Honey, how do I lower my carbs, but still have the snacks I love? 🤔

Okay, so my biggest client is my husband. He is in amazing shape… and the Oscar goes to his wife, that’s me, for making him delicious and healthy meals, everyday. Yes everyday, well almost everyday. Lol 😂

He went for his yearly annual and his doctor told him most everything looked awesome, just had to watch those carbs. Of course, I get a call, because my husband is serious about his health and he married his nutritionist.

“Honey, he says, I need to cut back on the carbohydrates, but how do I do that and still enjoy what I love to eat? ”

Well before we get to that, let’s look at Why Carbohydrates are good for us:

Here’s the deal on carbohydrates, first off they are our friends. We need carbs to function, they give us energy. They help fuel our brains, kidneys, heart, muscles and central nervous system. They help us fill full and assist in keeping our blood cholesterol levels on point.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, you should consume, at the very least, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of carbohydrates, which is 130 grams for adults, 175 grams for women who are pregnant and 210 grams for women who are breastfeeding. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, women should consume 25 grams of fiber on a daily basis, while men should consume 38 grams of fiber on a daily basis. Source:WebMD

If you have health issues, like diabetes or prediabetic this number can vary based on your doctors evaluation.

If you have diabetes, you should see a doctor or dietitian who can help you plan meals to control your blood sugar. Though your daily carbohydrate requirements are the same as those for someone without diabetes, it’s important to avoid eating too many carbohydrates in one sitting. The American Diabetes Association suggests that you should limit your intake to about 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrates at each meal. SOURCE: WebMD

If you are just cutting back, I like to suggest 100 grams a day for weight loss. Substituting your simple carbs with more complex carbs, like brown rice for white rice, eating more fruits, whole grains and legumes. Eliminating simple carbs out of your diet, like sugary foods, white flour and white potatoes.

Also knowing how to count your carbs is very important. For example, multi grain bread may have 21 grams of carbs, but 4 grams of fiber, you subtract the fiber and you get a true number of how many carbs will be in that slice of bread. Got it?

Enough of the science, here’s some healthy substitutes I bought my husband that I know he will eat.

Popcorn instead of chips, is the big one for all of us:

The Special K bars have 11 g of carbs, the Dave’s Killer Bread, thin slice has 9 g of carbs, for breakfast he toast that and add a tablespoon of Nutella on it ,which is 10 g of carbs. The Smart Food popcorn has 11 g in 1 3/4 cups . We are cutting his desserts down to once a week, because we are not skipping on dessert. 🍮 . He eats some type of protein with each meal. The carbs gives him energy, while the protein builds muscles, skin, and hair. Both are needed in order to stabilize blood sugar and are best when eaten together.

So there you have it folks, my long answer to a question I think a lot of us are asking. Need more low car tips, just shoot me an email. Oh yes, I almost forgot, remember to Set the Table with Love.

Sun-dried Tomato Olive and Goat Cheese Scones

Who doesn’t love a delicious scone? One of my favorite scones to bake is blueberry with a lemon zest icing. But today I was interested in something a lot more savory, so I decided to make these sun-dried tomato, olive and goat cheese scones. They are packed with so much flavor and you can have them for breakfast and lunch with a nice salad and soup combo.

Sundried Tomato Olive and Goat Cheese Scone

The scone is super creamy, because of the goat cheese and also the buttermilk I used instead of using regular milk. If you want to make the scones vegan you can completely leave out the goat cheese and use a non dairy milk and vegan butter instead of regular butter.

The beauty of scones, is they give us an opportunity to take a biscuit and make it all fancy and add our favorite ingredients. Try different food combinations, like spicy scone with cheddar and jalapeños.

My next recipe prosciutto, walnut and fig scones with smoky gruyere or gouda. Hmm…🤔. You will have to wait and see until next time remember to Set the Table with Love.

Sundried Sundried Tomato Olive and Goat Cheese Scone<
ngredients:

2 cups organic all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder, aluminum free

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

3 tablespoons organic cane sugar

1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces (1 stick)

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 organic egg

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes without oil, chopped

1/4 cup kalamata olives, dried and chopped

1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled

Directions:

Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat. I used a silpat it seems to brown better than parchment, if you use parchment, double of the sheets. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, pepper and sugar. Using two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and egg. Pour into mixing bowl and stir until just combined. Gently fold in the sun-dried tomatoes, the olives and the goat cheese. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead very lightly and form into an 8-inch circle. (Add a little more flour to the dough if the dough becomes too sticky to handle). Cut the dough into 8 wedges. Place the wedges onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on baking sheet for a minute or so, then transfer onto a wire rack to cool down, enjoy them for breakfast with a poached egg and a cup or tea.

