July 2014 archive

Paul’s Caesar Dressing

It’s the time of year when the lettuce keeps coming from the garden. So this recipe is perfect now and all year long. It’s delicious! The Parmesan cheese adds just the right amount of salty flavor. Thanks Paul for sharing this recipe with us!

Caesar Salad

From Paul’s email: I love the blog! The way you and the girls participate in activities together is awesome! That (Caesar) salad looks great, but where’s the recipe? I have a good one I make in bulk and just pour over Romaine and toss with Parmesan as desired. It easily stays fresh for a couple weeks but is generally gone long before that. Honestly, I’ve never had a batch go bad. 

 Caesar Salad

Paul’s Caesar Dressing
Serves 12

  1. 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  2. 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  3. 2 cloves garlic
  4. 1 ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  5. 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  6. 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  7. ½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  8. Parmesan cheese
  1. Whirl all ingredients in a food processor or blender until garlic is minced and mixing is complete ( about 30 seconds).
  2. Toss dressing with the leaves from 2 heads of romaine lettuce, or less if you wish. Add 1 cup Parmesan cheese and re-toss. Enjoy!
Paul’s notes
  1. Generally, I make the entire dressing recipe, but only a fraction of the salad. The rest of the dressing goes into the fridge for later.
  2. I often alter the recipe for however I’m feeling when I make it. Generally more garlic, although anything over 4 cloves doesn’t offer a pronounced change in flavor. Sometimes a little more pepper sauce to give it a little more kick.
  3. We keep romaine lettuce around all the time. It takes moments to rip a few leaves off, rinse, tear and toss them for a heart healthy, satisfying and tasty side.
  4. Less hearty varieties of lettuce (like red leaf, bibb, butter, green leaf, etc.) don’t hold up so well to the acid in the dressing.
  5. Nutrition Per Serving: 82 calories, 9 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, trace dietary fiber, 12 mg sodium.
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Carol’s Favorite Omelet


Our family has had the privilege of eating at Carol’s (Brian’s mom) house once a week. This tradition started when Teresa and Laura were small and I worked evenings. Carol took care of them until Brian got home and then they’d have dinner together. The tradition still continues and recently Carol made omelets and shared this recipe with me. Omelets are great because they easy, make just one serving and there are so many possible variations. Just change up the vegetables and cheese, add a new seasoning or fresh herb and you have a new taste every time! Please share your favorite omelet with us.


Carol’s Favorite Omelet
Serves 1

  1. 2 eggs
  2. 2 tablespoon milk
  3. Dash of salt and pepper
  4. 1/4 cup cauliflower
  5. 1 small potato
  6. 1/4 cup onion
  7. 1 teaspoon cooking oil or cooking spray
  8. 2 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  9. 1 ounce slice Swiss cheese, regular or low fat cheese of your choice
  1. Coat small frying or omelet pan with a small amount of canola oil or cooking spray.
  2. Beat eggs and add milk, salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. Chop cauliflower, potato and onion into small pieces.
  4. Heat pan and saute cauliflower, potato, onion and Worcestershire Sauce until soft and remove from pan.
  5. Put beaten eggs mixture to hot pan. When egg mixture starts to set, add the cauliflower mixture to one half side of the omelet.
  6. Place slice of cheese over cauliflower mixture.
  7. When eggs are firm enough to flip, flip one half of omelet over other half.
  8. Cover and continue cooking until just cooked through and serve piping hot!
  1. Low or reduced fat cheeses made with 2% milk are a healthy choice since you get the same amount of protein and calcium with ⅓ less fat and half the saturated fat. If you use low or reduced fat Swiss, sharp or pepper cheese, you will find you can use less cheese without sacrificing flavor.
  2. Nutrition Per Serving (low fat cheese): 361 calories, 15 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 3 g dietary fiber, 492 mg sodium.
  3. Nutrition Per Serving (regular cheese): 417 calories, 22 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 3 g dietary fiber, 492 mg sodium.
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Black Lentil Falafel

Falafel in pita

Perfecting this recipe came as a VICTORY for me amidst frustration. I was recently told, along with 20 percent of all women, that I was deficient in iron. I was advised to eat more meat, especially beef. This recommendation did not sit well with me. I do eat meat, but I do not believe it NEEDS to be essential in everyone’s diet. I mean there are many countries in the world that do not eat meat. I have many friends that choose, for various reasons, to follow a vegetarian diet. I believed there had to be a high iron food that was plant based!

Shortly after I was diagnosed with a iron deficiency my sister Teresa headed to the grocery store and checked nearly every label in the store for iron content. She came bearing a grocery bag with meatballs, spinach pasta, orange juice (vitamin C helps uptake iron), and an item that really sparked my interest–black lentils. We learned that black lentils are high in iron and protein.

