Saturday, May 30, 2015


I recently saw this recipe in a magazine that was promoting careers and opportunities at a polytechnical school.  The Red Seal Chef who was being profiled, has made black lentil risotto as a side dish to go with a variety of entrees.  Black lentils are also called beluga lentils because of their shape and colour.  They look like beluga caviar when cooked.  In my stock pile of lentils I just had brown and red lentils and an old bag of french lentils.  You can substitute french lentils for black lentils but I wanted to try black lentils so I went shopping and bought french green lentils, green lentils and black lentils.  I like lentils and they are my favourite bean along with chick peas.  I am now stocked up with many kinds of lentils ready to be cooked in a variety of ways.

The recipe turned out great and both the DH and I enjoyed it.  The richness of the risotto comes from the parmesan cheese.  The recipe does not use a lot of cheese.  I did take photos of the risotto cooking in the pan and in a serving dish but the colour of the risottos was dark and did not look as good as it really tasted.  I decided to take of photo of it on a dinner plate.

Vegetables cooking in the pan.

Black lentils added to the vegetables.

Risotto is served with chicken wings, roasted mushrooms and salad.


2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup minced shallots
1/4 cup minced celery
1/4 cup minced carrots
2 cloves garlic minced
1 cup black lentils
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup grated parmesan or asiago cheese
salt and pepper to taste


Rinse and drain the black lentils.  Heat the chicken stock.  I heated the stock in the microwave for two minutes.  

Heat the butter in a large frying pan on a high temperature.  Add the shallot, carrot, celery and garlic and reduce the heat to medium.  Saute until the onions are translucent and the vegetables are softened.  Add the washed lentils to the pan and stir until the lentils are mixed throughout the vegetables.  

Add two cups of the stock and keep on stirring for a minute.  As the liquid gets absorbed add 1/2 cup of stock at a time until the lentils are al dente.  Stir frequently.  After most of the stock is absorbed, add the cheese and stir until the cheese has melted and is mixed throughout the dish.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serves 4 to 6. 

Adapted from chef Rob Harrison.

Sunday, May 24, 2015


I have a few books written by Leslie Beck, including nutrition and cookbooks.  I like her philosophy on nutrition.  This moroccan lentil soup had ingredients that I had in the kitchen pantry and also looked good to have for lunches during the week.   I did modify some of the spices to my own taste buds.   Both the DH and I enjoyed this soup for lunches.


1 tbsp oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
8 cups broth or water
1 cup green or brown lentils
3 large carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 can (28 oz/796 ml) diced tomatoes
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste


Heat oil in a large soup pot on a high temperature.  When the oil is hot, add the onions, reduce heat to medium and sauté for five minutes.  Add the garlic and ginger and continue to sauté for another three minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients, bring the pot to a boil, cover it with a lid and then reduce the heat to a simmer.   Cook for an hour.   Using a hand blender, puree the soup until everything is blended.  Serves 8.

Adapted from 'Leslie Beck's Healthy Kitchen'.

Saturday, May 16, 2015


The kind of shoes you wear have a huge impact on how your body feels and works.  Wearing the wrong shoes affects your back, shins, hips, knees, leg muscles and feet.  To complicate it, there are many different makes of running shoes and models to choose from.  I have worn a number of different makes of running shoes over the years.  I wear running shoes when participating in a variety of sports/exercises and also to wear as casual shoes for out and about.  When I first started to run I wore shoes that were not right for my feet and I ended up with foot problems.  I had to replace running with swimming laps until the inflammation subsided.  The problem got corrected by using an orthotic insert in my running shoes and wearing motion control shoes.  My running days have since transformed into walking days.  Regardless of whether you are walking or running, you need to wear well constructed shoes because your feet are pounding the ground.

Stinson lite and Bondi models.
A friend of ours told the DH about Hoka running shoes that he had purchased in the U.S.  I hadn't heard of these shoes before this friend talked about them.  After hearing about these shoes, both the DH and I decided to visit our local walking/running store and give them a try.  These shoes are softly cushioned, create a rocking motion when you walk in them, are light, and are very comfortable.  I found that I can actually walk faster wearing these shoes.

These two models that I wear - the Stinson lite and the Bondi, are for different uses.  I didn't plan on getting two pairs of shoes.  I found the Hoka shoes so comfortable for walking the dog that I decided to get a pair for casual wear.  Because of the accumulative mileage I put on walking the dog, the way I heel strike and the dirt that collects on the soils of the shoes, I wear my walking shoes just for walking.  I wear the Bondi model for walking and the Stinson lite for casual use.

These shoes are a different look than the sleek look of the Nike air shoes that Mick Jagger wears but your feet and gait feels great when you are wearing them and do have some style to them.

Sunday, May 10, 2015


Smoked salmon is one of my favourite foods.  There are many different kinds of smoked salmon.  I usually gravitate to a lox style of salmon from a sockeye fish.

I made these as an appetizer for a recent supper with friends.   They were thoroughly enjoyed.  I like to add ample strips of salmon to each piece of bread and I may have gone a bit overboard with these.


loaf of a french baguette bread
fresh herbs - chives, dill
cream cheese
fresh lemon

1. Thinly slice a loaf of french baguette bread.  Factor 2 to 3 slices per person as part of the appetizer selection.
2. Place onto a cookie sheet and put into a preheated oven at 300 degrees F.
3. Bake for 5 - 8 minutes or until the slices appear toasted.  You don't want to brown them.  Remove from the oven.
4. Spread each slice of bread with cream cheese.  I used a low fat variety.
5. If you have fresh chives or dill, chop these herbs into small pieces and place a few pieces on top of the cream cheese on each slice of bread.
6. Place a few capers on top of the cream cheese for each slice of bread if you like capers.
7. Layer a piece of smoked salmon on top of each slice of bread.  I cut the strips of thinly sliced smoked salmon into small pieces so that it would be easier to eat before I put it on top of the bread.  I was generous with the amounts of salmon added.
8. Squeeze a few drops of fresh lemon over each slice of bread.
9. If not eating right away, store in the fridge and cover the plate with plastic wrap.

Sunday, May 3, 2015


Instead of making the weekly big pot of soup for lunches, I decided to make a pot of rice, beans and vegetables.  I like black beans and combining them with rice and vegetables makes a nice meal.  For rice I used brown basmati rice as I wanted to use a rice that is not sticky.   I didn't have fresh cilantro in the fridge but would have added it so I included it in the ingredients.  This can also be served as a side dish but I will eat it as part of my main meal for lunches.  A cup and a half of this dish will cover both my protein and carb intake for lunch.

Vegetables sautéing in the big frying pan.

Cooking for the last few minutes in the pan.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium size onion, chopped
1- 2 garlic cloves, minced
1 stalk celery, diced
1/2 red or other coloured pepper, diced
1 1/4 cups brown rice, uncooked
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups water or chicken broth
1 can (19 ozs, 540 ml) of drained black beans
3 - 4 fresh tomatoes, chopped
handful of fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp ground cumin


Using a large frying pan, heat the oil on a high temperature.  Add the onions, garlic, celery and pepper, reduce the heat to medium, and sauté for five minutes.  Add the rice and water and cook on low heat until the rice is cooked (30 minutes).  Add the beans, chopped tomatoes and spices and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes.  Serves 4 to 5 as part of a main meal.