Tag Archives: Vegetarian

Thai Pumpkin Curry Soup

Thai Pumpkin Curry Soup with Garnish

I’m pretty disappointed at the overblown pumpkin frenzy this season.  It came earlier than usual, and everyone is trying to cash in on it.  Sadly, this led to a lot of sub par pumpkin treats – most of which aren’t even reminiscent of pumpkin.  I love the taste of pumpkin.  I mean, I like it sweet, savory, and all by itself.  But even though I look forward to pumpkin season all year, this will likely be the only pumpkin recipe from me until next year.  I’m just over it.  But the recipe I have to share with you today is different from your typical pumpkin pie or muffins.  This is one of the many fantastic ways to use pumpkin in a savory application.  Pumpkin is also an amazing fruit (that’s right – it’s technically a fruit, along with all its squash cousins!) with awesome nutritional qualities!  It’s low in calories (when not in dessert-form), a good source of fiber, and an excellent source of vitamin A.  It also boasts some vitamin C, copper, and manganese in smaller amounts.  Oh, and it’s delicious and versatile!

A few months ago, I bought some toasted pumpkin seed oil, and I’ve been patiently awaiting pumpkin season ever since.  It’s supposed to be excellent for things like salad dressing and pasta, and I have no doubt!  But I really wanted to use it in a soup to compliment pumpkin.  The oil has a rich toasty taste – you can definitely tell its source!  I will be experimenting more with it in the future, for sure.  It has a low smoke point, so it’s not good for high temperature applications, but it’s great for using raw, and for roasting and light sautéing.  You can absolutely make this soup without it, though.

I also recommend using an immersion blender for this recipe, but a plain old blender will work, too.

This soup is the perfect dinner on a cold fall evening.  It’s quick and easy, and the flavors won’t disappoint!  The coconut milk brings a creamy quality to it, without going overboard on calories or cholesterol – and that makes it vegan friendly, too!  You’ll love how filling the soup is, and the slightly spicy notes from the Thai curry paste really complete it.  I used a whole pumpkin that I roasted in the toasted pumpkin seed oil, but canned pumpkin (not pie filling) will work just as well and save time.  I also roasted the pumpkin seeds in the oil, with a little salt and pepper.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Roasted pumpkin seeds are one of my very favorite fall treats, and they make the perfect garnish.  What I learned this year from other bloggers is that there’s no need to drive yourself crazy cleaning the seeds.  Just separate them from the “guts” as much as you can and toss them on a cookie sheet.  No oil really needed, but I’ve been dying to use my new oil!  Roast at 400 degrees for about 20-30 minutes – toss halfway through.  And that’s it!  Any of the remaining pumpkin pieces roast up nice and crunchy, and you’ll love it!

Now for the main event!

THAI PUMPKIN CURRY SOUP

Thai Pumpkin Curry Soup with Garnish Close up

Serves: 6

Ingredients

1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 medium Onion, Chopped
2 ½ – 3 cups Pumpkin Puree
1 can Lite Coconut Milk
1-2 Tbsp Thai Red Curry Paste

Directions

1.  In a large pot, heat olive oil and sauté onion until soft and translucent.

2.  Add pumpkin puree, coconut milk, and red curry paste, and bring to boil.

3.  Blend with immersion blender until smooth.  Alternately, puree soup in blender in small batches.  Return to pot and bring to simmer.

4.  Serve hot, garnished with toasted pumpkin seed oil and toasted pumpkin seeds.

Thai Pumpkin Curry Soup Nutrition

Happy, healthy eating!

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Homemade Vegetable Broth from Scraps

Vegetable Broth from Scraps

It’s been a crazy week!  Well last week was.  Handsome Husband and I took a trip to Boston for the week for some fun-filled touring before the baby comes.  We took in tons of history, and tons of amazing food!  More about the awesome eats next time, once I can get all the pictures organized.  You’ll love it as much as I did, I promise!

I wanted to share this broth with you.  It’s so flavorful, has no sodium, and it’s free!  What could be better to make all your homemade soups with?!  For the broth, you’ll want to start saving all your vegetable scraps – put them in a zipper bag in the freezer until you accumulate enough.

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You can save pretty much anything you want, but you may want to steer clear of vegetable with a very strong flavor, or dark color – like beets, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, etc.  Feel free to save herbs, onion skins, the insides of peppers, carrot skins, celery leaves, spinach and lettuce.  Just don’t save anything that is passed its prime or moldy, of course.

