frigid weather soup

On a frigid cold day, like today ’round here, there’s nothing like hot spicy soup.

Tortilla soup, that is!

Spicy Tortilla Soup

I adapted part of this recipe from Happy Herbivore (which I am a big fan of) but gave it my own spin.

It all started with a jar of salsa and a 15 oz can of pinto beans.  Not the most glamorous ingredients in the world of eating fresh plant-based foods but the pantry choices were slim and we were in the midst of a snowstorm.  So my friends, the two main ingredients came from a can and a jar.  And I think it’s quite genius in a pinch.

Puree 1 cup of salsa, 1 cup of the beans with 1 cup of broth.  Fortunately I made my favorite French Onion Soup the night before so I simply drained a cup of the flavorful broth from there.

Spicy Tortilla Soup

Once blended into a creamy broth (you know how I love creamy soups, right?) I transferred into a stock pot.  Adding a fresh diced mango, another half cup of salsa and a teaspoon of cumin.

mangoes

I let the soup simmer on low while juicing mangoes.

sliced mangoes

The perfect drink companion to spicy tortilla soup.

freshly squeezed mango juice

The soup was served with feta cheese and Late July brand tortilla chips, which I also love.  Yep, I go heavy on the feta.

Spicy Tortilla Soup

There you have it, spicy tortilla soup in a bind.  Super tasty and ready in under 30 minutes!

Let me add that in the future I am going to make this as a follow-up to Taco Tuesday.  Usually there are diced tomatoes, peppers and more left over that I am going to try as a fresh substitute for the jarred salsa.

Spicy Tortilla Soup

mediterranean veggie burgers

Guys, I’m always on a quest for interesting veggie and bean burgers.  I came up with a little combination for a Mediterranean inspired burger last week.

Mediterranean Veggie Burger

Making any veggie burger can be a bit time-consuming with all of the chopping and food processing so I finally got smart a doubled up my recipe this time so we’d get twice as many.  For us, that means 2 dinners and 2 lunches instead of just one of each.  Or 8 burgers.

And since I am in post-Clover Market hangover mode today, that means I can just pull out the 2nd half of these burgers and fire them up tonight with minimal prep.  Amen to that.

Mediterranean Bean Burger

So here’s what’s in my (double) Mediterranean veggie burger.  I chopped, ground and combined the following ingredients:

  • 2 cans of kidney beans
  • 1 can of olives
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 large tomato (draining the juice)
  • 1-2 stalks of scallions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • salt, pepper, oregano

*We were out of fresh peppers or I definitely would have added one however olives are definitely the key to making this veggie burger full of Mediterranean inspired flavor.  I may just add more next time!

For a binder, I used one slice of bread plus a handful of oats and 1 egg.  I usually use 2 of the 3 mentioned binding agents but I felt wild so I threw all 3 into the mix this time.  It is just preference.

Mediterranean Veggie Burger

I pan cooked these for about 8-10 minutes on each side and then served them up on ciabbatta rolls with avocado & lettuce.  Yum!

What is your favorite veggie burger combo?  What should I try next?

spiced pumpkin bread

For as many years as I can remember, I have been making my tried and true pumpkin shortbread.  I wish I could remember the original source for this recipe but it has been so long.  I particularly love it because a.) it is so tasty and b.) it yields 3 loaves.  One for us, one to gift and one to freeze for later.

Spiced Pumpkin Bread Recipe

This year though I tweaked my recipe to make it just a little bit healthier or “cleaner” as we are on a quest to eat fewer processed foods.  I started with subbing white flour for whole wheat flour and refined sugar for raw sugar.

It is also the first time I made it with actual pumpkin versus the canned stuff.  In fact, I plucked this one right from my porch.  Yum, so much tastier with the real thing!

natural fall vignette

I’d love to try tweaking the recipe even further by substituting the vegetable oil for perhaps more pumpkin puree.  I think some of the sugar could possibly be substituted for apple sauce too based on what I’ve read.

But anyway, here’s the recipe as it stands today, just a little bit “cleaner” or less processed.

15 ounces real pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
3 cups raw sugar
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

WholeWheatFlour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 7×3 inch loaf pans.

Remove the skin of a small pumpkin.  Cut in chunks and boil until pumpkin is soft.  Puree in a blender or food processor.

spiced pumpkin bread

In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.

Bake for about 50 minutes.

Spiced Pumpkin Bread Recipe

The spiced pumpkin bread is perfect paired with a cup of coffee!

You’ll notice that I had a squash in my fall porch vignette too.  It is also long gone because we ate it!  (So is that little zucchini.)

natural fall vignette

You may have caught a snippet on my instagram or facebook of the butternut squash & spinach lasagna that we had for dinner last week.  It was so good!  I followed the SkinnyTaste recipe posted here.  Delish!  However, I didn’t roll the noodles as recommended.

I would make this again for the creamy butternut squash sauce alone.  We used the extra for pasta a few nights later.

butternut squash lasagna

Looks like I need to redecorate since we ate most of my fall porch vignette.  What fall dishes are you cooking up?

P.S. This Sunday we’ll be at Clover Market with a truck full of vintage finds!  And next weekend I’ll be at Serendipity showing you how milk paint works.  Hope to see you soon!