March is National Kidney Month and Cauliflower is a Happy Kidney Food 🤗

This is my month, because June 17, 2018 my husband gave me his kidney and my life was changed. I am so excited to celebrate national kidney month, bringing you kidney happy recipes. There so many amazing foods that actually help with kidney health, like eggplant, celery, cabbage, asparagus, red peppers and cauliflower. Eating foods that are high in water, actually helps keep the kidneys hydrated and flushed. Drinking clean fluids and getting the proper exercise is also a wonderful way to keep our kidney and other organs healthy and functioning at their best. Check out the blog for some awesome “happy kidney recipes”, like my sautéed cauliflower, tossed with herbs and drizzled with garlic oil and this low carb Gluten  free Vegetarian Cauliflower Veggie Pizza. Happy National Kidney Month eat to your health. 🤗💕

Gluten free Vegetarian Cauliflower Veggie Pizza

Risotto Balls with Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

Here’s another really beautiful appetizer it is my leftover risotto balls. These are very simple to make and they are absolutely gorgeous, especially when you pair it with my sun-dried tomato pesto. I am just going to get to the recipe here, so you can get back to make the evening more magical.

Ingredients:

3 cups cooked risotto

1 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup Italian seasoned fine dry bread crumbs

Sundried Tomato Pesto:

2 cups sun dried tomatoes, drained, if packed in oil

1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves

2 garlic cloves, crushed under a knife and peeled

Directions: 1 Using lightly greased or wet hands, shape leftover risotto into 1-inch balls. Return balls to the baking pan. Cover and chill about 2 hours or until balls are completely chilled.

2 In a large skillet, heat 1 cup oil over medium-high heat. Roll rice balls in beaten eggs, then in bread crumbs to coat.

3 Cook rice balls, one-fourth at a time, in hot oil for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown, carefully turning once. Using a slotted spoon, remove rice balls and drain on paper towels. Keep warm in a 200 degrees F oven while cooking the remaining rice balls. Once all the balls cooked plate them with a side of sun dried tomato pesto.

Sun dried tomato pesto:

Process all the ingredients in a food processor fitted with the metal blade until the mixture forms a coarse paste. This pesto will keep in the fridge inside an airtight container up to one month.

Sundried Tomato Risotto ~ Easy Elegant Entertaining

What I love about entertaining at home, is spending time with my friends and family, so that means, not being in the kitchen all day, while everyone is having a good time in the other room. Who doesn’t want to be a part of the party?  I even bought our new house with that purpose in mind, to be with my guest, while I am preparing food for them. We all sit around our 8 foot island and just connect with one another over an excellent bottle of wine and eat as each course comes out.

Creating recipes that are loaded with flavor and doesn’t take a lot of time, but will make your guest feel like it did, is the key. My to go to recipe, my Sundried Tomato Risotto, because it seems, difficult, it looks fancy, but psst… IT’S NOT and it’s pretty darn delicious.

Risotto is one of those dishes you can truly make it your own, you can flavor it with all kinds of mouthwatering possibilities, with spinach, sweet peas and mint or you could do butternut squash and fried sage with just a pinch of nutmeg. Just allow your imagination to run wild, serve it with steamed veggies or a nice salad, some crusty bread, excellent wine, and you will be the hostess of the year, will maybe of the month, it is risotto and not coq au vin, LOL, 🙂

So here’s the recipe I hope you will enjoy it with your friends and family as you Set the Table with Love.

Sun dried Tomato Risotto

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Sundried Tomato Risotto photo by: Noi Tran Photography

Ingredients:

1 cup of water

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup finely chopped onion

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup Arborio rice

1 ounce sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil, I used pre sliced ones)

2 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup of white wine

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

finely chopped fresh basil leaves for sprinkling the risotto after cooking

Directions:

1. In a saucepan add the water and the bring the liquid to a simmer, and keep it at a bare simmer. In a large saucepan cook the onion and the garlic in the oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until they are softened, add the rice, stirring until each grain is coated with oil, and stir in the tomatoes.

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Sundried Tomato Risotto Photo by: Noi Tran Photography

2. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering liquid and cook the mixture over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding the liquid, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly. Once you have added all the water and broth liquid add the 1/2 cup of white wine remember to allow each portion to be absorbed before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still al dente)

3. Stir in the Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle the risotto with the fresh basil. I like to drizzle a little olive oil over it all at the end. Makes 4-6 servings

Five things you can do to stay on track for the New Year

 

Today I am talking about “food for the soul”, but will be back to our regularly scheduled food program tomorrow. 🙂

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Does your surroundings reflect your goals?

