Tuesday, January 22, 2019


Vegan Plantbased Cream of Mushroom Soup

This couldn't be easier and couldn't be tastier.  You will need a good blender like a Ninja or a Vitamix.  A handblender will not work on the Cashews to get them creamy.  A regular blender should work but you will need to soak the Raw Cashews overnighT.  Did you think going vegan or vegetarian meant you can't have this famous comfort food?  Not at all.  Despite no fat or salt added this was amazing.  Double for full batch but I only had 1 c of Raw Cashews left at the time.  USE RAW not roasted.  I used dried mushrooms instead of Veggie Broth because I wanted an extra Mushroom kick.  If you don't have them, then just use a low/no salt Veggie broth.


1 c Raw Cashews
4 c Water/Veggie Broth + upto a cup but taste as you go.
1/2 - 3/4 c dried mushrooms (optional if you plan to use Veggie Broth)
1 1/2 t dried Thyme
2 sprigs, thumb sized, Rosemary (leave out if you don't have fresh, you don't want dried needles in your creamy soup)
1/2 medium Onion (tennis ball sized), diced or sliced... it's all going in the blender.
4 cloves Garlic minced
2 pints sliced Mushrooms (I used Cremini)
Black pepper
1/4 t Cayenne (optional)

Put your RAW Cashews in a bowl or big measuring cup with clove of Garlic sliced in half and 2 T of the dried Mushrooms.  Cover with boiling water and set aside.

In a large measuring 4 cup, or a bowl, put the rest of the dried Mushrooms and a sprig of Rosemary and pour over the 4 c of water and set aside.  It should get as dark as a strong cup of tea.

In a large non-stick skillet or ceramic lined Creuset or dutch oven.  It is essential it is non-stick because I'm not using oil.  Put on medium high heat.  Add the Onions.  Don't move right away.  You'll just get frustrated.  Wait and then move.  They will brown.  If you're stressed, add a spoonful of mushroom water.  They will brown.  Toward the browning, add the Garlic just until softened. Toss the lot into the blender jug and set aside.

Spread out the mushrooms in a single layer as much as you can. Sprinkle over the Thyme and add the Rosemary.  Do not chop the Rosemary.  You'll want to pull it out.   Do not touch until you see water start to blister on the surface and flip.  Add more mushrooms as the first batch starts to shrink.  Get them all nice and brown.  If some get extra brown, you can start tossing them into your blender jug.  This will take some time but trust me, they will brown without oil!  if you're a bit worried about sticking, you've moved them too soon but you can splash in a spoonful of Mushroom water.  Set aside about a quarter of the mushrooms and put in after blending for texture.  Pull out the Rosemary and toss the lot into the blender jug.  I then like to swirl about half a cup of the mushroom water around in the pan to get all the fond, sticky goodness out of the ban and pour into the blender.

Pour the Cashew and the other stuff it's soaking with into the blender.  Add the mushroom water.  If you are worried about grit from the mushrooms, you can pour through a seive lined with cheese cloth.  I would do this if you are using Shitake from an asian market.  I had high quality 'organic gourmet blend' from costco so I did not bother.  I let the soaked mushrooms go in too.  Blend on high for at least 2-3 minutes.  Now, you'll want to keep blending thinking, hey it looks grainy.  Well, unless you have a super weak blender or you didn't soak your cashews enough, it probably isn't.  It's just the speckles of the dark mushrooms.  Test it before you create a pasty gunk and burn out your blender.

Pour back into the Creuset you fried the mushrooms in and heat through.  Add the mushrooms you set aside.  Serve hot. 

It was amazing. 

Monday, January 07, 2019

January Cleanse: Plant Based No Fat Eggplant Caponata

The cleanse continues but to keep hubby engaged and participating, I'm having to make a lot more different foods.  I, myself, could eat the same stew for days and days or last year, I ate brown rice and steamed Kale for a week quite happily.  Yeah, not hubbo.  This is a uber easy dish and very tasty.  You'll be surprised to find that there is no fat it it.

No Fat Eggplant Caponata

1 large Eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 cups French sliced Onions (halved and sliced) (2 medium Onions or 4-5 ping pong sized ones, which I have a big bag of for some reason)
1 medium/small Red Bell Pepper, diced
1 large can Italian Tomatoes
1 rib Celery, diced
2 T Capers, rinsed
1/2 c Green Olives, rinsed, pitted and halved
3 large Cloves Garlic, chopped
1 T dried Oregano
1 sprig fresh Rosemary (if you have it)
1 pinch Saffron (if you have it)
1 T dried Parsley
1/2 c chopped Fresh Parsley
Juice of 1 Lemon
1/2 t Himalayan or other low Sodium Salt

In a large ceramic dutch oven over medium heat, add the Onions, Dried Parsley, Oregano, Rosemary, Saffron and Celery until soft.  You may want/need to add 1 T of Water.  Once the Onions has started to wilt add the Eggplant.  Stir often.  It may stick, but that's okay.  Once you add the liquid later, it will come off the pot and add nice flavour.      Let heat through for a 5-10 minutes.

Add the Garlic and the Bell Pepper.  Heat through and add a T of water if desired.

