Ok. You may be thinking…”Soup? I thought this was a baking blog?”

Well, it is! However, I used the oven to prep for the soup so I figured it deserved a post. Why not! Plus, I think you’ll like it. If you’re vegan, you’ll definitely like it! Just omit the sprinkle of parmesan at the end.

If you’re not vegan, you’ll certainly reap the benefits. Flavorful and good for you! Brussel sprouts contain cholesterol-lowering and anti-inflammatory benefits. Additionally, beans are naturally low in fat and contain a nice dose of fiber, protein and iron among other fab health benefits!

I was inspired by this recipe, but wanted to give it deeper flavor so I oven roasted the brussel sprouts and added 1 teaspoon of cumin. I LOVE cumin!

Oven Roasted Brussel Sprout Soup with White Beans

Inspired from this recipe

Print Recipe

– 1 lb Brussel sprouts

– 1 12 ounce can white beans

– 1 small white onion, chopped

– 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth

– 1 tsp ground cumin

– 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

– sea salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Toss Brussel sprouts in 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast in oven for about 30 to 35 mins. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Cut the oven-roasted sprouts in half or quarters.

In a large pot or dutch oven, brown onions in 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Add the Brussel sprouts to the onions, add beans, cumin and vegetable broth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cook until all the vegetables are cooked. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup inside the large pot. I like my soup a bit chunky with some beans and Brussel sprouts so I didn’t puree the entire soup. Use the immersion blender based on your preference.

Enjoy with a generous sprinkling of aged parmesan cheese!


Friends. It has been quite a month. I often find myself crashing on the couch at the end of the day and dreading hopping back on the computer. As a Social Media Manager, I spend most of my waking hours tuned-in…hardcore. In the evening, sometimes, I just want to unplug. Ya feel me?

This post will be brief and to the point. The take away? An easy-peasy recipe for buttery lemony lace cookies. These lace cookies contain ground almonds by the way. I love almonds, they’re good and good for you! They’re good for your heart and packed with antioxidants and nutrients.

I found a great recipe for classic lace cookies, but decided to take a fresh and uplifting spin on it by adding freshly grated lemon zest to the batter. Also, my friend Roger put in a special request for something lemony. Roger…enjoy!

Buttery Lemony Lace Cookies
Inspired from a recipe from this book

Print Recipe

– 1/2 cup raw ground almonds
– 5 Tbls unsalted butter
– 1/3 cup organic unrefined sugar
– 2 Tbls light corn syrup
– 1/3 cup all-purpose wheat flour
– pinch of sea salt
– zest from one lemon
– 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine the butter, sugar and corn syrup. Stir often until the butter is melted and the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium-high, stir constantly and bring to a boil. Once the contents begin to boil, remove from the heat. Stir in the flour and salt until well incorporated. Finally, stir in the ground almonds, lemon zest and vanilla extract.

Using a teaspoon, drop the batter onto the baking sheet. Bake the cookies until evenly light brown, about 10 minutes. At the 5-minute mark, turn the baking sheet around in the oven to ensure even baking. The cookies won’t begin to spread till about 6 minutes into baking.

Cover a cooling rack with paper towels. When the cookies are done baking, place them on the paper-toweled covered wire rack and let cool.

Love is nice, isn’t it? The feeling of loving something or someone and being loved in return.

I love traveling, running and laughing with my friends. I also love my family and boyfriend. Which brings me to the subject of Valentine’s Day…the day that’s slowly approaching and enjoyed by many and despised by many. Some are just simply indifferent about it. I may even take the indifferent route. I would love a dozen tulips or a surprise date, on any random day rather than on a day that’s “expected.” Anyone with me on that? If not, that’s cool. We can still be friends!

In the spirit of love I baked-up a scrumptious batch of heart-shaped cranberry upside down muffins! I baked standard round ones as well…extra batter…why not, right? These muffins are perfect to share with those you care about. Those you love. Or perhaps enjoy them with something you love…coffee? Tea?

You may think these muffins are a naughty treat, but they’re not. They’re baked with whole wheat flour, low fat milk and fresh cranberries. Cranberries have significant anti-inflammatory benefits especially in our cardiovascular system, and offer immune support. Eat up!!

Cranberry Upside Down Muffins
Adopted from this recipe

Print Recipe

– 2 cups fresh cranberries, washed and picked over
– 11/4 cups organic unrefined sugar
– 1 tsp grated nutmeg
– 2 cups whole wheat flour
– 1 Tbls baking powder
– 1/2 tsp sea salt
– 1 large egg
– 1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
– 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
– 1 cup 1% or non-fat milk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a saucepan combine the cranberries, 1 cup of the sugar, and the nutmeg, cook the mixture over moderately high heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved, and boil it, covered, for 3 minutes. Simmer the mixture, uncovered, stirring, for 3 minutes and let it cool.

Into a bowl sift together the flour, the baking powder, the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and the salt. In another bowl whisk together the egg, the butter, the vanilla (or almond) extract and the milk, add the mixture to the flour mixture, and stir the batter until it is just combined.

