Stoup’s On

As temperatures decrease and our days shorten, I am drawn to the warmth and comfort of soup.  Although I could eat soup daily, my family disagrees, so Tempslately we’ve been having a lot of stoup, or stew-like soup.  As with all of my recipes, please use them as a template and adjust based on what you have on hand and what you like.

Broccoli Sweet Potato Curry Stoup

Serves 4

3 – 4 c broccoli florets

2 – 3 c white beans

2 medium sweet potatoes

1 can coconut milk

1 T curry powder

water

Optional: kafir lime leaf

Microwave the sweet potatoes for 3 minutes to soften.  In a pot over medium heat, whisk the curry powder into the coconut milk.  Chop the large broccoli florets into bite-sized pieces and dice the sweet potatoes.  Add remainder of ingredients and water to reach desired consistency.  Cover, and cook over medium heat until the veggies have softened.  Add more curry powder if needed, and remove kafir lime leaf before serving.

 

Fickin and Rice Stoup

Serves 4

3 Delight non-GMO soy patties or 1/2 batch chicken-like seitan

5 c cooked rice

1 carton of No Chicken Broth

1 onion, diced

2 carrots, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

Parsley, thyme, rosemary, tarragon, pepper to taste

Sautee the veggies or if short on time, just boil them in the broth.  Add the fickin (fake chicken) and rice and heat through.  Adjust seasonings, add more broth if desired, and serve.

 

Beef Stoup

Serves 6

1 batch of beef-like seitan using 2T Better Than Bouillon No Beef Base for the broth

4 – 5 c cooked brown rice

2 onions, diced

3 carrots, sliced into coins

1 green pepper, diced

4 cloves of garlic, chopped or minced

Broth or water with additional No Beef Base

Thyme, rosemary, oregano, pepper

Make the seitan and while it’s steaming, start the rice and chop the veggies.  You can also make the seitan and rice in advance so the meal comes together faster for a weeknight meal.  In a large pot, sauté the veggies using a little water as needed to prevent sticking.  Once the veggies have softened, add the broth and herbs.  Cover and cook over medium heat until the veggies have reached the desired texture.  Slice the beef-like seitan then cut into strips or bite-sized pieces.  Add the rice and seitan and heat through.  Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more broth if needed for soup.

 

Thai Butternut Soup

Serves 4

1 medium butternut squash or 4 c diced squash

2 c vegetable broth

1 onion, diced

2 T Thai red curry paste

1 can coconut milk

1 T or 3 cloves minced garlic

Cook the squash in the broth (I used No Chicken broth) until soft and add to blender.  Sautee the onion in a little water until translucent and add to blender.  Add rest of ingredients to blender and puree.  Serve immediately, transfer to crockpot to keep warm for a few hours, or refrigerate.  Add more broth or coconut milk as needed to reach desired consistency, particularly upon reheating.

IF you transport this soup in the car for say a work potluck lunch, please adequately secure the crockpot.  Although the soup smells and tastes great, it’s not something you want to smell for days on end. . .ThaiButternutSoup

 

Orange You Glad It’s October?

If the chilly weather has left you reminiscing about warm and sunny summer days, try this Carrot Dog recipe to break you out of your fall doldrums.  On the other hand, if you can’t wait for the temps to drop further and are already planning your Thanksgiving menu, check out the gluten free, soy free Pumpkin Pie below, along with a Thanksgiving Loaf and a couple of gravy options for your Mashed Potato-Flowers.

 

Carrot Dogs (adapted from cleaneatingveggiegirl.com)

6 hot dog sized carrots, peeled and ends removed

1/4 c Bragg’s liquid aminos

1/4 c water

1 T seasoned rice vinegar Carrot_Dog

1/2 T apple cider vinegar

dash of liquid smoke

1/2 t minced garlic

1/4 t ginger

1/8 t onion powder

freshly ground black pepper

6 buns and condiments

Combine all ingredients except carrots, buns, and condiments to make a marinade.  Heat the carrots in the marinade until the carrots are fork tender.  This takes about 8 minutes at a slow boil or about 5 minutes in the microwave.  Refrigerate the carrots in the marinade for at least 24 hours.  Grill the carrots or sauté with some of the marinade, turning every few minutes, until the carrots have darkened or have grill marks.  Serve in buns with your favorite condiments!

