TBY’S Favorite Winter Recipes

I was born and raised a child of the snow. Being a capricorn, living in a mountain town, and being taught to ski as a three year old set me up for an infatuation with snow. The first flakes fell just over of a month ago, so I’ve been eagerly wanting to post this roundup. This winter is weird, because I’m living in a valley where leaves are still falling off the trees and turning colors (no complaining there!), whilst the mountains are lightly dusted with the beautiful white stuff. A bit of a confusing situation, but I guess it’s not technically winter, so I’ll give Mother Nature a break.

I’m not sure if winter is my favorite time of year, because I love to watch all of the seasons meld into one another. Trees turning into skeletons then getting blanketed in puffs of snow is an utterly fascinating sight to watch. But so is snow melting and being slurped up by the ground, then turning into the lifeblood for stunning cherry blossoms in the spring. Seasons are great, you guys. To me, they are the breaths of Earth, reminding us that change is the only constant. I think that’s lovely and amazing and enchanting.

I would like to accompany this breath of Mother Nature with five of my favorite wintertime recipes. They will warm the soul and get you out playing in the snow (or whatever the biome you live in has to offer). There’s sweet, there’s savory, spiced, and more! So read on and get making some of my faves!

If you make any of the following (or any!) recipes take a pic and tag #thebakingyogini or @thebakingyogini on Instagram!

  1. Chai Rooibos Almond Cookies

The cookies are a little bit spiced by the chai, but the almond extract adds a earthy, sweet overtone. They are buttery and a bit like shortbread. You can keep the rolled dough in the freezer and cut off as many cookies as you want to bake in one day, or bake them all for a bunch of people to enjoy!

2. Sweet Potato & Yellow Pepper Soup

gluten free, vegan, refined sugar free

This soup made my grandma tell me I am becoming a real woman because knowing how to cook is what a young woman should know how do do(!). Although I don’t agree with women being expected to be domestic homemakers, I know the compliment came straight from her beautiful heart. If it has her approval, it must be tasty! Don’t skimp on the toasted pepitas on top because they make the soup.

3. Spritz Waffles

Spritz, or Spritzgebäck, is a pastry that originated in Germany (I thought Sweden before reading the Wiki page). They are basically sugar cookies with almond extract. They dough is supposed to be pushed out of a pastry bag, and they are traditionally shaped into the letter “S”. Although these waffles are not squirted out of anything (ew), they taste a whole lot like the cookie!

4. Cracked Wheat Rosemary Bread

vegan, refined sugar free

This is my favorite yeast bread recipe on my blog. The perfect combo of crunchy outside and chewy, soft, flavorful inside. Dip in olive oil or coat with butter and you’ve got yourself a hard-to-stop-eating match.

5. Pumpkin Ginger Mug

gluten free, vegan

This mug of love is just that: love on a cold winter’s day. It is not cloyingly sweet and has a bit of a ginger spice. Add a shot of espresso (or two!) if you need an extra kick.

Grilled Watermelon Lemonade

makes approx. 2.5 pintsI’m usually not the biggest fan of sweet drinks like fruit juices and lemonade because the stuff from grocery stores is at least half sugar. Not my thing…I’d rather eat a bowl of ice cream to get that fix. However, summer is the perfect time for refreshing fruity drinks, and I think I’ve found a superb alternative to store bought lemonade.  Despite having made lots of things in my short life, I’d never made lemonade before yesterday.Looking at recipes, I found that it was pretty easy, but each recipe still had loads and loads of sugar. I love tartness and most recipes don’t highlight that lemony quality.  The recipe I’ve devised is pretty minimal on sugar, but still sweet enough that you won’t be puckering up your face.I must admit that I tent to like more tartness than most people I’ve met so I’m giving you options here. You can add 1/2-3/4 cups of the simple syrup I’ll tell you how to concoct, but my favorite is the 1/2 cup.  Tell me I’m crazy, but for real it’s SO  good.The idea for grilling the fruit came from watching Chopped (aka one of the best shows) when someone grilled a grapefruit and juiced it. Genius! Lemon + watermelon + grilling = about as summer-y as it gets!Even though it’s a thundery and cloudy day where I am, it’s always a good day to enjoy some tart lemonade!  And, I promise, it will not disappoint.

Let’s get sipping! Read more Grilled Watermelon Lemonade

Sparkling Watermelon Refresher

makes 2 16 oz. drinks

And here, my friends, is the new and improved thebakingyogini.com! I’ve moved up in the world, paid for a hosting platform and a domain name and here I am today. It’s taken over a month of hard work to move my blog to this platform and the work has paid off because I am extremely pleased with how it has turned out!

You should take a look around the site because there are a lot of new features including a recipe index that is much more categorized and updated than previously. Plus, I will be writing more about my travels and life in general! I’m going to Europe next week and I hope to be posting at least every two days. Stay tuned and I hope you enjoy the new vibes of the site (I know I do!).  Leave me a comment to let me know what you think of the new set up. It’d be much appreciated!

