Original Recipe: Heart-Warming Fall Veggie Soup

Hi, friends!

I’ll start by, as always, apologizing for the delay in posting. My, how time flies! I have this ongoing list of great blog post ideas, and I need to start crossing it off. I’m the worst procrastinator.

I couldn’t wait to share this soup with you, so it had to be first. I’m excited about it for two reasons: 1) here in Virginia it’s PERFECT soup weather, so I crave it constantly and 2) my improvised on-the-spot recipe came out really, really good.  Soup is a filling yet typically lower calorie meal choice, making it ideal if you’re watching your weight or trying to eat “clean.” A good soup should have lean protein, preferably some type of beans, and lots, and lots, and LOTS of veggies — like this one!

I’ll get to the point (and likely why you’re here) — the recipe! This is ridiculously easy and a fantastic way to clean out that crisper drawer. Feel free to experiment using other assortments of vegetables, depending on what you have available.

Start with your veggie line-up. The amount used here made about 10 cups of soup, enough for at least a week’s worth of lunches.

Turnips, carrots, and kale, oh my!

Turnips, carrots, and kale, oh my!

  1. Chop into cubes: 1 large Yukon gold potato, 2 turnips. Place in crockpot.
  2. Make a mirepoix: Finely chop 1 carrot, 1 stalk celery, 1/2 an onion, 2 cloves garlic. Saute in 1 Tbsp olive oil for 3-4 minutes or until beginning to soften. Add to crockpot.
  3. Pour in: 1 quart unsalted vegetable broth, 1 cup water, and 2 cans chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
  4. Season: black pepper, pinch of sea salt, 2 bay leaves, 2 tsp oregano (or use 1 drop Young Living Oregano essential oil)
  5. Turn crockpot to high and let it do its thing for the next 3 hours.
    Get it cookin'!

    Get it cookin’!

     

  6. Using an immersion blender, puree some of the chunks of soup. (I just pushed some of the potatoes/turnips/chick peas to the bottom and then turn the blade on. Do this maybe 6 times.) This gives great texture to the soup.
  7. Rinse and chop 1 large bunch of kale. Throw the stems in there too — they’ll soften right up!
  8. Turn crockpot down to low; add kale. Cook another 30 minutes or so until the kale is softened but still green.Almost done...
  9. Done! Portion out into individual glass containers, or transfer to a large one with a lid. I split this batch up so I could take some for lunch the next day. Will last a good week in the fridge. Whatever you don’t eat, freeze! 20161120_205031There you have it. I’ll be making this one again, for sure! Look for more blogs coming soon. Up next: Healthy holiday dishes! Stay tuned!

Original Recipe: Butternut Squash Mac n’Cheese

Pasta is a well-known vice of mine, and macaroni and cheese was a particular comfort food for me growing up. Because dairy just does not agree with me and no dish is worth the stomach pains, I had to find another way to enjoy this childhood favorite. I’ve come across many of these recipes using butternut squash, but I like to play around until I come up with my idea of perfection. The sauce is creamy, cheezy, and satisfying, (with a “z” to distinguish from ACTUAL cheese), and truly is the ultimate comfort food. We had a bout of extremely cold, windy, wintry weather this weekend, and I made this Friday night in a desperate attempt to warm my bones. It worked! I think you’ll find it quite effective too.

Also, this recipe is a great way to sneak in some extra veggies. I add some of this into my hubby’s “real” mac n’ cheese — it allows me to use less butter and milk and therefore cuts the fat significantly. He doesn’t seem to notice 😉

This recipe takes a little preparation, so I recommend making the cashew cheeze ahead of time. (I pretty much always have a batch made — it’s so versatile!) Otherwise it takes less then 30 minutes to prepare. So, without further ado:

Butternut Squash Penne & Cheeze

Serves 3-4 (depending on who you’re feeding — I have a 16-year-old son, so this only feeds the two of us!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 1/2 box penne pasta
  • 1 cup cashew cheeze (see below)
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the butternut squash one of two ways.

1) Quick prep – fill a casserole dish with about 1 inch of water. Slice the butternut squash and place the halves face down in the dish. Cover with plastic wrap (BPA free) and microwave for 10-15 minutes until pierced easily with a knife.

2) If you’re not pressed for time, preheat oven to 400. Cut squash in half and brush with olive oil. Place face down on a baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes until pierced easily with a knife. (I prefer this method simply because roasting brings out some great flavor from the squash!)

Cook pasta while squash is cooking, as per usual pasta-boiling directions.

Cashew Cheeze:

  • 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews (boiled for 10 minutes)
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • pinch sea salt
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Scoop cooked squash out of the skin and into the food processor. Blend until it looks like this:

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Your cheeze sauce is ready. When pasta is done cooking and has been drained, dump it back into the pot and pour the cheeze sauce over the top. Stir well to combine, season to taste, and serve immediately. Served with steamed broccoli or other favorite green veggie.

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Dig in!!

Peace, love, and veggies,

Jean

 

 

 

Spinach enchiladas with spicy corn – original recipe

This is one of my favorite recipes to make, and since I made it tonight, I decided I needed to post it already! Mexican food was always a vice of mine, so I’ve had to find ways to eat it often without facing serious weight gain. Quesadillas, enchiladas, and even taco salads can be loaded with fat and calories, thanks to the cheese and/or fried tortillas. The solution: make it myself and veganize it! These are very easy to make, and go well with a variety of sides.

They got a little messy this time around, but I assure you they tasted amazing!

They got a little messy this time around, but I assure you they tasted amazing!

Makes 8 enchiladas

For the enchiladas:

1 small onion, chopped
2 lbs baby spinach
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp nutmeg
8 corn tortillas
1 can red enchilada sauce
1/2 cup Daiya, any flavor (or other dairy-free cheese)
1/4 cup cashew cheese, optional* (see below)

For the corn:
2 cups frozen or fresh sweet corn
1 tsp vegan butter or olive oil
1/2 tsp to 1 tsp cayenne pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Pinch of sea salt

*1 hour before beginning preparation, boil raw cashews in water for 5 minutes. Turn off heat, cover and let soak as long as possible until needed. May also soak overnight in the fridge in an airtight container.
To make cashew cheese: Combine soaked and drained cashews in a food processor with 1/4 cup water, 1 Tbsp dijon mustard, 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp lemon juice, 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast, and a pinch of sea salt. Process until smooth. Set aside.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400. Saute onions and garlic with a small amount of olive oil. When translucent, add cumin and chili powder and stir to coat. Slowly add in spinach, cooking until wilted. Drain off any remaining water and keep warm. Spray a large skillet and a 9×12 baking dish with non-stick spray. Lightly fry tortillas on both sides until slightly crispy. Pour enchilada sauce into a bowl and stir in nutmeg. One at a time, dip tortillas in enchilada sauce and place in the baking dish. Place some of the spinach mixture in the center and top with Daiya and cashew cheese. Roll up, and repeat this process until all are done. Spoon any remaining enchilada sauce on top, and sprinkle some more Daiya for good measure. Pop ’em in the oven and bake until the sauce is bubbling, about 15-20 minutes.

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Meanwhile, melt vegan butter over medium in a small saucepan. Stir in cumin, then add corn and cayenne and stir to coat. Heat 5 minutes, then remove from heat and stir in cilantro.

Serve meal with sliced avocado.
Other great side dishes include pinto or black beans, Mexican-style brown rice, or diced potatoes.

A more attractive attempt, when I made served with pinto beans with tomatoes and Mexican-style brown rice.

A previous, more attractive attempt, served with pinto beans with tomatoes and Mexican-style brown rice.