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.

Vegan, Gluten Free Mushroom Gravy

Vegan, Gluten Free Mushroom Gravy

This hearty and savory mushroom gravy holds its own against it’s meaty counterparts. Arrowroot powder substitutes flour in this recipe and also makes it safe to eat for anyone with a gluten intolerance or gluten allergies. Cornstarch would also be a great alternative if you can’t find arrowroot powder. So vegans and the gluten intolerant, don’t spend another holiday meal suffering through dry mashed potatoes! Smother them with this gravy that both meat eaters and vegans alike will love! Makes 2 cups of gravy.

What you will need:
medium to large pot
10 oz of your favorite mix of mushrooms (I used crimini and shiitake), sliced or chopped. If using shiitake or oyster mushrooms, remove the stems as well.
1/2 of an onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 tbs earth balance buttery spread
1 1/2c vegetable stock
1/2c almond milk
3 tbs arrowroot powder
1/4c nutritional yeast
2 tbs Bragg’s liquid amino acids
1 tbs Italian seasoning
a twist or two of the lemon pepper grinder (if you don’t have this ingredient, that’s ok)
fresh sprig of rosemary
liquid smoke

In a pot over medium heat, melt earth balance buttery spread. Add your sliced mushrooms and onions and continue to cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes or until mushrooms start to reduce and release some of their liquid. Add your minced garlic and continue to cook for another minute. Add your vegetable stock. Turn the heat on high and let the gravy start to boil. While continually stirring, slowly add the arrowroot powder, making sure to not let it stick and clump together. Once the powder is mixed in, turn down the heat and continue to stir. Add the almond milk, nutritional yeast, Italian seasoning, Bragg’s, lemon pepper, rosemary and a couple of drops of liquid smoke and stir until all ingredients are combined. Serve over mashed potatoes or any other part of your holiday dinner.

Lemon and Ginger Immunity Boosting Tea

Lemon and Ginger Immunity Boosting Tea

It’s getting dark earlier, the wind is crisp and chilly, and you, and everyone around you, is coughing and sneezing with a runny nose. That right, it’s cold and flu season. You head to the pharmacy for cold medicine, when really, you should head to the produce aisle instead.

Lemons are high in vitamin C, which is great for fighting colds. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) found in lemons demonstrates anti-inflammatory effects, and is used as complementary support for asthma and other respiratory symptoms plus it enhances iron absorption in the body; iron plays an important role in immune function. Lemons also contain saponins, which show antimicrobial properties that may help keep cold and flu at bay. Lemons also reduce the amount of phlegm produced by the body.

Garlic has long been used by the Cherokee Indians as an expectorant for coughs. Its antibacterial properties make it great for treating infections, digestive disorders and fungal infections.

Cayenne pepper, by weight, is relatively high in vitamin A. It also contains vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin C, riboflavin, potassium and manganese. The capsaicin in cayenne dilates the blood vessels and speeds metabolism. This increases circulation and blood flow to all major organs which facilitates oxygen and nutrient delivery.

Ginger contains chemicals called sesquiterpenes that specifically target rhinoviruses, the most common family of cold viruses, as well as substances that suppress coughing. It’s also a natural pain and fever reducer and a mild sedative, so it can help you rest when you’re sick.

This tea can be sweetened with either maple syrup or honey. They’re both not just sweeteners, they actually help ward off a cold, too!
Maple syrup contains essential nutrients like zinc, iron, calcium, and potassium. Zinc not only supports reproductive health, but it also helps to keep your white blood cells up, which assist in the protection against colds and viruses. If possible, buy locally made maple syrup.
Honey has antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties. If you have a sore throat, honey will help sooth and heal it.

All of these ingredients mixed together creates a powerhouse for knocking out colds. Add a little bit of green tea, yerba matte tea, or jasmine tea to add to the immune boosting power of this vitamin packed tea. Start drinking this tea before you start feeling sick to help prevent a cold from even happening!

What you will need:
1 lemon, cut in half
1 piece of ginger, about as long as your middle finger, cut into discs
1-2 cloves of garlic
About 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 spoonful of maple syrup or honey
loose leaf tea or tea bags

In a pot, combine all ingredients except the honey or maple syrup, and bring to a boil and let it steep for about 4-5 minutes. Use a fine mesh strainer to strain into a mug. Add honey or maple syrup and enjoy the immune boosting benefits of this all natural tea.

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.