"Reinventing Indulgence" One meal at a time!

Archive for the ‘Soups’ Category

10 vegetable vegan soup

This is the best vegetable soup I have ever made. I quite often wondered if I could replicate that warm fuzzy feeling of chicken soup. That was always my “go to” to feel better if I was sick, hungover or just feeling the blues. Dream come true and surprisingly – without any vegetable stock or bouillon cubes. I haven’t checked in a while but those things are usually loaded with MSG which I would feel right away.  Many people probably think.. oh.. it’s just soup. I quite often wonder however, how these stores make their hot soups for the public. Do they use all wonderful ingredients fresh and healthy or do they just crack open a huge can from a restaurant depot type store and call it their own? Perhaps, even a hybrid of the two.  In most cases, it’s salt city and sure it tastes good but what’s in it? What oils are used? Are there milk products in there? How much salt is tossed in or already loaded? Is everything from a can? Is it GMO?

This time it started with my guilty trip to BagelSmith in Brooklyn. Yes, I confess that I bend to convenience occasionally when I have to get up really early to work.. I get it lol. I still swear that bagels make you fat, amongst a million other junk food quick grabs. Generally, I bring my own food but today, I ordered a pumpernickel scooped out bagel (300 -100 scooped calories) with some tofu scallion spread and yes.. what’s in that too while we are at it? Anyway.. it’s vegan lol.  The point of the story is that they had a huge soup board with a row of regular soups of the day and a row of vegan soups. For this alone, I love this place. Although many shops carry soup right now and it’s freezing out, it’s still difficult to find a good vegan one when you want it. Obviously this catering to the vegans in a busy, quick & convenient 24 hour store made my day. Today it was “10 vegetable soup”.  I grabbed it for lunch and it was delicious. It kinda got me thinking.. I have never heard it called that before.. 10 vegetable soup. On my way home later in the evening, I stopped at the 24 hour vegetable stand by my home and picked up things to make my own full on vegetable soup. Honestly, I was just in the mood to create a feel good soup packed with nutrients and lots of broth.

Basic recipe:
I started with a sauté with oil, the onions and garlic. I usually always use red onions. This is the first time I wondered off in a while. Now I know where the crying comes in. I was actually crying! I never cry with onions. I believe it was a yellow onion although it could have been white. I used a lot more onion than normal in making a vegetable soup. I definitely felt it- both in the air and from the taste. I thought it would be too much but it came out perfect.

I chopped and diced away, adding to the soup as I went. It became a meditative moment. I used water 3/4 of a big soup pot. I actually didn’t have any vegetable stock on hand and was hoping that the flavor would just come anyway. I loved the aroma and feeling of cooking up some early winter soups and staying warm. For the fun of it, I was going to call it my 8 vegetable soup but then I counted and I literally had 10. My 10 vegetable vegan soup.. healing for the mind, body  soul!

Yellow onion
Red onion
Sun dried tomatoes
Mushrooms- baby bellas
Potato- 4 or 5 average size red
Plantain- one green

Triple Bean Spicy Vegan Chili

I knew I could make a fabulous vegan chili – I knew it and I finally did it! I don’t think I can ever order chili out again. Yes.. It’s just that good. I’m beginning to believe that one gets a bit of attitude after strolling along hoping to find vegan choices here and there. It’s almost as if all the retailer has to do is say the word vegan.. and we buy.. just because it’s vegan. Desperate for a hot soup and totally in the mood for chili, I seek and I ask.. finally finding a chili that’s vegetarian and hating to be a pain in the ass to inquire if it’s vegan. So I go for it! What’s the difference right? What could they possibly put in it at this point? Actually, God.. and the prep chef only know. After realizing on a flight to London, that there was milk in certain pop chips – it was all over for me. I despise milk. Lol. Sneaky culprit. Anyway, yes I ordered vegetarian chili in Woodstock the other day. I opened it up before I ran out hoping to grab a quick spoonful on my shopping spree when I realized it was topped with cheese and sour cream. Please could I have your tofu vegetarian chili veganized please pretty please. Why must I beg lol – it is a vegan friendly town! My mistake.. I know.. I should have asked! I left there and went straight to the health food store on a major “nothing stopping me” mission. I came home and made my own vicious triple bean spicy vegan chili far superior in heartiness and flavor than any chili I have ever had.. ever! Now there is no turning back. It destroys other chilis as far back as I can remember – vegan or not. I haven’t written in a while and I’m laughing at my own over confidence at the moment but I’m keeping it real. It’s good!  I’m open though if anyone wants to add to the recipe.



Ginger– just a little

Tomato sauce can (I used crushed)
Frozen non-GMO corn
Kidney beans large can
Black beans large can
Chick peas can
(Can crazy I know! Not my first choice but I’d rather eat beans from the can than not at all. They are high in nutrients & certainly, fiber. Feel free to soak dry beans overnight, drain and use them.)

Vegan burgers – I crushed them in but you can buy “crumbles” from a health store that carries meat alternative foods.