Throw everything in a big pot with whatever spices you like (bay leaves, peppercorns, mustard seeds, etc.), cover with water, and simmer for about an hour.

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Then strain it and cool it.  Pour it into containers or zipper freezer bags.  Store in the refrigerator for about a week, or in the freezer for longer.  Probably months to a year, but I bet it won’t last that long!  Tip: If you freeze the broth in freezer bags on their side, once frozen you can stand them up in a line in a basket for easy selection.  This works with all kinds of liquids.  That way, nothing gets stuck forever on the bottom of the pile!

HOMEMADE VEGETABLE BROTH

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Makes: 6-8 cups

Ingredients

4-6 cups vegetable scraps

2 Bay Leaves

5 quarts Cold Water

Directions

1.  Place all ingredients in a large stock pot, and bring to boil.

2.  Reduce temperature and simmer for one hour.

3.  Strain it all through a fine mesh sieve, and press to squeeze out all broth.

4.  Cool completely, and store in freezer bags to containers in the refrigerator or freezer.

Happy, healthy eating!

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Garlic Roasted Green Beans

Garlic Roasted Green Beans 1

Happy Friday everyone!  I hope you have something amazing planned for the weekend!  It’s going to be chilly and probably rainy here in Pittsburgh.  I think it’s about time to pull all the veggies that are left in the garden into the house soon.  Snow is actually in the forecast for us in the next week.  The time for warming food is pretty much here, but I wanted to share one more “summer-ish” recipe with you before the snow flies.  These were about the last green bean harvest from Dad’s garden for the year.  Truly, fall is upon us. 🙂

I can’t honestly think of any vegetable that’s not amazing roasted in garlic, and these green beans are no exception.  Roasting makes the beans kind of crunchy – I bet you could call them bean fries and the kids would gobble them up (can you tell I’m starting to think about kid foods already?!).  Remember those days of soggy, tasteless, canned vegetables?  This will change your mind about green beans forever.  Promise.  Feel free to experiment with spices, or more or less garlic to suit your taste.  We loved these garlicky beans, and I hope you will, too!

GARLIC ROASTED GREEN BEANS

Garlic Roasted Green Beans 3

Serves: 4

Ingredients

1 lb Fresh Green Beans, washed and snapped, if needed

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Tbsp Garlic Powder

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

1.  Place cleaned beans on baking sheet and drizzle with oil.  Toss to coat.

2.  Sprinkle with garlic powder and salt/pepper if desired.

3.  Bake at 425⁰ F for about 20-30 minutes, until baked through and slightly crispy.

Garlic Roasted Green Beans Nutrition

Happy, healthy eating!

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Spicy “Kohlslaw” (Kohlrabi and Cabbage Slaw)

Spicy Kohlslaw

Summer has unofficially ended, but it sure doesn’t feel like it yet!  While my brain is ready for winter squash, root vegetables, pumpkin, and soups, my body just isn’t into it.  Well except for Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte.  My body always wants that!  Special shout out to Starbucks for releasing it early this year! 🙂

I do have to apologize for not posting as much as I should be.  It’s now safe for me to announce that Handsome Husband and I will be welcoming a little addition to our family in March!  We are as excited as can be!  Luckily, I haven’t experienced any morning sickness.  Mostly profound tiredness.  My doc calls it pregnancy narcolepsy, and that describes it perfectly.  So while I have barely managed to cook some meals in the last 3 months, there’s been little else.  I’m hopeful to have more for you now!

On Friday, we hit up the Benedum Center for Performing Arts with some friends to check out the Lion King on Broadway.  It’s in town for a whole month, so if you’re local, do try to get there!  It’s a spectacular performance with the most amazing costumes!

Lion King on Broadway

We went to dinner before the show at a restaurant called Vallozzi’s.  I ordered a squid ink linguine with crab meat and white asparagus sauce with prosciutto sprinkled on the top.  I did take a picture for you, but it was so dark in the restaurant it just didn’t come out.  It was spectacularly delicious, though!  And the portion size was just right, too!  I was mostly impressed by the HUGE chunks of crab meat in the pasta.  Real crab meat.  I highly recommend this restaurant if you’re looking for a nicer place to go some night.

So let’s talk about this week’s recipe.

This year, my dad grew kohlrabi in his garden.  It kinda looks like an alien, but they are super low in calories, and great sources of vitamin C!  You can eat kohlrabi cooked or raw.  Today’s recipe takes advantage of the crispy, fresh tasting qualities of the vegetable in a slaw.  I have also roasted it with garlic, which is quite delicious too!

