Category Archives: in the kitchen

Holiday Office Potluck Dish: Pumpkin Sage Quinoa

We had our holiday potluck at WCS on Tuesday, and let me just say that an office full of foodies and wellness-junkies will not disappoint you for lunch (or dinner, or apps, or sweet treats). Our spread was colorful and equal parts healthy, savory and indulgent. There was a full-on table switch for the desserts, too, don’t you worry.

A little peak…

fruit dishQuinoa dishSalad

A little show to go with the eats, courtesy of the talented Dale & The ZDubs….

Dale and ZDubs

And a little contribution from my kitchen, Pumpkin Sage Quinoa:

pumpkin sage quinoa

(pictured here as enjoyed for lunch: leftovers + greens)

Pumpkin Sage Quinoa + Chickpeas

1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1.5 cups raw quinoa (rinsed)
2.5 cups water
4-5 fresh sage leaves, chopped
2 tsp dried thyme (or fresh, if you have it)
1 can (15 oz) organic chickpeas, drained & rinsed
1.5 cups pureed pumpkin
salt/pepper to taste

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a deep saute pan. Add onions and cook for 4-5 minutes until softened. Add quinoa, water, sage & thyme, bringing to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, until most of the water is absorbed – stir every few minutes.

Add chickpeas, pumpkin, salt/pepper (to taste) and mix well. Continue cooking to heat everything through, for 3-5 minutes.  Serve warm or chilled!


Does your office bust out the cooking skills for potluck days? Any menu faves we should add to our list for next time?


Filed under dinners, food, holidays, in the kitchen, lunches, recipes

Sautéed Sesame Brussels Sprouts

I wasn’t 100% sure where to put my feeling on Brussels sprouts, after a frozen bag-gone-bad really didn’t do them any favors. Fresh is always best, but even then the smell of those things cooking can knock anyone out of a small apartment kitchen quicker than rotten garbage disposal contents or too-many-days-old trash (in my opinion…).

(Did you know they were spelled Brussels sprouts? That extra “s” is tricky.)

raw brussels sprouts stalk

Don’t be too intimidated by this stalk – the little sprouts are easy to pop/chop off and taste much better off of this than straight from a plastic bag!


Did you know…

-One serving = 6 sprouts, 45 calories & 90% of recommended daily Vitamin C intake.
-They’ve been shown to have cholesterol-lowering benefits.
-Due to their high concentration of “glucosinolates”, they’re a top-ranked cancer-fighting food.
-One cup of Brussels sprouts provides almost 200% of the recommended daily Vitamin K intake.


Luckily they don’t taste like they smell – nature has a few tricks up  its sleeve!

brussels sprouts 1

In search of a new, creative way to get these on the dinner plate I found some inspiration from Emily (Daily Garnish). It’s hard to screw up vegetables with an Asian flare! But, we didn’t have rice vinegar or liquid aminos, so I improvised…

Sautéed Sesame Brussels Sprouts

Olive oil
15-20 Brussels sprouts*, halved
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Seasonings: garlic powder, salt/pepper

*Remove from stalk and rinse well, if applicable.

Heat 0.5-1 tbsp. of olive oil in a deep sauté pan over medium heat. Add sprouts, cooking and stirring frequently for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned. Whisk apple cider vinegar, sesame oil & seasonings in a small bowl. Combine with sprouts and stir until combined. The heat will cook off some of the sauce, but also let the flavors soak into the sprouts.

We enjoyed these with a side of baked sweet potato “fries” & mashed cauliflower. A comfy, satisfying & colorful dinner plate (and low-light iPhone capture)…

brussels sprouts dinner


Are you a sprouts lover?
If not, would you try this version? If so, what’s your go-to cooking method?


Filed under dinners, food, in the kitchen, Meatless Monday, Nutrition, recipes

NHBPM WEGO Prompt: My Health Library

I fully credit the movie Food Inc. with changing my entire food, and health, philosophy. There were small changes being made up to the minute before I watched it in full, but it was undoubtedly my tipping point. Coincidentally, that film led to an interest in picking up more books on subjects of interest (see: nutrition, food, health, mindset, etc.).

Today’s NHBPM prompt asked for a book report – what’s your favorite book and how does it tie into your health/life? Given the way I’ve added to our “library” over the past two years, that’s a loaded question! I can’t pick one, as these have all added a flavor to life that I didn’t know was missing.

If you dine from my bookshelf buffet, your eyes would have a hard time resisting these…



All the Money in the World   Books


Food rules    In Defense of Food


Animal vegetable Miracle   Skinny Dish Cooking with trader Joe's


Click on any of the above if you’re intrigued. They’re all worth your time, dollars and brain-chewing energy! Most of them are still stacked near my nightstand (except for the cookbook, which clearly belongs right near the food!), dog-eared pages n’ all ready to be picked up and indulged when I’m craving their words.

I’m actually glad I’m only about half-way through In Defense of Food; it’s like fully tasting, and savoring, those last few bites of a decadent dessert.


What’s in your health library?

Any one favorite book that I should be adding to this group?


Filed under about me, fabulous, in the kitchen, inspiration, things that make me Happy

Roasted Vegetable Medley–Nutrients over Numbers

Before we pull out the forks and dine on a new (to me) vegetable trio, I want to thank you! I put this post out there as a feeler; an open door for dialogue, that could’ve gone in many directions. Every comment brings something to the conversation, which is why I love chatting with you all.

