Red Lentil Soup

Red lentil soup

Lately I’m obsessed with lentils.  Our pantry shelves are lined with them—bags and boxes filled with miniature rounds of black, green and brown.  To those who rifle around looking for more readily edible snacks, my compulsion is slightly puzzling.  A collection of shoes in the closet or books on the shelf is easier to understand.  But mothers have other odd obsessions as well, best ignored, as teens well know; simply shove the legumes aside and move on to the chips.

Loving lentils makes sense to me, if to no one else.  I cook dinner every day for a vegetarian family, and legumes and beans offer us a rich source of vegetable protein that’s essential to our diet.  And beyond the nutrition, they’re a treasure trove of inspiration as well.  I’ve no doubt I could add lentils to the pot day after day, week after week, and never repeat the same concoction twice (unless I wanted to).  One day it’s soup, another a main-dish salad.  Then on to a stew or dal.

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A Vegetarian Thanksgiving

Roasted aloo gobi

This fall I’ve been writing more than ever, though it’s been awhile since I’ve made any mention of food.  Instead I’ve poured myself into crafting sentences about progressive education at an all-girls school—for my other job.  As much as I adore writing about what’s happening in the classroom though, I’ve missed musing about the goings on in my kitchen.  And though I’ve been busy, there’s been much of a delicious nature going on.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Walnuts, Pomegranate and Meyer LemonMoving forward expect to see continuing posts, though their timing will vary—and their focus may meander a bit beyond the Freshness Farms delivery at hand.  The spirit, though, will continue to revolve around cooking with freshly harvested, local ingredients.  Fans of Freshness Farms will find plenty of ideas.  I hope to continue featuring guest writers, too, so if you’re inclined to give that a try, let me know.

With Thanksgiving just around the bend, I’m knee-deep in planning my contributions to the holiday table.  Providing for a vegetarian family this time of year is surprisingly easy.  As much as the turkey makes headlines, it’s often the side dishes that steal the show.

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Christine’s Crossing

Creamy Vegetable Soup with Kale

Starting today we’ll be featuring Freshness Farms enthusiast and health coach, Christine de la Cruz in a monthly column called “Christine’s Crossing”.  With Christine’s wellness-oriented coaching you’ll learn how to incorporate Freshness Farms produce into everything from soup to main courses to juice and smoothies—like her sneaky zucchini noodles and vibrant beet and carrot juice.  This week Christine shares how to turn a refrigerator bursting with veggies into a warming potful of vitamins and flavor….

I have a confession to make:  as a health coach, I love to eat and prepare healthy food, but I am a lazy cook.  I don’t really like to follow recipes or spend a lot of time slicing and dicing.  Confession two:  I don’t mind eating soup in the middle of summer.  In summer we have a tendency to mostly eat raw or cold foods, which can be tough on our digestion and cause bloating.  Warm soup is easy on our systems, plus it’s really nice to have a potful of something quick and healthy at the ready when we are hungry!  Making soup is a great way to use up any produce we have overflowing—which we can all relate to in the best possible way.  Right now my fridge is loaded with the last great delivery from Freshness Farms, and I want to use up every last bit, while it’s at the peak of freshness.

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Summer Tomato Vinaigrette

Avocado with Tomato Vinaigrette

I’ve said before that summer is the season when I love to corral my kids in the kitchen to tackle a meaningful project together:  fresh lemonade, bread or a fruit pie, homemade jam, even plain old dinner.  What I haven’t confessed is that one of the often surprising by-products of these adventures is how much I learn from them.  Perhaps as much as anyone, especially considering I enter the room with a slightly overinflated feeling of mastery and general air of food know-it-all-ness.  The person with the ideas and answers.  (What?  There are others?)  Yet I can’t help but take pleasure in the topsy-turvy feeling of being hit head-on by the beautifully simple possibilities that flow through younger mouths.  Mouths that know what THEY like to eat, and with taste buds unencumbered by creativity-stifling notions of what-goes-with-what and why.  And, I must admit, why not?

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Thai Peanut “Noodles”

Thai peanut noodles

This week we welcome back health coach and Freshness Farms participant, Christine de la Cruz, as our first guest writer of this summer season.  Check out Christine’s earlier post on juicing and healthy eating.  This week she shares an ingenious dish that fashions “noodles” from summer squash.  Diners of all ages will adore these sneaky noodles, bathed in a nutty, Thai-inspired sauce—and be none the wiser about their vegetal identity.  

Be sure to stay tuned for more guests throughout the next few months…

Do you, like most Americans, love pasta? I know my family does. Pasta is one of those go-to meals we are all looking for, that EVERYONE will eat. I love pasta too, but it doesn’t really love my thighs. As soon as I eat a comforting bowlful, I immediately feel a bit fluffy and bloated. I don’t like feeling fluffy. Or bloated. Well, guess what? I’ve found a way to have my pasta and eat it too.

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