Greek Red Lentil

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I was first introduced to this soup 4 years ago. I was 6 months pregnant with 2 when I traveled to Calgary in early December of 2008 to visit with my good friends Sarah and Brian. It is hard to believe that we have been friends since TWU days, which seem like just a couple of years ago. Truthfully it does not at all feel like 12 years have gone by that fast. We used to laugh when I would pick her up in my dad’s massive Ford truck with my hair out of control and No Doubt’s ‘Hella Good’ blaring as we would enter the school grounds, slowly going over the zillion speed bumps. We reminded ourselves of Janey and Lynne from the 1985 most awesomeness movie ever, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” Anyways, back to the soup. On a beautiful crisp winter day, Sarah made this soup for dinner and it was just so yum. I love to serve it with really fancy loaf. I had good intentions of picking one up this evening, but decided the sourdough bread in the freezer would be just fine, and it was.

Greek Red Lentil with Lemon, Rosemary, and Feta Cheese

Inspired by Rebar

Ingredients:
2 cups red lentils
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion diced
2 tsp salt
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, diced
1 tsp cracked pepper
1/4 tsp red chile flakes
1 tbsp minced rosemary
2 tbsp minced oregano
2 bay leaves
8 cups (2 litres) vegetable stock (I used organic chicken stock)
zest 1/2 lemon
juice of 2 lemons
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tsp minced rosemary
cracked pepper to taste

How To Play:
Rinse lentils thorough in a colander under cold running water. Set aside to drain. Heat oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat and saute onion with 1 tsp salt until translucent. Add garlic, carrot, pepper, chiles, herbs, bay leaves and remaining salt. Stir well and saute until the carrots are just tender. Add rinsed lentils and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the lentils are soft and falling apart. If you like, the soup can be pureed or left as is. If you choose to puree, remove the bay leaves first.
Season the soup with lemon zest, lemon juice and more salt and pepper to taste. Before serving, stir together the feta cheese, rosemary and pepper. Sprinkle over hot bowls of soup and enjoy.

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Wilted Spinach Salad

Wilted Spinach Salad
with olives, feta, and garlic-balsamic vinaigrette

From Rebar

Ingredients:
Vinaigrette-
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tsp honey
1 1/2 Tsp Dijon Mustard
1/2 Tsp Sea Salt
1/4 Tsp cracked pepper
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (I use grapeseed oil)

Salad-
1 lb spinach leaves, washed and stemmed
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and julienned
1 red onion, finely julienned
1/4 cup chopped mint
1/4 pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

How To Play:
Thoroughly combine the first seven ingredients in a bowl. Slowly drizzle in oil, whisking all the while. Correct seasoning to taste. Prepare the remaining salad ingredients. Combine spinach, olives, peppers and onions in a large salad bowl. Just before serving, heat dressing over medium heat in a small pot. When it begins to simmer, remove from the heat and drizzle over the salad while tossing with a pair of tongs. Gently mix in the fresh mint and garnish with pine nuts and feta cheese. Serve immediately.
Tastes scrumptious with a fancy baguette spread with either coconut oil or butter!

Enjoy.

Home Made Pizza


Today I weighed myself and I am 186.5.  That means, I have 20.5 more pounds to go.  Whoo hoo!  This is a familiar weight, I have been here 3 times now.  Last night I made a vegetarian pizza meets the meat-eater.  The great thing with home made pizza, is one can do whatever they want with whatever they have.  This pizza worked out really well for the family.  I was a bit sneaky and added chopped spinach quite finely, and no one seemed to notice.  The joys of being in the kitchen preparing for the red meat lovers.

