2016

Zion Nat'l Park, Columbine

Simple, Spectacular, and Savory Soup Recipe

Yes! Another soup recipe being offered to you, for a quick, yummy, and healthful dinner.

Minestrone Soup

Prep time: 30 minutes Ingredients: 28 ounce jar of diced tomatoes 15 ounce can of cannelloni beans pasta (elbow or penne) 1 large purple onion, diced 5 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped 2 small zucchini, cut into bite sized pieces 3 carrots, sliced 3 celery stalks, sliced pepper and salt dried basil and oregano olive oil a full-bodied red wine, to sip as well as to add into the soup Directions:
  1. Place all of the chopped veggies in a glass casserole dish; toss with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. At 10 minutes into the roast, stir up the veggies, then finish the roast. Set aside.
  2. While the veggies are roasting, cook the pasta just to an al dente texture, and consider enjoying a glass of wine. Drain the pasta, saving the water to thin the soup stock, and set the pasta aside for a moment.
  3. In your soup pot, mix the tomatoes, beans and the roasted veggies, pour in 1/2 cup of red wine, and add the spices to meet your palate desires. Add about a cup of the pasta water.
  4. I've learned over the years to cook just enough pasta to put 1/2 - 3/4 cup cooked into the bottom of each soup bowl, then ladle the soup on top. If the pasta is added to the soup pot, it tends to get mushy, especially when you reheat the leftovers later.
  5. Enjoy! This is a rich, high protein and fiber, delicious dinner. For an easy side dish, I saute greens with garlic in olive oil, or I'll slice a good quality baguette, layer the slices with swiss cheese, and broil for 3 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and yummy. Or I make both side dishes!
Yum!

Robin Recommends…Ike’s Quarter Cafe

Ike's Quarter Cafeikes logo 02

Proprietors: Ike and Adrienne Frazee

Services: Ike's cuisine is that of Louisiana, New Orleans to be specific. They chose New Orleans because the food is warm, tasty, and delicious, in addition to reflecting the melting pot that is New Orleans, with a Cajun foundation, and diverse ethnic contributions.

Ike's is certified with the Green Restaurant Association, as is reflected in their choice of free-range meats, and organic flours, grains, produce, eggs, and dairy products. The to-go containers and cutlery are recyclable and biodegradable. At Ike's, the belief is that good quality food and the attitude in which it is prepared makes for a happy belly.

Robin's Thoughts: From the lovely outdoor patio, to the friendly atmosphere, to the amazingly diverse menu with many items being vegetarian variations on classic New Orleans style dishes, Ike's is one of our community's favorite restaurants. I love that the veggies are organic and local--my favorite is the gingered greens. Last time I had lunch there, the grilled tempeh, mushroom, and gorgonzola sandwich was rich with fabulous flavors and textures. Ike's offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner--they are busy most of the time, allowing you to settle in for a good visit with your meal mate.

Contact Info
Web: http://ikesquartercafe.com
Phone: 530-265-6138  Address: 401 Commercial Street, Nevada City, CA
Email: ikesquarter@att.net

Robin Recommends…Nevada City Seafood

Nevada City Seafood, IncNCseafood

Business: Specialty Seafood

Services: What sets Eric and Enedina’s seafood apart from other local markets is freshness, not to mention the variety. Eric drives to the wharf in San Francisco three days a week to bring back to Nevada County the freshest fish available in the foothills. They started the business after struggling to find fresh fish locally to serve at their own dinner table and are very pleased with the number of Nevada County residents who agree! Eric “has it down to a science” in terms of how much fish to bring back from the wharf, to maximize freshness while minimizing waste.

Robin's Thoughts: The first thing I noticed was that the Nevada City Seafood storefront does not smell fishy! What keeps me going back however, is the friendly customer service provided by the knowledgeable staff. I have made special requests that have been filled with a smile, such as slicing thin a piece of ahi tuna, and during one visit, I inquired about smoked salmon and was pleasantly surprised when Enedina offered me a small sample of three varieties. Yum! They also sell locally made breads and olive oil, another example of commitment to our community. I am especially delighted that Eric and Enedina provide biodegradable and recyclable containers from Xtremely GREEN (another local business: http://xtremelygreen.com), and encourage customers to consider bringing along a small cooler to cut back on the use plastic bags. Good thinking! When Nevada City Seafood is on my list of stop-ins, I grab a cooler, toss in a couple of ice packs, and bring my fish home chilled and ready for dinner!

Contact Info

Web: stay tuned!
Phone: 530-274-2919   Address: 1020 Whispering Pines, Suite G,Grass Valley, CA
Email: nevadacityseafood@gmail.com

Robin Recommends…The New Moon Cafe

The New Moon CafeNew Moon Logo (1)

Proprietors: Peter Selaya, Buzz Crouch

Services: A love for food and community led to an infusion of our resources and talents to create The New Moon Cafe. We are fortunate to still be serving food in an ever expanding community. Creating a place that honors international culinary influence yet relates to our mountain town remains our greatest desire. Big city dining with a small town atmosphere and lots of love. Sophisticated, comfortable and thoughtful. Our welcoming community supports the local, natural and organic foods that we've been lucky enough to use since the warmest of beginnings.

