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!



Definitely Soup Weather

Hi Friends,

The weather in MN has been a pain in rear lately.  It has been cold the last few days and we got about an inch of snow yesterday.  Usually I don’t get sick of the snow until about February but this year, I am already antsy for it to be gone.  At least the days are getting longer…..  sigh.

Cold weather is perfect for a nice pot of warming soup.  Art loves hot and sour soup.  I found a recipe in the January issue of Clean Eating magazine that I decided to give a try.  Reason number 736 why I am ready for spring, I can’t get a decent food photo to save my life. 

I followed the recipe pretty closely but substituted a cup of chopped mushrooms for the second package of tofu.  The soup was tofuy enough without the second 12 oz package so I can’t imagine it with two.  The flavor was pretty close but not spot on with the other hot and sour soup I’ve tried before.  I loved all the ginger and jalapeno and think I would have been satisfied with the results if I wasn’t comparing it to other hot and sour soups.

I’ve completed three full days of the anti acne diet and have been doing pretty well so far with the exception of a carrot cake sampling at work yesterday.  Whatever :)

I have decided to cut back on all the items (gluten, dairy, soy and refined sugars) at once rather than separately.  I will then reintroduce them one at a time in order to find the root of the problem.  Doing it the opposite way seems like it would drag on too long for my liking.

In theory, I should probably completely cut the items out of my diet completely rather than just limiting them to one serving.  After knowing myself for 28 years, I know that won’t work for me!  Things like yesterday’s pizza (my planned gluten and dairy for the day) and carrot lunch with my coworkers would upset me and leaving me feeling guilty.  So in a move of self care, I left myself a little wiggle room.  Hopefully I will still be able to get to the root of the breakouts.  Make sense?

I got a gift certificate for an ionic foot soak and reflexology session that I have scheduled for today!  Yehaw!  I am feeling like a winter pick me up might be in order so I am going to see if the local Aveda school could fit me in for some cheap highlights.



Lentil and Barley Soup

Hi Friends,

I was perusing Clean Food by Terry Walters yesterday afternoon for Thanksgiving dessert ideas.  Don’t know why I do not use this cookbook more frequently!  Everything looks so good and the recipes I have made have been mighty good.  I came across her Goodness Soup recipe and knew I needed to make it.  I had about 3/4 the ingredients listed and decided to wing it with the rest.  I give you my version which I like to call Decentness Soup :)

Decentness Soup

– 2 TB olive oil

– 1 small onion, chopped

– 2 1/2 cups button mushrooms, chopped

– 1 1/2 cups celery, chopped

– 1 1/2 cups carrots, chopped

– 3/4 cup pearled barley

– 1 heaping cup green lentils

– 3 TB tamari

– 1/4 cup white wine

– 2 TB Herb blend from work containing tarragon, basil, onion and lemon peel

– 11 cups water

– 3 big handfulls of spinach

– ground black pepper to taste

– miso — optional

– In a large pot, saute onion and mushrooms in olive oil over medium high heat for about five mins.  Add carrots through lentils to the pot and stir.  Stir in tamari, white wine and herbs.  Add the water to the pot and bring soup to a boil.  Once soup is at a full boil, turn down heat to medium low and cover.  Let simmer for about two hours.  (You could cook longer than that for a thicker soup.)  Before serving, stir in the spinach and season with black pepper to taste.

– Waters recommends dissolving one tsp of miso in 3TB of water per serving of soup.  You can add the miso to the individual portions of soup immediately before serving.  I did this and would also recommend doing so.

This soup is the quintessential Minnesota-winter-warm-you-right-up kind of dish.  I would definitely make this again.  Both Art and I agreed that it was tasty and filling.  Plus with ingredients like lentils, barley, miso and veggies, it is a nutritional power house.  We have plenty of leftovers for the week and stashed a container in the freezer too.

Nugget 21

The Walking Dead.  Have you seen this show on AMC?  Oh my gosh is it addictive.  It is about zombies which is so not my cup of tea at all.  For some reason I have gotten really into this miniseries.  The suspense is crazy.

