Never Underestimate the Tastebuds of a Kid – Cranberry Pistachio Energy Bites

Weird.  The only word fitting to start this post.  If you have read about our Carrot Breakfast Protein Bars, then you know that this week I have been experimenting with energy, boosting healthy snacks as we head into a weekend of Water Polo Junior Olympics.  Well when I saw a picture of these Cranberry Pistachio Bites, I thought they were beautiful.  Yes, I’m odd that way.  I find food, especially colorful food, beautiful.

So the way this recipe rolls, there’s a point where you mold the “dough” into bite-sized balls.  I seriously almost chucked the entire thing down the garbage disposal at this point in the process.  It was just weird.  It felt weird.  It looked weird.  And it wasn’t holding together like I thought it would.  But I persevered.  I’m just wired that way with a lot of things  (can’t walk out of a movie theater in the middle of a bad movie, can’t abandon a bad book . . .)  I guess I  have a hopeless belief in redemption.

So I stuck with my sticky mess and completed all of these little Energy Bite Balls.  The Hubs tried one and appeared really impressed.  Was he just faking because he saw my “energy bite disappointment”?  I thought so.  I was definitely not going to ask the kiddos to taste one.  But, shocker of all shockers, they ASKED to try one.  I started with the 10 year old.  Thumbs up.  Next, on to the 8 year old.  Another thumbs up.  Gasp.  On to the 8 year old’s friend who had slept over last night.  Not a loving embrace, but . . .  she finished it.  Finally, the 4 year old.  Loved it.  Amazing!  They consumed 9 of them in a matter of minutes.  And to think that I had almost gifted the disposal with this “weird” yumminess.

So here’s the super simple way these little bites went together.

I started by putting chopped dates, honey, chia seeds, wheat germ and salt in the food processor.  This was seriously some THICK stuff to mix.  I pulsed until it was able to be stirred.

energy processor

I transferred that mixture to a bowl and added in cranberries, pistachios, and white chocolate chips.

energy mixture

After this was all mixed well, I put it into the fridge and let cool for about 30 minutes.  This was supposed to make the batter easier to work with, but this is where the weirdness all came in.  It was really tricky to form them into bite-sized balls.  I stayed the course though, and they were basically done.

Energy final

Voila – – – Cranberry Pistachio Energy Bites!  Who would have thought that they could be so good?

The Quest Continues – Modified Carrot Breakfast Protein Bar

I’ll be brief and to the point on this one.  Carrot Breakfast Protein Bars Take II was a success.  I also liked my modified version better.  Enter the additional cast of characters.

protein bar new ing

I basically took the original recipe, and omitted the raisins.  In their place I added:

1 Tbsp. Chia Seeds

1 Tbsp. Wheat Germ

4 Tbsp. Old Fashioned Oats

1/4 c. diced dried apricots

protein mod final

protein bar mod 2

This is the version I’ll be sticking with.

Like Mother, NOT Like Daughter – Carrot Breakfast Protein Bars

For those of you who know me personally, I probably don’t need to remind you of my athletic INabilities.  For those who are just peeking in on this little life of mine, let’s just wrap it all up by saying that if athleticism is located on one specific gene – – – I was definitely born WITHOUT that gene.  I don’t run.  I don’t go to the gym.  I don’t do boot camp.  I don’t even take aerobics.  OK, I confess, a while back  I had a little bout with yoga, but I got over it quick enough.

A girlfriend once coaxed me into this insane boot camp thing with her.  I lasted about three weeks and then ended up in the hospital for four days for some unidentifiable leg injury.  In the realm of divine interpretation, I  don’t think God could be any clearer – He does not want me exercising!

So hold that thought and let’s turn our attention to Big Little One.  Just turned ten and is shaping up to be a pretty tough water polo player.  Yes, water polo.  How does THAT happen?!  Couldn’t she just ease into this whole sports thing with badminton or synchronized swimming?  No.  She has to plunge head first into one of the most physical sports out there.  I watch her play and am just amazed that I had any part in her genetic makeup.  She once asked me what sport I played when I was a kid and I answered, “Reading”.  I can’t even begin to describe the look of disgust on her face.

