Sweet Potato Buttercream Frosting ♥ with Ginger & Orange
for Macarons, Cake or Sandwich Cookies

Who's up for a challenge, won't you join me?! For the first time, I tried making the classic French macarons (which are totally not the coconut "macaroons" of my childhood) and filled them with a gorgeous buttercream frosting, one with the real taste and texture of sweet potato! If you're up for a macaron challenge, read on, it just might be fun!
Procrastination comes all-too easily to an "I can do everything, really I can!" individual like me. So I'm squeaking in j-u-s-t b-a-r-e-l-y with my entry in the First Annual Macaron Challenge from Sucré, the New Orleans sweet shop. (If you're inclined, click through and vote for A Veggie Venture's contribution, there's no need to register and I'd much appreciate it! Voting ends May 31, 2014.)

You see, Sucré challenged thirteen fabulous food bloggers to come up with our own sweet takes on the French macaron, one of Sucré's own specialties. So here I am, this morning, this very morning,…

Paleo Carrot Soup ♥ with Cardamom, Ginger & Coconut Milk
from Nom Nom Paleo

Today's Recipe: A gorgeous, simple warm carrot soup, with just enough fresh ginger, cardamom and coconut milk. Weight Watchers Friendly, just WW 3 PointsPlus. Low Cal. Gluten Free. Dairy Free. Paleo. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real".

Today's Conversation: Paleo vs real food, what do we think?
So here's my take.

Paleo didn't "invent" or even "discover" a new way of healthy eating. Instead, those who cook "paleo" extend the definition of whole food – real food – to a new extreme.

So those of us who have been cooking with and eating whole food / real food for years, even our whole lives, some times feel puzzled about all the attention paleo gets. Honestly? It sounds like a lot of hype. One example. When I call for "beef" in a recipe, I assume that cooks will make their own choices about its source: that is, that we all will choose organic, local, grass-fed, pasture-raised – or not – according to our own food sensibil…

Asparagus & Woody Ends ♥ Bend, Bend, Snap! Bend, Bend, Snap!

With step-by-step photos and A Veggie Venture's first video! How to "cut" asparagus to remove the woody ends, the woody stems. That's "cut" in quotes because the trick is to put the knife aside and instead, just snap the spears, one by one. Get into the rhythm. Bend, bend, snap! Bend, bend, snap! And as a special treat? A Veggie Venture's very first video! I'd love to know what you think!
Who else has noticed that an asparagus spear may be as tender as can be at the tip but is as tough and woody as can be at the other end? That's why recipes here always-always suggest "snapping" off those woody ends before roasting, slow roasting, steaming, microwaving, whatever your favorite cooking method.

But where does the edible, tender part of the asparagus spear begin and the woody part end? It depends, spear by spear but there's a natural breaking point. Here's how to find it. Just remember the rhythm! Bend, bend, snap! Bend, bend, s…

How to Steam Broccoli ♥ with Step-by-Step Photos

How to steam fresh broccoli in a collapsible steamer basket, producing perfectly cooked broccoli, the creamy stalks, the chewy stems, the tender florets. There are three tricks, they're all detailed here!
Steamed broccoli, what could be simpler, right? Well that's the thing about simple stuff, the tricks are in the details. So now there are step-by-step photos with all my broccoli-steaming insider tips, including my Top Three Tricks to perfectly steamed broccoli.

Trick #1: Trim Aggressively!
Trick #2: Layer the Broccoli
Trick #3: Finish Off Heat

A cutting board
A sharp knife
A vegetable peeler
A collapsible steaming basket
That's all!

Easy-Easy Slow Cooker Honey Carrots ♥

Today's slow cooker recipe: Simple, tasty cooked carrots, either baby carrots (I know, I know, read on!) or real carrots (better still!). Just dump 'em in with a few pantry ingredients and let the slow cooker go to town. The kitchen will smell so good! Kids and grownups like these approachable carrots and they add great color to a buffet or dinner plate. Inexpensive. Weight Watchers Friendly. Low Cal. Gluten Free. Primal. Vegetarian.
Okay so no April Fool's joke here but for the first time ever, I'm gonna say, "Okay, okay. Go ahead, use baby carrots."

Surprised? Because we remember the outright lies fiction about so-called "baby" carrots, right? I first started spreading the word way back in 2005 on Day Twelve of A Veggie Venture. The truth is, baby carrots aren't the young, tender carrots they're marketed to be. The fact is, baby carrots are giant carrots shaved down to bite-size carrot bullets. Snopes even claims that carrots destined fo…

How To Microwave Asparagus ♥

Today's microwave recipe: How to cook fresh asparagus in the microwave, quick 'n' easy and absolutely delicious. Weight Watchers Friendly. Low Cal. Low Carb. Naturally Gluten Free. Paleo. Vegetarian. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real".
~recipe updated, first published back in 2014~
~cuz everybody should eat asparagus this good!~
~more recently updated recipes~
F-A-I-L. How in bloody h-e-double-toothpicks in nine years of cooking vegetables did I ever miss this most basic way to cook asparagus? These are my explanations feeble excuses for somehow overlooking the microwave for cooking asparagus:

"Couldn't see for looking," my mother used to say when she couldn't find something and then suddenly, there it was, right before her eyes.
Some times the most obvious is least expected.
Some times it's possible to hide in plain sight.

When the first asparagus showed up in the supermarket a couple of weeks ago, Missouri was still a frozen, snowy pla…

Spinach Pancakes ♥ Go Green!

Today's easy pancake recipe: Whole-wheat pancakes with fresh spinach, light and fluffy. The pancakes are "dyed" green (St. Patrick's Day, anyone?!) from the all-natural spinach but yet, there's no bitter spinach taste at all. Surprisingly good, frankly they taste just like regular pancakes except maybe a little "greener". Thanks to both Greek yogurt and spinach, they're also high in protein. And besides, aren't they just plain fun?! Weight Watchers Friendly, WW 2 PointsPlus. Vegetarian.
So let's talk pancakes, shall we? Cuz everybody loves 'em, at least my family does! I don't repeat many recipes in my column Kitchen Parade – but pancakes are an exception! There's my sister's recipe (thick and fluffy with tiny, small, medium and large batches for changing family sizes) and my mom's recipe (the classic! calling for either buttermilk or "sweet" milk) and cornmeal pancakes (especially good with blueberries) and …