Rainbow Cauliflower Bowl

Rainbow Cauliflower Bowl

I’ve become kind of obsessed with cauliflower.

Lately, I’ve been eating it almost every day, with beet hummus, for breakfast scrambled with eggs, instead of rice with Indian food.

And then Sarah and I decided to combine our powers for good and make a colorful, healthy lunch totally based on cauliflower.

I am NOT on the low-carb bandwagon. Wheat would have to go extinct for me to give it up for the rest of my life. Despite these truths, I really love replacing grains with cauliflower.

Here’s the thing. I am the type of person who wants to spend time eating. It’s hard for me to feel “done” eating if my plate is clean in five minutes or less, even if I’ve actually had enough calories to fill me up. This is why vegetables, and cauliflower specifically, are amazing. More volume for less calories, longer meals with less overeating just because I still have the munchies.

This rainbow bowl is delicious and surprising. There are a lot of components, but all together they make an incredibly satisfying meal!

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Challah

Challah

When I was in high school, my best friend and I liked to take walks through Carytown. We almost always started our jaunts at Montana Gold Bread Co., where we would snag a free slice of challah and slather it with butter before venturing out to a bench to people-watch and pretend we were cool.

Challah has always been a little amazing to me. It’s stunning, with an intricate braided pattern, as well as soft and chewy and a little sweet: everything that a great bread should be.

Until now, I’ve been a little afraid to try baking it on my own. I worried that braiding the bread would be messy and awkward and, well, hard.

But when I was assigned Oh! You Cook! for the June Secret Recipe Club blog exchange, I knew it was time to go for it.

Dena has devoted her blog to kosher cooking. I have only the barest grasp on what it means to keep kosher, but at its most basic level, it requires avoiding certain types of animal meats (famously, pork products, but also shellfish and a few others) and completely separating meat from dairy (both in what you eat when and in how you prepare foods). Dena has shared many traditional Jewish dishes that look interesting, but since I am a vegetarian and a baker, I knew immediately that I wanted to try her challah recipe.

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Rye Spaetzle with Spring Veggies

Rye Spaetzle with Spring Veggies

I was a ripe 13-year-old when I first took a formal German class. Middle schoolers are delighted by the idea of pretending to be someone they are not, so it probably comes as no surprise that I thoroughly enjoyed picking out a German name to go by. (I’m still a little sad that this tradition is falling by the wayside. P.S., my “German” name was Andrea.)

Before I share the next tidbit from my early German career, let me first apologize to everyone named Günter, and all German women and German people in general. Because, you see, as my equally pimpled friends and I perused the list of German names in our textbooks, we were struck by how funny they sounded. For some reason, our mirth centered on the name Günter, as we pictured a ruddy and rotund, aproned German mother calling for her son out the front door while stirring a very large bowl of dough.

We, unfortunately, spent the rest of the year pretending to stir invisible bowls of dough and giggling.

This image popped back into my head as Sarah and I were wrestling with the bowl of spaetzle dough.

And, by the way: it’s pronounced “sh-paytes-luh.” Don’t let me hear you calling it “spatsl.”

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Yeasted Waffles

Yeasted Waffles

So it’s Spring, which is a beautiful thing.

Except that my children have been rising with the sun. The very early sun.

Before we go any further, I must come out as strongly against The Morning. Specifically, all of the hours before 8:00 am. I cannot get behind anything that causes me to get up during the 6:00 hour. Especially when that thing is hollering my name repeatedly.

I know all you more seasoned mothers are laughing at me. And the rest of you non-morning people might be sympathetic, or you might be laughing also, maybe a little maliciously, because I was lucky enough to be sleeping in until Spring struck this year, and now you want to welcome me greedily into this evil morning club and say it serves me right and this is only fair.

But whatever. We need a morning solution. We need something (besides children) to wake up for. And that thing is yeasted waffles.

We need these beautiful waffles because they are just waiting to be cooked when we stumble into the kitchen and blearily splash coffee into the enormous waiting mug. We need things that cook themselves with little oversight while we adjust to the daylight.

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Mustard Greens on Toast

Mustard Greens on Toast

It may surprise you to learn that I don’t actually eat a lot of vegetables. I can go entire days without a vegetable, if you don’t count the tomato sauce in pizza.

The problem obviously isn’t that I don’t like vegetables…I love them! The real problem is that I am busy and tired, and preparing vegetables (plus, let’s get real: doing the subsequent dishes) takes more time than boiling an egg.

“But,” you protest, “you’re a vegetarian. How can it be that you don’t eat a lot of vegetables!?”

And that, my friends, is a beautiful question. As I have been trying to plot ways to actually model good health for my kiddos, I have made a resolution: I will make it a priority to eat greens at every meal. Seriously, even breakfast. I have been drinking green smoothies and tossing kale into scrambled eggs. I even made oatmeal with spinach in it. More on that later.

Greens are so good for you. Greens, and vegetables more broadly, are the one thing we never have to eat in moderation.

Jump on the greens train!

