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recipe

Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I like muffins to be rather distinctive from cupcakes.

Not too sweet. Heartier than a light and fluffy cake. And filling enough to leave me satisfied after just one.

Although, hints of decadence (like chocolate chips) are a must, so that the yearning for an icing topped cupcake doesn’t follow.

Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
These Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins fit the bill perfectly for that description, packed with wholesome ingredients like oats, whole grain flour and bananas, while being balanced with a touch of sweetness lent by brown sugar, cinnamon and a dose of dark chocolate.

Eat them for breakfast, eat them at snack-time, eat them for dessert, eat them whenever — guilt-free.

Feel free to play around with this recipe, too, by adding nuts or raisins or even other spices. There’s no better time to play around in the kitchen than when it’s cold outside, and as I agonize over the blanketing of snow outside my window, I hope these will give you a little comfort like they’ve given me!

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Asian Cabbage Slaw

Asian Cabbage Slaw

Cabbage is among the most underrated vegetables.

Er, let me correct that. Purple cabbage is among the most underrated vegetables.

I mean, just look at it! It’s a beaut.

Asian Cabbage Slaw

One of purple cabbage’s greatest attributes – besides its color, of course – is the fact that it can last for weeks and weeks in the fridge before going bad. That being said, I always keep a head on hand so that I can thinly slice it up whenever a dish could use a splash of color.

Salads, banh mi sandwiches, summery tacos, grain bowls, you name it…purple cabbage is always there to save the day and make food beautiful.

Asian Cabbage Slaw

This time around, however, I let the vibrant veggie take center stage in a slaw I now make every summer.

It’s an Asian-influenced cole slaw, meaning that traditional mayo gets swapped with a fragrant oil + rice vinegar + soy sauce combo.

Add a few crunchy, salty peanuts on top and some fresh cilantro, and you’re left with a slaw that’s so full of flavor it becomes addicting. Cole slaw…addicting? Yes.

And this one’s fresher than ever.

Asian Cabbage Slaw

While you could certainly down an entire bowl of this, it pairs nicely on the side of other dishes, too. Think fish tacos, or a stir-fry of sorts or even an Asian-themed veggie burger on the grill. It’s up to you to get creative with what you put this with, but I promise the recipe laid out for you here won’t let you down!

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Herb Socca Pizza with Kale Pesto

Herb Socca Pizza with Kale Pesto

I’ve been cooking quite a bit lately. And blogging…not so much.

Sometimes a girl just needs to let loose in the kitchen, you feel me?

More-so, professional photo work is keeping me busy, and on that note I can’t complain.

Herb Socca Pizza with Kale Pesto

But alas, my creative kitchen-meets-camera-meets-recipe-curation desires have led me back to the blog. Readers, I hope you’ve stuck with me because this one’s a good one. And by that, I mean its made up of a whole lot of tasty and seasonal ingredients to make one heck of a good-for-you pizza.

For the base, we’re working with socca, a long time favorite on the blog. Why? Because it takes fewer than 15 minutes to create, no kneeding, rolling, whipping or anything else complicated required. Plus, it’s packed full of protein from all the chickpeas that go into the flour behind it. Win.

The pesto is derived from kale. It’s prime season for baby greens, which lend themselves so well to raw usages, like in this flavorful, nutrient-dense spread. I mean, look at the color on that pesto. Also a win.

Herb Socca Pizza with Kale Pesto

Feel free to play around with this. Add extra chickpeas on top, straight from the can or crisped up in the oven. You could sprinkle a few nuts around or experiment with cheeses, have some fun with a hot sauce of your choice or switch out the herbs for ones available in your own garden or farmer’s market. Get creative. And get hungry. Your appetite never fails in helping you to lead the way. Cheers!

Herb Socca Pizza with Kale Pesto

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Spiced Butternut Apple Smoothie

Spiced Butternut Apple Smoothie

As soon as the first crisp days of autumn arrive, I subconsciously, and rather rapidly, begin to shift my diet to match the shifting environment that surrounds me. Outside my window, I admire the many shades of orange spreading across the sky. Then soon after, near as many orange hues start appearing on my kitchen counters.

Squash of every variety, and sweet potatoes too, fill up my empty wooden baskets, my ceramic plates, and now my mason jars, too.

Spiced Butternut Apple Smoothie

When Williams Sonoma kicked off this week with the theme of “Not Your Average Smoothie”, naturally I knew I needed to throw some squash into my blender.

I’m all about going outside the traditional smoothie box, and I’m also all about squash, so it seemed like a perfect platform for experimentation.

I turned on my oven, said bottoms up, and began getting to work.

Spiced Butternut Apple Smoothie

I decided upon butternut, loving its creaminess in soups that I often create with apples. I figured, why wouldn’t that be delicious iced and turned into a smoothie, too?

After testing out this smoothie several times, I finally came up with a recipe that’s a little weird, a little wild, yet totally straw-worthy and insanely refreshing.

Through my testing, I learned to save the oven for the squash soup, and stick to steaming for the smoothie. Steaming enables the squash to stay juicer and not as dense so you end up with a shake that has a nice light, whipped consistency. Along with some spirited spice – curry powder and a kick of cayenne (ow ow!) – this smoothie embodies some of fall’s best warming qualities while remaining refreshing till the last sip.

Feel free to try swapping the butternut with sweet potato, or even pumpkin. Just be mindful of possibly needing to adjust the liquid. If you want to step further out of the box, add some spinach. I did this to one batch, and the results were great (even if it sounds a little weird). To get a little wilder, top your smoothie with toasted walnuts or pecans. Or an extra kick of that spicy cayenne, if you like it hot.

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Mexican Quinoa Minestrone

I’ve been seeing recipes for quinoa soup everywhere lately, and well, since I adore quinoa, I knew I had to hop on that bandwagon. After all, quinoa is the protein-packed grain of the gods, at least in my household, and I was craving its nourishment.

Prior to this recipe, the last soup-making venture that went down in my kitchen left plenty of room for improvement. Sick with whatever cough-filled virus that makes you feel like you’re dying, my body needed soup. Unfortunately, my kitchen cabinets didn’t offer much help, leading to a mixture I wouldn’t necessarily call my medicine of choice. A can of fire-roasted tomatoes, broth, and a hodgepodge of spices later, I threw together the simplest (and might I add, least satisfying) tomato soup I’ve had to date. Guess that’s what you get when you’re a sick, single lady living in a soup-less part of the city. (Yes Mom, sometimes I’m still lost without you.)

Needless to say, I was ready for a soup redemption. With all the possibilities, I couldn’t decide between making this an Italian or Mexican inspired quinoa soup. So I went with both. I wasn’t too worried how it’d turn out because anything would be better than the last can of tomatoes I was slurping from my spoon.

I’m happy to say the results far exceeded my expectations, drawing on the best parts from both sides of this flavor fusion. You’ve got all the veggies and grain base (with quiona replacing the pasta) from a typical minestrone soup, with all the rich flavor you’d get from the spices of a Mexican stew. Plus, it’s freshened up with a heavy dose of cilantro and topped with creamy avocado. Who doesn’t love foods topped with avocado? It was just the nourishment I needed and the perfect redemption we can all use now and then from a flop in the kitchen.

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