• Coconut Oil Sugar Cookies - Vegan and Dairy Free
    Food

    Coconut Oil Sugar Cookies

    A few years ago, I had to go dairy-free. As a lifelong baker, I struggled to adapt to a world without butter. Sure, vegan recipes were amazing. But I missed the recipes of my childhood—especially those buttery sugar cookies that always surface around the holidays. This year, I finally made a dairy-free sugar cookie that actually tastes like the classic. My secret: coconut oil. Lauded by many as the answer to all health and beauty problems, coconut oil also makes a great butter substitute. Surprisingly, these cookies don’t taste coconut-y at all. But if you’re concerned about that, you can use a more refined coconut oil, a butter-flavored coconut oil, or any vegan butter.…

  • Tibetan Stovetop Bread - Balep Korkun
    Food,  Travel

    Tibetan Stovetop Bread

    Once upon a time, I lived next door to the Dalai Lama. I was studying abroad, and a research project led me to Dharamsala, a Tibetan enclave in Northern India. I rented a house with a few other students. When we arrived, we were shocked to see that the Dalai Lama’s palace was right next door. Despite being neighbors, I saw him only once. He waved from his car. Although I still chuckle at this brush with spiritual fame, the real gem of my time in Dharamsala was the food. Each day there, I discovered some new and delicious Tibetan delicacy. I devoured endless street dumplings, rich stews, and pillowy steamed breads. Tibetan…

  • Easy Vegan Mac and Cheese
    Food

    Easy Vegan Mac and Cheese

    Two years ago, I started developing food sensitivities as part of my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Dairy became one of the biggest culprits, and I had to cut it from my diet. Sadly, I was living in France, where cheese is a way of life. I watched longly while my friends ate buttery croissants, creamy pots de creme, and cheesy aligot.  Then, I discovered something amazing: vegan recipes. Vegans—bless their hearts—have figured out how to make just about anything from plant-based ingredients. Including cheese. And although it’s not a perfect dupe for the real thing, it actually tastes really GOOD. Like finger-licking, trick-your-kids good. Unlike some vegan dishes, this recipe doesn’t have any weird or expensive…

  • Food

    Albanian Peppers and Cream

    I spent my newlywed years in Kosovo, so the country will always have a special place in my heart. And, of course, my stomach. I have many favorite recipes from the region, but peppers and cream (or in Albanian speca me mäze) is the easiest to make abroad. It only takes 30 minutes to throw together, and it’s great for capturing the spirit of Albanian hospitality. If you’ve never had Balkan food before, you’re in for a treat! They’re masters of comfort food that is somehow fresh and rich at the same time. In this recipe, crisp peppers mix with farm-fresh cream to make a cozy dip. Serve it with French bread or pita…

  • Food

    The Best Gluten-Free French Bread

    Before I got sick, I was an avid baker. I made breads, pies, pastries, and even a wedding cake once. I also lived in France, where I ate the best bread in the world on a daily basis.  When developed Chronic Fatigue, I was terrified that I’d have to give up gluten. I tried a bunch of diets to try to heal my symptoms, and I was so relieved when going gluten-free didn’t help. My beloved carbs were saved! However, I still taught myself to bake gluten-free because my sister IS highly sensitive to gluten. Cutting out gluten was a game-changer for her health. I don’t believe food restrictions should keep anyone from enjoying…

  • How to Eat Cheese Like the French
    Food,  Travel

    How to Eat Cheese Like the French

    I thought I knew a little something about cheese…and then I moved to France. Not only are there delicious cheeses in abundance, but there are also RULES about cheese: how it will be served, how you will cut it, how you will taste it. No more eating sub-par cheese straight from the block à la Liz Lemon. It’s time to get cultured! Here’s my simple guide on how to eat cheese like the French. Buying Your Cheese To make a true French cheese plate, you’re going to need at least three different types of cheese from three different texture groups: soft, medium, and hard. Here are a few examples of each cheese texture.…

  • Food,  Travel

    Thankfulness in a Himalayan Bar

    I don’t know what most women do when they’re seven months pregnant, but I ended up cooking a French-themed Thanksgiving dinner for my extended family. Totally reasonable, right? I’m not often home for the holidays—and usually in a country that doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving—so I guess you could say I was a little enthusiastic this year. Though it included gratin dauphinois and haricots verts rather than the typical Midwestern jello salad, this Thanksgiving was all-American to me: no fighting to find ingredients, no Skype calls, no expat friends standing in for flesh-and-blood family. It was the perfect American holiday. Yet, I have to admit, my favorite Thanksgiving story is far from this American perfection. My best Thanksgiving…