Category Archives: dinners

Thanksgiving Side: Sautéed Nutmeg Kale Salad

First and foremost, THANK YOU so much. The Face of Fitness contest continues, and new VOTES can be put in every day until November 27th. As of this morning, I’ve bumped up to #14 thanks to you – please keep it coming!

Lululemon Run Ambassador photo 1

Click here to voteVegetarian BQ Marathoner!


Now, let’s dine! Tomorrow is a day of family and feasting for those of us in the States. This morning’s yoga class was a “tribute to the birds” – we did crow, bird of paradise, eagle & pigeon – as we casually call this holiday “Turkey day!”.

The class was great – love me some arm balances and hip-openers! – but the Thanksgiving-Turkey association? Not my thing. I have a menu of bird-free eats lined up for D & I, largely thanks to holiday recipe roundups from Ashley (Edible Perspective) and the Peas clan.

One dish will be new to us, and is thanks to Lindsey’s post on Nutmeg and my recent kitchen salad experiment.

Sautéed Nutmeg Kale Salad

kale nutmeg salad 1

2-3 cups raw Kale
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup yellow pepper, chopped
1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
1/2 block tofu, chopped (Optional)
1 tbsp. e.v. olive oil
1/4 cup pepitas
Seasonings: nutmeg, black pepper (~1/4 tsp. each)

Heat oil over medium in a large/deep sauté pan. Add onions, peppers and tofu, cooking and stirring for 3-4 minutes. Add mushrooms and seasonings, continue stirring and sautéing until all vegetables are soft and tofu is starting to brown (if applicable).  Toss in raw kale leaves to coat and cook slightly; mix in pepitas and serve warm.

kale nutmeg salad 3

The Nutmeg flavor tasted so good with this mix of vegetables; I never would have thought to throw that seasoning on a salad, but I am so glad I did. Now I know it’s delicious in treats and healthy eats! Its flavor is reminiscent of holiday baked goods and oatmeal cookies, making this salad the perfect healthy complement to your Thanksgiving day dining!


What’s healthy on your holiday menu? What’s your t0tally-worth-it splurge/indulgence?

Happy dining & celebrating!



Filed under dinners, food, holidays, lunches, recipes

Roasted Tomato & Quinoa Veggie Pot: Eat Food.

After posting my health library I realized that, while I love flipping through the pages, I’ve never fully read Michael Pollan’s Food Rules. It actually sits on my desk at work, should I ever need some very simple inspiration for a post (work-blog, not here), seminar or handout. Now, it’s sitting on my kitchen table as I realize it could be the inspiration for some new recipes.

I like to think we make up our own rules here in the DOTR kitchen, and that Mr. Pollan would approve. Our “rules” would have to mash together to form something that includes dark chocolate and a hankering for chips & salsa; there are some compromises to be made! But nonetheless, I opened the book to page 5 and started with this:

1) Eat food.

We can do that!

Today’s recipe is a simple one-pot wonder that will put dinner in your bowl/plate/mouth within 30 minutes (or less). If you wanted to roast the tomatoes yourself – power to ya! – then use this on a cooler summer evening with fresh summer tomatoes and go for it (adding some cook-time)! When they’re out of season, I reach for the Muir Glen Organic Fire-roasted Tomatoes because I know them well. The flavor can’t be matched!

Roasted Tomato & Quinoa Veggie Pot

2 cans (15 oz) fire-roasted organic tomatoes, undrained
1 can (15 oz) organic chickpeas, undrained
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups broccoli florets, chopped
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 cup dry quinoa (rinsed)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp garlic powder (or one glove garlic, minced)
Salt/pepper to taste

Le Creuset Cooking

Heat oil over medium in a large pot or Dutch oven; add onion and sauté until opaque/softened. Add tomatoes, water, chickpeas, broccoli, quinoa and seasonings. Stir until mixed well; bring to boil and then reduce heat, cover and let simmer for ~20-25 minutes (until quinoa is cooked through). Stir every couple of minutes to prevent any burning.

Let it cool, and then dish it out!

Roasted tomato & quinoa veggie pot 2

This was the perfect, easy and flavorful one-pot creation on a colder DC night. Next up I might finally use that slow-cooker that’s staring at me and waiting to show its power!


What was on your dinner menu this week?


Filed under dinners, food, Nutrition, recipes, vegetarian

Spiced White Bean Pumpkin Soup (Vegan, GF)

It’s been a big week here, with dairy talk and elections, and it’s about time we eat. Yes? Sit down, and grab a spoon. This one is cozy and comforting…

pumpkin white bean soup

It started with a Pin, and an excuse to really bust out the slow-cooker. Then it was Monday night, and suddenly waiting five hours for soup to cook didn’t sound quite as a fun. Our version is still dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan, but just happened to find its way into our bowls much faster.

Spiced White Bean & Pumpkin Soup
Makes ~4 servings. Adapted from Healthy Eat’s Curried Pumpkin Soup.

