Category Archives: Food

Recipe Sharing: Lentil Barley Stew

During my junior year of college I was a resident assistant (RA) in one of the dorms. Each Monday night, the RA staff (six of us) and our boss (RD) had dinner in the RD’s apartment and then had our “business” meeting. We all took turns cooking the meals, which actually turned out pretty well for college students who really had no experience in the kitchen. This stew was one of the meals our RD made for is from the “More with Less” cookbook (which I just Googled to find out is indeed a Mennonite recipe collection as I had correctly recalled). It obviously stuck with me since I am still making it over a decade *ahem* later. It is the perfect meal for a cool, fall day; plus it’s vegetarian-, budget- and diet-friendly – those Mennonites are so handy in the kitchen.

Let’s pretend I thought to take a picture of all the ingredients
(missing from the above: butter, celery, onion and carrots).

What you’ll need:
1/4 c. butter or margarine
3/4 c. celery, chopped
1 small yellow or white onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
3/4 c. lentils
6 c. water (or more – see directions)
3/4 c. barley (I used quick barley)
2 14-oz. cans diced tomatoes
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/2-1 tsp. rosemary


Here is the missing butter, celery, onion and carrots, happily cooking away.

Melt butter in large pot, add onions, celery and carrots and saute for 5 minutes over medium-high heat (until onions go transluscent and start to brown).

Add water and lentils and boil 20 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients and simmer 45-60 minutes. I think because I used quick barley, I needed to add more water and perhaps the cooking time didn’t have to be as long for this bit, just watch your pot and make sure it doesn’t all dry up or you will have a burnt mess. You can add more water without ruining the recipe (I rinsed the tomato cans and added that water and probably another 1.5 cups worth in the end).

Enjoy with some hearty bread!

This is not a cooking blog, but you should totally make this


Quinoa Greek Salad with Lemon Herb Dressing

2 cups cooked quinoa
3-4 roma tomatoes, diced OR 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cucumber, seeded, peeled and diced
1/4 cup kalamata olives, halved
2 oz. crumbled feta
Dressing to taste (see below)

Mix salad ingredients (I cook quinoa the night before and refrigerate it overnight). Add dressing to taste, I wouldn’t use it all, but you’re not me, you might like it that way.

Lemon Herb Dressing:
Juice of 1-2 lemons
1-2 T. red wine vinegar
Olive oil (about as much as lemon juice + vinegar combined, but you can add more, depends on how oily you like your dressing – I like an equal to less ratio)
2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1 tsp. garlic salt
Mix all dressing ingredients together and shake very well.

And because this is not a cooking blog, you get an unstyled photo of the recipe while it was in the Tupperware container, taken with my cell phone. You’re welcome. It’s delicious. Trust me.

Things I Love Thursday: Cake

Today I share with you cake. Two* cakes, actually. Two cakes I made to celebrate Liam’s birthday and my niece, Quinn’s birthday. I love cake. But I especially love good, out-of-the-ordinary cake. Something more interesting that your usual boxed cake (mostly because I like to make life harder on myself). Last year, inspired by my friend, Keri, I used the frozen buttercream transfer method to make a Lightning McQueen cake for Liam’s 4th birthday. While not perfect, I was still thrilled with how it turned out and so was a certain 4-year-old.

Liam asked for another Lightning cake this year and I had to divert him to something else, specifically a rainbow cake (because I wanted to make one). And for Quinn I thought something chocolaty was in order. Because Quinn’s little one can’t eat eggs, I found two recipes with nary an egg in them.

The first for the rainbow cake is easy-peasy (aside from the whole complication of dividing the batter into six bowls and mixing with food coloring). You buy a bow of white cake mix and add a can of lemon-lime soda (a.k.a., Sprite). And bake. For the rainbow, that’s another story – I followed the directions on this website. I will tell you that the cake took FOREVER to bake. But it was so pretty:


Quinn’s cake was from this recipe. But I baked it in a bundt pan (I cannot say bundt without thinking of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” anyone else?). And then I topped it with chocolate ganache. Hello there, handsome. (The rainbow cake had a chocolate ganache and oreo filling to make it yummier and the instant pudding/whipped topping frosting from the original recipe – only with the full sugar pudding and only reduced fat store-brand whipped topping.)


Are you hungry yet? (she asked with a wicked grin)

*I realize I actually talked about five cakes but when I started this post, I was only going to show you the two recent cakes but then I remembered I could download pictures from FB to show you the others and then I didn’t want to go back and redo the beginning. Instead I spent my time typing up this paragraph. You’re welcome.

This post is linked up with Jill at Diaper Diaries.

Things I Love Thursday: Internet Recipes

I have a multitude of cook books and while I love how pretty they look all lined up in my kitchen and I enjoy looking through the photos with my mouth watering, I rarely use them. Instead I find my recipes on the internet, either printing them off, copying them down longhand or sitting my laptop on the counter and following along that way. I love finding good recipes and recommending them to others. Today I wanted to share with you a few favorites that I’ve gone back to time and time again… maybe you can add them to your favorites, too!

Mini Ham and Swiss Party Rolls from Tasty Kitchen | I don’t like swiss cheese but baked and all melty with ham, sweet rolls and this divine sauce, and this is one of my favorite meals. It’s also a go-to recipe for when I have to take a meal to a family that just had a baby. Something out of the ordinary that reheats well – you can’t beat it!

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