Tag Archives: Salads

Recipe: Basil Pistou Pasta Salad with Spelt Penne & Fresh Market Tomatoes

Let’s enjoy the summer flavors while we can!

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.

~ Marcel Proust

The quote above is one fit for the bounty that engulfs us at this time of year (at least in this part of the world!).

Harvest season always give me the chills, and it is worth noting that I am currently head over heels, knee-deep & no turning back in love with fresh farm produce.

Anyone else with me on this?!

This past Sunday, I was excited to hit the Farmer’s Market and arrived to realize I had but a meager $25 cash to stock up for the next few days with fresh produce for our growing family.

At first I panicked, thinking it impossible that I could resist the urge to buy armloads of all the beautiful apples, peaches, and every other thing my heart desired.

And then (after a stop at the bank machine only to recall I’d given my ATM card to the teenager to buy jeans), I decided I’d see instead how far I could make that $25 go.

The fragrance always remains on the hand that gives the rose.

~ Gandhi

After all, ever since the market experience in France and the subsequent realization that things just are not the same here at home, it is still incredibly important to me to support our local farmers whenever I can.

It is also important to me (to try) to buy just what we need and not an apple more. So I am happy to report I did just fine, in fact, I really think I did better than fine.

We’re halfway through the basketful of ripe yellow tomatoes I bought and we’ve got lettuce in the fridge to make another round of salads tomorrow night.

There’s nothing rotting or screaming ‘eat me‘ after being purchased on a whim without a plan, or a thought to where it would go, or to who would consume it.

And it feels really good to know just how far $25 can actually go with (just a little) discipline, restraint, awareness, and forethought.

And have I mentioned how absolutely incredible those tomatoes are right now?

Not to mention the basil, and the zucchini, and the beans, peppers, eggplant, and just about everything else we can call ourselves lucky to have at our fingertips. Less may be more here, and when it is this good, that is really all we seem to need.

This pasta salad brings together all those things to love in one bowl, & I hope you’ll enjoy this combo as much as we did!

You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Less:

Less mayo-based pasta salads means more variety and more fun, flavor, and healthy fats. Less white noodles and wheat based foods can mean less sensitivity for those that matters to. Less boredom at mealtime means dinner and lunch are super fun, especially with harvest veggies & herbs so easily at hand.

The More:

More local flavor boosters means more summer flavors in your bowl. More grain based goodness means more grounding, fuel, and energy. More healthy fresh veggies to dress up your meals means more color, life, and vitality, so meal times are as lively as can be.

Spelt Pistou Pasta Salad:

  • (2) cups dry pasta (I used spelt penne for this one)
  • (1/3) to (1/2) cup Basil Pistou
  • (1/3) cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • (2-3) ripe tomatoes, cut in wedges
  • (1/2) yellow, orange, or red pepper, chopped
  • (6-8) leaves fresh basil, cut in ribbons
  • black olives for garnish & black pepper (optional)

Make the pistou as described in this post (the last IPOM post). Feel free to play with your favorite pesto as well, I was super pleased to make this with the pistou as outlined as it was quite similar to a recipe shared with me by a good friend recently.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions and drain when done. While the pasta cooks, prepare the sun-dried tomatoes, chopped pepper, fresh tomatoes, and basil ribbons*

*Cut basil ribbons by layering the leaves on top of one another and rolling them to make a tight roll. Then, using a sharp knife, cut horizontally to make uniform ‘ribbons’. Hint: you can also keep it real and rustic by tearing the leaves with your hands.

Start by tossing the still hot pasta with the pistou in a mixing bowl and stir well to combine. Add the chopped peppers and 2/3 of the prepared basil leaves and stir well.

Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with olives, remaining basil ribbons (or torn leaves), fresh tomato wedges, and black pepper. Don’t be shy to add a little splash of extra olive oil to the top either, that never hurts πŸ™‚

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of another.

~ Charles Dickens

Make sure to enjoy this one with friends, especially if you are among those sensitive to the effects of garlic!

Leftovers can also be enjoyed heated up a little to release the flavors and soften the pasta if has been stored in the fridge. I took this to work and shared the love with one of my favorite girls of all time, I don’t think she minded one bit!

Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.

~ Buddha

There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy.

~ Ralph H. Blum

Served with a loaf of crusty fresh bread, extra olives on the side, and good friend to share it with, I can’t imagine a better way to enjoy this beautiful, bountiful season we are having.