This weekend, two years of water polo training come to a climax with  . . .  dun, dun, dun . . . Junior Olympics.  Big Little One and Medium Little One will play together in the Under 10 Girls division (nothing like a little sisterly love as you’re getting wailed on and thrashed about in the water).  Then next weekend, Big Little One will do it all over again in the Under 10 Co-Ed division.  The excitement in this house is palpable.  So in honor of my girls’ H2O exuberance, I decided to devote a little baking time to the exploration of healthy, energy boosting snacks for the big weekend.  Now I should mention that the other night, I made a really yummy Thai Basil  Eggplant dish and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.  But no, I will restrain myself,  and in the spirit of Junior Olympics I give you . . . Carrot Breakfast Protein Bars.

This one was quick and easy.  The most time consuming part was grating two large carrots.

carrot grate pbar

Into that I added some almond butter &  2 eggs.  I mixed that well.

carrot pbar

Then I tossed in some raw honey, a scoop of vanilla whey protein powder, some cinnamon, a little baking powder, and some salt.  Then I folded in some raisins.  I put the whole thing into a greased glass baking dish and baked at 350 for about 35 minutes.  I cut into bars and then kept in an airtight container until this morning.

The result:

protein bar final

Now a picture might speak a thousand words, but I think age specific reactions and ratings say even more.  The shocker of the morning?  The 4 year old, when asked what she would give it on a scale of 1 – 10 firmly stated, “A 12”.  And yes, she does know how to count and has excellent number sense (just in case you were headed there).  The 8 year old also loved it and consumed probably 4 of the 8 bars.  The soon to be 2 year old voted with her mouth and chomped down about 2 bars.  The party pooper in the group?  The 10 year old.  She gave it barely a 6 and complained of too many raisins.  So my mandate for tomorrow is clear:  Carrot Breakfast Protein Bars take II sans the raisins.  I’ll also be trying out some Cranberry Pistachio Energy Bites.  I’ll be sure to let you know how those go.

Here’s the complete Carrot Breakfast Protein Bar recipe, from the site PaleOMG.

Want to browse other Protein Bar Recipes?  Give these a try.

Make YOUR Commercial A Good One – Roasted Salmon with Corn & Red Pepper Relish

I have always jokingly said that I needed to get just one shy kid.  Just one who isn’t loud.  Just one who at least hesitates before interrupting a conversation. Just one who wants to be a behind the scenes kind of person. So far,  that’s not the hand we’ve been dealt.  Exactly NONE of my offspring are lacking in confidence!  I think that’s the other politically correct way of saying I have “strong willed” children.  Now I’m hoping that will serve them all very well someday.  I often say (about one child in particular), that she’s either going to do something amazing with her life, or . . .  we’ll be visiting her in prison in the future.  Let’s just keep praying that we end up with the first option.

I started thinking recently, about where that abundance of confidence comes from.  As with the old nature vs. nurture debate, I guess a lot of it is just in their DNA.  And then there are the things we do, say, or model for them that goes into the mix as well.

Just yesterday I took Little Little One to participate in a toy study.  If you’re not familiar with that term it’s really just a focus group.  I schlepped my 4 year old 20 minutes out the 5 freeway to a marketing agency where she sat at a computer and pointed out which toys she liked best.  In exchange for her opinions she received 15 bucks and a Polly Pocket Tropical Party Yacht. Not a bad gig when you’re four.  And I think it sends the message “Your opinion counts and people want to hear what you have to say” pretty clearly.

