February 24, 2011

couscous, lentil & arugula salad with garlic-dijon vinaigrette

eatingwell.com (see a picture of the salad at this link, too!)

Last year Eating Well magazine did this amazing spread on salads - I got several great recipes from just one article!  This is the first one I am sharing here...more to come.

I love this salad because it is easy, hearty enough for a meal, and the flavors are bright and fresh. 


  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 4 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste


  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable broth, or water
  • 1 cup whole-wheat couscous
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup French green lentils, or brown lentils, rinsed
  • 4 cups arugula, any tough stems removed, or mixed salad greens
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

  1. To prepare vinaigrette: combine oil, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard and garlic in a blender, a jar with a tight-fitting lid or a medium bowl. Blend, shake or whisk until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. To prepare salad: Bring 1 1/4 cups broth (or water) to a boil in a small saucepan. Add couscous, cover, remove from the heat and let stand until the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.
  3. Combine 2 1/2 cups water and lentils in another saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until just tender, 15 to 25 minutes. (Green lentils will be done sooner than brown lentils.) Be careful not to overcook the lentils or they will fall apart in the salad. Drain any excess water and let cool for about 10 minutes.
  4. If arugula leaves are large, tear into bite-size pieces. Toss arugula (or greens) with 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette in a large bowl, then divide among 4 large plates. In the same bowl, toss the couscous and lentils with another 1/4 cup vinaigrette; divide the mixture among the plates. Top each salad with cucumber, tomatoes and feta and drizzle each with 1 tablespoon vinaigrette. (Cover and refrigerate the remaining 1 cup vinaigrette for up to 1 week.)

February 21, 2011

obese monkeys to discover magic weight loss pill?

and I have to tell you that I am a little fired up.  
The article discusses how monkeys are being exposed to conditions that lead to obesity 
(basically the "American lifestyle" - too many calories, sugary and fatty foods, and little exercise)
with the intent of then doing trials of diet drugs to find their effectiveness

Now, for full disclosure: I support research on animals because I think it is important for scientific discovery (AIDS, cancer, and a myriad of other research is vital!)

But I find this situation to be reprehensible: 
pharmaceutical companies funding this research in order to develop the "magic weight loss pill" to make a profit

News flash!
we already have our magic solution: eat healthy, don't overindulge, and be active! 
it's hard.  it takes time. it is the only way

Developing the magic weight loss pill aside, I do see that there may be ways this research can help us improve our food systems and understanding of behaviors related to obesity. 

for example, "Dr. Grove and researchers at some other centers say the high-fructose corn syrup appears to accelerate the development of obesity and diabetes." 

Some studies found that this type of diet impacted the developing brains of the fetuses in pregnant monkeys and also lead to offspring with metabolic problems
results also indicated that the diet of the mother during pregnancy, 
"matters more than whether she is obese"

interesting findings, and important for 
helping us connect a desire to be healthy with other values
such as supporting the health and development of our children
and making sure food is safe
it is also an opportunity to think about larger social issues, 
such as the implications of the lack of access to healthy food in low-income communities, where mothers may not have access to nutritious food during pregnancy

All that said, 
I still believe that subjecting animals to these unnatural conditions for the specific goal of finding a quick fix drug (rather than taking responsibility for our own health) 
is an unprecedented low

February 9, 2011

the power of vulnerability

Have you listened to this talk by Dr. Brene Brown? 

In this talk Dr. Brown says, 

"Vulnerability is the birthplace of joy, love, belonging, creativity and faith"
I happen to think her talk is really extraordinary, and I hope you will listen!

...and try asking yourself:

where in your life are you avoiding being vulnerable, and what are you giving up in the process?

Watch live streaming video from tedxkc at livestream.com