Category Archives: Menu Plan

The Healthiest Meals on Earth

That’s the title of the book I picked up the other day…and I say, bring it! The book is based on the concept of a Polymeal, basically, a perfectly balanced diet or as they state: ” Fish, garlic, almonds, fruit, vegetables, dark chocolate, all polished off with a nice little glass of red wine.” They snagged me with those last two.

One thing I noticed but wasn’t expecting when we had Lila was that you start thinking about your mortality and how much you yearn to stick around to not miss one precious moment. This desire lead me to wanting to eat better, get back on my exercise regimen (it’s much harder than I thought it would be after having a baby) and just being good to ourselves so we can be here for her. I picked this book up as a means to end. A way to get us on track and start thinking about everything we are eating and, in the long run, keep our tickers going.

I tried the first Polymeal with like-minded friends last night and gosh, it was good. The meal consisted of Broiled Salmon with Tamari-Orange Marinade; Wild Rice and Green Beans with Shitake Saute and Dandelion Greens with Warm Sesame Dressing. There is also a suggested Spiced Pear Sorbet but I didn’t have five hours of freezing time available so, we scratched that. As promised in the book, the recipes were easy to follow, simple in approach and super delicious. We all agreed that it was perfect portions and felt full but not busting a gut full.

I don’t think I have to tell you all of the health benefits of salmon since they have been touted time and time again (love those Omega-3s) but did you know dandelion greens rank among the top four green vegetables in terms of their overall nutritional value? According to the book, “…and its Latin name – taraxacum officinale – actually means ‘official remedy for the disorders.’ Probably at the top of the list of things dandelion is good for is helping the liver do its job of detoxifying.” I know we could all use that, right?

I can’t share the recipes here, but highly recommend you scoop up a copy right away and follow along with me as I plan to make all the recipes in the book and I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!



Game of Thrones Menu Plan



Squee! It’s finally back pandas! We can’t wait for the new Game of Thrones premiere and I hope that little Geoffrey finally gets his comeuppance. Brat.

We have a few friends who are also die hard GoT nerds that come over every Sunday to watch and I’ve decided to make a meal that is inspired by the show. First up is this Buttermilk Brined Chicken with Cress and Bread Salad. I guess “cress” is the new way to say watercress? What do they have against  water? I digress. I made this last night and the buttermilk brine keeps the chicken super juicy and moist, plus the dressing is delightful on the bread salad. I’m probably going to add some roasted potatoes too.  This will be a perfect roast meat for us to enjoy while watching Khaleesi kick some butt!

To represent the beautiful red tree in Winterfell, I’m making this Mesclun with Raspberries and Sweet Spiced Almonds  from Cooking Light and to top it off a White and Dark Chocolate Pudding Parfaits that gives a nod to those creepy White Walkers and awesome Night’s Watch that I hope will keep them at bay. I highly doubt it though lambs. Ugh, don’t they freak you out? I’ll keep you posted on how it goes this Sunday, along with my thoughts of the premiere!

Food Lover’s Cleanse – The Update

So we are almost through with Bon Appetit’s Food Lover’s Cleanse and let me tell you, we love it. We had to buy more produce this weekend and when we looked at the mound of fruits and vegetables piled in a bowl on the counter and the second mound sitting in the fridge, we both said “no way we are going to eat through all that.” Well, we did and I can tell you, eating that much greens makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something. Odd to say, but we liked the feeling that we were fueling our system with such goodness and the best part, the recipes were delicious. Not once did I feel like I was over or under eating and, I didn’t follow the plan to an exact “T” since well, life happens. For example, I have a standing date each week with my friend Kari that I wouldn’t miss for the world. We don’t exactly go to places that offer up quinoa and kale, but I try to make the best of it with a sensible eating all day and a healthy-ish salad  for dinner and well, frozen margaritas. I’ve always liked a good balance in my diet, by mainly staying on the healthy track with lean meats, lots of fruits and vegetables, but with some breads and cheese in there because I’m not going to deprive myself of those little beauties while I’m still kicking.

