Roasted Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup

Soup season has officially arrived in New York City, so what better time to experiment with some new recipes. I came up with this one a few days ago when my best friend dropped by for a long overdue catch-up session. The cold and rainy weather made it the perfect time to warm up with a delicious bowl of goodness made from butternut squash, carrots, and lots of fresh thyme. Take a look at the recipe below, and happy eating!

Roasted Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup

Pre-chopped or Whole Butternut Squash (you need about 3 cups)

2-3 Large Carrots, Roughly Cut into Rounds

Fresh Thyme, about 10 Springs on the Stem

Medium Sized Sweet Onion, Sliced

3/4- 1 Cup Coconut Cream

2-3 Tsp Salt

2-3 Tsp Lemon Pepper

2-3 Garlic Cloves, Chopped

Dash of Cayenne Pepper

Dash of Smoked Paprika

4 Cups of Vegetable Broth

Olive Oil

Cilantro, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add cut squash, carrots and onions onto a lined baking sheet with fresh thyme. Add olive oil so everything is lightly covered, salt and pepper and roast for 10-12 minutes until tender and veggies start to caramelize. Some of the veggies will char more than others, but this will add to the flavor of your soup.

Remove  from oven and discard any excess hard thyme stems if needed. Remove some of the butternut squash, place in a small bowl and reserve for garnish.Transfer the remaining veggies to the stove top into a dutch oven or large pot on medium heat. Add more olive oil, and the veggie broth. Stir in more salt, and pepper, and add cayenne, smoked paprika and chopped garlic. Bring everything to a slight boil to make sure all veggies are soft enough to puree about 3-5 minutes. Use a spoon to start to break up everything to be sure.

Pour in coconut cream and stir until all combined and remove from heat. With an immersion blender, blend everything to your desired thickness. Add more veggie broth if you like a thinner texture. You can also transfer to a food processor in batches if you don’t have an a handheld blender.

Put soup back on low heat to simmer til ready to serve and add any additional seasoning to taste. Top bowls with reserved squash and cilantro.

Shrimp Fried ‘Cauliflower’ Rice

Shrimp Fried ‘Cauliflower’ Rice

Recently, I’ve been practicing the Whole 30 Diet (13 days in, woo-hoo!) and have found myself missing my favorite take-out dishes, like shrimp fried rice. There are tons of varieties of this classic Chinese dish using many different veggies, but I usually go for the simple combo of sauteed onions, scallions and garlic. The recipe below features that combo with whole 30 compliant riced cauliflower, and coconut aminos (a soy sauce sub) to satisfy my cravings.

Shrimp Fried ‘Cauliflower’ Rice

1/2lb-1lb- Uncooked Shrimp, Peeled and Deveined.

2-3 Cloves of Garlic

2 tsp Kosher Salt

2 tsp Black Pepper

1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (optional)

1 tsp Fresh Lime Juice

Small White Onion, Diced

2-3 Scallions Diced,  (reserve the green tops for later)

2 tbs Coconut or Olive Oil

1 Bag of Riced Cauliflower (I buy the Trader Joe’s brand)

3-4 tbs of Coconut Aminos or Soy Sauce

3-4 tbs of Sesame Oil (omit if doing Whole 30)

2 eggs

1 tsp of cilantro (optional)


Season the shrimp with 1 tsp each of the salt, pepper and the 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper if you like spicy. Add in 1 clove of minced garlic and combine. Put in the refrigerator until needed.

Using a non-stick pan or wok, saute the onions, scallions and remaining minced garlic in the coconut or olive oil on medium heat. Saute for 2-3 minutes or until onions are soft and translucent. Add in the cauliflower and toss in oil and onions until coated. Add remaining salt and pepper and half of the coconut aminos or soy sauce.

Cover the pan tightly and stir rice occasionally until softened, about 6-8 minutes. The steam from the covered pan will help soften it and you will begin to feel the texture change as you’re stirring. Push rice to one side of the pan and cook the two eggs on the other side. Let the whites of the egg set for a minute or so and scramble them.

Combine the scrambled eggs with the rice and add the lime juice and sesame oil if using. The sesame oil will add a nice nutty flavor commonly associated with Asian food.

Your rice should be nice and soft by now and resemble the look and texture of the real thing. Turn the heat up a little higher, and let the rice stick to the pan, stirring occasionally. Repeat this step 2-3 times until you see the rice beginning to brown on the bottom as all the moisture begins to escape. Push the rice to one side again and add the shrimp to the other side. Cook shrimp until pink and firm and combine with rice.


