s Heartlands and into Colorado for two weeks. It was an amazing trip. Though I have flown into several of the towns we visited, I have never driven to them. It was a wonderful experience to drive and see a sliver of Indiana, then lots of Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and Denver. Iowa was surprisingly beautiful, with rolling green hills spotted with black cows and windmills. Did you know that Iowa gets 20% of all the energy in the state from wind? They have committed to generating 40% of their energy from wind, a goal that may be achieved as early as 2015. How cool is that?
The first night, we stayed in a beautiful apartment full of antiques that is set up for traveling musicians. It was right behind the stage at the Legion Arts Center in Cedar Rapids. The Legion Arts Center is a wonderful building that showcases both artwork as well as some phenomenal musicians. It is right across from the Newbo Market, a mini-Pike’s Place of sorts that was opened just 6 months ago. In the morning, we had a great cup of coffee from the coffee shop on the first floor of the building and looked at art in our pajamas. The folks in Cedar Rapids were so wonderful–one couple even called ahead and bought our lunch at a funky diner called the Bluebird Diner in Iowa City on our drive to Topeka. It was an act of incredible hospitality and we are so grateful for it. Drew had Huevos Epsteinos and I think it went down as one of his top ten meals…at least that’s what I gathered when he ate them with his eyes closed most of the time. One of the few souvenirs we brought home was a bag of the Bluebird Coffee, which I think is worth special-ordering.
In Topeka, we hit up the Topeka Zoo, where I fed a baby giraffe! We also saw gorillas, tigers, lions, black bears, eagles, and this photogenic flamingo.
We also saw the Westboro Baptist Church compound (from the outside, of course). There was a bright side to it–across the street from the compound, the organization Planting Peace purchased a house and painted every piece of siding a different color of the rainbow. A member of the Westboro church was on a ladder looking over the fence and praying against the house but that didn’t take away from the delightful presence of this house that promotes peace, fights bullying, and helps with orphanages, de-worming, and rain forest conservation. It’s wonderful to see this organization stand up for peace and this bold act gave me hope.
And then…the Rockies. Oh my goodness…the Rockies.
I had never driven in the mountains and I must have said “wow” every minute or two for the four hour drive from Denver to Carbondale. This is the view when you get into Carbondale:
Even though it was cold and sometimes snowy, the breathtaking views made me forget about having to bundle up!
That night, we ate at a wonderful new restaurant called Town. (with a period) and had a great experience sitting at the community table and getting to know a few folks. Their clams were excellent as well as the roasted carrots and cauliflower.
East of Carbondale, I had my first fly-fishing experience in the world-famous Frying Pan River. Standing in the water with the current pressing against my waders and looking at the incredible red rock cliffs that surrounded us, I started tearing up with the joy of being in such a beautiful place. My weepy moment passed quickly, though, because a rainbow trout came up to my leg and used my boot as a break from the current for about a half hour, joined by three of his pals for several minutes at a time. I learned how to cast, watch the strike indicator, and mend my line that day, all while staring down at my feet off and on to look at the pretty rainbows swimming by me.
The drive from Carbondale to Westcliffe on Highway 24 was incredible. The terrain seemed to change every five minutes. Rocky and desert-like at one turn, snow-covered pines the next. My favorite view on that drive was the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, a mountain range that is almost 250 miles long.
Over the next weekend, we went fishing in the Colorado River where I got a great casting lesson from Shaggy, the awesome shaggy-bearded best friend of my sweetie.
And then in the Blue River, Drew’s other buddy, Romano, taught me more about casting, mending the line, and setting the hook. And all of that coaching paid off! I caught my first trout by myself! The boys were so proud of me when they saw me mending my line, watching the strike indicator (bobber), setting the hook, and reeling the fish in. It’s catch and release out there, and that’s what we would do anyway, so no trout for dinner.
It was incredibly hard to leave the mountains behind to drive back to Michigan but we had much to do upon our return.
