30 Minute AMAZING Lemon Pepper Chicken Noodle Soup

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In early November, Greg and I  arrived in sunny Southern California for a week of much longed-for and needed vacation.  I took no time in shimmying into my bathing suit (and immediately donning a cover-up), loading my tote bag with “beach reads” and a pair of sunglasses.  I snapped a picture of the glistening pool, palm trees, blue sky and mountains in the distance, then posted it to Facebook extolling the joys of time away!  Savored every moment of  sunshine that first day of vacation, went back to the condo enjoyed a relaxing evening  and fell asleep.

The next morning I woke to find that my skin was hot, my body aching, my throat swollen, my head felt about twice its normal size,  and my ears seemed stuffed with cotton.  Greg too had caught the bug, but he had taken the flu shot earlier in the month, so his misery was limited in time and scope.  I did not get the shot, so my misery knew no bounds. There was no doubt about it:  I had the flu.  I don’t really remember much about the next next six days of “vacation” as I spent most of it sleeping or on drugs.

When I am sick, Greg does a fine job caring for me, truly he does.  That entire week he was the one who braved getting out and going to the store, ferrying in rations of cold medicine, cough drops and canned chicken soup.  But the truth is,  I wish I  could have a Well Me to take care of the Sick Me, because the Well Me makes a killer homemade chicken soup.

This one uses one of my favorite Trader Joe’s products: Lemon Pepper Pappardelle Pasta.   The lemon flavor is not overly strong and the texture of these noodles is perfect for chicken soup: firm but tender –a near-perfect pasta product!

The great thing about this homemade soup is that it only takes 30 minutes to make but tastes like you’ve toiled in the kitchen all day.  The special noodles take it to a “gourmet” level that you would be proud to serve to guests.

I believe this easy chicken soup will become your go-to recipe to serve on a chilly day, make for a sick family member or cheer up a friend with the flu.  (You might also consider tucking in a copy of We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook for your friend.  Nothing cures what ails you like homemade soup and laughter.)  It is also easy to “veganize” this dish, and I’ll list alternative ingredients in the recipe below.

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Fast & Easy Lemon-Pepper Pappardelle Chicken Soup

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Ingredients

2  T. olive oil (or oil and butter combo)

2 T. flour

4 cups of chicken or veggie broth

½ c. water

½ c. milk or almond milk

3 cloves garlic, grated or pressed

4 oz. Lemon Pepper Pappardelle Noodles, broken into 1 – 2 inch pieces (Trader Joe’s brand recommended/ 4 ozs is about ½ a package.  Unflavored Pappardelle or other wide noodle will also work if you prefer or cannot find pappardelle pasta at your grocery store.)

4 carrots, peeled and diced (the smaller the dice or slice, the faster they’ll cook)

3 large mushrooms, diced

2 cups of cooked chicken, pulled from a deli roasted chicken (I like to keep some of the pieces fairly large, some small. )

*VEGANS can substitute a can of big butter beans or your favorite vegan chicken substitute for the meat.  But add toward the end of cooking.

½ c. frozen corn

½ c. frozen peas

½ to 1 t. salt (you’ll have to taste test because some broths and chickens are saltier than others)

½ to 1 t. pepper (according to your taste)

½ to 1 t. your favorite dried herbs  ( I use a little Italian seasoning, a little basil)

Dash hot sauce to taste (like Tabasco)

Directions

In a big soup pot, heat the oil or oil/butter combination until it begins to bubble.  Add flour and whisk this roux until smooth and bubbly.  Very slowly, and while still whisking with one hand, add one cup of the chicken broth, stirring until smooth.  Add the rest of the broth, the water, the milk and garlic, then  continue to stir and let it come to a boil.

Add the broken pappardelle noodles and carrots and mushrooms. Simmer this until the veggies and noodles are almost tender.   Add chicken, corn, peas, seasonings and dash of hot sauce. Continue to simmer until noodles and veggies are tender  (but not mushy) and heated through.  Adjust seasonings to taste.

We usually serve steaming bowls of this hearty soup with hot buttered cornbread and fresh apple slices.

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From: http://www.laughcrycook.com

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Simple Lentil Soup

Simple Lentil Soup

Last week Jackson and I flew to Colorado to stay at my mom’s for a few days. It was one of the best visits we’ve had there. Jackson adores his Nonny and Poppy and he’s finally big enough to really play with his big cousin George, whom he thinks hung the moon. Jackson asks for George every day. Every single day. So we watch a lot of videos to hold him over between visits. And George is so good and patient with his little cousin.

The day we flew in, May 1, it snowed and snowed and snowed all day. Not your typical spring visit, but we made the best of it. It’s not every year you see snow in May.

Cousins George and Jackson, buddies for life.

Cousins George and Jackson, buddies for life.

No time like snow time to learn to ride a bike.

