Pumpkin Lentil Beer Soup

5 Feb

This soup is the product of needing something restorative and nourishing. My body was not happy with me yesterday. Instead of chowing down on bread, cheese and chocolate, I practiced some restorative yoga and cooked up this healthy, nourishing, vegan soup.

Pumpkin Lentil Beer Soup | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

While soup may not actually heal you, I do believe the warmth from a bowl of healthy ingredients can only do the body good. When you pair the potassium of pumpkin, the fiber and protein of lentils, the anti-bloating properties of celery, the metabolism-boosting effects of spicy jalapenos, and the amazing benefits of turmeric, there’s really no way to go wrong. To add to the health factor of this soup, I actually replaced the broth, which is often high in salt, with a combination of beer and water. The alcohol cooks off completely and leaves behind a slightly sweet taste in the soup. It’s better than all that sodium!

If I haven’t sold you yet, this soup is done in less than 45 minutes. Practice some restorative yoga while the soup simmers, or simply enjoy your favorite book. It’s ok to slow down and take time for yourself, especially when your body is yelling at you to do so!

Pumpkin Lentil Beer Soup, adapted from Homemade Delish
Serves 3-4

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 jalapenos, diced
  • 1 C lentils, rinsed and sorted to remove stones
  • 1 150z can pumpkin puree
  • 1 12oz wheat beer or vegetable stock
  • 2.5 C (20oz) water
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Diced avocado, to garnish

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high. Cook onion, celery and jalapenos until translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the lentils and pumpkin puree, then add the beer, water, and spices.

Cover and bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium, and simmer covered for 30 minutes.

Taste the soup to make sure the flavors are to your preference, and that the lentils are cooked through but still have a slight bite to them.

Serve hot in bowls, garnished with diced avocado, a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, or whip them together for a healthy avocado crema!

Barleywine Cupcakes with Barleywine Chocolate Glaze

4 Feb

I have a tendency to buy random and sometimes obscure beers at the liquor store. Half the time, it’s because I became enamored with a beer at my favorite bar, and decided I needed a 6-pack of the very same. Other times, the packaging or clever names entice me to buy spicy hard ciders or bizarre stouts.

That’s exactly what happened with this Barleywine I tried once. Loved it at the bar, found it at the store, and thought I should have 6 bottles of the potion at home. Well, after consuming two of them, it was just too much. You see, barleywine is something you need to be in the mood for. And I just never was. So, after it sat in the liquor cabinet for far too long, I pulled out a bottle for baking :)

Barleywine Cupcakes with Barleywine Chocolate Glaze | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

These barleywine cupcakes are quite simple, which allows the flavor of the drink to come through in both the cake, and the chocolate glaze on top. To add to the tangy taste of the barleywine, plain Greek yogurt goes into the batter, which also coincidentally cuts down on the amount of fat required.

Impress your friends with these slightly boozy cakes and they’ll surely be pleased!

Barleywine Cupcakes with Barleywine Chocolate Glaze

Makes 24 cupcakes

  • 1/2 C unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
  • 1-1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 C Barleywine beer, room temperature
  • 3 eggs, room temperature (or use flax eggs)
  • 3/4 C plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 C granulated sugar
  • 2 C AP flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the Barleywine Chocolate Glaze:

  • 4 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp Barleywine beer

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; line two muffin tins with papers. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or other large bowl, mix together the melted butter, vanilla, and Barleywine. Add in the eggs and mix until incorporated, then add in the yogurt and mix well again.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Slowly add to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.

Scoop batter into prepared tins, filling each liner 3/4 full. Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes, turning halfway through.

Remove from oven and let cool in the tins 5-10 minutes. Remove and let cool completely on cooling racks.

Once cool, make the glaze. In a microwave safe bowl, add the chopped chocolate and butter. Microwave for one minute, stir, and then another 30 seconds. Remove, and stir until all lumps have melted down. Now stir in the powdered sugar and Barleywine.

Dip the top of each cupcake into the glaze and set aside to cool and harden. Repeat with every cupcake.

Let sit for at least an hour before serving, or serve the next day!


Spent Grain Pancakes

1 Feb

Yesterday was brew day at our house! Less than a year ago, my boyfriend and I took up the hobby of homebrewing. We have now crafted four of our own beers!

Let me tell you a secret: brewing is BORING. You have to be super sanitary, and the process is basically just boiling a pot of liquid, mixing in the malt syrups and hop pellets, and transferring to a big bucket where it sits in your closet for a few weeks (or longer), before you transfer to bottles. Bottling day is even worse, and more tedious!But you know what? There is nothing more satisfying than cracking open a bottle of your OWN BEER once it’s finished.

But you know what? There is nothing more satisfying than cracking open a bottle of your OWN BEER once it’s finished. It’s fun to drink at home and share with friends, and the process somehow becomes addicting.

After making our first beer, I noticed the amount of waste involved – the grains that are steeped at the begging of the process usually go in the trash. Some craft breweries partner with local farmers to supply the spent grain as animal feed. Some homebrewers use their spent grain in compost which can be transformed into fertilizer. I wanted to pursue a tastier route: cooking with our spent grains! It’s easy to save the grains (I keep them in a bag in the freezer), and whether you keep them intact or dry and grind them into a flour, the possibilities are endless.

Spent Grain Pancakes | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

These pancakes are a simple way to incorporate spent grains into your diet. Spent grains are naturally high in fiber and protein, so they make a wonderful addition to breakfast! Combine them with whole wheat flour, slight sweetness, and a bit of cinnamon, and you’ll have a stack of pancakes to devour in no time.

