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Dinner Gluten Free Optional Recipes Soup Vegan Vegetarian

Vegan Ramen

May 4, 2017

Vegan Ramen
(AKA 12 easy steps to writing a recipe)

Tofu, Miso, Carrots

Some housekeeping:

  • The winner of last weeks giveaway is Katie, who inspired me to try something new next time I order a cocktail!
  • And for the local DSM group – I’ve updated my Contact/Hire Me page, so check it out for different services like knife sharpening or cooking classes.

I’ve been feeling a bit distracted lately my whole life. The proof is in the steps of this recipe.

Writing up this recipe should not have taken me more than 30 minutes. Instead, it took 2 hours. Efficiency at its finest! Here’s what I’ve done while writing down this recipe:

  1. Tell my husband how motivated I am feeling today. Going to get that recipe written down! Start writing/Open a Word doc.
  2. Grab a spatula, pose in the mirror. Continue to pose until I find myself swinging it like a bat. I’ve never done this before.
  3. Look through the pantry. I forgot I had popcorn hiding up there!
  4. Finish the tofu part of the recipe.
  5. Complain about the pain in my hand.
  6. Try to do a pushup. Nope.
  7. Write about carrots. I’m on a roll!!
  8. Diagnose myself with carpal tunnel syndrome.
  9. Start the soup portion of the recipe. Get ½ way through.
  10. Text my sister – I miss her! And my brother too!
  11. I haven’t listened to that new Ryan Adams album… Let’s see if it’s on Spotify. It is!
  12. Finish up the soup portion!!!

Miso Glazed Carrots

Just a quick 12-step process to get it done! Anyway… on paper, this recipe may seem a little complex or wordy. My suggestions are to stay organized – Get everything you need out on the counter. Start with the tofu, then the carrots. While those are cooking, prep all the remaining veggies and measure out the ingredients. Cook the ramen noodles last so that they don’t stick together. I’ve wondered if you could just prepare the soup and put the dry noodles in and heat until they were ready, but I wasn’t willing to test it out yet. Let me know if you decide to try that method!

Spicy Tofu

Vegan Ramen
Serves 4


1 block of tofu, pressed
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 teaspoons of tamari or soy sauce
2 teaspoons of toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons of sriracha

2 cups of carrots, sliced on a bias
1 tablespoon of miso (I used white)
1 tablespoon of tamari or soy sauce
1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil
Juice of half a lime

2 cups of onion (medium size onion), diced
¼ teaspoon of salt
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
4 ounces of shiitake mushrooms, stems cut off and sliced thin – see note
4 cups of vegetable stock
1-2 tablespoons of miso
1-2 tablespoons of tamari or soy sauce
Small crown of broccoli, cut into small florets
2 cups of purple cabbage, sliced thin
3 ounces of dry ramen – see note
Cilantro, sliced scallions, lime, and sriracha for garnish

Shiitakes – The pack I got at whole foods that was 3.7 ounces, but I felt weird typing that. I always want more than the small pack offer, so I prefer to go in the bulk bins and get closer to 5 ounces.
Ramen – I used Hakubaku organic ramen. It has 3 little bundles of ramen in a package. The first time I used two bundles and I thought it was too much, but it’s completely up to your preferences.


  1. Prepare tofu – Set the oven to 425° and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut tofu into small slices (about a centimeter), then cut lengthwise. Place and spread out the tofu on the prepared baking sheet. In a small mixing bowl, combine tamari, toasted sesame oil, and sriracha. With a pastry or basting brush, brush both sides of the tofu. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping the tofu over halfway through baking. Set aside.
  2. Prepare carrots – Set the oven to 425° and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small mixing bowl (I used the tofu bowl and didn’t even wash it in between!) combine the miso, tamari, toasted sesame oil, and the lime juice and mix well with a fork. Add in the carrots, stirring until the carrots are well coated. Spoon onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes and set aside.
  3. In a medium size pot (about 3 quarts) on medium heat, add onions and salt. Sweat for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and ginger and continue to sweat for another 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and stir occasionally for another 3 minutes.
  4. Add stock, a tablespoon of miso and a tablespoon of tamari. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Taste the broth and decide if you’d like to add more miso or tamari.
  5. Add the broccoli and cabbage and simmer for another 10 minutes.
  6. Prepare the ramen according to the directions on the package. Add to the soup.
  7. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with the prepared tofu and carrots. Garnish with cilantro, scallions, sriracha, and a lime wedge.

