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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…)

There’s nothing like a Buddha bowl to make you feel good about eating delicious food. Nutty, slightly chewy forbidden rice takes this grain bowl to a higher plane.  

Buddha Bowl with Forbidden Rice | Umami Girl


Oh hey, Day 4 of The New Year. I’ll see your resolutions and raise you a delicious way to positively kill it on the health front. It’s got “Buddha” in its very title. And what have you got, New Year? 

Buddha Bowl with Forbidden Rice | Umami Girl

Okay, that’s all that smack talk I’ve got for today. Not super impressive, I know. I’ve got other things on my mind. Things like forbidden rice.

Do you guys know about forbidden rice? It’s also sometimes called black rice. This gorgeous, deep purple whole grain packs a huge nutritional punch and has a wonderful, satisfyingly nutty taste and gently chewy texture. It’s only 160 calories per cup of cooked rice, if you’re into that sort of thing (as, ahem, some of us are at this particular moment in time), and it keeps you full and happy, especially alongside all these fabulous fibrous veggies.  (more…)

Here’s to a winter filled with healthy comfort foods. First up, this wonderfully savory kale soup with white beans and potatoes

Easy Kale Soup with White Beans and Potatoes | Umami Girl

Happy New Year, friends! Hope you all enjoyed the last few days of 2016 with your friends and family. We continued what’s become our little tradition of hosting good friends for a low-key New Year’s Eve overnight with lots of catching up, playing and eating and a good New Year’s Day hike. This year we’ve added a legit table tennis situation, air hockey and (ahem!) a Wii U to the mix, which definitely didn’t detract from the fun we would’ve had together anyway. As usual not all of us stayed up until midnight, but this time all the kids did.

Easy Kale Soup with White Beans and Potatoes | Umami Girl

I really look forward to this time of year, when there’s momentum in the air, both for professional productivity and for being good to ourselves. I’m excited to eat lots of dinners like this one: deeply delicious, super-healthy comfort food. And I’m equally excited to share lots and lots of these recipes with you. (more…)

Sometimes Mom (and Dad!) just need an “Italian soda.” This simple and sophisticated Prosecco cocktail hits the spot. Cin cin!

Mom's Italian Soda: A Campari and Prosecco Cocktail | Umami GirlHere’s something I know a lot of us are looking forward to: toasting the end of 2016. Lucky for us, it will look like we’re toasting the beginning of 2017, and no one has to know unless they KNOW. And if your cocktail is a little bitter? Well. Who isn’t right now?

As you can tell from Umami Girl’s cocktails section, I’m a big fan of Champagne and also of bitter flavors in my cocktails. This simple and sophisticated Prosecco cocktail with Campari ticks both those boxes and absolutely zero others. Two ingredients, two minutes max. I’ll drink to that. (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