New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

Vegan Winter Lentil Stew

Vegan Winter Lentil Stew is a flavorful, hearty winter stew.  I first tried this soup when hosting book club and preparing two stews 1) Vegan and 2) Beef Stew.  The key to the flavor in this soup is the Dijon mustard.  Who knew it could pack such a yummy punch.  Even non-lovers of lentils and beans have enjoyed it.  If you insist on adding a protein, go for it!  I’m sure it would be delicious.

WINTER LENTIL STEW

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
4 carrots (about 1/2 lb.)
4 stalks celery
2 lbs potatoes
1 cup brown lentils
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1.5 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp brown sugar
6 cups vegetable broth
1 cup frozen peas

  • Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Add the olive oil, onion, and garlic to a large soup pot and begin to sauté over medium heat.
  • While the onion and garlic are sautéing, dice the celery, then add it to the pot and continue to sauté. As the celery, onion, and garlic are sautéing, peel and chop the carrots into half rounds. Add the carrots to the pot and continue to sauté.
  • As the onion, garlic, celery, and carrots are sautéing, peel and cube the potatoes into 3/4 to 1-inch pieces. Add the cubed potatoes to the pot along with the lentils, rosemary, thyme, Dijon, soy sauce, brown sugar, and vegetable broth.
  • Briefly stir the ingredients to combine, then place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to high, and bring the stew up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Toward the end of the simmer time, when the potatoes are very soft, begin to mash the potatoes a bit as you stir. This will help thicken the stew.
  • Finally, after 30 minutes, stir in the frozen peas and allow them to heat through. Taste the stew and add salt if needed. Serve hot and enjoy!

Recipe from: Budgetbytes.com  

Gluten Free · New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

Chocolate Cake…Vegan and Absolutely Delicious

Who doesn’t like chocolate cake?  I wanted to make a chocolate cake for a gathering of friends, two of which are Vegan.  We all love to share salads, fruits, pastas, but dessert is always a bit tricky.

This cake was moist, delicious and almost healthy!  I would make it again and again whether my guests were Vegan or not. Even one of my Grand Dogs thought it was worthy of his attention!

CHOCOLATE CAKE…VEGAN AND ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS

Cake: 

3/4 cup plain flour/GF flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup unrefined cane sugar/brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Frosting: 

This makes a small amount of frosting as the cake doesn’t need much, but for a full batch

    1 1/2 tbsp. lite Nuttelex or other dairy free butter/margarine alternative
    1 1/2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/2 cup sifted icing sugar
    1/2 tsp. vanilla

    • Preheat oven to 180°C/355°F.
    • Grease and line a small cake tin (or cupcake tins)
    • In a large mixing bowl combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
    • In a separate medium mixing bowl combine applesauce, sugar and vanilla and pour into dry ingredients.
    • Mix until just combined and pour into cake tin.
    • Bake for 20-35 minutes or until cooked through and a skewer inserted removes clean. If making cupcakes, cook for ~10-15 minutes or until cooked through.
    • For the frosting, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy in a mixer, adding in the cocoa and vanilla and mixing until combined. If needed, add a couple of drops of milk/non dairy milk until your desired consistency is reached

    Recipe from Southerininlaw.com

    Gluten Free · New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

    Winter Fruit Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

    Fresh fruit salad in winter is a real treat. This recipe is delicious, combining several fruits including apples, kiwi, blackberries, pomegranate, bananas and Mandarin oranges. The dressing is fresh and tasty, delivering a nice side to compliment any meal.
    IMG_7698

    WINTER FRUIT SALAD WITH LEMON POPPY SEED DRESSING

    Dressing

    1/4 cup olive oil
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
    3 Tbsp. honey
    3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
    2 tsp. poppy seeds

    • Combine all ingredients and mix well.

    Salad

    8 mandarin oranges, peeled and segmented (I used Cuties)
    4 apples, diced
    4 ripe kiwis peeled and diced
    4 bananas, peeled and diced
    1 1/2 cup pomegranate arils (from about 1 large)
    1-2 cups blackberries (I added to the recipe)

    • Combine all salad ingredients. Toss with dressing and serve immediately.

    Recipe adapted from CookingClassy.com

    Family Favorites · Garden · New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

    Fresh Corn and Tomatillo Salsa

    My garden continues to produce plenty of tomatillos and when paired with fresh sweet corn, cilantro and seasonings, it makes a wonderful salsa. I’ve also used it to top my favorite Papusas from the Farmer’s Market. It wold also be wonderful paired with chicken or fish. A new favorite!

    CORN AND TOMATILLO SALSA

    4 ears fresh corn kernels
    2 seeded and finely chopped jalapeno peppers
    4 cups husked, chopped tomatillos
    1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
    1/2 cup chopped onion
    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    2 tablespoons water
    3 tablespoons fresh, chopped cilantro
    tortilla chips

    • In a large skillet, combine the corn kernels and jalapeño peppers. Cook and stir for 10 minutes, until the jalapeños are soft.
    • Add the tomatillos, green pepper, onions, lime juice, water and coriander to the corn and jalapeño mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
    • Remove from heat. Cool. Stir in cilantro.
    • Cool salsa in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
    • Serve with tortilla chips

    Recipe adapted from:  http://allrecipes.com/recipe/19686/corn-and-tomatillo-salsa/?internalSource=search%20result&referringContentType=search%20results

    Book Club · New Favorite

    Poisonwood Bible and African Themed Potluck

    Poisonwood Bible (1998) was our recent Book Club read. I remember trying to read this great book in the late ’90s but work, teenagers and life interrupted  my reading experience.  I was delighted when our Book Club added the book to our 2014 list. While the book is long, the time flew by as I read this marvelous book by Barbara Kingsolver.

