fresh tomato and arugula pasta

This dish is made possible by summer kismet, and is even more wonderful because it is so fast and easy.
Just as the tomatoes come on in my garden, I find myself wondering what in the world to do with the arugula before it goes to bolt. This yumminess is the answer.
Though it is hardly summer here anymore, we enjoyed this little number this week after we cleaned out the garden and found we still had some arugula. Though it was a bit more ribby than usual, it was still oh, so delicious.


1 large onion, diced
2 cups arugula, tightly packed, ribs removed if desired
3 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
       If you wish, you can skin and seed them. Or you can "chop" them in a food processor.
1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled - seriously. it makes the dish what it is.
toasted pine nuts or walnuts 
whole-wheat pasta
cooking oil
salt and pepper to taste

Cook onion with some freshly ground pepper over medium heat until onion is browned - about 15 minutes.

Put pasta on to cook.

Add tomatoes to onions and cook until tomatoes give up much of their juice. Add arugula and stir. Cook until the leaves wilt.

Serve over pasta and sprinkle with Gorgonzola crumbles and nuts. Add salt to taste.


Saturday Night Special

Black Bean and Mushroom Burger on a homemade Whole Wheat Bun with Sweet Potato Fries. Yum.

I've made these bean burgers a few times, but they are a bit time intensive, albeit delicious. So the last time I made them, I made a huge batch and froze them in patties separated by parchment paper. So, this evening when I was craving a burger, all I had to do was throw them on the George Foreman and wait for the magic. Here's the recipe:

Black Bean and Mushroom Burger:
1-2 T Oil
1 Onion
1-2 Cloves Garlic
2 C. Mushrooms, diced
3 C. Black Beans, cooked
1 tsp. Cumin
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Oil for Grilling

First, saute the garlic and onion together for several minutes, until the onions are tender. Add in the mushrooms for 3-4 minutes, until the mushrooms are cooked through. When that's all nice and cooked up, add the mixture to the beans in a big ol' bowl along with the cumin, salt, pepper, and whatever other seasonings you dream up. Mix them up together. I used a potato masher. Then form them into patties and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or so. (You don't have to refrigerate. But it helps the patty keep it's shape during cooking, in my experience.) Or freeze them at this point, if you're not going to eat in the next couple of days.

When you're ready to cook, coat your pan or grill with a little oil and fry 'em up! They are a little delicate, but really stay together pretty well, if you are careful.

Now, I know you are all dying to get my whole wheat bun recipe. But it is still in the works. I was inspired by Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, but I've been deviating from their recipes to find one that I like better. My dough is a little too wet still. But as soon as I have it perfected, I will announce it to the world.

As for the Sweet Potato Fries.... Here you go.

Sweet Potato Fries:
2 Large Sweet Potatoes
2 T. Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 400 F. Cut the Sweet Potatoes into fries. This is really complicated. Just kidding. I like to cut them in half, and then cut nice wide strips from there. Sometimes I cut them in half lengthwise, if they are really long. I don't even peel them. But you could, and it would make them better. I just don't mind the skins. And then it takes longer, which is a turnoff for me. Put them on a cookie sheet. Drizzle your Olive Oil over them, and make sure they all get their fair share. Cook them at 400 F for about 20 minutes, stirring every once in a while. (Once or twice during the cooking time.) Pull them out, season them to taste. Paprika might be nice too. Devour them in minutes, as my daughter and I do. It's a little ridiculous how much we love them.

And that, my friends, was my delicious dinner. Happy Weekend.
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Winter Squash Soup

I made this little gem on Sunday. It's been a little bit cold a few days in the past two weeks, and the weather had me wanting soup. The three main ingredients are apples, onions, and squash. The first time I encountered this recipe, I thought, "Really?"

Yes, really. The flavors are delicious together. I have been adding apple peels or cores to my soup stocks ever since.


