YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Apple-Walnut Oatmeal

Late last week, somehow, while no one was looking, autumn flew by and winter blew in. It’s an achingly beautiful look — trees still completely covered with gold or red leaves, shivering in the foreground of a white crystalline landscape, the lake dark grey in the distance. And it’s really cold, unexpectedly so, so here’s what I’m having this morning. It’s a lot of flavor for breakfast, and they’re all the right kinds. You might smile while you’re eating it.

  • 1/2 c. rolled oats
  • 1/2 small apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1-1/2 c. water
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp. flax meal
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, scant
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1-2 Tbsp. toasted walnuts, chopped coarsely

In a medium saucepan, heat the oats, apple, water, and salt over medium heat. Heat 5-8 minutes until simmering, lower heat to medium-low, and cook 5 minutes more until apple softens. Stir often.

Add the vanilla, olive oil, flax meal and cinnamon, and stir well. Pour into a serving bowl and top with the walnuts. Oh, wow, is that good!

Lentils & Collards Soup

I’ve posted this recipe on these pages once before, but I thought it was worth repeating. I love how the aromatic cumin and cinnamon and lemon flavors in this soup are so different from the usual kinds of soup I make.

The box of vegetables I picked up a couple of days ago contained two huge bunches of collard greens, and I could see that they were just aching to be made into this warm, aromatic soup. It took a day or two, but I finally gathered up all my ingredients, and started chopping. Well almost all. Because most unexpectedly, after I’d rinsed and chopped all the greens, I discovered, for the first time in probably decades, that we were completely out of onions. So I did the only thing I could think of, which was to increase the garlic to 10 cloves. Or maybe 15. There were a lot.

And even still it came out great, so there you are. By the way, I doubled the recipe, which turned into a lot of soup. I brought some to work for lunch, and I brought a second jarful for a friend. And there is plenty more where that came from.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup dry lentils, rinsed and drained
6 cups vegetable stock
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch collard greens – rinsed, stemmed and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/3 cup lemon juice (from 2-3 lemons approx)


Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, stir in onion and salt, and cook 4 minutes until softened and translucent.

Stir in lentils, and cook for 1 minute.

Add stock, bring to a boil over high heat, lower heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes until lentils are tender.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add collard greens, and cook 10 minutes until wilted. Stir into soup, and season with cumin, cinnamon, and garlic. Simmer 10 minutes more, stir in lemon juice, and serve.

Bon appetit!

What Thomas Friedman Said About Culture

This week I heard Thomas Friedman, the journalist, author, and Pulitzer prize winner who writes extensively on globalization (market), environmental issues (Mother Nature), and the Middle East. He shared his perspective on these and more, as you can see if you check out the twitter feed I generated while I listened. I’ve been thinking a lot about one particular thing he said, which was this: “Culture really matters. People, God bless ‘em, have bodies and souls.” Continue reading

YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Cannellini Bean Ragout

I’m starting to think about something warm and a little sweet, with a special bit of pizzazz for the holidays coming up. If you pull out your crockpot and make this, you will be a very happy camper. Your tastebuds and belly will thank you. And me. Probably both of us. Make it soon. Then you’ll have time to make it again for Thanksgiving, or a potluck, or a holiday party. Continue reading

YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Musings on Applesauce with Recipe

Applesauce is a big thing around here in the fall. I make it at least a couple of times almost every year, a habit I inherited from my mom, who also used to make it when I was growing up. In fact, one of the very first gifts I received from my mom on becoming engaged many years ago was a garage-sale find, a cone-shaped food sieve (officially called a “chinois”) for making applesauce. Continue reading


If you are looking for something warm, toasty and filling to make for dinner next weekend, give this pumpkin chili a try. Try to make it the previous day if possible, or maybe in the morning. If there’s time to let it simmer on a very low heat for a few hours, do so. When it’s done, just turn off the heat, let it sit for 10-15 minutes, and then serve. It is a perfect October meal-in-one, the cornmeal is already built in, and it’s rich in beans and veggies, my two favorite foods! Continue reading

YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Pumpkin Harvest Rice

Take all your favorite fall flavors, and mix them up in a big beautiful bowl! This is a wonderful dish for company, but the leftovers (if there are any) the next day are even better. Continue reading

On #Commodity and #Terroir

Today we’re going to talk about commodities. What is a commodity? When goods and services are traded on the grand scale for other goods and services, they become “commodities.” One characteristic of a commodity is that its price is determined not by quality, but by demand. The greater the demand, the greater the market. That’s what determines whether an item is a commodity. Continue reading

YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Cauliflower-Pumpkin Swirl Dip

Nothing like recipes for the season! I’ve got 3 perfectly beautiful pumpkins on the table outside just waiting to be turned into something yummy and Octobery. This recipe goes together very nicely, but I do recommend that you measure out all your ingredients in advance. Continue reading

Thoughts on mind and body…

Many of us, particularly those of us from Western cultures, are in the habit of considering the mind and body as entities separate one from the other. Sir Ken Robinson, for example, in one of the most widely watched TED talks, describes an academic as an individual who employs the body to move their head from one meeting to another. In a less amusing example, this from medicine, mental illness is considered different, somehow, from physical illness, and the many aspects of care, coverage and chronicity reflect this. Has Descartes’s mind-body dichotomy outlived its usefulness? Continue reading