Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Quinoa + Sweet Potatoes = Y.U.M.

I had every intention of doing something similar to this as a stuffing alternative for Thanksgiving, but somehow, it never got made (so many recipes, so little time...). When I finally got around to putting it together, I realized a couple of things. First, it makes a lot. Not kidding--we ate on it for a week. Second, it's wonderful as a side dish/stuffing alternative, but it also make a great meal in and of itself.

I've had the thought that it will be a great holiday dish to mix up as a side, then add leftover turkey/ham/sausage to create a "new meal" that's healthy, involves little preparation, and would be a real crowd pleaser. I look forward to hearing how it goes over at your house!

1.5 cups quinoa, rinsed thoroughly in a fine mesh strainer
1 cup broth (chicken or veggie)
1/8 to 1/4 cup oil (I used Garlic Grapeseed)
1 onion, chopped (I used 1/2 red and 1 small white)
1 bulb of fennel, chopped (optional)
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
2-3 teaspoons dried thyme
3 medium sweet potatoes, washed and cut into bit size pieces*
1 cup frozen edamame (baby soybeans)
1 bunch greens, washed and finely chopped (kale or collards would be my first 2 choices, but use what you've got)
1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds, roasted
fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

*smaller pieces = reduced cooking time

  1. Combine quinoa, broth, and 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan, bring it to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. NOTE: don't bother with this once you put it on the stove--set a timer and check it after 15 minutes. It took a little longer than that to cook it completely on my stove, so I kept checking it every 2-3 minutes until the liquid was mostly gone, then turned off the stove and let it sit while working on everything else.
  2. Heat enough oil to generously cover the bottom of a large saucepan with tall sides over medium heat. Add onion and fennel and saute until it's soft (or until you get everything else prepared!) maybe 8-10 minutes. 
  3. Add the garlic and thyme followed closely by the sweet potatoes. Mix well to coat and let the seasoning infuse its flavor. Cover and cook 15-20 minutes until sweet potatoes are soft.
  4. Add edamame and greens, mix well to warm through.
  5. Get a gigantic bowl to combine quinoa and sweet potato mixture with sunflower seeds and parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  7. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Curried Lentils with Sweet Potatoes

This is a great cold weather one-pot-meal we eat pretty regularly these days at our house. You can even substitute carrots for the sweet potatoes or throw in other veggies you "find" in the fridge!
1 cup brown or green lentils, washed and picked over
4 cups broth (veggie or chicken)
1 medium onion, chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, chopped
2 medium sweet potatoes, washed and cut into 1/4 inch chunks
2 cups finely chopped mustard greens (or kale or collards or other green)
2-3 t curry powder
1 15oz can diced tomatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

  1. Heat 1-2 Tablespoons broth over medium in a soup pot. Saute the onion over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, sweet potatoes, and greens. Continue to saute and add curry powder. Mix well.
  3. Add lentils, broth, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer uncovered until lentils and sweet potatoes and tender, about 30 minutes.
  4. Serve over rice  or other whole grain.(optional--I use brown basmati rice, and it is delicious.)
  5. Add salt, pepper, and cilantro to individual servings.
  6. Enjoy!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Some Simple Stir Fry Suggestions

One of my favorite ways to get plenty of veggies in one meal is to throw them all in a pan with a little oil, stir them up, add some seasoning, serve over whole grain, and enjoy a healthy meal. But I've learned a few things along the way about ordering my stir fry. I think it makes a difference. That's what this list is about, but I'm still learning! Additional suggestions encouraged!
  1. Lay the groundwork. I always, always, always start with onion and garlic. Nothing better. After putting my grain on to cook (brown rice, quinoa, kasha, etc.), I put a little oil in a skillet, heat on medium until it runs smoothly coating the bottom of the pan, then add chopped onion (size is not an issue here--chop how you like). After stirring it around a minute or two, I turn the heat to medium-low and proceed to mince up the garlic. Then I throw that in and stir  things up. 
  2. Consider your ingredients. While the onions and garlic are simmering, I cut up my other veggies. I think order is important in stir fry, because some items should be added sooner than others or they get soggy. So I try to categorize what's going into the pan into 2 groups--need to cook a while, need to cook only a few minutes. I should probably state clearly here that I prefer my veggies a little undercooked, rather than over cooked.
    1. longer cook time veggies = carrots, broccoli, kohlrabi, peppers
    2. shorter cook time veggies = mushrooms, summer squash, zucchini, greens (bok choy, cabbage, spinach, swiss chard, kale, etc.), sugar snaps
    3. more color = more healthy, so I try to make a rainbow in my pan
  3. Choose your protein. I usually have shelled edamame in the freezer (thanks to Trader Joe's) as my main protein source, but occasionally I have leftover meat of some sort, too. In general this is when I throw it in the pan, because it only needs to be warmed through. And yes, I throw the edamame in frozen. If I've got to cook the meat, I put it in with the onions and garlic, cook until it's done, then throw in the veggies.
  4. Spice it just right. We are tamari soy sauce lovers at our house, so that's the regular seasoning I use (it's also easy to open the bottle and pour a little in). Now that it's cold outside, I try to keep fresh ginger and grate a little (or a lot) alongside the soy. Sometimes I toss in some sesame seeds. I represent a line of products from Wildtree, and they have an Asian Ginger Plum Dressing that's divine in stir fry. I also sprinkle in some sea vegetables (dulse or kelp). Whatever I choose, I add it toward the end of cooking. Also, I only add a small amount. It's easy to over-do soy sauce, so I'm really minimalist when using it in the pan. More can always be added later to meet the demand of the diner.
  5. Dig in. After heaping a warm grain onto my plate and topping it with a rainbow of veggies, I am always pleased with the result. It's never the same twice. It changes with the season, but always delivers healthy goodness in large dose.

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    Leftover Cold Quinoa Salad

    I love when I have things on hand that go together beautifully and make a tasty, satisfying meal. It happened today. By chopping, dicing, and throwing a few things in a bowl I made a scrumptious quinoa salad we'll be enjoying for a few days.

    Because it was a little willy-nilly and not-necessarily-exact measurements (except for the dressing), I'll just list the ingredients. Try it with what you've got in your house. You'll be surprised at how yummy it can be!

    Mix dressing first by putting the following in a jar with tight fitting lid and shaking it with all your might.

    3 T Rice Vinegar
    1 T Ume Plum Vinegar (the secret ingredient, I think)
    2 T Good Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    Finely ground black pepper to taste

    Let dressing sit while combining the following in a bowl:

    2-3 cups cooked quinoa
    1 carrot, chopped
    leftover cooked greens (I used collards), finely chopped
    some red onion, finely chopped
    some almond slivers
    some dried cranberries
    about a cup of edamame beans

    Shake the dressing with all your might, taste and see what you'd like to add (oil, more pepper?), adjust, shake it up one last time before pouring over quinoa. Toss it, add sea salt to taste, and enjoy!

    Saturday, November 20, 2010

    Guest Post: Roasted Shallot Vinaigrette

    I have the great joy of being part of The Academy for Spiritual Formation #30. We meet together for a week, four times a year for two years. Last week was session 6. Only 2 remain. I am already grieving the end of this transformational experience. One of the things I will miss greatly is talking with my food friend, Blake. He is a chef trained in classic French and Italian Provincial cooking (*see below recipe for details*) and someone who continues to teach me so much about food. I am a simple cook--look around, see what I've got, throw it together in a pot, and dinner is served. Blake really stirs creativity within me to experiment and try new things. We were talking about salad dressings during one of our meals last week, and he shared one of his favorites with me, and with his permission I'm passing it along.

    With the holidays coming up there will be full days devoted to food preparation, and I am putting this one on my list to include. Simple ingredients, a little extra time and vitamin L(ove) will make this recipe a new holiday favorite at our house. I hope the same for you.

    2 shallots
    Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    Sea Salt
    Freshly ground black pepper
    Dijon mustard
    Juice of one lemon
    2-3 T honey
    1 cup White Balsamic Vinegar
    2 cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    2 T fresh tarragon
    1 t fresh thyme
    1 t fresh mint (optional


    Peel two shallots and brush them thoroughly with extra virgin olive oil.  Place them in a loosely enclosed aluminum foil tent with a dash of sea salt and fresh cracked pepper (to taste).  Place tent in a 350 degree oven until translucent (14 to 18 minutes).  Pull the shallots out of foil and place them on cutting board; let them sit until they return to room temperature (15 minutes).  Finely dice the shallots until fully minced into tiny pieces.  Pulverize the tiny pieces of diced shallots in a mortar and pestle until you form a paste.

