real food. real life.
Yummy. Yummy. Yummy.
On a hot summer's day.
It's called air conditioning folks! Or, better yet, it's those amazing heat pumps you've all heard of! AMAZING! AAAAAA-Mazing!! Seriously. It was gross hot out. Humid, heavy, and cloudy. Begging for rain. Our back deck was full of mosquitoes. Yuck. Kind of made me miss winter. For a second. So, yes, we stayed indoors most of the day. Don't judge! We played, had friends over, and made yummy food. It was a great day.
So, cloudy day to me, no matter how hot it actually was, meant soup. I started to make our favourite creamy vegetable soup, but then I remembered how awesome sausage is and that we had some in the freezer. And then I remembered Hannah won't let us feed her anything by spoon anymore but yet she hasn't figured out spoon-feeding herself yet. So, I give you 'Chunky Vegetable & Italian Sausage Soup'. Half smooth and creamy, half chunky and spicy. Yummers!
Also, I just want to toot my own horn for a moment - for a while I was protesting the whole 'posting multiple photos of the same food' on food blogs because sometimes it drives me nuts to scroll through them all, but then part of me was kind jealous of the awesome photos they would have. And part of me was protesting because I thought it was impressive enough to have 1 decent photo to post, and remember the recipe, and even remember to post it, while taking care of a 1 year old who is usually whining about something as suppertime rolls around. I thought it would be too hard to actually get more than 1 photo up. Well, I've taken that as a new challenge and am getting there folks! This one's got 3 photos! And there were more! But baby steps. Baby steps.
Alright, here's the recipe!
P.S. And yes, in the photo below, that's Hannah's little bowl of soup with a side of cheerios. (too cute, just had to post) She eats everything we eat. Or at least we try and make it that way. She just ate the sausage. But it was good try.
Total Time: 30 minutes
Oil for cooking - I've gotten used to using coconut oil for everything now!
2-3 Italian-style/flavour sausages, sliced - I use a local farm, very few ingredients - no gluten or sugar! Tip: keep frozen until ready to use. Much easier to chop frozen than thawed.
1 onion, chopped
1 large sweet potato, chopped bite-size
2 medium potatoes, chopped bite-size
2 medium parsnip, peeled and chopped bite-size
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped bite-size (carrots missing here... still tasted great without though - just goes to show, use whatever you have)
2 cloves garlic, minced OR as I did tonight, large bunch of garlic scapes finely chopped
Vegetable or Chicken stock (or combo of both as I did tonight!) enough to fill up just to cover veggies (varies on the amount of veggies - usually 2-4 cups)
2 tsp-ish each: cumin, ginger, summer savoury
1 tsp-ish each: sea salt, pepper, cinnamon, paprika
optional: 1 cup more/less of coconut milk (gives it a creamier texture and taste (could use regular milk as well)
optional: green onion on top!
What to do:
1) Heat oil over medium heat. Add sausage and stir around, until cooked through and browned, leaving yummy flavours on the bottom of the pot. Add half garlic scapes if using them, as well. Once done, remove from pot and set aside.
2) Add more oil to the hot pot. Keep medium heat on and add veggies. Stir around. Add a splash or two of stock. Stir and scrape flavours from the bottom of the pot. Once well incorporated, add rest of stock, spices and coconut milk, if using. You just want to barely cover the veggies. Too much and you'll have a watery soup, not creamy. Trust me, I've failed at this many times. Watery soup is not good.
3)Bring to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes or so, until veggies are soft enough to each (pierce with a fork or just try one!)
4) Once veggies are soft enough to each, remove pot from heat. Use an immersion blender to half blend the soup. Meaning do not blend the whole thing - just do a few spots here and there. Or, transfer half of the soup to a blender, blend up, and return back to the pot. Stir together so it is chunky and creamy. Add in your sausage. Stir. Devour with crusty warm bread or crackers. Yum.
I eat a lot of peanut butter.
Luckily, Costco sells a great natural peanut butter in larger jars and a cheaper price!
As a teacher, peanut butter is a no-no. Lots of kids = lots of allergies. No peanut butter sandwiches. No apple slices and peanut butter dip. No peanut butter and crackers. Easiest thing to eat for lunch. But not for the school life.
And I truly feel sad for the kiddos who can't enjoy a delicious peanut butter sandwich. It's so good, easy, cheap, and filling. But, there are alternatives. My fave was sunflower seed butter. That became my peanut butter while working. It has it's own flavour, but I loved it. Used it in place of peanut butter for cooking, baking, sandwiches - it's great! I definitely recommend it!
