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What to Make this Weekend

Eli lounging So, this week started out kind of scary, when Eli ate a bunch of rat poison and had to be rushed to the vet. Luckily, he is okay now. They induced vomiting and were, like, “So, Eli ate a bunch of rat poison, but here’s the good news.” My parents didn’t even know they had any rat poison in the house (they’re super-careful about these things and think it may have been put there by the former owner at least before they moved in 13 years ago), and I just so happened to be there and see some weird blue stuff in his crate—likely within a few minutes of him finding and eating it. Now he’s on vitamin K for a month.

First it was the acute kidney failure and the renal diet, now this. Dude has, like, a f***ing posse of guardian angels.

I think all the crying on Sunday knocked down the door to my immune system, and then it got really cold and I got laryngitis. All-night coughing fits will do that, I suppose. That said, despite adequate sleep and my inability to speak above a whisper, I’ve been weirdly peppy. I bounded out of bed at 5 yesterday morning, like, “Hello, world!” Must be the Mucinex? I finally dragged myself to the doctor, where I was prescribed a 3-day course of Things I Would Normally Avoid. I do love the Dr. Evil pictures on the wall at the walk-in place, though. Dr Evil Urgent Care

I’ve actually been doing quite a bit of cooking, as the food demo that was supposed to happen Thursday was canceled by the client, and I have tons of prepped food in the fridge. I am experimenting with freezing cooked quinoa and coming up with ways to use the 3 pounds of beets and 2 pounds of squash I roasted in anticipation of creating recipes in front of strangers. All for the best, though, because they would have had to crowd around me to hear as I tossed seasonal stuff with red quinoa while wearing gloves, croaking about fiber and carotenoids for glowing skin in the dead of winter. Full disclosure: It took me three tries to spell “carotenoids” correctly.

Turns out giant salads with makeshift hash (complete with shredded brussels sprouts, uncured bacon from the freezer, and eggs) are great ways to use up roasted root veggies and the like.

Here are some unrelated food things that sounded good to me as I perused the interwebs between coughing fits and gulping fluids.

*These Apple Peanut Butter “delights” from the Pioneer Woman look delicious. I love that she uses whole wheat English muffins too. You could skip the sugar, though, since apples naturally get sweeter when you cook them.

*This noodle soup from Gena Hemshaw of Choosing Raw sounds very nice to my sore throat. Something to make once I’ve drained my supply of soups (including last week’s lentil soup) from the freezer. I am not allowed to make new soup until I’ve made space for it in there.

*These adorable mini-cakes in mason jars sound like fun and look super-easy to make, even for people like me who do not bake. It’s not exactly picnic weather, but I’m fever-dreaming about Central Park in the summertime.

*This isn’t a recipe, but this Sh*t Juicers Say video totally made my sick-day yesterday. Also love that they use music by Spoon and Belle & Sebastian.

What are you up to this weekend? Any recipes you’re looking to try? 

Easy Red Lentil Soup

Nonna's Smoky SauceI cook when I’m procrastinating. Last month, when faced with 8 projects and very little time in which to complete them, I just had to make soup one morning. I saw this jar of Nonna’s Smoky Sauce from City Saucery, grabbed a bag of red lentils from the cupboard, and decided to see what would happen.

Served over steamed kale and topped with a spoonful of goat cheese, the result made for a delicious lunch.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 24-oz jar tomato sauce of choice


  1. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan.
  2. Sautee onion and garlic until soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add red lentils, stir to coat. Add water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until lentils are tender, about 15 minutes.
  4. Add sauce and stir. Simmer for 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Do you procrastinate? What do you do when you “should” be doing other things? 

What to Make this Weekend: Lucky Lentil Soup

Happy LentilsHappy Friday! Hope your 2015 is off to a great start. Traditionally, there are certain foods eaten on New Years Day that are thought to be “lucky.” I like to extend that to all of January. I really feel like this first month of the year can set the tone for the months to come. Here’s the lentil soup I made to enjoy yesterday.

This soup features lentils-round foods are thought to attract money because they resemble coins-and greens because, well, green = money. Money soup! It also happens to be full of protein and fiber to help you stay full (helpful if you’re trying to stick to a weight-loss goal) and plenty of vitamins A, C, D, and K plus B-vitamins like folate and B-6 as well as iron. The potassium in this soup can also help with hangover headaches and muscle cramps leftover from dancing on New Year’s Eve. It also happens to be delicious. My favorite way to enjoy this is with a poached egg on top-the added protein, omega-3, and choline make it a good “brain food” for the dead of winter.


