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Vegetarian Spaghetti and Meatballs

This recipe has a thick, rich, and zesty tomato sauce, and the meatballs are packed with italian flavor. If you are worried that veggie meatballs sound ridiculously healthy, hang in there. You will not be sacrificing flavor for one moment. Here’s a little story: I made the dish yesterday, shot it for the blog (and for dinner later), then went on to the rest of my daily business, which included going to my son Jake’s “Back to School Night” for parents at 6:00 pm. The plan was for my husband to stay home and feed Jake while I went to chat to Jake’s teachers.  As I walked in the door, Toby said that Jake loved dinner, but he wanted to save the rest for me, so I could, “um, shoot it for the blog.” Uh huh. One of the traits I love the most about my husband is that he’s an incredibly ungifted liar. I made no comment, dropped my bags, and hit the stove. In the pan were the meatballs enveloped in a thick, luxurious sauce, with the spaghetti on the side. I took a forkful of meatball, dipped it into the sauce, and popped it in my mouth. [...]

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Black Bean Nachos with South of the Border Seitan

Apart from celebrating my husband Toby’s birthday, which was incredibly chilled out and fun, I had a pretty clunky week. If you haven’t read my About Me page, it has to be said that I did not win the Lottery when it comes to having normal family members (a few of us are cool, but we are outnumbered). Arguably, anyone can say this about their family. While this may be true, there are those days when I feel incredibly alone in the midst of my family’s dysfunction. It’s not almost comical. It is comical. How I wish that I could be like some food bloggers who take pictures of their children riding horses on the range (sigh), cooking beautiful meals step by step, then sitting down for supper with loving, supportive parents that cheer them on better than the cast of Glee. It ain’t me babe.  Taking this into consideration, I have built an arsenal of peaceful weaponry. When I am faced with my badass nemesis, Negativity, I bring out the big guns: My Buddhist paractice, ashtanga yoga four times a week (contemplating five), support from dear friends, the love from my husband Toby, his family, my son Jake, and [...]

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Ratatouille Southern Style

A few years back, the kid’s blockbuster, “Ratatouille” hit the theatres worldwide. A huge promotion machine ensued, with film crews planted outside of theatres, asking the question, “can you pronounce the word ratatouille? Answers came flying in, and they tickled me to no end. Here are some of my favourites: “Erm, rata-ta-toil?,” or, “Oh heck, it’s about a rat, Rat-Ta-Tat-Tat!” My favorite, and closest, was a gentlemen that enthusiastically bellowed “Rat-tat-woooeeeeeee!!” as if he had slipped on a banana peel. Before we mentally meander on to how so many could not pronounce the word, it behooves us all to move on to the recipe. Oui!! This recipe has all of the elements of a classic ratatouille, with a southern twist. I have added sweet potato instead of white, brown muscovado sugar for an earthy sweetness, red pepper flakes for a kick, and a pinch of cinnamon for gentle flavor and aroma. This dish is wonderful served with my Spiced Couscous. If there are any leftovers the next day (good luck), you can also eat the ratatouille with sliced baguette, sopping up all the delicious juices. Ratatouille Southern Style 1 medium eggplant (aubergine) diced 1 cup carrots diced 1 sweet potato [...]

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Linguine with Artichoke Hearts, Garlic, and Red Chili

As corny this sounds, I did a “Things that make you go Mmmmm” dance by the stove as I took a bite of this dish today. I’m talking a symphony of flavor in every mouthful. This is going to be my one of my new go-to recipes when I’m at a push for time. Twenty minutes to heaven ladies and gentlemen. Although this could be considered a light and summery dish, it’s a winner that I’ll be making all year ‘round.  The extra virgin olive oil in the sauce takes center stage in all of its fruity glory. It absolutely sings on your tongue. If you have a phobia of chilli, do not fret. By deseeding the chilli, you are taking away the powerful punch, and left with a mellow, warming bite. We had it for dinner this evening, and to be honest, I was more worried about what Jake would think of the artichokes. To my surprise, he gobbled up his dinner up in a heartbeat, then asked for more. Toby finished his meal and said,” it’s so good that it doesn’t need the artichokes!” Not exactly the response I was hoping for, but I still appreciate the enthusiasm. [...]

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Vegetable Chow Mein

Stir-fried, chow mein noodles are a huge hit with our son Jake. So much so, that they are on the regular rotation of weekly menu planning  (organizing ahead saves us beaucoup bucks). I know I can’t be alone in struggling to find healthy meals that appeal to our children’s taste buds. It can take some strength to stay calm when you cook a lovely meal, then your child turns their nose up to it. All I can say is hoo-wee, deep breaths all around.  Jake is a bit of a crafty character at the dinner table, so meal times are on and off like a light switch. When Jake is on, he’s on in a big way, clearing his plate until it shines, but when he’s off, all systems are down baby. My husband Toby goes into his well-crafted routine (in a friendly, yet mildly exasperated tone), “Jake, look at this beautiful food Mother has made for us. We are so lucky that she cooks such nice meals. Come on honey, please, eat your food.” Now I agree with you: This is T.M.I. in a big way for a 3 year old. What is really going on here: As much as [...]

