Shredded Brussel Sprout Salad with Cumin Grapefruit Vinaigrette

It’s been an insanely busy Tuesday – I think I have gotten more done just today than I have in weeks! Suffice it to say, I’m ready to curl up on the couch with a glass of wine and an easy dinner before faceplanting straight into bed. On the menu tonight? This salad…which I already had for lunch. What can I say? When I like something, I want it all the time.

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It’s no secret that I am completely obsessed with brussel sprouts and would eat them every, single, day if I could. Today, I decided to even further solidify my undying sprout love with this shredded brussel sprout salad. I normally stay away from salad in the winter but the caramelized onions and toasted almonds make this salad winter-worthy, even if it does feel like spring today!
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If you’ve never had shredded brussel sprouts, get ready for a serious treat. When sliced whisper thin, these little mini cabbages are crunchy, slaw-like ribbons just begging for a yummy dressing. The best part? This recipe makes leftovers for days – just keep the dressing and almonds separate and dress immediately before eating. Now, my couch is calling my name!
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Shredded Brussel Sprout Salad with Cumin Grapefruit Vinaigrette

Yields: 6-8 servings

1 lb. brussel sprouts, very thinly sliced

1 medium onion, very thinly sliced.

2 Tbsp. olive oil

½ cup slivered almonds, toasted

Dressing:

1 grapefruit, juiced

½ tsp. grapefruit zest

¼ tsp. fresh ground black pepper

½ tsp. sea salt

¼ tsp. ground cumin

1 Tbsp. maple syrup

3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

¼ cup olive oil
1. Add olive oil to a large pan and heat over medium-low heat. Add thinly sliced onions and cook, very, very, slowly on low heat until caramelized. This takes awhile, so you can do this ahead of time! Once they’re finished, shut off the heat and set aside.
2. Rinse and clean your brussel sprouts. Slice them very thinly with a sharp knife or use a mandoline.
3. Toast your almonds with a pinch of salt in a toaster oven, oven at 325, or in a warm dry pan for a few moments. They toast quickly so don’t go far! You should just be able to smell them and they should be very lightly browned. Set them aside.
4. In a large bowl, combine the shredded sprouts, onions, and almonds. Add a pinch of salt and mix to combine.
5. In a mason jar, add all dressing ingredients expect olive oil. Give it a shake! Add the oil in and shake vigorously.
6. Plate your salad and drizzle some dressing over the top, shaking the dressing if it’s separated. I don’t recommend dressing the salad ahead of serving time – it may make the sprouts taste a bit off. Add some tofu or salmon for a complete dinner or lunch!

Lentil Soup

I hope everyone had a great weekend! Mine was filled with

recipe testing

wine and photos

and playing with this crazy girl.

I was also able to catch up on a lot of house and general life stuff that I needed to get organized. Getting back into the swing of things after being off of work for two weeks is tough, but I’m feeling like I’m back in my routine this week. Despite the fact that Richmond is clearly having some cold-weather commitment issues,  it is actually starting to feel like winter here! In fact, there were a few days this past week that were downright freezing – and I loved every second of it. Having grown up in a place where the seasons range from hot to slightly less hot, I’m all about the winter chill. Bring on the snow days, hot buttered rum, and chili! Beside the rum and the snow, one of my favorite things about the winter is winter food, especially soup.  I make soup pretty much every week and never get tired of it since there are so many different types to try – there are Asian inspired soups, classics like chicken noodle soup, and one of my favorites, lentil soup.

I could eat lentil soup every day for the next few months and not grow tired of it. There are several variations on lentil soup ranging from Italian inspired to spicy Moroccan renditions and this soup falls somewhere in between. It’s tomato-based but full of fresh ginger and warm spices, which make it the perfect lunch or dinner on a cold or you know, 55 degree, winter day.  This recipe makes an extremely large batch, so consider portion out some for the rest of the week and freezing the rest for later. You will be glad you did!

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Lentil Soup

Yields: 10-12 servings. It’s great to freeze! And it’s vegan!

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 large onion, diced

3 large garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced

1 ½ cups carrots (about 3 large), sliced

2 cups lentils, cooked and cooled

1 28oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes

16 oz. fire roasted crushed tomatoes (1/2 of a large can)

8 cups water (you can replace some water with vegetable stock – highly encouraged!)

