Sustenence Sweet Potato Stew

Sustenence Stew from The Perfect Blend Cookbook by Tess Masters

Crazy weather we’ve been having here lately… one day we’re eating a sunny lunch on a patio and the next five nights we’re curled up at home trying to stay warm during torrential downpours. I SO wish I was one of those people who finds rainstorms to be cozy and calming but I’m quite the opposite. Storms may get me a little edgy and nervous, but what does calm me down is making a stew like this one.

This recipe comes from my friend Tess (a.k.a. The Blender Girl)’s new cookbook The Perfect Blend. This stew is everything you want on a cold January night – as its name suggests, it’s hearty and comforting. It’s also healthy and healing because it’s packed with a kitchen sink full of vegetables – sweet potatoes, broccoli, swiss chard, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, and more. At first glance, the ingredient list looks like my go-to veggie stew formula, but what puts this one over the top is the generous scoop of almond butter that goes in toward the end – it’s a genius secret ingredient that make this stew taste extra rich, while also adding a bit of protein.

Sustenence Stew from The Perfect Blend Cookbook by Tess Masters

Tess suggests serving this stew over cauliflower rice. I’ve included the instructions with the recipe below, but I have to tell you that I skipped that step and just served this on its own. It was plenty filling and it yielded tons of leftovers which I’ve been eating for lunch ever since. This recipe comes together in roughly 30 minutes, so it’s a great healthy weeknight option.

Sustenence Stew from The Perfect Blend Cookbook by Tess Masters

If you’re looking to get healthier in the new year, I definitely recommend this book. It’s entirely vegan and gluten free and the recipes are super creative. On my list to try is her Greedy Green Curry, Jazzy Jackfruit Enchiladas and her Lick-your-plate-lasagna.

What’s truly unique is the way she’s organized the book. The recipes are grouped into sections like Energy, Immunity, Detox, Protein, Weight Loss, Anti-Inflamatory, Low Carb, Probiotic Promoting and Feed the Soul. In each section she talks about vegetables and herbs that are helpful for various ailments – it’s filled with fascinating information whether you’re new to plant-based eating or you’re a well seasoned veggie cook.

The Perfect Blend Cookbook by Tess Masters Click here to get the book!

*Photo #2 of the final dish is by: Anson Smart

Buckwheat, Apple, Cranberry Avocado Salad

Buckwheat, Apple, Cranberry Avocado Salad

Oh hi – long time no post. Last week, I was a bit sick and down for the count, to say the least. This week, I’m on a healing bender. I have my blender working overtime with crazy green smoothies made with ginger, turmeric and every herb that I’ve read about that contains immune-building qualities. I’m trying to eat lighter and brighter as well because I really do believe that plants can heal.

Which brings me to this recipe from Blissful Basil, a cookbook that couldn’t have arrived at a better time. If you don’t follow Ashley’s blog of the same name, you must! She has the most gorgeous recipes that you can feel great about eating.

In her book, she shares her story about dealing with anxiety as well as other health issues, and how she came to learn that a plant-based diet was just the thing that made her health thrive. The book is filled with 100 creative veggie recipes like Sloppy Shiitakes (her veggie take on a sloppy Joe), Triple Noodle Power Pad Thai, Vegan Snickerdoodle Cookie Bars, to name a few. (I’ve bookmarked practically the whole book).

Buckwheat, Apple, Cranberry Avocado Salad

But today’s recipe is this simple, delightful, hearty, lemon-y salad that I just love. Despite its name, buckwheat is actually a gluten-free grain. I had never cooked with buckwheat groats and I have to tell you that I’m obsessed. They take only about 10 minutes to make and they’re similar in texture to farro or wheatberries. The hearty, chewy bite is just so wonderful in this salad. This recipe makes for either a great packable lunch or a delicious dinner, if you just add whatever protein you like served on the side.

How pretty is her book cover? Vegan pizza here I come:

The Blissful Basil Cookbook

I also have my eye on these Pulled Hearts of Palm Tamales with Chipotle Cream and Pinapple Pico de Gallo:

The Blissful Basil Cookbook A Giveaway: Ashley is so kindly offering a copy of the book to give away – leave a comment to enter! A winner will be chosen at random on Friday. (U.S. and Canadian addresses only)

Or click here to get your copy right now!

