Watermelon Baby Carriage

Watermelon Baby CarraigeThat time has come. I’ve gone from shopping for dresses to wear to weddings to shopping for dresses to wear to baby showers…. Earlier this year, I attended a pot luck baby shower for my dear friend and as I am sure you can imagine, got very excited about the what I could bring to this event. Well this is a simple, healthy and adorable dish you can make next time you attend or host a baby shower. Enjoy little ones!

Watermelon Baby Carriage
 
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Serves: 15-20
Ingredients
  • 1 medium watermelon
  • 5 toothpicks
  • 4 orange slices
  • 4 lime slices
  • 2 cups seedless red grapes, divided
  • 1 medium cantaloupe, cut into balls
  • 2 cups seedless green grapes
  • 2 cups halved fresh strawberries
Instructions
  1. With a sharp knife, cut a thin slice from bottom of melon it sits flat. Lightly score a horizontal line halfway up sides and around the melon, leaving 5 in. from one end unmarked on each side for baby carriage hood.
  2. For hood, make another line around top of watermelon, connecting both sides of the horizontal line. Using the rounded edge of a biscuit cutter as a guide, mark a scalloped edge along all straight lines. (Can also just do straight edge here). With a long sharp knife, cut into melon along the scalloped lines, making sure to cut all the way through the melon rind. Gently pull off rind. Remove fruit from melon and removed section; cut fruit into balls or cubes and set aside.
  3. For the U-shaped handle, cut out a 5-in. square from the removed section of rind. Cut out the center and one end, leaving a 1-in.-wide handle. Break one toothpick in half. Attach handle to watermelon with toothpick halves.
  4. For wheels, position orange slices at base of watermelon and attach with toothpicks. To each orange slice with a lime slice and a red grape.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the cantaloupe, green grapes, strawberries, remaining red grapes and reserved watermelon. Spoon into baby carriage.

Serving Suggestion: Use any fruit of your choice!

Thanks Taste of Home for the idea!

Holy Guacamole!

GuacamoleAvocados are incredibly healthy but if you are like me when it comes to guacamole, it is pretty easy to eat the equivalent of four avocados in one sitting… That’s where this recipe comes in handy (and just in time for Cinco de Mayo)! Not only does adding green vegetables to the avocado reduce the fat content but it also boosts the nutritional value of the guacamole. Grab some homemade chips and enjoy!

Holy Guacamole!
 
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Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime or lemon juice
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 medium red or sweet onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno or serrano chile, seeded and minced
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. In a blender or in the bowl of a food processor, process the peas until smooth.
  2. In a medium bowl, mash the avocado with a fork or potato masher. Add the juice, tomato, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, garlic, salt, and black pepper. Add the peas and mix well.
  3. If the guacamole won’t be served immediately, press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface to prevent browning.

Variation: Instead of peas, use 1 cup well-cooked broccoli, edamame, or cooked asparagus tips.

Photo Credit: Simply Recipes

Spice It Up – The Spice that Changed my Life!

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A friend and fellow food lover gave my husband and I this spice as part of our wedding gift. It changed my life, literally! I now buy it three at a time and have given it as a gift several times. Don’t worry if you are not a fan of spicy as it is not that hot. I honestly feel like this is the most universal spice and really adds so much to every dish so I thought it only appropriate to share with my fellow foodies. Even if it is not listed on all the recipes on this site, I usually throw in a dash or two :). You can find it al Sur la Table or online!!!

 

 

Here are just a few recipes where you can try it:

Red Lentil and Squash Soup

Soups

Paella

Rice Dishes

White Beans

Homemade Beans

White Beans and Cabbage

Veggie sides

And Many Many more!!! Enjoy 🙂

Lentils with Sweet Potatoes, Mushrooms and Kale

Lentils with Sweet Potato, Mushrooms and Kale

This is my go-to week night dish. I honestly think I end up eating it about once a week on nights where I don’t really feel like “cooking” or I get home late. It is super easy, tasty, filling and healthy! This recipe shows lentils but I have made it with almost every type of bean you can imagine: black, white, garbanzo… use whatever you have in the house!

