Simple Carrot Soup

Last week we had a wonderful afternoon at Stone Barns. I guess winter keeps away most of the crowds so we basically had the place to ourselves. We got to feed the chickens (greens and lettuce!), see the sheep, ducks and beautiful greenhouses. Then we went to cafe and ate a great lunch! We had the Carrot Soup (every time I am there the soup is Vegan, so it might always be!) and my kids loved it! Picnics outdoors in the winter tends to scream Soup! haha

We wanted to recreate the yummy soup for dinner. On the Stone Barns site there was a recipe for Simple Carrot-Ginger Soup so I made this and adapted it just a bit 🙂 Just simple and delicious! I’m sure you can jazz it up with some herbs or coconut milk for creaminess but it was delicious as is.

Stay warm everyone!!!!! Soup will be perfect food for the storm!! 

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Simple Carrot Soup
Recipe adapted from stonebarnscenter.org

3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
2-1/2 pounds of carrots—peeled and sliced
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
6 cups vegetable broth

Melt butter or heat olive oil in a large soup pot.
Over medium heat, add onion and garlic, and cook until tender (about 7 to 10 minutes.)
Add carrots and a dash of salt.
Cook for five minutes then add the broth.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, until carrots are tender.
Purée. (I love to use the immersion blender in the pot, so no need for transferring hot soup!) 

Perfect Fall Soup: Butternut Squash, Carrot & Apple Soup

Today was that perfect Fall day. Super brisk yet still super sunny highlighting those gorgeous fall colors!! We spent the late afternoon crunching on all the fallen leaves and a messy outdoor art project!! It was a bit chilly and as it got later (and colder) I figured it was the perfect day for a warm & creamy soup. Yum!!

I was thinking Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk. Then I decided to add carrots from the CSA and apples we picked last weekend. I figured this was going to be a winning combination and it was!

I used pre-chopped butternut squash which made this meal a breeze and done within 30 minutes!

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Butternut Squash, Carrot & Apple Soup

  • medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 apples, peeled and chopped
  • bag of carrots/parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups (water & broth)(I used 2 of each) 
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 can of coconut milk (all I had was light and it still came out creamy)
  • dash of nutmeg & cinnamon

In a large pot sauté onions in olive oil while peeling and cutting the squash, carrots & apples.
Turn the heat down and add the veggies, stirring until they are all added.
Add liquid and salt &pepper.
Cover and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer until the squash and carrots are soft.
Using an immersion blender puree completely smooth in the same pot.
Add coconut milk, nutmeg & cinnamon, taste and season, stir (I used the blender again) and enjoy!

Iron for Vegans & Kale and Lentil Soup!

We all know that Iron is super important in our diets. Iron transports oxygen to the blood, regulates the metabolism, provides energy and stamina, and supports other important functions. Besides hearing “how do you get your protein?” vegans and vegetarians also hear a lot of “where does your iron come from?” I thought this was important topic to cover especially now as I am not only cooking for my husband and me but also my two kiddos 🙂

“Some might expect that since the vegan diet contains a form of iron that is not that well absorbed (non-heme), vegans might be prone to developing iron deficiency anemia. However, surveys of vegans have found that iron deficiency anemia is no more common among vegetarians than among the general population although vegans tend to have lower iron stores.

The reason for the satisfactory iron status of many vegans may be that commonly eaten foods are high in iron. In fact, if the amount of iron in these foods is expressed as milligrams of iron per 100 calories, many foods eaten by vegans are superior to animal-derived foods. For example, you would have to eat more than 1700 calories of sirloin steak to get the same amount of iron as found in 100 calories of spinach.

