Vegan Quinoa and Roasted Veggie Bowl

Another week, another vegan recipe!… So I was faced with a dilemma when making this recipe. I eat pretty much every food on the planet that I am not allergic to except jelly, soy butter, sesame butter or almond butter. Looking at the obvious, I’m sure that as a kid I developed a subconscious fear of anything related to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, the classic lunch that all of my classmates growing would eat at lunch.

 If someone around me ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich I would actually have to move to a table away from my friends and often eat on a bench outside of the cafeteria. Actually, for a long time I simply wouldn’t touch sandwich bread because I convinced myself that I absolutely hated sandwiches.Flash forward to 8 year later and I still cannot touch jelly or any peanut-butter substitute. This is not out of stubbornness, I have repeatedly tried, over and over again, to eat both and every time sat at the table with a terrible taste in my mouth, having lost my appetite.

When I came across this recipe on minimalist baker, I immediately knew that I HAD to make it for dinner that night. It was a beautiful and clean recipe with my favorite starches and my favorite vegetables. It wasn’t until I tasted my first bite of plain tahini that I realized that it had the exact same taste as sesame-butter. Immediately feeling nauseous and convinced that I had just created the worst dish in the world, I served this dish to my parents with an apologetic grimace on my face.

My dad took his first bite, which was covered in the tahini sauce, and smiled. She said that the sauce was incredible and that she was amazed by the way that the subtly sweet flavors of the vegetable contrasted the flavor of the tahini sauce.






8 whole carrots, peeled and quartered (large pieces halved)

2 cups quartered baby yellow potatoes

2 Tbsp maple syrup, divided

2 Tbsp olive oil, divided

Healthy pinch each sea salt + black pepper

1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (or dried)

3 cups halved Brussels sprouts

1 cup squash or zucchini cut into 1 inch pieces (OPTIONAL)


1 cup white quinoa, well rinsed + drained

1 3/4 cups water

Pinch sea salt

Tahini Sauce

1/2 cup (120 g ) tahini

1 lemon, juiced (~3 Tbsp or 45 ml)

2-3 Tbsp (30-45 ml) maple syrup

GARNISH with basil, parsley etc.



  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Add the carrots and potatoes (and squash or zucchini) to the sheet and drizzle with 1 Tbsp maple syrup, 1 Tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Toss to combine and bake for 12 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, for the quinoa, heat a saucepan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add rinsed quinoa to lightly sautée before adding water to evaporate leftover moisture and bring out a nutty flavor.
  4. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Then add water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a low boil over medium-high heat. Then reduce heat to a simmer and cover.
  5. Cook for 18-22 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy. Then open lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Tilt the lid, remove from the heat, and set aside.
  6. When the veggies are at the 12-minute mark, remove pan from the oven and add the Brussels sprouts. Top with remaining 1 Tbsp oil, 1 Tbsp maple syrup, and another pinch each salt and pepper. Loosely toss to combine.
  7. Return pan to oven and roast for 10-12 minutes more or until Brussels sprouts are golden brown and the carrots and potatoes are fork tender. (This ensures that the potatoes and carrots are cooked through and the Brussels don’t get too soft.)
  8. Prepare the Tahini Sauce by adding tahini, lemon juice, and maple syrup to a small mixing bowl and whisking to combine. Add 2 Tbsp (30 ml) warm water at a time and whisk until thick but pourable. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more maple syrup for sweetness or lemon juice for acidity.
  9. To serve, divide quinoa and vegetables between serving bowls and top with a generous drizzle of tahini sauce. Top with garnish of choice, such as pomegranate arils or fresh herbs.





(Minimalist Baker

100% Homemade Spinach Quiche

A few weeks ago my mom, who is gluten free and had been craving quiche for months, ordered five bags of gluten-free pie crust mix online. When it came in the mail, she was so excited to have quiche for the first time in five years, that I knew I had to get cooking right away. So, I spent the entire next Saturday making her two quiches and a lemon pie with gluten free crust.