 

Pumpkin Pie (GF, soy free) (adapted from ppk.com)

3 c canned pumpkin

1/2 c maple syrup

1/2 c unsweetened non-dairy milk

1/2 t cinnamon

1/2 t ground ginger

1/8 t ground nutmeg

1/2 t salt

2 T potato starch

1 t agar powder

Blend all ingredients until smooth and pour in crust.  Bake at 350′ for 60 to 70 minutes.  Cool for at least 30 minutes before refrigerating for at least 4 hours.  Sprinkle coarsely ground salt over pie just before serving.

Walnut Crust

1 1/2 c raw or dry roasted walnuts (pecans or almonds work great too)

2 T unrefined coconut oil

Chop the nuts finely in a food processor or blender.  Mix in the coconut oil and press into a pie plate.  Very lightly sprinkle with salt (unless the nuts are already salted).  Bake at 350′ for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool for at least 10 minutes before filling crust.

Thanksgiving Loaf

2 c oats

1 large onion, diced and sautéed in water

2 c cooked red lentils (3/4 c dry red lentils cooked for <10 min in 1 1/2 c water)

1 large sweet potato, baked and skin removed

1 T poultry seasoning

1 T minced garlic

1 15 oz can of whole berry cranberry sauce

1 T lemon juice

Mix the lemon juice with the cranberry sauce and set aside.  Combine all other ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir until well combined.  Transfer to a loaf pan and compress the mixture.  Pour the cranberry sauce over the loaf, ensuring the loaf is evenly covered with sauce.  Cover the loaf pan with aluminum foil and bake at 350′ for 30-45 minutes.  Remove the foil and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Brown Gravy (contains oil)

1/4 c refined coconut oil

1/2 c flour (chickpea and brown rice flour both work great here)

2 c vegetable stock or broth

3 T Bragg’s liquid aminos or 2 T tamari

Additional water or broth to reach desired consistency

Optional: 1 c white beans, poultry seasoning

Heat the coconut oil and flour in a saucepan over medium heat until the flour starts to smell nutty.  Slowly add the vegetable stock or broth, whisking until smooth.  Turn the heat to medium low and continue to whisk in liquid until the desired consistency is reached.  Remove from heat and add the Bragg’s liquid aminos or tamari.  Yield is ~2.5 c.

For added protein, add 1 c white beans and the gravy to the blender and puree until smooth, adding more broth or water as needed to reach desired consistency.  Taste and add more Braggs’s/tamari or poultry seasoning if needed.  Yield is ~3.5 c.

Brown Gravy (fat free)

1/4 c nutritional yeast

1/4 c flour (chickpea and brown rice flour both work great here)

1 c vegetable stock or broth, plus extra as needed to reach desired consistency

1 t onion powder

1/2 t garlic powder

freshly ground pepper

2 t tamari

Optional: 1 c cooked red lentils (1/2 c dry lentils cooked for <10 min in 1 c water)

Heat the nutritional yeast (“nooch”) and flour in a saucepan over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until the flour starts to smell nutty.  Add the onion powder, garlic powder, and freshly ground pepper.  Slowly add the vegetable stock or broth, whisking until smooth.  Turn the heat to medium low and continue to whisk in liquid until the desired consistency is reached.  Remove from heat and add the tamari.  Transfer to a blender (unless the grainy nooch doesn’t bother you) and puree until smooth.  Yield is ~1.5 c.

For added protein, add 1 c lentils and the gravy to the blender and puree until smooth, adding more broth or water as needed to reach desired consistency.  Taste and add more tamari or poultry seasoning if needed.  Yield is ~2.5 c.

Baby It’s Hot Outside

Strategies to stay cool in the kitchen:heat_miser

  • Prep the week’s meals in advance to  concentrate use of the stove
  • Eat simple dishes with lots of whole foods in or near their natural states
  • Make extra portions to guarantee leftovers
  • Use leftover smoothies to make popsicles
  • Have snack dinner one night (hummus and veggies, bean salad and homemade tortilla chips, and guac with celery)
  • Eat a bean, veggie, or grain salad every day (check out the Recipes section to keep it interesting)
  • Try the dishes below with minimal use of the stove

 

Wild Rice Salad

Serves 4

3 c cooked wild rice mix

1 c frozen green peas

1/3 c dried cranberries

1/2 c sliced almonds or sunflower seeds

1 apple, diced

¼ c red bell pepper, diced

1 T freshly grated ginger

½ t salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients.  Serve chilled or at room temperature.