1 cup lentils
2 cups water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 8-oz container sliced white mushrooms
8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or water
1 bunch kale, torn into small pieces
1 tsp herbes de Provence (or a mix of rosemary, oregano, and thyme)
sea salt and pepper to taste


Combine lentils and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until lentils are tender and liquid has been absorbed, about 20 minutes. Set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Sauté garlic, onion, carrot, and celery until soft.
Add mushrooms and herbs. Cook until just beginning to get soft, about 5 minutes.
Add broth or more water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Add kale a little at a time, stirring in until wilted. Add more broth or water if needed.
Add lentils. Cook for another 5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve hot. Top with a poached egg if desired.


Some other things you can make this weekend:

Here, from Food 52,  are some creative uses for (leftover?) champagne you may have from New Year’s Eve. People actually end up with leftover champagne?

If you’re totally over alcohol and thinking about what the hell you’re going to eat for dinner in these first weeks of 2015, they also have a great round-up of weeknight recipes.

Since my mom’s birthday is coming up next week, I’m visiting the family Sunday for a little celebration. I will not subject their collective palate to my attempt at making a birthday cake, but this S’mores Cake in a Jar recipe from How Sweet It Is sounds like it would be fun to try. I don’t care if it’s from 2011 and mason jars as serving vessels are “out”—let me have my nostalgic mason jar moment.

What are you up to this weekend? Any cooking on the agenda?

3 Things to Make This Weekend

Happy Friday! What are you up to this weekend? If you’re anywhere in the northeast, you’ve probably been making lots of small talk about the freezing weather, but it’s supposed to “warm up” a bit for a few days—in the 40’s and mostly sunny here in NYC. I’m not planning to do a ton of cooking, as I’ll be working at the hospital through Monday, but here are a few things for you to try.

golden milk 1.) Golden Milk. Bone-chilling days call for warming drinks. And no, for once in my life, I do not mean bourbon. I’ve been using turmeric and ginger potions as a col remedy for years, but I don’t think I’ve ever written about golden milk. Basically, you slowly boil some milk and add turmeric and ginger. Then you grind a little black pepper on top, sweeten with honey to taste.  This post from Fresh Bites Daily gives a pretty good background—and recipe. I like to use organic low-fat milk, but you can definitely use coconut milk or almond milk if preferred.

2.) Have you tried my eggplant lentil soup yet? I’m obsessed with it. Try it with a poached egg and some feta or goat cheese on top. Perfect cold-day comfort food. I like to add a little steamed kale or spinach (aka—greens that have been zapped in the microwave) for a little color, fiber, vitamin boost.

3.) This baby kale breakfast salad from How Sweet it Is. This is what I think of when I think of brunch. And by brunch I mean the kind I will never know because it involves sleeping past, like, ten a.m., but I would totally make this for lunch-called-brunch. Champagne optional. I know I’m a dietitian and all, but there is absolutely room in life for salad with bacon and poached eggs on it. If your arteries clench up just thinking about it, you could always, like, skip the baked-in-butter croutons and use olive oil instead of bacon grease in the dressing. Whatever makes it work for you.

Have a lovely weekend!

What are you planning to make this weekend? What do you think of when you think of brunch? 


Eggplant Lentil Soup

When the temperatures drop, I crave tomato-based soups and sauces like crazy. Perhaps it’s some misplaced longing for summer? I refuse to buy fresh tomatoes once they’re out of season because it’s kind of like dating a blander version of that ex you’re not over: Just not the same, no matter how much wine you drink.

tr_logoCanned tomatoes are the perfect solution, and I always stock up once I’ve adequately mourned the end of the summer season. When the folks at Tuttorosso tomatoes sent me a bunch, it was the perfect excuse to make an updated version of an old idea. This Eggplant Lentil soup will keep you warm on many a lonely winter night, especially since it makes, like, a billion servings. Or ten.

eggplant lentil soupEggplant Lentil Soup

Serves 8-10


  • 1 cup lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into half-moons
  • 1 eggplant, cubed
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 28-oz cans crushed, peeled, or diced tomatoes
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried basil
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Combine lentils and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until lentils are tender, about 2o minutes. Set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot. Add onion, garlic, carrot, and celery. Cook until vegetables are soft and onion is translucent.
  3. Add spices, zucchini, pepper, and mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms begin to soften and then add wine. Raise heat and bring to a boil for one minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Simmer for 45 minutes.
  5. Add lentils and cook on low another 15 minutes.

