Whole Wheat Waffles with Strawberries and Coconut Whipped Cream

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I’m an asshole to sleep with.

I steal the sheets. Sometimes I snore. I drool. Excessively. And I totally hog the bed.

On several occasions Roo has found me in…

the “diagonal,”

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the “L,”

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the “Vitruvian Man,”

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and what Roo likes to call, “the Captain Morgan.”

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Did I mention that I’m notorious for shoving people out of “my space?” Like, onto the floor?

Yup, Roo is lucky to be with me.

And by lucky, I mean I bribe him with waffles for breakfast. Waffles totally make up for being pushed out of the bed, right?

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Not-So-Irish Soda Bread Buns, with Orange Zest and Cranberries

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Roo turned down the car radio. “Do rappers realize that some of their lyrics make no sense?”

“You mean when Chingy raps that he likes, ‘black, white, Puerto Rican or Haitian, like Japanese, Chinese or even Asian?”

“Even Asian?”

I opened my purse and pulled out a ziploc bag. “But that’s not even close to Mase rapping, ‘Young, black and famous, with money hanging out the anus.”

“No. The best is Dre’s ‘Never let me slip, cause if I slip, then I’m slippin.'”

I laughed, tearing the soda bread bun in two and handing a half to Roo. “What does that even mean?!”

Roo grabbed the bun and shrugged, “At least they’re direct, even if it doesn’t make sense. Like Chris Brown singing, ‘I’m gonna make you wet the bed.’ Class act.”

“Ugh, who says stuff like that!?” I groaned, “I still can’t believe Rihanna’s back with He Who Must Not Be Named.”

“Did you just compare Chris Brown to Voldemort?”

“I’m convinced he appears like Beetlejuice if you say his name three times.”

“That’s how I feel about Kesha.”

“You mean you don’t like to feel ‘like a sabertooth tiger, sipping on a warm Budweiser?'”

Roo turned the radio back up. “I want my ring back.”

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Coconut Rum Bread

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Taking classes at night is a whole other animal compared to my glory days of undergrad. After a long day I have no patience for students who only like to hear the sound of their voice. Perhaps that makes me the worst kind of classmate, especially after muttering, “I kill you” when one of my peers asks his eighth non-question.

Nighttime lecture-hall manners are kind of an anomaly: like getting stared at while I licked the lid of my yogurt clean. It was as if my row-mates were accusing me of reenacting a very (very) awkward porno scene; although it was a lid to a 32 ounce container (about the size of my head).

The worst is when you’re seated next to an incessant desk tapper,

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a Red-Bull-drinking-open-mouth-breather

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or God forbid, the I’m-kicking-the-back-of-your-seat-because-I-want-to-see-you-turn-into-my-very-own-fun-sized-Hulk.

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But there’s hope.

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Sharing snacks in class is kind of an icebreaker.

And when you break bread with your classmates, they totally will join you, hating on that guy that won’t stop clicking his pen.

Just stop, guy. Seriously.

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Skillet Cornbread

Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and talk some sense into YesterLys.

Who?

YesterLys is me, 12 hours ago.  And she doesn’t realize that her bad decisions screw me every time.

I’m not doing laundry over the weekend!

Come Monday morning I’m taking the T in damp socks I had to hand wash before work. Curse you, YesterLys.

I’ll shave my legs tomorrow.

With the pants, silk sleeveless shirt, jacket and the building’s broken air conditioner I sweat like Robert Hays on Airplane.

At a job interview.

I couldn’t even take my jacket off because I hadn’t shaved my underarms either.  I did try to blot the sweat with a copy of my CV.

I didn’t get the job. Thanks a lot YesterLys.

Just one more slice. No one’s going to notice.

“Where did all the cornbread go?”

“Um…I ate it all?”

“In a day?”

“Damn you YesterLys.”

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Carrot, Raisin and Cranberry Quick Bread

I opened the door to our apartment. “You will not believe what happened at yoga,” I said, kicking off my sandals and walking into the living room.

“What, The Moaner make another appearance?” Roo asked.

“I wish.”

Roo took a bite of toast and set it down on the coffee table. “What happened?”

“Well, as you know, sometimes I come off as a creeper.”