Have a great short week!  Anyone have fun plans for Thanksgiving?


Chilli Time

Hi Friends,

Despite the fact that the weather was positively lovely and in the 60s both Saturday and Sunday, it seemed like the right time of year to make a big old pot of chilli.  I love chilli and could probably eat it all winter long if necessary.  I try not to make my first pot too early in the season.  I like to wait until it feels like winter is on the brink of surfacing.  I do this with my winter coat too.  I delay breaking it out for as long as possible.  I know that once it surfaces, I will sentenced to dragging it around for a good six months.  booooo.

Enough rambling.  The best part about chilli is that you can dump just about anything in and it will turn out ok.  Last nights batch was an attempt to clean out odds and ends in our refrigerator.

– I started by sautéing a small onion in olive oil and added three cloves garlic, two small bell peppers, and chilli powder.

– I then added about 1 1/2 cups boxed roasted red pepper soup and the end of a jar of salsa (maybe 3/4 a cup). 

– Once the mix was simmering, I added a 20oz can of black beans, a 20 oz can of pinto beans, the end of a bag of frozen corn and a few dashes of hot sauce.

The real star of the dinner was the last bits of the pumpkin spice chevre that we used to top the chilli.   The combination of the sweet cheese and the spicy chilli was very nice!  Perhaps my favorite part of making chilli is having plenty of leftovers to enjoy all week.  yay!  

I stumbled upon a nice quote from Emerson that I thought fit nicely with my gratitude theme for the month.

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Isn’t that nice?  It is very easy for me to focus on the things that I am unhappy with.  But I have so much to be thankful for and so much to good stuff going on.  Giving my attention to those things is so much more pleasant.  With that I give you Nugget 7.

Yummy Leftovers!  I am so glad to be able to afford and prepare good food.  I am very thankful to have some all ready to pack up and eat throughout the course of the week.

Happy Monday! 


Miso Soupy Goodness

Hi Friends,

Lovely day in Minneapolis.  Yay!  I became fixated on making miso soup on Friday but didn’t want to due to all pricey ingredients that I would have to buy.  I decided to bite the bullet today and make some.  I created a bastardization of a few recipes and came up with this gem.

Miso Soup A La Kate

– 1 TB olive oil

– 1/3 cup chopped onion

-1 TB minced ginger

– 1TB minced garlic

– 1/2 block firm tofu cubed

– 1 TB soy sauce

– 4 1/2 cups water

– 1  cup sliced shiitake mushrooms

– 1 1/2 cups sliced baby bella mushrooms

– 8 oz frozen chopped spinach

– 1 1/2 sheets sliced nori

– 3 heaping TB brown rice miso, mixed with 1/2 cup water

– 3 green onions sliced

Sautee onion, garlic and ginger in olive oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat.  Once onion softens, add tofu cubes and soy sauce and cook for another 5 min.  Add the next six ingredients (water thru miso) and stir.  Turn down the heat and cover the soup pot.  Let simmer for about 10 min.  Top soup with the sliced green onions.

I was very pleased with how this turned out.  I know it is not super authentic but it is quite tasty.  Plus I have leftovers!!!!!!  Yay!

Things I am thankful for/really like 

1.  Walking.  I have enjoyed long walks with great company both Saturday and Sunday this week.  There is nothing more pleasant than walking around with ones you love, discussing life, and enjoying the scenery.  (An iced americano with soy milk sure adds to the experience!)   I am very thankful that I have feet and legs that function and can carry me through out life.

2.  People.  I feel like this is on my list every week, but man do I have some great people in life.  Seriously!  Sometimes I don’t think I remember this enough and fail to look to them for support and companionship.  And it is not even that I need much more than a conversation or email to make me feel to connected to them.  So, friends, family, and blog friends,  you guys are awesome.

