Vegan Cuban Bowl



When I lived in Richmond, I fell in love with a little Cuban restaurant a few blocks from my house. The restaurant was always bustling with people, offering barely enough room to scoot around the little red tables. The smells would waft down the sidewalk, inviting you into the little yellow building where the coffee was strong, the music was loud, and the flavors were unbelievable.

It was frequenting that little Cuban restaurant that taught me to love Cuban flavors, so when I stumbled upon this recipe I knew it was next on my cooking to-do list. The recipe did not let me down.

As I dished up warm bowl of this Cuban meal for my family, I was immediately taken back to memories of sliding into booths at that little Cuban restaurant, or even better yet, some of the meals I enjoyed while in the Dominican Republic and Peru- sharing some similar ingredients and spices.

If a meal has the power to remind you of previous meals, experiences, and people, simply through the ingredient list, the smell, or the flavor, that to me is a good sign it’s a keeper.

This meal may not draw up any old memories for you of places you’ve been or previous meals you’ve enjoyed, but if it doesn’t, the flavor alone will make you question what you’ve been eating and experiencing all this time- in the best way. Try something new, enjoy a little flare, and dig in!

Love, A Rented Kitchen




  • 2 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup diced tomato
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • ½ cup diced white onion
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 large ripe (black) plantains
  • 4 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 (12 oz.) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice


  1. Preheat the oven to 450˚F, and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with the olive oil, cumin, and salt, and then arrange on the baking sheet in a single layer.
  3. Bake the potatoes for 20-30 minutes, or until soft. Turn every 10 minutes to prevent burning.
  4. In a large measuring cup, combine the tomatoes, cilantro, onion, and lime juice. Set in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to blend.
  5. Meanwhile, peel the plantains by running the edge of a sharp knife along the 3-4 ridges present in the plantain peel. Remove the peeling and slice the plantain into bite sized coins.
  6. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skilled over medium high heat, and fry the plantains, 1-2 minutes per side, until golden brown. Remove the fried plantains from the heat and place on a paper towel lined plate to absorb any additional grease and allow the plantain pieces to cool.
  7. Once the sweet potatoes are done cooking, assemble each bowl with a serving of rice, beans, potatoes, plantains, and topping with the pico de gallo mix. Enjoy!



Notes and Tips!:

  • Source: The Wanderlust Kitchen
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Like this recipe? Check out these other delicious Vegan Entrée options from ‘A Rented Kitchen!’: (Recipe links found below photos!)

Mexican Hot Chocolate




There’s a little place in Asheville, NC called the Chocolate Lounge. If your heart just fluttered at the sound of that name, I’m right there with ya. The Chocolate Lounge is a little dessert bar that sells nothing but every variety of chocolate imaginable. It’s essentially heaven, but with more people.

The Chocolate Lounge has a sipping chocolate beverage that utilizes a lot of the flavors commonly added to Mexican Hot Chocolate. Thus, ever since my first introduction to the Chocolate Longue, and my first sip of that delicious beverage, I have been itching to try my own hand at Mexican Hot Chocolate.

I am not sure why it has taken me so long, but consider this my little gift to you on this cold and dreary Sunday morning. With a little kick of spice and the smooth chocolatey flavor, it is bound to wake you and get ya going!

‘Tis The Season’- Hot Chocolate Series Review:

Day One: Pumpkin Hot Chocolate

Day Two: Ginger Hot Chocolate

Day Three: Coconut Hot Chocolate



  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch (optional thickener)
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder or chili powder
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1/8 – ¼ cup chocolate chips
  • Dash of sea salt
  • optional toppings: whipped cream, marshmallows, chocolate syrup, dash of sea salt!


  1. Combine all the ingredients, apart from the chocolate chips, in a medium saucepan.  Heat over medium high heat, stirring frequently (you don’t want to burn your milk!)
  2. Once smooth, add the chocolate chips and quickly whisk in until melted.
  3. Remove from the heat and top with whipped cream, mallows, a cinnamon stick, and/or chocolate syrup! Enjoy!




Notes and Tips!:

  • Aapted from: Gimme Some Oven
  • Serving Suggestion: I suggest topping your Hot Chocolate with whipped cream and then a dash of sea salt. The saltiness really brings out the sweet flavors and will satisfy your every craving!

Sweet Potato Ravioli



One of the beautiful benefits of moving to the east coast a few years ago, is that I have been able to spend significantly more time with my cousins. I owe this recipe to my cousin Bekah, who is an awesome cook, and introduced me to sweet potato ravioli. I will forever be indebted to her.

Bekah has a similar love for sweet potatoes as I do.  It’s one of those over-the-moon, home-run, forever and always kind of loves. Therefore, we were both pretty giddy about the discovery of this dish.

After my introduction to sweet potato ravioli with Bekah a few weeks ago, I promptly purchased my own ingredients, adapted a similar recipe, and whipped up my own batch….four weeks in a row. Some might say I was obsessed.

You may not share the same strange love of sweet potatoes as I do, but I do hope you all try this scrumptious dish.  And I  suggest the Kale Pesto sauce to top it off as well! My bet is you will be hooked 🙂

Here’s to comfort food and family to share it with.

Come back soon!

