Over the last few days I noticed that suddenly it’s no longer pitch black when I leave my office each evening, and that makes me so happy!
Here in Toronto we’ve been so lucky with the milder and much less snowy winter this year when compared with the awful one we had last year. But it’ll still be cold for a while longer, and today I have a healthy and delicious soup that’s just perfect for these cold winter nights.
I’ve been wanting to make a soup full of Mexican flavours ever since I saw a sign outside a restaurant last month touting their Tex-Mex tortilla soup as a “scarf for your belly”. Since I’m trying to cut the calories, I skipped the tortillas and… scarfed down a good 3 bowls of this hearty vegan and gluten-free Southwestern Black Bean Soup.
This soup is so packed with veggie goodness and just a little bit of spiciness from the jalapenos to help clear out those sinus passages.
That dollop of sour cream? It’s tahini! I just mixed a couple tablespoons of tahini paste with a small amount of water, a good squeeze of lemon juice and a little salt and pepper. It added a whole other dimension of flavour and creaminess to this soup. I love this easy and healthy alternative to the much heavier and time-intensive cashew sour cream!
Find the Southwestern Black Bean Soup recipe HERE.
Thank you all for your amazing response to my recent post. It means the world to me to have wonderful friends and readers like you! I am so thankful for the outpouring of support, and it means so much to me that my story touched and informed so many.
Feeling thankful for things, this weekend we hosted an early Thanksgiving dinner. We’re going to be out of the country during (Canadian) Thanksgiving, but since it’s my favourite holiday, I really wanted to celebrate it early. Of course, that meant Early Thanksgiving fell within Sugar-Free September, so well, that was a challenge!
The only thing stressing me out all week was dessert. For me, Thanksgiving isn’t really Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie, so I really wanted to find a way to enjoy pumpkin pie while avoiding any sugars and sweeteners including stevia, and even maple syrup and dates. I found a way!
I’ll be sharing some of my healthy Thanksgiving recipes here on the blog, but as a thank you for reading, I’m giving you a copy of my totally Sugar-Free Thanksgiving menu to download.
You’ll find 7 easy recipes for a healthy Thanksgiving dinner menu that contains absolutely no added sugars, including my sugar-free pumpkin pie.
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Today I’m sharing two super easy recipes using two of my favourite vegetables: broccoli and cauliflower. They’re so versatile and I love enjoying them in salads, soups, as roasted sides and just on their own as a snack. Here they’re shown off in two totally different ways. First up is a spicy hot recipe where they’re Buffalo-style and roasted, and then next is a way more mellow take where they’re lightly steamed and blended into a creamy, dairy-free soup.
Buffalo cauliflower recipes have been all over Pinterest for ages, but if you haven’t tried it then, I think it’s about time! This recipe takes your everyday mild-flavoured roasted cauliflower to another level as a mouth-tingling, eye-watering totally-veg stand in for hot wings. Of course, if you like things a little on the milder side, you can take it down a notch, too.
I applied this same approach to my broccoli, and I think I might like it even a little bit more! Sure, it doesn’t have that same chicken wing look that the cauliflower offers, but the way those little broccoli buds crisp up? Amazingness!
Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower and Broccoli Bites
½ head broccoli
½ head cauliflower
1 tbs coconut oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tbs olive oil
½ cup hot sauce
Directions: Pre-heat over to 350F. Break cauliflower and broccoli into bite-sized pieces. In a large Ziploc bag or bowl, combine cauliflower and broccoli with coconut oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Roast on a large baking sheet for approx. 15 minutes, turning half way. Remove from oven and toss with olive oil and hot sauce and bake for an additional 5 minutes. If they’re cooked but not crispy yet, you can put them under the broiler for a bit (2-3 minutes), but keep an eye on them!
If you have one, an air fryer is another great option for a healthy and quicky way to whip up these cauliflower and broccoli bites. Don’t have an air fryer yet? Click here for the best air fryer 2017.
Now that your taste buds are on fire, it’s time to cool things off with this creamy soup that is equally delicious served hot or cold. You can keep things totally raw, but I think a light steaming helps things blend up more easily. If you like your creamy soups cheesy, like I do, then don’t skip the nutritional yeast which actually tastes like cheese! I dump a whole lot in mine and then serve it up with even more. It’s so healthy that I can feel good about it, too. I used a whole head of broccoli since I had so much I needed to use up, but you can go with just the half head you’ll have left over after you try out those Buffalo bites.
Cauliflower and Broccoli Soup
½ head cauliflower
1 head broccoli
2 cloves garlic
4 cups vegetable broth
¼ cup nutritional yeast
salt and pepper, to taste
Directions: Steam broccoli and cauliflower until slightly tender. Combine with remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Be careful not to overfill your blender. You might have to do this in two batches and add more broth or water to achieve desired consistency. If you are using a Vitamix, blend on high until hot. Season to taste and serve with another scoop of nutritional yeast.
It’s Friday! And, for me, the end of the week usually means that I have little else in the fridge but leftovers, wilted vegetables and browning fruits. I hate to waste food, so when my lettuce is unfit for salads, my potatoes have sprouted and my pears nearly liquify upon touch, I know it’s time to pull out the Vitamix and make some soups and smoothies. Lots of blending later, I have a freezer full of green smoothies and a belly full of soup.
I know it isn’t really the season for soups, but it’s definitely the season for leeks, and I had a huge one that I’d gotten in this week’s organic produce box. I knew I had a few potatoes from my potato salad still left in the dark depths of the cupboard, so Potato & Leek Soup it was. A couple softening carrots and a bruised tomato later and I had a huge batch of this vibrant and flavourful soup.
Potato & Leek Soup
3 potatoes, chopped
1 leek, sliced
1 tomato, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1″ ginger root
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbs olive oil
3 cups vegetable broth
Directions: Bring broth to a boil and cook potatoes, carrots, and tomatoes until tender. Over medium heat, sautee leek and garlic in olive oil until lightly browned. Add everything to Vitamix (but retain about a cup of chopped potatoes, leeks, tomatoes and carrots, which we’ll add back in for texture) and blend until smooth. Add more water if necessary. Season to taste and enjoy!
I’ve stocked the freezer with the leftover soup as well as a week’s worth of smoothies. I always make my smoothies in batches because while I love to have one each day, there’s no way I’m hauling out the blender and prepping all my fruits and veg on a daily basis. If you’re freezing smoothies in mason jars, make sure to only fill to the shoulder (that spot where the jar begins to curve). Otherwise you’ll end up with a freezer full of broken glass!
In making these smoothies, I used:
1 head romaine lettuce
1 bunch spinach
2 Granny Smith apples
1 bunch celery
huge chunk of ginger
And now I’ll leave you with a picture of our beautiful cat, Josie, enjoying her big new cat tree. Have a wonderful and relaxing weekend! xo