Divide the cranberry mixture among 12 well-buttered 1/2-cup muffin tins (or heart-shaped muffin cups), top it with the batter, and bake the muffins in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes, or until they are golden. Let the muffins cool for 2 minutes and invert them onto a rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy!

So, you pour yourself a bowl of cereal. You’re starved. You open the fridge and gasp! No milk! This has happened to you right? Or am I the only one? The real story…I wanted coffee and something sweet to snack on. Had the coffee…but….no….sweet….snack!!

Well, thank goodness I keep my baking ingredients well-stocked. Phew!

I call these “beary unconventional” because I don’t own a madeleine pan but I did have a baking pan with small bear molds on-hand. Hey…I was working with my resources. Another reason these are unconventional is that I used brown sugar rather than white sugar. The brown sugar added a nice deep flavor. I approved!

Beary Unconventional Madeleines
Inspired by this recipe

Print Recipe

– 1/2 cup cake flour
– 1/2 tsp baking powder
– 1 egg
– 1/2 cup brown sugar
– 1 tsp rose water
– 4 Tbls unsalted butter, softened

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Position baking rack in lower third of the oven.

Generously butter the molds of your madeleine pan; in my case the bear pan.

Sift together the flour and baking powder into a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the egg, brown sugar and rose water on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and beat until the mixture has quadrupled in volume and is very thick. This took me about 8 to 10 minutes.

Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold in the flour mixture and then the butter. Spoon the batter into the prepared molds, filling each one about three-fourths full.

Bake until the madeleines are light brown around the edges and on the bottom, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately remove the madeleines from the pan to a wire rack. Enjoy with hot tea or coffee!

This is a cookbook I know you’ll enjoy and a cookbook I cannot wait to get my hands on. Here’s why: (a) It’s written by a good friend of mine, Carrie Vitt from Deliciously Organic, whom I met while starting my blogging adventure this past year. (b) Her recipes surround wholesome, organic and unprocessed ingredients. Ingredients you can find in your local market. (c) Her mouth-watering recipes are not difficult and over-the-top….straight-up down to earth cooking and baking from a straight-up down to earth gal!

How cute is she?

Pre-order your copy!

Here are some of my favorite recipes from her blog:
Grilled Hamburgers with Sour Cream and Herbs
Cream of Tomato Soup
Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes
Milky Way Tart
Oatmeal Cream Pies
Roasted Butternut Squash, Pomegranate and Roquefort Salad

carrot date bread

In a perfect world I would have a warm and aromatic quick bread on the counter every Sunday afternoon, ready for snacking during my hectic week. But sometimes stuff like errands, events, tiredness and other life factors prevent the warm loaf from resting on my counter on Sundays. Yet, when it does, I am filled with a healthy snack morning, noon or night. Some of my favorite quick breads are:

Pumpkin Bread
Banana Nut Bread
Zucchini Bread
Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Blood Orange Bread

What are some of your favorite breads?

I’ve baked all of these, yet none have made it to the blog, except for the Blood Orange Bread. I need to work on getting the other mouth-watering loafs to this blog! Oh darn…. 🙂

The carrot date bread was completely new for me and I feel in love with it. It’s inviting light-orange color, the sweet carrots and dates and how light it tasted. This loaf is not heavy and it makes for the perfect mid-morning snack or after dinner dessert.

Did I mention it contains ZERO amounts butter! Yay! It’s also moist and flavorful. Double Yay! The freshly shredded carrots and chopped dates offer a good balance of moist and sweet. The carrots offer protection against heart disease, better vision, blood sugar regulation among other great benefits!

Carrot Date Bread
Inspired from this recipe

Print Recipe

– 2 eggs
– 1 cup evaporated cane sugar
– 2/3 cup canola oil
– 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
– 3/4 tsp baking soda
– 1 tsp ground cinnamon
– 1 tsp nutmeg
– 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
– 1 1/2 cups raw carrots, grated
– 1 cup dates, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×5 inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a medium to large bowl, beat eggs and add sugar and oil. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and sea salt. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and beat well. Add carrots and chopped dates. Pour batter into loaf pan.

Bake for one hour. Remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack. Once cooled, remove from loaf pan and enjoy over and over! How about warmed up with a dab of sweet butter?!

cheers to 2010!


**Happy New Year!**

Thank you for helping this blog blossom. I certainly enjoyed sharing recipes and photographs with you! I hope you’ll stay awhile and spend 2011 with me on Haute Box. I’ve decided to journal my whole year on another blog – Project 575. Feel free to join me there as well!


2010 in Review

Some numbers

Featured image

The blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2010. For a visual, that’s about 31 full 747 passenger airplanes.

The blog’s busiest day of the year was June 21st with 150 views. The most popular post that day was Balsamic Fig Cheese Spread.

Post with the most comments

Butternut Squash and Maple Custard

Other sites you can find my posts!

1. Photograzing

2. Tasty Kitchen

3. Foodblogs

4. Food52

Food blogger friends I’ve met

Jen from Domestic Divas Blog
Esi from Dishing Up Delights
Marla from Family Fresh Cooking
Carrie from Deliciously Organic
Gaby from What’s Gaby Cooking?
Brooke from Food Woolf
Susan from The Urban Baker