soup

Vegan MoFo 2015, Day 2: Meal From My Childhood

2. Recreate a meal from your childhood.

I had a hard time deciding what meal to choose, but finally I decided on a meal that brings me many good memories: chicken soup with blueberry muffins.

I have no idea how that particular combo came about, but somehow it did, and as with most of my mom’s meals, main dishes were always paired with a particular side (such as green peas+kraft mac and cheese+fish sticks, or homemade mac and cheese with ham+canned green beans).

When she made chicken noodle soup, she always made a big batch, and we would eat it for dinner with freshly-baked blueberry muffins, and then she’d put the rest in a glass gallon jar in the fridge and we’d get a couple more meals out of it.

I’ve already posted the blueberry muffin recipe here.

For the chicken soup, I haven’t found a recipe yet that *quite* smacks of the yummy one my mom used to make. Zsu Dever’s Comforting Noodle Soup in Everyday Vegan Eats is one of my favourites, and Sarah Matheny’s Tofu Noodle Soup (pictured below) from More Peas, Thank You is another – closer to my mom’s soup, especially in appearance.

Tofu Noodle Soup

My mom used tricolour rotini a lot in her soup, and the baked tofu chunks in this one add a lovely meatiness to the soup. I’ve made this soup for my mom, and she really liked it too, despite not being a fan of tofu! Score!

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Categories: lunch, soup, vegan, vegan mofo, vegan mofo 2015, vegetables | 1 Comment

2015, a Recipe Odyssey: May Edition

Whatever stuff I want to say, followed by more stuff. [I put that as a text placeholder, and it amused me so much I decided to leave it. (Yes, I am very easily amused.)]

I was kind of on a lemon kick this month for some reason. I made two kinds of lemon cake, lemon cookies, and was all ready to make a lemon pie……. and then ran out of lemons and money.

See, I managed to completely exhaust my food budget just over halfway through the month, which kept me from trying a few of the things I wanted to make, but aside from the absence of LEMON PIE in my face, the main trouble was at that point I had only one stick of butterlike substance left in my fridge, and BARELY ANY CHOCOLATE. But we’re survivors, and there are only 2 more days in the month. We can do this.

In other news, walnut pollen has unleashed in fury upon our area, and I immediately proceeded to become ill with what I believe is a sinus infection. Woohoo. #notactually

And even though it’s a couple days to the end of the month, I’m posting this now because I’m not planning to make anything else new. Too tired and sick.

Here’s what I made! Grouped by source.

From Everyday Vegan Eats:

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1. Split Pea Soup – It’s impossible to take an appetising photo of split pea soup. It just is. It will always look like sludge or poop. However, this soup was very simple to make and very delicious.

From Vegan Diner:

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2. Blackeyed Peas – These were good, but not exciting enough that I think I’ll ever make them again. They were a nice protein addition, along with rice, to our salads that day.

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3. Noodle Soup – I did not like this, but could not lay my finger on why. It seemed so… I dunno, soupy… so I added a quart of canned green beans just to bulk it up a bit.

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4. Smoky Seitan Roast – This is super tasty.

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5. Pastrami-Style Seitan – This is just okay.

From Isa Does It:

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6. Sesame Slaw – OH YEAH.

7. Garlic Curry Fries – I’ve had these on a past menu plan at least once already and just didn’t actually get around to making them! My verdict: too spicy. I did two batches, one with the curry powder and one with just the salt and a teaspoon of garlic powder, and nobody really liked the curry ones much, but the plain ones were snarfed down with abandon. I’m not sure whether this method will be a regular in the future or not. Isa claims it becomes easier each time, and that may be true…

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8. Norah’s Lemon-Lemon Cookies – These were amazing!

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9. Wild Rice Soup – Both Mr Pine Nut and I LOVED this! It had a delicious, deep flavour that I loved.

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10. Lemon-Blueberry Loaf – Sans blueberries, because I had none! I simply could not get my icing sugar to un-lumpify, hence the unsightly blobs of sugar in the glaze, and I turned them upside down because they sank in the centre. They tasted fantastic though! Would definitely make again – I look forward to blueberry season!

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11. Dragon Noodle Salad – Delish dish, this. Lou Who couldn’t eat it because of the peanut butter, but I think she’d have liked it, so I may try it with almond butter next time. And we ate it with:

12. Sesame Baked Tofu – This was a hit with everyone! We love our tofu around here. 😉

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13. Cauliflower Pesto Pasta – This was SO GOOD! Even the kids loved it. I used spinach instead of basil for the pesto, because I like the taste better.

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14. Sinfully Wholesome Waffles – I think I have a new favourite waffle recipe! I was not sure if I’d like these, but I really really did. I topped them with crushed pineapple.

15. Scrambled Chickpeas – These did not win the approval of the junior Pine Nuts, but the senior Pine Nuts loved them!

From Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar:

16. Chai Spice Shortbread – I subbed dried cranberries for the chocolate, because I am very picky about combining chocolate with certain things, such as chocolate with pumpkin (blegh), and the spices in this are a combo that Does Not Go with chocolate in my mind.

From Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World:

17. Lemon Macadamia Cupcakes – I doubled this and did it as a 13×9. It was okay, but I think after three experiments with macadamias, I have come to the realisation that I really just don’t like them much! And I feel kind of guilty about this, because everyone is supposed to like macadamias!

From Vegan Brunch:

18. Chelsea Waffles – I’ve wanted to make these forever, but don’t have barley malt syrup. Someone pointed out that right there it says you can sub maple syrup (which I also don’t have, but I do have agave and maple extract, and what kind of vegan cook would I be if I didn’t wing things?) Anyway, they were super tasty!

