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Your Guide to Ultherapy

As we age, the skin loses its natural elasticity and shine as the cells die out through a degenerative process. Though there are a lot of skin products that help in making the skin retain its smoothness and softness, most are still a temporary solution and in the long run become a hefty cost. Surgery can also be done but the pain and the costs often make people shy away from taking the option. Now here comes Ultherapy, a new alternative that gives you healthier and younger-looking skin.

What is Ultherapy?

Ultherapy is a skin treatment that doesn’t involve going under the knife or getting wheeled into a surgery room. This uses ultrasound waves to make the skin more loose and then lifting it without the need for surgery. Ultherapy stimulates the deep layers of the skin that are often addressed in skin surgery, but this therapy works without the need of injuring the tissues at all. Because of ultrasound, healthcare professionals are capable of visualizing the skin and just the right amount of energy is applied to the specific area of the skin to be treated.

How Does it Work?

Ultherapy makes use of ultrasound waves to stimulate the tissues beneath the skin, even reaching several layers up to the muscles. This makes the skin grow tighter, close pores, and make the skin look smoother. Regarded as safe by the medical community worldwide for over 50 years, Ultherapy eliminates the need for one to undergo surgery or other invasive procedures in order to make the skin look healthier and younger.

Contributed By:

Skin Tightening Clinic Singapore
Blk 125 Bt Merah Lane 1, #01-174, Singapore 150125

Bombay Wraps with Apple Raisin Chutney & Quick Pickled Onions

Bombay Wraps with Apple Raisin Chutney & Quick Pickled Onions | The Full Helping

These Bombay wraps with apple raisin chutney & quick pickled onions are a great example of “semi-homemade” cooking, which I appreciate as a happy compromise between my love of all things scratch-cooked, and the fact that my cooking time has been running short lately.

The chutney is prepared from scratch—an easy weekend project, if you can keep an eye on a pot as it simmers away on the stovetop. The chapatis are optional: I ended up making them myself because a) I’d never made chapati before, and it was a fun project, and b) I didn’t have any wraps on hand, whereas I did have a big bag of flour, salt, and water.

Bombay Wraps with Apple Raisin Chutney & Quick Pickled Onions | The Full Helping

Those tasty, tender veggie burgers you see? Those are the Bombay veggie burgers from Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods. A wholesome base of peas, carrots, onions, oat bran, and edamame, seasoned well with curry, cumin, mustard seed, coriander, and turmeric. The burgers are just assertive enough to hold their own with the tart chutney and pickled onions in these wraps, but they’re not overly spicy or hot, either.

Bombay Wraps with Apple Raisin Chutney & Quick Pickled Onions | The Full Helping
Bombay Wraps with Apple Raisin Chutney & Quick Pickled Onions | The Full Helping

In the last few months, I’ve had a chance to play around with Dr. Praeger’s plant-forward, convenient burgers and hash browns, using them in lots of semi-homemade applications, from breakfast bowls to summer rolls.

In this dish, as in others, the burgers are a perfect way to easily complete an otherwise homemade meal: they do the heavy lifting for you, which can be the difference between lunch or dinner that feels like a pleasure to prepare, and something overly arduous.

Bombay Wraps with Apple Raisin Chutney & Quick Pickled Onions | The Full Helping

These wraps feature my quick pickled onions (a simple recipe, which you can find here, but you could use very thinly sliced, raw red onion, too), fresh cilantro, the Bombay burgers, and a seasonal, apple raisin chutney. The chutney is definitely on the sweeter, jammier side of the chutney spectrum—and fairly untraditional—but I love it, and I’ve been making it with apples or pears for a couple years now.

My original plan was to grab some whole wheat wraps or tortillas for the recipe, but making my own pita bread lately has shown me that homemade flatbread-making is worth the time. A single recipe usually yields quite a few breads, which can be frozen and popped out of the freezer whenever one is needed. I’ve found it to be worthwhile, not only because the bread is inevitably more tender and tastier, but also in terms of cost.

Bombay Wraps with Apple Raisin Chutney & Quick Pickled Onions | The Full Helping

It’s easy to find chapatis recipes online and in books. I turned to The New Laurel’s Kitchen—a book Maria introduced me to, which I’ve come to love for many reasons—for inspiration, adjusting quantities and then filling in my how-to knowledge with online videos and instructions. I found the process to be relatively simple, even if my chapatis didn’t quite puff up the way they’re supposed to (I think this is the sort of thing that will get easier with practice).

If you’d like an awesome, visual run-through of the process, you should check out Suguna’s video. And if you’re not up for bread-making, no problem: this recipe will work with whole grain/sprouted wraps, pita, or your favorite naan.

Bombay Wraps with Apple Raisin Chutney & Quick Pickled Onions | The Full Helping

Bombay Wraps with Apple Raisin Chutney & Quick Pickled Onions

Recipe type: main dish
Cuisine: vegan, gluten free option, tree nut free
Author: Gena Hamshaw
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 50 mins
Serves: 4 servings (8 wraps)
For the chutney:
  • ¾ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup apple cider (you can substitute apple or orange juice)
  • ⅓ cup (heaping) brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh, grated ginger (or 1 teaspoon ground ginger)
  • 1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • 1 pound apples, peeled and chopped
  • ½ cup raisins
For the chapatis*:
  • 1 cup whole wheat or spelt flour
  • 1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • Vegetable oil (such as coconut, grapeseed, or safflower)
For the wraps:
  1. To make the chutney, heat the cider, vinegar, and sugar in a large saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add all remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and simmer, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, or until the apples are totally tender and breaking down. Allow the chutney to cool a bit before transferring it to jars (or an airtight container) and storing in the fridge for up to a week. Makes 2 cups (recipe can be doubled).
  2. To make the chapati, combine the flours and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the water, little by little, using your hands to incorporate, until you have a rough ball of dough. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel. Allow it to rest for 20 minutes.
  3. Cut the dough ball into 8 evenly sized pieces. Shape each into a small ball with your hands, then use a rolling pin to roll it into a very thin, flat circle (about 6-7 inches diameter). Stack the circles on a baking sheet with layers of paper towel in between them, to prevent sticking.
  4. Heat a large cast-iron or non-stick skillet over medium high heat and coat it lightly with oil. Add one of the disks of dough. Cook for about 20-30 seconds, until you see some bubbles appear on the dough. Flip the dough over and begin pressing on it firmly with a spatula—this will help it to puff up the way it’s supposed to! Keep flipping and pressing until the dough has puffed and both sides have some brown spots. Remove the bread from the skillet, wrapping it in cloth to keep it warm. Repeat with the remaining dough circles. Freeze any chapati you don’t wish to consume within a day.
  5. To assemble the wraps, cook the Dr. Praeger’s Bombay Burgers according to package instructions. Cut each burger in half. Place a chapati on a flat surface and place a burger along the center. Top it with a few tablespoons chutney, followed by some cilantro and pickled onions. Serve.
In place of making chapati, you can use whole grain or gluten-free wraps of choice.