“Go on.”

I folded my arms and threw myself onto the couch next to Roo. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

Roo picked up his toast again and took another bite. A raisin fell onto his lap. “Ok.”

I eyed the raisin for a moment. “Well, you know how I love it when a yoga instructor takes a class I’m in?”

“Something about it being inspirational?”

I smiled. “You’re so good. Sometimes I really can’t believe you listen everything I say.”

Roo laughed. “So a yoga teacher took the same class as you -”

“Right. She set her mat down next to mine -” I paused.

“And?”

“And I may have been watching her through some of the poses.”

“And she caught you watching?”

“That’s not even the bad part.”

Roo waited.

“When the class was told to fold in straddle, facing the right side of the room, that was the side the instructor was on. And our mats were really close.”

“And?”

“And when I went to fold, I accidentally brushed the instructor’s butt with the bun on top of my head,” I said, pointing to my hair.

Roo burst out laughing.

“It’s not funny.”

“It’s a little funny.”

“It is not! I had to apologize profusely in a whisper, because it was during class. Do you know how creepy an apology sounds in a whisper?”

“Well I’ve never been assaulted by a bun in yoga class, so I wouldn’t know.”

“I don’t know if I can ever show my face there again.”

“Here,” Roo said, handing me his slice toast. “Have some of this. I’ll make you a cup of tea.”

I picked the raisin off his lap and placed it on the plate. “It’s not enough.”

“What’s not enough?”

“There’s like two bites left. And they’re the worst ones. No cranberries or raisins in either one.”

Roo smiled. “Alright, I’ll cut you another slice. Thankfully you made two loaves last night.”

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How to Make Almond Milk

Last week I tweeted about my new found love for Peanut Butter Cheerios with homemade almond milk.  I was a bit surprised when a few of my friends asked me for a recipe, because, well hello, these Cheerios are life changing.  And almond milk is you know, just this slightly nutty, creamy medium with a hint of vanilla for the Cheerios to swim in.

Ok, so it’s a bit more than a medium.

I also promised I would post this week, so here I am, sharing my version of “How To Make Almond Milk.”

Because that’s what I, will do for you.

And by you, I mean myself, because that’s what a narcissist gets, as no one wants to read material that’s all about me me me.

But isn’t that what blogging is all about?

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Recipe Redo – Banana Pancakes

Many people are worrying what the heck they’re going to cook for Thanksgiving dinner.

I’m worrying about what I’m going to eat before that meal, to keep me fueled for a long day of cooking.

Traditionally, my mother would wake up early to put the bird in the oven and then spend the rest of her day cooking; hungry, cranky, and maybe a little light-headed after having a glass of wine once the rest of the family started to show up.

That is not how I want to spend my day, especially because I’ll be cooking with my mother this year.  That’s all my dad needs: two hungry, cranky, not-all-there women trying to figure out how to relight the pilot on the stove.  Explosive is an understatement.

As I was going through my old recipes I found that a lot of my favorite cakes were up to date with the plant-based diet Roo and I are now on, but classic breakfast items like pancakes were a bit lacking.

These banana pancakes are a new take on a previous recipe, but honestly, I think I like them more.  Ground flax seed and white whole wheat flour give it a substantial, nutty base, only to be topped with gooey, sweet and an ever so slight crunch, caramelized bananas, making a pancake that (gasp!) doesn’t really need maple syrup.

I love that after eating two or three I feel full, energized but not weighed down from the usual weekend breakfast fare one may get at a IHOP.  (Seriously, all you can eat pancakes? Why IHOP, why must you challenge me like this?)

While it may take some convincing to sit my mother down and make her eat something before we get our multiple sides, loaf of bread and two pies started (we prep like we’re feeding an army yet there’s only five people…strange), I think she’ll be happier about not feeling so light-headed after sipping on some Pinot Gris.  Hopefully you’ll take a little time for yourself as well, before starting on your Thanksgiving meal.

