homemade vegetable stock


I know Pumpkin Spice is all the rage this time of year, and please don’t get me wrong, I love my Pumpkin Spice.  But you know what I really love about fall?  Soup.  I can go months and months without soup and then as soon as the air gets crisp and the leaves start to change, all I want is soup for dinner.  And what better way is there to start homemade soup than with homemade stock?  It’s simple, it’s easy and – if you make it yourself – it’s always gluten-free.  Grab some veggies and get simmering.  Fall is happening.

homemade vegetable stock
yield: about 4-5 quarts

recipe notes:  I mentioned this when I posted about chicken stock, but it’s worth saying again: stock freezes remarkably well.  I typically use left-over yogurt containers and mason jars now because my freezer is a bit different from when I used to do the ziploc bag method.  Plus, with containers, I like how I can use different sizes and then only defrost however much I think I’ll need for the recipe.  I like to have a variety of amounts frozen from 1/2 cup to 1 quart.

2 large onions, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 bunch scallions, chopped fine
15 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
5-6 quarts water
1 head cauliflower, cored and cut into chunks
1 tomato, chopped
8 sprigs fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
1 tsp. black peppercorns

1.  Add the onions, celery, scallions, garlic, oil and salt to a large Dutch oven or stock pot and stir together.  Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the pan bottom begins to brown lightly, 20-30 minutes.

2.  Add in the water, cauliflower, tomato, thyme, bay leaves and peppercorn.  Partially cover, bring to a gentle simmer (not boil) and cook for about 90 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a gentle simmer.

3.  Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer into a pitcher and pour into storage containers.  Use within 3 days if storing in the fridge or freeze until ready to use.

source: annie’s eats



cardamom hazelnut granola


We really like granola.  It may be the fact that I can’t really eat cereal anymore or that we also really love yogurt (granola pairs so well with it).  Whatever the case, it’s gotten to the point that as soon as we run out, Jon asks when we’re going to make granola again.  And even though I’ve got two great recipes already, I’m always excited to try a new kind.  This cardamom hazelnut from Naturally Ella was a great one – the cardamom and hazelnut an absolutely delicious new twist to one of our very favorite snacks.  Paired with pumpkin spice skyr?  Man, fall tastes good.


cardamom hazelnut granola
yield: about 2 cups

1 cup raw hazelnuts
2 cups rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
zest from 1 large orange
6 T honey or maple syrup (I used honey)
1/4 cup butter or walnut oil (I used half butter, half vegetable oil)
1 cup dried cranberries

1.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees F and cover one large or two small baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat.

2.  Place hazelnuts in a food processor and pulse until the nuts are in small pieces but not quite the consistency of meal. Place in a large bowl along with the rolled oats and sea salt.

3.  In a small sauce pan, combine cardamom, orange zest, honey, and butter/oil. Heat over low heat until butter is melted and cardamom is fragrant. Pour over the oat mixture and stir until everything is well coated.

4.  Spread granola onto baking sheet(s) and press into a thin layer. Place in oven and bake for 45-55 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes or so. Granola should be golden in color. Remove from oven and let cool. Pour into a bowl and stir in dried cranberries.

5.  Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Source: Naturally Ella

zucchini quinoa sauté

IMG_7084It was definitely fall at the farmer’s market last Saturday: a beautiful display of pumpkins at the entrance, bins upon bins of apples, all kinds of delicious pears at every other stand & weather cool enough to enjoy warm apple cider while walking around.  And while I did buy my fair share of fall produce, I also couldn’t pass up the opportunity for zucchini.  We enjoyed some of the zucchini simply roasted as a side for dinner on Sunday.  Then, later in the week, with two zucchini left to use up and some leftover quinoa in the fridge, I made this.  Think fried rice meets summer, quinoa style.  Or, just think delicious.


zucchini quinoa sauté
serves 2 for a light lunch, 4 as a side

recipe notes:  I’ve made this once, so the “recipe” is more approximations of what amounts I think I used.  You can use more or less or none at all of any of the ingredients, except the zucchini, as it is the star.  The quinoa could be rice (I think brown would be better than white here).  The feta could be parmesan – or goat cheese.  The red pepper flakes could be no red pepper flakes, if spicy is not your thing.  Instead, you could add some lemon zest and brighten things up.  As with making fried rice, I would definitely recommend using leftover quinoa that’s been cooled in the fridge.  If you don’t have time for that, you could cook the quinoa while you saute the zucchini and just toss them together, skipping the quinoa saute part.  Whatever you do, enjoy it & let me know how it turns out 🙂

