Thursday, June 11, 2009

Butternut, Swiss Chard, and White Bean Soup

1 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 large carrots, chopped medium
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 sprig fresh rosemary
4 sprigs fresh thyme
16 ounces of canned white beans
8 cups vegetable stock
1 tsp. Fresh rosemary, chopped
2 cups butternut squash, diced
4 garlic cloves, sliced
Salt and pepper
4 cups swiss chard leaves, chopped
1-2 cups vegetable stock for thinning soup
1/2 cup Soy Supreme Sour Cream (by tofutti)
1 cup of croutons

Sauté onion, celery, and carrot in olive oil until softened trying not to let brown. Add in white beans, rosemary sprig, thyme sprig, vegetable stock, and pepper. Bring to a boil and then allow simmering for 10 minutes. Add in the butternut squash, garlic, fresh rosemary, minced garlic and salt and pepper to taste. With the lid on, allow to cook for another 20 minutes. Stir in swiss chard just before serving and use remaining vegetable stock to thin soup if too thick. Pull out sprigs of rosemary, and thyme. Add the salt to correct seasonings. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and croutons.

Yields: 6 servings

Pining Away in My Cave

Sitting listening to The Innocence Mission, in my “cave office”, literally a converted closet, I sit idly waiting for students to tutor growing ever more impatient and disgusted at getting paid to watch the clock, when my heart and soul ache to involve myself with what I am most passionate about; three things: My husband, my kids, and food.

With this economy, my day job was shifted this last January from a chaotic, social, and festive atmosphere in which I thrive, to a quiet, lonely, and seldom working Federally funded program- a safety net of a job (of which I appreciate being employed even with it’s downsides), where I am tormented by hours of solitude. So I fill my hours with reading, writing, dreaming, and thinking of food.

Come afternoon I am happily reunited with kids and can dive into fulfilling activities and culinary creations- be that blogging, working on new recipes, a cookbook, or my side business; For Cake Sake.

I know I write mostly of desserts, hence the title of my blog:, but I also love savory food.

My husband and I were blessed this last year to be able to buy hour first house. We have been daily laboring on it because of the dilapidated condition in which we purchased it. We have, particularly of late, been seeing the fruits of our labor, literally!

My daughter Mallory picked her first Ruby Red Strawberry yesterday. She so graciously allowed us to divide it into fours so we could all get a taste…. but snuck her dad’s portion with a glint of teasing in her eye before he could enjoy his portion. It was a sweet and supple berry.

Our Babcock white peach tree is growing nicely and should provide us with fruit shortly. Our garden is flourishing and we have enjoyed many dinners contain the organic vegetables from our raised beds: yellow squash, mesculin, spinach, red/green leaf lettuce, swiss chard, and cilantro. We are patiently waiting for our tomatoes, bell peppers, varigated carrots, beets, watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber, zucchini, boysenberries, basil, sage, oregano, avocados, and radishes. Next time we will plant more.

It is so thrilling and rewarding! The robust flavor is exquisite right from the soil, and puts store bought produce to shame.

In addition, we are composting. Something I’ve always wanted to do. On trash day, Tuesdays, you get a true sense of what is actually trash. We have three bins: recyclable, trash, and compost. Our trash is so minimal in comparison to the size of the other bins, and leaves me with a tinge of pride in doing my part to help with the environment. If only a large portion of households were able to do the same, I think we could make a dent!

I am attaching a recipe for Butternut, Swiss Chard, and White Bean Soup. We enjoyed it recently with some Organic vegetables from our garden. We accompanied the soup with cornbread and a fresh salad. Though it is almost Summertime, this June gloom brings some days where soup is still welcomed.

Ain't That The Truth!

My momma always said, "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get". - Forrest Gump

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Gelatin Free Jello

Thunder claps in the sky and the rain sweetens my garden soil. I find myself inside today nuturing my sick little girls. A hot bowl of Vegan Chicken Dumpling Soup, Chowder Crackers, and some Vegan Jello are great provisions.

My dear friend Brianne, who is due with her second child any day now, suggested the Vegan Jello at Trader Joe's. Her two year old son Jonah gobbles the stuff up. Knowing that I want healthy snacks for my kids, and something to mimic what their non-vegetarian friends have, I scoured the shelves for it on my next grocery excursion.

Both my daughters devoured it upon arriving home. Curious at the texture and flavor, I enjoyed one myself. My husband who is not much for jello also loved it !

The jello comes in a four pack for only $2.49. I have only seen two flavors thus far: Black Cherry and Peach Mango

Ingredients of filtered water, sugar, carrageenan, natural flavors, Peach colors: (tumeric and annatto), sodium citrate, malic acid, citric acid, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), alpha tocopherols (vitamin E), Black Cherry colors: (beet juice, caramel, and annatto)- Gelatin Free!

Full of vitamin C, these are better than trying to coax your kid into taking a vitamin, and they're delicious!