Kale Citrus Salad

This tasty winter salad uses these colder weather fruits and veggies: kale, oranges  and  pomegranate arils.

This salad screams WINTER. It boasts  fresh and flavorful fruits and vegetables in season during the winter months.

When I made my mocktail on New Year’s Eve, I knew it wouldn’t be a one night affair. The strawberry mint shrub and I  have a budding culinary relationship. In my test kitchen, this vinegar drink is an ingredient for not only sprucing up bottled water,  but for some new recipe creations! Today I’m sharing one of them; a salad that screams WINTER!   Kale is the base.  I added citrus, pomegrante arils,  and roasted almonds.  It’s finished with a vinaigrette made by  mixing my strawberry shrub with  olive oil.  Here’s proof  that you don’t have to wait til summer to enjoy a fresh green salad.

Winter Salad  with Kale, Citrus and Pomegranate Arils

Kale Citrus Salad (serves 4)

by Diane Boyd


  • 1 large bunch of kale (about 6 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons strawberry shrub
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils
  • 2 oranges, slice into rounds
  • 1/4 cup roasted almonds, roughly chopped
  • salt
  • pepper


1. De-stem kale. Roll it and cut into thin slices. Place in salad bowl.

2. Combine olive oil with strawberry shrub. Whisk , pour over kale and massage into the leaves.

3. Top with oranges, and pomegranate arils. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with almond pieces.

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Copycat Tomato Lentil Soup

CopyCat Tomato Lentil Soup

Out with the old, in with the new.

 It’s been my mantra for 2016 …well .. the first part of the quote anyway. After living in a home for 26 years, and NOT taking time to declutter my life before now, I ‘m in need of a  large dumpster!  So the purging has begun.  Much of my junk is obsolete.. boy has technology changed!  Some of these dated items I’ve repurposed, like the stacks of  books my husband and I own. These texts, once the purpose of education, are now considered decorative, covered in parchment paper and filling bookshelves in our great room.   Some of my unwanted stuff,  is just a  reflection of changed interests  and hobbies…  like a 44 gallon fish tank.. I am serious..

Now for the second part of that opening quote, there is  this

A New Ingredient for the New Year, the Recipe Redux theme for January:

Pick a new ingredient that you’ve been wanting to try… and cook or bake up a new recipe in the new year. Are you curious about nutritional yeast, fish sauce, matcha, teff – or maybe even ugli fruit? Show us how you’re cooking with something new (to you!) in 2016.

My new ingredient for 2016 is lentils! I picked lentils for 2 reasons. The first is simply that   I like lentils, yet have never prepared them. The second relates to a broader goal to heighten public awareness, something that  the United Nations began by declaring 2016 the International Year of Pulses. If you’re asking yourself, ‘What are pulses?’, you’re not alone.  I did. You probably know them as dry peas, dry beans,  chickpeas and yes, lentils. Sounds more familiar, right?

Theses little beans are the food equivalent of a hat trick;  they score with three notable benefits:   nutritional, economic and environmental.

Pulses are a plant based source of protein. The fact that they are a terrific source of fiber, makes them an  important food for managing chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease and cancer.

Pulses  are inexpensive to buy and have a long shelf life.  A study published in Obesity  concluded the can be helpful with weight management by  increasing the feeling of fulness when included in  meals.

Pulses aren’t just good for our bodies, they’re good for the environment. If you want to eat sustainably, don’t forget these.

I am amazed at the numerous ways to prepare lentils  and suggest you check out Oldways tips for 12 Great Ways to use Lentils. I went with the soup suggestion , making a copycat version of a Panera favorite. It’s easy to make  and so delicious , especially on a cold winter night.

Be sure to check out the links at the bottom of this post to see what new ingredients my fellow Recipe Reduxers are trying for 2016!



Copycat Tomato Lentil Soup

by Diane Boyd


  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 2 carrots finely chopped, about 1 up
  • 1 large onion chopped fine, about 1 1/2 cups
  • 4 ounces portabella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh minced thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups chicken cooking stock (use vegetable cooking stock for vegetarian)
  • 6 ounces water
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup lentils
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsely leaves


1.Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add carrots and onion and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 to 6 minutes.

