Posted in Vegan Blog

Bob’s Red Mill Veggie Soup Critique

Top o’ the breezy, more than likely, snowing- somewhere-if-you-live-in-the-Adirondacks noon to ya’! Today is an excellent day to hole up inside and try something new to cook. (The wind is a-howlin’ so fiercely that my curtains are swaying a bit as I write this)

Since I haven’t posted a recipe in some time, I thought today would be a perfect day to do my first ever critique about a product. I have had my eyes on various Bob’s Red Mill products lately, curious to try the veggie soup mix. I picked some up a couple days ago at my local grocery store.

As I was starting to make the soup this afternoon, I realized, just how on-the-thrift (I don’t like the word “cheap”, it implies improper quality) that this soup mix is to make a decent sized meal. I picked up up for less than $5, so I’ll just call it an even five. I used two cups of this:

bobs veggie soup_085.JPG

…and added it to 8 cups of water, as per the instructions (4 cups of water per 1 cup of mix) and brought to a simmer.

Now this is where I went wrong, not cooking the mix long enough. The instructions on the package suggest 30-50 minutes and while I cooked closer to the 30 minutes, I recommend cooking closer to the 50 minutes, so that some of the peas don’t come out crunchy like mine did today.

I also added a 28 oz. can of stewed tomatoes, a half a pound of dry macaroni elbows, and a 15 oz. can of black beans (slightly but not totally drained), which I added about ten minutes before the soup would be done. I also seasoned with curry powder, salt, pepper, basil, oregano, celery seed, nutritional yeast, and two teaspoons of Better than Bouillon (the veggie one). A little of this soup mix and what I added goes a long way as you can see here:

bobs veggie soup_087.JPG

I used a large pot to make this soup, and the two bowls taken out for lunch, hardly made a dent in it:

Let’s do a brief run-down of how thrifty this meal was to make. I used about half of the soup mix, so we’ll call that $2.50. Add $1 each for the can of tomatoes and the can of beans, and then 50 cents for the half a pound of macaroni. All together, that is about $5 for the cost of the whole pot of soup, which easily has 6-10 bowls of soup in it, depending on one’s appetite. It is a common misconception that eating a plant-based, cruelty free diet is expensive. I don’t know about any of you all, but I think $5 to make a whole pot of delicious, nutrient dense soup is worth every cruelty-free penny!

Speaking of healthy, this soup is packed with iron, 18 grams of protein combined per serving of the soup mix and macaroni, and 20% iron, not to mention the plethora of b-vitamins, antioxidents, and additional protein and iron of the tomatoes and the beans added.

Next time you are looking to make an easy soup that you can doctor up with your own veggie goodies, pick up a bag of Bob’s Red Mill Vegi Soup Mix, and see what soup delight you can concoct!



Posted in Plant Life, Vegan Blog

Enter: The Pink Gerberas

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“Mother Nature Got JOKES”

Greetings from the Adirondacks! I thought I’d share this little flashback  winter pic of snow for those of you who miss winter already. NAH! Just kiddin, took this pic earlier today. Mother Nature got jokes for us on this, the 26th day of April. We waited all winter for winter to show, and NOW it is trying to make an appearance.

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“Pink Gerbera Daisy”

I have been keeping busy in my little “jungle” to help me combat this cabin fever. These beauties came home with us from the grocery store last night. They were so pink and spring-looking and wanted me to take them home to brighten up our world a little bit while we patiently wait for spring to be a permanent fixture in our weather. If things go right, I will have more of these daisies to have year round!

I said my final good-bye to Lily the other day. She was still here sitting in her pot, withering away after the last few flowers failed. I planted the little bulblets into four little pots, with much hope and anticipation to help Lily live on. While I am realistic that they may not take, I am optimistic and I know that I will be elated if and when I notice any sproutlings.

On a side not for my vegan portion of my blog, I am a proud Mama today that has had a little bit of her worry removed. Since becoming vegan, I have worried about Baby Girl not getting enough nutrition that she needs to grow so I had her iron level checked at her appointment this morning. Her iron level was not only EXCELLENT at 14.1, but it was higher than we last checked before becoming vegan. Baby Girl’s doctor had told me back in January that oftentimes, the first thing that shows up when nutrients go awry is the iron level drops. I am elated to know that hers went UP since January! I can worry a little less know, knowing that she is a very happy and healthy, spry little two year old!

