Smoky Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Spinach Empanadas

Smoky Sweet Potato and Black Bean Empanadas

A few weeks ago, I told Sarah of Well Dined that all I wanted to do this Fall is bake, bake, bake, and I wondered whether she would mind eating nothing but cookies for lunch when we got together. She thoughtfully responded that we should make empanadas.

And after we made these, we congratulated ourselves over and over again because the filling is so delicious. I mean seriously, we were both sneaking spoonfuls of filling as we assembled the empanadas, and licking our fingers when we were done. It’s amazing.

You should make yourself a batch of empanadas right away, so you will know what I’m talking about!

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Green Bean and Farro Salad with Manchego

Green Bean and Farro Salad with Manchego

I like to collect cookbooks. Mostly pretty ones. Often written by bloggers I enjoy and famous chefs.

Yet, like everyone in my generation, when I want to figure out what is for dinner, I usually ask Pinterest.

Which is why it’s so weird that I have been cooking lately from magazine clippings and *gasp* the actual pages of the books on my shelves!

When I found this grain salad as I was idly flipping through a magazine one morning, I immediately wrote all of the ingredients on my grocery list and purchased them the next day. I love whole grain salads, and you should, too!

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Beet Hummus

Beet Hummus

Last week, I made these amazing beet burgers. Beets are lovely, aren’t they? I think beets are the most beautiful color in the whole world. But…I have to admit that I really hate to eat them plain. I’ve tried them in salads with goat cheese and soaked in butter and horseradish sauce. But my favorite beets are definitely those diced small and mixed well with other flavors.

As I was contemplating what to do with the lonely, leftover beet in my crisper, I suddenly remembered a batch of beet hummus Dave’s aunt had made at Christmas, and I immediately got excited.

This hummus is a little earthy and a little tangy, and full of gorgeous pink. Eat it with a huge handful of bright, raw vegetables and you will feel like you are on cloud nine.

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Red-Handed Beet Burgers

Red-Handed Beet Burger

Admit it. You love veggie burgers. You can’t escape the truth.

Veggie burgers are one of the best things about being vegetarian, in my opinion. (Why eat something boring when you can eat something creative?) And these beet burgers with quinoa and black beans are no exception! They are delightful and hearty and a little smoky.

They are also a brilliant backdrop for all sorts of toppings, so pick your pleasure and take a big bite.

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Monster Green Pea Burgers with Roots and Greens

Monster Green Pea Burgers with Roots and Greens

It’s no secret that I love foodie burgers.

I’m not the kind of girl who longs after the simplicity of mayo and relish.

The fact that I don’t eat meat has definitely exacerbated this situation. Now, in addition to the fancy sauces and unique toppings, I crave interesting and colorful patties.

Like this one, made from green peas and edamame!

For Memorial Day this year, do something special. Skip the all-soy burger and make a masterpiece.

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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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Green Herb Falafel

Green Herb Falafel

Do you ever just have a really bad day? Like a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day?

This has nothing to do with falafel, really. I’m just whining.

I have been sick for several days. Like the kind of sick when everything in your body suddenly revolts all at once, where you have a cold, plus a broken wrist, plus a headache that feels like it might possibly be a brain tumor, plus a fever blister, plus a few other unmentionable problems. So I woke up already feeling like I just wanted to camp out under the covers for another several hours. But I didn’t.

Dave and I had a rather tense discussion right before he left for work. The baby pulled my necklace right off my neck. And then my nephew came over for the day! Unfortunately, he and Jake spent the entire day screaming and snatching toys out of each others’ hands and smacking each other with wooden tools. And then they pulled the curtains off the wall in the playroom, leaving a thumb-size hole in the drywall above the window. After which I half-fell off a ladder onto a pile of Duplos (if you’re a parent, you know how much that hurts). And then one of the 3-year-olds peed directly on me.

I hollered uncle.

My sweet sister-in-law brought me a milkshake, and I put the kids in their rooms for nap time, intent on doing Sudoku and listening to Yes, Please and slurping my chocolate shake in peace.

But my daughter stood up in her crib and wailed for an hour instead. (Yes. I left her in there for an hour. I’m a monster.)

It’s not even dinner time, yet, friends.

I think I’ll move to Australia.

P.S., I had intended to save this recipe for when it’s Spring and sunny and you are excited about green stuff. But really I just needed some encouragement, like right now. I couldn’t wait for Spring.

Without further ado…go make falafel. And have a good day.

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Chana Masala

Chana MasalaI adore Indian food. I love the spices and the warmth. I love that Indian food is packed with things that are good for my body, and that it doesn’t taste like “health food.” Indian food is fantastic.

But I’ve got to admit that I don’t cook Indian food at home very often. True, I love going home and recreating every delicious food in my very own kitchen; but I just find that Indian food is always better when I order it out. (Or, ahem, when friends make it for me. Yeah, you know who you are.)

In the months since learning about Caitlin’s dairy intolerance, I’ve had to avoid eating a lot of my favorite things. Dairy is in almost everything! And since a lot of Indian food is cooked with ghee (clarified butter), I’ve been wary of ordering Indian food at a restaurant.

Enter glorious chana masala, a simple dish featuring chickpeas cooked in a rich, spicy tomato sauce full of grated ginger and pressed garlic. This version comes together very quickly, ready from start to finish in under an hour, thanks to the help of canned chickpeas. And it is delicious!

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Millet Vegetable Stir-Fry

Millet Vegetable Stir Fry

Mind, prepare to be blown:

Stir Friday.

Yes…it’s the solution to my weekly pleadings with my family to name something other than pizza (Jake) or meatloaf (Dave) when I ask what to cook for dinner. Stir Friday.

I love it for so many reasons: 1) it still allows room for creativity, because “stir-fry” is a huge, broad category…but it does give me somewhere to start with the meal planning; 2) it makes a beautiful peace treaty for the taste bud cold war Dave and I are waging…no more can he tell me that I never eat Asian food with him!; 3) it has an awesome name—always a bonus; and 4) it’s so easy to make large amounts of stir-fry, so easy to accommodate different dietary needs, that Stir Friday is the perfect way to kick off one of our major family goals: becoming better hosts.

So, friends who live in the greater DC area, consider this your open invitation.

It’s Stir Friday. Are you coming?

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Quinoa and Chickpea Tortilla Soup

Quinoa Chickpea Tortilla Soup

When I was a kid, my mom used to make this amazing white chili. It was a football season/New Year’s Eve tradition for us.

My brother and I totally loved it, because we always ate this chili with a mountain of Cool Ranch Doritos (old school flavors are best, baby) and an avalanche of shredded cheddar cheese on top. I remember my dad crushing the chips into little shards with his big bear hands, like they were nothing, and piling them into our bowls.

One of the great tragedies of being a vegetarian now is that for years, I haven’t had that chips-in-my-soup experience.

Until I stumbled across a vegetarian recipe for tortilla soup!

This soup is so tasty, and it just gets better and better with time. I actually recommend eating it left over (is that weird?) because the flavors keep building.

Just like the nostalgia.

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