Chili powder

I know I have to be more exact with my measurements – sorry, I’m being a bit Italian at the moment.
Begin with a big soup pot, olive oil and a saute of the onions & garlic – always! Next I add the tomato sauce with about another 3/4 of that can in water. Use your judgement as you add the vegetables and beans. If you need to add water, do so and let it cook a little longer. Then came the beans and vegetable burgers. Next I added the other vegetables and then.. spice city! I may have even added hot sauce – I’m addicted! I let it cook for an hour or so.

Vegetable SOUP TONIC

Vegetable Soup Tonic

It’s snowing here in New York-  well, actually it’s a blizzard! There is really nothing better to do in these conditions but stay inside and keep warm. I was debating between making a juice or salad and then this overwhelming desire came over me to make something warm. I guess because I’m really cold especially in the winter. This began to happen after losing all that weight a couple of years ago. As much as I would love to go more raw, my body is saying “hey it’s cold outside so give me something warm!” Everyone is different and we all have to listen to our bodies! A warm soup it is!  IMG_7173

I felt like doing something different this time as I actually do make soup quite frequently. First, if I haven’t said this already, whoever invented the crock pot- I want to give them the biggest hug ever! It just makes cooking soups and stews so much easier!

Before I get to today’s soup ingredients, I wanted to introduce the idea of adding herbs to the soup for immune strengthening properties. I chose ASTRAGALUS and  AMERICAN GINSENG.

Astragalus Astragalus membranaceus is an extremely popular choice amongst the Chinese herbs to be used as an overall tonic to the body. It’s known to help increase energy and build the immune system against sickness and disease. “Astragalus has  warming properties and is tonic to the spleen, kidneys, lungs and blood.” (Tierra 1998)  It also balances the energy of the internal organs. It is a stimulant, a diuretic and a tonic.

American Ginseng Panax quinquefolius is another incredible tonic providing overall stimulation and strength to reduce stress and fatigue. The word “panax” comes from the Greek word “panacea” meaning a “cure all.” It is used for the immune system, digestion, energy, and for conditions such as those related to the nervous and cardiovascular systems. American Ginseng has cooling properties in the yin and yang principles, as opposed to Asian Ginseng’s warming effects. Balance is of great importance with regards to the health of our organs and systems. Ginseng is one of the most popular herbs for strength which is why I used it, however, it is interesting to look into the particular strings of Ginseng to best maximize your individuality!


Vegetable broth optional
Onions 1 medium
Garlic 1 clove
Parsley 1 small bunch
Potato 1- 2 medium
Turnip 1 small
Parsnip 1 small
Carrots 4 chopped
Leeks 1 regular
Bean mix 1 cup dry beans
Wild rice 1 cup 
Astragalus sticks 3-4 long flat pieces
American Ginseng 4-5 small nugget types

Fill the crock pot 2/3 of the way with water or vegetable broth or a combination of the two. Then chop and add all the vegetables and the spices. Add the bean mix, rice and herbs. I admit that there is no art to this. Basically, what I want to say is put everything in the crock pot; go do something for 30-40 minutes like exercise, and then it will be ready to serve!

Tierra. M. 1998. The Way of Herbs. Pocket Books Health. New York, NY.

Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.

Vegan day 331: Sweet sensational vegetables

Cravings… are they real or are they memorex?
For me I want to say that they are both! Honestly though, the only physical thing my body may ask me for IS FOOD in general.. as in hunger pain. It doesn’t specify that the hunger is a sugar hunger. There are two different things here.. a hunger pain and a sugar craving for example. A hunger pain doesn’t really say I must have a warm raspberry-lemon vegan cookie from LifeThyme Natural Market on 6th Avenue and I must have it NOW. Well, it does end up saying that lol– but IT’S MY MIND SPEAKING… not my physical body. What happens next is mind over matter. Once the mind takes control with perhaps imagery.. memorex.. it’s a done deal. Now I really HAVE TO HAVE IT and it’s no joke and there is nothing stopping me. If you try to stop an addict.. you better be dressed in armor because we WILL hurt you!

Can cravings be controlled or subsided? Perhaps not in the moment.. but most definitely ahead of time and/ or over a period of time. I still get my cravings but they have improved substantially from eating a nutritionally balanced diet with proper eating habits and daily physical exercise. When cravings appear within a balanced diet it may generally mean that some nutrient could be lacking either in consumption or absorption- or that something is missing on the wheel of life. Health is really about a well-balanced life. 

Giving in to the craving is like a game of TRICK OR TREAT. Will this sweet for example, satisfy my urge or make me want more? For me, it’s actually like playing with fire. One cookie here and there quickly becomes I NEED two cookies everyday. Then the addiction becomes real.. when a craving becomes an addiction you have to stop it like any other addiction- cold turkey! If you can learn the tricks of the game though, by all means proceed with caution. One thing I have yet to put the big NO on is desserts in general. I don’t eat too much candy anymore simply because much of it is not vegan. It’s when the vegans start making all the sweets VEGAN that I get in trouble. Vegan peanut butter cups.. vegan smores made with vegan chocolate, vegan marshmallows..  vegan cheesecake and so on. 