But I'm not teaching anymore! I'm home! Woohoo! Peanut butter for the win! And did I ever get back into my peanut butter groove. And Hannah has eaten her fair share of it, too! I wanted to make sure she could tolerate peanuts, as they are so much apart of my life! Haha, so far, so good!
Not only has peanut butter become my go-to lunch and snack, I've gotten back into the routine of using it to cook with. Not having to worry about bringing leftovers for lunch that had nuts in it.
So, here, I present you with a recipe I use often - a spicy peanut sauce. It's smooth, creamy, rich and spicy. Using peanut butter as a base for sauces started out as a make-shift ingredient in place of soy sauce when making stir fries. I definitely miss soy sauce when it comes to that. But then, over repeated version and attempts, this yummy sauce has emerged! We use it over stir fried veggies with rice or noodles. Or, it makes a great dipping sauce for rice wraps! Another frequented meal around here. If you haven't tried those yet, get going with it would ya!? They are super easy and healthy! A simple recipe found here and here.
Anyway, I urge you to opt for a different kind of sauce for your next stir fry. If you can't serve peanut sauce because of the peanuts, try a different nut or seed butter in place! I used to make it a lot with almond butter since my students could tolerate almonds. It tastes great, as well!
Total Time: 5 minutes
2 tbsp. all natural smooth peanut butter
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 cup vegetable broth/bouillon + water
zest and juice from 1/2 lime
1 tsp-ish (more or less, depending on your preference) each: garlic powder, ginger, cumin, cilantro
1/4 tsp-ish each: cayenne, sea salt, pepper
What to do:
1) Add all ingredients to a small bowl or jar. Mix well until combined and 'saucy'. :) You do not need to heat this up, although you can if you prefer a warm sauce. It's good cold or hot! Great for dipping wontons, rice roll ups, overtop stir fry, noodles, or chicken. So good. Enjoy!
Revamping an old recipe here. And working on my food photography skills! What do you think? I'm starting to put Lee's fancy camera to more use.
Macaroons, Haystacks, No-Bake Cookies - whatever you call them - they are a classic sweet treat. Perfect for snacking, a light dessert, or showing up to a family event with a tray of treats. Everyone loves them. Kids, adults. They're a great, safe treat, sure to be eaten up. Unless, of course, you're concerned about what's in them. Like I normally am. Dairy and sugar for sure. Nuts? Wheat? Soy? I never know and I usually stay away.
I miss a chewy, sweet, chocolate macaroon! They were so delicious.
Well, here's an easy recipe. An easy one at that. Looks and tastes delicious, just like the traditional chocolatey, coconuty goodness, only this one has just a few ingredients - and those ingredients are usually pretty safe to serve!
I've brought these to many gatherings. It's easy to make a little ingredients card to go with it. People are always surprised at how little the ingredient list is, and how awesome it is that everyone can enjoy them! Well, not everyone... I know there are some who can't have coconut, etc. :( Sorry!
And, if I haven't sold you yet on how useful it is to have a food processor in your kitchen, then here goes another try. Seriously. Easy. Fast. Delicious. I use my food processor almost daily. So easy to make up fast snacks and sauces. Actually, I think I'm going to need a new one soon... hint, hint, Lee.... :)
Total Time: 5 minutes + 15 minutes+ freezer/fridge time
1/2 cup melted coconut oil (just melt in the microwave!)
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/3 cup honey (or use another sweetener of choice)
1 tsp vanilla
1 pinch sea salt
1-2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
What to do:
1) Mix everything except the coconut in a food processor until just combined. It should make a yummy smooth chocolate sauce. *This is my chocolate sauce that I use for EVERYTHING. Harden and it makes a great hard chocolate. Melted, it makes a great sauce over ice cream, drizzled onto granola bars, bowl of fruit, anything. So yummy and easy.
2) Remove sauce from food processor and pour into a medium bowl. Add coconut and stir to combine.
3) On a parchment lined cookie sheet, drop spoonfuls of the coconut mixture (should make about 12) and then place in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Keep cool in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
We really cooked these things. From scratch. On weeknights. And we even had time to do the dishes.
They have real, simple ingredients that you'll find in your cupboards. They're healthy and delicious. No lies.
Thanks for reading. Leave a comment below!
Here's a pic of me and my babies. Just because.
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