Fresh Corn & Roasted Poblano Chowder

Fresh Corn & Roasted Pablano Chowder

(Becky, the Mom.)

I just spent the past several days with my daughter Rachel, her husband Jared, and 14 month old grand-baby Jackson at their home in Texas.  As I think over all the fun things Rach and I  did together: an afternoon of writing on our upcoming book, mixing and mingling with great friends and fun family in the area — my favorite memories are of a couple of simple evenings.  Both my husband Greg and Rachel’s Jared had to work late, leaving just me, Rachel and Jackson to linger and visit, play and cook.

Jackson loves the kitchen.  Here he is using a banana to sampling my recipe for pumpkin pie dip. 

I love this new-fangled baby contraption that allows him to stand up at the counter and watch us cook.  Jackson is also a huge fan of appliances.  Particularly the “turning on and turning off” of them.  He stands and claps with appreciation whenever one of us turns on anything from the vacuum cleaner to the blender or electric toothbrush.

I had to say good-bye to this sweet Dumplin’ today as we headed back toward our home in Denver.   When I turned on the blow dryer  in the hotel bathroom,  I was saddened to have to do so without Jackson’s typical standing ovation.  One can quickly grow accustomed to the applause of a diapered toddler.  I miss him with every flick of a switch,  every push of a button that proceeds the whirl of some electronic coming to life.

Rachel let me create whatever vegan meal I wanted to cook out of her well-stocked fridge full of farm fresh veggies.  I spied a few ears of fresh corn, and some peppers (poblano and hatch chilis) and immediately thought that a Corn and Roasted Poblano Pepper Chowder might be tasty. It was delicious!  Creamy without the cream,  making it a low cal option as well.  (Almond milk only has 30 calories a cup!) We added some pan-fried vegan sausages (Field Roast brand)  to our soup to make it a one bowl meal and some kale to up the color and nutrition.  This is a vegan dish I would proudly serve to omnivores.  (Big thumbs up on the Field Roast grain-based apple sage sausages.  I preferred them to meat-based sausages.)

The best part of making this dish, of course, was that I got to use the food processor to the appreciation and applause of my diapered grandbaby.

Fresh Corn & Roasted Poblano Chowder


2 large peppers, cut, seeded and broiled (skin side up) until blackened and blistered (I used one poblano and one hatch chili – use peppers of your choice.)

3 c. fresh cooked, grilled or boiled corn, cut off the cob

1 onion, chopped

2 minced garlic cloves

1 T. olive oil

1 T. Earth Balance butter

1 t. cumin

1 t. smoked paprika

1 t. Hungarian (or regular) paprika

3 cups almond milk

1 c. veggie broth

1 T. brown sugar

1 t. salt

½ t. pepper


Cook corn and once it is cool to touch, cut kernels it off the cob (4 large ears yielded about 3 cups for me).  Rub the knife along the cob to capture any “corn milk” juices that you can as well.  Dice the roasted peppers. Melt oil and butter in large deep skillet or soup pan. Saute onions and garlic, add spices, corn and peppers. Let simmer over medium high heat until hot and fragrant, about 3 minutes.

Add almond milk and veggie broth, salt and pepper and sugar. Simmer until hot and bubbly, stirring regularly.

Carefully ladle half of the soup mixture into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.  Pour back into pan and stir into the waiting corn-pepper-spice mixture, until just re-heated.   Check to see if it needs more salt and adjust seasonings to your liking.

Option Add about a cup of diced kale to soup after you stir the blended portion into the other half, and cook until kale is just tender.  Slice and brown sausages (we like Field Roast brand vegan sausages)  in a little olive oil. Sprinkle atop the soup to make it a heartier one bowl meal.

 Omnivore Options:  Use dairy milk to replace almond milk and chicken broth to replace veggie broth if you prefer.  Drizzle with heavy cream or sour cream or Greek yogurt,  or sprinkle with cheese and crisp bacon.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
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Grilled Stuffed Avocados

Grilled Stuffed Avocados

(Rachel – The Vegan-Eatin’ Daughter)

I hit the motherload. Yes, I have a load of amazing mothers in my life.

There is my mother-in-law, Rhonda, who, as we speak, is at the pool with Jackson. Jared is very busy this summer, and she has generously offered to give me writing breaks any time I need them. She walked in this afternoon cheerfully greeting us with her usual “Helloooo, Helloooo.” Her red curly hair tied in a lose ponytail and dressed in a bright colored sundress and flip-flops, she came bearing bubbles and summer toys for Jackson and my favorite french fries. Despite me telling her I wasn’t hungry, I ate them all. She knows me well enough to know I’ll eat the fries if she brings the fries. I love that. Jackson didn’t waste any time crawling over to his Mimi, standing up at the hem of her dress and pointing outside. He knows Mimi takes him outside to play. Mimi is fun and lets him get dirty and play in the mud.