    The book was originally suggested to me by my sister-in-law, Betty, when they were living in Malawi, Africa on a medical and education mission. During their time in Africa, Betty wrote many emails to family and friends capturing the many wonderful and tragic moments there.  Poinsonwood Bible brought back a flood of memories from her stories.

    Our book club always begins the evening with a potluck dinner with a theme from the book, so African recipes it is! Betty was kind enough to mail me her cookbook, The Malawi Cookbook:

    Malawi Cookbook
    Malawi Cookbook

    The cookbook was originally published in 1972 by the Malawi Ministry of Health to raise money for children’s vaccinations and the Save the Children fund.  Malnutrition is one of the leading causes of morbidity in young children in developing countries.

    The recipes are fascinating and I will keep a few for my future cooking experiences, although I doubt I will ever serve Bee Larvae, Flying Ants, Grasshoppers, Crickets and Locusts.  Instead, I decided to use the eggplant recipe that Betty shared directly with me. I love eggplant, made any which way, so this was a perfect choice. As Betty shared, Mashed Eggplant is served everywhere during harvest season.

    Other wonderful dishes shared at our dinner were Ingera (sponge bread), Chicken and Peanut Stew (recipe to appear in Friday’s post), Fried Plantains, and an array of Ethiopian dishes from a local restaurant.

    I took several wonderful pictures of the Eggplant and Peanut Spread, to later discover I didn’t have my memory card in my camera. My apologies but let me assure you the dish was a big hit, even for those that confess to not liking Eggplant. Serve this spread with wedges of pita bread or, for those eating gluten-free, a gluten free cracker.

    The only change I would make the next time I make it, would be to roast the eggplant in the oven to decrease the amount of fat in the dish.

    Eggplant

    MASHED EGGPLANT & PEANUT SPREAD

    2 pounds eggplant, peeled and sliced
    2 teaspoons salt
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter (in Malawi, they would use local made groundnut butter)
    salt and red pepper flakes, to taste
    • Prepare the eggplant in the usual way of slicing, salting, weighing down the eggplant during the two hours you are extracting the liquid and bitterness.  
    • Pat dry, then fry eggplant slices for about five minutes in the olive oil, turning once.  
    • Mix and pour remaining ingredients over the fried slices, mash with fork, then serve with pita wedges.  (I admit to having used a food processor which made the finished product a bit smoother).

     

     

     

    Gluten Free · New Favorite · Skinny · Vegan · Vegetarian

    Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Soup…surprisingly delicious!

    Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Soup, with only 5 ingredients, sounded too easy to be good. I was wrong.

    It was full of flavor and, depending on your taste buds, could be enhanced with additional vegetables and spices. I think I will add a bit of curry next time.

    What would you add?

     SWEET POTATO AND CAULIFLOWER SOUP

    1 head cauliflower
    3 sweet potatoes
    1 sweet onion
    Olive oil
    2 cloves garlic
    7 cups water
    Salt and pepper

    • Preheat oven to 400F.
    • Cut up cauliflower and lay out on a cookie sheet, drizzle with oil, and bake for 25 minutes.
    • In a large pot bring water, sweet potato, onion and garlic to boil.  Cook until sweet potatoes are tender.
    • Remove half of soup and puree in food processor.  Return to soup pot.
    • Garnish with green onion, salt and pepper, parsley.

    Recipe adapted from Living Paleo Cuisine

    Family · Family Favorites · Gluten Free · New Favorite · Skinny · Vegan · Vegetarian

    Salt and Vinegar Popcorn…better than I ever expected

    My youngest daughter LOVES vinegar potato chips and I spotted this recipe some time ago on a blog that I follow, Lucy’s Friendly Foods. I am a popcorn hound and had to try it. If my daughter, Sarah, liked it, it was a winner.

    I’m happy to report we both liked it! The reduction of the balsamic vinegar had a delightfully sweet, and salty, taste. A nice, lighter, change from the traditional (and always yummy) buttered popcorn.

    SALT AND VINEGAR POPCORN

    12 cups popped corn
    4 tablespoons dairy-free spread
    6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    3/4 teaspoon salt

    • Pop the popcorn.
    • Melt the dairy-free spread in a saucepan.  Stir in the balsamic vinegar.
    • Simmer for 3-4 minutes to slightly reduce the vinegar.
    • Pour over the hot spread/balsamic mix.
    • Stir well and serve immediately.

