Apricot Lentil Soup

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I had been wanting to try this soup for months, and finally got dried apricots specifically for this recipe. I just happened to have some last minute fresh tomatoes from the garden which I peeled using the boiling-water-to-ice water method. I am absolutely in LOVE with this soup! The bits of apricot add little explosions of flavor. Just amazing!

*note: the quality of stock you use will impact the flavor of your soup. One of my batches turned out a little less flavorful because the veggie broth was a bit weak. Easy fix: Add a T. of miso paste to the pot of finished soup. Yum!

Apricot Lentil Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup dried apricots
1 1/2 cups red lentils
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 roma (plum) tomatoes - peeled, seeded and chopped (or canned)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Saute onion, garlic, and apricots in olive oil. Add lentils and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Add tomatoes, cumin, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste, and simmer 10 minutes more. Add lemon juice. Puree 1/2 of the soup in a blender, then return to the pot. Serves about seven.

Quinoa Veggie Burgers

Sunday, October 27, 2013

I made a batch of these to keep in the freezer for the nights the boys have hamburgers. I can just pull one out and heat it up, and eat it right along with the all my 'meatatarian' men. I fit in better that way. ;) They are also great for a grab and go lunch; warmed in the microwave when it's time to eat. I really love the texture and flavor of these tasty burgers!

A round cookie cutter is perfect for forming patties

Just scoop some of the mix in..

Smoosh it down really well with your finger tips (grease them up first if necessary)..

...and pull the cookie cutter away.

Perfectly shaped patties, ready to bake!

Quinoa Veggie Burgers


  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup red quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 cups finely chopped cremini or white button mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup whole pecans, toasted and finely chopped (see Tip)
  • 1/3 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 8 small whole-wheat burger buns, toasted if desired


  1. Combine water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
  3. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, garlic, marjoram and oregano; cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes.
  4. Beat egg in a medium bowl. Add the quinoa, mushroom mixture, cheese, pecans, oats and soy sauce; stir to combine. Scoop scant 1/2-cup portions of the mixture onto the baking sheet and shape into 8 patties, about 3 inches wide, leaving about 1 inch of space between each patty. (The mixture will be crumbly; patting it into burgers on the baking sheet makes it easier to work with. The burgers hold together very well once baked.)
  5. Bake the burgers until crispy, 28 to 30 minutes. Serve on buns with your favorite garnishes.


  • Make Ahead Tip: Individually wrap and freeze cooked burgers for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat in a skillet with a little oil.
  • For the best flavor, toast nuts before adding to recipes. Spread whole nuts on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F, stirring once, until fragrant, 7 to 9 minutes. For chopped nuts, place in a small dry skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.


Per serving (with bun): 280 calories; 12 g fat ( 2 g sat , 4 g mono ); 29 mg cholesterol; 35 g carbohydrates;4 g added sugars; 11 g protein; 6 g fiber; 320 mg sodium; 353 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Magnesium (19% daily value), Calcium (16% dv), Zinc (15% dv).

Applesauce Pancakes

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

These definitely go best with syrup, but just a little will do! Perhaps instead of syrup, you could use put some more applesauce on the side. A great way to use some of that home-canned applesauce. :)

Applesauce Pancakes (adapted from Health.com)

1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1/8 t. salt
2 T. toasted wheat germ
1 c. buttermilk (I add 1 T. vinegar or lemon juice to a cup measure, then fill rest of way with milk)
1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
2 T. honey
1 T. melted butter or coconut oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Combine buttermilk and next 3 ingredients. Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.
Heat a nonstick griddle or nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. For each pancake, pour 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle, spreading to a 5-inch circle. Cook pancakes until tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked; turn pancakes, and cook other side.

Apricot Baked Oatmeal

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I really liked this recipe; something a little different for breakfast. Not too sweet, and very filling. I've been eating Cranberry Pecan Granola for months now, and thought it might be time to switch things up a bit. ;) You could probably experiment with different dried fruits and nuts. I'll definitely be making it again!