Add the Tomatoes.  What I do is pour the tin in and then GENTLY squish each tomato into smithereens.  You can use diced if you want to avoid this step.  Swish a quarter of the tin with Water and add to the pot.  Add the Capers and Olives.

Let stew 10 minutes and add the juice of the Lemon.  If you require more brightness or acid, add another half Lemon.

Add the Fresh Parsley and let stew for half an hour or more.

Serve with crusty bread or with Brown Rice.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Navy Bean Soup - Plantbased - Vegan - Slow Cooker

My hubbo likes to think I am volumetrically challenged.  Ha!  this time it was him.  He left me with a vague recipe he asked me to double because we've had these dried Navy Beans kicking around.  Well, it didn't all fit... well the stock.  But it turned out awesome nonetheless

Navy Bean Soup - Plantbased - Vegan - Slow Cooker

1 900g pack of dried Navy Beans

1 lb Carrots, diced (about 4 medium)
6-8 stalks Celery, diced
4 small Onions, diced
6 cloves Garlic, minced

1 T dried Thyme
1 /2 T dried Coriander
1 t dried Sage
1/2 T Paprika
1 t Fennel Seeds
6 Bay Leaves
6-8 sprigs (young) Rosmary where the stalk bits are white.  If you have Dried use 1/2 T
lots of Black Pepper
1/2 T dried ground mushrooms (optional)

2 litres Vegetable Broth

Boil a kettle full of water.  In a large pot, pour the washed beans and add the boiled water.  Add more to cover.  Boil for 10 minutes, turn off heat and set aside.

During the boiling, start chopping! 

I fish out the bay and rosemary stems toward the end.  This soup was so good my pick 7 year old asked for a second bowl!!

Sweet Potato Three Bean Chili - Plant Based

Day 2 on the FoN cleanse (Forks over KNives) and another stew.  Eventually after two weeks, hubbo wants something for his knife like a cauliflower or tofu steak.  Me?  I'm good.  I'm doing another big one because I have more time before work kicks back into full gear to be cooking.  Chopping can be somewhat time consuming but rewarding.  This one is easier because of all the cans.

Sweet Potato Three Bean Chili - Plant Based

Boil 4 cups water and pour over 1 c of dried mixed Mushrooms of your choice and set aside.

To a large dutch oven on low heat, DRY, start piling in.

1 large Sweet Potato diced into 1 cm cubes
2 c small baby new Potatoes because they were getting old (optional)
1 large stalk Celery, diced
1 large Carrot, diced
2 small Onions, minced
4-5 cloves Garlic, minced

1 T Cumin
1 t Cumin Seeds
1 t Tumeric (optional but it's so good for you)
1 T dried ground Coriander
1/2 T dried Chipotle Peppers
1/2 T Paprika
1 t Cayenne (but my younger complained it was spicy despite how little I added.... it was probably the Chipotle??)
1 t Thyme
4 sprigs Rosemary because my rosemary went crazy when i brought it into the house for the winter
2 T Black Pepper

2 large cans Diced or Whole Tomatoes, squash the whole ones.
1 can Black Beans, rinsed
1 can Red Kidney Beans rinsed
1 can White Kidney Beans/Cannellini beans, rinsed
1 can Corn, dump in completely.  Normally not alot of liquid but what there is sweet!

Pour in the Mushroom water through a seive.  Squeeze.  I like to leave a bit of water left to not get some of the finer particles.  Take the mushrooms and finely dice.  It gives a nice 'meaty' mouth feel and your kids won't complain about the mushrooms.

Cook over high heat until it boils and reduce to simmer for 2-3 hours. 

I ate with steamed Kale.  I didn't add the Kale to the pot because I didn't want to over cook it.  Add your desired heat with Red Chili Flakes.  I can't use hot sauce during January cleanse because of the salt and sugar. 

Green Lentil Coconut Curry Stew - Plant Based - Slow Cooker

January means Plant Based Cleanse.  Why cleanse? because I ascribe to the Forks Over Knives movie/documentary regarding also cutting out all added salt, sugar, processed foods (white flour), coffee and fats/oils.  We're getting better and better every year so that the January is easier and easier.  We actually do a Vegan September without the other restrictions.  But the Salt!  and the Oils! 

This stew was done without a reference.  Just something I ate at my sister's as leftovers.  It's an approximate until she sends me the recipe.

Green Lentil Coconut Curry Stew - Plant Based - Slow Cooker

2 c dried Green Lentils, washed
1 T dried Cumin
1 T Curry Powder
1 T dried ground Coriander
1/2 T Tumeric
1/2 T Cumin Seeds
1/2 T Black Pepper
1 t Cayenne (optional)
1 t Fennel Seeds
6 cloves Garlic, minced
1 medium or 2 small Onions, diced

4 c Vegetable Broth, no salt
1 large can diced Tomatoes

1 package of Frozen Spinach, thawed as much as you can while prepping
1 can Coconut Milk, look for labels with nothing but Coconut Extract at Water, Arroyo is the best

Layer all the ingredients upto the Tomatoes into the slow cooker and cook for 4 hours on high.  Add the Spinach after it comes to a boil around 2-3 hour mark.  Add the Coconut Milk in the last half hour.

This stew was so full and flavourful that I dare anyone to say that something was missing in the way of fat or salt.  Serve over Brown Rice.