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hearty

Butternut Squash Soup with Miso and Coconut

Butternut Squash Soup with Miso and Coconut

When I saw miso + creamy butternut, I thought to myself, “interesting combination”. Then, when I saw coconut in this recipe too, it instantly got bookmarked out of intrigue. Coconut and miso together is entirely new to me, and I have to say it works quite well in this soup. (The extra coconut milk left in your can works well in oatmeal the next morning too – banana/maple/coconut/oat heaven, hint hint.)

There are definitely layers of flavor going on here that you wouldn’t necessarily expect. In a good way.

One of my friends with whom I was sharing this brought over olive bread to add to the dinner table. That was like a hipster dressed in early fall – they pull out all their favorite items to layer a cardigan over a flannel over a collared denim over a too tight t-shirt. Too many layers, in a bad way.

Butternut Squash Soup with Miso and Coconut

Adding anything with olives to this soup meal, I wouldn’t suggest, unless you’re a fan of conflict and intense food dichotomy. A crusty baguette, on the other hand, would compliment this perfectly.

This miso in here adds a subtle saltiness, and a hint of earthiness that’s surprisingly detectable. I like a little crunch in my soup, which is why I added the cashews – they won’t overpower the miso, but rather add to the coconut’s sweetness. I also tried throwing in a handful of raw kale the next day while reheating. This too complimented the soup, and added a healthy (literally) dose of satisfying crunch.

Surprisingly simple, this recipe will undoubtedly be going on the repeat list. Not sure about where you live, but it’s snowing here today. For sure the best excuse to spend the evening inside and layer up on butternut gold.

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Winter Nourish Bowl with Green Pumpkin Seed Sauce

Winter Nourish Bowl with Green Pumpkin Seed Sauce

I should’ve planned out the beginning of this year better.

I worked pretty hard at the end of last year. At one point, I was juggling 5 jobs. Literally. (The woahs of freelance life are, well, filled with woah.)

If I were smart, I would’ve planned a getaway for the first few months of 2014 to the land of warmth and the free. What land that might be, I don’t really care. This past week in Philadelphia was brutal, and I would’ve killed to be working remotely in a far away town. You feel me? Add some waves and fresh fruit, and we could’ve really rung in the New Year right. Forget all this cold January nonsense.

Cilantro

Looks like I’ll be hustling extra hard to make that happen next winter. Another New Years resolution to add to the list? Maybe. For all you other northeasterns (and everywhere else it’s cold), I say we do it together.

In the meantime, you can find me snuggling up with warm bowls of comfort like this. Think lots of hearty winter squash and sweet potatoes, and nourishing whole grains and legumes. This will be a year of health, an on-going resolution I strive to keep because I know when I’m eating my best, I’m feeling my best. I’m sure you can agree.

Winter Veggies

This particular wholesome meal was triggered by a recipe I saw on My New Roots. Sarah, the author, runs the kind of blog I could stare at for hours, filled with tons of inspiring photos and lots of inventive healthy recipes. Check her out if you don’t know her already.

Winter Nourish Bowl with Pumpkin Seed Sauce

Feel free to add your own winter ingredients to this. I could envision steamed turnips thrown on top, or kohlrabi sliced into matchsticks and included with the raw component. Toasted sesame seeds make a great addition too. I tossed a few on top the next day.

Winter Nourish Bowl with Green Pumpkin Seed Sauce

Stay warm my friends, and enjoy!

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Pumpkin Coconut Veggie Curry over Black Rice

Pumpkin Coconut Veggie Curry over Black Rice

I’ve been doing a ton of cooking with friends lately, which I love. There’s something special about gathering around cutting boards and cookbooks, and creating something from scratch. Especially when it means spending time with people who make you laugh and forget all your worries. Nights of food and laughter will always be my favorite.

This month has been filled with lots of those, making it feel as if Christmas came early. Minus all the Christmas cookies. I have yet to bake one holiday treat this year! Gasp. Throw me some ideas, friends. This weekend, I  shall bake. And get down with some DIY gifting.

Because all that free time spent cooking lately means I have lots and lots of gifting to catch up on this weekend. Cue morning yoga and evening wine to keep my sanity. And some of this leftover pumpkin coconut curry from an earlier silliness-filled cooking sesh with the help of Louie, my new sous chef. (Every food blogger needs a sous chef, right? My mom likes to think I need a dishwasher, too…but that’s another story.)

Pumpkin Coconut Veggie Curry over Black Rice

Coconut curry holds a sweet spot in my life. As of lately, black rice does too. Combine the two, and you’re in for a treat. Not only does the orange pumpkin in this recipe look beautifully with the rice, but it compliments its nuttiness as well.

Creamy and slightly rich, but packed full of so many healthy ingredients, this is the kind of meal to bring out when dining with company. Want to show the world vegan food can taste great? Make coconut curry. And add pumpkin, cashews, veggies and cilantro.

This is not faint on flavor. Add it to your dinner rotation and it too will feel like Christmas came early, all times of the year.

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Beans and Rice Italian Minestrone Soup

Beans and Rice Minestrone Soup

Yesterday, I put sweatpants over my tights, stuffed my hat inside my helmet, and zipped my coat up above my upper lip. Boots on, I braved the 20 degree weather that waited for me on my 2-wheel ride to work. Morning wake-up call at its best.

This was not, however, before tackling a stubborn frozen bike lock. Running late, I waddled my layered self back up to my apartment to grab a cup of hot water. Luckily, I discovered, that would do the trick. Anyone else ever have this problem with their lock in the winter?

Thyme

Ten frozen fingers later, I successfully made it to work. Good thing I forgot a change of shoes. I love rocking winter boots with tights and a dress, and all the funny looks that elicits. One of those days.

black rice

I’ve expressed before, winter’s not my favorite. But making soup is. There’s something about mindlessly throwing a bunch of ingredients in a pan, and knowing that meddling their flavors will produce guaranteed results.  Soup-making is pure simplicity. And brings the warmth that I crave after bike rides home from work.

This, I tell you, is one warming bowl of soup. Beans, rice and a kick of spice, it’s like bringing a thermal to the dinner table. Serve with a slice of crusty bread and a glass of wine, and you’ll be good to go.

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Blackberry Oatmeal with Toasted Coconut Flakes

Blackberry Oatmeal with Toasted Coconut Flakes

This breakfast had no intention of making it to the blog. But after creating it and seeing it come to life, hitting the Internet was inevitable. I mean, gorgeous, right?! Its vibrance reminds me of the Quinoa Beet Tabbouleh I made over the summer. Colorful foods, in nature, are ones I want to eat. Kind of like colorful conversations. Those are the ones I most want to have.

Blackberry Oatmeal with Toasted Coconut Flakes

Speaking of, will you all help me get a conversation going on FFF’s Facebook page? My Internet marketing skills are failing. Oh no, the world is going to end. But really, I just get (entirely too) excited when something turns out great in the kitchen and I can share it with all of you. It’d be great to eventually build more of a community. Ya feel me? One day.

Anyway, back to this oatmeal. It’s really a simple recipe that plays off of the natural beauty of blackberries. I’ve been loving coconut flakes lately, and in their toasted form they really add a satisfying form of crunch. Toast up the walnuts too if you want for an extra cozy breakfast.

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