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SarahLawrenceCHHC

Spring Lentil Soup

Welcoming Spring with a warm lentil and mushroom soup.  It was 50 degrees here in New Hampshire today, but the ground is still blanketed with snow.  In the early days of a new season, we are invited to lean in.  Transitioning is often more comfortable when we work with food to aide the shift.

So, a pot of beautiful Spring Lentil Soup is in order for our family table today.  Rich with immune supportive mushrooms, this soup could be had in the depth of winter (but I would make it thicker and more hearty with the addition of white beans).  

To make it:
Heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a soup pot and saute~
1 large onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander

Add ~
1 cup each diced celery and carrot
2 cups crimini or button mushrooms, minced
1 cup green lentils
6 cups vegetable or mushroom stock

Simmer until the lentils are tender and the broth is rich... about 45 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Serve with a salad.  On our table tonight -- torn Romaine and Kale with caramelized yellow beets and maple walnuts  -- its' about the most perfect pairing.  

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Sarah Lawrence

Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Sweet Red Pepper Puree

Cauliflower is a beautiful, neutral veg.  Eat it raw or steam it and make a great mash or base for pizza crust (what?!!!).  Here, cauliflower creates a luscious, velvety soup base that’s hard to beat especially when you consider how quickly it comes together and how fabulous this cruciferous beauty is for your bod.  Cauliflower supports the body's detox system, antioxidant system, and inflammatory/anti-inflammatory system.  Why is that important?  Well, basically every major disease has roots in one or more of those systems… so, supporting them helps keep everything working properly.  That aside, cauliflower is high in Vitamins C, K and Folate; it is also fiber rich, so you’re in for some great digestive benefits to boot! [caption id="attachment_722" align="alignleft" width="640"]Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Sweet Red Pepper Puree Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Sweet Red Pepper Puree[/caption]     Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Sweet Red Pepper Puree 1 head cauliflower, leaves removed, cleaned and chopped 1 large leek, green top removed, cleaned and sliced 1 medium potato, peeled & cubed 1 cup slivered almonds or raw almonds with skins blanched off 6 cups vegetable broth 1 tsp turmeric (optional) ~ boosts anti-inflammatory benefits Put everything in a soup pot and bring to a simmer.  After 20 minutes, the veg should be soft.  Turn off the heat and let the soup cool for a few minutes.  Carefully transfer the veg and broth to your blender (in batches if necessary), and blend until smooth.  Alternatively, use a handheld immersion blender and blend it in the pot. *If your blender has difficulty making this smooth on the first go, try soaking the almonds for an hour to soften them before adding them to the soup pot next time.  The Vitamix blends them beautifully, but others may leave a grainy texture without soaking. While soup is cooking, you can make the Red Pepper Puree 1 jar roasted red peppers, drained or 3 red peppers, seeded, sliced and roasted until soft 1 tsp olive oil 1 Tbsp maple syrup salt and pepper to taste Put everything in your Vitamix or blender and whiz until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.  Transfer to a clean jar. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top with a swirl or dollop of the red pepper puree.

