Roasted Maple Curry Sweet Potato Soup

Happy Autumn!

This is the time of year for fuzzy warm socks and hoodies and boots. I love Fall more than any other time of year. I am lucky enough to have just celebrated my daughters first birthday and made her a wonderful Almond Cherry Cake that I will absolutely post soon. However, it was a soup I made last night that I just HAD to post.

I had 4 small sweet potatoes sitting on my counter begging me to cook them but nothing I thought they would pair with. I wanted to have soup for dinner but I was out of my signature squash cashew and I had no cashews to cream up any veggies I had. That’s when I thought that maybe I could make a roasted sweet potato soup with coconut milk and it would be so warm and delicious on this really cool fall day. It was about 54 degrees outside and I could feel the first chill seeping through the windows. I warmed up the oven to 400 degrees took out my baking stone and roasted the four sweet potatoes for an hour. No oil, no salt.

 

Sweet Potato Soup

 

Ingredients:

4 small sweet potatoes/yams

1 cup Apple Cider

4 carrots

1 packet onion soup with 2 cups of water

2 tablespoons yellow curry spice

1 tablespoon coconut oil

Rice (optional)

 

RECIPE DIRECTIONS Continued:

When the sweet potatoes were roasted, I peeled them and tossed them in the Vitamix with 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 2 tablespoons curry spice (yellow), 1 tablespoon coconut oil, and 1 cup apple cider and pureed the mixture. It was very thick.

I then boiled a broth of onion soup mix and 4 carrots for about 20 minutes and then poured it into my vitamix. Blend until smooth and transfer back to the broth saucepan to warm through.

This was the most amazing soup. I poured it into a soup bowl that had a scoop of mixed steamed grains in the center. THe grains I made in my rice cooker. It was equal parts 1 cup of: Amaranth, Brown Basmati Rice, and Red Quinoa. I then added 1/4 cup of black chia seeds and 1/4 cup of split peas for extra protein.

The meal was hearty and warm and everything a fall or autumn meal should be. Everyone loved it. My stepkids loved the smell so much they ate a second dinner after having gone out to dinner with my parents already!

 

Food is Love.

Vegan Sundried Tomato, Onion, and Rosemary Bread from a Bread Machine

I have wanted a bread machine since the day I saw one in a thrift store in Imperial Beach, California. It was $10 and looked like a deal to me. Although I am bummed I didn’t buy it back then I am glad now because I think I would’ve lost my love for them. The reviews on the cheaper models are terrible. They look like war stories of collapsed breads and mutilated pasta dough. That should be a crime because honestly breads and carbs are the only thing that make people truly happy sometimes and if they do all that work to make them from scratch and not go buy a slice of 8,000 calorie banana bread from the coffee shop, then they should be rewarded with something wonderful. Instead the bread falls in the center creating a volcano of doughy gooey mess that one must carefully discard without losing the little rudder that helps knead the bread in the bottom of the baking pan. (Yes, I have thrown mine out and had to recover it already). That being said over the weekend I was very sick with bronchitis. I think I may have coughed up my lungs. So what better to do when stuck in the house for a few days but bake.

I made a delicious batch of my low ingredient oatmeal cookies with bananas, hazelnuts, and chocolate and I made two breads. Only one of which survived because…. well…. I wasn’t paying attention and forgot the flour (yes the flour) in one of them. It didn’t dawn on me for about an hour and then I went OH COME ON! Because I knew the baking portion had started and the kneading/stirring had passed. So my bread lovers here is my recipe for my very successful and delicious smelling sundried tomato, onion, and rosemary bread.

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Sundried Tomato, Onion, and Rosemary Bread

Ingredients (see below for sizes and layering):

  • Crisco
  • (1) White Onion
  • Dried Rosemary
  • Sundried Tomato Infused Olive Oil
  • Sundried Tomatoes in olive oil
  • Bread Flour ( I used Gold’s,  DO NOT use all purpose)
  • Kosher Salt
  • Vegan Sugar
  • Dry Active Yeast ( I use fast rising or bread only)
  • Water

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Preparation:

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First you need to cook down and puree the onions. Just place chopped onions in a pan with Crisco and a few pinches of salt and cook down until translucent. Then puree with a hand blender or food processor. Place to the side.

