hello truelove

hello truelove

♥ Food + Style + Travel + City Living ♥

New Recipe: Gigantes Plaki

We whipped this up as a weekend meal and couldn’t have been happier with how easy and satisfying it was. 

We couldn’t find dried gigantes beans so we bought canned cannelllinli beans and baked for 30 instead of 50 minutes. We also used canned fire roasted tomatos which cut down the prep time as well. Minus the feta garnish you could easily keep most of the ingredients on hand and make this any time. Olive oil, onion, garlic, beans, tomatoes, parsley… way better than the sum of their parts (I think it is easy to be jaded about this but I’ll never cease to be amazed at how a list of simple ingredients mingle together to make so much more).


Recipe here. Enjoy!

Cauliflower “Breadsticks” - Another yummy vegetarian snack


I made these as a side to this tasty and easy curried tomato bisque. Soups are delightful (especially in winter) but sometimes a bowl of soup is not quite enough to tide me over. We often add some crusty bread or a simple slice of toast but I’m always looking to pack more veggies and protein into a meal and reduce carbs/sugar. These cauliflower munchies were the perfect healthy accompaniment to a warm soup on a cold winter night.


You’ll Need:
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, grated (grating cauliflower is not the most fun, so if you have a hand blender with a chopper attachment (like this) I would recommend putting it to use!)
  • 1 whole egg, plus one egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup 2% shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Dried basil,oregano and parsley
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
Simple Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together (except oil) in a large bowl until evenly distributed.
2.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and use olive oil to grease the parchment paper (I used olive oil spray). Spread and flatten the cauliflower mixture on the parchment paper evenly - about 1/4 inch thick. Square off the edges so it looks like a rectangle or square.
3. Bake for 40-60 minutes until slightly dried out, browning, and firm to the touch- keep an eye on them toward the end as ours were a bit soggy after the first 40 minutes but I suspect in some ovens they’d be crisp by this time.
Remove from oven and using a spatula carefully peel away from parchment paper. Flip over and return to oven for 10-15 more minutes. 


This is a great side because you can prep quickly then throw it in the oven and make the rest of the meal while it is baking away!

ps- Recipe found here but I modified a bit based on my experience.

Creamy Leek, Spinach and Broccoli Soup


This was such a simple recipe I was worried it wouldn’t taste all that great. But I was wrong. It was delicious and satisfying. We’ve been sick around here so all the greens in this recipe were sure looking good, too.

You’ll Need:

  • 1 head of broccoli, chopped
  • 1 small white potato, chopped
  • 5 ounces of spinach
  • 2 leeks, chopped
  • 4 Tablespoons of butter (I used a bit less and it was fine)
  • 1 Teaspoon herbs de provence (optional)
  • olive oil (to taste)
  • greek yogurt (to taste)
  • salt and pepper

First, saute the leeks in the butter with 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper on medium heat for 4-6 minutes, until soft.


Add the vegetable broth, potato, and broccoli and herbs de provence.


Simmer until tender 18-22 minutes. Stir in 5 oz spinach until wilted.


Puree half of the ingredients in a blender. Then puree the other half. If you puree it all at once the soup might overflow! I know this from experience;)


Serve with salt, pepper, a dab of greek yogurt and a splash of olive oil.

Mediterranean Quinoa Bowl

Between returning from vacation and working hard on hello truelove paper goods this week has been crazy! This Mediterranean Quinoa Bowl was perfect. You can make it ahead and eat healthy all week long:) I’m a bit under the weather but it feels good to at least have a healthy meal within walking (to the fridge) distance.

{Photo from Sprouted Kitchen}

Spicy Lentil Soup

This recipe is great for fall and things are getting quite cozy around here as the temp has dropped quickly! The cold front makes me think even more about how important it is to bolster Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts. I’ve got lots of resources on how to pitch in so leave me a comment if you’re interested! Hot meal delivery is one way to help and this hearty soup would be perfect!

At first when I spotted the ingredients I thought this meal might just be okay, but it was super delicious and easy too! I’m still getting the new computer set up so I snapped some quick phone shots. Thanks for bearing with me! 

You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups red lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 serrano chile pepper, chopped (remove seeds for less heat)
  • 1 large tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1 1 1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated (we used the ginger I saved with this trick)
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for topping
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • Naan or other flatbread, if desired

Step 1: Combine the lentils and 7 cups warm water in a pot, cover and bring to a boil.

Step 2: Add the chile pepper, tomato, ginger, garlic, turmeric and 2 teaspoons salt. (This is where you’d want to reduce the amount of chile pepper if you’d like to take down the heat a notch- I personally added a bit extra;).

Step 3: Partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until thickened, 18 to 20 minutes. 

Step 4: Stir in the cilantro. Thin the soup with water, if desired, and season with salt. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with yogurt and more cilantro. Serve with naan- rounds out the meal perfectly!

Recipe found here.

Quick Vegetable Quiche

I’m still having a bit of computer trouble! Thankfully, a new machine is on its way. In the meantime most of my recipe photos are trapped in our external hard drive (thanks to J!) but I wanted to share this recipe for a quick veggie quiche I whipped up last week. I love this quiche because it is tasty when you make it and the leftovers are delicious hot or cold- it lasted us all week:)

You’ll Need:

  • 1 (9-inch) pie crust
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 cup cooked stir-fried vegetables (you can either stir fry your own or grab a bag of frozen veggies for a quicker meal:) I used mushrooms, onions, and peppers.
  • A few cherry tomatoes- if desired.
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan (cheddar works too!)
  • 1/4 cup low fat milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan

First preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Press pie crust into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie pan.

