Creamy Tomato Basil Bisque

IMG_6589Fresh rosemary, basil, and parsley along with fresh stalks of celery, onion, and garlic make this bisque one of the freshest, most fragrant tomato bisque’s you’ll ever eat. No broth is used in this recipe, just fresh ingredients, heavy whipping cream, and mozzarella cheese. This bisque is best when made with local tomatoes that are in season. If possible, buy your tomatoes from a local farmers market, but if that isn’t an option, vine ripened tomatoes from the grocery store will give you the best flavor when tomatoes are out of season. Makes 6-8 servings.

What you will need:
a food processor
butter (optional)
9-10 vine ripened tomatoes
3 celery stalks
1 red onion
5 garlic cloves
1 rosemary sprig
a handful of parsley
1 T Italian seasoning
1 T lemon pepper sea salt grinder
1 1/2 c chopped fresh basil
1 c heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 c mozzarella

Turn a large pot on low heat and start to melt the butter (you can leave the butter out if you want, but still turn the burner on to warm up the pot). In a food processor, combine 5-6 tomatoes, celery, onion, garlic cloves, fresh parsley, and fresh rosemary leaves and blend until smooth. Add to the pot. Meanwhile, chop the rest of the tomatoes into 1/2 inch chunks and add to the pot along with the Italian seasoning and lemon pepper seasoning and continue to cook on low heat for about 20 minutes. Then, add the fresh chopped basil, heavy whipping cream and mozzarella and continue to cook for another 15 minutes. Garnish with fresh scallions, croutons, or more cheese and serve.

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Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Bisque

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Bisque

This roasted red pepper bisque is made of fresh herbs and veggies, with a little bit of heavy whipping cream and delicious Asiago cheese and goat cheese- no need for veggie broth here. It’s best when slow cooked over low heat, letting all of the flavors infuse and come together. This bisque also works great as pasta sauce. Makes about 4-6 servings.

What you will need:
a food processor
4-5 large red peppers
1 celery stalk
1 carrot
1/2 of a red onion
a couple pinches of fresh parsley
a couple pinches of fresh rosemary
a pinch of fresh thyme
lots of fresh basil
1 large garlic clove
1 c heavy whipping cream
3 oz goat cheese
5 oz shredded asiago cheese
a dash of Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids
a pinch of sea salt (if you don’t have Bragg’s, just add more salt according to taste)

Preheat oven on the broil setting. Cut the red peppers in half, remove the stem and seeds, and place directly on the top oven rack. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the peppers start to char. In a food processor, combine the celery, carrots, red onion, garlic, and fresh herbs along with all but one of the red peppers and blend until somewhat smooth. Transfer to a medium side pot and start to cook over low heat. In the food processor, take the last roasted red pepper and pulse it to a salsa consistency, being careful not to over blend it. Add it to the pot along with the heavy whipping cream, Bragg’s liquid amino acids, shredded asiago cheese and goat cheese and stir until everything is evenly mixed. Continue to cook over low heat for at least an hour and a half, letting all of the flavors combine and the veggies soften. Serve with crusty, toasted bread and shredded asiago cheese.

Warm Lentil Salad

Warm Lentil Salad

This warm salad is an easy, one pot, recipe that will be done and ready to eat in less than 25 minutes. It makes for a great lunch or dinner on the go (just throw it in a container and grab a fork!), and you can switch up the seasons to your liking. And, you can always freeze the leftovers! The measuring is up to you, so make as much or as little as you want, measuring isn’t important here!

What you will need:
lentils
kale
carrots
celery
onion
seasonings (I used a few twists of the lemon pepper grinder, a pinch of green curry powder, Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids and garlic powder. Other great suggestions- yellow curry sauce, bbq sauce and hot sauce mixed, a cube of vegetable bouillon, or Italian seasoning.)

In a medium size pot, bring water to a boil and add lentils. Chop the kale into small leaves and chop the carrots, celery, and onion and add to the pot of lentils. Continue to boil for 20- 25 minutes or until the lentils are cooked. If there’s any excess water, drain it. Add seasonings and serve!

Mushroom, Lentil and Kale Stew (Vegan!)

