Simple Whole Wheat Sugar Cookies

This is the recipe I use anytime I want perfect sugar cookies. They bake up beautifully with nice structure and a hint of snap when you break them in two. Especially true if you can wait that extra minute or two before taking them from the oven. So they have time to shift from just-plain-baked to golden, crisp, and toasted. The dough is an absolute dream to work with. And the flavor? They have just the right amount of salt to counter the sweet. Simple Whole Wheat Sugar Cookies
This recipe makes enough dough to yield plenty of cookies, with dough left over to freeze. I typically run out of energy before I run out of dough. I thought I'd posted this recipe long ago(!), but a search through the archives proved me wrong! I'm also including the icing I like.

Icing

As far as icing goes, I have a lot of thoughts. 😉 I have a base recipe I use and then tweak it from there. Sometimes, I like my icing somewhat translucent, like a wash – so I add more water. Other times, I want it more opaque, so I leave it as written (below). I always like it to be a bit matte, and not hyper-glossy, so that's what you'll get here. Also, have fun with natural colors. You could do tiny hot-pink dots on the trees pictured with some raspberry powder plus a bit of the icing added to it. I like saffron for yellow, matcha for green, etc. Play around!

Simple Whole Wheat Sugar Cookies

Pro-tip! Keep your eyes peeled at yard sales, flea markets, and the like for special cookie cutters – that's where you'll find the gems. I have a bin of favorites that I can go to each time I make cookies.

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Black Sticky Gingerbread

I've experimented with a good number of gingerbread recipes in the years since I highlighted Regan Daley's Black Sticky Gingerbread. There were single, double, and triple ginger gingerbreads. Cakes that were spice-kissed, and others with experience at first and second base. They're all good, really. But hers is the one I keep coming back to when it counts. And because it has been hiding in the archives for so long, I thought I'd run my updated version today complete with tweaks, and fresh insights.
Black Sticky Gingerbread
Back then, here's what I said, “…The Black Sticky Gingerbread comes together like the cake that it is – straight-forward, unfussy, with a bit of kick and attitude. Melt the butter with the sweeteners, stir in a few eggs, fold in the fragrant spices and flour, spike it with some freshly grated ginger, and pour the batter into the prepared pan. The cake is outrageously dark, dense, flavorful, and delicious. Not the prettiest cake you'll ever make, but one of the tastiest. The burnt-caramel-esque crust that forms on the top of the cake is outrageous, and that was the first part of the cake to go.”Black Sticky Gingerbread
It all holds true. I'd love to know if any of you give this a try over the holidays, or if you make any personalized tweaks to it! xo -h

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Quick Vegan Enchiladas with Sweet Potato Sauce

A weeknight-friendly enchilada has to check a lot of boxes for me. You ready for the short list? Here we go. These enchiladas need to be knock-out delicious AND: easy to assemble, free from pre-cooking any components, a healthful alternative to all the heavy cheese versions out there, and, ideally, in the oven in less that ten minutes. That's the dream scenario. After some experimentation, I offer you these – quick, vegan enchiladas. 
Quick Vegan Enchiladas with Sweet Potato Sauce
They're tender enchiladas made with black beans, sweet potatoes, and a stealthy turmeric boost. There was also a focus on making a version that was plant-based and vegan (which is what you see here), but also easily adaptable. If you want to add a bit of feta to the filling here (if you're not vegan, of course) then go for it. It's a recipe that should be able to accommodate much of what you might dream of rolling into a tortilla and baking until bubbly and golden.
Quick Vegan Enchiladas with Sweet Potato Sauce
This recipe is similar in spirit to the Last Minute Lasagna a bunch of you have been making. In fact, I started working on both of those around the same time, so if you like one of them, give the other a try as well.
Quick Vegan Enchiladas with Sweet Potato Sauce

Variations

A couple of notes, I wrote the recipe calling for canned winter squash – anything like pumpkin, sweet potato, or another winter squash will work. Whatever you and your family tends to like. I stumbled on a canned butternut squash during a spin through Trader Joe's, a while back, stocked up, and that is what you see pictured here. You can, of course, use squash you've roasted at home in place of canned – it just makes the process less quick ;)…

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20 Fantastic Noodle Soups to Cook this Winter

A good brothy noodle soup is great anytime of year, but it's particularly good in the middle of winter. And you have options! Between the broth, the type of noodles, and whatever else you put in the bowl, the possibilities are nearly endless. Below you'll find a collection of A+ noodle soups to try. There are interpretations of classics like pho and ramen, alongside seasonal ideas, and unique seasoning approaches. Enjoy! – h

20 Fantastic Noodle Soups to Cook this Winter

1. Winter Green Miso Noodle Soup(101 Cookbooks) The noodle soup above is built on my green miso paste. Simply add water, whatever fresh noodles, and some winter greens, and you're good. 

