Recipe: Enchilada Soup

Happy New Year!

Some of you may have established health goals for 2019, some of you may be left feeling lackluster after a month plus of eating festive holiday fare, and some of you may be, like me, jokingly referring to yourself as “holiday hefty”. No matter what, this food-rainbow-enchilada-soup is both good and good for you.

Those of you who know me know I love enchiladas. They’re good all year round, but changing it up with a soup in wintertime is nice. This recipe has a delayed spice kick and it rules.

Ingredients

1 T olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeño, deseeded and chopped
1 T chili powder
1 t onion powder
1 t garlic powder
1 t cumin
1/2 t paprika
1/2 t cayenne
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 c corn (frozen or canned)
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
1 4 oz can green chiles
1 c red enchilada sauce
4 c vegetable broth
sea salt to taste

Optional Toppings:
avocado, diced
cilantro
green onions, chopped
tortilla chips, crumbled

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium.
  2. Add onion, bell peppers, jalapeño, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, paprika and cayenne to the pot and sauté for about five minutes, until onions are soft.
  3. Mix in garlic and corn and sauté for an additional two minutes.
  4. Stir in beans, tomatoes, green chiles, enchilada sauce and broth. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for at least ten minutes.
  5. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  6. Ladle about half of the soup to a blender and blend until smooth.
  7. Pour mixture back to the pot and stir to combine.
  8. To serve, top with avocado, cilantro, green onions, and crumbled tortilla chips.

Adapted from Vegan Enchilada Soup.


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Recipe: Black-Eyed Peas + Dirty Rice

Happy New Year’s Eve! Apparently it’s good luck to eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day, so I whipped up this dirty rice version for me to enjoy and for Rick to dramatically choke down with a grimace. Don’t worry, the recipe is good. Rick’s palette is usually just chicken strips.

Ingredients

1 T oil
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 vegan bacon strips, chopped*
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 3/4 c water
1 t paprika
1/2 t thyme
1/2 t sea salt
1/4 t black pepper
1 t red pepper flakes
1 can black-eyed pease, drained and rinsed)
crack Italian dressing, to taste

*There are options for vegan bacon, or “facon” if you’re feeling wild, but I know this particular kind provides a complete source of protein.

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery, bell pepper, and bacon and sauté for six minutes, until onion is soft.
  2. Stir in garlic and cook for another two minutes, until garlic is fragrant.
  3. Add rice, water, paprika, thyme, sea salt, and both peppers to the skillet. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low.
  4. Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes, until rice is tender and the liquid has mostly been absorbed.
  5. Remove rice from heat and leave covered for five minutes.
  6. Stir in black-eyed peas and adjust salt and pepper if needed.
  7. Top with crack Italian dressing to taste.

Serves 6-8. Best wishes in the new year to all the bummed out bakers out there!

Adapted from Vegan Dirty Rice and Black-Eyed Peas.


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Recipe: Gingerbread Houses

But first!

Surviving High School: The Real Christmas Miracle

My best friend from high school teaches high school sophomore english, and this past week she invited me to come speak to her class about mental illness, high school, New York City, and writing.

For me, high school was a precarious time, so I have a special place in my heart for high school kids. They were so lovely and moody and loud and quiet and sweet and poorly behaved all at once. They were both everything I expected and nothing I expected, which I’ve decided is the most succinct way to describe teenagers.

They wanted to know if I’d been to Times Square, if my parents were strict growing up, what I do when I can’t think of anything to write, and, perhaps most endearing, if I’d ever been in a taxi.

The holidays are tedious and fraught with anxiety for a lot of people, and the feelings of high school kids are often discounted, chalked up to immaturity or hormones. But, what they’re feeling about a rough home life, experiencing or being in close proximity to mental illness, or having a hard time socially in school – it’s all real, valid, and further expounded by social media. I told them about being so sad in high school that my personality lost its effervescence. I told them about turning inward, crying, sleeping a lot, and feeling alone and misunderstood. I told them about my brother Alex and discussed the unconventional ways family tragedy can manifest. Slowly, questions like whether I dyed my hair and which celebrities I’d met faded out and ones like how I knew I had anxiety and what I do when I’m depressed trickled in. The snickering ceased when I told them that, despite whatever they’re going through at home or in their brain chemistry, I knew they each had the ability to survive it and be better people for it. I’m only able to assert that because I survived, myself, and am able to look back on my teenage self with clarity and tenderness.

In the final piece I wrote this semester I discussed a particularly painful high school experience. It concluded with me sitting inside my black bedroom, limbs sprawled out, tears plopping onto the scratchy carpet in front of me. I felt extremely isolated, empty. What I didn’t know, though, is that I was always with me. My adult self looks at my teenage self with mercy and sadness and hope, urging her to move forward and to keep faith that things would get better. I looked at all those high school kids and saw me.