Actually though, it wasn’t quite as straightforward as that.  The way the study was structured went like this: 1) show 4 year old little girls a computer screen with 4 images on it 2) have each girl select which thing / toy she would take home IF she could choose just one 3) repeat this with about 8 other sets of 4 options 4) show a series of commercials for select products within each group 5) repeat same series of commercials 6) repeat selection process.  I’m pretty certain the point was to see which, if any, girls would change their selections after watching certain commercials.  Fascinating if you ask me.

So here’s what it makes me want to do – run out and make commercials for zucchini, ads for artichokes, and public service announcements for family dinners together!  Seriously.  How could the eating in our country change if our kids were bombarded with ads for carrots and squash and salmon?  What if all the ads for foodlike substances were just replaced with commercials for real fruits and vegetables.  There you have it, my 30 seconds of Eutopian dreaming.  But the farmers growing our produce organically and locally don’t have a Kool Aid, M&Ms or Doritos marketing budget.  Bummer.

In the meantime, all any of us can do is be our own commercials.  We can show our kiddos what real food is; let them see it, feel it, smell it and taste it.  Educate them like a public service announcement would about the “bad ingredients” and chemicals in processed foods.  Though we don’t feel like it on most days, we are our kids’ biggest heroes. Their eyes are always looking to us to decide what to say, how to act, how to treat others, and yes . . . what to eat.  So make your commercial a good one and you could give your kid an amazing gift – the joy of eating real food and enjoying the resulting health benefits.

And now, a word from our sponsor.  Salmon – it’s better than a chicken nugget any day!

This particular salmon was accompanied by a corn and roasted red pepper relish. To start with I charred a few red bell peppers under the broiler, then popped them in a paper bag, let them rest for 10 minutes, and then chopped.

salmon peppers

salmon bl peppers

I then took about 4 fresh ears of corn and cut the kernels from the cob.

salmon corn cob

I sauteed the corn with some scallions, and then threw in some scallions and minced garlic.  I then added a little white wine.

salmon corn

To the corn mixture I added the chopped roasted peppers, a little honey, some lemon juice, a bit of olive oil, fresh thyme,  and a touch of coriander.  The relish was done (except for adding some Italian parsley which I did just prior to serving).

salmon relish final

For the salmon filets, I combined olive oil, lemon juice, honey, paprika, salt and coriander.   I brushed the filets with this sauce and then placed on a baking sheet covered with foil.

salmon glaze

I roasted at 400 degrees for about 12 minutes – just until the fish was opaque in the center.  I served the salmon with the tomato and corn relish spooned over the top and accompanied by some roasted potatoes.

salmon final

I really enjoyed the relish which went with the fish.  Surprisingly, the kiddos raved about the glaze.  They liked the relish well enough, but just loved the simple glaze.  If I’m ever in a pinch for time, I think I would pull this one out again and just roast with the honey, lemon, olive oil, paprika & coriander glaze.

Here is the complete recipe for Roasted Salmon with Corn & Red Pepper Relish. (adapted from Epicurious)

Interested in other salmon recipes?  Have fun browsing through these.

Every Journey Begins with One Step – Orzo with Everything

orzo finalA wise woman (Jen Hatmaker), recently wrote, “We don’t think our way into a new life; we live our way into a new kind of thinking.”  I read that today while getting a pedicure (yes, the planets all aligned, babies slept, toddlers napped, older children read, and the Hubs was working from home, so I grabbed my purse and made a dash for it, before anyone could “need” anything else).

Now the wise author’s reference  was to a story about our hearts and where we store our treasures.  Some of you may be familiar with that one – wink.  But I found myself thinking about how much that saying applies to what we eat.  What if we rephrased it this way – – – we don’t think our way into new eating habits; we eat our way into new thoughts about food.  Make sense?  It totally rings true to me.

