Lunch at Work: Three Bean Soup

5 02 2012

Okay, I looked at the calendar, it says it’s February but you’d never know it with the weather we are having. Soup for lunch is a staple for me in the ‘winter’ but this winter is a bit funky. Enjoy it while it’s here but be a little concerned about what it means in the bigger scheme of things. Anyone that doubts climate change should go outside for a walk on February 5, in a light jacket. I saw kids playing basketball at the park across the street yesterday.

We go to Costco about once a month to pick up our toiletries and such. More and more organic foods are arriving there which is super exciting. I noticed a few months ago a new addition to the TruRoots products, sprouted bean mix.Until recently Costco was only selling their quinoa but now has the bean mix and chia seeds. Nice. The bean mix is super good and quick. The beans have been sprouted and dried so you can have cooked beans in about 15 min. It has lentils, mung beans and adzuki beans in it. I made up this super simple soup and have eaten it a lot for lunch this ‘winter’. I skip the onion completely but if you want, add it in with the carrots and celery for a proper mirepoix. The veggie stock has onion in it anyhow.

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
  • 2-3 large Carrots
  • 2-3 stalks Celery
  • 2-3 medium Parsnips
  • 2 cups TruRoots Bean Trio
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • Small bunch of Parsley
  • Sprig or two of Thyme (remember you can keep parsley, thyme, rosemary etc in the freezer)
  • 5 Pepper Corns
  • 2 cubes of low sodium Veggie Stock
  • 9- 10 cups of filtered Water
  • 1 can of Diced Tomatoes, drained
  • 1 medium Zucchini
  • Sea Salt and fresh ground Pepper to taste

Prepare the veggies by chopping them small. For soup I like to cut my carrots and parsnips into half-moon like shapes, celery the same, unless it is quite big, then I might cut it lengthwise first. Heat the oil in a soup pot, add the carrots and celery and cook on medium heat until they start to soften. Add the parsnips, beans, spices, stock and water. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 15 min. Check the beans for softness. Add the tomatoes and zucchini, simmer covered again for another 10-15 minutes. If you think you need more liquid, add a bit more water or next time add less beans. This ends up being a thick and hearty soup which I like at lunch. Experiment, add other veggies of your choice.

My Sunday-post-primary-practice-yoga-ladies were talking today about the cost of food and the ‘healthlessness’ of our society these days. An important element to this is that we have lost our means of being resourceful people in regards to eating. I hear all the time that vegetables are expensive. I don’t say they aren’t but in relation to what? Being compared to processed foods like KD and ichiban, not a fair comparison. It’s what is more nourishing that matters. This soup costs less than $10 and it feeds me for five or more days (I added it up below). I’m full and have done good for my mind and body. The other options? Probably the same price at way less value. And if you’re buying lunch every day, totally different story. This post is for my Sunday ladies, love our time together. 🙂

Eat well, be well,

Nat

  • Bean Trio $15 (enough for about 6-8 pots of soup)
  • Bag of organic carrots $4
  • Organic celery stalks $3
  • 1 Organic zucchini $2
  • Bag of Organic parsnips $4
  • Organic Parsley, Thyme $4 (and freeze left overs for later)
  • Bay Leaf, pepper corns $4
  • Box of organic veggie stock $5
  • Can of organic tomatoes $2
  • Oil of some sort, salt and pepper – nil (I assume most people have something of the sort)
  • Water – nil
  • 1 hour of time
  • Total: $43 and you have ingredients to make more soup or other things. Don’t buy organic and maybe save a bit more, but not much these days. Shop local and within season.
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Recipe Share: Veg Lentil Soup

24 10 2011

I love how this soup has friends, family and community farmers all in one pot – metaphorically speaking. Our friend Dan gave us a big ‘ole container of green lentils grown on his wife’s family’s farm in Saskatchewan. I have been looking forward to making a pot of lentil soup for some time. My dear friend Kelly shared this recipe with me. It is a family favourite. Her and I were out for a leisurely tea remembering her sister and my good friend Jodie who passed away a year ago. Among many things, we shared nourishing soup recipes and ate a cookie in her honour, Jod loved cookies. As well, our family suffered the loss of my cousin in recent weeks, he was known to be the cook in the kitchen himself (runs in the family eh) – so it seemed fitting to put a pot of soup on the stove this weekend in remembrance.

This couldn’t be a simpler recipe, and as Kelly says, she rarely follows the recipe, so I did the same. Here is the recipe and my additions below.

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped (I omitted this)
  • 1 tsp Curry Powder
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin (fresh ground is best)
  • 1/2 cup diced Carrot
  • 1/2 cup diced Celery
  • 1 cup diced Potato
  • 1 cup dry Green Lentils
  • 4 cups or so of stock (use chicken or veggie, I used Veggie cubes)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Hot Sauce

I more than doubled the recipe and also added;

  • Diced Parsnips
  • Zucchini (which I added with the stock)
  • Chopped Parsley (I always have some frozen in the freezer for soup)
  • 1 tsp hot Chilli Powder

Saute the veggies first, until they start to sweat. Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to boil and simmer on a low boil until lentils are soft. Add the lemon and hot sauce, serve.

Oh yeah, hello fall.

