Tag: Thug Kitchen


Friday Favorites: Beagle & Wolf Author Festival

Well, it is Friday and I am quite pleased to announce that I AM feeling fabulous! That Italian Wedding Soup really did the trick: I’ve been slurping bowls of it all week and am finally starting to feel like myself again. It got a little dicey there for a while. I lost five pounds in four days–yikes! But don’t worry, I am doing my very best to eat my way back to normal. My appetite has revved up and really am feeling great. Get ready, Park Rapids! Local author coming at ya!

So, besides the return of my good health, here are a few other things that made the Friday Favorites list this week!

Beagle & Wolf Books and Bindery Author Festival!

Next stop on my Seven Stones Book Tour: Park Rapids, Minnesota! This event is quite different than the regular book signing or reading. This is an all-day literary extravaganza! Over 30 other Minnesota authors will be at the festival, doing readings, and signing books! Come at 1:30 to hear William Kent Krueger read from his newest book, and stick around to say hi to me at my table! I’ll be there from 1:30-3:30. So stop by to grab a few books, meet authors, and have a grand time!

Apricot-Ginger Tea Scones

earl grey

When I started feeling better, I knew what I wanted more than anything else: a cup of tea and a chewy, fluffy scone. I whipped together a batch of my Earl Grey Scones with Lemon Icing, but added dried apricots and ginger to give it a little kick. Man, am I glad I did! This new version adds a lot of depth to the scones and really brings them to the next level of delicious. I’m definitely making them again and again! And for those of you who may not love traditional dry scones, these have moisture and fluffiness while being dense and not too sweet. They have Shane’s stamp of approval (who is a self-proclaimed scone hater). I only had powdered ginger at the time, but I will use fresh ginger next time! To make my Apricot-Ginger Tea Scones, follow my Earl Grey Scone recipe and add:

1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

2 tsp powdered ginger (1 tsp fresh grated ginger)

Book of the Week: Vegan Cookbooks!

I’ve been playing around with incorporating more plant-based recipes in our diet. We are really good at eating our fruits and veggies, but Shane and I (like most Wisconsinites) tend to go a bit heavy on the cheese and dairy. So, to mix things up and keep meals healthy, I’ve been checking out purely plant-based foods to mix into our weekly meals. The results have been some truly delicious, super healthy foods! Here are some of my favorite vegan cookbooks, along with the recipes we’ve been trying. Whether you are vegetarian, vegan, looking to eat healthier, searching for something new to try, or scrounging for a Meatless Monday recipe, these are my favorite vegan cookbooks:

Oh She Glows by Angela Liddon

The Oh She Glows website has been one of my go-to cooking blogs for a while. When Angela released her cookbook, I knew it would be a winner! Oh She Glows is without doubt the most used cookbook in our house. Here’s a few of our favorite recipes you’ll find inside: Mashed Cauliflower with Mushroom Gravy, Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas, Pumpkin Custard Pie with Coconut Whipped Cream, Grilled Portobello Salad, Roasted Beet & Hazelnut Salad, Gym Rat Smoothie, Pumpkin Pie Smoothie, Avocado-Basil Pasta.

YumUniverse by Heather Crosby

You ever come across a recipe that totally changes your life? That is the YumUniverse recipe for Pad Thai. Game changer. Another completely delicious and new favorite in our home is her recipe for Buckwheat porridge. Sounds weird, but it amazing and simple.

Detoxinista by Megan Gilmore

Usually, when I hear the word “detox,” I cringe. I don’t believe in juice-fasting or any other type of fasting. Your body craves nutrition, and that is exactly what I give mine. Meghan’s approach to “detox” is not what you think. Her cookbook is all about incorporating whole foods into your diet in very easy and tasty recipes. I have been following her blog for years and just got her cookbook. Here are some of my favorites: Chocolate Breakfast Smoothie, Chinese Cabbage Salad, peanut butter cups (from her website), healthier–and tastier–Klondike bars (website).

And, of course, the Thug Kitchen: Eat Like You Give a F*ck cookbook. There are just too many amazing recipes to list, but check out this post for that awesome soup recipe!

So, there you are: my top picks for cookbooks! They all have no-fuss, easy recipes that result in truly delicious food. What are you waiting for? Go check them out and have fun experimenting!

Word Count

2,248. HUZZAH!!!! Next week’s word count goal: 3,000 words!

Happy Friday!