Top with cilantro and the green parts of the scallions. Add in more coconut aminos or soy sauce to taste and enjoy!

More yummy Whole 30 Recipes, here

Did you like it? Please leave a comment below and share!


An Accidental Miracle: My Curried Vegetable Hot and Sour Soup with Shrimp

An Accidental Miracle: My Curried Vegetable Hot and Sour Soup with Shrimp

So, I really wanted soup last night but because it’s been so cold here in New York, I didn’t feel like bundling up (again) to go out to the store. Thus began my own little Chopped challenge: to make a delicious soup based on what I could find in the house. I had some leftover veggies from a recent party so the traditional base for soup, the mirepoix , was present and accounted for. Everything else was a welcomed mystery. I mean.. these sort of things usually turn out really good or horribly wrong, right? The recipe below is what ended up happening, my version of a Thai Curry Sweet and Sour Soup.


Makes 6- 8 servings.

You Will Need:

1 lb medium shrimp, uncooked (optional)

3 tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup chopped carrots

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1/2 cup chopped celery

1 tsp chopped garlic

1 tsp chopped ginger

1-2 tbsp kosher salt to taste

1-2 tbsp black pepper to taste

3 tbsp curry powder

1 qt veggie broth (one 32 ounce box)

1 cup spinach

1 can roasted diced tomatoes, I used these.

3 tbsp crunchy peanut butter

1 can coconut cream, (can also use coconut milk)

1/2 tsp lime zest

Juice of 1 lime (can use half if desired)

3 tsp sriracha

Saute veggies in olive oil on medium heat until they are tender. Add salt, pepper, curry powder and half the sriracha. Let the veggies cook a bit more until fully coated with curry, another 2-3 minutes. Add the veggie broth, tomatoes and spinach, then simmer on low heat for about 20-25 minutes. Add in peanut butter and coconut cream. I had natural peanut butter on hand, but the regular version would work too, and the added sugar will add to the depth of flavor. The crunch added in peanuts which was a nice addition, but choose creamy if you’re not a fan.

Continue simmering until soup becomes darker in color (from the peanut butter), another 8-10 minutes or so. Add in remaining sriracha (more or less depending on how spicy you like) lime zest and juice.

If you’re using shrimp, season them with salt, pepper and more curry powder, about 1/2 teaspoon of each. Add them into the soup until they are pink and firm, about 2-3 minutes.

Ladle the soup into your favorite bowls and serve with lime wedges and extra sriracha on the side.


Cocktail Party Hack: Tips on Creating an EPIC Cheese Board

Cocktail Party Hack: Tips on Creating an EPIC Cheese Board

One of my favorite things to do is entertain at home. So, when two of my dear friends from Dallas recently came for a visit, I decided to throw a small gathering in their honor. Finding the perfect mix of food and beverage can be very time consuming, so I always keep a list of go-to’s that make planning easy and stress free. Although my list is constantly being updated, there are staples that never change. One of those staples is a festive cheese board. I like to keep the same basic components when picking items for the board: something crunchy and salty like nuts and olives, sweet  and spicy like a pepper jelly and of course cheese!

You always want to have something smoky, like a smoked gouda, something sharp or aged like a cheddar or parmesan, and a creamy option like a nice goat cheese or brie. Then, I like to throw in a few surprises, like this great rosemary crusted Asiago cheese from Trader Joe’s. I also like to add little pops of color with fruit, herbs, and spreads that can add another level of flavor and are eye catching. I normally keep my boards meat-free but you could easily add in some thin slices of prosciutto or a nice spicy salami.

Here’s a picture of the one I created for my party…it was big hit! What’s your favorite cocktail party food to snack on? Tell me in the comments below!



Lemon Scented Shrimp and Cheesy Grits Recipe

Lemon Scented Shrimp and Cheesy Grits Recipe

This recipe is one of my favorite ones to make, especially when I have guests. Being from the south, Grits were always a staple in the pantry and adding delicious plump and flavorful shrimp is a way to make this versatile grain shine. Enjoy a bowl with your family and loved ones this winter.