I’ll be sure to tell the tomato man this weekend how much we’ve enjoyed the fruits of his labor these past two weeks. I’ll be especially proud to tell him we didn’t waste a single morsel.

Enough is a feast.

~ Buddhist Proverb

With all the business we have in this life it is common to hurry through our days checking off to do lists and trying to cover as many bases as we can. Sound at all familiar?

Providing for loved ones adds an extra challenge. Will they have enough? What will they feel like eating? For any of you out there who know the challenges we face just stocking the house (never mind the cooking), we want to hear from you!

  • Do you stick to a strict grocery budget?
  • Got some tips you can share with us when it comes to buying ‘just enough’?

Wherever you are, I’d love to know what is inspiring you in the kitchen these days, whether it’s in the grocery store, the gym, or the community center parking lot where the producers congregate to sell their bounty.

Next up? A harvest chickpea salad, inspired by a spontaneous Farmer’s Market find πŸ™‚ Stay tuned!

Yours in Less,

48 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Food, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Salads, Savory, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Recipe: Kale Veggie Slaw with Sesame Miso Dressing

Raw veggies make me feel so good!

A day without laughter is a day wasted.

~ Charles Chaplin

Have you laughed today?!

I mean, really laughed? The side-splitting, joyful, exhaustion and tear inducing laughter that used to get us sent to the hallways in high school?

I love laughing. Laughter makes me happy. We try to laugh a lot. But sometimes I need to lighten up.

I’ve just returned from a (super) busy time of travel for work. Being on the road and working takes a tremendous amount of energy – and I am so grateful to have the weekend to catch up and return to my regular routine.

And to laugh!

The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.

~ Mark Twain

I don’t know about you, but I am a lot more prone to laughter when I am feeling spiffy.

Spiffy to me means my tummy is happy, my heart is happy, and my family and friends around me are happy.

To achieve all of these, I must take care of the 1st: making my tummy happy.

Because if my tummy is happy, my heart is happy knowing I am taking care of myself. When my heart is happy, it shines, and when it shines, it casts its light on anyone else around me.

And they are happy too.

You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.

~ Buddha

Seem too simple? I’d love to hear what brings happiness and laughter your way, because (IMO) there is no such thing as too much laughter (except when it is in the middle of science class).

This salad is a flavorful explosion that will bring a smile to your face. Featuring beautiful raw kale, broccoli stalks, carrots, and the ever humble rutabega, I’ll be bringing this to many a summer patio this year!

Let’s dig in!

The Less:

Less lettuce means less more creative ways to use up vegetables. Less cooking means more raw nutrition. Less store-bought dressings and pre-grated veggies means less cost, preservatives, and packaging. Less conventional foods means more adventurous meals, and maybe a few laughs along the way too!

The More:

More cheap vegetables means filling up for pennies. More vibrant raw veggies means more vibrant raw smiles. More kale and broccoli means more super-powered greens, and more savvy delicious potluck salads means you’ll always get an invite!

Kale Veggie Slaw with Sesame Miso Dressing

  • (1) cups grated carrots (about 2 medium)
  • (1) cup grated broccoli stalks (about 3)
  • (1) cup grated rutabega or turnip (1/2 large)
  • (3) cups green emerald kale, chopped fine
  • (1/2) large red bell pepper
  • (1/2 – 1) cup roasted cashews (whole or pieces)

Dressing:

  • (3/4) cup canola oil
  • (2) tbsp dark sesame oil
  • (1/4) cup apple cider vinegar
  • (1/4) cup white miso
  • 3 tbsp fresh chopped ginger
  • (1/2) cup water

Start by combining all dressing ingredients except for the water. With the water ready, blend on high and add the water to the blender in a slow steady stream, until the dressing is light and frothy.

Transfer to a clean jar. This recipe makes more than required for this salad and is amazing on rice or quinoa, or any fresh green salad!

It’s hands down a wonderful vegan dressing that is smooth, flavorful, and incredibly delicious!

If you have a food processor with a grating attachment, or a salad master grater, you can grate the vegetables this way. Otherwise a hand grater (on a medium grate, don’t do it on a super fine cheese grater) will do. Grate each vegetable into a mixing bowl one at a time. You can opt to peel the carrots or not, but I always do for salads like this as they tend to keep better this way.

Grate the carrots, rutabega, and broccoli stalk all to the same size and mix well.

