It’s a good day all around, this post marks my 100th post since I started this blog in September 2012. I’m feeling all kinds of love and support! Thanks to all of you. Today I got twitter follows from Forks Over Knives, Dr. McDougall and a Hospital!?! I also got featured on the brand new site, Choose Veg. Feeling happy and blessed. Here’s a look back at 99 posts, in no particular order.
Category Archives: Soups and Stews
I’ve been holding out on you and making this soup OFTEN for months and months. It requires almost no effort and is incredibly delicious. If you whisk 1/4 C. of flour into the veggie stock before adding it to the pot, you’ve got the best gravy on earth (just ask my Thanksgiving guests).
I thought this would be perfect to do for my guest post today for Vegan Richa. Imagine my horror last night when we were messaging back and forth about the post and I realized that Richa. Doesn’t. Really. Like. Mushrooms. EPIC FAIL. So Sorry girl!
If you love mushrooms, you’re going to have to head on over to Richa’s place to nab the recipe:
I hope you’ll read her poignant “about” page and get to know her a little better. Love to you Richa, I promise if you ask me to guest post again, I’ll make a dessert. xx -Somer
This post started out a long time ago, with this cake, however it was a dare last week that made me pull it out of the draft archives. Nick at Frugal Feeding made a fantastic Mushroom Orzotto, and in his post, taunted me thus: “If you are food revellers of vegan ilk, it may prove a little tricky to create a genuinely satisfying orzotto – without the presence of starch or dairy fat thickening without altering the flavour entirely could prove tricky.“
Tricky? Um, I simply subbed 1/2 C. cashews blended with 1 C. water and 1 T. nutritional yeast (cashew cream) and used a “knob” of homemade vegan butter instead of the dairy variety. Oh and I used whole wheat Orzo. Pretty sure I wasn’t missing anything flavor-wise. In fact, these are the sort of dishes that makes my husband ask if we’ve gone off the vegan diet. Fantastic recipe Nick! Next time I’ll be doubling it.
Nick’s Hasselback Potatoes.
The first time I ever saw Hasselback potatoes was on Frugal Feeding. Lets just say, I was more than impressed with the sexy rendition of my favorite root vegetable and have made these several times since.
Then there was the time that I arm wrestled Frugal into participating in the Virtual Vegan Potluck. I don’t think he or his readers ended up disappointed, especially since Nick ended up taking home the prize for best soup with the lovely Roasted Sweet Potato and Parsnip Soup. I knew you had it in you my friend Besides, how can you not win everyone over with all those lovely roasted veg? Even the PPK thought the Virtual Vegan Potluck was cool enough to put it at #28 on their top 100 list for 2012! I hope you’ll join us again in May.
Lovely Roasted Veg!
I made a double layer 9 inch cake instead of using the 20cm cake tins. I didn’t have any batter leftover for cupcakes like Nick did in his recipe.
Demystifying Metric Measures & Vegan Substitutions: If you don’t have a kitchen scale, I’ve weighed the ingredients on my kitchen scale and then measured them to take the guesswork out of it for you. Normally I wouldn’t include a blogger’s full recipe, but the online measure substitution tools weren’t entirely accurate and caused me to make a mess out of my first cake. I don’t want the same to happen to you. (Don’t worry, I asked Nick for permission). Go to his recipe for the method, but do preheat your oven to 150° celcius (302° farenheit) before starting and give your 9 inch tins an extra five minutes in the oven.
