Sweet coconut lentils

This recipe has a wonderful (and short) list of ingredients that just drew me in.  I had to try it, although I couldn’t imagine just how it would taste.  I mean- sweet dates, creamy lentils, and savory onion…?  Really?  But I did try it, and it was good.  It was a strange thing for me to eat a sweet dish as a side, but it was lovely nonetheless.


1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 pound lentils

1 cup pitted dates, chopped

2 teaspoons tamari

1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut


  • In a large frying pan, heat the oil over a medium heat
  • Add the onion and cook until it’s soft and beginning to brown
  • Stir in the ginger and turmeric and cook for a minute
  • Add 6 cups of water, lentils and dates and bring to a boil
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for half an hour
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F
  • When the lentils have simmered, stir in the tamari and transfer the mixture to a baking dish
  • Cover and bake for 30 minutes
  • Uncover, top the baked mixture with coconut and bake again, uncovered, until the coconut is golden, about 15 minutes longer

Since I was anticipating the sweetness of this side dish, I prepared it with savory grilled lamb chops that I had marinated in honey, tamari, garlic and vinegar.  This made for a well-balanced plate 😉

The inspiration for this dish came from Whole Foods Market.  They put out some great recipes!


Quinoa with Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms

Whole Foods had quite a few gems for me this past week.  This is another of their winning recipes both for flavor and for the healthy prep.  Of course I changed it up a bit to suit my needs.  Then I served it along-side a very rich cut of meat.  Hey, you’ve got to cut your fat and calorie corners where you can right?


1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 small pear, peeled and cored

1 garlic clove

2 pounds portobello mushrooms, stemmed

1 cup quinoa

3 cups spinach, chopped

4 chives, chopped

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Put vinegar, pear and garlic in a blender with 1/3 cup water and blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Cut mushrooms into chunks and combine in a large mixing bowl with 1/4 cup of the pear balsamic dressing. Spread mushrooms in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast mushrooms until tender, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.   *I can honestly say that when I pulled the mushrooms from their roasting in the oven they looked and smelled burnt.  In fact, Neil asked whether or not I was still going to use them in dinner.  I scraped them off of the baking sheet and plopped them into the salad and they were very good.  I do believe that Neil was surprised at the beautiful flavor and texture that came from these beastly looking little things (as was I).
  • While mushrooms roast, prepare quinoa. In a medium pot, bring 1 3/4 cups water to a boil. Stir in quinoa, cover pot, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat and set aside, covered, 10 minutes more. Uncover and fluff.
  • Combine mushrooms, quinoa, spinach, chives, salt, pepper and remaining pear balsamic dressing in a large, wide serving bowl. Stir to mix well.

This salad is packed with fantastic flavor, and does well left-over for lunch the next day, cold.

For dinner I had cooked up a rack of lamb in honey and balsamic vinegar, sage, and garlic:

And roasted some asparagus:

and had a wonderful dinner which balanced well the fatty lamb with the lean veg and salad.


Snow day

So yesterday we got hit with our third snow storm in three weeks, and this time it buried us.  What else was there to do but stay home, do some housework, shovel ridiculous amounts of snow, and cook?

I had lugged my snowblower out of the basement last month in preparation for this winter’s storms, but what I had failed to do was start it and ensure that all was functional.  Go figure, on the day that my back yard is underneath two feet of snow I go to start it only to find that I can’t get gas to the spark plug due to a bad hose and I don’t have the tools necessary for an on-the-spot repair.  I couldn’t leave to purchase tools because my truck was surrounded by the cold, white stuff so I grabbed my shovel and started digging.

I happen to have awesome neighbors and when the husband came out to do his plowing he gave a run up one side of my driveway with his plow which significantly trimmed my efforts (in half).  While I was still clearing out the half that wasn’t plowed, he ran across my sidewalk and front walk to my door with his snowblower.  Needless to say I spent last evening baking his favorite cookies (molasses) and some spice cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

Before I baked though, I made dinner.  I threw some burgundy-pepper lamb tips into the cast iron fry pan for a couple of minutes, cooked up some brown rice in beef stock, and steamed some petite peas and fresh asparagus.  It was yum!  The lamb was so flavorful and moist.

Burgundy pepper lamb tips with brown rice, peas and asparagus

Since it was a snow day, I figured that beer should be allowed too so I cracked open a BBC Cabin Fever Ale despite my own restrictions for race training.  A bit after dinner I had a hankering for something sweet and cracked open one of my personal favorites Southern Tier’s choklat.  Once the baked goods were delivered I got some snuggle time on the couch watching Dr. Who and called it a day.