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Stir Fried Tofu in Black Bean Sauce

In a previous post, I wrote about subletting a house while waiting for our short sale to go through. I cannot help but talk about the flowers and vegetables growing at this house. Words cannot express the joy when I laid my eyes on this garden of eden.  Unbelievably, we found the house on Craigslist. My husband and I were intrigued by the ad: A Mid Century house designed by Quincy Jones. We thought, “Amazing! I can’t believe we’re going to a house that was designed by THE MAN that produced Michael Jackson albums! Wicked! Except we were dead wrong. It wasn’t Quincy Jones the producer, but A. Quincy Jones the architect. Damn! So we thought. For exactly thirty seconds. The house proved to be amazing. A relaxing, inviting retreat, and so cosy it hurts. Have you ever tried on a pair of “Wicked Good” LL Bean slippers? Do you own a cotton shirt that has been washed a million times that feels yummy every time you slip it on? You’d only be close to the vibe of the house. It is wonderfully peaceful, and has an organic garden to boot. Hello! There are enough vegetables to feed a small country. Think Greece, [...]

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Marinated Grilled Vegetables with Spiced Couscous and Lemon Yogurt Sauce

Spring is has finally arrived. Hurrah! Time to dust off the bikes, don the shades, and break out the sun hats (a wonky lil’ panama for me). I have been itching to share my lighter recipes with you, and this one is fab. Light, delicious, nutritious, and most of all, quick and easy. I probably shouldn’t go on, as this is a food blog, but go on I will: I am positively brimming with excitement at the thought of universal healthcare. 32 million Americans will have the chance to be insured, and it really feels like the dawn of a new era. I am so grateful to be living in these times to witness such groundbreaking change, even with all the drama. The goal of my blog to to keep you healthy and happy so you don’t have frequent trips to the doctor, but it’s certainly a relief to know that if you do need to go, it will be affordable and available to everyone. I’m not much of a multiple-photo food blogger (although I think it looks fantastic on other blogs). After I took my initial shot, I laid the vegetables on the platter for dinner and thought, “hmm, that looks [...]

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Eggplant and Zucchini Lasagne

Who doesn’t like rustic simplicity of Lasagne? Hard to go wrong? Slap on some sauce in between sheets of pasta, shove it in the oven, and forget about it, right? Well, that is one way to think about it. Another way is to put some good old lovin’ into it, cooking a meal that makes your toes curl because it’s soooo good. A meal that gets your man, or keeps the man you married for another 10-20 years. There are quite a few men staying at home to take care of the kids these days, so by all means switch it around to a woman if necessary. My point is, a little effort goes a long way in the cookin’ and lovin’ department. For years and years avoided bechamel sauce for fear of a caloric calamity (thou is not such a dullard as I), but once I caved in and tried it, love was truly in the air. On the days when I want to lighten the load, but not deprive my husband and son of the delicious swirls of heaven, I simply claim a little patch for myself and leave it out. I then strategically sandwich in the bechamel for [...]

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Cauliflower Bhaji with Spiced Basmati Rice

This week, a dear friend has come to L.A. to escape the cold, dark winter of London and visit with us for two weeks. Apart from seeing his lovely face again and laughing (and snorting) out loud unashamedly at his conversation, it brought back to me how much I miss the great indian food of London. Indian food is to London is what Mexican food is to Los Angeles: The can do no wrong trusted staple of each city. It’s great as fast food, can be eaten elegantly at a restaurant, or late at night after a big night out(those nights are long gone now with a ‘lil one). There is another reason I thought it necessary to post this recipe: I mentioned Cauliflower Bhaji in my “About Me ” page. It seemed unfair to tease you with something delicious, then leave you hanging. I found my favorite indian cookbook sitting in a box full of dusty books in a charity shop (an english thrift shop) off the Chiswick High Rd in London. The book is called, “Indian Vegetarian Cookbook” by Tarla Dal. I have a few indian cookbooks on my shelf, but her recipes really work and are sensational. I would [...]

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Penne with Spinach and Zucchini in Pesto Sauce

The sky is bullet grey, and the heavens have just opened up. I’m feeling particularly sloth like today. To keep my spirits up, I have thrown on a comfy oversized wooly cardie and slipped on some brightly colored Moroccan socks over my jeans. On such a day, it’s fitting to offer an easy heart warming recipe to get us all through the drab months of winter. Many of you may be snowed in or flooded for that matter. My objective is not to have you bobsledding or canoeing around town trying to find this or that. The ingredients in this recipe can all be found in one pit stop to your supermarket shelf and produce section. This recipe was inspired by my love of pasta. I adore carbohydrates. In fact, they are my very own frenemy(friend and enemy in case you were wondering). I have learned to fight the addiction of yeasty yummies by simple, wholesome, and satisfying recipes. Before we move on to the recipe, I’d like to let you in on a few of my Carbo-driven fantasies: Fantasy #1 Take the freshed, crustied loaf of Ciabatta, tear off a hunk, bathe in a pool of olive oil, and nibble away while watching Oprah. Repeat with another hunk of Ciabatta. Oprah’s show would be particularly gripping, relevant, [...]

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