Take the bread baking pan out of the breadmaker and begin layering your ingredients. Many breadmakers come with their own ingredients and settings. I will generally make a 1.5lb loaf in a 2lb machine instead of the max so that any ingredients I add can be incorporated with enough room. I also always use medium settings like a medium crust color. Not light or dark. Moderation helps with a finicky machine I feel.

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Layering:

The layering of ingredients for this bread are as follows (read below before you start layering:

  • Water (3/4 cup)
  • Infused olive oil (2 tablespoons)
  • Few pinches of salt (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 cup of onion mixture
  • Sugar (1 teaspoon)
  • Bread Flour (3cups)
  • Dried Rosemary (1-2 teaspoons)
  • Optional: dash of granulated garlic or other spices
  • Active Dry Yeast (1 packet) (make sure to read below before this layer)
  • Sliced Sundried Tomatoes in Oil (1/8 to 1/4 cup)

You will layer the above ingredients one on top of the other in the baking pan to be stirred, kneaded, etc. by the bread machine however when you go to add the yeast there is a small trick. Make a crater in the center so that the yeast can get to the sugar and water easier. Yeast eats sugar so this is helping guide the process. If a recipe doesn’t call for sugar but does for yeast I encourage the same process and 2 pinches of sugar into the dough to help it rise better. Also always use bread flour it is different than all purpose containing more proteins, etc.

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BAKING:

Last place the settings on your bread machine to a basic or white bread setting and moderate crust color and size is for 1.5 lbs. If you want you can always take the bread out and knead it a little before the rise setting and add a dash of water or flour if you think it needs it. I do this occasionally. Sometimes I also spray the pan with Pam/Canola or olive oil.

Once it rises and before it bakes add a drizzle of the infused olive oil and a pinch of salt on top. It will make it have a little extra zing on the crust.

Take out immediately after baking and place on rack. if you are not there that is okay. it will just get a little soggy on the bottom if it auto-shuts off.

Enjoy!

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Food is Love. 

The Hippie Gypsy

Cheesy Veggie Stuffed Bread

I must say that I am in LOVE with the onion foccacia bread that is prepared at Whole Foods. I buy it all the time. I use it in my recipe for chicken pot pie. It is borderline amazing for any purpose. I just adore it. That being said I thought to myself after the holidays were over, “Wow I ate a lot of stuffing but I didn’t stuff it INTO anything”. Then I turned that on it’s head and wondered why not stuff a bread instead of stuff an animal. It is obviously healthier and less gross so let’s give it a whirl. Out came an amazing and delicious treat I have even served my guy friends at a recent dinner with a side of pumpkin curry soup. Enjoy! (they definitely did).

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Veggie Stuffed Bread

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Ingredients:

  • Onion Foccacia Square from Whole Foods
  • Sliced Green and Yellow Squash
  • Fresh Green Beans
  • Daiya Havarti (1/2) Block
  • Olive Oil

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Baking:

  1. Preheat oven to 430 degrees.
  2. Slice out a one inch section of the center of the bread so that it is hollowed out but still has some bread on top and bottom. Do not cut complately through like a sandwich though so that you can fold it shut after filling.
  3. Drizzle bottom interior of bread with olive oil then stack with sliced squash.
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  5. Crumble cheese on top and in between squash. Layer with Raw Fresh Green Beans.
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  7. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. Fold top shut.
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  9. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  10. Enjoy!

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Food is Love. 

