This is by far one of the most delicious sides I’ve ever made- it’s so good, in fact, that tonight, this will most likely be my entire dinner! 😉

It’s really simple too- you just need 4o minutes to bake the sweet potatoes, but the prep literally took about 5 minutes.

Anyway, here’s the recipe, from

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh thyme leaves, plus 6 thyme sprigs for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Preheat oven to 450°F. In large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and toss. Arrange potato slices in single layer on heavyweight rimmed baking sheet or in 13×9-inch baking dish. Place on top rack of oven and roast until tender and slightly browned, about 40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with thyme sprigs.
Headed into the oven:
And, after roasting for 40-all done!
* Omgoodness, I can’t stop drooling- this is so good! *
You need to make these! 🙂
(I don’t know what’s going on w/the spacing…annoying!)

This recipe is from “Veganomicon”, a vegan cookbook I got awhile back when…ugh, it’s embarrassing to admit, but I got it right after baby #2 bc I wanted to lose baby weight fast- and so, I started eating vegan.  And I learned that that’s incredibly difficult, especially for someone who loves meat more than anything!  At any rate, the book has some really great recipes, and I still try to use it for meatless meal ideas.

Anyway, after making the vegetable broth yesterday, I really wanted to make some soup- and after a pantry reorganizing project the other day, I found that I have way too many bags of beans lying around.  So, here’s hoping to reduce that number by usin’ up some lentils!

Here’s the recipe- I’m going to do a photo-dump style post:


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into fine dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (Hungarian if you’ve got it)
  • 5 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 6 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups French lentils
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Several pinches of freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat a large pot over medium heat and add oil. Sauté the onion and carrots for about 10 minutes, until onions have browned a bit. Add the garlic, tarragon, thyme, and paprika, and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add the tomatoes and a little splash of water if necessary, and stir to deglaze the pot. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the water, lentils, bay leaves, salt, and pepper, then cover and bring to a boil. Once the soup is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 45 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. If the soup looks too thin, uncover and simmer for a couple more minutes. If it looks too thick, add a little more water. Serve with good, crusty bread.

Sauteeing carrots and onions

W/garlic and herbs...I have to admit that the smell of tarragon kinda makes me queasy. It's the same way w/celery- once it's cooked, I'm fine 🙂

W/everything added in and simmering

And now, we wait- it should simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the liquid’s reduced a bit and the lentil’s are tender.  Be back soon!


Wow, it’s really good- despite the tarragon! 😉  No, really…this is yummy!  If I have any criticism for the recipe, it’d be that there are WAY too many lentils- I didn’t even cook it for 20 minutes when the liquid was gone, and it was like lentil craziness.  Way, way too many lentils- if I made this again, I’d probably only use one cup, and not two.  This time, though, I scooped out some, and added in another cup of broth.

All set!

But wow, sooo good- the tarragon really adds something unique.  It’s much more of a complex blend of flavors than I might have thought, and wow, the leftovers will be so good for lunch!  (And I’m sure the yummy homemade broth had a lot to do w/this delicious meal…or, at least I’ll pretend it did!)


E did have some “constructive criticisms” when he tried this- mainly that it was just a “giant bowls of beans” (It’s not, clearly- just look at that ingredient list up there, mister!  But again, this was why I think the amount of lentils should be cut down- seriously, it’s a lot!).  So anyway, for the leftovers, I’m going to add in more tomatoes and maybe even some roast chicken (we still have some leftover from the other night).  The flavor of the soup was really great…just maybe too many lentils! 🙂

This is something I’d wanted to try forever, but didn’t bc I was scared off.  Who knows why, but anyway, I avoided making apple butter.  Never again- especially now that I found a slow-cooker recipe! 🙂

The only bad thing about this recipe is that it takes a total of 12 hrs.  And, since I’m scared of leaving my slow-cooker on while we’re asleep, I had to start this pretty early.  (Well, it’s only 8am, but it’s still early to be thinking about cooking projects!)

Peel, core, and chop 2.5 lbs apples- they suggest using a mix to create a more complex flavor, and I normally would have done that, but we had loads of Fuji apples lying around, so I didn’t get fancy w/it.  Also, I used more apples than in the recipe, only bc mine were tiny, and the recipe was for large apples.

Then, add in white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg- and cook on low (stirring occasionally) for 10 hrs:

Be back in…oh, forever, w/an update! 😉


Ok, so I started at 8, and it was finally ready at 6pm.  But, I totally forgot about it, since I’d been smelling it all day, and didn’t remember it until nearly 7!  (Oops!)  After the 10-hr cook, I used a hand-mixer to mash the apples- you’re supposed to use an immersion blender, but I don’t have one.  The hand-mixer was a bit tricky, but I smushed the apples into one side of the slow-cooker, and ran the mixer over them a lot until the mix was pretty smooth.

Then, one more hour of cooking on high.

OH- my apple butter was really thick, almost like paste, and the thought of one more hour of cooking had me thinking I’d just be cleaning a baked-on mess out of the slow-cooker, so I added about a half cup of water, and stirred it in.  Perfect!

