Broccoli and Cheez Soup

Hi Friends,

I don’t really remember eating vegetables growing up.  I know we had them, I just recall any specific veggie dishes that I enjoyed enough to commit to memory.  There is, however, one fond vegetable dish from my youth that I recall.

Occasionally my mom would purchase frozen broccoli with cheese sauce.  Holy man!  I loved that stuff.  My dad and brother did not enjoy the broccoli covered in the thick cheddar sauce which was perfectly fine with me.  This meant I got to eat that much more of it.  The dish would stay  in between my mom and I and not get passed all the way around the table.

Recently I have become enamored with the Whole Living magazine’s web page.  They have really great, seasonal recipes that are nutritious and easy to prepare.  I found a recipe for creamy broccoli soup that looked like a prime candidate for an easy week night dinner that I could jazz up a bit.

What goes well with broccoli?  Cheese!  Art and I have been more vegan meals lately.  Not so much out of conviction to become vegans, but cheapness.  I challenged myself to keep the soup vegan but add in some comforting cheesy flavor with adding actual cheese.  Enter the ever popular, versatile nutritional yeast!

Broccoli and Cheez Soup

adapted from Whole Living

- 1 lb broccoli

- 1 TB olive oil

- 1 small onion, chopped

- 3 cloves of garlic minced

- 1 can white beans beans, drained and rinsed

- 2 1/2 cup vegetable stock

-1 tsp oregano

- sea salt and pepper to taste

- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast

- 2 tb brown mustard

- Cut broccoli into small florets.  Peel and chop broccoli stalks into bit sized pieces.  Steam broccoli until bright green and tender.  Drain and set aside.

- Saute onion and garlic in olive oil for  3-4 min in a large pot over medium high heat.  Add vegetable stock, beans, oregano, salt and pepper.  Cover and let simmer for 5-6 min.  Remove from heat.

- Add broccoli to bean mixture.  Puree with an immersion blender until smooth.  (I left a few chunks for texture.  You could also do this using a blender.)

- Return pot to medium heat.  Stir in nutritional yeast and mustard.  Serve warm.

While it is not the most photogenic, I was very pleased with the results. Creamy, cheezy, and nutritious soup.  Good for  a cold Minnesota evening!

Favorite soup recipe?  I am always looking for a good one this time of year!

Later,

Kate

Cleanse Breaking Brownies

Hi Friends,

To kick off 2012 I decided to partake in a dietary cleanse inspired by Whole Living magazine.  Since the 2nd, I have been eating fruits, veggies, nuts, and other plant based fats a long with my daily mug of coffee (there are some things I refuse to give up!).  This week, I started incorporating beans, lentils and other legumes.  After I shook the initial detox headache, I felt awesome!  My skin is clearer, my mood is better, and I have lost a few pounds. I was even able to refuse fresh salted chocolate caramel at work.

Then Wednesday happened :(

The weather went from an unseasonably warm 50 degrees to standard January-in-Minnesota temps in the teens with nasty wind chills.  BOOOOOOOO!  Guess who started craving chocolate something fierce?  The bod needed a little something to stay warm.  I got to work on google ASAP.

I wanted to bake something gluten free and with minimal amounts of sugar.  I kept running into paelo inspired brownie recipes using almond meal.  This was my first time baking with almond flour and based on these results, I think I will be doing it again.

Mochaelo Brownies

adapted from Simply Sadie Jane

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup pitted dates

1 cup dark chocolate chips

1 packet VIA ready brew instant coffee

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups almond flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

2oz chocolate covered espresso beans, coarsely chopped

- Place dates and coconut milk in a blender.  Blend until well combine and dates are broken down.

- Heat coconut milk mixture in a small sauce pan over medium heat.  Stir in chocolate chips and instant coffee.  Once smooth, remove from heat and stir in eggs.

- Add almond flour, baking soda, and chocolate covered espresso beans.  Stir until just combined and pour into an 8 inch pan.

- Bake 350 for 20-25min.

The resulting brownie was moist with a cakey consistency.  The chopped espresso bean gives a slightly crunchy texture.  I am not sure I would add those again.  They were still sitting around from a Christmas gift and I wanted to use them up.  Additional chocolate chips would be better for next time.

Any other good almond flour recipes to share?

Later,

Kate

Well hello there!

Hi friends,

Here I am writing a blog post after what has been a long long absence.  I started another little blog this summer but abandoned it too.  Out of nowhere, I got the urge to blog again.  So I am going with it :)  What have I been up to since June?  You’ll have to wait and find out!  But since I can’t leave you empty-handed, here is an engagement photo pic of Art and I.

