My First Blender Soup!

Since getting my Vitamix a few months ago, I’ve used it almost daily. Mr. M has even gotten into the habit of making smoothies in the mornings – and sometime at night! We both really need to watch the DVD that came with it, though, because I think we could be using the wonder appliance a little more effectively. Regardless, I figured out how to make blender soup!

I mentioned on Facebook that Mr. M got me a sprouting kit for Easter, so we’ve been sprouting fools since. The kit comes with three sprouting trays (I’ll share more about this in an upcoming post. I keep forgetting to take photos of the growing process!), which produces a lot of sprouts! Of course, we don’t have to use all three trays at once, but Mr M has been excited to try all of the varieties that came with our sprouting sample, so he’s been sprouting all three at the same time. Generally, this isn’t a problem between our daily salads and grab-and-go bites here and there. But the last time we sprouted all three trays, our timing was off and I was left alone to eat all three! Now, don’t get me wrong, I love sprouts, but six plus cups of sprouts is a lot to get through in a couple of days! Not wanting to waste the tasty little nutrition-filled gems, I did what I do with all of my left-over produce…I threw them in the Vitamix!

I grabbed all of the fresh produce in the house and combined it with the sprouts, a little water, and some seasonings, blended until warm, and gobbled it down.

Raw Sprout Soup

2-4 c sprouts, any variety (I used mung bean, lentil, and broccoli sprouts)

2 c water

1 tomato

1 lg carrot

2 stalks celery

2 green onions

1/4 sweet bell pepper

1-2 c spinach

1/2 c parsley

Seasonings: salt, pepper, granulated garlic, oregano flakes, basil flakes, Mrs. Dash chili lime

Combine everything in a high-powered blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Continue blending until warm (if your blender allows for that), or warm slightly on the stove or in the microwave (If you’re into that). Don’t over-heat soup if you want it to remain raw. (I used a bio-therm to temp the soup so I knew it didn’t get too warm.)

I added half of a diced avocado to bowl of soup, but it sank so you can’t see it in the photo ūüėČ

I can’t wait to make more soup!


Leftover Potatoes Two Ways

Did you help stimulate the economy today? I did! But just a little. I don’t have anyone to buy gifts for, really, so I was just shopping for myself. (Mr. M and I exchange a gift or two, but we¬†usually get what we need/want/can afford when we need/want/can’t live without it throughout the year.)

After I did a little shopping (locally – bonus!), I came home¬† – hungry. This is not new, people. I often come home hungry. And when I’m hungry, I want food. Now. Not late. It’s a good thing I have a freezer full of delicious and nutritious food, hu? Woohoo! Today’s freezer find was a soup I made last week but didn’t get around to sharing with you. I actually used the main ingredient – roasted potatoes¬†– to make two recipes.

Smashed Potato and Kale Soup

2 lbs new red potatoes
4 c chopped kale
3-4 c veggie broth
1-2 c filtered water
1/2 c minced onion
3-4 cloves garlic (about 2 TBSP)
1 TBSP olive oil
Seasonings to taste: Salt, Pepper, Mrs. Dash original, dried parsley flakes, etc.

Roast potatoes at 400-425F for about an hour or until fork tender. Remove from oven and cool slighty.

In a soup pot, saute onions, garlic and kale in olive oil. Saute until kale is very wilted. Add a dash of veggie broth if pan is dry. You may also want to salt at this step to build your seasoning layers.

Smash potatoes with a hand-held potato masher. Add potatoes to soup pot along with veggie broth and water. Season to taste.

Bring soup to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until all ingredients are warmed through and/or soup achieves desired consistency. (Soup with be brothy.)

Serving Size: 3 two cup servings

Click here for nutrition information.

Smashed Potato Goodness in a Bowl

¬†I used a little oil in this recipe, which is a bit unusual for me, but I really wanted to make sure the kale was wilted. I usually use the big, flat kale, but they didn’t have any when I went to the store, so I went with the curly kind. In my opinion, the curly¬†kind is a little stronger in flavor and a little tougher in texture. The oil really helped soften the kale, but I’m sure you could accomplish the same thing with veggie broth or water. Or, if you are familiar with the curly kale, you could probably just let the heat of the soup wilt the greens. One reason I love soup is because it’s so versatile and forgiving!

After I made the soup, I still have some roasted potatoes left, and I couldn’t get the idea of potato salad out of my head. I know it’s not really the season for potato salad, but it turned out well, and it was really good beside a veggie burger.
1/2 lb roasted new red potatoes
1 c diced parsley
1 c scallions (whites & greens), cut on bias
Seasonings to taste: salt, pepper, granulated garlic, Mrs. Dash original
2 tsp brown mustard
2 tsp rice vinegar
1 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP water (or more to thin dressing)
Using left-over roasted potatoes, smash with your fingers. Add to bowl along with parsley, scallions, vinaigrette, and seasonings. Stir and refrigerate to allow flavors to meld.Serving Size: 2 servings

Naked Potato Salad

Potato Salad DressingPotato Salad all Dressed Up

Happy potato smashing!

