Lentil Brown Rice Salad + Weekly Meal Plan

As I’ve mentioned before, I like to create a weekly meal plan. If I’m staring into our refrigerator at 7:00 pm trying to come up with dinner ideas, I will most likely end up on the phone with our favorite Mexican place instead of cooking a healthy dinner.

Walking on the beach in Chacala, Mexico - www.HelloLittleHome.comIt doesn’t take much to put me in the mood for a Mexican vacation dinner!

I like to keep it super easy during the week. Some of my favorite time saving meals are hands-off crock pot recipes, big salads (ala Elaine from Seinfeld), and one pot dinners, such as soups or curries.

Or, I’ll cook a big pot of brown rice early in the week and use it for multiple meals. That’s what I did when I came up with this week’s meal plan:

Here is my totally customizable recipe for brown rice salad:

Lentil brown Rice Salad

Lentil Brown Rice Salad

  • 1 cup black lentils
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice (cold)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large cucumber, diced
  • 4 oz feta, crumbled
  • 1 pkg cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered, depending on size
  • 5 basil leaves, chopped

Lentil Brown Rice Salad

Cook lentils in boiling, salted water until tender but not mushy. Drain and set aside to cool.

Combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and garlic in a small bowl. Whisk to combine and season with salt and pepper.

Combine lentils, rice, cucumber, and tomatoes in a large bowl. Mix well. Add dressing, feta, and basil. Toss until well mixed. Adjust seasoning, adding additional salt and pepper, if necessary.

Notes: This recipe is very flexible. Try adding nuts, olives, roasted peppers, or marinated artichoke hearts. Replace the lentils with garbanzo or black beans. Substitute quinoa for the brown rice. The possibilities are endless!

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Hello Friday! Link Roundup

Happy Friday! I started a new job this week, and thankfully, it went really well. My brain is on overload though, so I’m looking forward to a relaxing weekend.

My week in pictures: pretty leaves outside my door.Pretty leaves outside my door.

Here are some ideas that caught my eye recently:

This tutorial for polka dot shorts looks cute and easy!

We had out neighbor over last weekend for wine, and I put together an easy cheese tray.We had our neighbor over for wine last weekend, and I put together an easy cheese tray. Yum!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars would make a healthy snack.

Try adding a whimsical touch to a basic frame with a chalkboard marker.

These Sweet Strawberry Turnovers look so good! I must try this recipe.

spring flowers in my neighborhood.Spring flowers in my neighborhood.

Are your walls bare? Try creating your own DIY Geometric Art.

I love curry, and I love pizza, so I’m pretty sure this Curried Cauliflower Pizza must be amazing!

Around my home.Corner of my living room: doesn’t everyone have old bowling pins laying around?!?

This article on small makeup tweaks that make a big difference is great.

Kick of your weekend right with a citrusy Bee’s Knees cocktail.

Have a great weekend!

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Decorating a Tiny NYC Living Room

When my husband and I moved to New York, we sold most of our furniture. It was just too expensive to ship it across the country, and after a few bad U-Haul experiences (ahem … my husband taking out a fence), we knew that wasn’t an option either. Plus, most of our furniture was just too big for a tiny New York apartment.

My New York ApartmentOur apartment before we moved in. The gorgeous windows were definitely the selling feature!

I won’t lie: I had a lot of fun putting together our new place! It’s not often that you get to start with a blank slate when decorating.

Although we left our furniture behind, I did pack my favorite lamps and some blue and white pillows. The lamps and pillows were my inspiration when planning our new living room.

my NYC living room mood board

I like to create a mood board when designing a room. A mood board is a great way to ensure that everything works well together, and it keeps you on track when making purchases.

I was going for an eclectic look. Although I like warm wood tones, I didn’t want the room to be too brown, so I mixed in some bright colors and white, too. Our living room does double-duty as an office, so a small desk was a must. We have lots of books, so storage was a necessity, too.

I’m still pulling everything together, and I’ve made a number of changes from this original plan, but I’m happy with the progress. I promise to post pictures soon!

Where do you find inspiration from when decorating your home?


Lamps: White Ceramic Bamboo Lamps
Side Tables: Cost Plus World Market Tribal Carved Wood Accent Table
Sofa: West Elm Henry Loveseat
Coffee Table (similar): Renate Coffee Table
Rug (similar): Barclay Butera Mango Maze Rug
Chair: Cost Plus World Market Ravenna Chair
Desk Chair (similar): West Elm Porter Upholstered Armchair
Desk: West Elm Parsons Mini Desk
Gold Pillow (similar): Wild Mannered Mother of Pearl and Sequin Pillow
Ikat Pillows: DRK Designs Blue and White Ikat Pillow Cover
Bookcase: IKEA Billy Bookcase

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Make the Most of Your Wardrobe: How to Wear 1 Dress 3 Ways

If you are looking for the perfect summer dress, ModCloth’s Daisy Chain of Events Dress is a great option. The pretty, versatile style can be dressed up or down, and the silhouette is universally flattering.

Here are three ways that I would wear this dress.

Add a colorful cardigan, simple jewelry, a classic bag, and fun espadrilles, and you have a pulled-together work outfit.

1 dress, three ways: work1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Casual Saturday
Pair the dress with comfortable sandals, gold accessories, cat eye sunglasses, and a bright crossbody bag. This laid back look will take you from brunch to shopping.

1 dress, 3 ways: casual Saturday 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

Date Night
Get ready for date night by pairing your dress with a cute pair of sandals, gold accessories, and a bright wrap.

1 dress, 3 ways: date night1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

What is the most versatile item in your wardrobe?

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Hello Friday! Link Roundup – Mother’s Day Brunch

Happy Friday! I hope you had a great week.

Mother’s Day is just around the corner. My mother-in-law lives out of state, so we’ll be calling each other rather than seeing each other this Sunday. If we were spending the day together, I’d love to put together an easy brunch, followed by a walk in the park.

Riverside Park Walking PathRiverside Park

I’d start things off with fresh juice and champagne for anyone who’d like a mimosa – me, please!

Pastries are a must. This recipe for Cinnamon Scones is a favorite, but Strawberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake looks delicious, too.

Coney Island BoardwalkConey Island Boardwalk

For something savory, you can’t go wrong with eggs. I would serve Tomato and Feta Baked Eggs or a Spinach and Gruyere Quiche.

Round things out with a delicious-sounding Fruit Salad with Orange Vanilla Sauce.

the-pool-in-central-parkThe Pool in Central Park

Do you still need a gift? Check out my ideas for last minute Mother’s Day gifts or, if you’re feeling crafty, check out this list of 39 DIY gifts you’d actually want to receive.

For tabletop inspiration you’ll want to see these Mother’s Day ideas from Hostess with the Mostess. No need to go crazy – one or two elements will make a big impact!

Finish off the day with a walk in the park. Here in New York, I’d choose Central or Riverside Park, or if your mom loves the beach, you could stroll on the Coney Island Boardwalk.

Have a great weekend!

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