Applesauce Recipe – Easy Homemade Method

Tom Basics, Desserts, Essential Homemade, Recipe, Side Dishes, Vegan, Vegetarian 0 Comments

Homemade applesauce, although sort of resembles the store-bought stuff, blows it away with the soft texture and wonderful sweetness. Sometimes the simple things are worth making at home.


Applesauce is another homemade item that you probably think: “Shoot, that probably requires some tools I don’t have…” Actually… all you need is a peeler, knife, pot and smasher. Boom applesauce! It’s so stinkin easy that you will likely pull it right into your set of GO TO recipes.


The apples used in this recipe were of the variety “On Sale.” Yes, that is a variety most likely found at your grocery store. They may have been Fuji apples, but I forgot. I have made this easy applesauce recipe out of quite a few varieties of apples thus far and have not found a bad one. Some end up a little more tart than others, but absolutely edible. If it’s slightly tart, just give it a few days in the fridge and voilà it becomes sweeter.

Let’s Cook!

Applesauce Recipe for Best Chunky Applesauce!


Kale Salad Recipe Parmesan True Food Kitchen

Savory Kale Salad Recipe w/ Parmesan – From Dr. Weil

Tom Dinner, Great Left-Overs, Recipe, Salad, Side Dishes, Video 4 Comments

Kale Salad Recipe with Parmesan, lemon and Breadcrumbs

This super quick kale salad recipe will remind you of your favorite Cesar salad, but without all the dressing! It features my favorite deep dark green lacinato kale. You will love this recipe as a savory contrast to the sweeter Massaged Kale with Cranberries and Sunflower Seeds.

The lemon juice with a little salt magically wilts down the greens making them soft and luxurious. I like to give this one a quick massage speed up the process and make it extra tender, but you can also just let the lemon and salt work their wilting magic over a few hours. Check out the video to learn how-to massage the kale!

Kale Salad Recipe Eat with Tom Foodie Blog Chicago

Parmesan provides the blast of flavor. Be sure to look for a quality chunk of parmesan to grate into your salad, mmmmm… worth every penny. Even with the best parmesan you can find, you only need a few bucks worth for a whole dish!
True Food Kitchen Restaurant and Cookbook Review

Recipe Inspiration:

Adapted from Dr. Weil’s cookbook, this is a close cousin to the Kale Salad served in the True Food restaurants. On my recent trip to Denver, I tried the real deal at True Food in Cherry Creek. The restaurant is super hip:  fun concept and lots of veggies on the menu (but also some meat and booze — look, it’s a party; bring friends!)

The True Food – Cherry Creek experience: trendy neighborhood, fashionable folks, intellectual chatter and open concept kitchen and food prep areas. The layout and attitude implies respect and authenticity on HOW your TRUE FOOD is PREPARED, the heart of the “True Food” concept. The service had a educational flair, with the waiter answering all menu questions with an underlying knowledge of the health benefits. Bottom line, a cool place to stop by in Denver.

Kale Salad Recipe Parmesan Lemon Ceasar true food weil eatwithtom 0662

The salad was great at the restaurant, but a little pricey for my big appetite for greens. As with any great experience comes a price tag, but HOORAY: this salad is one you can make at home. Thank you, Dr. Weil — for the cookbook featuring many of True Food’s popular dishes. Filled with beautiful images and fun commentary from the Chefs who worked along side Andrew Weil in creating these recipes, this cookbook is a treat. Pick up the True Food cookbook and read the story of how Dr. Weil convinced the Chef to embrace the use of a garlic press. Funny stuff!

Massaged Kale Salad Recipe Step by Step Images


Quinoa Recipe with Avocados and Eggs Eat with Tom

Quinoa, Black Beans, Cucumber and Avocado with Eggs

Tom Gluten-Free, Great Left-Overs, Lunch, Recipe, Side Dishes, Vegetables 4 Comments

Quinoa Recipe Healthy Eating Ideas - Avocado Black Beans Cilantro Cucumbers Easy Lunch

Quinoa Recipe for a quick lunch

This dish with Quinoa, Black Beans, Cucumber and Avocado with Eggs is light, but hearty enough to refuel your tanks and support your journey to greatness. The combination of the vinegar, limes and cilantro creates a wonderful freshness that reinvigorates your soul through your daily grind.You never know, a great idea might even hit you over the head after lunch when you are NOT a wandering zombie in an afternoon coma…

Lunch is often a “human maintenance” meal for me. This translates to: I need food that fuels me through the rest of the crazy day, without leaving me ravenous or sleepy an hour later. Since I love to eat, it also kills me to just grab some junk food and call it okay. So I have been on a quest to find a lunch “supplement” that is filling, enjoyable, and healthy.