And then there is my step-mom, Pat. She’s a lot like me when it comes to organization and order. I rely on her for any and all communication regarding family events or activities. The Freeman men are not known for their communication skills, but she has somehow learned to speak their language and relay their plans to me. Jackson loves going to Grandma’s house. She and Grandpa take him to the barn to see their horses every other Thursday while we are at home group. Another thing I love about Pat is she loves shopping at Costco. I always leave their house with a bag full of avocados, medjool dates, or berries, because with their busy work schedules they really can’t eat 30 pounds of fresh produce before it spoils. I love that.

Obviously, the mother who carried me for nine months, put up with me through my bratty preteen years and still let me live to share this blog with her, is a pretty good woman. Last time I was at her house, I left her with Jackson for a couple of hours and returned to the kitchen to find a gourmet vegan meal waiting for me and Jackson happily playing with various kitchen utensils in his high chair. She’s like a professional nurturer, able to nurture and love and adore multiple kids of all ages at once. She knows me so well that she called me in Texas all the way from her home in Colorado to tell me she thought I was pregnant, even before I knew. She can tell by the sound of my voice within the first few words exactly how I’m feeling. I don’t have to explain much to her, she just gets me. I love that. We often chat while we are cooking and one of us will say, “I’m making ‘such and such,” and the other will exclaim, “I’m making ‘such and such’ too!” The other day, she sent me her list of upcoming recipes for the blog, including her Confetti Rice Pilaf Stuffed Avocados. I had just returned from the store with ingredients for stuffed avocados myself. So, I give you ANOTHER stuffed avocado recipe. I can’t promise this will be the last time mama and daughter are cooking up the same thing, unbeknownst to each other.

A delicious meatless meal on the grill.

Rachel’s Grilled Stuffed Avocados

Serves 2 entrees (4 appetizers)


Stuffed Avocados
2 avocados, cut lengthwise in half and pitted
2 corn on the cob, soaked & silks removed*
1 poblano pepper
1/2 red onion, sliced into thick rings
2 T. Canola Oil
1 t. kosher salt
juice of 1/2 a lime (~1 T.)

Cilantro Lime Sour Cream Sauce
1/4 c. vegan sour cream (or regular if you eat dairy)
1/4 c. cilantro
1/2 T. lime juice
1/4 t. salt
1/8 c. fresh jalapeno, chopped & seeded
1 clove garlic

Serve with: rice and beans for a complete meal or as a healthy side dish for any Mexican meal



Soak corn in water for 30 minutes and then peel back husks and remove silks. Light coals for charcoal grill. You want the coals to be all white, and no longer flaming. Mix canola oil, salt, and lime in a small bowl.

In a blender or food processor, Blend all ingredients for the cilantro lime sour cream sauce. Set aside.

Brush corn kernels with oil mixture and pull husks back up around kernels. Brush onions with canola oil mixture. Put corn, onions, and poblano pepper (left whole) on the grill. Apply canola mixture as they cook and turn veggies so they cook evenly on all sides. When poblano is charred on all sides, remove it and put it in a bowl covered with plastic wrap for a few minutes to loosen the skin. Remove the skins with a wet paper towel. Grill onions and corn for 15-20 minutes until they are cooked through and lightly charred.

Just before taking the veggies off the grill.

Brush avocados with canola mixture and grill flesh side down for 3-4 minutes. Ideally, you’ll get nice grill marks across the avocado (I think our grill wasn’t quite hot enough by the time we got them on so this was not our result, but we decided it didn’t matter because they tasted amazing anyway.)

Cut corn off the cob, dice onions and poblanos to a similar size as the corn kernals. Toss together in a bowl.

Stuff the grilled avocados with the grilled corn, onion, and poblano mixture. Serve two halves nestled on a bed of rice and drizzle with sour cream sauce. Serve beans on the side for a complete meal. Or, just serve one half as an appetizer or side.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
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Hello Mother, Hello Daughter

“My mother burns the toast as surely as the sun rises each morning. In fact, I doubt that she’s ever made a round of toast in her life that failed to fill the kitchen with plumes of throat-catching smoke. I am nine now, and have never seen butter without black bits in it.”   Nigel Slator, Toast

Becky (“The Mother”)

Though I’m now a truly good cook, I’m still not always an alert cook, which means that I tend to burn food. The smoke alarm, for many years, was basically our dinner bell.

When my second born Zeke was about five years old I handed him a perfectly golden piece of toast. He took the toast and a dinner knife and walked over to the trash can and started scraping it. “Zeke, Honey,” I said. “You don’t have to scrape your toast today. Mommy didn’t burn it!” To which he looked at me, eyes wide and said, “Oh. I thought we always had to whittle our toast.”