Another reason for the satisfactory iron status of vegans is that vegan diets are high in vitamin C. Vitamin C acts to markedly increase absorption of non-heme iron. Adding a vitamin C source to a meal increases non-heme iron absorption up to six-fold which makes the absorption of non-heme iron as good or better than that of heme iron” (http://www.vrg.org)

We can eat iron rich foods with vitamin C foods which can increase absorption, ex. rice & beans, hummus & lemon juice, falafel with tomatoes and cucumber, and beans, grains and seeds combined with fruits and veggies. There are also plenty of natural combinations;  leafy greens, broccoli, bok choy and tomato sauce have both iron & vitamin C!

Here is a list of great non-animal sources of Iron.

  • black beans, kidney beans, chick peas, pinto beans, lentils, soy beans, lima beans, black-eyed peas
  • blackstrap molasses
  • tempeh
  • quinoa
  • spinach, turnip greens, swiss chard, kale
  • tofu
  • watermelon, cantaloupe
  • enriched pasta and breads
  • green beans, beets, broccoli, bok choy, brussels sprouts, peas
  • whole grains; millet, bulgur, oatmeal
  • prunes, raisins, apricots
  • peanut butter, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, other seeds and nuts
  • potatoes that contain the skin
  • tahini
  • veggie burgers & hot dogs

Also:

Don’t drink coffee or tea or eat calcium supplements with iron rich meals.

Cook with a cast iron skillet, especially Vitamin C heavy foods!

Once you get into the swing of eating a balanced vegan or vegetarian diet, iron is not really a concern at all:)

Here is an iron-rich delicious meal!

 Kale & Lentil Soup

Thankfully my kiddos LOVE lentils as much as we do. It has been SUUUPER chilly this winter so that makes me think soup to warm us all up. I made a super tasty soup and added kale which not only increased the iron & nutritious content but also gave such a great bite & texture to the soup. I used a crock-pot, which I have always loved, but really understand now that it can be a busy mama’s best friend!! Since then we have also revisited the Crock-Pot Oatmeal. Just as good as we remembered!

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  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 2-3 onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups lentils, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 14 ½ ounce can of diced tomatoes

Super simple 🙂 Put all of the above ingredients in the slow cooker. Set it on low 8 hours or high 4 hours, if you need it cooked quicker.

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When done I like to use my immersion blender and blend it up about half way, this way there is still some good pieces but the soup gets thicker.

Next add and let cook for just 10-15 minutes longer.
3-4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
3-4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 teaspoon white pepper (optional)
1 bunch of kale, washed and chopped

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Serve and enjoy! Even better the next day!

Gingered Butternut Squash Soup (slow cooker)

This was a yummy warming soup that was great for this chillier weather we are having. I was hoping this would come out with a stronger “thai” or spiced flavor but I could not really taste the lemongrass, so if you rather leave it out, it would be fine. The candied ginger and the pepitas added some really good flavor and texture. Plus I love slow-cooker meals! (although I am sure you could make this in a soup pot on the stove) Start it in the morning and when you get home you have a fabulous dinner ready to go! Perfect! Enjoy this creamy squash soup 🙂

Check out these other slow cooker meals I made: Slow-cooked Open Enchiladas, Mixed Veggies with Peanut Sauce, Butternut squash, Apricots and Apples with Quinoa, Slow Cooked Corn Polenta and Chiles and Crock-Pot Oatmeal.

Before adding the squash and broth

Gingered Butternut Squash Soup (slow cooker)

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, chopped
3 tablespoon, minced ginger root
1 teaspoon, fresh cracked pepper
2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed, smashed and cut in half crosswise
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted
8 cups butternut squash, cubed
6 cups vegetable stock
2 cups coconut milk
3 teaspoons red curry paste
1 lime, juiced and zested
1/2 cup pepitas, toasted
1/2 cup of candied ginger, chopped

  1. In a skillet or a meal slow-cooker liner, heat oil over medium heat and add onions, cook for 3 minutes till softened. Add ginger, pepper, lemongrass and toasted cumin, stirring for 1 minute. Either place liner in slow-cooker or transfer skillet  contents to stoneware. Add butternut squash and veggie stock.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours until squash is tender.
  3. Mix 1 tablespoon of coconut milk with the curry paste and blend well.
  4. Add to slow cooker along with the rest of the coconut milk and lime juice and heat till cooked through, about 20 minutes. Discard the lemongrass.
  5. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup.
  6. Serve with toasted pepitas and candied ginger.