Bombay Wraps with Apple Raisin Chutney & Quick Pickled Onions | The Full Helping

I like this recipe because it got me out of my comfort zone (a new flatbread) while also cutting me some slack (having the pros take care of the burgers). And I love all of the flavor contrast here: the slight bitterness of cilantro, the sour onions, the sweet chutney, and the very savory burgers. What a great, vibrant lunch, with plenty of leftovers for me to enjoy this week.

Hope you’ll try the wraps as they are, with your own touches. They’d also be great with my homemade cashew raita, if that’s more your style than chutney. Enjoy, and I look forward to taking a break for words and recipe love with you this coming weekend 🙂


This post is sponsored by Dr. Praeger’s Purely Sensible Foods. All opinions are my own, and I’m a huge fan of this brand’s easy vegan offerings. Thanks for your support!

The post Bombay Wraps with Apple Raisin Chutney & Quick Pickled Onions appeared first on The Full Helping.

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Weekend Reading, 10.15.17

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

When people ask me why I’m vegan, the simplest answer I can give—and the one that I most often do give these days—is that veganism is my practice and expression of ahimsa. Ahimsa is an animating principle in several Eastern religions, including Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Sometimes it’s translated as nonviolence, sometimes as “doing no harm.” It’s often simply translated to “compassion.”

Compassion is a central value in my life, something I aspire to access and practice even when it isn’t easy. Lately I’ve come to think that it matters to me precisely because it has taken me a long time to cultivate.

I don’t mean that I’ve behaved routinely without compassion in the past—at least, I hope I haven’t. My mother taught me at a young age to “walk a mile in another’s shoes,” and encouraged me to see things from other peoples’ points of view whenever I could. If I couldn’t, she said, I could at least make myself aware that the other person had a point of view, one that was separate from mine, yet equally true. Whenever I hear the famous saying of “be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle,” I think about my mom and her words.

Even so, my tendency as a young person was toward rigidity and hard lines. I was quick to make judgments about what was good or bad, right or wrong. And I was never more judgmental than when I was judging myself. It pains me to look back on how unforgiving I was with myself through my teens and twenties; not just anorexia and cutting, which were the obvious physical/behavioral manifestations of this harshness, but also the impossible standards I held myself to, and the mercilessly punishing thoughts I let loose on myself when I inevitably didn’t measure up.

Recovery from perfectionism is a story that many women I know can relate to; it’s a journey that I observe many friends going through as we all get a little older and wiser. But it’s really only recently that I’ve realized how my punitive self-treatment prevented me from approaching others with compassion.

I’ve often heard it said that it’s impossible to extend compassion to other people when you’re incessantly preoccupied with judging and censuring yourself. Self-forgiveness and self-love foster empathy; when we’ve done the hard work of learning how to cut ourselves some slack, we’re more able to meet other people where they are.

Lately, and really for the first time, I’ve been practicing self-compassion. It isn’t something I mastered through trying; it’s something that happened to me, out of necessity. So much of the identity I used to take pride in has been stripped away in the last five or so years, leaving me in a position of having to accept what’s still here. And depression has been real and poignant enough recently that I can’t help become more gentle with myself; it felt less like a conscious loosening of expectations than a matter of survival.

The wisdom is true: the better friend I am to myself, the deeper my love for other people becomes. I’m so much gentler and more humorous and caring these days than I ever have been, not only in my behavior but also in how I feel. There’s a softness I’m carrying around, a sense of heart, and a humility that I just didn’t have before. I look back on my uncompromising younger self with affection, but I’m so glad to be outgrowing the sharp edges.

All of this comes to mind because of an article a friend recently shared on Twitter. It’s written by Pema Chodron, whose book When Things Fall Apart has been a lifeline for me this year (I’ve read it three times in less than 15 months). Chodron describes the tonglen practice, which by her telling is

. . . a method for connecting with suffering — ours and that which is all around us — everywhere we go. It is a method for overcoming fear of suffering and for dissolving the tightness of our heart. Primarily it is a method for awakening the compassion that is inherent in all of us, no matter how cruel or cold we might seem to be.

Tonglen connects breath work with visualization and conscious thought:

We begin the practice by taking on the suffering of a person we know to be hurting and whom we wish to help. For instance, if you know of a child who is being hurt, you breathe in the wish to take away all the pain and fear of that child. Then, as you breathe out, you send the child happiness, joy, or whatever would relieve their pain. This is the core of the practice: breathing in another’s pain so they can be well and have more space to relax and open, and breathing out, sending them relaxation or whatever you feel would bring them relief and happiness.

What a beautiful idea this is, but as I was reading, I found myself feeling frightened by it, too. I’ve had to work hard to learn and practice interpersonal boundaries in my life, and the idea of engaging so intimately with pain around me was immediately threatening. Chodron acknowledges this fear openly:

Truthfully, this practice does go against the grain of wanting things on our own terms, of wanting it to work out for ourselves no matter what happens to the others. The practice dissolves the armor of self-protection we’ve tried so hard to create around ourselves. In Buddhist language one would say that it dissolves the fixation and clinging of ego.


Chodron also notes that tonglen practice can be particularly challenging if one is grappling with unresolved personal suffering, anxiety, or pain. But the practice can actually serve to address this:

. . . we often cannot do this practice because we come face to face with our own fear, our own resistance, anger, or whatever our personal pain, our personal stuckness, happens to be at that moment.
At that point you can change the focus and begin to do tonglen for what you are feeling and for millions of others just like you who at that very moment are feeling exactly the same stuckness and misery. Maybe you are able to name your pain. You recognize it clearly as terror or revulsion or anger or wanting to get revenge. So you breathe in for all the people who are caught with that same emotion and you send out relief or whatever opens up the space for you and all those countless others. Maybe you can’t name what you’re feeling. But you can feel it — a tightness in the stomach, a heavy darkness, or whatever. Just contact what you are feeling and breathe, taking it in for all of us and sending out relief to all of us.

I love this. I welcome any reminder that suffering can ultimately connect and bring us closer. True pain often feels isolating, lonely, and unique—like something no one could possibly understand, even if you tried to explain it. But if we allow ourselves to fully experience and digest pain, it can render us more sympathetic to others and their struggles.