When scouring the internet for recipes, I found a quiche recipe online with steller reviews and decided to get cooking. The recipe called for an entire half-cup of butter, and before I realized the amount of butter 1/2 a cup was, I had already put it in the quiche. Unfortunately the quiche came out a little too buttery and wet for my mom’s taste, so I knew that I would have to try again. On the second try, I only added two tablespoons of butter, used fresh spinach, and added a little bit more salt and was pleased to find that the quiche tasted perfect! I would highly reccomend using as many fresh ingrediants as possible. The fresher the better!!!

ENJOY! oh… and here are a couple link to some good gluten free pie crusts…






  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
    • I would reccomend substituting for 10oz of microwaved fresh spinach for fresher ingredients.
  • 1 (4.5 ounce) can mushrooms, drained
  • 1 (6 ounce) package herb and garlic feta, crumbled
  • 8 ounce shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked deep dish pie crust
    • For a recipe for a pie crust see below.
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup whole milk (skim milk for low-fat option))
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Saute garlic and onion in butter until lightly browned, about 7 minutes.
  3. Stir in spinach, mushrooms, feta and 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon mixture into pie crust.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into the pastry shell, allowing egg mixture to thoroughly combine with spinach mixture.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Sprinkle top with remaining Cheddar cheese, and bake an additional 35 to 40 minutes, until set in center. Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving.


Non-Gluten Free Pie Crust Recipe (NyTimes Cooking Recipe)

  • 145 grams all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter (1/4 pound), cut in 1/8-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons ice water


  1. Put flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or food processor. Add butter and quickly cut it into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  2. Add ice water and mix briefly, about 30 seconds, to form a soft dough. Remove dough, shape into a thick disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Bring to cool room temperature before rolling.
  3. To roll, lightly flour dough and counter. Roll out gradually, periodically letting dough rest for a moment before continuing. This makes rolling easier and will keep dough from shrinking back during baking.
  4. Roll dough to a thin round approximately 13 inches in diameter, then trim to make a 12-inch circle (refrigerate and save trimmings for patching). Lay dough loosely into a 9 1/2-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom, letting it relax a bit. Fold overlap back inside to make a double thickness, then press firmly against the pan so the finished edge is slightly higher than the pan. Refrigerate or freeze for an hour before pre-baking.



Chicken Shawarma

Looking through my blog posts, it is evident that I haven’t posted many (if any) recipes from other countries. As I love eating food from all different places around the world, I was disappointed in the lack of variety on here. Luckily, last week I made this incredible chicken Shawarma that was rated as one of the top recipes for the New York Times in 2015. My great-grandmother, who is still unfamiliar with what a burrito is, was surprisingly impressed with this dish. The strong and smooth flavors in the chicken are so easy to taste yet they come together and form a intense flavor combination. For any Shawarma lovers…. this recipe is definitely for you! ENJOY!




2 lemons, juiced

½ cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil

6 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and minced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons paprika

½ teaspoon turmeric

A pinch ground cinnamon

Red pepper flakes, to taste

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 large red onion, peeled and quartered

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


  1. To prepare the chicken marinade, combine the lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon and red pepper flakes in a large bowl, then whisk to combine. Add the chicken into the bowl and toss well to coat. Cover and store in refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours.
  2. When you are ready to cook, heat the oven to 425 degrees. Use the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to grease a rimmed sheet pan.
  3. Add the quartered onion to the chicken with the marinade, and toss once to combine. Remove the chicken and onion from the marinade, and spread everything evenly across the pan.
  4. Roast the chicken in the over until it is browned, crisp at the edges and cooked through, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, let sit for 2 minutes, then slice into bits.
  5. Scatter the parsley over the top and serve with whatever desired (tomatoes, cucumbers, pita, feta, rice etc).



Fall Chicken and Pumpkin Soup

I’m sure that a pattern of “pumpkin” is starting to reveal itself on my blog this year. Pumpkin, being a vital element to the fall spirit, is obviously one of my favorite things right now; not only in cooking and baking. My soap is pumpkin scented, we have pumpkin pie and cinnamon flavored candles all over the place, and my dad just bought pumpkin almond milk and pumpkin Cheerios.

