Archive | November, 2012

Butternut Squash Soup! (vegan!)

19 Nov

So, I wasn’t planning on so many butternut squash recipes!  BUT, we got one in our neighborhood co-op produce box and I  had just bought a big package from Costco.  Good thing the stuff is so super yummy! And so, so good for you!  Just look at that color!  Full of nutritional goodness!

Here is a great soup you can make as a starter for Thanksgiving or to serve the family with leftovers.  Or to make on any ‘ole day.

I combined my regular vegan standby with some hints from Melanie’s over at Nutritious Eats.  Amazing food!

I love this soup because of the warming curry, the creamy coconut milk, the tangy limes, and the jalapeno and ginger.  It will warm you from head to toe!

This was for a double recipe, so don’t be alarmed by the quantity!


Butternut Squash Soup (Vegan)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 sweet potato, cubed
  • 1 sweet onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and cut in half
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Kosher salt and fresh black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped
  • Juice of 1 to 2 limes
  • 1tsp curry powder
  • 6 cups gluten-free vegetable broth
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Put butternut squash, sweet potato, onion, garlic, and jalapeno in a roasting pan.  Drizzle on the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with foil. Cook in preheated oven until the vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally.
  3. Put cooked vegetables, their cooking juices, ginger, lime juice, curry, vegetable broth and coconut milk into a large pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Puree soup with an immersion blender (or transfer to a blender in batches and puree). Taste for seasoning. Garnish with freshly ground pepper.

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto with Leeks, Fresh Sage, and Toasted Walnuts. (Vegan, of course!)

12 Nov

I adore risotto.

Nothing that I eat brings me more comfort.  A glass of wine with a bowl of creamy risotto.  Hanging out with Lucky.  Perfection.

Make this on a night in.  A night when you can take your time and stir and visit.  Since you are opening a bottle of wine, you may as well have a glass!  It is a great date night.  And one you don’t need a sitter for!  Just have a late dinner after kids are in bed and relax and unwind together.

But warning, this is not a quick fix meal!!!  Take your time and enjoy!

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto with Leeks, Fresh Sage, and Toasted Walnuts

  • One butternut squash, peeled and seeded and cut into chunks.
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 boxes (8 cups) vegetable broth
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 4-5 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • White wine of your choice
  • Walnuts, toasted at 350 for 10 minutes or until starting to brown, then chopped
  • Shaved or grated Parmesan/Romano for non vegans.  I loved it without, but Luck loves it with.  🙂
  1. Place squash on a baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil and kosher salt and pepper.  Roast on 350 for 30 minutes, or until they are fork tender.  Try not to eat them all out of the pan.  If you would prefer to cook without oil, simply steam your squash!  Once it is cooled a bit, take the back of a wooden spoon and smash it down.  You can leaved some bigger size pieces.  I like it not being uniformed.
  2. Meanwhile, place your vegetable broth in a pot and bring to a simmer. Once it is simmering, turn to warm and leave it there.  You will need hot broth for the risotto.  And a ladle.
  3. Heat the pot you plan to make the risotto in with a little bit of oil.  You don’t need much at all. You can also water saute’ at this point and not use oil at all.  Add the leeks and a little salt and pepper and cook for 8 minutes or so until they are soft and translucent.  Add your chopped, fresh sage and stir and cook a bit longer. Remove those to a plate and set aside.
  4. Using that same pot, now add a little bit of olive oil and add your dry rice.  Cook and stir for a bit.  Some say you need to cook until you hear the rice popping like a glass sound.  Just give it a good few minutes over medium heat.
  5. Now add 1/2 – 3/4 cups of white wine and stir until all of the liquid is absorbed. This is how you will cook the remainder of this dish!
  6. Once the wine has been absorbed, add a ladle of the warm veg broth.  Stir until it is all absorbed and repeat.  As you get down to the bottom of the broth, start tasting.  You want the rice to still have a bit of a bite to it and not be mushy, but you don’t want it under cooked.  So taste along the way!
  7. Once your rice is at the perfect texture, stir in the butter nut squash and the leek/sage mixture.  Taste for seasoning!  If you need to add more Kosher salt, now is the time.  Add a good amount of fresh cracked pepper
  8. Top each serving with toasted walnuts.  And if you eat cheese, top with a good hard cheese (Romano or Parmesan).
  9. Grab your wine and serve with a salad and enjoy!

Kale-Pomegranate Quinoa Stuffing

10 Nov

Don’t you just love recipes that capture the holidays?  You can taste the  love of the generations that passed the recipes down and the layers upon layers of flavors that have been developed and carefully put together.

Sometimes when you are cooking plant-based and gluten free, you lose that.  Because quite frankly, this is NOT how our grandparents cooked!

This recipe captures all that we have come to love about the holidays.  The fresh sage, the pecans, the thyme…it is everything you will want from a stuffing/dressing.

And the most exciting part?  It is jam packed with goodness!  3 of what Dr. Oz calls “power” foods amp up the nutrition: kale, pomegranate, and quinoa.

This is going to be tripled this year for our Thanksgiving feast.  And I am betting that this will be a recipe that will stand the test of time.

(on a side note, I realize I don’t have a nice camera…please don’t let my lousy pictures deter you from the recipe!  Some day, I will get a nice one!)