The Hippie Gypsy

Vegan Chicken and Rice with a Savory, Creamy, Sage Pumpkin Sauce

When you are a kid in any part of the world it seems like “chicken and rice” is a staple type of food. How those components are dressed is different depending on time of year, climate, and culture but all those aside we can all agree we kinda love the simplicity of this dish. It is fall and I had a few friends show up unexpectedly at my house last night. I literally had NO idea they were coming with their two kids and fairly large German shepherd – coyote mix (Ryder) who is my tiny 9 lb rat terrier – chihuahua mix’s (Lola) best friend (I know it’s odd but adorable. Pics of Lola are posted below). That being said I had to make up food in a snap for an all omnivore crowd with one child that is citrus and citric acid intolerant. That means no tomatoes or lemon or orange or lime. Which, oddly, I use quite a bit. So I figured a nice chicken and rice dish with a pumpkin cream sauce sounded easy enough. I grabbed my steamer and away we went. I steamed Rice Select Royal Blend with Red Quinoa on the brown rice setting of my steamer/rice cooker with water salt and earth balance per the cartons instructions and then went off to make my pumpkin sauce.

The upside? They brought a raw vegan pumpkin pie that was sooo delicious. Thanks guys!

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(Lola and Ryder having dinner at Ryder’s house a few months ago)

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Chicken with a Creamy Sage Pumpkin Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 Container Beyond Meat Chicken-less Strips (lightly salted)
  • 1 can Pumpkin
  • 2 tbsp dehydrated onion
  • 1-2 tbsp Salt
  • 2 pinches Ground Pepper
  • 4 tbsp ground sage
  • 1-2 tsp Thyme
  • 2 tbsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 cup Daiya Mozzarella
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/2 cup Soy Creamer
  • 1/4 cup Pacific Natural Foods Hazelnut Milk

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Cook:

  1. Place medium to large sauce pan over medium heat.
  2. Add all ingredients to sauce pan except chicken.
  3. Dice chicken set aside.
  4. Stir ingredients until mozzarella melts into the sauce.
  5. Add chicken. Simmer covered for 15 minutes.
  6. Serve over or beside rice.
  7. Garnish with parsley and unsalted raw chopped pecans.

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Serves: 6.

WW Points for Chicken and Sauce: 4

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Food is Love.

The Hippie Gypsy

PHOTO of MY DOG LOLA with my Husband and I:

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Vegan Cheesy Tomato, Pasta, and Lentil Bake

I learned how to cook lentils last year from a girl who was born and raised in Ethiopia, Africa. She made the most delicious garlicy tomato infused lentils I had ever eaten with this flatbread made of Teff. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  It was at a vegan cooking demonstration on a Friday night in the hall of a church in the Fenway area of Boston that we all call “The Fens”. I had somehow persuaded my otherwise unwilling husband to attend. I knew he would probably want to skip the whole thing but luckily he was loving me enough that night to suck it up and attend. He ended up leaving happy because he liked most of the food and met another omnivore there dragged by his wife as well. After that I decided I must learn to cook lentils and incorporate them in my diet. They have so many good qualities and I am a sucker for a bean of any sort. So In my steamer I dumped water, salt, garlic, and tomato paste and started cooking my lentils. They take a while and I have learned to pick through them for stones and soak them in water to soften them. But my new favorite thing to do is take them and layer them in pasta or lasagna or any sort of casserole. It adds protein and heartiness without any strange new flavors or weird textures. Even the kids like them and the youngest is pretty much against all bean varieties except canned green beans. So this was the biggest hit of the summer in terms of my use of lentils: Vegan Cheesy, Tomato, Pasta, and Lentil Bake. I think even the mixture over rice would go well but I will try that at Christmas break 🙂

Enjoy!