E had some after dinner, and said it was really good- and wow, it totally is!  Definitely using this recipe again! 🙂

I’ve never made marinara sauce before, but wanted to try it as I had every ingredient (it’s not a huge list), and I bought pasta today from my favorite pasta maker in the Italian Market (they had a Facebook 25%-off fresh pasta sale, why wouldn’t I go?)…so, it was just meant-to-be, really 🙂

I feel funny about posting the full recipe (since I can’t find it online), but I’ll email it to you if you’re interested.  It’s pretty straight-forward, and even uses canned crushed tomatoes.  I used this can that I bought back in September when we went to a local farm:

Anyway, you start off w/a base of chopped onions and garlic w/a little bit of red pepper:

Then, add in the crushed tomatoes to simmer for about 30 mins:

And voila- marinara sauce!  Smells delicious– can’t wait to enjoy it w/our 3-cheese ravioli! 🙂

This is a really great sauce- and, it’s kinda spicy!  Never would have thought of making marinara spicy, but it really works- yum! 🙂

Another “special request” from the 2012 Challenge (thanks, Rebekah!)- and, as luck would have it, I just came across a recipe for almond milk!  I have to say that I was kinda scared about this challenge, too, bc I had no idea where to start but…wow, this could not seem any easier to make!  Seriously, it’s two ingredients (one of which is water), and it involves soaking.  Then a blender.  Um, yea, I couldn’t be more excited to try this now!

You’ll need:  one cup almonds, two cups water.  Let the almonds soak for 2-8 hrs (I’m going w/eight), then strain, rinse well, and add to the blender w/3 cups of water.  Blend for about a minute, until the almonds are broken down.  Strain the milk through a fine-mesh strainer, and store in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Anyway, we’re still in the soaking stage, but this should be ready for “milking” later tonight- check back for an update!


All done!  This was truly the easiest thing ever- as are most recipes that involve “soaking” as the most important step!  The water practically did all the work for me! 😉

So, I strained and rinsed the almonds, and tossed ’em in the blender w/more water.  Then…blend!  After that, I poured the mix through a strainer, and…tada, almond milk!

The only difference (obviously) from store-bought milk is that…they must add sweeteners bc it’s kinda bland.  Almond-y, but bland.  I’m not a huge fan of almond milk, so that may just be it.  But, if you’re interested, definitely worth making- it was actually kinda fun! 🙂

(Oh, sorry about using ‘miniature’ feature- I just really like the colors that feature makes.  But, that one picture looks like I’m practically filling up a thimble, and this made about 3 cups, so…again, sorry!)

* Quick question for anyone who’s made almond milk before:  Do you use the pulp afterwards for anything?  I was looking online for recipes, but many of them needed a dehydrator…So, just wondering! *

So, I bought a butternut squash from our Buying Club the week before Christmas, obviously w/the intention of using it.   Who knew that the week before Christmas is a busy time, when one most likely does not explore new recipes?  Sad to say, we went away for the week, w/said squash in our fridge, only to return to moldy squash- don’t they usually stay fresh for awhile?  Oh well…

That being said, I felt the longing to suddenly use a squash this week (to mourn the needless death of the last one), so I got one from Wegman’s today- and promptly put it to good use.  Had to, right?

I found a good recipe online for a squash/potato mash side, and went w/it.  I had nearly all the ingredients- apart from sour cream, which I subbed w/milk.  Seems good enough- and, smells great.  Just waiting for the roasted chicken, and I’ll let you know how it went!

Photo-dump style:

And, I realize that so far as flavors as concerned, one might not generally serve Brussels sprouts w/roasted chicken, but…I figure that if this is the only meal (or, most likely the only meal) where we’ll all eat veggies, I may as well stuff whatever veggies I have lying around into each and every meal.  Therefore, we have one weird veggie side at every meal- weird being that it might not be a complimentary flavor.  It’s just “veggie.”  For tonight’s dinner, apart from the potato/squash mash, we have Brussels sprouts, green beans, and carrots, in one pot- yum!

After the first bite of the squash/potato side, E said it was “really good, not too over-seasoned either”…high praise, indeed!  Hey, I’ll take what I can get… 😉  Anyway, it has the flavor of the squash, w/the texture of mashed potatoes, w/just a hint of thyme…really good!

Definitely worth it!

I know that I ordered leeks for a reason when I made our last CSA order; I’m sure of it.

I mean, I must have had a plan, right?  Well, I may have, but since we have to order two weeks in advance, I totally forgot what I wanted to do w/leeks!  So, off to to see what to do…I also had loads of potatoes, too, so this recipe just worked out perfectly.

Right now, the potatoes are boiling in a few cups of chicken stock:


This is a great recipe bc there’s nothing I needed to buy special- well, that’s not true.  I mean, I didn’t have white potatoes, so my soup will be more yellow.  And, I don’t have white pepper, but will just grind our usual black pepper.  But, it didn’t call for anything that I really couldn’t substitute- like, lots called for sour cream or something.  You definitely need to buy the sour cream bc I’m sure that’s important; there’s not really a substitute for that, right?  Maybe there is.  Anyway, what I’m getting at is that this is easy, once you have potatoes and leeks!  🙂

So, once tender, I put some of the potatoes in the blender in batches to puree w/a bit of the stock.  I had to keep adding in stock to this bc once I was done (and i left some of the potatoes whole bc I like the chunky-ness), it was almost like creamy mashed potatoes- sooo thick!

See what I mean?

Next, slice the leek(s) and saute w/butter and alittle white wine.  Then, toss that (w/even more stock, sheesh, too thick still!) back into the potato pot, and heat through.

All set!

I had just gone to the bakery this morning for sandwich rolls- which is why I’m eating this w/a hoagie roll instead of a baguette or something.  It’s just delicious!  I think, though, that you could do loads more w/this recipe…I may even add in chicken next time.

Anyway, give it a try- great for a chilly day! 🙂

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