Apple and Walnut Cake with Black Treacle (Molasses) Icing
Ingredients for the Cake:
- 300 grams organic all purpose flour = 2 cups + scant 1/2 cup (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
- 1 t. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 t. baking soda
- 140 grams dark brown sugar = scant 2/3 cup
- 50 grams golden caster sugar (I used organic unrefined sugar) = scant 1/4 cup
- 250 ml sunflower oil = 1 cup + 3 tablespoons (I used half the amount and subbed 1/2 C. applesauce for the rest, because, as my daughter said when I was measuring it out “mom, you don’t use that much oil in a whole year’s worth of cooking”)
- To substitute for the 4 eggs in the recipe: use 1 cup silken tofu, 2 t. apple cider vinegar and 1 t. baking powder blended all together in a blender, (vinegar and baking powder mimics the rise that eggs give in baking)
- 3 grated apples (leave skins on)
- 100 grams chopped walnuts = 1 cup
- 2 t. Mexican vanilla (addition) because I simply have to put it in everything I bake at the moment
Ingredients for the Icing:
- 100 grams homemade vegan butter or earth balance = about 1/2 cup
- 50 grams dark brown soft sugar = about 1/4 cup
- 1 Tablespoon black treacle (molasses)
- 1 t. Mexican vanilla
- 200 grams vegan cream cheese = about one 8 ounce container of vegan cream cheese OR or 2/3 block extra firm tofu, pressed overnight to remove extra liquid. If you are using the pressed tofu (like I did) instead of store bought vegan cream cheese, add 1/4 teaspoon sea salt and 2 Tablespoons lemon juice to the recipe.
Combine all in food processor until silky smooth. To the tofu haters: if you make the icing in advance and let it sit for a few hours in the fridge before icing the cake, the tofu flavor in the icing becomes completely indistinguishable as it absorbs the flavors of the other ingredients. I swear it tastes just like I used real cream cheese.
Do you follow Frugal?
Creamy White Bean, Potato and Kale Soup with Vegan Sausage
- 1 diced onion
- 2 stalks diced celery
- 1 diced carrot
- 1 T. extra virgin olive oil
- 6 C. vegetable stock
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 4 yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed, skins left on, cut into large chunks
- 1 can white beans (I used cannellini), drained and rinsed
- 1 t. liquid smoke
- 1 t. fennel seeds
- 1 t. crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 vegan sausages. I used these incredible Vegan Italian Sausages from Field Roast, you could use 8 oz. of diced use mushrooms instead, add 1 t. Italian seasonings and double the fennel seeds to get a similar flavor profile if you can’t find Field Roast near you or if you have a gluten intolerance.
- 4 C. baby kale
- 2 C. cashew cream (1 c. cashews, 1 1/2 C. water and 2 T. nutritional yeast blended til creamy in a power blender, if you don’t have a power blender, soak the cashews overnight and do this in a normal blender).
- 1/2 C. dry sherry
- sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Method: Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in your soup pot, break the Field Roast Italian Vegan Sausages into crumbles and add to the pot. Saute til the crumbles get a bit crispy looking. Add the onion and sauté til translucent, about 2-5 minutes. Add celery and carrot and sauté for a few minutes more. Add potatoes and garlic and let sauté for a minute more. Add the vegetable stock, dry sherry, white beans, fennel seeds, crushed red pepper flakes and liquid smoke. Cover pot with a lid and reduce heat to a simmer. Let simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender. Add in cashew cream, the baby kale and season with salt and pepper to taste.
I’m not the type of girl that has enough freezer space (or the inclination) to store all my vegetable odds and ends and then remembers to boil them down into a broth and then re-store that broth in the freezer. Enter: awesome stock powder that almost tastes like chicken stock (gasp!) I first read about stock powder in a vegan cookbook (can’t even remember which one). I didn’t think much of it at the time. Then Holly at My Plant Based Family did a post on it and I ran to my kitchen and made changes with some Vedged Out flair. Here’s my rendition. Made hearty by the addition of dried shitake mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, more dried herbs and stuff like that.
Vegan Stock Powder
- 1 ounce dried shitake mushrooms
- 10 sun dried tomato halves (not the kind packed in oil) snipped into quarters
- 3 T. onion powder
- 1 T. garlic powder
- 2 T. sea salt
- 1 T. raw sugar
- 1/2 t. ground black pepper
- dash cayenne
- 1 t. dried thyme
- 1 t. dried oregano
- 1 t. paprika
- 1/2 t. turmeric
- 1 T. dried parsley
- 1 t. mustard powder
- 1/2 t. celery seeds
- 1 C. nutritional yeast
In a food processor, process the shitake mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes until they are very fine. Add all other ingredients. Process for a few minutes more. Just made this in my Blendtec instead of the food processor after reading Annie’s comment below. I highly recommend using a high powered blender instead of the food processor if you own one. Just dumped everything in the Blendtec and ran it through a couple of cycles on a 10. The result was a powder as fine as cornstarch with none of the graininess that I had experienced with the food processor. The powder stuck to the jar like crazy, so I emptied it out as best as I could, then added a quart of water and whizzed it all up to clean the jar. Viola. A quart of stock in my fridge for dinner tonight.