Spent Grain Pancakes, adapted from DRAFT Magazine
Makes 8 4″ pancakes

  • 1 C non-dairy or skim milk mixed with 1 tbsp lemon or orange juice
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp vegetable or melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1 C whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tbsp organic sugar
  • 1/2 C spent grain
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt

Preheat your griddle or large pan.

Let the milk curdle with the citrus juice at least 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the curdled milk with the egg, vanilla, oil and honey.

Whisk in the flour, sugar, spent grain, baking soda & powder, cinnamon and salt. Mix until combined.

Once your cooking surface is hot, grease lightly. Use a 1/4 measuring cup to scoop batter onto the greased surface. Cook for 2 minutes, or until bubbles begin forming on the top. Flip and cook another 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and repeat with remaining batter, lightly greasing the surface between pancakes if necessary.

Serve hot with maple syrup, nut butter, macerated berries, or even whipped cream!

Spent Grain Pancakes | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Vegan Sausage, Peppers and Onions

22 Jan

This month marks 2 years since I stopped eating meat. Growing up in Wisconsin in a predominantly German family, meat was a part of nearly every meal. It was second nature to plan lunch or dinner around an animal product of some kind. Somehow, though, in the past two years, I’ve found amazing alternatives, so I don’t even miss eating animals!

That said…I do live in Wisconsin, our country’s capital for beer, cheese and meat. Everywhere you turn, there’s sausage, bratwurst, bacon, or beef. Heck, my favorite bar is on the same block as a sausage company! It’s hard to avoid, and sometimes, I’m reminded of just how great those links can taste. For two years, I’ve gone without, and have created mouth-watering vegetarian dishes that keep me satisfied.

But when I saw this month’s Recipe Redux challenge was to use a new (to me) ingredient, and I saw that vegan sausages were on sale at the local Whole Foods Market, I knew what I had to do. These sausages were perfect – the size, texture and flavor are all comparable to any meat sausage, and they’re seasoned to be sweet and spicy. I’m so glad I have more sausages in the fridge, waiting to be gobbled up!


This dish is transformed from a very classic European meal. It’s simple, fresh, and flavorful. It comes together quickly and will fill you right up. And whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or a carnivore, I guarantee you’ll enjoy it!

Vegan Sausage, Peppers and Onions

Serves 2

  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, halved and sliced thin
  • 2 sweet bell peppers, sliced thin
  • 2 vegan Italian sausages, such as Tofurky Artisan Sausage – Italian
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp tarragon
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 C saison or wheat beer (you don’t want anything too bitter or fruity)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a large pan. Brown the vegan sausages; remove to a cutting board and slice into thin, diagonal coins.

To that same pan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Heat over medium-high, and saute the onion and peppers, 8-10 minutes. Add the herbs and spices, stir and cook another minute.

Add the beer, and stir. Let the liquid reduce down by half, then add the sliced sausage. Stir to coat, and continue cooking until all the liquid has been reduced or evaporated, about 5 minutes.

Serve hot with spaetzle (German egg noodles), rice, or bread.


As the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians, The Recipe ReDux aims to inspire the food lover in every healthy eater and inspire the healthy eater in every food lover. Thank you for visiting. We hope you enjoy!

(Please note that this is a closed link-up for Recipe ReDux posts only. Any links added to this collection for non-ReDux posts will be deleted.) 

Vegan Chickpea Barley Soup for Two

17 Jan

I received free samples of Progresso Cooking Stock mentioned in this post at no cost. By posting this recipe, I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Progresso Cooking Stock and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

I almost can’t believe it, but this is my 300th blog post! That means 300 times I’ve shared my kitchen expeditions with you, documented my culinary successes, and stretched my cooking creativity. 300 posts ago, I didn’t know that I was starting a food blog. I began writing here as a transition from doing NaNoWriMo, but soon came to find that I enjoyed writing about food and sharing my recipes with the world.

And I’m nowhere near out of ideas! This soup is just what you need on a cold January day (it’s currently 3 degrees outside as I write this). It’s perfect for two people, so make it when it’s just you and your sweetie, or staying in with a friend, or like to plan ahead and have leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

Using Progresso cooking stock, the vegetables, chickpeas and barley get a nice flavor boost without the added calories or fat of some stocks. The vegetable stock is made without any chemicals or preservatives, ensuring a healthy end result! Use pre-cooked chickpeas (either canned, or cooked from dry), quick-cooking barley (which you can buy, or cook up some barley ahead of time in water), and canned tomatoes to make this soup come together in 30 minutes. Yep, you can have a hearty, vegan bowl of goodness in your hands 30 minutes after you begin chopping.


Vegan Chickpea Barley Soup for Two
Serves 2

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, or 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 small to medium bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 C chickpeas
  • 1/2 C quick cooking Barley
  • 1 15oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1-1/2 C vegetable stock
  • 2 C water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp tarragon
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • fresh parsley, to garnish

Heat oil in a medium pot over medium-high. Cook the diced onion, carrot and pepper until softened and fragrant, 5-7 minutes. Add the chickpeas, barley, canned tomatoes, stock, water, bay leaf, herbs and spices.

Bring soup to a boil. Cover with the lid and reduce the heat to medium; simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, keep on the lid, and let sit for 5 minutes.

Ladle into bowls (or oversized mugs), garnish with fresh parsley, and enjoy!


As the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians, The Recipe ReDux aims to inspire the food lover in every healthy eater and inspire the healthy eater in every food lover. Thank you for visiting. We hope you enjoy!

(Please note that this is a closed link-up for Recipe ReDux posts only. Any links added to this collection for non-ReDux posts will be deleted.) 


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