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Sarah Lawrence

Simple Detox Recipes ~ because I love you <3

Special Waves and Warm Welcome to all you new Blog followers!  So glad to have you here.  I can't wait to hear from you and get to know you.  Please join me over on Facebook too --- click the link on the right side of this post.  I just can't get enough of all you lovelies!  xoxo ********** So, last week I completed a 10 Day Detox with a great group of people.  I designed the Detox to be gentle by reducing stimulants like caffeine and sugar before cutting them out, then using a clean dietary approach to support the body’s natural detox pathways.  Gotta tell ya… my Detoxers were ROCKSTARS!  Most lost 4 pounds during the 10 days and one SuperStar dropped 7 pounds and was absolutely glowing.  I confess that I feel a bit guilty to have kept the 10 Day Detox on the hush, but I’m ready to share a secret with you --- (you’re truly the first to know!)  --- On March 4th I am launching my next program:  “10 Weeks to a Healthier You!”  Because I work really closely with my clients, I am only opening 15 spots in this exclusive program.  I will be accepting applications from people who are ready to make some healthy habits a reality, so if this is you, be on the lookout for an update with all the deets tomorrow.  I have great bonuses and goodies for all you Early Birds who want to jump right in!  Just think --- you can be on your way to achieving any of your New Year’s weight loss resolutions in time for Mother’s Day!  Build on the momentum of love from Valentine’s Day and give yourself this gift.  Promise I’ll be back tomorrow with more so you can get in on the goodness.  (You’re totally worth it!) Phew!  Now that I’ve let my secret slip, I feel much better!  (Here’s the song in my head --- “I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it…”)  Back to business ~ I meant to post and share the love before Valentine’s Day, but life got busy with classroom parties and lots of valentines to prepare.  I want all of you to feel the love so this post is a host of pics and recipes from the detox.   Simple meals make me happy and keep me healthy and they can do the same for you!  Foods that support detoxification are tasty, colorful and filling, but don’t take my word for it… try it yourself and let me know what you think!   Breakfast = Breaking the Fast Liquid nutrition in the form of smoothies and juices is a fabulous way to FLOOD your cells with nutritional love! Mixed Berry Blast 1 cup frozen mixed berries 1 frozen banana 3 kale leaves, stems removed A big handful or two of baby spinach, washed (go for two cause you're a rockstar!) 1 - 1½ cups almond milk Put everything in the Vitamix or blender and whiz 050until quite smooth. My Beeting Heart Juice 1 large organic beet, scrubbed 1 large organic cucumber 3 kale leaves, stems removed 6 swiss chard leaves, stems removed 3 large carrots, peeled 1 red apple Cut all the veg in pieces that will fit in your juicer.  Juice according to your juicers directions or blend in a Vitamix and strain using a nutmilk bag or several layers of cheesecloth. [caption id="attachment_706" align="alignleft" width="256"]Juice shots for my boys and the pint glass for me! Juice shots for my boys and the pint glass for me![/caption]   043 [caption id="attachment_705" align="alignright" width="300"]Juicy Smiles from my 6 year old! Juicy Smiles from my 6 year old![/caption] Mid-day and Evening Meals Go for 80% raw and 20 % cooked whole foods for your lunch and dinner meals.  Raw foods provide live enzymes and accessible nutrients.  Cooked whole foods provide the comfort of warmth and variety in texture. Simple Salad for 4 8 cups of mixed salad greens (mesculin greens, kale, romaine, spinach, chard, frisee, red or green leaf lettuce, butter lettuce, endive, mustard greens, beet greens, dandelion greens) 4 cup diced veg of your choice (tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, red or green onion, celery, carrot, mushroom, beet) 1 diced avocado 1/4 cup of hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds or sesame seeds ¼ cup chopped cashew, almond or brazil nuts ¼ cup fresh herbs (dill, basil, cilantro, parsley, mix of thyme/oregano, mint) 2 cups mixed fresh fruit (optional, but great for variety) The possibilities with salad are never ending.  I use a variety of greens for lots of color and texture. Family Friendly tips: 
