Keeping things simple in a not so simple world

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greetings from Nashville

Hello Readers!

Yes, as you can tell from the title of this post, we are in Nashville – for two weeks!  I love exploring a new city and Nashville has certainly not disappointed.

The kids and I have had several adventures over the last week.  Maybe when they are older they would enjoy things like the Country Music Hall Fame, but right now, they are focused on parks and playgrounds and pools.  We had a bit of fun at the Nashville Zoo yesterday and plan to head to the Adventure Science Center and Bicentennial Park over the next week, amongst other things.

What I did not realize about Nashville, is that it is a foodie town!  Great restaurants, of all different types and often clumped together so if you stay in one area, you can try many without having to drive all over the city.

Some favorites!

1.  Best Coffee (and I’m not a coffee drinker!) at Hot & Cold.  They also have great ice cream and las paletas (popsicles).  I am also very much impressed with their variety of teas and the different blends they offer.

2.  Great pizza!  New York style, thin crust pizza, Pizza Perfect is great!  An amazing blend of spices in the sauce with just the right amount of cheese.  While not close to my favorite pizza, Fricano’s in Michigan, it is truly good.  (Fricano’s stands alone.  It is like no other pizza in the world!)

3.  Best Thai I have had in a very long time at The Smiling Elephant.  And they do their best to make it healthy.  (It is also great that it is reasonably priced!)


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gluten-free, garden fresh tabbouleh

I love tabbouleh.  I love its freshness, its lemony zing and parsley…oh, I love parsley.  As always, I am looking for ways to make it more healthy.  And as we eat gluten-free, I’m looking for other grains that give a comparable texture to the traditional wheat bulgher.  I think I’ve figured it out…

Gluten-free, vegetable tabbouleh

1 large bunch of kale, chopped into bite-sized pieces (remove stems before chopping)
1 large bunch of parsley, (curly or flat) chopped into small pieces
1 pepper finely chopped
1 cucumber, seeded, peeled and chopped finely (I even seed english cucumbers)
1 and 1/2 cups cooked millet
1 tomato chopped finely

Mix ingredients. Remember, traditional tabbouleh is dominantly herbs, not grain, so keep the millet on the lighter side.
You can also add chopped mint, which is traditional. I didn’t have any, but do love it.

Drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, a small pinch of kosher or sea salt and black pepper and sprinkle with a generous helping of sumac. Sumac is a dried berry found in the Middle East. It has a tart lemony flavor. I get mine at Whole Foods.
Start with a small amount of the dressing, mix and add more if necessary. You don’t want your kale dripping with oil.

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Things I’m loving lately…

-Trader Joe’s Greek Apricot Mango Yogurt

-Kale from the garden (fresh kale, shredded golden beets and purple carrots, drizzled with olive oil, lemon juice and sprinkle of sumac)

-My next embroidery project, for my husband’s office, here and this one, here, for a friend

-Excited to try this

-My daughter is drooling over this

-Awaiting the arrival of my new bag

-Scouting out Nashville for parks, restaurants and coffee shops for our two week vacation.  I love exploring a new city!

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avocado dressings

As a way to boost flavor and add nutrients, these two dressings are amazing.  One sweet, one savory and both so very perfect in their own way.

Savory avocado dressing – Avocado pesto
This recipe is really simple! Homemade pesto is much better than store bought. I make mine vegan, without parmesan and sometimes with walnuts or almonds instead of pine nuts.

Half one avocado and add it to a blender or food processor with 1/4 to 1/2 cup pesto (depending on how strong). Blend.
We served this over a bed of millet with lentils and lightly sautéed zucchini and kale.  But it would be good with anything – including pasta.

Another variation would be to make a coriander pesto version:  In a food processor, blend a bunch of cilantro with 1/2 cup almonds, olive oil and a small amount of jalapeno.  Mix the pesto with an avocado.

Sweet avocado dressing

In a food processor or blender, mix:
1 avocado
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2-3 tablespoons lime juice
2-3 tablespoons grape fruit juice
Touch of agave, if needed

Adjust the dressing liquid to preferred consistency.

We served this over a bed of arugula with roasted red and golden beets. I found this a bit on the sweet side. While it was good with the beets, I would have preferred it to be on a salad with more savory items. But if you like sweet on sweet, I highly recommend it. And so do my kids, who totally inhaled it!

This would also be awesome on ice cream!

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red summer bliss

Our master gardener friend and neighbor has red currant bushes; about six of them. And if he gets to them before the birds do, these lovely red fruit make a lovely jam. This year, he allowed my daughter and I to pick a bucket.

Combing the internet for a simple jam recipe, I came across this gem.

I added a bit less sugar (about 3/4 cup to every kilo). And I did not have nearly as much jam because we had a lot less berries. But this was quite fantastic. Best of All? It was really simple and really quick. No messing with gelatin or canning. Just simple red berry bliss!