Snowball Soup

I woke up to snow this morning in Seattle. Snow is a rare event here and one that always makes me feel like something special is happening. During a long walk this morning, my creative juices got flowing and I created this snowball soup as soon as I returned home.

Both sweet white miso and chickpea miso add a light sweet flavor that will compliment the cauliflower, so feel free to use either one. Remember to go light on the miso for young children, whose bodies are strongly affected by too much salt. For adults, add a little more miso, or a spoonful of sauerkraut, after children have been served. For children, I use 1/2 tsp or less of miso per cup of water. Adults can use up to 1 tsp of miso per cup of water. South River Miso and Miso Master are decent brands that are made in the US and can be found in many natural food stores. I used South River Sweet White Miso for this soup and I also love their Chickpea Miso.

Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables and it always reminds me of snowballs. When cutting the cauliflower, try to keep the round florets intact as much as possible to mimic a snowball shape. I cut the carrots into little snowman nose triangles. You may think of other snow themed vegetables to add as well. Use your imagination.20170206_12053220170206_121210

 

 

 

 

This soup is fabulous with a little added corn for sweetness and garnished with fried bread cubes or with my easy dumplings. I left the corn out this time because it didn’t quite fit my snow theme.

If you have a child who doesn’t mind eating wakame, remove it from the soup, chop into small pieces and then add it back in. Otherwise, leave it whole so it can be removed easily before serving.

Snowball Soup

6 cups water
3″ piece of wakame
2-3 Tbsp minced onion
1 1/2 cups small, bite-sized cauliflower snowballs
1/3 cup thin, carrot triangles, half of a small carrot cut into rounds and then 8 triangles per round
1 Tbsp sweet white or chickpea miso (unpasteurized is best)
chopped parsley or green onion for garnish (or other fresh garnish your child might like)

  1. In a medium size pot, bring the water, wakame and onion to a simmer.
  2. Add the cauliflower. Let simmer for a few minutes.
  3. Add the carrots. Let simmer for a few minutes more.
  4. Spoon a small amount of the liquid into a bowl. Add the miso and stir to dissolve. Add back into the soup and let simmer very lightly for a few minutes to activate the miso.
  5. Ladle into soup bowls and serve with garnish on top. This is also the time to add the dumplings or fried bread cubes if using.

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Maple Balsamic Glazed Garbanzo Beans

One of my strategies when cooking for busy families is to make dishes that can be eaten as is or added to other dishes. My style is kind of mix and match. I often create components rather than cooking full meals. I find this gives families greater flexibility in meeting the needs of a wide range of eaters.

These glazed garbanzo beans are a perfect example of my style.They can be part of a snack, thrown into a school lunch, tossed in a grain bowl, added to sauteed greens or sprinkled on top of a soup or salad.

Another thing I often do is make a big batch of beans and re-purpose it into several different dishes. Garbanzo beans, or pretty much any legume, can become hummus, grain and bean burgers, bean soup or my sauteed garbanzo beans. This recipe can be made with either 2 cups of home cooked beans or one 15 oz can of beans. Keep a few cans of Eden brand beans in your pantry and this can be one of your last minute go-to recipes. If you have never cooked your own garbanzo beans, the flavor and texture are outstanding. They are quite different from the canned version. Here are my instructions for Home Cooked Beans.

I have adapted the original recipe which can be found in Dreena Burton’s cookbook Plant-Powered Families. The link is for her website. I have reduced the sodium and the sweetness a bit. These garbanzo beans are meant to be served soft. I know there are a lot of recipes for crunchy garbanzo beans out there, but I think hard, dry foods are hard on the digestive system and contribute to cravings for sweet foods. So, I try to limit them.

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Maple Balsamic Glazed Garbanzo Beans
(adapted from Roasted Balsamic Chickpeas in Plant-Powered Families by Dreena Burton)

2 cups of garbanzo beans, drained (or 15 oz can Eden brand)
1 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (I love Napa Valley Naturals Grand Reserve)
1 1/2 tsp shoyu or tamari (alcohol-free, unpasteurized if you can find it)
1 tsp maple syrup or to taste

1. Oven to 400°.

2. If the garbanzo beans were made from scratch and refrigerated in their liquid, you will need to re-heat them before draining. The liquid tends to congeal and won’t drain easily while cold.

