Happiness Split Pea Soup

I saw this on my Facebook feed yesterday and it made me smile.

Choose happiness.

good day to be happy

The other thing that made me very happy was this recipe. I was coming off of the banana bread fails and we all know how gluten-free baking can squash my cooking self confidence. I needed my next recipe attempt to be rich, hearty and guaranteed not to fail me. Soups tend to be that thing.

I’ve said it before but soups are just so simple and easy to correct when something feels out of whack. This soup needed no correcting. I absolutely loved it. Michael felt it was lacking in lemon but it didn’t really bother me. I did, however, added a big squeeze of it to the recipe instructions right at the end for those who want that bright citrus flavor.

Also, I originally thought I was making a lentil soup but upon further examination realized that I did not use lentils but split peas. I think lentils could easily be substituted but the split peas were a nice change of pace albeit an unplanned one.

Happiness Split Pea Soup (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion

1 carrot

2 stalks celery

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp garlic, minced

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 tablespoon turmeric

1 tbsp tomato paste

6 cups vegetable stock

1 bay leaf

1.5 cups green and yellow spilt peas

3/4 cup frozen peas

1 can light coconut milk

Big squeeze of fresh lemon juice (optional)

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Chop your vegetables into bite size pieces.

chopped vegetables

Heat olive oil on medium high. Add vegetables and salt, saute until veggies start to get tender. Add garlic, cook for another minute until garlic is golden brown.

Next add curry powder, turmeric and tomato paste. Stir to coat vegetables.

Add vegetable stock. Some veggie stocks contain soy and gluten so read the labels carefully when selecting your broth. Drop in one bay leaf.

soup with bay leaf

Rinse and drain your split peas in cold water. Add split peas to broth. I used a mix of green and yellow but feel free to use whatever you have on hand.

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Add frozen peas and coconut milk.

soup with coconut milk

Bring soup up to a boil then reduce to medium heat for 25 minutes or until split peas are soft. Taste and adjust salt if needed.

Remove bay leaf before serving. Top with a big squeeze of lemon.

split pea soup split pea soup

Enjoy and Exhale!

Quinoa Smoothies?

Every so often someone searches quinoa smoothies and lands on my site. I had never thought to add this wonderful little food to my drinks before but curiosity got the best of me this morning. I was working to meet my day’s calcium quota with a breakfast smoothie when I spotted a Tupperware of quinoa leftover from yesterday’s lunch. Now seemed like as good a time as any to try it.

I’m sort of on the fence about the results but wanted to at least share the recipe with you so you can decide for yourself. I’ll be honest, the texture was a little funny. For lack of a better word the quinoa made the smoothie a little…chunky. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing. I use chia seeds in my smoothies all the time so I’m used to a some crunch or bite in my morning beverage and prefer it to super smooth smoothies. This may just have been a little too much bite.

Again, to each their own. Maybe this will be your cup of tea smoothie.

Quinoa Colada Smoothie (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free)

1 frozen banana

1/2 cup frozen pineapple

2 tbsp chia seeds

1/2 cup light coconut milk

1/2 cup almond milk

1/3 cup cooked quinoa, using these cooking directions

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Thaw your banana slightly in the microwave. 20-30 seconds should do.

Place all ingredients in a blender or measuring cup if you’re using an immersion blender.

quinoa colada smoothie DSC_0069

Blend for a minute.

Add extra pineapple and quinoa to the top.

As I type this I am just now thinking a couple of tablespoons of shredded coconut would have been a nice addition to this as well.

Serve in a pretty glass for no reason other than that you can. (Excuse the windows reflection in the glass 🙂 )

quinoa colada smoothie quinoa colada smoothieQuinoa smoothie

Enjoy and Exhale!

Recipe Testing and the Weekend

How was your weekend? Mine was very low key. Besides teaching, which I did on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I was out of the house very little this weekend. I blame it on the weather. I think it’s starting to get me down. I find myself daydreaming about running along Chrissy Field in the SF sunshine, having brunch out on the back patio at Zasie’s in Cole Valley and walking to the 24th Street Farmer’s Market year round in Noe. I’m homesick and I’m tired of being cold! I also realize I’m having a serious pity party that isn’t be warranted for at least another month. We’re planning a trip home in the next couple of months but until the tickets are booked I’ll just keep on daydreaming.

Besides daydreaming, the weekend consisted of a couple of logs in the fireplace, starting the Dexter series and trying to get Eli and Guy to sit still so we could play with the new camera. He’s so unimpressed.

