Green Lentil & Yellow Beet Salad

7 May

Green-Lentil-Yellow-Beet-Salad-1

I’m still here! Blogging and cooking have taken a back seat since we came home from Colorado. A combination of life and illnesses left me with zero motivation to do much of anything. But that’s all changing now! I felt awful after eating comfort food and take-out, so I decided that we’re spring cleaning ourselves around here.

Feeling uninspired, I decided to try different recipes from the Green Kitchen app all week. Last night we had this Green Lentil & Yellow Beet Salad. It was OK. Definitely not the most delicious meal I’ve eaten but it was really healthy and I didn’t feel like there was a 50 pound weight in my stomach. Once my motivation returns I’ll figure out a way to make a much more delicious version.

Unfortunately I can’t post the ingredients and directions, but my plan is to give you my opinion on the app and whether of not I felt it was worth the money. See, there is a method to my madness!

Green-Lentil-Yellow-Beet-Salad-2

Dark Chocolate Covered Cashews

25 Apr

Chocolate-Covered-Cashews-2

We made it back to Chicago! Isn’t it awful when you get home and there is no food in the house? That’s how these little bits of deliciousness came to be. I had chocolate left over from the Thin Mints and wanted to use it up. So I popped open the bag of cashews, tempered the chocolate, dumped the cashews in and voila chocolate covered cashews!

I didn’t make a lot of these, so you may have to adjust the amounts of ingredients based on how many you want to make.

Chocolate-Covered-Cashews-Side

Ingredients:
1 bar of dark chocolate, broken into pieces
1/4 cup raw cashews

Directions:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Break half the chocolate into pieces and place in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 20 second and stir. Continue to microwave for 20 second increments and stir until the chocolate is melted. Add the rest of the chocolate and stir to melt. Microwave in 20 second increments, if necessary.
  3. Drop the cashews a handful at a time into the chocolate. Cover with the chocolate.
  4. Place the chocolate covered cashews onto the baking sheet. Once all the cashews are covered in chocolate, place the baking sheet in the refrigerator until the chocolate has hardened

As always, enjoy!

A Spring Snowstorm

18 Apr

Pine Needles

Greetings from snowy Colorado! In addition to seriously icky weather, Michael contracted some sort of exotic illness while in Brazil which has kept us indoors since Friday. The combination of a sick husband and a fear of driving down the slick mountain roads myself has left me with eggs, toast, carrots and hummus. Michael’s diet of saltines and broth doesn’t really make for a really great post either!

Just to give you an idea about how our trip has been playing out, this is a picture of what it looked like when we arrived:

Arrival

Here is what it looked like after the first day of snow:

Day 1

Here is what it looks like after the storm passed:

Snow

Meet our friendly neighborhood fox. Her name is Felie. We originally named her Felix, but then I discovered she was a girl so we changed it to Felie. I love her and I’m fairly certain she loves us. She also has a little baby fox named Marley, who is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately I don’t have pictures of Marley. We chose Marley because we don’t know whether it’s a male or female.

Felie

This beautiful bird paid us a visit just before the storm.

Bird

Native Foods Restaurant Review

15 Apr

Native-Foods-Twister-Wrap

We’re vacationing in Colorado this week, so I’m not planning on doing much cooking. I love trying local restaurants and if we can make it out this snow then I will do just that! While Native Foods isn’t really a “local” restaurant since there is one in Chicago it is worth the visit. There was one located close to my old office and it quickly became one of my favorite lunch places. I didn’t go there too often because it is a bit on the pricy side for lunch, but totally within the price range for dinner. The Twister Wrap with crispy tempeh is the first thing I ever had and is still my favorite. I also tried the Yo Amigo Taco Salad which is equally amazing.

If there is a Native Foods in your area, I highly recommend checking it out!

Mac & Cheese with Cauliflower

12 Apr

Cauliflower-Mac-n-Cheese-Fork

Michael loves comfort food and loves pasta so I figured mac n’ cheese would make the perfect homecoming meal. I had previously made a modified version of the Mac-n-Cheese Style Cauliflower from Vegetarian Times and I loved it. The cauliflower made such a great change from traditional mac-n-cheese. I felt like it kept it much lighter but Michael felt like it was more of a side dish. This time around I decided to add pasta for Michael, while I ate most of the cauliflower.

Cauliflower-Mac-n-Chese-Close

This time around, I omitted the cayenne, eggs and didn’t bake the dish. I also used heavy cream because I needed to use it up and added about 1/4 package of pasta.

You can find the recipe on Vegetarian Times

Cauliflower-Mac-n-Chese-Close

As always, enjoy!

Thin Mint Inspired Cookies

10 Apr

Homemade-Thin-Mints-Stacked

I finally realized that the best part about making your own Girl Scout cookies is that you can have them all year long! Amazing, right? My mom loves thin mints so I was inspired to try and make a healthier version of these cookies. Luckily these came much easer than the Do-Si-Dos.