On a different note, kombucha is darn expensive and soon I won’t be living at home with my awesome parents who stock our fridge with kombucha (thanks, mama!) so I’m finding alternatives.  Both kombucha and unfiltered apple cider vinegar contain what is called a “mother” (the glob of sandy, slimy looking glob in unfiltered vinegar and kombucha), which is made of multiple “strand-like chains of protein enzyme molecules” according to Braggs.  The mother is a bunch of different proteins that promote healthy digestion among many other things. If you want to read more about the power of the mother in apple cider vinegar (it applies to kombucha too) I liked this article.

If you don’t want to pay $5 for healthy digestion or you don’t like the harsher taste of straight kombucha OR you just want an awesome summer drink that isn’t loaded with sugar, this is for you. Drink up, my friends!

Let’s feel refreshed!

Read more Sparkling Watermelon Refresher

Rhubarb Rosemary & Ginger Soda

makes 2 sodas

Soda=America’s obesity epidemic and I, most of the time, can’t stand the stuff. However, I like bubbles. Sparkling water: now that’s what I’m into.  Soda is usually chock full of unnecessary sugar and it just makes me feel really gross.  So what do I do when I want a little bit of sweetness and flavor in my sparkling water? Make my own soda, of course…or drink some grapefruit San Pellegrino!

To be honest, I had never made soda before, but with tons of leftover rhubarb from the pie I made a couple weeks ago, I had to find a way to use it. A great way to use up produce is, of course, preserving it into a jam but I wanted to play with simple syrups. This is the result!

This is a very subtly sweet and flavored bubbly, but it is so refreshing and lovely.  The tang of rhubarb is evened out by the savory rosemary, sweet sugar, and spicy ginger making this “soda” the perfect spring drink.

Adding a little bit of lemon juice or lemonade would make it even better.  If you’re a big soda drinker, try this drink out to cut out some unnecessary sugar.  If you’re a soda hater but a bubble lover, try this if you’re feeling a bit sweet.

Let’s get bubbly!

Read more Rhubarb Rosemary & Ginger Soda

Basil Berry Smoothie

makes 1 16 oz. smoothie

I went to the Huntington Botanical Gardens in Pasadena, California the other day and it was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.  These gardens were started about 100 years ago by a husband and wife duo.  They have multiple gardens including a desert garden, Japanese garden, Australian garden, and the rose garden that is in full force as I write this!

I spent about 5 hours just looking a flowers and I am inspired to start my own herb garden this summer with my mom! I will keep y’all updated as to how it goes and I’m hoping I don’t kill everything! I want to plant lavender, rosemary, and mint.  Oh man, I’m just so very excited for warmth and spring and summer adventures.

And in this spirit, I must say it’s smoothie time! I have a really hard time drinking smoothies during the winter months because, duh, it’s cold.  This smoothie is just what I was looking for.  It’s sweet, tart, and has those lovely berry seeds that give it some texture.

Read more Basil Berry Smoothie

Detox Ginger and Turmeric Tea

makes one 6 ounce tea

Happy 2015, guys!  How was your year?  What are you looking forward to this year?  What are your goals/resolutions?  One thing I can be pretty sure of is that we have all been treating ourselves to mass amounts of cookies among other treats.  If you haven’t, then I’m sorry because that is what December is all about!  But, I feel like I need a bit of a detox to start the year off right.  Let me tell you, this drink will do the trick.

While I was drinking this tea I could feel it’s heat and spices washing away all the overload of all things food.  It’s good.  It’s spicy.  It’s cleansing.  You should drink it now!  Plus, you might just have everything you need to make this dandy drink right in your house.

Drink this right when you wake up to start off your day right!

Here’s to a healthy new year!

Read more Detox Ginger and Turmeric Tea

Pumpkin Ginger Latte

makes 1 latte

Guys, I miss cheese.  I know many vegans use nutritional yeast to replicate the cheesy feel of a dish but it really isn’t cutting it for me.  Man, I don’t know if veganism will be sustainable for me.  Buuuut, I sure am feeling great.  I think if I do go back to eating dairy and meat it will be in moderation because I feel so great eating mostly plants!  Woohoo go veggies.

Right now I’m flying home from a pretty hectic long weekend.  I visited 3 cities, 2 states, 2 schools, and flew on 5 planes in the course of 5 days.  For the majority of my trip I ate out at restaurants which gave me a sense of what I can’t eat.  Up until this trip I was like, “man, this whole vegan thing is easy as pie,”.  Then the real world set in and it’s pretty brutal! Luckily, Colorado and Montana were pretty accommodating.

I also want to give a huge shout out to Govinda’s Garden in Denver.  This restaurant is a 100% vegetarian and vegan buffet and the staff is SO NICE.  If you’re ever in Denver and looking for a great restaurant (even if you’re a meat lover) go here.  Their vegan quiche was exquisite.

