Rustic Cauliflower Potato Leek Soup (oh, and it’s vegan)

By popular demand on FB, I’m attempting to use this recipe program again. This technology stuff is super challenging for the middle-aged brain. As my dad used to say: “Speak for yourself!” This from the guy who got his first computer at the age of 75 and, while he excelled at mastering its use, he also promptly landed in various chat rooms that were wholly inappropriate for a man his age who wasn’t looking for trouble. When the person you’re chatting up asks if you’re M or F and then needs to clarify that means boy or girl because you’re just not picking up on what going on — red flag folks but no. The unsuspecting user (read: teenager) on the other end finally flat out asked my dad his age. Not to be rude, he replies. Honestly, of course. End of conversation. I suggested he stick to sending emails to his old friends (like really old) before the FBI came a knocking at his front door.

I digress. Posting photos of my food both that which is served to me and the stuff I create is just one of the many ways I entertain myself with my phone. (The other is trolling on Twitter in case you’re wondering.) So these food pics can annoy some folks. I know this because they tell me. There are those that think posting pictures of food is stupid. Personally, I think they may be a tad jealous that they either can’t cook or eat out, or both. Regardless, not my problem. And there are others who are annoyed that the recipe is not included. This post is for the latter. The former can just bugger off and post pics of whatever the hell is of interest to them. Alrighty then. Let’s try this recipe thing.

Rustic Cauliflower Potato Leek Soup (oh, and it's vegan)
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It's easy.
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Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings
4
Cook Time
30 minutes
Rustic Cauliflower Potato Leek Soup (oh, and it's vegan)
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It's easy.
Servings
4
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings
4
Cook Time
30 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
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Instructions
  1. Prep everything first.
  2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot. Sautee onion until translucent on medium to low heat. Add the veggie cubes. Keep sauteeing and stirring every so often. Add the curry. Stir it around for about a minute. Add the diced potato. Stir it up. Add the cauliflower. Stir, stir, stir. Cook for about 5-10 minutes. Add the boiling water. You can add more water later on if the soup is too thick.
  3. Let that soup boil then reduce to a simmer. Then relax. Go sip that wine, check your phone, send some texts, or whatever. Or clean up if you haven't already. Check back on that soup in about 20 minutes. You want those potatoes and cauliflower to get super mushy. Give it a little taste. Need salt? Pepper? Add it then. Christ!
  4. When it looks/tastes done, get an immersion blender if you have one (Bigi!!) or use a masher and go to town.
  5. Get a ladle, and a bowl. Serve it. Drizzle some toasted sesame seed oil. Not a lot player! The taste is potent.
  6. Add some chopped green onions and cilantro. If you like cilantro that. Some maniacs don't. I'm not judging you. (Hint: I'm totally judging you. But that shouldn't bother you. Why do you care what I think?? Relax. Drink more wine.)
  7. I'm sure I missed something. I'm sure you'll tell me. Bon appetit!
  8. Note: the reason salt is not included in the ingredient list is that the veggie cubes I use are salted. It's important to check the ingredients. Trust me. I added salt once. Just once.
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Cheddar Broccoli Bake

Cheddar Broccoli Bake
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Servings Prep Time
1-2 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1-2 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Cheddar Broccoli Bake
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Servings Prep Time
1-2 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1-2 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Boil salted water for broccoli and cook for 3 minutes. Strain and allow to cool.
  3. Melt butter in saute pan.
  4. Add sliced shallots with a sprinkle of salt and cayeene. Cook until translucent. About 4 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  5. Beat eggs in bowl and add other ingredients.
  6. Don't forget the cheese! Combine.
  7. Grease small casserole (or other) dish.
  8. Add mixture.
  9. Put in oven. Set timer for 20 minutes. Wait.
  10. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Gently separate sides and bottom using soft spatula.
  11. Plate.
  12. Eat.
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Super Easy Coconut Curry Soup

I’m not much of a recipe follower and most definitely not a recipe writer. I cook instinctively, making things up as I go along. I learned from my mother who was an amazing cook but she rarely followed a recipe. Culinary school presented a challenge since they’re not huge fans of winging it. Following recipes was hands down the most stressful part of my time at Natural Gourmet.