No time like snow time to learn to ride a bike.

This Texas boy has never seen this much snow. He loved it.

This Texas boy has never seen this much snow. He loved it.

The next day, we had pictures scheduled for the book. The sun came out, the snow mostly melted and we were able to get some great shots thanks to our fabulous photographer Molly McMillan. This one will be used for the back cover.

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Because one of us is usually behind the camera, I don’t have many pictures of me and my mom. These pictures are one of the many blessings that have come from doing this blog and book together.

After the photo shoot, we were pretty wiped out…and hungry! We both declared we were retiring from our one-day modeling career. Way too much work and not enough food!

With my sister-in-law Julie heading back to the house with the boys and Greg (mom’s husband) on his way home, we quickly transitioned from top models to cooks in the kitchen. Mom was going to run to the grocery store to get fixins for Messy Greek Sandwiches and Reubens and I’d get started on some kind of soup to go along. I rummaged through her pantry and held up a bag of lentils, “How about lentil soup?” “Perfect! I’ve had those lentils for months and wasn’t sure what to do with them,” she admitted. “Oh it’s so easy,” I told her. “It takes no time to get started and will be finished simmering by the time you’re back from the store.”  Mom headed to the grocery store and I got started chopping onions and carrots. By the time Julie walked in with Jackson and George, I had the soup covered and simmering, happy to step out of my author/foodie hat and into mommy and auntie role again.

Mom came home from the store and said the house smelled just like her Nonny’s, my great grandmother’s, kitchen. I didn’t know her well, but I’ve heard story after story of her in the kitchen. She was quite the cook. One of my favorite pictures of her is one of her standing in her old 1950s kitchen with a yellow apron tied around her neck. Something about recreating the comforting tastes and smells from her kitchen makes me feel connected to her. I can imagine her cooking up a simple soup like this to feed her nine children on their very tight budget.

What foods and smells bring back childhood memories for you?

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Simple Lentil Soup

Makes 3.5 quarts

1/2 cup onion (~1 small or 1/4 big onion), diced
4 carrots, diced
2 celery sticks, diced
Olive oil (enough to coat pan)
1 lb lentils, sorted for rocks and rinsed
8 cups veggie broth (2 quarts)
1 32 oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes
2 teaspoons steak seasoning
Salt to taste (may not need if broth has salt)

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In a large pot, sauté onions, carrots, and celery in olive oil (or 1/2 cup of broth for a no fat version) with a pinch of salt until softened. Add lentils and tomatoes and broth. Cover and bring to boil. Uncover and lower to a simmer. Cover and simmer on med low for 20-30 min until lentils are cooked through. Season with steak seasoning and salt if needed.

I served this with crackers, roasted brussel sprouts, and smoky garlicky collard greens. It was husband and toddler approved.

Notes: I’ve found the type of pan and burner I use causes cook times to vary a lot. My heavy duty pans cook much quicker on my flat top stove than my old cheapies that don’t have that nice heavy flat bottoms…so cooking times may vary. It took closer to 45 minutes to cook on my mom’s gas stove top, but I think I may have left the pot uncovered there. If your pots tend to heat up slowly, give yourself some extra time.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Simple Lentil Soups
The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-YF


Solitude, Self-Care & Tortellini Soup (Welcome Author & Guest Blogger Lucille Zimmerman)

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(Becky) I’m thrilled to share our blog today with new author, compassionate therapist, and dear friend, Lucille Zimmerman. We’re celebrating the fresh release of her new book on self-care for women titled Renewed: Finding Your Inner Happy in an Overwhelmed World.

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I was thrilled to endorse it and wrote: “This is a book that I want to give to every woman I know. It contains wisdom I wish I had at twenty, and reminders I still need at mid-life, to regularly refill my own well. Lucille shows that in order to have something to give to those we love, we have to replenish our physical, spiritual and emotional energy. With wonderful personal stories and a therapist’s keen insight, Renewed, is a like a cup of cold water to women who are parched for permission to take care of themselves.”

Seriously, you gotta get this book.  Even better, pamper yourself futher and  read it while you sip her comforting recipe for Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage.

Below are some personal words, a short excerpt on self-care and Lucille’s soup recipe. One of the reasons she loves it is because it allows her to chop veggies, a calming and centering activity for her. Enjoy!

Guest Blogger Lucille Zimmerman, Author of Renewed

Guest Blogger Lucille Zimmerman, Author of Renewed

(Lucille)

I’ve noticed I’m the most stressed when I can’t focus on one thing. Right now I’m trying to finish up the grades on the counseling course I taught, I have a series of blog posts that need written, a daughter who is planning a wedding but is prohibited from driving until medical tests prove she’s not having seizures, and I’m launching my first book. Needless to say, the multitasking is causing me stress. I am in need of solitude.