    Place the roasted shallot paste into the bottom of a large mixing bowl (stainless steel or plastic).  Add one (heaping) tablespoon of fine Dijon mustard.  Add sea salt and fresh cracked pepper (to taste).  Squeeze in juice from one fresh lemon.  Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of fine quality honey (depending on sweetness desired).  Add 1 cup of fine quality white balsamic vinegar.  Add 2 cups of fine quality extra virgin olive oil.  Whisk until thoroughly incorporated.  Stir in freshly minced tarragon (2 tablespoons).  Add one teaspoon of fresh thyme (stripped from stem).  

    For added "pizazz", add one teaspoon of fresh mint (optional).

    *The French were the first culture to master the culinary arts.  They were so wealthy and had the leisure time to explore this realm.  However, most of their recipes originated with the peasant, working class.  Most French cooking is just an "artsy" recapitulation of a humble, modest peasant dish.  This same style of cooking spread wildly throughout Europe and the Mediterranean. 

    Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    Sunchokes (aka Jerusalem Artichokes)

    The first time I ever saw one of these, I thought it was ginger root. That's what it looks like to me, but it sure doesn't taste like ginger! This versatile little tuber is a delightful addition to my kitchen. A reminder of the joy of new foods I encounter through my CSA provided by the wonderful folks at Crabtree Farms.

    A member of the sunflower family (who would have guessed that one?), sunchokes are native to North America, and once they were introduced to pilgrims by the Native Americans, they became a staple to the settlers diet. They are high in potassium and low in calories. It's a little bit tender, so take care to wash it gently with a brush, but unlike ginger, there's no need to peel it. Wash, slice, and eat.

    The flavor is mild, so you can add it to anything or enjoy it all alone. So far, we've eaten it raw on a salad, sauteed (with onions, garlic, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, edamame, and fresh tarragon served over quinoa), roasted with sweet potatoes, and in a stir fry. 

    This new veggie is a welcome addition to my kitchen!

    Saturday, November 6, 2010

    Simply Sweet

    Do you see the evil look on this pumpkin's face? It's laughing at me. Me and the hundreds of other folks trying desperately to get the stinkin' Halloween candy out of the house!

    It has been a real challenge for me lately to get a grip on my sugar cravings, and I know that the holidays coming up are going to test me to my limit, but I've got a strategy in place that started the day before Halloween this year, and it's helping!

    Sweet vegetables. I know it sounds crazy, but by adding more sweet vegetables into your diet, you can reduce your sugar cravings. And this time of year, the sweet vegetables are abundant, especially beets, sweet potatoes and winter squash. But I'll admit I keep a bag of carrots in my fridge and onions on my counter (yes--they're in the sweet family!) year round to be sure I've got something in the sweet veggie family to easily add daily.

    So here are a few simple ways to get those sweet veggies added into your diet quickly. The more you add, the less your sugar cravings. Try it for a week and see how it goes. Maybe you'll have new found success reducing the appeal of that trick or treat bag for everyone, including yourself!

    Sweet Sensation--layer several sweet veggies in a pot with hardest on the bottom and softest on the top. For example, from bottom to top layer chopped carrots, beets, and onions. Cover with water and cook to desired tenderness. The longer you cook them, the sweeter they get.You can add seasoning (sea salt, spices, etc.) and/or drink the broth. It makes a sweet sauce!

    Roasted Roots--wash some sweet potatoes or peel some beets, cut into bite size pieces, place on cookie sheet, drizzle oil over them, toss to coat, bake at 375 until tender to a fork. The first time I made these with sweet potatoes for my husband he asked if I had put sugar on them. Not making that up.

    Easy Winter Squash--I think we have this once a week at our house. Super simple and yummy!

    Sunday, October 31, 2010

    Halloween Chili

    I made this for a few friends before trick-or-treating and realized it's the perfect Halloween dish, because it's black and orange. It's also filling, makes a pot full, and uses seasonal favorites. Meat could be easily added, if desired. And I would certainly add or serve it over greens.

    Grapeseed oil*
    1 onion, finely chopped
    3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    1-2 T chili powder
    3-4 cups sweet potatoes, washed and cut into bite size chunks
    1 cup quinoa, rinsed thoroughly (optional)
    32 oz box low sodium chicken stock (or enough to cover potatoes)
    3-4 cups cooked black beans (or 2 cans, drained and rinsed)
    28 oz can crushed tomatoes
    salt to taste
    cilantro (optional)
    sour cream (optional)
    * email here to order

    1. Place oil in bottom of stock pot and warm over medium heat. Add onion and saute 4-5 minutes until translucent. Turn the heat to medium low.
    2. Add the garlic and saute a couple more minutes before adding the chili powder. Stir to coat well.
    3. Place sweet potatoes and quinoa in pot and cover with chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer, cover, and cook 15 minutes. No need to stir--just set a timer.
    4. Add the black beans, tomatoes, and salt to taste and warm through.
    5. Serve topped with cilantro and/or sour cream.
    6. Enjoy!

    Wednesday, October 27, 2010

    Butternut Soup

    I found 2 small/medium size butternut squash on my counter this week and wanted to try something new, so here's what came of the experiment. It is yummy and soothing. We served it over leftover wild rice and steamed greens.

    1-2 butternut (or other winter) squash, peeled & chopped (about 3 cups or so)
    1 onion, chopped
    4 cups of chicken stock
    1 1/2 cups milk
    1 teaspoon or so tumeric
    2 teaspoons or so curry powder
    sea salt to taste
    chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

    1. Place peeled, chopped squash and onion in stock pot, sprinkle a little salt, and cover with stock. Bring to a boil, cover tightly, reduce heat, and cook (about 30 minutes) until squash is tender.
    2. If time allows, let cool. If not, no worries. Use an immersion blender (very handy tool for this recipe!) or pour squash into blender and puree. It might require multiple batches in a blender.
    3. Return to stock pot and add milk, curry, tumeric, and salt to taste.
    4. Garnish with cilantro.
    5. Enjoy!

    Friday, October 15, 2010

    Guest Recipe: Quinoa Spinach Casserole

    I have a superstar client who is jumping in with both feet experimenting with grains. She told me about this fabulous dish she prepared and shared with friends this week, and I invited her to share it with everyone. Because she made it up (love that!), I'll post in the original way it came to me. Comments are welcome on how you make it your own!

    Combine 1 cup of well-rinsed quinoa with 2 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of your favorite hot sauce (I prefer homemade vinegar hot sauce) and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

    While your quinoa is cooking, combine 1 package of Smart Ground Original Veggie Protein Crumbles [JL NOTE: ground turkey would be awesome here] with 2 cloves of garlic, half of an onion, and 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in skillet.  Add 1 tablespoon of crushed fennel seed, half a tablespoon of dried sage, and just a touch of salt and pepper (to taste). Stir regularly because the Smart Ground has a tendency to stick to your pan! Sauté on low for the same amount of time your quinoa is cooking.

    When both the quinoa and Smart Ground are good and cooked, layer them in a casserole dish and stick them in the oven at 350 for about 10 minutes.

    While your dish is in the oven, in a skillet, bring a couple of cups of water (and if you're feeling, "saucy" add a tablespoon of your hot sauce as well) to an ALMOST boil. Once it's good and steamy add your freshly washed spinach leaves. Cover the pan and let them steam for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.

    Take your casserole dish out of the oven and spread your spinach over the top. Then dive in and enjoy!

    Thursday, October 14, 2010

    Apple Crisp

    It's fall, which means apples--lots and lots of apples! We got a box of winesap seconds at a local orchard, which make a great apple crisp, and I have made one a week for almost a month now. It's easy to throw together and tastes delicious served warm with ice cream on top. Come to think of it, what doesn't taste delicious with ice cream on top?

    I modified Mark Bittman's original recipe in How to Cook Everything (which you should put on your Christmas list, if you don't have a copy) to make it my own. Here's the skinny:

    Apples, washed, quartered, and thinly sliced (I didn't peel mine) to fit into an 8" square or 9" round baking pan
    Cinnamon (1-2 teaspoons depending on taste)
    Juice of 1 lemon (or lime--it's what I had on hand tonight!)
    1/2 cup sugar (or to taste)
    5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
    1/2 cup or so rolled oats
    1/2 cup or so whole wheat pastry flour
    dash of salt
    1/4 cup or so walnut pieces

    1. Preheat oven to 375.
    2. While oven is preheating, grease dish lightly with butter or oil (I have an aerosol sprayer I put oil in to make this so easy) and fill with apples, cinnamon, a sprinkling of your sugar, and the lemon juice. Mix well.
    3. Put it in the oven for 15 minutes. Set a timer.
    4. Meanwhile, combine remaining sugar, more cinnamon (again to taste), butter, oats, flour, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse it all together until everything is, according to Mark Bittman, "well incorporated but not uniform."
    5. When timer goes off, spread topping over apples and bake for 12-15 minutes. Again, set a timer.
    6. When timer goes off, add the walnuts and return to oven to bake for 5-10 minutes until the topping is brown and your house smells like fall. I actually turn the oven off and leave the crisp in it to stay warm until ready to serve.
    7. Top with ice cream and enjoy!