20 Fantastic Noodle Soups to Cook this Winter

2. Pumpkin Miso Broth with Soba(My New Roots) Perfect winter combination and colors. The combination of sesame seeds and sautéed shiitake mushrooms on top looks wonderful.

20 Fantastic Noodle Soups to Cook this Winter

3. One-Pot 5-Spice Chickpea Noodle Soup(Will Frolic for Food) A hearty soup made with rotini. It highlights an array of five spices along with a combination of balsamic, apple cider vinegar, and yogurt to create a rich stew-y soup.

20 Fantastic Noodle Soups to Cook this Winter

4. Shiitake and Spinach Miso Soup(A Beautiful Plate / Love and Lemons ) Originally from the beautiful Love and Lemons cookbook, this recipe will inspire you to source some perfect shiitake mushrooms. Two cups of spinach means you'll get a healthy dose of greens.

20 Fantastic Noodle Soups to Cook this Winter

5. New Year Noodle Soup Recipe(101 Cookbooks) This is an all-time favorite traditional Persian noodle soup. It features thin egg noodles, borlotti beans, herbs, turmeric, cumin, and all sorts of other ingredient magic.

20 Fantastic Noodle Soups to Cook this Winter

6. Chickpea Noodle Soup with Parsley and Lemon(Occasionally Eggs) Chickpeas, carrots, cayenne and a squeeze of lemon make this a good candidate for cold season.

20 Fantastic Noodle Soups to Cook this Winter

7. Chickpea & Sweet Potato Noodle Soup(My New Roots) This is one of those recipes that makes taking out the spiralizer worth it.  

20 Fantastic Noodle Soups to Cook this Winter

8. Kimchi and Buckwheat Noodle Egg drop soup(Nyssa's Kitchen) For kimchi fans. This one is for you. Kimchi + Egg drop soup – you know it is going to be good. 

20 Fantastic Noodle Soups to Cook this Winter

9. Really Great Vegan Ramen(101 Cookbooks) Here's my take on a vegan ramen. Bonus – all the components are great on their own (if you have leftovers), and there are seasonal ideas, for year round ramen. 

20 Fantastic Noodle Soups to Cook this Winter

10. Vegetarian Pho(Happy Yolks / Green Kitchen Travels) An beautiful, inventive take on pho – bok choy, bean sprouts and basil with fennel.

20 Fantastic Noodle Soups to Cook this Winter

11. Bangkok Coconut Curry Noodle bowls(Pinch of Yum) Love the mix of colors in this one. Based on rice noodles and a mix of veggies, swap out the fish sauce for one of the veg versions out there and this is a hearty, straight-forward weekday meal.

20 Fantastic Noodle Soups to Cook this Winter

12. Vegetarian Pho Noodle Soup(Omnivore's Cookbook) Here's another pho, but a different technique is used to prep the ingredients. Deep smoky flavors are created by charring ginger and onions.

20 Fantastic Noodle Soups to Cook this Winter

13. Vegetarian Ramen with Garlic-Ginger Broth(The Roasted Root) All the greens, four or five different shades(!) layered on top of rice noodles.

20 Fantastic Noodle Soups to Cook this Winter

14. Vegetarian Ramen Bowl with Spicy Brussels Sprouts(Naturally Ella) A ramen bowl with a wild card – brussels sprouts roasted with sambal oelek.

20 Fantastic Noodle Soups to Cook this Winter

15. Vegan Ramen Spicy Noodles(Love is in My Tummy) Time to get your kombu on.20 Super Noodle Soups

16. Chinese Vegetarian Noodle Soup (中式素汤面)(Omnivore's Cookbook) This veg noodle soup features tofu marinated in maple syrup, kale and an optional “detox vegetable broth.”

20 Fantastic Noodle Soups to Cook this Winter

17. Mushroom and Spicy Tofu Udon Soup(But First Plants) This is one you'll want to try if you can find some good, fresh udon noodles. Sriracha and sesame seeds provide a flavor twist.