SAM_4809This hearty stew is full of fresh veggies like onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms and kale. And it’s vegan, too! Lentils are full of fiber that will help keep you fuller longer and help keep you warm on those chilly winter nights. I like to make this stew with intentions of freezing half of it for when I don’t have time (or don’t want) to cook. This recipe yields a lot of stew, so I’d recommend freezing some of it if you don’t have intentions of eating it throughout the week. This is also a great recipe to make on the weekend when you have a Saturday afternoon free since this crock pot recipe is time consuming.

What you will need:
a large crock pot and medium pot
8 oz crimini mushrooms
1 T vegetable oil
1 c red lentils
1 c green lentils
2 celery stalks
2 carrots
1/2 of an onion
5 c vegetable broth (preferably mushroom based)
1/4- 1/2 lb of kale

Turn crock pot on high heat and start to melt the butter. Cut the crimini mushrooms in half and add to the crock pot, stir and continue to cook for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, in a separate pot, bring water to a boil and add the red and green lentils to the pot. Cook for 20 minutes and drain any excess water. You can also chop the onion, celery and carrots while the lentils cook. Set lentils aside. Once the mushrooms have cooked for 45 minutes, add the onions, celery and carrots and continue to cook for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, chop kale into thin slices, then cut those slices in 3rds. Add 5 cups of vegetable broth to the crock pot and add the kale and cooked lentils. Continue to cook for about another hour and a half or until the kale has wilted and the carrots and celery have softened. Serve with crusty, buttery toast on a chilly winter day.

Cucumber Cups- Vegan with Roasted Corn Salad and Vegetarian with Goat Cheese and Pickled Beets

Cucumber Cups- Vegan with Roasted Corn Salad and Vegetarian with Goat Cheese and Pickled Beets

This is actually a recipe for two different types cucumber cups; one is vegetarian with goat cheese, pickled beets, heirloom tomatoes, red onion, celery and arugula. The other is vegan with a corn salad made of Tofutti cream cheese, roasted corn, purple sweet peppers, red onion, celery and heirloom tomatoes. Cucumber cups make great finger food for parties and gatherings. I will admit, these are a little time consuming to make, but so worth it. All of the ingredients can be prepped the night before, just make sure to keep the salad separate from the cucumbers. Otherwise, you’ll end up with watered down, soggy cucumbers (gross!). One cucumber will make about 10 cups. this recipe is for 20.

What you will need:
a mandolin slicer and a melon baler (if you don’t have either, a knife will work just fine.)

Vegetarian Cucumber Cups with Goat Cheese:
1 large cucumber
1 1/2 c arugula
1 jar of sliced, pickled beets
about half a package of small heirloom tomatoes, cut in half
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced with a mandolin
1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced with a mandolin
fresh dill
fresh parsley
2 oz goat cheese
1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Cut cucumbers to about 3/4- 1 inch thick (you won’t want them any larger than that. It’ll make them harder to eat as finger food. Ask me how I know). Use a melon baler or knife to hollow out the cucumber bowl, making sure to take as much cucumber off of the sides of the bowl, while still keeping the bottom in tact (this is also very important. the thicker the sides of the cucumber, the harder it will be to eat).

Then, in a salad bowl, combine arugula, dill, parsley, goat cheese, red onion, celery and balsamic vinegar and and mix until everything is coated in goat cheese and balsamic vinegar. Place into cucumber cups and top with a pickled beet slice and heirloom tomato halves. Arrange on a plate and serve.

Vegan Cucumber Cups with Roasted Corn Salad:
1 cucumber
2 ears of sweet corn
2 spoonfuls of Tufutti cream cheese (about 1/3 of the package)
1 sweet pepper, thinly sliced with a mandolin
1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced with a mandolin
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced with a mandolin
about half a package of small heirloom tomatoes, cut into 4ths
fresh dill
juice of half a lemon
a tsp or less of extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit, and roast both ears of corn for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. While the corn is roasting, prep your cucumbers as explained in the recipe above.

