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Less is more. With sprouted french petite lentils.

Last time I cooked french lentil stew, my daughter picked and took out every tiny piece of onion. At first I felt frustrated and confused. How come? Onion is what gives a dish a flavor and a good taste! After a while I decided to cook those small cute lentils with no onions. It turned out great with less work.

Less can be more.
Less cooking time means more time to do other things.
More time to do other things is always welcome.

Sprouted french petite lentil stew with brown rice and kale

Sprouted french petite lentils stew
I have to admit, the sprouting lentils is not exactly doing less, but really, lentils do all the job themselves. I just put them in the water and wash them once a day with cold tap water for couple of days. The lentils become a small discs with little tails. It is super food. Omit this part and cook the lentils without sprouting, if it is not fun for you. You might soak them for half an hour, but even this is not must.

Sprouted - can you see those little tails?


Ingredients

1 cup french petite lentils (or black beluga lentils), sprouted or soaked for at least 30 minutes
1 cup tomato sauce of your choice
sea salt (to taste)
cumin
turmeric
red chilli flakes
black pepper
kale chopped to your {child} liking (optional)

Method

Add lentils and 3 cups of water into pot and bring to boiling. Add tomato sauce, salt and spices. Boil until soft. It will be about 20 minutes if sprouted. Not sprouted might take about 10 minutes longer.



Serve alone or over rice/grains of your choice.

Super easy healthy lunch. With hemp seeds.

"I'm late!
 I'm late! 
 For a very important date!
 No time to say hello, goodbye!
 I'm late!
 I'm late!
 I'm late!"                      
                            White Rabbit's song, from "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll

Sometimes this is how I feel. Many parents, working and not working may relate. But do I really have to be pressed with time in order to prepare easy lunch? Making something quick will allow me to spend time on other things that really matter - reading, taking a walk or playing one more chess game.

Sprouted whole grain bread with cream cheese and hemp seeds, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers


Really, there is no recipe.
My 6 years old daughter asked to make it for her dinner today.
It was entirely her idea.

Cream cheese sandwich with hemp seeds and vegetables can be excellent speedy lunch.

Take good sandwich bread. I have used sprouted whole grain bread from Trader Joe's.
Spread cream cheese you like - I prefer whole milk to reduced fat.
Wash and cut some vegetables.
Sprinkle hulled hemp seeds on top for added taste and nutrition. Hemp plant has many uses and using hemp seeds for food surprised me first time I have heard about it. And hemp seeds considered to be super food. They are rich in essential fatty acids, vitamin E and minerals. Hemp seeds have pleasant nutty taste that can enhance many dishes, especially fresh salads.   



To pack lunch for yourself or your child, fold the sandwich over, cut it to fit into lunch box, add fresh vegetables and it is ready.

Simply best baked potato "fries". Skins on.

In my search for perfect potato chips, I came along this technique. And the result? Crispy, delicious potato fries with very little oil.

Baked organic potatoes skins on with olive oil and sea salt

How?

Follow the method. There are few steps, but the result worth it. Believe me.

Simply best baked potato "fries"

Ingredients

Potatoes, organic - 2 pounds, skins on, cut to wedges (half and then half each piece again)
Olive oil - 2 table spoons
Sea salt - to taste
Spices - to taste

Method

Begin by heating the oven to 400F. In a large pot, boil about 5 quarts of water, adding salt as for cooking pasta, about 2 tea spoons. Prepare a cookie sheet or baking dish, lined with parchment paper. Brush the paper with olive oil. When the water is boiling, add the potatoes and cook for 5-10 minutes, just till they start to soften. Drain the water. The potatoes will dry out, since they are so hot. Place the potatoes in one layer onto the cookie sheet. Brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt. Add spices of your choice, if desired. Good match might be rosemary, oregano, chili flakes. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden. Serve immediately. 

Notes: 
Organic potatoes skins are rich in vitamins and minerals. If using not organic potatoes, peel them.
Those potato fries good to be eaten right away from the oven, warm and delicious. They will loose their taste when saved for later. But trust me, they are so delicious, you won't have any left! 


How to steam asparagus?

Vegetables.
Eat more vegetables.
Eat as many vegetables as you can.
Feed your family as many vegetables as you can.
Greener is better.

What is the vegetable of choice today? Yes! Asparagus!

steamed asparagus - easy
Steamed asparagus and broccoli

Another vegetable to add variety to your family menu. For many years I had no idea how to cook asparagus. I was afraid even to try. Then I searched and found many asparagus recipes. I tried some.

This is great vegetable - healthy, delicious. And usually to have asparagus in my menu, I use very simple preparation. Steamed asparagus is perfect just as it is and asparagus leftovers are such a great addition to lunchbox and to any other dish. I cut them to pieces and add to scrambled eggs. I use them as pizza topping. I add them to chicken soup.

There is a special asparagus steamer on the market. It will make sure bottom part gets more heat than tender tops. Sounds like a great idea, but asparagus is great steamed using regular steamer. I don't let complicated recipes and special equipment to stop me anymore.



Steamed asparagus

Ingredients

asparagus - about 1 pound
water

Tools

Steaming basket
Large pot or wok











Asparagus before steaming

Method

Wash asparagus. One by one bend the bottom part till it breaks and discard hard chewy ends. Place asparagus in the steaming basket. Fill water in pot or wok almost to the bottom of the steaming basket. Cover and bring to boiling. Steam for about 3-4 minutes depending on thickness, till asparagus softens a little. The asparagus will change it color from raw green to bright green.  Run under cold water to stop cooking. Serve with or without dressing of your choice or refrigerate for future use.