    Friday, October 8, 2010

    Beet, Butternut, and Turnip Soup

    We got a couple of beets with their greens and some tiny turnips with massive greens and butternut squash in our CSA box this week. Truthfully, I don't particularly like turnip greens, but I don't like to throw good, fresh, local, organic food away either, so I got busy trying to figure out what to do with them. What started as an experiment turned into a nice dinner. AND it is full of great nutrients like calcium, vitamins A & E, iron, and potassium, not to mention the grounding energy the beet and turnip roots give it in addition to the sweet flavor of the butternut squash.

    1 T coconut oil
    2 onions, chopped
    2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
    2 small beets, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces
    some really small turnips (just washed and trimmed them)
    1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces
    6 cups water
    salt to taste (FYI: I used quite a bit)
    1 bunch beet greens, washed and chopped into bite size pieces
    1 bunch turnip greens, washed and chopped into bite size pieces
    leftover cooked quinoa--maybe a cup or 2 (use any whole grain)
    1 can garbanzo beans

    1. In a large stock pot, melt the coconut oil on medium-high heat and add the onions. Saute about 10 minutes, add the garlic and keep sauteing about 5 more minutes.
    2. Add the beets, turnips, butternut squash, water, and salt. 
    3. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer on medium-low heat for about 20 minutes (don't let things get too mushy).
    4. Add the greens, leftover quinoa, and beans and continue cooking for about 10 minutes (try to keep the greens green!).
    5. Adjust salt to taste and serve hot.
    6. Enjoy!

    Monday, October 4, 2010

    Pumpkin Bread

    This is a lovely fall recipe my mother-in-law shared from years ago. I modified it to fit the ingredients I typically use for baking, and it turned out delicious. It makes quite a lot (two 9x5 loaves), so I made some muffins and mini-loaves to share with friends  (be sure to reduce cooking time significantly) in addition to two small loaves for the freezer.

    2.5 cups sugar
    1 cup Butter Grapeseed Oil (click here to order) or other oil
    (I might try coconut oil next time)
    4 eggs, beaten
    2.5-3 cups cooked winter squash or pumpkin*
    2 cups pastry wheat flour
    1.5 cups unbleached all purpose flour
    2 t soda
    2 t salt
    1 t baking powder
    1 t nutmeg
    1 t allspice
    1 t cinnamon
    1/2 t cloves
    2 cups chocolate chips
    1 cup walnut pieces

    1. Preheat oven to 350.
    2. With a mixer cream sugar and oil together.
    3. Add eggs and pumpkin--mix well.
    4. Sift together dry ingredients and add to mix slowly.*
    5. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts by hand.
    6. Pour into two well greased and floured 9x5 inch loaf pans.
    7. Bake 1.5 hours or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
    8. Let stand 10 minutes.
    9. Remove from pan to cool.
    10. Enjoy!
    * I had pumpkin in the freezer, so it was plenty moist. If you find the batter is a bit dry, add water a little at the time to make it pourable. The original recipe calls for canned pumpkin and 2/3 cup of water, but I found I didn't need the water.

    Tuesday, September 28, 2010

    Scrambled Shiitake Greens

    There are very few things in this world as good as fresh shiitake mushrooms. Their flavor is unmistakable, and their health benefits include a high percentage of iron, vitamin C, protein, and fiber. The Chinese have been using them in medicine for over 6,000 years. I think they're onto something. Click here for more info. In the meantime, enjoy this lovely recipe.

    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cooking Time: 10 minutes
    Yield: 2 servings

    2 pats of butter
    Hand full of fresh Shiitake Mushrooms washed, stems removed, and cut into bite size pieces
    2 cups of washed and cut greens* with stems cut into small pieces
    Splash of water
    2-3 eggs
    Fresh rosemary (optional)
    Shoyu or Tamari soy sauce (optional)

    Small skillet
    Medium to large skillet with tight fitting lid
    Bowl to scramble eggs
    Whisk or fork

    1.    Warm one pat of butter on medium high heat in a medium to large skillet. Once it melts, add the mushrooms and sauté for 2 minutes.
    2.    Add a splash of water (1-2 Tablespoons) and the stems from the greens and continue to sauté for another 2 minutes.
    3.    Add green leaves and sauté for 1 minute, turn heat to low and cover.
    4.    Crack eggs into bowl. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and fresh rosemary. Whisk until mixed.
    5.    Warm second pat of butter on medium high heat in a small skillet. Turn off the heat to greens.
    6.    When butter or ghee has melted and coated the bottom of the skillet, add eggs and let sit until they begin to bubble. Stir continuously until there is no more liquid. Remove from heat.
    7.    Serve plates with greens/mushrooms on bottom and scrambled eggs on top.
    8.    Season with salt, pepper, or soy sauce.
    9.    Enjoy!

    *For greens, use what you like or have on hand—mix up a couple of different kinds
    Sauté a little garlic and/or onions with the mushrooms
    Try poached or boiled eggs or throw the eggs in the skillet with the greens & mushrooms
    Sprinkle a little parmesan cheese on top—yum!
    Got some left over veggies? Throw them in while sautéing the mushrooms

    Monday, September 20, 2010

    Wild Rice and Winter Squash

    I am so ready for fall. I'm actually willing it to get here. I've been avoiding the oven or any high heat cooking, because the car thermometer keeps reading 97, but last night I broke down and cooked up something super delicious that I might suggest we add to our Thanksgiving dinner this year. It was THAT good. A little labor intensive, but it makes a great side dish, and I added edamame to make it a stand alone leftover meal.

    1 medium butternut squash (or other winter squash or pumpkin), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
    2 medium red onions, peeled and quartered
    Natural Grapeseed Oil (email here to order) or other high heat oil
    sea salt
    2 cups cooked wild rice
    1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (optional)
    1 small bunch of fresh greens (collards, kale, spinach), washed and cut into bite size pieces

    1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    juice of 1 lemon
    pinch of salt
    1 T honey
    5-6 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped (or cilantro)

       1. Preheat oven to 375.
       2. If wild rice is not cooked, get it in process (some takes 15 minutes, while other takes 50).
       3. Place squash on one end of a cookie tray and onions on the other or on separate trays. Add a generous splash of grapeseed oil and sea salt to both. Toss to coat. Roast for 30-45 minutes (until they are soft and caramelized) turning every 10-15 minutes.
       4. Meanwhile, make the dressing by placing the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, honey, and a few of the basil leaves (saving the remaining to sprinkle across the top of the finished dish) in a jar with tight fitting lid. Shake to mix, taste, and adjust to your liking.
       5. Steam up your greens and set aside (try this basic recipe).
       6. Place rice and onions along with 1/2 of dressing in a casserole dish or large bowl and toss gently. Add the greens and pumpkins seeds. Toss again once or twice. Add squash and remaining dressing. Toss one last time (carefully, especially if squash is extra soft) and top with remaining basil leaves.
       7. Enjoy!

    Thursday, September 9, 2010

    Whole What?

    Have you noticed how prolific the term whole food has become? It's getting a lot of attention and buzz, but what is whole food? Why is there a national grocery store called Whole Foods? Can you only buy whole food at Whole Foods? What does it look like? Better yet, what does it taste like?

    Maybe some of these questions are running through your mind, too, which is why Greenlight created a class to address all your questions about whole food. It's called Whole Food Creates Whole People. It's a simple way to learn what whole food is, how to find it, prepare it, and most importantly how to enjoy it.

    Blog followers get a $10 discount by emailing here for a coupon code. Oh--and we accept online payment making it quick and easy to get signed up.

    Join us and find the answer to the "whole what?" question!

    Friday, September 3, 2010

    Guac that rocks

    I find it interesting that since I've moved to Tennessee the best peaches I've had come from South Carolina. Now, I grew up in Alabama on Chilton County Peaches and have ancestral roots in Georgia so there was a fair share of Peach State peaches around each summer, but I can't get any from either state that are any good here in Tennessee. What's up with that? We only live 15-20 minutes from both AL and GA.