  • Apples - 3 or 4 medium, peeled (or not) and sliced in to wedges
  • Onions - 1 large or 2 medium, quartered
  • Squash - 1 pound cut into cubes (or more, if you like. This dish is super flexible). I prefer butternut, but pumpkin or baby bear would also be divine.
  • Oil for sauteing
  • Cooking liquid (veg. broth or water)
  • Tarragon - the leaves from a few sprigs.
  • Milk or cream (soy milk and buttermilk are both delicious choices). The amount will depend on the desired consistency of the soup.
  • 1/2 cup white wine (opt. Chardonnay is lovely)
  • Pepper to taste
  • Salt to taste
Saute the apples, onions, and squash. Add salt and pepper at this stage if you wish.Saute until the onions are clear. Place the mixture in a stock pot with your cooking liquid. Cook on medium heat until the squash is tender. Add the tarragon during the last few minutes of simmering. Now, puree the mixture in a blender or food processor (the stick/immersion blender, while a miracle of modern convenience, is of no use here unless you've taken the pains to cut the squash into tiny pieces). Place the puree back in the stock pot. Add the wine, milk, salt and pepper to taste. Heat through, but do not boil, as the milk or cream may start to curdle.

While the terragon adds a nice complexity to the flavor of the soup, I think cinnamon and nutmeg or mace would be a nice substitution.

The original recipe is from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything.


It's the Season of Salads

And this Strawberry Spinach salad is a favorite in our home. We usually have it with a poppy seed dressing, but finding myself out of poppy seeds, but loaded with strawberries and spinach, I decided to branch out. After perusing a few recipe websites, I decided on this:

Summery Salad Dressing
2 T. Honey
3 T. Apple Cider Vinegar
Pinch of Salt

Mix it up in your super-blender, or with a fork, or whatever, and enjoy!
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Friendly Bacteria

Gear up to get brave in your kitchen! It's time to grow more than herbs on your windowsills!

I found a recipe for lacto-fermented cucumbers (i.e. pickles) in Nourishing Traditions and thought I would give it a try. The appeal of preserving your vegetables this way is that you don't cook out any of the plant enzymes, preserving the benefits of the raw cucumber, but creating an environment where the cucumber can last much much longer. (There are anecdotal stories of lacto-fermented sauerkraut lasting two years at cool temperatures.)

Our pickles haven't lasted that long... only because we're eating them too fast! (Although for me, they are a bit too strong to be 'snacking' pickles. Perfect for potato salads, sandwiches, or the like.)

Here's what I did:

4 pickling cucumbers, washed thoroughly and sliced
1 T Sea Salt
1 T whole mustard
1-2 T dill, dried

Put it all in a quart jar. I just used a *clean* jar that originally held spaghetti sauce from the grocery store. I just saved the lid and jar and washed them really well. Once you have placed your ingredients in the jar, fill it the rest of the way up with water. Make sure the cukes are submerged, but you want a little head room (air at the top), too.

Then... here is the scary part... let it sit on your counter for three days. Or in a cupboard. Somewhere safe, that stays in the 70's (F).

Yeah. Lacto-fermentation means you are growing your own bacteria, lactobacillus to be exact. Probiotics! In your own kitchen!

My water turned all brown and murky. And I said to my husband, "Paul, that cannot be friendly bacteria. That is mean, angry bacteria!" But the trick to knowing if you successfully grew the correct bacteria is the smell. If your cucumbers are hijacked by unhealthy microorganisms, you will be repelled at the first whiff. So, after three days, I took off the lid, braced myself, and was pleasantly surprised that it smelled very appealing.


If you want a stronger taste leave them on your counter longer. When they taste just right, put them in the fridge for storage. That will slow the fermentation process. Our jar has lasted two months so far.

Try it. You'll like it!


Fast Black Bean Soup

I cook this soup all the time because it is so fast, easy, filling, and tasty!  I love the avocado and the cilantro - I usually end up putting extra in the batches I make! 

