Friday, March 20, 2009

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup

This is a fabulous recipe for using up the bits and pieces you find in your crisper and vegetable bins. Whenever I have veggies left that aren't enough for a complete meal, I make this soup and then freeze it!



1/4 cup EVOO

1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed

2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 large parsnip, peeled and chopped

1 large or 2 small leeks, sliced lengthwise, rinsed and coarsely chopped (light green parts only)

1 onion, peeled and quartered

3 bay leaves

fresh thyme & rosemary sprigs, or a couple teaspoons of dried

5 cups vegetable stock

salt and pepper

  • Preheat the oven to 4ooF. In a large bowl combine the EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil) with the vegetables. Toss to coat completely.

  • Spread the vegetables out on one or two baking sheets. Tuck the bay leaves and sprigs of herbs between them and roast for approximately 50 minutes (or until tender). Turn the vegetables occasionally to ensure even browning.
  • Discard the herbs and place the vegetables in a large stock pot.

  • Pour the vegetable stock into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium high and simmer for 10 minutes.

  • Puree the soup using either an immersion blender or standing blender. Return the pot to the heat and taste before seasoning.

  • ENJOY!

Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potatoes with Maple Syrup

I have NEVER liked Brussels sprouts, so when my friend Shannon served them to us one night when we were visiting them, I was panicked! You have to be a good guest and eat what is served you right? Well, I am SO glad that I did eat them because now I am a Brussels convert - and I'm sure you will be too!!



4 strips of bacon, cut into 1/2" pieces

1 onion, finely chopped

2lb Brussels sprouts, cut in half lengthwise

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans (optional)

3 med. sweet potatoes, peeled sliced in half lengthwise, and cut into 1/2 moons

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

  • Preheat oven to 4ooF. Lightly butter a 2 quart souffle dish (or casserole dish)
  • In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove bacon and reserve on a paper towel. Reduce heat to med-low and saute onion until translucent.
  • Add Brussels sprouts and saute, stirring frequently to ensure even browning, until slightly soft. Transfer to a bowl and add reserved bacon, salt, pepper and pecans.
  • Add potato slices to skillet and saute till brown. Add to the bowl.
  • Whisk together maple syrup and melted butter until thickened. Add to vegetables and mix well to ensure everything is covered in the maple syrup mixture.
  • Transfer veggies to baking dish and bake in oven for 20 minutes.
  • ENJOY!!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Backyard Edibles!

In my quest to serve a variety of vegetables that we don't normally eat, I picked up a bunch of dandelion greens in the grocery store yesterday. I wasn't too sure what to do with them, but decided to go onto trusty and found this fantastic recipe! The whole family gobbled it down (okay, so three out of four isn't bad...India just ate the potatoes and bacon!)



1 lb fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise

4 tbsp EVOO

dried thyme


1 bunch of dandelion greens

1 cup fresh parsley

3 tbsp sherry wine vinegar (although apple cider or rice wine works great!)

12 oz bacon, cut into 1/2" dice

1/4 cup shallots, diced

  • Preheat oven to 4ooF. Mix the potatoes in a bowl with 2 tbsp EVOO, thyme (to taste...I added approx. 1 tbsp), and 1 tsp salt. Roast on a baking sheet with foil over top for 40 minutes (or until potatoes are soft). I took the foil off for the last 5 minutes so that the fingerlings were golden brown.

  • Whisk vinegar, EVOO together in a small bowl and set aside.

  • Saute bacon until crisp. Add shallots and potatoes. Add the vinegar and saute till all are heated through.

  • Season with salt and pepper if you feel it's necessary.

  • Gradually add handfuls of the dandelion greens to the saute pan - I cut the leaves into thirds. Stir until wilted down.

  • Serve and grate parmesan-reggiano over top!


Chatting with my friends Melissa and Victoria prompted me to post this recipe. Victoria said she's trying to love carrots and Melissa wants a low-fat soup so this totally fit the bill! It is super-easy, makes a fair amount and is freezable - so it's basically a staple in our house.

