tomato carrot soup


We are in the midst of a big run of freezing cold days. The weather man said that it was going to be the coldest stretch in 100 years or something like that. So it's really cold.

Despite the temperature, I took a few longer walks yesterday. The first one was at Bouve Conservation in Hingham for about two miles. I was cold but nothing crazy. But towards the end of the day, I took Ruby for another walk through the neighborhood. When we got back I felt absolutely chilled to the bone. In spite of my electric blanket and hot fire, it took a solid hour to feel warm again. It was about 30 minutes in that I knew I needed tomato soup.

I had some carrots leftover from making this soup earlier in the vacation. I googled to make sure it wasn't a terrible idea to combine tomatoes and carrots - turns out it wasn't. Many of the recipes I looked at added cream but I held off. Not only did I not have cream, but I was trying to keep it healthier.

End result? A slightly chunkier soup. Sweet flavor due to the carrots. Perfect for sourdough bread.

Here's how it goes.

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F
  2. Chop carrots, drizzle with olive oil, and lay on a sheet pan. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes or so.
  3. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a dutch oven or pot to medium heat. Add the garlic and onion. Cook until the onions become translucent. Then add in the tomatoes and chicken stock. Stir to combine.
  4. When the carrots are done, add them to the pot to combine. Then use your immersion blender (or regular blender) to puree the soup.
  5. Add back to the pot to keep warm until you are ready to eat.
  6. Serve with torn basil ... and perhaps a sourdough grilled cheese.

Shopping List
1 lb carrots
1 28oz can San Marzano tomatoes
2 1/2 cups of chicken stock
1 small onion, diced or sliced
2 cloves garlic
olive oil
handful of basil, torn

chickpea tomato soup with rosemary


It is probably a bit odd but I gave this soup as a Christmas gift to my grandfather. A gift should be something that you thoughtfully picked out just for that person. It should be influenced by your relationship .... and that's how we get soup as a Christmas gift.

My grandfather is incredibly strict with his diet. It's low sodium to the heavens and overall very healthy - but not incredibly diverse. So, a brand new easy soup felt like a good addition to his freezer. I was doing some googling for low sodium recipes and found this gem. I loved that it was more of a tomato soup but with the added protein coming from chick peas. I have no idea how he feels about chick peas, but I know he does not like kale. This recipe also has kale in it .... but it is good for you! 

All in, this comes together rather quickly initially - but really requires that extra bonus rosemary simmering time. The kitchen smelled so amazing with all the tomato and rosemary goodness happening. I'll absolutely be making another batch of this soup soon. Perfect "take to work and buy a crusty roll" option for winter lunches.

Here's how it goes.
  1. Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic and saute until tender and fragrant, about 6 to 8 minutes. 
  2. Add the broth, tomatoes, chickpeas, parmesan cheese, and pepper. Add the rosemary, basil and bay leaves, cover and cook on low 30 minutes. 
  3. Add the greens, cover and simmer until wilted, about 2 minutes. 
  4. Remove the bay leaves, rosemary sprig, and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and top with extra parmesan cheese if desired. 
Shopping List
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
3 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1 fresh rosemary sprig
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
fresh black pepper, to taste
2 cups fresh baby kale or spinach 

gingerbread monkey bread


Christmas morning is very much about traditions. For as long as I can remember we've spent it at my Aunt's house. There are a few factors that never change: we are always late because of church and the menu. It would be weird if we didn't have blueberry french toast and egg sausage casserole. Even last year when kitchens were being renovated, my aunt still made the dishes and just cooked them somewhere else.

A few years back, I started making monkey bread to bring to the table. Monkey bread is insanely easy and kid friendly. The only thing that is (slightly) complicated about it is when to take it out of the oven. This year my mom seemed disappointed that I wasn't making egg nog monkey bread, but I just couldn't stomach another trip to the store for one more item.

But this morning when I was whipping it up, I added in a few extra spices to transform it from just a simple cinnamon to a gingerbread version. The gingerbread flavoring is subtle enough that if you aren't a fan of the cookies you won't be too upset. A hint of gingerbread goes a long way :)

Here's how it goes.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and grease your bundt pan
  2. Combine all the sugars and spices in a bowl.
  3. Open your rolls and cut into small pieces. Toss the small pieces into the sugar to coat.
  4. Layer the dough into the pan relatively evenly but also don't worry too much about it.
  5. After you've got all your dough in the pan, drizzle a combination of the melted butter and molasses over the top. Have extra sugar mixture? Sprinkle a little more on there.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Let cool a bit before trying to remove from the pan.
  7. Serve!
Shopping List
2 cans of biscuits (Grands style)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
1/2 cup (1 sticks) melted butter
1 tablespoon molasses

chocolate pistachio cookies


We have a cookie contest this coming week at work and despite all my prior cooking efforts, I've never been in a contest before. I wasn't sure where I stood on the contest, was I going to take it seriously and really bring my A game? or keep it casual and do the bare minimum? I think I settled somewhere in the middle.

I did some light googling for recipes last week on the train for inspiration. I didn't come away with any winners. Up until last night I was still planning on some sort of gingersnap situation and potentially dipping it in chocolate. The other option was a pistachio cranberry shortbread. Get it? The red and green cookie. 