I learned the microwave tempering technique on The Barefoot Contessa. It is so much easier than melting the chocolate over a double boiler and you don’t run the risk of burning the chocolate.

Homemade-Thin-Mints-Bite

Ingredients:
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp stevia
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp + 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
2 tbsp milk of choice (I used Almond Milk)
1/2 cup milk chocolate, melted
1/2 cup dark chocolate, melted

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325o.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the coconut oil, maple syrup, stevia, vanilla extract and peppermint extract.
  3. Add the flour and baking powder to the bowl and mix well.
  4. Add the milk, one tablespoon at a time and turn to medium speed for 3 minutes. The dough will begin to form a paste.
  5. Take one tablespoon of the dough and roll into a ball. Press the ball flat on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining dough. Bake for 25 minute, rotating the baking sheet 180 degrees half way through.
  6. While the cookies cool, break half the chocolate into pieces and place in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 20 second and stir. Continue to microwave for 20 second increments and stir until the chocolate is melted. Add the rest of the chocolate and stir to melt. Microwave in 20 second increments, if necessary. Stir in 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract.
  7. Coat the cookies in the melted chocolate and place onto a plate lined with parchment paper. Once all the cookies are coated, refrigerate until the chocolate hardens.

Homemade-Thin-Mints-Plate

As always, enjoy!

Creamy Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

9 Apr

Roasted-Red-Pepper-Asparagus-Pasta-Plate

I think I love this pasta so much because it has fresh mozzarella. I could eat this amazing cheese all day and never get sick of it. In order to prevent gorging myself on cheese, I don’t make this dish very often. Typically when I make this pasta I use Pacific Creamy Tomato Soup but this time I tried making my own version. It turned out really well but it’s not worth the hassle. Just use the pre-made soup.

Roasted-Red-Pepper-Asparagus-Pasta-Side

Just a warning, this makes a lot of sauce. But you can freeze the leftovers.

Ingredients:
1 onion, diced
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut in half
4-6 roasted red peppers, cut into strips (you can use jarred roasted red peppers)
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup fresh mozzarella, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 box Pacific Creamy Tomato Soup
1/2 cup fresh basil, julienned
1 lb whole wheat pasta, cooked according to package
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package.
  2. In a saute pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until clear.
  3. Add the asparagus and cook until easily pierced with a knife. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the soup and red peppers. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the peas. Simmer until the sauce is hot.
  5. Combine the sauce with the pasta. Mix in the diced mozzarella and basil. Season with salt and pepper.

As always, enjoy!

Roasted-Red-Pepper-Asparagus-Pasta-Top

Roasted Garlic Salad Dressing

8 Apr

Roasted-Garlic-Salad-Dressing

I was talking to a friend of mine a couple of weeks ago and she asked if I could do a post about salad dressing. She had been looking for a dressing without unknown ingredients and was left without a whole lot of options. So off to the kitchen I went to work on a healthier salad dressing.

Just a word of warning, reduce the amount of garlic if you want a more subtle garlic flavor. I felt like the garlic really developed once I put it in the refrigerator.

Ingredients:
1 single serve 2% plain greek yogurt
1 head roasted garlic
1 tbsp honey
9 shakes Italian Seasoning
1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tbsp water or more, as needed

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400o.
  2. Peel off the outer layers of the garlic and cut about 1/4 inch off the top. Place the garlic on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes.
  3. Once the garlic cools, squeeze the cloves into a blender along with all the ingredients except the water. Blend until well combined.
  4. Add the water and blend until you have your desired consistency.

As always, enjoy!

Fruit and Yogurt

5 Apr

Fruit-and-Yogurt

How can you not love fruit and yogurt? It’s the perfect meal. I decided to live on the edge and have something else besides a hummus wrap for lunch. We have a couple of containers of Brown Cow Vanilla Yogurt (the BEST yogurt in the world) and thought this would be perfect. This was also a great post-run recovery meal, which I felt like I earned it since I shaved a whole minute off my mile!

Ingredients:
3/4 cup Brown Cow Vanilla Yogurt
4 strawberries, quartered
1 handful of blueberries
1 handful of blackberries
1 small handful of sliced almonds

Creamy Farro with Mushrooms and Broccolette

4 Apr

Creamy-Farro-top

My first thought when I read this recipe in Whole Living was oh, this is gonna be good! And, it did not disappoint.

I changed it up a little and added broccolette instead of spinach. I’ve made it with the spinach before and it’s great, I just had a big bag of broccolette that I needed to use. I roasted the broccolette along with the mushrooms, but I recommend lowering the temperature to 350o. I also substituted vegetable broth for chicken broth and added some cubed tempeh.

You can find the original recipe on Whole Living

Creamy-Farro-Side

As always,enjoy!