  1. Let you kids choose the veggies and fruits for the salad. 
  2. Once your greens are washed have your kiddos tear the leaves into fork friendly pieces.
  3. Fill it up!  We have a large oval platter that is great for serving salad family style.  How much salad do you need?  It is really easy to judge once you’ve served salad family style a few times because you will be able to eye-ball it based on your experience.  I know that if we fill up the platter with greens, pile on the veg and add the toppings that the whole thing will go… so all I need to say is “Fill it up” and my people can have fun while practicing a healthy habit.
  4. Let your kids serve themselves if they are old enough to manage a fork.  It’s a life skill.  I find that my kids take what they need and it’s usually more than I would have put on their plates. 
  5. Pour on the props!  Praising the kiddos (and any reluctant adults at the table) is a great way to ensure that they will feel good about making healthy choices.  Praise builds confidence, so when they try a new combo, give them credit and ask them how things taste and if they would make the same salad again.
*** Just think, it’s as easy as P-I-E ~ Praise Involve Encourage! [caption id="attachment_704" align="alignleft" width="640"]Simple Salad for 4 Simple Salad for 4[/caption] [caption id="attachment_711" align="alignleft" width="640"]Simple Salad for 4 with Beet Hearts and berries Simple Salad for 4 with Beet Hearts and berries[/caption] Raw Bowl with Beans 1 cup raw mushrooms, sliced 2 cups kale or spinach, stems removed and leaves sliced into strips ¾ cup raw sauerkraut (homemade or one like Bubbies) 1 cup cooked beans of your choice (homemade is great; no sugar if using canned beans) 040 Triple Nut Veg Burger 1 large onion, quartered 2 stalks celery, quartered 1 clove garlic 1/2 cup almonds 1/2 cup cashews 1/2 cup walnuts ½ cup hemp seeds 1 bunch parsley, stems removed 2 slices gluten free, dairy free millet bread or GFV breadcrumbs ¼ cup nutritional yeast 1/2 tsp sea salt ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper 1/3 cup lemon juice ½ cup white beans (optional, makes patties a firmer texture) Put onion, celery, garlic, nuts, seeds and parsley into your food processor and pulse until everything is fine but not a paste.  Tear the GFV bread into pieces or add the breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper and pulse again.  Add lemon juice a little at a time to get the mixture to a consistency that you can shape into patties. Heat a cast iron skillet (or your favorite skillet) and place ½ cup size patties on until one side is golden, then flip.  Serve. An alternative to cooking these bad boys is to shape them and pop them into your dehydrator.  The flavor remains bright and the texture becomes much firmer than what you get in the skillet, even with the bean option.  I like the non bean burger, dehydrated and crumbled into lettuce leaves with salsa for a tasty taco like yum. ***Depending on the size of your veggies you should get at least 6 patties, likely a few more. [caption id="attachment_712" align="alignleft" width="640"]Triple Nut Veg Burger Triple Nut Veg Burger[/caption] Tomato Vegetable Soup  ~ you may want to double this one and freeze half 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 1 cup chopped red onion ¼ teaspoon sea salt 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 cup shredded carrot 1 cup chopped celery 1 24-ounce jar diced tomatoes or 2 lbs fresh tomatoes, diced 5 cups low-sodium vegetable stock (gluten free) 2 cups cooked white beans, drained and rinsed ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper ½ tsp cayenne, chipotle or smoked paprika (optional) fresh parsley leaves, garnish Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat.  Add garlic and onion and sauté for a few minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.  Cover and cook for 15 minutes.  Sprinkle with parsley just before serving. 026

