Vegetarian West African Peanut Soup

There was this little café near the river. We used to walk there hand in hand.  We visited often. There were freshly picked flowers on the table and room for about 30. At night, candles flickered and glowed.


Their menu was concise and ever changing with the season. But the one constant was their focus on surprising (and tasty) soups.

It was there where our creative minds, which constantly bounce with ideas, found comfort and groundedness as we sat peacefully over two bowls of steamy soup.

Peanut Soup-8

I think about that space in time often…

how there always seemed to be just one perfect table by the window waiting for us…

how the café’s size was intimate but its energy expansive….

and how the dining space was full of soft chatter and the tantalizing aroma of complex simmering soups.

While the café still remains by the river and ideas continue to fill up our heads, physically we’ve moved on.  But this week, my mind took me back there, to snowy Vermont.  And with those thoughts came cravings for soup. Flavorful spicy soup made with whole foods.

Peanut Soup-2

So I pulled out this little gem of a recipe from Cookie + Kate and cooked it with love.

Peanut Soup-4

This week, I hope you’ll take time to enjoy a quiet night with this simple soup with spicy notes… inspired by a little café called That’s Life Soup.


Vegetarian West African Peanut Soup
{adapted from a recipe from Cookie + Kate, original recipe from Local Bounty: Vegan Seasonal Recipes}
  • 6 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bunch collard greens, ribs removed and leaves chopped into 1-inch strips
  • 3/4 cup unsalted peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste, or 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • Hot sauce, like sriracha (AKA rooster sauce)
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped peanuts, for garnish
  1. In a medium stock pot, bring the broth to a boil. Add the onion, ginger, garlic and salt. Cook on medium-low heat for 20 minutes.
  2. In a medium-sized, heat-safe mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter and tomato paste, then transfer 1 to 2 cups of the hot stock to the bowl. Whisk the mixture together until smooth, then pour the peanut mixture back into the soup and mix well.Peanut Soup-7
  3. Stir in the collard greens and season the soup with hot sauce to taste. Simmer for about 15 more minutes on medium-low heat, stirring often.
  4. Serve over cooked brown rice if you’d like, and top with a sprinkle of chopped peanuts.
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Until we simmer with spice again,

Homemade Veggie Potstickers

He loves to teach. Go ahead. Ask him a question. He’ll show you how. A hand drawn illustration almost always is included.

Trust me. I know.

Over dinner at Mizu, I asked about potstickers… “how they’re made”, “what’s his technique”, yada yada

The following night he had me elbow deep in potsticker dough. The time: midnight.

creating dough for potstickers

Like I said he never just tells. He loves to teach. Luckily I love to learn.

So about those potstickers…

1. They are a bit time-consuming to prep but super freaking easy to make. You could use pre-made potsticker wrappers but we made a simple dough from scratch using the ratio below.

  • 4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups of boiling water

hand stir until the mixture forms into a round ball that will be smooth

creates roughly 30 potsticker rounds

2. When rolling out your dough, be sure to make your dumpling rounds large enough to fill and properly close without tearing. It might be worth testing out a few sample sizes to see what works best for you. We went with about a 4-inch diameter.

Rolling Dough_Veggie Potstickers

3. The filling options are endless. We’re trying to back off of meat a bit (after our holiday meatapolloza here and here) so we went veggie. We had cabbage and carrots in our fridge so we used that as our base and lightly braised with ginger, shitakes, spinach, onions and some of Nathan”s ‘light you up’ dried peppers from Shore Farms.

filling for veggie potstickers

3. Did you know that the name potsticker stems from their cooking technique? They literally stick to the pot. To cook you first fry them lightly in a liberally oiled pan until the bottoms brown. Next water is added to the pan (Be careful! Expect some sizzling commotion!). You’ll need to cover to steam the tops while you also release the sticky bottoms from the pan.

searing potstickers

seared potsticker

5. Feel free to freeze. You can quick freeze them separately on parchment paper on a sheet pan if you do not need (or immediately devour) the entire batch. Be sure that they do not touch in the freezer, and once frozen solid, place in a freezer bag for safe keeping. They’re perfect for entertaining at the last minute or for sneaking out for a late-night snack… like I do.

Until we stick and steam again,


Black Bean Hummus {Summer Days}

“So how exactly do you make hummus?” I casually ask as we’re driving down the road in wet swim suits. The windows are down and the warm breeze feels nice on our cool skin. We just spent the afternoon floating on tubes and showing off our swimming skills in the clear reservoir water among the green mountains. It was the perfect way to soak in yet another toasty summer day.