This recipe evolved from a bean and quinoa salad dish that my mom regularly makes at home. From that inspiration, I added some avocado and eggs to make it a little more savory and substantial enough to call it a meal.  Without the eggs, it can also be a great side dish.

how to cook quinoa food blog recipe

I like to use organic dried black beans cooked via the pressure cooking method, but you can use canned ones. I recommend spending the additional nickel and grabbing the organic ones if available. The organic version will have fewer preservatives and I usually feel less “musical” after the meal. Even if the upgraded beans are a couple bucks, you are nowhere near the cost of a cheeseburger! Treat yourself!

This is a great meal to partially prepare ahead of time, especially the beans and quinoa. I like to make a large batch of beans and quinoa, and store them (separately) in left-over containers in my fridge. They last for about a week without getting funky. With these prepped, you can pull together all kinds of healthy meals on the quick (and cheap).

Quinoa Recipe with Eggs Step by Step Images


Bacon wrapped dates recipe pictures how to make healthy party food

Bacon Wrapped Dates – Bring a Hot “Date” to Your Next Party!

Morgan Paris Appetizer, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Paleo Friendly, Party Food, Recipe, Side Dishes 0 Comments

Bacon wrapped dates recipe pictures how to make healthy party food

**Guest Post from Morgan Paris Fitness**

Do you love hearing people comment on how awesome the dish you brought to the party is? I know I do!  These delicious Bacon Wrapped Dates will delight your tastebuds with the rich sweetness from the dates contrasted by savory, salty bacon.

I’m exited to share this recipe with you because it’s kinda become my “thing.”  I always bring my ” Dates”   ;)   to parties and secretly I can’t wait to hear, “oh my gosh, these are so good! Who brought these?!”

Now that my secret is out …

Not only are these delicious, they are SO EASY to make! I recommend getting the Uncured Bacon from Trader Joe’s because it is nitrate and nitrite free. You can also pick up a package of their Fancy Medjool Dates there, too. It ends up being analmost perfect ratio (sometimes there are a few dates left over that you can use in another recipe).


But wait, there’s more! These are also pretty healthy! So they have a high sugar content, but the protein and fat in the bacon helps slow down the absorption of the sugar into your bloodstream allowing it to disperse and digest normally. Dr. Mercola shares these various health benefits:

  • First and foremost, dates are easily digested, allowing your body to make full use of their goodness.
  • Dates contain 6.4-11.5% of fiber which helps move waste through your colon and helps prevent LDL (bad) cholesterol absorption by binding with cancer-causing chemicals in your body.
  • Dates contain iron, potassium, B-vitamins, Vitamins A and K, copper, magnesium, manganese, niacin, pantothenic acid and riboflavin.
  • Together these factors help your body better metabolize carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Eating dates in moderation can contribute to many additional health benefits including stroke prevention, protecting against damage to cells from free radicals, as well as less chance of coronary heart disease and the development of colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic cancers.

Bacon Wrapped Dates Recipe


avocado recipe eat with tom chicago food blog

Limey Avocado and Grape Tomato Side Dish from Lemonade LA

Tom Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Lunch, Recipe, Side Dishes, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian 1 Comment

Amazing avocado recipe - vegan meals - chicago food blog

Avocado Recipe with Limey Dressing and Grape Tomatoes

Large chunks of avocados spiked with a zesty lime vinaigrette, smiles are guaranteed.  This dish is a great side or main player for a veggie based lunch.  The good fats in the avocados will keep both your brain and stomach happy all afternoon.  No h-Anger excuses!

(h-Anger defined: the annoyed and dangerous mindset that causes you to turn into a ravenous beast until you get junk food or another meal.  No, coffee does not fix this condition.  See additional details on the Urban Dictionary.)