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Snickerdoodle Layer Cake

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I have noticed a change in myself recently.

The longer I do this blogging thing, the more I bake and cook and try new things, the less I am daunted by recipes that have many steps or seem like they may take a while. I am no longer irritated by sifting. I expect to leave a mountain of dirty dishes in my wake…it doesn’t even seem like a deterrent anymore.

Surprisingly, recipes that I once thought of as time-consuming actually go faster! (I think I finally gained some knife skills, y’all.)

I have become more of a perfectionist, more critical of the foods I produce…because I can actually think of a dozen ways to balance the flavors or improve the texture! (Consequently, I no longer even bother to photograph every new dish I make, because I know I will want to tweak it before I share it.)

Last week, someone sent me a recipe that was literally just a list of ingredients. And I made a pretty amazing cake out of it without batting an eye or consulting any cookbooks.

I feel almost like a different person…I have started to trust myself in the kitchen. I have started to listen to my instincts more and have fewer facepalm moments.

I realized all of this due in large part to this cake. (Thank you, cake, and thank you, mom’s birthday!)

This cake is nothing short of delicious. It’s tender and airy, richly cinnamon and sweet. It tastes like a crisp snickerdoodle cookie. Oh, and it’s made entirely without wheat or dairy. Woot!

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Zimtsterne

Zimtsterne

I’ve been feeling pretty grinchy this Christmas season.

This isn’t a fun time of year to be forbidden from eating any dairy of any kind. I have been lusting after trays of cookies and holiday cheese balls and getting grumpier and grumpier.

But I just can’t imagine Christmastime without holiday baking, even if I can’t eat the spoils myself.

And wouldn’t you know it, the cookie that was at the top of my list to try this year actually turned out to be dairy free! And gluten free!

Surprise!

These cinnamon stars (little German lesson for you: Zimt = cinnamon, Sterne = stars. Literal naming at work…) are chewy and moist and simply amazing. Especially if you thought you were staring down a month without cookies. If you know anyone with food sensitivities, make these immediately. They will be so grateful!

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Broccoli and Purple Potato Gribiche

Broccoli and Purple Potato Gribiche

Have I mentioned to you that my brother is working in Africa for the summer? This has nothing whatsoever to do with gribiche or purple potatoes, except that in his absence, his excellent girlfriend decided to get to know the family better (!).

So last week, she came armed with books to read to Jake and very graciously and happily entertained him while my mom cuddled Caitlin and I made lunch.

I fretted quite a bit over what to serve her: it had to be something simple but interesting (because someone mentioned that I was a good cook…thus knocking PB&J out of the running…), and of course it had to be wheat- and dairy-free for my mom! For days I pondered what to make, hemming and hawing until I thought I would have to serve grocery-store-salad-bar salad, and then I whipped out my copy of Super Natural Every Day and I was saved by the first recipe I saw!

This simple dish of roasted veggies and eggy dressing was delicious! It is a full meal all on the same plate, with protein, carbs, and veggies all mixed together. We basically licked the serving plate clean. I know I will be making this salad again and again.

(And lest you think I am an overachiever for trying a new recipe especially to impress, let me just admit that I served five kinds of random leftovers for dinner, so I am not really earning any A’s for Effort here….)

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Hazelnut Meringues

Hazelnut Meringues

December is baking month. It’s the month when I abandon any pretense of eating healthily and just enjoy cookies!

Which is exactly why I joined the SRC Cookie Carnival this year. Because what could be better than a blog exchange devoted to cookies during a month when that’s all I do in my kitchen anyway?

I was so happy to find a recipe for hazelnut meringues over at Chit Chat Chomp.

Here’s why: I really enjoy making cookies and treats to share during this holiday season. I have been known to host parties specifically devoted to sharing cookies I have baked. This year I packed a dozen cookies into little boxes and brought them around to my new neighbors. Hey, it’s a season of giving! But I also have a growing contingent of friends and family with food allergies, wonderful folks who just can’t eat cookies made with butter or wheat.

Meringues are a perfect solution for me! Meringues are delicious and easy. You can fill them with anything or nothing—though I must admit that I am partial to toasted hazelnuts! You can bake several batches in a day, or “forget” them overnight. Meringue cookies are just lovely!

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Rustic Chocolate Pavlova

Rustic Chocolate Pavlova

It’s summer. It’s hot. I sometimes have to wear a bathing suit.

But I still want chocolate desserts. (So sue me. I don’t like fruit, remember?)

So let’s just settle back and imagine the perfect summery chocolate dessert. One that is light and airy and melts in your mouth. One that doesn’t feel like it’s going to make that whole bathing suit situation impossible.

And here it is: pavlova!

Pavlova is basically a meringue cake, which you can top any way you’d like. I went for whipped cream (hiiiiiighly recommended) and chocolate shavings, but you could totally throw on a handful of your favorite summery berries and make this dessert even more festive. It’s fudgy in the center but not too rich; it’s crisp at the edges…and that melt in your mouth thing?—totally happening. This is a delicious chocolate dessert that feels like it was invented for summer.

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