He starts right in like he’s been waiting on this question all day. “Well hummus is traditionally made with five base ingredients,” he says and holds up his right hand to start counting each one off with his tan fingers. “Olive oil. Chick peas. Tahini. Garlic. Lemon juice. And I like to add a little shallot or onion in mine for sharpness. Sometimes some black beans and cumin too for flavor.”

He pauses and looks off. I can see the wheels turning. Perfect. He’s already making it in his mind.

I clear my throat. He comes back to me. “That’s a really random question. Do you want some hummus or something babe?”

I slyly smile. “Why yes, a matter of fact I do. I thought you’d never ask.”


The perfect snack for these warm summer days… Let’s let loose on some black bean hummus, shall we?


  • (1) can of chick peas, rinsed
  • (1/2) can of black beans, rinsed
  • (3) cloves of garlic
  • (2) Tablespoons of onion or shallot, rough chopped
  • (3) Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • (1) Tablespoon of ground cumin
  • (4) Tablespoons of olive oil….can add to mixture in 1 Tbsp increments
  • (1/3) cup of Tahini
  • (1) and ½ teaspoons of salt (maybe more for personal preference)
  • And a little water for smoother consistency


  1. In a food processor, process your garlic, chopped onion/shallot.
  2. Add in our chick peas, black beans, tahini, cumin, lemon juice and salt.
  3. During the processing, occasionally add a little olive oil and a little water as you go to help create your desired consistency.
  4. Once you achieve a smooth blend, you’ll need to finish by adding a little more olive oil and salt for a final blend or to your desired taste preference.

Alternate prep: We only have a mini-processor here in our little red cabin in the woods. Ideally you want a standard sized processor to process all of these ingredients together. Instead, we processed our chick pea mixture in batches with the black beans and then combined it all in our Kitchenaid mixer for a final light blend.

Enjoy with fresh summer veggies as a dip or on a sandwich like we did, made with fresh focaccia bread from Elmore Mountain Bread.

Until we pull from random inspirations again,

A+ H

Vegetarian Pasta – Winning Recipe!

And the winner from last week’s Brussel Sprout – Three Way Thursday challenge was…


Brussel Sprout Veggie Pasta!

Veggie Pasta - red pepper and brussel sprouts

The winner! Vegetarians represented on this one!

 As promised, here’s your recipe!

First, “the goodness” (a.k.a your Brussel Sprout mix)

  • (3) tablespoons olive oil
  • (14) whole Brussel sprouts – cleaned / remove base and sliced in half
  • (3/4) cup pea sprouts – wash throughly ya’ll…
         H-dog got on his soap box about this one, as did the FDA
  • (1/2) cup red pepper, thin julienne
  • (3/4) cup onion, thin julienne
  • (3) cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

1.  Pull out your coolest medium saute pan (with a lid, you’ll need it). 

2.  Add your olive oil to the saute pan and let heat (temper) for 1 to 2 minutes on medium-high.

3.  Add your onion and saute for 4 minutes, stirring (or get fancy and toss) occasionally.

4.  Then add your red pepper and garlic.  Saute for 3 minutes.

5.  Next, reduce your heat to medium-low and add those gorgeous Brussel sprouts.  Top it with a lid.

6.  Saute your mixture covered for 8 to 10 minutes until your Brussel sprouts are tender  –  stirring (or tossing!) occasionally.

7.  Finally, add in your *throughly washed* pea sprouts and turn off the heat.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile… be working on your pasta noodles

  • While you’re sauteing, tossing and simmering above, go ahead and get started on your pasta noodles. 
  • Pick your pleasure for this one… fettuccine, angel hair, farfalle… let loose! 
  • Cook noodles as directed by packaging. 
    Tip:  Add a splash of olive oil in the water to prevent noodles from sticking.

Moving on, the final touch, your olive oil “dressing”:

  • (1/4) cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • (2) cloves of garlic, finely chopped. 

1.  In a small sauce pot, add your olive oil and garlic.
2.  Bring to a simmer on medium heat.
3.  Once at a simmer, take your pot off heat. 
      Reason?  Don’t want to burn that garlic, ya’ll!
4.  Finally, in a large bowl, add your olive oil dressing to your drained pasta and coat thoroughly.
5.  Plate your pasta and top each serving with your delicious Brussel sprout mixture.

Dig in, savor the veggie goodness and enjoy!
Until we eat again,

A & H