Pretty cocktails ALWAYS grab La Diva's attention, what about YOU?
Darlings! La Diva is going through one of her "dry" spells again... Once again, I have too much on my plate! (pardon the pun!) I've been cooking for my business by testing recipes and furiously marketing my classes to get asses in seats, working on "optimizing" my website and forever being an Army of One working six days a week, and guess what falls by the wayside? My poor blog! When dinner constitutes a quick and easy stir fry (cuz I've been cooking all day) or a super simple pasta, it does not leave one feeling very inspired to write. Sure the dinners taste great and are delicious, but blog worthy? Meh.
And of course, Shamu over at Karmic Kitchen announced a new theme for her Dim Sum Sundays: Heart Healthy. Damn. I had just made a spectacular seared mahi mahi in a light saffron broth only days before but didn't think to take any photos! (Imagine that?! Just cooking to EAT! A novel concept!)
So, come Sunday, in my little Diva head I'm thinking to myself: "I got nothin'. And the boys at the pool are calling!" It's always a tough choice: "Hmmm.....cocktails by the pool with the boys in the sunshine or upstairs in my dark apartment, cooking, taking photos and blogging?" Well, darlings, you know WHAT WINS in La Diva's book!
The boys at MY pool wear only slightly more than these hunks! HA!
Hence, I find myself on a Monday with no dinner, no photos and nothin' to blog about! Why, even my Australian archives are quickly diminishing!
And then DJ Nevah L8 comes home with our organic veggie box and inspiration flows anew! And what a delight to behold too: beautiful and bright carrots in purple, white and orange, big bodacious beets and the most lovely, fat radishes I've seen, all with greens intact! And then I notice the cruciferous cauliflower and broccoli in the box and ideas begin to spill out like an ingenue's breasts at a Hollywood party. Ahem. Ok, I EXAGGERATE ever so slightly. (But I kept your attention, didn't I?!)
I am SO DIGGING Jayne's sassy little sandals! Click on the photo to see MORE!
In reality, La Diva wanted to make something fast and healthy and since the chicken breasts I took out of the freezer were still as hard as a rock, the dinner would also be meatless.
La Diva's Quick and Satisfyin' Vegetable Barley Soup!
Here's what I did:
- Put half cup barley in salted water in rice cooker and cook until just done, leaving a bit chewy or al dente.
- Saute some chopped carrots, onions and celery in olive oil until tender.
- Season with favorite spices and herbs. (I was longing for a more exotic flavor instead of my stand by profiles of Indian curry or Italian seasonings so I went with a Lebanese baharat spice mix including paprika, cloves, coriander, nutmeg, cumin. Divine!)
- Add 32 ounces chicken stock, bring to a boil and then simmer.
- Add a large handful of small, quick-cooking red lentils.
- Added chopped white radish, broccoli and cauliflower florets.
- Toss in the cooked barley and let cook for another 10 minutes.
- At the end, adjust seasonings and stir through greens such as spinach or kale. I used the fresh radish tops!
That's it! And since the meal is low in fat and cholesterol and salt, I would say that this very heart healthy meal is completely suitable for Shamu's Heart Healthy Dim Sum Sunday AND for Meatless Monday, a two-fer!
Result: MMMmmmmm garden fresh deliciousness! La Diva was a wee bit concerned about the spices being too overpowering but was delighted to find the taste comforting and a far cry from my usual spice mix choices. The barley and red lentils add a nice satiety to the dish as bread loaded with butter would kind of defeat the "heart healthy" purpose now, wouldn't it?
Want to see what everyone else made for their heart healthy option? Click HERE to take you to Sham's site! (so it's a few days late, DEAL, darlings!)
In the meantime, darlings, stay warm. La Diva will be thinking of you on Sunday, when I'm down by the pool, slurping away on my cocktail with "my boys" in the sun! Ciao for now!
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