I  traveled and worked in downtown Los Angeles for many weeks last year.  Of all the meals I ate throughout the city, my favorites primarily all came from this quick serve modern cafeteria restaurant on the basement level of the office building.

Best Food blog recipes for lunch gourmet vegetable side dish chi

Recipe Inspiration – The Lemonade Cookbook

This mecca of lunch greatness, called Lemonade, seems to exist only in California and the Middle East (go figure…) at this point.  This dish falls into their ‘marketplace portions’ category, consisting of relatively healthy, mostly veggie based, and super flavorful dishes.  I was so excited to find such a truly filling and healthy option for lunch on the road that I ate there nearly everyday.  Oh yeah, and on travel days I would eat it twice… oops.  If you are flying Delta through LAX, you can find it right there in the terminal.

Since I am such an avid fan, of course I had to buy the cookbook.  So now that my days traveling to L.A. are over, I am working through the recipes and plan to share a few more of my favorites in future posts.  Got a few bucks burning a hole in your pocket? Pick up the The Lemonade Cookbook on Amazon.

Avocado Recipe with Limey Dressing and Grape Tomatoes


Eat Healthy - Raw Meal recipes - Ideas for Dinner

Massaged Kale Salad with Sunflower Seeds and Dried Cranberries

Tom Dinner, Paleo Friendly, Recipe, Side Dishes, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian 2 Comments

Eat Healthy - Raw Meal recipes - Ideas for Dinner

Turn that super chewy and tough raw kale into a tender treat with a simple massage.  The other secret weapons of this recipe are  sunflower seeds and mustard which transform these greens into a savory and satisfying dish.

The idea of massaging kale is bound to cause a raised eyebrow from anyone not familiar with the glorious result.  The process is so simple, I am still dumbfounded why the technique has not taken hold on a larger scale.

Don’t be surprised if you too are amazed by the transformation as the kale dramatically reduces in volume and becomes luxuriously soft.  To the untrained eye, it will even appear to have been cooked.

Try adding different dried fruits or toasted nuts to liven up the flavors even more.  Pine nuts are also amazing, but kinda expensive these days.

For the longest time, I was not into raw curly kale, because it took too much work just to choke it down.    Turns out, the kale just needs a relaxing massage.  This recipe is super easy and worth the quick forearm workout.  Your significant other will surely let you practice the massage techniques on them…

Let’s Cook!

Massaged Kale with Cranberries Recipe Step by Step Images


Beautiful red raw beets that satisfy, best way to eat healthy

Fresh Raw Beet Salad – Fancy White Shirts, Take Cover!

Tom Great Left-Overs, Lunch, Recipe, Side Dishes, Vegetables 0 Comments

Beets are sweet raw, how to eat seasonal vegetables in chicago

Beet Salad Recipe with Apples and Cabbage

This raw beet salad recipe tames the earthy essence of the beets and brings out a beautiful sweetness.  As soon as you get past the fact that you are gobbling up raw beets (if you have phobia), you are bound to forget that this is actually a pretty healthy dish!

Raw beets have quite possibly the most intense red color I have ever seen.  It has such a powerful color that every item in this salad will become lush and red in color.  Watch out for your fancy white shirts!

Recipe Inspiration: How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

There is something about beets that worries many people.  There must have been conspiracy among grandmas in the past to make terrible dishes with beets.  But that can’t be grandmas always make great stuff.  Maybe someone forgot to wash their beets and they got a mouthful of sand… No worries, in this recipe, you peel the beets, so you should be safe from the grit.

I worked from Mark Bittman’s Raw Beet Salad Recipe and pulled a few of variations mentioned to come up with this combo.  I love his uncommon takes on regular ingredients.  Be sure to check out his inventive alternative preparations for the Raw Beet Salad, he is a Master.

Don’t worry about leftovers with this recipe, the flavors will continue to improve as it marinates.  It makes for a good take along lunch dish, although prepare for co-worker jealousy!

Let’s Cook!

Raw Beet Salad with Apples and Red Cabbage


roasted brussels sprouts with grapes

Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Grapes

Tom Dinner, Easy Impress, Recipe, Side Dishes 0 Comments

Chicago Foodblogger Tom Schmidt

Roasted Brussel Sprouts Recipe with Grapes

When did Brussels sprouts become so cool?  People that normally don’t like veggies will even eat these.  They seem to have turned into the gateway drug for folks that often stay away from the green stuff.  Cool to me!

