my version of red split lentil dal {red split lentil stew}

last night when i served oven roasted chicken to my daughter for the third (or fourth, to be honest) night in a row, she was not very happy. the rest of us were having (amazing) fish, and i had gone out of my way to prepare her some chicken because she doesn’t like fish (surprise!!)-all the same, she was missing red meat, which makes sense-as i’ve seriously cut back on it (red meat) recently. this morning, feeling rather guilty, i decided i HAD to prepare some good (grass fed) beef for her dinner tonight. i bought the beef, which is (oh so slowly) braising in the oven as we speak (see recipe)–but i also made one of my favorite vegetarian dishes as an alternative option–you know, just in case! i made a red lentil dal or stew, my way…it is so satisfying, simple , and good for you. we eat it with brown rice or steamed quinoa, and it really hits the spot every time. you’ll need:
ingredients for 4-6 servings:


  • 2 cups red (organic) lentils
  • 1-2  cloves of garlic-minced
  • 1 large (or 2 small) shallot(s)-minced
  • 2 thick slivers of fresh ginger-1 tbs minced
  • 1/2 green chili pepper (jalapeno)-seeded if you don’t like spicy
  • 2-3 ripe roma tomatoes (or 1/2-1 cup strained tomato sauce from a jar)
  • 1-2 tsp organic refined coconut oil (or oil of choice)
  • 1-2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • organic cilantro (a few sprigs)
jalapeno pepper, ginger, garlic, shallot, turmeric, & ground cumin
1. melt the coconut oil in a medium heavy pot. finely mince the chili pepper (omit seeds if you don’t like spicy), ginger, garlic, and shallot. add to the pan with turmeric & ground cumin, then fry for 1-2 minutes.
2. add lentils, salt, and about 2 cups of water. allow the mixture to simmer for about 15-20 minutes on medium heat, then add the cubed tomatoes (or strained tomatoes from a glass jar) and continue to simmer for another 15-20 minutes. *you will need to add more water*—keep an eye on the pot, and keep the heat on medium/low-keep stirring and adding liquid as needed until you get a creamy consistency.
3. about 10-15 minutes before serving, add the coconut milk (totally optional) and stir well-allow it to simmer another 5-10 minutes until thickened. serve topped with chopped cilantro.
4. drizzle with this green cilantro sauce for an extra layer of flavor.
add tomatoes
add coconut milk if you like 5-10 mins prior to serving
serve topped with cilantro with brown rice or quinoa
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sesame ginger chicken breasts

i made this chicken dish last night for dinner with my parents. it was easy to make, light, and healthy-and there was nothing left over, which i took as a good sign!

for marinade (to marinate 4 organic chicken breasts)

  • a nice sliver of fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 tbs toasted sesame oil
  • freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime (or 1/2 lemon)
  • 1 small bunch finely chopped cilantro-keep some leaves for garnish
  • 2 tbs soy sauce (or liquid aminos for gluten free)
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
lightly score (criss cross superficial cuts in the top of the chicken breasts-see below) four organic chicken breasts, spoon the marinade over them, and marinate [allow them to rest in the mixture]  for about an hour. bake on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees, lightly covered with foil for about 25 minutes, then remove the foil and bake uncovered for an additional 10-15 minutes. garnish with fresh cilantro. make sure the chicken is fully cooked through.

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chicken curry with cauliflower, carrots, & mushrooms

on sundays we tend to eat a rather large (often persian) late lunch/early dinner if we’re at home. usually i walk over to the farmer’s market and pick up some seasonal produce that looks good, and plan the meal from there. i can literally see the sunday farmer’s market from my window, but this morning there were no umbrellas, no trucks, no farmers-there was no one in sight. it’s easter sunday (happy easter), and the market is closed…so, on to plan b. i don’t like to go grocery shopping on sundays, there’s usually too many people, and often the produce looks a bit tired. i look in my refrigerator hoping for inspiration (and for ingredients that can add up to a decent meal). mushrooms, celery, carrots(the dutiful constant), onions (as well), pretty fresh looking organic cilantro, kale (obviously), lettuce, cauliflower, and two rather shriveled up bell peppers. ok. not great, but not too bad. look in the freezer, and find some organic chicken breasts. for some reason, i decide against the celery and kale. back in the drawer. should i make a curry? my daughter won’t be too excited, but i’m kind of craving it…so i look in the pantry for coconut milk, check. that’s what it’ll be, then-chicken curry with cauliflower, mushrooms & carrots (although frankly, i much prefer my carrots raw).



  • 2-3 organic chicken breasts ( or omit for vegetarian)
  • mushrooms, about 20
  • 1 yellow organic onion*
  • 1/2 of a medium cauliflower
  • 4-5 medium organic carrots*
  • 1/2 cup cooked garbanzo beans
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • a sliver of fresh ginger **
  • 1/4-1/2 of a green chili pepper (or jalapeno)
  • 1-2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbs good quality curry powder +
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tbsp organic refined coconut oil (or oil of choice)
  • 1 small bunch fresh organic cilantro*
  • 1 medium or 2 small ripe tomatoes
  • chicken stock (substitute vegetable stock for vegetarian)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup light coconut milk
  • sea salt


finely mince the garlic, chili pepper, and ginger, and sautee (on medium) in 1/2 of your coconut oil for a minute before adding the  cut up chicken, cubed onions,  turmeric, curry powder, cumin, and salt. sautee until the chicken looks golden-about 3 minutes or so, remove from pan.
add the rest of the oil to the pot, and sautee the vegetables (all cut up in about the same size for even cooking). after the vegetable are softened (about 3-4 minutes), add the chicken back to the pan, combine with vegetables, add about 1/2 cup of chicken stock, and 1/2 cup of coconut milk, a handful of chopped cilantro, and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes on medium.


add the garbanzo beans and tomatoes (cubed) and let the pot simmer for another 5-8 minutes.
taste for salt and add/adjust if needed. whisk together about 1 tbsp flour (or chick pea flour) and 1/4 cup coconut milk, and pour over the curry, mixing softly together. this will thicken the sauce lightly. allow the pot to simmer for just another 3 minutes or so. top with fresh cilantro. the curry can be served over brown basmati rice, steamed quinoa, or jasmine rice.



* i recommend using organic chicken & vegetables-here’s a good quick guide re organic versus non: ( also, see my post 7 things that should never cross your lips).** i use a lot of fresh ginger in my food-besides the fabulous flavor, here’s why: i use Morton & Bassett curry powder.

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