It’s been a while since my last post and given the dreary weekend weather, I decided to share one of my favorite rainy day recipes. Lentil Soup has always been my go-to comfort food on a rainy day. I love the traditional combination of lentils with fresh carrots, celery, and onion. Lentils are one of those things that you either love or hate and I’m a super fan. I love that they pack in plenty of fiber and protein and are a great source of important minerals. Check out the recipe below and I hope you enjoy! Lentil Soup: 1lb lentils (sorted and rinsed), 4-5 large, peeled carrots (I used multi color, organic carrots), 1 large organic red onion, 2 stalks organic celery, 3 cloves organic garlic, 32oz organic chicken or beef stock, extra virgin olive oil. Chop carrots, onions, celery, and garlic. Place into a pot and add a drizzle of olive oil. Let the vegetables sweat for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Add in the stock and the lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until lentils are tender (about 35-40 minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and serve with a garnish of pecorino romano cheese and a sprig of parsley or cilantro.
We’ve been super into health shakes lately. I’ve been making them every morning and I love changing up the ingredients each day to keep things exciting. Today, I hit on a pretty delicious combination which has kept me energized throughout the afternoon. I honestly use whatever ingredients I have in the house and today was no different. I mixed a combination of organic baby spinach, apples, frozen blueberries (I always have bags full of frozen fruits in the freezer for this very purpose), a banana, unsweetened coconut flakes, and some OJ as the base. I also like to throw in some ice cubes because I like my shakes to be cold and refreshing.
We’re braving the blizzard in the suburbs cozied up by the fireplace. Since the snow seems to be inching up the windows hour by hour, I’ve officially gone into full comfort food mode and whipped up some super delicious cookies to enjoy since it seems we won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. I hope you are all cozied up at home with your loved ones and in case you are looking for a sweet treat, here’s a simple recipe that’s sure to be a hit.Recipe: 1 cup of almond flour, 1 egg, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup coconut oil, 1/2 cup shredded coconut, 1 cup of rolled oats, 1 tsp of vanilla extract, and I threw in whatever dried fruits and seeds that were house: dried currants, sunflower seeds, and cacao nibs. Combine all ingredients and bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned, approximately 20 minutes. Enjoy!
I’ve always been the type that can somehow manage to whip together a few key ingredients that are simply lying around the house and turn them into something yummy. I think this trait comes from my Italian heritage because if you know anything at all about us, you know that you can simply pop in on us at any time of day, and we will feed you. Quite simply, Italians have a knack for taking what’s in the fridge and turning it into a meal. Unexpected guests? No problem. An Italian will simply rummage through the cabinets and in just a few minutes, Walla! You have the most delicious snack. From cutting up some fresh mozzarella, drizzling it with some good balsamic and a touch of olive oil and serving it up with a simple tomato salad and some bread, a delicious, improvised meal is a sure thing.
The other morning, I woke up to find some overripe bananas on the countertop. Rather than let them go bad, I thought of what I could do with them. Immediately, I decided to put them to good use in the form of a homemade banana bread. I decided on a light version without butter or oil, substituting some Greek yogurt instead and along with some flour, brown sugar, eggs, and walnuts, the results were quite delicious.
Some of my most creative dishes have emerged from the moments when I’ve seemingly had nothing in my fridge. It’s in those moments, when it’s either pouring rain and you don’t want to leave the house to go get groceries or those times when an unexpected friend pops in for a visit, that you make do with what you have at home and end up making something simple yet delicious. Today was one of those days for me. I had leftover organic apples in the fridge and I was thinking of what I could do with them. I went through my pantry and pulled out oats, dried apricots, chopped walnuts, cinnamon and brown sugar. I combined the ingredients and stuffed them into the cored apples. I put a dab of butter on top and baked them in the oven. Once they were done, I garnished the apples with a drizzle of molasses and a final sprinkle of ground cinnamon. It was the prefect way to combine the flavors of the season and it left the house smelling like the holidays.
I finally got around to unpacking our new dinnerware. I have to admit, I’m more than a little obsessed. In lieu of fine china, I opted instead, for a more casual bone china. I went with the “Bennett” set from Crate and Barrel and I’m loving the slightly organic shape and the fine-ness of the bone china. I’ve never been the type to “save” glasses or dishes for special occasions, and we often joke how, when growing up, my mom would put crystal wine glasses in the dishwasher; So naturally, dinner will be served on these new dishes tonight. I knew I wanted white for it’s timelessness and for the ability to mix and match with other pieces such as serveware, to change it up a bit if it gets too stale. By choosing a neutral base, it’s easy to pop in a color or a pattern later on. I also love that bone china is oven safe up to about 300 degrees.
I hope you are all enjoying this rainy Saturday snuggling at home with your loved ones. We’re spending the weekend over at my in-laws in suburbia. After my morning coffee and some toast I began feeling antsy and decided to whip up some good ol’ rainy day comfort food. I decided on a delicious roasted butternut squash soup. Using squash from the garden, I scooped out the seeds, halved them, and roasted them up with onion and garlic cloves. Next, once the squash was nicely roasted, I pureed the squash, onion, and garlic. Over the stove, I added in a bit of organic chicken stock to the puree, ground nutmeg, and course salt and pepper. Finally, I topped each bowl off with the seeds from the squash (which i toasted in the oven) and finely chopped shallots. I also love the idea of serving this soup at a dinner party with various toppings so guests can select their own. (Think: finely sliced roasted apple, coarsely chopped hazelnuts, creme fraiche, cilantro, pumpkin seeds etc…)
I made tzatziki last night. Things will never be the same again. I was seriously thinking of ending the post at that but for those of you who want to know more, it was super light and very refreshing and the perfect compliment to anything from salmon to chicken to steak. If you are looking for a way to kick up the most basic protein or a simple spread for bread or crackers, whip up some of this dip. This Greek deliciousness did not disappoint. Aside from the mega garlic breath that ensued, I’m confident you will agree.
My recipe: 1 hothouse cucumber grated and strained, 2- 6 oz containers of Fage 0% Greek yogurt, 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped, freshly chopped dill, fresh squeezed lime juice, a dash of white wine vinegar, Himalayan pink sea salt and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Combine all ingredients and refrigerate for 1 hour prior to serving or until firm.
I recently tried Magnolia’s Banana Pudding after a long hiatus. To say that it’s crazy good is an understatement which is why I probably broke up with it for a little while. This weekend, however, I was on a mission to recreate the delicious dessert at home. I followed this recipe with some minor tweaks and I must say that the results were pretty much on par with the real thing.
This afternoon, I was craving a sweet treat but wanted something healthy to offset the daily gelatos and cornetti we enjoyed while in Italy. I decided on rough cut peaches baked in the oven with a touch of brandy and finished off with a drizzle of balsamic reduction and some freshly picked mint. The result was a delicious blend of sweet and tart which satisfied my craving without a ton of calories.