Monday, July 29, 2013

Cashew Kale Soup

I got the idea for this soup from Dr. Joel Fuhrman's book, "Relish It! In Your Kitchen..." I made his "Cheesy Kale Soup" recipe on page 132. I thought it was very good, but that it was lacking in flavor, so I made up my own, and voila! Cashew Kale Soup! Baby John ate an entire baby food jar of this right after he had had a full dinner. Seth couldn't spoon it in fast enough to please John! And our neighbor, 10 month old Stella loved it too. So if you want to teach your babies to love a healthful array of vegetables, here's a good way to start!
 Kale is the highest nutrient per calorie food available. Check out all this awesome info about kale at

Nutrients in
1.00 cup cooked (130.00 grams)
Nutrient%Daily Value
 vitamin K 1327.6%
 vitamin A 354.1%
 vitamin C 88.8%
 manganese 27%
 fiber 10.4%
 copper 10%
 tryptophan 9.3%
 calcium 9.3%
 vitamin B6 9%
 potassium 8.4%
 iron 6.5%
 magnesium 5.8%
 vitamin E 5.5%
 omega-3 fats 5.4%
 vitamin B2 5.2%
 protein 4.9%
 vitamin B1 4.6%
 folate 4.2%
 phosphorus 3.6%
 vitamin B3 3.2%
Calories (36) 2%

If those are the cooked nutrients, think of what the nutrients are when you eat it raw! We love eating steamed kale, and putting it in our fruit smoothies and fruit and veggie juice. Enjoy :)

Cashew Kale Soup

Serves 3-4 (you'll probably want to double it. We were sad not to have left overs!)

- 1/2 c. yellow split peas* (cook in 1 3/4 c. veggie stock or water)
- 2 c. fresh carrot juice (or cook 2 c. diced carrots with split peas (add 1 c. veg. stock or water for carrots) until tender.)
- 1 1/2 lb. kale ribbed and stemed
- 1 1/2 c. portabella mushrooms (or any kind really)
- 1 onion - large diced
- 1 Tb. minced garlic
- 1 Tb. lemon juice
- 2 Tb. nutritional yeast*++
- 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- 1/2 c. raw cashews* (or 1/4 c. cashew butter)

*buy in bulk at Whole Foods or your local health foods store

++Nutritional Yeast is high in vitamin B12 and protein (2 things that people are always concerned about if you're a vegan, so just tell them about nutritional yeast if you are:). It is a nutritional supplement/condiment made from a deactivated yeast. It has a cheesy, nutty, salty flavor, and is a yellow flaky substance. You can sprinkle it on steamed veggies, put it in soups, on popcorn, steamed veggies, in dressings, in veggie burgers, in savory breads, etc.

1. In a large pot, simmer yellow split peas (and carrots if you don't have a juicer) until tender, about 15-20 min.
2. Add all other ingredients except raw cashews; Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until kale is tender (about 15 min.)
3. Add cashews and blend the soup with an immersion blender^ (see pictures below)

^An immersion blender is a wonderful kitchen appliance to have! We were given one as a bridal shower gift. We had been married 3 years before I knew what to do with it! That all changed when I watched Ina Garten on the FoodNetwork make a pureed leek soup (that was delicious by the way!). Now I use it all the time to puree hot soups mostly. If you have one, use it! If you don't, consider putting it on your wish list, and just ladle the hot soup into your blender in batches (just be careful not to burn yourself.) Happy pureeing!

- Serve with fresh crusty bread (smash avocado on top of the bread instead of using margarine or butter. You'll be glad you did!)
- Garnish with your favorite fresh herbs, carrot shavings, or chopped cashews

Friday, July 19, 2013

Emily's Veggie Stock

We used to buy Costco's rotisserie chickens all the time. They tasted great, were incredibly easy to use for any dinner, and would last all week for delicious sandwiches. I also felt better about using the whole chicken since most people only buy chicken breasts, and this encourages the poultry industry to use growth hormones that make the chickens' breast grow so big they can't even walk because of the weight. They keep mostly keep them in dark, crowded and dirty conditions, and have to use anti-biotics to keep them from getting sick. If you would like to know more about this, watch the movie, FOOD INC. I don't want to eat chicken like that, and I believe in treating animals kindly and using the whole animal if you're going to eat it at all.

When my dutiful husband would bravely pull all the costco chicken meat off the bones (Seriously, I think this is one of the grossest jobs ever! I am in awe of my mom doing this to the turkey every Thanksgiving and Christmas. Yuck! I have done it before (with gloves on - truly that is the only way), but I never want to do it again. So props to all those brave and helpful people who do their best not to waste any meat!) As I was saying, after all that was left was the chicken carcass, I would throw it in a huge stock pot with a bunch of water, onions, garlic, herbs and peppercorns and make a delicious and inexpensive chicken stock. It was so easy, and that's what I call using the whole chicken! So if you use chicken stock, try making your own. 

But now that I don't usually eat meat, and because there is a lot of fat in chicken stock, and because vegetable stock from the store costs about a million dollars! Ok, maybe not a million, but a whole lot! I like to make my own veggie stock to use for sauteeing, cooking grains or beans(rice, quinoa, lentils etc), and for soups and stews of course. No batch is really ever the same, depending on what I have on hand. So with whatever you have in your kitchen, give it a try!
 Emily's Veggie Stock

- 3 gallons/12 quarts cold water
- 4 large onions - quartered
- 8 stalks celery - halved
- 3 bulbs garlic - halved
- 10 large carrots - halved
- 1 cup green or brown lentils
- 1 1/2 TB black pepper corns
- 1 TB kosher salt
- 1 1/2 TB dried oregano 
- 1/2 TB dried dill
- 1 TB dried parsley
- 1/2 TB dried rosemary
- 1/2 TB dried thyme
- 1/2 TB dried basil
- 4 bay leaves
1. Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot and simmer for 3-8 hours, or over night. Longer simmering = more flavor.

2. Let cool, then using a mesh colander with a long handle, fish out all the veggie remains and discard, or strain all the stock into a large bowl to get the veggie remains out.

3. Store in the fridge up to a week, or freeze up to 3 months, or can and store up to 1 year.

* Freeze some veggie stock in a few ice cube trays. Then pull a veggie stock cube or two out to use for sauteeing instead of using oil! It will bring great flavor to your dish, and no fat or oil. And if you watch it, and add a cube when it starts evaporating, it won't burn or stick to the pan. I always thought you had to use oil to sautee, but you really don't!

- None of these ingredient quantities need to be exact. You can just use whatever you have. You can add and cut out and substitute ingredients as needed.

Fresh herbs are great if you have any available. They are much easier to strain out of the stock. You will need 3 times the amount of fresh herbs to equal the amount of dry herbs because dry herbs are more potent and concentrated.

- Some people put potato peelings in their stock. I tried this once and thought it gave it kind of a dirt flavor... I wouldn't recommend it.

- You can leave the peel on or off the garlic and onions. If using non-organic, I'd take it off.