What foods do you refuse to buy out of season? Any favorite soup recipes? 

A Small Collection of Joyous Things

Happy Sunday. How’s your weekend been? Mine’s been a mix of productive and relaxing. If you’ve watched or read the the news at all recently (or signed on to any social media platform for that matter), it would be hard to not to see there’s a lot of unrest, upset, and all-around bad stuff going on around the world and at home. Though I have my own thoughts and feelings about current events, I usually prefer to keep that stuff off of the blog.

That said, I think those are the times when we especially need to remember to take a second to appreciate the positive things to help bring our focus into balance. Here’s a little list of things that have made me happy this week:

1.) I enjoyed a few more birthday dinners: Pho Grand on Tuesday and Gallo Nero last night. I’m a lucky gal.

2.) What would my life be this time of year without soup? I’ve got a new recipe coming tomorrow. eggplant lentil soup

3.) I finally got a TV. With the exception of a few months in 2012 where I had a set,this is the first time in almost 10 years. It’s not like I had anything against TV, it just wasn’t something I had. This past summer, though, I admitted to myself that I really missed being able to, like, invite someone over to watch something. I finally realized I’d been buying in to some stupid starving-artist complex about how TV was one of those things only people with normal, stable lives had and that I wasn’t entitled to one. Turned out, this weird little voice was actually just trying to keep me down to make it feel better about itself.  I can’t believe I spent so long feeling ashamed of being able to afford a monthly cable bill.

So yeah, yesterday morning, I had Open House on while I folded laundry (new guilty pleasure?). I felt like a grown-ass adult and totally liked it.

4.) Eli continues to thrive with my family and their dogs. Little dude is climbing up on chairs and things now. My dad sent me this picture of him after his latest haircut the other day. Eli Haircut Dec 2014

5.) Yesterday, I met up with a friend I hadn’t seen since the freaking summertime for some yoga and vegan eats at Jivamukti. Anytime I get to catch up on girl-talk while simultaneously feeding the mushroom tooth is a win. These grilled portobellos and spicy tempeh were fantastic, especially with the turmeric tahini dressing. Jivamutkea tempeh and mushrooms

What’s brought you joy recently? 


A Small Collection of Joyous Things: Late August

Happy Sunday! Welcome to another Small Collection, a series I started to help me focus on the things that bring me joy. 

pumpkin pancakes

Pumpkin pancakes with sliced plum & cinnamon ricotta

So wow—late August, hello. Who’s ready for this weeks’s descent into Pumpkin Spice Land?

1.) Though I’m not a huge fan of the syrupy sweet drinks that are about to start cropping up all over the place, I do love eating real pumpkin. Here are a few of my favorites:

My palms are turning orange just thinking about all that beta-carotene deliciousness…

2.) Just thinking about September and all the business ahead has me in my weird version of nesting mode. I was working from home Thursday and Friday/trying to pretend it was the weekend, as I was on the hospital schedule for the weekend, so in addition to cleaning, running errands, and doing laundry, I made my first batch of fall-ready soup. Freezer=stocked. I made something very similar to this (minus the pumpkin/squash), mostly so I could clear my freezer of frozen veggies. august soup

I also made black garlic pulled pork chili that did have pumpkin in it. And bourbon. Lots of bourbon. That went straight into the freezer too.

3.) For now, though, berries are still in season!ricotta with berries

4.) Unrelated: I made eggplant dip twice this past week. This is a super-simple version where you just slice an eggplant lengthwise and bake, cut side down, at 400 for 20-30 minutes or until soft. Then you scoop out the insides and blend in a food processor with some garlic and olive oil until smooth. You could also add tahini, paprika, lemon, and/or liquid smoke for something a little richer. I was just being lazy. eggplant dip

In non-food things that have made me happy this week, we have Eli, pondering the universe. Eli, universe

5.) I found out that the song I’ve been singing him to help him wind down is the same song my mom used to sing to me when I was in utero. I find this creepy, weird, and awesome all at the same time.