2. Measure all the ingredients into a medium size bowl and mix well. Place in a single layer on a large, parchment or silicone lined baking sheet. There will be extra marinade in the bottom of the bowl. Just pour that onto the garbanzo beans and they will soak up the sauce while baking.

3. Bake the garbanzo beans just until they soak up the marinade and turn glossy. Stir once or twice during this process to prevent burning. The garbanzo beans should still be fairly soft when they are done. This process takes about 20-25 minutes depending on the oven.

4. Remove and serve immediately or let cool and store for later use.

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Warming Barley Lentil Soup

I am all about warming soups this time of year and here is a heartier variation of my frequently requested Simple Barley Soup. True comfort food when the nights are damp and cold like they are in Seattle right now.

20161213_1255141One of my favorite things to do is find locally grown or produced specialty foods. I absolutely love the lentils from the PNW Farmers Co-op in Eastern Washington right near the Idaho border. Check them out on their website at Davidson Commodities. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, you should be able to find some of their beans and lentils in the bulk section of your local natural food store.

Use hulled barley in this recipe instead of the more refined pearl barley. We also have some lovely Oregon and Montana grown barley available in several co-ops in the area. I think I may have seen them at Central Co-op in Seattle and Tacoma and the Olympia Food Co-op.

Warming Barley Lentil Soup

3/4 cup hulled barley, rinse and soak overnight in water to cover
2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
postage stamp size piece of dried kombu or kelp
1/4 cup brown or french lentils, pick through for small rocks and rinse well
6 cups water
1 stalk celery, sliced
1-2 carrots, diced or sliced into half circles or triangles
1 1/2 cups chopped green cabbage
1 Tbsp unpasteurized miso, or to taste (I like South River miso)

1.  Strain the barley and save the soaking water. Set aside.

2.  Place a large, heavy bottom soup pot on low medium heat. Add the oil when the pot has warmed. Add the onion as soon as a little piece sizzles gently when placed in the oil. Cook the onion about 5 minutes stirring frequently. Add the barley and saute with the onion for about 5 more minutes. Add the water, lentils and kombu. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook for about one hour. Add more water during this time if needed to keep the barley and lentils covered. I usually cook it for a long time and just keep adding water.

3.  After the barley, lentils and onion have cooked for at least one hour, add the celery and carrot. Cook until the vegetables are close to being soft. Add the cabbage. Add more water if you want a lighter broth or leave it thick and serve as a stew.

4.  Put the miso into a dish and stir in a few tablespoons water. Turn the soup to your lowest heat and add the miso. Stir well. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more miso if desired. Simmer gently for 3 more minutes. Serve.

Notes:
Serve soup with a hearty sourdough bread or homemade biscuits and a side of greens.

Other chopped greens, like kale, can be added to this soup 10 minutes before the soup is done.

Garnish with chopped parsley, green onion or naturally fermented sauerkraut.

Crave Eat Heal Cookbook Giveaway and No Bake Breakfast Cookies

Last summer I spent quite a bit of time helping test recipes for the newly released cookbook, Crave Eat Heal. I had a lot of fun, especially because I tried a lot of the recipes on a family I worked for. We did taste tests and they love a lot of the recipes that ended up in the cookbook. The No Bake Breakfast Cookies were a hit, and super easy to make with young children.

Author Annie Oliverio, is the creative powerhouse over at An Unrefined Vegan. Her cookbook features fun, tasty, inventive recipes and gorgeous photographs taken by Annie herself. To find out more about Annie, check out this interview over at Urban Naturale.BlogTourBannerCEH

Crave Eat Heal opened up my eyes to a variety of ingredients, flavor combinations and techniques I had never used, or even thought of using, before.

Inside, you will find a wide range of recipes and gorgeous photographs that will spark your creativity in the kitchen and fuel your desire to find satisfying alternatives for even your  (or your family’s) peskiest cravings.

I have personally tested at least 50 of the nearly 140 recipes in this book. Many of these recipes have made their way into my regular rotation. Most of the ones I tested are also kid-approved.

Many recipes have options like replacing stevia with other sweeteners like maple syrup, using an oven instead of dehydrator, using gluten-free grains and other adjustments you can make for specific dietary requirements. What you won’t find are refined sweeteners, processed foods or animal products.