    Regardless, I have some succulent South Carolina peaches in my house right now. I'm not kidding--these babies are juicy and over the top sweet. I plan to make a crisp for the holiday weekend, but tonight, I treated myself (literally just me--shared with no one else) to a bowl of divine guacamole. Here's how it breaks down:

    1 slightly ripe avocado, sliced open, seed removed
    1 ripe South Carolina peach
    a little red onion, finely chopped
    a little cilantro, finely chopped
    sea salt and black pepper to taste

    Scoop out the avocado flesh with a spoon. Mash with a fork.
    Add remaining ingredients and blend well.

    I ate the whole bowl. No guilt on my part, though, because peaches are a good source of fiber and vitamins A & C and avocados have really healthy fat. Oh, and I put a spoonful or two on some romaine lettuce leaves, just to get my greens in!

    Thursday, September 2, 2010

    Some like it hot

    I have learned several things about okra this summer:
    1. It's a plant from Africa, so it likes heat, which is why we've had a lot of it in our CSA box this season (one of the hottest summers on record in these parts).
    2. It's prickly to harvest--wear long sleeves and gloves.
    3. Add a little heat to this crop, and it's yummy. 
    4. I can eat it without frying it!
    Here's my new favorite way to prepare it, shared with me by a client (then modified slightly to include other items in my CSA box for the week). It's pretty quick, because you only have to trim the okra, rather than slicing it into small pieces. I did learn that the smaller okra is better in this recipe. Once it gets more than an inch and a half or so long (after being trimmed), it's almost too tough to eat.

    2-3 cups fresh okra, washed and trimmed (or whatever amount you've got)
    2-3 summer squash, washed and sliced 1/2 inch thick (optional--I had them, so I threw them in)
    1 T grapeseed oil (or other high heat oil)
    1-2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 T freshly ground ginger
    1/8-1/4 t dried red pepper flakes
    2 T soy sauce
    1 T toasted sesame seeds
    fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
    whole grain of choice--kasha, brown rice, quinoa (optional)

    1. Heat oil over high heat in wok or skillet. Throw in the okra and squash and saute for several minutes.
    2. Turn on the exhaust fan, if you haven't already (a helpful hint from the person who shared this recipe with me). 
    3. Add garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes and continue to saute until okra is brilliant green and squash is getting slightly brown.
    4. Remove from skillet and toss with soy sauce and sesame seeds.
    5. Serve over whole grain or as a side dish topped with cilantro.
    6. Enjoy!

    Tuesday, August 31, 2010

    Saturday Morning Treat

    Whole Grain Pancakes

    Saturday morning is the perfect time to make pancakes from scratch. At our house we avoid white flour and sugar wherever we can but really don't want to compromise the lightness and yum factor of pancakes. These cakes are loaded with whole grain goodness- whole wheat flour and wheat could even add oat bran or any other good whole grains you have in your pantry....but they are still light and just as delicious (with even more flavor) than their white flour cousins.  The key is to separate the eggs and beat the whites until light and fluffy and then fold them into the mix. Be sure not to stir too hard or beat too long or you'll compromise the lightness that the egg whites bring. Be sure to serve with some delicious raw local honey or 100% maple syrup (try the B grade- it actually has retained some of the vitamins and minerals that are normally lost during ultra- refining).

    1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (pastry flour is milled finer so it's a bit lighter than regular whole wheat flour)
    1/2 cup wheat germ
    1/4 cup evaporated cane juice (optional)
    1 t baking powder
    1/2 t baking baking soda
    1/4 t salt
    1 t cinnamon (I use the Alchemy Spice Sweet Spice blend)
    3/4 cup milk
    3/4 cup yogurt
    1/4 cup oil (canola or grapeseed)
    generous splash of vanilla
    2 large eggs- separated
    1/2 cup fruit or nuts (bananas, peaches, blueberries, strawberries, almonds, walnuts, pecans)

    Mix dry ingredients together. Mix wet ingredients together (except for the egg whites). Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Mix wet mixture into dry- just until moistened and then gently beat in whites- fold in fruit at the same time. Cook in skillet or on a griddle over medium heat. These freeze well so double the recipe and have some extra to freeze!

    Thursday, August 26, 2010


    I miss greens. Don't get me wrong, I'm still eating them, but the ones I get these days come from the grocery, rather than my CSA or a local market. And it's mostly salad greens. It's been too hot to stir any desire to cook them, but this week, the weather is turning. I actually slept with the window open 2 nights in a row. Fall is on the way, which means the cooking greens are coming. And as if my longing was being heard by the gracious folks growing my food at Crabtree Farms, we got a sweet surprise in our CSA box yesterday: sweet potato greens!

    I had no idea they were edible, much less super tasty. I put an egg in the skillet this morning and added these greens with salt and pepper, sat myself outside for breakfast and decided if I could do this everyday, I would be a better person.

    The greens are very similar to spinach--rinse them in a salad spinner (I tried soaking, but that didn't go over so well) and put them in a skillet with some garlic and onion. They actually taste better than spinach to me--no bitter flavor at all and the "furry teeth" I usually feel after getting too many spinach leaves is not an issue.

    So, find a friend who grows sweet potatoes or grow your own or find them at an Asian market or local farmer's market and give these babies a go. They're sweet!

    Wednesday, August 25, 2010

    Massaged Kale Salad

    Greens are some of the most nutritious foods on Earth and one of the most missing foods in the average Americans diet. We all need to eat more! Kale is one of my favorites but honestly, I get a little bored with my "same old same old" steamed or sauteed version. My version of this massaged kale salad (based on The Farm School's chef, Cristina Garcia's recipe)  is quick, easy, different and DEE- LISH- US. Now, I know what you're thinking....raw kale....pass....but I promise- give it a try- it's sure to be a hit.  Hints for a successful recipe: slice the kale into very thin strips- the thinner they are, the tastier they are. Give those tough greens a good massage before eating- very relaxing for both the giver & the receiver. Fresh local kale almost always tastes better than kale from the grocery store so find it at the farmer's market if at all possible.

    Greenlight's Massage Kale Salad
    Prep time: 15 minutes (this is only if you are a very slow chopper)
    Cook time: ZERO!
    Yield: 4-6  servings

    1 bunch Lacitano Kale
    Massage Oil (recipe below)
    1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
    ½ cup Crumbled Feta cheese
    Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper to taste

    Massage Oil
    1/4 cup good quality olive oil
    2 T apple cider vinegar
    2 t raw local honey
    1 clove garlic- minced (opt)
    Mix together and adjust flavors based on your personal taste buds.

    1.    Remove stems from kale and cut into thin strips- place in bowl
    2.    Drizzle with massage oil (not too much!) and work it into the kale with your hands- this helps tenderize the greens!
    3.    Toss in seeds and cheese. Taste for salt & pepper.
    4.    Allow to sit approx 20- 30 minutes before serving (not necessary but better this way)
    As with most of Greenlight's recipes, if you don't have the exact ingredients substitute what you do have. Goat or ricotta cheese would be a good choice. Pumpkin seeds or even slivered almonds. Use curly leaf kale if you can't get creative. Experiment with fresh herbs or try adding in your favorite ethnic spice.

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010

    Easy Winter Squash

    We have been blessed with lots of winter squash this season in our CSA, but it's starting to pile up a little. I plan to use this simple method for cooking what I've got and freezing it for use to make pumpkin bread and soup this fall. We might have to eat a little before it goes into the freezer, though. It's so yummy!

    Winter squash (cook what you've got!)
    Local, raw honey


       1. Preheat oven to 425
       2. Slice squash in half lengthwise (you need a good, sharp knife to do this)
       3. Spoon out seeds and discard
       4. Place cut side down on oven safe dish or cookie sheet
       5. Add enough water to cover bottom of pan
       6. Place on middle rack of oven
       7. Set timer and check in 20 minutes. It's done when tender to a fork
       8. Remover from oven and let cool
       9. Place squash cut side up on a plate and drizzle with honey and sprinkle with cinnamon
      10. Enjoy!

    Thursday, August 12, 2010

    Noodles with Tomato, Basil, and Feta

    I was reminded of this great summertime supper, because I was looking for something easy, quick, yummy, and a way to use my CSA bounty. Enjoy!

    Prep time: 10 minutes
    Cook time: 8-10 minutes (depends on your pasta preference)
    Yield: 4 servings

    1 Package noodles (Udon, Soba, whatever you like or have on hand)
    2-3 Tomatoes washed and chopped (or a whole bunch of cherry or sungold tomatoes)
    1 cup Basil leaves chopped
    ½-1 cup Crumbled Feta cheese
    1-2 cloves of minced garlic
    ½ cup Olive oil
    Sea salt to taste

    Knife and cutting board
    Stove and heavy pot for cooking pasta
    Colander to drain pasta


    1.    Cook pasta according to package directions.
    2.    While pasta is cooking combine other ingredients in large bowl.
    3.    Drain pasta.
    4.    Toss tomato mixture together with pasta and enjoy!

