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New Year

Japanese Miso and Seaweed Noodle Soup

Japanese Miso and Seaweed Noodle Soup

With 1-degree wind chills and the first dusting of snow, it only seemed natural to whip up a big pot of soup.

A little urban exploration and camera venture outdoors left my frigid hands wanting nothing more than a warm bowl to hold. My red cheeks were longing for that steam-filled facial, too.

And so began the soup-making.

Japanese Miso and Seaweed Noodle Soup

Originally, this was designed to be a ramen recipe. But when you get to the store and no ramen noodles are to be found, that needn’t be reason to abandon ship.

Instead, I found a funky package of raw kelp noodles laying on the shelf near the empty ramen spot. Resembling cooked rice noodles upon first look, I decided to give it a whirl. Plus, the package sold me on the claim of tons of trace minerals captured inside…

Japanese Miso and Seaweed Noodle Soup

The kelp strands were slightly crunchy – almost like a julienned cucumber – but also smooth and mild like a rice noodle.

I’d eat them again, and would recommend them for this recipe, especially if you’re seeking a light, New-Year-resolution-friendly, goodbye-sickness meal. Although, ramen or rice noodles will certainly work just as well – and play a heartier role.

Japanese Miso and Seaweed Noodle Soup

The broth here gets its flavor from kombu, one of my favorite seaweeds, and also from ginger, garlic and mushrooms. Feel free to play around with dried mushroom and other veggie combinations. But don’t skip the seaweed. It’s chock full of vitamins and minerals, and also able to develop an awesome, vegetarian umami flavor.

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Cleansing recipes for the New Year

Well hello there! I’m not really sure how a new year is on its way already, but I’ll welcome it with open arms. I’m hoping 2016 is every bit as great as 2015 was – filled with adventure, travel, photos, good people and good food. I’m sure we’re all raising our glasses to at least one of those gems. Now let’s get to that latter topic.

After one too many days of hefty holiday eats, I’m ready to start 2016 out on a light and refreshing foot. Are you with me?

I consider 99% of the recipes that go on my blog to be healthy. But I’ve rounded up a few that I particularly seek out when I’m looking for a truly nourishing cleanse for my body. These are recipes filled with whole foods. Bright ingredients. Produce. Fiber. And definitely not a lack of flavor. Let’s be clear, this is not akin or meant to be akin to a juice cleanse. This is meant to be a guide for wholesome recipes that’ll make you feel both energized and satisfied.

I’m already putting my spoon into that last one on this list. Happy New Year everyone, and cheers to a great year ahead!

Savory Japanese Oats

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Creamy Carrot Soup with Tahini

Creamy Carrot Soup with Tahini

Happy first Monday of 2015! If that doesn’t sound so cheery, happy first FFF recipe of the year instead. Can we raise our spoons to that? This one is one of my favorites, so whether your with me or not, my soup-destined silverware will be flying high.

Please don’t leave me hanging.

Creamy Carrot Soup with Tahini

This recipe’s actually a simpler rendition of one of my top picks from 2014. A hint of sweetness from the carrots, a touch of not-too-overbearing smokiness from paprika, and a toasty spiciness from the cumin, this velvety soup hits all the right areas. And the tahini on top really seals the deal.

Spicy carrot soup + tahini = heavenly combination. Perhaps the top “omg I need to get healthy” combination of the New Year.

Its tagline? Making resolutions easy, since 2015. Put this Creamy Carrot Soup on your January recipe list, and you’ll soon realize there’s truth in that statement. My recommendation? Pair it with a slice of crusty whole wheat sourdough, and you’re all set. Cheers.

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Vegetable Nori Rolls with Crunchy Lentils and Turmeric

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

It’s crazy how much can happen in a year. How fast time can move. How change can progress. At the beginning of 2013, I quit a full-time job that, while paying my bills, was doing little else but bringing me down. I then cycled through a jillion part-time jobs, took a jillion and one photos, fell in love, fell out of love, traveled on impulse, flew out to Paris, photographed my first wedding, launched a few new ideas, schemed up a few more, had a ton of “is this real life?” moments, met a lot of clients, made new friends, shedded old friends, have become really comfortable with myself and learned a ton about what it means to live life if you really want to live it. At my age, it means taking chances. Trying new things. Learning what, and maybe who, it is you love. And practicing all of that, one way or another. Maybe that goes for every age. Probably so.

Rainbow Veggies

This year has also been a year of more and more experimenting in the kitchen, seeking out new inspiration, and growing my food photo skills. The food blog world is continuously proliferating. I saw it this past year more than ever, and find myself endlessly inspired. I’ve also come across some new friends with similar visions to spread healthy eating, and who share in the joy of eating and cooking with others. This, as well as stumbling upon some new start-ups in my city with similar viewpoints, excites me more than ever. I can’t wait to keep filling my life up with these connections and companions, and venturing into new directions. And of course sharing some of the successes here on my blog.