This week I’m also sharing an article that a friend sent to me last week. The author, Eric Barker, suggests five questions that can help to put difficult times into perspective. The questions are good, and I think they’re particularly useful for managing stress and anxiety, as they all invite us to make distinctions between what really matters and what doesn’t.

Maybe these articles will encourage you to treat yourself more gently this week, to greet a setback or struggle with softness. I hope they do, and I hope you’ll enjoy the other links, too, as well as these fabulous vegan recipes from around the web.


A simple, flavorful veggie side dish for fall, courtesy of the the lovely Sonja and Alex at A Couple Cooks: butternut squash with pickled onions. I love the idea of adding fluffy dollops of cashew cream!

While fresh herbs are still abundant, it’s a good time to make David and Luise’s beautiful vegan pesto cauliflower pasta. I love the cheesy “nut dust” they sprinkle on top of the dish—it’s basically a homemade vegan parm, but with a much more whimsical name 🙂

Alexandra’s cozy stuffed sweet potatoes are Mediterranean-inspired comfort food at its very best. I love everything about this meal.

I always add some sort of crunchy or textured topping to creamy soups—I appreciate the contrast and variety. Gina takes soup topping to a whole new level with these gorgeous bowls, a combination of pumpkin soup, crispy baked artichokes, roasted chickpeas, nuts, and pomegranate seeds. They’re pretty enough to serve for a holiday meal!

I saved breakfast for last today, in the form of Sarah’s simple, delicious vegan banana nut muffins.


1. First, Pema Chodron explains the meaning and intention behind tonglen practice.

2. Eric Barker lists five questions that can help to carry you through difficult times.

3. An interesting perspective on childrens’ mental health, this article explores whether the decline of “play”—unstructured, curious, exploratory free time—may be linked to the rise of depression and anxiety among young people.

4. I spent a lot of time last year studying the nocebo effect—the worsening of health symptoms as a result of expectation—specifically as it relates to food and digestive health. Much more tends to be written about the placebo effect (which is the opposite, an improvement in symptoms due to a patient’s expectation of beneficial results), but the phenomena are linked, and I think they’re both fascinating. This article gives a good introduction to the nocebo effect and its remarkable power.

5. Three American scientists were awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael W. Young’s work sheds light on the nature of so-called circadian rhythms—specifically, they were able to isolate and identify a specific gene that controls biological rhythms of waking and sleeping. This article says more about their work and its implications for work, schools, and policy-making.

I spent a little time yesterday simmering a fragrant, sweet-and-sour batch of apple raisin chutney. It’ll be folded into some tasty, Indian-inspired wraps, and I’m excited to share the recipe in a couple days. Happy Sunday!


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Vegan Pumpkin Spice Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting | The Full Helping

A couple weeks ago, I found myself at a vegan restaurant pondering my dessert options. They had it all: a vegan soufflé, pie, a chocolate blackout cake, a sundae, and more. And the thing I wanted most of all was the carrot cake.

It was probably the most humble, rustic dessert on the menu. And that’s why I wanted it so much. Restaurant food impresses and inspires me, but at the end of the day it’s home cooking—or food that evokes home cooking—that I really want to eat.

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting | The Full Helping

I’ve been hesitant to put a carrot cake recipe on the blog. It’s such an iconic dessert, and the few conversations I’ve had about it suggest that people have very strong opinions about the right way to do carrot cake: texture, sweetness, concentration of carrots vs. raisins vs. nuts, optimal choice of frosting, etc.

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting | The Full Helping

In the end, I didn’t quite attempt a classic carrot cake. Inspired by the first week of truly crisp, baking-worthy fall weather (which wasn’t this week, for the record: it’s been a swamp in NYC!), I decided to merge two of my favorite sweets, carrot cake and pumpkin bread. This pumpkin spice carrot cake is the very, very happy result.

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting | The Full Helping

I can’t speak from a place of definitive carrot cake expertise, because hey, we all like what we like. But this is my kind of carrot cake: dense, packed with juicy carrots, a little crunch from the walnuts, but not so many of them that they get in the way of a proper cake-like texture. The pumpkin adds plenty of moisture, which allowed me to use a bit less oil than most traditional recipes call for. And the spices—a mix of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves—make it especially perfect for fall.

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting | The Full Helping

The cloves in this recipe are courtesy of the wonderful folks at Nuts.com—pretty much my go-to destination for restocking the pantry. For a long time I thought about Nuts.com as being a storefront for nuts, legumes, and grains, but I didn’t think to rely on the site for spices or condiments.

Now I know that the site has a huge selection of the best-quality herbs and spices, so it’s perfect for stocking up (especially for those spices I use all the time). The cloves in this recipe have a deep, distinctive flavor, and even a little pinch made the cake so much richer.

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: vegan, tree nut free option
Author: Gena Hamshaw
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Serves: 12 servings
For the cake:
  • 2½ cups unbleached, all purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • ¾ cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup neutral vegetable oil (such as grapeseed, safflower, or refined avocado)
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
  • ½ cup raisins
For the frosting:
  • 8 ounces vegan cream cheese of choice (Toffuti is my favorite), at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons vegan butter, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2½-3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Oil two round, 8 or 9-inch, springform cake pans and line the bottoms with a circle of parchment.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.
  3. In a medium sized mixing bowl, briskly whisk together the non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar. Stir in the pumpkin, oil, and the two sugars. Mix till the ingredients are combined.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold them together till they’re evenly combined (a few lumps is fine). Fold in the carrots, nuts, and raisins. The batter will be quite thick. Divide the batter into the two cake pans and transfer them to the oven. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the tops are firm and a toothpick comes out clean. Release the cakes from the pans and allow them to cool completely.
  5. To make the frosting, place the cream cheese and butter in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (alternately, you can use a handheld mixer). Beat the butter and cream cheese together till smooth. Add the vanilla, then add the confectioners’ sugar, a half cup at a time. When the frosting has a thick, spreadable consistency, transfer it to an airtight container. Allow it to cool in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  6. To assemble the cake, top one round with ¾-1 cup frosting, spreading the frosting evenly. Top this layer with the other round of cake, and frost the top layer with another ¾-1 cup frosting. Cut and serve right away, or keep the cake chilled till serving (the frosting gets soft when it’s left out).
If you like, you can leave the two frosted cakes separate, or you can make one large, 9 x 13 sheet cake.