In a large bowl, combine spinach, stir-fried vegetables and place on top of uncooked crust.

In another bowl combine ricotta, cheddar, milk, eggs, Dijon, oregano, salt, and black pepper. Mix well. Spoon cheese mixture on top of vegetable mixture in prepared pie crust and top with Parmesan.

I sprinkled some extra Parmesan, salt and pepper on top and sliced some cherry tomatoes we had in the fridge to add a bit of extra veg and flair.

Bake 30-40 minutes, until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean and crust is golden brown.

Recipe found here and modified slightly:)

Pasta with Creamy Lemon Yogurt Sauce

Our healthy meal this week was so simple!

{Photo from Ezra Pound Cake}

I modified this recipe to include spinach instead of zucchini since we had extra. I also added about 1/4 cup hand shredded basil- forgot how good that stuff is fresh! Last year I tried to grow some in our apartment but I know we don’t have the natural light for it here so I’ll have to settle for the store bought stuff for now…

Such an easy weeknight meal!

You’ll Need:

  • 8 ounces whole wheat pasta
  • 1/2 cup non- fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (1/2 if you don’t LOVE lemon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cups of uncooked spinach (or more!)
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup basil, torn into small pieces

Step One: Cook the pasta, drain and set aside. (Reserve 1 Tb pasta water for mixing in later, if you’d like)

Step Two: In a large bowl, stir together the yogurt, Parmesan, lemon zest, and salt and pepper. Set aside.

Step Three: Heat the oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add garlic for about 15 seconds then stir in the tomatoes and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add spinach and wilt. 

Step Four: Combine pasta and sauce adding pasta water if sauce seems too thick for your taste.


Another solid recipe from Martha. In fact, due to the large portion size (makes 3 quarts), this recipe just keeps on giving! I made the base recipe for dinner one night and then used the leftovers for two other dinners— quite the win as far as I’m concerned.

  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow squash
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 large yellow onions (1 pound total), diced large
  • 1 head garlic, cloves smashed and peeled
  • 2 bell peppers (any color), seeded and diced large
  • 2 large zucchini (1 pound total), diced large
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon fresh marjoram or oregano leaves
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the tomatoes and juices on a rimmed baking sheet and use your hands to break tomatoes into 3/4-inch pieces. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and bake until thickened, 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. I was really surprised that this simple thickener made the dish much more hearty.

In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat 4 tablespoons oil over medium. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until onions and garlic are soft, 5 minutes. Add peppers and cook, stirring, until crisp-tender, 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add tomatoes, squash, zucchini, bay leaf, and marjoram to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and cook at a gentle simmer until vegetables are tender but not mushy, 15 minutes. Season to taste with vinegar, salt, and pepper. Remove bay leaf before serving.

The original recipe mentions serving with crusty, rustic bread- which, on a busy Wednesday night, I translated into ” whole wheat toast.” It was delicious still.

Over the weekend we devoured this baked egg version.

At the beginning of the week I heated what was left with some yummy Rick Bayless enchilada sauce and enjoyed some veggie tacos with corn tortillas, cilantro and cojita cheese.

Somehow I missed this phyllo wrap option which looks good too.. next time!

Avocado, Quinoa, Cilantro, Chickpea Salad

This is one of those dishes that is packed with healthy ingredients, is satisfying, and tastes great. Really. Not just for a healthy recipe. 

You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 2 avocados diced
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1/4 cup onion
  • 2 small cloves garlic
For the dressing:
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste

First, I made the quinoa. I soaked it in a pot in the veggie broth for 15 minutes then turned the heat to medium high and let the broth come to a boil. After this, I reduced the heat to medium/low and let the quinoa simmer in the broth, stirring every 5-7 minutes for 25 minutes. While the quinoa is cooking you’ll have time to make the rest of the salad.

For the dressing, simply whisk together all ingredients. I whipped it up and refrigerated in a small jar that I could shake right before throwing everything together.

Next, process the spinach and cilantro until they are a similar texture to pesto. 

Add the greens to a bowl, and set aside. Dice the onions and garlic in the food processor and combine with greens. Add chickpeas and stir until everything is combined and coated. Once the quinoa is cooled, mix in with the rest. Finally, throw in the tomatoes and avocados and toss with dressing.

For most refreshing results let the salad cool in the fridge for 15-30 minutes before enjoying!

Recipe found here

Vegan Cream of Broccoli Soup

Another delicious vegan recipe from Joy the Baker.

You’ll Need:

  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for 1 hour then drained 
  • 1 small onion, diced 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 heads of broccoli, chopped into bite-size florets 
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg 
  • 1 teaspoon cumin 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard seeds fresh ground black pepper to taste 
  • 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice 
  • 2 teaspoons vegan Worcestershire sauce 
  • about 4 cups of water

Soak raw cashews in water for 1 hour. They’ll soften slightly. Drain. Steam broccoli until tender. A fork should be able to easily pierce the flesh. Remove from steamer and set aside. In a large saucepan over medium heat, add olive oil, and onions. Cook until onions are tender and translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add garlic and cook for one minute more. Add cumin, salt, mustard seed, and black pepper and cook for about 30 seconds. Add cooked broccoli florets, and remove from heat. In a blender, add half of the softened cashews, about 1/2 of the broccoli mixture, and 2 cups of water. Blend until smooth. Pour blended soup into a large soup pan. Blend the remaining cashews, broccoli, and 2 more cups of water. Blend until smooth. Pour into pan. Heat over low heat. Add lemon and worcestershire sauce.

Taste and season as necessary. Add more water for a thinner consistency. Serve warm.

Soup will last, in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 days.

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