20 Fantastic Noodle Soups to Cook this Winter

18. Green Miso Soba Soup(Fork Knife Swoon) This miso + soba combination uses a healthy dose of onion, ginger and garlic to provide a good clearing of the sinuses.

20 Fantastic Noodle Soups to Cook this Winter

19. Ginger Miso Udon Noodles with Five-Spice Tofu(Healthy Nibbles and Bits ) Here's another take on miso with ginger, but this time with udon. Ground coriander and a five-spice blend for the tofu offer unique flavors for a noodle soup.20 Fantastic Noodle Soups to Cook this Winter

20. Turmeric Miso Soup with Shiitakes, Turnips and Soba(Lindsey Love) Here's a soba soup that uses fresh turmeric, yellow miso and the surprise: turnips.

20 Fantastic Noodle Soups to Cook this Winter

21. Vegetable Miso Soup with Soba Noodles(Marie Reginato) This is another miso soup recipe that creates a solid flavor base with kombu / kelp, so seek it out at the store (also easy to find online). Cabbage and sweet potato provide a winter veg base, but you could adapt this to different seasons.

20 Fantastic Noodle Soups to Cook this Winter

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White Bean Soup with Pesto Herb Dumplings

This is the sort of soup I crave when the weather turns. Hearty, substantial, and squarely in the comfort food realm. It's the simplest of bean soups, topped with plump herb-packed dumplings. I use whatever herbs I have on hand, and in this case it was dill, basil, and minced lemongrass, along with lots of scallions. Doubling down on the herb flavors, I also add a big dollop of pesto. A classic dumpling stew with a green, herby twist. Super delicious, and satisfying.

White Bean Soup with Pesto Herb Dumplings

Variations

I note a number of variations in the headnotes of the recipe down below. If you don't want to go the pesto route, a mustard-spike is also delicious. Or, harissa! A couple of tablespoons of harissa paste in place of pesto takes the dumplings in a completely different directions.

White Bean Soup with Pesto Herb Dumplings

Making this soup vegan is simple. The soup is already vegan, you just need to make a couple tweaks to the dumplings. First, be sure to use nut milk in the dumpling batter, and omit the egg (adding an extra 1/4 cup of nut milk to the batter). The details are in the headnotes as well. The dumplings are a bit more dense, but still tasty. The one important detail to adhere to – don't oversize the dumplings.

White Bean Soup with Pesto Herb Dumplings

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Coconut Red Lentil Soup

Let's talk through the story of my favorite lentil soup. Years ago, two of my neighbors hosted a soup party. It was an inspiring affair – big pots of simmering soups and stews, house full of chatty, friendly people. Part of what I liked was the simple premise. The hosts (David & Holly) made a number of soups, guests were asked to arrive with their drink of choice and one thing to share – salad, appetizer, or something sweet.
Coconut Red Lentil Soup

The Best Soup:

One of the vegetarian soups was a beautiful shade of yellow-orange. It was a light-bodied, curry-spiced coconut broth thickened with cooked red lentils and structured with yellow split peas. It appeared to be a beautiful take on lentil soup. When I asked Holly to tell me about it, she mentioned it was based on an Ayurvedic dal recipe in the Esalen Cookbook, a favorite of hers.

She happened to have an extra copy of the Esalen book, and sent me home with my belly full, a new cookbook tucked under my arm, and a few suggestions related to the soup. I still make this soup regularly, love it (so much!), and thought it might be fun to revisit it today in video form – enjoy! I've also included some notes related to adapting this soup to the Instant Pot.

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Coconut Red Lentil Soup

Other things worth noting related to this soup – the slivered green onions sauteed in butter or coconut oil. The golden raisins that plump up with curry broth. Back notes of ginger. Depth from a good dollop of tomato paste. It all comes together in one amazing bowl of restorative, lentil soup goodness.

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Quick Lime and Mushroom Salad

I'm hoping a good number of you will give this mushroom salad a go. I'm pretty sure you'll love it! This is a solid example of my favorite kind of recipe – quick, flavor forward, and endlessly adaptable. Are you a fan of mushrooms? Then this recipe is especially for you. Here's how it goes. You sauté thinly sliced mushrooms in a splash of olive oil and cook them until they're super golden and beautiful. Then you toss them in a bowl with fresh herbs, peanuts, freshly chopped herbs, serrano chile, a good amount of lime juice, and soy sauce. Done.
 Quick Lime and Mushroom Salad

What kind of mushrooms?