19. Gingerbread Waffles – These were great; GooGoo wasn’t fond of the chunks of ginger but ate them nonetheless.

From Whole Grain Vegan Baking:

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20. Raisin Bannocks – I’ve been wanting to make these since I got the book last month, but was waiting for my discount grocery to get more vegan yogurt in. They finally did! These are so tasty and I will definitely make them again (but plan ahead a little more because there are a lot of steps I wasn’t prepared for. Note to self: READ RECIPE BEFORE STARTING.)

21. Carrot Cashew Loaf – I made this in my 8.5″ springform pan instead of a loaf pan, because I was skeptical of it actually being baked in 30-35 minutes in a loaf pan and I was in a hurry. I subbed agave for the maple syrup and more milk for the yogurt. Mr Pine Nut and I both enjoyed it. I ate mine with apple juice on it. Lou Who ate hers; GooGoo was not impressed.

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22. Double Cranberry Scones – I’m a doofus and set the oven for 350 instead of 375. I was so frustrated wondering why they were taking like half an hour instead of 15 minutes to bake, and then it hit me. That aside, these were SO SO SO SO SO SO GOOD. And also called for yogurt. Yay for 20 cent containers of Co Yo from Grocery Depot!

From Veganomicon:

23. Carrot Pineapple Sunshine Muffins – SO good. Ditto the yogurt comment above.

From the interwebs:

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24. Spiced Yogurt Muffins – And to use up the rest of my yogurt I made these, with a few changes. I used half white/half whole wheat flour, reduced sugar to 1/3 cup, used melted cocoanut oil for the butter, and 1/3 cup aquafaba for the eggs. These were so good. I will totally make these again when I have yogurt to use up.

Cookbooks [or other sources] represented in May: 9

Did I meet my goal? Yes!

See you next month, with June’s recipe report! (It’ll be an interesting month, because I’m not going to be home for various parts of it. But I think I can still hit my 20-recipe goal!)

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Categories: challenges, dairy-free, lunch, soup, vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

2015, a Recipe Odyssey: April Edition

I had a disaster that sabotaged some of my meal plan for this month. It was a “somehow the upright freezer door was not closed for an undetermined period of time and everything in the freezer was warm” sort of disaster. So I quickly had to use up some things, so I made tater tot casserole again and a bunch of smoothies and things to use frozen fruit in. I was thankful not to lose as much as I might have; there were spices, flours, and jams in there and I know those are all fine. I did lose probably 8 or so packages of lima beans (boo!) and some seitan pepperoni and a number of quart bags of frozen cooked pinto and kidney beans. Some stuff that was still cold I popped in the other freezer.

So I skipped out on some of the meals I had planned to make because of this disaster, the ones that I hadn’t bought anything specially for the purpose of making.

In other news, I turned 32 (halfway to 64, wheee!) and I bought several cookbooks with my birthday money: Whole Grain Vegan Baking, Vegan Diner, Vegan Casseroles, and the new edition of Vegan With a Vengeance. So now my Isa collection is finally complete (well, once VWaV gets here! it’s not released yet!) and I have loads of new things to try!

Here’s what I made this month! Grouped by source.

From Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World:Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 1.36.52 PM

1. Cocoanut-Lime Cupcakes – I’ve been dreaming about making these for a while, and since we were all sick I held off. Until my birthday. These were delicious and I would totally make them again, especially the frosting because lime is SO GOOD.

2. Chai Latte Cupcakes – I didn’t have black tea, so I used Stash apple-cinnamon-chamomile tea instead. They were okay. I wasn’t really fond of the cocoa powder on top; it just seemed too bitter to me. I don’t think I’ll make them again, but if I do, I’ll just do them naked or with a little basic frosting.

From Everyday Vegan Eats:

3. Leek Potato Soup – I really liked this and it was very simple and yet very flavourful. Much more to my liking than the recipe I tried in January. Also, both GooGoo and Lou Who like it! Every time GooGoo says, “I DON’T WANT ONIONS” I tell her, “They’re not onions, they’re leeks.” She buys it and there is Peace at the Dinner Table.

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4. Báhn Mì Burgers – Must admit the whole idea of this “báhn mì” thing is alien to me. I keep hearing about it but had/have really no idea what it IS. That being said, I am SO IMPRESSED with these burgers! They actually held together and cooked properly in my skillet – something I have NEVER been able to achieve with any other burger recipes! So excited. The pickled veggies were very easy. I used radishes and carrots, and no sugar. (And they tasted amazing!)

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5. Minestrone – This was a big hit! Mr Pine Nut and I both loved it, and it’s already on next month’s meal plan again.

6. Hungarian Tomato Salad – I loved the flavour of this, but for the amount of tomato/cucumber called for, my veggies were absolutely drowning in the dressing! We had to fish the veggies out with a slotted spoon.

From the interwebs:

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7. Teriyaki Chickpeas Bao – I’ve been wanting to make these ever since I saw Vegan Richa post them to Facebook, and I was not disappointed. I used up some sort of homemade Asian sauce I’ve had in my freezer forever, and I had some cilantro so I threw in a bit of that minced up. Super yummy. There wasn’t quite enough filling for all my buns, though, so some of them I just steamed as buns with no filling. I also had some trouble getting my first batch extracted from my steamer, so they mostly didn’t look super gorgeous. Tastewise, they were great, and even GooGoo ate them!

8. Pita Bread – THIS WAS SO EXCITING! It puffed! It pocketed! It tasted awesome! I actually made this twice this month. The first time I did it as dictated in the recipe; the second time I used about a 50/50 ratio of white/whole wheat flour. I actually liked them better the second time, and they even seemed to puff better.

From Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day:

Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 7.55.09 AM9. Cabana Cheese Sandwiches – You GUYS, this cottage cheese is the BOMB. It’s totally like real cottage cheese! I didn’t have tomatoes, but I served this on the green monster rolls I made and froze last month with the lettuce and topped it with dilly beans.

Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 7.54.18 AM10. Pesto Pitzas – I had to sub dried basil for fresh. My only complaint was they were a bit salty, so I would skip adding salt to the pesto next time. The cheese has enough plus the flavour of the capers. It was kind of a lot of work for the results – just four pita pizzas, which was enough for Mr Pine Nut and me, but nobody else – so I don’t know that I’ll rush to make it again, BUT I was so excited about the cheese, because it actually does melt! It didn’t melt so much on ours, but on the plain pitas-with-cheese for the kids it melted more.

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 3.04.10 PM11. Hot Brown Sandwiches – I wanted so much to like these, but the sauce was way too noochy and I just didn’t like the flavour combinations or the fact that they were sort of hard to eat. The smoky tofu bits, however, are a definite “will-make-again”. YUM.

12. Bulgur Hummus Wraps – I’ve wanted to make these ever since I won this book during MoFo 3 years ago, and I’m just now getting to it. But they were SO good! I served them in pitas instead of tortillas. This is a definite success in my opinion.

13. Beans Not on Toast – I’ve made the bean part of this before and eaten it on actual toast, but not the waffles, so that’s what qualifies this as a new recipe. 😉 The waffles were great! I was a bit worried they’d seem overly sesame-oily but I hardly noticed it at all in the finished product. I would definitely double the waffles next time though, because four waffles in this family of four was Not Enough.

14. Navajo Tacos – Oh man. These were astonishingly good. I’ve wanted to make these ever since having the book but the frying part seemed like So Much Work, so I didn’t ever get around to it. I doubled the recipe and we ate almost all of it.

From Vegan Brunch:

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 8.28.48 PM15. Raised Waffles – These were really good! They did not taste yeasty to me, which I was a bit worried about (I’ve tried yeast-raised muffins before and they just taste like flavoured bread, basically) and I will definitely make them again!

16. Tofu Omelette – I did a half batch of this because I had half a package of silken tofu in my fridge to use up. They were tasty. More noochy than eggy, in my opinion, but good. Half of one was plenty for me. I filled them with chopped red bell peppers that I sauteed in oil and liquid smoke with some fennel seeds.

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 6.09.13 PM17. Lemon Poppyseed Muffins – These were okay. I always hope I’ll find a poppyseed recipe I’m super excited about but it hasn’t happened yet! I forgot to add the salt, but they were pleasant with some Nucoa and raspberry jam. 🙂

From Whole Grain Vegan Baking:

18. Raisin Bran Muffins – Super good!

19. Onion Caraway Loaf – I don’t have beer around 🙂 and I didn’t have seltzer water either, which was the recommended sub, so I subbed some of the veggie stock I just made. I’m not sure if it affected it. The bread was nice, I wouldn’t say fantastic, but it was eaten.

20. Spelt Rye Crackers – I didn’t have any spelt flour handy so I used wheat. I liked these but maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for caraway seeds, because neither this nor the loaf above really wowed me. And I love rye bread and caraway seeds, so I dunno.

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 7.06.29 PM21. Blackberry Allspice Muffins – Muffins great; blackberries must have been bad because they tasted weird.

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 7.05.56 PM22. Apricot Cardamom Cake – I liked this. It was a bit too cardamom-y for my taste – I think I might replace part of it with cinnamon next time – but I would make it again. GooGoo ate a piece but didn’t want any more, and Lou Who didn’t ask for seconds either.

Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar:

23. Macadamia Ginger Crunch Drops – Loved the dough, was not as crazy about the cookies. They were slightly too crunchy. Maybe I overbaked them. I think this would lend itself well to a bar cookie though and if I make them again I may do it that way.

Cookbooks [or other sources] represented in April: 7

Did I meet my goal? YES YAY.

See you next month, with May’s recipe report!

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Categories: birthdays, breakfast, brunch, challenges, dessert, lunch, salads, sandwich, soup, vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

2015, a Recipe Odyssey: March Edition

So I mentioned in this post that I was going to try a monthly meal plan for March, sticking within my budget of $25/week for food. How did it go?

  • Week 1: I spent $19.47 on groceries.
  • Week 2: I spent $24.09 on groceries. Cutting it close! All necessites for my week’s plan.
  • Week 3: I spent $20.30 on groceries. Roughly $10 0f that was absolute necessities for my planned menu, and I got some extra goodies! (okay, it was mostly bell peppers and avocados.) I ended up not doing all the planned meals because I had lots more leftovers than previous weeks, plus I was sick.
  • Week 4: I spent $26.60 on groceries. This included what I needed for the little bit of overlap for the last couple days of March.
  • But I did end up using the rest of my money buying a couple staple/pantry items that I’ll use next month too.

Keep in mind, we do have loads of bulk stuff stored in buckets from More Prosperous (or simply more reckless?) Times of the Past, and we have a separate line item for bulk food (and I spent all but pennies of that $50 this month aside from the above), so the above is strictly fresh veggies and staples like oil and sugar.

Speaking of oil and sugar, I bought a regular bottle of veggie oil and a 4lb bag of sugar for Week 1. As of the end of week 3, the oil had been long gone and another bottle half-used, and the sugar is all but gone. I find this disturbing.

Here’s what I made! Grouped by source.

From More Peas, Thank You:

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1. Corn Chowda with Cornbread Croutons – GooGoo has been pestering me to make a potato soup for weeks now. I finally make one, and will she eat it? No. Sigh. She did like the cornbread croutons and the side of broccoli, though.

 From The Veg Feasting Cookbook:

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2. Carrots in the Raw – This salad was very easy, requiring few ingredients, and went great with the burgers we had for lunch. I left out the raisins and just added some extra pumpkin seeds instead, because fruit in a vegetable salad is just weird to me. The following day we had the leftovers on top of lettuce. Yum.

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3. Cumin Carrot Soup – This became steadily more disgusting the more of it that I ate. Mr Pine Nut thought it was good, but I heartily disagreed. I couldn’t taste cumin at all; even though I reduced the pepper it was way too peppery; worst of all the texture was just gross. Will never make again.

