Vegan Ash: Persian soup with unforgettable flavorsBy foodjoyaThis Vegan Ash, or a thick Persian soup, derives its flavor from a bounty of herbs. In this version, we used two bunches of parsley, two bunches of cilantro, and fresh mint. Traditionally, ash is served with lamb meatballs. See, e.g., a Persian cuisine blog. For our vegan version, we use walnut-mint pesto instead of meat. To highlight the nutty flavor, we use black (emperor's) rice instead of regular short-grain rice. We adore how the flavors from walnuts, herbs and black rice dance together in this soup. Nonetheless, you can make Vegan Ash with just a regular long- or short-grain rice. Our version of this soup is inspired by Naomi Duigud's recipe "Pomegranate Ash with Meatballs" published in Taste of Persia 107 (2016), also available on Kindle: Taste of Persia (Kindle version). Finally, note that Vegan Ash involves largely passive cooking. This soup will happily simmer while you are working from home or spending time with your family. Chicken pumpkin soup: Recipe for a Golden Cup of HealthBy foodjoyaOn a crispy winter day, a cup of a golden-toned chicken pumpkin soup loaded with vegetables is just perfect! When pumpkins are in season, I make this soup for my loved ones (including a toddler!) every week. As a reward, I get to spend lunches and dinners with very happy eaters! This chicken pumpkin soup is nutritious and sustaining, but it is also quite light. Made without grain, and overloaded with vegetables, it won't leave you feeling heavy. Another beauty of this soup is that it's quite flexible. You can make substitutions, adding or removing vegetables to your liking. Go ahead and experiment! Try to use only cauliflower, or add broccoli, or even brussel sprouts! Though this recipe looks long, don't be dismayed. It's a rather carefree thing: while the broth is cooking, the vegetables are sautéing, and then you just combine the two! In the end, you'll have a large stockpot brimful with a savory, sustaining meal!this mung dal will delight your sensesBy foodjoyaWhat if your dinner was a superfood? How about an aromatic, spicy, finger-licking superfood? We invite you to make this recipe for your wholesome dinner or lunch. Even if you've never cooked a dal before, this one will surprise you with its ease and simplicity. And you will see for yourself that carefully selected spices make all the difference. Though our mung dal is spicy, that too is beneficial for your health. According to multiple sources, an ingredient found in black pepper (piperine) increases absorption of turmeric's curcumin by 2000%. E.g., University of Massachusetts article. Without piperine, the benefits of curcumin are difficult for your body to unlock. Coupled with ginger, these herbs form a magic potion that protects your body from inflammation, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. See study published in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases. So savor mung dal by spoonful, nourishing your senses -- and your body. Note: You can make this dal with red lentils. Just be sure to add an extra cup of water. Paleo Cherry Pie: A Decadent Treat with Easy IngredientsBy foodjoyaI invented this dessert on a rainy wintry day, craving summer fruit. When I was growing up, one of my favorite summer fruits was cherries. When they were in season, I would gobble fresh cherries by the pound. But we also concocted a medley of desserts out of this versatile fruit. We boiled black cherry preserves, wild cherry jams and compotes, layered jellos, and blended smoothies! And so, on a cold murky day, this pie pays homage to my fruit-filled memories of childhood summer. Because it is overloaded with fruit (as most of my desserts are), the paleo cherry pie is quite light. And the ingredients are simple and easy to find: frozen cherries, almond flour, pecans, cinnamon, cardamom, honey and eggs. If you are not into spices, let me explain why I am using them. Cinnamon is probably the perfect companion to cherries (its flavor is even similar to cherry pit), and cardamom gives depth to cinnamon. (This fact I learned from the experts at Cook's Science.) With an extra egg yolk, the crust turns out juicy and flaky. You will also notice that the crust is of a perfect golden color, not burned. The recipe below will tell you how to accomplish the crust of a perfect color. Every time I bake this pie, the delicious sweet smell of the summer fills up my entire home. That alone makes baking worthwhile. And a slice of this decadent paleo cherry pie is a cherry on top! Paleo Kabocha Pie: How to Make a Healthier PieBy foodjoyaMy favorite part of a holiday dinner is dessert. Sweet aroma of spices and pumpkin are, of course, synonymous with Thanksgiving. But for our holiday dessert, in place of pumpkin, I chose flavorful (and very nutritious) kabocha squash. The result - honey-sweetened, flourless Paleo Kabocha Pie - is indulgent. Because kabocha squash is sweeter and fluffier than pumpkin, the pie has an unbeatable chestnut-like texture and a complex sweetness. (To assure you, according to Wikipedia, Kabocha has an exceptional sweet flavor, even sweeter than butternut squash.) And unlike more common versions of the dessert, Paleo Kabocha Pie is overloaded with luscious custard. But these are not the only reasons to love this heavenly dessert. Bite after bite into the pie, you will savor the remarkable flavors of the fall: pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves. Now let me give you a few serving tips. I would recommend decorating the Paleo Kabocha Pie with walnuts or pecans. And if you wish to go over the top (and end in heaven!), drop a dollop of fresh, lightly sweetened whipped cream. But if you are still skeptical that kabocha squash is the perfect "pumpkin" for your festive dessert, just give it a try. I surmise you will forever replace your holiday pumpkins with this scrumptious squash. toddler chicken vegetable soup: nourish your little oneBy foodjoyaChicken soup is a traditional cold remedy for little children (and even adults). But did you know that chicken vegetable soup is a staple young children's meal in Eastern Europe? The reason for its popularity among parents is simple: It contains most of the nutrients a growing child needs. (Add a glass of calcium-rich beverage and a fresh fruit for dessert, and you've fully nourished your precious one.) As you read our recipe, you will see that we have upgraded the wise tradition. To start with, we've increased the variety and amount of vegetables and bade farewell to noodles. To cultivate in children a healthy palate and preference for real food, we've added plenty of herbs. The result is just that: a recipe for a perfect toddler chicken vegetable soup. How do we know that our toddler chicken vegetable soup is just sooo good? For the past three years, my 4.5 year old has been gobbling up bowls of this soup nearly every day. And, with the exception of our red beet soup (borscht), he will not eat any other soup - even if it comes from fancy stores and restaurants. Lastly, note that you can easily modify the toddler chicken vegetable soup to your liking. Feel free to use only chicken breasts, substitute one vegetable for another, or even use quinoa instead of sweet potato.