This A-M-A-Z-I-N-G soup is the epitome of the perfect pumpkin dish. It is extremely unique and my dad claimed “its the first dish I can say is better than my Halloween chile!!” (which is a compliment that I never thought I’d here him  say). The flavor of the pumpkin in subtle enough that it doesn’t overshadow the other flavors and ingredients but strong enough to make the soup very warming and interesting. The spices added to the soup give it a sort-of strong eccentric flavor that its very unique. After helping ourselves to our second helping of the soup, despite being full, we decided that this recipe is going to become a fall regular. I hope you enjoy as much as I did!!!




1 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium yellow onion

2 cloves garlic

5 cups chicken broth

1 large chicken breast (3/4 lb.)

1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin pureé

1 (15 oz.) can black beans

½ cup frozen corn kernels

1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

1 Tbsp cumin

½ tsp salt

½ bunch fresh cilantro


  1. Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Add both to a large soup pot along with the olive oil and sauté over medium heat until the onions are translucent (3-5 min.)
  2. Add the chicken breast (whole) and chicken broth. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to high, and allow it to come to a full boil. As soon as it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and allow the pot to simmer for 30 minutes. Make sure the pot does not stop simmering after turning down the heat. If it does, increase the heat slightly until it is gently simmering.
  3. After 30 minutes, remove the chicken breast from the broth and use two forks to shred the meat. Return the shredded meat to the pot.
  4. Add the pumpkin purée and stir until the it has mixed into the broth.
  5. Take one or two chipotle peppers from the can (one pepper for a milder soup, two for a spicier soup) and mince them. Add the minced peppers and about a teaspoon of the adobo sauce from the can to the soup.
  6. Rinse the black beans and add them to the soup, along with the frozen corn kernels and cumin. Allow the soup to come up to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes more to allow the flavors to blend.
  7. Taste the soup and add about ½ teaspoon of salt if desired. Roughly chop the cilantro and stir it into the soup just before serving.



I give an immense amount of credit to Budget Bites, for this flavorful and incredible soup (

Slow-Roasted Salmon with Mexican Creamed Corn

If you know me, you probably know that I am the literally the opposite of a picky eater. I pride myself in my ability to eat anything that anyone puts in front of me, no matter how unusual it may be. While I do eat everything, I obviously have preferences….  and salmon isn’t one of them. Unless it is cooked very well and has amazing seasoning, salmon tends to ease closer to the few foods that I don’t enjoy. But I found this recipe and set out to try to make the best salmon possible. Since I have little experience cooking seafood, I drawn towards the simplicity of the recipe. I also LOVE creamed corn. This salmon was so much fun to make and it was nice to cook something that I am unfamiliar with. The highlight of this recipe was 100% the creamed corn. It was soooo delicious and I am definitely looking forward to making more. ENJOY!





3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 clove garlic, grated
Zest and juice of 1 lime
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Cooking spray
1 1/2 pounds skin-on salmon fillets
2 medium shallots, chopped
5 small tomatillos (about 8 ounces), husked, rinsed and quartered (if you are unable to find tomatillos, bell peppers work as a good replacement)
3 ears corn, kernels cut off (about 4 cups)
1 Fresno chile pepper, seeded and chopped
1/3 cup Mexican crema or sour cream
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.

2. Mix 2 tablespoons butter, the garlic, lime zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper in a small bowl.

3. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Place the salmon skin-side down on the prepared baking sheet and spread the lime butter evenly over the top. Bake until the salmon is just cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until soft and translucent, 3 minutes.

5. Add the tomatillos (or bell peppers) and cook until slightly soft, about 4 minutes. Add the corn and chile pepper. Cook, stirring often, until warmed through, about 6 minutes.

6. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the sour cream, cilantro and half of the lime juice; season with salt, pepper and more lime juice.

7. Serve the salmon with the creamed corn.



(Courtesy of Food Network Mag.)