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Sarah Lawrence

Tomato Soup, Onion Style

Soup is easily one of my favorite foods. Two superstars : tomato soup and french onion soup, for sure! With my pantry and cupboards lacking veg broth, I figured it might be worth a try to make Tomato soup, onion style.... (go ahead and let PSY's "Gangnam Style" be the soundtrack for this post if you must! Anyway, it couldn't be easier to make (& you can even dance while you do it!) Start with equal parts diced tomato and sliced onion. In a large pot, heat a tbsp of veg butter or your favorite mild oil. Add onion and cook over gentle heat until onions are golden and fragrant. For me and my pot, this took about 20 minutes. Add the tomato and an equal amount of water... I used 4 cups tomato, 4 cups onion and 4 cups water. Simmer until tomato has broken down. Then puree with an immersion blender or cool and puree in your Vitamix or regular blender. If the soup is too thick, just add a bit more water to get it where you want. The thickness makes it versatile though, so don't instantly go for the water. Consider using it as a sauce for red lentils (stir in a bit of coconut milk and curry powder). As a soup goes, it has the rich oniony base and robust tomato goodness. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add torn basil for a treat. Throw in cooked rice for a hearty bowl (like I did for lunch). image Enjoy!

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Sarah Lawrence

Easter 2012 – our best (and easiest) Gluten Free Vegan Feast ever!

[caption id="attachment_553" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Easter 2012"]Easter 2012[/caption] I really wish you could have been here today to SMELL our Easter Feast cooking.  Have you ever had one of those proud moments where you are outside and you smell something amazing and think to yourself, "I'd love to taste THAT!"  --- it's that kind of smell that totally makes you jealous, unless it's coming from your house... your kitchen... and then you just feel proud!  Yup, I had that moment today.  I think you're going to love me for experimenting with socca today (if you don't already love me!)  Maybe you think it's wrong to experiment with food on a holiday, but I'm always game.  Becuase I've been on a socca kick lately, I figured that socca works so beautifully when it's thin that it might work beautifully as a binder in a thick pie/kind of quiche form... and I am beside myself with glee because it does and it does so in an amazing, dare I say, incredible way!   I wanted something like Spanikopita, so I used kale for a base of greens and artichoke for that feta-like saltiness.  This is one basic idea that I can't wait to play with using other greens and flavor combinations.  What will you try? What's even better than a meal that tastes great?  -- A meal that's also easy to prepare.  No slaving in the kitchen for this cook today! I turned on the oven, spent about 20 minutes prepping veggies and then enjoyed time with my family for an hour while things cooked.  Easy enough for any night of the week and PERFECT for leftovers!  Try them and let me know what you think!    Mesculin Greens with Beets, Grapefruit and Toasted Pecans  - Fill salad bowl with greens, top with diced beet (ours were peeled, raw); slice grapefruit in half and cut out the segments, then squeeze rind to lightly splash greens with the grapefruit juice; top with toasted pecans (I toasted ours in a dab of coconut oil and sprinkled with a pinch of coconut sugar and a pinch of salt). Butternut Squash Soup  -- Peel and de-seed 1 butternut squash (or cheat and buy peeled squash at the market like I did this time!); Dice about 1 cup of sweet onion.  Add squash and onion to a soup pot and add 8 cups of water.  Add 1 tsp salt, heaping tsp pepper, a few cloves of garlic, 1 tsp cumin.  Boil for 20 minutes.  Cool.  Puree in blender.  Reheat and serve. Kale and Artichoke Socca Pie -- Wash and chop 1 lb kale.  Dice 1 cup onion.  Mince 3 cloves garlic.  Add to hot skillet and sauté until veggies are soft.  Season with rosemary, nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in ¾ cup chopped artichoke hearts. -- Combine 2 cups chickpea flour, 2 cups water, juice of 1 lemon. -- lightly oil/spray an 8 inch springform pan.  Pour enough batter to coat bottom, then add half veg mixture, top with batter, add remaining veg and top with remaining batter.  Lightly mix using a fork… it’s more like moving the veg to the side so the batter can penetrate. -- bake in 400 F oven for 50-60 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in center comes out clean. Roasted Veggies -- Clean and chop veggies into bite sized pieces.  I used carrots, potato and onion.  Add 1 tsp coconut oil and stir to coat.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast in 400 F oven with the Socca Pie for 1 hour.  Toss with fresh dill before serving.