Bean & Lentil Chili

Sundays are typically my cooking and baking days. I spend hours in the kitchen testing recipes and creating new ones – and washing an endless pile of dishes. But, after I’m done, I have enough food to get me through the week, except for breakfasts (smoothie, anyone?) and the occasional dinner or lunch I squeeze in on Monday or Tuesday, respectively.

Last Sunday, I had already prepped a bunch of veggies, made dip for the veggies (or salad dressing with a little thinning), two muffin batches, and some brownies, so I was on the fence about more cooking. I knew I had veggie burgers and a few different kinds of soup in the freeze (I love freezing left overs!), and coupled with the fresh veggies and some fruit, I knew work meals could easily be taken care of. But then we got company. We never  get company.

I can literally count on one hand the number of times we’ve had company in the year and a half I’ve lived here with Mr. M. And only one of those times, except for last Sunday, included my making food.

Anyway, back to our company. My mother-in-law stopped by on her way through the area while driving home from a traveling nursing gig she’d been doing in Montana for the past few months. (Before that, she’d been in Maine doing the same thing. Crazy!) We were happy to see her, of course; it had been over a year since either of us had seen her. She was a little surprised to see me – minus 60+ pounds. Apparently, I look a little different – ha ha.

To entice her to spend the night with us instead of staying in a hotel (like our company alone wasn’t enough – ha!), I went ahead and cooked dinner. So much for freezer meals all week ūüėČ

I’d been tossing around an idea for bean and lentil veggie burgers, which I’ll share in another post, but I’d also been craving chili. That’s unusual. I never used to like chili. I used to pick out the beans and chunky tomatoes and leave everything else when we’d have it at home, and in later years, but before I became vegetarian, obviously, I used to occasionally like Wendy’s chili. I wanted a really thick chili with a lot of flavor but not a lot of heat (I don’t do heat, in case you haven’t noticed), so I thought about adding lentils to the beans and other goodies. And why not? I could make¬†a big batch and use them twice. Score!

Bean & Lentil Chili

2 cans dark red kidney beans (about 3 cups), rinsed

2 cans mixed beans* (about 3 cups), rinsed

2 c cooked lentils (any variety except red will do – I used French or green)

1 giant jar mild or medium picante sauce or salsa (or 2 smaller jars)

1 can fire roasted tomatoes (about 1 cup)

1 c veggie broth

1 c diced onion

1 c diced carrot

1 c diced celery

1 c diced green bell pepper

4-5 cloves garlic, minced (or about 2 TBSP)

Seasonings to taste: salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder/granulated garlic, Mrs. Dash chipotle lime (my new fav!), etc.

In a large soup pot, saute onion, garlic, bell pepper, carrot, celery in a little bit of veggie broth until tender. (I put the lid on the pot to help the softening.) You may want to add some seasonings¬†here so the flavors have time to develop. Add beans, lentils, tomatoes, salsa and veggie broth. Bring soup to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover for thinner chili or leave uncovered for thicker chili. (You can also add broth to thin out your chili and make it more soup-like.) Season as you go until it’s just right. Serve once everything is heated through.

Makes 6 large servings (about two cups each)

Click here for nutrition information

* I used Kroger’s Private Select¬†Organic Tri Bean mix, but you could use any bean or bean mix you like.

Bean & Lentil Chili

And, in case you’re wondering, this chili freezes (and thaws) really well!

Frozen Chili

Chinese Noodle Soup Bowls

I saw a recipe on Rachel Ray¬†the other day that I thought would be delicious veganized: Chinese Noodle Soup Bowls. She included meat balls, which I didn’t today (veggie balls, of course), but I’m going to turn that idea into¬†a new veggie burger recipe later this week. Stay tuned!

Chinese Noodle Soup

4 c veggie broth

2 c water (or more or less depending on how soupy you want your soup)

2 stalks celery, thinly sliced

2 carrots, thinly sliced

1 bell pepper, cut into bit sized pieces

2 bunches scallions, whites diced & greens cut on bias

8 oz mushrooms, sliced

2-3 cloves garlic, sliced thin

1 inch fresh ginger, sliced thin

1 bunch greens, ribbon cut (I used chard)

1/4 c soy sauce (I used tamari)

4-8 oz thin noodles (I used 6 oz soba noodles)

Saute hard veggies (celery, carrot and bell pepper) in a little bit of broth until tender. About 10 minutes. (You could also saute in oil. I suggest sesame oil for a nice flavor kick.) Add remaining broth and desired amount of water. Add mushrooms, scallions (both whites and greens), garlic and ginger. Bring mixture to a boil. Add noodles and cook until al dente. Turn off heat or reduce to very low and add soy sauce and wilt in greens. Serve immediately.  

