So last summer when my friend E. came up from Portland for a visit, we went up to Grouse, and then up to the Eye of the Wind Turbine.
On clear days, I can see the turbine from my desk at work, and I wanted to wait till I had out-of-town guests to go up there…
We’re in the final stretch of winter.
The signs are there in spite of Mother Nature’s tantrums – spring is coming!
I’ll be glad to see this winter go; it hasn’t been a particularly great winter for me.
It’s not that it got too cold, on the contrary, I think this is probably the warmest winter we’ve had.
It was just an odd winter.
I went through a phase of slothfulness this winter, through a long languid phase of nothingness and stretches of procrastination. To be fair, it wasn’t all winter’s fault, it was just the space of mind I was in.
Things are starting to look up though, I feel that I’m coming out of it, and the longer days and sunshine will certainly help.
Lentil salad on flatbread with creamy mustard sauce
What I loved about this winter however, were these wonderfully warm and satisfying salads I ate throughout.
Before this, most of the salads I’d known where light leafy fares more suited as appetizers, but oohh… these salads with their toothsome grains and legumes are also filling and comforting.
Take this colourful lentil salad for example; it’s blissfully simple and delicious, and plenty – enough for the whole week.
This salad’s got everything I love; lentils, crunchy peppers, onions and sun-dried tomatoes, and a tangy zesty dressing of lemons and pomegranate molasses.
The recipe is from the kitchn which is an amazing source for these types of salads.
Colourful Lentil Salad
(from the kitchn
- 2 Â¼ cups of Puy lentils (French green lentils)
- 4 cups vegetable broth (or water)
- Â¼ teaspoon of salt
- â…“ cup of olive oil (divided)
- 1 large red onion, diced
- 3 bell peppers, diced ( a mix of orange, yellow, and red)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- Â½ cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil (with oil drained)
- 1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
- 1 cup flat parsley leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast (optional)
- 1 lemon, juiced and zested
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- 2 teaspoons flaky or kosher salt, or more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Rinse lentils, and add to a saucepan with vegetable broth and salt
- Bring to a boil, then lower heat, cover pot cook on medium heat for 20 – 30 minutes
- Check lentils 20 minutes in, and turn off heat when it’s cooked and tender and but still firm, it shouldn’t be mushy.
- Drain lentils of excess water, and spread them out on a baking sheet to cool
- Heat about half of the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat
- Add onions, bell peppers and garlic, cook for 4 – 6 minutes
- Turn off heat, and mix in the sun-dried tomatoes
- Add the lentils, and mix in the walnuts, parsley, red peppers flakes, nutritional yeast and lemon zest
- In a smaller bowl, whisk remaining olive oil with pomegranate molasses and lemon juice with a pinch of salt
- Add the dressing to the lentils and mix well.
- Taste for seasoning and add more salt & pepper if needed.
- Garnish with more walnuts & parsley leaves
I had a quiet weekend, stayed home for most of it.
On Saturday the wind howled, rattling the windows, and with that, I had my excuse to stay inside.
I made breakfast; polenta porridge.
I watched tv, took a nap, read a book and then I baked…
Cocoa Cashew White Chocolate Cookies, based on these Cocoa Peanut Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Baking cookies on an ominous afternoon… very comforting
Cocoa Cashew White Chocolate Chip Cookies,
(from the family kitchen
- 2 cups + 2 Tbsp whole-wheat flour
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup grapeseed oil (veg oil)
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 3 Tbsp creamy almond butter (soften in microwave if needed to stir into dough)
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup salted/roasted cashew nuts
- 3/4 cup white chocolate chips (vegan)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl
- Stir in the wet ingredients
- Fold in the cashew nuts and chocolate chips
- Spoon dough onto greased cookie sheets
- Bake at 350 for about 11 minutes — or until edges crisp
- Cool at least 15 minutes before serving
Sometimes, on quiet late afternoons, when I’m alone in the kitchen working, when a cool breeze flows through, and I hear the wind whistling through the trees and the birds chirping in the distance, I get homesick.
It’s a dull nostalgic sensation, the call of a faraway place I’ve never known.
Is that possible? Can you get homesick for a place of your dreams?
Same thing happened with this breakfast, I don’t know… breakfast for me is almost sacred.
After I let myself savour the first few bites, I got this distinct urge to be someplace else; a tranquil open space, a forest, or perhaps a farm – tall trees with swaying branches, lush green fields, glistening sun and a gentle cool breeze.
I wake up most weekends excited about breakfast, even more so when I’m trying something new.
I’ve been meaning to make this red quinoa porridge for months now; I just knew I would like it.
I love, love this porridge, it’s warming, nourishing and delicious; stir in a bit of pureed mango, some nuts and dried fruit… and it’s dessert for breakfast!
You really do have to savour this porridge; slowly, with gratitude – and if you’re lucky you might even feel like you’re some place else.
I prefer the crunchiness of red quinoa, it’s firmer and holds its shape better than white quinoa.
I like the texture and nuttiness, it’s also wonderful in salads and soups
This porridge isn’t fussy, it’s simple, cooks in less than twenty minutes and comes out wholesome.
Red Quinoa In Coconut Milk & Mango Puree
- Â½ cup red quinoa (or any other kind)
- Â½ cup water (or more)
- Â½ light cup coconut milk (or more)
- A pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or to taste)
- Mango puree (pulp of a mango)
- Pistachios / Pecans
- Dried Cherries / Cranberries (optional)
- Cook quinoa in water and coconut milk until tender, stir frequently to prevent burning
- Add salt and maple syrup
- Serve in a bowl, and swirl in mango puree
- Top with pistachios, pecans, dried cranberries and cherries and or more milk