If you had told me even 2 years ago that I would be eating flexitarian (mainly vegetarian with a little meat thrown in here and there, because who can live without bacon???), avoiding processed foods,making my own bread, and growing our own little backyard garden, I would have looked at you with that weird scrunched up mouth and one raised eyebrow look.  You know, the look accompanied by “Whaaaaaaaat?”  But we started, eating differently bit by bit.  First the no read meat.  Then the no chicken.  Then the slight avoidance of processed foods.  Then the major avoidance of processed foods, and so on.  And here we are.  I now steer the boat known as my kitchen in a totally different way because I have totally NEW THOUGHTS about food.

When I started this blog, one of the only things I knew I DIDN’T want to do was to be prescriptive.  Just because something works for me and my family doesn’t mean it’s something that will work for everyone else.  But I have had a lot of people ask me how they can transition to eating more real foods and eliminating the processed stuff.  So here’s the short list, folks.  Some simple steps  that I took and that might help you too.

1) Go through the effort of cleaning out what you already have in your kitchen.  Eliminate the processed stuff and give yourself a clean slate.  If you go through the time, effort, and expense of getting rid of the foods you don’t want to eat, it will be that much harder to justify buying more of it.

2) Get a clear idea of what it is you DO want to eat.  Real Food is food that is as close to its natural state as possible. It’s not produced in a factory or engineered in a lab.  The sad truth is that 70% of the “food” available for sale at your grocery store isn’t really food at all.  So in order to eat real food, you’re probably going to have to shop differently. Probably the best definition of real food that I have come across is right here.

3) Decide to shop differently.  First of all, if you are going to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, you will more than likely need to shop more frequently.  This way of shopping is pretty standard for most Europeans.  They have bi-weekly markets (like our farmers’ markets) in most towns and villages and so stock up on fresh produce twice a week.  Decide to do the same.  Choose two days (Wednesday and Saturday, for example) when you will shop for fresh produce.  Make a plan to have one fresh  fruit and one vegetable with every meal you consume.  That leads us nicely into suggestion #4.

4) Take a piece of paper and a pencil, yes, I said a piece of paper and a pencil, and make a 5 day meal plan.  No don’t faint.  Stick with me now.  It’s not as hard as it sounds.  For Monday through Friday, decide on a protein you will eat, a vegetable you will eat, and a fruit you will eat at each meal.  You can also throw in whole grains if you’re feeling ambitious.  Now take that paper and walk over to your refrigerator and stick it on the front.

5)  Try it.  If you purge (1), understand (2), plan (3), and shop (4), the only thing you have left to do is give it a try.  What do you have to lose?  I have found that this is totally an incremental transition.  It’s not like going cold turkey overnight. You will slip back into some old habits, but hopefully you will acquire more new ones.  Me, for example, I have made a lot of progress in the area of meals.  On-the-go snacks?  Not so much.  So while I aspire to become that mom who makes her own fruit leather, for now I still throw the occasional baggie of goldfish in my purse on my way out the door.  I’m a work in progress.

I bet that if you were to give these five steps a try for just one week, you could start the incremental process of eating differently.  If it’s something you think you may try, I would love to hear about your experience.  In the meantime, let’s talk salads . . . specifically a little orzo number that has been in my repertoire for years.

Super simple, I started by cooking up about a cup and a half of orzo (rice shaped pasta).  After I had drained it, I added to it some sun dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

orzo sdt

I let that sit until it was completely cooled.  Then I added in one head of chopped radicchio and a big bunch of basil.

orzo radicchio

In a dry skillet, I toasted some pine nuts.

orzo pine nuts

I tossed the pine nuts, along with some freshly grated parmesan and minced garlic into the orzo.

orzo parm

I gave that all a good stir and called it a wrap – not that kind of wrap, silly!  I like to let this one sit in the fridge for a few hours before serving because I just find that it allows the flavors to blend better.

orzo final

Here’s the complete recipe for Orzo with Everything.

Oh, and if you decide to try a baby step toward eating real food, good luck to you.  I would love to hear about your journey.