Adapted from Apple Topped Pancakes

Makes About 9 – 10 Pancakes

Ingredients

Wet

2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds

1 cup of almond milk (I used “original” which is sweetened) or any other non-dairy milk

1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar

Quarter cup of water

Quarter cup of pumpkin puree (unsweetened applesauce may work)

2 tablespoons of unsweetened applesauce (or, if you’d like something richer, 2 tablespoons mild flavored olive oil)

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Dry

One and a quarter cups of white whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder

Eighth of a teaspoon of fine sea salt

And the rest

2 very ripe large bananas, cut into quarter inch slices (It should work out to about 4 slices of banana per pancake)

Olive oil, butter (like Earth Balance) or cooking spray; whatever you prefer to grease your pan with to cook the pancakes (if you want to be a healthy rockstar, go with the cooking spray)

Equipment

A small sized mixing bowl

A medium sized mixing bowl

A whisk

A clean quarter cup measuring cup

A large skillet

A cookie sheet (optional, just to keep pancakes warm)

If you’re using your cookie sheet, place it on a rack in the middle position in the oven.  Preheat the oven to 250F.

In a small sized mixing bowl, add the wet ingredients.  Whisk until well combined.  Set aside.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients.  Whisk the dry ingredients till well combined, so that there are no lumps visible.  Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients.  Mix everything together till combined.  Let the batter rest for 5 minutes.

Add your olive oil, butter or cooking spray to your skillet.  Place the pan over a burner on medium heat.  Add the batter in a little less than quarter cup scoops to your pan.

Cook the pancakes for about three minutes, then add some sliced banana to the uncooked side (side facing up at you).  I like to add about four slices of bananas per pancake.  Cook the pancakes for another minute (or until the underside, side facing down on the pan, is well browned), then flip over.  Cook the pancakes for another two to three minutes.

As you finish cooking the pancakes, place them in the oven on the cookie sheet, if using.  If not, set them aside or serve them up as you go.  Just be sure to serve the pancakes caramelized banana side face up (ooooh! novelty!).  Offer maple syrup, but Roo and I find that the pancakes are plenty sweet enough from the caramelized bananas, ie deliciousness.

Creamy Broccoli Soup

Hey.

Did you realize yet that it’s halfway through November?  Are you in denial about cooking for Thanksgiving like I am?

Good.

Roo and I have been keeping warm in our poorly insulated apartment with soups.  Lots and lots of soups.

And maybe cats.

Pissed off cats.

Around this time last year, I made Roo a broccoli soup that was full of cheese, whole milk and half and half.  You’d think I was trying to collect a life insurance pay-off with what I plated for him.

“Oh no, half a block of cheddar is good for your cholesterol level of 250.”

Little did I know at the time, he doesn’t have life insurance.  Little does he know, I have no shame, and like my Aunt Kathy, I planned on putting his ashes into something affordable, like a vase from Pier 1 Imports, where my Uncle Dan now rests.

I’m just keeping it real.

This year, I wanted to make broccoli soup a little differently as Roo and I have recently adopted a plant-based lifestyle.  Yet, when I told Roo what I was making for dinner, he was a little concerned.

“How are you going to make broccoli soup without cheese or cream?”

Thankfully I had a bit of luck with my last supposed-to-be-cream-based-soup so I knew where to start.  Even though Roo hates my mentioning it (it’s all in the name really), nutritional yeast rounds out the flavors that would instead taste like broccoli broth without it.  Paired with almond milk and blended potatoes, it makes a creamy, cheesy soup that I loved submerging large chunks of warm, crusty bread into.

The soup has loads of body, as half of the vegetables are blended, then put back in.  And with just a little bit of chili powder to raise the flavor up a bit (that and the sherry give it “that little something”), you soon realize that it’s not just rosemary that’s added.  It’s good.  It’s, put down the cat you’re using as a shawl, good.

Adapted from Appetite for Reduction

This Serves About 6

Ingredients

1 – 2 tablespoons of olive oil (just enough to coat the bottom of the pot)

1 large onion, diced

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon of dried rosemary

Quarter teaspoon of chili powder

4 cups of low sodium broth (I used homemade vegetable)

4 potatoes (about the size that individually fit in the palm of your hand), cut into about half inch pieces

2 carrots, diced

5 cups of broccoli, cut into less than half inch pieces (if you can use only the stems, do it. Save the florets for some roasting, stir fry, etc where you’ll be able to appreciate the textures.  This soup is just going to get blended at the end.)