 

Thai Noodle Salad

Serves 6

6-8 oz thin rice noodles (Asian noodles, not spaghetti made of rice)

2 carrots, grated

Small head of cabbage, shredded

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 T ginger, minced

4 T brown sugar

2 limes, juiced

4 T low sodium soy sauce, tamari, or Braggs liquid aminos

2 T tomato paste

1 T chili powder (optional)

Cook or soak the noodles according to package directions.  Grate the carrots and shred the cabbage into a large bowl.

In a large saucepan, saute the garlic and ginger in 2 T water.  Whisk in the brown sugar, lime juice, soy sauce, tomato paste, and chili powder if using.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low for 2 minutes.  Add the noodles and stir to coat.  Add to carrot and cabbage mixture and toss well.

Garnish with cilantro, chopped peanuts, or hot sauce.

 

Cantaloupe Soup

Serves 4

1 cantaloupe, seeds and rind removed

1 c unsweetened orange juice

2 t fresh lime juice

1 c plain non-dairy yogurt

Puree ingredients and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving (or less if cantaloupe is refrigerated in advance).

 

Loaded Sweet Potatoes

Microwave sweet potatoes and top with broccoli, black beans, and pineapple.  Hot sauce optional.

 

Photo Credit:

Heat Miser: http://bit.ly/1nyClPT

Mindful Breathing to the Rescue

This has been another consecutive week of travel for me, and we (my family) are all looking forward to the end of it. Most notably in recent weeks, my rushing around and inability to focus on anything for a decent period of time have worsened.

I have been able to continue regular workouts, albeit the ones in my hotel room aren’t nearly as intense as my time in the CrossFit box, but it’s something – and that’s good enough for now.  But exercise, sleep, and plant-based eating haven’t been enough to fill my reserves in the face of continued work stress.  What I have been missing is the peace of mind and presence from quieting the chatter in my mind, being able to take a break from the constant go.

If you do not currently practice yoga or meditation, then I encourage you to try mindful breathing.  Mindful IMG_3872breathing is simple – focus your mind only on your breath, slowing your breath down, fully inflating your lungs by expanding your belly, and completed exhaling each breath.  It may be helpful to slowly count during each inhale and exhale.  Each time your mind wanders, bring it back to your breath and do so without judgement.  The godfather of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, John Kabat-Zinn, likens mindfulness to a muscle that has to be stretched and used regularly to grow stronger.

Since I had let my mindful breathing practice lapse, I started with a goal of 5 minutes two times a day, first thing in the morning and in the afternoon or early evening.  You may want to start with 2 minutes a day or 5 deep breaths whenever you feel overwhelmed.  Whatever your goal is, start with something that seems on the easy side of realistic.  To make my 10 min/day happen, I set my alarm 5 minutes earlier and mark time in my calendar for the afternoon slot.  I always set the timer on my phone for 5 minutes so I am not anxious about losing track of time when I’m supposed to be focusing on my breath.

I always feel calmer and more centered when the timer goes off, and I pause for another minute or so to hold onto that feeling and visualize how I can use that presence over the next few hours.  Sometimes I add a few more minutes at the end of the 5 minutes, and that feels great too.  Once my habit of mindful breathing is firmly re-established, I plan to add another session or add a few more minutes each day.  It has become more routine for me to now feel myself tensing up or realize that I’m shallow breathing and take a few deep breaths throughout my day.  That connection alone has been valuable, not to mention the reduced mind chatter and constant rushing.

To help you carve out a few minutes each day for mindful breathing, here are the easy-to-reheat meals I made over the weekend for my family to enjoy during the week:

Red Beans and Rice

Serves 4

1 onion, diced

1/2 c frozen stoplight peppers, diced

1 T minced garlic

2 cans (or 3 c) kidney beans, rinsed and drained

15 oz fire roasted tomatoes

6 c cooked brown rice

1 T thyme

1 T oregano

salt and pepper to taste

Optional:

hot sauce

non-GMO ‘sausages’ cut into half-coins

Saute the peppers, onions, and garlic for at least 5 min.  Add the remaining ingredients, cover, and reduce heat.  Stir every few minutes and serve any time after 10 min, when everything should be heated through.