Now at that point I was not a fan of beans due to their texture. A couple weeks later I was cooking with a friend and she suggest we whip up some falafel. I helped her add the spices and mix it up and to my surprise they were incredible. I was also fascinated on how she made the patties and put the non-fried leftovers in the freezer just like a hamburger or sausage patty.


Chickpeas which are normally used to make falafel are high in protein similar to meat. They are missing some nutrients that are in beef, particularly iron. On the bus ride home from my friend’s house, it came to me. Using the high iron black lentils in the falafel alleviated my frustration. Women CAN get enough iron without consuming large amounts of meat. This is especially helpful on a college student’s budget.

I prefer to eat my Black Lentil Falafel in a pita with cucumber sauce, tomatoes fresh from my garden and lettuce. For an added iron absorption, drink vitamin C rich juice with the falafel. Enjoy and keep experimenting with this recipe. Let me know what you come up with!


 Copy of IMG_7129

Black Lentil Falafel
Serves 8

  1. ½ cup dried black lentils (soaked and then drained)
  2. 15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (or ¾ cup dried chickpeas soaked and then drained)
  3. 2 cloves garlic
  4. 1 small onion, quartered
  5. 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  6. ¾ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper or 1 teaspoon chili powder
  7. 1 teaspoon salt
  8. ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  9. 1 teaspoon ground coriander (optional)
  10. ½ teaspoon baking soda
  11. 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves or parsley
  12. Lemon juice from ½ lemon
  13. About 2 tablespoons flour or enough to hold patties together
  14. Canola oil for frying
  1. Advanced prep at least 7-8 hours in advance: Pour 1 cup boiling water over ½ cup dried black lentils and let sit for 7-8 hours or overnight. You can also soak chickpeas overnight or use canned chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans).
  2. Combine all ingredients except canola oil in large food processor and pulse until well mixed.
  3. Shape into 16 small patties or balls.
  4. Heat ½ inch oil in pan with high sides. Heat until drops of water sizzle in the pan.
  5. Brown falafel patties on both sides until golden brown. This should be done in several batches so the patties are not crowded, brown well and can be easily turned.
  6. Remove from pan and drain on paper towel.
  7. Serve warm.
  1. We enjoyed the falafel in whole wheat pita with tomato, cucumber, mild onion and tzatziki (cucumber sauce). Soaking onion rings in cold water for short time will take away some of the harsh flavor.
  2. Variation: Roll falafel balls in cooked brown rice. We use quick-cook brown rice for the convenience. This give a wonderfully nutty taste to the falafel!
  3. Nutrition Per Serving: 251 calories, 15 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 23 g carbohydrate, 8 g dietary fiber, 360 mg sodium.
  4. 3 ounces of cooked ground beef contains 9% iron (heme) and the black beans in this recipe provide 13% iron (non-heme). Heme iron is absorbed 2-3 times efficiently than non-heme iron. Vitamin C rich foods, like citrus and sweet peppers, enhance non-heme iron absorption when eaten at the same meal.
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Grilled Asparagus with Bacon


Let’s grill! It’s a great way to keep the house cool in the summer. Here is one of our favorite recipes for the spring and summer grilling season. Fresh asparagus tastes wonderful since it’s the first vegetable to come up in the spring. When the first spears appear I become very excited and hopeful after the long winter. These are quick, easy and can be made for one, two or a whole crowd. I like to use center-cut bacon or turkey bacon because it’s very flavorful while lower in fat. You can switch it up and use pancetta or a wide variety of seasoned bacons. Even veggie bacon strips work if you want to go meatless. It also works well to roast these in the oven. Then you can enjoy them anytime of the year!


Grilled Asparagus with Bacon
Serves 1

  1. 6 asparagus spears
  2. 1 slice bacon
  3. 2 teaspoons olive oil
  4. 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
  5. Black pepper to taste
  6. Red pepper flakes or other seasonings of your choice
  1. Wash asparagus and break off the tough ends of the asparagus. If you bend the stalk it will naturally break at the tender spot.
  2. Wrap three spears with ½ strip of bacon.
  3. Drizzle each bunch with olive oil.
  4. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and seasonings.
  5. Grill on medium heat. Turn once. It does not take long– about 5 minutes on each side. Cook until bacon is done and asparagus is tender.
  1. It also works well to roast these in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350ºF, turning once. Use a low sided baking dish or baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
  2. You can also substitute broccoli for the asparagus when asparagus is no longer in season. Cut the florets apart and down the stalk. Use a vegetable peeler to pare down some of the stalk that is not as tender.
  3. Nutrition Per Serving: 161 calories, 14 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 5 g carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fiber, 196 mg sodium.
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