Tomato-Potato Salad with Olive Oil Vinaigrette

So I have a newfound love for picnics. Well, more like the idea of a picnic. Although I live near Washington Square Park, picnicking in New York City isn’t exactly the easiest and most common thing to do. Nevertheless, I love picnic foods and the idea of hanging out with your family and/or friends outside all day. My new adoration of picnicking has lead me to search for some really cute salads and summer dishes. I found this simple potato-vinaigrette salad recipe yesterday and immediately ran down the street, grabbed the ingredients, ran home and made it. I had planned to head over to the park with my parents for a summer picnic, but as predicted, that never happened and we enjoyed this tasteful salad in the comfort of our air conditioned apartment.


2 pounds small Yukon Gold or red-skinned potatoes
Kosher salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
Freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup pitted nicoise olives
2 stalks celery, diced, plus 1/4 cup roughly chopped celery leaves
2 pounds beefsteak tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, torn
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

1. Place the potatoes in a large pot; cover with water by 2 inches. Season generously with salt and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

2. Drain the potatoes; let cool 15 to 20 minutes.

3.Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper in a medium bowl; stir in the olives and diced celery.

4. Cut the potatoes into quarters and transfer to a shallow bowl. Scatter the tomatoes over the potatoes, then drizzle with the vinaigrette.

5. Scatter the celery leaves, basil and chives over the salad and season with salt and pepper.

(Courtesy of Food Network Mag.)



White Chicken and Bean Chile

Today it was extremely humid and like 1000000 degrees out, so naturally I wanted to cook something fruity and cold.I looked through my collection of cooking magazines to try to find a good recipe and came across this soup. Since I already had most of the ingredients and the rest were relatively easy to find, I decided that I was going to make this chile, despite the heat.

Although cooking and eating the chile did leave me a little sweaty, I am so glad that I decided on this recipe. The spices I added made it very unique and it tasted completely different than what I expected. It’s hard to describe the flavor of the soup in a few sentences, but it was sooo delicious.  I’m definitely making this again (probably on a colder day though). ENJOY!





2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers (1 diced, 1 halved; remove seeds for less heat)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 pounds ground chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 15 -ounce cans white navy beans (do not drain)
1 4 -ounce can chopped green chiles (do not drain)
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 corn tortillas, torn, plus more for serving
1 bunch cilantro, leaves roughly chopped
Lime wedges, for serving
1. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, both jalapeños, cumin, coriander, oregano and allspice. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and the spices are toasted, about 7 minutes.

2. Add the chicken, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring and breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until it starts browning, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the beans, canned chiles, chicken broth and 1 1/4 cups water; bring to a boil.

4. Add the torn corn tortillas to the pot; reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 40 minutes.

5. Remove the halved jalapeno from the chili and stir in all but a few tablespoons of the cilantro; season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper.

6. Serve with assorted toppings, the reserved cilantro and lime slices.

(Courtesy of Food Network Mag.)



Hodder Family Homemade Tortilla Pizzas

When my dad was little, he would eat tortillas pizzas for dinner every once in a while. Since they were so easy, fun, and delicious, my brother and I ended up also making them for dinner ever so often. Although these pizzas aren’t professionally made, or a well known brand bought in the super market, they are still what I used to want to eat for every single of my birthday meals. There is something so appealing as a child about designing your own pizza. I used to form my olives in the shape of smily faces or hearts, and secretly add extra cheese behind my parent’s backs.

As my brother and I got older we started making tortilla pizzas less and less and eventually just stopped. Since my mom is now gluten-free, we never order pizza for dinner any more because we have not yet found an edible gluten-free pizza that doesn’t come from a fancy restaurant…. and who can live without pizza?!?! I definitely can’t. Soooo, last weekend, the idea popped in my head that maybe we could have a tortilla pizza night and my parents loved the idea. The pizzas were delicious (even my mom’s gluten free one) and I immediately knew that I this important recipe HAD to be posted. Try it and you’ll definitely know what I’m talking about. ENJOY!


Makes 1 personal pizza.


1 large tortilla of any kind (white, whole wheat, gluten-free etc.)