I’d rather be able to face myself in the bathroom mirror than be rich and famous.

~ Ani DiFranco

To chop the kale, use a good chopping knife. Chop the washed kale leaves as you would fresh herbs, into half-inch pieces or so, and add to the bowl. Chop the red pepper to a medium dice and add to the mix. Feeling good yet?

Toast the cashews in 350 degree oven until brown (about 10 minutes) or in a dry skillet on the stove-top. If using pieces, add straight to the bowl, or coarsely chop whole ones before adding.

To dress, start by adding 2/3 cup of the dressing to the bowl and mixing all well. If you like, add more dressing to taste. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds or more roasted cashews and serve!

This salad keeps well for at least a day in the fridge. In fact, my daughter said it was even better the next day, so no one needs worry about leftovers here!

When the kids will eat kale, that’s always a good sign, and while one of them still won’t touch it, I am pretty happy to have the hubby and teenager enjoying it now πŸ™‚

Always laugh when you can, it is cheap medicine.

~ George Gordon Byron

Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one’s own sunshine.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

By being yourself, you put something wonderful in the world that was not there before.

~Edwin Elliot

So amazing with a few slices of ripe avocado.

Bliss in a bowl!

Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.

~ Victor Borge

This might be funny to you. Or not.

I hope wherever you are on this fine evening, you are in the company of loved ones (perhaps even enjoying a hearty laugh).

I am so looking forward to catching up on life this weekend (this includes catching up with all my blogging buddies!).

After whipping up a batch of spicy spinach hummus and putting up some rice to cook, I am headed outside….I can hear the sounds of children’s laughter out there, and I think I might be missing out!

  • What’s your most extreme laughing memory?
  • Ever found yourself literally on the floor or (worse) kicked out of class?

I’ve always cherished the gems I carry with me and I’d love to hear yours! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful week! It’s so nice to be back πŸ™‚

Yours in Less,

114 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Dressings, Food, Gluten Free, Photography, Raw, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Salads, Savory, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Recipe: Fierce French Lentil Salad

The only way to improve a lentil is to make it (just a little) fierce & French!

β€œThe only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”
― Socrates

Greetings fine blogging friends!

I’m back home after a brief business trip to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains (a fancy way of saying Calgary).

I have returned home to a few new blooms in the garden and dare I say….just a tiny bit of a tan on my face?!! Okay, that might be stretching it a (just a little) but I did spend a couple of days in the warm Prairie sun – it was pretty sweet πŸ™‚

It’s always extra-super-amazing to be back home, no matter how long I leave for.

β€œUnless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

― Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

In keeping with my last post (and a few before that I think!), here is one of my favorite go-to cold protein salad recipes. I hesitate to call it a recipe, as it’s more just a food I love, and a food I fall back on time and time again.

More lentils! But not just any old lentils.

I am talking about French lentils, or Puy lentils as they are also called (they originally came from Puy, France). Those of you who read this blog regularly might just say I have been training for France my entire adult life – which is about as long as I’ve been enjoying these deliciously sophisticated legumes!!

Not exactly the French countryside, but every once in a while it's fun to pretend. This view is right up the street from my house in the city. Doesn't it look quaint?

β€œCount your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears.”

― John Lennon

It could be hard to find these in some parts of the world, and I’ve always found them successfully in health food or organic grocery stores. A suitable substitute would be ‘Beluga’ lentils, also black and a little plumper.

I have read that French lentils take longer to cook than other lentils, which I have never found to be the case – it could be because I steam them, instead of boiling them (which for me always turns this kind to mush).

Does anyone else do this too?

I can’t tell you where I learned this from, or how I learned it, because I honestly don’t remember – but what I can tell you is it makes them ridiculously good!

Let’s get to this fierce salad, shall we? Yes!

β€œI can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then. ”

― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

The Less:

Less boiling in hot water means more in-tact nutrition in your final product. Less canned beans and lentils means more texture, and less waste, recycling, and cost. Less heavy & starchy beans means a lighter feeling in your tummy, and less heavy tummies means more light smiles and happy times – and (maybe) (just a little) less gas. Good, right?

The More:

More high fiber legumes means more roughage in your system. More rich protein and satisfaction means you need to eat less to get full. More yummy textures and flavors mean more variety and substance. More taste and versatility means you can serve these to anyone – even if they aren’t lentil lovers (yet!).