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting | The Full Helping

Is this the most elegantly frosted cake ever? No. I didn’t even frost the sides, because I typically make a giant mess when I try to do that, and I was eager for a slice of this cake to be in my belly quickly. But if you ask me, carrot cake was meant to be homey and rustic.

The frosting, by the way, is a nod to traditional carrot cake recipes, and it really is amazingly authentic. I loved cream cheese frosting as a kid, and licking the spatula after I made this batch brought me back in time. It’s rich, though, so if you prefer something lighter and less sweet, you can try my creamy cashew frosting instead!

As October-friendly as this recipe is, it would make a wonderful birthday cake or anytime cake (snack cake, dessert cake, tea cake, etc.) at any time of year. I hope you’ll find it as comforting and satisfying as I have. See you soon, for another weekend roundup.


This post is sponsored by Nuts.com. All opinions are my own, and I love this family-owned and operated business! Thanks for your support.

The post Vegan Pumpkin Spice Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting appeared first on The Full Helping.

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Weekend Reading, 10.8.17

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

This week in my Strategies for Nutrition Education class, we spent a little time discussing Self Determination Theory. It’s a behavioral theory that posits three essential conditions of a person’s motivation, engagement, persistence, and creativity: autonomy, competence, and relatedness.

Autonomy refers to feelings of freedom and self-governance, competence to feelings of mastery, and relatedness to feeling connected and engaged with others. The more these conditions are evoked, the theory goes, the better the chances an individual will have of successfully implementing and maintaining behavior change. For the purposes of the class, we were studying the theory in the context of health behaviors, like eating more fruits and vegetables, exercising, or reducing soda consumption.

As we began to explore interventions that have used SDT as a theoretical framework, I was surprised to see how often relatedness was indicated as a major precondition of successful behavioral change. I guess I’d assumed that competence—feeling in command of certain skills or knowledge—might be more consequential. But what the studies we examined suggest is that it’s incredibly difficult for people to change or maintain health and diet-related behaviors without strong social support.

The more I thought about it, the more this finding aligned with what I’ve observed among those who are trying to transition to a plant-based diet, which is that support and reinforcement play a critical role in sustaining the lifestyle over time. Such support doesn’t always come from friends or family—sometimes it resides in the online community, in local organizations, or in activist gatherings and activities. No matter where it comes from, though, it helps to make people feel connected, and it inspires a sense of belonging that eases the admittedly difficult work of changing dietary habits.

Some time ago, a reader commented with the question of whether or not isolation or a sense of disconnection might play a role in cases of those who fail to thrive or feel well as vegans. I didn’t have an answer then, and I still don’t: every person’s story is unique. But I suspect that feelings of social isolation, rift with tradition, and/or lack of familial support can injure a person’s experience of being vegan or vegetarian, if only because they create considerable stress. All the more reason for vegans to continue building a supportive, welcoming, enthusiastic, and inclusive community, both “IRL” and virtually.

These thoughts were running through my mind as I read this article, a powerful piece of reporting on the impact that culture has on the experience of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. The article is long, complex, and focalized on the story of psychologist Nev Jones, who has herself received a schizophrenia diagnosis.

One of the points the article makes is that people who experience schizophrenia in cultures that are less likely to stigmatize or isolate people with mental illness tend to fare better; in many ways, they’re worse off in Western culture, where mental illness can be medicalized and problematized in a way that is profoundly alienating for those who have been diagnosed. The article touches on the idea of “abjection,” or the marginalization of people by labeling.

The insights brought me back to reading Lonely City, a book that addresses the ways in which lonely or isolated people are often pushed deeper into their alienation by societies that fail to embrace and accomodate difference. And it made me think about the ways in which our treatment of mental illness might profoundly undermine the sense of relatedness that seems to be—at least according to some theories—so essential to our well-being.

Self determination theory is just one lens, but it resonates with me; I know that my sense of self suffers greatly when I feel dispossessed of autonomy, competence, or relatedness. In the last six months I’ve tried particularly to evoke my relatedness more strongly, and it has helped me to grow and heal.

Now I’m thinking about ways that I can bring more awareness of relatedness and its importance to my work; I’m more conscious of the need to ask my clients about their social supports, interpersonal resources, and sense of belonging when I’m talking to them about dietary change. And I feel encouraged in my efforts to keep writing about mental health, not only because it helps me, but also because it’s my own, small contribution to the goal of tearing down stigma.

Enjoy the reads this week, and of course, I hope you enjoy these tasty recipe finds from around the web!


Hooray for yet another awesome, packable lunch idea: Shannon’s collard greens pesto chickpea salad. It’s a simple recipe, but I’d really never have thought to smash these ingredients together, and I’m so intrigued. Always looking for new ways to use collards.

These grilled portabello mushrooms are so versatile: you could stuff them into a sandwich or wrap, use them to top grains or polenta or grits, throw them on a salad, or serve them with pasta. A great way to fold umami into vegan meals.

I’ve never tried a homemade vegan gumbo before, but I’d really like to. When I do, this vibrant recipe will be my inspiration.

Tamarind paste is one of my favorite, flavor-packed ingredients to work with (most recently this stuffed eggplant recipe), and I’m loving Lisa’s healthy, colorful tamarind glazed vegetable tacos.

Plums are still in the farmers markets in New York right now, and before they dissapear I can’t wait to make these plum muscovado cupcakes with spiced compote. Just beautiful.


1. First, insights into the connection between culture and mental illness/health.

2. This article touches on the same topic, but with a particular focus on how Chinese people experience depression. The article touches on research suggesting that Chinese people demonstrate a greater tendency toward somatization—that is, the expression of feelings and/or psychological distress through their bodies—than do Westerners.

It’s interesting to me because I find that my depression manifests more and more physically as I get older, and I’d imagine that the research has important implications for cultural literacy in mental health screenings and treatment.

3. Really interesting reporting on new developments in IVF and fertility treatment, which are calling into question previous standards about what makes an egg viable.

4. A roundup of awesome, cutting edge innovations that are bringing “smart” technology to biosensors and more.

5. There’s plenty of evidence in favor of the value of eating breakfast, and in my work I emphasize a balanced, fulsome morning meal as an important “anchor” in healthful eating patterns. Now evidence is linking breakfast skipping to increased rates of atherosclerosis—another good reason to whip up something tasty, soulful, and sustaining early in the day.

Happy Sunday, friends. I’ve got a killer, perfectly seasonal vegan dessert to share with you this week. And if you haven’t yet, be sure to enter my giveaway to win a copy of Celine Steen’s Bold Flavored Vegan Cooking, which is truly awesome!


