Heidi’s Spicy Green Soup

Spicy Green Soup from Near & Far by Heidi Swanson

I’ve made this soup three times in the past week and a half.

I know – it’s not quite soup season yet, but you probably still have bunches of summery herbs and this recipe is such a wonderful way to use them. This one comes from Heidi Swanson’s book Near and Far, which has been a favorite in my kitchen since it came out last fall. I just love Heidi’s recipes because they’re so unique and usually very very simple to put together. This one take no longer than 15 minutes and it packs a bright punch of flavor.

Spicy Green Soup from Near & Far by Heidi Swanson Spicy Green Soup from Near & Far by Heidi Swanson

Basil, cilantro, ginger, almonds, lemon… all my favorite things. 🙂 The only slight change I made to the recipe was using lemongrass instead of mint because it’s what I happened to have on hand. This recipe is such a great base for whatever toppings you want to add, see Heidi’s suggestions in the recipe below. The first time, I added brown rice and sliced almonds, the second time a poached egg (heavenly), and this time – soba noodles, green onions, and tofu.

Spicy Green Soup from Near & Far by Heidi Swanson

The book is organized into two sections: recipes that are inspired by Heidi’s home (in Northern California), and those that are inspired by her travels to places such as Morocco, India, Italy, France and Japan. I’m so drawn to this book because we’ve traveled to many of the same places and I just love the way she translates these cuisines so simply and beautifully. All the recipes, by the way, are vegetarian.

Spicy Green Soup from Near & Far by Heidi Swanson

Next, on my list is to try her Pozole recipe, how gorgeous does that look?

Spicy Green Soup from Near & Far by Heidi Swanson Get the book! (click)

10 (Mostly) Healthy After School Snacks

Carrot Quinoa Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

It’s been awhile since I’ve been to school, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate a good 3pm snack. Here are some of my favorite fall treats – for little kids and big kids alike. (Click on the recipe name or the photo itself to go to each recipe)

Carrot Quinoa Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies (pictured above)

A reader favorite – these cookies are packed with so many wholesome ingredients that it’s ok to eat for breakfast… or as a snack any time of the day. Tip: they also freeze well.

Vegan Soft Baked Pretzels

Vegan Soft Baked Pretzels

What kid wouldn’t love coming home to homemade soft baked pretzels? This recipe is also husband approved because, well, my husband Jack was the one who came up with it.

White Bean Dill Dip & Spinach Hemp Seed Pesto

White Bean Dill Dip & Spinach Hemp Seed Pesto

Two of my favorite veggie dips – these are also wonderful as sandwich spreads.

Healthy Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Healthy Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Everyone loves pumpkin in the fall, but these warm cinnamon-spiced muffins filled with big apple chunks are my personal favorite. One (or two) of these with a chai latte = fall afternoon perfection.

No-Bake Almond Butter Oatmeal Bites

No-Bake Almond Butter Oatmeal Bites

These are my go-to snack anytime of the year because they’re quick, easy, and I usually have the ingredients on hand in my pantry.

Fig, Feta & Mint Crostini

Fig, Feta & Mint Crostini

Crostini sounds fancy for a kid’s treat, but figs are in season and these are so easy to put together. For the big (adult-age) kids, serve these with wine.

Vegan Raspberry Coconut Scones

Vegan Raspberry Coconut Scones

These little guys are not only vegan, but they’re gluten free using oats and coconut flour. Last spring we first made these with raspberries, but for fall I’m going to try a version with currants and dried figs.

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Rainbow Smoothies

Any time is a good time for a smoothie. Here are combinations for every color – let your kid pick their favorite!

Vegan Pumpkin Bread

Vegan Pumpkin Bread

It’s that time of the year! Break out your cans of pumpkin and make everything pumpkin, starting with this sweet, soft pumpkin loaf.

Pumpkin Spiced Corn Muffins

Pumpkin Spiced Corn Muffins

I love this version of corn muffins that uses pumpkin in the batter. These are lightly sweet, moist and fluffy – perfect with a bowl of butternut squash chili.

