Coconut Curry Pumpkin Soup


The first time I had this lovely winter soup was many years ago, and I haven't had it since.  That is until we were looking for something to do with our autumn decor a few weeks ago -  after freezing 48 cups of pureed pumpkin, we needed to find some pumpkin recipes! 

The sweetness of the pumpkin and coconut milk balances nicely with the curry spices and red pepper flakes.

Those of you averse to coconut milk (which I find hard to imagine, but there are some!) can leave it out completely for a thicker soup, or use a milk or cream substitute instead.  The original calls for a dollop of sour cream, but it's not necessary if you're trying to stay away from dairy.

Don't forget the pumpkin seeds!

Tools needed: 
large saucepan or pot
40 minutes
Pumpkin Soup
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 stick butter or 1/4 cup butter substitute
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 cups vegetable broth
1 15 oz can pumpkin (or 2 cups pureed pumpkin
1 cup coconut milk or even better, (coconut cream!)
Sour cream
Chipped fresh chives or cilantro
Toasted pumkin seeds
  1. Saute the onion and garlic in the butter in a large saucepan or pot until the onion is tender.
  2. Stir in the curry powder, salt, coriander and red pepper flakes. Cook for one minute, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the broth and mix well. Bring to a gentle boil.
  4. Boil for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Stir in the pumpkin and coconut milk.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Process the soup in batches in a blender until creamy.  Ladle the warm soup into bowls.
  7. Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream (if desired - skip if dairy free) and sprinkle with chives, cilantro and/or toasted pumpkin seeds.

Tabbouleh Salad


I was hooked on this refreshing Mediterranean  delight at first taste, courtesy of Boyfriend's Aunt Tia.  I don't think there's anything as fresh and delicious as this tabbouleh salad recipe on a hot day.  It's a snap to make, especially if you're feeding a crowd, which Aunt Tia often is!

Tools needed: 
Big salad bowl
45 minutes
Tabbouleh Plate with Hummus, Pita, and Pea Shoots
1 cup burghul (cracked wheat), cooked according to package instructions, drain and allow to cool to room temperature
2 large tomatoes, diced (or you can 1/4 2 cups of cherry tomatoes, too)
1 bunch green onions
1 big bunch of parsley (or two, the more green, the better!)
1/2 bunch mint, chopped
1 large cucumber, diced
1/2 cup olive oil
juice of three lemons
1 tbs salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 clove garlic (more if you love garlic!)
  1.  Place burghul in a large bowl.  Add all chopped vegetables and mix well.
  2. Add oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and mix again.
  3. Allow burghul to soak and absorb the juice for about an hour.
  4. Serve chilled over lettuce, or with hummus and pita, as shown.  Top with feta cheese if desired.



Spicy Radish and Chickpea Salad


Boyfriend and I have been working on this one for a while - he likes to spice lots of foods this way, and I like making use of all the parts of of a veggie in my recipes.  Here we use the radishes and the tops together for a variety of textures and flavors.  Chickpeas add umami, as well as protein and further texture to this vegetarian dish.  The dollop of creamy yogurt tones down the spiciness a little while adding another layer of flavor, texture, and a multitude of other health benefits. Turmeric offers tons cancer-fighting properties and lots of anti-oxidants, and spicy foods are full of antioxidants, too.

Enjoy the healthy, ethnic spicy-liciousness!

Tools needed: 
large saute pan
30 minutes
Warm Radish and Chickpea Salad
2-3 bunches washed radishes, greens cut off (save!), bulbs sliced into bite-size pieces
2 cans cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed, drained, and patted dry
1 cup chopped green onions, white and green parts
4 tbs plain yogurt (dairy alternative to make vegan and dairy free)
2-3 tbs olive oil
1 tbs turmeric
1 tbs paprika, plus some for garnish
tsp chili powder (or to taste)
1 tsp cayenne (or to taste)
salt to taste
  1. Mix turmeric, paprika, chili powder, and cayenne together with a fork in a small bowl.
  2. Heat oil in large non-stick pan over medium heat.
  3. Add chickpeas, moving them around to coat with oil.  Spoon spice mixture over beans, coating as evenly as possible.
  4. Mix in radishes and white parts of green onions, coating with remaining spice mixture.
  5. When the radishes and onions begin to soften, add greens, mixing together until greens are tender. Salt to taste, do not overcook.
  6. Scoop portions into four serving bowls, and top with tablespoon of yogurt.  Sprinkle with green onions and paprika.