This stock powder stores perfectly in a pint jar in the pantry. Use 1 T. stock powder per cup of liquid in your recipes. If you don’t have the dried mushrooms and tomatoes on hand, this recipe is still good without, it just won’t have as much depth. If you can’t be bothered to make this than at least buy this delicious veggie stock base and stop wasting un-recycleable tetra-paks.
Thanks to all of you for all the love this last week and for helping me get my blogging mojo back.
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup, using Annie’s base then adding in the middle: 1/2 cup each: vegan graham cracker crumbs, melted peanut butter and vegan powdered sugar stirred together.
Blogging is a funny thing. At first you start posting your recipes, hoping to garner some sort of recognition, then you start reading other people’s blogs, then joyfully and inevitably some lovely friendships form. Sometimes, you get lucky enough to actually meet and get to know these friends. Pure love. So, I’m apologizing now to all my blogging friends whom I haven’t been by your sites to read or comment on your posts lately. In the last month I’ve sustained two different injuries that have left me mostly couch bound, reading the classics, and drinking lots of tea and trying not to feel sorry for my sad self. My cooking skills have gone down the proverbial toilet (as evidenced by THREE batches of failed cupcakes for a Valentines party yesterday). You may have noticed I haven’t been around, I’m not feeling inspired and I’m sorry to say that the last thing I’m interested in right now is reading about food. I’m sure when I recover I’ll be back with a vengeance, but in the meantime I hope you’ll forgive my absence. It’s not you, it’s me.
It hasn’t helped my mojo that one of my best blogging buddies jumped ship and moved back to her home in Oklahoma after being here in Utah for the better part of 2012. I’m feeling forlorn and I miss her like I miss my right arm. I thought you might enjoy a post about her food since I’m not creating anything wonderful. At least you can get some inspiration from Annie at An Unrefined Vegan.
Assembling the chocolates.
Flavors to try: coconut, chopped crystalized ginger, roasted almond and raisin, orange (using a couple drops essential oil), mayan (cinnamon and chili), peppermint (using a couple drops essential oil), pecan, and of course peanut butter cup.
Annie’s Miso Ginger Soup with mushrooms added in. Nearly as comforting as a hug from the girl herself.
I’ll miss our lunch dates my friend.
The big funny: Emergency pit stop with Annie at the always fabulous Cafe Rio Mexican Grill after a lunch date at another restaurant we were reviewing left us famished and disappointed (minuscule portions, average food).
16 years ago I was living in Australia and attending University. I worked in downtown Sydney near the Queen Victoria Building. Around the corner from my work was a fantastic little Malaysian Restaurant on George Street. They made the most incredible Laksa in the whole city. People swooned over it. While I can’t pretend I’ve created an exact replica of their recipe, this comes pretty close and has the bonus of being veganized.
Note: Real Laksa contains lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, shrimp paste and candlenuts, none of which are easily available in my little community. Restaurants are also notorious for using dairy milk in the recipe to stretch it and cut the cost of the coconut milk. Obviously I’m not gonna use dairy milk or shrimp paste and I’ve improvised with the other ingredients to make a dish that most people can recreate at home with ingredients found at their local supermarket.
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- 4 C. vegetable stock
- 1 carrot, julliened
- 1/4 head roughly chopped cabbage
- few leaves bok choy, torn into pieces
- 2 T. fresh ginger, shaved with a vegetable peeler
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- zest and juice of 1 lime
- 1 t. to 1 T. sriracha or red curry powder/paste (depending on heat preference)
- 1 oz. yellow noodles (can use udon or thin spaghetti)
- 1 oz. thin rice noodles
- 1 T. agave
- 2 C. water
- 1 C. raw cashews (replaces the candlenuts) soak these for a few hours if you don’t have a power blender
- 2 T. bragg’s liquid aminos, soy sauce or tamari
- sea salt, to taste
- 1 block tofu, pressed and cubed
- 4 diced scallions, for garnish
- basil/mint leaves for garnish
- hot chili oil or sambal olek chili paste for garnish
Method: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place the cubed tofu on a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Sprinkle with a bit of salt if desired. Cook for 20-25 minutes until crispy, turning once. While tofu is baking, cook yellow noodles and rice noodles according to package directions, drain and set aside. Blend cashews, water and red curry powder/paste until completely smooth. Add coconut milk, spiced cashew liquid and vegetable stock to a large pot. Heat over medium high heat. Add all the vegetables, spices and seasonings, except those used for garnish. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until veggies are just crisp/tender. Remove from heat. Divide noodles between 4-6 bowls. Ladle the soup over the noodles, garnish with pieces of the baked tofu, the basil/mint, scallions and the chili paste.
