Black Bean, Butternut Squash and Kale Enchiladas

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Ah, Mexican food. Tacos, burritos, enchiladas – flavorful fillings, soft tortilla breads, endless variations. What’s not to like? (Maybe those overly greasy concoctions, I guess). Whenever we make enchiladas at home, we ask ourselves why we don’t do it more often. It’s the perfect meal all those days when your training load is heavy and you need to seriously reload – it packs both lots of protein and carbohydrates and will send you to bed feeling comfortably filled up and ready for the next day’s session(s). With both butternut squash, black beans, kale and walnuts in the filling, each enchilada also holds plenty of vitamins and minerals, and you can choose whichever type of tortilla bread suits your fancy.

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Lentil-Potato Dal

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Dal – spelled daal, dhal and dahl as well – is a term used for legumes (that is, lentils, beans and peas) in the Indian subcontinent. It also refers to a variety of soups or stews prepared with any of the said ingredients. Most commonly, one tends to associate dal with a curry-laden lentil concoction, and that goes for us too. In our opinion, that’s just the best. Sometimes we make it without potatoes and serve it over rice instead (which, we’re not going to lie, is ridiculously yummy), but with potatoes already in there, it turns into a one-pot complete meal AND a much more eco-friendly alternative (naturally, buying locally grown potatoes is a far better choice than imported rice). Another great alternative is to serve it over wheat berries, which gives you some rice-like chewiness from a far more sustainable food source (at least for us up here in the north).

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Vegan Lemon Cheesecake

I’ve never been a huge fan of classic cheesecake, to be honest. If we hadn’t already moved away from NYC, they sure would have kicked me out by now, headfirst. You know how a lot of things (read: sweet treats) fall into that category of perfectly acceptable in dire times but nothing you would waste stomach space on if given other alternatives? A distinction as important as any, if you’d ask my beloved mother a.k.a. our indisputable expert on all things sweet. Anyway, cheesecake falls into that category for me. But this one, everyone. This one has somehow sailed to the very top of my list of favorite desserts. It gracefully balances that precious line between sweetness and tartness, its consistency is nothing short of velvety AND it has a rather generous amount of nutrients packed into the mix. There’s no wobbliness, there’s no getting overly stuffed. There’s really just plenty of enjoyment, from the simple how-to all the way to licking the last bits off your spoon.

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Cranberry Nut Bread

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We welcome bread with open arms in this house. Now, Michael was a little bit of a… bread-novice, if I may say so, when we first met. His idea of bread was a little different than mine, quite far away from the dark, rye-laden breads of the Nordic region that I grew up eating. Thankfully, he was not hard to turn. Neither was he – despite his Italian heritage – hard to convince butter is better on bread than olive oil (my apologies to my father-in-law, Tony). And now, almost six years later, Michael is the designated bread baker of this little family. His kneading outdoes mine any day of the week.

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Pumpkin Bundt Cake

Pumpkin

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Ah, pumpkin season! It always sneaks up on you – one day you’re sitting in a reclined chair, soaking up the last few rays of sun as the leaves are slowly starting to turn yellow, and then boom – temperatures drop to right around freezing, trees stand naked all around and dinners have quickly transformed from cooling salads and grill nights to hearty bowls of stews and soups. Somewhere in there, berry crumbles and ice creams are waving goodbye and retreating back, only to be giving way for apple pies and… pumpkin everything. To be honest though, we’re no pumpkin pie fans. I think the consistency is our problem – yes, it can be smooth and decadent and not too wobbly at all, but we just… don’t like it all that much. This sure isn’t the time to present such opinions, I understand that. But hear me out, will you? 

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Broccoli Coconut Soup

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Until I was 19 years old, I couldn’t stand broccoli. I don’t know what the heck I was thinking back then, but I do remember being served some steamed florets at a restaurant in Costa Rica – at the age of 19 – and I just loved it, all of a sudden. Weird, isn’t it? I was also one of those cilantro-haters until I moved to New York, where I had some the first week, immediately loved it and couldn’t understand what I’d been complaining about all those years. Also weird, right? My theory is that both my Costa Rica-trip (my first long backpacking trip without family) and my move to NYC changed me so fundamentally even my taste buds got tweaked. And hey, it was awesome! Now I’m a happy grower of both broccoli and cilantro and treat them as if my own babies!

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Vegetarian Lentil & Cashew Meatballs

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We’ve obviously all heard about Swedish meatballs, and I did have my fair share of those as a kid. But since going vegetarian about 18 years ago, I’ve – naturally – opted out. While there are a bunch of vegetarian ‘balls’ out there, none of them have really tickled my fancy. I tend to stay away from soy stuff, simply because of the environmental impact, and the ones we’ve tried making at home over the years have come out either a little dry and crumbly or just… plain. And then we took to experimenting a little. Thanks to some leftover raw cashews nuts that we stumbled upon when going through the cabinets, we came up with the idea of mixing those with chewy black lentils, and this combination turned out to be the winner.

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Carrot-Ginger Soup with Sweet Potatoes

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How many recipes for carrot-ginger soup do you think there are out there, spinning around in cyberspace? Many, for sure. Can we agree the reason probably is because it’s pretty darn delicious and everyone wants to take a stab at making their personal favorite? That’s what we’ve been thinking, at least, and here we are. Carrot soup is probably one of the lighter meals you’ll ever serve yourself (unless you add a generous amount of heavy cream, which some people do), and it sure doesn’t hold us over for very long. Therefore, we took it upon ourselves to make a little heartier of a version. Maybe not hearty enough to make up a full meal for the active person, or for the runner who just kicked off their wet shoes after hours worth of training in the November rain (we hear you), but enough to make up the base for a dinner (or lunch). We recommend serving this with pita wedges (which you can make from making this flatbread) and some sort of bean spread (such as the white bean “hummus”), or simply as a starter.

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Spiced Pear Cake

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Sometimes Michael disappears into the kitchen without telling me what he’s up to. I hear cabinet doors open and close, I hear bowls being taken out – and I know immediately that something yummy is coming up. See, he’s got a sweet tooth, this one. And a bread tooth, if that’s even a thing. Point is, Michael is behind most things baked in this household, and it’s quite lovely. This one particular afternoon, we’d been pear picking at a neighbor’s house and M mentioned he’d want to bake something with some of our haul. Sure, I said, and continued working on whatever I was doing. It didn’t take many minutes before he was happily whisking and sifting and slicing away, all the while I could just sit back and wait for the wonderful smells to hit – and boy, they did. There’s just something about those cinnamon and allspice flavored baked goods, wouldn’t you say? They fill up the house like nothing else, and warm you up inside out even before you’ve had a bite.

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Kichadi (Vegan Indian Stew)

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Kichadi – sometimes spelled e.g. khichdi or kitchari – is a well-known Indian stew, cooked with plenty of spices and said to possess purifying and detoxing properties according to Ayurvedic traditions. There’s no 100% set formula, it seems like, but most versions come with mung beans, rice and a variety of vegetables, in addition to e.g. mustard seeds, cumin, ginger etc. Kichadi is sometimes used as a reset button for the digestive system, and some people eat it solely for a few days in order to give the body a fresh new start. We’ve never tried doing something like that (nor have we ever tried fasting), but this dish does feel very warming, nourishing and overall grounding. The fact that you only have to get one pot dirty is also a huge bonus! Once you’ve chopped up all the veggies (you can go for a rough chop here, nothing needs to be too small), your work is more or less done, and you’ll end up with a good chunk of leftovers too. It reheats very well, even after some time in the freezer.

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