Eat well, Be well,

Nat





Quick Thai Curry

22 11 2010

The theme around here continues to be comfort foods, and being so cold and snowy right now, this is an easy sell. We love curry of any kind, and for us it is a comfort food. As a wedding gift we received green and red Thai Curry bases purchased at Williams and Sonoma. Although I can’t find it on the website, I think they still sell it in the store, but it’s been a long time since I was there to see. It is the best Thai curry base I have used (including ones bought in asian markets). It is made from whole ingredients and you can see the lemon grass and lime leaves crushed up in it. I prefer making Thai curries from scratch, but when you are in the mood and don’t have all the ingredients, these bases are a comfort food saver. As for Indian curry bases, I tend not to use them. Unlike Thai, Indian curry ingredients are easy to keep around the house, lemon grass and lime leaves, key ingredients in Thai, do not keep well (unless you know a secret and want to share it with me).

Saturday night the weather was a mere -20 degrees Celsius, and this has gone on for a week now, so what to make for dinner? A warm Thai Curry. Here is an easy recipe and how I use the same recipe for a shrimp version and then convert it to a veggie dish for left overs. Always thinking ahead to lunch for the week 🙂

Quick Thai Curry

  • 1 cup of Jasmine or Basmati Rice (cook it with a few tbsp of dried or fresh grated coconut, we had some fresh coconut in the fridge, it was a great addition to the rice)
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Red Pepper, sliced
  • 3-4 Carrots, sliced on an angle
  • 3-4 Stalks Celery, sliced on an angle
  • 1 Large Zucchini, sliced in half rounds (I would use eggplant too, but couldn’t find any that night)
  • 1 can Coconut Milk
  • 2-3 tbsp Green or Red Curry Base, depending on level of spice
  • 12 large Shrimp, tail on
  • 1 package Snow Peas (hard to find organic, so I wash them really well, eh)
  • 1 can Chick Peas

Cut all of the vegetables so they are about the same thickness. While the rice is cooking, heat the oil on medium high heat in a wok or large pot. Add the carrots, celery and pepper, stir fry until the start to soften but are still firm, about 10 min. Add the zucchini, stir fry until the zucchini start to soften, 5-10 min, they might even caramelize a bit. Add the coconut milk and curry base, stir well. Add the shrimp and snow peas, continue cooking on medium heat until the shrimp are cooked and the coconut milk thickens, about 10 min. Shrimp are cooked when they are opaque and no longer pink. Serve over the rice, removing all of the shrimp. There should be plenty of veggies and some sauce left, add the chick peas to it, voila, lunch is served. Of course you can skip the shrimp completely and just add the chick peas, I do this with all sorts of veggies and curry through the winter.

Eat well, Be well (stay warm),

Nat





Zucchini Blossoms

5 09 2010

We have huge zucchini plants and some great sized zucchini’s growing. Zucchini is a popular squash good for grilling, salads, sauteing, curries, baking and more. You can freeze it to use through the winter it is so versatile, but more on that another day. If you have grown zucchini, or other vegetables like tomatoes, you would know that eventually you have to sacrifice the new blossoms for the advancement of the ones already established. Zucchini has two types of blossoms, girls and boys. The boys do not grow up to be zucchini, but long stems with a blossom on the end and the girls, once pollinated, turn into zucchini’s, also with a blossom. As I was doing the sacrifice of blossoms and stems I asked myself, what can you do with the blossoms?

Most of the recipes out there are for stuffed zucchini blossoms, usually lightly battered and fried. What’s the point? The blossoms are basically used as a vessel for a cheese like filling. There are lots of amazing recipes but sounded like to much work and not really about the blossoms. I thought, I bet they would be nice to add to sautéed vegetables, right-o. A favourite so far is mixing them with sautéed mushrooms for scrambled eggs. Saute the mushrooms first in butter or olive oil, remove the stamens and add chopped blossoms and cook until soft, add the eggs, salt and pepper. Cook till eggs are done. Serve warm with slices of avocado, grainy toast and choice of fruit. How’s that for a <rainy> long weekend breakfast?

Happy long weekend. What kind of cooking are you doing?

Eat well, be well, Nat





Fast Food

21 03 2010

Friday night was our first night back and we were craving fast and comforting food. I love Mexican but unless you are buying and cutting up veggies like we did, plentiful veggies are hard to come by eating out. We were foggy headed on Friday – got home at 2AM, into bed by 3AM and gone by 9AM and dealing with daylight savings, that happens April 4 in Sayulita. I made it to Planet Organic for groceries and looked in the freezer and fridge to sort out dinner. Before Mexico I threw leftover cooked quinoa and brown rice in the freezer. Along with the veggies I picked up I made this healthful bowl for dinner, it was great and hit the spot.

2 cups cooked Quinoa and Brown Rice

3-4 Sun Dried Tomatos in oil, finely diced + tsp or so of the oil

3 Yellow Beets, cubed

3 small Sweet Potatoes, cubed

1/2 Red Onion, chopped

1 Red Pepper, chopped

1 Zucchini, chopped

3 Tbsp Olive Oil, salt & pepper and various spices like oregano, dried basil, thyme and rosemary

Crumbled Feta Cheese

Heat oven to 425F. Place beets, sweet potatoes and onion in a roasting dish, toss with olive oil and spices and roast for 45 to 60 min, stir occasionally. Roast until veggies start to soften, add the red pepper and zucchini, roast a bit longer, say 15-30 min, depends on the dish you use and how cooked the veggies are. Just aim to have them all about the same texture, soft not mushy. When they are ready, in a heated saute pan add the rice, quinoa and sun dried tomatoes with oil and stir-fry till hot. In a big bowl add the rice, spoon over the veggies and top with feta, as much as you like. Garnish with fresh cracked pepper. Dinner is served.

Eat well, Nat