Black Bean Burgers (adapted from Fat Free Vegan)

Makes 10 slider sized burgers

1/3 c frozen stoplight peppers, diced

1/3 c diced onion

1 1/2 c (or 1 can) black beans, drained and rinsed

1 c cooked brown rice

1/4 t cumin

1 t chili powder

2 T ground flax seeds

1 T potato starch

Saute the peppers and onions in a little water until softened.  Combine with rest of ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined.  Add salt or salt-like seasoning if needed.  The mixture doesn’t form well into patties, so use a spoon to place one scoop of the mix into a nonstick pan or cast iron skillet preheated over medium heat.  Gently press down with the spoon to form a patty.  After 2 to 3 minutes, flip the sliders and cook on the other side.  Transfer to a cooling rack.  When ready to reheat, bake the sliders in the oven at 350′ for about 15 minutes.  Top with avocado, lettuce, and tomato.

Butternut Black Bean Chipotle Chili

1 c frozen stoplight peppers, diced

1 yellow onion, diced

1 T minced ginger

1 1/2 T minced garlic

1 t cumin

1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed

3 c (or 2 cans) black beans, rinsed and drained

28 oz fire roasted tomatoes

2 c vegetable broth

Optional:

cooked brown rice

1-2 chipotle chilis in adobe sauce

Saute the peppers, onion, ginger, garlic and cumin in a little water to prevent sticking.  Once the peppers have softened, add the squash, beans, tomatoes and broth.  Reduce heat and cover until squash is tender.  Mix the cooked brown rice in at the end or serve over the rice.  If using the chipotle chili(s), finely dice or puree with vegetable broth before adding to the chili.

Alternatively, throw all raw ingredients into the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.  Mix the cooked brown rice in at the end or serve chili over the rice.

This recipe was adapted from one generously shared by Katie Magee, who used sweet potatoes in the original.  Sweet potatoes also work fabulously here!

 

In planning these meals, I intentionally used similar ingredients to ease my weekend meal prep.  I made a large batch of black beans and a large batch of brown rice.  As the price of peppers has further increased over the winter, I’ve been taking advantage of frozen stoplight pepper strips.  Frozen veggies are much, much better than no veggies!!

In addition to these recipes, the family also enjoyed Tempeh Oat Loaf with roasted potatoes and meatball subs made with frozen non-GMO “meatballs” briefly cooked in marinara sauce and topped with vegan “cheese” shreds.  They were on their own for sides, but it does appear from the extra space in the freezer that some veggies were consumed!

 

 

Photo Credit:

View from Hanging Rock NC: simplyeatplants

Cinco de Mayo, A Few Days Late

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.  Though this battle was not a major strategic win, the win at Puebla was a symbolic victory and strengthened the resistance against France, who ultimately withdrew 5 years later.  Though it’s a relatively minor holiday in Mexico, Cinco de Mayo has evolved in the US to be a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage.  For me, the celebration of Mexican culture and heritage isn’t complete without celebrating the underappreciated black bean.

Before we go into the benefits of beans, though, I refer to Dr. Michael Greger’s informative and entertaining article to clear the air about beans and gas.  Dr. Greger uses data from a famed flatologist and even NASA to explain the normal incidence of intestinal gas, the main sources of gas, and strategies for reducing gas.

Despite this information, if you still feel that beans do not work well with your digestive system, start with small servings and smaller beans (lentils, black beans, black-eyed peas), believed to be easier to digest.  Gradually increase your serving size over a few weeks and work your way up to larger beans (pinto, kidney, fava).  Also, drain and rinse canned beans really well.  If cooking dried beans, first soak the beans for 8-12 h in cold water, changing the water a couple of times if possible.  While cooking the beans, change the cooking water once or twice to further reduce gassiness.