Did you know According to U.S. News, approximately 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February, so the odds are against you. Source: Business Insider

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Drink more water. Keep a filled water bottle next to your bed at night. A great reminder in the morning to drink up.

Wow! Really?  That means we only have a couple of weeks before most of us stop going to gym, our closets look like a hurricane hit them, and that plant based “What the Health” diet, has us pulling up to the closest fast food chain. LOL. 🙂 Okay all kidding aside, staying true to our goals can be pretty challenging,  if you do not start off with the right intention, as well as, giving ourselves a bit of grace and lots of support. I wanted to share on this blog a few things I do to keep myself focus and on track. It’s not going to cost you tons of dollars, maybe not even a dime, just a moment to breath, slow down and make some conscious decisions . So, here we go, are you ready! This is a big one!

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Keep your goals visible
  1. Be determine to not give up! Keep trying!
  2. Do not be so hard on yourself. Remember this is a journey and along the way we have to pace and reset. Give yourself grace and take time out to go back and look at your goals. Ask yourself a few questions: How is this going? How is this making me feel? Do I need to reevaluate a few things or maybe change this goal to something more realistic? We can easily be pumped up by the beginning of the year with all the it’s “A New Year, so you much become a New You” talk. There’s nothing wrong with growing in all areas of our lives, but do it with lovingkindness.
  3. Make sure you have encouragement around. Get a goal buddy, or join a Groupme, an amazing app where you can find like minded individuals, moving in the same flow of energy as yourself.
  4.  Set yourself up to win. I have throughout my home mantras, affirmations and positive words to remind me of my goals. My fridge, pantry and counters, reflect my goals for healthy eating.  My yoga mat is laid out in my yoga space, so I can see it. I put my water jug on the side of my bed every night, so I can make sure I drink my water as soon as I get up.
  5. Reward yourself appropriately. If it’s about eating healthy, do not reward yourself with a bucket of ice cream, maybe reward yourself with a massage or a new pair of shoes, and if you want the ice cream or cake, just a  few bites and PLEASE enjoy it. How we feel about food affects how we digest our food, so be happy eating that cake.

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A Bonus Tip:

Stay positive, making goals can be so much fun! It allows us to open up our minds to all the possibilities out there waiting for us. We get to try new things, connect with people moving in the same direction and possibly change our lives for the better.

YOU CAN DO IT! 🙂

Two sides of the coin ~ Toasted Pearl Barley Salad

When I competed on Food Network’s All Star Academy season 2, I was blessed to be mentored by Iron Chef and Food Network guru, Alex Guarnaschelli.  She looked at me and my teammate Lee Abbot and said, “You will never look at cooking the same,ever again.” She was right. Competing on Food Network’s All Star Academy, was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life.  It’s not just television folks, it’s an experience you will never forget. It challenged me to my very soul, not only in front of the cameras, but also behind the scenes. In such competitions, 12 hours of filming, elimination challenges, television politics and illness, you discover a part of you, you never knew. I have to say, I am so grateful for my time on the show. The experience is still revealing more of who I am and what I am capable of. You may say, Lisa, it was just a game show, maybe, but life is how you digest it, how you take it in and savior all of it’s flavors, like a wonderful dish executed with skill, patience and lots of care. This is experience was one of the best I have ever consumed.

The dish I would like to share with you today reminded me of my time on the show. I got a chance to cook also with Chef Curtis Stone, he is incredibly brilliant chef, that takes his craft very seriously.  Chef Stone inspired me with his precision and attention to every single detail. Chef’s food reminded me of art, fashion, symphony, culture expressed on a plate. Chef Guarnaschelli mentoring and food is full of soul, spirit, it’s holistic, she hits you with texture, flavor, aromas, emotions, she brings you HOME.

I made today two salads, from produce I got from the Farm and from my local grocery store. The salad is made with all the same ingredients, not one is missing no matter how different they may look. When I made these dishes, I wasn’t thinking of my experience on Food Network, I was just creating, but as Chef Guarnaschelli said,  You will never look at cooking the same, ever again. She was right. Thanks Chefs for the inspiration that  sometimes comes out unconsciously. It’s in me now. 🙂

 

Toasted Pearl Barley Salad ( two ways) 

This salad is necessarily not a recipe. It using your favorite vegetables and displaying them from your cooking perspective. Here is what I used.

