Springtime Pesto {Nettles + Ramps O’ My}

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Just two weeks ago I turned 29. That felt a little weird to type or even think about. It’s odd to think I was just 18 when I started this blog. Where in the HECK did the time go? I was just a freshman in college and now I’m married thinking about kids. That provides a whole lot of perspective. I look at my blog and see how my taste in food has evolved over the years. I mean just by looking at the title of this post you can see how much I’ve decided to dip my toes into the ever expanding world of food. Nettles? Ramps? If you asked me 10 years ago what those things were I would have probably shrugged and not even know where to get them.

In true Taurus foodie fashion I welcomed my day of birth with deliciousness. An almond milk latte, avocado toast (not made by me) for brunch and a broccoli rabe pasta dish  with a luscious creamy cheesy sauce garnished with slivered almonds (yea…talk about decadent af), an entire bottle of Valpolicella for dinner and a strawberry tart made by my fave french bakery for singing Happy Birthday. Simple elegance.

I decided that this year is all about simplicity, presence, playfulness and gratitude. My kitchen intentions are to continue to provide simple healthy seasonal eats as often as possible. I working out of this culinary rut, I promise. I don’t know how many freakin’ pesto recipes I have put on my blog but this one is different!!! Trust!!

Have you ever seen a nettle? Or a ramp?

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Stinging Nettles (copyright Uwe H. Friese, Bremerhaven 2003)

Nettles or stinging nettles are a wild edible plant that has small sharp hairs that can actually irritate the skin. The weird part is even with that small inconvenience, it is nutrient-rich, a natural antihistamine (buh bye seasonal allergies), helps control blood sugar and a few other things (check it out here).

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Wild Leeks aka Ramps (copyright dano272)

Ramps are the hot thang right now and to be honest I had NO idea what they were until last year. These wild, foraged leeks are only in season for a short period of time and if you’re not shopping at the farmer’s market can run up your grocery bill. The taste is similar to a leek that had a baby with garlic. Using it up in a pesto gives you an earthy, creamy, garlicky flavor without it being overwhelmingly garlicky.

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Maple Roasted Stuffed Acorn Squash

Tempeh Bacon Lettuce & Tomato Sammies (3)

The holiday season is upon us!

Thanksgiving marked the beginning of my favorite time of year. I love the summertime because I LOVE the heat, but the fall and winter brings two of my favorite holidays: Thanksgiving + Christmas. We decorate the apartment, make coquito or egg nog (check out my vegan coquito recipe here), we make snowflakes and have people over regularly. I practically spend most of my time in the kitchen or cuddled on the couch with Matt listening to our own Christmas playlist (yup, we made our own playlist this year. No commercials. Just straight up seasonal awesomeness).

We hosted for Thanksgiving again this year and a few of our friends actually said they were trying to be vegetarian (like me ;)) so I wanted to present a stunner for the veggie main. Acorn squash are perfect for stuffing and have a nutty slightly sweet taste once roasted.

You can prepare all of this in advance (the quinoa/grain mixture can be prepped a day or two beforehand and stored in the fridge) and just pop in the oven when you’re ready to serve. Now, that’s what I call good hosting!

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Spicy Cauli-Wings {with a tangy avo-ranch sauce}

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Cauliflower is legit a versatile af veg. I’ve done cauliflower fried “rice,” mashed cauliflower (instead of potatoes), cauliflower crust pizza. All of which I have covered on the blog. And of course, I put cauliflower in all kinds of stuff. The one thing I have always been hesitant to make: cauliflower wings.

First of all, I don’t know if you know this about me, but I have been a vegetarian my entire life. So I have no idea what wings are “supposed” to taste like. In many cases of cooking, I combine ingredients instinctually. I guess. I trust. I surrender to the culinary divine and let it lead me and pray it all works out. And usually, it does. For this case, it REALLY does. This recipe didn’t have that gooky batter that most recipes called for. I don’t really want to feel like I’m eating a fritter, I want the pure crunch of that delish cauli all up in my mouth (yea, I just said it like that).

This is crunchy. I LOVE crunchy. I can hear my mother-in-law Donna say, “gimme something crunchy.”