Eli

Kitty playing nice.

Guy

Followed by kitty playing mean. He’s pissed!

Eli and Guy

The weekend also included of a little baking.

I tried and failed again with trial number two of gluten-free vegan banana bread. I admit, I’m getting closer. This time it was actually bread and not bar. It was light and airy which is an accomplishment. But it was also dry and not banana-y enough. I’ve been sort of stingy with the coconut butter so maybe I’ll add more to the next batch and another banana. In my head I can see the bread I want to make. It has those little pieces of banana swirled around throughout and a golden brown top.  Who knew banana bread could be so difficult?

Here are a few shots of round two. See, actual bread!

vegan gluten-free banana bread vegan gluten-free banana bread

I also need to coat the chocolate chips in cornstarch or gf flour to keep them all from falling to the bottom of the batter. That poor left corner got seriously left out!

It’s not too bad with a little earth balance on top and my mind is now wondering if it would make a good bread pudding. I don’t know how to make bread pudding but it can’t be that hard right…says the girl with two failed recipe attempts under her belt.

Hope you’re weekend was wonderful. If you’re somewhere warm maybe you can stand with your face to the sun and think about me?

Too weird? I get it.

Off to yoga, please let the room be hot!

Enjoy and Exhale!

Works in Progress

I’ve made three recipes over the last few days. They are all good. Tasty. Consumed. But none of them made my taste buds do handstands and arm balances at first bite. My official taste tester was also less than impressed with one of the three recipes, he didn’t taste the other two. I believe his exact words were ‘it’s a little bland.’ I’m not going to share a little bland with you all.

But, because I still wanted to post something and say hello today I’ll share the works in progress. Not so secretly, I also wanted to show off my new camera which makes my bad photo skills a little more palatable. However I’m still hoping to find a Photography 101 class I can take over the next few months. I don’t think good equipment equates to stunning photos without some knowledge behind them.

On to the recipes or lack there of, I mentioned this beet quinoa salad yesterday. I liked the earthy mixture of the beets with the quinoa and I love the addition of slivered almonds. I also made a cashew garlic cream to go on top which was exceptional on it own. The salad just didn’t sing when everything was mixed together. It has potential and I have another beet waiting in the wings so I’ll work on it. The color is pretty fabulous though right?

beet quinoa salad

Next up, another calcium rich smoothie. Yep I’m making smoothies when it’s 10 degrees outside, God knows why. This smoothie was a mix of banana, apple, pineapple, almond milk and chia seeds. It was perfectly fine. I drank the whole thing this but it wasn’t amazing. I probably wouldn’t have shared it at all if not for the fact that the picture is nice. I’m going to try coconut milk instead of almond milk and may also add some sunflower seed or peanut butter. I’ll report back when I’ve got a winner.

Pineapple Banana Smoothie

Lastly, I tried to make gluten-free banana bread this morning. I wasn’t in the mood for dates so following my recipe for Banana Bread Muffins was out. The recipe I concocted seemed promising as I mixed the wet and dry ingredients separately. When I combine everything though it resembled something oddly familiar. This! It was by far the tastiest of the three recipes and I ate two slices for breakfast but this is not banana bread. It’s more of an oat loaf. It was lacking the airiness of bread with all its heaviness. I think I’ll play around with the flour mixture, maybe try my hand at some gluten-free baking flour that’s been sitting in my pantry since the pancake debacle of 2012.

Banana oat loaf

As you see, a lot of WIPs but not a lot of results. I suppose that’s all part of the process though. You have to cook a few duds or semi-duds to get to the really good stuff.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. It’s still supposed to be bitterly cold here again tonight. But never free, we have a hot date planned with our fireplace and a bottle of wine.

I’m also teaching a bunch this weekend. My usual classes tomorrow at 9 and 10:30 and then subbing Sunday at 9 at Crossfit and teaching a special community class at Athleta on Newbury at 10. The community class is free if you’re not busy.

Happy Friday.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Tofu Vegetable Spaghetti (Squash)

Holy cold. Someone remind me why we moved away from sunny, warm California to Boston where it was 5 degrees this morning? 5 degrees but feels like -11! Yesterday I googled ‘how cold is too cold to take a dog running?’ If you’re curious there’s no definitive answer. I put a running coat on Eli (yes he has a coat) bundled up in 5 layers and went anyway. Once we got going it wasn’t too horrible but we still came back after only 2 miles. It was the wind, not the cold that finally did me in.