Honeydew Gazpacho

This was super simple and a perfect pool day lunch. It was HOT last week as many of you know 😉 and this was a great light lunch to cool us off. So simple yet very complex flavors. Deelish!
Honeydew Gazpacho
Serves 4
  • 2/3 cup slivered blanched almonds, separated
  • juice of 1 1/2 limes
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 6 plum tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
  • 1 honeydew; cut in half – 1 half seeded, peeled and chopped &
  • other 1/2 diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Blend 1/3 cup almonds, lime juice, vinegar, tomatoes, and chopped honeydew until smooth. Either serve right away or chill. When serving, place diced honeydew and almonds in a bowl and pour soup over. Enjoy!

Kitchari Challenge – Recipe #1

I love Kitchari!! Kitchari is typically considered a fasting food and is used to purify digestion and cleanse systemic toxins but is also an amazing meal on its own account. I eat it at least once a week at the amazing Jivamukti (Jivamuktea) Cafe. When Michael and I were in India I expected to eat it all the time, but strangely we never had it, not once! So upon returning home I wanted to take on my very own Kitchari Challenge 🙂 I am going to play around with different takes of this amazing mixture of Dal and Rice. Some recipes have many spices in them and some call for just a dash of salt. This is where my challenge comes in, I want to try many of them out. I will post them as I make them. Enjoy!

I made a super big double batch of this first recipe and Michael and I were thrilled to have it in the house for over a week! It was super enjoyable and very nourishing.

Kitchari Recipe
Recipe adapted from The Ayurvedic Institute

1 cup     Basmati Rice
2 cups     Mung Dal (split yellow)
7 cups (approx.) Water
a bit of     Salt
2 Tbs.     neutral oil (like canola)
3 tsp.     Mustard Seeds
2 tsp.     Cumin Seeds or Powder
2 tsp.     Turmeric Powder
2 tsp.     Coriander Powder
2 tsp.     Fennel Powder
1 pinch     Asafoetida (Hing)(I was very excited to bring this back from India – although you can easily get it at your local Indian store)

I did not adapt my recipe for the specific doshas – but below is what The Ayurvedic Institute suggests to do.
* For Vata or Kapha conditions:
add a pinch of ginger powder
* For Pitta: leave out the mustard seeds

  1. Carefully pick over rice and dal to remove any stones. Wash each separately in at least 2 changes of water.
  2. Sauté the seeds in the oil until they pop. Then add the other spices. Add the mung dal and salt. Sauté for 1 or 2 minutes. Add boiling water, bring to boil, then simmer for 30 minutes or until the dal is about 2/3 cooked.
  3. Add rice and stir to mix, adding extra water if required. Bring back to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is fully cooked. Aim to have minimal water remaining, leaving the lid on the pot to allow any excess to slowly be absorbed.
  4. Stir until the rice and dal begin to mush together and Enjoy!

Coconut Lentil Soup

My friend Lisa Dawn is an amazing Yogi, Wife, Mother and Cook! We were talking recently about simple, nutritious, delicious and fast vegan meals and she served me such an amazing soup that I had to replicate it at home! Sometimes I forget how simple meals can be so amazing delicious, fun and taste so complex! Thank you Lisa for Inspiring me and Reminding me of this! I had so much fun in the kitchen dancing, stirring, singing – I have been so busy lately and have been neglecting cooking; it was good to find my way back 🙂

p.s. this soup/stew is AMAZING!!! Michael and I were so excited to have such a big batch to eat all week at home.