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Celine Steen’s Harira

Celine Steen's Harira | The Full Helping

There aren’t too many things I love more than a giant, hearty pot of soup, especially at this time of year. When that soup is packed with fiber and nutrition, pantry-friendly, and boldly flavored, so much the better. All of those qualities apply to Celine Steen’s harira, which I’m so happy to be sharing today.

Celine Steen’s blog, Have Cake Will Travel, was one of the earliest vegan blogs I found. I was drawn in by Celine’s clearly written and scrupulously tested recipes, her knack for baking, and her commitment to the vegan lifestyle, which shone through her words.

Over the years, I’ve built up a steady collection of her cookbooks, some of which are co-authored, some of which aren’t: The Great Vegan Protein Book, The Great Vegan Grains Book, The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions, and Vegans Go Nuts. There are many, many more; Celine is a prolific author, and the range of books she’s written speaks to how thorough her knowledge of vegan cookery is. You can count on her recipes to work exactly as written, to boast user-friendly instructions, and to taste consistently excellent.

Celine Steen's Harira | The Full Helping

Another one of my favorite qualities of Celine’s food is that it’s bold, diverse, and globally inspired. The Great Vegan Grains book introduced me to a number of spice blends I hadn’t tried before, and Celine’s new book, Bold Flavored Vegan Cooking, follows suit.

Celine begins by noting that there are few worse scenarios for a home cook than serving bland food to friends; she also notes that vegan food has long been misperceived as dull and boring. “If only they knew,” she writes, “and now they can! Creating big, bold, exciting flavors for vegan and vegan-friendly cooks is what this book is all about.”

Celine makes good on that promise. The book is divided into four sections: savory (umami-rich), spicy, sweet, and staples. The chapter names are fairly self-explanatory, and the recipes are appropriately rich in seasoning. As someone who came to home cooking with a pretty timid palate—I didn’t grow up eating heavily seasoned or boldly flavored food, so it was very foreign to me for a long time—the book has been a particularly great and informative resource.

Celine Steen's Harira | The Full Helping

Some of my favorite recipes—or rather, the ones I’m most excited to make at home—include the smoky kale and chickpeas with miso peanut drizzle, the gochujang kimchi bowl, red chana dal mujaddara, and red curry scramble with lime-y broccoli. And those are just the savory ones: I’m also intrigued by Celine’s miso sweet cookies and peachy tamari creamy farina (what an unusual breakfast!).

In the meantime, I’m loving this spicy, thick, textured Harira, or Moroccan soup. The recipe is filed under spicy, and it certainly can be, but Celine invites readers to adjust the harissa paste to taste. I kept mine relatively mild, but there’s plenty of room to kick the flavor up further. The soup is brimming with vegetables and chickpeas; you can top it however you like, but I opted for chopped parsley and some of my savory cashew cream (vegan yogurt would also be lovely).

Celine Steen's Harira | The Full Helping

Celine Steen’s Harira

Recipe type: main dish, soup
Cuisine: vegan, gluten free, soy free, tree nut free
Author: Celine Steen
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 50 mins
Serves: 6-8 servings
  • 1 ½ tbsp (23 ml) grapeseed oil or olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, trimmed, peeled and minced
  • 1 medium red onion, trimmed, peeled and chopped
  • 4 ribs celery heart, chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ¼ cups (111 g) chopped leek (I substituted white onion)
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, trimmed, seeded and minced (optional)
  • 8 oz (227 g) chopped baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 to 2 tbsp (20 to 40 g) Harissa Paste, to taste
  • 3 tbsp (49 g) double-concentrated tomato paste
  • 2 ½ tsp (5 g) Ras el Hanout
  • ½ tsp Tunisian Baharat
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¾ tsp coarse kosher salt (adjust to taste, especially if ras el hanout contains salt)
  • 1 vegan bouillon cube
  • ½ cup (90 g) dry red lentils
  • 28 oz (794 g) fire-roasted crushed tomatoes, with juice
  • 28 oz (828 ml) water
  • 1 ½ cups (256 g) cooked chickpeas
  • 1 to 2 tbsp (15 to 30 ml) lemon juice, to taste
  • ½ cup (8 g) fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • ½ cup (8 g) fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • Dry roasted pine nuts, for garnish
  1. Place the oil, carrots, onion, celery, garlic, leek and jalapeño (if using) in a large pot. Heat on medium-high and cook for 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms, and cook until their moisture is released, about 4 minutes. Stir frequently during the cooking process.
  2. Add the harissa paste, tomato paste, ras el hanout, baharat, ginger, turmeric, salt and broth powder. Stir to combine and cook for 1 minute. Add the lentils, tomatoes, water and chickpeas. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Stir occasionally. Add the lemon juice and stir to combine.
  3. Serve topped with fresh herbs and pine nuts. This stew tastes great served with pita and hummus, or try it with steamed potatoes. Store cooled leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Celine’s book includes recipes for homemade harissa paste, Ras el Hanout, and Tunisian Baharat, as well as a homemade Broth Mix that I replaced with bouillon (next time!). You can use the book to guide you through these homemade mixes, or use store-bought versions.

Celine Steen's Harira | The Full Helping

Celine suggests serving the soup with pita bread and hummus. As luck would have it, I’ve been on a homemade pita kick for the last month, and my freezer is now routinely stocked with puffy rounds. So far, I think pita is the best accompaniment for the soup—it’s intentionally a lot denser than others soups, so it begs for something to be scooped up with—but I plan to have some of the leftovers with couscous or rice, too. The recipe yields a lot, so it’s an excellent batch cooking option.

If you’re still figuring out the wide world of spice blends out there, or trying to create them from scratch, this book will walk you through everything you need to know. Beyond that, it’s a perfect resource for anyone who’s hoping to embolden his or her home cooking. I can’t wait to continue exploring it this fall, and in the meantime, I’d love to offer a copy to one of my US or Canadian readers. Enter below to win a copy! I’ll announce a winner in two weeks.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

It’s another packed week here, so I’m happy to have plenty of Harira leftovers to get me through it. See you on Sunday!


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Weekend Reading, 10.1.17

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

Happy October! I feel as though I’m constantly making remarks in these posts about how quickly time is flying, so I should probably just accept that pace as the nature of things. But, seriously: time is flying. I can’t believe September has already come and gone.

In looking back on this month, I can definitely see that some of the overwhelm I was feeling this week is due to my having been a lot more open and social than I have been in a long time. Yes, there’s school and work and the usual things to do, but I’m also out and about a lot more often.