Tell me yours and I will tell you mine! Anything you have on tricking the craving, I will take. Eating half of something and savoring every single bite works on my dark chocolate but not on the cookies. I need more tricks up my sleeve and I have one today. I am surprised to say, that it worked!

I learned this from Institute for Integrative Nutrition where I am currently enrolled in a Certified Health Coach program. They speak about sweet vegetables as a way to curb sweet cravings. I made this my mission. I wanted to see if eating sweet vegetables together as a meal would be fulfilling to the extent that it would subside any desire for sugary sweets afterwards. They say that “sweet vegetables soothe the internal organs of the body and energize the mind and because many of these vegetables are root vegetables, they are energetically grounding.”

Try it for yourself! 
I used yams, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips and turnips. They also suggest corn, beets, winter squashes and rutabagas. Cut these vegetables into bite size pieces. Place them into a cooking pot with the heavier more dense vegetables on the bottom. Fill the pot with just enough water to cover them and cook until they are the desired consistency. I made a nice plate with these vegetables and added spices, shoyu and some vegan parmesan. First of all, it tasted delicious but second and most important, I wasn’t hungry for quite some time after that. That’s a miracle in and off itself! 

If you are like me, you might be asking about the boiling method. I’m sure somewhere in this blog I have written that it’s better to steam and bake vegetables rather than boil. I still feel this way, hence the guilt. So I couldn’t just let the remaining cooking water go. They suggest using it to make a sauce or just drinking it straight up! I used the cooking water and the leftover vegetables to make a wonderful sweet vegetable soup with quinoa. It was a win-win all around!

Rosenthal, Joshua. 2012. Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Module 4. New York: NY 

Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Monday, November 26th 2012 blog]

Vegan day 323: Raw Creamy Broccoli Soup

I have to remember that when time is of the essence, raw can really be convenient

Of course at times, you may have to soak, sprout and dehydrate in advance, but when you incorporate this healthy way of eating into your life it becomes a welcomed practice. 

I soaked my cashews for two hours. Then when I was ready to eat, I put all the ingredients into my blender and ran it. It was so quick even I thought it was too good to be true. The soup had a beautifully smooth broccoli flavor and was quite delicious. 

I try not to have multiple portions but couldn’t help myself. The soup in the white square dish above is for presentation. I generally eat with the small sized ones to the right. Physical portion control can help train the mind and stomach to avoid overeating. Years ago, I would eat a much unhealthier soup in a much bigger bowl.. have seconds.. and then fall asleep lol. I’m changing.. it’s a process and a fun one at that!

Recipe from EASY SEXY RAW
by Carol Alt

1 cup broccoli
2 cups water
1/2 cup raw cashews soaked and drained
1 avocado
2 garlic cloves (I would use less next time)
2 tablespoons of EVOO
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon agave (I am a maple syrup fan)
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste
1/4 cup of mint leaves

Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.

[Sunday, November 18th 2012 blog]

Vegan day 307: Quinoa stew

It’s getting cold in New York – that means it’s time for soups and stews! If I had to time the preparation of this meal today… I would say.. 
3 1/2 minutes lol.
Even the busiest people can handle that! 
I’ll even keep this blog short today in it’s honor lol.
In a rice cooker: 
(I don’t really get fancy here)
Pour in the quinoa- about 2 cups or so
Pour in vegetable broth- a carton
Cut up vegetables pre-packaged for soup (yes shortcut today) 
Cut up any additional vegetables you have in the refrigerator
Open tofu package and cut into chunks
Add more water to also fill the pot
Add more spices
Turn it on and wait for the bell!
What’s that red stuff? I had to go and throw hot sauce in it.. “Reinventing Indulgences”.. it’s a process!

Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.

[Friday, November 2nd 2012 blog]

Vegan day 281: Butternut squash soup

It’s butternut squash season! 
I come upstate in the fall mostly for the “honeycrisp” apples and the beautiful fall foliage! The gorgeous wooden oversized crates of endless varieties of squash then lure me in. I buy them all and then figure out how to cook them later. 

For this particular version of a hearty butternut squash soup I used 2 butternut squash, 3-4 small sweet potatoes and a small bag of carrots. I cubed the butternut squash with the skin mostly on. Some people take the skin off as well- optional. 

I boiled down the butternut squash with one container of vegetable broth and then some water. I added the sweet potatoes and the carrots. I let this cook on low for almost an hour. I added nutmeg, cinnamon, sea salt and pepper. I almost forgot a key ingredient which I added towards the end… ginger. The spices really take this soup to a whole new level especially the ginger. It’s a heart warming treat for both the body and the soul. If you would like it more puréed, you could cook it longer and muddle it or use a food processor for smooth consistency. Personally, I like to see my vegetables in a closer to whole state. It’s wonderful to make a big batch of this soup as it is a perfect mini-meal for days!

Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Sunday, October 7th 2012 blog]