8oz can of pizza sauce

3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

3 tbsp parmesan cheese

Topping of choice (olive, pepperoni, mushroom, tomato, etc)

1 tsp fresh basil cut into thin strips.

1/2 tsp dried oregano.

1/8 tsp garlic powder



*All quantities can be adjusted based on personal preference.

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  2. Toss the parmesan cheese into the mozzarella until evenly distributed throughout.
  3. Place a tortilla on a baking sheet. Spread a thin layer of pizza sauce on the tortillas, leaving a boarder around the edges.
  4. Sprinkle about the cheese mixture evenly on top of the sauce. Top with fresh basil, oregano, garlic powder and toppings of your choice.
  5. Bake until cheese is completely melted and edges are golden brown. This will be around 8 minutes, but cooking time varies depending on the quantities of toppings, so be sure to keep and eye on it.
  6. Repeat for additional pizzas.






Gluten Free Pasta with Chicken and Bell Peppers

I walked over to the Citerella down my block to buy a few ingredients for this recipe. Since they didn’t have any of the jarred cherry peppers available, I decided to experiment with some fresh Jalepano out of curiosity if it could act as a substitution. I’m 99% positive that they might’ve had the wrong labels on the bins at the store, because the pepper was insanely strong. I ate a tiny nibble of the pepper and my usual tolerance of spicy foods completely diminished. My mouth wouldn’t stop burning and I felt sick for a good 5-10 minutes. My family was laughing the entire time. I forgot to wash my hands and when I touched my face later, the oils from the pepper burned parts of my skin.

Long story short, I’m not sure if my taste buds were ‘tasting’ right when I ate the meal. But, i’m pretty sure that it was as delicious as my family said it was. (we obv didn’t end up using the peppers as a garnish after all). I was able to try some leftovers the next day, and I loved it.

One thing that I love more about cooking than baking is that there is more room for experimentation. I love to add my own herbs, spices, and sometimes slightly alter the ingredient quantities just for the sake of having even more fun cooking (don’t worry, I never include any of the crazy changes on my posted recipes). ENJOY!!




Kosher salt
12 ounces gluten free curly pasta                                                                                                ^(I LOVE Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice Quinoa Fusilli Pasta)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, sliced
2 bell peppers (1 green, 1 orange), sliced
1 28-ounce can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand.                    ^Feel free to add a little of the squeezed out tomato juice.
4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (skin removed)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for topping
2 jarred hot cherry peppers, stemmed and chopped

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs. Save 1/2 cup of the previously used cooking water for later, then drain.

2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a *large Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until golden, about 30 seconds.

3. Add the onion, bell peppers and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.

4. Add the tomatoes and cook until softened, about 7 minutes.

5. Add the chicken, basil, pasta and the reserved cooking water to the tomato sauce. Cook, stirring, until warmed through, about 4 minutes.

6. Drizzle each serving with olive oil and top with basil and the cherry peppers.


*Make sure that the pot or pan is very large, I had to transfer pots halfway through.

Original non-gluten free recipe:

Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup

This soup is amazing! I love when a soup is hearty enough to act as an entire meal and tastes heavenly at the same time. A bite of this soup tastes like you are in Mexico and cuddling up on a snowy day at the same time. ENJOY!!

7 hours to cook, 15 minutes to make


1 onion, chopped

16 ounce can chili beans

15 ounce can black beans

15 ounce can whole kernel corn, drained

8 ounce can tomato sauce

12 fluid ounce can or bottle beer

10 ounce cans diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained

1.25 ounce package taco seasoning

3 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts

shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)

sour cream (optional)


  1. Place the onion, chili beans, black beans, corn, tomato sauce, beer, and diced tomatoes in a slow cooker. Add taco seasoning, and stir to blend.
  2. Lay chicken breasts on top of the mixture, pressing down slightly until just covered by the other ingredients. Set slow cooker for low heat, cover, and cook for 5 hours.
  3. Remove chicken breasts from the soup, and allow to cool long enough to be handled. Shred the chicken and stir the shredded chicken back into the soup.
  4. Continue cooking for 2 hours. (Serve topped with shredded Cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and crushed tortilla chips, if desired).