No-TV Night, Brought to you by Sushi

Confession time: many nights, after my son goes to bed and dinner is made (or, often these days, ordered/taken out/delivered), Wife and I head downstairs to watch whatever's on the DVR.  We watch Downton or Nashville or The Mindy Project while we eat.  Our exhaustion from chasing a 2-year-old catches up with us within an hour and we crash for the night.  Exciting times, no? 

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Garbanzo-Pumpkin Fritters

Please excuse me while I buy all the cans of pumpkin at Trader Joe's, lest they become unavailable in January, because THIS recipe is going to get me through Winter 2015.  I bring you the amazing Garbanzo-Pumpkin Fritters, an oil-free, vegan, whole-foods batch of easy deliciousness. The neat thing here is that---despite the pumpkin---these babies are definitely savory.  The garlic, salt, cayenne, and black pepper turn naturally sweet pumpkin into a complex little patty of goodness.  I mashed garbanzos, opened a can of pumpkin, mixed in a few bonus ingredients, and baked these suckers for 20 minutes.  Voila!  Easy-peasy and ready to warm my insides the way my typical salad lunch just can't.


Click here for the original recipe for this ridiculously easy, incredibly nutritious, and insanely delicious snack/lunch/obsession.  A note about options: I used sunflower seeds instead of hemp---it's what I had on-hand---and I baked them on parchment for 20 minutes, with a bonus minute or two under the broiler.  I'd add a touch more salt next time.  I also whipped up a little tahini dipping sauce on the side, which worked great (tahini, apple cider vinegar, smoked paprika...mmmm...).



Lazy Veggie Fried Rice

I generally have this rule against eating food with "fried" in the name.  It's not a hard and fast rule, as I can eat my weight in French fries, and deep-fried is the only way I will eat a pickle.  However, I've never been a huge fan of Chinese food, so avoiding fried rice has always been an easy win.  Sure, I've taken one for the team and ordered your basic veggies-and-sauce when my wife wants General Tso's chicken, but I may be coming around on fried rice after this latest discovery: veggie fried rice, made at home, with just a touch of the "fried" part. This sucker really does taste like take-out, packs in a ton of veggies, and takes all of 10 minutes to prepare.  The best part?  I don't have to drive anywhere, and odds are I have everything I need in my kitchen already.


Lazy Veggie Fried Rice

8 oz. sliced mushrooms (I use crimini)

1 medium yellow onion, sliced

1-2 cups other chopped veggies, if desired (broccoli and bell peppers work well)

2-3 tsp vegetable or other oil

2 cups cooked brown rice (Trader Joe's frozen microwaveable rice is awesome for this--3 minutes!)

1 egg

3-4 scallions, chopped

3 Tbsp soy sauce, or to taste

salt and pepper to taste


Yummy take-out, with no "out" required.










1. Sauté your veggies until they are nice and soft, but still a bit firm.  I like to add a touch of soy sauce to this sauté to get the flavors rolling. Set aside.

2. Heat 1-2 teaspoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add cooked rice and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.  Turn down the heat to medium and push the rice to the side of the skillet.

3. Once the pan has cooled a bit, scramble the egg until soft-cooked, then combine with the rice.  You may need to add another teaspoon of the oil in order to cook the egg.

4. Add the veggies to the rice/egg mixture, then add the scallions and soy sauce to taste.  Heat through and serve!


- I've added some other fun Asian/Asian-inspired sauces in addition to soy, with mixed results.  Trader Joe's Soyaki is especially good!

- To add some staying power, brown some tofu over medium-high heat before beginning Step 1 above, and set aside.  Combine with the rest when you add the veggies back in.




Cooking Ahead: Never-Get-Sick-of-it-Soup

Meg and I live on opposite ends of town.  At times it seems we might as well live on opposite ends of the country--with kids and spouses and full-time jobs, it can be hard to squeeze in regular time to hang out.  One place our families often get together is a cute brewery  in Meg’s neighborhood, where they serve the most decadent (and vegan!) creamy garbanzo bean soup.  (So what if I order it with a side of fries?)

When I tasted this soup the first time, I immediately set about crafting a recipe to replicate it.  Using the magic of Google, I found a non-soup recipe from The Kitchn that seemed to incorporate similar flavors, and I set about turning it into a soup.  This is what I serve to company for dinner--including my mother, a fabulous cook--and I always make enough to eat for lunches for several days. Though I am always hesitant to cook a big batch of something, in case it goes to waste, I never ever ever get sick of this soup.

This is easy enough to make on a weeknight, but I suggest making a huge pot of it on Sunday so you can enjoy it for lunch (and even breakfast) for the week ahead.

Creamy Coconut Spinach and Chickpea Soup


















1 splash of olive oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

4 - 6 large cloves garlic, minced or thinly sliced

1 tsp. ground ginger

zest of 1 large lemon (you’ll use the juice too)

1 pinch red pepper flakes (or more to taste)

2 cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 3 cups cooked chickpeas)

2 cans diced tomatoes with their juice

2 cans light coconut milk (or 1 light can and 1 regular can for thicker creaminess)

2 large lemons, juiced

1 pound baby spinach or kale (or really any other leafy green)

1. Drain and rinse your chickpeas and set aside.  Heat a splash of olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat and add your onion.  Cook for a few minutes, until slightly softened.

2. Combine garlic, ginger, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes in a prep bowl, then add at once to the pot.  Cook for a minute or so, until the garlic becomes fragrant and is starting to soften.

3. Add the chickpeas to the pot and cook for 2-3 minutes to coat the chickpeas with the onion mixture.

4. Add the tomato and coconut milk, along with the lemon juice.  Bring to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to get a nice simmer.

5. Add your spinach or other greens in batches, gently submerging the greens and cooking until very wilted.

6. Allow to simmer for at least 15 minutes, or more if you have time. Enjoy!

zestCoconut milkPoouring