Homegrown Right in Our Own Backyard – Spicy Black Bean Cakes

It’s no secret that I am totally intrigued by Michael Pollan and his musings on food. Many of his complex thoughts are boiled down in the 12 Commandments for Serious Eaters.  One of the things he mentions in commandment 10 is that everyone should grow at least some of their own food at some point.

When I was a kid, my parents put in a sizable garden EVERY year.  Tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, corn, carrots, peas, cukes and probably a lot more stuff that I just don’t remember.  I do remember exactly what my mom did throughout the summer and especially as days started getting shorter and summer drew to a close.  She “put up” all the veggies.  She froze the corn, beans & peas.  She made her own tomato sauce, tomato paste, & ketchup.  She let cucumbers sit in crocks and made the most tasty pickles.  As a kid this all just slipped by me as a part of summer.  Now as a grown up (on most good days, anyway), and with the current state of food and eating in our country and culture, I find this all absolutely amazing.  I wish I had paid more attention to the spices that went into the crock for pickles, how the jars were sterilized, what she added to the tomatoes to make that ketchup (the ketchup that I whined incessantly about asking why we couldn’t just eat Heinz like everyone else!).

This past spring the family got bit by the gardening bug. Big Little One and Medium Little One attended a gardening workshop for kids where they learned about planting a “Three Sisters Garden” – corn, beans & squash.  They came home with little seed packets (one kernel of corn, one squash seed, and one bean seed).  I decided we should take a leap of faith and go for it.

Determined to not pay $100 at Home Depot for a box garden (can you say highway robbery?), I got creative.  I ended up “borrowing” a little wooden crate deal from behind the local supermarket.  I’m pretty sure they were done using it, so I may just borrow it indefinitely.  It was the perfect size and so into the fresh new soil went the corn, beans and squash accompanied by some tomatoes, carrots, radishes, pumpkins, basil, and lettuce.


Just like that, our already cramped, postage stamp-sized SoCal backyard had a garden! The troops were amazed.  I think the Hubs was too.  There weren’t many gardens being tended in Paris when he was a kid growing up.

Even more amazing?  The stuff actually grew!  (with the exception of the lettuce whose refusal to flourish we chose to attribute to “bad seeds”)


Now I’m sure you hearty midwestern stock are just shaking your heads and chuckling about now.  But for my little born and bred SoCal girls, this has been the highpoint of their summer!  Especially the Medium Little One who has been out in the yard in her PJs every morning without fail, watering “her” (yes, we have territory issues) garden.  She just about squealed when we ate “her” corn, tomatoes, squash and green beans all in the same meal!

So thank you, Michael Pollan, for reminding me to grow some of our own food and for stirring up memories of the gardens of my childhood.

We have now cleared two more flower beds and added to our veggie patches.  Don’t worry, I’m on the straight and narrow with the borrowing thing and paid for 2 more box gardens fair and square from Tuesday Morning.  In the current anticipated crop lineup: green bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, eggplant, 2 more tomato plants, & zucchini.

We enjoyed our very own own tomatoes the other night as an accompaniment to these great Spicy Black Bean Cakes.

I kicked things off by grating a sweet potato in the food processor.

bean burger sw pot

In a skillet, I heated some oil and then sauteed a few scallions.  I added in some cumin, some garlic and a finely diced jalapeno.  I moved that little mixture to a bowl and then rinsed and drained 2 cans of black beans.  I added the beans to the scallion mixture  and then mashed them coarsely with a potato masher – leaving some of the beans in tact for a nice texture.  I seasoned with some salt and pepper at this point.

bean burger mash

Next, I added in the grated sweet potato, an egg, and some fresh bread crumbs.

bean burger mixture

I formed about 8 equal sized balls from my mixture and then flattened them into patties.  I placed the patties on a baking sheet brushed with oil.

bean burger raw

I broiled the patties  in the oven for about 10 minutes.  Then I gave them a flip and broiled another couple of minutes on the other side.

