Free and Whole Living


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Carrot, Ginger, and Chickpea Soup

Carrot and ginger soup is one of my favorite soups.  I wanted to do a little twist by adding chickpeas which are high in protein and add texture, and by adding my go to curry and turmeric.  The spices add warmth and a little kick. It is a comforting and warm soup on this dreary and rainy Seattle day.  It’s just what I needed today.

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Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon ginger, minced

2 cups carrots, peeled and diced

1 can chickpeas, drained or 2 cups cooked and cooled

2 teaspoons curry

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon salt

4 cups vegetable stock or water

Directions:

Heat a large pot on medium heat.  Add oil.

Add onions, garlic, and ginger.

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Stir and saute for 3-5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent and the garlic and ginger are fragrant.

Add the carrots.  Stir and cook until the carrots begin to soften, 3-5 minutes.

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Add the chickpeas.  Stir well to combine.

Add the curry, turmeric, cumin, and salt.

Stir well.  Add the vegetable stock or water.

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Stir well to combine.  Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Bring to a boil.

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Turn the heat down to low and cover.  Cook for 20-25 minutes.

Take off the heat and blend some of the soup with a hand blender to keep some of the texture.

Or, if you prefer a smoother soup, you can pour it into your blender and puree it.

It just depends on your taste.


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Smoked Paprika Roasted Cauliflower

One of my friends posted a recipe for roasted cauliflower using a whole head of cauliflower rather than florets.  The presentation looked so beautiful.  I changed the spices used in the original recipe and used slivers of garlic cloves poked into the cauliflower rather than the garlic powder.  It is such an easy recipe, and will wow your friends and family.

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Ingredients:

1 medium cauliflower

1/4 cup olive oil

2 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Rinse the cauliflower.  Remove the leaves and trim the stem.

In a small bowl, add olive oil, smoked paprika, turmeric, cumin, and salt.  Whisk well.  Set aside.

Peel garlic. Cut the cloves in half, then halve again.

Push the garlic throughout the cauliflower.  If you have a hard time with it, you can poke holes with a paring knife.

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Brush the oil mixture all over the cauliflower.

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Put on a baking sheet.  Bake for 10-15 minutes.  You want it a little firm still.

This is a great side dish and such a pretty one too.


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Potato and Mushroom Soup

I have had many requests for easy soup recipes.  This is a pretty easy soup and you can use all or none of the herbs in it.  I tend to put lots of herbs and spices in my cooking.  I love the different layers of flavors and this soup is so comforting and warming. And, I have found that many gluten free and vegan recipes can be bland to my taste.   You can adjust the seasonings to your taste.

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Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup onions, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups potatoes (I used red, but any kind is fine), diced

1 cup mushrooms, diced

1 tablespoon dried thyme

2 teaspoons dried dill

2 teaspoons sea salt

4 cups vegetable stock or water

Heat large saucepan or stock pot on medium high heat.  Add oil.

Add onions, garlic, and ginger.

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Saute for 3-5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent and the garlic and ginger are slightly brown and fragrant.

Add potatoes and mushrooms.

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Add thyme, dill, and salt.  Stir well to combine.

Stir and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the potatoes get a little crisp on the outside and soft inside.

Add stock.

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Turn heat down to low and cover with a tight fitting lid.

Simmer for 20-25 minutes.

Take off heat.

With an immersion blender ( stick blender), pulse 5 tunes, or until you get the texture that you like it.

I like a little texture to my soups.  I love chunks of potatoes or mushrooms.

But, if you like a smooth cream of mushroom style soup, you can blend it. You can also add a little almond or coconut milk if you want that creamy type of soup.

It’s wonderful with a nice spring mix salad and a slice of gluten free bread.