It’s also spicy while the avocado ranch dipping sauce perfectly complements and cools that spicy sexiness.

I know you’re all thinking about your favorite dishes to whip up for your Oscar’s themed party 😉 Add this baby to your roster.

Spicy Cauli-Wings {with a tangy avo-ranch sauce}

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Serves 4-6 people
Total time: 20-30 minutes

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Gut Healing Glow Giving Veggie Broth {For Soups, Sippin’ + Kickin’ out da Sniffles}

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Feeling under the weather last week really took a toll on my body and mental, spiritual, emotional creativity. I’m not a big fan of ordering out (in general) or finding someone (you know, like a restaurant or whoever) to concoct a magic potion for me to feel better. Though I could have skipped the time spent in the kitchen and kept my booty in bed, I chose to create this yummy broth recipe (it’s too legit to quit).

I don’t know about you but this new Bone Broth craze has me a little jelly.

I support my broth sippin’ friends but I can’t get myself to get into it since, hello, No Beef Here. There are countless benefits of bone broth when consumed regularly. When you sip broth it’s like popping your multivitamin or multimineral pills and it absorbs really quickly into your system. That’s pretty badass to me. I’d rather sip, eat, slurp, gulp my way to wellness instead of sucking down a ton of different pills (I have my exceptions of course).  Bone broth is rich in immune system supportive minerals and contains healing compounds like collagen, glutamine, glycine, etc. The collagen (I LOVE collagen, there are some plant-based options, look up Reserveage and NEO Cell) in bone broth heals your gut lining, supports joint health and keeps your skin extra sexy and supple.

For my plant based friends, I’ve created a recipe that’s DELICIOUS to sip and LUSCIOUS to use in your favorite soups.

Each ingredient was mindfully simmered in a loving pot of water to gently coax out each flavor and give you the ultimate glow. And! The best part is you get a similar benefit in terms of promoting collagen production because this baby has seaweed ANNNNNNND beets. SAY WHAT?!!!

Now, go grab your biggest pot and put this baby on the stove on low and take it slow. An orgasmic glow is WORTH that wait. I promise.

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The Easiest Mushroom Soup {For Cold Weather + Rainy Day Cuddling}

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HOLY MOLY! You must be wondering where in the heck I have been? No? Maybe? Sorta?

I promise I have not forgotten how to cook.

I just did something pretty awesome.

I got married.

Yes! I am someone’s MRS! He’s not just any someone, he’s freakin’ amazeballs. And we had such a wonderful wedding surrounded by love which was immediately followed by a much-needed honeymoon in Aruba. We took some serious chill time, caught up on our sleep and really embraced the fact that we had the time to just BE together and do absolutely nothing else.

For the last two months, my brain was on overload which ultimately meant I had to upgrade the self-care and hone in on what my body really needed. It totally needed more sleep and more wine, and I was perfectly okay with both. This, of course, meant a few things fell to the back burner. I’m sorry blog! I luh you though boo boo.

This is me keeping myself accountable, I am officially working on my next cookbook. This one is different. It is going to take some serious love and time to make it happen in a grander way. I say grand because there will be over 100 recipes. Yea. That’s one big ass book. But you know me, these recipes have to taste DELISH and be simple enough to actually want to make.

Being in a cooking slump is tough. Sometimes we just get back to the ol’ reliable recipes, the ones that are tried and true and never let us down. For me, soups are my go-to when the weather (A HUGE SHOCK FOR ME after being in 110 degrees F every day) starts to shift and get that slight hint of a winter chill.

I LIVE off of smoothies in the summer and soups in the fall/winter. It’s the best thing…and it LASTS FOREVER.

I like a good soup that holds up on its own without needing much help (you know, flavor wise). This one makes great use of bold and mighty shiitake mushrooms and gives the baby bella mushrooms life. It will feel like this took you hours to make though you will have only taken about 30 minutes out of your day to prep, cook and savor it. Okay, maybe you should take more than a few minutes to actually savor this, but you get the point.

(Keep going to get the recipe….it’s worth it)

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