Vegetable Nori Rolls with Crunchy Lentils and Turmeric

A few of my favorite ingredient discoveries this year include coconut flakes, ground cherries, raw honey and the turmeric root I’ve used to spruce up this wintertime sushi. Turmeric root is a gorgeous, and incredibly healthy kitchen ingredient in which lately I simply cannot get enough. You can find it at Whole Foods, masked in a form that resembles the root-like structure of ginger. In fact, the two look nearly identical until you peel the outer layer, and find the vibrant orange of the turmeric masked beneath. A common spice in Indian cooking, likely you’ve used, or at least tasted, its powdered form before. In its fresh status, it takes on a slightly less pungent flavor that crosses its inherent characteristics with that of both ginger and carrot. At least, that’s what it tastes like to me.

Vegetable Nori Rolls with Crunchy Lentils and Turmeric

For these sushi rolls, feel free to use whatever staple ingredients of the season you have on hand. This time of year, steamed sweet potato could be nice, or maybe some kohlrabi, sliced thinly into matchsticks. I chose to go with this colorful array I had in my fridge, running out only to obtain an avocado. Don’t miss that component if you can help it! Once cubed, slightly sprinkle it with salt. This really draws out the flavor of avocado.

A fresh start to the New Year, we could all fair well to commit ourselves to a path of healthy eats. As I’ve said before, a healthy body = a happy mind. That’s worth repeating and remembering. Cheers to all of you and another year ahead. With all that happened in 2013, I’m brimming with energy for what this next year will bring. Thank you for being a part of my life.

Vegetable Nori Rolls with Crunchy Lentils and Turmeric

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Top 12 of 2012

I’m looking forward to another year of culinary experiments, new ingredients and photography adventures in the kitchen. This blog has become one of the most rewarding learning experiences in my life. Both food and photography have become staple areas of interest and growth for me, largely from the start of this site. And for that, I am thankful.

I am thankful to have passions that have led me to a year full of firsts. My first time roasting coffee, my first time landing a column in a magazine, my first time transforming chickpeas into cookies, and soon to come, my first time successfully brewing my own kombucha. (Cross your fingers for me. I did brew once two years ago, and it was a flop…). All of these adventures have undoubtedly enriched my life. Combined with all of the people who’ve shared this joy with me (both among the blog-o-sphere and those sitting at my own dining room table), I can say 2012 has been a great year.

My goals for 2013: To continue to further my photography, to never stop trying new things, and to remind myself I’m only 22. AKA, I have so many years ahead of me to do all of these things, to put my dreams into action, to meet the world around me. Time is never running out, even if it is almost 2013.

And since the year isn’t even yet over, let’s look back at some of the F-F-F moments in the kitchen. Below, the top 12 of 2012.

Chocolate Caramel Cookies

Top post of the year: Salted Caramel Stuffed Chocolate Cookies

Of course my least healthy post of the year also takes the crown for going the most viral. However, I am a firm believer that true health means everything in moderation, and these cookies are definitely worth the occasional splurge.

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Best vegetable side kick: Holiday Brussel Sprouts with Pecans and Cranberries

Sweet, salty and green. That’s a combination I want on the side of every meal.

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Best soup: Roasted Apple Butternut Squash Soup with Sage

This was a late night creation that left a huge smile on my face as I headed off to bed. I love when recipes effortlessly work out on the first attempt.

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Most worth going the extra step: Kofta Balls with Indian Tomato Sauce

My mom can whip up an incredible Indian feast. This is one of the must-make components on her table full of food.

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Best “I can’t believe there’s no heavy cream” recipe: Creamy Vegan Corn Chowder

Not a drop of milk needed for this creamy, incredible chowder.

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Best dessert you can feel good about: Strawberry Banana Summer Rolls with Honey Lime Sauce

The grown-up version of PB&J. Perfect for kids, too, and of course for those of us who still want to be a kid every now and then.

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Best way to break out of the jar: Tomato Olive Spaghetti

A flavorful sauce that doesn’t need hours to simmer, and will likely make you think twice about buying another jarred version of sauce.

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Best healthy vegan comfort food: Pesto Infused Rice with Seitan

You can’t go wrong with pesto. This is rich and satisfying and a great introduction to seitan.

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Best anytime dish: Vegan Bean and Sausage Chili

Beans and rice are a go-to in my diet. Hence why I’m not churning out new recipes on this blog everyday. Some meals are meant to repeat. This is one of those meals, spiced up with vegetarian sausage to make it feel like a wintertime special.

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Best anytime pasta dish: Pasta with Cauliflower and Capers

Simple and light, the delicate flavors in this dish come together for a meal worth making over and over again.

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Best garden summertime dish on the cheap: Curried White Fish Creole

Sometimes dishes like this deliver me a wake up call that salmon is not the only seafood worth cooking.

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Best use of tahini outside of hummus: Tahini Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Not sure what to do with that half-used jar of tahini left standing in the back of your fridge? Problem solved.