simple sesame noodles

Simple noodles like these just keep making appearances, don’t they? I’ve really been enjoying cool noodle bowls this summer and these are certainly no exception. All I need now are some Noodle Bowls and along with some chopsticks, I’m ready to slurp away!

Paired with some baked tofu, these noodles only need some veggies on the side and lunch or dinner can be on the table in minutes. I like to make these ahead of time during “Sunday Prep Days” so they are ready to go for those busy weeknights that we all know and love. :)

Simple Sesame Noodles – 2 servings

  • 2 servings whole wheat spaghetti noodles
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce (I use low-sodium)
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil

Toss noodles with soy sauce and sesame oil until all noodles are coated.

Top with green onion slices, sesame seeds and a drizzle of sesame oil if desired.

restaurant: sanctuary

Restaurant Week in Minneapolis is always an exciting time. How many restaurants can you fit in the one week time span? How do you choose? What will you order?

The first restaurant we visited was Sanctuary Restaurant. I must admit that it was a tweet regarding grits with brie that sold me on it, we weren’t even planning on going out at all. Selling the taster on the idea was easy and consisted of three words: I’ll buy dinner.  A quick change of clothes, walk through the neighborhood and we were there.

Meals at Sanctuary start with edamame hummus, ciabatta bread and cayenne & cinnamon candied almonds. We loved the edamame hummus – it was flavorful and garlicky with a much runnier consistency (in a good way) than I am used to with hummus, not to mention delicious on some fresh, chewy ciabatta. Along with some white wine on a hot day, the patio was fragrant with the fresh herbs amongst the flowers and a sweating taster. “But the pictures! Natural light!” I pleaded on the sweltering night. We had to sit outside.

The first course in the tasting menu was a tequila-cured tuna and salmon tartare with wasabi sauce and potato crisps. Spicy, flavorful and crunchy.

Brie and ham grilled cheese with a red wine reduction and pinot grapes. Simple and delicious. Chef Patrick Atanalian’s menu is one that can seem complex at times so this sounded pretty basic, but in a basic way I knew I would love. It did leave us longing for some more of the wine reduction, we could have used a bit more. But brie, ham and bread is always perfect in my book.

The braised and grilled ribs with red wine barbeque sauce had strong scents of cinnamon and cloves and the meat was so wonderfully tender that it literally fell off the bone. I realized that I do prefer my meat a bit more on the savory side. The peach chutney was an interesting companion but unfortunately all the flavors made it tricky to really taste those beloved brie grits! Have no fear though, grits with brie are in my very near future.

The yellow and red tomato salad had juicy, perfectly ripe tomatoes along with salty smoked mozzerella, vidalia onions and a viniagrette. Tomato season is here, it’s official!

The obligatory hydro bibb salad, basically a way to get some vegetables in. It wasn’t anything fancy, but just what I was after – lettuce with a simple dressing.  One of the joys of dining with a Nutritionist I would think?

I think this was the first time both the taster and I had ever tried panacotta. We really aren’t big dessert people when we go out (I always choose appetizers over desserts) but this fruit of cocoa panacotta with fresh berries impressed us both. It was a cool and not too-heavy way to end a perfect night out.

*Just to clarify the brie & ham sandwich, tomato salad and bibb salad were ordered off the regular menu, not the tasting menu.

edamame pesto pasta

After sampling this pasta at the Macy’s Culinary Council Event I knew I needed to make it very, very soon. I’ve clearly been loving the Asian flavors this summer so why not keep the trend going?

This pesto,  much like the classic basil pesto is not just limited to pasta. Try this topping on salmon, tossed with shrimp or tofu or even thinned out as a dressing for salads. Whatever you put it on, the fresh flavors will have you coming back for more.

Edamame Pesto - makes about 2 cups worth

  • 1 cup cooked edamame, shelled
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 cup basil
  • juice from 1/2 of a lime
  • 4 small cloves of garlic
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil

Process all ingredients until desired consistency. Add a little water if mixture is too thick.

*I also drizzled a bit of sesame oil over the pasta before serving

bean & veggie rice bowl

I am always on the lookout for new lunch ideas that are:

  • able to be made ahead
  • satisfying and well-rounded
  • packed with veggies

So when a friend (Thanks Molly!) told me about this lunch she had been making I knew I had to try it out. And true to my  have-no-patience self, I made some lunch bowls that same day. Some may call it impulsive but I’ll stick with passionate.

I often times struggle to find balance between a protein-filled meal and a desire to eat less meat. Sometimes vegetarian sources of protein just don’t keep me as satisfied as I would like them to. That was, admittedly, the only fear with this recipe. But it proved me wrong. So very wrong. I think between the beans, rice and healthy fat from the avocado it was the perfect combination of proteins, grains and fats to keep my belly full and myself happy. :)

I’ll be on the lookout for more lunches like this one. It’s filling and I can feel good about eating it and that makes for a perfect lunch.


Bean & Veggie Rice Bowl – 2 large lunch serving

  • 1/2 cup dried brown rice
  • 2/3 cup black beans
  • 2 zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise and then in half-moons
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced in half lengthwise and then in half-moons
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 8 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 5 oz baby spinach
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 avocado
  • optional toppings: lime juice, salsa, hot sauce, etc.

Prepare rice as directed.

Heat large pan over medium heat. Add peppers and zucchini to pan and  cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add spinach to pan, tossing to wilt the spinach.

Toss beans and rice together with vegetables or layer in bowls/Tupperware containers. Top with chopped tomato and avocado.