    Adapted slightly from:  lucysfriendlyfoods.com

    Garden · Gluten Free · New Favorite · Skinny · Vegan · Vegetarian

    Spring Garden Vegetable Soup

    Can you tell I’m in the mood for spring? My past two recipes have been all about it! This Spring Garden Vegetable Soup has also been in my ‘must make’ stack.  I like the versatility of this recipe, easily adapting to Vegan or Vegetarian (using vegetable stock and omitting the cream and chicken) and it is Gluten-Free.

    This soup is light and, oh, so healthy.  Daughter Sarah served a small bowl to 10-month old grandson, Evan, and he really liked it!  I served the soup with the not-so-healthy baked Red Lobster Biscuits (which Evan DEVOURED) but a hearty whole-grain bread would be wonderful paired with this soup.

    SPRING GARDEN VEGETABLE SOUP with ASPARAGUS, ARTICHOKES, PEAS & SPINACH


    6 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
    4-6 cups water (to reach desired thickness)
    1 tablespoon butter
    1 leek, cut into half circles
    2 ribs celery, trimmed and cut into half-inch thick pieces on the diagonal
    3 carrots, trimmed and cut into half-inch thick pieces on the diagonal
    1 15-ounce can artichoke bottoms, tough bits sliced off and discarded, remaining parts cut into lengths
    16 ounces frozen artichoke hearts (from Trader Joe’s)
    8 ounces asparagus, woody ends snapped off, skin pared off if tough, spears cut into one-inch lengths, tips set aside
    8 ounces frozen peas
    8 ounces frozen spinach
    Generous salt & pepper to taste
    1/2 teaspoon tarragon
    Cream to taste (1/4-1/2 cup)
    Optional: 2-3 cups chopped chicken
    • In a large pot, melt the butter. Add the leek, stir to coat with butter and let cook until just soft.
    • Add the celery and carrots to the pot, stirring to coat with butter and cooking until soft.
    • Add the artichoke bottoms, artichoke hearts and asparagus lengths (leave the tips aside).
    • Add the stock and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a slow simmer until all the vegetables are cooked through. (Optional: Add cooked chicken at this point).
    • Stir in the asparagus tips, peas and spinach and let cook through. Add water to reach desired thickness.
    • Taste, then season with salt and pepper. Stir in cream to taste. Best if left to rest for 24 hours before serving.

    Recipe adapted from ALANNA’s TIPS

    Czech Heritage · Gluten Free · New Traditions · Vegan · Vegetarian

    Roasted Cabbage Slices

    Several weeks ago a Facebook friend shared a recipe for roasted cabbage and I meant to copy or print it.  Short story, short…I forgot.  This week I was in the mood for roasted cabbage and…no recipe. After a quick Google search, I found a similar recipe from Martha Stewart for Roasted Cabbage Wedges.

    The recipe calls for caraway OR fennel seeds and I AM a caraway seed lover but decided to do a few of both. The fennel seeds won, hands down!  The fennel gives a nice touch to the roasted cabbage where I didn’t feel the caraway enhanced the flavor. My Czech ancestors would probably roll over in their graves if they heard me admit that!

    Great recipe to pair with pork, Bratwurst or for a vegan dish.

    ROASTED CABBAGE SLICES

    1 tablespoon plus 2 more tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    1 medium head green cabbage cut into 1 inch slices
    Coarse salt and pepper
    1 teaspoon caraway or fennel seeds

    • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    • Brush a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil.
    • Place 1 medium head green cabbage cut into 1 inch slices, in a single layer on the baking sheet.  Brush the cabbage slices with 2 tablespoons oil.
    • Season with coarse salt and pepper, then sprinkle with caraway or fennel seeds.
    • Roast until cabbage is tender and edges are golden, 40-45 minutes.

    Recipe slightly adapted from Martha Stewart Living

    Gluten Free · Health · Vegan · Vegetarian

    Spinach Tomato Lentil Soup

    In the New Year, many of us have vowed to lost weight (5% for me) and eat healthier. This recipe from Aggie’s Kitchen grabbed my attention with the healthy vegetables and protein of the lentils. It’s an easy soup to make and full of nutrients. It makes a large batch and I found I added more and more water since the soup gets quite thick. I’ve shared some with a vegan friend and frozen some for a later treat.

    SPINACH TOMATO LENTIL SOUP

    1 lb. dried lentils
    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    3 carrots, diced
    2-3 celery stalks, diced
    1 large onion, diced
    3-4 cloves garlic, minced
    1 red bell pepper, diced
    2 large cans diced Italian tomatoes, with liquid
    2 tablespoons vegetable bouillon (or replace some of water with vegetable broth
    1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
    1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
    12 cups water
    1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
    salt and pepper, to taste
    1 bag fresh spinach

    • In a large pot, heat olive oil and add vegetables, garlic, bouillon, spices and pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté vegetables in oil for about 7-10 minutes until soft and fragrant. Add diced tomatoes, water (or broth), and lentils to vegetable mixture.
    • Bring soup to a slow boil for a few minutes, then back down to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for about 20-25 minutes, until soup starts to thicken.
    • Taste for seasoning as its cooking, add more water if it gets too thick.
    • In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add fresh spinach leaves to soup and gently stir to combine.

    Recipe Adapted from Aggie’s Kitchen