Recipe Roundup: It’s soup season!

Something about this time of year makes my soul feel at peace. Or, rather, some things, plural. How I love the blazing fall colors, the nip in the air, the comfort of fuzzy cardigans and infinity scarves, and the desire to turn inward in body and mind and cozy up with a blanket and a book. And of course, how could I forget my professed love of soup season?

It may seem such a silly thing to pledge your undying devotion, but there’s something about a warm bowl of soup that makes everything right with the world. It’s hearty, comforting, warming, full of flavor — any kind of flavor you can dream of. And for me, many soups are inherently full of nostalgia. Especially chicken noodle soup.

I grew up in a family that treated the day after Thanksgiving as its own holiday. It was sacred, and the routine never varied: Up came the Christmas decorations, on went the holiday music, and into the kitchen we went for leftover turkey soup. And in the days before DVDs brought the magic of children’s Christmas specials on demand, we’d turn to the newspaper to check that night’s TV schedule for the first of the season’s holiday showings.

Now, no matter what time of year, whenever I smell turkey or chicken noodle soup I am there in my parents’ home listening to Bing Crosby or Manheim Steamroller, hanging my favorite “lovebirds” ornament on the tree and wrapping the banister in tinsel, waiting for the homemade noodles and creamy broth of the evening’s turkey soup.

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Recipe Roundup: 2 one-pot wonders and vegan ribs (what???)

For years I hated cooking because the ratio was all wrong: Why spend an hour in the kitchen making dinner plus a half hour cleaning up afterwards when it only takes 20 minutes to eat? That’s 90 minutes of work for 20 minutes of enjoyment. (And if you’ve got picky eaters who pitch a fit at the table every freaking night, that 20 minutes is likely to be the worst 20 minutes of your entire day.)

But then along came the one-pot meal. It’s similar to slow cooking in that you throw everything in the crock pot and let ‘er rip, but it doesn’t take all day and there’s only one pot to clean. WINNING. Plus, there are so many more ingredients you can cook on the stove that you can’t in a slow cooker (but let’s be honest, the only ingredient I really care about is pasta).

I’ll be sharing many more one-pot meals as I test them out (cuz it’s SOUP SEASON, Y’ALL!!), so to round out my round up I’m throwing you a curve-ball: Vegan barbecue ribs. Oh yeah. I went there. And I highly recommend that you go there, too. Scroll down for more.

One-pot wonder tomato basil pasta

Image courtesy of ApronStringsBlog.com

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Recipe: Hold-the-Tuna Salad

Here’s a fresh, tasty lunch idea that will appeal to you meat-free folks: tuna salad minus the tuna, with all the flavor and fixin’s of the original but completely vegan. Instead of tuna, the base is made of nuts and seeds, soaked, chopped and flaked to mimic the texture of tuna salad to a T.

When I excitedly tried to share this recipe with some of my family members, they eyed me dubiously and said, “Why don’t you just use tuna?” A valid point, I suppose.

For me the answer is simple: Because I don’t like tuna, or any other fish. I never have. Plus, I don’t like mayo. That’s two strikes right there, no need to go for a third. Continue reading

Recipe: Quick banana pancakes with coconut whipped cream

Nothing sets the tone for the day quite like a scrumptious breakfast. I’m a full-time mom to three little ones, so none of us have to rush out the door quickly in the mornings — but that doesn’t mean I have all the time in the world to fuss over breakfast, either. I’m steadily finding that happy medium, though: I’ve built a repertoire of quick, healthy, and utterly delicious breakfast recipes to get the day started off right, fast.

Today I’m sharing my recipe for quick banana pancakes, which are naturally sugar-free, require just four ingredients, and are speedily made in the blender. Seriously, these are lightning-fast to make. The only real waiting time is while they’re on the griddle. But the real bonus for me is that these banana pancakes are wonderfully healthy and can be made with any type of flour you like, whether whole wheat, white, or something gluten-free. You can even make them without flour, if you choose, but I find that they take longer to cook without the flour and the pancakes end up a bit rubbery. The addition of just a 1/4 cup of flour gives these the light, fluffy texture we all love in a pancake.

I’m also including the recipe for my new all-time favorite topping: coconut whipped cream. Now that I’ve discovered it, I don’t think I can live without it. I use it to top all my breakfast goods — waffles, German pancakes, oatmeal, you name it — and it goes great with dessert. It has all the creamy fluffiness of traditional whipped cream with just a light coconut flavor that’s not the least overpowering. It’s a vegan favorite, and since it’s dairy-free, sugar-free, and packed with the essentials fats our brains need to function, that means it’s good for you and guilt-free. A total win!

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The secret to cooking brown rice (and why you should switch)

Do you know the difference between white rice and brown rice? (Did you even know there is a difference?)

The simple answer is, white rice is brown rice that’s been processed. White rice has been milled so that the bran and much of the germ has been removed, according to Organic Authority, “reducing fiber and nutrient content drastically. The grain is further polished to take away the remaining layer of germ (called the aleurone layer) which contains essential oils.” Since the nutrients have been stripped, white rice is often “fortified,” meaning that manufacturers go back and add in synthetic vitamins and minerals, making them even more processed and far less natural.

Brown rice, on the other hand, is a whole grain. Only the outer layer (the inedible husk or the hull) has been removed, so all the nutrients are still intact. No further processing necessary.

 

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Recipe roundup: 3 savories and a life-changing sweet

The thing I am asked most frequently about my whole foods, plant-based diet (aside from, “So, wait, are you vegan now?”) is for tasty new recipes. This is reassuring, actually, because it must mean I’m not considered some crazy, crunchy health-food nut after all — that there’s actually a very broad interest in cooking fresh, homemade food, and that people trust me enough not to lead them astray in my recommendations.

Well, I’m happy to oblige. Here’s a look at three savory dinner recipes and one sweet treat that I’ve made in the past few months that I thought were just delicious, along with notes on any changes I may have made. More to come!

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup from Choosing Raw

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Photo credit: ChoosingRaw.com

 

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