 


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Curried Red Lentils With Turmeric Basmati Rice

I have been eating a lot of curry dishes, mostly soups.  It is comforting and warming in the cold weather.  I tend to be very heavy handed with my spices.  Adjust the spices to your taste.  I add spices in my rice before it has cooked, for the flavors usually.  A few days ago my co-worker had saffron rice for lunch.  I love saffron, mostly for the beautiful yellow color it gives your food.  Saffron is pretty expensive, and I always have turmeric on hand, and it also has that amazing vibrant color that I love.  So, I decided to add it to my rice, and the color was beautiful and I love the subtle flavor that turmeric has.  It blended nicely with the curried lentils.  It’s also a nice contrast to have a nice sauteed green or a salad.

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Curried Red Lentil Ingredients:

1 cup onions, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons ginger, minced

2 tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil

1 cup red lentils

2 teaspoons curry

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 cups vegetable stock or water

Turmeric Basmati Rice Ingredients:

1 cup basmati rice

2 cups vegetable stock or water

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon salt

Curried Red Lentils Directions:

Heat skillet on medium heat.  Add oil.

Add onions, garlic, and ginger.  Saute for 2-3 minutes or until the onions are translucent.

Add lentils.  Stir well to combine.

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Add curry, cumin, turmeric, and salt.

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Stir well to combine.

Add stock.  Bring to a boil.

Lower heat and cover.  Simmer for 12-15 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed.

Turmeric Basmati Rice Directions:

Add stock or water and rice to a small saucepan.

Add turmeric and salt.

Bring to a boil.  Lower heat and cover.

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Simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed.

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Serve with sauteed greens (I made spinach with mushrooms) or with a nice kale salad.


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Garlic and Flax Seed Kale Chips

My sister asked me to come up with some good, nutritious, and easy snack ideas.  The first thing that came to mind was kale chips.  I know that they are all the fad right now, until I made them I’ve never actually ate them before.  And, one day I bought a bag and I was thoroughly disappointed.  Not only were they crazy expensive, but they tasted processed and I couldn’t even tell that I was eating kale.  So, I have been making them ever since and they are one of my favorite snacks, sometimes a sheet pan of kale chips is my meal.  Give me kale chips and a glass of red wine, and I’m a very happy woman!  They satisfy my chip fix.  I’m a salty, chip kind of gal.  And, they take care of that craving for me.  I have also experimented with all kinds of ingredients: smoked paprika and curry; cajun spice ; sea salt and vinegar; and sea salt and lemon juice.

You can experiment with any seasonings and flavors.  Be creative! The only thing to remember is not to saturate the kale leaves with oil or other liquid, they will become soggy.  You can try to store them in an airtight container for the next day, but it’s very difficult because they are so addictive. I’m never successful.  And, you never have to feel guilty about eating a head of kale. You can control the amount of oil and salt you add.

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Ingredients:

1 head of kale

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons flax seeds

1 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Lay several sheets of paper towels on a cutting board or on a counter.

Shake excess water off the kale leaves and lay on the paper towels in a single layer.

Take several more sheets of paper towels and blot the kale leaves very well, pressing firmly.

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Make sure they are dry as you can get them.

Tear large pieces of the leaves and put them in a medium mixing bowl.

Add olive oil, garlic powder, flax seeds, and salt.

Mix well (I use my hands).  Make sure that each leaf is coated with all of the ingredients.

Taste a leaf or two and check the seasonings, adjust if necessary.

Pour the kale onto the prepared sheet pan.

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Bake for 12-15 minutes.

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They are so delicious, it is very difficult to not eat the whole sheet pan!


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Fig Vanilla Thumbprint Cookies

One of my favorite cookies as a kid were  fig newtons.  I love figs, and I cook with them a lot. So, when I was thinking of cookie ideas I thought of thumbprints. I love baking them around the holidays, but I wanted something different than the usual raspberry or apricot thumbprint cookies.  One day when I was at Trader Joe’s I discovered their fig butter. I was so excited, and I bought it.  I liked it, but it was too sweet for me.  Since I cut processed sugar from my diet, I discovered most ready made products are too sweet for me. Soon, I discovered how easy and fun making my own fig jam was.  So, the idea of my beloved fig newtons was born. This recipe was adapted from Oh She Glows, Raspberry Almond Thumbprint recipe.