2 bay leaves

3 cups kale leaves, de-stemmed and sliced into ribbons

½ tsp. allspice

1 tsp. cumin

salt + pepper

1. Cook your lentils according to package instructions. Drain and set aside to cool.

2. In a very large soup pot, heat up olive oil over medium heat and add onions. Saute for about 5 minutes until just transculent – don’t let them brown..

3. Add garlic and ginger. Saute another 3-5 minutes until fragrant.

4. Add carrots.  Sprinkle vegetables with salt and cover pot with lid. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes until they vegetables are slightly soft.

5. Add diced and crushed tomatoes, lentils, bay leaves, spices, and lentils to pot.  Add water or vegetable broth.

6. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer very slowly for about 1 hour.

7. Add kale leaves and simmer another 10-15 minutes.

8. Add salt and pepper to taste.

9. Serve with a drizzle of good olive oil, a dollop of plain yogurt, or anything else you wish!

Gluten-free Chicken Noodle Soup & Cheater’s Chicken Stock

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed that despite my best efforts at avoiding a winter cold, it seems that cold season has caught up with me. I woke up yesterday morning with a serious headache, achy bones, and limited air passageways in my nose. I hit the gym at my usual 6am time to try and sweat out what I thought was a mild bug but unfortunately, I left the gym feeling just as crummy, albeit a bit sweatier. I quickly came home, made some tea, and ate more than a few clementines. Nothing else sounded very appetizing to me except soup. Chicken noodle soup to be exact.

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There is nothing quite as healing and
comforting as soup. The key to any good soup, especially chicken noodle soup, is having great stock. Making stock is one of those things that people perceive as a long, laborious process but really, it’s not difficult. Great stock takes time but there is a way to achieve a great soup base without hours and hours of simmering. I call it cheater’s stock.

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I call it “cheater’s stock” because the process isn’t quite the same as a classic stock, but the results are just as delicious. The ingredients for making cheater’s stock are much cheaper than buying regular stock and the taste is so much better. This chicken noodle soup recipe, and pretty much any chicken soup recipe I make, involves making cheater’s stock a few hours ahead of time and then simply adding it to your soup. Easy, right? This soup is definitely a welcome relief for a winter cold and a nice change from the chocolate, cookies, and sugar-mania around here.

Gluten-free Chicken Noodle Soup
Yields: 8-10 servings

1 whole chicken, poached and shredded
4 oz. (or more if you like) gluten-free pasta – I’m partial to the Quinoa brand, especially in soups
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 large cloves of garlic, minced (or you can do 2 smaller cloves of roasted garlic – it’s heavenly!)
3 medium carrots, peeled sliced into rounds
2 large celery stalks, sliced
1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. allspice (Try it! It really brings a little something to the flavor)
8-10 cups cheaters stock, see recipe below (if you don’t feel like making stock substitute with store bough chicken stock or a mix of stock and water)
salt + pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until just tender, about 5-7 minutes.
2. Add carrots and celery. Sprinkle with a touch of salt and put a lid on the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just slightly tender, about 10 minutes.
3. Add shredded chicken and stock. Bring to a boil.
4. Once your soup is boiling, add your noodles, thyme, and allspice. Turn the heat down to a simmer.
5. Let simmer, with the lid off, until pasta is fully cooked.
6. Season with salt and pepper. Remove bay leaves and serve!

Cheater’s Chicken Stock
Yields: depends on how much water you use!

1 whole, bone-in, skin-on chicken, cut up into pieces*
3 carrots, peeled roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, with tops, roughly chopped,
1 large onion, quartered
2 large garlic cloves, smashed
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp. dried parsley (if using fresh, use about a handful)
Water
salt + pepper

*A whole chicken, including the back, produces the best flavor but I have also made this with just chicken breasts when I’m in a pinch.

1. Place all of your ingredients, except salt and pepper, in a very large stockpot. Use as much water as you like. I usually make about 8-10 quarts of stock but really, the water amount is up to you.
2. Bring stock up to a boil then reduce to a simmer. At this time, check to see if your chicken is done. If your chicken is finished cooking, remove and set aside. If your chicken is particularly fatty, you can occasionally scrape off the stuff that comes to the top of the water.
3. Simmer stock, partially covered for about 1 hour. This amount of time will change depending on the amount of water you used. You want a concentrated and rich flavor.
4. Season with salt and pepper. Be mindful of your salt level – you don’t want it to be too salty but you do want enough salt so that the flavors are bright.
5. Strain out solid ingredients. Now, you have stock!
*6. For this recipe, shred the cooled chicken with two forks and set aside.