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creativecalligraphy

It's all in a day...

It's been a tasty day here.  Unfortunately, my 8 year old had a rough night of tummy trouble after having some dairy products at school yesterday and so was home taking it easy.  I needed to keep things fresh, mild and mostly raw for him since his stomach was tender.  Easy to do.  Nourishing and light for the rest of us.  Hope you enjoy the 2 smoothies, soup, spring rolls and sorbet that I made today. I made this smoothie for my 8 year old and his tender tummy: Creamy Banana Coconut Smoothie (serves 1) 1 banana ½ cup coconut milk ½ cup almond milk 1 Tbsp chia seeds 1 Tbsp lucuma powder, optional Blend everything in the Vitamix until smooth.  Serve. ************************************************** This one was for me and my 5 year old: Creamy Chocolate Cherry Goji Berry Smoothie Creamy Chocolate Cherry Goji Berry Smoothie (serves 2) 3 bananas 1 cup almond milk 1 Tbsp cocoa powder 2 Tbsp chia seeds 1 tsp vanilla powder 1 cup frozen cherries ½ soaked goji berries 3 cups raw baby spinach Blend everything in the Vitamix until smooth.  Serve. ************************************************** Lunch was a mild miso soup:Miso Happy Kale Soup Miso Happy Kale Soup (Serves 4) ~ 15 minutes ~ With miso in your fridge you can have a richly flavorful, light soup in minutes.  White miso is very mild and my kids love it.  Millet miso is a bit heartier.  Choose a miso paste that you love and you can’t go wrong… 1 onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 carrot, thinly sliced 1 cup torn kale 4 cups water 3 Tbsp miso paste Put all ingredients except the miso into a small pot and get things simmering.  Let the pot go for 10 minutes then shut off the heat and stir in the miso paste.  Make sure you stir until the paste works into the soup so no one gets a clump of salty miso.  Serve with a salad of mixed greens, thinly sliced cucumber and a splash of rice vinegar.  ************************************************** Dinner took a little time to prep tonight, but it worked out because my guys were needing a bit of cuddle time.  While the tofu marinated I had quality time with my family.  Doesn't get better than that.  One note about the tofu is that it is a bit salty because of the Braggs in the marinade, but it works with the sweet raw veggies and bite of chili and garlicky goodness in the dipping sauce.  My 8 year old chose not to use the dipping sauce because of the chilis.  I added a slice of avocado to his spring roll to cut the saltiness and give his recovering system some healthy fat. Spring Rolls with Curried Tofu (Serves 4 as a main dish with salad) ~ ready in about 1 hour and 30 minutes, including time to marinate tofu ~ Spring Rolls with Curried TofuThis is a light and tasty meal for a warm evening.  If you don’t have time to make your own curried tofu you can purchase a flavored baked tofu instead.  Using purchased tofu will save you more than an hour in the kitchen, so if you’re short on time, it’s a decent option.  Alternatively, prep the tofu a day or more in advance.  Doing this will allow you to pull out the cold tofu, put the veg into the wraps and be good to go in a matter of minutes. Curried Tofu: 1 block extra firm tofu, sliced into 3 slabs and then each slab into 3 pieces 3 cloves garlic, minced 5 Tbsp Braggs 1 Tbsp sesame oil 2 Tbsp curry powder Wraps: lettuces or greens of your choice thai basil cucumber carrot avocado (optional) rice paper wrappers Dipping Sauce: 2 garlic cloves, finely minced 1 thai chili 1/2 lime, squeezed 1 medool date, pitted 1 teaspoon rice vinegar 1/4 cup braggs or tamari 1/4 cup water Let’s start by prepping the marinade for the tofu since the tofu needs to sit a while to absorb some gorgeous flavors.  In a large ziplock bag, combine 3 cloves of minced garlic, the Braggs, sesame oil and curry powder.  I use Spice Island hot curry powder which contains chilies… so our curried tofu sucks in a big kick of spicy flavor.  Use your favorite and adjust the spice level to suit your taste.   Give the bag a little squish to combine the ingredients then place your tofu slices into the bag, seal it and set it in the fridge for about an hour or up to a day.  The longer the tofu sits, the more marinade it will absorb. While the tofu is marinating, prep the dipping sauce.  The longer this mixture sits, the better the flavor becomes, so it’s a natural next step.  I like to pound the garlic, chili and date in my mortar and pestle to get a paste.  You can mince these ingredients super fine and then work them into a paste on your cutting board using the back of a large spoon if you don’t have a mortar and pestle.  Combine all of the dipping sauce ingredients in a small bowl and let them marry while we wait for the tofu. When the tofu is done marinating take it out of the fridge.  Pull out your skillet and give it a spray or swirl of cooking oil, get that hot and place the tofu slices right on in.  This should take no more than 3 minutes per side to get a nice golden color on the tofu.  The curry powder helps things a lot as well because of the beautiful golden turmeric.  Flip the slices and let the other side crisp up.  Now remove the slices to clean paper towel so we can drain off any excess oil and let the slices cool at the same time. Once the tofu has cooled we can assemble to wraps.  This step is really quick if you have your ingredients ready.  I often let my kids assemble theirs because it’s easy and fun and kids are more likely to eat something that they’ve made themselves! I set out a 9x13 glass baking pan with about ½ inch of warm water in it.  Next to this I lay out a clean linen dish towel that I’ve wet and wrung out so it’s just damp.  Slide one rice paper wrapper into the warm water and let it soak for about 5 seconds before removing it carefully and laying it on the damp towel.  Layer some lettuce, cucumber slices and shredded carrot, then top with a slice of cooled curried tofu and a sprig of thai basil.  Bring the bottom edge up over the filling, fold in the sides like you would a burrito, then roll her up!  Move on to the next one and continue until you are out of tofu or until you’ve made as many spring rolls as you’d like.  The curried tofu makes an excellent sandwich filling and is also great diced up and tossed on salad greens.  So, if you are making only one or two spring rolls tonight, don’t worry about the leftover tofu!   Heck, invite me over and let’s have lunch! Serve with the bowl of dipping sauce, some fresh veg, and a light salad for a complete meal.  Serve them on their own for a light lunch or snack. ************************************************** Our cool and refreshing dessert. Creamy Pineapple Sorbet Creamy Pineapple Sorbet (Serves 4) 2 ripe bananas 4 cups frozen pineapple (1 lb bag from your freezer section) ¼ cup coconut milk shaved coconut for garnish, optional fresh raspberries, optional Put everything in the Vitamix, other high powered blender or your food processor and blend until smooth.  The advantage of using the vitamix is that you can use the tamper to push the fruit into the blades for a super quick blend.  I’m done with this guy in 30 seconds using the Vitamix.  If you’re using another appliance, you may need to stop and stir to get chunks of the fruit to blend.  If the mix gets too soft after blending just pop it in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm it up before serving. Top with shaved coconut and raspberries and serve!

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When life takes over, make soup!