1 cup of unsweetened, unflavored almond milk (or any other non-dairy milk)

2 tablespoons of sherry

Quarter cup of nutritional yeast

1 tablespoon of butter, like Earth Balance (optional)

Salt to taste

Equipment

A sharp knife

A very large pot with cover

A spatula

An immersion blender or a blender

Ladle

Add one to two tablespoons of olive oil to your pot.  Place the pot over a burner on medium heat.  When the oil starts to shimmer, add the diced onion.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion becomes translucent.  Add the minced garlic, rosemary, and chili powder and stir to incorporate the ingredients.  Cook until fragrant, about a minute.

Add the broth, potatoes and carrots.  Stir till the ingredients are incorporated.  Bring the pot to a boil, then lower the heat so that the ingredients are at a simmer.  Cover the pot and simmer for about ten minutes.

After ten minutes have passed, add the broccoli and simmer for twenty minutes, covered.

After twenty minutes have passed, add the almond milk, sherry and nutritional yeast.  Stir and heat the ingredients through.

With an immersion blender, blend about half of the soup, or to the consistency that you wish (I like to have some bits left whole in my soup).  If you don’t have an immersion blender, ladle some soup into your blender, but be careful to not fill more than half way.  Lid, cover with a towel (to protect your hand), and immediately blend (do not let steam build up in the blender or else you may risk of eruption and burning your hand!).  Add it back to the soup, and continue this until the soup is down to the consistency you desire.

Salt to taste.

*Does it need to be just a little bit creamier?  If desired, add a tablespoon of butter, like Earth Balance.  Otherwise, you’re done!  Serve immediately.

Sticky Cranberry Gingerbread

This, is what our life has come to.

Why yes, it is a roll of toilet paper inside a ziploc bag.

But why is it being stored like this?

Because of this.

Well more because of this,

who’s main goal in life, is to do evil and destruction (see that scowl?  The planning?), hence the name (Evil Monkey).

Monkey, like the rest of the deranged, has an affinity for the most random.

Aluminum foil? Delicious.

Bottle caps? Nom nom nom.

Full bellies?

Ok, the last I do appreciate.

But as of late toilet paper rolls have been her latest fascination/obsession.  And we’ve tried everything to deter it. Hiding it in the back of the bathroom shelving, putting it on the towel rack up high; she conquered them all.

So, the other day when I walked into the bathroom (the bathroom door had been closed, but like a velociraptor, she’s learned how to open doors. PS did that movie scare the crap out of you when you were a kid? Traumatized.) there she was, on the bathroom shelf, batting the toilet paper in between her paws.  She then looked up at me, and whacked it into the open toilet bowl.  Yes, she knocked it into the toilet on purpose.  (Roo just nodded along as I retold the story to him, my voice raising an octave with every sentence.  He almost looked like he was going to pat me on the head.  Almost.)

Needless to say, I lost it. I threatened to make her into a jacket as I grabbed another toilet paper roll out of the closet.  I told her I was going to bring her back to the shelter because she had outlived her cost in toilet paper rolls (who am I?).  But then, I took a deep breath, and came up an (insane) idea.  I put it in a ziploc bag.

While Monkey hasn’t figured out yet how to conquer the ziploc bag, it does make for awkward conversation when we have guests over…

F: Hey, can I use your bathroom?

L: Yeah, um…just one thing.  The toilet paper is in a ziploc bag.

F: Oh, ok?

L: Um, but what I don’t think you get is that it has to go back in the bag when you’re done.  Anditneedstobesealed.

F: (look of questioning our friendship)

Yes, I’ve now become that person.

I’ve been joking with Roo for a while now that we need to get a dog to keep our cats in line.  And with Christmas a month away, I’ve been upping the ante.

L: Hey, you know what would make a really great Christmas gift?  Besides that super awesome printer you bought last year, that didn’t really show up till after New Year’s because you forgot to hit “submit” on Amazon? Yeah, that was great.  But you know what else is great?  A dog.

(Yes, suggestion with double-guilt as the gift was late and it was…a printer.)