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Toasted Pearl Barley with veggies Basil and Garlic oil

 

For the Rustic Salad and Salad of Art

Using a mandolin, slice up squash, radish, red cabbages, set a side

Cut up campari tomatoes in quarter for the rustic salad, for the artistic one, thinly slice of the bottoms, not exposing the inside, scoop out the top and some of the inside of the tomato, set a side.

Cut up 1 shallot, peel and slice horizontally, keep two of the ends where the circles are intact, the remainder will be used to toast in the rustic salad.

This is all about creativity, so follow my instruction or go wild with your imagination.

 

Here’s the instructions you need to follow:

Toasted Pearl Barley with Ras El Hanout season walnuts and vegetables with a fried egg

( a mouth full) 🙂

Toasted Pearl Barley

Ingredients:

1 cup pearl barley

1 tsp olive oil

2 cups organic vegetable broth, low sodium

sea salt and black pepper to taste

1/2 cup green cauliflower florets, small pieces

1/2 cup green sweet peas

1/2 cup sliced red bell peppers

1/2 cup sliced onions

1/2 cup walnuts

1 tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 tbsp ras el hanout

sea salt to taste

Directions:

Cook pearl barley as instructed. Once cook set a side. In a sauté pan add the oil, the peppers, onions, and pinch of the salt, cook until tender remove. Add the cauliflower, pinch of salt, cook for 1-2 minutes, you want it to stay crunchy. Remove and add to the peppers and onions. Add the walnuts and the ras el hanout and a pinch of salt. Cook the walnuts and seasonings for about a minute, you are just warming up the walnuts and bringing out the flavors of the ras el hanout. Add all the ingredients into the toasted pearl barley, season with more ras el hanout and sea salt, to taste.

For the Rustic Salad:

Add the toasted pearl barley to a plate and toast in your favorite veggies, remember to leave some of the vegetables on the side to create your Salad of Art. You will need 3 medium squash slices, 6 small pieces of the squash slices, 6 small radish slices, 3 pieces of the red cabbage,  Drizzle with the Basil and Garlic oil, recipe below:

Basil and Garlic Oil:

Ingredients:

2 cups of packed basil leaves
½ cup – 1 cup of olive oil, adjust based on the thickness level you prefer
1 garlic clove
Salt to taste

Instructions:

Place the basil, olive oil, garlic, mini-food processor, mix until you have smooth sauce. Taste and add additional salt if needed.

Salad of Art:

On a beautiful white plate, add 3 pearls of basil oil on the plate, take 3 of your mandolin cut squash and add it on top of the basil oil pearls. Stuff your campari tomatoes with some of the toasted pearl barley mixture, add one pea on top of the each stuffed tomato. Add a piece of the red cabbage inside of the stuffed tomato, allowing it to stand up like a flag. Add the radishes on the outside of the tomatoes with a dollop of the basil and garlic oil and add the small squash slices onto that. Add the pieces of the green cauliflower artistically onto the plate with the slices of shallots.

Be creative, squash all that I have written and honey do your on thing. LOL.

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Toasted Pearl Barley with veggies Basil and Garlic oil

Enjoy and Remember to Set the Table with Love.

 

Super Bowl Smash Potato Bites

Super Bowl is tomorrow and I have to make something, yummy, easy and delicious! I don’t know about you, but for me the best thing about Super Bowl Sunday, is the food. My mind starts to race, what will I make this year? LOL :).

Bingo!!  Smash Potatoes!! Crazy, super simple as well. Bake some baby potatoes, use a potato masher, smash them and add your favorite toppings. Done and Done.

I hope you enjoy this recipe any time of the year.

SET THE TABLE WITH LOVE.

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Smash Potatoes with Jalapeño cheese, red bell peppers, and cilantro

Smash Potatoes

Ingredients

24 ounces Dutch yellow baby potatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup red bell peppers, diced

1/2 cup or more of your favorite cheese, shredded

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Parsley for garnish

Instructions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.
In a large pot of boiling water, cook potatoes until tender, about 15-20 minutes; drain well.
Place potatoes onto the prepared baking sheet. Using a potato masher or fork, carefully smash the potatoes until flattened but still in one piece. Top with olive oil.
Place into oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Remove from oven.  Using tongs, add the potatoes onto a nice heat proof serving platter. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Add the cheese, red bell peppers and parsley to each potato. DON’T GET ALL FANCY , IT’S SUPER BOWL AND THEY ARE SMASHED POTATOES! 🙂 🙂 🙂
Serve immediately.