[caption id="attachment_326" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Vegan Corn Chowder"]Vegan Corn Chowder[/caption] Holy smokes!  Things have been CRAZY busy around here!  I've been cooking up a storm and writing down these recipes, but I am stunned that this is the first time in over a month that I've been able to sit down and type!  Wow.  Kind of a bummer.  But I am happy to have the time and I think you'll love this soup. Here is my recipe for garlicky, smoky, silky smooth vegan corn chowder.  You can add small diced potato if you want that extra element of a traditional chowder.  On the night I made this I didn't have the time to peel and cube potato.  I went with it and really put the pressure on the amazing cashew to work for me here.  The result is a super creamy, very satisfying vegan chowder.  Yum! Vegan Corn Chowder 1 tsp olive oil 1 onion, minced 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced 4 stalks organic celery, minced 1 lb frozen organic corn kernals 3 Tbsp ground cumin ½ tsp ground pepper Dash of sea salt ½ cup nutritional yeast 8 cups water 1 cup raw cashews fresh parsley and rosemary or herbs of your choice, minced 1/2 organic lemon, juiced Heat the oil in a large soup pot.  Saute your garlic, onion and celery for about 5 minutes over medium heat until they just start to soften but are not browning.  Toss in the cumin and stir to coat the veg.  Cook for another minute until the cumin is very fragrant.  Pour in the corn, salt and pepper and cover with the water.  Raise the heat to medium high and let the pot come up to a boil.  We want to simmer the soup for 15-20 minutes.  Now for the magic… Ladle out about 2 cups of the soup into your high powered blender (I use a Vitamix).  Add the nutritional yeast and the raw cashews.  Process on low for a few seconds, then bump into overdrive and whiz until the cashews are completely blended and the liquid is silky.  Once you have this liquid perfection go ahead and pour it slowly into the soup pot.  You’re going to want to scrape the sides of the blender with a spatula to get out all of that creamy goodness.  Trust me.  Stir everything together and let the cashew cream warm into the soup.  Add in the lemon juice and stir after the pot has been removed from the heat.  Taste and adjust the seasoning if need be.  Top your finished soup with the fresh minced herbs to brighten the bowls.  Serve and swoon over each spoonful!

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Smoky Black Bean Soup (gluten free vegan)

From me to you on an icy NH day.  This soup can be made in your crockpot too if you don't want to mind the stove.  Soak your beans overnight or using the quick method (or cheat and use 3-4 big cans(I'm guessing) of black beans, drained and rinsed) and then put everything into the old faithful to simmer away all day.  You will be richly rewarded no matter which way you do it.  Top with diced raw tomato, pepper, avocado, tomatillo, scallions cilantro and salsa.  If you want to indulge, add a spoonful of tofutti sour cream and a sprinkle of daiya shredded cheddar! The smoky flavor comes from the cumin and smoked paprika.  If you want to go all out with the smoky rich flavor you can char your onions on a grill before adding them to the pot.  I find that the spices and the chipotle in adobo do the trick, but you can take it as far as you'd like! A tip or two:
  • To stretch this soup you can also make a pot of rice and serve a ladle of soup with a bowl of rice and the chopped veggies of your choice. 
  • Leftovers can be frozen in small amounts and added to a pot of minestrone or tomato soup to make a savory base.
 
 
[caption id="attachment_303" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Smoky Black Bean Soup"]Smoky Black Bean Soup[/caption]   Smoky Black Bean Soup 3 cups dry black beans (about 1 lb), soaked overnight 1 Tbsp olive oil 6 celery stalks 6 carrots 6 cloves garlic 2 large onions 10 cups water + 6 Tbsp broth powder or use your favorite broth in place of the water/powder 1 piece of dried kombu (optional) 2 Tbsp ground cumin 2 Tbsp smoked paprika 1 chipotle with 1 tsp adobo sauce or 2 tsp chipotle powder (more or less to suit your taste) Salt and Pepper to taste Pick over your dry beans and pull out any debris or pesky pebbles. Place the beans in a big soup pot, cover with a few inches of water and soak them overnight. If you’re short on time, bring your bean pot to a boil for 10 minutes then shut it off and let the beans soak for an hour at least before continuing.  Drain the soaked beans and discard the soaking water. While your beans are in the colander draining let’s work on the base of the soup. Working in batches using your food processor or your big kitchen knife, get the celery, carrots, garlic and onion to a mince.  I do each veg separately because my food processor is on the small side.  Plus, for whatever reason, I like sautéing my onions before the rest of the veg, so it makes sense in my mind to keep the veggies separate at this point. Heat your oil in the soup pot over medium heat.  Saute the onion until it is softened and golden. Stir in the spices along with the chipotle and adobo and let them go for a few minutes with the onions until everything is smelling amazing!  Add in the other minced veg, stir and cook for another minute.  We are looking to build that incredible glaze on the bottom of the pan really; that caramelized layer adds a lot of flavor and we want it to work for us!  The veg will cook along with the beans, so don’t worry about them.  Just stir them so nothing burns. Add the soaked beans, kombu, water and broth powder.  Kombu is a variety of seaweed which improves the digestibility of beans.  You can remove it when the beans are cooked or incorporate it into the soup.  Increase the heat and bring everything to a boil for 15 minutes.  Reduce the heat so we’re just at a slow simmer, cover the pot and leave it for about 90 minutes.  We aren’t cooking the beans to a soft oblivion today, we’re aiming for a bit of bite.  Pull out the kombu if you can find it, otherwise it will be blended into the soup yielding a little nutrition and a pinch of salty flavor (1 piece of kombu in this size pot will barely be noticeable if you puree it in). At this point, turn off the heat and let the soup cool for a few minutes.  We will be pureeing the mixture to yield a smooth bean soup.  If you’d rather not, then stop here, taste and adjust your seasoning before serving.  In my house, we like this soup mostly smooth with some whole black beans and then toppings of diced raw tomato, scallions, avocado, salsa, etc.  So once the soup has cooled a bit I reserve about 2 cups of cooked black beans in a bowl and then I ladle the rest in batches into the Vitamix blender and puree it.    This requires one big bowl on the side of the blender to hold the puree while I work through the non-pureed soup from the pot.  Then I put the pureed soup back into the pot, toss in the reserved beans and stir.  If the soup is too thick for your tastes go ahead and thin it with water or broth until you get a consistency you like.  If I need to heat it to serving temp, now’s the time.  Otherwise it is ready to be put in the fridge or freezer for a later meal.  The great part about this soup is that unlike dairy based soups this freezes really well and doesn’t break.  The flavor improves on day 2 and 3.  I tend to go mild on the chipotle favoring the addition of salsa or chiles by each soup eater.  It’s easier for me and my husband to make our bowls spicier rather than asking our kids to take the heat!