Here is a little excerpt from my book, Renewed, on the topic of solitude:
 

So what do people gain from spending time in solitude? One researcher said the mere presence of other people obliges us to coordinate our actions. Right now I am alone. Snow is falling silently outside and the only sound I hear comes from water trickling in my office fountain. Right now I can do whatever I want. I can slurp my split pea soup while taking intermittent bites of a chocolate bar. I can sit on my chair with one leg tucked under in unladylike fashion. I can take a break to let the dog out, and I can sing badly while doing all of the above. I’m still wearing my workout clothes from yoga, my bangs are hanging in my face, and I don’t have on a stitch of makeup. These little freedoms are not to be underestimated.

Humans may be social beings, but solitude has been shown to have great societal value. It is like the rests in a line of music, giving information, nuance, and structure to the melody. Without it, our lives are a cacophony, a never-ending noise that wears us down. Solitude is essential for our spiritual experience – it is where we hear the still, small voice. Jesus was our model, showing us how to balance being with people and being alone. ‘Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed’ (Mark 1:35), and ‘Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed’ (Luke 5:16). In these verses we see Jesus becoming known as a great healer and teacher, but he still took time to rest and pray.

So in spite of my to-do list, I put everything aside and took a walk in the sunshine. Then I made a tortellini soup. If anything brings my calm and focus back its sunshine, exercise, solitude and chopping fresh, colorful and fragrant vegetables. 

(Excerpted & Adapted from Renewed, by Lucille Zimmerman, Abingdon Press. Lucille’s info and blog is at http://www.lucillezimmerman.com)

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Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage: shared by Lucille Zimmerman


1 lb sweet Italian or turkey sausage
1 cup onion
2 garlic cloves, diced
5 cups beef broth
1 cup water
2 cans diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup carrots, thinly sliced
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
½ T. basil leaves
½ t. dried thyme
1 (8 oz) cup tomato sauce
1 ½ cups zucchini, sliced
1 (8 ox) fresh tortellini pasta
3 T. fresh parsley (use less if dried)
Parmesan cheese

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In a 5-quart Dutch oven, brown sausage. Remove sausage and drain, reserving 1 T of drippings. Sauté onion and garlic in drippings. Stir in beef broth, water, tomatoes, carrots, celery, basil, oregano, thyme, tomato sauce, and sausage. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered 30 minutes. Stir in zucchini and parsley. Simmer 30 minus. Add tortellini last 10 mins. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

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Laugh, Cry, Cook Thanksgiving Round-Up (Lots of Vegan & Gluten-Free Options Everyone will Love)

The other day while I was, ahem, procrastinating on doing some actual writing, I decided to organize my Pinterest boards. Obviously, that is a priority two weeks shy of a deadline. And while I was at it, I made a Vegan Thanksgiving Pinterest Board with all the recipes I have made or posted that would make lovely vegan dishes at Thanksgiving. Most are mine, some are moms, and a few are from some of my other favorite blogs.

I thought, in the midst of the final edits and recipe testing for the book and what not, instead of creating something new for my post this week, I’d round up some of our favorite recipes from this blog for Thanksgiving. Most are either vegan or can be easily made vegan with a few modifications, some are gluten-free, and a few are neither.

As a vegan myself and friend to many people with dairy, gluten, and even poultry allergies, I hope this list will give others with different eating habits some ideas for Thanksgiving dinner. I also hope it will be helpful to those who are cooking for people like me this Thanksgiving. Serving one or two special dishes for the “weird” eaters in your life is a way to show how much you love and care for them and to let them know you honor and respect their food choices. Believe me, it means more than you can know to arrive at someone’s home and realize they thought of you while planning their menu. It means they think you matter and want you to feel included at the family table. One yummy dish can say all that.

Jared, Jackson, and I will be heading to Colorado to spend Thanksgiving with Mom and Greg and to celebrate turning in our book. Whoohoo! It’s always a fun time when we get together. We laugh. If we’re lucky, we might even laugh until we cry. And of course, we cook!

Enjoy this Thanksgiving Roundup!

Oh, and I’ve updated our recipe page too, if you want to browse all of our recipes for your own holiday inspired pinterest board. 😉

ENTREES

Topless Veggie Pot Pie

Topless Veggie Potpie
You might want to make up another name for your grandmother 🙂

**Vegan

Rustic Iron Skillet Pot Pie

Rustic Iron Skillet Pot Pie
Would be great with shredded Turkey or Chicken, crumbled tempeh, or Chik’n Strips.

**Vegan variations listed in recipe

Fresh Corn & Roasted Poblano Soup

Fresh Corn & Roasted Poblano Chowder
If you are looking for something a little less traditional, this is one of our favorite fall dishes. It would make a delicious alternative for vegan or vegetarian guests. Adding a little Field Roast Applewood Sausage makes this a filling entree.

