Sustenance 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!

2016 Cookbook Gift Guide

2016 Cookbook Gift Guide

Like I say year after year – I think cookbooks make the best gifts! Here’s my official 2016 list. Some titles you may recognize because I’ve featured them here throughout the year, and some you’ll likely hear more about very soon. You might also want to check out my 2014 and 2015 lists because there are some favorites on those lists as well. As always, be sure to list your recommendations in the comments – I always love hearing about new books!

Click the books in the photo above or in the links below to check them out!

The Love & Lemons Cookbook by yours truly
Another shameless plug to put our cookbook on your wishlist and/or to remind you that it would make a great gift 🙂  It features over 100 vegetarian (many vegan) recipes that you won’t find here on the website. It’s organized by fruits & vegetable from A-Z (Apples to Zucchini) – a perfect gift for the veggie lover in your life!

Ingredienti by Marcella and Victor Hazan
This one isn’t actually a cookbook, but I’m in love with this charming book anyway. Based on the handwritten notebooks left behind from the late Marcella Hazan (author of legendary books on Italian cooking such as Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking), it’s a book about ingredients and how Marcella recommends that you select and simply prepare them. “Don’t think so much about what else you can put into a recipe. What you keep out is just as important as what you put in.” The book is based on sixty years of her daily visits to the  market and the notes are lovingly transcribed by her husband Victor. A must-have if you love vegetables and Italian grandmothers.

Naturally Delicious by Danny Seo
This book is at the top of my stack right now. If you are like me and you love healthy plant-forward recipes, this book is for you. Although it’s not vegetarian there are some really creative vegetable recipes, many are gluten free and grain free. I have my eye on the Red Hibiscus Gazpacho, Saffron Cauliflower “Rice” Paella, and the Flourless Double-Chocolate Cauliflower Brownies. I know “cauliflower brownies” sounds kind of scary but I’m SO fascinated to try!

The Forest Feast Gatherings by Erin Gleeson
I LOVED Erin’s first book, but I want to tell you that I really really love this followup. It’s packed with even more glorious graphics and gorgeous watercolor recipe illustrations. This is a great holiday hostess gift or a great one to pick up before the holidays for a little entertaining inspiration. Also, check out The Forest Feast for Kids – an adorable cookbook for the little ones!

Small Victories by Julia Turshen
I wrote about Julia Turshen’s lovely book in this post along with a recipe for her delicious Afternoon Cake recipe. What I love about this book is that each recipe gives at least 3 variations of how to tweak the recipe to make it completely new. It’s full of creative ideas and tips (small victories) – a great book for beginner cooks and avid home cooks alike.

Molly on the Range by Molly Yeh
The hilarious book from my blog pal Molly is not only filled with funfetti and mac & cheese flow charts, but check out these Cauliflower Shawarma Tacos that we made that we absolutely loved.

Sweeter off the Vine by Yossy Arefi
I follow Yossy of the blog Apt. 2 Baking Co. on Instagram and regularly drool over her gorgeous pies, cakes, and gorgeous galettes. If you want to bake like she does, I recommend picking up her book. It’s organized seasonally by fruit – a great resource for baking with the seasons. I’m excited to try her Cranberry Bread Pudding for the holidays.

How to Celebrate Everything by Jenny Rosenstrach
“How to Celebrate Everything” includes recipes for Christmas, New Year, but most importantly, every holiday in between (birthday mornings, a bus-stop social, pasta night with friends). I wrote more about Jenny’s wonderful book in this post. It’s an encouraging book to create family rituals and to find meaning in the connectedness of day-to-day family life.

Alternative Baker by Alanna Taylor-Tobin
If you’re gluten free and you love to bake, you need this book. Heck, even if you’re not gluten free, you’ll love her amazing uses of unconventional flours to enhance the flavors (and nutritional value) of the recipes. Think Buckwheat Double Chocolate Cookies, Mesquite Gingersnaps buckwheat chocolate cookies, and this Pumpkin Cranberry Nut & Seed Loaf that’s become a regular in this house. I especially love how she gives options to make her pie and tart crusts vegan by using coconut oil.

Chickpea Flour Does It All by Lindsay Love
I’m sure many of you read the popular blog Dolly and Oatmeal – I just adore Lindsay’ls recipes. As the title suggests, every recipe in this book uses chickpea flour – from savory recipes (we loved her Chickpea Flour Pizza with Asparagus) to sweet, this is a great resource if you’re looking for allergy-friendly cooking and baking.

Oh She Glows Every Day by Angela Liddon
I’ve been a fan of Angela’s blog long before I started mine. I loved her first book and her second book is an absolute must-have! Soups, smoothies, salads, hearty vegan entrees and more. This would be a great book to pick up before Christmas because she has an entire chapter devoted to vegan cookies! We made these Chocolate-Dipped Vanilla Bean Macaroons and they were delicious. I also made her Peanut Butter Lover’s Chocolate Tart and could not believe it was vegan!