    For a nice twang, drizzle with a little Balsalmic Reduction (see below).
    Use a little more or a little less of all ingredients to your taste.
    Let tomato mixture sit for an hour before serving.

    Balsamic Reduction
    1 1/2 cups balsamic vinegar
    2 T sugar
    2 cloves garlic (if desired)- can leave whole

    Place in saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid is reduced and slightly thick- approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Take out garlic before serving. Flavor is pungent- use sparingly!

    Saturday, July 24, 2010

    Layered Tomato Pie

    We have 2 birthdays in the month of July in our family. We celebrated one with this, and last night I made a tomato pie I want to remember, because it might just be the summer recipe triumph.

    Here's what I used:
    • a little leftover ground sausage (maybe 1/2 pound?)
    • an onion, large slices
    • 3 garlic cloves, finely cut
    • deep dish pie crust from the freezer section (couldn't manage making my own!)
    • a little leftover cooked brown rice
    • a handful of fresh spinach leaves, chopped
    • 3-4 ripe tomatoes, sliced into circles
    • goat cheese to taste
    • fresh basil, cut into strips 
    Here's what I did:
    • browned the sausage, then turned the heat down and threw in the onions followed by the garlic and let them cook a LONG time (maybe close to 30 minutes?)
    • preheated oven to 400, put fork marks all over the pie crust, and baked it for about 7-10 minutes
    • took pie crust out of oven, then layered brown rice on the bottom (it absorbs all the tomato liquid!), chopped spinach, and tomatoes.
    • put it back in the oven for about 15 minutes.
    • add goat cheese and bake until barely browned on pie crust and cheese.
    • add fresh basil strips and serve
    Savor every bite, because there will be no leftovers!

    Tuesday, July 20, 2010

    Tomato Raspberry Vinaigrette

    A chef friend shared this amazing recipe with me recently. Heavenly for summer tomatoes.
    1. Take a sheet pan and cover the bottom with a very thin layer of olive oil.  Place the pan in the oven (350 degrees pre-heated) and let the pan warm up for about 3 minutes.
    2. Carefully place 6-7 ripe red tomatoes on the pan in the olive oil cut into halves.  Remove the stem from the top of tomatoes beforehand. 
    3. Lightly salt and pepper the tomatoes to taste.  Pour raspberry vinegar on the top of the tomatoes (and onto the pan).  No more than 1 cup of vinegar is needed.
    4. When the tomatoes have roasted, the skin will begin to darken and separate from the tomatoes.  Roast until the tomato has cooked through to the middle. 
    5. Pull pan out of oven and let rest for 10 minutes (to cool).
    6. Pinch the tomato peel off (this should be fairly easy since the peel has separated from the juicy middle).  Take the now peel-less roasted tomatoes and place them in a food processor or blender.  Pulse until fully incorporated (until fully reduced to sauce-like consistency). 
    7. Add fresh basil strips and sea salt and pepper to taste. 
    For my husband's birthday, I layered brown rice, garlic sauteed spinach, and baked chicken. I poured the vinaigrette over the top, added some freshly grated Parmesan cheese and basil strips. OMG--now, it's a birthday classic.

    This week, I used it to make a pasta sauce by adding it to some local ground sausage, onions, garlic, and spinach. Again, super yummy.

    Tonight, I plan to make an egg scramble with it. I also plan to scavenge for tomatoes the next couple of weeks, make this recipe in quantity, and freeze it to get me through the winter. Oh, I will be so in love with myself in December!

    Wednesday, July 14, 2010

    Tangy Watermelon Salad

    I found the base for this recipe in the grocery store (!) and made it for 4th of July. It was a hit, even with my husband who doesn't like watermelon. It only keeps a day, maybe two, but it's so yummy it's not hard to consume it quickly.

    Make the dressing by placing
    • 2 T olive oil
    • 3 T lime juice
    • 1 T red wine vinegar
    • salt and pepper to taste
    in a jar with tight fitting lid. Shake it well and set aside.

    Cut up 4 cups of watermelon* and pour dressing over watermelon. Toss to coat well. Add:
    • 3/4 cup feta cheese crumbles
    • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint

    *My new favorite way to "cut" a watermelon is to use my ice cream scoop to scoop out large chunks. It's quicker than a melon ball tool and helps keep the juice in the watermelon. Also, it hollows out a serving bowl for this salad, which is oh-so-impressive.

    Monday, July 12, 2010

    Super Simple Summer Salad

    Halve fresh, sungold tomatoes (or grape or cherry or other small tomato) and toss with soy sauce, toasted sesame seed oil (start with a little and add to taste), freshly chopped basil, and salad greens.

    So simple, so fresh, so super yummy!

    Saturday, June 26, 2010

    Summer Slaw

    I can't believe it's been almost a month since my last post...not much cooking on the home front here, which is why I have 4 heads of cabbage in my fridge! I put together the following slaw and ate it over leftover cornbread. Super yummy--and I think it will be even better tomorrow.

    2 T balsamic vinegar
    1 T apple cider vinegar
    1 T honey
    1 T dijon mustard
    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    1/2 head of white/green cabbage, shredded
    1/2 head red cabbage, shredded
    a whole bunch of carrots, shredded
    1 apple (not so much a summer fruit, but I can afford 1 this time of year every other week!), shredded
    1/4 cup cranberries (optional, but kid friendly at our house!)
    1/4 cup walnuts (optional)

    I mixed my vinaigrette first (vinegars through oil) in a glass jar with tight fitting lid (put it all in, shake it all up) and let it sit while I shredded the other ingredients. Put it all together in a bowl and mix well. It makes a good bit, so it's a nice thing to prepare and eat for several days. Enjoy!

    Monday, May 31, 2010

    Chips--the green kind

    A client from one of our recent classes reminded me of this simple way to prepare greens that's really kid friendly (and super easy). I used it with kohlrabi greens this week, and it was yummy.

    Here's what to do:
    1. Preheat oven to 375.
    2. Take washed and salad spinner dried greens cut or torn into "chip size" pieces and place on cookie sheet.
    3. Spray with oil.
    4. Sprinkle lightly with seasoning (sea salt and black pepper or something fun like this* to give it a kick). Seriously, you don't need much seasoning, so use only a small amount.
    5. Put in the oven for 3-5 minutes--watch them closely, because they don't need long. 
    6. Take 'em out of the oven and enjoy!
     *email here to order

    Friday, May 28, 2010

    Leftover Surprise

    About once a month...or so....I open the refrigerator with a create a meal from what's in there.... only. Doesn't it seem like things just accumulate? Remnants of the last recipe you cooked, partial meals, fruits, veggies & herbs that appear to need using within the next 15 minutes or it's over. Today was that day for me.

    The mission: Use the food in my fridge & pantry and create a delicious, healthy & interesting meal

    The contents: Uncooked sweet potatos, oranges, about 1/3 of a rotisserie chicken, 3/ 4 of a purple onion, 4 small heads of wilted Napa Cabbage, 1 wilted bunch of Red Russian Kale, some shallots, 6 strawberries (I mentioned before those fruits that need using within the next 15 minutes- these would qualify), some random sprigs of parsley, basil & mint, avocado, plain yogurt, flour tortillas, a box of spinach that expires tomorrow, small wedge of Manchego cheese, 2 sort of shriveled up cloves of garlic

    The results: A colorful and creative array of summer flavors (except for the oranges) and tasty combinations

    The recipes:

    Sweet Potato Salad

    4 sweet potatos- peeled and roasted
    3 oranges- peeled and cut into bite size pieces
    3 T diced red onion
    1/2 cup minced basil
    2- 3 cups fresh spinach
    Salt & Pepper to taste

    Apple Cider Vinaigrette

    1/2 cup canola oil (or other neutral oil)
    1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg's Raw Unfiltered)
    1 shallot- minced
    1 heaping teaspon dijon mustard
    1-2 teaspoons honey
    salt & pepper to taste

    I put all the ingredients together in a bowl while the sweet potatoes were still warm which wilted the spinach a bit. Tossed with the dressing and let it sit a couple of hours before serving. This would also make a really nice warm holiday side dish- use a more savory herb like thyme for a different flavor.

    Funky Chicken Quesadillas with Green Yogurt Dipping Sauce

    I caramelized the rest of the purple onion (aka: sliced it in strips and cooked it in a little olive oil until caramel colored and very sweet- probably 30 minutes or more)- I threw the garlic in there too just for kicks

    While the onions were cooking I sliced the strawberries and finely minced some parsley and mint (probably about 1/4/ cup of each. I picked the rest of the chicken meat off the bone and diced it. When the onions were cooked, I turned the heat off and added the strawberries, herbs and chicken. Stirred it around a couple of times. Added a bit of salt & pepper and a splash of balsamic vinaigrette. I let that mixture sit until time to cook the quesadillas.