**vegan, gluten-free (optional vegan sausage contains gluten)

Roasted Cabbage, Sausage & Honey Balsamic Glaze

Roasted Cabbage & Sausage with Honey Balsamic Glaze
I love my mom’s anecdote with this recipe. It will probably still be fitting for some of our family tables following this intense election. “Every good hostess knows that the best way to break up an awkward family debate is to divert attention by cooking something that smells amazing, and looks so delicious that all conversation stops, as wordless lip-licking and tummy-rubbing take over.  This is one of those simple, delicious, comforting meals that could possibly bring about World Peace.  At least at your dining table.”

**Vegan variation listed in recipe, gluten-free (vegan variation contains gluten)

Spicy Hominy, Kale and Butter Bean Bowl

Spicy Hominy, Kale, & Butterbean Bowl

Another one of our fall favorites. I make variations of this at least every few weeks in the cooler months. It is filling and nutritious and has lots of bright pretty colors. Sometimes I add diced butternut squash for even more fall flavor. It simmers in one pan in less than 30 minutes and can easily be re-heated, so it makes a great alternate meal for vegans at the table without taking up much extra time or kitchen space.

*vegan, gluten-free

APPETIZERS AND SNACKS

Let kids decorate their own Gobble-Gobble Turkey Toasts

Gobble-Gobble Turkey Toasts with Pumpkin Butter

Hold your little ones over until dinner and entertain them at the same time by letting them decorate their own Gobble-Gobble Turkey Toasts with Pumpkin Butter and a variety of toppings like chocolate chips, shredded coconut, walnuts, and dried cranberries. This is a fun way for vegans to incorporate turkeys into their child’s Thanksgiving experience.

**vegetarian, vegan-friendly, gluten-free friendly with gf bread

Warm Stuffed Dates

Warm Stuffed Dates: Two Minutes, Two Ingredients

These appetizers or snacks are so quick and easy, any one of your kitchen helpers could make them. They are melt-in-your mouth delicious when warm, but still great when they cool to room temperature, making them easy to make ahead and just leave out for the grazers. They also provide quick energy for a busy cook.

**Vegan, gluten-free

Carrot Cake Chutney

“Carrot Cake” Chutney (Topping for Cream Cheese & Crackers)
This stuff is amazing on crackers, but also a fun carrot cake “mix-in” for yogurt or ice cream. An easy and unique treat to serve at your next party or bring to a hostess.

**vegetarian, gluten-free, (chutney is vegan and you can easily sub vegan cream cheese)

Pumpkin Spice Dip for Apples (with Extra Toppings for “Double Dipping”)

Pumpkin Pie Dip with “Autumn Leaf” Apples

This recipe is creamy and tastes exactly like pumpkin pie, but uses real food, and most of it is good for you! The fun thing about this recipe is that you get to “double-dip” your apple slices: once in the pumpkin pie fluff and again in any topping of your choice. A friend of mine has a daughter who can’t have dairy and she told me she’s almost embarrassed to admit how many times they’ve made this recipe. In her words, they “can’t get enough!”

**vegan, gluten-free

SIDE DISHES

Baked Macaroni & Cashew Cheese

Baked Macaroni and Cashew Cheese

Non-vegans love this dish too and are always shocked when they find out there is no cream or cheese. Compared to real mac & cheese, this is more like a creamy pasta casserole. With the addition of some chickpeas, I often serve it as an entree.

**vegan, gluten-free w/ gf pasta

Pecan Mushroom Stuffed Zucchini

Pecan Mushroom Stuffed Zucchini

We probably need to retake these pics. It looks much prettier than the picture shows and it tastes amazing. My mom made this for me and I made her promise me she didn’t sneak meat in it. The walnuts really transform into a meaty texture. We both love this dish.

**vegetarian, vegan variation listed

Roasted Red Pepper Quinoa

Roasted Red Pepper Quinoa

This is my go-to quinoa recipe. It’s so easy and with a rice maker, it basically cooks itself while you get the rest of dinner made.

**vegan, gluten-free

Roasted Vegetables with Roasted Garlic

Balsamic Roasted Garlic Vegetables

Balsamic Roasted Veggies

Roasted veggies are delicious on any occasion and even the pickiest veggie eaters often find they like vegetables that have gotten crisp and sweet in the oven.

**vegan, gluten-free

Orange Glazed Carrots

Orange Glazed Carrots

Sweet, buttery orange glazed carrots are the perfect compliment to any Thanksgiving dinner.

**Vegan with sub of Earth Balance, gluten-free

Sweet n’ Sour Green Bean with Bacon

Sweet n’ Sour Green Beans and Bacon

A nice alternative to the traditional Green Bean Casserole at Thanksgiving.

