Over Christmas I spent time digging through my mom’s recipe books. Dozens and dozens of hand-written recipe cards took me back through the many meals that were staples growing up as well as special occasion dishes we’d have now and again. I found recipes from grandmothers, great grandmothers, aunts, and neighbors through the years that have all the trappings of my heritage, so I took snapshots of as much as possible and I’m cooking my way through them in 2015.

The first thing I made as soon as I got home was my grandmother Naomi’s Hot Garlic Potato Soup. The winter weather has been dreary, plus I’ve been fighting off a cold, so this soup was an ideal dish. The red pepper and garlic give it a hot kick that clears your head, while the creaminess of the potato and kefir are beyond comforting. The original recipe calls for sour cream, but I swapped in plain kefir because it is equally sour but much healthier. The dairy and chicken stock mean this recipe isn’t totally vegetarian, but it’s close enough for me. I froze a bunch of individual servings for quick and hearty lunches over the next few weeks. Naomi is best known in my family for her sugar cookies, but this recipe gives me a new appreciation for her way with vegetables.

Hot Garlic Potato Soup

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 6 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ to 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 – 4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped (more if desired)
  • 1 cup cabbage, diced
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup plain kefir (or sour cream)
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper

In a large pot, melt butter and sauté onion and garlic until onion is tender. Add red pepper flakes and sauté 1 minute more. Add potatoes, celery, cabbage, and chicken broth. Simmer 15 minutes until vegetables are crisp tender, longer if you prefer. Remove 2 cups of cooked vegetables and combine with milk, flour, and kefir. Puree in blender or mash with a fork until well blended. Stir mixture back into the pot with other vegetables. Add salt and pepper and heat until hot, not boiling.

What are your favorite heirloom recipes to make during the winter?

 

*image via Food52

7

Meatless Monday: Roasted Chickpeas

Roasted Chickpeas

Since doing the Whole30 (and failing at it—my body panicked and my doctor took me off of it early) last spring, I’ve been in a constant search for easy snacks that also don’t cost a ton. Add into that equation that I can’t have gluten (and GF crackers are EXPENSIVE) or sugar (rules out my go-to apple and nut butter), plus that I get a little sick of just eating raw veggies when I need something crunchy, and I’m in a conundrum.

Then, in chatting with my younger sister who’s on a very similar diet, I rediscovered the chickpea. Long have I touted its blended greatness in hummus and its yummy addition to salads, but I hadn’t fully contemplated its ability to satisfy my savory, salty need for potato chips (any other GF-ers have this? I hated chips growing up, but now they feel like a treat!). I was on a nut-roasting roll for a while, but honestly, that got a little expensive for my modest budget when I factored in my husband’s snacking rate.

Chickpeas have become my perfect in between solution: Inexpensive, good for me, easy to grab, easy to make and delicious.

The little chickpea packs a big nutritional punch: It’s full of fiber, which your body needs to help get rid of the junk in your digestive system, and it’s a healthy dose of protein—great for vegetarians, vegans and meatless Monday try-ers alike! Chickpeas can also help boost your energy because of their iron content (hello, 2 p.m. snack), and they can help stabilize your blood sugar, making you less likely to feel sluggish than if you reached for caffeine or sugar come mid-afternoon.

My go-to for adding this into my diet has been to satisfy that salty, crunchy need, so I’ve been roasting my chickpeas for an on-the-go snack. Here’s the super easy recipe I’ve been using:

Ingredients

  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • Olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • Large baking pan
  • Paper towel
  • Strainer

Directions

Preheat the over to 325 degrees F.

Lay two paper towels on your baking pan.

Pour your chickpeas out of their can and into your strainer. Rinse them well, to get the gooey water off of them.

Dump the chickpeas on the paper towels on the baking pan. Dry them off with another paper towel on top, picking off the shell-like pieces that will likely come off when the chickpeas are rolled around. Get them mostly dry and them slide the paper towels out, leaving the beans on the pan; toss the paper towels.

Pour your olive oil over your dried chickpeas and then roll them around with your hands until they’re mostly covered in the oil.

Sprinkle your desired amount of salt and cayenne atop the chickpeas and stick them in the over for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, shake them to mix them up. Put them back in the oven for another 20 minutes, checking frequently to make sure they aren’t burning. You’ll know they’re done when they’re crunchy all the way through (not chewy).

I’ve also added fresh herbs (coconut oil + cayenne + salt + fresh rosemary = heaven) to this recipe, but this is the simplest form I’ve used—and I keep going back to it!

Easy, right? Have you made roasted chickpeas? What other meatless Monday snacks do you stock up on?

image via Martha Stewart

We are just a few days away from Thanksgiving here in the U.S. For many of us, that means sharing a meal with those we love the most, or at least with good company. Thanksgiving can also mean cooking, lots and lots of cooking. In the lead up to all that cooking and feasting, you still have to eat. So while the Internet is in full-on Thanksgiving inspiration mode, I’d like to share a no-fuss recipe for roasted cabbage. You can prepare this quickly and have it on hand for easy eating and snacking while you’re rushing around prepping for the holiday. After you taste it, you might even want to add it to your Thanksgiving table. Roasted cabbage is so simple, so humble, yet so satisfying. If it has never occurred to you to roast it, or if you typically think cabbage is boring, just try this.

Food can get complicated, a little tedious, and way indulgent around the holidays. Roasted cabbage is my antidote.