Beans are a fiber superstar with 7 grams per ½ c serving.  Fiber, or plant roughage, has a critical role in ridding our bodies of toxins, cholesterol, medications, and excess hormones.  As it filters the blood, the liver removes these undesirable chemicals, which are then sent to the bile duct and to the intestinal tract.  It is in the intestinal tract that fiber soaks up the undesirable chemicals and carries them out as waste.  However, if there’s no fiber circulating in the bloodstream, the undesirables end up being reabsorbed back into the bloodstream and the whole process starts over again as enterohepatic circulation.  Without regular fiber in one’s diet, enterohepatic circulation keeps hormones, toxins, and cholesterol circulating for longer than they should.Barnard and Reilly

If the idea of toxins and excess hormones hitting their targets over and over isn’t enough to increase your daily fiber intake, T. Colin Campbell’s findings from The China Study provide evidence that high fiber intake was consistently associated with lower rates of rectum and colon cancers.Campbell and Campbell

The Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine influences advancements in medicine StrikeOut_PCRM  and science and advocates for preventative medicine, especially good nutrition, in the form of a whole food, plant-based diet.  PCRM gained attention last summer by informing fans at Major League Baseball’s All Star game in Kansas City that hot dogs can strike you out
for good, referring to the link between consumption of processed meats and increased risk of colorectal cancer.EPIC                                                                                     Buns_PCRM

So save your buns by increasing your daily consumption of both soluble and insoluble
fiber.  The most fiber rich foods are beans and vegetables, followed by fruits and whole
grains. Soluble fiber dissolves in water (example, oatmeal) and is known for its ability to 
control cholesterol levels.  Insoluble fiber is found in vegetables, fruit, wheat, rice, and other grains.  Both types of fiber are needed for prevention of cancer, and if you’re diet is rich in beans, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, then you’ll get plenty of each type –  realizing that the average American only gets 10-15 grams of fiber per day, compared with the ideal of 40 g/d.

This week’s recipes highlight the black bean.  If you’re using dried beans, make a big batch and freeze what you won’t eat this week to use in recipes over the next few weeks.

 

Taco Salad

Greens, torn into bite-sized piecesTaco_Salad

(Not only can you get a lot more greens in a small area if they’re in small pieces, but it’s also much easier to eat a salad if you don’t have to bother with cutting everything up first- really helpful in encouraging kids to eat more greens.)

Top with: black beans, diced tomato, diced avocado, peppers, organic corn (fresh or frozen, raw or briefly cooked), etc

Go naked or dress with: salsa or avocado dressing (1 avocado pureed with ¼ c orange or lime juice plus garlic powder or mustard if it is too sweet)

 

Oven Baked Tortilla Chips

Whole wheat tortillas

Spray EVOO

Salt

For chips, cut the tortillas in half (2 at a time), then cut into triangles.  Arrange on a lightly EVOO sprayed baking sheet.  Spray the tortillas with EVOO and sprinkle with salt.

For scoops, cut the tortillas in half (2 at a time), then cut more like 2”x2” squares.  Spray the cut tortillas with EVOO and place each tortilla oil side down into a mini muffin pan.  Spray the tortillas with EVOO and sprinkle with salt.

For salad shells, take each tortilla and drap over a small oven proof casserole dish or bowl, gently pushing the sides down to form an inverted bowl.  Spray with EVOO.

Bake at 350’ for 5 min then watch carefully for edges to brown.  The chips/scoops/salad shells are done when lightly browned and firm.  They will crisp up more as they cool.

To kick it up a notch, sprinkle with lime juice or seasonings, or use flavored tortillas.  Lime habanera tortillas were used in the taco salad above- delish!

 

Easy Black Bean Dip

1 can (1.5c) black beans, rinsed well

½ c fresh salsa, drained

In a blender or food processor, puree the beans and salsa.  Add liquid from the salsa if needed to thin consistency.

Add-ins: cumin, garlic, jalapeno, habanera, etc.

 

Black Bean Mango Salsa

2 cans of black beans (or 3c), rinsed well

2-3 mangoes, diced

Juice from 1 lime

½ t salt or to taste

Cilantro, optional

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Ideally refrigerate 12 to 24h before serving for flavors to develop.  Adjust lime, salt, and cilantro to taste before serving and add any of the suggested add-ins if desired.

Add-ins: diced pineapple, avocado, or tomatoes

 

References

Barnard ND, Reilly JK. The Cancer Survivor’s Guide. 2008

http://NutritionFacts.org

Campbell TC, Campbell TM. The China Study: Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health. 2006

http://www.pcrm.org/media/online/aug2012/hot-dog-eaters-save-your-buns

European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study http://epic.iarc.fr/