**Vegan variation listed in recipe

SALADS

Creamy Vegan Fruit Salad Dressing

Fruit Salad with Creamy Dressing

Perhaps the best fruit salad dressing we’ve ever tasted. This easy delicious two ingredient recipe will be your new favorite topping for everyday and holiday fruit salads. We promise you we’re not exaggerating.

**vegan, gluten-free

Cranberry Orange Kale Salad

Cranberry Orange Kale Salad

This sweet orange marmalade dressing goes perfectly with massaged kale greens, dried cranberries, and slivered almonds. Kale is a great green for serving at dinner parties or holidays because it holds up well in dressing. In fact, you can dress this the day before and it will only taste better the next day. Just pull it out of the fridge, and sprinkle with toppings.

**vegan, gluten-free

Fruit & Almond Kale Salad with Clementine-Maple Dressing

Fruit & Almond Kale Salad with Clementine Maple Dressing

Another yummy  kale salad option. This one is packed with lots of nuts and seeds, making it a nice filling salad for those who may skip out on the turkey or for your health conscious dinner guests.

*vegan, gluten-free if you sub tamari for the soy sauce

DESSERTS

Luscious Pumpkin Mousse Pie

Luscious Pumpkin Mousse Pie

Coconut has become a best friend in the Laugh, Cry, Cook kitchens. Even though my mom eats dairy, she too is hooked on the wonders of the cold cream from a full-fat coconut milk. Whip it into a whipped cream topping, use it for a yummy pumpkin pie dip (see the snacks and apps), and even make this Luscious Pumpkin Mousse Pie with it. Don’t even bother telling the guests it’s vegan…they will NEVER know. We think it may be the best pumpkin pie either of us have ever had.

**vegan

Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Bread Cobbler

Pumpkin Spice Butternut Squash Cobbler

A grown-up autumn twist on an old easy summer favorite that called for a can of peaches and a yellow cake mix. This version uses butternut squash and pumpkin spice bread mix instead.

**vegan

Healthy Apple Crisp

Healthy Skillet Apple Crisp

Buttery, not-too-sweet, crunchy and rustic. It has no refined sugars, but is made with natural coconut sugar and tad of pure maple syrup. The topping has no flour: it is all oats and nuts and seeds, giving it a fabulous crunchy texture. It is loaded with fiber and protein, a comforting autumn dessert, and healthy enough to serve the next day for fruit-nut breakfast oatmeal – re-heated and served with a little milk, cream or almond milk.

**vegan, gluten-free w/ gf oats

Warm Chocolate Coconut Almond Cake

Chocolate Coconut Almond Cake

A vegan version of a German Chocolate Cake that my mom keeps bragging about.  Mom, can I make this my official request for this to be served at our Thanksgiving? Thank you! 🙂

**Vegan

Honorable Mention Desserts:

We have so many yummy desserts, but this post is getting super long, so I’ve just linked to a few more worth checking out.

Refreshing Mandarin Orange and Pineapple Cake (vegan friendly)

No Bake Apricot Bars (vegan, gluten-free)

Blueberry Oat Nut Bars (vegan and gluten-free friendly — see Rachel’s variation in the comment section)

Coconut Covered Cherries (vegan, gluten-free)

Powerhouse Chocolate Pudding Pie (vegan, gluten-free option)

Pumpkin Cookie Butter Cookies (vegan)

Superfood Hemp Chocolate Treats (vegan w/ vegan chocolate)

BREAKFASTS

Yes, breakfast is still the most important meal of the day…even on Thanksgiving. No one wants the cook to pass out from low blood sugar levels in the middle of prepping dinner.

Kinda’ Healthy Vegan Apple Fritters

Kinda’ Healthy Vegan Apple Fritters (vegan)

Sweet Pecan Pie Breakfast Oatmeal (vegan, gluten-free friendly)

Quick Buttery Coffee Cake

Healthy Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal (vegan, gluten-free friendly)

Some hints for cooking for vegans

Some of your favorite dishes can be easily modified for a vegan guest if you just know a few tricks.

Eggs: 1 T. of flax meal mixed with 3 T. of warm water will gel up in a few minutes and can be used as an egg substitute in most baked goods. 1/2 a banana also usually works in sweet breads or muffins.

Butter: Earth Balance is a delicious vegan butter substitute. In fact, if you already use margarine, you’ll hardly notice a difference int the taste. It is readily available at Whole Foods and Krogers here. My small town Wal-Mart even started carrying it.

Milk: Unsweetened almond milk is my favorite substitute for most of my cooking. It has a very mild taste so it doesn’t overpower a dish. Soy milk seems to have the best results for baking cakes and cupcakes though I usually use almond milk anyway because it’s what I have on hand.

Buttermilk: Add 1 T. of vinegar or lemon juice to 1 c. soy milk (soy does work best for this trick) and let sit for about 10 minutes. (FYI, this trick happens to work with cow’s milk too, if you don’t have buttermilk on hand and aren’t dairy-free.)