Roasted with a bit of ghee or olive oil and plenty of sea salt, cabbage transforms into something deeply comforting and savory. When roasted, bits of the cabbage caramelize and some get a little crunchy, adding great texture and flavor. Roasted cabbage tastes a little bit like roasted Brussels sprouts, but more mild. I like to roast it all at once and store it in the fridge for a ready to go addition to almost any meal. I also love having a bowl of roasted cabbage as a snack. No joke — it’s so good, I’ll eat it straight out of the fridge cold. I acknowledge that it might seem odd to just nosh on roasted cabbage, but that’s kind of my style. There are so many ways to spice it up, though. Toss it with feta, cranberries and walnuts. Serve it atop brown rice with some shredded chicken and a bit of ponzu sauce or tzatziki. Make some roasted cabbage and black bean tacos. Add it as a simple side to any main dish.

How to Roast Cabbage

  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Cut one head of green cabbage in half. Cut out the core. Shred each half in thin strips. You can store half in the fridge if you don’t want to prepare it all at once. It will keep crisp for a while if sealed in a ziplock bag. (Note: the cabbage in the photo is not shredded — it’s not easy to find a pretty picture of shredded cabbage. I prefer shredded, but slicing the whole cabbage into thicker rounds will do fine. You’ll need to increase cooking time, though, and flip midway through cooking.)
  • Toss shredded cabbage in olive oil or melted ghee. Use just enough to coat the cabbage.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the cabbage in a single layer on the pan. You may need two baking sheets depending on the amount of cabbage.
  • Sprinkle liberally with sea salt.
  • Roast in the oven at 400 degrees. Cabbage should be fully roasted in 20-30 minutes, but you can let it go longer if you want a more caramelized finish. I pull mine from the oven when it looks blistered with some browned edges.

Cabbage, it turns out, is not a bad thing to crave. It is seriously nutrient dense. Offering a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals, why not ditch your multi-vitamin from the bottle and eat cabbage instead? Cabbage provides you with most of your daily vitamin K requirement, and it has more vitamin C than oranges — giving you at least 50 percent of what you need in a day. It’s a great source of fiber, vitamin B6, folic acid, manganese, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and potassium. It’s also relatively cheap. A sizable head of cabbage costs a few dollars and can be stretched into several meals depending on how many you’re feeding. #winning

 

Image via Martha Stewart

No doubt about it, the coconut has reached cult status in health circles. Take the market for coconut water, for example, which went from almost nonexistent to worth $400 million and growing in a handful of years. The NMDL set would probably argue that the real star is coconut oil. Whether you’re smearing it on your skin or baking with it in the kitchen, you probably have a good sense for how coconut oil works for you. It’s familiar now, a no-brainer. That’s why I was quite curious when I ran across another coconut product at the grocery store last year — coconut butter.

The coconut version of peanut or almond butter? Yes! Unfortunately, the single serving packet of coconut butter I discovered at the store was over $4. It felt a little extravagant somehow, maybe because I’d already placed a $6 bar of fair trade, organic chocolate in my basket. So I got the bright idea to make my own coconut butter. Turns out, all you really need is raw shredded coconut and a food processor or blender. So I set that single serving packet back on the shelf, moseyed over to the bulk dry goods bins and bagged up a pound of shredded coconut for less than $5. Best idea ever.

Three reasons to love coconut butter:

  • Coconut butter includes the whole flesh of the coconut, so you’re getting protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are not found in the oil alone.
  • One tablespoon of coconut butter has 3 grams of fiber. That’s good for the tummy.
  • Coconut butter is about 60% oil, so you’re getting the health benefits of coconut oil, including the boost to your immune system thanks to lauric acid, and the energy that comes with eating healthy fats.

Three ways to use coconut butter besides eating by the spoonful:

  • Split a ripe banana, smear coconut butter on each half, sprinkle with raw cacao nibs, a pinch of sea salt and eat either open-faced or like a sandwich.
  • Add it to a smoothie. Bananas, mango, or avocado all make good pairings.
  • Spread on top of a waffle for a quick snack. I love buckwheat toaster waffles as a great gluten-free alternative.

For the perfect coconut butter recipe (it’s more of a tutorial), check out this post from the Kitchn.

What are your favorite ways to eat coconut butter? Would you make your own or buy it?

 

Hot smoothie what? Yes, it sounds a little weird, but stick with us on this one. The Chalkboard Mag is one of our go-to sources for great recipes and information on wellness. This recipe caught our attention because it’s chock full of good-for-you ingredients, but it can also satisfy that longing for a warm, sweet cup of hot cocoa that some of us may indulge in more than we’d like to admit during the cold dark winter mornings. Check out the recipe below and read more about the Cozy Hot Chocolate Smoothie over on the Chalkboard Mag.

INGREDIENTS

1 ripe banana
1 1/2 tsp raw cacao powder
1 tsp chia seeds
1 vanilla bean, halved and seeded
2 ripe dates, pitted (medjool or halawi work well, or substitute some honey if preferred)
1 cup boiling water, or tea of your choice
1/2 tsp cinnamon, plus a pinch for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Be sure to let boiling water or tea cool slightly, and pour in carefully! Blend until smooth, garnish with the leftover vanilla bean pod and a pinch of cinnamon, and enjoy!

Thanks for the inspiration Chalkboard Mag! OK, your turn. Tell us where you get your Meatless Monday ideas.