Hi friends! How have your holidays been? Wonderful, I hope. I’ve been taking it easy with my family for the past few days, meeting up with old friends and savoring every last bite of my chocolate birthday cake (I turned 27 on Christmas).
Today I thought I’d pop in and let you know about my latest post on BHG’s Delish Dish blog, which is a restorative miso and soba noodle soup. It’s sort of like a vegetarian chicken noodle soup with an Asian spin. The soup is remarkably simple to make and, thanks to the irresistible flavors of miso and ginger, had me going back for slurp after slurp. Find my notes on the recipe and learn more about miso over on bhg.com, ingredient obsession: miso soup.
Goodness. These gingerbread pancakes are pure goodness. I’ve mentioned this before, but pancakes are my kind of comfort food. I love pancakes for their ability to elevate a morning from ordinary to celebratory simply by gracing the table with their presence.
These humble spiced pancakes are fluffy yet hearty, and both warming and comforting. Topped with orange zest-laced cream cheese and real maple syrup, they’re really extraordinary. Yes, these pancakes are for Christmas morning and special occasions, but they are also for those other days when we need a little reminder that there is a lot goodness left in this world.
Did you know that there are only ten more shopping days before Christmas? Ten! I’d better get my act together. As a follow-up to my holiday gift guide post, I thought I’d share my favorite cookbooks in categories that (I hope) will help you decide what to give those difficult-to-shop-for loved ones on your list. Maybe, just maybe, if you give just the right book to a non-cook, it will inspire him to step into the kitchen. I wouldn’t blame you if you add a cookbook or two to your own wish list, too!
For the Creative Cook The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman Everyone’s favorite good-humored food blogger, Deb of Smitten Kitchen, produced this ingenious cookbook. I really appreciate that she made sure to provide at least one photo for each of her 100+ well-tested recipes. The book offers roughly equal numbers of meaty and meat-free main dishes, along with salads, sandwiches, pizzas, breakfast and over 100 pages of incredible desserts. I’d feel confident giving this cookbook to cooks of all skill levels.
For All Cooks Keys to the Kitchen: The Essential Reference for Becoming a More Accomplished, Adventurous Cook by Aida Mollenkamp Aida Mollenkamp, a trained chef of Cooking Channel fame, has put together this gorgeous cookbook. She shares invaluable cooking techniques alongside fantastic, well-tested recipes. Many of the recipes are accompanied by beautiful photos. I’d be just as likely to give this book to a fellow vegetarian as I would be to give it to my friends who are learning how to cut the meat they receive from their CSA.
It’s that time of year. That time of year when American office workers start suffering from sugar overload due to all the irresistible holiday treats parading around the office. It’s also the time of year when I start experiencing grass-is-greener complex about working from home. While it is true that working at home is totally awesome, my December has been pitifully devoid of holiday treats. My nonexistent co-workers aren’t presenting tins of peppermint bark and fudge at every corner. You lucky office people, you.
Yesterday, I decided to take matters into my own hands and make myself the kind of holiday treat that I’ve been craving. I made a big batch of my favorite light, salty snack (stove-top popcorn) and drizzled it with melted dark chocolate and crushed candy canes. Twenty minutes later, I had my peppermint-and-chocolate fix. I know that top photo makes it look really decadent, but keep in mind that I only drizzled the topside of the popcorn with chocolate. It’s not so rich that I feel sick to my stomach after a few bites. And it’s gluten-free, so I’ll be sharing my leftovers at girls’ night tonight.
I wish I had some stories to share today, but it’s been an uneventful work week punctuated by our weekly Wednesday girls’ night (fajitas and Downton Abbey at my place). I can’t complain. I finally found the time to try this baby spinach and sweet potato frittata that’s been on my mind since I first flipped through The Sprouted Kitchen cookbook this summer. It was absolutely worth the wait—a simple breakfast or dinner that only requires a cutting board, a knife, a mixing bowl and a skillet to prepare. I just had to share it with you today so you can make it this weekend.
Frittatas are one of those meals that, if you know how to make, are a kitchen standby. As long as you have eggs, a splash of milk and some vegetables, you can whip up a pretty satisfying meal without much prep or cooking time. I’ve finally gotten the hang of the cook-on-the-stove-and-finish-in-the-oven method (the trick is to pay attention to visual cues and learn to make it by feel), but I’m also a fan of this oven-only method. It’s great when I’m in a time crunch or need to keep the burners open for other things. I made a frittata that way for the girls’ night before last, which kept the stove clear for two skillets’ worth of banana oat pancakes. Do use the skillet method for this sweet potato frittata, though, so the sweet potatoes can develop those irresistible caramelized edges.
My girls are all eating gluten-free these days, so I should mention that frittatas are, of course, gluten-free (unless you’re adding grains) and the oat pancakes I mentioned are gluten-free as well. Happy bellies!
Although it may be seventy degrees outside, my calendar indicates that the holidays are just around the corner. I’ve been wishing for an excuse to share some of my favorite things, so I decided to round them up into a holiday gift guide. Almost all of the items are under $30 and would make great stocking stuffers. A few are handmade, so order soon. I hope you find some good ideas in here, and hey, I wouldn’t blame you for adding a few of these to your own wish list. Stay tuned for a cookbook gift guide and a fun DIY gift project (pancakes! pancakes!) next week.