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green beans

Easy Winter Vegetable Soup

Easy Winter Vegetable Soup

Cooking has always been a form of meditation for me. Fueling up on nourishing foods always feels right.

Lately, I’ve been doing plenty of that, enjoying simple, healthful meals, including this warming winter soup.

Nutritional Yeast

The broth is light. And you can swap the water for bouillon cubes if you have them.

But the variety of veggies naturally fills this with flavor.

Top each bowl with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast. It adds a slightly nutty and almost creamy finish to every bite.

You’ll also want a slice of crusty bread to pair with it.

Easy Winter Vegetable Soup

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Green Beans with Coconut Curry Peanut Sauce

 Green Beans with Coconut Thai Curry Peanut Sauce

Thai coconut curry forever remains one of my mealtime mainstays.

On my stove at least twice a month, it’s one of the simplest and tastiest ways to load up on broccoli, bok choy, mushrooms, and other garden goodness.

But for this particular rendition, I chose to focus on one ingredient — green beans, a veggie that rarely lets me down.

Green Beans with Coconut Thai Curry Peanut Sauce

The sauce here is thin enough that you could serve this over rice. To make it a full meal, fry up some tofu to toss on the side.

But it’s truly a delicious side all on its own. You can spoon up all that sauce, no rice needed. And if you have any extra, use it as a dip for steamed broccoli or to top soba or rice noodles.

Thai Curry Peanut Sauce

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Summer Vegetable Coconut Curry

Summer Vegetable Coconut Curry

I often say that even if I became really poor, it’s unlikely I’d ever go hungry. Through all my various foodie friends, farmer connections, side food-related jobs and food blogger perks, my fridge these days has been endlessly stocked. My splurgeful trips to Whole Foods have been minimal. And my tummy has been full.

Unlike some of my recent grad friends (cue those who moved to NYC), I’ve managed to avoid a diet of peanut butter and canned beans. (Although, don’t think those items don’t show up quite often too. I eat plenty of PB from a jar, primarily by choice, and chickpeas too. Being a vegetarian does have its naturally affordable qualities.)

When I do head to the store these days, often I walk out with nothing other than figs and Greek yogurt. As a hustling journalist in a dying field, and a freelancer of many trades, this scenario seems a bit out of place. And it would be if it weren’t for the abundance of healthy veggies that have graced my life this summer, free of charge. For this I feel fortunate.

Summer veggies.

At this point, I honestly have more vegetables sitting around than I can eat. Some of you fellow gardeners I’m sure can relate.

I often get stuck eating a lot of simple salads, which are great, but sometimes recipes like this are in need. It’s amazing how a simple coconut curry can make you appreciate a bowl of vegetables that much more.

I contemplated putting this over rice, but I honestly wanted to just spoon its brothiness as is, and call the large bowl of veggies a meal. So that’s what I did. However, I ended up pouring it over pasta the following day, which was quite nice too. I’ll leave the decision of how to serve it up to you.

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Simply Roasted Veggie Tacos with Goat Cheese

Roasted Veggie Tacos with Goat Cheese

 

There need be no rhyme or reason for tacos. Eat them for breakfast. Eat them for lunch. Eat them for dinner. In my kitchen, every time is a good time for tacos.

As I said in my last post, summer is a season born for simplicity in the culinary world. Locally harvested produce needs little labor. Throw a bunch of veggies on a baking sheet, add a little marinade and roast. What you’ll end up with is a tray full of beautifully enhanced, caramelized vegetables that’ll taste so good, you could easily grab a fork and start chowing down.

Taking the next step, however, will make your experience that much more satisfying. When wanting to turn roasted veggies into an easy meal, grab tortillas, black beans and goat cheese, and call it a day. Boom. Easy as tacos.

Tacos are my college kid’s pasta. A satisfying go-to and perhaps my self-prescribed, lazy man’s guide to cooking. With a ton of fresh veggies in season, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I’ll take lazy any day if it means tacos for dinner. If you agree, you’re welcome for dinner at my house during any week. They usually make it onto the eating agenda at least once in a 7-day period.

Feel free to switch up the veggies below with whatever you have on hand. Zucchini are nice, as are roasted beets. I do, however, recommend keeping the mushrooms in the mix, as they’ll add a lot of flavor and a nice, chewy texture.

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Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup

Fifteen baguettes later, I’ve arrived home to Philly after a two week excursion in France and Belgium. There was a serious amount of baguette action on this trip. And brie, and pastries, and bottles of wine, and poorly accented bonjour’s and bon appétit’s. You can expect a food-related post on my trip soon. First, however, I need to sort through my 1,000 photos, memories and jetlag, stalk the chef I met on Facebook, and remind myself life will be okay without cute French boys on every block. I also need eat some greens and whole grains. And grab this soup from the freezer.

Wanting to clean out my refrigerator, I whipped this up just before heading to France.  It was literally the perfect light and veggie-packed meal I needed before jetting off to a foodie haven of artisan cheeses and pistachio macaroons. Luckily, some soup still remains waiting for me…waiting for my detox of daily croissant consumption. I admit, the thought of saying farewell to that makes me want to cry.

Oh well. Oatmeal simmers away, energy-restoring smoothies whiz in the blender, and breakfast and life goes on — with or without pain au chocolats. On the bright side, I’ve come home to ridiculously lovely weather in the midst of my favorite season. For that, I will continue to ride my life high. Come home in the winter, on the other hand, and I’m sure this would not’ve been the case. Good thing its springtime. Cheers to that. I also stumbled home to my tax return in the mailbox yesterday afternoon. After Paris, it needn’t even be mentioned I’m cheersing to that too.

Minestrone Soup

If the thought of soup and warm temps makes you want to slap me and proceed to go flag down the ice cream man, well, then bookmark this one for later. But considering it’s still May and sweat-drenching days have yet to arrive, I’m going to argue on behalf of this meal. This minestrone is certainly not a hearty, gut-warming winter stew. Rather, it’s a light soup, fit for a wide range of seasons, and packed with tons of nutrition. Given what was in my fridge the day of its creation, this also happens to be heavy on the green beans. If green beans aren’t your veggie of choice, feel free to add in a handful of spring greens or any other seasonal ingredient that might sound good to you.

Make this minestrone a meal by simply serving it with a slice of crusty bread and a side salad. That’s what I’ll be doing — baguette on the side, pretending I’m still in Paris. Au revoir.

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