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I made a lot of soup this winter—probably a pot per week. And at some point during these past few months, I started reading entire soup chapters in cookbooks, looking for new recipes and ideas for other takes on steaming bowls of my favorite comfort food.

Meet fideos, a Mexican “dry” soup that is more noodles than broth, but more soupy than pasta. It is probably adaptable to a range of ethnic cuisines, but the Mexican version is so good, we haven’t needed to try another. I’ll thank Deborah Madison for the original inspiration, but since then, fideos recipes seem to be popping up in all sorts of places. Continue reading Fideos

Blood Orange, Celery and Bulgur Salad

As spring finally begins to show herself in Chicago, I’m eagerly readying to the fact that tiny green leaves and vegetables will beckon me back to the kitchen. Because if January was a long, cold and dreary month, February and March were even more of challenge. The ground was frozen solid, not a fresh thing had grown in months, our winter farm share ended, and I was personally challenged with a low-iodine diet that made eating feel more like torture than pleasure. Now that’s over, and I’m glad April is here.

Continue reading Blood Orange, Celery and Bulgur Salad

Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse

Last week, my best friend Tim and I got together for a little home cooking class—we made soup (two kinds), a gallon or so of homemade vegetable stock, and a butternut squash galette. It was only at the last minute that I decided we should make dessert, and I remembered this bittersweet chocolate mousse from an episode of Everyday Food a while back.

Continue reading Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse

Squash and Apple Coconut Curry

Two weeks after the cleanse, and what do I post? Not cookies, not bread, not a pot roast, but a very healthy, vegan-optional weeknight recipe. I guess I should consider myself lucky; this is the food I want to eat. Because as I returned to the wide world of food options and ventured outside my kitchen after my new year’s plan, I was left somewhat disappointed.

In the past two weeks, I’ve had pepperoni pizza, which tasted good at first, but I later wished I had skipped it. Dining out three times over two days also did me in. I was thankful that at least on those days, I got in a nourishing breakfast of oatmeal, cooked in almond milk with bananas and blackberries. On a January morning, nothing beats it. Now, I’m certainly not saying not to eat out, but I think I can now make a pretty good argument for staying in. Besides, I think dining out is much more fun when it’s something to look forward to.

Continue reading Squash and Apple Coconut Curry

Days 5, 6 and 7: A Food Lover’s New Year’s Plan

As the week came to a close, eating—without flour, sugar, meat or dairy—became a bit more of a challenge. I had a breakfast meeting Thursday where I chose to eat simply: scrambled eggs, potatoes and fruit. Lunch out the following day was a bit more of a challenge; all I could find was a salad and side of fruit. I resisted the bread served with my salad. Then came the birthday cake at work. I managed to decline that too. When I shared my “cleanse” with a coworker, she joked, “What, did Lent come early?” I couldn’t help but laugh. Even though a conscious return to eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains had its limits, it really was not that bad.

Continue reading Days 5, 6 and 7: A Food Lover’s New Year’s Plan

Days 3 and 4: A Food Lover’s New Year’s Plan

No, I have not given up. I did decide that coffee-deprivation was unnecessary and probably not the best foot to start my new year on. The new blender is lovely; I’ve used it twice already. And a kale and kiwi smoothie won even skeptics (the wife) over to the green side.

We have done, in my humble opinion, a very good job sticking to the plan. I did forget to make the edamame hummus on day three, so I added it to day four. It was especially nice the following day, when we snacked on it with carrots while making dinner. Here are a few highlights:

Continue reading Days 3 and 4: A Food Lover’s New Year’s Plan