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Cheesy Tomato, Pasta, and Lentil Bake

Lentil Mixture

  • 1 Bag of Lentils (Green French Lentils or Plain Lentils Work Well)
  • 1-2 cans of Tomato Paste
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Granulated Garlic Powder

Pasta:

  • (2) lbs of Rotini Pasta (I use the vegetable kind)

Cheesy Tomato Sauce Layers:

  • 4 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of Daiya Mozzarella
  • 1/8 cup of Galaxy Foods Parmesan
  • 1/2 block Daiya Havarti
  • Salt
  • Ground Pepper
  • Granulated Garlic Powder

Preparation:

  1. Preheat Oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Boil Salted Water for Pasta. Add pasta at rapid boil. Cook until Al dente, Drain and set aside.
  3. Open all Tomato cans.
  4. Fill Steamer with lentils after rinsed and picked through. You can presoak them for 30minutes to aid in the cooking process.
  5. Add water, a healthy amount of salt, and several shakes of garlic to the mixture. Place on Brown Rice setting and begin steaming. You may need to add additional time so check on the lentils for softness and mix 2-3 times during steaming. It may start to get thick so add extra water if needed.

Layering the Pasta Bake!

  1. Once your lentils are prepared and pasta is cooked. Spray a casserole pan with Pam or Olive Oil Spray.
  2. Sprinkle bottom with salt and layer with pasta, 2 cans of diced tomatoes*, sprinkle on a layer of parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic, then lentils.
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  4. Top with Havarti broken into small crumbled pieces like a feta cheese would be.
  5. Then repeat but top with mozarella.
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Bake!

  1. Bake at 425 degrees for at least 30 minutes but no more than 45 minutes. The top should brown slightly.
  2. The layers will have meted together and form a yummy cheesy sauce.
  3. Serve hot! Feeds 8-12.

*Optional: Add chopped zucchini or Beyond Meat Chicken Strips to the layers before or after the tomatoes.

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Food is Love.

The Hippie Gypsy

Butternut Squash Pasta Casserole with a Stuffing Topping

The leaves have fallen here in Boston and Thanksgiving is seemingly right around the corner. In a month or so we vegans will be all gorging ourselves on root veggies and Tofurky. I love Thanksgiving. It is one of those days that you can remember just by smell. It has its own foods and own seasonings. I relate Sage and Thyme to Thanksgiving. As soon as I smell them I am like “mmmmmm”. It brings my 10-year-old self back to sneaking stuffing and scoops of mashed potatoes before the Turkey cooled. In my family I am in charge of Thanksgiving. Which I love. I love cooking everything (except the Turkey because the husband does that although I do try to help prep it). I make my own stuffing from scratch and then some bagged for extra and to stuff the turkey which I don’t eat obviously. However who doesn’t have leftovers? I only know one family. My aunt and uncle because they have 11 kids over the age of 16 and many have their own kids. So I was informed there are no leftovers and 20lbs of potatoes involved. It gave me flashes of a catering company trying to work out of my own kitchen. Insanity!

So back to leftovers. We usually have stuffing, roasted veggies, and potatoes. Why not make these leftovers into something you can eat later in the week. It doesn’t have to be thanksgiving everyday for the next month. You may (or may not) get sick of it but transforming it is something that will make it that much better. Or heck just make this casserole as a side dish or a meal anytime in teh fall or winter as it is definitely a hearty and yummy one that my husband gladly eats out of a mixing bowl. Here is my adaptation to a Whole Foods Recipe I noted last thanksgiving that I love for a Butternut Squash Macaroni Casserole.

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Butternut Squash Pasta Casserole with a Stuffing Topping

Ingredients:

  • (1) package of dry bagged herb stuffing
  • Water or Veggie Broth
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • (1) Can Coconut Milk
  • 2lbs of Butternut Squash Diced into Small Cubes (I buy it already cubed, frozen cubes, or use leftover roasted squash)
  • 2tbsp Olive Oil
  • (1) White or Yellow Onion Diced
  • 3/4-1lb of Pasta (do not use noodles like spaghetti or angel hair)
  • 1cup toasted Walnuts or Pecans
  • Pam or Olive Oil Spray

