Dairy-Free Creamy Mushroom Soup

At home, I try to cook without dairy, but it’s generally not the end of the world if I eat some — in moderation — while out. And by moderation I mean some butter on the food, a splash of milk, or a nibble of cheese. But I wouldn’t eat a creamy soup.

Avoiding dairy seems really restricting at times. Passing up homemade cheesecake at family functions is the worst. And I always hesitate before saying no to whipped cream.

A few weeks ago I had a craving for one of those dairy-filled foods that I had almost completely forgotten about. Cream of mushroom soup! (Which is weird to me because I refused to eat mushrooms as a child, and couldn’t eat the dairy by the time I was an adult)

Anyway, I set out to make a dairy-free version, which could easily be made vegetarian by substituting vegetable stock.

My initial thoughts:

  • I made wayyyy too much. I had satisfied the craving by the third bowl of soup and didn’t want to eat any more. I would divide the recipe in half next time.
  • A variety of mushrooms would have made the soup more flavourful.
  • I would make this again, but as an appetizer, not a stand alone meal.

20151116_220741

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds mushrooms (I used regular white mushrooms because they were on sale. Next time I would use a mixture. Maybe some shiitake, oyster, enoki and crimini)
  • 1 spanish onion, diced
  • 2 cans of coconut cream
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

Directions

  1. Add 1 teaspoon of coconut oil to frying pan and sautee the onion until translucent, then set aside.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon of coconut oil to frying pan and sautee the mushrooms, then set aside.
  3. When onions are cooled, blend with 1 cup of the chicken stock. Add a bit more chicken stock if needed to blend until smooth.
  4. When mushrooms are cooled, blend with 3 cups of the chicken stock. Add coconut cream if needed to blend until smooth.
  5. Add blended onions and mushrooms to a cooking pot. Add any remaining coconut cream and the thyme.
  6. Cook until hot, then serve and enjoy!
Advertisements

Beef Heart Roast with Pepper and Garlic

Before you say “EW! No way!” and pass by this recipe. Give it a chance!

“When it comes to calories and protein, beef heart is about equal to white-meat chicken.” — SFGate Healthy Eating

Yes, I grew up eating offal meats. Yes, the texture is a bit different from what you’re used to.

HOWEVER…

It is lean meat. It is cost effective. And it is delicious! Just ask Scotty – I convinced him to give this a try a few months ago and he happily eats roasted beef heart any time I make it. WIN!

Beef Heart Roast with Pepper and Garlic

image

Ingredients

  • Beef heart
  • Lots of garlic, minced
  • Black pepper
  • Green peppercorns, ground
  • Sea salt

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prepare/trim the beef heart (or ask your local butcher to help you out).
  3. Coat roast with garlic, both types of ground peppercorns, and sea salt.
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes – roast and garlic should be nicely browned.
  5. Turn oven down to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Continue to bake until cooked through and tender (this took about 75 minutes for this particular roast).
  7. Let the roast rest for about 10-15 minutes. Slice and serve!

Why not try this roast topped with bacon jam?

Welcome to the Family Furry [fyoo r-ee]

Well, I made it five whole blog posts before I absolutely had to talk about cats. Told you I’m a crazy cat lady. 🙂

I’ve had a one-cat household for quite a while now. I found Loki when I was in undergrad (but that’s a story for another blog post). She lived with my roommate’s cat for a year, and has been an only-cat ever since. Except the odd occasion when I would cat sit for a friend.

I had wanted to adopt a second cat for a few years, but always had reservations… On December 2, we welcomed my second fur baby to the household.

A few weeks ago I stopped at the Kitchener Waterloo Humane Society. Of course, this required that I stop to visit all of the animals. Through the glass, I fell in love with a cat. A huge, black, fluffy cat. He came up the the window and played with us. But, when I went to ask about him, adoption hours were over. After having some serious talks about what kind of feline personality would fit into our home, we went back a few days later.

Wanting to beat the Black Friday rush, we met almost all of the cats that were on the adoption floor. They were all wonderful. Really! We made some good connections with the animals, but I didn’t find anyone I really thought would get along with Loki.

The adoption councillor was so patient and helpful. And, she had a great idea. She mentioned that she had been fostering a kitten, and that it was living with other cats and dogs. The kitten was used to playing with a large adult cat. But she had recently been spayed and was not ready for adoption yet. We agreed to come back later to meet her.

A week later, I went in to see if she was available. I immediately recognized the kitten from the picture I’d seen a week earlier. and there was a sign that she had been adopted. 20151202_184011

My heart sunk. I made the phone call to say she already had a home. And once again was ready to give up on the idea of adding another cat to the family.

Before I left though, I wanted to thank the adoption councillor for her help and time earlier.

Turns out, the kitten was on hold for us to meet! And, well, by the title of this blog post you can tell how that went. Welcome to the family little Furry!

20151202_210518

Beet and Wild Rice Salad

For me, this recipe screams Fall! Thanksgiving! Family time! One of my aunts makes a variation of this salad for family get togethers. This is a copycat version of her recipe.

The original recipe calls for regular feta cheese, if you prefer.

My family uses Black Duck Wild Rice, from Peterborough, Ontario. This rice is roasted with maple wood and makes your entire home smell absolutely amazing!

Beet and Wild Rice Salad

image

Ingredients

  • Beets
  • Wild rice
  • Dill (fresh), chopped
  • Goat feta cheese, crumbled
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Maple syrup

Directions

  1. Cook beets and wile rice at the same time. Boil the beets until cooked through, and cook wild rice according to directions (I made about 12 beets + 1 cup of wild rice).
  2. Rub beets with a paper towel to remove the skin (and wear rubber gloves so you don’t dye your hands). Seriously, this works really well and there is less waste than if you try to peel with a pairing knife.
  3. Slice beets into bite-sized pieces and add to wild rice.
  4. Add dill and goat feta cheese, then stir.
  5.  Mix the vinaigrette (2 parts olive oil, 2 parts balsamic vinegar, 1 part maple syrup).
  6. Pour vinaigrette over salad.
  7. Enjoy warm or chill in the fridge and serve later!