It wasn’t until last week, when I was reflecting on Rosh Hashanah this year, that I realized how much anxiety about leaving the safety of my home space had been weighing on me. So much was alien and unfamiliar after my breakup with Steven that my apartment became more of a refuge than it ever had been. I needed my home space to keep me tethered to something constant and steady, but at a certain point I think I started leaning on it too heavily, enveloping myself in solitude because it felt less scary than engaging with the world around me.

Now I’m pushing myself to have a more open posture. I’m not pushing too hard: I’m still giving myself plenty of time to feel safe and grounded and rooted down in my space. But I am trying to get out more often, to see and do new things, to connect socially, and to see how it feels not to stay alone with myself quite so much. Prague was a step forward, a literal and figurative adventure. And since my return, I’ve kept the momentum going by making more plans, being more spontaneous, and gently challenging my routines.

For the most part, it feels good. In the last two weeks, I may have taken it a little too far, and by Friday of this week I was feeling a sense of dizziness, an eagerness to be in my home and to rest. I heeded that urge, and for the most part I’ve had a calm and quiet weekend. The week ahead feels balanced: some time with friends, some new people to meet, and space for myself and my work, too.

To avoid extremes is never easy work for me. I’m getting better, but my natural inclination is always to dwell in intense spaces. I respect my passionate temperament, but I’ve learned that my mental and physical health depends greatly on my striving for equilibrium as best I can. I’m feeling proud of myself for venturing outside of the comfort zone lately, but also for having had the good sense to heed the signs of overwhelm when they hit me this past week, so that I could recalibrate a little.

I hope the week ahead brings you a balance of everything you need. Here are some of the recipes and links I’m enjoying this morning.


I love a good sheet pan of roasted sprouts, don’t get me wrong, but I have to admit that I’m almost as partial to them when they’re shaved and sautéed (as in this hash) or simply added to a salad (like this tasty kale and Brussels sprout salad). Now Steven’s got a recipe for Brussels sprout fried rice that I’m dying to try.

I’m always looking for quinoa burger recipes that will be sturdy and toothsome (lots of the ones I’ve tried are tasty, but fall apart easily). This pumpkin and quinoa burger looks like it fits the bill. (The site is in Dutch, but you can use Google translate to see the recipe in English.)

A bright, vibrant flatbread for fall. This one features roasted butternut hummus, chickpeas, Brussels sprouts, and apple. So much flavor and texture!

A protein-rich, nutritious vegan pasta supper: smoky tofu bolognese. I’ve seen vegan bolognese recipes with legumes and mushrooms, and I love this departure.

I can’t wait to make a giant pot of Traci’s harissa stewed black-eyed peas with okra and collard greens, and then to eat it on a cool, autumn evening. Yum.


1. A rising global demand for meat is good news for the pharmaceutical industry, but it enhances the growing threat of antibiotic resistance.

2. My post-bacc experience taught me so much about the value of “failure”: not just experiencing it and learning from it, but also talking about it, and thereby creating a culture where we celebrate the value of rejection and wrong turns along with triumph and apparent successes. I really like this article, and I think it applies not only to the sciences, but to other professions as well.

3. Speaking of professional life, a really interesting article on the tremendous toll that incivility takes in workplaces.

4. Research suggests that a punishment-oriented, ultra-disciplinary approach works poorly with challenging kids. A new approach—one that underscores kids’ sense of their own competence and problem-solving skills—shows a lot of promise. This article has the details.

5. Mozambique has the eighth highest global prevalence of HIV infection. Mosaic tells the story of a group of female sex workers who—in spite of political and financial challenges—are proactively helping thousands of people on the margins of their society.

Enjoy the reads. Coming up this week, a hearty, perfectly seasonal stew recipe, courtesy of awesome vegan cookbook author Celine Steen. I can’t wait to share it, along with news of her latest work. Till soon!


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Southwestern Sweet Potato Hash Brown & Black Bean Breakfast Bowls

Southwestern Sweet Potato Hash Brown & Black Bean Breakfast Bowls | The Full Helping

At some point this week the reality of a new semester and a busy season of work started to settle in, and I was hit with a mild(ish?) case of overwhelm. Fortunately, I’ve been doing this juggling act long enough—and riding its inevitable ebbs and flows long enough—to know that it’ll pass. By this time next week, if I stay on top of assignments and treat myself gently, I’ll be back in the game.

In the meantime, it’s helpful to have at least one thing—feeding myself—be simple and streamlined. These Southwestern sweet potato hash brown & black bean breakfast bowls are the best of both worlds: they’ve got some lovely, low-stress homemade touches, but the rest of the recipe is essentially ready to eat, thanks to Dr. Praeger’s vegan sweet potato hashbrowns.

Southwestern Sweet Potato Hash Brown & Black Bean Breakfast Bowls | The Full Helping

I love these crispy, heat-and-eat cakes. They’re everything great about hash browns—especially that crispy exterior and warm, tender interior—without being greasy or heavy, the way so many hash browns can be. They’re vegan and gluten free. And they’re made with sweet potato, so they’ve got a subtle sweetness and richness that traditional hash browns don’t have.

I’ve gotten to know these hash browns as part of an ongoing partnership with Dr. Praeger’s Purely Sensible Foods, a line of burgers, hash browns, and veggie puffs that makes eating wholesome, plant-based food an accessible everyday reality even for folks who have little time to cook.

I try to make as much as I can from scratch, even when I’m busy and the food is necessarily very simple. But I’m human, and some weeks get away from me. Or I’ve got a little time, but for whatever reason I need to devote it to something that isn’t cooking, be it reading or catching up with friends. I value brands and products that make wholesome food choices possible in these moments, and the Dr. Praeger’s is definitely one of them. I’ve been getting the veggie burgers on and off for years, and now I’m so happy to know about the hash browns, which come in three other flavors (including regular potato and root veggie, featuring rutabaga), too.

Southwestern Sweet Potato Hash Brown & Black Bean Breakfast Bowls | The Full Helping

Since the point of this bowl is to keep things simple, I didn’t go crazy with my other components. But it’s easy enough to roast a tray of veggies, and that’s where the roasted vegetable and black bean “salsa” comes in. Traditional salsa it is not, and it’s probably inaccurate to label it as such, but I use it so often as a dip that I’ve come to think of it that way. I love the combination of sweet roasted veggies and tart lime juice, not to mention the protein boost from the beans.

Otherwise, some simple avocado and fresh greens round out this very nutritious morning (or anytime) meal. You can add a nice drizzle of my cashew queso if you like—and I did!—but it’s totally optional.

