Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

We sold our house yesterday. In case you haven’t heard, Jack and I are moving(!?), and lately I’ve been feeling a really mixed bag of emotions about it. We left Austin a few weeks ago and are spending the summer temporarily in Chicago (living with my parents – so glamorous!) until we find a new place to call home. We’re excited for a new adventure, but of course, it’s always sad leaving homes and friends (and kitchens! aahh, what am I doing!) behind. Don’t worry, the blog isn’t going anywhere – I have tons of new recipes and other special projects in the works. I’ve been cooking up a storm here in my mom’s kitchen, which is especially helpful because she washes all the dishes in my wake :). Hi, my name is Jeanine and I’m 38 going on 12.

So… umm… it’s cake time! I’m not sure it’s celebration cake or sadness cake, but either way – it’s cake! I’m not always big on desserts, but sometimes I just need some “it’s-all-going-to-be-ok” chocolate cake.

Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

This recipe comes from the new book Simple Fare: Spring/Summer by Karen Mordechai of Sunday Suppers, whom I’ve been a fan of for years. Karen describes this cake as “a balance of sweet and savory.” I have to say – this one is for all of you dark chocolate lovers out there. It’s not overly sweet, but it’s deeply chocolate-y. The olive oil gives it a rich flavor but the cake itself is surprisingly light. She tops it with cardamom whipped cream (the recipe is below), but I used some whipped coconut cream that I had on hand instead.

Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

The book is a gorgeous oversized cookbook that feels like an art book. The book is apyly titled “Spring/Summer” as the recipes are highly seasonal (a Fall/Winter volume is coming later). At first glance, the recipes seem very simple (hence the name of the book!) but dig in and you’ll see that each recipe includes 2 or 3 clever “market variations” where Karen suggests altering just a few ingredients to change the recipe’s flavor profile. The book isn’t vegetarian, but there are a lot of vegetable-based recipes (not so many vegan ones), and overall tons of inspiration. I love the way Karen describes her collection of recipes: “food as it should be: nuanced, bright and gorgeous.”

Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

I can hardly wait to have a coffee table again so I can display this beauty 🙂

Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

Kathryne’s Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Kathryne's Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

I often get asked “How did you start your blog?” and “Do you have any tips for me if I’m just getting started?” I’m not very good at answering these questions, particularly the second one because what worked for me in 2011 when I started my blog is probably outdated today.

But I do have one tip that will stand the test of time: Make good blog friends.

I’ll never forget the week I started my blog (waaaay back in 2011). Jack and I had worked really hard to choose recipes, learn to take flattering pictures of food (harder than you think!), and design/program a good looking website. We made the website live and I wondered if my mom would be our only reader.

One day, while Jack was trying to explain to me how Twitter works, there was a sudden “BLEEP” from my computer… someone had tagged me in a tweet that said “Love and Lemons is love at first sight,” and it was from an account called Cookie and Kate. 30 seconds later, “bleep bleep bleep bleep bleep”… re-tweets and messages started flashing in and I squealed with both Tweety confusion and excitement that this blog thing was going to work. Of course, there would be years and mountains of (mostly free) work ahead of me before I could call this labor of love a job… but it had to start somewhere, little by little. In my case, this start was initiated by one kind soul who was the first to share a slice of her readership with me.

Kathryne's Peanut Butter Chip Cookies Kathryne's Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Fast forward to now… Cookie and Kate has become one of my favorite vegetarian blogs to read and Kathryne has become one of my very best blog friends. If you aren’t following her blog, you should – she makes delicious, attainable vegetarian food and her first cookbook, Love Real Food, is a real stunner. I’ve read it cover to cover and I have one tip for you: don’t read it while you’re hungry! I drooled over recipes like Roasted Eggplant Lasagna, Chickpea Tikka Masala, and Fresh Greek Nachos before stopping at her gorgeous peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.

These cookies are so delicious and SO quick to make. It’s a one bowl recipe that results in decadent, soft pillowy cookies that are lightly crisp on the outside. These little guys contain no flour (so they’re naturally gluten and grain free) and they’re sweetened with coconut sugar. I made my cookies with eggs as the recipe states, but Kathryne also gives a vegan option in the footer of the recipe which I’ll include here as well.

Kathryne's Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

I’ll be making these Greek Nachos with Herbed Tahini this week – yum!

Kathryne's Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Her book is not only gorgeous, but there are also the cutest pictures of her dog Cookie 🙂

Kathryne's Peanut Butter Chip Cookies Kathryne's Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Love Real Food comes out tomorrow – go get yourself a copy!

Laura’s Quinoa & White Bean Risotto

Laura's Quinoa & White Bean Risotto

I’m sure most of you’re already a fan of Laura’s blog, The First Mess. If not, you should be – you’ll love it. Laura and I both started our blogs around the same time, and I’ve been a fan of her creative, plant-based recipes ever since.

I’m so excited to share this recipe from her new cookbook today. The First Mess Cookbook came out last week and I have to tell you – it’s a stunner. I saw an early PDF copy months ago and I not only drooled over every single page, I read it (virtual) cover to cover. I especially loved all of her little tips and tricks, like how she makes homemade almond milk by using almond butter so that no soaking or straining is involved – genius!

You’re gonna want to make everything – Cookies for Breakfast, Savory Ginger Green Onion Crepes, and she even has a recipe for Earl Grey Vegan Tiramisu that I’m dying to try out. Laura has a way of combining ingredients in such unique ways.

Laura's Quinoa & White Bean Risotto

When I finally got the book in my hands, I had a hard time choosing which recipe to share here – so I let Jack choose. He narrowed down his picks to the Creamy Winter Vegetable Stew with Mustard, the Deep Immune Cup of Soup, and this “risotto” recipe. Obviously we picked this one. 🙂

This is a fun twist on risotto. In her book, Laura talks about disappointing quinoa risottos she’s had at restaurants in the past (since quinoa isn’t very creamy), which led her to create this recipe. It mixes a white bean puree into the quinoa to make the risotto rich and creamy. There’s no butter, no cheese, and also… no standing at the stove stirring for a lengthy amount of time like most risottos.

Laura's Quinoa & White Bean Risotto Laura's Quinoa & White Bean Risotto

While it’s not a full-on risotto replacement, it’s so wholesome and delicious. Top it with roasted broccoli and brussels sprouts and you have a warm cozy meal that’s perfect for these remaining chilly spring days. The only thing I added there was a clove of garlic and a bigger squeeze of lemon (for obvious reasons).

Laura's Quinoa & White Bean Risotto

Go get the book!

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!