Red Lentil and Apricot Soup

Since it's getting darker so much earlier, I'm having a hard time getting enough light for these pictures so they are so blurry! Oh well. You get the idea.
Evan and I first had this soup at a young adults potluck dinner with people from our church. It was unlike any soup I'd had an I quickly got the recipe. It was quick to make and so satisfying.
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup finely chopped dried apricots
1 1/2 cups dried split red lentils, well rinsed
5 cups chicken/vegetable stock
1 28 can of plum tomatoes, diced
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary or thyme
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1. Saute onion, garlic, and apricots in olive oil until onions are soft and browned - about 12 minutes. I did this step earlier in the day and stored in the fridge for later.
2. In a saucepan, pour in stock and lentils and bring to a boil uncovered. Once boiling, cover the pan and reduce to low. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until lentils are cooked. Add onion mixture, plum tomatoes, seasonings, and lemon juice. Simmer together for a few more minutes.

Autumn Salad with Butternut Squash and Cranberries

I just discovered that Trader Joes has a recipe section on their website! In searching through the recipes, I found a delicious looking autumn salad. It was nice to get the fall flavors on a salad since I keep finding myself making soups and heavier dishes now.
This was super fast and easy to make.
1. Cut up half of a small butternut squash into little chunks. Saute in a cast iron pan with coconut oil until soft. Season with cinnamon, a pinch of nutmet, salt, and a little bit of brown sugar.
2. When the squash is done, remove from the pan and add a can of chickpeas. Cook in coconut oil and season with curry powder, salt, and cinnamon.
3. Chop up a red pepper.
4. Top spinach with the squash, chickpeas, almonds, goat cheese, and dried cranberries. For the dressing, I mixed together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and a pinch of blue agave syrup for sweetness.

Roasted Vegetable and Goat Cheese Paninis

I discovered that you can roast veggies in the crockpot! This has changed so much.
Veggies: cut in thin slices, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and oregano. Set in crockpot on low for 8-10 hours (this also works on the faster settings)
2 zucchini
2-3 bell peppers
2 sweet potatoes

On sourdough bread, spread goat cheese on one half and pesto on the other. Pile on the roasted vegetables and stick it all in the panini press. Delicious!

Vegan Alfredo Pasta

THIS ALFREDO IS SO GOOD. Evan thought it was by far the best vegan imitation I have made. It really tastes like the real thing without any of the heavy cream that I thought was required to make a good cream sauce.
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 heaping Tbsp. garlic
4 Tbsp. arrowroot powder or flour
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
4-6 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup vegan parmesan cheese (1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast, 1/4 cup raw cashews, 1/4 tsp. garlic powder, pinch of salt, blended)

1. In a saucepan, heat oil until hot. Add garlic. Quickly stir in arrowroot powder or flour and cook for one minute.
2. Add almond milk 1/4 cup at a time, stirring to avoid clumps. Cook for 2 minutes.
3. Transfer to blender and add nutritional yeast (I did 4 heaping Tbsp.), salt, pepper, garlic powder, and vegan parmesan.
We cooked up some peas, broccoli, and mushrooms (carrots would have been good too) and added that to our noodles.

This recipe was taken from Minimalist Baker


I kept seeing pictures of ramen floating around on Facebook and my favorite cooking blogs, so I figured I would try it out myself. It was a bit difficult to find all of the ingredients (I should have gone to an Asian grocery story but I just went by Trader Joes and Whole Foods) but it turned out yummy still.
1. Preheat oven to 400. Slice carrots and mushrooms, coat with olive oil and garlic, and roast until soft - about 30 minutes.
2. Slice tofu and coat with cornmeal, salt, and pepper (I tossed mine in a large Ziploc bag). Set aside.
3. Finely chop one medium yellow onion, one piece of ginger, and four cloves of garlic. Simmer in sesame oil until soft. Add 6 cups of vegetable stock, 4 packages of miso flavored ramen (mine were from Whole Foods), 2 Tbsp. liquid aminos/soy sauce, and one Tbsp. umami paste, and simmer for 10-15 minutes until noodles are soft. Add extra seasonings to the broth to taste. Add roasted veggies.
3. In a hot cast iron, add about 2 Tbsp. of sesame oil and pan fry tofu until firm.
4. Saute some kale or other desired toppings.


Slice eggplant into 1/4"-1/2" slices and drizzle with olive oil and salt. On a baking sheet, broil for 4-5 minutes (until browned) on each side. Remove from oven and cover with foil to steam. After a few minutes, remove the skin from the eggplant and put in a blender with 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 5 Tbsp. nutritional yeast, 1 scoop of salsa (optional), 1 Tbsp. cumin, 1 tsp. chili powder, 1 tsp. minced garlic, and a can of Rotel or green chilis. For more spice add smoked paprika. Blend together. If too runny, put in a saucepan with cornstarch until it thickens.
We topped corn chips with black beans, sauteed peppers and onions, and tomatillo salsa.
This made quite a bit of queso - enough for two dinners and two lunches - so next time I'd need to brainstorm a better way to use the leftovers.


"Sometimes unbelievers ask, 'Where is God? Why can't I see Him? Why doesn't He manifest Himself so that I may believe?' or 'Prove to me that God exists.' But how can anybody do that for someone who lacks sight? Their case is similar to a blind man who does not believe that there are chandeliers. He just does not have the eyes to see them. But those with eyes to see know from experience that all of reality is permeated with God. And you know what a sweet feeling it is to have that experience? To be within creation and to feel everywhere God's presence? Then life becomes intensely joyous. Everything is blessed. When you don't have this experiential understanding of God's Grace, then with the slightest provocation you become critical, constantly blaming others, constantly finding fault with them."
- Mountain of Silence, 63