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4. Turkish Lentil Soup – SO good. I was a little concerned, because the cinnamon smelled really strong while it was cooking, but as far as taste went, I didn’t even notice it. The flavours were all blended perfectly with nothing overpowering anything else. I was pleased, and would definitely make this again. Way better than the vomitous carrot sludge.

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5. Spicy Yellow Dal – I didn’t have toor dal, but the book suggested subbing yellow split peas, so I used green split peas. It took a lot more than 2 cups of water to cook the peas, but this was overall quite a simple dish to assemble and it was very tasty. It was at the edge of my heat tolerance level, but very good. We ate it with rice and steamed broccoli.

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6. Mexican Black Bean Salad – This was fairly simple to throw together, and it was a meal for Mr Pine Nut and I (with the addition of lettuce, and some bread on the side). It had a good flavour, but the recipe called for no salt. I added a tiny bit, but more wouldn’t have hurt. I’m not sure I’ll make it again, but it was fine.

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7. Cabbage Curry – This was SO easy, and very tasty! I added the garbanzo beans to make it a meal, but the flavour was great and the heat level perfect (that is, not very hot. :-)) It’s a dry curry, and you could really use any veggie (or combination thereof) instead of the cabbage – cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, &c.

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8. Cream of Veg Soup – This was just okay. Mr Pine Nut and Lou Who loved it; GooGoo wouldn’t touch it, and I didn’t finish mine. It was better than cumin-carrot soup, but I found it just too salty even though I’d diluted it considerably.

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9. Chickpea Mash Stew – I really liked this, despite it being totally different from how I envisioned it would be. Lou Who loved it too!

10. Super Noodle Soup – Very basic. The special thing about it seemed to me just that all the veggies get cut up very tiny (1/8″ dice), and I had to add a lot of extra salt and some garlic powder because it just didn’t have much flavour without. It was good, but I don’t think I’ll rush to make it again.

11. Pulao Rice – This was pretty easy. I used brown rice so I changed the water proportion and cooking time, but it came out very nice and I liked it. I wasn’t super fond of the whole idea of having to pick out all the whole cloves, cardamom pods, and other such things though.

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12. Chickpea Curry – I was prepping my ingredients for this and it calls for a 4-oz piece of ginger, thinly sliced. I only have (frozen) grated ginger, so I got it out and the frozen glob I had weighed exactly four ounces. The problem is that four ounces of grated ginger is like… a CUP’S worth. So I called out into the twitterverse and got confirmation that for the amount of curry, that seemed like an awful lot. So I decided to do 2 ounces instead. The end result was a curry with a good flavour… under an intense heat. I burned my entire digestive tract raw and had steam coming out my ears from eating it. So yeah, I doubt I’ll be making this again.

13. Saffron Rice – I made this to go with the abovementioned curry as per the book’s suggestion. It was okay. I wasn’t overly thrilled with it.

From the interwebs:

14. Parmesan Muffins – A friend made these and raved about them, so I decided to try them, because I need to get more savoury muffins into my culinary repertoire. They were excellent! I used flax instead of eggs (so 2T ground flax and 6T warm water), and I was too tired/lazy to make my favourite almond parmesan so I just used some Daiya mozzarella shreds I had in my freezer. And I left out the sugar.

15. Brownie Coco-Nut-Butter Cups – !!!!!!! YUM !!!!!! So, I made these for a potluck and forgot to take them with me. Oops. What a tragedy. 😉

From Vegan Simplicity:

16. Vegan Red Beans and Rice – This was good, but not great, which seems to be (so far) my reaction to most of Mark Anthony’s recipes. I bought this cookbook when he came and did a presentation/cooking class at our church and really haven’t used it much yet, so I definitely want to give it more of a chance before passing judgement. At any rate, this called for 3/4 cup of vegan margarine. O_O It also didn’t *look* super appetising.

17. Sri Lankan Style Mixed-Bean Soup – No picture; it looked sludgy and not super appealing, kind of pooplike, so like the red beans above the visual appeal was nil. But it tasted pretty good.

From Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day:

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18. Green Monster Bread (made into bagels/rolls) – I used rye flour and caraway seeds in with this and like it a lot! It seems a tad on the sweet side, so I think I’d reduce the sugar next time, but aside from that this was a definite “something I’d make again”. Way to sneak some kale into my girls’ diets (and mine).

Ten Talents (1978 edition):

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19. Carrot Salad – I thought the combo of carrot/pecan/cocoanut seemed a bit odd, but decided to try it anyway, and it was really good! Also very simple. I served it on a bed of lettuce/cabbage just to give it more variety but I would totally make it again.

Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar:

20. Cornmeal Poppyseed Biscotti – I hate lemon poppyseed bread. That being said, these were really good! I was surprised. I don’t know that they’ll be something I’ll make really often, but I brought some home from a potluck and know I’ll eat them. 🙂

21. Rocky Roads – I’ve had these before but haven’t made them before, and my suspicion that I’d like them better without the almond extract was completely correct. They are addictive, amazing, and I think the dough would be the perfect chocolate cookie base for a whole bunch of mix-ins. I’d like to try it plain too.

Everyday Vegan Eats:

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22. Chickpeas and Dumplings – A bit too salty but it was really yummy anyway!

23. Black Bean Feijoada – Really, really good!

[ETA: 24. Macaroni Salad – I made this on a whim the last day of March, and it was GOOD]

Cookbooks [or other sources] represented in March: 8

Did I meet my goal? Barely! I was worried the last week or so that I wouldn’t hit 20, but I did.

See you next month, with April’s recipe report!

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Categories: bread, challenges, cookies, dairy-free, dessert, lunch, salads, side dish, soup, vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

2015, a Recipe Odyssey: February Edition

Things that have happened this month:

  • I broke my blender jar – again (SIGH)
  • I ran out of regular sugar, which has forced me to be Creative with Liquid Sweeteners, because I have plenty of those, and also kept me from making cookies, which is good for my body and not good for my sugar-loving mouth
  • We had our annual nonfire and it was fun
  • I tried a bunch of new recipes!

