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!



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?!



Reclaiming my Mojo

Hi Friends,

I have been in a cooking/blogging slump for a good month now.  Yesterday afternoon I had enough and decided it was time to get my booty in the kitchen.  It was great fun :)

First up, a batch of Genius Blondies from Katie.  In strange move, I decided to get rid of all my square/rectangular pans because I my round/oval ones were so much nicer.  I question my logic behind this choice now and blame my tiny, apartment kitchen set up….. So I ended up with a 9 inch pie plate full of gooey, vegan blondie goodness.

There was a most lovely doughiness in the middle of these guys.  I love vegan baked good because you can totally get away with under cooking them a bit.  I topped with some greek yogurt and maple syrup for dessert last night. 

I was craving bacon for dinner and recalled seeing a little bacon/avocado/socca creation on Lori’s blog a last week.  It had been far too long since I had made anything from Clean Food so I decided to adapt the Green Goddess Dip a bit to use in my dinner creation.

Into the food processor went half a box extra firm silken tofu, half a large avocado, a big handful of cilantro, 4 chopped green onions, juice from a small lemon, a big spoonful of miso, a big squirt of spicy brown mustard and a splash of rice vinegar.  I am kicking myself for not measuring more closely.  The dressing is a nice mix of creamy, tangy, and greeeeeen :)

I made a half batch of socca and topped with the dressing, romaine, cherry tomatoes and bacon.  Partnered with grilled asparagus, it made for a lovely little dinner.

It felt so good to spend the evening in the kitchen cooking again.  I think my mojo is back and Art certainly appreciated a nice dinner. 



I love May

Hi Friends,

I loved reading your comments on my last post.  I also really love that you appreciate number 2.  Bio Individuality is truly what it is all about!

Happy May Day!  May is one of my favorite months.  Not only is it my birthday month (29 on the 24th!), Minnesotans finally emerge from hibernation and start doing stuff again.  The farmers markets open, neighborhood street festivals take place, restaurant patios are busy, daylight lasts longer than 10 hours…… In general, people are out doing stuff!   And I like doing stuff!  Even more than that, I like watching people do stuff :)    So I am in a very good mood today knowing that I have a wonderful summer full of STUFF ahead of me.

Some STUFF I plan on enjoying in the upcoming months:

– Ice cream making — challenging myself with some variations and the ever illusive gooey swirl a la Ben and Jerry. 

– Leisure reading — My masters program is done for the year on the 16th.  Hello summer fun reading!

– Cooking with seasonal produce —  I love love love farmer’s market season.  Armed with Clean Food and Clean Start, for inspiration, I plan on enjoying the heck out of Minnesota’s limited growing season.

Walkaritas — Few things in life are finer than strolling around a lake and gossiping with good friends while enjoying a secret cocktail :)

– Eating Asian food — Art and I have been eating our way through the different Asian restaurants on the weekends.  I am beginning to notice the subtle differences between the cuisines of different countries.  Korean is different from Vietnamese is different from Japanese and so on.

I used our love of Asian and Clean Food as inspiration for dinner tonight.  I made Mochi Dumplings from Clean Food and marinated tofu.

This was my first time eating mochi and I very much enjoyed it.  To make the dumplings, you bake the mochi, slice the center, and stuff with sautéed veggies.  The texture is nice and chewy.  Art and I agreed that this was a repeatable recipe.  I marinated tofu in unmeasured amounts of Asian sauces before heading to work.  When I got home, I simply pan fried it until it got slightly crispy.


Have you cooked with mochi before?  The texture was super cool and I’d love some other suggestions.  What are you looking forward to this summer?



Oh My!

Hi Friends,

Some things I know:

– I like ice cream

– My friend Gwen and I were obsessed with Ben and Jerry’s Marsha Marsha Mallow (now known as Smores) ice cream post college.  The graham swirls did me in.

– Ben and Jerry have mastered the art of gooey ice cream swirls.

This was perhaps my finest batch of ice cream to date.

– Sarah’s Graham-azing Peanut Butter sounded like it would be lovely for swirling in ice cream.

– I saw this recipe on Oh She Glows and thought it sounded awesome but a little fussy to roll out all those tiny dough balls. 

– I have not yet mastered gooey ice cream swirls but I can roll out tiny dough balls and make a decent batch of ice cream.  (Plus it is vegan and gluten free too!)

Banana and Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Ice Cream

– 15oz can full fat coconut milk

– 15oz can light coconut milk

– 2 TB arrowroot powder

– 4 large ripe bananas cut into chunks

– 3/4 cup brown sugar

– Grahamazing PB dough balls  (recipe bellow)

– Dissolve 2 TB of arrowroot powder in 1/4 cup light coconut milk.  Stir well and set aside.