Some highlights from the cleanse included the amazing miso dressing that was excellent on every salad I made; the good pot of lentils; Moroccan-Style Lentil and Chickpea Soup with Lamb and Roasted Tomatoes; Carrot and Brown Rice Pilaf with Stir-Fried Bok Choy and Mizuna with Tofu (pictured below from Bon Appetit). We loved this tofu dish so much I think it will continue to be on rotation in this house for the year. Yep, I said it, we love TOFU. While I was menu planning for the coming week, I found myself searching for recipes that had the same lean-protein/greens and/or fruit structure as these recipes did, and that my friends, is what this cleanse is about…continuing to find a happy balance in your diet.  But heck, I really do want a juicy cheeseburger somewhere in the near future. 😉


Bon Appétit’s Food Lover’s Cleanse

The holidays are by far one of my favorite times of year, but let me tell you, I might as well start stapling cheese plates and desserts directly to my thighs and get it over with! That’s why I’m glad Bon Appétit has created their Food Lover’s Cleanse complete with recipes, menu plan and a shopping list. We did our shopping yesterday and yes, you will be SHOPPING until you drop, but, keep in mind, this is for two week’s worth of breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks and desserts. Also, after reading a few reviews from readers who tried last year’s cleanse, you shouldn’t feel compelled to do the entire plan or worry if you don’t want to spend mucho deniro on all the vinegars, crackers, produce, dairy blah, blah, blah. We were pretty committed to doing the entire thing but I still wanted to keep costs down regardless if it was two weeks worth of food, and the bulk bins at Whole Foods Market have become my super besties; trust me, they will save you money and time. Although, after having our first two meals on the cleanse, maybe I should have gotten boxes and boxes of quinoa, lentils and the like!

I’m sitting here typing the post and David just looked up at me and goes “I really liked that salad. I’m stilling thinking about it, that dressing was amazing! That was a labor-intensive though right?” Not in a million years actually. I think I’ve found a new crush and it’s white miso. Nom, nom, nom. Salty and savory and makes a saucesome salad dressing. We loved it on today’s butter lettuce, avocado, and orange salad, plus the lentils were a perfect and tasty addition to round out the plate. Having just had our lunch, and thinking about our 10-grain hot cereal breakfast, I can tell this is going to be very filling meal plan without making you feel like a million pounds. We still have a pumpkin smoothie to make and tonight’s dinner of Black Cod and Caramelized Onions and Apples looks amazing! I’ll keep you posted on our progress but so far, we are loving these recipes…let the cleansing begin!

Let’s Give Thanks…

…for these recipes that I think would make a delicious addition to your Thanksgiving spread. I’ve chosen some of my favorites from year’s past, most are a little non-traditional but I figured you would have your basics down (turkey, gravy, stuffing) so I included ones that I thought might bring a little more oomph to the table. We alway have turkey at our family’s meal in East Texas but heck, I would love to have that Pork Tenderloin Agrodolce at the table too!

Mix and match to your liking, but most importantly, have a wonderful Thanksgiving with you and yours. So excited to celebrate our first Thanksgiving as husband and wife, ahhhh, such a lucky gal. :)







The Pie Society's Leftover Quiches (sweet potato and whipped cream; vegetarian shepard's pie; Thanksgiving leftover pie)

Menu Plan

I decided to attack my stash of cookbooks for recipes this week and boy, did I chose an eclectic group! I’ve  had the Momofuku cookbook for a while but have been too scared to try anything from it. This fear is for good reason trust me, one of the recipes call for “half a pig’s head (8 to 10 pounds)” – I think David might have a heart attack if I pursued that one. Below is the list, there are no links, but should something turn up that’s just grand I’ll be sure to post here.

  • Jamaican Jerk Marinated Salad from the Neiman Marcus Cookbook (2003) – still one of my favorite cookbooks of all time
  • Fried Chicken with Ginger Scallion Noodles from the Momofuku cookbook (2009) – I’m still nervous and this one looks some what easy…?
  • Breakfast Burger and Fruit Fries from the Burger Bar cookbook (2009) – these burgers are the best in Vegas, let’s see if I can recreate that magic here in Austin
  • Honey Glazed Grilled Pork Chops and Braised Carrots with Tarragon and Lime – Pork Chops from the latest Edible Austin and the carrots are from The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern cookbook (2009)
Wish me luck!


Poodles, you probably saw this coming, so it should be no surprise that I am going to have to put Cooking Inside the Lines on a brief hiatus. With a home remodel, starting a new business and that little thing called life going on, I’m afraid CITL has moved to the back burner (pun intended). Although I hate to leave the blog I’ve loved updating for the past two years, it’s actually a positive sign since our little pie company that could is doing quite well! Yay The Pie Society!

I hope to be back by the start of June when I’m a little bit more in the swing of things and heck yes, when summer fruits and veggies are flourishing. I hope you have enough content here to inspire you to try some recipes and keep cooking up magic in the kitchen. With that, I leave you with one amazing burger recommendation from Cooking Light and my menu plan from the magazine’s new issue. Can’t wait to make these!

Take care lambs,


Sunday: Grill-Braised Clams and Chorizo in Tomato-Saffron Broth

Monday: Grilled Farmer’s Market Sandwich and garlic and thyme fries

Tuesday: Curried Coconut Mussels

Wednesday:  Curry Chicken Wraps with Nectarine Chutney, Curried Potato Salad

Thursday:  Pork Tenderloin with Apricot-Fig Chutney, Couscous

Burgers with Blue Cheese Mayo and Sherry Vidalia Onions (Photo by Anna Williams)

This Week’s Menu Plan – Summer is Here!

Ooooh poodles, we are having a “get ready for summer” inspired menu this week. Fresh corn, tomatoes, peaches and more! Besides fall, this is my favorite time of year to cook – produce is at its peak, the grill is always aflame and everything is fresh, fresh, fresh. Love!

Here is what’s on our radar for this week. I think David is going to be happy with all the grilling; someone cue the “Home Improvement” man call. :)

Sunday:  Fiery Flank Steak with Tomato Jam

Monday: Corn Bread Shortcake with Ham and Fresh Peach Salsa

Tuesday: Crab, Corn and Tomato Salad

Wednesday: Tomato-and-Cilantro Marinated Chicken Shashlik with Indian-Spiced Okra


Tomato-and-Cilantro Marinated Chicken Shashlik (Photo by Martin Morrell)

This Week We’re Having…

It’s going to be busy, busy lambs so I’m hoping I can get to everything on my delicious sounding menu plan.  I’ll let you know how it goes. How insane does that burrata and strawberry salad look eh?

Monday: Everyday Food’s Chicken with Cornmeal Dumplings

Tuesday: Chilled Leek Soup with Lemon-Dill Yogurt, Burrata, Strawberry and Basil Salad

Wednesday: Bacon and Leek Risotto with Poached Egg

Thursday: Everyday Food’s Spring Vegetable Pizza


Chilled Leek Soup with Lemon-Dill Yogurt (Photo by Nigel Cox)


This Week We’re Having…

So gang, here’s what we’re munching on this week. I’ll try to keep you posted on any beauties that come our way as much as I can, but next week is the launch of something really exciting that I’ve been working on with a fellow food lamb here in Austin. More details to come, but I have a feeling it’s going to be a little nuts around here. I’ll still be here updating as much as I can so bear with me if you can. Thanks!

Saturday: We’re having friends over for an early St. Patty’s Day dinner with this Baked Lamb Chops, Onions and Beer

Sunday: Hot Nicoise Salad (created by Gwyneth Paltrow? Goop me)

Monday: Spiced-Braised Chicken Legs with Red Wine and Tomato

Tuesday: Striped Bass with Lemon, Shiitake, and Baby Bok Choy (In Everyday Food magazine, no link yet)

Wednesday:  Jerk Pineapple Pork Chops with Basmati Rice (In Everyday Food magazine, no link yet)

Thursday: Happy St. Patty’s Day everyone! I have no idea what our plans are yet but if it’s anything like last year, oh dear.