For the slaw, you will need to remove the skin from the kohlrabi.  It’s edible, but it doesn’t shred up very well, so it’s best to remove it.  The cabbage (from my aunt and uncle’s garden!) and carrots add a traditional element.  I replaced the typical heavy mayonnaise sauce with a light lemon and olive oil dressing, making this slaw a much healthier alternative to most.  Watch how much red pepper flakes you use!  I used the full teaspoon, and it was pretty spicy!  Start with half of that and taste it.  You can always add more, but you can’t remove it once it’s in there!

SPICY “KOHLSLAW” (KOHLRABI CABBAGE SLAW)

Spicy Kohlslaw

Serves: 12

Ingredients

½ small head of Cabbage, sliced thin

1 Kohlrabi, skin removed, shredded

3 large Carrots, shredded

1 medium Onion, slice thin

¼ cup Lemon Juice

¼ cup Olive Oil

1 tsp Honey

1 Garlic Clove, minced

½ – 1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes

Zest of ½ Lemon

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

1.  Toss first four ingredients together in a large bowl.

2.  In a smaller bowl, whisk remaining ingredients together, and pour over cabbage mixture.

3.  Toss to coat.  Refrigerate for at least a few hours so flavors can marinate.

Kohlslaw Nutrition Facts

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Baked Cinnamon Sweet Potato Fries

Baked Cinnamon Sweet Potato Fries

I love all things sweet potato.  So when I saw sweet potatoes on sale during a shopping trip, I knew just what they were going to become: fries!  Sweet potato fries are a special treat at county fairs the country over (at least I would guess).  The first place I ever had them was at the Big Butler Fair.  It was love a first taste!

But traditional sweet potato fries are deep fried and so greasy they practically slip right out of your fingers!  Sweet potatoes pack a nutritional punch, but deep frying them adds a ton of fat and calories that won’t help your waistline, and they’re still not crispy.  My version has all the flavor with far less fat and calories – and the fat that is there is ultra-healthy monounsaturated fat (the kind that lowers your cholesterol!).  And sweet potatoes and cinnamon?  Soul mates!

What’s not the love?  And there’s so much flavor here that no sauce or ketchup is needed – which is kind of like heresy here in Pittsburgh (home of Heinz Ketchup)!  No, they don’t get crispy either.  I’m thinking that’s just the nature of sweet potatoes.  But I’m guessing if you’re a fan of sweet potato fries, you don’t care much about that!

Now go pre-heat that oven!

BAKED CINNAMON SWEET POTATO FRIES

Baked Cinnamon Sweet Potato Fries

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 large Sweet Potato (about 1-1 ½ lbs)

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Tbsp ground Cinnamon

Salt to taste

Directions

1.  Pre-heat oven to 450⁰ F.

2.  Wash and dry sweet potato, and slice julienne style (leave the skin on).

3.  Toss with oil and cinnamon.

4.  Bake for about 60 minutes, turning with a spatula every 15 minutes or so to prevent burning, until soft and browned (they will not get crispy).

Baked Sweet Potato Fries Nutrition

Happy, healthy eating!

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Roasted Beet and Turnip Dip

Roasted Beet and Turnip Dip

I hate to even think about it, but summer is winding down.  It is much cooler in the mornings and at night, and it’s getting dark earlier in the evening.  Before we know it we’ll be back to heavy comfort foods, down comforters, and warm sweaters.  But before you start cursing me out, don’t worry!  I’m not giving up on summer quite so easily.  The days are still warm, and we’re still using them for working out in the yard getting closer to what we want it to be long term.  And there are, of course, still plenty of summer picnics left!

There’s been a shift in what’s available in the garden.  My personal garden isn’t doing so well.  All my squash plants started wilting and dying, so I picked what was ripe or close to it, and pulled out the plants.  That left room for my tomatoes to start getting light, and I even have teeny tomatoes on the vines!  As long as the frost holds off, I may end up with a few yet!  My dad’s garden on the other hand, is as prolific as rabbits!  He’s been in the game for a while, and seems to just know how to do it.  I guess this is proof that successful gardening is far less genetic than it is a learned skill!  Anyway, he recently gave me some turnips, and challenged me to come up with something to do with them besides pickling.  There is this soup that I made in the spring, but August doesn’t desire soup.  August desires potluck dishes and dippables (is that a word?).  Such is the inspiration for this dip.  I added some beets that my dad also gave me for some sweetness and gorgeous color!  Roasting the veggies with garlic before pureeing makes for a caramelized, earthy taste, and some lemon juice provides some much needed tang.  Yes, you can still taste the turnips some, but I think they really add a little something also.  Make sure to leave the skins on the turnips and beets for a nutritional bang!  This is just right paired with pita chips.  They are the perfect hardiness to stand up to this dip.  This would also be awesome on a sandwich in place of mayo!