 

 

 

Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Cauliflower Brownies

WOW!! So my amazing friend Paula gave me a challenge to make a brownie for her son that hid cauliflower inside and it taste good. Well here is what I came up with.  This was an experiment and may need a little adjusting, so if you have any suggestions, please leave them in my comment box. But I am not bragging, these bad boys were pretty tasty.

Ingredients:

First things first, the cauliflower puree.  You can serve the rest as a side dish or convert it into a soup. But that’s another blog. You will only need one cup for the brownie recipe.

1 head cauliflower, 2 to 2 1/2 pounds

2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

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Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Cauliflower Brownies

Instructions:

Pull the leaves off the cauliflower and cut out the core in a kind of cone-shaped section. Then pull the florets off the head with your fingers, using a knife when you need to. Break or cut the florets into smaller, regular pieces (about 1 1/2 inch) and put them in a steamer insert. Bring about 1 inch of water to a boil in the steamer pot, add the insert, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes, or until you can poke a paring knife into the stems and you can feel that there’s still a little texture there. Save 1 cup of steaming water.
In batches, put cauliflower in a food processor to puree. If you are having problems getting the cauliflower to puree add a little of the cooking water but as little as possible. With the motor running, add oil and salt.

Set a side.

Brownie Ingredients:

Dry
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup ground organic raw cane sugar
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips ( cacao chips)

Wet:

1 cup cauliflower puree
1 Tablespoons flaxmeal
3 Tablespoons warm water
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup oil, canola oil

Directions:

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Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Cauliflower Brownies

Brownies:

Over a double boiler, on low heat, add the dark chocolate chips into the bowl and stir,until melted. Once melted set aside.  In another bowl add cocoa powder, chocolate chips, sugar, oil and mix together.

In a small bowl mix flaxmeal in the warm water and vinegar and let sit for few minutes about 3-4 minutes, this will be part of your egg, substitute. Add the flax meal mixture to the cocoa powder mixture.
In another bowl, combine all the remaining dry ingredients, stir and add to the cocoa powder mixture. Mix to combine well. Gently fold half of the melted chocolate into the mixture, you will use the other half as a glaze on top of the brownies.  If the mixture is too wet, add a little more cocoa powder. If too dry fold in more melted chocolate.
Spread the mixture into a parchment lined or greased pan. Press and even it out, using a spatula.
Bake 30-32 minutes at 375 degrees F. Bake till the toothpick an inch from the edge comes out with a few crumbs. Do not over bake as the brownie, it will dry them out and make them hard.
Remove from oven and allow to cool. Once cooled remove from the parchment lined pan and cut brownies in squares.  Add the remaining melted chocolate on top of each as a glaze. You can also add more chocolate chips if you like.

French Lentils with Cherry Tomatoes over Grilled Romaine Lettuce

This dish was inspired by how beautiful I think french lentils are. I love cooking with them. The whole their texture very well and that make any dish look incredibly elegant. I have made soups, stews and salads using french lentils. I would like to share this grilled salad recipe I made over the summer. It was a true winner. Very light and loaded with vegan protein. I always looking for ways to incorporate more vegan protein in my families diet. I believe this one hit the mark. I hope you enjoy it as well.

 

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French Lentils on wilted Romaine Lettuce
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French Lentils on wilted Romaine Lettuce

Ingredients:
1  cup onions, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

3 tablespoons olive

2 cups French lentils

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 1/2 tbsp  Madrecita Salt Free Garlic Herbal- Seasoning ( a must have)

3 bay leaves

1 tbsp sea salt  or more to taste

4 romaine lettuce leaves, Large

10 -12 cherry tomato, halves

French Lentils and Grilled Romaine Lettuce
French Lentils and Grilled Romaine Lettuce

Directions:
Place a large saucepan over medium heat, add oil. When hot, add chopped vegetables, and sauté until softened, 5 to 10 minutes. Add 6 cups water, lentils, thyme, garlic seasons, bay leaves and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium.
Simmer lentils until they are tender and have absorbed most of the water, for 20 to 25 minutes. Drain any excess water after lentils have cooked. Check the seasonings. Add more no salt garlic seasonings or salt, if needed. I usually add more of the garlic seasonings at the end to build the flavor of the dish, if needed.

I used my George Foreman grill. Heat up the grill and add oil to the grill. Remove the leaves from the head ( make sure they leaves are dry) and add salt to each leaf. Add the leaves to the grill and allow to cook for about 2 minutes, until they have a nice char on them. Remove from the grill and place on a platter. Take the lentils and add them on top of the leaves and garnish with the cherry tomatoes.  Serve immediately.