Red Lentils with Spinach & Yogurt

Prepared in less than 30 minutes from ingredients that are likely in your pantry, this is a fast, easy, filling, and healthy lunch.


  • 2 cups red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp curry
  • generous dash of cinnamon
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 package of frozen spinach
  • Plain Greek yogurt (for serving)


  1. Add the rinsed lentils to a medium put with all the other ingredients minus the spinach and yogurt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the frozen spinach and simmer for 10 more minutes.
  3. Serve with a generous dollop of Greek yogurt.  Mix the yogurt in well; it won’t be pretty, but it will be tasty.

Indian Butter Chicken (Instant Pot)

This was delicious!  I mean really, really delicious.  The chicken was so moist, the sauce spot on, and the meal was perfect.  Admittedly, I haven’t found the Instant Pot nearly as fast as advertised.  You will still need to chop and saute, but, and this is key, for this meal, it is totally worth it.

Original recipe source: My Heart Beets Blog


  • 1 1/2 lbs skinless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 Tbsp butter (or ghee if you have it– I also added a dollop of coconut oil when my pot seemed dry during sauteing)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1″ ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (I left this out because I didn’t have any and the sauce was perfect)
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped into large pieces
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup coconut cream


  1. Saute the onion in the Instant Pot with the butter for 8-10 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger, shortly followed by the spices.
  3. The original recipe suggests searing the chicken at this point.  I skipped this step and my chicken was moist and delicious.
  4. Add the tomato sauce and pepper.
  5. Lock the Instant Pot and set to “Poultry” (the default time is 15 minutes).
  6. Allow the pressure to release naturally (or quick release after a few minutes).
  7. Stir in coconut cream and serve with Basmati rice.

Black Beans & Brown Rice

This was my very first Instant Pot meal (made the day the impressively large box arrived at my home) and only my second attempt at making dried beans.  Although it wasn’t amazing, I would definitely call it a success.

Ingredients serves an army as a side

  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 2 cups dried black beans (no need to soak)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 diced onion
  • 3-4 minced cloves garlic
  • 9 cups of water


  1. Place rice, beans, onion, garlic, water, salt, and bay leaf in the Instant Pot insert.
  2. Set on manual for 28 minutes (be aware that it may take 15 minutes to reach pressure).
  3. Allow natural steam release, at least for 20 minutes, then you can help it along.
  4. I went basic (I was feeding a 2 year old) and just threw cheddar cheese on top, but sour cream, a squirt of lime, and sliced avocado would be a great addition.  You could certainly use this for a soft taco or similar.

CSA Haul

I joined a local CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture) and just brought home my first crop.  I’m excited to experiment with some these new (to me) ingredients.

The contents of my first haul:

  • lettuce
  • kale
  • Japanese turnips
  • bok choi
  • curly endive
  • escarole
  • tatsu
  • turnip greens
  • garlic scapes
  • radishes
  • spring garlic
  • snap peas

A bit of goggling led me to the follow resources:

For garlic scapes

For spring garlic (or green garlic)

For Japanese turnips

Bar Americain

Yesterday, a heartbeat before New Year’s, my husband and I were corralled into the Times Square area.  I love walking by the tree in Rockefeller Center, but the crowds (and police pens at each street corner), make the experience this close to Christmas / New Year’s a mosh pit nightmare.  Nevertheless, friends were visiting from out of town and had picked a meetup point the in the vicinity.  So we braved it.  The tree was pretty, we inadvertently photo-bombed a dozen snapshots, and we decided to eat at Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain.

The restaurant, enormous and full, still managed to showcase a lively style.  We were lucky enough to have a table for two in a cozy corner, interesting for crowd watching but removed from some of the elbow-nearness of the center four-tops.  (And we chatted with the couple seated beside us, a lovely pair in their 60’s who brightened our dining experience).  Now, onto the food.

Ninety percent of the reason that I selected Bar Americain (other than location) was for the Brussels sprout salad.  I am a Brussels sprout fan (usually, I opt for roasted, but I am fully up for variation) and will definitely try to recreate this dish at home.  It was fabulous!

My husband ordered grilled pizza with double smoked bacon, caramelized onions and toasted garlic for his appetizer.  The bacon slabs were delicious (and complimented my salad nicely), but the cheese (mozzarella, I believe) and heft of the appetizer was a bit too much to be paired with the rib eye he also ordered (I eat Brussels sprouts, he eats heart attacks).  He did say the rib eye was delicious.

My entree, lamb loin with quinoa, was good, but paled in comparison to the salad and subsequent dessert.  There was spicy mustard in the sauce (not mentioned on the menu) and I am not a mustard fan.  Alas.  But, here comes dessert!

For dessert I ordered walnut espresso bread pudding with brown sugar Kahlua, mascarpone cream, and caramel sauce.  It was literally one of the best desserts I have ever tasted (and I couldn’t finish it!  How I tried!  But I was just too full.).  Phenomenal!

Ingredients for the Brussels Sprout Salad

  • Brussels sprouts, shredded (definitely use a food processor or mandoline) and, I believe, raw
  • Honey crisp apple, thinly sliced to the point of near transparency (again, I would use a mandoline here)
  • Goat cheese
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Apple cider vinaigritte

I don’t have exact ratios here and I will need to experiment a bit, but the Brussels sprouts were heaped on top, the goat cheese sprinkled lightly around, the honey crisp slices on bottom, and a very generous sprinkling of pomegranate color throughout.  The apple cider vinaigrette was light and crisp and I will have to experiment with that, too.  A definite re-order if ever we venture back.  [Here’s experiment #1]