I’ve come to realize that my Facebook and Instagram pictures of meals I’ve prepared up are super annoying. Mostly because I’m told repeatedly. I never include recipes. Because I don’t have them. I don’t post much on this blog for that very same reason. Mind you, one of the main purposes of this blog is to post recipes that make it easier to cook health-supportive meals. It’s a problem I need to overcome so here I am.

After being asked a bunch of times yesterday for a recipe, I’ve thrown together this not so fancy or eloquent post. I’ll link out to health related information once I get this up. I just need to get this up!

Here’s the recipe for the coconut Thai soup I made last night. Please tweak it as you see fit. And since I don’t measure much, go light with the salt and taste as you go keeping in mind that the longer it cooks, the taste of the salt intensifies.

Note: I made homemade chicken broth yesterday with a small D’Artagnan organic chicken. You can use store-bought organic chicken or vegetable broth. Both work. I’ll post chicken and vegetable stock recipes at some point (hopefully!).

PS: Sorry I don’t have more photos. I’ll add them next time I make this dish.

Coconut Curry Soup
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Coconut Curry Soup
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Instructions
  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onions and cabbage. Cook for 5 minutes or so until somewhat tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add curry powder and pepper flakes. Stir for a minute or two to release flavors.
  4. Add stock and stir with wooden spoon to scrape off any brown bits that may be on the bottom or the pot. Flavorful!
  5. Add sea salt, zucchini and potatoes. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  6. Add bok choy stems and red pepper. Cook for 5 minutes.
  7. Add mushrooms, tomatoes, and bok choy greens. Cook for 5 minutes.
  8. Turn off heat.
  9. Add can of coconut milk and combine.
  10. Taste it. Need salt? Add some.
Recipe Notes

You can add a protein if you’d like. Chicken, shrimp, chickpeas or tofu all work well. I served this over brown rice noodles because my husband loves his carbs!

Once in the bowl, add the avocado slices, sprinkle some cilantro, squeeze a little lime and drizzle a little toasted sesame oil. And you’re done!

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6 Reasons to Drink This Frozen Berry Cacao Smoothie Even Though It’s Freezing Outside

Baby it’s cold outside. But it is warm up in here! The frigid outdoor temperature does not stop me from having a smoothie just about every morning. Conventional thinking would have us eating warm foods in the cold winter and cool foods in the hot summer. While intuitively this makes sense and the concept is mentally soothing, people living in super hot countries such as India and Mexico eat super spicy foods to induce sweating as a cooling off mechanism. Some believe drinking cold beverages increases metabolism. Others with digestive issues may not fare well with cold foods and beverages regardless of outdoor temperature.

Recovering from illness and a lifetime of abuse requires adjustments. Dietary direction, lifestyle choices, mental attitude, cooking techniques and food quality play critical roles. Sometimes it’s useful to turn conventional wisdom on it’s head. Personally, I don’t fare well without a protein based fruit and/or veggie morning (sometimes lunch) drink. Smoothies and all pureed foods, cold and warm, are much easier on my digestive system. Humans are all biochemically different and figuring out what works best for you is the way to go. And by that I mean health supportive for those of you looking for a loophole to make bad food choices. Behave! And yes I said bad. There are those that like to say there are no bad food choices. Yes, there are… everywhere. That’s the problem. There are good choices, not so great choices and really bad choices. Choice is the key word here.

Nutrient dense soft foods as meal options might seem unrealistic and unachievable, an arduous and labor intensive approach to eating. But, in fact, it is not. Having the right kitchen equipment and stocking key staple ingredients are critical to successful and easy soft food prep. In case you are wondering, I’m not 70 and do have all my teeth. My gut balks at labor intensive food. Don’t judge. Back to the morning smoothie. It can be anything. I know what you’re thinking: I’ll get bored. No. Stop it! Not even an issue. The options and combinations are nearly limitless. Unlike the 70s BassOMatic popularized on Saturday Night Live, you can make pretty much anything in a high quality blender. This is just one of the many smoothies recipes in my arsenal.