After just a couple of days of being home my poor sweetie had a major surgery on Friday to correct a nerve-related motility disorder called Achalasia. The muscle between his stomach and esophagus was clenched so tight that most food could not make it through the tiny tube. It’s been such an irony that the boyfriend of a foodie/food blogger like me could not eat most foods for several months. But the surgery was so successful and slowly we are introducing foods back in. In a couple of weeks he will be able to eat everything I am eating, which will just be so wonderful.
On Saturday, I ran home to let the pup out and decided to stop at the Farmer’s Market on the way home. I was in the mood for more pea shoots, one of my favorite spring vegetables. I made a pea shoot and yellow beet salad a couple of weeks ago and loved it. On the trip, I thumbed through the May issue of Cooking Light Magazine and found another pea shoot recipe to add to the repertoire.
This recipe was quick, just what I needed for my quick break, and delicious to boot. I had to use big carrots because there were no carrots ready at the farmer’s market so I just cut them on an angle for a nice presentation. The spring onions soaked up the sugar/vinegar glaze and were marvelous. I may just cook up more spring onions with a little sugar, vinegar, salt, and pepper to mix into quinoa or spoon over crusty bread. Mmmmm!
Stay tuned for more recipes from Cooking Light Magazine–I’m going to make a healthier version of biscuits soon once my honey can eat them. I’m picturing them with some fresh local butter and creamed honey……! But I am getting ahead of myself. I hope you enjoy this great springy peas and carrots recipe as much as I did!
Newfangled Peas and Carrots from Cooking Light Magazine; May 2013 Issue
4 servings of ¾ cup each; about 30 minutes total, 15 minutes hands-on
- 6 cups water
- 12 ounces baby carrots
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 cups vertically sliced spring onion, white parts only (about 9 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
- 2 cups pea tendrils or watercress
- Bring 6 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add carrots; reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain; rinse under cold water. Rub carrot peels off with a clean, dry kitchen towel.
- Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes or until slightly tender. Add carrots, sugar, vinegar, salt, and pepper; cook 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves and carrots are thoroughly heated. Stir in tarragon. Top with pea tendrils.
“The time has come, the Walrus said, to talk of many things: of shoes and ships and sealing-wax. Of cabbages and kings. And why the sea is boiling hot. And whether pigs have wings.” –Lewis Carroll
I’ve had this quote stuck in my head all day because I keep thinking, “the time has come, the time has come!” The farmer’s market has returned and along with it, the excitement of seeing the produce parade, unfolding week by week. Last week the most exciting finds at the market (for me) were pea shoots and sunflower sprouts. This week, asparagus. I wait all year for asparagus and am giddy when I see it make its brief appearance, standing at attention all down the rows of the market. Alas, I am in Denver this week (well, not alas–I get to learn fly fishing in the mountains–can’t beat that!) and am missing out on the first appearance of asparagus at the market. But lest I get ahead of myself…let’s talk about pea shoots. And sunflower sprouts. And last but not least, for a tour of my local farmer’s market, click here and I’ll show you around my beloved Fulton Street Farmer’s Market.
Before we went to the farmer’s market on opening day, May 4, I was imagining what we might find. It was a cold and long winter so our produce in Michigan got a slow start. Radishes, asparagus, pea shoots, leeks…all popped into my head. We didn’t find radishes or asparagus last week but found pea shoots! And sunflower sprouts! I knew exactly what to do with these two wonderful spring vegetables. This salad seemed the perfect thing to make and it allowed me to experiment with sauteing pea shoots. This salad has both raw and sautéed pea shoots, some sunflower sprouts, yellow beets, radishes, and crumbled goat cheese. Finished with a light honey-mustard vinaigrette, this salad was the essence of spring.
Spring Pea Shoot Salad with Sunflower Sprouts, Yellow Beets, and Goat Cheese; serves 1
- 1 medium yellow beet, peeled
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2-3 oz bag of pea shoots
- 1/3 cup sunflower sprouts
- 2 tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Peel the beet and slice from top to bottom into thin wedges. Place in a saucepan with water to cover and a dash of sea salt. Bring to boil then turn heat down to simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until beets have softened but are not mushy. They should still have a little bite to them. Drain in a colander and let cool.