Soup while using the immersion blender

Soup after immersion

Coconut Lentil Soup
inspired by Lisa Dawn

  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil (canola)
  • 4 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 lb lentils, rinsed and sorted
  • 2 cans coconut milk (I used 1 light and 1 regular)
  • 4 cups of water (+1-2 cups once the pasta is added)
  • 8 ounces of little pasta (I used Conchigliette)
  • Salt and White Pepper to taste (black pepper is fine, I just wanted to stay with the colors)
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot and saute the onions for about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and lentils and continuous stirring for 1 minute more. 
  2. Add coconut milk and water and bring to a boil. Reduce hear and simmer till lentils are cooked.
  3. Using an immersion blender or by pouring into a blender – puree the soup.
  4. Add the pasta into the soup and the additional 1-2 cups of water. Enjoy!

note: It came out super thick for me, but we enjoyed it that way. If you want more of a soup consistency add more water.


Natural Gourmet Institute Friday Night Dinner

YUM!!

Over the years I have taken several fabulous classes at Natural Gourmet Institute. They also offer a Friday Night Dinner at which the “Chef Instructors and students
of our Chef’s Training Program pour their expertise and enthusiasm into a three-course vegetarian dinner”. We wanted to check this out and this last Friday we got to go! It was great! They transformed the classrooms into communal tables with candles and flowers but the highlight of the evening was the meal! It was so deelish. Sorry, I did not take any pictures, but at least you will be able to drool over the menu 🙂 It is a great deal and was super fun. At the end of the meal the chefs come out to explain the meal and answer questions. It was great to meet them and to applaud the people who created such an amazing feast!

They change the menu every week so I know we will be going back soon enough. Our entire meal was vegan (yeah!) but even if there is a vegetarian part of the meal, there will always be a vegan alternative.

Check out the menu!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup (this was so good! they had roasted the butternut before pureeing, so it gave it this great carmelized flavor)

Bitter Greens Salad with Pecans, Shallots,  Spicy, Smoky Dressing (of course I have had my fair share of salads, but this one was amazing! The smoky flavor was so different and deelish!)

Tempeh Scallopini with Portobello Risotto, Roasted Asparagus, Pepper Coulis (YUM!! The Risotto was made with a brown basmatti and was sooo creamy. The tempeh was insane and the asparagus were perfect!)

Maple Pecan Cookie, Vanilla Bean Sorbet, Caramel Crème, Strawberry Coulis (we loved the whole meal, but for me, dessert is typically the highlight and this one was amazing! the cookie was so sweet and mapley! ahhh! the vanilla bean sorbet was made out of young coconut and the caramel creme was divine!)

Can you tell that I enjoyed our meal?? I want to plan another night out there, who’s in??

Prix Fixe: $40.00 (includes tax)
6:30 p.m. seating
BYOB
Reservations required: 212-645-5170 (ext. 0)

Spicy Vegan Gumbo

I have made a ton of soups lately (its BRRRRRR outside!!) and was in the mood for some more heartier fare. This did the trick 🙂 So hearty, spicy, nutritious AND delicious! YUM! This is a definite pleaser! This also freezes well, just in case you don’t need all 8 servings right away 😉 You can also substitute or add other veggies & greens to your liking.

Spicy Vegan Gumbo
Serves 8

4 ribs celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1  green bell pepper, seeded, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups vegetable broth
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes (if you can find fire roasted, go with that)
1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/2 head green cabbage, chopped
1 package (16 ounces) chopped frozen okra
1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups uncooked long-grain brown rice

  1. Combine the celery, carrots, onion, bell pepper, and garlic in a food processor and pulse chop (do not purée).
  2. In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the celery mixture and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the vegetable broth, tomatoes (with juice), beans, spinach, cabbage, okra, parsley, bay leaves, oregano, thyme, salt, black pepper, sugar, and cayenne pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
  3. While soup in simmering prepare rice. When the rice is almost done stir in with gumbo and simmer 10 minutes more all together.
  4. Enjoy!

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