Tag: Thereciperedux

Secret ingredient french onion soup

From the palace to the pauper

As the story goes, French onion soup came to be in the kitchen of King Louis XV, on a day that there was nothing but butter, onions, and champagne to be found in the pantry – an early “Chopped” episode, of sorts!  The humble onion, which even peasants had access to, had been elevated to French cuisine.  Whatever its beginnings, I’m glad this soup survived time and distance to end up on my mom’s recipe rotations during my childhood.   Sweet, caramelized onions, savory broth, and a fun crust of cheesy bread to break through…just the sight and smell feel cozy and nostalgic to me!

The secret ingredient

Many recipes call for worcestershire sauce as a savory, umami addition, but the late renown Chef Michel Richard used soy sauce, “because it gives it a meaty flavor.”  Sounds great to me!  Because soy sauce is high in sodium, I don’t call for any salt in this recipe – one study even found that sodium could be reduced by half without compromising flavor if soy sauce was used instead!  Many soy sauces contain gluten, so look for certified gluten free versions if you need to – there are also low sodium versions available.  Kikkoman is available at nearly any grocery store you’d go to, and have versions of both.  Be sure to check out all the other RecipeRedux entries to their contest to see other sneaky ways to use it!


  • 3 large onions, sliced into half rings
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil (or butter)
  • 1/3 c red wine
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 cups broth of choice (I used a homemade version; look at the sodium on this too as it can be quite high)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme (or sub 1 tsp dried)
  • 4 slices whole grain bread of choice
  • 4 ounces mozzarella cheese


Heat the oil or butter in a soup pot over medium high.  Add the onions and cook down, stirring frequently until translucent (about 5-10 minutes) and then reduce heat to low and cook for another 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.  When caramelized, add the wine, soy sauce, broth, and herbs and simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Meanwhile, cut bread to a size that will fit into the ramekin (regular bowls work too; it just has to be able to go under a broiler) and toast them – drier is better, since you’ll be submerging it into the broth.  Scoop soup into ramekins (remove bay leaf), place bread on top, then layer on mozzarella (other cheeses that melt work well for this too!) and broil until cheese is brown and bubbly in places – putting ramekins on a baking sheet makes transferring to the oven much easier!  Enjoy as a soup course, or as a mini-meal…after all, it contains a vegetable, protein, and whole grain all by itself!

I received a free sample of Kikkoman soy sauce mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Kikkoman and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Easy dark chocolate truffles with cocoa nibs

It’s RecipeRedux time!

This month the theme is 2-0-1-6.  A year that will live in infamy.  A year that saw big changes in my life (moving in with David, starting work at PVF, getting used to showing up on TV now and then), and a lot of learning.  So in a nod to closing out this roller coaster ride around the sun, Reduxers are picking recipes from cookbooks on pages that have the numbers 2, 0, 1 and 6 to remake.  I am busy making some last-minute gifts, and my aunt loves dark chocolate, so I thought truffles would be perfect.  I’m actually following the recipe exactly, but “reduxing” the size – truffle minis!  The beautiful, tantalizing book “Chocolate” has a recipe on page 126 and I’m sharing it here – very few (very rich) ingredients, but I love the idea of a crunch outer shell to contrast the creamy truffle inside.

Oh, what fun

I’m also adding a special twist: custom M&M’s!  I had one of their family pictures printed onto mini packs of M&M’s, and even though they’re tiny the clarity is pretty darn good!  You can try it out yourself here.

Dark Chocolate Truffles with Cocoa Nibs


  • 6 + 6 ounces (separated) semisweet chocolate, in pieces or chopped
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup cocoa nibs


Melt 6 ounces of chocolate over a double boiler.  Bring the cream to boil in a separate small saucepan, then remove from heat and allow to cool.  When the cream has cooled to about 115F (I just waited until the pan wasn’t too hot to touch!), slowly pour the chocolate into the cream.  As you pour, stir with a spatula, thoroughly mixing the chocolate into the cream.  The mixture will thicken and should be smooth and shiny.  Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate, covered.  That’s the ganache for the center – while it’s cooling, melt the rest of the chocolate over the double boiler, prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper or tinfoil, and grab a spoon.  Scoop out a small amount (I used roughly the size of a large marble) and roll it into a sphere (or whatever shape it wants to be…getting them perfect is tricky!).  Immediately coat the cold ganache ball with the melted chocolate, using a fork to toss it in the bowl to coat.  Drop it into the cocoa nibs and continue to roll to coat. (Alternatively, you could chill before the cocoa nibs and then coat in cocoa powder.)  Place on the cookie sheet.  When you are out of dipping chocolate, pop the prepared truffles into the fridge to store.


