Sunday, September 12, 2010

Saturday I went back into the kitchen ;-)

Being up at 2:30am means you sleep in a bit the next day. I rolled out at 8:30 and Dan was a little later because I wanted him to get his rest. Sleeping late means a late breakfast which is not necessarily a bad thing. Surprisingly when we got on the scale this morning neither of us gained any weight in fact we were exactly the same. Since I had mentally prepared myself for a little jump I was happy to see no change this morning.

Given our very carbohydrate heavy day yesterday (oatmeal, whole wheat pasta and whole wheat pizza) we decided a nice clean smoothie was in order for breakfast. I made one that contained: 2 frozen bananas, 1 handful of walnuts, 4 cups of loosely packed shredded kale, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon powdered ginger, water, ice and stevia (to taste). I had 2/5 and Dan had 3/5 of the smoothie. We were discussing it and we both think that we are completely accustomed to the taste of raw kale in smoothies now. It took us a while to warm up to it but now we are fine with it. If you don’t like the bitterness of kale in your smoothies right away try adding less and work up to more. Our palates adjusted and I think yours will too. Just know that it doesn’t happen overnight you need to work on it for a while.

For lunch I wanted to make something clean as well. I knew a salad was order and wanted to make a soup to go with it. Initially I was thinking that I would make a broccoli “cheeze” soup. Then I thought maybe add baked potatoes and tempeh bacon and have a twice baked potato soup. Finally I decided to add roasted butternut squash to add more nutrition to the soup. Here is what I made for lunch:

Roasted Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts and Red Pepper Soup
Serves 8


1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into small chunks that will fit on a spoon (don’t throw away the seeds you will be using them too for garnish)
2 cups frozen broccoli florets defrosted, chopped so that they will easily fit on a spoon
1 red onion, peeled and finely diced (allow to stand 10 minutes before heating)
8 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely minced (allow to stand 10 minutes before heating)
½ cup water
8 cups vegetable stock and/or water ( I used half water half stock)
2 roasted red peppers, cut into small chunks
6 tablespoons nutritional yeast (for a nice buttery background not so much that it becomes cheesy)
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika (to add just a hint of smoke to the background)
½ cup walnuts, ground into flour (to add richness to the soup)
½ cup oatmeal, ground into flour (to thicken the soup)
2 good pinches of saffron threads
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon dry mustard
black pepper, to taste
crushed red pepper flakes to taste


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line two half sheet pans (11.5 by 17 inch) with silpat, parchment or no stick aluminum foil.

Place the butternut squash flesh, seeds and broccoli on the sheet pans in a single layer and roast until they are lightly browned (about 45 minutes). You are roasted the veggies to concentrate the flavor by evaporating the water from the veggies. This will make your soup flavor more intense.

Water sauté the onions and garlic for a few minutes (approximately 3 to 5) and add the other ingredients and simmer. When the veggies are browned add them to the soup as well. Taste for seasoning and adjust as you deem necessary. Serve the soup with a few roasted squash seeds on top for crunch.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 141.5
Calories From Fat (38%) - 53.32

Total Fat - 5.2g
Saturated Fat - 0.52g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 20.82mg
Potassium - 381mg
Total Carbohydrates - 16.48g
Fiber - 4.2g
Sugar - 1.94g
Protein - 3.9g


No specific flavor dominates in this soup and that was my intention. I was going for a nice well rounded soup. It is rich and satisfying but at 140 calories per serving you can have more than one bowl and feel good about it. I enjoyed the crunch from the roasted squash seeds on top of this. If you wanted to make this soup more rich finish it with a dollop of cashew crème fraiche on top.

To accompany the soup we had small side salads which consisted of: 1 head of shredded romaine, ½ cup of salsa, 2 tomatoes, 1 grated carrot, ½ diced cucumber and ½ an avocado. It always surprised me how little salad my parents consume. Dan and I would eat all the salad I made tonight for the four of us and consider it a small salad.

Dan was very helpful today. While I roasted veggies for the soup he ran to the library for me to take a few things back and get items I had reserved. I now have the Engine 2 Diet to add to my reading list. I need to read a book a day to knock out the ones I have at home currently. Why do I bring home so many books at one time? Do any of you do this too?

