Livin' La Vida Vegan!

Lentil Soup

photo

We continue on with curative soups to get my household healthy again!  I’ve been making lentil soup for years — I think this recipe originally came from my mother.  All I had to do was swap the chicken stock for veggie broth and it’s vegan!  I normally use regular lentils but they take longer to cook and I had some red lentils on hand so I changed the recipe up a bit!

Start by cooking one chopped onion, three minced cloves of garlic, one large minced shallot, and three or four (depending on size) carrots in a tablespoon of olive oil for five minutes over medium heat — just until softened.  Stir in one 14.5 ounce can of petite diced tomatoes (including juice), four cups of vegetable broth, and 3/4 cup of red lentils (or regular but you need to add 10 minutes of cooking time).  Stir well and then add in the spices: 1 teaspoon of cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon of coriander, 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of garlic salt.  Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat to medium and simmer partially covered for about 15 minutes.  When done add in a bunch of chopped greens — I’ve used kale, spinach, and swiss chard — the chard is my favorite, I love its red and green color!  Simmer for another five minutes to wilt the chard then add fresh ground pepper and salt to taste, serve warm!

A bit more on swiss chard — it is one of the healthiest vegetables packed with nutrients. Recent research has shown that chard leaves contain at least 13 different polyphenol antioxidants, including kaempferol, the cardioprotective flavonoid that’s also found in broccoli, kale, strawberries, and other foods. But alongside of kaempferol, one of the primary flavonoids found in the leaves of chard is called syringic acid. Syringic acid has received special attention in recent research due to its blood sugar regulating properties. This flavonoid has been shown to inhibit activity of an enzyme called alpha-glucosidase. When this enzyme gets inhibited, fewer carbs are broken down into simple sugars and blood sugar is able to stay more steady. It makes sense to think about chard as a vegetable whose flavonoid phytonutrients are unique and may offer special benefits for blood sugar control!  (info from whfoods.org)

Leave A Comment »
Tags:

Thai Curry Corn Soup

corn soup

I’ve been terribly sick all week and been living on pastina soup — mom always made me pastina when I wasn’t feeling well, of course it was with chicken broth back then.  My husband has been doing a great job taking care of my every need and making vegan pastina (veggie broth, sliced garlic, turmeric, carrots, and pastina pasta).  Today is the first day I started feeling human again but now he’s sick!  So we’ll continue on with curative soups but he wants more flavor so I made this Thai Curry Corn Soup today.  I followed the recipe precisely and felt it needed more curry so I added an additional teaspoon.  I also added a teaspoon of turmeric (for its healing properties) and about a tablespoon of Sriracha instead of red pepper flakes.  Follow the link below for the recipe to this very quick and flavorful soup!

http://www.vegkitchen.com/recipes/everyday-meals/soulful-soups/nearly-instant-thai-coconut-corn-soup/

 

Leave A Comment »
Tags:

Moroccan Pumpkin Soup

photo

Happy Thanksgiving!  What are you thankful for today?  I am grateful for our wonderful friends Cindy and Anthony, for introducing us to the vegan lifestyle.  I am also thankful for our doctors who were enthusiastic about the benefits to our health along with the nutritionist my doctor set me up with to make sure we did it right.  Tomorrow will be our one year anniversary as vegans and although I’ve cheated with cheese a few times over the year I’m so blessed we made this change.  Not only has our overall health improved but we enjoy cooking together now!  I used to begrudgingly prepare most of our meals and as a result we ate out a lot.  Now I love to cook and get excited about trying new recipes.  My husband enjoys chopping right along side me in the kitchen and has even taken over the responsibility by himself on many nights.  In some ways I feel I’m channeling my late mother.  She was a wonderful cook and enjoyed creating meals for her family.  She even wrote a food column for the local newspaper and I think she may have inspired me to start this blog.  I believe eating vegan would have saved her life, she passed away much too young from heart disease.

We were so excited to attend the eighth annual ThanksVegan buffet today — most of the vegans in the Tampa Bay area attend.  It would have been a great way to meet others living a kind life along with tasting new vegan dishes and swapping recipes!  Some sponsors donate food such as the Gardein Roast (was excited to try it — thanks Whole Foods) but the majority of the buffet is from each of us bringing a dish to share.  I was going to bring this Moroccan Pumpkin soup but I’ve been sick all week and yesterday I took a turn for the worse and decided to stay in bed most of the day.  My husband made the soup and we still enjoyed celebrating this day of thanks with soup (and in our PJ’s!).

I made this recipe for Christmas last year so I knew it was delicious, it comes from Quick Fix Vegan page 98:

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and one finely chopped onion until caramelized.  Stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon light brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, and 2 teaspoons maple syrup (recipe called for agave nectar but I prefer all natural syrup).  Then add in 1 (15 ounce) can of pumpkin puree and 2 1/2 cup of vegetable broth.  Simmer for ten minutes and then stir in 1 1/2 cup of non-dairy milk (we used half coconut and half soy) and cook until hot.  Serve garnished with 1/4 cup chopped pistachio nuts on top and enjoy!

Leave A Comment »
Tags:

Butternut Squash Ravioli Soup

photo

Soup is the best cure for a head cold — ingredients such as garlic, onions, and turmeric kick up its healing powers!  I’ve already discussed the therapeutic properties of garlic and onions on this blog (see July 8) but not turmeric.  Turmeric boasts a variety of benefits including being a potent natural anti-inflammatory and painkiller along with having antibacterial agents.  Garlic, onions, and turmeric are staples when making a curative soup.  My husband came home from a business trip sick but this soup was up for the fight and won!