Plant-powered lunch bowl: farro, shaved brussels sprouts, and fermented beets

Bowls are the new salad

I’m a HUGE fan of a well-balanced lunch bowl.  They’re easy to pack to bring to work, and the options are limitless – which is why I am really excited that they’re this month’s RecipeRedux theme!  I can’t wait to see all the other members’ combos (links below) and give folks some inspiration for lunches that taste and feel awesome.

How to Bowl

Here’s my guide to building a bowl from scratch:

  1. Pick a base: a whole grain (quinoa or millet work well), rice, or legume like lentils or beans – aim for 1/2 cup

  2. Pick your greens: kale, spinach, collards, lettuces – 1-2 cups

  3. Pick 2 proteins: cheese, diced meats, tofu, hard-boiled eggs, nuts, seeds – roughly 20g worth; consult the labels to make sure it adds up

  4. Add 2 other veggies (green beans, diced pepper, onion, tomatoes, even a cooked diced sweet potato) – roughly a cup total

  5. Herbs + acid + oil (chopped fresh basil or cilantro, lime or lemon juice, and olive or grapeseed oil) – about 2 Tbsp

I recently brought a bowl to a potluck – they make fantastic side dishes, too!  I cooked up farro, which is wheat’s higher-protein cousin (not gluten free!), then added:

  • Chopped roasted carrots
  • Raw edamame
  • Shaved raw brussels sprouts (I used a mandolin)
  • Fermented beets (my first ferment!)
  • Feta cheese
  • Dried cranberries
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Chopped pecans
  • Pomegranate arils (alleluia, it’s pom season again!)


Gorgeous colors, right?  And the result:


I dressed it with some rice wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and EVOO – the ingredients themselves had so much richness and diversity in flavor, texture, and temperature that it didn’t need much!  If I weren’t going to a potluck, I’d have stored all the ingredients separately and made different combos through the week for lunch – here’s what a single serving looks like:

img_4313img_4316YUM.  Try your own – what’s your fav combo?  And don’t forget to check out the rest below!

Lunch wrap hack (+Sabra chickpea spread)

The good & bad of wraps

There’s so much potential for a wrap to be the perfect lunch: veggies, protein, some zingy flavors, all ready to eat quickly in a handy whole grain sleeve, no silverware required!  Unfortunately what you’ll usually find in restaurants and stores is a huge portion of deli meat, mayo spread, and a white tortilla that could be over over 300 calories before anything even goes inside.  And if you choose a vegetarian wrap, there’s usually not enough protein to make a full meal’s serving.  Not worth your time or money!  Instead, try stocking up on some 100% whole grain shells, a variety of veggies, spreads, and some interesting flavor ingredients (fresh herbs, capers, pickles) to make your own unique combo.

Sabra spreads

These are a new spreads from one of the best known hummus companies in the country – Sabra bottles them for easy squirting, and the first ingredient is always chickpeas.  Check out the links below in this RecipeRedux Roundup contest using three of their new flavors – Salt & Pepper, Garlic & Herb, and Honey Mustard – this is a great way to add flavor and help bind your ingredients together!

Wrap hack: 4 components for a winning combo

Flavor, color, and texture variety are all keys to a well-balanced wrap.  Shake on your favorite seasonings, add a vinaigrette, or pop some pickles in to hit the right tasting notes, and choose some soft or cooked and some crispy elements so each bite is interesting.

  1. Pick your protein – beans, cheeses, tempeh, leftover meats from roasts or chicken entrees, or canned salmon or tuna are all good options; aim for the portion to provide ~15g.
  2. Veggie serving – a serving of vegetables is about the size of your fist, so do not skimp here!  Roasted red pepper, spinach or other greens, cucumber, carrots, cooked eggplant, cucumber…grab at least 2 for color variety.
  3. A spread, sauce, or dressing – preferably with an acid element!  My wrap below features a quick-pickled carrot, which counts as part of the veggie volume and really adds some great flavor notes.
  4. 100% whole grain wrap, 6-8″ – this is key; the wrap I use here is 8″ and has 6g of protein and 5g of fiber with 210 calories (34g carb) so my meal is clocking in at less than 500 calories (which is a good ball park if you’re in a sedentary job!)

Here’s my combo:

  1. Chickpeas lightly sauteed, then crush with half a lemon’s juice (1-15 oz can; 1/3 of the chickpeas per wrap)
  2. Roasted red bell pepper (I made my own but canned work too!), cucumber, and quick-pickled shredded carrots
  3. Sabra Garlic & Herb Spread (2 Tbsp)
  4. 8″ whole wheat wrap


I received free samples of Sabra Spreads mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Sabra and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Recipe Redux: simple breakfast salad

Put an egg on it!