Posted in Adventures of Toddlerhood, Vegan Blog

Nature PhoChal Day 6: Nature or Nurture

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“Super Heroes to the Smoothie Rescue!”

This is a cup. This is a sippy cup, with a straw, to be precise! “How is this Nature, Jenn?” you ask., “It’s a cup, I see no nature in that plastic cup”, you observe.

So how can this plastic cup be Nature? It’s not a matter of the cup itself being nature, as it is the REASON why I got the cup. As you know by now, Baby Girl and I have been vegan for almost four months now. I always worry about her getting enough fruits and veggies, since she is a clever little one and picks them out of her food sometimes. As a mom, I need to be even more clever to sneak nutrition into my unsuspecting toddler.

Smoothies are an ideal way to make a quick, nutritious and delicious treat that is packed with vitamins. I have been trying to get Baby Girl to drink smoothies for a few months now, and though she sips off of mine and makes a mess, it became frustrating for the both of us. The cups she has have tiny holes, not meant for thick liquids like a smoothie and I have been racking my head as to how to solve this problem.

Yesterday, it hit me: DING DING! Why not get a sippy cup that has a straw in it? When Baby Girl woke from her nap, we headed right out to our local Kinney’s to see what they had to offer. We found this handy Playtex cup, for $5.99 and took it home straight away to try it out.

This cup has a straw in it, that disconnects under the cap to make it easy to clean. The opening had a valve, to make it spill proof (and would have made the smoothie impossible to pass through) so I had to modify it a bit. I bent the valve up (it had like plastic “teeth” that came together to make the valve) and clipped the plastic, making a hole for the smoothie. I made a chocolate banana smoothie for us to test drive the cuppy and: SUCCESS! No mess, and Baby Girl drank that smoothie right up.

This cup gives Baby Girl the freedom to drink her smoothies at will, without the mess, and it gives me a piece of mind that she is getting some nutrition that she needs. This cup is my new super hero! How is this cup nature? This cup is nature, because it help me nurture Baby Girl with nutritious, natural smoothies.

Posted in tofu, Vegan Blog

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

I finally mustered up some gumption yesterday and finally tried a smoothie made with silken tofu. Though I have no pics, I can honestly say, IT WAS DELCIOUS!

The weather around here has been typical bipolar Adirondack weather. Sunny one day, snow the next, rain and repeat. It has been damp and dreary and Mother Nature cannot decide whether it’s Winter or Spring (let’s call it Sprinter!) which in turn can also dampen one’s mood (we’ll call this ailment, “Cabin Fever”. One of my favorite things to have during the autumn when the weather is supposed to be like this, is anything pumpkin. I love pumpkin and all the spices that go along with it! I call them the “feel good” spices, since they make me feel good when I eat/drink them.

Since becoming vegan, I have been wanting to try silken tofu in a smoothie but I’ve been too chicken. Tofu is still a new and weird thing to me and I’ve only had it a few times. My philosophy about smoothies is, be easier, the better. There’s no draining silken tofu for smoothies, so that makes for less time (generally, you drain tofu for about an hour before preparing it) and less effort.

I have been craving pie, specifically, pumpkin pie. I had a can of pumpkin in my pantry, next to a can of sweet potatoes, so I thought, “Why not?!” In my blender, I mixed one cup each of the pumpkin, sweet potatoes, silken tofu and frozen mixed berry blend (blueberries, strawberries and bananas),  with some allspice, clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

I was nervous and hesitant to take my first sip. The color was kinda bluish from the berries. It looked and almost had the consistency of a pudding (which gave me future ideas for when I get brave enough to actually try to bake a pie) but as soon as creamy smoothiness of it all hit my palette, I was transported back to autumn! It was creamy and spicy with all that autumn wholesomeness you would expect. I’m not a seasonalist at all, I’ll eat pumpkin things all year round! This smoothie would be just as refreshing on a hot summer day as it would next to an open fire! Next time I make it, I’m going to replace the berries with banana and tweak out the spices a bit (I think I went a little too heavy with the Allspice this time around!).

Posted in Vegan Blog

Frosted Berry Goodness!

Frosted Berry Goodness

Yesterday morning while preparing our oatmeal, I noticed a cool (ha pun intended!) photo op of the frost on the frozen berries. I grabbed my camera to no avail-battery was dead.

