Soup, Soup and more Soup

I feel like I have been posting a lot of soup recipes, as well as eating a lot of soup ( my go to lunch has been the vegan pho from Phoenix Garden, delicious). Normally I am not a fan of squash soups, all of the recipes seems to have cinnamon or nutmeg in them, and that is a combo that I do not care for in savory dishes (do not get me started on pumpkin pie spice). Recently I have come across a few recipes that have warm spices like coriander and cumin, which is a combination I do like. So, after a little reading and I decided to try roasting all of the veggies and using the crock pot; the result was delicious.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup


– 1 medium butternut squash (about 3lbs)

– 3-4 carrots peeled and cut into 2 inch legths

– 1 onion quatered

– 1 head of garlic, cut off part of the top for roasting, drizzle with oil, wrap in foil

– 3 tsp of coriander

– 1.5-2 tsp cumin

– salt and pepper to taste

– 32 ozs veggie stock

– 1 can full fat coconut milk

– 2 inch piece of grated ginger

– 1-2 TBS coconut oil (melted)

Peel and and chop the butternut squash for roasting, as well as the carrot and quarter the onions. Toss vegetables with coconut oil and 1/2 the spices, salt and pepper. Place the veggies in a single layer on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet/s (is you are using parchment you can cut back or eliminate the oil). Nestle the garlic clove in the middle of the vegetables. Roast at 375 for 40-50 minutes until they are fork tender.

Add vegetables, stock, remainder of the spices and squeeze out the roasted garlic from the bulb and ginger add to your slow cooker (you can also cook in a large pot stove top, simmering for about an hour). Set to low for 6-8 hours, or high for 3-4. I sued my immersion blender, or you can blend in batches in your blender. Add coconut milk and let it heat through, about 15-20 minutes.

Serve hot with cilantro and if you want a little siracha

Vegan Slow Cooker Posole

To keep with my commitment of eating more vegan recipes, and leftovers, I attempted Vegan Posole this weekend. Part of the inspiration came from the Engine 2 book Diet book recipe for Mexican Lime Soup. I considered just cooking on the stove top, but Sunday in Richmond was 60+ degrees, and I figured it was the last warm day for a while, and I wanted to enjoy it. So into the slow cooker it went. Delicious hearty soup, with leftovers.


Vegan Slow Cooker Posole

– 1 Large onion, chopped
– 8 ounces mushrooms quartered
– 2-3 Cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
– 2 roasted peppers, I used 1 cubanelle and 1 jalapeno ( I did seed the jalapeno), dry roasted for 20 min at 400. You could also use canned green chiles
 – 2 or 3 dried pasillo or really any mild mexican chili, dry roast with the other peppers
– 2 ears of corn, husks removed and cut into rounds, I threw these into roast as well, you can use frozen corn
– 4 medium red potatoes, cut into cubes
– 2 tsp cumin
– 2 tsp organo or fresh to taste
– salt and pepper
– 32 oz of vegetable broth
– 1 can fire roasted tomtaoes

cilantro, lime, radish, avocado and chips to garnish

I roasted the peppers in the oven at 400 for about 20 minutes, I diced and added the cubanelle and jalepno to the crock pot with the other ingredients, stock, tomatoes and roasted corn.

Remove the stems and seeds form the dried and roasted chiles  dried chiles, crush and added to about 1 cup of hot water and let steep for about 30 minutes. Blend (or use an immersion blender) to get a paste, push through a fine mesh sieve and add to the slow cooker.

Let it cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8. Garnish with cilantro, radish and avocado and serve with chips or a regular corn tortilla.

Happy New Years!

I will try not to make this a post about resolutions, eating better, working out  more and things like that; BUT, I have committed to adding more vegan meals to my diet, eating leftovers (I usually avoid leftovers, I know, silly), and generally trying to improve my overall health ( I had a rough few months at the end of 2014).

So, to start off 2015, I took a long overdue spin class at Boho Cycle Studio, one of my favorite placed to work out (if you haven’t been your first class if free!), signed up for a barre class at Pure Barre, as well as buying a package of classes for Pound from CO2 Fit  ” POUND™ is a great effective program that can appeal to people at every fitness level.  Similar to the popular Zumba classes, in POUND™ you can get fit while feeling like you are at a party.  But you don’t even have to be a good dancer, you just need to POUND the Ripstix™ while rocking out to great music.” Also, I am really looking forward to new fitness classes as well as the Monument Avenue 10K with the awesome folks from Strangeways Brewing.

For New Year, in the Southern Tradition, I made Collards and Hopping John with cornbread; it is supposed to bring money and prosperity for the new year, plus it is darn tasty. I did make mine vegan, of course more traditionally you would use pork or ham hocks. I hope your New Years celebrations were wonderful and luck and prosperity comes to you in 2015.