L: Wouldn’t it be great for every couple in your family to have a dog?  And then we’d all get together for Christmas, with our dogs, and maybe even take a photo?  Those would be some great memories.

(This was just plain old crazy talk, as I can now only imagine how chaotic the scene would be.  The “other dogs” in the family are: one overweight dachshund – his only flaw, he’s kind of awesome, a great dane that has the mentality of Lennie from Of Mice and Men, and another dachshund, who once peed in the mouth of Roo’s mom when he jumped up to greet her.  True story.)

I realized I had to play dirty.  And by dirty I mean I needed to bake a cake.  Something that tasted like Christmas but not your typical, “hey it’s almost Christmas, let’s get a dog kind of cake.”  Yes, those cakes exist (in my mind…and if you read that in a creepy Faye Dunaway/Joan Crawford’s Mommy Dearest voice, then you are far more awesome than I expected).

Cook This Now turned out to be the answer: Melissa Clark’s new cookbook that instructs the reader in what to make with produce that’s at its peak, in month-to-month chapters.  For November, she had a recipe for sticky cranberry gingerbread, and I knew that was the cake.

What Roo could only describe as “like Christmas punching you in the face,” it was gooey, packed with firey ginger, smooth, rich molasses and sweet and tart cranberries, some folded in whole and the rest made into lovely sauce, swirled into the batter.  It was an “in your face” kind of cake, but the texture was incredibly comforting, as I think rarely anyone would turn down something so sticky and gooey.  It wasn’t like “Oh my god this taffy is preventing me from opening my mouth, gah!!!” kind of sticky, but that “I just sneaked a slice straight out of the oven, and nobody knows” kind of wonderful.  But fully cooled.  And even better the next day.

While Roo didn’t turn to me, absolutely hypnotized, rambling, “Must. Get. Dog,” I can say that the cake may have made him nod his head a little bit more when I again, suggested getting another family member.  I guess we’ll have to see what Christmas brings.

…a dog.

Adapted from Melissa Clark’s Cook This Now

Makes one 9 inch cake

Ingredients

2 – 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (2 if you want just the cranberry sauce swirled in, 3 if you’d like extra, whole cranberries folded into the batter)

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon of water

Half cup butter, like Earth Balance (I know it’s a bit of butter, but I significantly reduced the amount of sugar, so yay! Compromise!)

Half cup unsweetened unflavored almond milk (or any other non-dairy milk)

(an overflowing) Half cup of molasses

(an overflowing) Quarter cup of brown rice syrup (I think I have a poor hand to pour with, because in both cases my liquid syrups flowed over the measuring cups. Whoops.)

One and a half cups of white whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon of ground ginger

Half teaspoon of ground cinnamon

Half teaspoon of baking powder

Quarter teaspoon of baking soda

Quarter teaspoon of fine sea salt

Quarter teaspoon of ground pepper

2 flax seed eggs (2 tablespoons of ground flax seed and 6 tablespoons of warm water, mixed and set aside for about ten minutes)

1 tablespoon freshly grated gingerroot (this makes the cake incredibly firey, which we absolutely loved the next day)

2 – 3 tablespoons of turbinado sugar to sprinkle over the top, five minutes prior to taking out of the oven, for a lovely crunch (optional)

Equipment

2 small sauce pans (can hold about 5 cups)

a medium sized mixing bowl

a large sized mixing bowl

a whisk

a spatula

a hand grater (for the freshly grated gingerroot)

a (square) nine inch cake pan (if you don’t have a square one, that’s ok)

a knife

a large spoon

Place the oven rack in the middle position in your oven.  Preheat your oven to 350F.

Make your flax seed eggs and set aside.

In one of the small sauce pans, add 2 cups of the cranberries, granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon of water.  Place the pan over a burner on medium heat.  Stir the cranberry mixture occasionally until the sugar is completely dissolved and a syrupy bubbling sauce forms.  Some of the cranberries will retain their structure, while others will burst and ooze into the sauce (yum).  This will take about ten minutes.  Remove the pan from heat and set aside.

