Monthly Archives:

December 2013

Crunchy Garlic Lentil Snack

Crunchy Garlic Lentil Snack

I’m not much of a snacker these days, largely because I just stopped buying snack food. I used to mindless munch away all afternoon, which never made me feel amazing nor enjoy dinner as greatly. And then I realized, snacks are rarely as tasty as dinner. Or as healthy. So I stopped.

Crunchy Garlic Lentil Snack

That’s not saying snacks don’t have their place. Sometimes a little mid-day recharging is a necessity. And if I were to ever cut bananas and peanut butter out of my diet, my refresher of choice, my life would not be the same. Please don’t do that to me.

These days when I do have a snack, I’m limited to the fruit and nuts I keep on hand. Lately, these lentils too. They’re my newest favorite salad-topper, and mid-day crunch.

Crunchy Garlic Lentil Snack

When New Years resolutions pour in along the lines of healthy eating, it can be helpful to have pre-made healthy options already laying around. Cut the snack-buying and begin the snack-making, and that way you can watch every single ingredient that’s going into your food. And then you can nosh on handfuls of things you feel good about, too.

These are simple and protein-packed, perfect for when your roommate’s/husband’s/whoever’s Oreos are calling your name. Cookies won’t beat lentils when it comes to how you feel, so no need to feel like you’re missing out on something there. Plus, cookies were so last month.

Feel free to play around with herbs and season these as you please!

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Kale and Red Cabbage Salad with Pecans

Kale and Red Cabbage Salad with Pecans

2013 was a year of a lot of over-rated food trends. Cue bacon flavored ice cream in continuation of 2012, fancy-flavored doughnuts, meat-laden paleo philosophy, overly sweet cake pops, almond milk overload, yadda yadda yadda. Don’t hate me if you disagree. I am a healthy, mostly vegetarian food blogger, after all. And I’ve always disliked bacon.

There have been plenty of good 2013 trends, too, however. Like the proliferation of farmer’s markets and local food production, cauliflower everything, red quinoa, gourmet vegan food, and kale salads.

Kale and Red Cabbage Salad with Pecans

Perhaps kale salads were more of a 2012 phenomenon, but so be it. I still think they’re trendy, and they’ve graced my bowl this year more than any other. 2013 was the year that kale salad really stole my heart.

Kale and Red Cabbage Salad with Pecans

I’m going to say this is because it took me awhile, and I think restaurants too, to really get the hang of mastering them. Which is really not a hard thing to do. But if you miss the key step of massaging the leaves, your kale salad will never be trendy, no matter how pretty it is. Every raw kale leaf needs a trip to the spa  before heading to the fork.

Get your (clean) hands in there with a little oil though, and kale can become the perfect slate for a heartier, more long-living version of a salad. This is what I love about it. It stores well, and often becomes even better, after a day left in the fridge. I tend to eat a whole lot healthier during the workweek when I have snacks/dishes already waiting for me, and lately that’s meant a ton of huge bowls of kale salad. I must say, I often feel my best when this is included in my week.

The following recipe was inspired by this lovely picture I came across on the New York Times Well blog. I generally do a ton of tahini-based kale salads, but this purple and green combination caught my eye, and I wanted mine to look like the NYT’s one, with just an oil-based dressing. So I spun off that and went with toasted sesame oil. I liked this so much that after bringing it to a party, I made it again the following day. Sometimes you need a huge bowl of kale salad all to yourself. Following the holiday season is certainly the perfect time for that.

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Pumpkin Coconut Veggie Curry over Black Rice

Pumpkin Coconut Veggie Curry over Black Rice

I’ve been doing a ton of cooking with friends lately, which I love. There’s something special about gathering around cutting boards and cookbooks, and creating something from scratch. Especially when it means spending time with people who make you laugh and forget all your worries. Nights of food and laughter will always be my favorite.

This month has been filled with lots of those, making it feel as if Christmas came early. Minus all the Christmas cookies. I have yet to bake one holiday treat this year! Gasp. Throw me some ideas, friends. This weekend, I  shall bake. And get down with some DIY gifting.

Because all that free time spent cooking lately means I have lots and lots of gifting to catch up on this weekend. Cue morning yoga and evening wine to keep my sanity. And some of this leftover pumpkin coconut curry from an earlier silliness-filled cooking sesh with the help of Louie, my new sous chef. (Every food blogger needs a sous chef, right? My mom likes to think I need a dishwasher, too…but that’s another story.)

Pumpkin Coconut Veggie Curry over Black Rice

Coconut curry holds a sweet spot in my life. As of lately, black rice does too. Combine the two, and you’re in for a treat. Not only does the orange pumpkin in this recipe look beautifully with the rice, but it compliments its nuttiness as well.

Creamy and slightly rich, but packed full of so many healthy ingredients, this is the kind of meal to bring out when dining with company. Want to show the world vegan food can taste great? Make coconut curry. And add pumpkin, cashews, veggies and cilantro.

This is not faint on flavor. Add it to your dinner rotation and it too will feel like Christmas came early, all times of the year.

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Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Apples, Pomegranate and Pecans

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Apples, Pomegranate and Pecans

I never fully committed to the cauliflower rage of 2013, but I’ve somehow unintentionally joined the brussels sprout bandwagon. They’ve graced more than three holiday parties I’ve attended in the past few months, and Christmas hasn’t even hit yet. Good thing this recipe’s perfect for that occasion, decked in all the red and green cheer you could ever want on one spoon.

Brussels Sprouts

I like to ensure that there’s at least one healthy item on the holiday table, meaning I usually show up to every party with a vegetable in hand. Don’t get me wrong, I love, love, love to bake, and the occasional holiday decadence as well. But that’s why I have two hands. One for plates of cookies, the other for bowls of veggies.

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Apples, Pomegranate and Pecans

In the event that everyone else fills their two hands with decadence (no judging, I promise!), I’m coming prepared. This winter, that means brussels sprouts for every occasion.

The dish pictured above is topped with a double crunch, stemming from beautiful red pomegranate seeds and fragrant toasted pecans. A simple citrus vinaigrette with subtle notes of orange furthers its festive energy, and completes its salad-like semblance.

Next up to plate is New Years Eve, a day I have yet to plan out in terms of sprouts. Any ideas? I’d love to hear your favorite ways to enjoy them, and how you’ve been cooking/roasting them up lately. Do tell!

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