Vegan Hoppin’ John

– 2 cups dried black eyed peas

– water to cover

– 2 carrots diced

– 1 large onion diced

– 1/2 green and red bell pepper diced

– 2 ribs celery diced

– 2-3 cloves garlic minced

– 1-2 TBS red pepper flakes

– 1 TBS Italian seasoning

– salt and pepper to taste

– 32oz veggie broth

– 1 large can diced tomatoes

You can soak your black eyed peas overnight (discard that water when done) or simmer on medium until fork tender (about 60-90 minutes) stove top ( drain and discard cooking liquid). Saute veggies, garlic and spices. Add soaked black eyed peas and veggie broth and tomatoes simmer for about 2 hrs or until the black eyed peas are tender. If needed throughout cooking you can add a little water. Season as needed with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Collard Greens

– 2 large bunched of wash and chopped collard greens

– 1 medium onion diced

– 2-3 cloves garlic minced

– 2 TBS red pepper flakes or you can use a diced hot pepper (make it as spicey as you like)

– Salt and pepper to taste

– Apple Cider Vinegar to taste (I would start with a 1/4 cup)

Wash the collards in a large sink full of water, letting any grit fall tot he bottom of the sink. Saute the onion, garlic, pepper until translucent. Add washed greens to the pot, do not worry about drying them off, the liquid will help form the “pot licker”. Saute until the greens are tender (45 or so minutes). about 1/2 way through I add the vinegar, you may want more at the end. Serve hot with your Hoppin John and cornbread and ENJOY!

So I remembered I have a blog

Hey there ladies and gents! It has definitely been a while since I have posted, and I could give a million reasons, but honestly, life got in the way.

A few weeks ago I was at Foo Dog with a few of my friends for lunch and had their Malaysian Style Ramen with tofu, and it was delicious. I had been thinking about it and wondering if I could recreate it at home, and I think I came close. My inspiration recipe came from  Cooking and Beer for Coconut Curry Ramen Noodle Soup.

I made the dish vegan but you could of course add a protein of your choice.

Coconut Red Curry Soup with Noodles and Tofu


– 2 cans full fat coconut milk
– 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
– 2-½ Tbs Red Curry Paste
– 1 whole Jalapeño Pepper (remove seeds if you want to reduce the spiciness)
– 1 lb tofu (as usual Twin Oaks is my favorite)
– salt and pepper
– 32 ozs veggie broth
– 2 whole Carrots, Peeled And Shredded

-2-3 cloves chopped garlic
– 3 stalks  stalks lemon grass, peeled bruised
– 1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce (there is a vegan version or you can omit)
– 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
– juice of 1 lime
– 1-2 Tbs Fresh Ginger, Grated ( I really like ginger so I was heavy-handed)
–  2 cups bok choy washed and shredded
– 1 orange or red bell peppers, julienned
– 1-2 cups mushrooms sliced ( I used regular button)

– 8  ounces Ramen Noodles or noodles of your choice

cilantro, thai basil, lime and sliced jalapeno for garnish

Heat  heat 6 ounces of the coconut milk, coconut butter and curry paste and stir to combine. Cook for 2-3 minutes,  add the  jalapeno, garlic, bell peppers, mushrooms and cook for 3-5 minutes.

Add the rest of the coconut milk, veggie broth, salt and pepper, soy and “fish” sauce and lemon grass. Bring to a simmer and add the book toy and let simmer for about 20-25 minutes.  Lower the heat to a simmer and add the carrots, lemongrass, fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, ginger, bok choy, and the red and orange bell peppers. Cook for 15-20 minutes. Remove the lemongrass stalks and discard.

I prefer to cook the noodles separately and add to each bowl, you can also cook them in the broth. Check the soup for seasoning, add salt, pepper, soy to taste.

At this point you can lightly dust the cubed tofu with cornstarch and pan fry (in a separate pan), or just leave it cubed to add at the end.

I added noodles to the bowl, tofu, broth and garnished with cilantro, lime, jalapeno, and a little basil.

Shawarma Tofu with Spicy Tahini Sauce

I really enjoy Middle Eastern Food, Greek Food, Italian, well you get the picture. I was flipping through the channels and ran across a cooking show featuring falafel and I started thinking. I felt “Tofu Falafel” wasn’t quite what I was going for, but shawarma, that might work. A little bit of searching, I came across a few tofu recipes and in looking at chicken recipes the spices were all similar. This combined with fresh warm pita and a tahini sauce or Tzatziki Sauce (cucumber with yogurt and dill)

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Tofu Shawarma

adapted from The Essential Vegan

1lb Extra Firm tofu (I used Twin Oaks)


2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1 Tbsp. lemon juice, I used the zest as well
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. allspice (I omitted this, I really dislike allspice)
3/4 tsp. turmeric

1tsp dried basil

1tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Stir together, adjust for heat to your liking.

Serve tofu with chopped lettuce, diced cucumber, tomato (I added a little red onion) as a salad or in a pita. Pita recipe to follow this week.


Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili

So making soups in the crock pot on Sunday has become a routine. Putting everything in the crock pot right after breakfast is easy and I have the rest of the day free.

I have read several recipes for this dish, some with ground turkey, or veggie crumbles, but, since I am trying to watch processed soy products I chose to keep it simple.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

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–  2 Sweet potatoes (medium size)

– 2 cans, approximately 30oz (cans of no salt added fire roasted diced tomatoes (I use Muir Glen because I can usually find them on sale at Whole Foods and this week there was a coupon as well)

– 2 cans of black beans, or you can make your own, I happened to have 2 cans

– 2-1/2 of diced bell peppers (any color will work)

– 1 diced onion ( yellow or purple, I used a Spanish yellow because that is what I had)

– 1 tbls cumin

– 1tbls chili powder

– 1 tsp cayenne (optional – I was making this for the 8yo too, so I just spiced up my bowl with siracha)

– S & P to taste

Wash, peel and cube the sweet potato, dice the onion and peppers. Add to a crock pot with beans tomatoes and spices. Put on the top, let simmer on  low for 7-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours. I did add a (1) cup of water about 1/2 way through, you can judge how thick you would like it.

Serve with cornbread, or tortilla chips, if you like, add a little hot sauce of your choosing and Enjoy!

From the Garden

We finally planted a garden, 2 4×4 raised beds filled with soil and beer grain compost. Tomatoes, peppers, basil and cilantro.

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Sungolds courtesy of Farmer Russell

After weeks of rain off and on, and being patient, our little garden started yielding tomatoes.

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So a quick summer salad was in order

Israeli Cous Cous & Tomato salad with a Lemon Dressing

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1 bag Israeli cous cous, cooked according to directions


oregano (if you have it, I was gifted an oregano plant and added it)

tomatoes (cherry, sungold, whatever is fresh and in season)

1-2 green onions (you could sub a shallot as well)

optional – 1/2 a can of artichokes, diced

1 lemon, juiced

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

1 clove of garlic minced

1/3 cup of oil ( I used grapeseed, but olive oil or even a canola would be fine)

salt and pepper to taste

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halve tomatoes, chop onion, tear basil, chop oregano. Mix lemon juice, mustard, garlic, oil ( I use a jelly jar with a lid to mix dressing). Add tomatoes, artichokes, onions and dressing to the cooked cous cous, mix well, taste for seasoning. Let sit for about an hour in the fridge. Serve and enjoy


Sugar Snap Peas and Pasta with Ricotta, Pepper and Lemon

I admit, I am not a fan of peas. When they are in a soup or a dish, I will eat them begrudgingly, but a whole pile of peas? No way (see also cooked carrots, blech!).

Yep, I am picky about vegetables, it is a textural issue.

So we got Sugar Snap Peas in our Dominion Harvest Box, which had been sitting in the fridge for a few days, mainly because I had no idea what to do with them. After a little reading, I decided on combining a few recipes together and here is what I came up with.

Sugar Snap Peas over Pasta with Ricotta, Pepper and Lemon

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fresh sugar snap peas, about 1 lb

2/3 cup ricotta (whole or part skim)

1 lemon, zested and juiced


fresh ground black pepper to taste

4 servings Penne pasta ( I used Gluten Free)

basil (I added this at the last minute because I have a ton in the garden)


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Wash and snap the peas removing the string from 1 side and slice on the diagonal. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the peas and let cook for 3 minutes, remove, rinse in cold water. Add the pasta to the same pot and boil according to directions.

Add pasta, peas, ricotta, lemon zest, generous amount of pepper, basil, and lemon juice and stir to combine. Adjust for salt, Enjoy!





Citrus Beet Salad with Feta

This weeks salad, brought to you by the letter “B” for beets. I can say it is only recently that I have learned to like beets, but now, roasted beets are a regular occurrence on salads, and I have been researching a few pickled beet recipes.

Citrus Beet Salad with Feta


1 bunch beets, washed, peeled and quartered (reserve the beet tops for another salad)

1-2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 lemons, zested and juiced (or an orange)

salt and pepper to taste

feta – I used Lovers Retreat Feta from our harvest box

Bibb lettuce



Melt coconut oil and add 1/2 the zest to it. Toss beets with coconut oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 400 for approximately 15 minutes, stir, roast 15-20 minutes longer until beets are tender

Let them cool, toss with the lemon or orange juice and remainder of the zest, serve with crumbled feta over lettuce (I used lovely bibb lettuce from our harvest box)

Serve and enjoy! You should also roast more beets and store them for salads that week.


A few weeks ago Steve had “family meal” at Mekong (probably our favorite place for a beer) which was a Vietnamese curry chicken. After much searching we found a recipe that seemed similar. Steve said it was pretty good with the chicken, so I decided to make it with tofu ( I had a lot of homemade curry spice over).

I came across this recipe in Vegetarian Times;

Lemongrass Curry with Tofu and Broccoli

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