What You’ll Need:

1 lb Shrimp (I like 20-25.. meaning that you’ll get amount of shrimp per pound)

White Corn Grits, I like Bob’s Red Mill

1 Small Yellow Onion, chopped

1 Small Red Bell Pepper, chopped

2 Garlic Coves, chopped

1 tsp Salt

1 tsp Onion Powder

1 tsp Chili Powder

1 tsp Black Pepper

1 tsp Paprika

1 tsp Cajun Seasoning

1 tsp Cayenne Pepper (Optional)

1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning

1 Small Jalapeno Pepper (Optional)

3 tbsp Lemon Zest

2-3 tbsp Lemon Thyme

3 tbsp Olive Oil

1 tbsp Butter

1/4 Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese

1/4 cup Vegetable Broth

Heavy Cream

Juice of half a lemon

Sunny Side Up Eggs for topping (optional)

Peel and clean the shrimp and place in a medium size bowl. Sprinkle with all seasonings and half of the lemon zest and set aside. Chop onions,red pepper and jalapeno (if using) and saute with garlic in skillet with butter and olive oil for 2-3 minutes until all veggies are tender.

Add the shrimp and the lemon juice to the skillet and cook another 3-5 minutes, until they are pink and firm to touch. Add a splash of veggie broth and cream to the pan, about 2 tablespoons of each, this will end up making a nice sauce for the finished dish. I like to cut the heat off and cover the pan for the last minute and let the shrimp steam so they don’t over cook.

Cook Grits per package instructions with one adjustment. Instead of water use the veggie broth and add another splash of heavy cream. You can also do half the broth and half the cream depending on how much dairy you want to add. Using a mix of broth and cream instead of water not only adds flavor but gives the grits a much creamier texture. It will make them brown instead of white but gives the dish a more homemade and rustic look.

Once the liquid evaporates if the grits aren’t quite done, add more broth and cook another 1-2 minutes until they are smooth to taste. Add in the cheddar and additional lemon zest. I also add more salt and pepper during this step.

Now to build the finished product. I top each bowl with  sunny side up eggs, more lemon thyme and cheese so each bite is packed with flavor. If you have scallions on hand, they also add a nice fresh crunch.


Bon Appetit!




My Vegetarian Chili Recipe

My Vegetarian Chili Recipe

With the cold weather quickly approaching NYC, I am pulling out some of my favorite winter comfort food recipes. Growing up my Dad made the BEST chili. When I moved away from home to go to college and became a vegetarian, I tried so many times to recreate the meatless version to no avail. It wasn’t until  I started trying different types of meat substitutes and the trail and error of different spice profiles that I finally reached my chili nirvana. This was confirmed when he tasted it and now requests it whenever I’m home for the holidays.
I make this so many times each winter season and get many requests for the recipe from my friends.. so here it is. I hope anyone who makes it feels the warmth, love and comfort it’s meant to bring with each and every bite.
1 Bag of Morning Star Farms Veggie Ground Beef Crumbles (in grocery freezer section)
1 Small Yellow Diced Onion
2 tablespoons Chopped Garlic
1 Diced Jalapeno (remove seeds if you don’t want it too spicy)
1 Bay Leaf
1 Box Vegetable Broth
1 Can Diced Tomatoes (I like the ones seasoned with Oregano, Basil, Garlic)
Chili Powder
Onion Powder
Chipotle Powder (optional)
Smoked Paprika
Assorted toppings of your choice
Start by sauteing garlic, onions, and jalapeno on medium heat in olive oil with salt and pepper about 2-3 minutes. Add the bay leaf and the veggie ground beef crumbles. Cook crumbles until they are browned about 4-5 minutes. Add both cans of diced tomatoes and add part of the box of veggie broth, about 2 cups. The ingredients should appear more like a soup so if it doesn’t, add more broth. At this point add in your first round of all seasonings, being very generous with chili powder,  cumin, and smoked paprika because these are what will give you that chili flavor. Be careful of the chipotle powder because it is very spicy. Cover and lower heat to simmer while stirring until broth has thickened and cooked into crumbles. About 20-25 minutes. I add seasonings again to taste. Because the meat is veggie, there’s no salt so you want to make sure there is enough added.
Once the crumbles are soft and not chewy in texture and you have a nice thick consistency and the deep red flavor from the chili powder, it is done. I like to add Fritos (I’m a Texan) or tortilla chips, sour cream and sharp cheddar to mine and top with scallions. But oyster or saltine crackers or cornbread are just as delish too.


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