We can all agree that whether or not you add up, intuitively know the numbers, or not, the key is making the “calories count” vs. just counting the calories – thinking nutrients with numbers, or nutrients over numbers.

A bowl of roasted vegetables with leave the nutrients numbers high, and the calorie number low – the first counts for much more.

Thanks to a collaboration with Whole Foods (Tenleytown) last Wednesday evening, I have a large collection of fresh vegetables to get through – some of which have never had a stem in my fridge. Exhibit A:

Brussel Sprout Stalk

Brussel sprouts, on a stalk. Not only have I never purchased or cooked brussel sprouts, but I have also never even seen them on a stalk. It looks like this came straight from someone’s garden (does anyone grow sprouts?? Fancy.). It added an element of fun to the new-vegetable experiment – pick little sprout-bulbs from their roots, then figure out what to do with them.

Betty said it was best to cut off the stem ends, wash them and either boil or steam. My intention was to roast, but I took her advice into account. After all, we assume Betty has cooked many a sprout in her day, yes? Well, she has cooked them at least once more than me.

What goes with brussel sprouts? Two other veggies that were in the please-use-me-now phase. Exhibits B & C:

cauliflower and sproutsPotato Medley

Cauliflower & a Potato Medley* (bag from Trader Joe’s)

Roasted Vegetable Medley: Potatoes, Cauliflower & Brussel Sprouts

1 bag (~1.5 pounds) mini-potato medley, washed & cubed
The bag I used had purple, red & gold potatoes
1 stalk brussel sprouts – approx. 3 cups
1 head cauliflower, stemmed & cut into florets
1 Tbsp Olive oil
Salt/pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 425*.

Toss the potatoes in 1 tbsp olive oil, season with salt/pepper. Put in a large casserole (9 x 13) dish. Spray or lightly oil the bottom to prevent sticking.  Roast for 20 min.

Meanwhile, wash and rinse the brussel sprouts. Steam in a medium sauce pan for 8-10 minutes.

Combine cauliflower florets and sprouts, stir and add to potatoes in the oven. Roast for 20 minutes. Remove, stir & cover with foilroast for another 10 minutes.

roasted vegetable medley

Total cook time is around 50 minutes – time consuming, but worth the easy effort! With very little cooking skill required – really, just stir and let the boiling water and oven do the work! – you’ve got a large batch of roasted, naturally flavorful nutrients. This is the good stuff!

*Purple potatoes are full of the antioxidant anthocyanin – the same powerful nutrient found in blueberries, plums, pomegranates and cherries!

Nutrients in abundance, here’s the breakdown in a “serving” (~2 cups):

Recipe   Nutrition factsNutrition Facts part 2

This batch lasted about two days in our apartment – apparently my taste-buds were on board for two new veggies (I’ve never had purple potatoes, either – where do these come from??), and a hefty dose of potassium, vitamin C, folate, fiber, etc.

What new foods have you tested out lately?

What nutrients did you get from it?

Variety is key! Nutrients come in all hues, textures and shapes. I still have kale, beets, another cauliflower head and some sort of mushroom to work with.


Filed under dinners, in the kitchen, learning, lunches, new things!, Nutrition, recipes

Sauté: Pile the Pizza

I blame the current streak of continuing to cook and create in the kitchen entirely on Betty. It’s her fault; I think she wears that accusation proudly.

The things we’ve been dining on aren’t exactly Betty-style recipes (but they’re D-approved, so that counts for something). Yet, apparently when I open and read a cookbook, suddenly my hands start chopping and the water starts boiling, the seasonings just jump right in, and minutes later we have something worth calling a meal!

Yep. It’s that easy.

The first example of this happened on Saturday night, when I had a few hours to myself at home and a lot of ingredients that needed some attention. See: Roasted Cauliflower & Leeks with Arugula Pesto.

Next up: filling the it’s-been-too-long-since-homemade-pizza! void.


Sautéed Mushroom, Fennel & Cherry Tomato Pizza

1/2 fennel bulb, chopped
1 c sliced mushrooms
1/2 c cherry tomatoes, halved
1 Tbsp olive oil
Pizza dough*
Marinara / Pizza Sauce
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese (optional, but recommended!)
Dried oregano (or fresh, if you’re fancy)

*We used the garlic & herb dough from TJ’s. Two thumbs up!
Always leave fresh dough out for 20-60 minutes before rolling and forming into something resembling a circle. It’s much easier to work with when it’s at room temperature.

Preheat the oven according to the dough’s needs – in this case it was 425* (if I remember correctly). Meanwhile, prep the veggies (chop, wash, rinse) and heat the oil over medium in a sauté pan. Start with the fennel, and add in the mushrooms after 2-3 minutes. Season with salt/pepper to taste, and dried oregano. Stir frequently to prevent burning; sauté until they’re both softened. For the last minute, add in the cherry tomatoes.

Roll out the dough, top with sauce and shredded mozzarella. Add a generous layer of the fennel, mushroom & tomato mixture. Top with freshly grated parmesan. Bake for 8-9 minutes (or until dough is cooked through and the cheese is melted).


The “licorice-onion” takes a mild flavor turn when cooked and mixed with some friends. The combination of these three, plus the bonus of sautéing to get the best texture out of them all was a complete success. We dined happily!


Filed under dinners, food, in the kitchen, lunches, recipes