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Wednesday
Apr042012

Curried Lentil Squash Soup

If you are anything like me, you love curry. In fact, I have a whole slew of curry recipes for you all. This one is a very simple soup. It can be made in 45 minutes or put in the crockpot to simmer all day on low. You could easily spice it up with additional vegetables or leave it as a basic squash and lentil soup. As always, serve it with fresh bread or over basmati rice and you have yourself a delicious, quick supper.

Curried Lentil Squash Soup


  • 1 lb butternut squash, fresh or frozen, cubed

  • 1 cup green lentils

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tbsp ginger

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

  • 5-6 cups of water

  • 1 tbsp curry powder

  • 1 tsp salt



  1. If using a crockpot, place all ingredients in the crockpot on low (4-6 hours) and sit back and relax.

  2. If you are making this over the stove, place 1 tbsp olive oil in the pot you will be using to make your soup. Turn stove to medium heat and add garlic and onions. Sautee for 5 minutes.

  3. Add squash and sautee for 10 minutes, stirring and letting the squash brown.

  4. Add remaining ingredients, cover and let simmer on medium heat for roughly 40 minutes. Check at the 30 minute mark to make sure you don't need to add more liquid. If necessary, add an additional 1 cup of water.

  5. If you prefer, use half water and half vegetable stock. This will make the dish a bit more salty and flavorful.

Wednesday
Apr042012

Roasted Vegetables, Apples and White Bean "Casserole" with Israeli Couscous

As a 90% vegetarian, I often find myself in a bit of a dilemma. It goes something like this: I am trying to decide what to cook for dinner and am faced with a kitchen full of vegetables. I have exhausted my go-to meals, don't want bean cakes with a side of veggies and don't really feel like sauteed greens, no matter how much I love them. My creativity bug drained for the day, I am stumped. Now the second part to this tale is if I go just a few minutes to one side of hungry, I tend to have a melt down. If I reach that point, there is no turning back. I will lose all ability to make a decision, cook a meal, and well, we are screwed. Knowing that little tid-bit about myself, I try very hard to never (or as infrequently as possible) reach that horrible horrible level. So stuck in the middle of - don't know what to cook land - and - not wanting to detonate into a ball of indecision - this dinner was my solution. Chop up some root vegetables, throw in some onions, add beans for protein, mix it all together with granny smith apples and a little something sweet and roast for 30-40 minutes. Serve over top of easy Israeli couscous (which by the way is 1000 times better than regular ol' couscous) and voila, dinner is served...before the point of no return is ever reached.

Roasted Vegetables, Apples and White Bean "Casserole" with Israeli Couscous

  • 1 turnip
  • 1/2 butternut squash
  • 1/2 buttercup squash
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 granny smith apples, peeled is optional
  • 1-14 oz can of white beans (cannellini, great northern, or navy)
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cup dried Israeli couscous
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup water
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Grease a 9x13 casserole dish.
  3. Cut the turnip and both types of squash into cubes. If you don't have two types of squash, just use one type in its entirety. Cut the onion and apple into similar size pieces.
  4. Place all of the vegetables in a large bowl.
  5. Drain the beans and rinse them in a colander. Add the beans to the bowl of vegetables.
  6. Add juice from one lemon, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, rosemary, salt and brown sugar and toss to coat the vegetables and apples.
  7. Spread the vegetables, apples and beans into the 9x13 dish and place in the oven.
  8. Cook for roughly 40 minutes or until vegetables are golden brown and soft.
  9. While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the couscous as follows.
  10. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium sized pot over medium heat. Add couscous and let cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add vegetable stock and water and bring to a boil. Once it is boiling, reduce heat and let cook for 10-15 minutes or until the couscous has absorbed the liquid.
  11. Serve the vegetable "casserole" over top of the couscous.
Friday
Mar302012

March Foodie Penpal

Back for another edition of Foodie Penpal. This month I had the pleasure of sending some gifts to Danielle who writes over at Foodosauras Rex.  I was also lucky enough to be paired with Beatriz of Collections of Thoughts (a non-food blog that includes her musings on life). I received the perfect package from her containing mostly healthy food, all of which satisfied my sweet tooth. Beatriz sent me some delicious applesauce, dried apricots, vanilla granola (which was to die for), yogurt covered pretzels, and crispy chocolate chip cookies. I think I managed to snag just one of those tasty cookies before my husband confiscated the package and devoured the rest. Thanks so much for the wonderful treats and rockin' card!

In case you are interested in participating in Foodie Penpals, Lindsay is always accepting new participants. Here are some details on how the program works, your responsibilities, and how to sign up.

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We've determined things might get too slow and backed up if we're trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, I'm going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!

