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Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie with French Lentils

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie with French Lentils

   Since most of our recipes are designed to be approachable, a disclaimer is in order for this one. This is a dirty-every-pan type of recipe, where your kitchen looks like a tornado hit it when you’re finished. (At least, ours did.) While it could be called simple, it is definitely not quick. That said, it’s absolutely worth the mess to end up with this hearty, satisfying vegetarian main dish. And looking forward to the holidays, what says celebration more than a huge pile of dirty dishes? It’s Thanksgiving month, which is one of our favorite holidays since it’s all about cooking! Alex and I work together each year to create a fresh vegetarian Thanksgiving menu (our past recipes, for inspiration).  Our goal is to show that Thanksgiving recipes can both delicious and healthy at the same time, and that you don’t have to leave the table with a stomach ache. Instead of rich and processed food-based recipes, fresh and seasonal foods can be used to create a beautiful table. And, we love getting creative and thinking outside the turkey for a vegetable centered main dish. This year, we’ve got a great lineup for you, starting with this vegetarian shepherd’s pie. […]

A Couple Cooks – Recipes for Healthy & Whole Living

Cornbread Waffles with Maple Mascarpone Schmear

Cornbread Waffles with Maple Mascarpone Schmear

Mornings for us revolve around coffee, coffee, and more coffee. On most days, breakfast is supremely simple fare. But on special occasions or with guests, we’re inching towards becoming people who breakfast. Funny story: we didn’t own a waffle maker until last year, after we had this lazy morning waffle brunch with our pal Ashley. Ashley is 1000% passionate about breakfast, and after that meal we were convinced making space in our cupboard for a waffle maker would be absolutely worth it. That trip was the first time Alex and I had met Ashley in “real life” after knowing her for years online. We originally bonded over food and photography, and over time the three of us grew to be fast friends though we were states apart. So it seems only fitting to honor the breakfast queen with a waffle recipe, as she is pregnant with her first little one due in December! These cornbread waffles with maple mascarpone are a mixup of Ashley’s cornmeal waffles and our maple mascarpone. We loved the dense texture and complex flavor of these gluten-free waffles, set off by the fluffy sweet mascarpone cheese topping. It started out as a dollop on top, but ended up with a messy schmear, which seemed absolutely appropriate. We’ve […]

A Couple Cooks – Recipes for Healthy & Whole Living

Blood Orange Granita

Blood Orange Granita

“The simplest dessert I know” is how author Julia Turshen describes this blood orange granita in her new cookbook Small Victories. And that was all the selling it needed. After turning to this page, we promptly made the recipe and were delighted (plus, we thought it would be a fitting recipe to share with you in honor of Halloween — get it?!). This one is as simple as promised: juice the oranges, freeze for few hours, and then scrape with a fork into sparkling crystals. What results is bright pink snow, zesty and refreshing with no added sugar. For an added kick, serving the granita with a mix of cream and mascarpone cheese offsets it with a bit of richness. We shared this dessert with Alex’s mother and stepfather, and we all couldn’t get over the flavor and texture packed into our little bowls. Slicing into those blood oranges is an added treat: they have the most beautiful, firey-rainbow interiors. And if you can’t find blood oranges, you can make this recipe with regular oranges (in fact, the inspiration was an Orange Julius!). As two cooks who started cooking well into adulthood, we love the premise of this cookbook, all about tips and tricks learned in a lifetime in the […]

A Couple Cooks – Recipes for Healthy & Whole Living

Pumpkin Pecan Baked Steel Cut Oatmeal

Pumpkin Pecan Baked Steel Cut Oatmeal

   Would you believe we’ve never cooked steel cut oats until this recipe? I know, I know. We drink Chemex coffee and eat quinoa and wear Chambray shirts, yet our breakfast game has yet to be revolutionized by steel cut oats. Well, consider us steel cut oat virgins no more, because we’re now fans. Steel cut oats are nothing like normal rolled oats. In fact, they’re a chewy whole grain like this freaky one. Not what we were expecting. However, when baked up in a custard-y”filling”, they’re absolutely delicious. Our idea for this recipe was to combine they chewiness of steel cut oats with the velvety, spiced-up goodness of pumpkin pie. Luckily it worked like a charm (and not all our kitchen experiments do!). After cooling, the oatmeal sets up and can be cut into squares for devouring. To me, it tasted just like a light version of pumpkin pie. And who doesn’t want to eat pumpkin pie for breakfast? It’s also fairly healthy, with a minimal amount of maple syrup as a natural sweetener, it’s a nice gluten-free whole grain option for the morning. We created this recipe as part of an internet-wide celebration of pumpkin recipes in honor of October! Check […]

A Couple Cooks – Recipes for Healthy & Whole Living

Navigating Seasons of Uncertainty (Adoption Update)

Navigating Seasons of Uncertainty (Adoption Update)

This Navigating Seasons of Uncertainty post is part of our Healthy and Whole series about embracing a healthy relationship with food. Since so much of that relationship connects to the we embrace life circumstances, navigating uncertain times fits here as well. Also, we wanted to give you an update on our adoption process. Enjoy! Sonja & Alex Our Story One Sunday night, we got an email marked Urgent. It was urgent because it had to do with a baby. A little girl who was born and waiting in the hospital. An adoptive family was needed to foster her for one week while conducting a paternity test to determine her eventual home. Depending on the results, she could be our forever daughter. Were we up for it? Through tears, we agreed absolutely. This was the closest we had gotten to adoption after months of waiting. Since we’d started the process, we’d been matched with two birth mamas. Two times the adoptions fell through right after the baby’s birth. Both were crushing, but at the same time our hearts were full for those mamas, who couldn’t be faulted for parenting their sweet babies. So this time was the third time. Third time’s a charm, right? After […]