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Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a muffin tin with oil and place nuts in it. Sprinkle them with salt, pepper, sage, and thyme. Bake for 10-15minutes to toast them.   Picture 541
  3. Spray a large casserole dish and place to the side for the casserole.
  4. In a mixing bowl add broth or water to the dry stuffing and salt, pepper, thyme, and sage and a little bit of melted butter or olive oil helps. When welll combined and wet place to the side. This will be your topping.
  5. Use a large sauce pan to boil salted water for the pasta. Cover and place on high.
  6. In a smaller sauce pan place 2tbsp olive oil, salt, and peper over medium until warm adding diced onion into it until soft and golden.   Picture 526
  7. Take onions and puree them with a mixer or blender and dump back in sauce pan.   Picture 533

Cooking:

  1. Add coconut milk (I use Goya or 365) and squash to onion pan mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to cook down.  Picture 527    Picture 535   Picture 544   Picture 546   Picture 548
  2. When water comes to a boil add pasta and cook until al dente.
  3. Drain pasta. Spray bottom of pasta sauce pan with olive oil so the pasta does not stick.    Picture 543
  4. Return pasta to pot.
  5. When the squash is soft and the mixture has thickened add to the pasta and stir until well combined.   Picture 553   Picture 554
  6. Then add toasted nuts and 1-2 tablespoons of chopped sage.  Picture 557   Picture 539

Baking:

  1. Place mixture in oiled casserole dish and press flat. Sprinkle with salt.   Picture 559
  2. Top with stuffing mixture.   Picture 562
  3. Bake for at least 30 minutes.     Picture 566   Picture 565
  4. Serve immediately. Serves 8.   Picture 568      Picture 581     Picture 577

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Food is Love.

The Hippie Gypsy

Vegan Lasagna

Let me just start by saying that when I was NOT vegan, I hated lasagna. More specifically I hated Ricotta Cheese. I am not sure if it was the flavor or the weird goopiness of it all (and yes that is now a word because I said so), but it was definitely not my cup of tea. Fast forward to me as a vegan. The first vegan dish I ever made for my stepdaughters was lasagna. They were fresh off the plane visiting my husband who was just my boyfriend at the time in our 3rd floor walk up in East Boston. It was a humble apartment with high ceilings and a city view and mice and fleas and a heart shaped burn on the family room floor that made me find it charming and oh-so-urban.  We ate in our small dining room with built in china cabinet just off our oversized kitchen complete with a broken dumb waiter. I loved that place. I loved that meal because the kids gobbled it up. Since then I have made some minor changes depending on what I have in the house so I will explain those modifications as “options” but give you the base recipe. It’s yummy and not runny and delicious and healthy and all kids of good things. Eat up!

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Vegan Lasagna

Vegan Ricotta Ingredients:

  • 1 package of very firm tofu
  • 1/8 cup Garlic Powder
  • 1/8 cup Nutritional Yeast (“Nooch”)
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • 2tbsp+ of Olive Oil
  • Basil
  • 1 can of chickpeas drained and rinsed

Marinara Sauce Ingredients (or just use Rao’s Marinara):

  • 1 small can of tomato pastePicture 077
  • 1/2cup of olive oil
  • 4 regular sized cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (get the kind with chiles for a kick!)Picture 004
  • !/2 cup of dehydrated onion or 1 onion cooked down and pureed
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • Basil
  • Pasta Sprinkle (I use a shake or two of this from Penzey’s)

Pasta: I use (1) package of Lasagna Noodles that are no precook and egg free which are super easy to find in any grocery market.

Cheese: Use Daiya Mozzarella and Daiya Havarti to layer and top the lasagna

Options: Sometimes instead of my vegan Ricotta I use just veggies and Daiya Havarti for the layers and mozzarella on top. Recently I layered in diced zucchini and eggplant with the havarti and it was a huge hit and lower calorie/fat. I have also just added chopped veggies as a layer on top of the sauce adn that is always a winner to. Again I stick with zucchini and eggplant. But feel free to add peppers or whatever you like!