When we got home I made a quinoa beet recipe that I wanted to share today but the photos are currently being held hostage on my new camera. I need to download some software  before I can access the pics which hasn’t happened yet for a variety of reasons.

So instead of quinoa you get spaghetti. Actually spaghetti squash.

I made this recipe last week when we were trying to use up the last of our groceries. This squash was the lone hold out.

Tofu Vegetable Spaghetti Squash (vegan, gluten-free)

1 spaghetti squash, roasted

2 tbsp garlic infused olive oil

10 cremini mushrooms

1 head of broccoli

10 asparagus spears

1 cup broccoli/carrot slaw

2 tbsp garlic, minced

1 tsp red chili flakes

1 package of extra firm tofu, pressed

1 jar of tomato sauce or 1 28 ounce can of roasted tomatoes

2 tsp oregano

1 tablespoon dried basil

1 tsp garlic salt

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Preheat oven to 375.

Carefully cut the spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place cut side down on a sprayed cookie sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes. When a fork can pierce the skin without resistance it’s done.

While the squash is cooking heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan. Saute chopped mushrooms, broccoli, asparagus, broccoli slaw, garlic and red chili flakes until veggies starts to soften.

sauteed veggies

IMG_3606

Remove tofu from package and place between 2 paper towels. Press out as much moisture as you can. Once tofu is dry-ish (it doesn’t need to be super dry) heat remaining olive oil and place tofu in pan. Using a potato masher break apart the tofu. You can use a fork but I find the potato masher much easier. Cook tofu until it begins to brown.

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Then add the veggies and tofu together.

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I forgot to take a photo of the next part. Pour tomato sauce over the veggie/tofu mixture. Add oregano, basil and garlic salt. Cook until tomato sauce warms up. If you don’t want to use pre-made sauce you can use a can of tomatoes but you’ll need to add more salt, basil and oregano. You may even want to add a little tomato paste and sugar for a hint of sweetness.

When the sauce is ready, take a fork and run it down the flesh side of the cooled squash. The fork will create spaghetti like ribbons. You can make ribbons all the way to the skin. Place squash ribbons in a bowl and cover with sauce.

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This dish is deceptively filling, your eyes may be bigger than your stomach. Squash baby anyone?

Enjoy and Exhale!

Everyday Eats 2

It’s been a while since I’ve done an Everyday Eats post. I take photos for it almost everyday so it’s never far from my mind. But, I need enough time between posts or else you’d be seeing 15 pictures of taco salads. I’m not going to lie, I eat a lot of taco salads. I also eat a lot of tortilla chips. I don’t want to lead you to think I only eat veggies and quinoa all the time. I love chips. Michael loves chips. Together we can easily eat a huge bag of tortilla chips in a day or two if we aren’t careful.

Anyway, I digress.

If you missed Everyday Eats 1 you can find it here.

And now, Everyday Eats 2:

I’ll start with what else? A taco salad with lentils, cilantro, salsa and veggies. This Whole Foods salsa is the best salsa I’ve ever had. On Sunday we ate an entire container! We usually buy two at a time.

Taco Salad

If eating a whole bowl of coleslaw on its own wasn’t weird enough let me add that I ate this at 8 in the morning for breakfast one day. It had wasabi vegan mayo in it and was so strong that I haven’t had wasabi since.

vegan coleslaw

The portions on this look pathetic but I took the picture about half way through eating the broccoli. Simple sweet potato fries, broccoli and roasted tomatoes.

roasted vegetables

Curry chickpea salad with celery, tomatoes and what else…chips.

curry chickpea salad

Really simple vegetable, tofu, noodle soup that I make all the time when it’s cold.

veggie noodle soup

Leftover Chickpea, Curry, Coconut, Quinoa Soup with a bowl of lentils and veggies.

curry coconut chickpea quinoa soup

Trader Joe’s Veggie Gyozas with steamed cabbage, wasabi vegan mayo (pre-coleslaw) and tamari.

veggie potstickers with cabbage

Roasted potatoes, rutabaga and brussel sprouts.

roasted potatoes

Corn tortilla tacos filled with quinoa and sweet potatoes.

quinoa corn tacos

Another chickpea salad. I make this at least once a week for lunch. Always with lots of avocado.

chickpea salad with avocado

Do you remember Totino’s Party Pizzas? My brother used to love them as a kid. These taste like that but way better and they happen to be gluten-free. Glutino’s Brown Rice Personal Pizzas (not vegan) with a side of peas. I ate this the week I was sick, hence the big bowl of frozen peas as the only green you see.

gluten-free pizza

Taco salad number 1000 with chickpeas and leftover Tahini Cashew Dressing…so so so good! Of all these Everyday Eats I recommend making this one the most.