– Over medium high heat, combine bananas brown sugar and a tablespoon of full fat coconut milk.  Heat until brown sugar becomes bubbly and bananas begin to break down. 

– Lower temperature to medium low heat and add remain coconut milk.  Stir until well combined.

– Remove from heat.  Use an immersion blender to fully  break down any remaining chunks of banana and create a smooth mixture.  Stir in dissolved arrowroot powder.   Place in refrigerator until cool.

While the ice cream base was cooling, I got to work on what was supposed to be the pb graham swirl.  The mixture was too thick and I was out of peanut butter.  Rather than a swirl I decided so to go for a dough balls.  Thanks Sarah for the awesome idea.

Grahamazing Peanut Butter Dough Balls

– 2/3 a package of Kinnikinnicks Vegan and Gluten Free Graham Crackers

– 3/4 cup peanut butter

– 2 TB agave

– Place all ingredients in a food processor.  Process until uniform texture and consistency.  Roll into bite sized balls.  Place in an airtight container and freeze until ready to make ice cream.   

I simply mixed the ice cream according to directions for the Kitchen Aid.  After about 12 mins of mixing, I threw in the dough balls.  I didn’t stop the Kitchen Aid this time as the last few times I have done that I have had a hard time getting to start up again.  I literally stood next to the mixer and threw the dough balls in one by one.

Results?  Awesome!  Looking at the ingredients, how can it not be good?!  It is not the most photogenic ice cream but it definitely makes up for it in taste.

Getting in the zone for my 7 hours of silence retreat today.  We’ll see how that goes :)



A Springy Dinner

Hi Friends,

Thank you for the kind words and suggestions you left on my last post.  I am feeling much better than I was when I wrote that.  Finding that job to apply to  (I hope by writing about it I am not jinxing myself), lovely weekend weather, and some yoga definitely helped.  Reading some great blog posts helped too!

I got to take home some bone in chicken breasts that my coworker accidentally sliced open when unpacking them.  I wanted to make something springy but traditional with them for Sunday night dinner.  There is nothing super special about this recipe but it turned out very well.

Lemon Pepper Chicken Breasts

– 2 bone in chicken breasts

– 1/2 TB butter, cut into 4 pats

– 2 small cloves of garlic, chopped

– zest and juice of a small lemon

– ground black pepper to taste

– Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

– Place chicken breasts in a shallow baking dish.  Loosen the skin and slide two pats of butter, half the gralic and half lemon vest under each.  Squeeze lemon juice over the top of the chicken.  Grind black pepper on top to taste as well.

– Bake f0r 35 min or until juices run clear. 

Pretty tasty!  The breasts were huge so we have plenty of left over chicken for lunches and things throughout the week.

I grilled some asparagus spears and pan fried some potatoes in the olive oil and herbs.  I mixed together some mustard, honey, and a bit of mayo for dippage.  I could have used a glass of white wine to really make the meal complete but unfortunately we had none in the house.  Must remedy this ASAP :)

Anyone have exciting plans for the upcoming week?  Favorite spring recipes?

Take Care


Cookie Dough Hummus

Hi Friends,

After drooling over all the yummy cookie dough inspired dip recipes on the blogs lately I decided to try my hand at making my own.  My girlfriends from college get together once a month and I usually bring dessert.  Prefect excuse to test out a new recipe :)

Cookie Dough Hummus

– 15oz can chick peas, drained and rinsed

– 1/4 cup agave nectar

– 1/2 cup unsweetened, flaked coconut

– 1 TB vanilla

– pinch of sea salt

– 2 TB peanut butter

– 2 TB Almond Milk

– 3 oz dark chocolate bar, chopped

– Place all ingredients except chocolate bar in food processor.  Blend until creamy and well combined.  Scoop into a bowl and stir in chopped chocolate.

I was pleased with how this turned out.  I intended to not used any peanut butter.  I hoped that the coconut would provide enough fatty/buttery texture but it did not.  Hence the last minuet pb addition.  Can you really go wrong with the peanut butter chocolate chip combination tho?!

I served the hummus with strawberries, banana chips, and Food Should Taste Good Chocolate Chips.  My friends didn’t gobble this up the way I anticipated.  I came late due to work so either they feasted before I got there or they didn’t care fo it too much.  Who knows?!  More for me to take home at the end of the night :)

For the first time in a while, I have a weekend day completely and utterly off!  Woohoo.  I plan on doing nothing.  YAY!




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.