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Warm Black-eyed Peas with Yogurt & Ginger ♥

Today's recipe: A side dish made with black-eyed peas and gentle spices, served warm.
It seems a sorry shame that black-eyed peas are relegated to New Year's fare. All the good fortune that black-eyed peas are supposed to deliver during the new year? We could use a little of that year-round, don't we think? What with the Gulf oil spill, the European financial crisis, home foreclosures, the battle forming along the U.S.-Mexico border, the continuing recession ... well, if all it takes is a few black-eyed peas to turn any one of those corners, to put just one behind us, I'm in.

This is a great little side dish, familiar ingredients mixed in an unfamiliar way. It's best served slightly warm but can be made ahead of time and then rewarmed, albeit gently. For a vegetarian entrée, I'd serve it with a yogurt sauce on the side, like the cilantro sauce in Veggie Burritos with Cilantro Sauce. If you'd like a black-eyed pea salad, one that can be made in advance and…

Lemony Broccoli & Lemon Vinaigrette ♥ Recipes for an Easy Salad

Today's easy salad recipe: Think lemon on lemon, broccoli tops soaked in lemon juice atop lettuce dressed in a creamy lemon vinaigrette. Only two or three points for Weight Watchers and low-carb too. Simple and surprisingly substantial.
While visiting my father earlier this month, one objective was to provide Olga, his loving companion since my mother died, a 'vacation' from cooking and clean-up. Given the unseasonably warm temperatures and our light appetites, suppers were more about assembling salads than actual cooking.

This salad was a surprise hit, including for me, the cook. ;-) That first night, we added some leftover grilled meat to the salad plates (Note to Vegetarians) and found the meal surprisingly substantial: we ALL skipped dessert that night.

I've made it at home twice now since returning and am completely hooked on the simple combination of lemon on lemon. The broccoli tips soak up the lemon, the greens are dressed in a creamy lemon. I tried one versi…

Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie ♥ Two Recipes!

Today's smoothie recipes: Two ways to make smoothies from rhubarb and strawberries, one with raw rhubarb, another with a quick stove-top strawberry-rhubarb sauce.
Last week, I went dumpster-diving freezer-diving and spied one last bag of frozen rhubarb. Zip, zip, I worked up a couple of rhubarb smoothies starring one of spring's magical seasonal combinations, strawberries and rhubarb.

RAW RHUBARB For Smoothie Numbers One & Two, I used the rhubarb in its raw albeit wet and freezer-softened state. It had a tang, a sourness, that I especially liked, but some of rhubarb's natural stringiness survived the trip through the blender – not everyone would overlook this.

COOKED RHUBARB For Smoothie Numbers Three & Four, I cooked the rhubarb and strawberries together, letting their flavors meld, and sweeten, overnight before making the smoothies. The taste here is more like a traditional smoothie, fruity and sweet and well, yes, this is why they're called 'smoothie…

Homemade Greek Salad Dressing Recipe ♥

How to make Greek salad dressing, a vinaigrette, really, with a short list of pantry ingredients. Super simple and great to keep on hand.
So the English chef / food activist / TV personality Jamie Oliver has a crusade, he calls it Jamie's Food Revolution. But I have one too, it just doesn't come with a television show and a marketing budget. But it does fit right in with the Food Revolution's idea of changing one thing, just one thing, in our diets – to the good, by the way!

My crusade is to persuade home cooks to never buy salad dressing again. HA – I've actually accidentally written "never MAKE salad dressing again" often enough that I've wondered if there might be a counter crusade mounted by the salad dressing manufacturers. But no, we don't make salad dressing at home because we're too busy, we don't know how, the bottles are convenient (albeit expensive), everyone can have their own favorite, we're not eating salads anyway – and o…

Greek Bread Salad with Toasted Pita Chips ♥
A Kid-Friendly Recipe

Today's vegetable salad recipe: A whole pile of vegetable color and crunch, interspersed with crisp homemade toasted pita chips. Kids like this! Low carb. Weight Watchers 1 point.
My friend Ann put out a stunning array of food for our book club last month. But it was the salad — oh, the colorful salad! — that caught my attention first. "My kids devour this salad," the mother of two preteen boys said. Really? A salad with so many vegetables and kids gobble it down?

Turns out, the trick is the Toasted Pita Chips. Now I may be a grown-up but here, I'm with the kids. The pita chips really do add something special: without them, this salad would be just some chopped vegetables tossed in Greek salad dressing. If you like Panzanella, the Italian bread salad, you'll love this one too.

BOOK CLUBS & READING GROUPS Speaking of book clubs, have you seen my reading group's book list? We've been reading together since 1994!

Tofu-Salad Sandwiches ♥ Recipe for Vegan 'Egg' Salad

Today's vegetable sandwich recipe: A mixture of tofu and the usual suspects for egg salad, mayo, celery and the like. It makes up in just a few minutes and is surprisingly good! Better still, it's eminently variable based on what's on hand. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real". Low carb and just 1 or 2 points for Weight Watchers.
Is this feeling familiar, the feeling that you're just a little bit stuck, a tad bit uninspired, to cook? (Now baking, that I could do every day. But who needs another recipe for something sweet? Our recipe boxes, our waistlines, they're already plenty full of desserts.)

So I've been scanning my favorite cookbooks, hoping for inspiration then naysaying one recipe after another. Too fussy. Too expensive. Too many pots. Ingredients I don't have. Ingredients my usual groceries don't have. Too much fat. Too fru-fru. Yesterday I nixed every other recipe in the brand-new issue of Food & Wine (don't worry, it's a g…

Roasted Broccoli with Lemon & Garlic ♥ Recipe

Until now, I just couldn't get roasting broccoli right. Turns out, it's as simple as can be, just roast the broccoli (careful knife work makes a difference but it's just the usual way of roasting fresh vegetables) but then, this is the trick, splash the broccoli with lemon juice. It makes all the difference. Low carb. Weight Watchers 1 or 2 points. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real".
There's a reason why a food blog about vegetables, yes, that's A Veggie Venture, has more than 1000 vegetable recipes but doesn't yet have one for something very basic, roasted broccoli. I've tried a half dozen times to like broccoli roasted in the oven, it just wasn't happening. I'd even reached the conclusion that while broccoli could be roasted, why waste a cruciferous bunch to the oven? I decided to give it one more try.

Turns out, the trick to roasting garlic is what happens after roasting, just a splash of lemon juice. I know, I know, call me the last pe…