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Garlic Lentil Immune Boost Soup

Seems like everyone and their mother has the sniffles and sneezes these January days.  Truth be told, I woke up this morning knowing that my body is fighting off some little germ.  I eat really minimally when I'm not feeling 100%.  I like to give my body the opportunity to focus energy on healing and strengthening my immune system rather than on digesting.  Ever wonder why we lose our hunger when we're sick?  It's a signal to hunker down and rest so we can regain balance.  Dr. Joel Fuhrman goes into this topic in his book Fasting and Eating for Health.  Fasting is really misunderstood in the Western world.  As with all of Dr. Fuhrman's books, I think that this should be required reading for anyone interested in healthy living and anyone interested in researching ways to approach balanced health without  having to rely on drugs and remedies that attempt to hide the symptoms of disease rather than promoting resolution at the source of the disease. Right, enough of that for the minute.  I really want to share this soup recipe with you because it is an example of something that we can do to support our health in a simple nutrient dense way.  Whats even better is that this is a hearty, earthy soup that we can serve anytime. Why these ingredients?  Well, what I've learned over the years is that there are some super immune boosting foods that are truly helpful when we're battling the old cold.  Most of the players in this pot should be familiar to you.  The newbie is likely astragalus or milk vetch.  The root is the part of this plant that we're interested in using.  It is popular in Chinese herbal medicine and is known for its ability to stimulate immune function and fighting infection... respiratory infection in particular (the main reason I'm using it in this pot of soup.)  I also use it to make tea and sprinkle on things that can take a little earthy dust.  On it's own, you'll find it to be a pale greenish powder that is a little bit sweet and a little bit earthy.  I encourage you to research herbs before you use them.  If in doubt about herb safety for you and your health situation, please connect with an herbalist or practitioner who can advise you specifically. Garlic and onion are also known for stimulating white blood cells and boosting immune function.  The reason I went a bit wild with the garlic in this soup is because of the immune focus.  If you're not fighting off a sickness and want to cut back on the garlic you can adjust to suit your tastes.  I'll say that my 2 little boys each had 2nd helpings of this garlicky version... so you should know that the garlic isn't at all offensive or sharp. Millet is rich in vitamin E.  The carrots, squash and kale bring beta carotene goodness.  Lentils add zinc.  All in all, we're talking about a pot of good for us goodness here. Immune boosting Garlic Lentil Soup Garlic Lentil Soup 1 onion, diced 6 cloves of garlic, rough chopped 2 celery stalks, finely chopped 3 carrots, rough chunked 1 lb butternut squash, diced (if you can’t get fresh squash try frozen!) 1 Tbsp astragalus (mountain rose herbs is where I get my bulk herbs) 4 leaves kale 1/2 cup brown lentils ½ cup millet 3 cups cooked white beans (homemade or 1 large can, rinsed and drained) 8 cups water or homemade stock 1 tablespoon miso (I like Golden Millet Miso) salt and pepper to taste What you need: stock pot; Vitamix, food processor, stick blender or elbow grease! Let’s start by get our foundational flavors in the pot.  Saute your onion, garlic and celery in a bit of the broth until tender and fragrant. While that’s working for you, add the carrots, squash, astragalus powder and kale to your vitamix or food processor with a few cups of broth.  Whiz these guys until smooth.  If you don’t have a machine that can do this using raw veg my recommendation is to cook the carrots, squash and kale in the broth in a separate pot until they are soft, then puree with a stick blender of mash well with a fork or potato masher and then add to the onions, garlic and celery. Once the veggies are pureed we’re going to add them to the onions, garlic and celery.  The puree is an earthy color that is a greeny orangey brown.  It’s not going to win a beauty pagent, but it is going to taste good! Let’s stir in the lentils, millet, beans and remaining stock.  Once everyone is in the pot, cover and simmer for about 35 minutes until the lentils are cooked but not mushy. To finish things up, you’re going to take about ½ cup of the hot soup out of the pot and put it in a small bowl with the miso paste.  Mix the paste into the soup until it is well incorporated, then add the miso and soup mixture into the soup pot and stir to combine.  Before serving, taste the soup and adjust seasoning as needed with a bit of salt and pepper.