2. Add garlic and mushrooms and cook just until mushrooms release liquid, about 3 minutes.

3. Add tomatoes,bay leaf, thyme, cooking stock, pepper and lentils. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce heat , cover and and simmer until lentils are tender, about 35 minutes. Stir in balsamic vinegar and 2 tablespoons parsley. Garnish each bowl with remaining parsley.

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Quick Chicken Noodle Pho

Yes, you can make  flavorful chicken pho in less than one hour!

IMG_3524Disclosure: I received free samples of Progresso Cooking Stock  mentioned in this post at no cost. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Progresso Cooking Stock and am eligible to win prizes associated  with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

I’m delighting in the cooler temperatures this week. We had a balmy, humid Christmas. No complaints, but this week I’m enjoying the things associated with winter, including mittens, blankets and soup. For me, soup is comfort.  I also like the fact that they increase satiety, the feeling of fullness that signals your brain to stop eating. For these reasons, I routinely enjoy a bowl of soup as part of my healthy lifestyle.

Today I’m sharing a recipe for  a Quick Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Pho. I know, ‘quick pho’ sounds like an oxymoron.  Vietnamese pho is all about the broth! Unfortunately, prepping authentic tasting pho  can be a ridiculously long affair (I hear hours and even days of simmer time).  In the past, I would never have attempted to make this, leaving it a treat reserved for only when I’m eating out.  Now, with the introduction of a new line of Cooking Stocks from Progresso…


…I can re-create restaurant favorites in the comfort of my own kitchen.IMG_3504

Progresso Cooking Stocks are insanely flavorful!  These premium Cooking stocks are made by simmering real bones, vegetables and herbs to create a flavor that’s close to homemade. The rich, meaty flavor of these stocks makes them ideal for adding deep, complex flavor to many dishes including soups and stews, sauces and gravies. I love that they’re made without artificial flavors and have just 15-45 calories/95-420 mg sodium /0-1 gram fat per serving.

Here are all the ingredients I used to make this comfort food…CHICKEN THIGHS

..that starts by  adding fresh ginger to the Progresso Chicken Cooking Stock  along with chicken thighs and bit of fish sauce and sugar.   While the chicken simmers in the stock for 30 minutes, noodles are cooked and drained.  Before 60 minutes are up, bowls are filled with noodles and chicken  and the  piping-hot hero ingredient is ladeled over the top. The fun part of this meal is allowing everyone to customize  their own  pho by providing an assortment of garnishes  set in the middle of the table. I served thinnly sliced scallions, crunchy mung bean sprouts, fresh Thai basil, limes, serrano chiles, and Sriracha. How would you finish your bowl of flavor?

Check out the links below for more ways to easily enjoy one of the hottest culinary trends, bone broth, using Progresso premium Cooking Stocks.


Quick Chicken Noodle Pho

serves 4

by Diane Boyd


  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 32 ounce carton Progresso Chicken Cooking Stock
  • 4 boneless, skinless  chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 8 ounces dried rice noodles
  • 1 scallion, thinnly sliced
  • 2 cups mung bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup  Thai basil
  • 1 lime cut into wedges
  • 2  red serrano chiles
  • Hot Sauce , Sriracha, or hoisin sauce (optional)


 1.  Combine Progresso Chicken Cooking Stock  and fresh ginger in a  stockpot over moderate heat.  Add chicken thighs, sugar and fish sauce. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat  and simmer until the chicken is cooked, about 30 minutes.

2. While stock is simmering, prepare noodles according to package direction. Drain and keep warm.

3. When chicken is cooked, remove from pot and cut into bite sized pieces. Strain stock.

4. Divide warm noodles between four bowls. Add chicken. Ladle the broth over noodles and chicken. Serve  with  scallions, bean sprouts, lime wedges, thai basil and  serrano chiles. Add hot sauce, sriracha or hoisin sauce as desired.