Since the library branch we go to is near Wegman’s he ran in to pick up some big salad bowls for us. Okay for everyone else they are serving bowls but you all know how much salad we eat by now so I know you aren’t shocked. They are in the same pattern that I bought not long at Wegman’s so you can expect to see those turn up in future pictures.

When we were at Marshall’s yesterday I bought a few pieces of ceramics that I thought would make nice pictures on the blog. Yes I do have “blog” dishes. Doesn’t everyone do this or is it just me?

Here is the cute little green appetizer plate I picked up. I love the relief pattern.

I also loved this little boat shaped vessel made in Portugal. I can see marinated mushrooms or artichokes in here.  It is also great that this looks so much like a serving bowl I have from Italy. ;-)

We also found this cute Japanese dish which will be calling me to make sushi again soon. The best part about picking things like this up at Marshall’s is the price. The Japanese plate was $6.99 but the other two were only $2.99. At prices like that I don’t feel too guilty about having dishes for blogging.

As usual Dan and I talked about what to have for dinner tonight. The choices came down to a huge salad or veg and fruit juice and we decided that the juice would be more nutritious so we went with that. In this batch of juice I included: 4 cups kale loosely packed, 5 collard leaves, 10 carrots, 3 apples, 1 very large beet, 1 inch of fresh ginger and 2 limes. We split this 1/3 for me and 2/3 for Dan.

We also decided to watch a movie tonight and it was Dan’s turn to pick. He decided we would watch Flawless with Michael Caine and Demi Moore. Honestly I had never heard of it. It was an okay movie. The plot was somewhat plausible, the acting was good. I can’t say I have any desire to watch it a second time but it was definitely better than the last movie we watched about the coins in the fountain in Rome.

To go with the movie we made a big bowl of popcorn which I seasoned with nutritional yeast, dill weed and paprika.  Do any of you have a trick to getting sesonings to stick to popcorn that doesn't involve oil?

Saturday was a little rough for me since it was 9/11. Living near DC and having a relative that works for American Airlines I still find 9/11 to be disturbing. I knew someone that was on the plane that hit the Pentagon. It still feels like it all happened not that long ago.  How can it be 9 years already? The tragedy that was 9/11 was the reason I decided to retire early. I realized that I was wasting my life working 80+ hours per week (and being miserable while doing it) and that it was no way to live since life could be over in an instant. It is funny how something happens and it changes the course of your life. Every year I think of life the way it was before and since 9/11 and I get a little sad.  I often wonder how long it will take before the sadness of those events goes away.  Did any of you lose anyone on 9/11 or did it change your life?

I hope everyone had a nice Saturday and was able to enjoy the same beautiful weather we had in the Mid-Atlantic until this morning.
We just got back from the farmers' market in the rain this morning. Time for me to put the produce away and start planning lunch.  I will be making something more hearty today since it is cool and rainy.  Talk to you all again soon.


  1. I like your new pieces. I should get some blog dishes; I always admire the plates and bowls on other blogs.

    I have no suggestions on the popcorn seasoning. I'm not a big popcorn eater but sometimes I lick my finger and drag it across the bowl, but only when I'm alone. ;)

    Yesterday's post looked like a beautiful hike. My past two walks have been dry and not photo-worthy. And I hear you about the small price decrease for removing the meat. Really? Sadly it happens often but I just consider it the price of eating out. I think some dishes are over-priced and others are under-priced to balance the ingredients and help encourage sales.

  2. Jessica,

    Thanks! I liked the new pieces too. Whenever I am out shopping I look for photo worthy dishes. Some of them I only have one or two pieces. It makes storage much easier. ;-)

    I will admit to doing the same thing with the popcorn. Dan is okay with eating the popcorn plain but I think it needs a little flavor.

    It was a beautiful hike and we had a good time at the beach. I hope your next walk is more photogenic. :-)

    I think we have been spoiled by our chef friend that makes us beautiful vegan food and charges less than the first restaurant wanted for a mediocre salad. If we are somewhere other than Ian's we normally stick to salad, side dishes and appetizers only because they are more likely to be vegan naturally, or easily modified to be vegan.

    I hope you are having a good weekend,

  3. Hope this doesn't double up - got an error with first reply. Love the plates. I love finding new dishes like that. Just don't have the room for all the ones I want. That soup is right my alley too! Happy Sunday.

  4. Heather,

    I deleted the duplicate so it wasn't a problem, especially since the same thing just happened to me on your blog.