Meat: Don’t assume that the vegans in your life will be thrilled with a fake chicken breast as their main entree. Some will, but many of us, especially the ones who technically try to follow a plant-based diet, don’t actually eat many of those processed fake products. I have found a few that I like: Field Roast Applewood Sausages are my favorite meat substitute. They are GMO and soy-free and taste delicious. I’ve used the Chick’n Strips a few times too and those are pretty good on a pizza or something. Whole Foods has a Chick’n Salad in their deli that is quite good. I like cooking with tofu, but it’s taken me some time to learn how to make it taste good. Really, you don’t need fake meat or even soy to have a filling meal. Lentils, split-peas, chickpeas, and beans are all healthy filling options and can easily replace the meat in a lot of recipes.

Cheese: Vegan cheese substitutes are getting better and better all the time. Daiya is the most common shredded cheese substitute. It’s pretty good. We like it on our pizza. Though I don’t think it will fool anyone into thinking it’s real cheese. There are also cream cheese and sour cream substitutes that are pretty good, especially if used in a recipe or dip. I have a recipe on the blog for Nacho Cheese using cashews and sunflower seeds. The cashew cheese for the macaroni (above) could be used for any other casserole type dish as well. Their are also lots of recipes online for different cheeses, like ricotta cheese or parmesan. One of our readers even left a tip that you can make your own sour cream and cream cheese. If you can think it, some food blogger has probably blogged it. 🙂

I hope you find this helpful as you prepare a Thanksgiving meal that includes all the different palates in your family at one table. May the food join your family together in love and respect for one another. May we all honor each other and our differences on this day of gratitude and thanks. 


“Healing” Panang Curry 2 Ways — Traditional and Soup

Panang Curry Soup

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Traditional Panang Curry with Shrimp

(Becky, the Mama.)

A sure-fire way to humble yourself is to announce: “I never (fill-in-the-blank)” publically.  (Or worse, “My child will never…..”)   And so when I declared, on Facebook that I almost never get sick, I should have known I was in for it.

For some unknown reason, for nearly a week, day after day, I  forgot to take my daily regime of immune-boosting supplements (fish oil, odorless garlic, probiotics, super green food powder) and woke up one morning feeling as though I was swallowing razor blades.

I went on the attack with liberal doses of all my regular supplements above  plus a couple of more exotic-sounding ones: olive leaf extract and astragalus.  By mid-afternoon my throat had calmed considerably and by nightfall it did not hurt at all.  (I did, however, get the standard stuffy head, runny nose bit – though, thankfully, without fever and it seems to be running its course fairly quickly.)

My husband was also out of town, so I had no choice but to practice good self-care and nourish my body as best I could, all by my lonesome.

In addition to honey-sweetened white tea (more nutrition-packed than green tea) laced with fresh grated ginger, and sips of Feel Good Blueberry Smoothie, I made two pots of healing soup.

First, I made a classic home-style chicken soup, a super quick and easy recipe I’ll share in coming weeks.  The other, is my new favorite “healing soup” – a Thai Panang Curry soup, rich with cancer-fighting and immune boosting antioxidants from the ginger and spices, cruciferous veggies, shitake mushrooms (which contain a compound called lentinan, shown to strengthen the immune system’s ability to fight infection and disease) and vitamin & mineral rich kale. Coconut milk, too, has healing properties.  It  contains lauric acid, antimicrobial lipids and capric acid, which have antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties.

Afriend introduced me to my first good Thai Panang curry , when she bought us both take-out containers of it during a working writer’s lunch.  It was love at first bite.  It hit all the strong flavor notes I crave: spice from the curry and ginger, slightly sweet and creamy from the coconut milk, a touch of tang from fresh lime, and salty-savory-earthy from the mushrooms, veggies and broth.

It sounds so exotic, but I do not make complicated recipes, especially when I’m fighting a cold, so trust me – this is quick and easy. Feel free to substitute any veggies you have on hand, or enjoy, in this basic recipe.   I’ve included instructions for both tradition curry with rice and also the soup, in the recipe below.

 

Panang Curry with Shrimp

Panang Curry with Shrimp

“Healing” Panang Curry Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 can coconut milk (I prefer whole fat as it makes a creamier soup).

1 ½ cups veggie broth (or chicken broth)  — use 3/4 c  if you prefer to make the thicker curry version

½ small jar Thai red curry (about 3 T – less if you prefer less spice) (This jar of curry is found in Asian section of most groceries now and is small, about the size of a baby food jar.)