- Split pea shoots in half. Arrange half of the pea shoots in a salad bowl—I like to use a shallow bowl to showcase the salad…much prettier that way! Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet or wok. Add the other half of the pea shoots to the pan and saute briefly, just until wilted. Add the wilted pea shoots to the raw pea shoots in your salad bowl. Add the sunflower sprouts to the pea shoots and toss. Arrange the beet wedges amongst the greens and sprinkle the goat cheese on top of the salad.
- Mix the mustard and honey together in a small bowl until combined. Slowly drizzle the oil into the honey-mustard mixture. Add the vinegar slowly then whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle a little vinaigrette over the salad (there will still be vinaigrette left over for more salads). Sit down and welcome spring with this simple salad.
Well, it’s been a little while! I’ve been busy, busy, busy. This past weekend I had a Dinner With Aura booth at the Grand Rapids Public Library’s Green Market Expo. It was so much fun! I sold some granola and biscotti, raffled off Super Natural Everyday, and met so many awesome people who were interested in eating healthier. Several folks mentioned that they were simply trying to reduce the amount of meat they ate, replacing a few meals a week with vegetarian options. That got me so excited. I truly believe that small changes add up. It can be really intimidating to be expected to change everything about your eating habits. Eating is such a personal and habitual experience so I believe that tackling one change at a time is the key to long-lasting change. I met a lovely woman who wanted to start by eating vegan three days a week. I’m so excited to hear how that goes for her and excited to see what new foods she will discover in the process.
I’ve also been busy moving my honey into my house. Having lived alone for three and a half years, this has been a big change! We are in the process of merging our things and getting into a routine. I’m excited to see what the future holds for us.
This weekend was so busy that I just ate really simple dishes. I was cooking for myself this weekend so things were back to my usual one person meals, quinoa with sauteed kale, zucchini, carrots, etc. I really don’t mind eating like that most of the time but it is fun to have someone to cook for and I tend to make more substantial meals when I’m not on my own.
Today, I was so happy that at about 7:00 I finally had time to cook up the recipe for the Food Matters Project. I was even more happy that it is finally spring and we have daylight at 7:00! This dish was so easy to put together and so tasty. All I can say is thank you for the awesome pick, Jess! Once again, I had a hard time imagining what this salad would end up looking and tasting like. The result was such a pleasant surprise. It had so many flavors I love all in one bowl. I modified the dish somewhat, adding quinoa, radishes, and peanut to the mix. The chickpeas and quinoa provide protein and the nuts provide healthy fats. This salad is a great main dish meal. If you are looking for something a little different and very, very easy, try this! You won’t be disappointed. If you want the original recipe, head over to Jess’s site. And to see the variations everyone came up with, head over to the FMP website.
Chickpea and Quinoa Salad with Cashew Chutney;adapted from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Project
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 small dried hot red chile or ¼ tsp of red chili flakes
- 1/3 cup cashews (raw are fine)
- ¼ cup peanuts
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- Salt and black pepper
- 3 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, drained
- 1 and ½ cups quinoa
- 1 cup chopped fresh mangoes (can also use apricots)
- Juice of 1 lime
- Olive oil as needed
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 3 radishes, cut into matchsticks
- To make chutney: In a small, dry skillet, combine cumin seeds, chili, cashews, and peanuts. Heat over medium heat, shaking pan frequently for 3 to 5 minutes or until everything colors slightly and becomes fragrant.
- Transfer to blender or food processor. Add garlic and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Process, stopping machine to scrape down sides if necessary, until finely ground but not as smooth as peanut butter.
- To assemble salad: In a salad bowl, toss chickpeas, quinoa, and fruit with chutney. Add lime juice and a little oil if needed to help bring everything together. Stir in cilantro and radishes. Taste. Adjust seasoning. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Enjoy!!!