Southwestern Sweet Potato Hash Brown & Black Bean Breakfast Bowls | The Full Helping

Southwestern Sweet Potato Hash Brown & Black Bean Breakfast Bowls
5.0 from 1 reviews

Recipe type: breakfast, main dish
Cuisine: vegan, gluten free, soy free, tree nut free
Author: Gena Hamshaw
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Serves: 4 servings
  • 2 red, yellow, or orange bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 white or yellow onion, chopped
  • Corn kernels from 3 ears of white or yellow corn (about 1½ cups)
  • 1 tablespoon neutral cooking oil (such as grapeseed or refined avocado), plus extra as needed
  • Coarse salt + freshly ground black pepper
  • Juice of 1 large lime
  • 1½ cups cooked black beans (1 can, drained and rinsed)
  • ½ cup finely chopped cilantro (stems and leaves)
  • 4 heaping cups baby romaine (or another salad green)
  • 12 Dr. Praeger’s sweet potato hash browns
  • 2 Hass avocados, pitted, peeled, and sliced
  • Optional: Truly amazing cashew queso sauce, for drizzling, and extra chopped cilantro, for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Place the pepper, onion, and corn in a large mixing bowl. Add the oil and toss well. Transfer the mixture to a lined baking sheet and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. roast for about 25 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and some of the corn is gently browning. Remove the vegetables from the oven.
  2. Place the hash browns on 1 or two baking sheets. Transfer them to the oven and bake for 5-6 minutes, or until crispy. Remove the hash browns from the oven and allow them to cool slightly.
  3. Meanwhile, toss the roasted vegetables with the lime juice, black beans, and cilantro. Taste the mixture and add an extra drizzle of oil and salt and pepper to taste. Set the mixture aside.
  4. To assemble the bowls, pile your greens into 4 serving bowls. Top each with 3 hash browns, a generous scoop of the roasted vegetable black bean mixture, and half a sliced avocado. Drizzle with cashew queso and sprinkle with cilantro, if desired. Serve.
The black bean vegetable mixture can be prepared up to 2 full days ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

Southwestern Sweet Potato Hash Brown & Black Bean Breakfast Bowls | The Full Helping

This is my kind of breakfast. With major crossover potential into dinner and lunch, too, of course. The hash browns are a central component, but if you don’t have them, keep in mind that roasted sweet potato rounds would stand in nicely, and the flavors of the dish will definitely be preserved.

I’m determined to keep up with fun, savory weekend breakfasts in spite of it being a busy time of year. It’s nice to have a vegan hash brown option that does some of the work for me. For more inspiration, you can check out the Dr. Praeger’s bowl boss page, which features a new bowl recipe for each day of September and a chance to win a $1,500 prize pack in a special giveaway!

I hope you’ll get some awesome bowl inspo from the page, along with the Dr. Praeger’s Instagram page, which is featuring all of the daily bowls—and I’m wishing you a wonderful rest of this week.


This post is sponsored by Dr. Praeger’s Purely Sensible Foods. All opinions are my own, and I’m a huge fan of this brand’s easy vegan offerings. Thanks for your support!

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Weekend Reading, 9.22.17

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

Happy weekend! And to those of you who celebrated Rosh Hashanah this week, happy new year. I greeted the holiday with Isa‘s vegan challah from Superfun Times and a gathering with my chosen family on Thursday evening. It was a lovely night, rich in conversation and good food.

I got to thinking about how five months ago I sat at the exact same table for Passover, my outlook and spirits so different than they are now. I remember how much it took for me to even get to Passover that night: I was stuck in what could probably be described as some mild agoraphobia, anxiety about leaving my home space that had descended on me in the winter last year. I was glad to be around loved ones, but also self-conscious, nervous about socializing after an isolated year.

This week, by contrast, I felt like myself, or the self I’m becoming as I pass through a lot of change. It felt easy to open up, to laugh, to share; I wasn’t closed or anxious, and I didn’t second guess what I had to say. When we uttered blessings for a sweet new year, I found myself believing with my whole heart that this year would be sweeter than last, not because I expect it to be free of pain or challenge, but because I feel stronger and more assured of my resilience than I have in a long time. It was a happy moment, and I was grateful for it.

It’s not the turn of a new year for everyone, and since I’m not Jewish I suppose it isn’t technically a new year for me, either! But it feels like the right moment to acknowledge a fresh start. I wish you all sweet new beginnings, too, and I hope you enjoy the links this week.


I think I’ve found my new favorite savory breakfast: Erin’s hearty, healthy smoky beans and polenta.

What a beautiful salad for late summer: Lindsey’s bowl of arugula, peaches, avocado, kale, and a scrumptious roasted poblano lime dressing.

I’m loving this untraditional, accessible, weeknight-friendly vegan paella from Agnes of Cashew Kitchen.

I’m bookmarking Amber’s mushroom and chickpea korma as fall gets underway. Paired with some homemade vegan naan or chickpea rice flatbread, it’s a perfectly cozy and flavorful dinner.

The seasons are changing, but it’s still summer, and while the warm weather lasts I’m dying to make Sarah’s vegan coconut ginger ice cream with plantain chips!


1. I can barely put into words how much I love this story! Eight-year-old Sophia Spencer’s passion for the insect world was making her the subject of teasing at school, until her mom reached out to the Entomological Society of Canada for some support.

She got an overwhelming response from professionals who were thrilled to help encourage Sophia’s interests. The story went viral, inspiring the hashtag #Bugs4Girls, and Sophia was even asked to co-author a paper about science communication and public perception of entomology! It’s an inspiring story of the scientific community coming together, of parents nurturing a child’s interests, and of a girl who was unafraid to wear her passion on her sleeve at a young and vulnerable age.

2. With his characteristic talent for turning science reporting into artful and riveting storytelling, Siddhartha Mukherjee describes our quest to understand how and why tumors metastasize.

3. A mother’s candid, humble reflections on watching her daughter develop the anxiety that seems to affect generations of women in her family. Sobering, but the genetic component of mental health struggles is a reality, and I think Paula Fitzgibbons handles it gracefully and with hope.

4. At the request of curious ecologists, a juice company dumped leftover orange peels in a deforested area of Costa Rica. A decade later, here’s what it looks like.

5. Journalist Cathryn Jakobson Ramin has been reporting on back pain and the industry that has sprung up around it for almost a decade, and she has a new book forthcoming on the subject. In this article, she reports on how relief for chronic back pain may require patients to consider the role that the brain and central nervous system play in their symptoms, rather than looking to spinal treatments for answers.