Home-made Pizza

Ingredients:
preferred dough, whether it be home-made or store-bought (I used TJ’s fresh dough)
3/4 cups preferred pasta sauce (I used TJ’s Tomato Basil Marinara)
parmesan cheese
hand-full of spinach, chopped finely
1/4 cup red onion, chopped finely
1/4 cup green pepper, chopped finely
1/4 cup red pepper, chopped finely
12 slices of salami, chopped finely
1 1/2 cups of cooked ground beef, seasoned with salt and pepper
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup mozzarella, grated
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated

How To Play:
Heat oven to 500 degrees. Grease a baking sheet sprinkled with organic cornmeal. Prepare dough accordingly. When dough is ready, stretch out onto the prepared cookie sheet. Place in the oven for about 5-8 minutes until it begins to cook. Take it out, let it cool for about 3 minutes. Spoon pasta sauce and smear generously onto the pizza base. Sprinkle a fair amount of parmesan cheese onto the pasta sauce. Evenly lay out the spinach, red onion, peppers, and meats. Sprinkle the cheeses all around. Turn the oven down to 475 degrees, cook pizza for 10-15 minutes or until cooked to perfection.

Enjoy.

Grump Day


Being that yesterday was Mexican Wednesday, we had Taco Salads. Some call Wednesdays, the hump day, however, for me it was the grump day.  I was so grumpy and it didn’t help that Sean had to work later than normal and we had a freak snow fall that I had to drive in to take 1 to dance.  Even though I took my drivers test in a blizzard, when I was 16, I didn’t care then.  I care now. I don’t like snow!  I had my heart on going for a run, to keep up on this weight loss journey, but I have to be flexible, because life happens and things can get in the way.  For our Connections group last night, I made an old university favorite of mine.  I remember when Ren liked Tim.  I remember when Tim liked Ren.  When all this liking would be going on, I would be in Ren’s parents’ kitchen stuffing my face with the most awesome appetizer in the world, hoping no one would notice the ever decreasing feta cheese spread.  To this day, I make this appetizer often. I am forever grateful to Tim for sharing it with me.  I prepare it with the fondest memories of my university life friends pouring over in my mind of the countless wine and cheese fondues, over eating of fine decadent foods, and deep conversations of not only life’s mysteries, but of God’s too.

Beef Taco Salads

The great thing about Taco salads, is that they can be made in a whole variety of different ways and always taste great.  Most times I use chicken, but in this case, I used ground beef.  When I have jalapenos, believe me, my salad is covered in them, but unfortunately, I had none in my cupboard.

Ingredients:

1 pound of ground sirloin beef

3 cups Arugula

1/4 cup Red onion, chopped

1/2 cup red, orange, or yellow pepper, chopped

taco seasoning of choice, I like Trader Joe’s, (sometimes I make my own by adding 2tsp chili powder, 1/2tsp sea salt, 1tsp ground cumin, and 1/2 tsp onion powder)

1 tbsp butter

1/2 cup organic roasted corn (or organic corn kernels)

sour cream

guacamole

salsa

1-2 cups grated Monterey Jack and Sharp cheddar cheese

Taco chips (I use Food Should Taste Good Tortilla Chips)

How To Play:
In a skillet cook beef until no longer pink.  Add seasoning and a bit of water if it looks too dry. While beef is heating, in a small sauce pan, melt butter and add corn, heat thoroughly.  Prepare salad bowls by adding arugula topped with fresh peppers and onions.  Add cooked seasoned beef.  Pour favorite salsa over the beef.  Sprinkle with corn and cheeses.  On one side of the salad bowl add a spoonful of guacamole and sour cream, while the other side has a wall of taco chips.  You can really make it any way you want, it is just the way I like to present it, all that really matters is that it tastes good.

Feta Cheese and Herb Appetizer

Ingredients:

1 Block of Feta Cheese (just over a cup)

2-3 Garlic cloves, minced

Fresh ground pepper

1/4 tsp dried basil

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp fresh rosemary, minced

2 tbsp Olive oil

How To Play:
Heat oven at 350 degrees. Place feta cheese in tinfoil inside a baking dish.  You can have the minced garlic placed on top or inserted into the feta, either way is fine, then dust feta with ground pepper.  Sprinkle over with basil, oregano, and rosemary, then pour olive oil over top.  Close the tinfoil tightly over the seasoned feta and bake for about 20-25 minutes until really soft.  Serve warm with crackers or prepared baguette.

To Prepare Baguette:
Cut baguette thinly on an angle.  Place onto a baking sheet.  Brush each piece generously with olive  oil and heat in the oven for 5 minutes at 350 degrees.

Enjoy.