Quick Vegan Chana Masala

Quick Vegan Chana Masala - cookieandkate.com

Good news! Cookie got her bandage off yesterday. Just a few more long days with the cone around her head. I’m tired of getting herded around by a furry bulldozer! The best news is that the vet said she should be in good shape for our long walks this spring. Sometimes I wonder which of us needs those walks more.

I’ve been working non-stop on a website redesign (coming so soon) but I’m pausing to share this recipe, which is from Angela Liddon’s just-released The Oh She Glows Cookbook. I’m generally intimidated by Indian cooking because the recipes usually call for a long list of unfamiliar spices, so I was happy when I found Angela’s recipe for quick and easy chana masala in the pages of her new cookbook. The recipe comes together quickly with mostly pantry ingredients, but the end result tastes super fresh.

Spices and The Oh She Glows Cookbook

Chana masala is one of my favorite options at Indian buffets. It’s a hearty, saucy and spicy chickpea and tomato dish, just the type of meal I’m craving while there’s snow on the ground. I thoroughly enjoyed the 20 minutes I spent over the stove for this recipe. Wave after wave of deliciousness hit my nose—first, fried cumin, then onions, ginger and chile pepper, followed by warming spices and stewed tomatoes. I think I’ll start cooking Indian recipes more often.

The only significant change I made to this recipe was using a tikka masala spice blend instead of garam masala. Generally speaking, garam masala has more warming spices, like cloves and cinnamon, while tikka masala has brighter notes of chili powder and paprika. Garam masala is the typical choice for chana masala, but I just grabbed the jar I had in my spice drawer. No two masalas (a broad term for Indian spice blends) are exactly alike, anyway. I think you’ll be happy with any quality blend.

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Double Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Double lemon poppy seed muffins (made with whole wheat flour and yogurt) cookieandkate.com

I’m mad at these muffins. Mad because they took me three tries to get just right yesterday. Mad because the third variation turned out so well that I filled my belly with muffins before I went to bed last night. Fortunately, they’re composed of yogurt (instead of sour cream) and white whole wheat flour (instead of all-purpose flour), so they are more redeeming than your average muffins.

I realize that being mad at an inanimate, edible object is totally ridiculous. It’s like being mad at a puppy who’s been caught nibbling on your favorite pair of shoes. Impossible! They’re just muffins and puppies being their irresistible little selves.

lemon poppy seed muffin batter

Actually, after my leavening issues with the other batches yesterday, I’m downright proud of these muffins. After my lackluster first batch, I doubled the initial amounts of lemon zest and poppy seeds found in typical lemon poppy seed muffins, so these guys are bursting with flavor. No sissy muffins here. I also decided to use white whole wheat flour, which retains all of the nutrients of whole wheat flour but has a lighter flavor and color. That way the lemon could really shine.

Before baking, I opted to sprinkle the tops with turbinado sugar, which produces a sweet, crackling top that complements the texture of the poppy seeds. The finished muffins dome up nicely—not as high as they would if they had less poppy seeds and were made of all-purpose flour—but the resulting texture is rich, almost like pound cake.

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Creamy (vegan!) Butternut Squash Linguine with Fried Sage

Creamy (vegan!) butternut squash linguine with fried sage - cookieandkate.com

Cookie and I have been visiting the vet three times a week lately. We don’t mind the excursion. The girls behind the desk are fun to be around and Cookie loves the attention. She has quickly become a staff favorite (of course!). It’s also a prime spot for people watching. I always feel like I’m experiencing that 101 Dalmations scene where all of the dogs match their owners, remember that one?

The manly men bring in their 80-pound manly-man breeds who shake their heads like lions. Eccentrically dressed older ladies wait with their dachshunds and shaggy little dogs. A beautiful, elegant blond woman picks up her equally elegant and blond mystery breed. The lady with a high-pitched voice and nervous laugh tells me about her rat terrier. I suppose Cookie and I match, too. I will shamelessly admit that we both have great hair and it doesn’t hurt that I’m always dressed in black or gray.

butternut and sage

During the more dull moments, I’ve spent a fair amount of time flipping through Instagram photos and glancing at the heart worm brochures on the side table. I grabbed the February issue of Bon Appetit before I left for our last appointment so I would have something to read while I waited. I’m glad I did, because I was reminded of the butternut squash carbonara that I had dog-eared earlier.

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Toasted Oatmeal with Strawberry Chia Jam and Coconut Whipped Cream

Toasted oatmeal with strawberry chia jam and coconut whipped cream - cookieandkate.com

Other potential titles for this post included, “Three of my favorite things” or “Recipes I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You About”. I’ve been feeling under the weather for the past week, but now that I can finally smell and taste properly again, I’m back to make up for my absence with three recipes in one. (A better blogger would have recipes on reserve for occasions like these, but then again, I have to be sufficiently excited about a recipe to post it and I could hardly stand to sit on a good one.)

Each component is delightful on its own, but they just so happen to combine marvelously well in one breakfast bowl. Nutty, fruity, creamy—yes, more, please.

stawberry chia jam

I’ll give you a rundown of each. The oatmeal cooking technique, which I discovered in Megan Gordan’s Whole-Grain Mornings cookbook, yields nutty and fluffy (not at all mushy) oatmeal.

The strawberry chia jam utilizes summer’s finest [frozen] strawberries, a dollop of natural sweetener and thickens with the help of “superfood” chia seeds. It cooks down in under thirty minutes and tastes much fresher and brighter than store-bought jams.

Lastly, coconut whipped cream has already taken the internet by storm, for good reason. I like it just as much, if not more than, freshly whipped cream. It’s better for you, too.

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Feed South Africa + Greek Salad with Broccoli and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Greek salad with broccoli and sun-dried tomatoes - cookieandkate.com

Dear Friends, Cookie and I are struggling get our acts together over here. Cookie is sporting her new, larger “cone of shame”. Actually, I don’t like that term. Let’s pretend it’s an Elizabethan collar. Lady Cookie has been knocking around the house like a blind armadillo all weekend. Bang! Crash! Scrape!

As for me, I’m still wearing my pajamas. I’m competing for an Olympic medal in laundry avoidance and my to-do list is threatening to swallow me whole. The worst part is that I owe many of you emails and responses to your comments. I’m so sorry. I’m trying.

broccoli and dog

All that said, I’ve been content to put the to-do list aside and spend the morning typing up a new post. It’s what I love to do. I feel so spoiled that I get to do it for a living. Every time I sit down to eat a meal in this cozy new house with my dog by my side, I’m reminded that I have it good. For instance, it’s ten degrees outside and I’m warm. I have a belly full of nutritious salad. And I might not have any more clean socks, but I have unlimited access to clean water. Not everyone is so lucky.

Today, I’m donating this post and some dollars to The Lunchbox Fund, an organization that provides healthy meals to vulnerable South African students. Kids in South Africa are going hungry: 65 percent live in poverty and nearly 20 percent are orphans, with approximately 1.9 million orphaned as a result of HIV and AIDS. As you can probably imagine, lack of food can diminish concentration and erode willpower. What I can’t imagine, however, is who I would be if I went hungry day after day.

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Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos with Avocado-Pepita Dip

Sweet potato and black bean tacos with avocado-pepita dip - cookieandkate.com

Thank you all so much for your concern about Cookie. If her graceful three-legged leaps off the couch and romps through the snow are any indication, she is on the mend. I’m incredibly thankful for the sweet friends who helped me move and brought brunch to me after the accident, as well as the kind strangers who have left encouraging advice (from as far away as Uruguay!). Makes me think I must be doing something right.

avocados and cilantro

Cookie’s accident has slowed us both down, but we are gradually getting settled in this new house. I’m feeling slightly less apprehensive after meeting with the behavioral specialist yesterday (more on that later) so I’m starting to allow myself to enjoy the amenities here. Did you all know that it is about one million times easier to keep a clean kitchen if you have a built-in dishwasher, disposal and ample counter space? It’s a whole new world over here. (I think they call it the First World.)

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