Green Coconut Curry Noodle Soup

It has been treat-mania over here lately. Between the leftover baking fails, the addictive molasses cookies, and the irresistible truffles, I am sugared out. I normally don’t eat a ton of sugar on a daily basis so the presence (and ultimately, consumption) of all these sugary treats has left me feeling a little blah. The blah feeling has only been enhanced by the crazy weather fluctuations and has left me feeling like I’m thisclose to getting sick. I don’t really have time to be sick (who does?) so I am doing everything in my power to stave off cold season.

My foolproof method to avoiding or at least postponing winter colds involves three things:
-hot tea (the Yogi brand echinacea immune support is great),
-exercising (has everyone seen the Meals and Moves “Dedicated December” challenge? I’m doing it to help me stay motivated each day and who doesn’t love the chance to win stuff?),
– and eating healthy, immunity boosting foods like kale, ginger, lemons, garlic, and of course, soup.

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Chicken noodle soup is my usual go-to soup for fighting the sniffles but in the past few years, I have found myself only craving pho when I’m sick. If you’re not familiar, pho is a Vietnamese broth based soup that is (usually) gluten-free and will knock a cold out of you in no time. Lately, I’ve also been craving thai food, specifically green curry.Yesterday, when I was feeling particularly under the weather and I couldn’t decide if I wanted to have the husband grab some pho or if I wanted to whip up some thai green curry. So, I decided I would make a soup that would satisfy both cravings.

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With just a vague notion of what I wanted and some ingredients, I whipped up this delicious soup in no time. It was just the thing I needed and today, I swear I already feel a bit better. Although this soup is not even close to a traditional pho, it has that same comforting and healing feeling that will help you kick a cold. It’s packed with good-for-you stuff that helps boost immunity and give you tons of energy like kale, ginger, garlic, lemon, and coconut milk. It comes together in under an hour and can be made vegan/vegetarian as well. It’s a truly diverse soup that will help you kick a cold ASAP so you can get back to baking more cookies.

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Green Coconut Curry Noodle Soup
Yields: 6-8 servings

1 1/2 Tbsp. sesame oil
2 large garlic cloves, grated
1 thumb-size knob of ginger, peeled and grated
2 Tbsp. green curry paste
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. dried cilantro (I couldn’t find any good fresh stuff – if you have fresh use a small handful of it)
1 medium onion, very thinly sliced
4 cups stock (veg or chicken)
4 cups water (you can also use another 4 cups stock)
1 can light coconut milk
juice of _ lemon or juice of 2 small limes
8 oz. brown rice noodles, prepared according to package instructions (I usually soak mine in hot water)

add-ins:
4 medium chicken breasts, thinly sliced or
1 block of firm tofu, diced
2 cups kale, thinly sliced into ribbons
1 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced
any other veg you want!

1. Heat your sesame oil over medium heat in a very large soup or stock pot until you just begin to smell it.
2. Grate in garlic and ginger using a hand grater or microplane. Saute until fragrant being careful not to burn, about 3 minutes.
3. Add curry paste and sauté until fragrant. Add in allspice, cilantro, and onions.
4. At this point, you can start soaking your rice noodles if needed. Add in stock + water (or all 8 cups of stock) and bring to a boil.
5. Once boiling, add in chicken or tofu. Cook until chicken is fully cooked through, about 15 minutes (depending on how thick or thin you sliced).
6. Bring heat down to a simmer and add in kale, mushrooms, and any other veg add-in.
7. Add in rice noodles.
8. Add coconut milk and stir to combine. Add salt + pepper to taste and add lemon juice. Let simmer for another 5 minutes.
9. Serve, top with sriracha (if you like spicy stuff), and enjoy!

First Married Meal: French Onion Soup

I’m back! I am now officially a Mrs. and could not be more excited about it.

Our wedding was absolutely wonderful – it was everything we wanted (and so much more!) and was definitely the best night of our lives. I will do a full recap in a few weeks once I get officially pictures back but I will share a few things about the day. (Sorry about the grainy pictures – all I have at the moment!)