Click here for nutritional information.

I found the soy sauce to be enough seasoning, but you may want a kick of spice or some more salt. Also, I don’t think this soup will freeze very well because of the starch that’s released¬†from the pasta; it gives the broth a thickness reminiscent¬†of adding corn starch or arrowroot powder.¬†(This effect may not happen if you use¬† gluten-free pasta.)

I got three GIANT bowls of soup from this recipe. I’d say they’re at least two cups each (which is a lot of noodles and veggies!).

Look at all those noodles!

Vegan MoFo Day 23: Tortilla Soup

I love tortilla soup. I’ve made it a few times in the last year or so, and I made it different every time, so I’ve never shared a recipe. But this time, I wrote everything down.

Tortilla Soup

1 lg onion, diced
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 med bell pepper, chopped
4 c veggie broth
2-4 c water
1 c corn (fresh or frozen)
3 c mixed beans (pinto, black, canary, red, etc)
3 c fire roasted tomatoes
1 – 2 limes, juiced
1 bunch cilantro, minced
6 med corn tortillas, torn or cut into pieces or strips
Seasonings: salt, pepper, chili powder, cummin, chipotle powder, etc.

Saute onions, garlic, and peppers in a little bit of veggie broth in a big pot until tender. Add remaining broth and water to soup pot. Add beans, corn, tomatoes, and seasonings. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook about 20 minutes. Add tortillas and lime juice. Cook another 10+ minutes. Add cilantro before servings.

Makes 5 meal sized servings.

Tortilla Soup

I really like this recipe because it’s easy it uses corn tortillas, which I love (I’ve always preferred corn over flour) – and they aren’t fried. I avoid as much as oil as possible, in general, but especially when it’s not needed. And it’s not needed here.

Along with my giant bowl of soup, I also had a chunky guac salad. I just chunked some avocado and tossed it with a diced tomato, a couple of tablespoons of diced onion, about a tablespoon of fresh cilantro (I had a lot left over from the soup garnish.), a pinch of granulated garlic, a sprinkle of chili powder, and a couple liberal shakes of sea salt. Total deliciousness!

Chunky Quac Salad

Can you believe Vegan MOFO is nearing the end already?! There are only a few days left of the fun. Check out the blog roll and RSS feeder before it’s over!!

Vegan MOFO Day 10: Lemony Lentil Soup

Vegan MoFo is crazy, yo! I am in love with so many new blogs. I can’t keep up with them all! I need to take the next month off just to read and cook. Ha! But it’s all good. It’s great ūüėČ

To commemorate MoFo¬†Day 10, I’m sharing one of my favorite soup recipes – Lemony Lentil Soup. It reminds me of my favorite soup at my¬†favorite Lebanese¬†restaurant. Now, if I could just figure out the spice mixed they use on the Fatoosh, I’d be all set!

Lemony Lentil Soup

4 c veggie broth

2-4 c water

2 c red lentils (you really need to use red lentils for the right taste and texture)

1 sm onion, diced

3 lg carrots, diced

2 stalked celery, diced

3 lemons, zested and juiced

1-2 TBSP cummin, coriander and garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

Add veggie broth and water to a big soup pot. Add onions, carrots, and celery to broth mix. Bring to a boil. Add lentils and dry seasonings. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover pot and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring often. Add lemon zest and juice. Cook for another 10+ minutes with lid off pot, allowing soup to thicken. Stir often.

Lentils will break down into a lovely, mushy texture on their own. If you want your soup to have a smoother texture, blend or puree one-quarter to one-half of the soup and return to the pot.

Short on time? Saute the veggies in a little bit veggie broth before adding to the soup. Lentils will break down quickly and soup will be ready to eat.

Lemony Lentil Soup

Vegan MoFo Day 8: Sweet Potato, Kale & Split-Pea Soup

Vegan MoFo¬†Day 8…already! It’s crazy how fast this month is going. Then again, I think October always goes fast because it’s my favorite month of the year…and my birthday month. Woohoo! Par – tay! In a couple of weeks, I’ll begin sharing the 8 Days of Veggie V! with you. Are you getting excited yet?! Hahaha. Oh, if I were only joking ūüėČ

Mr. M and I participated in another 5k this morning. I wish I had a picture to show you, but Mr. M is camera-shy, and I forgot to ask for a solo pic. Plus, I don’t exactly look pretty on event days. I’ve never been able to pull off the headband. Regardless, I was excited to post my fast time ever¬†with¬†43+ minutes. So ya, in case you haven’t figured it out, I’m still walking/jogging. But, in my defense, I’ve only been running a few months. Fourteen is a few, right?! Hahaha. Again, I wish I were joking.