    I added the mixture plus some of the Manchego cheese to the flour tortillas and browned in the skillet until the cheese was melty and the tortilla was slightly browned.

    Green Yogurt Dipping Sauce

    1 avocado- mashed
    salt & pepper to taste
    1/4 cup yogurt
    1 T mayo
    generous squirt of Rooster sauce (or tabasco)

    Mix them all together- let sit for about 20 minutes before serving

    How to bring wilted  greens back to life

    I had a bunch of napa cabbage and kale which, frankly, looked like it needed to be thrown out. Out of reverence to the farmer's hard work in growing those greens I was determined to make it work!

    I chopped everything and put in a bowl, covered with cool about 30 minutes the greens were back to life- plump and ready to cook. I drained the water, threw them in a large skillet, put a top on it and steamed for about 8 minutes.....drizzled with a small amount of maple syrup (the real stuff), a splash of balsamic vinegar and some sea salt & pepper. Even my boyfriend who doesn't like greens said they tasted sweet & good.

    Roasted Beets and Fennel

    This is so easy and super yummy, especially with fresh beets and fennel. I had some onions I needed to eat, so I threw them in, too.

    Preheat oven to 375.
    Meanwhile, wash, peel, and cut beets into bite sized pieces. Place on cookie sheet or Pyrex cooking dish. Add washed, sliced fennel and chunks of onion (optional). Drizzle with oil (I used Grapeseed oil--email here to order), sea salt and pepper and roast in the oven until tender to a fork.
    Let cool a few minutes before serving.

    Napa Cabbage with Ginger Vinaigrette

    Prep time: 10 minutes
    Cook time: About 6 minutes
    Yield: 4-6 servings

    3 Tablespoons Natural Grapeseed Oil (email here to order)
    2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
    1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger
    1 clove garlic, pressed
    1 Tablespoon lime juice
    1 large head Napa Cabbage, washed and sliced into long strips
    Salt and pepper to taste

    Garlic press
    Lime juicer
    Jar with tight fitting lid
    Measuring spoons
    Knife and cutting board

    Large skillet with tight fitting lid

    1.    Mix all ingredients except cabbage together in a jar with tight fitting lid. Set aside.
    2.    Place a small amount of water in the bottom of the skillet and warm over medium heat.
    3.    When steam rises from the water, place cabbage in skillet, toss for a minute, then place tight fitting lid on skillet for 3-4 minutes. Cook cabbage until it is crisp tender (should still be bright green).
    4.    Pour dressing over cabbage, season with salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy!

    Arugula with Mango, Walnuts, and Goat Cheese

    I found mango's 2 for $1 this week, and they were ripe and ready to eat, so I used them in the following way for a scrumptious summer salad.

    Chop washed arugula into slightly smaller pieces and place in serving bowl. Cut ripe mango over arugula squeezing extra juice from the mango over greens. Sprinkle walnuts and goat cheese chunks on salad. Drizzle with natural grapeseed oil* and toss to coat. Season with sea salt to taste.


    *email here to order

    Thursday, May 27, 2010

    Bean Salad with Fennel

    Prep time: 15 minutes
    Cook time: None!
    Yield: 6 servings

    2 15oz cans of garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
    1½ cups fresh sliced fennel bulb
    12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
    4 TBS finely minced onion
    2 cloves garlic, pressed
    4 TBS fresh lemon juice (or juice from one lemon)
    3 TBS chopped fresh parsley
    3 TBS chopped walnuts
    Olive oil to taste
    Salt and pepper to taste
    Fresh lettuce greens, washed

    Can opener
    Sharp knife and cutting board
    Garlic press
    Lemon juicer
    Salad spinner

    1.    Mix all ingredients to salt and pepper together.
    2.    Serve over lettuce greens.
    3.    This salad gets better as it sets, so if you have time, prepare it in advance.
    4.    Enjoy!

    Try a different kind of bean—azuki, black beans, kidney beans, soy beans, white beans—mix several different kinds
    Add a little vinegar (balsamic, rice wine, red wine) for a twang
    Grate a little carrot to add more color

    Wednesday, May 19, 2010

    Mustard Greens, Corn, Leeks, and Bacon

    True confession #1: I don't particularly like mustard greens.
    True confession #2: I could eat bacon every single day of my life.
    I can't believe how much each of these foods is augmented by the other to create an amazing side dish. Although, after eating it tonight, I'm thinking of throwing it over brown rice next time to make a whole meal out of it--probably need to double it, if anyone else wants a bite! Seriously, we didn't get as many servings out of it as I usually like, because I ate at least 2 myself.
    Props to Albi and Walthers for their masterpiece Greens, Glorious Greens which includes this dish--glorious indeed!

    Serves 2 to 3
    1 bunch mustard greens, washed, de-stemmed, and chopped into small pieces
    2 to 3 strips of bacon (or more, if you're a bacon lover like me!), cooked & crumbled
    2-4 teaspoons bacon drippings or other high heat oil
    1/2 cup thinly sliced leeks, white and light green part only
    1 cup corn kernels
    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

    Heat a large skillet with tight fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add bacon fat or other oil and coat pan. Throw in the leeks and cook for about 4 minutes--until soft and translucent. Add corn and heat until slightly brown (maybe 2 minutes?). Add mustard greens with water still clinging to the leaves. Stir to coat with oil, cover, and cook over medium-high heat for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. If things start sticking, add a little water. Season with salt and pepper to taste and top it all off with crumbled bacon.

    Saturday, May 15, 2010

    Smashed Peas with Mint on Bruschetta

    When someone suggested this combination to me, I was skeptical, but it really works. It's light, fresh, and minty!

    1 Ciabatta or French Baguette Loaf (preferably from Niedlov's)
    1 10-ounce package frozen peas (thawed)
    1 Tablespoon chopped fresh mint
    2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    3/4 teaspoon sea salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    Food processor
    Measuring cups/spoons
    Sharp knife and cutting board

    1.  Slice bread and broil 1.5 minutes on each side or until brown. Set aside to cool.
    2.  Process thawed peas in a bowl of food processor until coarsely chopped.
    3.  Stir in mint, oil, salt, and pepper.
    4.  Top bread and garnish with mint leaves.
    5.  Enjoy!

    Friday, May 14, 2010

    Kohlrabi, Apple, Chard, and Carrot Slaw

    1 head of kohlrabi with greens removed, peeled and grated
    2-3 carrots, washed and grated
    1 apple, grated
    1-2 leaves rainbow swiss chard leaves, washed and finely chopped (stem included!)

    4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
    2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
    2-3 teaspoons local, raw honey
    Sea salt and pepper to taste

    Food Processor with grater attachment
    Jar with tight fitting lid
    Quality knife
    Cutting board
    Medium size bowl

    1.  Mix oil, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper together in jar with tight fitting lid. Set aside.
    2.  Grate kohlrabi, carrots, and apple in food processor. Place in a medium size bowl.
    3.  Finely chop swiss chard stems and leaves. Add to bowl.
    4.  Pour dressing over mixture and stir to combine well.
    5.  Enjoy!

    Wednesday, May 12, 2010

    Beet Greens, Onions, and Shiitakes

    Over the weekend I made this up and put it with some scrambled eggs. I love spring time!

    I started with a little oil in a skillet and threw in some chopped onions on medium-low. Coat the onion well and  simmer a few minutes (3-4). Add some chopped garlic (I love garlic so it was 2-3 cloves). Let it sit. Heat stays at medium-low.

    Meanwhile, cut beet greens away from stem if leaves are large. I had small leaves, so I just chopped it all up together and put it in some water in my salad spinner to soak and clean.

    After rinsing, removing the stems, and slicing the shiitakes, throw them in the skillet and mix them well with the onion and garlic. I let them cook a few minutes (maybe 5?), drained the greens, threw them in the skillet, mixed it all up, covered with a lid and turned it off.

    When the greens were wilted, I ate it all up. Divine!

    Super Salmon Salad

    This one is a staple at our house. We eat it on top of salad greens or throw it in a wrap with some sort of green. Full of good fats, protein, and calcium, it's a winner all the way around.

    1 can of wild salmon, preferably with skin and bones in water
    ½ red onion, peeled and diced small
    ¼ cup parsley, minced
    1-2 celery stalks, diced
    1-2 carrot sticks, diced
    1/3 cup olive oil
    1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
    1 tsp. honey
    3-4 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
    Sea salt and pepper to taste
    Mixed greens

    Large mixing bowl
    Sharp knife
    Cutting board
    Measuring cup & spoons


    1.    Drain salmon and put into mixing bowl.
    2.    Combine with diced red onion, celery, carrots, and parsley.
    3.    Whisk olive oil, mustard, honey, apple cider vinegar and sea salt and pepper to taste.
    4.    Mix dressing and salmon.
    5.    Serve on bed of mixed greens.
    6.    Enjoy!