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Spicy Raw Tomato Sauce, Act 3

Have I mentioned how much I like a good leftover?  I'm not joking.  Today I am looking at the 3rd and final act for the batch of Spicy Raw Tomato Sauce that I made the other day.  I'm thinking of using it as a soup base, though the idea of adding a bit of this workhorse into some white bean puree for a spicy white bean dip is weighing on my mind. Since we have a snow storm on the way I am declaring the soup idea the winner!  Having a pot of soup on hand is a good thing when snow is a-comin!  In the event that we need to get all frontier minded and hunker down, I know that I can reheat soup in the cast iron pot on the wood stove (and I swear it will taste 10 times better coming out of that pot than anything else!)
 
Here we go:
Act 3 Soup
(makes about 8 big bowls of soup)Act 3 soup, thick with rice and lentil
2.5 cups Raw Spicy Tomato Sauce 12 cups water 2 cups brown rice (not cooked) 1/2 cup brown lentils (not cooked) 2 tsp ground cumin 3 Tbsp broth powder    1 tsp sea salt 1 tsp black pepper 1 Tbsp tomato paste Add all ingredients into at least a 4 quart stockpot (you want to have enough room to stir without sloshing!)  Simmer over medium heat for one hour or until the rice and lentils are cooked.  Easy peasy! The rice takes on a golden tint from the turmeric in the tomato sauce.  There is still a hint of ginger while the rest of the spices and the onion make just a nice savory vegetable soup base.  Add in's could be anything from carrots and celery to more tomato or leftover beans.  Think minestrone, think vegetable soup.  If you have meat eaters, you could add in leftover chicken for a lightly spiced chicken vegetable soup.  Adjust the seasonings to suit your taste, try a bit more broth powder or salt and pepper.  Top each bowl with minced cilantro or a swirl of coconut milk if you want to get fancy. The beauty of cooking this way is that we waste very little.  I like to call  cooking it by the seat of your pants.  In the same way that aviators are said to "fly by the seat of their pants" aka without a flight plan, instruments, radio, etc., so can we cook!  We can be culinary renegades, working without the guidance of a cookbook, leaving Food TV behind!  I cook this way all the time, and, only occasionally do I have something crash and burn. It just so happens that I had something bite the dust last night.  I love rice paper wrappers and have tried to use them in a few different ways... so far, the only successful way I've found is to rehydrate them and use them as fresh wrappers for raw spring rolls.  I sure want them to be able to do more though... yes, I do!  So, the little experiment that I did last night involved rice paper wrappers and steam.  I now know that those two things don't mix, but it took a solid try to figure out because nobody tells you these things... well, I'm telling you now, but no one told me! Anyway, the sad story is that I made a handful of these fresh rolls in a sort of dumpling style and purse style and in the traditional roll.  I prepped my steamer basket and had my shallow water at a low boil.  The perfect steam environment was within my grasp!  A little oil on the steamer to prevent sticking (so I thought) and away I went.  The lid shut on the steming pan, I began to smell the little goodies.  My children even commented how nice things were smelling in the kitchen.  We were all getting a bit excited and, truth be told, you could have caught any one of us wiping a little drool from the corner of our mouths as we salivated like hungry wolves near the fragrant pan.  A few minutes passed and I removed the lid.... and along with it came a few of the rolls because the rice paper stuck like glue to the lid... and I thought I could rescue the few that were still laying there in tact... so I got the tongs and went right in there with confidence... until I found the plump shiny parcels completely and totally glued to the steamer basket.  It was a steamer basket casket and it was a sad sad sight.  I share this with you because it's important to validate that trying and experimenting is worthwhile even when you fail.  Without the failures we can't find our way to the successes.  For me, the key is not taking anything too seriously in the kitchen.  

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