Serves: 5
Preparation Time: 15 minutes

2 15-ounce cans black beans, no or low salt
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
2 cups frozen corn
2 cups frozen chopped broccoli florets
2 cups carrot juice*
1 cup water
1 cup prepared black bean soup, no or low salt
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
1/8 teaspoon chili powder, or to taste
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
1 avocado, chopped or mashed (optional)
1/2 cup chopped green onions (optional)

Instructions: Combine black beans, mixed vegetables,corn, broccoli, carrot juice, water, soup, cilantro, and chili powder in a soup pot. Bring to a boil and simmer on low for 30 minutes. Stir in fresh tomatoes and heat through.

Serve topped with avocado, green onions, and pumpkin seeds if desired.

* Carrot juice may be made in a juice extractor. Fresh or bottled carrot juice is also sold in many health food stores.
Taken from the Dr. Fuhrman Cookbook
Page 88 in Christina's Recipe Book


Black bean and Corn Salad

I am so bad at taking pictures of food. I'm going to get better, I promise.

We had this little gem with corn chips the other night. But I've also had it rolled in tortillias, and straight off the fork, and I gotta say, it's good no matter how you roll the dice.

3 ears of corn, kernels removed
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 c. cooked black beans
1 c. cilantro, chopped
10-12 grape tomatoes, halved (or whatever you have on hand)
Juice of one lime

Begin with a skillet and some olive oil. Yum. A great beginning for every recipe. Add the garlic and the corn, and roast it for 6-8 minutes in the oil. And that is all the cooking you have to do!

Add the corn to the beans, cilantro, and tomatoes and toss. Squeeze in your lime, and you're done! Refrigerate until dinner, or eat it right away. Whatever works. I like it chilled, though. You could also add minced jalepeno for a little heat, or sliced avocado as a garnish.

I discovered this little gem in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, which is one of my favorite cookbooks. Seriously great.


Lentils + Mirepoix = Magic

So, if you haven't guessed, I don't really know what to call this meal, but we love it, so here goes:

2 carrots
2 stalks of celery
1 onion
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1/2 lb. of lentils
1 3/4 c. water

Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar

Usually I sauté the carrots, celery, and onion in a little oil or butter. But in the spirit of Fuhrman-ism, I water-sautéed the veggies, carrots first, for several (maybe 7-8) minutes, then the onions and celery, until they were tender and had that beautiful brightness of being perfectly cooked. At that point I added the lentils, which I had been soaking for the afternoon, in an effort to decrease the phytic acid, but that's not really necessary. Cover it all with water add a little salt if you wish, and let it cook for about thirty minutes.

The lentils and vegetables should be tender when done. This is great plain, with a little pepper, but divine drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. You don't need much. Seriously, drizzle. Slow drizzle.

This serves four as a side dish, two as a main dish.


Grandma Brown's Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

From the time I was literally a toddler, I remember watching my grandmother make this soup.  It is still my favorite meal EVER.  Whenever I make it, I eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner until it is gone!  It is great for colds, sore throats, and bad moods! I don't have an exact recipe because I just do it, so bare with me and feel free to ask any questions. 

1 chicken (giblets included) - the fattier the chicken, the yummier the broth (in my opinion!)
Approximately half a bag of flour
1 Dozen Eggs
1/4 Cup Water
3-4 Bay Leaves
Pepper (Fresh ground is the best)

Put the chicken/giblets, salt, fresh ground pepper, and bay leaves in a large pot of water.  Bring to a boil.  Let it boil for approx. 10-15 minutes, then turn the heat down.  Place a lid on the pot.  Let it cook until the chicken is literally falling off the bones.  I usually keep it on the stove for about 4 hours. 

Meanwhile, crack 12 eggs into a kitchen aid or large bowl.  Stir them up so that there is no difference between the yolks and the whites.  Add 1/4 cup water and stir.  Turn on the kitchen aid (use the dough hook) and slowly add flour until the dough is slightly hard and not very sticky at all.  You will use a lot of flour!   If you are not using a kitchenaid, just knead it the old-fashioned way with your hands. 

Let the dough rest for about 5-10 minutes.