MMS October flier

Sharing at the Pumpkin Parade!

kohlrabi stew

I’ve mentioned kohlrabi a few times this past summer.  It is still a phenomenon to us.  How have we never heard of this root vegetable before this summer?  It is one of Ryan’s new favorites.  Buuuut…we can’t just keep roasting kohlrabi.  Boredom will certainly set in.

It is fall now which means a warm hearty stew is in season.  So, friends, kohlrabi stew is born!

kohlrabi stew

This may possibly be the least photogenic dish but don’t hold that against it.  Trust me that kohlrabi stew is tasty and not so bad for you considering how creamy it is.

kohlrabi stew

Here’s how I made this which yields 4-6 servings:

  • Cover the bottom of your pot with sunflower oil, simmer and saute 1/2 – 3/4 cup of chopped scallions
  • Chop one large kohlrabi into 1/2 inch chunks and add to the pot.  Simmer for a few minutes on medium heat until they are soft
  • Next add 2 cups of vegetable stock (or chicken stock) and 1 can of cream of broccoli soup
  • Season to your preference: salt, lemon pepper, parsley, thyme
  • Put the lid on the pot and boil for 20-25 minutes
  • Allow the entire mixture to cool for about 20 minutes before transferring to a blender or food processor
  • Puree in batches
  • Once pureed, transfer back to the pot and add in 1 cup of small pasta shells
  • Cover the pot with a lid and bring to a boil, cooking the pasta right in the stew.  This is also where you could add in pre-cooked beef
  • Serve and enjoy!

kohlrabi stew

Side note:  I have been wanting to make butternut squash soup for a long time.  Longer than I have been cooking, actually.  It is always so delicious but I’m quite aware that it is usually made with lots of heavy cream.  I am going to try it by following the above principles (minus the pasta).  The cream of broccoli soup is the only creamy offender here.   I will let you know how it turns out!

What are you cooking this weekend?

veggie frittata

Friends, I made a frittata.  And it was good. I’m so proud.

veggie frittata (10 of 10)

You see, I was faced with this little problem.  We had way too many vegetables in the house and had to come up with a dish that would use some up.  A nice problem to have but still.  And quite frankly, another salad or pasta just wouldn’t do.

So frittata it was!  I love that word by the way. Frittata! Hakuna Matata.

veggie frittata (6 of 10)

I thought a frittata would be complicated but it was truly a very easy one pot dish to make.  And it is a great way to use up your harvest or even leftovers.  The options are pretty much endless. You can add vegetables, meat, fish, cheese.  And you can serve it for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

veggie frittata

I used one cup each of the following vegetables: red/green peppers, tomatoes/tomatillos & scallions.

I chopped up the veggies the night before so when I woke up I felt like I was on a cooking show with all of my ingredients prepped in handy little bowls.  And then I remembered that I don’t have a hair and make-up artist on staff.  Hmm, I’ll have to work on that.

veggie frittata

First, I chose a round pie pan because it could go on the stove and in the oven.  Anything cast iron would work too.  I found that most of my pans, though, had handles that aren’t ovenproof.

So I sprayed the pan with olive oil and pre-heated the oven to 400.  On medium heat, I sautéed the hardest vegetable first.  In this case, the peppers.  I decided to add some sesame oil for added flavor.

I continued to add each vegetable and seasoned with salt, pepper and thyme.  But again, the seasoning options are pretty much endless.

Once the vegetables were cooked (about 15 minutes), I added shredded cheddar.

And then the eggs.  I whisked 8 eggs and poured them over the vegetables and cheese.  The sides cooked up in about 10 minutes on the stove top.

veggie frittata

Finally, I placed the concoction in the pre-heated oven.  It took about 15 more minutes for the eggs to cook through.  The top of the frittata browned nicely.

Cooking times will vary depending on the size of pan you use and how many ingredients you add.  You could certainly double this in a casserole for a brunch.

Our version serves four: 3 cups of vegetables, 8 eggs, 10 inch pie pan

veggie frittata

I let it cool for a few minutes, cut into wedges and served it with wholegrain toast for breakfast.  It was met with rave reviews!

veggie frittata

That, my friends, is a frittata!  Means no worries.  Oh wait, that’s Hakuna Matata.

CSA carrot fries

A couple of weeks ago, I told you all about the CSA we joined this year. It is our first time participating in Community Supported Agriculture and we just love it!

Every week’s pick up is sort of like Christmas. You don’t know what you’re going to get.  There is a level of anticipation because you know you’ll love it either way. It’s so exciting.  Yes, I am still talking about vegetables…

carrots

We’ve picked up carrots from the farm a few times.  It is so adorable how they come with their green tops still attached much like in Bugs Bunny but nothing like in the grocery store.

I like carrots but I needed a new, fresh idea.  I didn’t want to just steam them again.  I racked my brain for something different.  We love sweet potato fries so why not try carrot fries?

easy carrot fries recipe

So we did!  I’ve found that just about any root vegetable is tasty sliced up and roasted in the oven producing healthy “fries”.  We did this with kohlrabi earlier in the growing season and loved it too.

To prep the carrots, you need to clean and lightly peel them.  Then slice them into 2-3 inch sections.

carrot fries

Brush on some olive oil, salt & a dash of cumin.

carrot fries

Pre-heat your oven at 425 degrees.  Then bake the carrots for about 25 minutes.

easy carrot fries recipe

That’s it!  We drizzled ours with a little bit of raw honey.  They were delicious and got rave reviews from my food connoisseur husband.

easy carrot fries recipe