Later!

Kate

Decisions

Hi Friends,

I’ve been thinking a bit the past few weeks about whether or not I want to continue blogging.  I still love food and cooking but I have lost my motivation/desire to write blog posts about what I ate for dinner.   GAH!  But I’ve been think about perhaps starting another blog focusing more on over all health which I think may be helpful as I start my career as a health counselor.  It could be a kind of fun niche to blog about maintaining holistic health in the wedding planning process :)  But I still want a place to share ice cream recipes with you all and I kind of like what I’ve created with this blog.  So basically I am at a loss as what I would like to do.  Start another blog and continue this one?  Stop blogging here completely?  Revamp this one a bit?  Suggestions welcome!

See you when I get this jazz figured out :)

Kate

Guess What I Did?!

Hi Friends,

I checked out The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz from the library last Tuesday.  I have had ice cream ideas on the brain ever since.  The man has some awesome flavor combinations and sweet ideas for mix ins and sauces. 

As some of you who have been reading the blog for a while now, I have been attempting to create a gooey ice cream a la Ben and Jerry’s to no avail.  It has been driving my batty.  I am pleased to announce that with the help of Mr Lebovitz, I have finally achieved swirlage!!!!  Following his simple instructions, I was able to create a lovely frozen yogurt.

Honey Swirled Vanilla Frozen Yogurt  — adapted from David Lebovitz

- 4 cups plain whole milk frozen yogurt 

- 1/2 cup vanilla sugar

- 1/2 cup plus 1 TB sugar

- 1/2 TB vanilla extract

- 1/3 cup honey

- Whisk together yogurt, sugars and vanilla extract in a large bowl until well combined.  Place mixture in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

- Mix yogurt according to ice cream maker instructions. 

- Pour 1/3 of honey on the bottom of the frozen yogurt storage container.  Place 1/3 frozen yogurt on top and lightly swirl with a spoon.  Continue with remaining honey and frozen yogurt.  Allow to freeze for at least an hour before serving.

Success!  The honey was pretty lightly colored so you can’t really see it in the photos but I assure you it is there.  I can’t believe I didn’t think of this technique before.  It almost seems too easy.  The fro yo has stood up nicely in the freezer too.  I almost reduced the sugar as it sounded like a lot but it really does help in not causing the dessert to get too hard in the freezer.

 

What new skills have you learned lately?  I am dreaming of future creations that put my new found skills to use.  Stay tuned :)

Later

Kate

Bad Blogger

Hi Friends,

I mentioned the a grilled cheese party in my post last Friday and promised a post on said party.  Well, my friends came and went and as I was loading the dishwasher I noticed that I had neglected to move my camera off the microwave, my designated “put-the-camera-here-so-you-remember-to-take-pictures” spot.  GAH!  I get so wrapped up in talking to my friends and other hosting duties that I totally forget to document the experience.  Does anyone else do this?

The party was super fun and my girlfriends seemed to enjoy it.  I went to the co-op and bought a five different small chunks of cheese from the cheese end bin.  I hit up the neighborhood Great Harvest and bought three different half loaves of bread.  The girls each came with a different ingredient to jazz up the grilled cheese.  We had pesto, jam, apples, tomato, avocado, and caramelized onions.  Everyone made a sandwich and cut it into piece to share with each other.

The leftovers made for a nice Sunday night dinner so you will be provided with some visual aids of what the food looked like:)

Raw veggies and homemade olive hummus for aps.

Grilled cheese!  This one contained horseradish havarti, tomato, and caramelized onion.

Green bean and Sweet Corn Salad with Summer vinaigrette from the Clean Food cookbook.

Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade.   This actually had vodka added to it on Friday night but being that it is Sunday night after a slightly boozey, carb filled weekend I decided to do without tonight ;)

The only thing missing is the yummy triple berry cobbler my friend Anne brought for dessert and the smiling faces of my girlfriends.  We sat picnicked on the floor of my apartment and caught up on life.  A very nice way to spend the evening.

What are your favorite theme party activities?  Any that have been total flops?!

Later

Kate

Friday Fun!

Hi Friends,

I saw this on a few blogs and thought it would be fun.  Enjoy!

A is for Apple: What’s your favorite variety?    Honeycrisp or Pink Lady.   I LOVE the fall trip to the apple orchard :)

B is for Bread: Regardless of nutrition, what is your favorite type?   I really like French Meadow Gluten Free Sandwich bread for daily eating.   The olive bread from Rustica Bakery is my favorite “fancy” bread. 