Peanut Noodles with Shrimp


I'm still on a "fast and easy" kick (a la my salad post last week), but variety is the spice of life, huh?  And so Boyfriend and I have been on a mission to create a quick, but flavorful - ethnic, even! - dish to satisfy all of those requirements.  Behold our collaboration - a Thai-inspired peanut-y, noodle-y, spicy bowl of yumminess topped with some fresh greenery and crunchy shrimp, too!  And our "veggie" friends just need to bypass the shrimp and throw some tofu in the sauce while it cooks - easy!

TIP:  The peanut sauce can also be used over salad or as a dip.  Bonus!

Tools needed: 
Large saucepan and pot
20 minutes
Peanut Noodles
8 oz. spaghetti or rice noodles (we used rice noodles for gluten-free)
1 - 4 oz. can cooked shrimp (we used Trader Joe's Wild Pink Shrimp)
4 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 cup minced red onion
2 tbs minced garlic
1/2 tsp hot chili pepper
2 tbs sugar
2 tbs rice vinegar
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 cup water
1-2 tbs chopped fresh cilantro or basil (or both!)
1-2 chopped green onions, white and green parts
Lime juice (optional)
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.
  2. In a blender combine sesame oil, onion, garlic, and hot chili pepper; blend for 1 minute.
  3. Empty the mixture into a large saucepan and place over low heat until the mixture starts releasing aroma.  Add peanut butter and mix well over low heat.
  4. Add water and let it simmer for 10 minutes or until thickened.
  5. Stir in vinegar and sugar; continue to simmer for another 1-2 minutes.  Tast and add more vinegar and sugar if the mixture does not have enough sour or sweet taste.
  6. Pour sauce over noodles, and mix to coat.
  7. Add basil, cilantro, green onions and shrimp; toss and place in serving bowl.
  8. Optional: Squeeze fresh lime over the top just before serving.

Note to vegetarians/vegans: replace shrimp with cubed tofu - just cook the tofu in the sauce while heating.TIP: The peanut sauce can also be used alone as a salad dressing or a veggie dip.


Chewy's Salsa


Boyfriend has a new hobby: salsa making!  He has been fine-tuning this recipe for a couple of months now, so we've been eating a lot of salsa! 

He's ready for me to share the following version with you, along with the disclaimer that there's no way that you can make it exactly the same way twice, considering the variation of heat and flavor in pasilla and habanero peppers.  So consider this a starting point from which to do your own tweaking!

Tools needed: 
food processor, non-stick frying pan (preferably cast iron)
30-45 minutes
Chewy's Salsa
2-4 tomatoes, depending on size (we used two rather large tomatoes), roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped (yellow or red, depending on your taste)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped (leaves and stems)
1 tbs lime juice
2 jalapenos, seeds and stem removed, roughly chopped
1/2 pasilla pepper, seeds and stem removed, roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
cayenne pepper to taste
salt and pepper to taste
sesame oil, for sauteeing
  1. Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan to until medium-hot.  Add 1/2 onion, 1/2 garlic, and chopped peppers.  Lightly saute until soft, but not browned.  Remove from pan and set aside to cool.
  2. Put all other ingredients in food processor, pulse until consistency you like.
  3. Add cooked ingredients and pulse thoroughly mixed, and consistency you like.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste.  Tweak cayenne pepper if needed.  Make sure to taste test - if too spicy, you may need to add more tomatoes.
Contributed by: 

Black Bean and Corn Southwestern Salad


I like a little bit of everything in my salad, and now that corn is officially in season, I needed a salad recipe to make use of its sweet summer deliciousness.  So I just started adding stuff that fit a southwestern theme and added the black beans and quinoa for substance.  The avocado or guacamole add to the richness as well.  Behold, a hearty summer salad with enough substance to call a meal!

30 minutes
Black Bean and Corn Southwestern Salad
8-10 cups of your favorite lettuce or salad greens, crunchy romaine seems to hold up to all the other ingredients well
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (skip if you hate cilantro, add more if you love it!)
1 bell pepper, diced
1 cup fresh corn, cut off the cob (yes, raw!; and use a serrated knife)
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cup quinoa or rice, cooked
1/4 cup chopped red or green onion
1-2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
avocado or guacamole
  1. Place lettuce, bell pepper pieces, and cilantro in a large salad bowl.  Drizzle with oil and vinegar; toss until thorougly coated.
  2. Mix beans, rice/quinoa, and onion in a microwave safe bowl.  Heat, covered, for a minute or two in microwave, just until warm.
  3. Toss all in ingredients, but avocado, in large salad bowl until thoroughly mixed.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste.  Top with diced avocado, guacamole or your favorite salsa/dressing.