As I write this, I’m deliriously tired. I haven’t been so sleep deprived since my kids were newborn babies. Instead of having a wonderful Christmas with my parents, we all contracted a very severe flu. I’ve been on a near 24 hour watch nursing my children through a case of influenza that nearly put one child in hospital because for several days they couldn’t keep anything down, not even water.
To make things worse I used the internet to do all our Christmas shopping and had “Santa” deliver everything on the lists to my parent’s home (5 hours away) instead of ours. So our Christmas was very bleak and dismal indeed. I tried to pull a Christmas Eve miracle with goods and groceries from the local store. Thank goodness my children were too delirious to care much about what was under the tree, but I was angry and miserable. How could this happen on Christmas?
Needless to say, it took me a bit to get into the Christmas Spirit. I realize we are a very fortunate family and have more than many in the world. I’m a stay at home mom and have been able to care for my children and give them comfort when they needed it most. Neighbors dropped off special gifts for them and have called to check on us regularly. We’ve had some relapses and are slowly recovering. Today we had this glorious soup (the only blog worthy meal I’ve created in the last 10 days).
Creamy Satay Soup with Tasty Baked Tofu
For the Creamy Satay Soup:
- 1 diced onion
- 1 diced carrot
- 1 diced red bell pepper
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 2 T. minced fresh ginger
- 4 C. vegetable stock
- 1/2 C. brown basmati rice
- 1/4 C. chopped cilantro
- 2 T. agave
- 2 T. soy sauce
- 2 T. lime juice
- 2 t. curry powder
- 1/2 C. natural chunky peanut butter
- 1 can coconut milk
For the Tasty Baked Tofu:
- 1 block extra firm tofu
- 1/4 C. organic ketchup
- 2 T. agave
- 1 T. olive oil
- 1/2 t. ground black pepper
- 2 T. soy sauce
- 1 T. apple cider vinegar
- 1 t. sriracha hot sauce
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1 t. minced ginger
- 2 T. chopped cilantro
- 1 t. liquid smoke (optional)
Method: First press the tofu for 30 minutes or so to remove liquid (this can be done before prep and initial cook time). In a large pot, water saute the veggies for the soup until the onion is translucent. Add all other ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, put the lid on the pot and reduce heat to a simmer. This will need to simmer for about 45 minutes. While the soup is simmering, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Remove tofu from the press and slice into pieces. Put all the marinade ingredients in a small lidded jar and shake til combined. Put tofu back into the press and pour marinade over it.
Let absorb flavors for a few minutes, then pour out tofu and marinade onto a baking sheet (mine is lined with a knock off silpat).
Put tofu into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, turning once during baking.
Serve tofu over the top of the soup and garnish with some crushed peanuts and chopped cilantro if desired.
photos in this post courtesy of An Unrefined Vegan
After my sister in law made this soup for our family one night, I fell in love with it! This is a variation on her recipe. I could make this hearty and comforting dish weekly (and sometimes do). It’s simple and bursting with vibrant and fresh flavors. You can cook it up on the stove top or throw everything in the slow cooker and let it simmer all day. Either way is easy and delicious, especially when you have good company.