1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups zucchini (I used one small yellow & one small green), grated
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 ounces crumbled feta
1 scallion, sliced (optional)
1-2 basil leaves, torn (optional)
salt & fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

1.  Saute the zucchini: Heat butter over medium heat until it has melted.  Toss the shredded zucchini into the pan.  Top with oregano, white pepper & red pepper flakes.  Saute, shaking the pan occasionally, until just beginning to brown, about 3-4 minutes.

2.  Add the quinoa:  Toss the quinoa into the pan, stir to incorporate into the zucchini.  Saute a few minutes longer, until some of the quinoa has browned to your liking.

3.  Add feta & garnish:  Turn off the heat.  Add crumbled feta and stir to distribute.  Spoon mixture onto serving dish or individual plates.  Top with scallion, basil and salt & pepper to taste.

source: anna maria original

pear spice oatmeal


Happy Fall, friends.  It’s time for spice, for apples & pears, crisp mornings, boots & comfy sweaters, marathons and so many other lovely – and delicious – things.  This oatmeal is one of the delicious things.  It’s a base of fall spices – cinnamon, nutmeg & cloves – topped with deliciously sweet pears, pecans for crunch and a little drizzle of milk.  I’m a little sad to see summer go but if I can look forward to breakfasts like this one then I think I’ll be ok.

pear spice oatmeal
serves: 1
recipe notes: I made this up as I was going along, so it’s a bit of a rough draft.  You could add more spices to the oatmeal or also add the spices to the pears.  I used a fair amount of cinnamon sugar (probably a good 2 teaspoons for mine) but depending on how much sweet you like, use more or less.

1/2 cup gluten-free oats
1 cup water (or milk)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cloves
pinch of salt
1 pear, cut into small pieces (I leave the peel on)
1 teaspoon of butter
cinnamon sugar, to taste
handful of pecans, toasted if you’d like

1.  In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of water (or milk) to a boil.  Stir in the gluten-free oats & turn down the heat to low.  Stir occasionally until the liquid is absorbed and the mixture is thickened, about 10-15 minutes.  Stir in a pinch each of salt, nutmeg & cloves, the cinnamon & vanilla.

2.  Meanwhile, melt a small amount of butter over medium heat in a saute pan.  Add the pears, cinnamon sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pears have softened and the cinnamon sugar has formed a sweet glaze, about 10 minutes.

3.  Place the cooked oats in a bowl, spoon the cinnamon sugar pear mixture over the oats and then top with pecans.

source: anna maria original

heirloom tomato salad


As part of our balcony garden this year we planted an heirloom tomato plant.  It grew fast, tall and wide, filling a corner of our balcony with beautiful green leaves.  We got a few flowers and then slowly, but surely, a few tomatoes.  Some fell victim to blossom end rot (ick) but a few didn’t.  We picked them and they sat on the counter for a day because I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do with them.  Enter this salad.  Beautiful and simple and amazingly, deliciously summer.

heirloom tomato salad
recipe notes:  Because there are only a few ingredients in this salad, it is important that they are the best you can get.  In the past, I’ve not thought much about buying really good balsamic vinegar or really good olive oil but I’ve converted and this salad makes me grateful that I have.  If you’re in the Chicago area, Oh, Olive! is a fabulous source for oil & vinegar.  I used the 18 year aged balsamic for this salad (only a few drops) and wow, was it good.  When I made this salad, I just made it for me so one tomato was good.  If you’re making for a bigger group, just buy more tomatoes 🙂 I imagine it would be a delicious first course for a laid back end-of-summer dinner al fresco.

heirloom tomato(es)
balsamic vinegar
olive oil
fresh basil leaves
salt & fresh-cracked pepper, to taste

1.  Slice the tomatoes (use a serrated knife for this).  Lay on a plate or platter, drizzle with a tiny bit of balsamic vinegar, a little bit of olive oil & salt and pepper.

2.  Chiffonade the basil & sprinkle it atop of the salad.

source: inspired by heirloom tomato & chickpea salad via a house in the hills