Source: Nourishedkitchen.com

1 1/2 c. steel cut oats
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1 T. plain greek yogurt
dash of salt
3 eggs
1 c. milk (2 percent)
2 T. maple syrup
1/4 c. Craisins
1/4 c. chopped dried apricots
1 T. cinnamon
2 T. coconut oil

1. Pour the steel cut oats and nuts into a ceramic container or mixing bowl.

2. Add enough filtered water to completely submerge your oats and nuts. Add a dash of salt and a one tablespoon yogurt.

3. Allow the oats and nuts to soak, covered, overnight in a warm place in your kitchen – about eight to twelve hours.

4. After the mixture of oats and nuts has soaked overnight, dump them into a colander to drain and place the mixture back into the ceramic container or mixing bowl.

5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 8x8-inch baking pan with coconut oil or another wholesome fat of your choosing.

6. Meanwhile beat together eggs, milk, maple syrup (if you’re using it), until well-combined and frothy.

7. Pour the mixture of eggs, milk and maple syrup over the soaked oats and nuts, stirring well to combine into a porridge-like mixture.

8. Gently fold dried fruit, cinnamon and coconut oil into the porridge-like mixture.

9, Pour the mixture into a greased baking pan and smooth it out with a rubber spatula to ensure even baking and a good appearance.

10. Bake in an oven preheated to 375 degrees Fahrenheit for forty to forty-five minutes or until the oatmeal achieves a pleasing golden-brown color on top, a knife inserted into its center comes out clean and free from liquid and the fragrance of baked oats, dried fruit and cinnamon perfumes your kitchen.

11. Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before cutting into 8 pieces. Can then be refrigerated and warmed up each morning. I like to break a piece up into a bowl, microwave for one minute, and top with almond milk and a bit more maple syrup. Let it get soaked and chewy in the milk, and enjoy!

Olive Garden Minestrone Soup

Friday, October 18, 2013

A good friend shared this 'copycat' recipe with me a few years ago. The ingredient list looks daunting, but keep in mind there are a lot of spices listed there too! The recipe calls for only 1/2 c. zucchini, but I always add a TON more, especially during the peak garden months. :) This is a wonderful, flavorful, and filling soup.

3 T. olive oil
1 c. minced white onion
1/2 c. chopped zucchini
1/2 c. frozen cut Italian green beans
1/4 c. minced celery (about half a stalk)
4 t. minced garlic (4 cloves)
4 cups vegetable broth (do not use chicken or beef...only vegetable)
2 (15 oz) cans red kidney beans, drained
2 (15 oz) cans small white or great northern beans, drained
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/2 c. carrot, julienned or shredded
2 T. minced fresh parsley (can sub dried)
1 1/2 t. dried oregano
1 1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. ground black pepper
1/2 t. dried basil
1/4 t. dried thyme
3 c. hot water
4 c. fresh baby spinach
1/2 c. small shell pasta

Heat three T. olive oil over medium heat in large soup pot.

Saute onion, celery, garlic, green beans, and zucchini in the oil for 5 minutes or until onions begin to turn translucent.

Add vegetable broth to pot, plus drained tomatoes, beans, carrot, hot water, and spices.

Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add spinach leaves and pasta and cook for an additional 20 minutes or until desired consistency.

Crockpot Balsamic Chicken

Thursday, October 10, 2013

I have made this with both chicken breast (pictured above) and thighs, and I think I might prefer thighs. I never used to like dark meat; in fact it grossed me out when my mom would pick out all the dark meat from the thanksgiving turkey. I get it now. Rich, moist, and good.

Use thighs or breasts, but just TRY this recipe, it's so tasty!

Crockpot Balsamic Chicken Thighs (source: Sugarfreemom.com)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried minced onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley
Combine the first five dry spices in a small bowl and spread over chicken on both sides. Set aside. Pour olive oil and garlic on the bottom of the crock pot. Place chicken on top. Pour balsamic vinegar over the chicken. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours. Sprinkle with fresh parsley on top to serve.
Nutrition Info
Servings: 8* Calories per serving: 116* Fat: 4g* Cholesterol: 57mg* Sodium: 209mg* Carbs: 4g* Fiber: 0g* Sugars: 3g* Protein: 14g* Points+: 3*

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