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Prepare:

  1. Mash all ingredients of the Ricotta in a mixing bowl with a potato masher until the crumbled texture of ricotta. I use at least 2 tablespoon of olive oil and a good amount of garlic powder, salt, “nooch” (nutritional yeast), and pepper. Basil is very important to this mash. Add it last.
  2. Place all marinara ingredients in a large sauce pan and mix until boiling. Simmer and allow to set for at least 45 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 425degrees.

Begin layering:

  1. Spray a large lasagna pan with Olive oil/Canola oil/Pam and start with a layer of sauce then noodles then cheese/vegetables and continue. Top wth mozzarella, sprinkle with salt and garlic powder, and drizzle some olive oil over it before placing in oven. I like to use seasoned olive oil from time to time and that is the same as teh pizza oil I use in my pizza recipe.

Bake:

  1. Bake for at least 30-45 minutes. Or until you can see the cheese melting and browning on top.

Cool:

  1. Allow to cool and set about 5 minutes so that the cheese is not liquid lava on your tongue. Serve hot and Enjoy!

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*Note: I will post more pictures soon. I have to download them!

XOXOX,

The Hippie Gypsy

Vegan Boeuf Bourguignon Stew – Just like Julia’s

One of my favorite cookbooks of all time is Julia Child’s “The Art of French Cooking”. It is sticky and covered in sauces and oil and butter and flour. I used to use that and my favorite mexican cookbook so religiously that they looked like they had been dipped in the foods rather than utilized to make them. There is one recipe I knew by heart and is obviously a huge fan favorite for the carnivore and omnivores out there: Boeuf Bouguignon. It is a Braised beef dish similar to a beef stew in essence. I decided to attack this dish head on because my vegan world isn’t the same without it. I know the flavors and the essence I want to create so making it vegan is actually easier than one may think but remember, if you want it just like Julia’s you do need to put in the time to make it and of course the butter (the earth balance butter that is).

I would like to make note that I initially made this without tasting it. My mother an omnivore had to taste test because I had ruptured my esophagus a few nights before. She loved it and I caught her going back for “extra tastes” later on. I can say that the beef in the oven covered in flour and crisco and pureed onions made my house smell like heaven though. It was hard not to just throw doctors orders out the window and face the throat pain just for a little taste. But I didn’t. I tasted it last night though and it is divine. Please try out the recipe and I promise this will become a warm comforting favorite you can’t believe you lived without.

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Vegan Boeuf Bourguignon

(2) tablespoons Crisco

1 tablespoon Liquid Smoke

(1) Onion

(2) sticks Earth Balance Buttery Sticks

Kosher salt

Fresh Ground Pepper

(2) packages Gardein Beef

1/4 cup Flour

(1) Package Baby Carrots (diced)

(1) package of white button mushrooms

(3)  Medium Yukon Potatoes

1 tablespoon thyme

1 tablespoon frozen minced garlic

(3) Cups Cabernet Sauvignon Red Wine

(3) Cups Water

(2) tablespoons Vegetable Bouillion

(1) Small 6oz can of Tomato Paste

2-3 bay leaves

2-3 tablespoons parsley (fresh preferred)

1/2 cup flour (to make paste)

Preparation:

  • Rough Chop onions.
  • Dice Carrots and mushrooms.
  • Chop Potatoes into cubes.
  • Place extra large sauce pan or dutch oven on medium low heat with crisco, liquid smoke, and at least 1-2tablespoons salt.
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  • Preheat oven to 350degrees.
  • Get out a small food processor or immersion blender and several spoons. You will want to check the salt/seasoning level throughout.

