Bloody Mary Veggie Soup (Vegan)

Becky’s Bloody Mary Soup — Creamy, loaded with vegies and tastes AWESOME!

My husband had surgery on Thursday for a deviated septum and to keep him company while he rested in the living room, breathing like Darth Vader, I went on a nonstop experimental cooking spree.

I suddenly morphed into one of those chefs on America’s Test Kitchens, except that I cook without cleaning as I go, so it looked like unsupervised Kindergarteners were allowed to play with food on my counter tops.

I made this mess in less than 20 minutes. I do this sort of thing with amazing regularity.

At one point I was happily and furiously cooking when I lost my grip on a slippery lemon just before it became airborne and hit me in the head. My mother warned me about hot stoves, boiling water, and sharp knifes when explaining kitchen safety,  but nobody told me to beware of flying citrus.

I am most interested lately in cooking with foods that are known to help lower blood pressure.  My BP was up last week and all medications I’ve tried thus far make me feel like a sloth with a migraine. I’m determined to try to let “food be my medicine” as best I can, and see if I can wrestle those numbers down without pharmaceuticals.

So when Greg said he’d like some tomato soup,  I got inspired and created a super-healthy vegie-tomato soup, chocked full of foods known to  help lower blood pressure.  When I took a sip,  it was truly delicious. Something about it reminded me of Bloody Mary mix, so I added some typical Bloody Mary ingredients (Worcestershire, celery seed, lemon, hot sauce)  to jazz it up even more, then used chopped celery as a garnish and a celery stick as a “stirrer.”  Cute, eh?  And the taste?  Amazing!  It was so good that after Greg and I enjoyed hot soup for lunch,  I sipped a nutritious, warm mug full at mid-afternoon for a snack.  Today I enjoyed it cold, adding tiny diced cucumbers and a little parsley as a gazpacho-like treat.

The basic recipe can be played with dozens of ways, adding bits of veggies that are on hand in your crisper.  Hot or cold, I’m proud to share this soup that is as tasty as it is healthy.

Creamy Bloody Mary Soup

Becky’s Bloody Mary Veggie Soup

Serves 4-6 

Ingredients:

28 oz. can crushed tomatoes with basil

2 cloves garlic

½ red onion

1 red bell pepper

1 carrot, rough chopped

1 stalk celery, rough chopped

1 handful fresh spinach (about a cup, loosely packed) (You may also use fresh basil if you have it on hand, instead)

1 ½ c. veggie broth (or chicken broth)

1 ½ c. almond milk (don’t substitute dairy milk as it may curdle)

2 t. organic sugar (or brown sugar)

½ t. salt

1 t. pepper

1 t. Worcestershire sauce (Look for vegan Worcestershire sauce, if you are a vegan purest, as many contain anchovies,)

1 t. celery seed

Juice from ½ fresh lemon

Dash hot sauce (Tabasco or Buffalo Sauce)

2 stalks celery diced small, for garnish (about 1 T. in each bowl)

Celery stalks with leaves attached for garnish, one in each bowl

Directions:

In large blender or food processor put ½ the can tomatoes, garlic, onion, red bell pepper, carrot, celery and spinach and 1 c. veggie broth.  Blend on high until as creamy as you your machine will get it.

Pour mixture into large pan, add rest of can of tomatoes (the crushed tomatoes will add some texture to soup, but if you prefer it smooth, whirl in the blender as well)  and rest of veggie broth, almond milk, sugar, salt and pepper.  Bring to boil, stirring often.  Turn heat down to medium and simmer for five minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Worcestershire, celery seed, dash hot sauce and juice of ½ fresh lemon.  Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.   Garnish with a tablespoon of chopped celery and stick of leafy celery and serve.   Delicious with grilled cheese or grilled roasted veggie  sandwich.

Variations: Try other veggies in this basic recipe.  Add chopped cucumber,  chopped green onion and/or diced tomato and serve it cold, like a refreshing gazpacho.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook

The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com

The Title:  Bloody Mary Veggie Soup

The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-ic


Balsamic Roasted Garlic Veggies

“I don’t like asparagus. I don’t like broccoli. I don’t like onions. I don’t like garlic. I don’t like vegetables. Well, I do like corn … and potatoes. I like potatoes.”

This was my husband when we first got married.