I mixed up some lime jalapeno sour cream to go with the bean cakes. Just a  little bit of lime juice and some diced jalapeno mixed with the sour cream gave things the perfect amount of kick.

bean burger sour cream

I roasted our home grown tomatoes with some olive oil and balsamic and served the tomatoes and bean cakes with a little green salad. Quick.  Easy.  Healthy.  Done.

bean burger final

Here’s the complete recipe for Spicy Black Bean Cakes , adapted from Martha’s Great Food Fast cookbook.

9 Simple Ingredients – Curried Zucchini Soup . . . oh, and a Skillet Peach Cobbler

Just in case that last post had you reeling from ingredient and preparation overload, here’s a simple little number to balance it out.  And yes, we’re sticking with the curry theme.

I’m an experimenter by nature.  In the kitchen that means that I rarely do repeats.  But this soup was so tasty that it will definitely be making regular appearances at the table.

On a separate note, this week was unofficially “peach week” at our house.  One friend stopped by bearing a whole bag of delicious little peaches.  The following morning, we awoke to another bag of peachiness left on our front doorstep by another friend.  Well, when that many peaches just show up unsolicited, you really have no other option but to make cobbler. I wasn’t too happy with my first attempt – a pretty traditional recipe that got good reviews on Epicurious.  Not to be defeated, or to sell the peaches short of their full potential, I tried again.  This time with a Skillet Peach Cobbler.  Winner, winner, cobbler dinner!  The clan was unanimously very much in favor of my quest for cobbler perfection.  After all, why wouldn’t they be?  They got peach cobbler for dessert two nights in a row!

So first for the soup and then I’ll let you in on the cobbler.

The greatest thing about this soup is that I literally threw it together in 20 minutes. I started by chopping a whole onion.  zucchini soup onion

I  heated some oil and sauteed the onion, and then threw in some garlic and curry powder. I then added 3 medium zucchini and a russet potato along with 4 cups of water.  I brought it all to a boil, then reduced the heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.

zucchini soup simmer

I left everything just sit on the stove at this point while the Hubs was off collecting children.  When everyone was accounted for and whining for dinner, I brought the soup back to a simmer and then pureed it in the blender until it was smooth.  I then added in a half a cup of half and half.  Done! (BTW, the original recipe I was working from had no mention of half and half.  But I looked at the soup and the soup looked back at me and we just both knew some half and half was needed.  BUT . . . if you are looking to cut calories, fat or dairy, just skip that step and I won’t think any less of you.)

zucchini soup final 2

Oh, and please don’t judge me based on the ice cubes in my rosé wine – so gauche, I know.  But the Hubs brought the bottle home after collecting kids and we didn’t have time for a proper chilling.

Now on to the cobbler . . .

I’ll spare you the explanation and let you imagine it through this photo collage. I think a big part of its deliciousness came from the fact that it was a skillet cobbler.  I essentially melted a half a stick of butter in the skillet before adding the batter and then scattering the peaches over that.  The peach preserves, blobbed about around the fresh peaches, also gave this dessert a great flavor.  And if you’re going to go through the effort of making this little number, don’t skimp on the preserves.  Bite the bullet and buy the good stuff.  I personally love this St. Dalfour brand pictured in the collage.

I just need to point out the pudgy 4 year old hand stirring the batter.  She was my sous-chef for “Peach Cobbler Take II”.  Oh and I guess I should also add this photo for your entertainment.  The peach peeling was slow going given that the ratio went something like this.  One half for the bowl, one half for the Wee One.  Good thing we had so many peaches!

peach eater

Recently Updated3

Want the complete recipes?  Here they are.

Curried Zucchini Soup, adapted from Martha’s Great Food Fast cookbook

Skillet Peach Cobbler, from Epicurious


Vacation & the Elimination of Excess – Curried Couscous with Roasted Vegetables, Peach Chutney & Cilantro Yogurt

I’m back after a blissful week of vacation up at Hume Lake.  The eating wasn’t so “real”, but seriously I don’t care.  It was an entire week of no cooking and that’s a welcome change once a year.


