French lentil salad with walnuts

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There are few dishes I’ve made or enjoyed recently that are this healthy and also this satisfying!  I know many of you are still on your New Year’s resolution kick to eat more healthfully, lose weight, etc., and this dish will give you both health and pure eating pleasure.  These French lentils are truly easy to make and are great warm, or cold the next day for lunch over a salad, or on their own.

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The recipe, from David Lebovitz’s “My Paris Kitchen,” calls for simple and earthy winter flavors — bay leaf, celery and toasted walnuts are the subtle standouts but the bright dressing has complex flavors that will keep you coming back for more.

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Ginger Cookies

Since Thanksgiving there’s been an onslaught of sweets in my life and just general overall food decadence.  I’ve been bombarded with sweet treats at work, tempted by holiday goodies at the grocery store and I find myself craving heartier, heavier meals.  It’s winter and I want all the yummy foods that come with the season.  Ginger is one of my favorite year-round flavors, especially in my morning smoothie, but ginger cookies are another story.  I love them!  These cookies are gluten and dairy free so you can indulge without the guilt!

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Butternut-Miso Soup with Coconut

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Butternut is such a stereotypical Fall food, but sometimes stereotypes are there for a reason.  Am I right?  Butternut is amazing.  I love it mixed into creamy risotto, embedded in delicate ravioli, roasted with herbs like rosemary or sage, but mostly, I love it in soup.  This recipe is different from the traditional butternut squash soups you see this time of year.  It is made with miso broth, fresh ginger, cayenne and coconut milk.

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The hardest part about making butternut squash soup of any kind is prepping the butternut.  It’s worth it though, I promise.  Get smallish butternuts so you’re not left wrangling a large one, which is more difficult in my experience.  A smaller one will make it easier to slice off both ends, peel, then halve the squash before removing the seeds and cubing the butternut.  It’s a little messy…

P1050201But that’s OK because everything else about this dish is simple.  White miso has a delicate, salty flavor and when you put the paste into simmering water, you’ll instantly think you’re about to make miso soup, which I might do another time.  However, adding the butternut with sauteed onions and fresh spices makes this soup rich and unique.

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Jam and bread

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I was going to call this post “Life changing loaf” because that is what this bread is actually called, and it actually is life-changing!  Instead, though I’m calling it “Jam and bread” because I couldn’t help myself, I am a huge fan of The Sound of Music!!  Who else?  There’s no jam recipe, just the bread and you don’t have to top this life-changing bread with just jam, I’ve done nut butters, honey, coconut oil, pesto and I’ve had it warmed up and enjoyed it on its own.

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Kale pesto for everything

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Someone asked me the other day if I thought pesto was a condiment.  I say it is!  I put pesto on pretty much anything, which to me makes it a condiment, and the Huffington Post seems to agree.  I put pesto on sandwiches, eggs, avocado, pasta, pizza, plus you can use it as a dip for veggies or pita bread.  The options truly are endless.  Because I so enjoy pesto, I have developed my own that uses some traditional pesto flavors like pine nuts and garlic, but I omit the cheese and add the kale.  #teamkale

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Pesto’s amazing flavor comes from basil.  Basil is such a wonderful herb with a subtle sweetness and elements of anise that give it an interesting bite.  Basil is packed with vitamins K and A so it’s a terrific thing to add to your diet.  We’re just incredibly lucky someone thought of pesto!

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Mexican Lasagna

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I was recently in Tulsa, OK to see one of my beautiful sorority sisters get married.  The wedding was gorgeous and the weekend was a blast, partly because I stumbled upon the greatest cafe ever!  It was a spot I did not expect to find in Tulsa.  I love when the world surprises me!  The cafe is called Nourish and it was opened in January by two sisters who seem to have a passion for bringing healthful food and drinks the their beautiful Midwestern city.  I bought my new favorite t-shirt there (see below) and later explored Nourish’s website where I found this yummy-sounding recipe for Mexican lasagna.  After making it, I know it is not just yummy-sounding but yummy-tasting, too!

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Raw banana bread bites

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Really ripe bananas are so sweet, they’re almost impossible to eat on their own at that point.  They are however, fantastic in smoothies and cookies, and overly ripe bananas are essential in this recipe for raw banana bread.  Your bananas should be mostly brown and very soft.  For this recipe, ripe bananas and dates are the only sweetener added, and those two natural ingredients are all the sweetness this “bread” needs!

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It would be easy to mistake this raw banana bread for traditional banana bread, but this bread has no eggs, flour or oil.  It is made mostly with nuts and seeds.  It’s extremely dense and nutritious, but after serving these to a variety of friends, I can confidently say you won’t find someone who doesn’t like this bread.

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Carrots love raisins

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I think I was in eighth grade when I had my first carrot-raisin salad.  My mom made it one night when I had a friend over for dinner.  This friend was a “picky eater.”  For some reason, a carrot-raisin salad just sounds unappealing to an eighth grader.  Even now, I don’t know if it would be what I order on a menu, but I can tell you, I crave this easy and delicious salad that is filling and full of healing nutrients like beta-carotene!  And, as my mom said years ago, “Do you like carrots?  Do you like raisins?  Well, they’re mixed together!”  This salad is almost that easy.

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