I love running. As you know, I love my treadmill. I can run for over 2 miles without walking on my treadmill. I even ran on the treadmill at the hotel last weekend when were in Tennessee. (I also spent some quality time with the elliptical machine, which I haven’t done since college.) But running outside is SO much different. It’s a lot more work! I’ve been trying to get out more, but I’m not quite comfortable being out by myself, especially super early in the morning, which is typically when I work out.

To get us ready for the big race (ha ha!), I made a crazy healthy soup last night. Although Mr. M passed on eating any, he did call it vitamin soup, which I kind of liked, but went with the more literal name anyway.

Sweet Potato, Kale & Split-Pea Soup

2 lg sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 lg bunch kale (I like the flat kind)

1 c yellow split-peas*

1 sm onion, diced

1 lg cove garlic, minced

4 c veggie broth

2 – 4 c water

Seasonings to taste (I only used a little salt and a couple cranks of pepper.)

Saute onion and garlic in a little bit of broth until translucent – about 5 minutes – in a large soup pot. Add remaining broth and desired amount of water. Add sweet potatoes, kale, and yellow split-peas. (If using pre-cooked split-peas, add to soup after potatoes are tender). Add seasonings. Bring soup to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until potatoes are tender, kale is wilted, and split-peas are al dente (or heated through if using pre-cooked) – about 20 – 30 minutes.

*Pre-cook the yellow split-peas if you want them well done because the sweet potatoes will fall apart before your split-peas are well done/mushy. Do an internet search for a method that works for you.

Sweet Potato, Kale & Split-Pea Soup

I’m sure a different legume¬†or grain would work great in this soup – or even just the sweet potatoes and kale. I originally went to the pantry for some red lentils, but decided to save them for tonight’s soup (spoiler alert!). The yellow split-peas looked so lonely all by themselves (The red lentils have tons of company from their green and brown cousins), I just had to use some. And I’m glad I did!

I have a lot more recipes to share with you this month, and, in keeping with my birthday month theme, I’m going to share a little bit more about myself and why I decided to dedicate myself to a plant-based¬†way of life. Come back for more MoFo madness!

Vegan MOFO Day 5: Vegetable Chowder

So…Vegan MOFO has been charging along, and where have I been? Apparently, not participating¬†like I’d planed ūüė¶ But I’m going to make up for it. I promise!

Before our trip to Tennessee, Mr. M and  I visited our favorite farm stand and picked up a GIANT head of cauliflower.

The Cauliflower is as Big as my Head!

One of my favorite ways to use cauliflower¬†is to make vegetable chowder. It’s a very simple recipe, and it is delicious. It’s so delicious, in fact, that we ate is so fast, I forgot to take a picture. Ooops! (I didn’t mind not having any soup left to photograph, though,¬†because Mr. M ate two bowls! That’s a huge compliment.)

Vegetable Chowder

1 lg head cauliflower

3-5 lbs potatoes (about the same volume as cauliflower)

4 – 6 c vegetable broth, water, or combo

1 med. onion, diced

3 lg carrots, diced or sliced

2 stalks celery, diced

salt, pepper, garlic powder (to taste)

Clean and chop cauliflower and potatoes to about the same size. Boil in large pot with enough water to cover vegetables. Boil until very tender. (Cover with a lid for quicker cooking.) Once tender, drain cauliflower and potatoes. Return half of mixture to large pot. Add vegetable broth and/or water. Blend mixture until smooth with immersion blender (or blend in food processor or stand blender before returning the veggies to the stove). Add reserved potato/cauliflower, carrots, celery, onion and seasonings to blended veggie mix. Bring to a boil, cover pot, reduce to a simmer, and cook until veggies are tender. Stir every 15 minutes or so.

*Sauteing the not-boiled veggies before adding them to the soup base will greatly decrease cooking time.

I’ve made a lot of different variations of this soup by adding different vegetables. I love adding broccoli, but Mr. M is weirded out by the green color because has a tendency to turn the entire mixture green. (Ooohhh….St. Patty’s Day idea?!) I’ve also had a lot of luck with adding mushrooms and minced, fresh garlic instead of garlic powder.

Side note: I haven’t had much luck freezing this soup. The cauliflower or the potatoes (I’m not sure which one) don’t thaw well and change the texture. The flavor is preserved, but I find the grainy-ness of the soup base unpleasant.

UPDATE: After I posted this yesterday, I couldn’t help but make it for dinner again. And, this time, I took a picture before we gobbled it all up ūüôā

Comfort in a Bowl