Moroccan Lentil Soup
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 heaped t. ground coriander
- 2 heaped t. ground cumin
- 1 t. turmeric
- 1 t. smoked paprika
- 1 t. cinnamon
- 1 t. dried ginger
- 1 t. sea salt
- 1/2 t. ground black pepper
- 6 -8 C. vegetable broth (I used 6 in the pictured recipe, but sometimes increase it for a less stew like soup)
- 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 2 C. dry red lentils, rinsed and picked over
- 1/2 C. chopped parsley
- 1/2 C. chopped cilantro
- Juice of one lemon
Method: Water saute the onion, carrot and garlic. Add seasonings when onion is translucent and saute for a few minutes more. Add all other ingredients except last 3 and simmer on stove-top for 30 minutes in large saucepan or in crock-pot on low for 6-8 hours. For texture variation you can pulse it a few times with a stick blender. Add lemon, parsley and cilantro just before serving. For extra brightness, squeeze an additional slice of lemon over each bowl.
Have you ever been really hungry before? Not where you just missed lunch because you were in a hurry or couldn’t be bothered to prepare dinner because you didn’t feel up to it. I mean HUNGRY. Hunger where you’ve gone for several meals or even several days without food? Have you ever experienced hunger because you were too poor to buy food? Millions around the globe experience this kind of hunger. Can you imagine not knowing when or where you’ll have your next meal because you can’t afford to buy food?
One special woman is on a mission to do something about that. If you haven’t met Shira at In Pursuit of More, she’s like my blogging sister. Indeed, I recently discovered we are a mere 4 days apart in age. I’ve been in awe of her Not So Fast organization ever since I first read about it on her blog. Basically, the concept behind Not So Fast is to encourage those of us with plenty to go (just a little) without so that others that are really hungry can be fed.
Last month after I made a small donation to Not So Fast, Shira asked me if I would be willing to be a NSF guinea pig for their test period. I needed to go without something: a one day, 5 day, or 40 day challenge…going without one thing I would normally enjoy for the good of others and giving up the value of it to Not So Fast. Other NSF guinea pigs have gone without sugar or alcohol for periods of time.
I chose a 48 hour fast from food. I’ve fasted many times before, but never for more than a couple of meals at a time. I really wanted to know what it feels like to be REALLY hungry. My plan was to drink plenty of herbal teas, and lemon water to stay hydrated and to completely abstain from food. I knew it was going to be tough. Especially since I chose to do it over a weekend where I would be preparing food for my family at every meal.
I also chose to fast with a purpose to help myself stick to it, so during my fast I concentrated on a loved one who is suffering from cancer. When you fast with a purpose it can be a spiritual sort of thing. Many who fast feel a closeness to their maker or feel more in control of their own internal connections. I certainly do. Unbeknownst to me, Shira decided to fast with me. Despite Shira’s unseen help and these other powerful motivators, I didn’t make the full 48 hours. I was close, but I just got way. too. hungry. Not to mention lightheaded, irritable, and that blasted migraine that developed. It made me appreciate food just that much more. I have an overflowing fridge and pantry filled with good wholesome food. I am lucky. It breaks my heart that others aren’t as fortunate.
3- Feed People:
I made another donation to Not So Fast, this time for the value of 48 hours worth of food for me on my generous food budget. Then I ate some soup….
Mindful Quinoa Minestrone
This is a light and inexpensive meal for anytime, but it’s particularly good for breaking your fast with. I use quinoa for it’s nutritional punch but feel free to use less expensive grains such as amaranth, millet or the other options listed below.
- 1 onion finely diced
- 2 diced carrots
- 3 cloves minced
- 1 T. olive oil
- 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 t. dried thyme
- 1/4 C. chopped fresh basil
- 2 diced tomatoes
- 1/2 C. quinoa, well rinsed (or for you really frugal types, substitute 1/2 C. giant cous cous, bulgur wheat, broken or alphabet pasta)
- 4 C. good vegetable stock
- 1 t. sea salt, or more, to taste
- few grinds of fresh black pepper
Method: Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once shimmering, add the onion and carrot, cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for a minute or two more. Add the veggie stock and the rest of the ingredients except basil and bring to a low boil. Cover with a lid and reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes until quinoa is cooked through. Sprinkle with the fresh basil and serve immediately. This recipe was shared at Healthy Vegan Friday.
What can you do?
Can you go without that cup of coffee, pastry or take out lunch and donate those funds? If you are able, Donate here. You can give as little as a $1, $5 or $10. Your donations will go to feed the hungry and towards teaching impoverished children basic cooking skills with inexpensive recipes.
C’mon, warm fuzzies guaranteed.