Thursday
Mar292012

Strawberry Basil Salad Dressing and a Oxo Salad Spinner Review and Giveaway

First things first, a sald spinner may seem like one of those superfluous gadgets but it's not. It is such a helpful thing to have on hand and it doubles as a great storage tool for a large, premade salad. Oxo's Good Grips salad spinner is the perfect spinner to have on hand. It is big, but not too big. The clear bowl works well as a serving dish so that you don't have to transfer your salad to yet another bowl. It works like this: chop your lettuce or put in pre-chopped lettuce or spinach (or any other leafy greens for that matter), run it under the tap, pop the top on and lock it, push the knob to get things spinning and then press the little rubber button to stop the spinner. Empty out the water in the main bowl and repeat a second time. Dump the water one more time and transfer the salad out of the strainer into the clear bowl. When you are ready to store, simply put the top on, lock it and refrigerate. Really, it doesn't get much simpler than this. Plus, the whole thing - top, strainer, and bowl - are all dishwasher safe. Well thanks to Oxo, I have one of their Large Salad Spinners to giveaway to a lucky SFHL reader.


I also have a fabulous Strawberry Basil Salad Dressing recipe I made and served over a spinach salad with shallots, mushrooms, fresh sliced strawberries and a bit of crumbled feta. Of course the spinach was cleaned and subsequently stored in my Oxo Good Grips Salad Spinner. Here's what you need:

Strawberry Basil Salad Dressing

  • 1.5-2 cups strawberries, de-stemmed and halved
  • 4 large leaves basil
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender or Vitamix and puree until smooth, approximately 30 seconds. 
  2. Serve over fresh baby spinach, chopped baby bella mushrooms, diced onion or sliced shallots, thinly sliced strawberries and freshly crumbled feta.
  3. Enjoy!

Okay, so now you want to know how to win a Oxo Good Grips Salad Spinner? It's pretty simple. There is one mandatory entry and five additional, optional entries. Leave a separate comment for each of the entries and make sure to include your email address so that I can contact the winner. The giveaway will end Sunday, April 11 at 11:59p.m. I will select a winner using random.org next Monday, April 12 and you will have 24 hours to respond before I pick a new winner.

  1. MANDATORY ENTRY: Leave a comment telling me what your favorite salad or salad dressing is. Recipes are always appreciated! 
  2. Like Simple Food Healthy Life on facebook.
  3. Like Oxo on facebook.
  4. Follow Simple Food Healthy Life on twitter.
  5. Follow Oxo on Twitter.
  6. Tweet the following message: I entered to win an @Oxo Salad Spinner from @smplfdhlthylfe. Enter to win at http://ow.ly/9Xbmz by Sunday, April 11 at 11:59p.m. Please RT.

Disclaimer: Oxo provided the Good Grips Salad Spinner to review at no cost. No additional compensation was received. All opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday
Mar202012

Healthy Tomato Remoulade Chickpea Salad

I was reading a magazine the other day and saw a great idea: chickpea salad made like chicken salad. Not sure why I didn't think of that. I grew up having chicken salad constantly. My mom used to make it all different ways, but one of my favorites was (and still is) chicken mixed with a bit of mayo, red wine vinegar, dijon, almond slivers and red grapes (halved). Why should I deprive myself of this favorite meal, just because I choose not to eat meat very often. As always, chickpeas come to the rescue. Chickpeas are kind of the superhero of the vegetarian world. They go in and with anything. Anyways, I had every intention of making a light mayo based chickpea salad, grapes and all, for lunch this weekend. However, I made a tomato remoulade for pan seared scallops on Saturday night and the remoulade was just so tasty. I decided since it had almost all the  ingredients I would put in a regular chicken salad with the positive addition of grape tomatoes, why not mix it with slightly mashed chickpeas. I did and the result was perfect. I had it with some fresh romaine lettuce and sliced tomatoes one day and atop a piece of homemade bread on another day.

Healthy Tomato Remoulade Chickpea Salad

Tomato Remoulade

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp light mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt

 

  1. Place all ingredients in a Vitamix (or blender) and puree. Start on Variable, 1 and immediately increase to 10, switching to High for 30 seconds.
  2. Place in a container to cool.
  3. Excess sauce can be refrigerated for up to a week.

Chickpea Salad

  • 14 ounces chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4-1/3 cup of tomato remoulade sauce
  1. Place drained and rinsed chickpeas in a large bowl. Using a potato masher (or backside of a fork), mash the chickpeas slightly. I chose to have them half mashed and hallf whole, though you could certainly mash them entirely or leave them completely whole. 
  2. Mix in 1/4 cup of tomato remoulade with the mashed chickpeas. If you wish, add more remoulade 1 tablespoon at a time until you are satisfied.
  3. Eat plain, atop romaine lettuce or on an open face sandwich.