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Healthy black bean dinner bowl with sautéed peppers, onions, corn and avocado.

healthy black bean dinner bowl

As you can see these aren’t very creative. They supplement all the other new and exciting recipes that I share with you all as feature recipes. These photos tend to be of lunches or quick dinners that I pull together before or after teaching. None of these meals takes more than 20 minutes to make and use the normal, everyday foods we already have in the house. If you want a specific step by step on anything in particular let me know.

If you’re on the east coast, especially in Boston today, stay warm. It’s 10 degrees out there right now! Cold enough that I walked through the mall to get to Starbucks from the studio today. Now I get why they made an indoor mall that stretches 5 city blocks.

Have a great Wednesday.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Celebrating My Birthday Weekend

Oh what a lovely, long birthday weekend. Firstly, thank you for all the texts and comments and phone calls and Facebook posts. You all made this girl feel very, very loved.

This was probably the busiest weekend I’ve had in a really long time so I’ll just start at the beginning.

On Friday night my friend Kristy and her sister Kim hosted a ladies Bunco night. If you don’t know what Bunco is it’s a dice game that requires very little skill besides keeping score but is still super fun. I think there were 16 girls at Kim’s apartment and what started out timid and shy ended up rowdy and loud. It was amazing. I didn’t take any pictures of the ladies but I did take one of my losing score card which earned me a pile of loser gifts including some Mitt Romney toilet paper, a charm necklace from the 90210 era and a pear shaped candle!

Bunco Score Card

Saturday morning I woke up to the sound of the juicer. Michael woke up early to make me breakfast in bed before my classes. He made me a kale, cucumber, apple, carrot, ginger, lemon juice that was SO good. He may be my new official juice maker from here on out. He also made me a bagel with smashed avocado and tea accompanied by red roses. He’s a keeper.

Birthday Breakfast

I also opened one of my gifts that morning. These guys!

Patriots Tickets

I had to rush off to classes soon after presents and right after class I headed over to Back Bay Yoga for a teacher training. The training was a 12-hour workshop on how to teach Hip Hop Yoga. Although I don’t think I’ll be teaching Hip Hop Yoga specifically I learned a lot from the training. We did a lot of teaching with the wireless mic over loud music. It really helped me work on projecting my voice and how to teach with more energy which will be beneficial in my own classes. It’d been a while since I’d taken a training and it got the creative juices flowing again. Reminds me that I can’t get stagnant or complacent in my career, regardless of what that career is.

After training Michael took me out for a birthday dinner at the Top of the Hub. The restaurant is on the 52nd floor of the Prudential Building and overlooks all of Boston. We got a great window seat looking south. We ate in the lounge as they have a different, more veg friendly menu that catered better to me.

We started with cocktails. Wine for Michael and a vodka martini for me. I don’t drink a ton of martinis. I sort of burned myself out when living in Sacramento after college. My coworkers at the time were obsessed with them and got me hooked. But, it was a special occasion and I was starving so I wanted to eat the olives as an appetizer while we waited on the food. 🙂

Vodka Martini

My lovely date all dressed up.

Michael

City views.

Top of the Hub

Olives are great and all but our real appetizer was way better. Beet salad!

beet salad

I had the veggie burger with sweet potato fries, so predictable. Michael had a steak of some sort.

After dinner we decided to walk home but there was one more surprise stop. We had dessert at the Wine Cellar this adorable fondue place on Mass Ave. We had three different types of fondue with fruit and brownies and cake pieces for dipping. The perfect dessert.

chocolate fondue

Once home I opened my second gift which will benefit us all. Hello beautiful!

Nikon

Sunday was more training and then we headed to Foxborough for the Pats game. I was so excited that I didn’t even feel the cold until the second half when the Pats decided to stop playing football and let the Ravens run all over them. So depressing. I guess I’ll be a 49ers fan for the Superbowl now.

Pats game

The rest of the weekend isn’t really worth writing about especially since this post is getting wordy as it is.

Hope you all had a great long weekend.

Enjoy and Exhale!

On Birthdays and Aging

Tomorrow I turn 32. I know that may not seem old to some of you reading (or it might seem really old for others) but it’s the oldest I’ve ever been so to me it’s a little strange to say the number. 32. 32. 32! By the time my mom was 32 she had three kids under 5 and a Master’s Degree in Nursing. Crazy!