My favorite healthy recipes

Spiralized Daikon "Rice Noodle" Bowl

It’s January, which is like Christmas here in healthy food blogger land. Green smoothies, fresh bowls of vegetables, and hearty stews are all over social media. There’s not a cookie in sight and we don’t care because gorgeous healthy food is in abundance.

For me, eating lighter doesn’t require juice cleanses or food fasts. I don’t like to feel hungry or deprived so instead I turn to recipes like these, a collection of my personal favorite plant-forward recipes that are both delicious and satisfying. (Click on the links OR the photos themselves to go directly to the recipes).

Spiralized Daikon “Rice Noodle” Bowl (pictured above)

If I wasn’t constantly working on new recipes, I would keep the components for this bowl prepped and ready at all times so I eat this every single day. The “noodles” here are made with spiralized daikon which have a wonderful crisp texture. There’s a tangy tamari-lime sauce and a creamy cashew sauce to serve on the side. I know, two sauces sounds like extra work, but I just mixed some of sauce #1 with cashew butter, and voila – 2 sauces. The first sauce is very light, and the creamy cashew sauce is rich, so they work together nicely.

Delicata Squash Kale Salad

Delicata Squash Kale Salad 

This is a hearty salad for cold winter days. Roasted delicata squash, roasted chickpeas, and roasted red onions are served on top of massaged kale and nutty farro with a rich maple tahini sauce. Feel free to use any roasted winter squash that you have.

Sesame Broccoli and Shiitake Stir Fry

Sesame Broccoli and Shiitake Stir Fry

This dinner is so quick and satisfying. But what I love most about it is that it uses not just broccoli florets, but also the stem of the broccoli. It feels wasteful to toss the biggest part of the vegetable. Instead, try chopping the broccoli stem into thin pieces and using it in recipes like this one.

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Cauliflower Steaks with Romesco Sauce

I love this as a vegetarian main dish. A slab of cauliflower can be SO filling, especially when served with this hearty, tangy chickpea romesco sauce.

Chickpea Cauliflower & Tomato Stew

Chickpea Cauliflower & Tomato Stew

I don’t think this recipe got as much love as it should have. I accidentally posted this one last year during that week when the price of cauliflower had suddenly shot up. I absolutely love this stew and it’s been a favorite in my family’s dinner rotation. It’s packed with kale, kale stems, cauliflower, tomatoes, herb and chickpeas. Stir in a little Hemp Seed & Kale Pesto and it’s the perfect healthy winter meal.

Lemon Pesto Spaghetti Squash

Lemon Pesto Spaghetti Squash

After you make the Cauliflower Stew (above), save the leftover kale pesto and top it onto this delicious lemony spaghetti squash the next night. So simple, so delicious.

Rainbow Bowls with Almond Ginger Dressing

Rainbow Bowls with Almond Ginger Dressing

This recipe also made it on our Top Recipes of 2016 list – I’m putting it on this list as well because it’s such an easy and versatile way to eat tons of veggies.

Heidi's Spicy Green Soup

Heidi’s Spicy Green Soup

While I can’t take credit for this one (it’s from Heidi Swanson’s book Near and Far), it’s still in my regular rotation. This is the quickest soup I have ever made, but I love it because it packs a spicy green punch (hence the name). A total win win in my opinion.

Spring Broccolini & Kale Quinoa Bowls

Spring Broccolini & Kale Quinoa Bowls

I make a version of this bowl all the time. This one is specifically spring-themed, but toss some sweet potatoes in here and it works for winter just as well.

Ok, I’ve shared my go-to healthy recipes, let me know what some of yours are!

9 Tips for a Healthy & Happy New Year

9 Tips for a Healthy & Happy New Year

This post is sponsored by Burt’s Bees. All words and photos are my own. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that keep us cooking!

Happy New Year! This is usually the post where I would list some sort of New Year’s Resolution… but today instead of talking about how I wish I would floss more or how I’m going to hit the gym more regularly (spoiler alert: I’m not), I thought I’d share some of the small things that make me feel happy and healthy throughout ANY week, new year’s or not.