Watermelon Poke Bowls

Watermelon Poke Bowls

There’s a new poke bowl shop in town called Poke Poke, and we’re just a little obsessed. Jack and I have eaten there at least 2x per week since it opened. In fact, as I sit to start writing this post, we’ve just returned from eating lunch there. We might be late to jump on the poke trend, but there’s something so crave-able about these sort of deconstructed sushi bowls. Please tell me that we’re not the only ones that get hooked on the same type of food for weeks on end?

Watermelon Poke Bowls

Even though Poke Poke is close to our house, I wanted to make a version at home to share with all of you. Only I didn’t want to use fish because, well, this is a vegetarian blog. Also, I’m not a big fan of sushi-grade grocery store fish. Enter – watermelon. I first saw the idea here and I was intrigued. While it doesn’t taste like tuna, it sure looks like it. It’s so delicious with this tangy sesame-tamari-lime dressing and all of my favorite poke toppings like pickled ginger, cucumber, furikake (a toasted nori and sesame seed condiment), macadamia nuts and avocado.

It’s so refreshing for the last of these late summer hot days!

Chocolate Avocado Almond Pudding Pops

Chocolate Avocado Almond Pudding Pops

When my sister and I were younger, our goal in life was to catch the ice cream truck. We’d play outside in the yard with our neighbor friends all day until one of us yelled “sshhhhhhhh!!!!” and then we’d all run to opposite ends of the yard to figure out which direction that whimsical sound of The Entertainer was coming from. When we would close in on the truck’s direction, one of us would run I would make my sister run into the house to get money from mom while the rest of us kept a watchful ear to make sure that the winds didn’t carry our ice cream treats into another direction.

We’d get to the truck sweating and out of breath and would always order the same things – I’d get the red, white and blue rocket pop, my sister Karen would get the bar with the crushed nuts. Our neighbor friends would get that teenage mutant ninja turtled ice cream bar with the bubble gum eyes (gross, but to each their own).

More often than not, we’d miss the truck altogether and would have to resort to sub-par house ice cream or, on a GOOD day – pudding pops(!) that were in the freezer all along.

Chocolate Avocado Almond Pudding Pops

I hadn’t had a pudding pop in years until I started making these this summer, and boy did they bring back the memories. In my childhood, frozen things on sticks = life. Except, I promise, these taste SO much better than any pre-packaged pop.

The recipe is a blend of avocados (which will get hidden), almond milk, chocolate, cacao powder, and the ingredient that really makes them rich & decadent – a few tablespoons of almond butter.

Chocolate Avocado Almond Pudding Pops Chocolate Avocado Almond Pudding Pops

And if you’re trying to relive your 80’s childhood like I am, drizzle these with melted chocolate and sprinkle some crushed almonds or pistachios on top.

Rainbow rocket pops: another post??

Chocolate Avocado Almond Pudding Pops

Watermelon Gazpacho

Watermelon Gazpacho

In the past few weeks, I’ve gone from hot Austin, to hot New York, to hot Chicago. I’m currently sitting in my parent’s kitchen in the west suburbs where the breezes have nicely cooled off, but not before I could make this watermelon gazpacho at least a few times. I can’t think of anything as refreshing and hydrating as watermelon so this soup has really hit the spot during these hot summer days. Note that this recipe makes a pretty big batch – I love to keep it in the fridge for quick lunches all week.

Watermelon Gazpacho Watermelon Gazpacho

I always thought watermelon gazpacho seemed like an odd concept, but here’s the thing – when everything is mixed together, this doesn’t actually taste like watermelon. The tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, scallions and herbs make this a savory soup while the watermelon brings a subtle sweetness that nicely balances these flavors. I also snuck in a half of a jalapeño for some spice, but you leave that out if you’re not into spicy things.

Watermelon Gazpacho Watermelon Gazpacho

I usually like my gazpacho really creamy, but this summer I’m just going crazy for this super light version with tons of chopped vegetables mixed in. And like most soups – this one gets better the next day, and even better the day after. It’s also great with a little chopped avocado on top.

Watermelon Gazpacho