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Strawberry Mint Shrub

Every once in awhile, a recipe I intend to make gets pushed to the side and sometimes even lost in the shuffle. Such was the fate of the strawberry shrub my husband requested back in  September, after reading about it in one of my countless magazines.  The shrub,  not to be confused with the plants outside your house, is an old-fashioned drink, made with sugar, vinegar and fruit. Herbs, spices  and vegetables can be added to the basic formula to create infinite versions of this tart drinkable vinegar. Alone this beverage is  non alcoholic, but  can be added to cocktails. Hmm, sounds like a  versatile beverage for New Year’s accomodating those wanting to toast with something  boozey and those preferring to refrain from alcohol.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember the recipe, or even  which magazine  it was in.. Cooking Light, Shape,Cosmopolitan… oh my? Instead of searching aimlessly for the recipe, I googled  the words: shrub drink. Viola! This search  found a basic  template for the beverage: one part fruit, one part sugar and one part vinegar. After combining just 3 simple ingredients, I added the sweet- tart syrup  to ice and sparkling water  for a light way to toast to the New Year.

Strawberry Mint Shrub

I think the shrub is going to be my new go to addition for sprucing up bottled water. I also like the idea of using a shrub  in  salad dressings, homemade jam, and glaze for meats!!!  Cheers! Happy New Year.


Strawberry Mint Shrub

by Diane Boyd


    for the strawberry shrub syrup(makes one cup of syrup)

    • 1 cup defrosted strawberries
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 cup white wine vinegar

    for the strawberry shrub by the glass

    • ice
    • 1 tablespoon strawberry shrub syrup
    • sparkling water or wine


    for the strawberry shrub syrup

    1.Place defrosted strawberries in a jar. Add sugar. Stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

    2. Using a seive, strain the syrup away from the solids, pressing lightly on the strawberries to expel any additional liquid.

    3. Add vinegar to the sugar-strawberry liquid and whisk together.Use as is or refrigerate for a day or two to allow flavors to mellow.

    for the Strawberry Mint Shrub

    1. Add ice to glass. Add sprig of mint.

    2.Pour 1 tablespoon strawberry shrub syrup over ice.

    3. Fill glass with sparkling water or wine. Enjoy.

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    Cranberry Nut Quick Bread

    Cranberry Nut Quick Bread is a festive addition to any holiday table.IMG_3305Have you ever baked something for the very first time, then asked yourself, what have you been waiting for?  My sentiments after baking my inaugural loaf of  cranberry nut quick bread. My family must have felt the same; they polished off this loaf in less than one day!IMG_3310Now, 2 days before Christmas, they’re asking for another. Truth is, it’s so easy to make, anyone can pull it off at the last minute.

    The original recipe was on page 54 (yes a carry over from my December Recipe Redux challenge) of the Philadelphia Orchestra Cookbook. Inspired by the Cranberry Marketing  Committee ingredient suggestions for Friendsgiving, I substituted in a small portion of oat flour for some of the all-purpose flour,  pistachios for the walnuts and added ginger (a relative of tumeric). The bread makes a nice last minute gift,  a festive addition to Christmas Eve dinner, or Christmas dessert buffet. Oh, and it is sooo  Santa Claus worthy!!!IMG_3312

    Cranberry Nut Bread

    makes one loaf

    by Diane Boyd


    • 1 1/2 cup flour
    • 1/2 cup oatflour
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 Tablespoon fresh minced ginger root
    • 3/4 cup orange juice
    • 1egg
    • 2 tablespoons canola oil
    • 1 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
    • 1 cup fresh whole cranberries


    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

    2. Grease and flour a 9″x5″x3″ loaf pan or a 30cm breadmould.

    3. Sift dry ingredients, from flour through ginger, together in a large mixing bowl.

    4. In a small bowl whisk egg and add orange juice and oil. Stir to combine.

    5. Add orange juice mixture to dry ingredients and stir to combine.

    6. Fold in pistachios and cranberries.

    7. Pour into prepared baking pan and bake for 40-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into bread comes out clean.

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