I made oatmeal again this morning, just for another chance at this photo op with a charged battery (yes, I am a geek like that!) and voila! Breakfast was served. The berries didn’t get much time to frost up, I was famished! Yes, there is oatmeal somewhere under that pile of delicious berries! I could eat berries every day like this on top of oatmeal. It’s a very refreshing way to start your day, with a cup of coffee, of course! 🙂

Posted in Vegan Blog

Almost Every Color of the Rainbow Stew

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Almost Every Color of the Rainbow Stew

They say you should eat a rainbow of fruits and veggies in your diet, and last night’s dinner was no exception to that. I always try to incorporate at least a few colors into my meals and last night, I incorporated all but blue and purple. Here’s what this delicious and very filling stew had  in it:

RED: peppers

ORANGE: carrots

YELLOW: peppers, yellow eyed beans, nutritional yeast,  curry, ginger

GREEN: peppers, peas, lentils, basil, oregano

WHITE: potatoes, onions

BROWN: whole grain wheat rotini, peanuts, sunflower/pumkin seeds

This stew was pretty time consuming, as it took me several hours to make, but it was very well worth the wait! I made enough to feed a little mini-vegan army and we have enough leftover to last a few days. I’m happy to report that this experiment was a successful one! 🙂 Delicious, nutricious and animal free! 🙂



Posted in NCPR Artwork of the Day, Photography, Vegan Blog

Crappy Pics and Experimental Stew

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The Crystal Calls!

It’s a good day to make stew…and take very bad pics of crystals LOL! Hopefully my stew will not turn out as bad as this pic, but stew, like photography, takes practice.

Have I ever mentioned that I am a mad scientist? I tend to think outside of the box. I am in an experimental mood today and just made up my stew concoction on a whim. I soaked yellow eyed beans and lentils overnight and made a base from a cup of them. If it comes out good, I shall post the recipe. If not, you’re stuck with this crappy picture for now! 🙂

See my crappy pic featured as Artwork of the Day on NCPR here:


Posted in Vegan Blog

Eggplant Curry Sauce

A couple of weeks ago I posted an eggplant and curry tofu pasta here

I’m making some eggplant curry sauce again today and thought I would get more into detail as to how to prepare the eggplant.

Eggplant is very watery, and if you don’t want your sauce to be, you need to somehow get the water out of the eggplant. Here’s a semi easy way that I found online on how to do so:

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  1. Coat cookie sheet with non-stick spray (I used Pam olive oil spray)
  2. Wash and slice eggplant into about 3/4″ slices (pictured here is two small eggplants)
  3. Arrange on cookie sheet and sprinkle a good amount of salt onto the slices. (the salt is what draws the water out and don’t worry about too much salt, it gets drained)
  4. Let the slices sit for at least a half an hour. You’ll notice water forming at the top.
  5. In the meantime, preheat oven to 350.
  6. After half hour, gently squeeze excess water from the slices, taking care not to squish the eggplant. Dab slices with paper towel to get rid of excess water and salt.
  7. Baste the slices with a mixture of olive oil and basil.
  8. Sprinkle a generous amount of curry powder on each slice.
  9. Bake for about a half an hour, until golden brown on top.
  10. Let cool for a few minutes to let the eggplant settle a little.

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I will be blending these up to make my sauce for dinner tonight, though you can skip the whole making sauce and just eat them as is! One of these days I’m going to get brave enough to attempt some breaded eggplant, but today is not one of those days.

As always, nutritious, delicious and of course, ANIMAL FREE! Enjoy!

Posted in Vegan Blog

St. Pattie’s Day Lentil and Bean Soup

snowy tulips 2_0241 cup soaked lentils

1 cup soaked white cannenelli beans

5 good sized potatoes (cleaned and diced)

7-8 carrots (cleaned and sliced)

6 cups water

2 1/2 tbsp. Better Than Boiullion Veggie Boulion

curry powder



celery seed


Soak beans overnight. Prepare potatoes and carrots and mix with 6 cups of water into big pot. Add sprinkles of curry poweder (I used several), basil and oregano (a few sprinkles) and celery seed (used sparingly, just a couple sprinkles). Bring to boil, then add boillion to dissolve. Simmer on low until carrots and potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Serve over your favorite rice or enjoy alone. Nutritious, delicious, and animal free!

Apologies for the not-so-great picture of this soup…I had to take this pic today as I was having leftover soup because I totally flaked out and forgot to take a pic last night when I made it. I’m gonna blame that on hunger and St. Pattie’s Day wine! 🙂