Fierce French Lentil Salad:

  • (1) cup French lentils or Puy lentils (can sub Beluga lentils)
  • (1) pint grape tomatoes,Β roasted (or 1/2 cup thinly sliced or chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil)
  • (1/2) cup green onions
  • (3) tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • (2) tbsp red wine vinegar
  • (1) tsp salt (or to taste)
  • (1/2) cup roasted almond slivers or blanched sliced almonds
  • (1/2) cup cubes of feta cheese (optional)
  • fresh black pepper

The Lentils:

The trick here is to soak the lentils at least 12 hours. I usually put up a bowl to soak over night and cook them in the morning or the following evening.

Combine the lentils with lots of cold water and soak. When ready to cook, drain the lentils and rinse in a colander with plenty of cold water. Put the lentils into a vegetable steamer with enough water to last long enough to boil 25-30 minutes. Bring to a boil, once the steam water is boiling, turn the heat to medium-high and cook, covered for 25-30 minutes, or until the lentils are soft. You can test them by tasting or squashing one between your fingers – it should crush easily, but you don’t want it to be mush either.

Once the lentils are done (soft but firm), transfer them to a bowl to cool. After about 5 minutes, add the olive oil and salt (you can also add the vinegar at this stage) to the still warm/hot lentils – this allows the oil and salt to soak into each lentil’s individual little soul, infusing it with yummy depth and fierce flavor!

From here, you can store the lentils in the fridge until you want to use them. Or, proceed with the following steps!

The Tomatoes:

If you are using roasted grape tomatoes, rinse the tomatoes in water and drain. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Toss the tomatoes in a tbsp of olive oil or so and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Place on a flat oiled sheet, and roast the tomatoes until wrinkly – anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. They should be black a little on the bottom. Remove and cool on the pan before transferring to a bowl.

This step can be done well in advance – I often buy ‘cast-offs’ from the produce section of wrinkly tomatoes that are too old to eat fresh. They are usually dirt cheap and I roast them and keep them in the fridge. Delicious on sandwiches or on top of a salad or roasted veggies – even on pasta with capers!

The Nuts:

Roast the nuts by placing them dry on a flat cookie sheet in the oven. Roast at 350 degrees for about 3-4 minutes, or until fragrant and turning brown.

Roasted almonds are the family favorite and we have a bowl of them in the kitchen pretty much all the time. The kids love them, the husband loves them, guests love them. I often toast up a few cups and use them at dinner.

Leftovers are brilliant on breakfast cereals or Mediterranean yoghurt in the morning with hemp hearts & maple syrup πŸ™‚

To create the salad, combine the oiled & salted cooked (and cooled) lentils in a bowl with the nuts, green onions, and optional feta. If you are using sun-dried tomatoes, add them when you mix as well. For the roasted tomatoes, add these to the top of the mixture in the serving bowl(s) just before serving.

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

― Theodore Roosevelt

This dish (or a version of this dish) is a fabulous picnic salad or addition to a summer potluck. Served with greens, fresh baguette or crackers, and a glass of French wine, the only thing better would be, well, being in France! πŸ™‚

β€œBe yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

― Oscar Wilde

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”

― George Bernard Shaw

A classic shot of T and me on my first trip to Paris, summer of 2010.

Getting out there into the big big world helps us to appreciate coming home (just a little) more, and I always come home (just a little) more thankful for all the relationships I am so lucky to be a participant in.

Whether it is the friendships and connections forged on the road or the smiles on the kids faces when you walk in the door (yes – even after one night away – lucky me!), interactions with others are always an extraordinarily special gift.

It’s a good life, indeed. Isn’t it?

Thanks to all of you who continue to read and support this (little) blog – your comments always make my day, no matter where I am!

β€œIt is not that I’m so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer.”

― Albert Einstein

  • What’s your favorite potluck summer salad?
  • Have you a favorite lentil variety or recipe to share with us?

Let us know! I hear there is a sweet vegan potluck coming up (click the link for more info over at an unrefined vegan), it’s time to start planning contributions!

I can’t wait to see what we are all bringing to the table, and a giant thanks to Ann at AUV for bringing it all together and for all the inspiration!

Yours in Less,

59 Comments

Filed under Food, Photography, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Salads, Savory, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Recipe: Lively Yellow Potato Salad

You’ve got to love anything this comfortable in its own skin.

“Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity, reduce selfishness, have few desires.”

– Lao-Tzu

Holla bloggers!

Welcome to another springy post! I’ve got to tell you (though it’s still a little cool), it’s pretty sweet here when the sun is out!

The patio furniture is coming out this weekend and the new garden topsoil has (finally) settled. Even the outdoor hockey net is out in the lane again and I can hear the sounds of balls hitting the garage doors in my neighborhood on weeknights.

Life is (at last) happening all around, folks are getting outside, and spring is in full swing.

Oh my! It’s a good thing!

Spring brings with it the promise of summer, and warm evenings spent outside. With that, comes time for warm weather sides and salads, either to accompany the barbecue (for the carnivorous hubby) or just to have as they are (my way).

“We do not remember days, we remember moments.”

– Cesare Pavese

Here is a lively potato salad to start the season of outdoor living featuring my favorite – the humble (and often maligned) potato!

As a vegetarian (who eats little dairy and at times none), I’ve always been (just a little) saddened at the (IMO) unfair rap that poor old potatoes get from many fad diet doctrines out there.

These little gems that grow in even the poorest of soil are amazingly nutritious (especially the skins), easily available and totally dirt cheap considering some of the other foods we buy to eat well. High in easily digested healthy carbs, potatoes are filling, tasty, and super versatile.

Happiness is making the most of what you have.

-Rosamunde Pilcher

Bake them, steam them, roast them. Grate them, fry them (not my fave), or even dehydrate them (I once tried them as raw potato chips in my raw days – they were actually okay!).

Here is a healthy way to enjoy these gluten-free darlings – without all the high-fat dairy-based toppings commonly associated with potatoes – this was a big hit at the office this week!

Now let’s get to the heart of this post!

The skins are super nutritious, so leave them on! Do try to buy organic if you can - but don't stress too much about it either!

The Less:

Less fried or over-processed potatoes means cleaner, more honest nutrition. Less mayo-based dressings means less fat and less clutter in your food. Less packaged or store-bought picnic food means less packaging at (way) less cost. Less costly food means more money in your pocket, and that’s a sweet feeling for sure.

The More:

More potato based eating means more vegetable based carbs so putting them where your body needs them is a snap. More cold salads means set up is a snap, just grab it from the fridge and go! More fresh veggies to dress them means more color and crunch, so you can settle in to your summer with style.

Lively Yellow Potato Salad:

Veggies:

  • 6 cups yellow flesh potatoes, chopped with skin on (about 2.5#)
  • (1) bunch dill, chopped
  • (1) red pepper, chopped
  • (1) 398ml can artichoke hearts (5 each)
  • (1/2) cup red onion

Dressing:

  • (1/4) cup good olive oil
  • (2) tbsp red wine vinegar (add more to taste)
  • (1-2) tsp sea salt
  • (1) tbsp good prepared mustard
  • (1) tbsp sugar (any kind you like – feel free to add more if you use extra vinegar)
  • Fresh pepper if desired

Start by combining the chopped potatoes in a pot with a little water (about 2 cups). Put them up to boil in the water by bringing to a boil with the lid on. Once boiling, turn the heat to medium low and cook, covered, for 12-15 minutes, or until pricked easily with a fork.

While the potatoes cook, chop dill, pepper, and red onion and add to a large mixing bowl.

Drain your artichokes and cut by first quartering them lengthwise, then cutting the quarters horizontally to get slightly smaller pieces. Add to the bowl along with the other veggies.

Next, combine the dressing ingredients and whisk together until combined (and gorgeous). Is there anyone else out there that gets excited by this stuff?

Gosh, sometimes I feel like a real nerd…

Once the potatoes are soft and ready, drain them in a colander and let sit for a minute or two to cool and shed excess liquid from the boiling process.

Transfer the hot spuds to a separate mixing bowl and allow to cool an additional 3-4 minutes or so. The reason for this is to get the potatoes to the most optimal temperature for soaking up the dressing.

If you add the dressing too soon, the potatoes will soak it up too quickly and the heat can affect the flavor of the dressing. By allowing them to cool only slightly, you get a potato that is still warm (but no too hot).

When the potatoes are only steaming slightly and you can touch them with your hands for a few seconds comfortably (about 3-4 minutes after cooking), add the dressing and mix. Allow the potatoes to sit in the dressing and soak it all up another 5 minutes while they cool a little further.