2 lbs carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1/4 cup margarine or unsalted butter
8 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
1/4 tsp pepper & salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 cup 18% cream (optional)
  1. Sweat all the veggies (basically you are sauteeing the vegetables until they glisten like sweat!) in the margarine or butter in a large stock pot. Saute for 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Add the stock and dill. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer for 35 to 40 mins.
  3. Puree the soup using an immersion or standing blender. Reheat to serving temperature and add the cayenne, pepper and salt.
  4. At this point if you are partial to creamed pureed soups, you can stir in the cream...however it is delicious we find without it!
  5. ENJOY!

*I love to serve this with a nice herbed foccacia or olive bread (or crusty bread with olive tapenade!)

Friday, March 6, 2009


As I was sat enjoying a big bowl of my homemade granola, it occurred to me that although I have given many friends the recipe, or baggies full of it, I haven't posted the recipe. It is not only incredibly good for you, but it is really tasty and has a satisfying crunchiness to it that we love on top of applesauce, yogurt, with milk or even just on its own as a snack!

My Mum used to make this when we were children, from a recipe that she had taken from "Prevention Magazine". I remembered the flavour and when my pallet was tired and disappointed with the commercially made, flavourless cereals with ingredients I couldn't pronounce, I begged her for the recipe.

Don't feel daunted by the ingredient list - all of the items in the recipe are available at your local health food store, bulk food store or grocery store (I personally get the majority of the items from "Bulk Barn"!)

It seems expensive at first when you are purchasing the ingredients for the first time, but bear in mind that this recipe makes the equivalent of 10 - 11 cups of granola. Plus many of the ingredients will last you for quite a while (for example if you buy a big bag of old fashioned oats, they will last for at least 4 or 5 batches!) So really it is quite economical, and the biggest bonus is that these are ALL NATURAL ingredients!!! NO PRESERVATIVES OR FILLERS!!!!




2 cups old fashioned oats

2 1/2 cups wheat germ

1 cup rye flakes (lately I have been doing 1/2 cup of rye flakes & 1/2 cup of spelt flakes)

1/2 cup sesame seeds

1/2 cup bran

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup chopped almonds

3 cups dry milk

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup soy granules (mine is actually a powder that I use)

1 tbsp lecithin granules

1/4 cup organic, roasted, ground flax seed


3/4 cup honey

1 tbsp real vanilla extract

1/2 cup melted unsalted butter

  1. Mix ingredients together until large chunks are formed (it doesn't matter if all the dry ingredients aren't fully combined with the wet ingredients - it's granola!)

  2. Turn mixture out onto two rimmed baking sheets and place in a 225F oven for 1 1/2 hrs.

  3. Keep stirring to ensure even browning and if it isn't brown enough for you after the allotted time, just keep it in the oven longer, but keep an eye on it as you don't want it to burn.

  4. Place into a large airtight container and enjoy any time of the day!

*We have the container out on our countertop for easy access. It lasts for at least two weeks (could last longer, but with the four of us dipping into it, it doesn't in our house!!!)

*I enjoy dried fruit in my granola so in addition to this base recipe, I usually throw in chopped dried dates, chopped dried apricots, raisins, dried cranberries or cherries, dried pineapple or mango...whatever takes my fancy, or whatever I have left over in my pantry!!!

*Make sure that you use real butter for this recipe - it's not a lot for the amount of dried ingredients - so be a purist and no oil or margarine (many soft serve margarines aren't great for baking and really, they are manufactured items and with ingredients this pure, you don't want to mess with chemicals!)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


It is amazing how one's mood is instantly lifted while eating something like this dish. The fresh, juicy taste of the tomatoes, the chewy quinoa and the walnuts, the spinach and basil all work in concert on the palate to mimic summertime. I was feeling like trying some new recipes, and after speaking to my friend Moira about the summer CSA basket from Cooper's Farm - something with their produce as well. I searched (where I always go for inspiration!) and discovered this recipe! I purchased a bag of quinoa quite a while ago but have never got around to actually using it. Perhaps some of my reticence is due to the fact that I have never cooked with quinoa and wasn't too sure what to do with it! Anyway, this is not only delicious, incorporates common produce that you probably have in your refrigerator already (and that I receive in my basket), but is really nutritious and tasty! I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!