I don’t know what I expected of my thirties. I didn’t really give them much thought as I swirled around in the haze and angst of my twenties. I’d heard they would be better than my twenties and in almost all ways that has turned out to be very true. Minus the fact that drinking 3 glasses of red wine will now give me a 2 day hangover and the gray hair at the crown of my head has decided it will never grow beyond 3 inches and prefers to stand straight up. Despite those minor grievances, age has been very kind to me and I don’t mean that in an appearances sense.

In the first 2 years of this new decade I’ve discovered some really wonderful changes:

1.) I feel more confident with who I am (most of the time).

2.) I am more comfortable with my body (much of the time).

3.) I found and know the person I want to grow old with (all of the time)!

4.) I eat a whole lot better than I did in my twenties, hello bean dip!

5.) I exercise with more joy which in turn has resulted in me being a better runner than I ever was 10 years ago.

6.) I more deeply respect and appreciate my friendships that have proven to be strong competitors against distance and time difference.

7.) I found the courage to quit a job that didn’t feel right and to pursue a path that feels more authentic.

8.) I started this blog which has become an amazing outlet for discussing all those topics and people near and dear to my heart.

However, there is always more to learn and ways to grown.

I spent this morning writing a list of goals I wanted to work on over the course of the next year. But somehow the list felt forced and pressurized.

Maybe it’s best not to put so much emphasis on change as a new year of my life approaches. Maybe a birthday is a chance to honor who you are and not what you lack, to celebrate what you’ve already accomplished and the people who have made you who you are today.

Tomorrow I use my birthday as it is intended…to celebrate my life. Without a foreboding list of must-dos in the back of my mind.

That said, I did, find this one little saying out in the world that spoke to me and made me want to share.

Life Rules

This year I’ll keep it simple. Love, laugh, forgive and let go.

Lastly, when my dad died my mom said to always remember, ‘aging is a privilege, not everyone gets to do it.’

May we make the best of this privilege.

Enjoy and Exhale!

 

Quinoa Cookie Remix

By far the most popular recipe on my blog is these Chocolate Chip Quinoa Cookies. It is the number one search term that drives people to my site and the most clicked on post of all time, by far.

Yesterday I was emailing with my friend Nicole and I mentioned that I wanted to try another version of the quinoa cookie. She’s in the process of writing a flourless baking cookbook so she is naturally interested in uninteresting topics like recipe development. Anyway, I like the original recipe, especially the dough before baking but I thought a mix of gluten-free oats, almond meal and quinoa might make for a tastier cookie.

Problem was, no quinoa! I know, how is that possible? What’s a blogger to do but strap on my Uggs, leash up the dog and walk down to Whole Foods. On our way, we took a little detour through the park where Eli ran around like crazy in the snow. This is when I realized I’d made my first, and likely not last, dumb California girl mistake. Uggs are not meant for snow! They are wonderful for cold, dry weather but once wet they absorb EVERYTHING. I literally felt like I was walking around in cold, wet sponges! So gross. It’s time to invest in a pair of waterproof boots.

Wet Uggs

And, yes I’m wearing leg warmers circa 1985 and yes that Whole Foods bag was about to rip into a pile of soggy paper. Love. Boston. Winter.

Once home and sufficiently dry I set about making the quinoa cookies when I realized I had no bananas! I was just at the store and didn’t think to pick them up, errr. Frustrated but not deterred I spotted some dates and thought I’d experiment. One experiment led to another and I now have four different flavors of quinoa cookies to share that are all banana free. Happy accident, but I know some people (like my sister) don’t like bananas. This cookie is for you.

Assorted Quinoa Cookies (vegan, gluten-free)

3/4 cup cooked quinoa (using this cooking method)

3/4 cup almond meal

1 cup gluten-free oats (1/2 cup processed into flour, 1/2 cup left whole)

2 tablespoon hulled hemp seed, optional

2 tablespoons flaxseed meal mixed with 2.5 tablespoons water

3/4 cup pitted dates (~12 dates)

3/4 cup almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon salt

For Ginger Lemon Quinoa Cookies: 

Add 1.5 tsp ginger powder and 2 tbsp lemon zest

For Spicy Chocolate Chip Quinoa Cookies:

Add 2 tbsp chocolate chips and 1 tsp cayenne pepper

For Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Quinoa Cookies:

Add 1 tbsp cinnamon, 1 tsp cayenne pepper and 2 tbsp raisins

For Coconut Macadamia Nut Quinoa Cookies:

Add 1/4 cup shredded coconut and 2 tbsp crushed macadamia nuts

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Preheat oven to 350.