ROASTED BEET AND TURNIP DIP

Roasted Beet and Turnip Dip

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

6 Garlic Cloves

3 Turnips, cut into 1 inch cubes

3 Beets, cut into 1 inch cubes

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Tbsp Lemon Juice

1 tsp Honey

1 tsp ground Cumin

1 tsp Cinnamon

¼ tsp Allspice

¼ tsp Salt (or to taste)

Directions

1.  Place garlic, turnip cubes, and beet cubes on baking sheet and toss with olive oil.  Roast at 400⁰ F for about 60 minutes, or until turnips and beets are tender when pierced with a fork.

2.  Allow vegetables to cool slightly.  Place in food processor and add remaining ingredients.  Process until dip is smooth.

3.  Chill completely.  Serve with pita chips.

Nutrition Information (per serving )

Calories:  93

Fat:  5 grams

Saturated Fat:  1 gram

Trans Fat:  0 grams

MUFA:  3 grams

PUFA:  0.5 gram

Cholesterol:  0 mg

Sodium:  250 mg

Carbohydrate:  12 grams

Dietary Fiber:  3 grams

Protein:  2 grams

Vitamin A:  0%

Vitamin C:  23%

Calcium:  4%

Iron:  5%

Roasted Beet and Turnip Dip

Happy, healthy eating!

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Raspberry Mint Chia Pudding

Raspberry Mint Chia Pudding

We have officially entered the dog days of summer here in Pittsburgh!  I’m not complaining at all; in fact, I love this weather!  But I try to institute a “plant shut down” in my kitchen when it’s so hot.  I like fast, easy to prepare foods that don’t need cooking for days like this.  Chia pudding is just that.  I’ve been wanting to try chia pudding for quite sometime now, and it really couldn’t have come at a better time!

Chia seeds are the new “it” food.  You remember those commercials from the 80’s: “Ch-ch-ch-chia!”  That’s what these are!  Chia seeds are native to Mexico and Guatemala and were cultivated by the ancient Aztecs.  They are a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids and, unlike flax seeds, do not need to be ground for your body to digest them!  Just one ounce of chia contains 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, 18% of your daily value of calcium, and 30% of your daily value of manganese.  Talk about a powerhouse!

It’s so refreshing, and it really couldn’t be easier to make!  Besides being easy and delicious, it’s healthy and versatile, too!  I had just picked some raspberries from the bushes in my backyard and had some leftover mint from another recipe, so that’s what went in it.  Get creative with this one!

Before I share my recipe, quick update on my garden!  I have definitely learned a lesson in vining plants:

Garden Update

This summer, I will have squash and lemon cucumbers.  That’s it.  No more lettuce.  No beets, onions, peppers, and probably no tomatoes.  Next summer, the squash are not going in this particular bed.  Only non-vining plants!  Whoops!  Oh well.  Stay tuned for a million recipes for squash!

On to the yumminess!

RASPBERRY MINT CHIA PUDDING

Raspberry Mint Chia Pudding

Serves 4 (trust me; it’s filling!)

Ingredients

1 cup Milk of choice (I used Almond Coconut Milk Blend)

½ cup Red Raspberries

¼ cup Chia Seeds

1-2 Tbsp 100% Pure Maple Syrup

8-10 Mint leaves

Directions

1.  Add all ingredients to blender, and blend well until combined.  (Alternatively, blend all ingredients except chia seeds.  Stir in chia seeds to milk mixture.)  If it seems thick, add a little more milk.  It will only become thicker as it chills!

2.  Chill for at least 3 hours until firm.

Nutrition Information (per serving – 1/4 of recipe)

Calories:  64

Fat:  3 grams

Saturated Fat:  0 grams

Trans Fat:  0 grams

MUFA:  0.5 grams

PUFA:  2 grams

Cholesterol:  0 mg

Sodium:  39 mg

Carbohydrate:  8.5 grams

Dietary Fiber:  4 grams

Protein:  1.5 grams

Vitamin A:  2%

Vitamin C:  5%

Calcium:  17%

Iron:  2%

Happy, healthy eating!

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