Here are a few of our kid favorite recipes from Crave Eat Heal:
Baked Almond Butter and Apricot Oatmeal
Tempeh Bacon
“Parmesan” Cheez
Coco-Nutty Chocolate Chip Cookies
Creamy Scrambled Tofu
Gabby’s Oatmeal Creme Brulee for One
Butternut Squash Queso

Two adult favorites, besides the ones listed above, are:
Raw/Not Raw Barley Bowl
Brussel Sprouts Salad

Giveaway:

CraveEatHealCover4Littleveg is hosting a giveaway of one copy of the companion ebook, Crave. Eat. Heal. Outtakes.The ebook contains 16 recipes not included in the cookbook. If you would like a copy, please leave a comment answering the question, “What is your most persistent craving and what is one healthy way you satisfy it?” I will draw names for the ebook on May 31 and will announce the winners in a blog post on June 1. You will then have until June 5 to contact me and claim your prize.

Over at sweetveg I am hosting a giveaway of the full cookbook Crave Eat Heal for residents of the US or Canada. Head on over there if you want to participate in that drawing. Names will be drawn May 31, as well.

We love this recipe and often use dried blueberries instead of the cherries, about 1 tsp maple syrup instead of the stevia and unsweetened sunflower seed butter. The cookies can also be chilled and formed into little cookie balls. I love the addition of teff. This recipe doesn’t use very much, so you can always add a few tablespoons to morning porridge. That’s actually one of my favorite ways to eat teff.

No Bake Breakfast Cookies; Photo courtesy of Annie Oliverio and Front Table Books.

No Bake Breakfast Cookies; Photo courtesy of Annie Oliverio and Front Table Books.

“These are great for breakfast on the go, a mid-afternoon treat, or a post-workout snack.”
-Annie Oliverio

Gluten-free, Oil-free, Quick, Easy

NO-BAKE BREAKFAST COOKIES

12 cookies

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup natural almond or peanut butter
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 Tbsp. non-dairy milk or water
1/4 tsp. vanilla-flavored liquid stevia
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. teff
1 Tbsp. hulled hemp seeds
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
1/2 cup dried tart cherries, roughly chopped

DIRECTIONS

In a food processor, pulse the oats until broken into small pieces.  Pour the oats into a large bowl and add the teff, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and cherries.

Add the nut butter, applesauce, coconut milk or water, stevia, and cinnamon to the processor bowl.  Process until very smooth and scrape the mixture into the bowl with the oats.  Stir until the mixture is thoroughly combined.

Divide the oat mixture between 12 muffin cups and using damp fingers, press the mixture down to create a flat surface.  Refrigerate the cookies until firm.  Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Suggestions:

For a chocolate cookie, omit the cinnamon and add 1 Tbsp. cacao or cocoa powder and 1 Tbsp. cacao nibs.
Try using one ripe banana instead of the applesauce.
Use your favorite dried fruit in place of the cherries.
If you prefer, use maple syrup in place of the vanilla-flavored stevia.  Start with 1 Tbsp. maple syrup plus 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract.
If you don’t have or don’t want to use teff, use additional hemp or chia seeds.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Annie Oliverio and Front Table Books.

Fresh Ginger Apples

On a recent trip to Portland, a friend and I cooked together every day. It was so lovely to have a partner in the kitchen.

One evening we were both craving something sweet, but didn’t want to get totally sugared out. Fresh Ginger Apples is what we made. Super simple and just what we needed to satisfy the cravings.

Heat really brings out the sweetness in fruit. I encourage you to eat these apples while still warm. They would be delicious on top of pancakes or morning porridge.

Sometimes ginger can get spicy. This fresh ginger juice is added at the end, so if you have young children, or members of your household who aren’t that into spicy, you can add as little or as much as you want.

Fresh Ginger Apples

3 cooking apples (I like gala or cameo)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened apple juice (preferably the thick, unfiltered organic kind)
pinch of sea salt
2″ knob of fresh ginger

1.  Core and slice the apples into about 3/4″ wedges. You can leave the peel on or remove it before slicing.

2.  Place apple slices in a medium pan. Add the apple juice and a small pinch of sea salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cover. Simmer until the apples are fairly soft. Remove lid and cook for longer if you want the liquid to reduce and thicken a bit. Remove from heat.

3.  Grate the knob of ginger on a ginger grater or fine microplane. Gather the grated ginger into a ball and squeeze a little or a lot of the juice onto the apples. Use moderation if you haven’t tried ginger this way. Then taste and add more if you desire. Discard the pulp.

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