We were married on Friday, Oct. 28 at Veritas Vineyards in Charlottesville, VA on a cold, grey, and later snowy, day. Even though the weather wasn’t ideal, it was beautiful. There is something so magical about the way fall colors pop against grey skies that makes me swoon. We were lucky enough to get the peak day of fall – the day before the leaves hadn’t all turned and the day after most of the leaves were gone. Our ceremony, which was officiated by my stepdad, was moved indoors in front of a beautiful stone fireplace due to the weather.The ceremony was short, sweet, cozy, and I cried pretty much the entire time.

Our decision to move the event inside was a smart one since it started snowing just about an hour later! This is what the venue looked like the next morning when we returned to pick up some stuff.

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Our cocktail hour and reception were great – we were able to talk with all of our guests and have a great time. We had such a great time that we completely forgot to do the garter/bouquet toss and didn’t realize it until later that night! Overall, we were (and still are) completely exhausted from having the best weekend of our entire lives and everyday, we are more and more excited about our marriage. I literally look at Brad several times a day and say “We’re married!” in complete awe and wonderment. I have already written out most of the recaps (yes, plural) and can’t wait to get the pictures and share everything with you guys! In the meantime, I wanted to share the recipe for the first meal we cooked as a married couple – French onion soup.

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After the complete excitement of wedding weekend, we laid low this Halloween. This is pretty unusual for us since Halloween is our favorite holiday, our dating anniversary, and our dog’s birthday. We bought some wine, carved pumpkins, handed out candy, and made our first dinner as a married couple. Our dinner choice? French onion soup. Yesterday’s cold and rainy weather had me craving soup and there are few things I love more than French onion soup. It is simple, comforting, warm, and fairly quick to make – which means there is more time for drinking wine out of fancy new wedding gift wine glasses with your brand new husband. Priorities.

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Making our first meal together as a married couple felt different yet very familiar. We cook together all the time but for some reason, knowing that we just embarked on our first few days of marriage made it more special. The entire wedding weekend was spent eating out for our rehearsal dinner, eating at the wedding, and eating the most amazing tacos from Nate’s Taco Truck at our wedding bbq the next day. Cooking together again felt good and comforting. It added another layer to the realization that we have just began the journey of our lives together and that little moments together while carving pumpkins and making soup are memories that make our relationship special.

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French Onion Soup
Yields: 4-6 servings
Adapted from: Tyler Florence

4 medium sweet or white onions, thinly sliced
4 Tbsp. butter
1 cup dry white wine
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dried thyme (or one sprig of fresh thyme)
2 dried bay leaves
1 quart vegetable stock (low sodium)
1 quart chicken stock (low sodium)
salt + pepper

slices of gluten-free bread (Udi’s or Rudi’s is the best!)
1 oz. gruyere cheese (per slice of bread); you can use any cheese or multiple cheeses (I did gouda and gruyere!)
1 clove minced garlic

1. Slice your onions and heat butter over medium heat in a non-stick skillet.
2. Once butter is melted, add onions. Cook onions over medium low heat until for about 25 minutes until they are caramelized, stirring often.
3. Add wine to pan, scraping brown bits from the bottom. Bring to a boil and add thyme, bay leaves, and garlic cloves. Cook until wine is nearly gone, you want a few tablespoons left of wine.
4. Add onion mix to fairly large heavy bottomed pot. Add stocks and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for another 15-20 minutes. Once done, shut off heat and spoon into bowls.
5. Make your cheesy toast: Add minced garlic to pan onions were cooked with and heat over medium heat until fragrant. Add sliced bread to pan until toasty. You can either: place toast with sliced cheese on oven-safe soup bowls and broil in oven until melted OR add cheese slices to bread and place pan with bread in the oven until melted and place on soup.

Vegan Split Pea Soup

The wedding is only a MONTH away (well, technically 29 days today!) so everyday has been jam packed with wedding tasks.  Between work, wedding, workouts, and trying to keep my apartment in a somewhat decent state (what mountain of laundry?), cooking dinner hasn’t been much of a priority. Normally, I make a different meal each night that yields no leftovers or perhaps, just enough leftovers for lunch the following day. I get bored with dinner foods pretty easily so I like to change it up. breakfast and lunch on the other hand, are a different story that involve pumpkin pie oats, green smoothies, and spinach salad.   Needless to say, a new meal each night hasn’t been happening lately.