In a salad bowl, combine Tufutti cream cheese, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil and mix. Then, add sweet pepper, celery, heirloom tomatoes, red onion, and dill. Once the corn has cooled, remove the kernels with a knife and mix all of the ingredients together. Fill cucumber cups, arrange on a plate and serve.

Tofu Salad- Vegan Faux Egg Salad

Tofu Salad- Vegan Faux Egg Salad

This vegan twist on egg salad will have your taste buds dancing. Crisp, flavorful veggies and fresh herbs really give this dish a bright and delicious flavor. This recipe yields quite a bit of tofu salad, so if you aren’t feeding a lot of people or don’t plan on eating it for days on end, it’s really easy to cut the recipe in half.

What you will need:
2 packages of 14 oz extra firm tofu drained and pressed
2 celery stalks cut into 3rds lengthwise and chopped
1 c chopped red onion
1 large carrot cut into 4ths lengthwise and chopped
1 garlic clove chopped
1/2 c chopped parsley
dill to taste (I usually end up using a lot. dill is one of my favorite herbs)
1/2 c vegenaise
a generous splash of Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids
1/8- 1/4 c yellow mustard
2 spoonfuls of whole grain dijon mustard
juice of half a lemon

In large mixing bowl, crumble drained tofu into the consistency of scrambled eggs with a fork or your hands. Add all chopped veggies and herbs, along with all your liquid ingredients and mix. Spread over multigrain bread for a delicious sandwich or stuff into mini sweet peppers for a quick, finger food snack.

Kale and Hemp Salad with Chia Seeds, Garbanzo Beans and Fresh Veggies

Kale and Hemp Salad with Chia Seeds, Garbanzo Beans and Fresh Veggies

This salad packs a whole lot of flavor and nutrients in it with local cucumbers, tomatoes, hemp seeds, chia seeds and even hemp oil! Hemp oil is a great source of vegan protein and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and it’s what is used as the base for the salad dressing in this recipe. All of the hemp ingredients used in this salad, including the topping of crumbled coconut currant cherry hemp bars, can be found online at my friend, Jeremy Koosed’s, hemp bakery- Plant Kingdom Bakery . The great thing about using kale in this salad is that it won’t wilt or go soggy once dressing is put on it, so it will last in the fridge for several days. This recipe makes about 8 servings.

What you will need:
Coconut Currant Cherry Hemp Bars
1 bunch of kale
1 large cucumber
1 large celery stalk
1/2 red onion
4-5 small vine ripened yellow tomatoes
mung bean sprouts
1 1/2 cans of garbanzo beans
1/2c white balsamic raspberry blush vinegar
1/8- 1/4c hemp oil
1/8c Bragg’s liquid amino acids
Juice of 1 lemon
Shelled hemp seeds
Chia seeds

Chop kale leaves into 1/8 inch thick ribbons, then turn lengthwise and chop into thirds. Slice your cucumbers and then cut them into fourths along with your yellow tomatoes. Chop your celery and onion and add all ingredients, including mung bean sprouts, garbanzo beans, hemp seeds and chia seeds, into a large bowl. Mix your raspberry blush vinegar, hemp oil, Bragg’s liquid amino acids and juice of one lemon into the bowl and mix the whole salad. Top with crumbled coconut currant cherry hemp bars and your ready for a meal packed full of protein and bursting with flavor!

Cucumber, Dill, Celery, Mint and Lemon Infused Water

Cucumber, Dill, Celery, Mint and Lemon Infused Water

It’s the end of July and it’s hot out, so what’s better than a tall, refreshing glass of ice water? A tall refreshing glass of INFUSED ice water! Here’s just one simple recipe to get you through those hot, muggy days.

What you’ll need:

Pitcher
1-2 lemons
1/2 of a cucumber
1 celery stalk
a generous handful of dill
a generous handful of mint

Slice the cucumber and lemon and throw into a pitcher with your mint, dill and celery. Fill to the top with water and put it in the fridge to infuse overnight. Drink within two days.

Other great combinations:
Strawberry, lemon and basil
Blackberry, raspberry, lemon and mint
Orange, banana and mint
Strawberry, kiwi, lemon and basil

The possibilities are endless! Use your favorite fruits and herbs and see what kinds of natural vitamin water you can come up with!