C is for Cereal: What is your favorite kind currently? (just one!)   Lately I have been eating Barbara’s Gluten Free Honey Rice Puffins on top my smoothies and yogurt bowls.  Slightly sweet and crunchy plus it seems to be on sale frequently at the co-op.

D is for Donuts: You might not currently eat them, but what kind do you fancy?  I haven’t had a donut in a long time.  We used to get them every Sunday before church growing up.  I really like the chocolate frosted ones with sprinkles.

E is for Eggs: How would you like yours prepared?  I love eggs.  Any preparation is just fine with me.  Scrambled, over easy, baked, hard boiled, deviled…. it is all good :)

 
F is for Fat Free: What is your favorite fat free product? 
The first thing that popped into my  head is coffee.  However I usually add creamer to that.  Fruits and veggies, I guess.

G is for Groceries: Where do you purchase yours?  It all depends on what we need.  I hit up Super Target when we need things like cereal, Clif Bars, salsa and what not.  I’ll go to the co-op for produce and other fresh stuff.  I get my meat at work.  (I stock up when it is on sale)  Occasionally I’ll go to Whole Foods too.  I love grocery shopping!

H: is for Hot Beverages: What is your favorite hot drink?  Coffee!

I is for Ice Cream: Pick a favorite flavor and add a fun topping.  I kind of have a thing for ice cream if you haven’t figured it out yet.  Hard question!!!  My favorite so far is the caramelized banana with peanut butter cookie dough.

J is for Jams or Jellies: Do you eat them? If so, what kind and flavor?  I am not a huge jelly/jam fan.  Occasionally I’ll make a good old pbj and like to use a strawberry or raspberry jam.

K is for Kashi: Name your favorite Kashi product?  I love me some Go Lean Crunch.  Art has a bowl every morning.
 

L is for Lunch: What is your today?  Yesterday I had scrambled eggs with mushrooms and broccoli, piece of gluten free toast, and a glass of the honey sweetened lemonade mixed with water.

M is for microwave: What is your favorite microwave meal/snack?   I don’t use the microwave a whole lot.   Occasionally I’ll make eggs in it if I am feeling lazy.

N is for nutrients: Do you likes carbs, fats, or proteins best?  I like them all.  I am an equal opportunity nutrient eater :)

O is for oil: What kind do you like to use?   I use olive oil or coconut oil most frequently.  Sometimes I use canola in baking.
P is for protein: How do you get yours?  Eggs, greek yogurt, beans, the occasional meat item and protein powder.

 
Q is for Quaker: How do you like your oats? 
This is kind of like the eggs question.  I generally like oats anyway you make them :)  This carrot cake bowl was awesome.

R is for roasting: What is your favorite thing to roast?
Sweet potatoes or tomatoes.  Roasted tomatoes have the best flavor. 

S is for sandwich: What’s your favorite kind?  Not a huge sandwich maker.  I had the roasted veggie and hummus sandwich at Cheeky Monkey last weekend and was a huge fan.  Tonight I am having girlfriends over for a grilled cheese party which I think will be great fun.

T is for travel: How do you handle eating while traveling?  Eating is my favorite part of the traveling experience.  New food and restaurants to sample!!!  I would like to become the female version of Anthony Bourdain.  Best job ever!

U is for unique: What is one of your weirdest food combos? I don’t know if I combine anything too exceptionally bizarre in the world of food blogs.  Art gets grossed out when I put frozen spinach in my smoothies.  I do eat cranberries like grapes during the fall.  They are an acquired taste :)
V is for vitamins: What kind do you take?  I have a women’s formula food based multi vitamin from whole foods.  The bottle suggests taking three a day but I only take one.

W is for wasabi: Yay or nay?  YAY!  I don’t go out for sushi too often but when I do, I load on the wasabi.

X is XRAY: If we xrayed your belly right now, what food would we see?  This cereal topped smoothie and coffee!  I love breakfast.

Y is for youth: What food reminds you of your childhood?  Anything from Perkins, Rainbow Chips Delux and Capri Suns :)

Z is for zucchini: How do you prepare it?  Typically added to stir frys or sliced raw for snacking.  Or baked into the crazy Spicy Banana Zucchini Bread!

There you have it!  My Foodie ABCs.  Do you enjoy filling out surveys like this?  Happy weekend friends!  I have an ice cream post and will recap the grilled cheese party for you all next week.

Later

Kate

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