1 t. fresh grated ginger (pinch of dried ginger if you don’t have fresh)

1 t. brown sugar

Soy sauce or sea salt  to taste

1 c. rainbow slaw (or broccoli slaw)

1 large clove garlic

1 T. olive or coconut oil

1 T. butter

2/3 c. sliced mushrooms (I used shitake)

1 c. loosely packed, torn kale

1 fresh chopped tomato

2 sliced green onions

Slice of lime

Cilantro (sprig or chopped) and/or basil for garnish

Protein of your choice:  grilled diced tofu, diced or shredded chicken; or cooked shrimp, 1/2  to 1 cup depending on preference.  I use a small amount of chicken in the soup — as I  like the veggies taking center stage in this soup.  You could also sprinkle in toasted peanuts for added protein.  For the curry and rice version I prefer shrimp, about 5 medium shrimp per person.)

Instructions:

Saute garlic with mushrooms, slaw and kale in oil and butter in a deep large skillet until just tender. Dump all the ingredients except the last three (green onions, lime, cilantro or fresh basil ) into a large skillet and simmer until veggies are tender but not mushy. Add chopped fresh tomato last, and stir to heat through.  Ladle veggies and broth into each bowl, then garnish with a sprig of cilantro or basil (or chop it up and sprinkle), some green onions, and a slice of lime to squeeze over and stir in right before eating.

Variation:  To make a more traditional curry instead of soup, use half the broth and put a scoop of jasmine rice in the middle of the bowl before garnishes.  Sauteed shrimp is beautiful, artfully arranged around the rice and on top of the curry.  You can use any veggies you like in place of slaw, mushrooms or kale.  Add slices of cooked sweet potato and pineapple for a creamy pineapple curry.  To add heat, use a few drop of siracha sauce or thai chili paste.

Panang Curry Soup

 

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This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: “healing” Panang Curry Soup
The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-Kz
© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved


Creamy Mushroom Soup and Topless Veggie Pot Pie (Two for One Recipe)

Three ingredients make the base for two comforting dishes.

(Rachel, the daughter)

Today was a gorgeous day, a two park kind of day.

Jackson and I started our morning with a walk to the little park in our neighborhood. He was happily throwing wood chips onto the slide when a man jogged past us. Jackson immediately took off, climbed out of the wood chip-filled playground pit and chased after the man, hollering “Da Da, Da Da.”

To my child’s credit, the man was bald like his daddy. He is close to the same age and height as his daddy with a similar build. The man was wearing nothing but a pair of royal blue athletic shorts almost identical to his daddy’s coaching shorts. In fact, the only tiny difference I could see between the jogger and his daddy was that the jogger’s bald head and broad shoulders were as black as a cup of coffee and his daddy is as white as a splash of cream.

I quickly grabbed Jackson and distracted him pointing to a fountain in the pond nearby. Thankfully, I don’t think the guy heard him. That could have been an awkward conversation. Um sorry, he thinks your his dad. Well, I mean, you look kind of like his dad. Not really. You’re bald and wear blue shorts that’s kind of it. Well, uh, have a nice run. I’ll see you at the paternity results hearing. Haha. Just kidding. <<Insert me laughing overly loud at my own bad joke.>>

We headed home for lunch and nap time, then met a friend at our city park. After a busted lip (Jackson’s) on the playground equipment, we meandered over to the volleyball pit, or in a 1-year old’s world, the biggest sandbox ever. Within minutes, Jackson dropped to his knees, held his hands up to the sky, then dropped them to the ground in an “I’m not worthy” bow. With his mouth wide-open, he took a big bite of sand, sat back up on his knees and smiled. Whoa-oa-oa-oa!! Excellent! Party Time! (Are Wayne’s World references out of style yet?)

Yes, today was a two park kind of day, a soak in the sun and giggle at my crazy kid kind of day. This weekend we had our first rainy cold front, though. It was a cuddle up and eat a bowl of warm soup kind of weekend. On Saturday, I sauteed up a whole bulb of garlic and a pound of mushrooms for a big batch of creamy potato soup. And on Sunday, I combined two of the coziest most comforting recipes, pot pie and shepherds pie, and made a topless veggie pot pie using the potato soup as the filling.

These two healthy recipes will warm you up without sacrificing your figure for those glorious two park days that pop up in between Texas cold fronts.

Creamy Garlic, Potato, and Mushroom Soup

Creamy Mushroom Soup

Ingredients

2 T. olive oil
6 c. sliced mushrooms
1 head of garlic (10-12 cloves), cloves peeled and gently smashed
8 small red potatoes, quartered
2 c. almond milk
2 c. mushroom or veggie broth or leftover potato water
s&p to taste

Directions

In a large pot, cover potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Boil until potatoes are fork tender.

Heat olive oil on medium heat in a skillet, add mushrooms and stir occasionally until they soft and browned. Add garlic and a pinch of salt, saute until garlic is translucent. (Hint: Smash unpeeled garlic with the side of a wide chef’s knife to quickly pop off the peel and smash the clove simultaneously.)

Add garlic after mushrooms are browned and soft.