Tofu, Miso, Carrots

Do you procrastinate? What are your tips for focusing? I typically like to set timers and I’m not allowed to get up from my task until it rings. Clearly I “forgot” that technique today.

Dinner Gluten Free Recipes Soup Vegan Vegetarian

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

December 5, 2016

  butternut-squash-soup-final Creamy Butternut Squash Soup
(AKA Sunny Day Soup)

Des Moines has been gray. People didn’t tell me about this. I heard about the cold, but I didn’t know about the gray. I’ve lived in Ireland and this gray doesn’t compare. Then again, I was clouded with Guinness and cheese, so who really knows.


When gray days got me down in the past, I used to watch a clip from a popular 80s show where the kids put on a show for their parents’ anniversary, lip syncing Ray Charles’ “Night Time is the Right Time.” If you’re able to figure out the show, you’ll know why I can’t watch it anymore.


In fairness, New York got pretty gray at times. I learned some ways to help boost my mood. They’re nothing groundbreaking, but they help me and I hope they help you too:

  • Spend time outside every single day – take your sunglasses off and take in the sunshine, even if it’s behind a cloud – absorb that Vitamin D!
  • Get exercise – I make a point to exercise at least 4 days a week. It’s a non-negotiable for me. It’s so much more to me than keeping fit. I am miserable to be around without getting some sort of physical activity.
  • Meet a friend for coffee – It’s hard for me to be blue around my friends, coffee, and croissants.
  • Get a therapy lamp – Okay, I haven’t tried it myself, but some people love it and I’m thinking about getting one.
  • Talk about it – with a friend, partner, sibling, therapist, or parent. It’s not complaining, it’s just asking for a little support.
  • Cook for someone – cooking for people brings me so much joy.

Now I also have this soup to help with the grayness. When I studied at NGI they had a full day of soup making that was life changing. (Yes, I went that far and I’m not taking it back.) It was called “Creamy Soup Practicum,” and we didn’t use a drop of cream. We used several different methods, such as potato, oats, and butter. I thought the butter version was the best, but you really don’t need it. It certainly adds an element of richness, but it’s still delicious without the butter.

Butternut Squash Cooking


Creamy Butternut Squash Soup
(Method adapted from NGI)
Serves: 4

1 small yellow onion, diced
½ of 1 medium butternut squash, large dice (about 4 cups)
1-2 teaspoons of curry powder (I like Frontier)
½ teaspoon of turmeric
¼-½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
4 cups of vegetable stock
2 tablespoons of cold butter (optional)


  1. Heat a medium size pot (4 quarts) on a medium flame. Add olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan, add the onion and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Sauté for about 5 minutes, or until translucent, stirring occasionally so they onions don’t stick or brown.
  2. Add the squash, spices, and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Cover the pot with a lid, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until the squash is tender.
  3. Add stock, bring to a boil, and then simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Scoop the soup into a high-speed blender with a ladle (you may need to do this in 2 parts). Blend on high for at least a minute, adding the optional butter while it’s running.
  5. Garnish with spiced chickpeas.


Curry Spiced Chickpeas
1 ½ cups of cooked chickpeas, dried on a paper towel
1 tablespoon of olive oil
½ teaspoon of salt, separated
1 teaspoon of curry powder
½ teaspoon of turmeric


  1. Preheat over to 425° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. On the baking sheet, toss the chickpeas in the olive oil, spices, and ¼ teaspoon of salt.
  3. Bake for 5 minutes, give the pan a shake and bake for another 5 minutes. Add ¼ teaspoon of salt, allow to cool.


Question: What are some ways you combat winter grayness?