The busyness of a new fall semester is now fully fledged. I’m staying afloat and also leaving myself some space for messiness and for figuring it all out as I go along. This week, I’ll be sharing a savory breakfast bowl recipe that’s doable even on a hurried morning. See you soon.


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Braised Lentils on Toast

Braised Lentils on Toast | The Full Helping

Produce is so abundant at this time of year that I’m not usually thinking about recipes like this one: pantry meals that make something out of nothing, so to speak. But that’s exactly what I was thinking about when I got back from Prague in late August, greeted by a fridge that was empty except for a couple carrots and a heart of celery. I was tempted to get takeout, but then I remembered reading Nicholas Day’s ode to Judy Rogers braised lentils, and I thought about how comforting such a meal sounded after a long day of travel.

Fortunately, I’ve almost always got some onions in my kitchen, lentils in my pantry, and bread in my freezer. I decided to give the recipe, which I’ve had bookmarked for ages, a try, and was very happy to serve it over some toast. I’m pretty sure that braised lentils on toast will be keeping me company all through the winter, and whenever I’m short on groceries and in need of something tasty, nourishing, and incredibly easy to make.

Braised Lentils on Toast | The Full Helping

I followed Nick’s version of the recipe pretty closely, making a few tweaks: I reduced the oil significantly, and I can’t imagine the lentils suffered too much for it, because they were still stewed and fragrant and flavorful. I used water instead of chicken stock (both are offered as options), and again, I was really happy with the results; I may try the recipe with vegetable stock at some point, but it’s not necessary for good flavor.

Braised Lentils on Toast | The Full Helping

The first time I tried the lentils, I served them plain, over toast, with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar for tart sweetness. The next few times (yep, I’ve already made the recipe a couple times since late August!), I added chopped arugula for a peppery bite, and sometimes I’ve added chopped tomato, too. The recipe is a handy vehicle for using up tomato ends, if you’re used to slicing them for sandwiches or the like.

Braised Lentils on Toast | The Full Helping

It’s all good, but if you have nothing else but carrots, onion, and celery at home, there’s no need to embellish the recipe. For all of its simplicity, it holds its own beautifully—a perfect alternative when you’re tired of French lentil soup (though I’m almost never tired of French lentil soup).

Here it is.

Braised Lentils on Toast | The Full Helping

Braised Lentils on Toast

Recipe type: main dish
Cuisine: vegan, gluten free, soy free, tree nut free
Author: Gena Hamshaw (adapted from Nicholas Day and Judy Rogers)
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Serves: about 4 cups
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus an extra drizzle
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, diced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1¼ cups lentils (ideally French or beluga lentils)
  • 1 or 2 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 to 2½ cups water or vegetable broth
  • Toast (optional)
  • Balsamic vinegar (optional)
  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, and onion, along with a few pinches of salt and a turn or two of pepper. Cook for five minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
  2. Add the bay leaf, lentils, thyme (if using), wine, and 2 cups water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender, stirring occasionally and adding the last ½ cup water or broth if the lentils get at all dry. The finished lentils should have a little soupiness and extra broth at the bottom of the pot. When the lentils are finished, remove the bay leaf, taste them, and adjust salt and pepper as needed. You can add an extra drizzle of olive oil, if you like.
  3. The lentils can be served with a cooked whole grain, in a bowl, with a fresh salad, or over toast. I like them best drizzled with a syrupy balsamic vinegar.
Adapted from Nicholas Day and Judy Rodgers’ Lentils Braised in Red Wine

 from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook.

Leftover lentils will keep for 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge.


Braised Lentils on Toast | The Full Helping

The reality is starting to hit me that, if all goes as planned, I’ll be a dietetic intern next year, and the days of being able to cook whenever I want will be suspended. I’ll need to totally re-strategize my home cooking routine, taking batch cooking more seriously than I have since my post-bacc days.

Recipes like this one aren’t just delicious, economical, and healthful: they’re also perfect candidates for making in advance and using up in different ways as a busy week flies by. I wasn’t planning to blog about this one, but I’m so glad I’ve loved it enough to make and make again—and share here.

Happy Thursday, friends. I’ll see you for weekend reading.


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Perfect Vegan Pizza Margherita

Perfect Vegan Pizza Margherita | The Full Helping

This vegan pizza margherita changes everything. It’s definitely not my first homemade pizza, but it’s the best and the easiest one I’ve made, and I know it’s the one I’ll keep making.

Perfect Vegan Pizza Margherita | The Full Helping

My goal was to create a traditional vegan margherita, and to keep things as simple as margherita should be: a good, tender-yet-crispy crust, tomato sauce, vegan mozzarella, basil. I’m no master pizza maker, but I think I did a pretty good job.

The crust is inspired by The Kitchn’s version, but I used instant yeast in place of active, dry yeast: I find it simpler and quicker to work with, and since reading Bread, Toast, Crumbs it’s been my go-to. In the past, I’ve always allowed the dough to rise immediately before shaping and baking; this time, I refrigerated it overnight, for ease, and I was thrilled with the results.

Now that I’ve tried it, I know that I can make pizza dough on a weekend and give it a couple nights in the fridge before using it for fresh pizza during the week. Translation: more pizza suppers for me. And the dough recipe makes two, 10-inch pizzas, which is the perfect amount for someone who’s cooking solo (one to eat right away, one to save and reheat). You can definitely double the dough recipe if you’re feeding a crowd.

Perfect Vegan Pizza Margherita | The Full Helping

The sauce was made with fresh, organic strained tomatoes from Pomi. I’ve been loving Pomi’s new organic line, which features just-picked, Italian plum tomatoes in BPA-free, shelf-stable packaging. The strained tomatoes are smooth, flavorful, and they’re packaged without excess sodium, which means that you can take charge of seasoning at home.

Perfect Vegan Pizza Margherita | The Full Helping

As for the cheese, I made a homemade version of mozzarella. It’s similar to my go-to cashew cheese, but it’s a little less dense, and I add some cornstarch so that the cheese thickens as its baked. If you like, you can use a commercial vegan cheese of choice to help make the recipe even quicker, but I’m happy to have a simple homemade version at the ready (and now I want to try it in grilled cheese, too).

Perfect Vegan Pizza Margherita | The Full Helping

You can grab the recipe and instructions over at the Pomi site now. I know that homemade pizza demands a bit of a learning curve (at least it did for me), so if you have any questions, feel free to ask! Hope this will be the first of many homemade, seasonal pies I share here on the blog.


This post is sponsored by Pomi. All opinions are my own, and I love the quality and freshness of these tomatoes. Thanks for your support!

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