So now that I’ve sufficiently bummed you all out, welcome to my world! Just kidding, sort of!

Onto the GINGERBREAD HOUSES.

Ingredients

copious amounts of graham crackers (at least 1/2 box per person) OR one pre-made gingerbread house per person
1 can or piping bag of white icing per person
colorful, classic candies sorted into bowls*
1 bag each of pretzel minis, sticks, rods, and snaps**
1 group of people you like

*great vegan options
**consider getting GF pretzels so you don’t blindside a gluten-sensi loved one, which would not be a #christmasmiracle

Instructions

  1. Wrap a cardboard base in foil or, if using a gingerbread house kit, use the base provided.
  2. Connect either the graham crackers (for your bespoke, Frank Gehry-inspired design) or gingerbread house pieces with giant dollops of icing.
  3. Decorate, be merry, have a cocktail, ditch your gingerbread house when it falls apart, watch football, come back to gingerbread house with renewed patience, try adhering it together again, get aggressive with sprinkle application, eat too much of the candy meant for decorations, get a stomach ache, spill a bunch of round sprinkles all over your mother’s brand new kitchen floor, panic and enlist your husband and dad to help you clean it before she sees it, get caught mid-clean up anyway, have another cocktail, then go to sleep early due to sugar crash.
  4. But first, take pics and make some lovely memories.
children: likely to have more candy in their mouths than on their houses
my nephew + my dad
a hopeful me, moments before everything fell apart

Approximately one house turned out attractive (my sister in-law Amy’s) and in my experience one success story… is about right. But it’s not about these edible shacks that grow stale, harden, and get tossed in the trash! It’s about the process.

Enjoy, and happy holidays to you and yours.


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Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Creamer

Calling all basics! I’m in Texas for Christmas and my mom broke out this vegan / paleo recipe. It’s v easy to put together and is great in coffee or tea. If you typically drink your warm beverages black like me, try a splash of this creamer for a lil somethin’ special.

vegan / paleo pumpkin spice creamer
chai tea + pumpkin spice creamer
vegan / paleo pumpkin spice creamer

Ingredients

1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
3 T pumpkin puree
3 T maple syrup
3 T coconut milk
1 t pumpkin pie spice

vegan / paleo pumpkin spice creamer
vegan / paleo pumpkin spice creamer
vegan / paleo pumpkin spice creamer

Instructions

  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Pour into an airtight container, like a large jar or salad dressing shaker.
  3. Gently shake before each use and store in the refrigerator.
vegan / paleo pumpkin spice creamer
vegan / paleo pumpkin spice creamer
chai tea + pumpkin spice creamer

Happy holidays!

Adapted from Paleo and Vegan Pumpkin Pie Spice Creamer.


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snickerdoodles

Recipe: Super-Easy Snickerdoodles

Hello, and good tidings. Ready or not, the holidays are here! Whether or not you’re the type to love or loathe the festivity of this time of year, everyone likes a good cookie, amirite?

These snickerdoodles, that I’ve lovingly shortened to snickerdoods, are what I make when I have no snacks or groceries and I have a hankering for something sweet. The ingredients are pretty standard to have on hand and both preparation and clean up are quick. 

aerial shot of snickerdoodles after baking
aerial shot of ingredients for snickerdoodles

Ingredients

1 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c cane sugar
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t sea salt
1/2 c coconut oil
1 (4 oz) container unsweetened applesauce
1 T almond milk
1 T vanilla extract
~1/2 c cinnamon sugar (1/4 c cane sugar, 1/4 c cinnamon)

cinnamon sugar
cookie dough in cinnamon sugar
cookie dough in cinnamon sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and sea salt together in a bowl.
  3. Beat oil, applesauce, almond milk, and vanilla together in a separate large bowl.
  4. Add dry mixture to liquid mixture in 2-3 portions and stir until combined.
  5. Put cinnamon sugar in a flat-bottomed bowl so you can roll balls of dough around in it. A soup bowl is great for this.
  6. Using a cookie dough scoop, add 2-3 balls of dough to the cinnamon sugar bowl at a time.
  7. Gently roll dough balls in the cinnamon sugar* and arrange onto a baking sheet. It’s okay if they lose their shape a bit.
  8. Bake in preheated oven about nine minutes.

*It is likely you’ll have leftover cinnamon sugar – pop it in a container and save it for next time.

snickerdoodles before going in the oven
snickerdoodles after baking

This recipe yields about 15 cookies. Random, I know, but I’ve done the cookie legwork. :) Keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days. Enjoy!

close up of snickerdoodles after baking

Adapted from Vegan Snickerdoodles.


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