    I thought you were on the road when you missed yesterday's post which had your name all over it with the beach, shopping, pizza and new exercise toy, LOL.

    If you only buy one piece of each for pictures it is easier to store.

    The soup turned out really well. It was nice and rich yet still light. I think you would like it.


  5. I love the green dish! I like picking up odd pieces at thrift shops. :)

    I have no suggestions for the popcorn issue... but then again, I haven't made popcorn in an age. Hmmm...!

  6. Vegga,

    I love dishes with a relief pattern in them which is what attracted me to the green one. Great idea about checking thrift stores. I will have to try that too. Thanks for the suggestion. :-)

    My husband thinks movie night equals popcorn. It is air popped so I don't fuss. I just wish I could figure out how to get the seasonings to stick without oil.

    thanks for stopping by,

  7. Ali,
    Your smoothies sound so good, and that soup sounds perfect. I also LOVE the Portuguese dish. Guess what? I went to a wedding reception last night and...wore heels! Go figure.

  8. Aimee,

    Thanks I try to keep my smoothies as healthy as possible but have them still taste good. The last part is not always the easiest thing.

    The soup was very popular last night with both vegans and omnivores. I think you might like it too. ;-)

    LOL, I love that you wore heels last night. There are times when they are just required for short ladies like you and me. I try not to wear them too often. ;-)


  9. Am a newer vegan wanna be, and just started reading your blog - love it! The pics, recipes and esp the nutri values.

    Love the new dishes - especially the sushi plate, makes me want to go out and find one.

    And as for the library books - yes all the time, and then have to renew them online. Am usually reading 2-3 books simultaneously just to keep up!

  10. I wish I had more storage space and money to spend on dishes...I need some nice big huge serving/salad bowls too! I will look forward to seeing what you got. As it is I use the salad spinner bowl for my salads, lol (I can't believe I am admitting that on your blog)! Not pretty, but nice and big and it works for me, lol!


  11. Hi Becky nice to meet you,

    Glad you are enjoying the blog. I remember how tough it was when I was a new vegan. If you ever have any questions feel free to ask either by comment or email. I am happy to help.

    Thanks for letting me I am not the only one that gets too many books out at once. I do it all the time and each time I know I shouldn't and do it anyway. There is a lot of online renewing that happens here too. ;-) Reading and cooking are how I relax.

    The Japanese plate immediately made me think of sushi too. LOL


  12. Courtney,

    Sounds like you really do need more storage space. I would have never thought of the salad spinner but that is great idea. It is definitely big enough. What about getting a big bowl that can sit on your coffee table to hold remotes, keys and such when you aren't having salad? I know that you would be emptying it often but then you wouldn't need to store it in a cabinet.


  13. Ali, Send me one of the green plates!! SOOOO cute. I think all of your food looks good enough to eat. LOL

  14. Brandi,

    I will keep my eyes open for another green plate. When I picked up this one it was the only one there. But there are multiple Marshall's near me. I was going to hit one or two more this week to check for more things from Talbot's. ;-)


  15. A good movie for next time is "The Jones" if you haven't already seen it. It's good for girls and boys and interesting and fun to watch. Check it out if you're stumped next time! (Demi Moore and David Duchovony)

  16. Unicorn Jones,

    Thanks for the movie suggestion. :-) I will add it to my Netflix queue.


  17. Hey there,

    I have a possible solution to your popcorn dilemma. It's not for sure though, because I usually just season it with a little salt - I'll try tonight using some flavour! Anyway, this might sound strange, but we have a little water spray bottle, and while the popcorn is popping, we spray it with some water - not a lot, just enough to moisten it slightly. It's really awesome! I like it a lot better than dry popcorn. And so I was thinking maybe that would help the seasonings stick!

    I'm excited to try it now :)

  18. Allysia,

    Thanks for the water suggestion. I had tried liquid aminos in a spray bottle and it was way too salty. I will give the water a try.

    thanks for sharing the idea,

  19. I wish I knew how to make the seasonings stick, but the only thing that seems to work for me is melted Earth Balance (which is oil). I once tried cooking spray, but that didn't taste so good. If you figure anything out, post it!

  20. hungry vegan traveler,

    I am still working on the popcorn "problem". If I figure it out I will post it. ;-)



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