We recently visited at Jared and Rachel’s home in Texas, having driven a couple of days from Denver to get there. With my adorable grandbaby flashing us a dimpled smile from his highchair, Rach and I couldn’t wait to roll up our sleeves, get into the kitchen, and cook!

Rachel made an amazing butternut squash soup for our lunch, and while it was simmering, she popped a pan of homemade croutons in the oven, giving me one job: to guard them. Then she disappeared to rock Jackson and put him down for his nap.

Rachel (“The Daughter”)

As I settled into the rocking chair with my sleepy baby, I was going over our lunch menu in our head. The soup was simmering, the side dish was all chopped and ready for consumption, the croutons were toasting.

Oh no. I left the croutons on 450 degrees!

Sure, a high temperature is a quick way to crisp up the chunks of bread lightly coated in olive oil and Italian seasoning, but they need to be watched closely with this quick cook method. The problem: my mom, notorious for burning the bread, was in charge of them. I considered texting her from the nursery to remind her to keep an eye on them, but I’d only asked her to do that one thing…surely she hadn’t already forgotten. I told myself, “Surely, Mom will smell them browning before they get too crisp. I can live with a little char.”

Before I’d finished the argument in my head (“Should I, or should I not, text her?”) I heard a loud “BEEP, BEEP, BEEP!!” coming from the kitchen, an all too familiar sound from my childhood. This was not a kitchen timer, not the microwave, not an annoying cell phone ring…this was none other than the smoke alarm.

Still holding Jackson, who had been on his way to dreamland but was alert and wide-eyed now, I rushed to the kitchen. Through a smoky cloud, I see Mom carrying a pan of black char to the back patio.

Like the “Saturday Night Live” skit, “Really!? with Seth and Amy,” all I could say was “Really, Mom? Really?!”

Shoulders scrunched, an innocent smile on her face, mom sheepishly replied, “Soooorrry. I think I may have slightly over-cooked the croutons.”

How can you not forgive a face like that? It’s a little bit childlike, mixed with a lot of ditzy blonde, sprinkled with a dash of Steve Urkel. Did I do thaaaat? I may not need this sweet innocent face as often as my mom has used it,  but it’s a family skill I’m proud to have learned.  It works wonders on my husband…especially after he looks at the credit card bill. Did I buy thaaat?


The soup was amazing even without the croutons, especially with a garnish of Rachel’s homemade Cowboy Caviar and tortilla chips.

Cowboy Caviar. This tangy black-eyed pea, avocado, corn relish is a staple at potlucks in the South.

Sweet & Spicy Butternut Soup garnished with vegan sour cream, cilantro, and tortilla chips

What occurred in the kitchen that day is a small window into the dynamics of our Mother-Daughter relationship. I have what a brain doctor called “Inattentive ADD.”  Which means I’m not particularly hyper, but I’m ditzy, easily distracted and over-optimistic about things like time, limits, and reality.

Rach has always enjoyed rules and order and minimalist décor with the same enthusiasm that I enjoy flying-by-the-seat-of-my pants, ignoring messes, and filling every space with vintage clutter. My daughter owns a kitchen timer and actually knows where it is and how to use it. This astounds me.

Sweet & Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

This rustic soup is just enough sweet and just enough spice to warm you up on a chilly winter day or to eat around the fire pit on a cool summer night. You could even simmer it over the fire in a dutch oven and serve it up in over-sized mugs if you want a really rustic presentation and experience.


Drizzle of Olive Oil
½ red onion, diced
1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
4 cloves of garlic, diced or minced
½ cup baked sweet potato, mashed
2 cups of baked butternut squash, mashed
4 tbs white wine (divided)
2 cups veggie stock
1-3 cups water
Salt to taste
2 pieces of candied ginger (optional)
Garnish suggestions: croutons, tortilla chips, cilantro, sour cream (regular or non-dairy)


Heat olive oil on medium heat in a large pot (enough to lightly coat the bottom of the pan). Sweat the onion and peppers in olive oil with a sprinkle of salt until soft, add garlic and sweat for two more minutes. Add two tablespoons of the white wine and stir. Add the veggie stock, 1 cup of water, squash, sweet potato, and candied ginger (leave whole). Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer on med-low for 20 minutes. Remove ginger (unless you like the flavor a lot—I prefer small traces of it). Transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer soup back to your pot and add more water if you would like a thinner consistency. Finish with remaining white wine and salt to taste. Garnish with your choice of toppings.

Notes: I happened to have leftover baked sweet potato and squash from making baby food when I first made this. As a quicker alternative, I’m sure you could chop up peeled sweet potato and squash and just simmer with the soup until they are soft all the way through. Though I think baking or roasting root vegetables brings out their best flavors.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
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The Title: Hello Mother, Hello Daughter
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