In a food processor, blend mushrooms and garlic (minus a few for garnish if desired), add potatoes and 1 cup of liquid. Blend again. Add remaining liquid. Season with salt and pepper to taste (it may take up to a few teaspoons.) Blend until smooth. If needed, warm up on medium low in the pot the potatoes were cooking in.

Be sure to reserve 1 1/2 – 3 cups of soup for a pie or two!

Perfect for a rainy day

Topless Veggie Pot Pie

(using leftover Creamy Mushroom Soup)

3-4 servings (if you’re like me, you’ll wish you made two pies, so I suggest doubling the recipe)

Ingredients

1 9″ pie crust (I used Wholly Wholesome’s Organic Spelt Pie Crust which is vegan)
1 small onion
2 c. frozen mixed veggies (I used an organic corn, green bean, peas, and carrots blend)
1 1/2 c. creamy mushroom soup (see recipe above)
1/4 t. freshly grated nutmeg
Salt & pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil on  medium to medium high heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt, saute until soft. Add vegetables and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute five more minutes. Pour in mushroom soup and season with nutmeg. Cook for 5-10 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Pour mixture into pie filling. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove and cover pie crust edges with foil.

Cover the edges half way through cooking to prevent the crust from burning.

Cook for another 20 minutes. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: PCreamy Mushroom Soup and Topless Veggie Pot Pie (Two for One Recipe)
The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-IT
© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved


Creamy Tomato Basil Soup (Vegan & Regular Version)

(Becky, the Mama.)

About a year and a half ago my daughter Rachel was in town, pregnant, and craving Tomato Basil Soup. The trick was to find a place that served a vegan version so she could indulge but still avoid dairy or meat-based broth.  I think we drove to three restaurants before we finally found the place that served the soup she had in mind.  And yes, she and her unborn child were absolutely worth it. But I determined that day to come up with a creamy vegan version of Tomato Basil Soup that we could make at home.

I, too, adore Tomato Basil Soup, especially the thick creamy version served at La Madeleine’s, a favorite French chain restaurant in the Dallas area.  Alas, it is loaded with cream and butter and thus, with calories.  The problem with trying to  make any tomato-based soup with  milk instead of cream (to cut calories), is that  the acid in the tomatoes curdles the milk yielding a yucky mess you’ll  have to sigh heavily about, just before you put it down the disposal. (Ask me how I know this.)

So I experimented with a can of coconut milk in place of cream and butter.  Perfection.  You really can’t taste the coconut flavor at all; it fades to neutral when paired with the strong tastes of the ingredients in the rest of the recipe. Even if you use the full fat can of coconut milk, this soup only about a 100 calories a cup. But you will not believe it when you taste it!  On top of being delicious and easy, it is also vegan-friendly and nutritious.  Pretty much the Perfect Recipe to keep in your Go-To Classic Recipes  file.

I threw this soup together for a friend who dropped by unexpectedly for lunch one day, and she swore it was the best soup she’d ever tasted. Could not believe I whipped it up in just a few minutes.  Plus it was ready to serve by the time our grilled cheese sandwiches came off the stovetop.

P.S.  I hurriedly planted basil in a big pot on the porch this summer and it is still yielding oodles of leaves, which I used in this recipe.   Greg spent a full day, in June, putting together three Topsy Turvy upside down tomato plants (as “Seen on TV”),  put them on a fancy planter, then hooked them up to a complicated irrigation system.  God bless him, the tomato you see in this picture is the one and ONLY tomato we’ve harvested, picked yesterday. But it sure was a pretty one.

Easy, Creamy Tomato Basil Soup (Vegan)

Yields about 10 cups of soup

Ingredients:

1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (with basil, if you can find it)

1 c. very lightly packed fresh basil leaves (or a good generous hand full) — I sometimes use 2 T. of  jarred pesto instead of fresh basil if that is all I have on hand

¼ c. onion

2 garlic cloves

3 c. veggie broth (or chicken broth if you aren’t vegetarian and prefer this)

1 can coconut milk (Full fat version makes a creamier soup, but lite will also work. If desired, reserve a little for garnishing soup once it is in a bowl. You’ll find cans of coconut milk in the Asian section of almost all grocery stores now.)  Note: You can also make a the more traditional  soup by omitting coconut milk and add 1/2 cup of regular cream, at the very end of cooking the soup

1 ½  t. salt

1 T. sugar (or brown sugar or coconut sugar)

1 t. pepper

Directions:

Put ½ the can of crushed tomatoes into a blender or food processor. Add basil leaves, onion and garlic.  Blend until basil leaves are still individual but tiny specks of green.

Pour this mixture into a soup pot.  Add the rest of the can of tomatoes, veggie broth, coconut milk, salt, pepper and sugar.  Stir and simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes.  Check to see if it needs more salt. Serve in bowls, and garnish if desired with a “squiggle” of reserved coconut cream.