Begin Cooking:

  • Once the crisco melts at onions and stir onion, oil, salt, smoke misture until onions are golden.
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  • Take onions out leaving a small amount of oil in the pan.
  • Puree onions in the food processor then return mixture into the pan.
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  • Add (2) packages of Gardein Beef Tips. Cook until slightly soft and seared about 3-5 minutes.
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  • Sprinkle on 1/4cup of flour and stir until meat is covered in the onion flour mixture.
  • Place beef cubes on a cookie sheet and place in warm oven approximately 30 minutes.
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  • Take 1 stick of butter place in pan and scrape the bottom bits up. Add Garlic.
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  • Add carrots and cover in melted butter. Add mushrooms next. Add salt and pepper while tossing.
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  • Add vegetable bouillion, water, thyme. Mix well until everything is combined. Start to simmer.
  • After the sauce is simmering add tomato paste and wine.
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  • After the sauce has cooked down about 30 minutes and the meat is crusty and firm on the outside, add the potatoes and meat back into the stew.
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  • Stir in 2-3 bay leaves and parsley.

Finishing it Off:

  • Last, after another 30 minutes. Remove 1-2 cups of the broth, a few carrots, mushrooms, and potatoes and place in a small sauce pan (my immersion blender has a little pot to puree in so I use that). Add 1/2cup of flour and make a paste with an immersion blender.
  • Add last stick of butter to stew pot and then stir in paste with the immersion blender until creamy and combined.
  • Cook for at least 30 more minutes. It will be nice and thick and the wine will have cooked down at this point. Your home will also smell like heaven.
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  • Serve hot with some crusty bread on a blustery fall or winter weekend.
  • It also keeps for about a week in the fridge or for months in the freezer! Enjoy!

Total servings 12. Serving Size is approximately 1 cup.

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XOXOX,

The Hippie Gypsy

Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup

When I wasn’t vegan and I was applying to law school I worked at a law firm in Quincy, MA near a Panera Bread. My favorite lunch was always a bowl of their signature Broccoli Cheese Soup and a toasted Asiago bagel and an apple.  The soup was so decadent and the sharp Asiago smothering the bagel made me just fall into a million pieces. I would’ve eaten this over a filet mignon or fancy lobster dinner (mostly because I never liked either but also because it was that good in my mind). So when I was beginning my ideas for this next week of blogging on soups, stews, and chowders I thought that I really must start off with Broccoli Cheese Soup. I have eaten the broccoli cheese soup in Chef Chloe’s cookbook and it is very good and very healthy but I wanted to make a truly decadent creamy creation that reminded me of that soup near the law firm. So with that I present my version.

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Creamy Vegan Broccoli Cheese Soup

Ingredients:

6 tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup flour

1/2 tsp granulated garlic

1 tbsp vegetable bouillon paste (I use Penzey’s)

1 1/3 cup Daiya Mozzarella Shreds

(1) White Onion

(2) Heads of Broccoli

(6) Small or Baby Carrots

1 qt of Soy Creamer

1/2 cup soy milk

1 cup of water

1/4 cup Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese

1/4 cup Tofutti Sour Supreme Sour Cream

Salt

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Prepare the Base:

  • Put (2) tablespoons of oil in a pan with salt and (1) onion chopped into rings.
  • Sweat the onion on medium heat until very soft and light golden brown. They will naturally start to separate as they heat up, so continue stirring.
  • Take 1/2 of the onions out and place in an extra large sauce pan. Add broccoli and 1 tbsp oil and place on medium heat,
  • Toss oil, onions, and broccoli and sprinkle with salt. Leave on medium heat.
  • Take remaining onions in the frying pan and add 3 tablespoons oil and flour. Stir until it forms a paste.

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Cooking down the soup:

  • Pour creamer into large sauce pot with broccoli and onion mixture.
  • Bring to a simmer.
  • Add all remaining ingredients and oil/onion paste except for carrots.
  • Stir until broccoli is soft and well combined. The sauce should be thick now and form a film on top if not constantly stirred.
  • Take an immersion blender and place in pot allowing the blender to chop and puree the broccoli. You can reserve a few small pieces if you want it a little chunkier.
  • Then shred the carrots with a peeler or making matchsticks with a sharp knife and add a few minutes before serving. These should be cooked but slightly crisp.
  • Serve hot and Enjoy!