My parents introduced me to this dish and at the time I had not traveled down the veggie road nearly as far as I have today.  Although it was a few years back, I can still vividly remember the first time these divine tiny cabbages crossed my lips (sounds kinda dirty… oh well.)  The explosion of the sweetness from the cooked grapes tames the slight bitterness of the Brussels for an incredible taste.

roasted vegetable grapes sprouts

This last December, some friends of mine were throwing a potluck dinner party at Christmas-time for quite a large group of early and mid-twenty somethings.  As always, I wanted to share some of my favorite dishes, so I brought a few pounds of roasted broccoli and Brussels with grapes.  I assumed I would be the one eating them all and might even have to drag the leftovers home, but worth a try.

To my utter amazement, the broccoli and Brussel sprouts were the first empty dishes!  I spent half my night explaining the recipes to everyone.  Bottom line, if you want to impress some people, serve this one!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Recipe with Grapes


Healthy recipe ideas for dinner, Portabellas make a great side dish

Portobello Recipe – Roasted Mushrooms with Balsamic Vinegar

Tom Dinner, Easy Impress, Paleo Friendly, Recipe, Side Dishes 0 Comments

Healthy recipe ideas for dinner, Portabellas make a great side dish

Portobello Recipe – Roasted Mushroom Side Dish / Appetizer

Portobello mushrooms are from Mars… A UFO shaped meaty treat magically grows on composted poo… Yep an alien species! I am always amazed by their interesting structure (pop off the stalk and observe the texture) and how they seem to hover somewhere between the animal and veggie world.  Maybe they are actually more like fish, they do have gills.

Anyways enough of the tangent… This recipe for preparing portobellos is SUPER simple and will give you the confidence to just pick up a few mushrooms and make them anytime.  I will often grab a few of these mushrooms to make as a snack while enjoying a glass of wine cooking dinner.  A great appetizer idea.

Fun Fact: Portobellos are actually just mature cremini (button) mushrooms.  Check out

Recently I picked up a bottle of some exquisite balsamic vinegar a cool little shop called Old Town Oil in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago.  I love finding places like this that are amazingly authentic with true quality ingredients.  So just to tell you how cool it is, they have an entire store with large kegs of various olive oils and balsamic vinegars.  The kegs have taps on them, and they encourage you to try EVERYTHING.  This place is definitely on the list for further exploration.

Let’s cook!

Roasted Portobello Mushroom Recipe


Eat with Tom makes easy recipes that promote healthy living

Grain Free Fried Rice Recipe – Grated Cauliflower and Shrimp

Tom Dinner, Easy Impress, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Great Left-Overs, Paleo Friendly, Recipe, Side Dishes, Vegetables 4 Comments

Eat with Tom makes easy recipes that promote healthy living

Grain-Free Fried Rice Recipe made out of Grated Cauliflower

Seriously, is that fried rice without a grain of rice??  The amazing cauliflower strikes again!  Really, what can’t you do with cauliflower?  Recently I have ran across recipes utilizing this humble plant in all kinds of uncommon ways, such as pizza crust and taco tortillas to name just a few.  Maybe I will have to do an entire series on innovative uses of cauliflower.  I am intrigued.

This fried “rice” experience is so fast and easy to prepare, it will likely go onto your list for weekday dinner meals.  This meal will satisfy even a hearty desire for savory spice without lots of meat.  I have also made this without shrimp and its 93% as good.  Just add all of the spices to the onions and carrots to make a pure veggie version.

This was one of first times putting ancho chiles to work.  The fragrance and color take this dish to the next level.  I picked up some that were already ground up at the Spice House in Old Town.  As I was testing this recipe, one attempt got so spicy that I nearly made my girlfriend cry… and we are not talking about my spicy dance moves either.  So be sure to measure out the peppers in this one or cut them back a bit if are feeling a little less adventurous.

To top off this recipe, don’t forget the squeeze of lime right at the very end.  The touch of acid brightens the flavor and finishes it so nicely.

My favorite thing about this recipe: It’s cauliflower, eat as much as you want.

Let’s Cook!

Cauliflower Fried Rice Step by Step Recipe