In your second sauce pan, add the butter (like Earth Balance), non-dairy milk, molasses and brown rice syrup.  Place the pan over medium heat and stir occasionally, until the ingredients just start to simmer.  Remove the pan from heat and set aside.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the white whole wheat flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper.  Whisk the ingredients until they are well combined and there are visually no more lumps.

In a large sized mixing bowl, add the butter and molasses mixture.  Add the dry ingredients to the large sized mixing bowl, stirring the ingredients till combined.  Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as it’s quite a sticky batter.  Add the flax seed eggs, stir till combined.  Add the freshly ground ginger, stir till combined.  Add the 1 extra cup of cranberries (if using), and fold them into the batter.

Scoop out the batter into your cake pan.  With a large spoon, add the cranberry sauce to the top of the batter.  You can just dollop the sauce out on top.  Then, with a knife, swirl through the batter as if you’re making a marbled cake.

Bake the cake for about 45 – 55 minutes, depending on how hot your oven runs.  At the 35 minute mark, take the cake out of the oven, and sprinkle the top with turbinado sugar, if using.  At the 40 minute mark, take a cake tester (like a toothpick) and insert it into the center of the cake.  If it comes out clean, then it’s done.  If not, put it back in the oven and keep checking it every five minutes.

When the cake is done, cool till room temperature before serving.

*Roo and I thought that this cake was far far better the next day.  The ginger and cranberries were really able to meld together overnight, and what resulted, can be best described by Roo as, “like Christmas punching you in the face.”  If you can wait overnight to eat this cake, I highly recommend it.  Lastly, it sets up really nicely overnight as well.  When you eat it out of the oven it’s gooey and all, but falls apart a bit.  Next day = so. much. better.

Veggie and Dumpling Soup with Oven Roasted Cauliflower

Roo and I live in a part of the city where many college students sublet apartments throughout the school year.  By living in an area heavily populated with undergrads, we have easy access to many locally run restaurants within walking distance.  However, one of the businesses across the street from our apartment is a chain restaurant.  And this particular chain loves to receive deliveries at 4 in the morning, with the semi-truck right parked in the middle of the road, complete with the engine running for the entire time.  The truck is usually there for 30 minutes to an hour, complete with hissing from air being released from the brakes and sometimes if you’re really lucky, a blast of the air horn, to let the employee stashed in the back know that they’ve arrived.

Usually Roo and I can sleep through it, as after living on a busy road for a while, little wakes you up.  But this morning was different, as the truck driver decided to use a cart to move items in and out of the restaurant.  Clickity clack clack clack, is what I woke to at 5 a.m.  As I rolled over to whine to Roo about the noise (because whining is totally appropriate couples’ communication when you’re pre-coffee and the sun isn’t up yet), I found that he wasn’t there.

Where was he?

When I turned the light on in the living room, I found Roo asleep on the couch, and Evil Monkey, obviously caught red-handed in some sort of master plan.

(Seriously, she’s an evil genius.)

I asked him what happened, and apparently I told him in the middle of the night, “stop coughing or get out.”

Wow.

I know what you’re thinking, because I am too: he’s so lucky to have. all. this. (crazy.)

All joking aside, I felt incredibly guilty that I forced Roo into exile, and knew I had to make it up to him.

When I’m sick, all I want is a warm, hearty soup that I can eat while wrapped in a blanket and my feet tucked up under me.  (Spooning a soup bowl is like my hobby when I have a cold. That and using every conceivable paper product in the house to blow my nose.  Really.)  I knew Roo wasn’t a fan of brothy soups, so I decided to do an adaptation of an old favorite of mine: chicken and dumplings.

While Roo and I are now eating plant based meals, I felt that that was no reason to stop eating the comfort foods we had grown up with.  There is always room for adaptation.

Simmering in my dutch oven, were flavors of woodsy thyme, onions, practically melted into the olive oil, with chunks of carrots and a peppering of celery throughout, all enveloped by a rich and creamy soup.  What I especially loved was that the oven roasted cauliflower placed at the bottom of the bowl, gave a slight crunch, from the caramelized bits that had cooked up against the baking sheet, only to end with a smooth and silky taste, coupling perfectly with the soup.

This meal does well as leftovers, as overnight, the flavors truly meld together, and make a lunch all your co-workers will be jealous of.