1 tsp Olive Oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup lite coconut milk
1 can (15 oz) organic white (cannellini) beans, drained & rinsed
1 can (15 oz) organic pumpkin puree
3 cups vegetable broth (low-sodium)

Seasonings: garam masala, turmeric, salt/pepper, cayenne pepper.

In a deep pan or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium; sauté onion and garlic until softened.  Add remaining ingredients, stir to mix well – this may take a few minutes as the pumpkin “melts” into the mixture. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and let simmer for 25-30 minutes. Stir frequently.

Optional: serve with a green onion garnish.

pumpkin soup 2

This the first deliciously seasonal pumpkin meal we’ve had, and it was a big win. I have my eyes on this soup’s comeback happening sooner than later.


Happy Friday!

What’s on your dinner menu(s) this weekend?


Filed under dinners, food, gluten free, recipes, vegetarian

Basil Cashew Potato Pasta Salad

There were a lot of things mixed into one bowl last night, and somehow it all worked. We don’t often do pasta-based dinners, but I was inspired by a recipe posted recently on Mind Body Green (Creamy Cashew Potato Salad). Well, Trader Joe’s doesn’t sell Vegenaise and peas aren’t allowed in our kitchen, so a few changes needed to be made.

Also, there is a seemingly bottomless bag of Farmers Market-fresh basil leaves in our fridge. I’m not complaining.

Basil Cashew Potato Pasta Salad*
Makes 3-4 servings

1 medium sweet potato, peeled & cubed
1 medium red potato, peeled & cubed**
~4 oz. uncooked {gluten-free} pasta
We used brown-rice spaghetti noodles, but elbow pasta or penne would work
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup raw cashews, chopped
Sea salt & black pepper, to taste
1 tsp. dill leaves (dried or fresh)
~2-3 tbsp. fresh basil leaves, chopped (or 1-2 tbsp. dried)

*You could serve this chilled or warm.
**I mixed types of potatoes because that’s what we had on-hand. You could also do 3-4 small red potatoes.

Fill a small pot with cold, salted water & the cubed potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook 8-10 minutes, until they’re soft. Drain and let cool.

Cook pasta; meanwhile, combine all remaining ingredients (balsamic v. through fresh basil leaves) in a large bowl. Mix in potatoes & drained (cooked) pasta.

Voila! You’re done. You could put this in the fridge to chill for later, or enjoy it warm like we did.

basil cashew pasta salad 2

The crunchy cashews + pasta and mixed basil + dill flavors were totally new taste-bud experiences. I’ve now looked at a pasta dish and seen a long list of possibilities. We still have a {bottomless} bag of basil & cashews to use and there are ideas swirling…

What are your favorite,unusual pasta bowl add-ins?


Filed under dinners, food, gluten free, Meatless Monday, recipes

Polenta Bruschetta (GF, Vegan)

Our kitchen went through a big shift in May, when D’s system decided to speak up. It’s been a long time coming. He experimentally went gluten-free, which proved largely successful in terms of relief. Rather than buying separate groceries and trying to take on a loaf of bread solo before it went stale, cook two different pastas for dinner or roll out two different types of pizza dough, I followed suit (at home).

As it turned out, we didn’t have to change much. Admittedly, the only thing we did drastically alter was picking a date-night restaurant based on the whole menu vs. its pizza reputation. We already ate a lot of quinoa and rice, now we rotate in brown-rice pasta and finally tried the Bobs Red Mill gluten-free pizza crust mix (surprisingly good! Although, I think restaurants had set the bar really low.). And we invite the challenge of figuring out how to do the favorites with new ingredients.

Enter: brushetta.

With potent basil and this huge tomato from the CSA? I had tunnel vision.

tomatoes peppers and basil

Instead of toast, we have polenta. It’s as simple as that!

Polenta Bruschetta (Gluten-free, Vegan-friendly)

1/2 roll/tube cooked polenta, sliced
2 medium red tomatoes, chopped (or 1 large and 1 small)
1/4 c fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled & minced
Salt, pepper
2-3 Tbsp Olive oil, divided
Balsamic vinegar to taste

Optional side: steamed kale

Combine chopped tomatoes, minced garlic, salt & pepper, ~1 tbsp olive oil and chopped basil in a bowl. Stir until mixed well and let sit.

Meanwhile, heat 1-2 tbsp olive oil in a deep sauté pan over medium. Add sliced polenta and heat 1-2 minutes on each side, flipping until crispy and very lightly browned.

Steam raw kale leaves; use as the bed for your brushetta ‘salad’.

Top polenta slices with bruschetta mix and drizzle with balsamic to taste.

polenta bruschetta and kale dinner

polenta brushetta and kale

This satisfied my craving and our taste-buds were happy! Dinner success.


What’s on your Friday night dinner menu?


Filed under dinners, food, recipes

Almond & Roasted Red Pepper Mahi Mahi

When we need some added flavor in the grocery cart, or I’m thinking a few dishes could use a facelift, I go straight for the roasted red pepper jars. They always pleasantly surprise me, and get along well with all types of menu items. Last week I tapped into the powerful combination of roasted red peppers + food processor, and now have a new favorite-fish dinner staple!

