vegetarian-friendly

French Green Lentil, Brown Rice, Tomato and Feta Salad

January 7, 2013
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It’s that time of year again isn’t it? When we all start wondering why our jeans are just a little too tight, feeling that post-holiday letdown, and seeing the ads for gym memberships, weights and exercise outfits. Everyone is ready to get fit, get lean, and start eating healthy, myself included.

I learned a long time ago to stop buying those gym memberships (I know myself all too well) but I do know how to eat healthy when I want to. For me that includes lots of vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. A great start includes adding salads like this to the meal planning. They are tasty and filling and can do double duty as either a Meatless Monday main course, or side dish. For more salads like this check out a few other Simple Sunday Salad recipes.

If you’re not familiar with French green lentils you can read …

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Farro Risotto with Leeks and Butternut Squash

December 4, 2012
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I’m well aware that I’m more than a little whole grain obsessed. Whole grains are certainly good for you, and while I’m always trying to eat healthy, this dish is a little bit naughty, and a little bit nice, if you catch my meaning. It’s healthy in that it uses the whole grain, farro, instead of the typical arborio rice used in risotto, but it’s a little naughty because of the butter and cheese.

Farro, is the Italian term for one of a few different varieties of whole grain wheat. It’s similar to a wheat berry in taste and texture, but the farro I’ve purchased tends to have a more elongated grain than the hard red wheat berries I cooked into a salad recently. This dish is warm and hearty and perfect for a cold winter night as a side dish or as a vegetarian main (substitute water …

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Scarola alla Napoletana; Escarole and Spinach with Olives, Capers, Anchovy and Preserved Lemon

November 12, 2012
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Last year I visited Naples Italy for the first time. After a lengthy journey from Los Angeles, I met up with my mother at the Rome train station and together we took the high speed train to Naples.

I was so fried from the 24 hours of travel that I could barely think straight, let alone figure out where to have dinner. Normally I have a carefully curated list of restaurants in a neat little (self) printed booklet I make before every trip. This time I had too much drama in the days leading up to the trip and I never managed to finish my list. Nor could we access the internet for any research, so we wandered around the area, looking at menus, searching for something which appealed and wasn’t too touristy. Exhausted, all I wanted was a plate of pasta and a bed.

We came across the Antica

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Cannellini Bean Soup With Beef, Roasted Eggplant and Orange Gremolata

December 7, 2011
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Last week was one of the most personally challenging in recent memory. You know the expression “when life hands you lemons…”? Last week, life threw oranges the size of softballs at me. The week included the death of our beloved cat Basil (ode below), a wicked cold which left me gasping for breath (still am), and hurricane force winds (in Los Angeles!) which caused damage to our roof, left debris all over our yard and left us without power for 36 hours, all while I was working extra long hours. Any one of those things alone could leave a girl searching the heavens and asking “Why me?”, yet all together, I just had to laugh (after I stopped crying) and say “Seriously??

The last thing I wanted to do was cook, and for the most part I didn’t. But when I read about the “Souperbowl” challenge

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Soup Swap Party; White Bean Soup with Greens and Homemade Italian Sausage

February 1, 2011
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Soup Swap Party? What’s that? Do I have to cook? Does everyone bring soup to eat? That’s gonna be a lot of soup!

Whoa, slow down people.

A Soup Swap is where everyone makes six quarts of soup at home, puts it in 1 quart containers and freezes it. Everyone brings their frozen soup to the party, chats for a while while having drinks and snacks, and hears the “story of the soup.”  People then take turns picking different soups to bring home.  It’s a fun and easy way to get to try some new things and not get tired of your own cooking.

The Soup Swap party was conceived over a decade ago by Knox Gardner, who while living in Seattle, made big pots of soup but got tired of eating leftovers and decided to share with friends. Since then it has grown into a national movement and this …

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Zucchini and Arugula Salad with Lemon-Anchovy Dressing

June 21, 2010
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The last couple of times I’ve been to Rome I’ve had a wonderful salad made of a bitter green I’ve only seen there called puntarelle. You can see photos of it on my Favorite Rome Markets post. Typically this green is trimmed, pushed through a wire slicer, and then plunged into cold water so the leaves curl and crisp up. It’s then dressed with lemon juice and anchovies. Simple yet fantastic, like most food in Rome.

Here at home, I don’t have puntarelle, but I do have a surplus of zucchini and yellow squash in my garden (yes, already) and I’m always trying to figure out new things to try with it. I thought it would pair well with this dressing and liven up an otherwise sometimes bland vegetable. I’ve added the arugula to give it a slightly bitter, peppery kick like the puntarelle. This salad is light and …

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