Sunday, January 11, 2009

Red Lentil and Vegetable Soup

Last winter I wanted to finally cook a lentil dish. I found this recipe for what seemed like a healthy, filling, vegetarian soup. One of the best things about lentils is they don’t take long to cook. This soup comes together really fast. It’s great to make a big pot on Sunday, and then eat it for lunch all week. One of my favorite things about this soup is the colors! I love brightly colored food. The Boy took one look at it and sniffed up his nose and said “I ain’t eatin’ that.” He’ll eat a lot of what I cook, but I think he draws the line at lentils. And honestly, that is fine because MORE FOR ME!


Red Lentil and Vegetable Soup

from Good Housekeeping as seen on Delish
Makes about 7 1/2 cups.


1 tablespoon(s) olive oil
4 medium carrots, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon(s) ground cumin
1 can(s) (14 1/2-ounce) diced tomatoes
1 can(s) (14- to 14 1/2-ounce) vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 cup(s) dried red lentils
1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
1/8 teaspoon(s) ground black pepper
1 bag(s) (5-ounce) baby spinach


In 4-quart saucepan, heat oil on medium until hot. Add carrots and onion, and cook 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned and tender. Stir in cumin; cook 1 minute.

Add tomatoes, broth, lentils, 2 cups water, salt, and pepper; cover and heat to boiling on high. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 8 to 10 minutes or until lentils are tender. Stir in spinach.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Spicy Honey Brushed Chicken Thighs

I think sweets took up too much of my attention this holiday season. Now that it’s a new year, I’ve been trying to focus more on healthy, flavorful dishes. The kind I enjoy not only for their taste, but for my conscious. I can’t remember how I found this recipe, but I sure am glad I bookmarked it. Just as the first blogger says, the glaze is really incredible, and replicates the skin. This was a great mix of sweet & spicy. I kicked up the heat & added the full amount of chili powder, and used crushed red pepper flakes instead of ground red pepper, because it’s what I had. If you can’t handle heat, I suggest you tone it down a little. Mmm mmm good. The Boy said this one is a definite keeper. I even think it would be good to serve company. I served ours with brown rice, & a frozen veggie blend from Archer Farms (Target). They were the perfect sides!

I’m also submitting this to a blog event, Joelen’s Culinary Adventure’s Tasty Tools Measuring Tools. One measure tool I have is my Pampered Chef Measure-All. This is a great thing to have. I use it more often than one might think. For this meal alone, I used the liquid pouring end of it to measure the water for my rice, flipped it over to the dry ingredients side to measure the rice, and most importantly, the honey for the glaze in the recipe. This recipe calls for 6 Tbsp of honey. My first thought was, “Crap, how am I supposed to measure that much honey with my measly little measuring spoon? It will be a gloppy mess!” This Measure All has your standard cups & ounces, but also has markers for tablespoons! It has the thing you push & pull for sticky ingredients like mayo, peanut butter, honey, pumpkin, sour cream (all things I’ve used it for!). It made measuring the honey so easy, with much less mess than trying to use a measuring spoon!
*Photo from Pampered Chef website


Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken Thighs

from Cooking Light, as seen on Columbus Foodie


2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground red pepper (I used 1/4 tsp.)
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
Cooking spray
6 tbsp. honey
2 tsp. cider vinegar


Preheat broiler. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add chicken to bowl; toss to coat. Place chicken on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Broil chicken 5 minutes on each side.

Combine honey and vinegar in a small bowl, stirring well. Remove chicken from oven; brush 1/4 cup honey mixture on chicken. Broil 1 minute. Remove chicken from oven and turn over. Brush chicken with remaining honey mixture. Broil 1 additional minute or until chicken is done (ours took about 4-5 more minutes - check internal temperature with a meat thermometer to be sure). Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 2 chicken thighs)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Weeknight Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps

My coworkers and I sometimes make fun of really long television show titles, well this is a really long title for a recipe, but oh man, it’s worth it! Like practically everyone else, I’m trying to trim down in the new year. I am going to be a bridesmaid on April 4th, and I want to look good in that dress! I was really excited when I saw Picky Palate‘s post on healthier recipes. It was just what I needed! I zeroed in on this recipe because the ingredients seemed really simple. I found the broccoli slaw & butter lettuce at our new Trader Joe’s. This recipe seemed easy to cook. I honestly can’t say whether or not it was easy because… (ladies & gentleman) THE BOY COOKED DINNER! He didn’t want to, he complained a little, but I really needed to go on a jog (in the rain too!) so he complied.

This is a super simple, fast, super tasty, & low calorie dinner. I highly recommend it! We found it sometimes necessary to double up on the lettuce leaves, because it can get a little messy to eat.


