Living the WELL Life

And Did I Mention?

Friday, December 20, 2013

Cook dinner. I don’t think I could emphasize this enough. Want to be healthy, happy, balanced, serene, enthusiastic about life? Cook dinner!

Here’s one of my favorite weeknight dinners!

I am obsessed with lentil soup of any kind, but this simple, deeply flavorful soup is on my table once a week…no kidding.


1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
½ red onion, diced
Sea salt
2 stalks celery, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 cup LePuy lentils, rinsed very well
1 cup canned diced tomatoes
4 cups spring or filtered water
1 bay leaf
2 stalks flat-leaf parsley, coarsely minced, for garnish

Place oil, garlic and onion in a medium pot over medium heat. When the onion begins to sizzle, add a pinch of salt and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in celery and a pinch of salt and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in carrot and a pinch of salt and sauté for 1 minute. Add lentils, tomatoes, water and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until lentils are soft, about 45 minutes. Season with about 1 teaspoon salt and simmer 5 to 7 minutes more. Remove and discard bay leaf. Serve garnished with parsley.

I learned this recipe when I was traveling in Puglia. Loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients like folate, this dish will be on your table all the time and you’ll rest easy knowing everyone is well-fed…and they will love every bite.


Extra virgin olive oil
1 long hot pepper, minced
2–3 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
2 small Italian eggplants, diced
1 cup diced canned tomatoes
4 ounces pitted black olives
5–6 sprigs fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
5–6 sprigs fresh basil, coarsely chopped
Sea salt
Cracked black pepper
1 pound whole-wheat or semolina orecchiette, cooked al dente, about 8–9 minutes

Start a large pot of water boiling, with a generous pinch of salt and a drizzle of oil.

Place about ¼ cup oil, pepper, and garlic in a deep skillet over medium heat. Sauté until garlic is lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in eggplant, and a pinch of salt and sauté for 2 minutes. (You may need to add a touch of oil, as the eggplant soaks it up). Stir in tomatoes, olives, parsley, basil (reserving about 1 teaspoon of each for garnish), and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about 8 minutes.

While the sauce simmers, cook pasta al dente, about 8–9 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pasta to the skillet with the sauce and stir gently to combine. Serve hot, garnished with a bit more fresh parsley and basil.

I love bitter greens salad, not only for the flavor but for the fact that they can help the liver do its job more efficiently, allowing us to digest well and feel relaxed. Yum!


Walnut-Shallot Vinaigrette
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (LINK TO VITA BELLA OIL IN MARKETPLACE)
1 teaspoon walnut oil
1 teaspoon brown rice syrup
1 shallot, very finely minced
1 clove fresh garlic, very finely minced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2/3 teaspoon sea salt
Generous pinch cracked black pepper

Bitter Greens Salad
2 Belgian endive, halved lengthwise, sliced into long ribbons
2 cups hand-shredded escarole
2 cups baby arugula
1 cup hand-shredded watercress
1 cup finely shredded radicchio
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts, lightly pan toasted (optional)

Prepare vinaigrette: Whisk together ingredients in a small bowl until emulsified. Set aside for flavors to develop.

Make salad: Combine all salad ingredients, except walnuts, in a large bowl. Toss gently with dressing to coat the leaves. Serve immediately with walnuts on the side for those who want a bit of crunch with their salad. 


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