Once they are only slightly warm, toss in the large bowl with the waiting chopped raw veggies and dill.

Mix gently to evenly distribute! Wonderful!

Serve as is straight out of the mixing bowl or transfer to a clean serving dish.

A gorgeous salad to take to a summer potluck – a totally refreshing and zesty take on traditional cold potato salad, sans mayonnaise or dairy of any kinds!

For those who eat eggs, I would serve this salad with classic deviled eggs and a green salad for a perfect summer meal. This is also great as a side to any protein dish.

Live each day as if your life had just begun.

– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

It’s great with olives too, and a side of extra smiles.

That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.

– Thoreau

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.

– Anais Nin

Thanks to all of you for reading and commenting on the last post. It was great to hear from all of you runners, yogis, cyclists, swimmers, and walkers! It does a heart good to hear your stories and especially those of you who might be trying something new – I’d love to hear how you make out!

“In seeking happiness for others, you find it for yourself.”

~ Anonymous

Here’s to new recipes and new experiences!

Whether it is a new food, a new friend, or a new activity, starting something new is always a thrill.

One this girl never gets tired of πŸ™‚

  • Did you try something new this week?
  • What is your favorite way to enjoy potatoes (if at all)?

You know how much I adore hearing from you all, wishing you a wonderful day!

Yours in Less,

61 Comments

Filed under Food, Gluten Free, Photography, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Salads, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

On Mason Jars, Sandwiches, and Water

Have you had enough water yet today?

Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.

~ Nelson Mandela

Greetings blogging friends! Is everyone gearing up for another fine few spring days?

I mentioned in my last post that a busy week it has been! A bit of weeknight entertaining and nice weather can do that – and before we know it, the weekend is here – just in time for more sun, and more water guzzling!

Today’s post is a round up of a few of my favorite moments from the week…more little things that add up to this big thing we call LIFE!

We all know how good water is for us – our bodies are made up of 90% of it. Ever added a slice of cucumber to your glass?

So. Refreshing. So. Easy…so if you’ve been lax on your water intake today, go help yourself to a cold glass with or without cucumber!

The day, water, sun, moon, night – I do not have to purchase these things with money.

~ Plautus

This week our long term tenant left us for the adventure of road tripping across our amazing expanse of a country headed for Nova Scotia!

  • Are you road tripping this summer?

She left us with many fond memories, kind words of appreciation, and something else that brings me joy – a whole flat of mason jars!

Yup! Pretty thrilling. And I’m serious – thanks Amanda! (and not just for the mason jars!)

All cleaned up and ready to be filled. So many possibilities! So many great things ahead!

  • What would you put in there?

A dream is the bearer of a new possibility, the enlarged horizon, the great hope.

~ Howard Thurman

More ocean views (I swear I am not gloating it’s just that it has been suuuuuuch a long dreary winter!).

The walk/run around the seawall here is dreamy and last weekends was no exception. I made it most of the way without taking pictures, but I just couldn’t help myself.

Could you?

A good meal ought to begin with hunger.

~ French Proverb

Fresh salad staples.

  • What are your favorite salad staples?

Freshly roasted nuts, crazy fresh and crunchy romaine hearts, cukes, tomatoes – the basics! It’s no wonder salads are so popular! πŸ™‚

A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.

~ Mark Twain

Sandwiches.

The reason I can’t be strictly vegan. Also the reason I can’t be totally off bread. (Thankfully I am not seriously allergic or intolerant of either).

A smiling face is half the meal

~ Proverb

When you show up to your favorite lunch haunt (known for the best baguettes in town) and order the ‘veggie’ special (code for whatever your chef friend is inspired to make you), you wait patiently, drink your cucumber water, and look forward eagerly!

I consider it training for Paris. Because well, it kind of is!

  • What is your favorite baguette sandwich?

This one was shaved fennel, Applewood smoked cheddar, lettuce, and walnuts. Divine Simplicity!

Happiness can exist only in acceptance.

~ George Orwell

Lentils! Yes, here they are!

These little guys made me smile this week, and I’ve got them soaking right now as I write this!

I’ve been promising a post about French Lentils…more training for Paris?

  • Have you had these little treasures?

Our necessities never equal our wants.

~ Benjamin Franklin

Finally, with spring now in full bloom, there are so many ways to be inspired out there!

