My Vegan Masterpiece

….. or a masterpiece in the making at least

Soup’s On!

What a delicious way to top off a chilly Saturday! This Vegetable Barley Soup is so quick and easy to make. It’s nice because you can use just about any vegetables you have around the house — so peek in those crisper drawers or stop by the farmers market and whip up this delightful soup!

Ingredients:

1 onion, chopped

2 carrots, sliced

2 ribs celery, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

8 cups of vegetable broth (we use our own homemade)

1 cup barley, uncooked

1 1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (These do not have to be frozen and you can choose whatever veggies you like. Today we used fresh green beans and raw sweet corn cut off the cob.)

1 14-oz can of crushed or diced tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon parlsey

1/2 teaspoon thyme

2 bay leaves

salt and pepper to taste

1.) In a large soup or stock pot, saute onion, carrots and celery in olive oil for 3-5 minutes, just until the onions are soft.

2.) Reduce heat to medium low and add remaining ingredients (except for salt and pepper).

3.) Bring to a simmer, cover, and allow it to cook for at least 45 minutes – stirring occasionally.

4.) Remove the cover and allow to cook for 10 more minutes.

5.) Remove bay leaves; season with salt and pepper to taste.

You should get approximately 6 servings from this recipe:

Calories: 228

Fat: 5 g

Fiber: 9 g

Protein: 6 g

This recipe was inspired by one of our favorite vegan cookbooks with a few tweaks and special ingredients. Feel free to experiment with your recipe or check out more recipes in The Everything Vegan Cookbook by Jolinda Hackett. Click the picture to link straight to Amazon.

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Weapons for your Arsenal

Here are the top 5 things I would recommend for every vegan to have in their kitchen:

1.)    Tofu Press. You would be amazed how well this works! For any of you who have tried countless different ways of balancing heavy kitchen items on top of your tofu in order to squeeze the water out of it, you know why this is a gift to all vegans. Before my tofu press, I balanced a huge glass jar of uncooked rice on top of my tofu to drain it – guess what ended up shattered and spilled all over my kitchen floor?! Never again with this little gem.

2.)    Mandoline.  What a huge time saver this bad boy is! When I don’t have a lot of time to prep veggies this mandoline is ideal. You can slice up the makings for a quick stir-fry in minutes with a mandolin. Also, if you really want to plan ahead, go to the farmers market and stock up on the seasonal veggies. Slice them all up and put them in Ziploc bags. You can put them in the freezer or make individualized portion sizes. You won’t regret this purchase.

3.)    Citrus Juicer. My hands hurt just thinking about how difficult it was to squeeze a lemon or lime before I came across this great kitchen tool. Fresh lemon, lime and orange juices are delicious additions to many vegan recipes and had a whole new depth of flavor to your food. This juicer is great because it is stable and you don’t have to worry about balancing the juicer on top of a bowl. It’s also got a built in measurer and comes apart for easy cleaning. Take it from me – your hands and your taste buds will thank you!

4.)    Electric Wok. Don’t underestimate what a great wok can do for you in the kitchen. You can cook just about anything in it, and it is so quick and easy! These bad boys heat up in seconds and are perfect for cooking veggies without breaking them down. The key to maintaining the nutrient density in raw veggies is to NOT cook them down to mush! Using a wok is great for adding a nice scorch to your veggies or a beautiful golden brown coating to your tofu.

5.)    Salad Spinner. Have you ever rinsed a head of lettuce and then patted down each leaf individually to get the water off so you can actually do something with it? I was that girl in the kitchen until I discovered a salad spinner. These are a lifesaver. Rinse those leaves to your heart’s content and then throw them in your spinner. This will get rid of all the excess water and keep the leaves nice and crisp. Give it a try – I know you’ll love this kitchen tool.

*If you’re interested in buying any of these products, click on the pictures for links to Amazon!

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The “V” Word

Alright, get your mind out of the gutter. I’m talking about veganism. It’s my thing if you couldn’t already tell. It just makes sense to me and quite frankly, eating animals is just downright gross. No offense to those of you who do – I still love you. Just don’t expect me to eat like you. 

So this blog is a peek into my vegan life. There will be delicious recipes, product reviews and book reviews, as well as anything else that tickles my fancy that I want to share with the world.

 

Enjoy!

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