I don’t remember cooking much in our first year of marriage. In fact, I have no idea what we ate. I hardly have a single memory in that tiny galley kitchen. Between Jared’s aversion to all things that made food delicious to me and the hideous marbled yellow laminate counter tops with cracks on the corners, I must have felt less than inspired.

When we moved to a new town house with a bright white kitchen near Galveston, I suddenly found myself looking for excuses to be in the kitchen. I started shopping at Farmer’s Markets and reading food blogs and became determined to get Jared to love veggies. Little by little, I found ways to prepare certain vegetables in a way he would eat them. He’ll eat onions if they are caramelized or chopped fine and sauteed in a dish. He’ll eat his peas in a split pea soup. And I can get him to eat almost anything wrapped in a tortilla and dipped in salsa. Thank goodness, because in a crazy turn of events, before we moved out of that town home a year later, we had become full on vegans.

The preparation that finally got Jared raving and begging for veggies was roasting them. If it’s coated with a little evoo and seasoning and crisped up to perfection (to him that includes a few burnt bits on the pan), he’s a happy husband and a happy veggie eater!

This method works wonderfully with asparagus, any root vegetables, broccoli and cauliflower, onions, even chickpeas. Try it with a vegetable you think you don’t like and see if it changes your thoughts on it.

Roasted Vegetables with Roasted Garlic

Roasted vegetables are easy enough to serve up on a weeknight and beautiful enough to serve to guests for a celebration dinner.

Rachel’s
Balsamic Roasted Garlic Veggies

Ingredients

(Note: The vegetable  list is just a guideline. Use whatever you have in your refrigerator or is on sale at the market. The seasoning ingredients listed are for about 4 cups of vegetables.)

Potatoes, chopped (small, soft-skinned work great, but Idaho & sweet potatoes are wonderful too)

Carrots, chopped

Onions, quartered (leave one end in tact so they don’t get burnt)

Peppers (bell peppers, sweet tri colored peppers, poblanos) (seeded & quartered)

Broccoli (cut into “trees”)

Cauliflower  (cut into “trees”)

Zucchini (chopped into large chunks or long ribbons)

Squash (chopped into large chunks or long ribbons)

2 T (maybe more) Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 T. Balsamic Vinegar

2 t. Salt

2 t. Pepper

1 T. Italian Seasoning Blend

A full head of garlic

Directions

Preheat oven to 400. Spray large cookie sheet with nonstick spray.

Put all the veggies except the garlic in a large mixing bowl, and drizzle 2 tbs of olive oil over the veggies. Toss until all of the veggies are lightly coated, adding more olive oil if needed. Don’t drench them or you’re veggies won’t get crisp. (The amount of olive oil varies because some veggies soak up more, like cauliflower, and others hardly absorb any, like peppers.)

Add balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning, and toss again. Pour veggies onto the cookie sheet and spread around. If they are piled on top of each other, use a second pan.

Take the garlic, remove the lose skin, and chop the top of the head off the garlic so the inside of each clove is exposed. Place the bulb on a piece of foil and drizzle the top of the bulb with olive oil. Wrap the foil around the clove. Add the foil wrapped garlic onto the pan of veggies (sitting upright). Check this tutorial out if you need a visual.

Bake the veggies and garlic for approximately 40 minutes. The potatoes and carrots take the longest to cook, so cook until they are soft in the middle and crispy on the outside.

Remove the garlic from the foil and allow to cool for a few minutes. Carefully either squeeze the garlic out (like toothpaste), or use a fork to remove each clove. Toss in with the roasted veggies. The garlic is delicious and really elevates roasted veggies! Your friends will most definitely track you down for the recipe. Trust me.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Balsamic Roasted Garlic Veggies
The URL: https://welaughwecrywecook.com/2012/04/24/balsamic-roasted-garlic-veggies


Creamy Artichoke Basil Sauce

Artichokes give this sauce its creamy factor without adding any fat.

Motherhood has changed me. We just spent an evening discussing life insurance and wills. I wake up before eight a.m. without an alarm. I no longer pee alone. I don’t shower until noon most days (if I shower at all). And I cook every meal while simultaneously pulling my child out of cabinets, trash cans, and the wash machine … or out from between my legs.