Love, a rented kitchen





  • 3 Medium Sweet Potatoes
  • 1 inch crushed Ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Coriander
  • Salt and freshly ground Pepper to taste
  • 1 package wonton wrappers
  • ½ cup water (for assembling wontons) + 2 cups water for steaming


  1. Wash and dry the sweet potatoes. Wrap in aluminum foil and bake at 350˚F for 50 minutes- 1 hour, or until soft to the touch.
  2. Remove the potatoes from the oven, and use a fork/knife to peel the skin off of the sweet potatoes. (Be careful! They’ll be hot!)
  3. Combine the baked sweet potatoes with the spices in a large bowl. Mash until completely mixed.
  4. Assemble the raviolis one at a time, by brushing a thin layer of water along the outside edge of a wonton wrapper. Arrange the wonton wrapper so that it is in a diamond position compared to where you are standing.
  5. Place 1 teaspoon of sweet potato filling in the center of the wonton wrapper and pinch the edges closed, so that the bottom corner is pinched to the top corner.
  6. Fold the two side edges together, wrapping one over the top of the other, and pinching tight. (There are usually images portraying this process on the wonton package if you are a visual learner!)
  7. Bring a large bot of water to a boil, and steam the ravioli for 2- 5 minutes on either a cooling rack placed over the boiling pot, or in a steaming basket. This is most effective if you are also able to place the lid over the pot with the raviolis inside.
  8. Serve warm with Alfredo sauce, shredded Parmesan cheese, or the pictured Kale Pesto!


Notes and Tips!:

  • Source: A Rented Kitchen
  • Click here for the Kale Pesto with Lemon and Parmesan recipe! It’s seriously fantastic!
  • If you enjoy this recipe, check out these other delicious dishes from ‘a rented kitchen!’ (Recipes below!)

Spiced Peach-Carrot Bread




Today feels like fall. For the First time it Really feels like fall! (YAAAAAAY!!!)

I wore a scarf and a cardigan today and am trying to restrain myself from blowing all my money on pumpkin spice lattes. So much joy, and struggle.

Although it is starting to feel like fall, September still means we can benefit from the very end of that summer harvest- aka peaches.

Thus, I bring to you, one delicious bread recipe, perfect for the in-between season slide.  Bake this bread, drink a cup of tea, wear fuzzy socks, and play outside as much as you can.

It’s the in-between season slide! So much joy.




  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 ½ cups peeled and chopped fresh peaches
  • ¾ cup freshly grated carrots
  • ½ cup craisins


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and lightly grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. While preheating, toast your pecans in a single layer of a shallow pan for 8-10 minutes, stirring halfway through.  Once fragrant, set aside and allow to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugars, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg, stirring well.
  3. Add the vegetable oil, milk, and two eggs, whisking together.
  4. Fold in the peaches, carrots, pecans, and craisins until thoroughly mixed.
  5. Pour the batter into a lightly greased 9- x 5-inch loaf pan and bake for 65- 75 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Allow the bread to cool before removing from the pan.
  7. Slice, eat, and enjoy!


Notes and Tips!:

  • Adapted from: Southern Living, 
July 2011
  • If you like this recipe, try these other delicious breads from ‘a rented kitchen’ by clicking on the links below!:

Orange Glazed Poppy Seed Bread



Last week, with finals finally over and another semester behind me, I was able to fly home and spend a week with my family in Kansas City.   We had a blast being together, we always do.  I only wish it could have lasted longer.

One Kansas City morning, my mom, brother, and I visited the large down town farmer’s market.  Most famer’s markets look the same.  You’ll see a flower vendor, some women selling baked goods, maybe a farm fresh meat stand, and always numerous repetitive tables of produce. The Kansas City farmer’s market had all of these options, in excess.  What I did not expect to see, however, was the spice station.

Under one of the covered awnings, an elderly man had set up several tables packed tightly with bag after bag of spices.  Now when I say packed tight- I mean it! This guy probably had 40+ five-pound bags of spices, matching the nearly 40+ people crowding around his table.  There was sweet paprika, ground cardamom, sesame seeds, lime pepper, – you name it, he had it.


My mom, brother, and I stood dazed around the table for quite a while, taking in all the colors, scents, and new names.  Inspired by such an enormous display of natural flavoring, we left with a few small bags of spices and seeds, including poppy seeds!

That trip and those poppy seeds are what inspired me to share this recipe with you all.  It will always be a fond memory for me, that day at the farmer’s market, so I hope you enjoy this bread as much as we did!


Bread Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 ¼ cups sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons melted butter (or butter flavoring)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 ½ teaspoons almond extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1 1/8 cup oil
  • 2 Tablespoons poppy seeds

Glaze Ingredients:

  • ½ teaspoon melted butter (or butter flavoring)
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice


  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F and grease two loaf pans.
  2. Combine all ingredients into a large bowl and whisk together, starting with the dry ingredients and stirring in the wet ingredients.  Beat with a mixer until smooth.
  3. Bake for 55 minutes, until golden brown on top and cooked all the way through.  While the bread is baking, combine the glaze ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.
  4. Immediately after the bread is removed from the oven, pour the glaze over the loaves and allow the bread to cool. Slice and enjoy!


Notes and Tips!:

  • Yield: 2 loaves
  • Source: The Village Presbyterian Church Cook Book
  • Do not over cook the bread or else it will lose some of its’ moisture!
  • Try these other delicious bread recipes from A Rented Kitchen (Recipe links below photos!):