There are over 50,000 instagram photos with the #putaneggonit tag – and rightly so!  Eggs are one of my favorite and most misunderstood sources of protein, and from risotto to burgers to pastas to soups to toast, there are few savory foods that you actually can’t put an egg on.  They are the gold standard for protein, matching the essential amino acids humans need very closely, a concept also known as “biological value.”  All the micronutrients they contain – B12, riboflavin, selenium, and a bit of vitamin D – and about half the egg’s protein are found in the yolk, so never opt for just the whites!  Yes, there’s cholesterol there too, but pairing the eggs with high fiber foods like veggies and whole grains will prevent some of the cholesterol’s absorption, and most of your body’s cholesterol comes from what your liver makes, anyway.

Eggs for breakfast…lunch, or dinner, or snacks…

I usually aim to eat about a dozen eggs a week myself.  On mornings when I’m not at the farm (ie, waking up at 6!) and I get to sleep in a little, I’ll usually have an egg-based breakfast. (These are from my instagram feed over the past year!)

I’m lucky that PVF also does eggs, so I know the chickens personally (and they eat veggie scraps we grow!), but if you want to figure out how the eggs you buy at the grocery store are grown, brush up on some key definitions first.

Road trip to New England

A few weeks ago my boyfriend and I took a long weekend to visit Vermont and Maine…it was a ton of driving, and he threatened to stop at every Wendy’s we passed.  Luckily, I found a sweet little breakfast spot after we broke camp the first morning called No. Six Depot that satisfied the requirements of being quick, having good coffee, and offering some kind of nutritious breakfast in the pre-brunching hours.  Any menu that offers veggies in the AM is good in my books, and I ordered this lovely salad:


Since the RecipeRedux theme this month is food inspired by vacationing, I thought I’d share my take on a breakfast salad with eggs.  The eggs from Six Depot were perfectly cooked, and had a creamy tangyness to them that I thought might be a hint of vinegar, so I tried it this time with great results!  The trick is to fry the egg on one side (not too high to avoid browning), then flip and just after the whites have fully congealed, add a tablespoon or two of white vinegar. The rest is just assembly; greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and I added quinoa and parmesan cheese!

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Featuring Tawnie Kroll (+roasted beet & greens salad)

Meet a fellow Reduxer!

TheRecipeRedux, a monthly blog link up and frequent contest host, has introduced me to lots of inspiring dietitians doing amazing things with food.  I’ve learned a lot about everything from post formatting to staging pictures from this group, but the thing I really love is that it’s full of RD’s who are food lovers and want to make nutritious food appealing and easy.  Tawnie Kroll (aka Kroll’s Korner) is the perfect example of all the best parts of this link up – I’ve followed her on Instagram for a long time, but we haven’t met (yet!).  Her photography is stunning, and her recipes are simple, balanced, and delicious.  This month for the round up, we’re featuring our take on the recipe of another Reduxer, and her Roast Beet with Feta salad was the perfect fit for the first harvest of beets we have from the farm!

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Can you beet this?

Beets are a good source of folate, very low in calories, and sweet and soft when properly roasted.  Their greens are an OUTSTANDING source of vitamins K and A and an excellent source of potassium.  You can’t always find them with the greens attached at the grocery store, so grab them up when you see them at a market!  I sauteed them lightly and added them to this salad for some extra color and vitamin content.  Whatever you do – don’t throw them away!


Roasted Beet & Greens Salad

Make this for your next cookout!  We enjoyed it for an al fresco father’s day dinner at my brother’s place, and it was just as delicious when I had it the next day, too.  I added the pecans for some crunch – just an option!


  • 5 red beets
  • Beet greens, chopped and lightly sauteed
  • 1 lemon’s juice
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans
  • Slivered basil (for garnishing)


Follow the directions on Tawnie’s recipe – when beets and greens are cool, toss all to mix (save the feta to sprinkle on last or it will be bright pink!)

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The Blue Waldorf – a salad with an elegant twist

Walnut week comes to an end

This is the third and final walnut recipe I’m putting out – for now!  I love a challenge and a feature ingredient assignment, because just having a few guidelines makes recipe development a lot easier.  And it’s great to see the roundup of everyone’s recipes at the end…TheRecipeRedux is the best for that because everyone featured looks at food through the lens of nutrition AND flavor. Be sure to browse the gallery at the end of the post!