Here’s what I made! Grouped by source.

From Veganomicon:

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1 and 2. Chickpeas Romesco with Saffron-Garlic Rice – These were both fantastic and went together great, just as they suggested. Definitely would make again!

3. Chili Cornmeal Crusted Tofu – Failed to get a picture of this one. I liked this just okay. I think my cornmeal wasn’t quite fine enough and I didn’t have lime zest so it lacked that lime punch. The coating stuff was like twice as much as I actually needed though, so I froze the rest of it for later use.

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4. Potato Leek Cassoulet – I wasn’t super duper impressed with this one; it seemed bland. I imagine that more salt would probably have been the answer, but while I can add salt to the stew, it’s hard to add salt to already-cooked biscuits. The leftovers I heated the next day I added some more salt to anyway and it did help a lot. So I may possibly make this again and just keep that in mind.

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5. Beanballs – So I had some kidney beans in the freezer from a while ago and when I saw this called for kidney beans it was an immediate sell. They were really easy and tasty. Neither of my children were impressed, however.

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6. Double Pea Soup with Roasted Red Peppers – I subbed frozen lima beans for well over half the peas called for because I thought I had more frozen peas than I did. Oops. Anyway, I was concerned I wouldn’t like this soup because of all the random seasonings in it that I would never ever use in pea soup. I didn’t really like the soup, but it was actually not to do with the seasonings, I just found it really blah somehow.

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7. Spinach Noodle Kugel – I had such high hopes for this. I subbed kale and collards for the spinach because that’s what I have at the moment, and only about 1/3 the weight called for – and, guys, I just really don’t like collards and kale. There also seemed a tremendous imbalance between the greens and the pasta. I can’t imagine using 30 oz of frozen spinach in here, let alone that much kale.  I would like to try it again, with spinach.

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8. Lemony Potato Wedge Things – (yeah I’m too lazy to go look up the actual recipe name) I had these going for probably about an hour, the last half of which I cranked the oven up to 400. They never really browned like they were supposed to. BUT, they really tasted good!

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 3.50.37 PM

9. Soup With a Really Long Name – (see comment on previous recipe’s title) This was SO good! I subbed oregano for the thyme, because I ran out of thyme. Somehow that always happens when I go too crazy making Isa recipes! :-p Anyway, I would definitely make this again.

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10. Rosemary Foccacia Bread – DE. LISH. US. My children adored it as well. We ate it with seasoned pinto beans.

From the interwebs:

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 4.09.37 PM

11. Cranberry Paleo Muffins – Another recipe I found to try using my Christmas cocoanut flour in. These were the most disgusting things I have ever tasted in my life. Even my husband couldn’t eat them. If he can’t eat them, they really must be bad. Seriously, do paleo people actually EAT this stuff???? I took a tiny bite and gagged, as did both my children. Mr Pine Nut gamely picked out the cranberries from his, but declined to take a second one.

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 4.08.30 PM

12. Cranberry Orange Upside-down Cake I had exactly enough cocoanut flour from my Christmas bag left to make this. Of the three recipes I tried, this was easily the best, but it was still weird. I think I should have baked it a little longer, and arrowroot just has a weird texture. The flavour was good. It’s all about texture, which is kind of also a big deal. I won’t be in a rush to make it again, and I have no desire to run out and buy more cocoanut flour, because I’m simply not impressed.

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 11.32.06 AM

13. Tofu Mr Pine Nut made tofu once, a very long time ago (when we lived in the trailer). It came out soft, but good. I like, nay, LOVE tofu, and because of our finances right now I was thinking maybe I better learn to make it and save us some money. Well, the process went great until the cold water step at the end, when my blob of tofu decided “Hey, I’ll disentegrate into a bajillion bits!!” Not cool, tofu. Not cool. I’ll definitely try again, but preferably on a day when I’m not also doing a ton of other things like I was this day, and ask around for some input from tofu-making connoisseurs.

14. Okara Crab Cakes I had plenty of perfectly good okara out of the lame tofu deal, though! So I tried this recipe. It was good. Not my favourite thing ever, but good.

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 11.31.28 AM

15. Okara “Chicken” Nuggets – These were SO good! This is definitely going to be a go-to with future okara. I did the procedure a bit differently than outlined – I wrapped the mixture directly in foil and dumped it in a steamer basket in a covered pot. I did not do the breading and frying, which I’m sure would be good, but these were good just on their own too! We ate them with carrots and mac and cheese.

From Isa Does It:

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 4.04.18 PM

16. Spicy Slurpy Spaghetti Sauce – Oh MAN this was hands down the best sauce EVER I will never make another sauce again! (Yes, crazy Pinterest peeps, I’m mocking you.) Seriously though, this was the best sauce I’ve ever made, and it was so easy. I subbed a combo of paprika/smoked paprika for the pepper flakes, since Mr Pine Nut is not a fan of heat, and I blended it in my food processor to hide the “stuff” (tomato chunks, onions) from GooGoo. GooGoo is not a fan of tomato anything, but she slurped this stuff right down with her linguine. Score!

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 4.08.05 PM

17. Classic Baked Tofu – Loved the flavour; didn’t love the texture. I think next time I’ll cut thinner slices and skip the parchment paper; I like my baked tofu to have a bit more of a chewy crust than this one ended up with (even after being in the oven way longer than called for!) But I’ll definitely make it again. I had it with steamed broccoli and chicken rice. It was a super delicious meal.

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 4.09.01 PM

18. Meaty Beany Chili – This was okay; I did not add the sweetener and I’m glad I didn’t; I like my savoury food to be savoury, and somehow the cloves made it seem sweet enough already. Not sure I’ll make this again.

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 3.56.30 PM

19. Lentil-Quinoa Stew – I had only 3/4 cup of quinoa and I probably used only 1/2 pound of kale. Despite the kale (I am so not a fan) it was very good!

Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 6.48.32 PM

20. Dilly Stew with Rosemary Dumplings – This was amazing. I forgot to put the navy beans in (I don’t even know, guys) but it was still insanely delicious. When I heated the leftovers the next day I added in some of the navy beans with them. Either way it’s great.

Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 6.46.52 PM

21. Cheddary Broccoli Soup – Not a huge fan of this, although Lou Who snarfed down three bowls and had the rest tonight for her supper, cold, because she was in too much of a hurry to wait to warm it up! GooGoo was also not a fan. It tasted vaguely vomitlike to me when I first tasted it out of the pot, and when I reheated it for our Friday night supper it at least no longer tasted like vomit. It was, however, ridiculously noochy, and I’m really not a huge fan of nooch. It was worth a shot, but I don’t think I’ll make it again.

From Vegan Brunch:

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 11.31.16 AM

22. Toasted Cocoanut Chocolate Chip Muffins – I loved the mango ones from last month, so I tried the chocolate chip variation. I had to do a lot of subbing because I’m out of, oh, sugar, and getting low on oil. So I used melted cocoanut oil and instead of the dry sugars used 1/4 cup agave. They turned out nicely and tasted great.

From Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World:

23. Carrot Cake Cupcakes – These were really good, despite the fact that I do not believe raisins belong in a carrot cake. I would leave them out next time, but I did very much like the overall flavour! I did a double batch in a 13×9 pan to take to a potluck.

Cookbooks [or other sources] represented in February: 5

Did I meet my goal? Yes, plus 3. Yay!

See you next month, with March’s recipe report!

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Categories: bread, challenges, entrees, side dish, soup, tofu, vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

2015, a Recipe Odyssey: January Edition

So, I’ve unofficially decided on a personal challenge this year, which is far more fun than a New Year’s resolution. Early this month, I cracked open Veganomicon, looking for a use for some tofu I had in my fridge, and ended up with a pot of barbecue sauce simmering on the stove – and I made some tofu-cashew ricotta that was DELISH.  So I decided to attempt to try roughly 5 new recipes every week. I’ve been bouncing around a lot of cookbooks this month; I may try to be more focused next month. Or not! Spontaneity is the name of the game!

Here’s what I made! Grouped by source.

From Veganomicon:

1. Basic Barbecue Sauce – I’m honestly not sure why I made this, aside from the fact that I just happened to have all the needed ingredients, because I’m not a huge fan of BBQ sauce. It just sounded fun for some reason! We ate a little bit of it with some leftover something or other and I froze the rest until I can think what to make with it. It’s good.

2. Cashew-Tofu Ricotta – YUM.

3. Messy Rice – Good, but I thought a little more salt would have been nice. Also, I let it sit too long before eating, so it got a tiny bit too dry.

4. Chickpea-Quinoa Pilaf – I thought this was pretty fab fresh. Mr Pine Nut dismissed it as “kinda brown and monotaste”. The leftovers weren’t appealing to me, but I think I’d make it again!

5. Pumpkin Cranberry Scones – VERY good. Will opt for the longer bake time next time, because these were more muffins than scones with the shorter time.

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 7.12.57 PM

[6-13 REDACTED UNTIL PERMISSION GRANTED]

From the interwebs:

14. Carrot Cake Muffins – I got some cocoanut flour for a Christmas present and so I found this recipe to try. The flavour was really quite good, especially considering that there was no salt, but the texture was weird.

15. Kamut-Wheat Pizza Crust – I remembered that Vegan Richa did a pizza series for MoFo one year, and I wanted to use the abovementioned barbecue sauce on a pizza AND branch out and try a new pizza crust. So I decided on this one. It was very tasty; I managed to gum up my grain mill with the cashews because I’m brilliant that way. (I was trying to grind the wheat, kamut, and cashews together, because I ain’t got cashew flour. Don’t try this at home.) Anyway, I don’t think I’ll make it again unless I come into possession of pre-ground cashew flour, but I did really like it!

And in case you were interested, I topped the pizza with the BBQ sauce, chickpeas, minced chives and green onions, and Daiya. It was great!

From Vegan Brunch:

16. Toasted Cocoanut-Mango Muffins – SOOOO YUMMMMM. I want to try it with dried pineapple next, and I also must try the chocolate chip version sometime very soon.

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 7.13.50 PM

17. English Muffins – These tasted good, but I think my next try will be better. The only other time I tried making English muffins resulted in some indigestible leaden discs, so this definitely was better than that, but I think there’s some skill to be gained from practise. Figuring out exactly how long to pan-fry, how to be sure they’re baked through – it’ll come with time. They were good and went fast!

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 7.13.36 PM

18. Cocoa Raspberry Muffins – I subbed chopped frozen strawberries for the raspberries because that’s what I had. These were tender and delish, not too sweet (unless you ask Mr Pine Nut, who thinks everything is too sweet 😉 ) I’d like to try these with cherries next! They were good the next day also, and then I refrigerated them and they were still good. Can’t say that for some muffins.

19. Bakery-Style Muffins – I did use a little whole wheat flour and reduced the sugar a smidge, but these were decadent and delightful. I may or may not have eaten six.

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20. NYC Coffee Cake – This was astonishingly delicious. I don’t think I’ll ever make another coffee cake again. No, really.

From Isa Does It:

21. Creamy Potato-Leek Soup – I liked this, but wasn’t over the moon about it.

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22. Jumbo Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – I’m lousy at math, but I did figure out the following: I did a double batch and consumed 30% of the dough before the cookies were done baking. These were WAY easy and the dough was amazing. The cookies were really great as well.

23. Carrot Cake Pancakes – These were really good!

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 7.17.01 PM

24. Creamy Sundried Tomato Penne – Also very pleased with this. It looks kinda complicated, but it actually was really easy and came together quite fast. I used some cauliflower as well because I had some along with broccoli that was dying in the refrigerator.

From Appetite for Reduction:

25. Arabian Lentil Soup – Many other PPKers were raving about this soup, and so I made it. It was very good; not to die for, but it was very simple and I’d make it again.

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 7.13.12 PM

From Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar:

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26. Key Lime Shortbread Rounds – SO good. The dough was grand, and the baked cookies were no less exceptional, even considering I didn’t have quite enough lime zest as was called for.

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27. Sweet Chocolate Pretzels – these were just okay to me. They weren’t bad, but I wasn’t thrilled with them either for the amount of work they were. The dough was tasty though! Tastier than the final cookie. And the end result did look charmingly pooplike, if you’re into that kind of thing.

From Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World:

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 4.01.44 PM

28. S’mores Cupcakes – So, one of my gripes about this book is how many of the recipes call for non-dairy yogurt. I have some yogurt at the moment, so I was all “lemme make some cupcakes!” And as I was paging through I realised that actually a lot of them don’t actually call for yogurt. So… I guess it seems one way when I have no yogurt vs. when I do. ANYWAY, these are really good. The cupcakes really do taste like graham crackers. I was too lazy to make a chocolate ganache, would would have been easier to eat and more chocolatey than the chocolate chips, but hey, it looks pretty! Would definitely make again.

Cookbooks [or other sources] represented in January: 8

Did I meet my goal? Yes, plus 8. Yay!

See you next month, with February’s recipe report!

sig

Categories: brunch, challenges, cookies, dessert, soup, vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Well, hello, Fall.

It’s been pretty cold around here lately. 26 in the morning. Still, I’ve always preferred cold. I’d prefer to cuddle up in blankets and turn up the heater any day over melting in rivers of sweat when it’s summertime.

I’m planning to make a potpie as my contribution to Thanksgiving dinner, so since I needed to cook up garbanzos for that anyway, I was thinking of making Isa’s cabbage soup. But I don’t have any cabbage. Then I saw a thing of red beans sitting out and thought, I WILL MAKE UP A SOUP RECIPE TODAY. I had a bunch of soup-appropriate odds and ends in my fridge, so I pulled all of them out.

Then I cast them into a pot, and there came out this soup.

soup

Start by sauteing the following in a little oil for a few minutes:
2c chopped onion
1 3/4 c chopped celery
4 cloves garlic
1T ginger, grated

Turn off heat and stir in:
3 carrots, cut however you want – I did coins
1.5 c cooked brown rice
2 c red beans
4 c garbanzo beans
8-10 c water (I did 10 but would do 8 next time, because I’m not a huge fan of broth)
2T mock chicken seasoning of choice

Bring to a boil and simmer until carrots reach desired tenderness (or lack thereof, if you’re a cooked carrot-phobe.)

Before serving, add:
1c chopped cilantro
Salt as needed

And then dig in.

sig

Categories: gluten-free, lunch, nut-free, recipes, soup, soy-free, vegan, vegetables | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Vegan Month of Food, Day 3: Company Stew

This stew, like many other recipes on this blog, is inspired by a favourite comfort food of my childhood.

One Sunday lunch we were at some friends’ to eat with them, and the lady of the house served us Company Stew. Later, whilst visiting, my mom wrote down the recipe, accidentally leaving out the “p” (she added it in afterwards) because she was busy talking while writing. So “Comany Stew” I used to always call it.

But Comany or Company, it was always a favourite. Except for the time my dad made it and put in a crazy amount of black pepper and that day it was Pepper Stew. And rather unpalatable. But usually it was amazing, and there is really nothing lovelier than coming home from church to the delicious aroma of cooking food.

My Boxcar Children stew was modelled closely after this recipe, but this time I’m trying to replicate the actual Company Stew instead of Jessie’s stew, so it’s a tad different. Because you layer the ingredients while it’s cooking, this TOTALLY COUNTS as a legit Layered Food. 🙂 While the original stew baked in the oven, I have chosen to go the crockpot route, and have found that the results are pretty good if not quite as browned as the oven method.

This took me about an hour to prepare, because I had to go pull up my own carrots and dig up my own potatoes and then scrub them down. And make my white sauce. But if you already have potatoes and carrots handy, it won’t take you near that long to prepare it.

companystew

You will need:
1 lb stew beef sub, cut in pieces (I used chopped-up beef flavoured gluten steaks)
4 large potatoes, cut in chunks
4 medium carrots, cut in chunks
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 T tapioca flour
1 1/4 c white sauce (your favourite, or you can try my white sauce)
1 1/4 c water

Put gluten in bottom of crockpot. Layer on potatoes, carrots, and onion, also raw.

Next, combine the salt and tapioca flour and sprinkle on.

Drizzle soup and water over top. Cover and cook in crockpot on high for 5 hours. Should be rich and brown when done.

Tomorrow: Mexican Lasagna!

sig

Categories: challenges, crockpot, entrees, lunch, recipes, soup, vegan, vegan mofo, vegan mofo 2013 | Tags: , , , , , | 8 Comments

Literary Post: The Boxcar Children. Jessie’s Stew.

By the end of last week, I was mostly back to normal, but here are two things that perplex me:

  • I have a massive sugar addiction.
  • I think Lou Who has a peanut allergy.

Regarding the first thing, I have such bad withdrawal symptoms if I try to just completely stop eating sugar that I’ve yet to make concentrated efforts to completely stop. I can go all morning if I need to. But then I get kind of grouchy and cranky and stuff. So I have a cookie (or two, or ten).

The solution that has worked in the past is to just stop making sweets that go into the freezer, because it’s too easy for me to run out there and grab cookies. I need to make them, take them somewhere, and make sure they don’t come back home with me. And then I’m fine. If it’s not here, I stop feeling like I have to eat it, and the withdrawal symptoms are almost nil. Interesting.