Process oats in a food processor until fine flour forms.

Add processed oats, quinoa, almond meal, hemp seed and remaining unprocessed oats to a bowl.

quinoa cookie dry ingredients

In food processor place dates and almond milk. Process until smooth. Add to dry ingredients.

dry ingredients and date paste

Next add flaxseed meal, vanilla, maple syrup, salt and additional mix-ins. Stir until well combined. Dough will be a bit sticky.quinoa cookie dough

Create balls and drop onto a sprayed cookie sheet. I used a little more than a tablespoon for each cookie.

oatmeal raisin and ginger lemon quinoa cookies oatmeal raisin quinoa cookies quinoa cookies

Bake for 20 minutes. The pictures above are all of the Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Quinoa Cookies but I particularly liked to Ginger Lemon flavor.

Warning: these can be very addicting.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Potato Leek Soup

I made this soup when it was 50 degrees out two days ago, it was really good then but would probably have been better today with the snow coming down, making Boston a winter wonderland. Because we’ve only had snow a few times this winter it’s still really fun for me to experience. I love those first couple hours when it’s all white fluff that coats the trees and lightly swirls around you making it seem like you’re in a movie. Tomorrow I’ll be annoyed by the remnants of salt and gray slushy piles of old snow on the sidewalk. But I’m practicing staying in the present so today, hooray for snow!

Columbus Street in the snow

Snow covered trees outside Crossfit after this morning’s yoga class. I’m teaching another one tomorrow morning at 6:45am, you should get up with me. 🙂

Boston winter

Downtown Boston in the snow.

Anyway, back to soup.

When we went shopping last weekend I bought two leeks. We also bought a ton of other veggies at the time and the leeks were pushed to the bottom of the crisper. As we made our way through the kale and carrots I spotted the leeks and knew just what to use them for. Soup of course. Potato leek soup to be exact.

I love soup for its ease and simplicity. You just dump a bunch of vegetables in a pot for an hour and call it dinner. Who wouldn’t want to cook like that?

Potato Leek Soup (vegan, gluten-free)

2 tablespoons earth balance or whichever butter you prefer

1 tbsp canola oil

1/4 onion, diced

3 stalks celery with leaves, diced

2 leaks, white and pale green parts only, chopped

2 tbsp garlic, minced

1 teaspoon red chili flakes

8 new potatoes, cut into dice sized cubes

1 russet potato, cut into dice sized cubes

8 cups vegetable broth

2 broccoli stalks, whole (optional)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1 bay leaf

1.5 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped

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Cut white and light green part of leeks into 1/2 inch pieces.

chopped leeks

Discard the green tops. Put leek pieces into a bowl of cold water.

soaking leeks

Leeks can be very sandy. Make sure to let them soak for a few minutes. The sand will fall to the bottom of the bowl and you can then drain the clean leeks.

Chop onion and celery.

veggie prep

Heat oil and butter. Add leeks, onion and celery. Saute until tender, about 5 minutes.

sauteed veggies

Add garlic and red chili flakes. Cook another minute.

While veggies are sauteing, chop potatoes. Add potatoes to leek/onion mixture.

Next add veggie broth. One note on veggie broth. I strongly suggested buying vegetarian bouillon cubes. They are much cheaper than veggie stock. I use one cube per 4 cups of water (the package says 1 cube per 2 cups but it always works out well for me with the extra water).

Add broccoli stalks to broth. I happen to have stalks lying around waiting to be juiced and I thought they’d add a nice flavor to the broth, which they did. Feel free to omit. If you do use them, remove before serving, but feel free to snack on them while getting the rest of dinner together.

Add nutmeg, bay leaf, salt and rosemary. Bring soup up to a boil then reduce to a simmer. I didn’t chop my rosemary as fine as I wish I did, as seen below. Make sure it’s finely minced, I found the bigger pieces to be a little annoying.

potato leek soup

I let the soup simmer for about an hour then turned off the heat and covered the pot. I reheated the soup a couple of hours later when we were ready for dinner.

potato leek soup potato leek soup

Served with toast and earth balance.

I thought about blending this but according to Michael there is something heartier and more filling about the chunks of potato and leek.

Perfect for today’s snow-filled day.

Enjoy and Exhale!