I
Packed for lunch - asparagus, beets and pineapple


Easy finger food - just hold and bite.


Baked whole cauliflower. Kids favorite.

    Amazing look and taste. I saw those cauliflowers heads on the shelf of Israeli restaurant in Tel Aviv. It looked extraordinary. Heads of cauliflower lay one next to each other. Those cauliflower heads are what got my attention and brought me to this place at dinner time. I have enjoyed every bite and every moment. The atmosphere was fun and very unusual. Did it catch your interest? Here is the place - haMiznon. Try it. Trust me. If you are lucky - you might get a run of complimentary aromatic tea or spiced coffee, brewed for the crew and shared with everyone.

How to make at home?

Baked cauliflower with sea salt and olive oil

 

Baked whole cauliflower

Ingredients
Whole fresh cauliflower
Olive oil, about 1 tablespoon
Sea salt, 1 teaspoon or to taste


Method
Preheat oven to 400F. In a large pot boil water enough to immerse cauliflower whole. Cut the bottom of the cauliflower so it will sit steady when placed on flat surface. You may choose to salt the water. When the water is boiling add cauliflower, cover and let it cook for 6-10 minutes, until it can be pierced with fork. Remove from water. Let the cauliflower sit on the counter for about 10 minutes, in order to cool down and dry out. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place on ovenproof dish or skillet and bake the cauliflower until golden brown, for about 10 minutes. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

     Cauliflower prepared this way is a kids favorite. They tear cauliflower florets one ofter another and send them to their mouths. I rarely have anything left to put in lunchboxes the next day. It is usually gone in a very first minutes of the meal.

Fragrant ground turkey "stir in". With vegetables.

When I want something quick, easy and pleasing to both kids and parents I cook group turkey with fragrant spices and a lot of vegetables. This versatile dish can be used as pasta sauce, as a filling for tortillas, as an aromatic for plain rice or other cooked grains. Just stir in.
 
turkey for rice with vegetables
Almost ready! Ground turkey stir in with vegetables.


Fragrant ground turkey stir fry

Ingredients
ground turkey, 1 pound
onion, 2 small, sliced and diced
carrot, 1 grated
zucchini, 1, sliced to bite size pieces
olive oil, 1 table spoon
soy or tamary sauce (for gluten free), 1 tablespoon
turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon
sweet paprika, 1 teaspoon
garlic, 1 clove, diced
sea salt, to taste (reduce due to saltiness of soy sauce)
cumin seeds, whole, 1/2 teaspoon (optional)
adjwain seeds, 1/2 teaspoon (optional)
parsley, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup water

Note:
Add more vegetables! Green peas, asparagus, shredded cabbage, bean sprouts. Everything works.

Method
In large skillet heat oil on medium heat. Add the seeds, if using, and let them the flavor the oil - heat them for about 30 seconds. Add onions and stir fry them for about 5 minutes. Add carrots and stir fry for another 2 minutes. Add turkey and cook it till no longer pink. Break large pieces as you stir.

Add soy sauce, zucchini and rest of the spices. Add 1/2 cup water, stir. Cover and let cook for 8-10 minutes. Add parsley and serve.

Will go into lunchbox tomorrow with basmati rice and side of raw vegetables.

Meatball soup for couscous.

Another variation on meatball soup. Same meatballs, different vegetables - new soup. Easy and convenient to serve over couscous or quinoa.

meatball soup with squash and cabbage
Turkey meatballs soup with butternut squash, green beans, carrots, zucchini and cabbage


Turkey Meatballs Soup with butternut squash, carrots, cabbage, zucchini and green beans
(суп с фрикадельками)


Ingredients

For the meatballs
- ground turkey, dark meat, 1 pound (or other meat of your choice)
- onion, 1 medium chopped
- carrot, 1 grated
- parsley, 2 tables spoons chopped
- egg, 1
- sea salt, 1/2 tablespoon or to taste
- black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon or to taste
- turmeric, to taste 1/2 teaspoon or to taste
- paprika, to taste 1/2 teaspoon or to taste

For the rest of the soup
- carrots, 2 small, peeled
- parsnip, 1, peeled (optional)
- butternut squash, 1/2, peeled and cut to bite size pieces
- cabbage, about half a pound, chopped
- green beans, 1/4 a pound, cut to bite size pieces
- zucchini, 1 medium, cut to bite size pieces
- sea salt, to taste
- tamari or soy sauce, 1 tablespoon (optional)
- bay leave, 1-2
- parsley strings (optional)
- oregano, dry, 1/2 teaspoon or to taste
- chilli flakes, to taste (optional)
- sea salt, to taste
- black pepper, to taste
- turmeric, to taste

Method

In a large pot, boil water. Put in carrots, butternut squash and parsnip. Place all the ingredients for the meatballs in large mixing bowl and mix well with your hands. Wet your hands and form small meatballs. As you form them, gently drop each meatball into boiling water. Lower the heat to low. Add the spices - bay leaves, oregano and parsley strings and let the soup simmer to 15 minutes. Add rest of the vegetables, salt and salt and cook for another 15 minutes. The vegetables can be easily pierced with fork.


Enjoy over couscous, white or wholewheat or cooked quinoa for gluten free version.