Cream of Artichoke Soup

I’ve always wanted to be the kind of lady who can just kill it at a gospel church. Belting it out, laughing and smiling ear-to-ear, calling everyone by name, and giving everyone big mama bear hugs – all with a healthy dose of sass.

I would say I can accomplish most of those, minus the actual gospel singing and remembering all the names. The belting, laughing, hugging, and “call ‘em like I see ‘em/ playful hard time” sassing I think I have down. And they can only grow from here!

Creamy vegan artichoke soup

Along with this sunny, yet sassy personality I try to reflect outward, comes a strong desire to feed all my friends and family. As far as I’m concerned, everyone is a growing girl/boy. And one of my favorite ways to achieve this is with soup accompanied by a good hearty bread.

Super fast, super easy, and super flavorful, this creamy artichoke soup nourishes bellies and warms hearts.

My favorite way to “cream” a soup is with velvety cashew cream. (This creamy kale soup and this corn and leek soup are also worth checking out!) This artichoke soup starts with …keep reading!

Saag Paneer & Homemade Cheese!

Today, I have something great for you. It’s just one of those recipes, I’m just psyched out of my mind about…ya’ know? It’s just one of those recipes where you’re like, YES! This Saag Paneer is it. It’s possibly one of the best, most gratifying things I’ve ever made. Honestly.

Saag Paneer

Often times, I don’t have all the ingredients for a recipe. Guilty. I also always make adjustments and dash things in to my own taste. But with this Saag Paneer, I followed the recipe and decided to go all out on the ingredients.

A good spice rack takes a while to build up. I know this is something that my non-cook friends would roll their eyes at, but it’s important to me for occasions like this (and occasions like Pumpkin Shrimp Curry!). And spices can be expensive – especially the fancy ones that you use in tiny amounts once in a blue moon. PRO TIP: you can buy spice by weight at Whole Foods! Hallelujah! So Elizabeth and bought all the spices for this wonderful Indian dish – we wavered on the coriander but ultimately decided: go BIG or go home.

This recipe is ingredient-heavy, but I promise, it’s simple and a lot of fun to make. We decided to try our hand at homemade paneer. Paneer is a soft, fresh cheese typically used in South Asian cuisine, and when it’s marinated in turmeric, cayenne, and oil and pan-fried, it’s just called “delicious.”

Elizabeth straining paneer

Elizabeth straining paneer

All you need is a gallon of whole milk, lemon, and cheesecloth. You just bring the milk to a gentle boil, add the lemon juice, and the curds and whey separate – like magic. Strain all of that through cheesecloth set in a colander and just let it set up in the fridge. And twenty minutes later, bam! CHEESE! When you make cheese at home, you realize just how magical it really is. Really, give it a try.

The Saag portion of this dish is also magic. Find out why…

Spaghetti Squash & Spinach Fritters with Sriracha Mayo

Spaghetti squash fritters

Remember how I said I was super excited for squash season? That’s not a joke. In the past two weeks I have made/consumed:

-Acorn squash and leek soup

Pumpkin kale risotto

-Spaghetti squash with feta, white beans, and spinach

-Butternut squash chili

-Spaghetti squash and spinach fritters with Sriracha mayonnaise

Squash

That’s some serious squashing. I love it all. And I’m still looking forward to more butternut and spaghetti squash in my future, but this has been a quality start. Let’s pave the way to winter – not with broken promises but with squash.

Now, I know y’all were worried about a possible Sriracha shortage, but don’t worry, they’re gonna keep at the good work. This Sriracha mayonnaise sauce surprised me – the vinegar gives it a serious tang. I obviously couldn’t follow the recipe straight, so I also added some garlic and ketchup to round out the flavors.

You know what did not surprise me though?… Don’t stop! Keep reading…

Quick and Easy Chilled Pea Soup

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Begrudgingly, I dragged myself out if bed this morning, to go for a good long, pavement-pounding run, and the best thing happened. It poured down rain. Buckets. I was absolutely drenched, and I loved it. That’s one of my favorite things in the world :)

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I’m just going to leave you with a quote I came across recently that I love and a very healthy, very easy summer soup recipe :)

“I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.” ― Audrey Hepburn

Amen sistah.

Quick Chilled Pea Soup

Empty into a large mixing bowl:

-thawed peas (one large package – about 20 oz.) reserve 1/2 c.
-2 c. chopped fresh spinach
-1 tsp. garlic powder
-salt and pepper to taste
-1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh mint
-1 tsp. lemon zest
-the juice of one lemon
-1 c. vegetable broth or water (add more later to reach the desired consistency)

Set aside.
In a small bowl (preferably a 2-cup glass liquid measuring cup) add:

-1 c. raw cashews
-enough water to cover the nuts

Microwave for 1 and 1/2 minutes. Using an immersion blender (or transferring to a food processor), blend the cashews into a very fine, silly cream.

Add the cashew cream to the pea mixture and blend it all together. Add the reserved peas and more salt, pepper, and broth to your liking. Serve chilled on a hot day or warm it up if you prefer. (*note, you can also add cream or milk if you don’t have cashews.)

Garnish with a spinach leaf if you’re feelin fancy, and enjoy!

*French phrase for fun:

J’adore courir quand il pleut des cordes.
I love running when it’s raining cats and dogs.

*SNOW!*

I don’t want to say I’m weak, (because I may or may not let out a little whimper of “OooOooo!” when the freezing wind and snowflakes hit my face) but my excuse is that I’m from Southern California. This weekend, it snowed, and it stuck! Even though I’ve spent the majority of my life in snowy places, it’s still SO EXCITING when it snows! :D

So what does one do with a snowy weekend?? …walk around the city for hours, of course. Caitlyn and I walked up to Eastern Market which is magical. This is what I think of when I think DC…

Isn’t it beautiful?! :D This was only the beginning of the snow, but as long as you have a hot cup of coffee in hand like we did, then really, what more do you need besides perhaps the FREAKING CUTEST black lab puppy to play with?!

And then we rounded off the weekend with this week’s new recipe: Garlicky White Bean and Spinach Soup! (Not the best pre-date meal, but perfect for a night in with some wine and a movie!) They’re serious about the *Garlicky* part in the name! If you follow the recipe, you’ll get an INTENSE garlicky-ness that we thought was too sharp-tasting, so we added some sour cream to smooth out the flavor and texture. Here’s the link to the original recipe.

And I’ll leave you with a little French phrase of the day:

Aujourd’hui, j’ai cuisiné une soupe merveilleuse!

-Today, I cooked a wonderful soup! :D