This recipe is adapted from Dr. Mehmet Oz to be vegan and lower in fat!

Kale-Pomegranate Quinoa Stuffing


  • 2 Tbl extra virgin olive oil OR water for water sauteeing
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced through a press
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (cooked in vegetable broth)
  • 1/2 pounds kale, stems and leaves coarsely chopped
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. 2.
  2. Spray a 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish.
  3. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil (or omit and just saute #4 in a tiny amount of water).
  4. Add the minced garlic and cook until soft but not yet golden.
  5. Raise heat to high, add the stock and kale and toss to combine. Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking, stirring until all the liquid has evaporated.
  6. Season with salt and  pepper. Set aside to cool.
  7. Add cooled, cooked kale and pecans to a food processor; pulse several times until pecans are chopped and kale is shredded but mixture is still chunky.
  8. In a separate saucepan over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil (or again, just saute in small amount of water); add the onion and remaining garlic; sauté 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sage and continue cooking until onion is caramelized, approximately 3 to 4 more minutes. Stir in the pecan-kale mixture.
  9. Transfer the onion-pecan-kale mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the cooked quinoa and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine and toss to coat.
  10. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes.
  11. Garnish with pomegranate seeds before serving.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread (gluten free, vegan) and the best gluten free flour blend!

8 Nov

I love, love waking up and baking something yummy as a surprise to the kids!  Yesterday, I knew we had a low key homeschool day and so it was the perfect day to jump in the kitchen and make them a treat. They were so happy to wait the extra time for breakfast!  It is very moist and just the right balance of pumpkin, chocolate, and yum.  Reid likes it straight up, Daniella likes it covered in Earth Balance. I  think it is best sliced, spread with Earth Balance, and broiled until the top is slightly crunchy.

The original recipe comes from my very favorite baking cookbook.   Go get it.  Really.

Without further ado, here is the recipe:

  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup agave
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1 can pumpkin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 3 cups gluten free flour mix  **See Note (feel free to sub your favorite gf flour…just know that I have tried them all and this is the best!)
  • 3/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cups dark chocolate chips (vegan)
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Grease bread pan.
  2. In mixer with paddle attachment, mix oil, agave, and vanilla for 20 seconds.
  3. Add the pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger and mix another 20 seconds.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the remaining dry ingredients.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until combines.  Mix in the chocolate chips.
  6. Put batter into the pan and bake for 30 minutes. THEN, turn the heat to 325 and bake for another 20 mins.
  7. Let the bread cool for 20 minutes or until you can’t stand waiting any longer.

**I use Cybel Pascal’s gluten free flour mix. I order the superfine brown rice flour from Amazon and buy the other two at HEB.  I make a giant batch of the flour blend and then have it on hand for whenever I need to bake something.  I have adjusted the amounts to make it easier to make in bulk.  I am stocked up right now with the holidays around the corner. Here is the recipe:

  • 1 (3lb) bag of Superfine Brown Rice Flour from Authentic Foods.
  • 3 cups potato starch (NOT potato flour)
  • 1 1/2 cups Tapioca flour OR tapioca starch

Whisk these ingredients together in a large bowl.  Scoop into a large ziploc back and seal.  Keep in the pantry for quick baking!

Why I haven’t posted as much and a meal plan!

4 Nov

I know I have not been posting much….I am just in a weird place.

I am NOT in a flare!!!  Yay!  What this means is that most of the time I feel ok, occasionally I feel good, and some of the time I feel like crap.  I am napping less and can be more involved with the family.  I am SO thankful for this because the last 6 months seemed pretty brutal to me.

What I am not happy with is something that is never comfortable to talk about.  But it is part of my journey and I would not be completely honest if I didn’t write about it.

It is that ugly thing no female wants to talk about.  Weight.

For some ANNOYING reason, I am still eating the exact same way and exercising the same amount  and I am gaining weight.  Isn’t that lovely?  While everyone in the room can down meat and cheese and bread, I am over here eating veggies and fruits and nuts and “cheeze,” and yet I am the one gaining weight.  I am now teaching 6 exercise classes a week.  I am not sitting on my butt popping bon bons.

Before you ask, yes, I have been tracking my calories just to make sure I was not 1) eating too much or 2) not eating enough and starving myself.

I go in this week for blood work.  I am getting everything checked.  A month ago I had several lab results come back off.  We are checking those, as well as thyroid, hormones, and many more things.  I pray that this will reveal what is going on.  My body FEELS like I am on prednisone again, only I am NOT!  If everything comes back normal, then I just pray that my doc listens to me about this and helps me keep digging.  I know my body.  Very well.


  • Sunday: Reid’s bday and he wants egg-in-the-holes for dinner.  I will eat some foods I am practicing for my cooking class.
  • Monday: Tomato soup and grilled cheese.  I now make the tomato soup with only a small amount of olive oil.  HOLY COW, I am CRAVING this stuff again!  I seriously can’t wait!!!
  • Tuesday: Mashed potatoes and cauliflower, served with peppered peas and roasted carrots.
  • Wednesday: Gretchen is making a tomatillo crock pot invention.  YUM!
  • Thursday: Leftovers
  • Friday: pizza night

Now it is your turn!  What are YOU eating this week???