But some how this gem popped up and I wanted to give it a shot. I figured the "gluten free" angle might give me an edge in the competition :). The next best thing would be to make it dairy free but that would mean saying farewell to the nutella which seems dumb. It's so good.

I kid you not this cookie is amazing and so easy. I made them in less than an hour before 9 am on a Sunday. They taste like a brownie and a macaroon had a baby. Then we decided to drizzle the baby in Nutella and sprinkle it with pistachio and sea salt. 


  1. Start by preheating your oven to 350 F and lining your cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine together the sugar and cocoa powder.
  3. Add in the egg whites and vanilla extract and mix until a batter forms. It'll be relatively thick like a brownie batter.
  4. Fold in the chocolate chips and almond flour.
  5. Drop cookie dough onto the sheet pan about 2-3 inches apart. They will spread a fair bit during baking. 
  6. Bake for 9-14 minutes, or until the tops begin to crack.
  7. Do not remove the cookies from the pan until they have completely cooled.
  8. In a small bowl, warm the Nutella in the microwave for a few seconds until smooth enough to drizzle.
  9. Drizzle the Nutella on top of each cookie, then sprinkle on the sea salt and pistachios.
Shopping List (12 cookies)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
a pinch of salt
2 large egg whites at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup almond flour
sea salt
chopped pistachios
warm Nutella for drizzling

butternut squash turkey chili


We had our first snow this past weekend ... which pretty much had me craving all things hot with tomatoes and meat. Options lead to meatballs or chili. I had a pretty long day of looking at appliances at multiple appliance stores... so a low impact chili was the winner.

In the effort to try and switch it up, I pulled back on all the things that have made past chilis amazing: red meat. I swapped out the ground beef and hot Italian sausage for a simple ground turkey. I went heavy on the tomatoes and added in butternut squash. I love the changes.

Some chilis feel a bit sinful in how flavorful they are. Like you know it is loaded up with red meat, then you top it with sour cream and shredded cheese.... and it's amazing. This is a much lighter option. I can't guarantee that it is healthier but it is a good option. 
  1. Preheat oven to 400F. This is for your butternut squash
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic; cook and stir for 3 minutes, then add the turkey, and stir until crumbly and no longer pink.
  3. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, chickpeas, kidney beans, and tomato paste
  4. season with chili powder and cumin. 
  5. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low-medium, cover, and simmer.
  6.  until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes.
  7. Lay your butternut squash out on a sheet pan and drizzle in olive oil. Roast in the oven until tender. Depending on the size of your pieces, it could be anywhere between 20-45 minutes.
  8. Serve your chili in bowls and mix in the butternut squash. If needed, add a bit of sour cream - you won't regret it.
Shopping List
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, cut into thin slices
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground turkey breast
2-3 cups chopped butternut squash (peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch dice)
1 cup chicken broth
2 (14.5 ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans with liquid
1 (15 ounce) can chick peas
6 oz can tomato paste
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
sour cream

sweet potato and brussel sprout quinoa cakes

I think just last week I was commenting on how unenthused I was about quinoa. I probably said the exact same thing the last time I made quinoa cakes. But, as I was wrapping up my weekend I felt the need to treat my body a bit like a temple. I had some leftover butternut squash chili but for some reason quinoa was calling my name.

I am notoriously bad at cooking grains. I simply can't make rice or quinoa - but give me a rice cooker and I'm all set. I tossed some quinoa in the rice cooker before taking my shower and by the time I was done so was the quinoa.

This meal really came together rather holistically. I literally made it up as I went. Here are some quick notes:

  • Sweet Potato // I have recently fallen in love with zoodled sweet potatoes (ate them 4 meals last week). So I chopped up some that I had leftover. Finely chopping sweet potato sounds like an arduous task which makes zoodling first pure genius.
  • Brussel Sprouts // Admittedly the brussel sprouts make it a little more challenging to form the cakes. I left my sprouts a little more roughly chopped (e.g. big) which was great for texture but made it a little harder. If you are apprehensive, just chop the sprouts more finely. No big deal.
  • bread crumbs // these are essential to keeping the cakes together. Don't skip it. I also feel like you get better results with bread crumbs over panko flakes.

Here's how it goes. Oh, and here are the other times I've made quinoa cakes (201220132014, 2017)
  1. combine cooked quinoa, egg, and breadcrumbs in a bowl. You want the consistency to be very loose since you haven't added your chunky ingredients yet.
  2. Add in your brussel sprouts and sweet potato. You are the captain, as much or as little as you want. Eventually, you want the consistency to be on the wet, loose side but enough that it stays together if you were to ball it up in your hands. I know this isn't a really helpful description - but fundamentally, don't let it be dry and don't load up on breadcrumbs.
  3. spoon the mixture into gentle balls and place into a medium-hot skillet.
  4. let cook until browned and then flip to the other side.
  5. Toss a few extra sprouts in the pan to cook for a topping.
  6. plate the cakes on a plate and scatter with parmesan and capers. Drizzle olive oil over the plate.... and then eat.
Shopping List
for 3 cakes
1 egg
1 cup of cooked quinoa
handful of roughly chopped brussel sprouts (~5) + plus more for topping
1/4 cup finely diced sweet potato
bread crumbs
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