Lentils with Sweet Potatoes, Mushrooms and Kale
 
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Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into cubes
  • 1-2 tsp garlic
  • 1 package mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 – 2 bunches kale
  • 1 can (15 oz) or approx 2 cups of homemade beans of your choice (photo shows lentils)
  • Seasoning: I usually use a combo of spicy paprika, salt and pepper but I have also used taco seasoning when making with black or pinto beans or curry when using garbanzo. You need approx 2 -3 Tbsp of spice and then salt and pepper to taste.
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a pan. Add onion and cook until fragrant and then add sweet potato. Saute approximately 6 minutes or until sweet potato starts to become tender.
  2. Add in garlic and mushrooms and saute until mushrooms are cooked.
  3. Add kale, beans and spices and continue to cook until sweet potatoes are cooked through, mushrooms are tender and kale is wilted.
  4. Season to taste and serve.

Serving suggestion: Often times I serve this over a bed of arugula and put sliced cherry tomatoes on top 🙂

Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad

 I do have another Brussels Sprout Salad up but this salad actually tastes quite different due to the dressing and the addition of Kale. One of my all time favorite salads is the Dino Kale Salad at The Plant so I chose to add cherry tomatoes to this dish. It is quick, healthy and delicious!

Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad
 
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Serves: 8-10
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp minced shallot
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large bunches of Tuscan kale (about 1½ lb. total), center stem discarded, leaves thinly sliced – this cannot be a hard crunchy kale, it needs to be a softer kale in order for the texture to turn out right. TJ’s precut kale won’t work…
  • 12 oz brussels sprouts, trimmed, finely grated or shredded with a knife
  • 8 oz cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ⅓ cup almonds with skins, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup finely grated Pecorino (can omit if looking for a vegan version)
Instructions
  1. Combine lemon juice, Dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, ½ tsp. salt, and a pinch of pepper in a small bowl. Stir to blend; set aside to let flavors meld. Mix thinly sliced kale and shredded brussels sprouts in a large bowl.
  2. Measure ½ cup oil into a cup. Spoon 1 Tbsp. oil from cup into a small skillet; heat oil over medium-high heat. Add almonds to skillet and stir frequently until golden brown in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer nuts to a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle almonds lightly with salt.
  3. Slowly whisk remaining olive oil in cup into lemon-juice mixture. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Add dressing and cheese to kale mixture; toss to coat. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Garnish with almonds.

Serving Suggestion: Dressing, kale mixture, and toasted almonds can be prepared 8 hours ahead. Cover dressing and kale mixture separately and chill. Cover almonds and let stand at room temperature.

Photo Credit: Bon Appetit

Vegetarian Caesar Dressing

Caesar Dressing

Every year my Supper Club and I get together and have a tradition that includes a Caesar salad, paired with a buttery Chardonnay :). That being said, we have tried a few different recipes and this one is absolutely delicious and is much healthier than many of the recipes you’ll find out there. Whip it up, serve with some romaine and homemade croutons (don’t forget the Chard) and and you are good to go!

Be sure to check out my Kale Caesar Salad (using this dressing) that was featured on Mind Body Green!

Vegetarian Caesar Dressing
 
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Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Worchester sauce (vegetarian versions are available at health food stores)
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ cups good mild olive oil – add more if consistency is not as desired
  • ½ – 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Place the mustard, garlic, Worchester sauce, lemon juice, salt, and pepper into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth.
  2. With the food processor running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube until thick.
  3. Add the grated Parmesan cheese, starting with a half of a cup and mix well. Add more cheese until you have your desired consistency.

Serving Suggestion: This can be made in advance but be sure it’s at room temperature when you assemble the salad.