Today’s morning nourishment includes almond milk*, frozen mixed berries, some banana, cacao nibs, protein powder, MCT oil, vitamin C powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.

  1. Mixed Berries: Have some of the highest antioxidant levels of any fruits and are some of the most powerful (and delicious) disease-fighting foods you can eat.
  2. Raw cacao: Contains more than 300 different chemical compounds and nearly four times the antioxidant power of dark chocolate and contains protein, calcium, carotene, thiamin, riboflavin, magnesium, sulfur, flavonoids, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids as well as phytochemicals that lower LDL cholesterol, improve heart function, and reduce cancer risk.
  3. Raw Fit Protein Powder: Eating the right kinds of protein is important for energy, anti-aging, burning fat, and building muscle. Proteins, the building blocks for the body, aid in digestion, muscle tone, sleep, eyesight, skin health, wound healing and fighting off bad bacteria.
  4. Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs): MCTs are a unique form of dietary fat that is rapidly absorbed by the body and quickly metabolized as fuel. They provide a wide range of positive health benefits including enhanced energy and immunity, appetite and weight control, and prevention of atherosclerosis to name a few.
  5. Vitamin C: A very potent antioxidant, vitamin C is critical to cell health, strengthens blood vessel walls, helps wounds heal, aids tooth and bone formation, and facilitates the iron absorption in the body.
  6. Cinnamon: This delightful spice boast many health benefits including lowering/stabilizing blood sugar, mitigating muscle spasms, as well as anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

So drink up! You’ll be glad you did. I, for one, walk a lot easier when I stick to this protocol. I discovered a few years ago that I have severe cartilage degeneration in my hip from a subtle congenital deformity we (me, my parents) knew nothing about until it produced so much damage I could not walk. My smoothies include a medical food called Arthoben which is amazing. I’ll post about it separately for anyone who is interested in learning more. When I don’t follow this protocol, the pain returns with a vengeance. Exercise is also critical to force nutrients into the joints. Again, for another day.

Enjoy and eat a nice warming nutrient dense soup for lunch.

Cheers!
Tess

*You should make your own and I’ll tell you why. Use a Vitamix or blender. It’s easy. No really, it is. The hardest part is remembering to soak the almonds the night before.

Mixed Berry Cacao Smoothie
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1 hungry person 5 minutes
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Servings Prep Time
1 hungry person 5 minutes
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Mixed Berry Cacao Smoothie
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Servings Prep Time
1 hungry person 5 minutes
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Ingredients
Servings: hungry person
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  1. Place all ingredients in blender and rev it up! Drink it!
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Super Moist Chocolate Coconut Banana Bread — It’s delicious and gluten-free

Super moist and a little gooey, this chocolate coconut banana bread is so easy to make.

As I continue on my new journey experimenting with gluten free bread recipes, I’ve been playing around a bit with breads that don’t require yeast. I threw these ingredients together because I had them and thought it would be fun to see what would happen. I found millet flour in my pantry. Don’t know why or when I bought it. I read that millet flour makes cakes taste gritty so I paired it with the moist and yummy almond meal flour. I added the cocoa powder as an afterthought because chocolate makes most things taste better and complements the banana and coconut.

Chocolate Coconut Banana Bread with organic frozen yogurt and berry compote

“Can’t go wrong,” I thought and, lucky for us, it was pretty awesome.  It made for a great dessert after dinner last night. While it was still warm, I served it up with a couple of scoops of organic vanilla frozen yogurt and a blueberry/raspberry compote that I made a few days earlier. Super delicious! Also had it for breakfast this morning.  Am adding this experiment to my recipe collection.

Hope you like it too.

Ingredients:

1 cup almond meal flour
1 cup millet flour
⅓ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
⅓ cup organic cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
1 T vanilla
3 ripe bananas mashed
½ cup pure maple syrup

Procedure:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Spray medium sized bread pan.
  3. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
  5. Add wet to dry and blend completely.
  6. Pour batter into bread pan.
  7. Bake for 40 minutes. Check with a toothpick after 30 minutes. Done when toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Cool for 10-15 minutes before removing from pan.