There were, however, plenty of other real experiences.  Completing the High Adventure Ropes Course (I have done it once and I sure hope my kiddos remember this moment because I have virtually no intention of ever doing it again), shooting a 3 pointer with a pinecone and playing peek-a-boo with an unsuspecting adult during the parent scavenger hunt (in other words, the kiddos came up with all the things to do/find during the hunt), playing some weird version of flag football without any flags, and off- roading in Suzuki Samurais and getting COVERED in dust – just to name a few.

This is our third year enjoying Hume Lake.  It is the total vacation for us. This year we even roped friends into joining us.  I think they loved it as much as we do, and may make it an annual deal as well.

I think I might have mentioned before that our vacation week fell during my “clothing fast” that I did as part of my book club which is studying Jen Hatmaker’s book, 7 – An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.  For the first time in my entire life, I packed for our 8 day vacation in . . . . drumroll, please . . .  my kid’s school backpack!  Unheard of in my world of meticulous forethought and uber-preparation.  But hey, I was only packing 7 items of clothing (I did decide that bathing suit didn’t count, so I guess that technically means I packed 8 items).  I had all the encouragers tell me how freeing it would be to not have to worry about clothes and clothing choices.  Nice try, folks, but nope.  This was a stressful endeavor for me.  First of all, do you know how dirty a person can get in one day at Hume Lake?  And second of all, I have a 4 year old and an almost 2 year old.  I’m lucky if I make it past breakfast without spit, snot, food, or some other unidentified substance smeared on me.  By the third time of wearing black running shorts and and turquoise t-shirt (aka, outfit number 1) I was downright gross.  But I persevered and held the course.  I’m still processing the stress  associated with this “experiment” and may let you know later if I figure any of that whole deal out.

The one (possibly only) thing I do know from this foray into clothing minimalism was that it made packing a whole lot easier.  When you are packing up a tribe of 7 for a week away, there’s just a lot of “stuff” involved.   Eliminating MY stuff really lightened the load.  Even though the preparation can be exhausting, this week away is always so worth it.  Kind of like this little recipe for Curried Couscous with Roasted Vegetables, Peach Chutney & Cilantro Yogurt (say that 3 times fast).  It’s a little heavy on the preparation time because it contains a lot of  “stuff”, but the result is so worth it.

I started by knocking out the yogurt sauce.  You just throw some cilantro, lime juice and coarse salt into the food processor.

curried cous cilantro

You puree all of that goodness and then mix in some sour cream and plain yogurt.  Phew.  Step one, completed.

Veggie preparation is next. I cubed some eggplant and summer squash (you could also use zucchini). I then  place each veggie on two separate baking sheets sprayed with cooking spray.  Then I tossed with a little olive oil and salt and pepper.  I roasted the eggplant for about 50 minutes and the squash for about 25 minutes (thus the reason for 2 separate baking sheets).

curried cous eggplantcurried cous squash

While the veggies were roasting, I charred a bell pepper over the grill and then placed in a paper bag for about 10 minutes,  I then removed the skin and chopped it into bite-sized pieces.

I also prepared the couscous.  In this time around, I combined regular couscous and Israeli couscous just because I had a little of the latter and wanted to finish it off.  The mixture gave a nice texture variation.  I sauteed a little onion, added some curry powder and then did the basic couscous prep.

curried cous plain

I chopped up some cashews and was finished with all the prep work.

curried cous cashews

Finally, I fluffed the couscous, tossed in the roasted veggies and bell pepper, mixed in the cashews and some currants.  I was a slacker and decided I just didn’t have it in me to make the peach chutney.  I went with Major Grey’s Mango Chutney and served with the Cilantro Yogurt Sauce as well. A flavor explosion well worth all the steps involved in the recipe.

curried cous

Here’s the complete Curried Couscous with Roasted Veggie & Cilantro Yogurt Sauce Recipe.