This combo is a heart stopper, and a total feast for the senses. It’s only here for a short time…

  • How are you spending your fine weekend?

I hope you are all gearing up for a wonderful weekend. As for me, I’ll be spending time with family and attempting round two of my latest pizza dough recipe I’ve been trying…

She rose this time! Me and yeast are not the greatest of friends.......yet!

For now, I am off to fix myself a tall glass of water – with cucumber.

  • What’s your fave way to hydrate?
  • Are you diligent about drinking enough water?

I’d love to know! I hope y’all had a great week – here’s to the weekend!

Yours in Less,


46 Comments

Filed under Food, Happiness, Inspiration, Photography, Rejuvenation, Salads, Vegetables

Recipe: Quinoa Cauliflower Tabbouleh

Fresh perspective is always a (very) good thing.

β€œIf we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”

~ Mother Teresa

Getting fresh perspective isn’t always the easiest thing. Ever heard of tunnel vision (I sure have!)?

With so many fixed elements in place in our lives it can be difficult to break out of our routine, or look at life through a different lens, never mind through new eyes. Well, it’s Monday, friends – and here’s to the start of a brand new week!

"This is an interesting perspective." At Moma, NYC

With spring here, we feel the urge to renew, and refresh. For me, this recipe represents an opportunity I recently got to do just that!

I was delighted to open my email last week to find a fresh recipe sent just for me courtesy of a favorite blogger – the quirky and extremely clever writer and (dare I say) curator of This Sydney Life.

I simply adore tabbouleh (reminds of potlucks in the 80’s), with its minty freshness and light airy vibes, and this recipe has a twist that honestly knocked my socks off. It’s just so darned fresh!

So I simply had to share it.

β€œYou are forgiven for your happiness and your successes only if you generously consent to share them.”

~ Albert Camus

Fresh takes on old ideas are what makes the world go around according to my favorite clever & inspirational writer Paul Arden in his book “Whatever You Think Think The Opposite”.

So with that, I’ll get right to it – let the celebration begin!

The Less:

Less wheat-based tabbouleh means those with sensitivities can enjoy their favorite fresh-flavored dish. Less focus on the grain as the main ingredient means a lighter experience all around. Less wondering what to do for your next potluck makes planning a snap – because this dish is a winner!

The More:

More cabbage family veggies in the diet mean more disease fighting properties in your foods. More fresh herbs and green leafy veggies means more ways to win without growing bored. More zesty citrus, sweet dried fruits, and bold nutty flavors mean more satisfying tastes for your taste buds. More sharing is good, especially when it’s done among friends.

Cauliflower Tabbouleh:

  • (1) small head cauliflower, washed & cut into small florets
  • (1 and 3/4) cups water
  • (1) cup quinoa, dry
  • (1) bunch cilantro (about one cup chopped)
  • (1) bunch Italian flat leaf parsley (about 2 cups chopped)
  • (1) bunch mint (about one cup chopped)
  • (1/2) to (1) cup walnuts, chopped & toasted
  • (1/2) – (3/4) cup dried cranberries (or to your preference)
  • (2-3) tbsp olive oil
  • (2-3) tbsp of juice from one large lemon & zest
  • (1) tsp salt or to taste

Cook quinoa by combining the grain with the water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, turn heat to low (without raising the lid) and cook for 20 minutes. Once finished, remove lid and fluff with a fork while it cools in the pot.

Wash and cut the cauliflower into small florets, saving the stem part for soup (or include it if you prefer). Chop to a 1-2 inch dice. This will produce 4-6 cups of chopped cauliflower.

Cook cauliflower in boiling salted water or in a steamer for 6-8 minutes until tender. Drain and rinse quickly with cold water to cool.

Chop the walnuts and toast either in a dry pan over medium high heat (stirring constantly) or in the oven until brown and fragrant. About 6-8 minutes in a 350 degree oven should do the trick!

Zest half the lemon on a fine grater and juice the lemon afterwards. Add to a large mixing bowl along with the cooked quinoa & cauliflower, cranberries, walnuts, olive oil and salt. Gently toss everything to combine.

Next, wash your bounty of gloriously fragrant herbs under cold water and shake any excess water. Chop them all up and throw them in too – this is BY FAR the most wonderful part of this recipe!

Stir everything together and enjoy! This dish will keep in the fridge at least a few days. I served it the first time this week with these millet burgers and a nice green salad. Wonderful!