1 cup quinoa

2 cups of water

1 tbsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

1 tsp Kosher salt

1 clove of garlic, chopped (although I love garlic so much I added 3!)

1 cup of grape tomatoes, halved

5 oz of baby spinach (or regular, chopped)

1/2 cup walnut pieces, toasted

1/2 cup Parmesan-Reggiano, grated

1 tbsp basil pesto (optional garnish)

  1. Place the quinoa in a bowl and cover with water. Let sit for a minute or two, and then drain thoroughly.

  2. In a skillet, heat EVOO and add the quinoa. Saute for approximately 10 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and stir for 1 minute, before adding the 2 cups of water and salt. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat, and cook for approximately 10 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed (and don't get all caught up in something like I did, and forget about it causing the quinoa to burn to the bottom of the pan!!!)

  3. Remove the lid and stir in the tomatoes and spinach. Stir until spinach is wilted.

  4. Stir in walnuts and cheese and top with some basil pesto & black pepper.

  5. Serve warm!

This is also very tasty at room temperature as a salad!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Toronto Star Article Regarding Humane Farming

I read this article in today's edition of the Toronto Star, in the "Entertainment & Living" section. It really struck a chord with me as our family is committed to eating 'cleaner' and supporting local farmers who farm in a responsible and humane manner. Hopefully this article will spark some interest and business for the owners of "Blue Haven Farm" - they deserve to be revered for what they are doing with their farm, and definitely supported!


Monday, March 2, 2009

Soup Kitchen Faves

Someone commented to me that if my blog is called "soup kitchen", how come there's no soup recipes on there? Funnily enough I LOVE soup and am usually making all sorts, but prior to creating this blog I stocked my freezer so I haven't been cooking any lately! Victoria, I will put some of my favourites on here and then add photos later on when I make them again, okay?!


3 tbsp of unsalted butter
2 medium-sized fennel bulbs (sometimes called anise), trimmed, chopped and reserve some of the fronds for garnish
1 large leek, halved lengthwise, rinsed and thinly sliced crosswise
1 tsp of fennel seeds
1 1/2 lbs of potatoes, peeled and cut into 2" cubes
5 1/2 cups of broth (I use vegetable, but you can also use chicken)
  • Melt butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add fennel, leak and seeds and cook until the vegetables become soft. Make sure to stir often to prevent sticking and burning!
  • Add potatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Cover with a lid and simmer until potatoes are tender (approx. 15 mins).
  • Either using an immersion-style blender (a MUST for soups in my books!), or a standing blender, puree the soup until smooth. If it is too thick for your liking, you can thin it using water or stock.
  • Season to taste with salt & pepper.
  • When serving, garnish with fennel fronds. If you enjoy smoked salmon, you can also garnish with a few pieces of this too!
*This soup freezes really well!*

2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
2 tsp hot curry powder
3 1/4 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt & pepper
Paprika or red pepper flakes for garnish
  • Melt butter in a large pot, and saute onion. Add garlic and parsnips and continue sauteing.
  • Add stock to pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until parsnips are tender (approx. 15 to 20 mins). Take off of the heat.
  • Puree using an immersion blender or standing blender.
  • Add cream and stir. Season to taste using salt and pepper and garnish before serving!
*This soup freezes really well!*

2 tbsp EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
1 onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 lb parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
4 1/2 cups of vegetable stock
2 tsp of creamy peanut butter
1 tbsp Tamari (or regular soy sauce)
salt & pepper
  • In a large pot, saute onion in EVOO until translucent and then add the garlic, ginger, carrot and parsnips. Saute for a few minutes and then add the stock.
  • Bring soup to a boil and then reduce heat. Simmer until parsnips are tender.
  • Add peanut butter and tamari to taste.
  • Puree with an immersion or standing blender.
*My children love this and we call it "peanut butter soup" so that there is no objections to the mention of vegetables!*