Robin's Thoughts: I have enjoyed numerous superb meals at The New Moon Cafe! There are so many details to rave about: the friendliness of the wait-staff and their knowledge of menu subtleties as well as of the wine list; delectable flavors of the varied entrees offered, with a focus on organic, local produce and meat and including several vegetarian choices; the sinful (but smartly portioned) desserts; and our special window table...The New Moon is where John and I go to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays, and other distinctive occasions.

Contact Info
Web: http://thenewmooncafe.com
Phone: 530-265-6933  Address: 233 York Street, Nevada City, CA
Email: mail@thenewmooncafe.com

Split-Pea Barley Soup: One of my all time favorites!

This quick, easy, and fabulous-tasting soup is a welcome shift in cooking and eating that acknowledges the change of season, from summer to fall.

Time required: 1 hour total, but ONLY 15 minutes of your physical presence in the kitchen is required!

Ingredients:

1 cup dried split peas, rinsed
1 cup barley, rinsed
1 medium purple onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
2 carrots, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
cumin
pepper and salt to taste
olive oil

Directions:

  1. Place peas in a large pot with enough water so that the water line is 2 inches above the peas; bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 45 – 60 minutes. Keep an eye on the peas after 45 minutes, so they do not become overcooked and mushy!
  2. Place barley in a different pot with 2 cups of water, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Set aside.
  3. While the peas and barley are cooking, enjoy a glass of wine. Then sauté the onions in olive oil, on low until they are tender. Add in the garlic, carrots and celery, a tad of pepper and salt, and sauté for just a couple of minutes until the veggies start to soften but do not become overcooked.
  4. Add to the cooked peas: the cooked barley, and cooked veggies. Gently mix it all up. Sprinkle cumin—at least 1 teaspoon—but probably more to give it a divine flavor.  Add pepper and a smidge of salt to your preferred taste.

There are two types of cooks: those that measure ingredients and those that do not. Those that follow recipes and those that do not. I do not. I love being in the kitchen creating a masterpiece, and have been cooking from scratch for nearly 30 years! Eyeballing how much to add, tasting frequently to be sure that I am getting it right is part of the fun for me. If “winging it” does not feel right to you, by all means use recipes and measure away. I have to say that my husband, when eating a delicious meal that I have lovingly prepared, will often sigh and say, “well, I won’t be enjoying that meal again…”  What he means is that my meals do not taste the same way twice! Since I don’t use recipes or measure, I run the risk of not being able to recreate that fabulous meal the next time around. Life is an adventure!

1st Note: If you like soupy soup, you’ll want to have a water line remaining above the peas when they are done cooking—keep an eye on the peas while they are simmering to see if more water should added.  If you like porridge style soup, then you can let all the water slowly absorb and evaporate in the cooking.

2nd Note: This is a chunky soup, which is how my husband and I like it! If chunky is not your preference, you are welcome to put the yummy concoction into a food processor to gently blend it to your desired consistency.

3rd Note: I taste while I cook. It is important to test the consistency of the grains, legumes, beans, pastas, and veggies, as well as the flavors once you begin to add spices.

Final Note: When cooking grains such as barley, millet, rice, etc. the ratio is 1 part grain to 2 parts water. The cook time is typically 30 minutes, but not always…quinoa for instance is cooked in 12 – 15 minutes, as are oats, but polenta (coarse corn meal) takes at least 45 minutes. This is where playing around in the kitchen is recommended so that you will gain confidence, as well as practical understanding of time required to create a fabulous meal.

The Really Final Note: When combining bean or legumes and grains, as in this soup, you are ingesting an incredible amount of fiber and protein. Way to go! Think of all the possibilities in other yummy soups and casseroles in which you bring beans and grains together. I will include additional recipes of my favorites in upcoming newsletters.

Happy Eating!

6 AM ride on the American River Trail

It was foggy, wet, and humid. Oh, and it was dark, very dark. I used a borrowed bike light for the first time ever. Sally and the Princess took me right from their house, 2 blocks onto the AR Trail -- another first for me, a flat trail ride.

What a great workout and quite the sensory experience! The lights cut through the fog, but visibility was limited, especially with the condensation on my glasses. Eerie and surreal, to see other bike lights coming out of the mist, as well as head lamps worn by the massive amount of runners. I am all for early morning exercise, but I have to admit that I was impressed by the sheer volume of folks out early, in the dense fog, running and riding.

Bunnies darted out from the fields on either side of the trail, and light slowly replaced darkness, massive oak trees were silhouetted, the river silently flowing, deer could be seen nibbling on the grasses, birds awakened and welcomed a new day with lovely song.

We rode back in full light, at a fast clip, feeling strong, alive, energized, and grateful for the opportunity to be out, enjoying my body, my companions, and my life.

A Guided Relaxation Session

relaxation breathing.mp3

Listen to this soothing practice of relaxation breathing. Inhale calm and quiet, exhale tension and stress...

“Robin brings dedication, focus, passion, and intellect to whatever endeavor she is pursuing. She does not just talk about good health, she practices it thoroughly every day of her life. When she talks to clients about healthy lifestyle choices, they are able to see the effects of healthy choices by observing the woman in front of them!”
Arthur S., Client

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