Photo Credit: Whole Foods

The Best of 2011

It’s hard to believe FLB has been going strong for a year. Below is a year in review of the best recipes of 2011! It’s been a great year and here’s looking forward to an even better and healthier 2012! Happy New Year to you all.

January: Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

February: Cilantro and Lemon Flax Vinaigrette

March: Warm Garbanzo and Quinoa Salad

April: Vegetable and White Bean Stew

May: Sesame Crusted Tofu Stir Fry

June: The Cookie-less Cookie

July: Raw Zucchini Pasta

August: The Ultimate Veggie Burger

September: Pea and Mint Dip

October: Baked Kale Chips

November: Harvest Bread

December: Brussels Sprout Salad

Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad with Walnuts and Manchego Cheese

Brussels Sprout Salad

My dear friend made this for our Supper Club and I couldn’t believe how good and how simple it it was. Combining the lemon juice with the raw brussels takes all of the bitterness away. I have made it several times since and it is a hit. The manchego is a compliment to this yummy salad but you can always omit if you are looking for a vegan version!

Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad with Walnuts and Manchego Cheese
 
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 10 -12 oz (approx 3 cups) Brussels Sprouts, trimmed
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher Salt
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil
  • ¾ cup (3 oz) coarsely grated Manchego cheese
  • Freshly ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 10 min. or until golden and fragrant. Transfer to a place to cool, then coarsely chop the nuts.
  2. In a food processor, shred the brussels sprouts (I pulsed them). Transfer to a medium serving bowl. Toss the brussels sprouts with the lemon juice and 1 tsp kosher salt and let stand for 5 min.
  3. Add the toasted walnuts, olive oil and Manchego and toss. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Photo Credit: Juxtapost

Cornbread Stuffing with Brussels Sprouts & Squash

Cornbread Stuffing

One thing that simply baffles me is why we don’t eat stuffing more that once a year? I mean really… It is so delicious!!! To get your prepped for your Thanksgiving Day meal one week from today, you’ve got to try out this recipe. It is not your normal stuffing. It is packed with vegetables including butternut squash and my second favorite fall food, brussels sprouts. This is like Fall in a dish!

Cornbread Stuffing with Brussels Sprouts & Squash
 
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Serves: 8-12
Ingredients
  • 3 lbs winter squash, such as buttercup or butternut
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 lbs prepared cornbread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 12 cups) – find a vegan version here.
  • 4 cups brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 cup currants, raisins or dried cranberries
  • 1 cup pecan halves, coarsely chopped and toasted
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh chives
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 8 fresh sage leaves, rubbed and sliced
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Halve squash, remove seeds and cut into 1-inch-thick wedges (leave the skin on). Spread on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil, rubbing to coat the squash evenly. Roast until soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool. Peel, cut into 1-inch pieces and place in a large bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, spread cornbread cubes on a large baking sheet. Toast on the upper rack until crisp around the edges, about 20 minutes. Add to the bowl with the squash.
  4. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add Brussels sprouts and cook until barely tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain again and add to the bowl.
  5. Add currants (or raisins or cranberries), pecans, chives, parsley and sage. Then add broth and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Spoon into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
  6. Bake the stuffing until heated through, 45 to 55 minutes.

Serving Suggestion: Serve with a side salad or your favorite vegetable side.

Once again a big thanks to Eating Well.

Baked Kale Chips

Kale ChipsSome people find kale to be too bitter but kale is filled with antioxidants, has anti-inflammatory effects, is loaded with vitamins and aids in the detoxification process so we have to find a way to like it, right? Well these kale chips are simple to make and incredibly delicious. There is no doubt that this healthy snack is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Eat alone, serve with dips and spreads, on top of soups… the uses are endless!

Baked Kale Chips
 
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Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and torn into bite size pieces (Trader Joes has a bag of kale already chopped and stems removed for an easier version)
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat over to 350.
  2. Place kale on baking sheet. Spray or drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
  3. Bake for about 10 minutes or until edges brown but they are not burnt. Keep a careful watch here as they can burn quickly!