If an idea’s worth having once, it’s worth having twice.

~ Tom Stoppard

What was wonderful to me was my frame of mind when I first made this – normally I would chop my herbs super fine – but given the amounts of greens and the presence and size of the cauliflower in this recipe, it was liberating and totally refreshing to chop the herbs like I would for a salad – the original recipe called for cup measurements which worked out to roughly a bunch of each of the 3 stars of this dish.

I’ll let you be the judge as to how you’d tackle this, and I sure would love to know!

I simply delighted in this recipe. The smells of the herbs (mint lovers heaven!) – and the combo and the sheer amounts of the 3 thrilled not only my senses but those I have (already) shared it with (I’ve now made it twice).

Cooking and sharing is but one small way we can open ourselves up to outside views, totally fresh perspectives we would otherwise miss.

Thanks to all you bloggers and readers (and dare I say friends!) out there, there is a world of endless possibilities out there…just waiting…

This is one perspective I am happy to build in to the lens kit. I’ve a feeling it just might end up in yours too!

The only way to have a friend is to be one.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

So a very well deserved and huge thanks to my lovely new friend for the share (I’ve yet to try the other delicious sounding recipe but hey, I picked up 2, yes 2, castoff bags of perfectly ripe mangoes yesterday!)!
As always I am casting out a giant wave of appreciation for all of you who visit this site and join the conversation. I’ve a lovely line up for you this week so stay tuned, and I hope you all had a super fabulous weekend!
  • What do you do to get fresh perspective?
  • How do you awaken your senses?
  • Are you a tabbouleh fan too?

I’ve a feeling if you aren’t yet, you will be now πŸ™‚

Yours in Less,

46 Comments

Filed under Food, Gluten Free, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Salads, Savory, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Recipe: Creamy Cashew & Fresh Herb Dressing

It’s here! Has Cupid come by to kiss you yet?

I can see this morning there are a lot of folks pretty excited about Valentines Day. I hope everyone is feeling the love today!

It’s a day for the kids in our house, where they get to be reminded that their mother loves them. I like that, and so do they (they also don’t mind the Hershey’s kisses they find scattered on their bedroom floor when they awake).

We’ve never really made a big deal about this holiday, me and my husband ~ mostly I think because we are lucky to have been married for many happy years. To risk sounding (just a little) smug and corny, we actually still enjoy everyday together. Like, a lot. I know, right? It’s pretty great and we try to tell each other as much as possible (and we certainly did this morning).

So…to balance off the heart shaped cookies and sweet delicious treats out there today, here is a way to celebrate freshness. You might just want to plan this one for tomorrow after the big Valentine’s dinner!

This beautiful creamy salad dressing can be enjoyed with any meal. Because anyone taking the time to read blogs about food already knows the beauty in healthy food preparation made with love, all year round!

The Less:

Another creamy dairy-free substitute courtesy of the silky and decadent cashew. Less dairy in one’s diet can mean feeling lighter and clearer. Less saturated fat in our diets is a good thing, as is consuming less prepared salad dressings. This one could just become a favorite.

The More:

More fresh dressings means more motivation to eat more greens. More salads and fresh roughage leads to better elimination. More lightness, more good feelings. Nothing makes me happier than a fresh salad prepared just for me.

Here is how to enjoy this in one easy step:

Creamy Cashew & Fresh Herb Dressing:

  • 2/3 cup whole raw cashews
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 bunch fresh dill (or substitute fresh basil or parsley)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 cup water

Combine all ingredients except water in a blender. Start the blender and add water slowly, in 1/3 cup measurements to get the mixture swirling. Blend everything on high for 2 minutes until super creamy and smooth. Make sure there are no chunks of nuts left in the mixture – adding the water in increments helps to make this happen.

There is no need to soak the cashews in this case as the oil and water provide the extra silkiness.

Store dressing in a sealed glass jar in the fridge. This should keep for 3-4 days.

This dressing is delicious on crisp fresh greens (especially romaine lettuce or spinach) or cold steamed vegetables like asparagus or broccoli. Personally I celebrate any crutch to get more vegetables into my day. Especially when it’s this delicious!

I hope that whatever you do on this day that you feel loved.

Happy (and Healthy!) Valentines Day!

Yours in Less,

20 Comments

Filed under Cashews, Cooking, Dressings, Family, Nut Recipes, Photography, Raw, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Salads, Savory, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian