Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A different green salad, & our weekly menu

Yes, I know, it is a season for warm soups, and this one, or this one, sound very appetizing on this cold rainy day in Southern California.

Yet I come to you with the easiest and loveliest of salads, another wonderful recipe from The Forest Feast cookbook (where last week's Gorgonzola Grapes were from). It contains numerous salads that are so original, flavorful and festive. This one is fresh, crunchy and mostly seasonal. A crisp way to start a meal!

Scroll down to check out our weekly menu too, below the recipe :-)

Another kind of green salad

Adapted from The Forest Feast by Erin Gleeson

Serves 3-4 (appetizer portion)

Prep time: 15-20 minutes

Age for babies: 12 months up depending on baby's teeth and familiarity with the ingredients. This is a crunchy salad (watch out for the nuts). but certainly pieces of cucumber and avocado can be given from a younger age.

2 scallions
1 small cucumber
1 green apple (the book uses pear)
2 stalks of celery
1/2 avocado (ripe but firm)
1/4 cup pistachios
7-8 leaves of fresh basil
1 cup shelled edamame (I use shelled frozen edamame. Frozen peas could be used also, place in boiling water for 2-3 minutes and rinse in cold water)
1 lime
3 tbsp olive oil

Wash and chop bite-size the scallions, cucumber, apple, celery and avocado, pistachios and basil (keep a few smaller leaves whole for esthetics :-))

Toss together in a bowl with the edamame. Squeeze the juice of the lime over it and drizzle with olive oil. Salt to taste.

Onto the week's menu!

A few changes to the menu format.

First, as our schedule is always shifting, Pablo eats lunch at school most days now, his preschool prepares a hot organic lunch as well as a seasonal fruit and nuts snack mid-afternoon (no processed foods :-)), which all the children sit down and take their time to eat together. Needless to say I love that!

So we now eat breakfast and dinner together as a family, and lunches on off days, which I'll post here.

However, I have been making a regular habit of cooking Monday nights once Pablo is sleeping, and I will share here what I'm making, in case it sparks some ideas for your meal-planning and cooking plans.

Cheeses of the week: Following French tradition, I always offer a little bit of cheese at the end of every meal, between the main course and dessert. Rotation this week: Truffle Brie, Petit Basque (sheep's milk), Gorgonzola.

FruitAt dinner, I offer a piece of seasonal fresh fruit (sometimes with yogurt). For younger children or those especially sensitive to sugar, at night, I recommend sticking to plain yogurt (regular homemade* whole milk, sheep’s milk, goat's milk and Greek yogurt for extra protein) to avoid too much sugar before bedtime. (Otherwise, Pablo usually eats berries at breakfast, and has a fruit snack at school in the afternoon.)

Fruits we're choosing from this weekApples, pears, kiwis, tangerines, grapes

Sweet treats: Since Pablo turned 3, I do offer sweet treats here and there (cake, chocolate, cookie, ice cream) in small quantity (homemade or artisan made whenever possible) at snack time (mid-afternoon) only, rarely as part of a main meal unless it's a special occasion.


Goûter (4pm snack) – Apple (from our tree!)

Appetizer / Finger Foods: Endive, Gorgonzola, blue cheese salad
Main course: Chicken mushroom and potato bake*

LATE NIGHT COOKING ahead (about 2/2.5 hours)
- Steaming green beans, potatoes and a whole cauliflower for easy salads
- Preparing these braised collard greens for next day dinner
- I have leftover pumpkin puree, trying this pumpkin bread (good for breakfast and snack).


Goûter - Pumpkin chocolate chip bread

Appetizer / Finger Foods: Cauliflower, green beans, potato, parsley salad
Main course:  Pork tenderloin with mustard sauce, braised collard greens


Goûter – Pick of Farmer's Market (Seasonal fruit samples, or a lovely brittle cookie from Morning Glory Confections! Pablo approved!)

Appetizer / Finger Foods: Crab, vegetable, corn salad
Main course:  Scrambled farm eggs with sheep's cheese


Appetizer / Finger Foods: Cucumber in creamy tarragon dressing
Main course:  Pan-fried Dover sole fillets with coconut rice


Appetizer / Finger Foods: Salami, leftover crab vegetable salad
Main course: Sardine avocado tartines

Goûter - Tangerine

Appetizer / Finger Foods: Baby bok choy, avocado, cashew salad from Café Sucré Farine
Main course: Braised coconut milk oxtails in slow cooker, quinoa


Goûter - Kiwi

Appetizer / Finger Foods: Apple, celery, cucumber salad
Main course: Pan-fried lambchops with these cumin and honey roasted carrots over ricotta from Bojon Gourmet


Goûter - A treat of Pablo's choice :-)

Appetizer / Finger Foods:  Creamy romaine salad with lots of herbs
Main course: Skirt steak and sweet potatoes

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  1. what an intriguing combination of flavours and study in green ;} adding to my shopping list presently! thank you for the book referral it really is a gem! .. and also thank you always for taking the time to share your menu tips and thoughts, they are always beyond helpful and inspiring!

  2. I am so happy to of found your blog! I've been looking into eating in a more French style and your blog really is the perfect resource!!

    As someone who comes from a 5-6 meal/snacks a day background, I was wondering if you could off any advice on getting used to the 3 meals a day approach?

    1. Hi there, and happy new year :-) I'm so happy you are finding the blog useful! I think you need to do what works for you and nothing prevents you from eating with the French approach, while keeping 2 extra healthy snacks (an apple, some nuts etc) if that works for your body. Where the French tend to get somewhat "strict" is with a no grazing all day rule (the famous 'It'll spoil your appetite'), and also that tends to be more firm for young children where they are encouraged to eat at mealtimes. If you start transitioning to a four course type meal (see my Anatomy of a French Four course family meal post), you might find yourself less hungry inbetween meals. This structure : start with veggies, continue with meat and veggie + starch, then cheese (high fat means you'll feel satiated longer), and something sweet to conclude (fruit,yogurt), is designed to keep you full until the next meal. Another key to that is eating slowly and mindfully, sitting down, so your body has the time to register the food and to let you know when you're full. So I would recommend a slow trial transition to see how you feel. Maybe eliminate one snack and adjust the next meal accordingly to see if that works for you. Bottom line though, if your snacks are healthy, I don't see why you couldn't combine the two. The priority in my view is to listen to your body and enjoy your meals. I hope this helps! All the best! Let me know how it goes :-)

    2. I am SO sorry for my late reply! Thank you so much for this wealth of information :)
      I've actually found the 3 meals a day a heck of a lot better, especially on my digestion! I think I've underestimated the prepping of foods though. Do you create a meal plan for the week and do some Prep before hand? I think that is half the reason why I've been a snacker - poor preparation! Do you mind me asking what sort of things you and your family have for breakfast to help hold you over till lunch?

      I do hope you continue to blog - I understand life is full of a heck of a lot of commitments. Just want you to know your readers miss you :)

      Best wishes,

  3. Hello Helene!

    I know I'm not the only one who have missed your blogging! But such can be in the life of a busy parent!! It is a pleasant breath of fresh air and zen to see you have returned to inspire us family folk to take life in slow and appreciate not only good eats, but the loved ones around us!!

    Hope all is well with you and yours!

    Ericka and her adventurous eating children(twin 8 year old son and a 3 year old daughter!)

    1. Dear Ericka, thank you so much for those kind, encouraging! Indeed struggling with the old time juggle these days, but will be back with thoughts and recipes very soon! I'm really grateful you took the time to make this comment :-)

  4. Being a vegetarian, I simply loved your blog as I always find recipes of cuisine that comes out to be healthy for my kids. I am thankful to you, Helene. Keep posting more healthy. Meanwhile, have a look on my blogs via the following link: http://compoundwisdom.com/

  5. Now this is something one should add to one's' menu! The contrast of the textures and flavors of the greens with the nuts along with the flavor of basil and olive oil will make this a power-packed flavorful snack without the calories. Thanks for sharing your recipe as well as a week-s menu of great food!

  6. You have shared great schedule here dear, I am a vegetarian and I would love to follow this. I have also started cooking some healthy recipes with help of online cooking recipes. Share some more veg recipes.

  7. Hi Helene, I have discovered your blog and love it. This is my second time typing this as it didn't post the first time. :) I have been researching the French way to eat and would like my family to start eating this way. Your blog has been a wonderful resource but I am confused about the bigger meal of the day. Whether it is lunch or dinner, it seems that everything I look up shows the same 4 courses for lunch and dinner. Are they infact the same or is one bigger portions. Just a little confused on that. Thank you so much for all the info and your time.


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