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010

    Greenlight Basic Greens

    Use this recipe to prepare any and all dark, leafy greens like beet greens, collards, kale, chard, spinach, etc.


    One bunch of fresh, local, organic greens


    large bowl or salad spinner
    cutting board
    sharp knife
    skillet with tight fitting lid

    1.    Wash greens by submerging them in water for 5-10 minutes. If water is extremely dirty when greens are removed, wash again. If you have a salad spinner, spin the greens to remove excess water.
    2.    Cut greens away from the stem. Set aside.
    3.    Slice stems into bite size pieces.
    4.    Take greens, fold in half and stack 4-5 leaves on top of each other.
    5.    Roll greens into a fat “cigar” and slice across making long strips.
    6.    Add 2 Tablespoons of water to a skillet and warm on medium-high heat.
    7.    When water begins to smoke, add green stems, cover with tight fitting lid, and steam for 2-3 minutes. Add green leaves, return cover, and turn off heat leaving skillet on eye for 5-7 minutes. Greens should be bright green and tender.
    8.    Season and enjoy!

    Let everyone add their favorite condiments to season to taste—experiment and see what you like.

    Some of Greenlight’s favorite combinations include:
    •    splash of olive oil, fresh lemon juice, sprinkle of sea salt and sesame seeds
    •    sauté 3 cloves of minced garlic before adding greens to the pan
    •    splash of olive oil, squirt of Shoyu or Tamari Soy sauce, fresh lemon juice
    •    mix to taste olive oil, local honey, vinegar (balsamic, rice, etc.) or soy sauce (shoyu, tamari), Dijon mustard, sesame seeds, sea salt, and pepper

    Thursday, April 22, 2010

    Shoots, Greens & 'Shrooms

    Is there anything better than fresh greens in the spring after a long winter of nothing leafy from the farm? maybe the first ripe tomato of summer is equally as exciting....or the deep rich sweet taste of roasted
    winter squash in the fall....and then there's that blueberry pie full of juicy purple deliciousness....but spring greens are pretty high up on the list.  The Wednesday farmer's market in Chattanooga is back in full swing and the gettin' is good right now. Dinner tonight was delicious, quick, easy and almost all local. I picked up some pea shoots (my 14 year old son asked me to please NOT call them pea tendrils because it sounded like tentacles) from Williams Island Farm, some fresh beautiful spinach from Sequatchie Cove Farm, some Shiitake mushrooms from Crabtree Farms and some fresh milled grits from Riverview Farms. Spring food has so much flavor it doesn't need much seasoning- especially those crisp sweet pea shoots!

    Shoots, Greens & 'Shrooms

    I sauteed the shiitakes with a couple of cloves of garlic in olive oil, added in the pea tendrils and spinach at the last minute (it only takes them a couple of minutes to wilt down to perfection). Added a couple of splashes of tamari and some cracked black pepper. I cooked the grits in water and added a bit of half & half after they were done for some richness. I served the greens & shrooms over my grits and topped with a little shaved parmesan and some cracked black pepper. We also had some left-over black beans in the fridge (with Sequatchie Farm sausage) that we added on the side. This dish would also be delicious topped with a poached egg. It was some kind of yum.

    Thank you farmers for a spectacular and nourishing meal!

    Search for a farmer's market near you here:

    Wednesday, April 21, 2010

    Dress up your green salad with a good vinaigrette.

    There's nothing better in warm weather than a salad made with fresh crisp salad greens and drizzled with a home-made vinaigrette. Bottled salad dressings often contain low quality oils, artificial flavors or ingredients, added sugars and preservatives. Fear not! It's quick and easy to make your's how:

    Basic Vinaigrette
    this is the basic formula that you can build all your vinaigrette flavors from

    1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (good quality- we recommend Olio Beato)
    3 T (or more to taste) good quality vinegar (like red wine, white wine or see below for other ideas)
    Salt & Pepper (to taste)

    *I almost always put about a teaspoon ( or a little more) of dijon mustard. Add a drizzle of honey for a sweeter flavor if the vinegar flavor is too tangy....Add both honey & mustard and....Voila! Home-made honey mustard vinaigrette....aren't you fancy?

    Put all ingredients in a jar and shake until blended (you can also do this in the blender). Let sit for about 30 minutes before serving- taste a few times and adjust flavors.

    Variations on the basic:

    Lemon Vinaigrette: 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, zest of 1 lemon, black pepper
    Ginger Vinaigrette: 1/2 cup neutral oil (like grapeseed), 1 T sherry vinegar, 1 T lime juice, 1 T warm water, 1inch grated fresh ginger
    Balsamic Vinaigrette: 1/2 cup olive oil, 3 T balsamic vinegar, 1 t dijon mustard, 1 shallot (minced)
    Chili Lime Vinaigrette: 1/2 cup neutral oil (like grapeseed), 3 T lime juice, 1/2 T chili powder, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 t oregano
    Nutty Oil Vinaigrette: 1/2 cup walnut, hazelnut or other nut oil, 3 T sherry vinegar, 1 minced shallot

    Try experimenting with fresh herbs: parsley, basil & dill are all delicious and have a mild and cool flavor. Add up to 1/4 cup of these herbs minced. Also try rosemary, tarragon or thyme- these have stronger flavors so start by adding 1 t and adjust from there.

    Sunday, April 18, 2010

    Ideas to Make Your Salad Sexier!

    How sexy is your salad?

    We all need to eat more greens.


    Even those of us who eat a lot of greens can benefit from adding more into our daily diets. Spring is a great time of year to start eating more raw and cleansing foods. This helps detox the body from the heavier foods eaten during cold weather.

    Here are some of Greenlight's favorite ideas for spicing up your green salad.....we suggest you add your own spin- be creative!

    • black olives, green peppers, feta cheese (drizzled with lemon vinaigrette)
    • cherry tomatoes, roasted corn, toasted sunflower seeds (drizzled with red wine vinaigrette)
    • dried cranberries, toasted pumpkin seeds, goat cheese (drizzled with sherry vinaigrette)
    • sliced tomato, basil, fresh mozzarella (drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette)
    • granny smith apple, toasted pecans, Parmesan cheese (drizzled with cider vinaigrette)
    • roasted beets, orange slices, toasted walnuts (drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette)
    • avocado, sliced carrot, red pepper, pico de gallo (drizzled with chili lime vinaigrette)
    • carrots, scallions, snow peas, shredded cabbage, sesame seeds (drizzled with ginger vinaigrette)

    Our suggestion:
    think outside the green box and get your sexy salad on!

    Friday, April 2, 2010

    Quinoa Salad with Kale

    I had the pleasant surprise of kale from around the corner show up in my refrigerator today, and I was already planning to make this cool quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) salad, so I threw the kale in with it. It's a nice spring dish to get me through this seasonal transition.

    1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
    2 cups water
    1 bunch of kale leaves pulled away from stems and torn into bit size pieces
    3 carrots, shredded
    1/4 red onion, finely chopped
    1 cup frozen green peas or shelled edamame
    1/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
    zest of 1 lemon
    juice of 2 lemons
    1/4-1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

    1 Tablespoon Dijon style mustard
    1 teaspoon local honey
    salt and pepper to taste

    Place rinsed quinoa and water in a saucepan with tight fitting lid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and set timer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, shred carrots in a food processor, cut onion, and place in large bowl.
    Make vinaigrette by mixing together last  6 ingredients in a jar with tight fitting lid and let sit.
    Heat 1-2 Tablespoons of water in a skillet with tight fitting lid on medium heat. When water begins to steam, place kale in skillet, cover, and cook for about 1.5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
    When timer goes off for the quinoa, put the frozen green peas (or edamame) in the pot on top of quinoa to defrost. Replace lid and remove from heat.
    Let quinoa cool and peas/edamame defrost, then combine with carrots, onion, and kale. Add vinaigrette and mix thoroughly. Eat immediately or chill and serve later over salad greens with walnuts sprinkled on top.

    Tuesday, March 23, 2010

    Greens and Red Cabbage Wrap

    Today for lunch I had a wonderful meal inspired by my friend Elizabeth Yates.Total party in my mouth!