Feel Better Food: Italian Wedding Soup with a Twist

I’ve been hit. I write this post from my couch, where I have set up residency during the nastiest flu bug I’ve had in a while. It all started on Sunday–luckily, the day AFTER my book signing at Caribou on Saturday. I rested all day Sunday and Monday, and by Monday evening I had a ravenous appetite. After not eating food for two days, I whipped up a batch of my all-time favorite comfort soups: Italian Wedding. I had a good-sized bowl, and thought myself cured.


After being at work approximately 1.5 hours on Tuesday, I had to call it quits. While my stomach is undeniably better, the dizziness, headaches, and uhhh gastronomical distress, that’s set in has really knocked me off my feet. So, here I lay, with a bottle of water and ginger ale.

But all is not lost. I have a wonderful boss who came in to give me the day to rest, and I’m confident that I will be well before the Author Festival at Beagle & Wolf Books and Bindery ,this Saturday. Hopefully, I’ll write about how fabulous I’m feeling in my Friday post. For now, I will leave you with my recipe for the ultimate Italian Wedding Feel Better Soup.

The twist? It is entirely vegan and 100% delicious. I got this recipe from the AMAZING Thug Kitchen Cookbook (which is one of my new favorites). Thug Kitchen: Eat Like You Give a F*ck (yup, that is the real name), is full of delicious and irreverent recipes aimed at helping people eat real, healthy food. And it is also full of swearing (you’ve been warned), which makes for one amusing and unusual cookbook. I laughed throughout the whole thing–and then proceeded to make some of the best food EVER.

I love Thug Kitchen’s Wedding Soup even more than the traditional version, and make it almost on a weekly basis because it is so satisfying, healthy, comes together super fast, and is chock full of goodness. Though you may be intimidated by the sound of “White Bean Balls,” trust me, they are freakin’ delicious. One of the best soup recipes I’ve tried from one of the best cookbooks I’ve seen! Seriously, if you like this recipe, you’ve got to check out the rest of the book!

Thug Kitchen’s Wedding Soup with White Bean Balls & Kale

For the White Bean Balls:

Cooking spray

1 large yellow onion, divided (1/4 c. + the rest)

3 c. cooked white beans (2 – 15 oz. cans)

½ c. whole wheat bread crumbs

3 cloves garlic, pressed

¼ c. nutritional yeast or flour

2 T. olive oil

1 T. soy sauce or tamari

2 tsp. all-purpose no-salt seasoning blend (I used Penzey’s Tuscan Blend)

1 tsp. each: dried thyme, basil, and oregano

½ tsp. lemon zest (I used a splash of lemon juice instead because that’s what I had on hand)

For the Soup:

1 tsp. olive oil

The rest of that chopped onion

2 carrots, chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 c. small dried pasta, such as orzo (in a pinch, I’ve used barley, coucous—whatever you have)

9 c. vegetable broth

1 T. fresh lemon juice (from ½ the lemon you zested, above)

4 cups chopped kale or other dark leafy greens

¼ tsp. each sea salt & freshly ground pepper

¼ c. chopped fresh basil or parsley

To make the white bean balls: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, mash the white beans until they form a paste (I used a potato masher for this). Try not to leave too many unmashed beans – really get in there and mash ’em! Stir in the rest of the ingredients: ¼ c. chopped onion, white beans, bread crumbs, garlic, nutritional yeast or flour, olive oil, soy sauce or tamari, dried spices, and lemon zest. You might need to use your hands to mix it all together. Don’t act like you’re too good to touch bean paste. Form the bean mixture into golf-ball-sized balls using your hands and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Spray the tops with a little more cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes, pulling the tray out and turning the balls at the 15 minute mark to get both sides nice and goldeny-brown.

 To make the soup: While the bean balls are cooking, heat 1 tsp. olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the rest of the chopped onion (minus that ¼ c. you used for the bean balls), carrots, and celery. Cook and stir for 5-7 minutes, or until the onion starts to brown and caramelize. Add the garlic and the pasta and cook for about a minute more. Gently pour in the broth and let it all simmer together for about 10-15 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Fold in the lemon juice, greens, salt & pepper, and fresh basil.

To assemble the dish: Place 3-4 bean balls in the bottom of a single-serving soup bowl. Gently ladle the soup over the bean balls. Enjoy the best Italian Wedding Soup you’ve ever had!!

Happy Wednesday! I’m going to go take a nap…