Separate the dough into fist-size balls.
Using a rolling pin, roll out each ball of dough.  You will need to use a lot of flour here too.
Let the rolled-out dough get dry enough that it doesn't stick, but not so dry that it will break or crumble when you roll it.  This takes a while.  Then turn the rolled-out dough over to let the other side dry. 
Once the dough is "right", roll each circle like your rolling a cinnamon roll. Then, use the sharpest knife in your house to cut the noodles.  See photo below:
You will want to cut the noodles as thin as you can because they expand when cooked.  I learned this the hard way about a hundred times - haha! 
Once all the noodles are cut, muss them all up with your fingers, so that they actually unwind and look like noodles.
Let them sit out a while to dry even more. 

Once the chicken is done, hoist it out of the pot into another container.  Strain the broth so that you get all the "yuckies" out, aka the giblets.  (I wish I didn't have to use the giblets at all, but they add TONS of yummy flavor to the broth - I tried it without the giblets once and it just wasn't the same).  Now, this is where I hand pick out the pieces of chicken.  I just use my fingers to pick out the good pieces of chicken - light and dark, and I separate it into another container.  Then, I throw the rest of the chicken away.

Add the chicken back to the broth and let simmer. 

Bring a pot of water to boil.  Add the noodles.  Cook the noodles until they are almost done and then transfer them to the broth/chicken pan.  Let them finish cooking in the broth.  Voila!!!  Yummy Soup!


Quick Toddler Lunch. Plus some for Mom.

I make a super quick Guacamole using two avocados and about a tablespoon of salsa, maybe two tablespoons. I don't really measure. Smush (that's a made up word) it all up with a fork. For us, one bell pepper (I used orange) was perfect to finish off this amount of Guacamole. If you wanted to, you could add a teaspoon to a tablespoon of mayo to make it creamier. Or, even better, if you're into soy, some silken tofu would do the creaminess trick (but you'd have to blend it in a food processor or blender). I find it plenty rich without either of those embellishments.

I then smeared two bananas with about a tablespoon of nut butter each, cut them into slices, and we went at it. It was the perfect amount of food for Ella and I to share, although I needed a little more lunch once she was napping.


It is a little fatty-- but I'm breastfeeding and Ella's a two-year-old, so we're into (good) high fat foods these days.


Lisa's Favorite Green Smoothie

Serves: 2

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

1 apple*, cut into fourths
1 banana  (if you ant the smoothie to be colder, then freeze the banana)
1/2 avocado
4 pitted dates
5 ounces organic baby spinach
If you don't have a Vita-Mix, then you're going to have to add juice so that your blender doesn't burn up!

Blend all ingredients in a high powered blender until smooth and creamy.

Note: *No need to peel apple if organic.
-In Dr. Fuhrman's Cookbook
-Created by Lisa Fuhrman
-Page 9 in Christina's Healthy Recipes Cookbook


Apple Pumpkin Soup

(A delicious way to get your spinach!)

Serves: 4 (large servings)
Preparation Time: 30 minutes

1/4 cup water
1 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
3 cups water
2 medium apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, or more to taste
1 15-ounce can easy pumpkin pie mix
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup soy milk
4 packed cups organic baby spinach

1) Saute water, onion, and ginger in medium saucepan until soft.

2) Add water, apples, curry, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cover and simmer until apples are tender, 10-15 minutes.

3) Stir in pumpkin until smooth and heat another ten minutes.

4) In a blender, puree half of the mixture along with the cashews & spinach until smooth and return to the pan.

5) Stir in soy milk.

6) Garnish with apple slices sprinkled with nutmeg &/or cinnamon.  You can also put a spinach leaf in there to make it pretty!

Note: This is a light and rather elegant soup that makes a great fall dish & it makes you whole house smell so good!  It has a sweet, nutty taste to it that kids love.  Sophie couldn't get enough of it!
-Modified from J. Myers' Recipe she posted on the Dr. Fuhrman Website

-Page 76 in Christina's "Healthy Recipes" Cookbook (please note that I've modified this recipe & it is different from the one in my cookbook).