Tortilla Soup

Fall is the perfect time for a nice hearty soup and this Tortilla soup is one of my favorites. It takes a bit of dicing, but is pretty simple to make. Also freezes nicely if you have any left overs. We eat this soup as a meal. Makes 6 good sized servings.

Tortilla Soup

Ingredients:
1 TBSP Olive Oil
1 Yellow Onion, diced
3 Large Cloves of Garlic, minced
1 Large Red Bell Pepper, diced
1 Jalapeno Pepper, seeded and diced (optional)
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
2 medium zucchinis, chopped bite size
1 (24 oz) can crushed tomatoes
3 cups vegetable broth
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional, omit if you don’t like the heat)
1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed

Optional toppings:
Sliced avocado, tortilla chips, squeeze of fresh lime, fresh cilantro

Directions:
1. In a large pot, heat oil, add the onion and garlic and sauté about 5 minutes. Season with Salt and Pepper.
2. Stir in Red Bell Pepper, Jalapeno Pepper, Corn and Zucchini. Sauté for 10 minutes.
3. Add crushed tomatoes, broth, cumin, chili powder, cayenne. Stir well.
4. Bring to a low boil and reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes.
5. Stir in Black beans and cook an additional 5 minutes.
6. Ladle into bowls, top as desired and enjoy.

CAULIFLOWER BROWNIES

I know it sounds a little strange to have the words cauliflower and brownies in the same recipe title, but trust me on this one, these are fantastic. I’m totally addicted to them. I make them vegan by switching our regular chocolate chips to a vegan version found at Whole Foods. Try it and let me know what you think.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup cacao powder (unsweetened)
1/2 cup (or less – I only use slightly more than 1/4) coconut sugar
1 TBSP vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups cauliflower, steamed and cooled
1/4 cup almond milk (or vegan milk of choice)
1/3 cup almond butter
3/4 cup chocolate chips (I use 1/2 chocolate chips and 1/2 cacao nibs)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350, prepare 8×8 baking tin
2. Place all ingredients except the chocolate chips and cacao nibs into a food processor and process until smooth
3. Stir in chocolate chips and cacao nibs
4. Pour into pan, spreading evenly to make nice thin brownies
5. Bake 25 minutes or until brownies firm up
6. Let cool completely before serving

I like to cut them up and freeze them. This way I can take one piece out at a time, making the whole batch last over a few weeks. Be warned, you may discover you like them frozen too. Enjoy!

SCONES WITH CURRANTS

I love currants and I love scones, especially with a nice cup of tea. Most scones are made with real butter and buttermilk. These scones are made vegan style.
I classify this recipe as super easy.

Tea and Scones
Tea and Scones

Ingredients:
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I use Almond Milk)
1/2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
2 cups Spelt flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 TBSP unrefined coconut oil, solid (chill it in the fridge if in a hot climate)
2 TBSP unsweetened applesauce
1 cup currents, soaked in hot water for 5 minutes, then drained and rinsed
Freshly grated orange zest (from 1 orange)

Directions:
1 – Preheat oven to 375, line baking sheet with parchment paper (or use a silicone baking mat), dust with flour and set aside.
2 – Whisk together non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar (this makes vegan buttermilk). Allow to sit 5 minutes.
3 – In a medium bowl mist together Spelt Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda and Sea Salt. Add the coconut oil. Using your hands pinch the coconut oil into the flour until you get pea size pieces (don’t over work it). Stir in the vegan buttermilk and applesauce until you get a sticky dough. Then fold in the currents and orange zest and form a ball.
4 – Transfer the dough to a prepared baking sheet, dust with a little more flour and flatten to form an 8″ round. Cut into 8 or more equal parts (like a pizza).
5 – Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden. Test with a toothpick (should come out clean).

Scone just out of the oven
Scone just out of the oven

VEGAN FRENCH TOAST

Do you find yourself craving an old childhood favorite breakfast of French Toast, but the vegan in you won’t allow you to make it because of the eggs. Well now you can still have it without the eggs. This French toast recipe is super easy and very yummy. I know it will become a regular breakfast treat in your house, just like it now is in mine. Enjoy.

Ingredients:

1 banana, mashed
1 cup almond milk
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla extract
6 slices of bread (or 12 slices of a baguette to make mini toasts)
Coconut oil

Directions:
1 – Mash banana in a shallow bowl. Add milk, cinnamon and vanilla. Mix well. (I used my immulsifier and a deeper bowl to get it really well mixed.)
2 – Dip bread into mixture for 5-10 seconds per side.
3 – Place oil in pan, heat (medium), add dipped bread. Cook 3-4 minutes per side until browned and crispy.
4 – Serve with maple syrup or fruit

So yummy I almost forgot to take the picture.
So yummy I almost forgot to take the picture.

Please feel free to respond to this post with advice on how to take better pictures of food. I need all the help I can get.

OLIVE TAMPENADE

I’m always looking for different appetizers to share with friends aboard Blue Sky. This recipe is simple enough to make ahead and keep on hand in a jar in the fridge for up to 10 days. It goes well on toasted baguette slices or crackers. Don’t expect it to last long, it is delicious.

Ingredients:
1 (5 ounce) jar pitted black olives
1 (7 ounce) jar green pimento olives
2 ½ TBSP Olive Oil
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
5/8 cup white onion, chopped
1 tsp capers
Ground black pepper (several shakes)

Directions:
1 – Drain liquid from both olive containers
2 – Finely chop garlic and onion
3 – Put all ingredients into a food processor and pulse 5-10 times. You want little chunks, not mush.
4 – Refrigerate until ready to serve. Place on toasted baguette slices just before you serve so the bread doesn’t get too wet. Or allow guests to top their cracker of choice.