Back in 2010, Alex and I started a food blog called A Couple Cooks. We had no plans for it except as an outlet for our boundless enthusiasm for cooking. Quinoa! Sweet potatoes! Kale! I would write adoring tributes to new flavors we discovered (want to read one?). We shot the photographs together, an incredibly painful process as amateurs knowing how it “should” look and having no idea on how to get there.
Around that time, we discovered a blog called Naturally Ella. Like us, the author was incredibly passionate about cooking whole foods; unlike us, she had lovely photographs of her creations. Her name was Erin and we started corresponding by email. We found out that she lived not so far away, in Illinois. She asked if she could come visit and stay at our place; we said yes, though we’d never met in real life.
Luckily, we got along wonderfully, and chatted endlessly about our passions for healthy eating and sustainable whole foods. Since that time, Erin has been a constant friend, an ear for bouncing ideas off of, and an overall kind and generous soul. We’re devoting this post to Erin to celebrate two major new things in her life: a new baby (hooray!) and a new cookbook (hooray!). This is part of a virtual baby shower for Erin; the participating bloggers are listed at the end of this post, along with their recipes.
Since we just received Erin’s new cookbook, The Easy Vegetarian Kitchen, we couldn’t think of a better way to pay tribute to Erin than making and shooting one of her recipes. The book features 50 core recipes for vegetarian cooking, each with four seasonal variations. It’s a genius concept, and a fantastic way to learn about seasonal plant-based eating. This breakfast parfait caught our eye, since we’ve always loved Erin’s granolas (she brought us some on that first visit and it disappeared quickly!). It’s my favorite granola yet, and the strawberries roasted with honey are a delicious compliment. You can serve the parfait free-form in a bowl, as shown in the photograph, or layered in a ball jar or clear glass.
Congratulations, Erin, on your beautiful book and your impending bundle of joy! We are honored to be in your life. We love you!
Other recipes celebrating Erin today:
The Fauxmartha | A Pasta Dish for Busy Hands
Edible Perspective | Avocado Pesto Chickpea Salad Sandwiches
Eat This Poem | Penne with Cherry Tomatoes and Arugula
Cookie and Kate | Brussels Sprouts Pizza
FoodieCrush | Beet, Avocado and Fried Goat Cheese Salad
The Bojon Gourmet | Tempeh BLTs with Avocado + Chipotle Mayonnaise
Girl Versus Dough | Spiced Lentils with Poached Eggs
Dolly and Oatmeal | Chickpea Bean Bowl with Toasted Bread Crumbs and Dill Tahini
Food Loves Writing | Erin’s Veggie Burgers
With Food + Love | Creamy Polenta with Crispy Beets
London Bakes | Ricotta Gnocchi with Wild Garlic and Pistachio Pesto
Flourishing Foodie | Glazed Tofu with Ramen
This Homemade Life | Chickpea Greek Salad
My Name is Yeh | Creamed Spinach
Brooklyn Supper | One-Pot Pasta Primavera
And finally, some photos from our first meetup with Erin in 2012:
Fun with lemon mint slushes
This one made me laugh, so I couldn’t resist including it :)
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup pecan pieces
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup walnut or olive oil
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 300F. In a bowl, toss together 2 cups oats, 1 cup pecans, and ⅛ teaspoon salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together ¼ cup maple syrup, ¼ cup oil, and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract. Pour into the oat mixture and stir until the oats are well coated.
- Spread the oats in an even layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. The granola should be golden and starting to brown around the edges. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool completely on the pan.
- Once the granola is cool, break it into pieces and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
- 1 recipe All-Natural Granola
- 2 cups strawberries
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt or Greek-style yogurt
- Make the granola recipe above.
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Quarter the strawberries.
- Spread the strawberries in a roasting pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes. Toss with 1 tablespoon honey and let cool.
- Swirl the roasted strawberries into the yogurt. Taste and add additional honey to the yogurt if desired. Divide among 2 bowls and finish with ¼ cup granola for each bowl.