9 Tips for a Healthy & Happy New Year

1. Start the day on a healthy note.

I find that when I have something healthy in the morning it sets me up to make mindful food choices throughout the day. I often make smoothies but right now I’m loving Burt’s Bees™ new Protein + Healthy Radiance Shake. It’s especially wonderful for those mornings when I need something quick and don’t want to make a fruity mess out of the kitchen. I’ve been a fan of their products for years, (I swear by their lip balm!). This protein powder is packed with everything necessary to fuel up in the morning: 15 grams of plant-based protein, 4.5 servings of fruits & veggies.* It’s made with ingredients like pea protein, flaxseed and sunflower seeds. It’s dairy-free, gluten free, and it’s naturally sweetened with honey, monkfruit extract, and Stevia leaf extract.

9 Tips for a Healthy & Happy New Year

2. Find exercise in everyday routine.

It’s the new year and I’m probably the only person who just quit the gym! My favorite way to “work out” is to find ways to move within my daily activities. Jack and I like to take walks around our city or hike to the farmers market on Saturdays. Of course these walks are weather permitting – when I lived in Chicago, I’d take the stairs up to class instead of waiting for the elevator.

9 Tips for a Healthy & Happy New Year

3. Sign up for a CSA Box

This is the easiest way to incorporate more vegetables into your life. It’ll also get you out of your cooking rut because you’ll be forced to try new produce. Don’t be scared when you get kohlrabi – I’ve got you covered.

9 Tips for a Healthy & Happy New Year

4. Prep ahead for weekday lunches.

Make grain salads or kale salads ahead of time for weekday lunches. Here are a few that are sturdy enough to sit in the fridge for a few days without wilting:

Spring Broccolini and Kale Quinoa Bowls
Roasted Delicata Squash Kale Salad
Maple Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Farro
Kale Salad with Avocado Tahini Sauce

9 Tips for a Healthy & Happy New Year

5. Set aside time to be creative.

Over the years, I’ve learned that I do my best work during the late morning. You might be a late-night person, but my mind is the most clear during the morning hours of the day. I use this time to get my most important work done. Mindless photo-editing, emails, and other busy-work tasks can wait until later, but I try to tackle my more creative projects at this time with my computer’s internet browser closed. These projects may include a book proposal, a plan for next month’s recipes, or really just anything that requires new fresh ideas.

9 Tips for a Healthy & Happy New Year

6. Keep healthy snacks on hand.

No-Bake Almond Oatmeal Bites, chopped vegetables with hummus, or tamari roasted almonds (find them in most bulk sections), are a few of my favorites.

9 Tips for a Healthy & Happy New Year

7. Try a new healthy restaurant in your town. (bonus if you walk there!)

I’m pretty sure no one else’s new year’s guide involves eating out more. I obviously love to cook but when I get burnt out, I like to try new restaurants to collect new recipe inspiration. In Austin, some of my healthy favorites are: The Steeping Room, Snap Kitchen, True Food Kitchen, Piknik, and Casa De Luz.

9 Tips for a Healthy & Happy New Year

8. Take a break for fresh air in the afternoon.    

Since I work from home, it’s easy to plunk myself in front of the computer without getting up for hours. I try to make a point to get up and stretch or move around every hour, but I also love to get up and out in the afternoon. Even a 10 minute walk in the neighborhood helps me clear my head and make room for new ideas.

9 Tips for a Healthy & Happy New Year

When life gets stressful, I love to calm down by making soup. Chopping vegetables is so cathartic. Simmering and tasting soup as it cooks is comforting and cozy, and the finished product is so healthy and nourishing. Next time life gets hard, drop that chocolate bar and try making soup!

These are my little New Years tips, what are yours?

*Based on vitamin content. 4.5 servings of fruits and vegetables would be needed to reach 25% Daily Value of Vitamins A, C, E, K and the B vitamins listed on the Nutrition Facts Panel.

Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Waaaay back at the beginning of this blog, I posted this Cauliflower & Leek Soup that is still one of our most popular recipes. I used cashews to make it creamy without actual cream, but since then I’ve realized that blended cauliflower can become SO creamy and delicious all by itself. Sometimes less is more and I just love the pure simple flavor of this all-vegetable soup.

I start by roasting the whole cauliflower – florets, cores, greens and all. Waste not want not! I also roast shallots and garlic before blending it all with a bit of miso, dijon mustard, lemon juice, and thyme for flavor. As always, the soup tastes better the second day so it’s a perfect make-ahead meal. This one is sure to be on our rotation all winter long.

Happy souping!

Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup