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Jalapeño popper dip has made me many a friend at parties over the years. And guess what? It’s even better with olives.

"Olive-Peno" Olive Jalapeño Popper Dip | Umami Girl

You guys. YOU GUYS. I started making jalapeño popper dip once upon a time at the dawn of the internet. Maybe 2008? I brought it to many a party. I made many a new friend. It was hearty appetizer and conversation starter all in one. My friend Jill called it “crack dip.” I didn’t think it could get any better.

"Olive-Peno" Olive Jalapeño Popper Dip | Umami Girl

Turns out, like basically everything ever, jalapeño popper dip is even better with olives in it. (Just so you know, when I make an absurdly broad statement like that about food, I always do The Brownies Test, which I made up myself. “Are brownies better with olives in them, Carolyn?” I’d have to ask. So…not quite everything ever is better with olives in it. But BASICALLY everything ever, and that’s what I said. See?)

Dudes, I made one of those videos, and I liked it:


This portable, make-ahead breakfast gets a plant-powered protein boost from quinoa.

Healthy Make-Ahead Breakfast- Muffin Tin Frittatas | Umami Girl(This post contains affiliate links.)

I am no stranger to the frittata. That’s the way I like it. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack — bring it. And while a regular-size, multi-serving frittata is pretty much unimpeachable just the way it is, I’ve rarely heard complaints about turning something already awesome into something awesome AND individually portioned. 

Healthy Make-Ahead Breakfast- Muffin Tin Frittatas | Umami GirlWhen I was working on the quinoa book, I experimented with adding cooked quinoa to frittatas and was really happy with the results. Quinoa is just as filling and protein-packed as eggs, and I liked the idea of keeping things interesting while also swapping in some plant-powered protein for a little bit of the egg. The book contains several really tasty variations of muffin tin frittatas with quinoa (so…you know…please buy it, ahem). I also really love this version, which has a low-maintenance Greek omelet kind of vibe.   (more…)

With just a few simple ingredients, cheese straws make a great easy hors d’oeuvre or snack that pairs perfectly with wine or beer.

Cheese Straws Recipe with Puff Pastry and Cheddar | Umami GirlOkay, I know I said I’m going for a healthy comfort food vibe in January. And I am, mostly. But…Pareto optimality, you know? 80/20. Cheese straws and a cold beer. Balance. Joy. Buzzwords. 

Cheese Straws Recipe with Puff Pastry and Cheddar | Umami Girl

Last night during choir rehearsal our director joked-not-joked, “It’s 2017! Be BETTER!” I love that wry take the on new year mentality. I do want and strive and work to improve. But dude. What’s it all for if you don’t chill the F out once in a while, right? And hey, if there’s a cold glass of Kim Crawford and a cheese straw or two in my general vicinity while the chilling goes down, all the better. I’ll have a Buddha bowl for dinner. (more…)

Let me just put it out there: I’m the kind of girl who gets jazzed about lentil stew. At least when it tastes as good as this.

Mushroom Lentil Stew with Spinach | Umami Girl

Hello and happy Monday! We spent the weekend putting away Christmas decorations, shoveling out the driveway, feasting on chili and cornbread muffins, and testing out our new sleds. It was the perfect kind of snowy weekend at the start of the winter, when snow still seems a little magical and you can pass for a fun-loving adult rather than a 95-year old curmudgeon. (Talk to me in late February and I’ll practically be flashing my dentures.)

Mushroom Lentil Stew with Spinach | Umami Girl

I’ve been really feelin’ the healthy comfort food vibe these past few weeks. That’s easy to do when the food tastes great and makes you feel great, too. It makes you feel great physically, and hey, if you want to go ahead and be just shy of smug for keeping your resolutions, don’t let me stop ya from feeling great psychologically as well.

Mushroom Lentil Stew with Spinach | Umami Girl

This lentil stew is full of umami powerhouse ingredients that make it some of the meatiest vegetarian food you’ll find. Hope you love it.

Talk to you soon.

Carolyn xx

P.S. Affiliate links follow.

{Get the lentil stew recipe.}

Planning a trip to the Canadian Rockies? Follow along for stories from our best Banff hikes. Today, Sunshine Village.

The Best Banff Hikes: Sunshine Village | Umami Girl

You guys. THIS PLACE. When we visited the Canadian Rockies in August, our friends from Calgary brought us to Sunshine Village for a hike and picnic lunch. They downplayed it so much in the few days before we went that we had no idea what gorgeousness awaited us. 

Hiking Sunshine Mountain Banff Yoho National Park Canada | Umami Girl

Sunshine is known mostly as a ski resort, but in the summer the snow cedes to lush greens and fields upon fields of wildflowers. In early August, we were there a little after the peak of flower power, and even then it was magnificent.

The Best Banff Hikes: Sunshine Village | Umami Girl

From the parking lot (which is 15 minutes from the town of Banff and 90 minutes from Calgary), we bought lift passes and took an enclosed gondola followed by a good old chairlift, to the top of the mountain. The peak elevation is 8954 feet above sea level, which means that when hiking uphill at a brisk pace, I was thankful for my regular runs and cardio-intensive hot yoga classes.

The Best Banff Hikes: Sunshine Village | Umami Girl

Sunshine sits along the continental divide and also spans two Canadian provinces (Alberta and British Columbia) and National Parks (Banff and Yoho). Not a bad résumé, am I right? And of course unlike some candidates for the job (what job, weird lady?), it doesn’t just look good on paper. (more…)


Hi there, I'm Carolyn, and I'm delighted you're here. I'm a NYC-area food, travel, yoga, coffee, wine, running, music making and book obsessive with a great family and a love for sharing it all with you. Grab a drink and come on in. Learn more.

Healthy Comfort Food