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Cookie Ingredients:

1 1/3 cup almond flour

¼ cup coconut flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 Tablespoons flax meal (ground flax seeds)

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup almond butter

¼ cup agave syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon orange zest

5-6 tablespoons fig vanilla jam

1/3 cup shredded coconut

Fig vanilla jam ingredients:

4 cups dried figs, chopped

½ cup coconut sugar

2 vanilla pods scraped, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 tablespoon arrowroot starch

1-1/2 cup water

¼ cup lemon juice

1 tablespoon lemon zest

Jam Directions:

Combine figs, lemon juice, sugar, water, and lemon zest in a medium saucepan on medium high heat.

Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes on low to thicken.

Blend with immersion blender or in a food processor.

Blend until it is smooth. I like a little texture, pieces of figs in it. But, the consistency is up to you.

Cookie Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees , and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle of attachment or in a medium mixing bowl: add almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, flax meal, and salt. Whisk and set aside.

In a small bowl: mix almond butter, agave, and vanilla extract. Set aside.

Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture and mix until combined.

Sprinkle a working surface with gluten free, all purpose flour. Knead dough, and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes.

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Shape dough into balls about one tablespoon.

If dough is sticky, put in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes until firm.

Roll balls in the shredded coconut.

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Place balls on lined sheet pan about 2 inches apart.

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Press the middle of the balls with your thumb into a small well.

Add one teaspoon of jam.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.  I baked mine for 11 minutes, and they were perfect.

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Take out of the oven and cool for five minutes, and then place on cooling rack to finish cooling completely.

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You can substitute any jam or marmalade.


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Roasted Cauliflower, Sweet potato, and Caramelized Onion Soup

My new obsession this winter has been roasted vegetable soups. I love the flavors and especially with the caramelized onions, it adds a little sweetness.

I have been eating lots of soups and actually it’s my one of my favorite breakfasts.  It is warm, you get all of your vegetables, very filling, and a nice change from cereals. I roast vegetables on Sundays and I have meals for the week.  I make quinoa bowls with my veggies and soups.

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Ingredients:

1 cauliflower, stem removed, cut into florets, roasted,

2 cups sweet potatoes, roasted, diced

2 cups onions, sliced, caramelized

1 cup carrots, diced

1 cup brussel sprouts, quartered, roasted (optional)

2 teaspoons dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried dill

1 teaspoon rubbed sage

2 teaspoons salt, divided

2 tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil

4 cups vegetable stock

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two sheet pans with parchment paper

Poke holes into sweet potatoes and bake for 45-50 minutes.

Rinse cauliflower. Cut into florets.

Put in a medium bowl and toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil and ½ teaspoon salt

Pour into a lined sheet pan in a single layer.

Rinse brussel sprouts, remove outer leaves, and cut into quarters.

Put in a medium bowl and toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Pour on the same sheet pan as the cauliflower and bake for 10-15 minutes.

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Slice onions and toss into a bowl with 1 teaspoon olive oil.

Pour into a medium cast iron skillet and bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the onions are a nice caramel color and fragrant.

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Dice the carrots and set aside.

Take the vegetables out as they are done and set aside.

Take the sweet potatoes out, peel and dice.  Set aside.

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Heat a large pot on medium-high heat.  Add carrots, and sautee for 3-5 minutes until soft.

Add the roasted vegetables, herbs, and salt.  Stir well to combine.

Add stock.  Bring to a boil.

Turn heat down to low, and cover.  Simmer for 20 minutes.

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Take off heat, blend with an immersion (stick) blender.  Just pulsing 2-3 times, just enough to thicken some of it, but still leaving chunks of vegetables.

You can also pour a couple of cups in your blender to puree and add it back to the pot.

Adjust the seasonings and salt.

It is such a comforting and filling soup.  It’s great for the cold and damp Seattle winters.

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