Category Archives: LUNCH

Cilantro Tomato Soup

one of my favorite meals is grilled cheese & tomato soup.

now, let’s up the ante   ::   tomato soup with a cilantro infusion and grilled cheese with fontina & brie.    yes.   comfort food, at it’s finest.

throw in a salad and you can call it a well-rounded meal.

busy-bees beware: this soup is not the quickest, but if you have the time, it’s worth it.

i’ll recommend that you make it on a blistery fall/winter day and slurp it up while cuddled under a blanket on the couch watching your favorite show {bonus: fireplace popping in the background} – don’t forget the grilled cheese…great for dipping.

Cilantro Tomato Soup

recipe adapted from: Kalyn’s Kitchen


  • 2 medium bundles fresh cilantro {washed}
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 small-med garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1.5 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 28oz can of dice tomatoes {Muir Glen organic fire roasted tomatoes are the best!}
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • black pepper to taste {I did 10 grinds}
  • dash of cayenne {+1 pinch for more of a kick}
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice


Prepare Cilantro: Cut 2-3 inches off the top of one cilantro bundle {you want to cut off most of the leaves, leaving just a few behind}.  Pick the leaves off the cilantro stalks and set aside about a .5 cup of leaves {this will be used for garnish}.  Finely chop the remaining leaves {great time for the slap-chop!}.   Using kitchen twine, tie the cut cilantro stalks back together along with the other full bundle of cilantro {or separately}.

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a deep, medium-sized pot {I used our 4.5 quart Le Creuset dutch oven}.  Add chopped onion and saute for 5-6 minutes.  Stir in garlic, tomato paste, cumin, and paprika until combined.  Next add entire can of tomatoes {juice included}, water, the cilantro bundle, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove pot from hot burner and allow to cool.  Once cool enough to handle, remove cilantro bundle{s} and discard.  Puree soup with a food processor or blender, working in batches if necessary.  If the consistency looks good to you, you can stop here.  It’s more of a bisque at this point, and I like it smoother.  If you want a smoother soup too, use a fine mesh strainer to work the soup through, discarding the “pulp”. {I added about a tablespoon of “pulp” into mine before tossing the rest}

Return soup to pot and warm it over medium-heat.  Stir in the cayenne pepper, lime juice and the chopped cilantro.  Once heated throughout it’s ready to serve.  Garnish with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt and a few cilantro leaves… Enjoy!!

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Gazpacho !

why the exclamation mark after gazpacho? because it sounds better when you exclaim it, gazpacho!!   and, there is some exciting news to be shared: we have a food processor now… ! ! ! !

yes folks, my dearest brother, sister-in-law and nephew purchased me {& matt} a food processor for my birthday… best gift  e v e r.  i have been using it non-stop since the day i got it, all those recipes that required one, and we had to use a potato masher, or our hands instead…and now we can use the real thing!

so with our new machine, matt got the great idea to try some gazpacho! {there’s that exclamation mark again…}

i can’t say that i made it, because really matt was the one that slaved away while i was busy working at home–i just occasionally popped over to the kitchen to snap a few photos of his gorgeous {& delicious} work.  and now i’m the one writing about it : )

it’s such a fresh treat, great for a warm day/evening and would make for an awesome appetizer.  we ate it for lunch served with a piece of whole wheat toast…delicious. never made it before? us either, but sure glad we did…give ‘er a try & let us know how it goes!

Gazpacho !

adapted from: palete/palette/plate


  • 3-4 large ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped {we used an orange one, yum!}
  • 1 large english cucumber, peeled & diced {we used a regular cucumber and it worked fine!}
  • 1 clove garlic {2 if small}
  • .5 medium onion, peeled & diced
  • 2 slices whole wheat bread, crust removed and cubed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp sea salt, + more to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 avocado, for topping


In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, bell pepper and cucumber.  Use a measuring cup to scoop out 1 cup of the mix and set in the refrigerator to chill {will be used later}.  Next, add garlic, onion, cubed bread, olive oil, vinegar and sea salt to the large bowl.  Use your hands  {please wash them well first!} to mix the ingredients together, crushing & mushing.  Place the bowl in the refrigerator and allow it to chill for at least an hour.

Once chilled, remove gazpacho in the large bowl from refrigerator and transfer to a blender or food processor.  Puree until smooth, working in batches if necessary. Season with salt and ground black pepper.  Chill in refrigerator again until ready for serving, at least 30 minutes.

Before serving, scoop ~1 tbsp of the chilled tomato/bell pepper/cucumber mix into each serving bowl of gazpacho for garnish and an added crunch.  Slice avocado into small bite size pieces and divvy it up into your bowls…enjoy!

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{idaho} Potato Salad, for dinner

i know what you are thinking, but this is not a side dish… this is the main dish.

this recipe will not create your run-of-the-mill potato salad, sitting next to the potato chips, on the gingham tablecloth at a picnic.

nope, this recipe has sharp arugula, fresh spinach, crisp green beans, and perfectly cooked yukon gold potatoes, finished with a tart, light and creamy dressing.






unfortunately, when i went to our teeny little local market tonight, they were out of green string beans.  but lucky for us, they had yellow ones.

though the recipe only calls for 8oz, i purchased a pound {because i could} and i ended up using about 3/4 of a lb.  i think it worked out great with the additional beans, so don’t worry about having too much/too little of the string beans, arugula, spinach or potatoes, do what feels right!

and the idaho reference? well it just so happens that not only does Idaho make the best potatoes, it also makes pretty cool people — it was home to Matt & I for most of our lives {Matt was born & raised!}.

short potato story: since moving to denver and dealing with aggressive/inattentive/silly/frustrating drivers, matt and i laugh about keeping a sack of potatoes in our car so we can toss one at any vehicle that annoys us.  now when we are driving together and a car cuts us off or does something stupid, we both shout in unison, “POTATO!”

Potato Salad

adapted from:

serves 4 {or 2 hungry people, with a little leftover}


  • 1.5 lbs yukon gold potatoes
  • 8 oz green beans {or more, we used 12oz}
  • 1.5 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp plain greek yogurt {we like Fage 2%
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • .75 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp. walnut oil
  • fresh black pepper, ground
  • 3 ounces arugula
  • 3 ounces spinach


Scrub potatoes, skins will be left on.  Cut into large bite-size pieces and put in a large saucepan.   Add water until potatoes are just covered.  On high heat, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer {covered}, for about 15 minutes, or until tender.  {Test: poke with a fork}  Set potatoes aside to cool.

During the 15 minute potato-simmer-time, wash and prepare the green beans.  Cut into bite-size {approx. 1″} pieces.  Get an ice-bath ready in a medium bowl, set aside.  Add hot water to a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil.  Add green beans to boiling water and boil for 5 minutes, or until tender and they turn a beautiful bright green.  Pour into a colander to drain, then  plunge green beans into the ice water to stop the cooking.  Drain again.

Whisk together vinegar, yogurt, mustard and salt.  Add oil in a steady drizzle, whisking until well-mixed.    Season with black pepper {we used about 10 grinds of the pepper mill}

In a large bowl, add arugula, spinach, chilled green beans and chilled potatoes. Toss together. Pour in the dressing and mix until well-coated.  Serve immediately… enjoy!!

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