Quinoa Mexican Soup

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I’ve been known in the past to have what my friends and family call “Shiny Things Syndrome.” I can be in the middle of a conversation or on my way to another room to do something and all of the sudden something “shiny” will catch my eye and the next you know I’m lost in the conversation or have completely forgotten what I was trying to do. What can I say, I can be easily distracted.

That’s exactly what happened a few weeks ago after I read a post on Branny Boils Over. She’s hosting a blogging event called the “Souper Bowl” and for every entry she will be donating $1.00 to the ASPCA. All you have to do is dedicate a post to a pet and share a recipe for soup. Sounds perfect for me! I love soup. I love my cats. I had a minestrone recipe just begging to be made. Then I posted my soup…. and realized about a day later that I just shared my entry for the Souper Bowl without actually making it an entry. DOH!

Then I found this recipe on Nicole’s blog and fell in love. Soup for me. Dedication to my cats. Post for the Souper Bowl. Win, win, win!


I love everything about this soup. Nicole said she wasn’t sure if she would like it but tried it anyway and liked it a lot. I, on the other hand, knew I would love this soup at first glance. The only thing that surprised me was the fact that I didn’t have to de-veganize it by adding sour cream and cheese. Of course I added a little cheese to one bowl. But I quickly found that it just wasn’t needed. There is flavor jam packed into every square inch of this soup and I love it. Did I say that already?

So in honor of both of my beautiful cats (who have to fly home to Ohio for the next couple of months while I’m in China, SO SAD!!!!!!!) I bring you Quinoa Mexican Soup.

Bigun
Tiffany 

Quinoa Mexican Soup

Ingredients
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 tsp olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 poblano pepper, cut in half, seeds removed
1 red bell pepper, cut in half, seeds removed
1 jalapeno, cut in half and seeds removed
1 cup dry quinoa
1 Tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 bay leaves
pinch ground cinnamon
1 avocado, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 lime, cut into wedges (I forgot the lime!)

Directions
Turn your oven to broil, the high temperature if you have the option. Lay the poblano, red pepper and jalapeno skin side up on a baking sheet. Broil for 4-5 minutes, keeping an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn, but just the skin chars. When the outsides are charred carefully remove from oven and place in a ziploc bag and let steam. Peel and dice the peppers.

In a stock pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and let cook for 4-5 minutes or until they just start to stick to the bottom of the pot. Deglaze the pan with 2 tablespoons of vegetable broth. Cook again for another 3-4 minutes and deglaze again with more vegetable broth. Repeat this process 3 or 4 more times until the onions have caramelized and are dark golden brown with a slightly sweet taste.

While the onions are caramelizing, cook the quinoa according to the package.

When the onions are caramelized, add the rest of the broth, fire roasted tomatoes, poblano pepper, jalapeno, bell pepper, and seasonings. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes. Remove the bay leaves, add the quinoa and stir.

Serve with fresh cut avocado and lime wedges (if you don’t forget them like me).

Source: As seen on Prevention, RD originally from Virtually Vegan Mama

Minestrone Soup

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The holidays are over and with the drop of a ball it’s officially a new year. There’s a good chance that a few of you have decided to start the new year off on a healthier foot. I’m not personally one for making resolutions, for me they rarely stick. Instead, I try to use moderation as a guide and make any changes I want through out the year. I started using the gym on a regular basis in the middle of August and just this past fall I started twice weekly yoga classes.

Still, after a month of heavy holiday foods, my body is just screaming for vegetables and “good for you” meals. What a body wants, a body gets. So I decided my first homemade meal of 2012 was going to be something chock full of vegetables, but still filling and comforting. Just what I needed on the day that I drove Jesse to the airport AGAIN for another trip to China. At least this time I get to meet him out there in February!


Minestrone Soup

Ingredients
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 small zucchini, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1 small yellow squash, diced (about 1/2 cup)
2 small carrots, diced
1-2 celery stalks, diced
1/3 cup frozen lima beans
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 (15 oz) can reduced sodium diced tomatoes, with juices
2 (15 oz) cans vegetable broth*
3 cups hot water
1 (15 oz) can Kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz) can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups kale, finely chopped (tough stems discarded)
1/2 cup small pasta shape
Pinch of kosher salt, if needed

*Make sure to check the labels when you buy your broth. I found that my store brand had almost 200 mg LESS sodium than the national brand. I try to use as much reduced or lower sodium canned goods as possible when making this soup, especially since the cans are being layered together.

Directions
In a large stock pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, zucchini, squash, celery, lima beans, carrots, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until onions turn translucent. Add the dry spices and bay leaves to the vegetables and stir. Make a well in the center of the pot and add the tomato paste. Stir to coat the vegetables. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the diced tomatoes with juices, vegetable broth, and water. Bring soup to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Increase the heat the high and bring to a boil. Add the kale and pasta* and cook for 8 minutes.

Remove bay leaves before serving. Serve with fresh grated Parmesan.

*If you plan to make this soup and eat it later, you might find that cooking and storing the pasta separately will prevent “too chewy” or soggy pasta. Personally, in soup, I kind like the next day soggy noodles.

Adapted from Food.com

Black Bean Patties with Corn Relish


As I slowly come out of my Christmas cookie induced coma, I thought it would be nice to share a recipe that is savory, delicious, and way more nutritious than Christmas cookies!

It seems like everyday I add something new to my already long list of new recipes to try. Occasionally I come across a recipe that can not be kept at the back of the line. That’s exactly what happened when I saw these Black Bean Patties on Elly’s blog. She had me at black beans and sealed the deal with avocado cream sauce.

We really really loved these and the only reason I didn’t blog these right away is because I was so busy trying to get all of my Thanksgiving recipes up I forgot, then I moved right into Christmas cookies. I think it’s worked out nicely though, I could use a break from holiday food just as much you probably can. So even if you have to wait till the week after Christmas to make these, that’s fine. Just make them! It will be welcome change of pace from a lot of the heavy holiday food you’re undoubtedly consuming.


Black Bean Patties with Corn Relish and Avocado Cream Sauce

Ingredients

Black Bean Patties*
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed, divided
2 roasted red bell peppers, divided
2 eggs
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
2 cloves garlic
1/2 chipotle in adobo, chopped
1 red onion, finely diced
1/2 – 2/3 cup cornmeal, breadcrumbs, or panko (I used cornmeal)
salt and pepper
Canola oil

Corn Relish
2 tsp. canola oil
2 cups corn
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced (I forgot to buy one, so I left it out this time)
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
1 lime, juiced (about 2-3 Tbsp.)
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Avocado Cream Sauce
1 avocado, pitted and cut into a few pieces
1/2 cup light sour cream
1 lime, juiced
salt and pepper to taste

*As is, this recipe makes a ton. It could easily be cut in half and still feed 2 or 3 people a good size dinner.

Directions
Add 1 can of black beans, 1 roasted red pepper, eggs, oregano, cumin, garlic, and the chipotle pepper to the bowl of a food processor. Process until combined and smooth. Add the finely diced onion and pulse to combine. Add the other can of black beans and roasted red pepper and give it a few 5-10 second pulses. You want it to be combined but not not completely smooth.

Transfer the black bean mixture to a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Stir in 1/2 cup corn meal/bread crumbs. Add more cornmeal/breadcrumbs as needed to form a firmer mixture that can be rolled into a ball between your hands. Place the mixture in the fridge and allow to chill for at least 30 minutes.

Remove the mixture from the fridge and shape into 3-inch patties.

Heat canola oil in a large non-stick skillet. Add the patties in batches and cook, flipping once, for 5-7 minutes.

To make corn-relish, heat canola oil in a medium skillet. Add the corn and cook for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeno and cook for another minute. Remove the skillet from heat and stir in the rest of the ingredients.

To make the avocado cream sauce, puree all of the ingredients until smooth.*

Top the cooked patties with the corn-relish and avocado cream sauce.

* If you don’t puree your ingredients, then please don’t try put them in a squeeze bottle. A clogged tip on the bottle and lots of squeezing can only end one way, a mess. I may have first hand experience with that.

Source: Elly Says Opa

Spinach and Artichoke Macaroni and Cheese


Starting out in the kitchen I was pretty lucky. I didn’t have a lot of flops and I had enough success to keep me motivated in trying newer, some more complicated, things. But let’s get real here for a second. Not everything I make turns out great the first time. Getting even more real, some things never quite turn out the way I want them to. I tried making pad Thai a few months ago…. We had pizza for dinner that night.

Of course, I’m not going to share things here that just don’t work, not really the kind of blog I’m going for. Keeping that in mind, I always have high hopes that whatever dish I make will be good and what I like to call “blog worthy.” Occasionally, a meal I expect to be good exceeds that expectation.

This Macaroni and Cheese is one of those meals. I found myself licking my bowl clean, going back for seconds and sneaking a few extra bites when putting the leftovers away. Plus there’s spinach in it, so it’s got to be healthy right? OK, maybe not. But turning one of my favorite appetizers into a meal this good is a win in my book. It’s also pretty easy to put together. Lots of stirring, and adding the ingredients in steps, but not at all difficult. From start to finish (including all the chopping) I think it took me just over 30 minutes.