red and green lentils

Here’s a true story: my mother refused to eat legumes of any kind. She grew up on a farm during the Depression, daughter of a preacher in rural west Tennessee. They ate beans and drank milk and wouldn’t have dared eat a laying hen or allow any of the chicks to hatch.

When I came home from college, The Enchanted Broccoli Forest in hand, and told my mother I was making lentils for dinner, she turned up her nose and said she’d be having something else. I never did persuade her otherwise. That my mother loved eggs (and chicken) but despised milk and every kind of legume is just funny to me, still.

My children, conveniently, love lentils. Since they cook quickly compared to other types of legumes, are great for a weeknight dinner. Even better, they are very versatile.There isn’t a season or type of weather that isn’t right for lentils.

Chilly outside? Lentil soup or stew to the rescue.

Sunny and in the mid-60s? A composed salad makes for a lovely evening meal.

Racing home to make dinner in less than 30 minutes? Use canned lentil soup as a base, adding fresh spinach and topping with crème fraîche (or, if it’s what you’ve got on hand, sour cream).

Confused about different types of lentils? Link at the end of the recipes should help.

Food Ideas

Love to Cook: Try French Lentil Salad with Goat Cheese & Walnuts (David Lebovitz via The Splendid Table) or perhaps Lentil, Cabbage & Bacon Salad (Gourmandistan, adapted from Jacques Pépin)

Weeknight Reality: Quick Red Lentils & Spinach in Tikka Masala Sauce (NOTE: ignore the cooking time printed on the recipe; it reads 1 hr. 20 min., but actual cooking time is under 30 minutes, using prepared Tikka Masala sauce, whether it’s Saffron Road brand or something else) or perhaps Red Lentil Soup with Spicy Crème fraîche (Eating from the Ground Up)

Need a Miracle: Canned lentil soup with added fresh spinach and crème fraîche

Additional Info: Comprehensive Guide to Lentils – Oh My Veggies

Parting Thought

The philosopher Diogenes was eating bread and lentils for supper. He was seen by the philosopher Aristippus, who lived comfortably by flattering the king. Said Aristippus, ‘If you would learn to be subservient to the king you would not have to live on lentils.’ Said Diogenes, ‘ Learn to live on lentils and you will not have to be subservient to the king.’

Anthony de Mello, via goodreads



It’s not just for breakfast; never was. Coffee adds depth and flavor to meats and to chocolate desserts.

black coffee

Food Ideas

  • Love to Cook: Coffee-rubbed roast (lamb, beef, pork) with vinegar slaw and coconut rice
  • Weeknight Reality: Coffee-rubbed burgers with sweet potato fries
  • Need a Miracle: Veggie wraps with mocha chip ice cream for dessert

Recipe Links

Parting Thought

I’d rather take coffee than compliments just now.

Louisa May Alcott, Little Women


Where summer produce is robust, spring goods are tender, softer in texture and flavor. For dinner tonight, how about foraging (probably at a farmers market) for fresh spring lettuce or other baby greens?  You might find some young root vegetables to go with, and you’ll have the perfect spring salad.


Food Ideas

  • Love to Cook: Lamb chops, sugar snap peas and spring greens
  • Weeknight Reality: Pan-fried chicken tenders over spring green salad
  • Need a Miracle: Spinach wraps with spring mix, goat cheese and smoked turkey (from the deli)

Recipe Links

Parting Thought

She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
“Winter is dead.

A.A. Milne, via goodreads



The tax man cometh; you can blame him for the temporary hiccup in delivery of your daily dinner prompt. Whether he’s writing you a check or you’re writing one to him, treat yourself to an easy dinner, perhaps a mix of lean and rich flavors together.


Food Ideas

  • Love to Cook: Arugula salad with pears and candied pecans: warm peasant bread with Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam Cheese
  • Weeknight Reality: ditto above
  • Need a Miracle: Arugula salad with rotisserie chicken, dried cherries and pistachios

Recipe Links

Parting Thought

The wages of sin are death, but by the time taxes are taken out, it’s just sort of a tired feeling.
Paula Poundstone, via goodreads


Blood orange

So yes, it’s two words and not one. But it’s still one thing, one idea to get you thinking toward the many different delicious treats you can make using blood oranges. Haven’t tried them yet? Don’t be afraid. They taste like regular oranges, only sweeter. The juice of the dark varieties may stain, though, so be sure to wear an apron or work shirt.

blood oranges

Food Ideas

  • Love to Cook: Seafood with blood orange sauce; blood orange sorbet or panna cotta
  • Weeknight Reality: Citrus salad, topped with grilled chicken (or shrimp skewers)
  • Need a Miracle: Spinach salad with blood orange vinaigrette; mini grilled cheese sandwiches

Recipe Links

Parting Thought

One mustn’t ask apple trees for oranges, France for sun, women for love, life for happiness.
Gustave Flaubert