Girbert's guacamole recipe.Girlbert's Raw Tomatillo Salsa recipe.


Best Hummus Ever


I've made (and eaten!) a lot of hummus, but this is the best recipe I've tried so far.  I recently came across this version on another favorite blogger's website.  Rebecca Woolf, of Girls Gone Child just started adding her mother's (WWW, or Wendy) vegetarian recipes, in a new section on her website, aptly titled "Eat Well".

I tweaked it a little for my taste by adding the parsley, but it's true to Wendy's version otherwise.

Rebecca's mother also wrote this very interesting and informative article on the hows and whys of cooking/eating vegetarian.  Thought I'd share with my fellow hummus-eaters!

Tools needed: 
food processor
Raw Hummus
2 15-oz cans garbanzo beans (chick peas), rinsed and drained
1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
juice of 2 or 3 lemons
2 cloves garlic (more if you LOVE raw garlic!)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin
Good quality olive oil
2 tsp freshly chopped (or dried) parsley
warm water
Other variations: Add basil, roasted peppers, red onion (my fave!), or cilantro! Experiement until you make your favorite!
  1. Put all ingredients in the food processor except the olive oil and the water.  Turn on processor and add about 1/4 cup water and a few tablespoons of oil or until you get the consistency you like.
  2. Process until smooth.
  3. Taste and correct seasoning if needed.
  4. I like to serve garnished with a little paprika (a little color never hurt anybody!) and parsley.
  5. Serve with veggies or pita bread or chips.  Or use in your favorite wrap or sandwich instead of cheese and condiments!

Tropical Bean Salad


It's salsa season, and this is the yummiest, not to mention most beautiful, fruit salsas I've ever tried.  Not too sweet, with just the right amount of juice to substance and fruit to zing ratio - it can be served on it's own as a salad, as part of a taco bar or with chips as a salsa.  This colorful salad is sure to be a crowd pleaser at your next summer potluck or BBQ!

Thanks to Boyfriend's cousins Gary and Margo in Albuquerque for this fantastic recipe!

Tools needed: 
A good knife!
20 minutes
Tropical Bean Salad
1-2 mangoes, skin removed, chopped
1/2 sweet or red onion (depending on your taste) or 4 green onions, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 can yellow corn or 1 1/2 cups raw fresh corn, cut off cob
1 can black beans
1 tbs fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 tbs cilantro, minced
  1. Combine, onion, mango, red bell pepper, corn, beans and lime juice in a bowl until mixed well.
  2. Add salt, pepper and cilantro and mix again.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad


This is my own version of a Trader Joe's "sample" recipe.  The original called for couscous, but I like the protein packed-punch of the quinoa instead.  I've been cooking with quinoa a TON these days, great for making ahead of time and keeping in the fridge to throw in with whatever.

Quinoa-Feta Deliciousness!
1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
1 can garbanzo beans
2 green onions, chopped (white and green parts)
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/2 cup kalmata olives, diced
1/4 - 1/2 cup sesame/tahini/Goddess dressing (pick your favorite brand)
  1. Cook the quinoa in the vegetable broth, according to package directions.
  2. Fluff with a fork, then add beans, onions, cheese and olives.  
  3. Dress and toss lightly.

Raw Hummus


Since moving to mostly raw foods, I've been missing this Mediteranean treat something FIERCE, so I was thrilled to find this delicious, raw version (adapted to my tastes, of course!) on the Crazy Sexy Cancer website

We've also shared this with some friends who gave it a serious thumbs up, so call that a win for raw foods!

Tools needed: 
food processor
20 minutes
Raw Hummus
1 cup soaked rinsed, soaked raw almonds (soaking water has been poured off, almonds patted dry) or raw almond pulp leftover from making nutmilk
1/4 cup to 1/3 cup water
1/4 cup raw tahini
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
juice from 1 lemon
1 tbs fresh minced parsley
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 to 1/2 tsp ground cumin (adjust to taste)
1/4 cup cold-pressed olive oil
  1. Whiz the almonds in the food processor until they're finely ground.
  2. Add the water and make it a pretty smooth.
  3. Add in the remaining ingredients (and more water if you like, hummus may thicken up).
  4. Blend until smooth and adjust seasonings to taste.
  5. Spoon into a serving bowl, sprinkle with paprika and chopped parsley to garnish.  Serve with your favorite raw crackers and veggies.  Enjoy!
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