Almond & Roasted Red Pepper Mahi Mahi

4 4-6 oz Mahi Mahi filets
1 cup roasted red peppers (or 3-4 whole peppers, roasted)
1/3 cup raw almonds, sliced
1.5 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 small yellow onion, sliced
Cooking oil spray / 1 tbsp oil (for the baking pan)
Salt & pepper to taste

almond and roasted red pepper mahi mahiSide dish is up to you, but in this case we went with farm-fresh zucchini  slices, sautéed and seasoned.

Heat the oven to 450*. Combine roasted red peppers, almond slices, 1 tbsp oil, salt & pepper in a food processor. Pulse until mixed well, but not smooth (see picture to the left).

Line a baking pan (I used 8×8) with cooking spray, or lightly oil, and onion slices. Top with mahi mahi filets, lightly oil (using remaining olive oil) and lightly season with salt/pepper. Top filets with a layer of the almond red pepper paste, spreading evenly.

Bake 15-20 minutes (check at ~12 minutes, our gas stove tends to heat and bake quickly), depending on the thickness of the filets. Fish should be opaque and flaky when done. (Optional: cover with foil).

Serve with a side of veggies and/or a grain (quinoa, rice, etc).

This was a fish-revelation in our kitchen. I’ll be making this again, ASAP, and possibly playing around with some seasonings & spices in that almond-red-pepper mixture.


What’s your favorite roasted red pepper dish?


Filed under dinners, food, groceries, recipes, what to eat

Eggplant at Home: Roasting Ratatouille & Dipping Ghanoush

I’ve found two new spots in my heart-of-taste-buds for the purple vegetable, eggplant. It has been providing a bright pop of color in our CSA bags for weeks in a row now; I love the hue, but stare at the sort-of-not-really-egg-shaped tube and am at a loss. My first experience with this vegetable was in college, as part of our food lab, making eggplant parmesan. Nope, not a big fan.

Slice  it down the middle, then slice it into disks and then decide between a sauté or a roast – that’s all we’ve done, so far…

eggplant CSA

This week, with yet another haul and another excuse to experiment, I had to try something different. Without realizing it until I put this mix in the oven, I actually just “tried” something that could be considered ratatouille:

roasted ratatouille

There were two simple goals here: cook the eggplant, use the Dutch Oven! Both were accomplished quite easily. The vibrant colors in that mix are all thanks to Good Life Farm and our weekly bag full of eats.

Simple Roasted Ratatouille

1 eggplant, halved and sliced
1 zucchini, halved and sliced
1 yellow zucchini (or yellow squash), halved and sliced
1 small yellow onion, sliced
1 red tomato, sliced

3-4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
Seasonings: salt, pepper, thyme

Heat oven to 400*. Drizzle one tablespoon olive oil into the bottom of a Dutch Oven (or deep baking pan). Toss all vegetables and seasonings in the remaining oil, and add to the pan. Cover (with lid or foil) and roast for 40-45 minutes, stirring occasionally (every 15 min or so).

Yep – it’s as simple as that. Slice, drizzle, season, roast. Eat, and enjoy!

This can be a side dish or served over rice or quinoa as a meal. Like so:

ratatouille over wild rice

Hint: this also makes great leftovers for lunch the next day!


Alright, so, we’ve obviously mastered the cooking and adding-to-grain method here. Next up, a different challenge. Something entirely new not only to my kitchen, but also my taste buds – baba ghanoush.

baba-ghanoush-pbs food blog

{Image source: PBS Food Blog, Jenna Weber’s Baba Ghanoush with Sea Salt}

After searching a few recipes I had an idea of how this simple dip is to be made. Mixing techniques and seasonings, my simple edition looked like this:

Homemade Baba Ghanoush

1 eggplant, sliced & cubed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt (sea salt, preferably)

1.5 Tbsp Tahini (sesame paste)
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
Juice of one lemon
1 tsp garlic, minced
Seasonings: salt, pepper

Heat oven to 400*. Spray a baking sheet with oil. Toss eggplant cubes (bite-sized) in oil and season with salt. Spread evenly across the sheet; bake for 25 minutes, stirring once.

Put roasted eggplant into a food processor; pulse until slightly creamy. Add remaining ingredients (Tahini through seasonings) and pulse until smooth (4-5 minutes). Optional: garnish with a drizzle of oil and/or light seasonings.

I’ve been packing this as a dip for vegetable sticks (carrots & peppers), and have also seen it served as a side with roasted vegetables, or pita chips, or bread. Do what you will! It’s hard not to enjoy, and even harder to remember this started as a purple tube.


Why eat eggplant? High in fiber, water & antioxidants! Low in calories (one cup cooked = 35 calories), versatile in meals, a good source of manganese, and easy to season with any of your preferred tastes.


How do enjoy this summer plant? My list needs some new additions; these guys are at their peak from August – October so I know we’re just getting started!


Filed under dinners, food, Nutrition, recipes