This is a mixed mushroom salad (as pictured). I used cremini, king trumpet, and enoki mushrooms. That said, you can certainly make it with a single type of thinly sliced mushrooms. When you are preparing them just be sure to slice them consistent thickness – roughly 1/4-inch. These is a shot of the mushrooms pre-cooking (below). Followed by a photo of the color I like them to have when done cooking.

Quick Lime and Mushroom Salad

Quick Lime and Mushroom Salad

Variations on this Mushroom Salad

  • Mushroom Salad with Tofu (as pictured): For more of a one-dish meal, I like to add a bit of crumbled tofu, or steamed tempeh.
  • Mushroom Salad over Rice: This is delicious over just about any type of rice you like. A simple bowl of brown jasmine, mixed rice & grains, or even congee!
  • Mushroom Salad over Noodles: Lots of things are great with noodles, and this is no exception! You can toss it rice or soba noodles along with the rest of the ingredients. Just bump up the amount of lime juice and soy sauce, so you have enough dressing. 

    Quick Lime and Mushroom Salad

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The Creamiest Vegan Soup (Cauliflower)

If you're looking to make a silky smooth, creamy vegan soup, today is your day. This gem caught my attention because it is quite different than most “creamy” vegan soups I come across. It uses a clever trick to achieve its signature texture. And the resulting soup doesn't rely on heavy cream or lots of coconut milk. Bingo.
The Creamiest Vegan Soup Recipe
The lineage of this soup goes something like this. Genius recipe-spotter Kristen Miglore highlighted this Paul Bertolli recipe on Food52 back in 2011. The CAP Beauty ladies gave it a turmeric and mustard twist in their new book, and I went from there. Adding yellow split peas on top make it a one-bowl meal, nutritional yeast tees up some cheesy flavor notes. I also upped the quantity because, leftovers.

The Creamiest Vegan Soup Recipe

The Technique: Make a Vegan Soup Super Creamy

The base of this soup is cauliflower. I make cauliflower soup all the time. The thing that makes this recipe special is the cooking technique. You let the cauliflower steam, in the pot, for 15 minutes. You can do this with cauliflower and get tender delicious florets out of the process. When you do this with vegetables like asparagus you end up with sad, overcooked, off color asparagus. Long way of saying, cauliflower is a great ingredient for this technique. Carrot and sweet potato also love the steam approach. 

The Creamiest Vegan Soup Recipe

This is a vegan soup.  It is also gluten-free, boosted with turmeric, and relatively quick to make on a weeknight. Leftovers are great and endlessly adaptable.

Other Ideas

This version is spike with  turmeric and mustard. You can certainly explore other directions. Grated ginger would be a great addition. Or, if you have spices left over from chana masala, perfect! I even stir a cup of rice porridge into the leftovers, for an excellent rice soup.

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Instant Pot Chickpea Cauliflower Korma

Today's recipe is a fantastic mash-up of sorts. It's an Insta-friendly riff on the Chickpea Cauliflower Korma recipe in Jennifer Iserloh's The Healing Slow Cooker. An Instant Pot korma. I paired it with the high-impact Indian-spiced Simmer Sauce from Coco Morante's The Essential Instant Pot Cookbook. If you have a simmer sauce on hand, whether it's this aforementioned one, or a store-bought version you love, this couldn't come together more quickly. It's the perfect vehicle to get all sorts of goodness into your body in one, delicious sitting.

Instant Pot Chickpea Cauliflower Korma

I love this recipe because it's absolutely packed with power ingredients, including a nice range of fragrant spices. I like to think I get a lot of spice in my diet, but I think the real key is integrating spice blends into lots of meals. Not just a few times a week, but daily. For example, the simmer sauce has coriander, cayenne, cumin, turmeric, paprika, and whatever spices are in your garam masala blend. It's how you shift from single notes to a chord.

Instant Pot Chickpea Cauliflower Korma

No problem if you don't have an Instant Pot, a stovetop version is a breeze as well, and I'll include guidelines for that down below! Also, for reference, this is the Instant Pot I used for this recipe: Instant Pot DUO Plus 6 Qt 9-in-1

Instant Pot Chickpea Cauliflower Korma

Side note – Another way to get a medley of spices and power-ingredients into your meals are pastes. That's part of the reason I love strong curry pastes like this one, or a boosted miso paste like this one.

Lastly, if you have an Instant Pot, be sure to poke around this new section with all the instant pot recipes in one place.

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