My mom snapped this picture of Jackson last time she was here. He pulls up on my pant legs right behind me and completely immobilizes me. I can’t turn around or squat down to get him or he’ll fall over. Cooking like this is challenging to say the least.

So I love a meal that is quick and easy, but tastes deliciously gourmet. This pasta sauce is exactly that. It takes about five minutes to make and if you pour it over hot pasta, you don’t even have to simmer it. As a bonus, Jackson likes it too, so I can give him little bites of my dinner without making a different meal for him. Mommy and baby approved!

Did I mention there is no cream in this creamy pasta? It’s almost guilt-free, minus the two tablespoons of olive oil. Another bonus for this post baby body!

Rachel’s
Creamy Artichoke Basil Sauce

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 garlic cloves, diced

2 T. olive oil

1 14 oz can of artichoke hearts, reserve liquid

1 1/2 roasted red bell peppers (jarred or make your own*)

A palm full of basil, roughly chopped

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1/4 t. salt

1/4 t. pepper

1/2 t. Italian seasoning

8 oz pasta (I used whole wheat spiral pasta, but any kind you like would be fine)

Directions

In a small skillet, heat garlic and olive oil until garlic is just starting to brown. In a blender or food processor, blend all the ingredients including the sauteed garlic and olive oil. Add reserved liquid** from the artichokes (I think I used about a half a cup) to thin out sauce to desired consistency. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.

Toss with pasta immediately out of the boiling water. Garnish with a little chopped basil if desired.

*Making your own roasted peppers is easy. Just placing them directly on on a gas burner flame rotating it a few times (like this) or on a pan under the broiler until charred. Then put it in a bowl tightly covered with plastic wrap for a about five minutes. Rub off most of the skin with a damp paper towel. Voila, roasted peppers!

**Pasta water would work great too if you accidentally forget to reserve the liquid from the artichokes. Yes, I speak from experience.

Variations

Stir in chickpeas, sauteed veggies, chicken or Italian sausage (or the vegan versions of these)

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Creamy Artichoke Basil Sauce
The URL: https://welaughwecrywecook.com/2012/04/17/creamy-artichoke-basil-sauce/

Smoky Garlic Lemon Kale

The first time I tasted kale, I must admit, I spit it out and threw it away.

But my vegan daughter continued to wax eloquent about the virtues of kale: its texture, its taste, its nutrition!   Then one day I tasted a bite of kale, cooked right. I was an instant Kale Convert.  Now I also say, “All hail to kale!” It keeps a nice, un-mushy texture in soups and stews and I love the little bit of chewiness.  Like spinach that never turns to slime.

Recently Rachel snapped this picture of her baby, Jackson, overjoyed with his fist full of kale. If this face doesn’t convince you to try it,  I’m pretty sure nothing will.

Kale Baby! "Mmmmm...."

This recipe is a wonderful side dish that I like so much, I could honestly eat the whole bunch for lunch.  (And in fact, I just did.)  It reminds me of the southern-style greens from my childhood that were cooked all day with bacon.  But this recipe adds smoky flavor without bacon, richness without added fat, and only takes about ten minutes to whip up.

Image

Becky’s
Smokey Garlic Lemon Kale

Ingredients:

1/2 c. water
1 1/2 t. vinegar
1 bunch kale
2 cloves garlic
1/4 t. smoked paprika (see picture below)
1 t. olive oil
1/2 t. brown sugar
1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Tear stems from kale, then rinse and rough chop into about one inch pieces.  “Massage” these pieces with your hands for about five seconds to tenderize them.

Into a skillet put: water, vinegar and 2 peeled cloves of garlic, chopped into about four to six slices each. Boil this mixture and then add the kale.  Turn heat down to medium and simmer for about 7 minutes.  Check it about 1/2 through cooking to make sure there is enough liquid in the pot to keep the kale from burning.  The tricky part is to babysit the kale so that the kale itself absorbs as much liquid as possible, without going dry and burning.

When kale is tender, add olive oil, juice from one half a lemon, and brown sugar.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.  Serves about 4 people, unless you are me, and ravenous, then it only serves one.

Rachel introduced me to smoked paprika, essential for this dish. Adds a wonderful smoked flavor to veggies, beans or meats.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Smokey Garlic Lemon Kale
The URL: https://welaughwecrywecook.wordpress.com/2012/03/14/smokey-garlic-lemon-kale/
© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved