A blog of hopeful, inspired living: cooking & baking & growing & harvesting & preserving & gleaning & eating & sharing food... while bringing positive change to my kitchen and our food system.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

'Cream' of Broccoli Soup

It's pouring rain here tonight. And cold. The rain hits the tin heating vent on the roof, making a melody, and it's quite the symphony tonight. It's the perfect night to be curled up on the couch writing this post, and a perfect night to eat soup. I'm happy to welcome all the signs of spring (and summer!), but I don't mind the cold rain on cozy nights in like this!

'Cream' of Broccoli soup is such a great trick. It is creamy and rich, yet completely vegan. And it's such a lovely spring green to boot. Bill, who is neither vegan, nor vegetarian, ate this soup two nights in a row and declared it his second favorite soup. Second to this one. He would have eaten it three nights in a row, but it's gone now.  It's another hit that I adapted from this book, and the third recipe (after this soup and these crackers) that I've been inspired to make from it in the last month.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Buckwheat, Seed & Lentil Crackers (Raw & Gluten-Free!)

The hardest thing about cutting gluten out of my diet this month hasn't so much been not eating gluten, as it is not baking. I LOVE baking. Cookies, biscotti, bread, pizza, galettes... Ok, ok, I love eating all those things, too. But being in the kitchen is a lot more difficult when I'm not bustling around with a new baking project. Recently I tried these crackers, made from rice, flax, quinoa and sesame. They are good,  especially as a vehicle for hummus or bean dip or nut butter (i.e. not so much on their own). Always up for a challenge, I pledged to make my own gluten free crackers, and try making some more gluten-free snacks.

After talking about The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook, by Cathe Olson in this post, I happily came across a copy to add to my cookbook collection. It's a great book, and not just for pregnant and breast-feeding mothers. There are a ton of healthy, nutrient-dense, tasty and creative recipes. And it happened to have just the cracker recipe I was looking for. Gluten-free and packed with lots of yummy & nutritious things: lentils, buckwheat, flax, sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds. They, too, are a wonderful vehicle. My favorite way to enjoy them is with some tahini and honey:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pickle That: Spicy Rainbow Carrots

It keeps happening. Vegetables (many, many pounds of them) keep taking over every inch of our fridge. The other week I had the opportunity to buy a 10-pound bag of rainbow carrots from Mariquita Farms. How could I not? This phenomenon of buying large quantities of super-exciting vegetable is not new for me. There could be worse; I could be binge spending on camera equipment or all those adorable things I keep seeing on etsy. To speedily make use of all the beautiful produce (and make room for other important fridge staples like beer), I've been canning a lot lately. Have you noticed

What better to do with a ton of great produce, but to eat it fresh 'til you are sick of it, and then pickle it (pickling does seem to be the current in thing).

The purple, yellow & orange carrots were the perfect size for pickling in quart-sized jars. I had the quart sized jars, all my canning equipment and lots of motivation. The only thing getting in the way of making carrot pickles was time. How to squeeze it all in? Pickling does take a dedicated couple of hours. Having a partner in crime helps -- I snagged Anne at work and we plotted how we could fit it into our ridiculously full schedules. Motivated by the thought of a tasty and beautiful end product, we came into work 2 hours early to share the preparation and canning work in our staff kitchen. Talk about dedication.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Fruit & Nut 'Cookies': Vegan, Raw, Gluten-Free

Day 1 of my spring cleanse went well. I'm always a little hesitant to talk about decisions like a cleanse. Quite a few people have suggestions for what I should or should not be doing for a cleanse. There are a thousand books, websites, urban myths and family stories about cleansing. So, sharing that I am starting a cleanse brings it all on. But in it all, there's a lot of support, which I appreciate greatly.

My cleanse is not a diet or fad, it's an elimination of a great many things that my body may or may not have trouble processing: gluten, dairy, soy, caffeine, alcohol. I'm cutting (most) processed foods and sugar. I'm giving my digestive system and liver a little 27-day vacation (wish it was in Hawaii!).  Why? Why not?! Ok really, why? Well, I've had good experiences with cleanses like this. Cleansing helps me focus more on what I put in my mouth, and helps me to notice how my body really feels. It helps me break habits I keep talking about breaking. I experience greater energy (after a rough first few days), healthier skin & hair, better digestion, better sleep. It feels like an adventure: I look for new recipes, try new foods, and get newly creative in the kitchen.

This past weekend before beginning, I checked out a stack of vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and raw books from the library and marked a good 50 recipes. I narrowed my list down to the first week's recipes, making sure to include snacks and sweets to get me through the initial cravings.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Kabocha, Posole & Bean Comfort Soup

There have been a great number of babies born in the past month. 2011 seemed like the year for baby girls. This year there are a great many little boys. As a February baby, I was excited to welcome friends' babies right around my own birthday:  Konrad and Kauila recently joined the school of Pisces.

What do I do when a baby is born? Well, while I wait for cute photos and an opportunity to snuggle with baby, I head to the kitchen to make one of my favorite comfort soups to bring to the new family.  And I make extra to feed my sweetheart at home, too... everyone can benefit from comfort soup. This is a wonderful, delicious recipe, chock full of nutritious ingredients. It can be made vegetarian or not.