Walnuts are not only incredibly nutrient dense, they can go sweet, savory or even both ways at the same time (as in this recipe).   They pair particularly well with apples and berries at the same time as getting lots of flavor depth from spices like cumin and coriander.  A classic Waldorf salad called for chopped apples and grapes; my version ups the fancy factor by using thinner julienned slices, adding jicama, and blueberries instead of grapes.  The walnuts are spiced with a salty-sweet-savory combo that offers a lot of flavor depth to this summer recipe favorite – bring it to your next potluck picnic!

IMG_3800The Blue Waldorf


Spiced Nuts

  • 1 c raw walnuts
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp oil


  • 2 apples – one sweet like Fuji, one tart like Granny Smith
  • 1 c chopped spiced walnuts (from above, cooled)
  • 1 c jicama slivers
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery


  • 1/4 c mayo
  • 1/4 c greek yog
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • dash salt & pepper


Preheat oven to 350F.  Toss walnuts with oil, mix spices separately and then toss with walnuts to coat.  Bake for 10 minutes, then remove and cool.  To make the salad, use a mandolin or julienne by hand to cut apples and jicama into slivers.  Add to the rest of the salad ingredients in a large bowl.  Combine dressing ingredients and whisk to blend, pour over the rest of salad.  Serve over greens or alone.

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I received free samples of California walnuts mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Walnut Commission and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

7-ingredient sesame ginger noodle bowl sauce

What’s better in spring than a cold noodle bowl?


FINALLY spring is here, and the fresh spring ingredients are starting to pop up on the shelves.  Crisp beans, tender asparagus, leafy greens…which all sound like great ingredients for a noodle bowl, if you ask me!  This month’s RecipeRedux theme is 7 ingredients or less, and my Asian-inspired noodle bowl sauce fits the bill.  I made them for Gracy’s self care group on Sunday, and used my go-to format of a make-your-own bar so people could choose which elements to add.  (And as always, I chose EVERYTHING!)

But the sauce!  It’s delicious. Savory, nutty, salty, and tangy – and very forgiving.  I often use rough measurements and it always ends up just fine…make a big batch and taste as you go to adapt it!

IMG_3360Sesame ginger noodle bowl sauce


  • 1/4 c sesame oil
  • 1/4 c soy sauce (can substitute soy-free aminos or homemade soy sauce)
  • 2″ fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 Tbsp almond or peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp tahini (double if skipping nut butter)
  • 1 lemon’s juice
  • 1 clove garlic


Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor; mixture will be thick.  Drizzle in 1/4c -1/2 cup water until desired consistency is reached.  Taste and tell!  You could add a hit of hot sauce, a pinch of sugar, or more of any of the ingredients you want to play up.

Click the frog for other RecipeRedux 7-ingredient recipes for fast, healthy dishes!


RecipeRedux: National Nut Day!

I guess there’s really a day for everything these days, isn’t there?  Really though, I try to encourage everyone to eat nuts on a daily basis – a handful is a serving, they’re high in protein, fiber, and unsaturated fats, and they can be stored at room temperature.  The perfect snack, breakfast component, and wonderful in dishes sweet and savory alike.   Easy to store and portion in the office, the car, your purse…and there’s got to be a seasoning mix to please everyone out there!  Ok – my ode to nuts is over, but definitely worth consideration if you aren’t already eating them regularly!

What if I’m allergic?

Turn to seeds – sunflower, pumpkin, chia, flax…these have generally the same nutrient profile as nuts, but are different enough that most people with nut allergies aren’t triggered.  Make sure to check with your doctor if you aren’t sure which allergies you have!

Back to nuts

This recipe packs everything that tastes good about fall into one bite: pumpkin, pumpkin spice, apple, and almonds!  Add chocolate chips if you want a sweeter treat, and sub maple syrup for brown sugar if you have it on hand.  Delicious enough for dessert, but healthy enough for breakfast (try enjoying with plain greek yogurt!) – my favorite kind of recipe.  Don’t forget to check out the other nutty recipes by clicking the blue frog at the end of the post!

Pumpkin spice almond bars



  • 2 cups old fashioned (rolled) oats
  • 1 c slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 apple, diced (keep skin on for more fiber!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 very ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chunks or chips (optional)


  1. Pre-heat oven to 325° F.
  2. Spray an 8 inch by 8 inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl combine the oats, quinoa, almonds, chocolate chips, apple, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
  4. In a blender combine the sugar, banana, and pumpkin puree until smooth.
  5. Add pumpkin mixture to oat mixture and stir until all the oats are coated.
  6. Place oat mixture into the prepared pan and spread to be flat and even, packing down with the back of a spatula. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown.
  7. Let the bars cool, and cut into desired size (makes 10 snack sized bars).