Between a trip to Vegas, very few hours of sleep, and a very bare fridge my meal innovation is lacking and dinner has been an afterthought. I tend to wait to the last minute and our options seem to dwindle as the hours tick by. We could always go out to eat or pick something up, but it’s pretty difficult with the whole gluten-free thing and we are trying to save as much money as possible for the wedding.  Luckily, it’s soup season. Soup has been a lifesaver for me these past couple of weeks, and if my calendar is any indication, it will continue to be my go-to meal for the next few weeks.  On the weekends, I’ve been making more freezer friendly and leftover friendly meals to last us through the week, like this delicious vegan split pea soup.

I love split pea soup even though it is terribly difficult to photography and brings back memories of a certain demon possession horror flicks. It’s hearty enough to keep me full, has a super short ingredient list, and is a cinch to make. It’s also inexpensive and makes fantastic leftovers. This particular split pea soup recipe is from Hiedi over at 101 Cookbooks.  If you have never checked out her blog or cookbooks, you should. She makes delicious, healthy meals that are simple and satisfying.  As much as I wish I could say that I added my own twist to her soup and made it something spectacular, I didn’t.  This soup is pretty much perfect on it’s own and I wouldn’t change a thing. Go check out her recipe and instructions and make a batch to enjoy all week long.


Vegan Split Pea Soup

Check out her blog for recipe and instructions! Recipe here: 101 Cookbooks

I followed the recipe very closely but did make a few minor tweaks:

– I added two peeled smashed garlic cloves and a bay leaf to the water while the peas were cooking. I removed the bay leaf but kept the garlic cloves when pureeing the soup.

– I used one medium red onion instead of 2 small white onions just because that’s what I had on hand. It gave the soup a wonderful depth.

– I recommend garnishing with the olive oil and smoked paprika. It’s truly delightful.

Orange Tempeh Sitr Fry

Life is busy right now.  My phone is ringing off the (nonexistent) hook with wedding things, I’ve been organizing and making Excel spreadsheets for every aspect of the wedding (my life is brought to you by Excel), and I’m working on ramping up for training for my 10k. Needless to say, this week has been all about fast and easy meals. Actually, it is pretty much always about fast and easy meals for me. I’m heading to Vegas on Friday for my bachelorette party (!!!!!) so healthy meals are key this week (really they are key every week).  I need to save my calories for the many, many martinis I’m sure I will consume this weekend (kidding abotu saving calories…not kidding about the martinis though!). This is one of my favorite fast and easy meals because it keeps me full for hours, is super quick to cook up, and makes awesome leftovers. I haven’t made it in awhile and don’t remember why I never posted about it the first time I made it so I figured, better late than never!. I can’t claim credit for this recipe – that goes to the hilarious and wonderful Mama Pea over at Peas and Thank You.  Try it out for a busy weeknight and enjoy the leftovers all week long!


I hope everyone has a good rest of the week and weekend!! I will be in Vegas all weekend with my bridesmaids engaging in many shenanigans. Recap to come next week!!

P.S. I’m thinking of including more life/fitness topics on the blog – would anyone be interested???

Gluten-free Vegan Orange Tempeh Stir-Fry

Yields: 4-6 servings

Adapted from: Peas and Thank You

1 package of gluten-free tempeh (Make sure you check the label! Roasted tofu is also really great in this recipe)

3/4 c. orange juice

2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated

1 Tbsp. gluten-free soy sauce or tamari

1 tsp. sesame oil

2 small cloves minced garlic

4 cups cooked brown rice (or quinoa!)

your choice of veggies. Here are some of my favorites:

-broccoli

– carrots

-tomatoes

-peas

pickled green beans

1. Prep all of your veggies!

2. Grate or crumble tempeh into a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Cook for 5-7 minutes until it’s nice and toasted.

3. Whisk together remaining ingredients (minus veggies and rice) in a small bowl.  If you like a thicker sauce, you can whisk in 1 Tbsp. of cornstarch.

4. Crank up the heat to high. You want that pan super hot! Add your veggies to your tempeh and stir fry until just cooked through.

5. Add sauce to stir-fry and cook for another minute or two, just so the sauce thickens slightly.

6. Serve over brown rice or other grain and garnish with some fresh thai basil.