This is an easy soup that can be ready in 15 minutes.  Find a good frozen vegan butternut squash ravioli — I used a 16 ounce bag of Rising Moon Organics.  Simply cut up one small onion, four carrots (high levels of antioxidants in carrots!), and four celery stalks — place in a pot of water and bring to a boil.  Once water is boiling add the ravioli and continue to cook per package instructions (eight minutes for the brand I used).  When done dump it all into a colander and while draining pour 16 ounces of veggie broth into the same pot over medium heat.  Add two minced garlic cloves, a teaspoon of turmeric, teaspoon of white pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of thyme, and a dash or two of garlic salt.  Add the drained veggie and ravioli combo into the broth and heat through for about a minute until the broth is warm and the flavors are combined.  This flavorful soup has a bit of a bite from the turmeric and we devoured it — I love creating a recipe we’ll enjoy over and over!

 

Leave A Comment »
Tags:

Split Pea Soup

photo

One of my favorite hearty soups is split pea — but how to make it without ham?  I decided to give it a try with my moms recipe.  Instead of a ham hock I added olive oil and Liquid Smoke — Bingo!  We loved this version and will make it again, it’s so easy — simply put everything in a crock pot in the morning and when you arrive home after work your house will smell wonderful and you can dive right in!

Cut up one large onion, three garlic cloves, two russet potatoes, five carrots, and a bunch of celery hearts (I actually cut it all up the night before to save precious morning time).  Place in the crock pot along with three cups of split peas (make sure they are thoroughly washed and sorted first), 1/3 cup of olive oil, 4 1/2 cups of veggie broth (mom used chicken broth), 2 tablespoons of Liquid Smoke, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley, 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon of white pepper, and 1 teaspoon of salt (I used pink Himalayan Sea Salt).  Cook all day on low and you’ll return home to a rich and creamy split pea soup!

 

 

Leave A Comment »
Tags:

Cranberry Walnut Chickpea Salad Sandwich

photo

This recipe from The Simple Veganista actually had me think I was eating a chicken salad sandwich!  This will now be my go to sandwich when I brown bag it for work!  A few things to note before you go to the link (below) for the recipe.  I read the recipe quickly and missed the part about mashing the chickpeas — that would have made it easier to keep the salad together on the bread!  Also, I thought four tablespoons of vinegar was a bit much so I only added four teaspoons instead.  Remember to rinse all your vegetables and the chickpeas well because vegan mayo is a bit runny.  You’ll want to make sure all the other ingredients are dry so you don’t end up with a soupy dressing — that was another mistake I made!  Regardless of my mistakes it still came out delicious, I topped it on some pumpernickel bread and loved it!  Just packed it for my lunch tomorrow with a bunch of greens for a nice salad.

For the recipe follow this link: http://thesimpleveganista.blogspot.com/2013/11/cranberry-walnut-chickpea-salad-sandwich.html?m=1

Leave A Comment »

Coconut Peanut Butter

photo

Oh boy – I’m in trouble!  Earth Balance had a booth at the Tampa Bay Veg Fest and I tried a sample of their Coconut & Peanut Spread — divine!  It’s a good fat of course but still a fatty snack and when it tastes this good you can’t stop at just a few celery stalks!  I think I’ll try it in the peanut sauce I make for the spring rolls (see post on July 13 for recipe) or add to stir-fry — even on top of pancakes!  Earth Balance had the nerve to hand me a coupon too so I had to purchase a jar, I’m in love!

Leave A Comment »
Tags:

Thai Green Curry (in a hurry!)

curry

I went to the Asian market to find some green curry paste and lemongrass.  An older gentleman entered and seemed to have just enough energy to come in and sit down before shopping.  He was sitting in the cafe section and I was moved by how adorable he was so I went over and told him so!  He got a little teary eyed at the attention — you just never know when someone is in need of a little kindness.  It makes me wonder, I’ve been living a vegan lifestyle for almost a year now — has the compassion for animals grown my compassion for human animals as well?

I was flipping through some old VegNews magazines and in the April 2013 issue, I found an easy Thai Green Curry recipe (page 66) — it took me maybe ten minutes to put this dish together and with cooking time it was ready in half an hour.  It was faster than Thai take-out and delicious!  I added a few more vegetables that the recipe did not call for and they worked.

In a large pot over medium-high heat, whisk together 2 cups of canned coconut milk, 1 cup of water, 3 tablespoons of Thai Green Curry Paste, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, and two tablespoons of soy sauce — bring to a boil.  Add 2 cups of thinly sliced asparagus, 1 cup of snow peas (de-stemmed), 1 cup of thinly sliced carrots, 1 cup of sliced red potatoes (recipe called for new but didn’t have any on hand), 1 can of baby corn, 1 can of chopped water chestnuts, and 2 cups of lemongrass tofu cubes (see yesterdays post for recipe).  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove pot from heat and add 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice and 1/4 cup of Thai basil leaves.  Serve over warm jasmine rice (prepare ahead per package instructions — takes about 20 minutes to cook) and enjoy!

Leave A Comment »
Tags:

Lemongrass Tofu

tofu

The photo of this lemongrass tofu is not very exciting but the taste is!  I found this recipe in the October 2013 issue of VegNews Magazine (page 63) and have used it twice already with other recipes and ate it by itself as a snack.  Stay tuned for a Thai Green Curry recipe tomorrow that features this tofu — so simple yet delicious!

Marinate 16-ounces of extra-firm tofu (pressed and drained) in the following: 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 pressed garlic clove, 2 teaspoons of sesame oil (recipe called for vegetable oil but why not add the flavor of sesame?), and 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh lemongrass.  I marinated it for a few hours — the recipe said only needed to let it set while the oven was being preheated.

Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees and then flip, bake another 20 minutes, enjoy!

Leave A Comment »
Tags: