Monday, October 17, 2011

Hearty Autumn Soup

This is one stick-to-the-ribs hearty soup for a chilly fall day. Earthy fresh taste and full of super nutrition to keep you feeling tip-top!

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup minced parsley
4 carrots, diced
2 small beets, diced
2 cups diced green cabbage
2 cups diced sweet potato
2 cups diced potato
1 cup diced tomato
1/2 cup converted rice
1-1/2 cups cooked white beans
2-3 teaspoons veggie broth powder
salt/pepper/spices to taste
4-6 cups water

Saute your onions and garlic until lightly carmelized. Add the rest of your veggies, rice and beans (if using canned I would suggest draining and rinsing before adding to the soup).  Start with 4 cups of water. Sprinkle in your veggie broth and spices. Bring soup to a boil, turn down heat and simmer until done. Add water as required.  I did a couple of turns through the soup with my stick blender - leaving it pretty well half pureed and half chunky.  I let it simmer like that for another 1/2 hour - stir once in a while as the rice gets a little starchy and can start sticking a bit. The crackers featured beside my soup are Mary's organic gluten free crackers.  My husband went shopping to Costco on Saturday and after sampling it he decided to buy a family size pack for all of us to try.  A crispy cracker full of sesame seeds which helps to give it lots of flavor.

I purchased the white beans for this soup at the Dutch Delish store here in Edmonton.  I love the size and I love the fact that they are packed in glass jars.  A very nice clean taste.  I got a kick out of their motto - "Vers van het land " which translated literally means "fresh from the land"!  The little blue/white label states that it has "minder zout en pure smaak"  which means "less salt and pure taste".  I'd have to agree - with all their claims - they are indeed a soft skinned, delicate and fresh tasting white bean. Dutch Delish has a large variety of vegetables, beans and sauces packed in glass jars. The Hak brand minced spinach is amazing too and if you can believe it only has two ingredients: spinach and nutmeg - no crazy additives or color -- just fresh from the garden taste goodness!  Don't forget to pick up a box of speculaas cookies while you're there -- they're a dutch staple and they are a wonderful light cinnamon-gingery cookie. When we were young my mother used to make us speculaas sandwiches for a treat -- don't knock it till you've tried it. We loved them!

Blueberry Oatbran Muffins GF

These are my favorite gluten free muffin to date. I love the lucious filling of blueberries and the sprinkle and sparkle of coarse sugar on top (1/2 teaspoon is all it takes to add a sweet crunchy coating).  This recipe is nearly identical to my original recipe that I created for the gluten free Banana Oatbran-Pecan muffins with a few changes to better suit the moister content of blueberry filling.

1 cup oat bran
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup almond flour
2 tbsp. tapioca starch

2 tbsp. golden flaxseed
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

3/4 cup non-dairy milk
1/4 cup *apple* juice
2 tablespoons agave nectar
2 tablespoons olive oil

1 banana (frozen or fresh)
cut into little chunks

coarse sugar for topping
1/2 teaspoon per muffin

Mix together all the dry ingredients and sift - there will be oatbran leftover - just toss back into the dry and mix through.  I like to sift the dry ingredients as that ensures that the flaxseed, tapioca starch, salt and baking powder are evenly distributed throughout the main  flour mixture.

Mix the liquid ingredients into a 2 cup liquid measure cup - total liquids needs to equal 1-1/4 cup.  Add any of the liquid ingredients (I prefer to add extra apple juice) to ensure you get to that 1-1/4 cup. If you don't have apple juice use pineapple or orange or whatever else you might have on hand. 

Dice your banana (fresh or frozen) into little chunky size pieces (one slice cut into four is about right - you want them big enough so they don't disappear into the baked product as they are delicious when they stay tiny bite size pieces once baked). I always freeze my excess bananas just peeled whole and put into freezer containers. They're easy to slice and dice from frozen -- a little chilly on the hands but it works.

Pour in your liquid ingredients - mix together.  Fold in your diced banana pieces. Then using  a 2 tablespoon measure distribute about half of the batter evenly between the 9 muffin liners.  Now dip a  2 tablespoon measure into a bag of frozen blueberries (I rarely have fresh so that's what I use - I buy organic wild blueberries for my muffins) and put about that much on top of the batter in each muffin cup. Don't worry about defrosting the blueberries -- I always put them in totally frozen. Push down a little with the tip of your finger.  Divide the rest of the remaining batter evenly on top of blueberries.  Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of coarse sugar.

Bake for 18-20 minutes at 375.  Let cool in muffin pan for about 5-10 minutes.  Remove gently using a big spoon and place on a cooling rack for another 20 minutes or so.  I freeze whatever I don't eat the first day.  For best flavor defrost on counter and reheat on low in the toaster oven or microwave to give it that fresh baked taste.

October 26th. 2011: I just made another batch of these and I subbed the agave with 3 tablespoons of homemade organic brown sugar (1 teaspoon of molasses stirred into 1 cup of organic white sugar until it becomes soft brown sugar).  Gave them a slightly more cake-like texture and I decided to add a lemon glaze (I love lemon flavored anything) just to kick it up a notch and the result is seriously outstanding.

I opened up one of the muffins to show how many blueberries I fit into each one -- a full two tablespoons.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Take the Veggie Challenge - and win Prizes!

The Toronto Vegetarian Association sponsors a Veggie Challenge.  Daily e-mail recipes, support and prizes at the end of the challenge. Prize offers available almost anywhere in the world so sign up and start winning!!

Friday, October 7, 2011


Get your printable list of the top 10 food additives to avoid from
You can also watch the documentary "Food Matters" online for free tomorrow and Saturday.

James & Laurentine
Producer / Directors ‘Food Matters’
"We here at Food Matters are committed to helping you help yourself. We believe that your body is worthy of good care and that no one is more suitably qualified to care for it than yourself. Think of us as your nutritional consultants and know that we are here with you on your journey to a healthier life".