So, that being said, this week’s church potluck is getting a lot of cookies from yours truly, because there are a lot of cookies in the freezer at the moment.

As for the second thing, I have to let the rash around her mouth clear up first and then eat some peanuts again just to make sure it is indeed the peanuts and not something else. I’m bummed because peanut butter-jam sandwiches are about the best thing in the world, and I really just don’t like almond butter. It’s like tasteless paste in my mouth. Bleh. I like the crunchy, chunky, salty flavour/texture of peanut butter. So, I have to keep reminding myself: it could be worse. It could be gluten. I’ll either have to start salting my almond butter or try some other alternatives.

At any rate, it’s time for another LITERARY POST. It should have gone up last week, but I was just too stressed and didn’t have time to prepare it, so here it is today instead.

I was a huge Boxcar Children fan as a child. I read all of the 19 books in the original series, but many of the later ones I only read once. The first 6 or so were my favourites; they seemed to start repeating themselves more and more as the series went on (burning question: did Henry ever make it through college?) My all-time favourites were easily the first book, Mike’s Mystery, The Woodshed Mystery, Mountain Top Mystery, and Snowbound Mystery. I had a stuffed dog I named Jessie and always thought, “What FUN it would be to live in a BOXCAR and have to be INGENIOUSLY CREATIVE.”

No, the irony has not been lost on me.

Screen Shot 2013-04-01 at 10.24.12 PMTo me the illustrations in the first book are iconic. I’ve never seen this kind of art in any other book and always was a little sad that this (as I recall) anonymous illustrator did not continue doing the rest of the series. Does anyone know otherwise? Please correct me if I’m wrong.

At any rate, I decided to replicate the stew described in The Boxcar Children.

I didn’t use baby vegetables, although for authenticity you’re welcome to do so if you are lucky enough to have them available. For my “meat” I used some basic gluten steaks chopped up. It had been in the freezer and I just put it into the crockpot frozen, but you could thaw it first if you want to or use it fresh – or substitute whatever your preferred beef sub might be.

Note on crockpots: I used my smallish Rival crockpot that is about 10 cup capacity. If you use a larger one or smaller one, cooking times may vary, but this is what worked for that size.

Stewy stew.

Stewy stew.

Jessie’s Stew

1 lb faux meat, cut in pieces
2 large turnips, cut in chunks
4 medium carrots, cut in chunks
2-4 green onions – I used 2 because mine are huge
1 tsp salt
1 tsp beef-like seasoning of choice
1 T tapioca flour (or cornstarch)
2 1/2 c  water

Layer the faux meat and veggies in your crockpot in the order given. Sprinkle salt, beaf seasoning, and tapioca flour on top. Pour water over all.

Turn the crockpot on high and cook 5 hours. (I stirred mine just once after 3 1/2 hours).

***

Some extra notes from a literary nerd:

mental_floss has a great article mentioning Gertrude Chandler Warner.

Said article caused me to go a-Googling and this university library site has the full text and all but one illustration from the original 1924 version of “The Box-car Children”.

I’ve read it. The differences I noticed were interesting to me. The change of the surname Cordyce to Alden is understandable (Cordyce sounds SO snobbish). There are definitely details I do not remember reading before, (the drunken dad in the opening, anyone? the children’s side business selling ginseng?) A side-by-side comparison read would be good, if I had my modern copy available, which I don’t. Sometime in the future though. Anyway, it was a fun little jaunt into the past. I recommend it!

Of particular note to this blog post, the original text said Jess used parsnips, not turnips. So…. have at them parsnips if you want!

sig

Categories: book-inspired food, crockpot, entrees, lunch, recipes, soup, vegan, vegetables | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Curried Pumpkin-Acorn Squash-Carrot-Spinach Soup

Well, things have settled a little bit around here. We’re all on the mend. I’ve got a pulled muscle in my ribcage from coughing that hurts pretty badly, and I get tired easily. GooGoo still has a runny nose of epic gloppiness. But otherwise, things aren’t too bad. I spent my entire day pretty much washing laundry. I had a lot more than usual because my washer had some issues last week and Mr Pine Nut got a part just yesterday to fix the issues.

So, I not only washed clothes, but I’m working on washing all our sheets and blankets too, to rid them of the ickies from the flu. Kind of like how they burned everything in the Velveteen Rabbit, except less destructive. Tomorrow I get to wash diapers and more blankets. Woohoo.

In between loads of laundry, I made soup.

_MG_0864

This is one of those soups that was born out of an urgent need to Use Things Up. In this case, we had an acorn squash, a pumpkin, some spinach, and some carrots. I decided to make a pumpkin soup. Curried pumpkin soup sounded good. So I asked The Google and The Google found me this recipe.

Squash is generally considered more autumn-y, but I don’t care particularly. One must use what one has, even in February. This soup will kill any bacteria residing in your digestive tract and clean out your sinusi* as well as taste delicious.

I changed it a bit from the original. This is what I did.

In your soup pan, stir together:
2 c chopped green onions
1 T cocoanut oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 T grated fresh ginger
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp dried hot red pepper flakes

Saute a few minutes, until oil is melted and onions are tender.

Add:
4 c pumpkin puree
4 c water
1 1/2 c mock chicken or veggie broth
2 c diced carrots

Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let it cook about 20 minutes. Carrots should be to desired tenderness.

_MG_0863

In a separate pan, stir together:
2 T cocoanut oil
2 tsp brown mustard seeds
2-4 c packed spinach (you could also use kale or another leafy green. I used 2 cups and next time would use 4.)

Stir oil and mustard seeds together until seeds begin to pop. Add spinach and continue stirring until wilted. Add to pot of soup right before serving.

_MG_0862

Enjoy. I’m looking forward to eating the leftovers from this tomorrow.

——

*Neither of these statements have been validated by the FDA, but I am pretty sure I’m right.

sig

Categories: gluten-free, lunch, recipes, soup, soy-free, vegan, vegetables | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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