Picture 045   Picture 046

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Serves (7). 1 cup servings. WW Points 11.

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XOXOX,

The Hippie Gypsy

Holy Guacamole!

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I decided to eat avocados but I know it wasn’t when I lived in Southern California where they grow and I would’ve had the best opportunity at this particular produce. I am funny sometimes in that way. I always find a way to randomly miss a great opportunity like when I got parasite in Guatemala the day before I was supposed to zipline through a rainforest a life long bucket list item. Instead I was in the parking lot getting sick next to a van. But I digress. Back to the avocado, I was always turned off by the green black pimply shell and the bring mushy green insides of this so-called fruit. I knew it was fairly fatty but everyone seemed to love it as some sort of super food. So I categorized it with all those other superfoods like Wheatgrass and Seaweed and Blue Green Algae all of which (at that point) I was not buying into. They seemed alien and gross and I preferred Cheetos and Frozen Pizza. I remember trying guacamole once because my friend CiCi demanded it was amazing at a local mexican food chain one night. I thought it was soupy bland and boring. Then sometime in the past year I started putting avocado on my sandwiches to bulk them up a little after having warmed up to the smoothness of them against spicy roasted peppers at a peruvian sandwich shop near Downtown Crossing in Boston before I went vegan. I decided it was time to try guacamole but on my own terms. I would have to make it myself. I scoured the internet and saw about a thousand different recipes and gave up on them all. What flavors would I want? What would make it fresh? My mom says cilantro tastes like soap and avocados like dirt so how can I offset those flavors that she thinks she tastes so she won’t gag at the next dinner party? So I spent the day in the grocery store and then in the kitchen mixing the flavors together until I got what I wanted. I didn’t want mushy, I needed some acidity, I needed salt. So here is what I produced. It is both mom and husband approved and everyone that has tried it said the same thing “I usually don’t like guacamole from the store but I love this it’s so fresh tasting!” Mission accomplished.

guac 3

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Guacamole

Ingredients:

1-2 capfuls of lemon juice

2 avocados

1 container of Whole Foods PreMade Salsa Fresca (or you can make it:  http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/learn-cook-fresh-salsa)

Kosher Salt

Fresh Ground Pepper

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Time to Prepare!

  1. I make sure that both of my avocados are a little soft to the touch they don’t have to be super squishy but a finger imprint and a dark skin almost black are good signs.
  2. I then slice them in half by placing them upright like a pear and going straight down until I hit the seed and then circling around the seed keeping that straight line of cutting it in half.
  3. I pull the two halves apart and I either scoop out the seed with my avocado tool or if it is in the dishwasher I pull it out with my fingers or I stick a knife in it and pull until it loosens up and falls out.
  4. I then scrape out the contents with my avocado tool or make a slice down the center of the fruit flesh without piercing the skin and then across making little blocks and turn it inside out to pop out the blocks of avocado like ice cubes in a tray.
  5. I take all the cubes and mash them lightly with my avocado tool or a fork but I make sure it stays chunky. Over mashing will cause it to get soupy when you add the lemon juice and salsa.
  6. Then add kosher salt and pepper to taste. I use at least 1-2 teaspoons of salt and a few grinds from a small pepper grinder.
  7. Add the capful or two of lemon juice (I use Real Lemon) and then toss with a fork.
  8. Last add 2-3 heaping spoonfuls of the salsa fresca to the mixture and lightly mix. This adds the exact freshness that the guacamole needs to not be bland. I love that Whole Foods prepares it and has it on ice in the prepared foods section. I would hate to have to cut up all those tomatoes and onions. 
  9. Serve with corn chips or on top of my chili recipe.  

   guac 1                    

 

   guac 2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Weight Watchers Points: 1/4 of bowl is 4 points. 1/8 is 2 points. So eat it up with some fresh chopped veggies or in a veggie soup for a low point dinner or lunch!

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XOXOX,

The Hippie Gypsy