Well, Colorado is awesome and I am sort of sad to be home because school, man.  School and biking and being out of town have taken up all my time and I haven’t been able to post anything for far too long.  Plus the recipe I was going to post was not up to par…but trust me, this one is!

If  you want to cozy up after a long autumn day drink this.  This coffee-less latte isn’t too sweet and the pumpkin shines.  Make it now and drink up, my friends!

Let’s get cozy!

Read more Pumpkin Ginger Latte

The Greenest of Green Iced Tea

makes 4 cups

My god, American Horror Story is so great.  If you like gruesome horror-type stories, that is.  I started watching AHS a while ago, but then I became entranced by Parks & Rec and Lie to Me.  Now that 1) Lie to Me is over and 2) the new seasons of Parks & Rec aren’t on Netflix, I’m putting all my time and energy into AHS.  I’m joking BUT I am a bit obsessed.

However, the weather is too warm and beautiful to be cooped up all day Netflix bingeing.  I’m getting such terribly awesome spring fever.  These next eight days of school are going to be brutal.  All I have to do is stay in the same building for seven hours.  AGH that’s too much time in a building filled with smelly cafeteria food and fluorescent lighting.

At least I can come home to some of this tasty tea.  It’s so green, fresh, and beautiful!  At work, we’ve started making iced teas each day.  Yesterday we had moroccan mint green tea brewed up and it was soo tasty.  So of course I had to try and replicate it, right?  Right.

I like the addition of mint leaves in this recipe because it brightens up the savory flavor of the green tea.  I’ve only had the tea after it was steeped for two hours, and I’m hoping the flavors come out even more in by tomorrow!

Let’s get refreshed.

Read more The Greenest of Green Iced Tea

Firecracker Juice

makes 1, 12 ounce juice

Ginger and cayenne and berries, oh my!

This week has been so busy, I just don’t even know where to start.  I guess I could tell y’all that I spent 12 consecutive hours at my high school on Thursday.  Yeah, that was awesome.  To wrap this week in a nutshell, I’ll just say I didn’t have any time to make a sharable recipe.

Yesterday I woke up with a tickle in my throat and a run in my nose, which I’m going to blame on this hectic week.  I freaked out a bit because this cold everyone is getting lasts about a month.  And, I’m. Not. Getting. Sick.  If you know someone who has been sick in the past two months, I dearly hope you know what I’m speaking of.To make this goal of mine(not to get sick) a reality, I set off to make the best immunity boosting and sickness fighting juice out there.  This juice is spicy enough to make your tongue burn a bit, but push through because it’ll make you feel like a firecracker(hence the name) once you’re finished.

Also, I’m becoming obsessed with ginger.  I’ve always liked it, but in the past little while it’s become one of my best friends.  It has such a distinct taste, but it’s also spicy so that’s perfect.  I hope all of you like it as much as I do.Warning: if you’re super sensitive to spice, only add a teeny-tiny shake of cayenne because that shit is hot.

This is definitely my go-to juice when I get a tickle in my throat.  I hope y’all try it!

Let’s get healthy!

Read more Firecracker Juice

Cinnamon Apple Green Smoothie

makes 1 large smoothie

 Now, you’ve probably all seen green smoothies and whether you like them or not, I’m guessing the first time you saw their green color you cringed.  I know I did.  I was hesitant to try them, but I like new things so it didn’t take too much coaxing myself to try.  I believe I had my first experience with a green smoothie last summer.  I was making a smoothie and somewhere in my doing so, I decided to add spinach to it.  I was nervous that I would be able to taste the spinach but guess what…the smoothie tasted just like berries!  From there on out, I have been addicted to green smoothies.Let’s talk about spinach.  It is one of the most nutritious leafy greens out there.  It is rich in iron, vitamin k, and even protein!  To be honest, raw spinach does not “bake my cornbread” if you know what I mean.  It tasted bland and a really dry to me.  I like it cooked, but we all (should) know that cooking vegetables rids many of their health benefits.  However, blending raw spinach leaves into a smoothie doesn’t take away any health benefits(that I know of), and no one has to deal with the texture!To be honest, this is a very impromptu post.  I have been feeling sluggish from all the heavy food I’ve eaten over the holidays, and I wanted to lighten my load a bit by having a smoothie for lunch.  I threw some ingredients in a blender yesterday and once I poured it, I thought the color was pretty enough to blog about.  But, I’m very glad I’m sharing this with you because this is the best green smoothie I’ve ever made.  No joke.  Another great thing?  There are NO added sweeteners!This smoothie is the perfect texture.  Not too thick, not too thin.  It’s tart and sweet at the same time.  It’s also very filling!  This smoothie is oozing with health benefits and will most definitely make you feel a bit lighter after the holidays!

 Let’s do this.

Read more Cinnamon Apple Green Smoothie