Modern Potluck by Kristen Donnelley
Entertaining can be SO much work which is why I love Kristen’s book. Instead of taking on all the hostess responsibilities yourself, why not throw a pot luck? This book is full of creative, foolproof, crowd pleasing recipes. I especially love how each recipe comes with make-ahead preparation and storage tips. Check out the delicious No-Bake Sweet Pea Enchiladas that we made.

What books are on your list?

2016 Cookbook Gift Guide

Julia Turshen’s Afternoon Lemon Cake

Julia Turshen's Afternoon Lemon Cake

“This not-too-sweet, very simple cake is perfect for that ‘it’s four o’clock and I need a little something with a cup of coffee’ moment,” says Julia Turshen about this recipe and I completely agree. I’ve had a little slice of this every day this week and it’s been delightful.

This recipe comes from the book Small Victories. If think you’re not familiar with Julia Turshen’s work, you probably actually are – she’s co-authored books with Gweneth Paltrow and Mario Batali, to name a few. During the month of November, she’s teaming up with a bunch of bloggers to share recipes and help raise money for No Kid Hungry’s Friendsgiving program.

She writes: “This cookbook, like most cookbooks, assumes that whoever is reading it has access to food and not only the desire, but also the time, energy, and means to cook. How great would it be if that were the case for everyone? I firmly believe that if you have the privilege of eating however much you want whenever you want, you should spend some time ensuring that others have the same opportunity.” You can click here to read more about it and give a little something!

Julia Turshen's Afternoon Lemon Cake Julia Turshen's Afternoon Lemon Cake

What I love about the recipes in Small Victories is that Julia has spin-off ideas for every recipe (I know how all of you love recipe options and I do too!). Her original Afternoon Cake recipe calls for orange, but since she said any citrus would work, I went with lemon… for obvious reasons.

Each recipe also comes with a little tip (the titular small victory). Here’s a tip she shared for cutting parchment paper to fit in a round pan, which is much easier than the way I used to do it:

Julia Turshen's Afternoon Lemon Cake

Rip off a piece of parchment that’s a bit bigger than your pan. Fold it into a square then fold it in half to make a triangle and fold it in half again to make an even more narrow triangle. Place the tip of the triangle in the center of the pan. Use scissors to cut off the excess parchment that extends beyond the pan. Unfold the parchment and, voila, you have a perfect circle that fits into your pan.

Julia Turshen's Afternoon Lemon Cake Julia Turshen's Afternoon Lemon Cake Click here to check out this sweet book 🙂

Small Victories by Julia Turshen

Chocolate-Dipped Vanilla Bean Macaroons

Chocolate-Dipped Vanilla Bean Macaroons from the Oh She Glows Everyday Cookbook

Truth: I have a hard time writing cookie posts without getting up to eat at least one. two. For this reason I usually like to post salads and other lighter foods on Mondays, but I’m switching things up today because sometimes you just need a #cookiemonday and that’s ok.

Chocolate-Dipped Vanilla Bean Macaroons from the Oh She Glows Everyday Cookbook Chocolate-Dipped Vanilla Bean Macaroons from the Oh She Glows Everyday Cookbook

These macaroons are more cookie-like than most macaroons. They’re made with (of course) lots of shredded coconut but they also have ground-up almonds, cinnamon, maple syrup, vanilla, and coconut butter. These are pretty substantial cookies which make them a terrific afternoon snack.

This recipe is from Angela Liddon’s new book, Oh She Glows Every Day. I’m sure you all have it by now, right? If you don’t and you’re vegan (and even if you’re not), you’re going to love it. It’s packed with SO MANY yummy vegan recipes and some especially show-stopping desserts. There’s even an entire chapter devoted to vegan cookies because Angela is a girl after my own heart.

I have to tell you – I loved these cookies warm out of the oven even before adding the chocolate. So if you’re short on time, you can bake these off and stop there. If not, get messy and melt some chocolate:

Chocolate-Dipped Vanilla Bean Macaroons from the Oh She Glows Everyday Cookbook

First dip the base of the macaroon into the chocolate, then freeze them just long enough for the chocolate to harden:

Chocolate-Dipped Vanilla Bean Macaroons from the Oh She Glows Everyday Cookbook

Flip them over and drizzle the tops with chocolate and TRY to make yours a little prettier than the mess I made here:

Chocolate-Dipped Vanilla Bean Macaroons from the Oh She Glows Everyday Cookbook Oh She Glows Everyday Cookbook

Usually this is the part of the post where I show you a recipe that I’m going to make next… but this time I’m showing you this awesome chocolate tart because I made it and it’s awesome. A few leftover slices are in my freezer waiting for a special occasion where I haven’t already eaten 2 macaroons after lunch.

Oh She Glows Everyday Cookbook Get the book!