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients

For the oven roasted vegetables

1 – 2 tablespoons of mild flavored olive oil

1 large head of cauliflower, cut into bite sized florets (*if you don’t like cauliflower – gasp! – you can always roast broccoli)

1 big pinch of fine sea salt

For the soup

3 to 4 tablespoons of mild flavored olive oil

2 medium onions, diced

6 carrots, peeled and chopped

4 ribs of celery, thinly sliced

Half teaspoon of red pepper flake (optional)

1 teaspoon of dried thyme

Quarter teaspoon of tumeric

Five and a half cups of low sodium stock/broth (I used homemade vegetable)

2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast (this adds to the creaminess of the soup)

Half cup of apple cider (apple juice also works if that’s all you have)

2 tablespoons sherry

Half cup of unflavored unsweetened almond milk (or any other non-dairy milk)

Half cup of water

Half cup of all purpose flour

For the dumplings

One and a half cups of all purpose flour

Half cup of cornmeal

1 heaping tablespoon of baking powder

Half teaspoon of fine sea salt

Three quarters of a cup plus 2 tablespoons of unflavored unsweetened almond milk (or any other non-dairy milk)

2 tablespoons of mild flavored olive oil

Equipment

A sharp knife

2 medium sized mixing bowls (can hold about 4 cups), or you can wash out the mixing bowl and use it again

One to two cookie sheets with (optional) parchment paper to line

A large dutch oven or a large pot with lid

A spatula

A blender or immersion blender…you may be able to get out the lumps when mixing the almond milk/water/flour with a whisk/shake a lidded jar

A whisk

A tablespoon (to scoop the dumplings with)

Place the oven racks to the middle and lower position in your oven.  Preheat your oven to 425F.

In your first mixing bowl, add the cauliflower florets, olive oil and big pinch of sea salt.  Toss the ingredients together till the cauliflower is well coated with the olive oil.  Place the cauliflower on one to two (optional, lined with parchment paper) cookie sheets, depending on how much cauliflower you have.  If using only one cookie sheet, place it on the bottom rack.  Otherwise, place both cookie sheets on individual racks in the oven, and roast for 20 to 30 minutes, switching position of the sheets halfway through.  Roast the cauliflower until it is tender and the outside is beautifully browned (it does not have to be browned all over, if leaving it in the oven for too long makes you nervous about burning).

Pour 3 – 4 tablespoons of olive oil into your dutch oven/large pot and place over a burner on medium heat.  When the oil starts to shimmer, add the onion.  Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion starts to become translucent.  Add the carrots and celery, and cook, stirring occasionally until the onion has browned.  Add the red pepper flake (if using), thyme and tumeric.  Stir the spices into the ingredients until combined.  Cook until fragrant (about a minute).  Pour in the broth/stock slowly.  Using your spatula, scrape up any brown bits at the bottom of your dutch oven/large pot (this is the good stuff).  Continue to pour in the broth/stock and stirring the ingredients.  Add the nutritional yeast, stir till combined.  Add the apple cider.  Stir till combined.  Add the sherry.  Stir till combined.  Cover the dutch oven/large pot and simmer the ingredients while you make your dumplings.

In your second (or cleaned) mixing bowl, add the all purpose flour, cornmeal, 1 heaping tablespoon of baking powder and half teaspoon of fine sea salt.  Whisk the dry ingredients together.  Add the almond milk and olive oil.  Stir the ingredients together, being careful not to over mix.  The dough should be slightly damp.  If it’s too wet, add a bit more flour.  If it’s too dry, add a little bit more almond milk.  Set aside.

In a blender (or if using, an immersion blender and bowl, whisk and bowl, or jar with lid, maybe?), add the half cup of almond milk, half cup of water and half cup of all purpose flour.  Mix the ingredients together until no longer lumpy.  Add the almond milk, water, flour mixture to the dutch oven/large pot.  Stir till combined.

With a clean tablespoon, spoon out the dumpling dough and drop it onto the soup.  Continue adding dollops of dough into the soup until you run out.  Partially cover the dutch oven/large pot and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Check the seasonings and add salt if needed.  Let the soup sit for about 10 minutes before serving.