3.  School.  I am really loving it.  I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to study.  The pile of homework that I have neglected until now is staring at me.  Must get on that!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend!


More Randomness

Hi Friends,

I’ve got a bunch of scattered things that I feel like sharing.  But first I’ll give you the daily chow.

Breakfast Smoothie – 1 blood orange, 1/2 frozen banana, Unsweetend Vanilla Almond Breeze, 1/2 scoop vanilla hemp protein powder, flax and 3 ice cubes.  Topped with Kashi Go Lean.

Lunch Salad – sautéed tempeh, broccoli and onion.  a few sections of a pomelo and some random black berries.  Galeo’s Ginger Wasbi Miso Dressing.  An Earth Gains Thin Bun.  Randicious (thanks Cassie!) combo at its finest!

Dindin Leftovers – Reheated Veggie Chili with spinach.  Topped with goat cheese and crushed Food Should Taste Good Jalapeno Chips.

Random Thoughts to Share

– Citrus fruit is super good.  Both my blood orange and pomelo today were super tasty.  I guess that is the good thing about this time of year.  I haven’t tried pomelo before today and was pleasantly surprised.  The flavor was kind of mellow but nice. 

– I don’t know what the difference between sautéing and stir frying is.  I should probably google this ASAP if I want to retain my status as knowledgable about food.

– I love the foam roller thingy at the gym!  The BF recommended it  and I’ve used it the last three days at the gym after my workouts.  It hurts like a beast when I use it, but my legs feel so good the next day. 

– I am really excited for Valentine’s Day.  I have always been a fan of the day, even when I was single.  How can you not love a day dedicated to love, chocolate and flowers?!  The BF has agreed to see a dance concert that I really wanted to go to which is super sweet of him.

– Next week I am going to start working regular hours at the before school compliment to the after school program I have been subbing in.  I am pumped!  I am already thinking of curriculum ideas to do with the kiddos.  I’ll keep a few hours at the coffee shop in the afternoon.  I keep my free coffee perks!

– Thursday is the best TV night.  The Office and 30 Rock crack me up.  Do you remember when Thursdays used to be Friends and Sienfeld night?   I am happily seated on my couch with a mug of tea and square of Chocolate Love Extra Strong Dark Chocolate bar ready to be mindlessly entertained.  (Does any one else that good chocolate is on sale in the grocery stores due to the holiday?!)

Later gators,



Hi Friends,

Before you start reading, head over to the Bake Sale for Hati ASAP!  There are some super yummy treats and all the proceeds go to the Red Cross to help Hati recovery efforts.  I am baking a batch of uber yummy oatmeal, craisin chocolate chip cookies.  Get your bids in now :)

Today was another packed day without any breaks.  However, I had the giggles all day long thinking about the fainting goats.  I kept picturing people at the coffee shop failing over randomly.  Kind of enjoyed it :)  Thankfully my day tomorrow will have a bit more space in it, which is nice.

Breakfast Smoothie – 1/8 a package of extra firm tofu, 1 cup unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze, 1/4 cup papaya, 1/2 frozen banana, 1/4 cup frozen pineapple, 1 TB ground flax, 8 almonds, and a good shake of ground ginger.  Very random.  I woke up feeling like a smoothie and just kind of threw things in the blender that sounded good.  Wasn’t the best combo ever but the tofu gave it a nice, creamy consistency.

Lunch – More left over Chicken Sausage, White Bean and Kale soup!  Topped with feta and sriracha with a side of carrots and mustard.

Dinner – Cheesy oats topped with sautéed mushrooms and spinach and an egg and egg white over easy.  The egg yolk boke all over the oats and made it extra gooey.  YUM!  I am currently enjoying a little peanut butter and chocolate chip pita warmed in the microwave for dessert.  More gooey goodness to satisfy my sweet tooth.

I feel like I am stuck in a bit of a food rut lately.  When I got home tonight the only two things I could think of making were protein pancakes or eggs.  Does anyone else get like that?  How do you break yourself out of it?




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