6.) I love the way Patrick Stewart handled the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

I try not to talk about my day to day work too much on the blog for confidentiality reasons, but I actually work with ALS patients one day a week in an outpatient setting. The same people wondering “how” and “why” I worked with HIV patients when I was a student are the same people asking me about my ALS work—those who know me well just know that when something feels right, I don’t shy away from it. For whatever reason, I always seem to find my way to working with individuals living with illnesses for which there is no known cure. It’s sort of related to what I was talking about last week, having a willingness to “go there” and feel the feelings. Though I wouldn’t say it’s all sunshine and rainbows, working with this population helps me tune in to the beautiful little things in life and appreciate what I have around me.

What’s brought you joy this week? 


Sausage and Kale Soup and Why I need a new pasta shape

One of my favorite jokes of all time goes something like this:

Two sausages were sizzling in a frying pan. One sausage said to the other, “It sure is hot in here!”

The other sausage said, “Oh my god, it’s a talking sausage!”


No matter how old I get, the word “sausage” will probably always make me giggle a little bit—for obvious reasons. There’s really no way around it. I have accepted this about myself.

sausage and kale pastaI first got the idea for this soup from a recipe I saw on How Sweet It Is, which calls for spicy Italian sausage and whole wheat orecchiette. However, instead of pasta, I decided to use up some brown rice that had been in my cupboard for well over a year.

I actually decided to throw out the orecchiette in there because it finally dawned on me that almost all of the not very many relationships I’ve had in the past few years ended within days of sharing a meal that contained said orecchiette, and well, f*** that. It’s 2014. I need a new pasta shape in my life. Energetically speaking, I’m sure there’s something not good about eating pasta that looks like ears, maybe to do with hearing/listening/being heard. I don’t know—I’m over-thinking this, clearly. Let’s just say I’m ready to actually learn from my mistakes by not making bad-karma-pasta anymore. Maybe I also should enforce a new rule about not making pasta too early in a relationship, since the one that did not end with orecchiette ended with ravioli.

But back to the soup…To up the fiber content, I added some green lentils and used less sausage. Speaking of sausage (let’s see how many times I can say “sausage” in one post), I went with a couple Trader Joe’s roasted garlic chicken sausages for this recipe, but you can use whatever kind you want. Turkey sausage, beef sausage, pork sausage, mystery sausage…

You can also play around with using different greens if kale’s not your thing or if you got spooked by that article you read a few weeks ago.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup cooked lentils
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 2 cooked sausages, cut into half-moon shapes
  • ~8 cups water or broth
  • 1 bunch kale or other greens


  1. Heat oil in a large stock pot. add garlic, onion, celery, carrot, and leek. Cook until onion is translucent and veggies begin to soften.
  2. Stir in spices, lentils, rice, and sausage. Cook another minute or two before adding liquid.
  3. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and stir in kale. Allow to simmer ~30 minutes.

What’s your favorite joke? Does “sausage” make you giggle? Which pasta shape should I try next? 

Chickpeas, Mushrooms, and Kale in Spicy Tomato Sauce

spicy chickpea mushroom stewYou can tell you’re reached “a certain age” (which has nothing to do with numbers) when you go to parties and all anyone talks about is food and cooking. To be fair, this party in question was a cookie exchange hosted by someone I went to grad school and did my dietetic internship with, and the guest list included some of my other friends from school, so of course RDs are gonna talk food together.

Anyway, after hearing my friend Natalie’s plans for a spicy stew she was making for dinner that night, I went home and whipped up something similar using what I had lying around. It’s kind of similar to my favorite post-Christmas detox dish, but soupier and spicier—perfect for a cold January night!


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch kale and/or spinach
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • ¼ tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • salt and pepper to taste


1.Heat oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and shallot. Sauté until fragrant and shallot is translucent.

2.Add greens and cook until they start to wilt. Add spices.

3.Add mushrooms. Cook until they begin to soften. Add tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Allow to simmer ~5 minutes.

4.Add chickpeas. Mix everything well and cook until greens are wilted and chickpeas are nice and hot. If desired, cook on low until sauce has thickened up.


Polar Vortex

Holy polar vortex, batman! I wish I could just stay inside and make soup.

In case you’d like to do the same, here are a few of my favorites:

I’d also like to wish a very happy birthday my mother, who taught me how important it is to follow your passions and listen to your intuition. Love you!mom and jess dec 18 13

Stay warm out there!

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