    1 Tablespoon (or so) olive oil
    1 small onion, sliced
    a bunch of garlic cloves (I lost count) minced
    1 bunch greens (collards for me today), washed and cut into bite size pieces
    1/2 red cabbage cut into bite size pieces
    shredded cheese to taste*
    2-3 slices of fresh avocado
    salt and pepper to taste
    whole wheat tortilla

    I put the olive oil in a cold skillet, turned on the heat to medium-low, added the onion, coated it with the oil and let it sit a while (so I could unload the dishwasher). After the onion began to look clear, I added the garlic and mixed it with the onion. Then I threw in the greens and cabbage and tossed it all around a little, then let it sit with a lid for a few minutes until the greens were tender, but still crisp and green.
    I put the mixture in the tortilla, sprinkled sea salt and freshly ground pepper, shredded some cheese, and topped it all off with several slices of avocado. Yummy in my tummy!

    *Earth Fare was giving away Irish cheese this week, which kicked up this dish several notches.Check out their web-site here to find a store near you and sign up for the weekly coupon. A couple of weeks ago the coupon was a free pound of fair trade coffee and a box of granola. They don't play with their giveaways!

    Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    Happy St. Patrick's Day

    In honor of St. Patrick's Day this week I'm adding in an extra serving of greens each day--at breakfast. It's been fun merging my breakfast usuals with greens. So far I've put some greens in with eggs (not so unusual) or had them as a side dish (kind of on the scale of forcing them down), but this morning, I got fancy and had some Amaranth hot cereal (any whole grain hot cereal will do) topped with flash steamed greens (leftover from last night) and some fresh avocado slices. I sprinkled a little Gomasio on top, and let me tell you, it was delicious!

    So this year for St. Patrick's Day, set your intention to add an extra serving of greens in the morning. And maybe, if you forget to wear green, you can convince the "pinchers" that you're wearing green on the inside!

    Thursday, February 11, 2010

    Kale with Raisins and Toasted Pine Nuts

    I am on retreat at The Academy for Spiritual Formation and teaching about greens this week and shared this fabulous recipe with my fellow retreatees at Camp Sumatanga. It was a hit--even to those who "don't like greens." Hope it's a winner at your house, too!

    1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
    3/4 pound kale (about 6 cups or one bunch, washed and chopped)
    2 cups water
    2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1/3 cup raisins
    salt & pepper to taste

    To toast pine nuts, place them on a pie tin or cookie sheet and back at 325 F for 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Watch them carefully, because they can burn easily. Set aside.

    Bring water to a boil in a 10- or 12- inch skillet with a tight fitting lid. Add the kale and cook, covered, over high heat, stirring frequently to cook evenly, until tender, but still bright green (around 5 minutes). Remove and drain.

    Rinse and dry out the skillet, then use it to heat the olive oil over medium heat, lifting and tilting the pan to coat. Add garlic and saute 15 seconds. Add raisins and saute for 30 seconds to 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent browning or burning. Raisins should be glossy and slightly puffed.

    Add greens and stir to combine. Season with salt & pepper to taste and cover for a minute until greens are heated through. Serve hot, garnished with the toasted pine nuts.

    Wednesday, February 3, 2010

    Amaranth for Breakfast

    I have been working on intentionally changing up food a little bit when I'm on duty for cooking, so I decided on Amaranth for breakfast this morning, just to give oatmeal a rest. It's a great grain that's full of protein, and it contains calcium (two time more than milk), iron, potassium, fiber (three times as much as wheat), vitamins A and C, and iron (five times as much as wheat). It's also easy to prepare. Here's what I did for breakfast:

    1 cup Amaranth
    3 cups water

    Put everything in a pot, cover it, and bring it to a boil. Turn it off, stir to be sure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot, and let it sit overnight. In the morning, warm up the grain, and serve with maple syrup, raisins, and walnuts (or pecans). Serves 4 (nice size portions).

    KID APPROVED: I have a 13 year old in my breakfast care these days, and he won't eat oatmeal or brown rice porridge. He ate the Amaranth cereal this morning and said he liked it--yippee!

    Thursday, January 28, 2010

    Beets: 2 for 1

    One of the things I love about beets is that I feel like I'm getting a deal every time I buy them. I get the lusciousness of the red root, but I also get the power packed goodness of the greens. It's a great buy for our budget conscious family, and I haven't even mentioned the benefits beets provide. Check this out for details.

    I used to be intimidated by preparing beets, but I've settled into the following easy prep for the roots:

    Preheat oven to 400.
    Cut greens away from roots and set aside.
    Wash roots thoroughly and wrap in aluminum foil.
    Place in oven safe dish and cook until tender to a fork.
    Remove from oven and let cool.
    Peel away skin (should slide off pretty easily) and prepare as desired.

    We eat them cut up with nothing on them or a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil or chop them up on a salad with mixed greens, feta cheese, and toasted pumpkin seeds. Orange juice is a nice compliment to beets, so I sometimes squeeze a fresh orange and olive oil over my salad with beets.

    This week I cut up the roasted beets and tossed them with some onion, feta cheese, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Simple and yummy. Even better the second day. For something a little more complex, try this one.

    As for the greens, I did a water saute and served them as a side dish and let everyone choose their own flavoring (soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, fresh squeezed lemon or orange, sea salt, etc.). Here's how to "cook" them (I put cook in " " because it's so easy it might not be considered true cooking!):

    Cut leaves away from stems and discard (or cut into small pieces to cook and eat--throw them in a couple minutes before the greens, if you want to eat them--we do, others don't--it's up to you!)
    Chop leaves into bite size pieces.
    Submerge greens in water and let sit for a minute or two to remove dirt. Drain and repeat until water is clear.
    Warm a little water (not enough to cover the bottom) in a skillet with tight fitting lid over medium heat.
    Once the water begins to steam, add your greens.
    Cover and turn off heat.
    Walk away for 5-7 minutes, then check greens to be sure they have cooked, but are still bright green.
    Easier than pie, AND everyone gets to participate in the final step by choosing their own flavor!

    Tuesday, January 19, 2010

    Glorious Greens!

    Last night was our Whole Food Creates Whole People class, and we focused on dark, leafy greens. It was a great reminder that I need to be extremely intentional about getting at least one serving of greens each day, especially this time of year. They are full of vitamins and minerals that help boost immunity (stay away H1N1!) and depression (a nice perk during gray January days). I know that my best days are the ones that contain greens at every meal and sometimes in-between, so today, just for fun, I did the following:

    Almond butter, muscadine jelly, spinach sandwich.

    Yep you read it right--I put spinach on my almond butter sandwich! It was actually quite tasty. I tried this radical idea back in September when I had some fresh arugula by putting a few leaves on my p-nut butter and honey wrap and was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the flavors together. Now it's a given that some sort of dark, leafy green goes on any sandwich I make. At least once. Give it a go yourself and see how you like it!

    Thursday, January 14, 2010

    Mung Mash

    OK, I have to admit upfront that this recipe is not the prettiest dish I've ever made, but on the flip side, it might be one of the easiest, and it's really tasty. It's actually a variation on this recipe.

    Mung beans are relatively new to me, but not the health store where I shop--they have them in the bulk section, which rocks my world, because that means it's a cheap meal. I have since discovered that mung beans contain high levels of protein, potassium, fiber, magnesium, and B vitamins (which help boost your mood during this gray time of year). The best part, especially after the holidays, is that they have only 30 calories for a whole cup.

    Here's what you need:
    • Crock pot
    • 4 cups water
    • 2 cups Mung Beans washed and picked over
    • 1 medium sized sweet onion, chopped finely
    • 2-3 medium sized carrots, chopped into small pieces(optional)
    • 2 cups cooked brown rice (optional)
    • 1-2 hand fulls of fresh, raw spinach (or other green)
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 Tablespoon Coconut oil or butter (optional)
    Here's what to do:
    • Wash and pick through the beans to remove anything that doesn't look like a bean.
    • Chop the onion and set it aside while you...
    • Put the beans in the crock pot with 4 cups of fresh water.
    • Turn on the pot to cook at least 2 hours on high or 4 hours on low (actual cooking time will depend on your pot, of course. I cooked on high for 3 hours, then turned them off for an additional hour).
    • Throw in the onion.
    • Walk away.
    • When beans are getting to the soft stage, add salt and pepper to taste and the oil. This is when I also added the carrots and turned off the pot ( I don't like my carrots too mushy!).
    • Chop up some fresh spinach while warming up brown rice.
    • Serve as a stacker...
      • Brown Rice on bottom
      • Chopped spinach in the middle
      • Mung Mash on top
    • Option: top it all off with a little sour cream or grated cheese.
    • Enjoy with 4 or 5 of your favorite people!
    Leftover love--throw some of the mash straight out of the fridge into a wrap with some fresh spinach leaves and Voila! You have an easy lunch for home or on the go.