Weeknight Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps

adapted from Picky Palate


2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Cup finely chopped onion
1 lb ground turkey breast
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic salt
1 12 oz bag of broccoli slaw
1 small can drained water chestnuts
½ Cup teriyaki sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Approximately 15 butter lettuce leaves (you can also use iceberg lettuce leaves)


Place oil into a large 5 qt skillet or other large pan over medium heat. When hot, add onion and cook for 5 minutes to soften. Add ground turkey, salt, pepper and garlic salt. Brown and crumble until cooked through. Chop water chesnuts.

When turkey is cooked, stir in broccoli slaw, water chestnuts, teriyaki sauce and sesame oil. Cook for another 10-15 minutes or until heated through. Reduce heat to low until ready to serve. Serve spoonfuls inside lettuce leaves. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

More than you need to know!

I’ve been tagged! My good friend over at Liesl’s Confection Dissection has tagged me to share 7 interesting facts about myself. Quite frankly, I don’t know that there are 7 interesting things about me! But I’ll give it a shot.

1) For three years (2002-2004) I worked during the spring at a Prom/Pageant/Bridal shop. We arranged our dresses by size, and then by color. They were arranged in ROYGBIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet) order. I loved the way this looked to the eye, and ever since then I have been arranging my closet like that. The funny thing is, while working at this shop, we were required to wear black, and I didn’t own ANY black clothes. I had to go out and buy clothes specifically for work. Not long after that I went through a natural color phase, and wore a lot of tan/brown/green. Within the past year or so, I’ve been wearing LOTS of black & grey. So now, I have a closet of half black & gray, and half colors (arranged ROYBGIV of course!).

2) I’m currently dieting. 😛 I’m mainly counting calories, and trying to get back into working out & actually enjoying it. One reason is I am going to be a bridesmaid in my friend’s wedding April 3. The other reason is, I want to get back to where I feel better about myself!

3) My hometown does not have any stoplights or caution lights. There are lights at the railroad crossing, and that’s it! It’s teeny tiny.

4) I love pictures, and I love looking at pictures at other people’s houses, but I don’t really like decorating with pictures at my place. I have no way to explain this.

5) I have the coolest, most unique set of friends in the world! It just sucks, that we all live in different cities, (Nashville, Louisville, Lexington, Frankfort, and one in our hometown). I’m the furthest away, so I see everyone the least. 🙁

6) No one who is friends with me here in Nashville can believe it when I tell them I grew up on a farm. I’m SUCH a city girl now! I’ve ALWAYS dreamed of what city I would live in.

7) I love love love coupons. I clip them ALL the time. I clip them WAY more than I use them, but I love that I have them in case the opportunity arises.

For this I’ll tag 7 people, if you want to share 7 facts, go ahead, and if you don’t, no big deal! 😀 These are just great blogs, so that’s why I tagged them.

1. KMAYS over at Food all Puttanesca
2. Maris at In Good Taste
3. Lovestoeat
4. Dinner & Dessert
5. Cate at Cate’s Kitchen
6. Cook Like A Champion
7. And a Cookie for Dessert

And, because I couldn’t have a post without a shot of food, here’s a pic of my dad’s Hoppin’ John. It’s a traditional southern dish eaten on New Year’s Day. The black-eyed peas are supposed to signify money, to bring you wealth in the new year. There are many different variations on Hoppin’ John. While I don’t know my dad’s recipe, I do know it has sausage, rice, & black-eyed peas, and it’s REALLY good.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

White Wine Sangria

I’m a little bit of a wino. Back in July The Boy and I threw a picnic at the park nearby. He was busy concocting a very strong, very sweet, rum punch. I decided to do a lighter, refreshing sangria. I really wanted to do a white wine sangria. I’m pretty sure I found this recipe using the Food Blog Search. I was reminded of this recipe when a friend asked for it to make for New Year’s.

I adapted this recipe just a little to suit my tastes. The best part about this sangria, is how amazing the pears taste afterwards! All the fruit is great, but the pears were the best! If you can’t find white peaches, regular peaches work fine, but I really recommend the white ones.  The best thing about this sangria is you can substitute other fruits.  The second time I made this (the version in the picture) I didn’t have the strawberries or white peaches, but I had regular peaches & blueberries.


White Wine Sangria

adapted from Seattle Food Geek


1 cheap bottle of chardonnay, white zinfandel, or pinot grigio, sweet (I used pinot grigio)
1/2 liter tonic water (I used diet)
2 oz peach schnapps
1 cup strawberries, sliced
1 pear, cored and sliced (bosc or d’anjou work well)
1 white peach, sliced
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar


Add the sliced fruit, sugar and 2 cups of ice to large pitcher. Muddle with a muddler or the back of a big wooden spoon. You aren’t trying to make a fruit smoothie (and the presentation is much nicer if the fruit are shapely) so just try to get some of the fruit oils released.

Add the wine and schnapps. Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to server. Add the tonic water and top the pitcher with more ice. Pour into tall glasses or wine goblets, letting some of the fruit fall into the glass.