A Couple Cooks – Recipes for Healthy & Whole Living

Roasted Tomato Shrimp Over Creamy Polenta

Roasted Tomato Shrimp Over Creamy Polenta

Why do we cook? Partially because we love to eat, but mostly: we cook because we love people. This recipe was the backdrop for a recent dinner with our friend Leah. She’s a dear, vibrant soul who has known us since before we were a couple — and much, much before we were a couple who cooks together. Three months before, we had Leah over for a dinner much like this one. We drank wine and giggled and talked about everything under the sun, including how dangerous cars are. Self-driving cars are the future, Alex said. In 50 years, we agreed, cars would be seen as the health crisis of our day, much like we now recognize the dangers of working in coal mines or smoking cigarettes. The very next day, Leah was in a devastating car crash. Her car flipped, left arm was obliterated, and one finger nearly lost. Miraculously, a nurse was at the scene and gave her a shirt to use as a tourniquet. She was rushed to a nearby hospital and emergency hand surgery saved her finger and arm. So on this dinner, the one with the shrimp and polenta, Leah was back. This girl has […]

A Couple Cooks – Recipes for Healthy & Whole Living

Roasted Fall Vegetable Grain Bowl with Lemon Yogurt

Roasted Fall Vegetable Grain Bowl with Lemon Yogurt

How often do you cook? As in, how often do you make a meal from scratch in your own kitchen? Not so long ago, Alex and I were the people who answered, “Never” (unless pouring milk over cereal was considered cooking, of course!). If your answer is “Never,” you’re in good company. A recent survey conducted by Wolf as part of its Reclaim the Kitchen initiative found that 50% of 18 to 34-year-olds would rather scroll social media than cook. And 40% of adults don’t cook because they’re just too tired on any given day, even if they have the time. Reclaim the Kitchen is meant to make the process of getting back into the kitchen easy and accessible, providing practical tips, tricks and techniques to empower people to cook more. This is something we’re very passionate about, since the past 8 years we’ve spent time reclaiming our own kitchen (listen to us tell our story here). One of the secrets we’ve learned in our pursuit of cooking is that it’s really just a series of simple techniques. Once you know a few of the basics, you’ll see them repeated in all sorts of future recipes that you make. For today’s recipe, we wanted to go […]

A Couple Cooks – Recipes for Healthy & Whole Living

Real Food Meal Prep…Without a Recipe

Real Food Meal Prep…Without a Recipe

This post is part of our Healthy & Whole series to inspire a lifelong passion for home cooking and a sustainably healthy lifestyle. Today’s guest author is Robyn Downs, author behind the blog Real Food Whole Life. Robyn is devoted to spreading the word that healthy eating can be approachable and enjoyable. Her new guide, Real Food Fix, is designed to put her innovative meal prep solutions into practice: check it out here. Congratulations to Robyn on the launch of Real Food Fix, and thank you for sharing your innovative strategy for real food meal prep!   After the birth of my daughter in 2012, I was overwhelmed and out of balance. I knew I needed to commit to real food and whole living, but had no idea where to start. Between the demands of work and family, I struggled to find time to get organized. I felt like I needed an extra 6 hours just to meal plan, and those were 6 hours I didn’t have. Also, I hated meal planning. Fitting real food into my everyday seemed completely overwhelming. Can you relate? I tried complicated meal plans, but struggled with unwieldy grocery lists and cooking new recipes each night. […]

A Couple Cooks – Recipes for Healthy & Whole Living

Three Onion Fried Rice

Three Onion Fried Rice

What’s your favorite comfort food? We’ve talked about this at length before (specifically on this podcast that asked a very crucial question about mac & cheese). Typically I would have answered something like mac & cheese, until we made this recipe. It made me remember that a bowl of warm, egg-y, onion-studded crispy fried rice with crimson sriracha and silky mayo hits.the.spot when I’m in need of some comfort. This three onion fried rice recipe is straight from our dear friend Molly’s new book, Molly on The Range. Molly’s a spunky baker, home cook and blogger, formerly of Chicago and New York, who now lives with her farmer husband up in Grand Forks. We’re lucky enough to enjoy Molly and her “eggboy” as real life friends, not just virtual friends, and she is every bit as lovely IRL as she appears on the internet. She’s one of the most joyful, fun-loving, creative, and vibrant people we know! Want to hear Molly on the podcast? > Episode 22, Yay, pie! Tomorrow is the official launch of Molly on the Range and we couldn’t be more delighted with the book. It’s full of creative recipes, beautiful photography, and in general is just plain fun. Check it out on […]

A Couple Cooks – Recipes for Healthy & Whole Living

Pesto Grilled Cheese Dippers with Marinara

Pesto Grilled Cheese Dippers with Marinara

As the weather’s turning cooler, we’re gearing up for cozy foods and couch snuggling over here at A Couple Cooks. Alex and I have been burning through Gilmore Girls in preparation for the new season release in November, and Sunday afternoons are ripe for football. This year, we even joined a fantasy football league with our neighbors — which incidentally has made the football season much more enjoyable, even for a disinterested “fan” like me. Here’s a recipe that would work for a game day, or just any day you’re looking for an amped up grilled cheese sandwich. Slicing the grilled cheese into thin “dippers” makes the eating experience entirely more fun — and, it also slows down the racecar pace at which we typically plow through grilled cheese! For the dipping, we created this marinara tomato sauce with fire roasted tomatoes. It’s simple, simmered with onion and garlic, and a magic splash of balsamic vinegar stirred in at the end. (As you may know, we’re a fan of fire roasted tomatoes for their mellow taste and quick cooking time. Muir Glen Organic is our favorite brand; they’re available at your local Whole Foods Market.) And for the finishing touch […]

A Couple Cooks – Recipes for Healthy & Whole Living