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“Cheesy” Cauliflower Soup (Vegan-friendly)


Posted by Mariah | Posted in 21-Day-Adventure Cleanse, Main Dishes, Soups, Uncategorized | Posted on 14-11-2011

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Although, I recently came out as a bona fide Chegan, there’s no need to go that route with this “cheesy” soup. Adapted from the Moosewood Low-fat Favorites cookbook, this soup was a hit with my family and even Chelsea at Roots Market!

What makes this soup so cheesy, I think, is the fresh lemon. It certainly wasn’t the intention of the recipe writers to make the soup cheesy, but in my version of the recipe, that’s how it turns out. The other reason this works so well is the fact that you puree the soup — this gives it the creamy “cheesy” smoothness without the cheese.


2 cups chopped onions
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
3 cups diced potatoes
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup peeled and chopped carrots
1 medium head cauliflower, chopped (about five cups)
3 tsp. dried dill
1-2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. dried mustard
1/4 tsp. caraway seeds
5 cups vegetable broth (or 5 cups water with 2 tbsp. vegetable Better Than Bouillon)
Salt to taste

Optional: Green onions for garnish.


  1. In a soup pot, saute onions, garlic, celery and carrots in about 1/2 cup of broth or water until all veggies are soft.
  2. Add all of the rest of the ingredients, except lemon juice, and bring to a boil. (Be careful not to use too much water. Water should be just below the top of all the ingredients in your pot.)
  3. Reduce to a simmer and simmer until veggies are tender, around 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. Add about half of the soup to a blender and puree until smooth.
  5. Stir the pureed mixture into the remaining soup.
  6. Serve topped with green onions.

Secret Agent Soup


Posted by Mariah | Posted in 21-Day-Adventure Cleanse, Soups, Uncategorized | Posted on 26-09-2011

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Nutty Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Nutty Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, a.k.a. Secret Agent Soup

Gus said it best: This soup is peanut sauce meets squash. If you like either, I think you’ll like this. If you like both, you’ll love it.

I called this “Secret Agent Soup” because I read somewhere that kids are more apt to eat something with a fun, creative, kid-like name. I had to come up with this one on the fly because Gus asked what it was and I certainly didn’t want to tell him “Nutty Roasted Butternut Squash Soup.” Way too boring. Way too healthy.

So, I told him it was Secret Agent Soup and he had to find out what was in it himself. This worked out splendidly because it required tasting a few bites to discern all of the different flavors. Of course, he nailed peanut sauce and squash immediately. (Technically, it’s not peanut sauce, but with the other spices it tastes a heck of a lot like it.)

This recipe is modified from a recipe for Nutty Sweet Potato Soup in this month’s Vegetarian Times.

2 tbsp. olive oil
5 cups roasted butternut squash*
4 1/2 cups vegetable broth
4 cloves garlic
3 tbsp. tomato paste
3 tbsp. creamy natural peanut butter
2 medium leeks, diced
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. tumeric

Optional: 1 tsp. harissa paste or 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (if you want it SPICY)

Optional: 1/2 cup chopped spinach

Garnish with honey roasted peanuts.


  1. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven saute leeks in olive oil for 5 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, peanut butter, tomato sauce and spices and saute for two more minutes (add broth if needed to moisten pot).
  3. Add squash and broth.
  4. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Puree soup in small batches.
  6. Add spinach.
  7. Garnish with peanuts and Sriracha sauce.

* Directions for roasting a squash:

1. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Save the seeds for toasting!

2. Set both halves face down on a baking sheet with a rim.

3. Pour enough water onto the baking sheet to cover the bottom with water.

4. Roast for 40 minutes, or until squash are tender.

5. Allow to cool, then use or store in an airtight container in the fridge for later.

California Motley Soup


Posted by Mariah | Posted in Meal Ideas, Soups | Posted on 25-07-2011

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I worked as a waitress throughout high school and college in a variety of different restaurants. Nearly all of them served a soup called California Medley. It was a creamy soup (sometimes cheesy, sometimes not) with cauliflower, broccoli and carrots. I’m sure it came from Martin Brothers or some other food service place, so it was OK. I wasn’t in love with it, but I always liked the idea of it.

Flash forward to the present, where I have turned into a soup-making machine and even have a blog with the word “soup” in it. And yet, I’ve never tried to remake California Medley and make it awesome. Until now.

I’m calling my version of this soup California Motley because it’s much more of a mishmash than your regular old medley. It has yummy fresh herbs and fresh farmer’s market veggies  (as opposed to veggies that came from god-knows-where, guar gum and who knows what else). And it rhymes with Motley Crew. Who isn’t at least intrigued by that?

Oh, and did I mention that kids LOVE it? Mine gobbled it up and then stood by with spoons trying to steal more when I put away the leftovers. The other great thing about this soup is that it smells simply amazing while it cooks.

For those of you who want to run out to your nearest farmer’s market so you can get your fresh veggies and herbs, I have listed those that are in season and available in Iowa below.


1 tsp. butter or buttery spread
1 medium-sized head of cauliflower, chopped
1 medium-sized head of broccoli, chopped (florets only, no stems) — Farmer’s Market Item
1 tbsp. garlic scapes, diced — Farmer’s Market Item
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 small carrots, chopped
3 medium-sized potatoes, chopped
1 small onion, diced — Farmer’s Market Item
1 tsp. fennel seed — You can add fresh fennel from the Farmer’s Market
1-2 tbsp. fresh basil– Farmer’s Market Item
1 tbsp. fresh dill, minced– Farmer’s Market Item
1 tbsp. fresh celery leaf– Farmer’s Market Item
6 tbsp. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
6 cups water
1-2 tsp. freshly ground pepper


  1. Saute onion and celery in buttery spread until clear and soft. (Add liquid aminos a tablespoon at a time to avoid sticking.)
  2. Add garlic scapes and fennel seed. Saute until fragrant, about two minutes.
  3. Add carrots, potatoes and cauliflower, then pour in water and remaining aminos. (For a thicker soup, pour water until barely covering veggies.)
  4. Bring to a boil and boil until veggies are tender (around 10 minutes).
  5. Turn heat down to low. Add the broccoli. (This will cook while you follow steps 5 through 8.)
  6. Using a ladle, dish out about half of the broth and veggies into a blender.
  7. Add cheese and pepper to the blender.
  8. Blend under “liquify” until smooth.
  9. Pour the blended mixture into the remaining soup in the pot. NOTE: This method helps us get a creamy texture without added butter, flour and cream (so this recipe is gluten-free).
  10. Add the basil, celery leaf and dill. NOTE: These herbs will MAKE the soup, but are optional for kids. Pickier kids may like the soup better without.

Hominy White Chili


Posted by Mariah | Posted in 21-Day-Adventure Cleanse, Appetizers & Sides, Soups | Posted on 04-05-2011

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When I was a kid, one of my absolute favorite dinners was this: Bohemian-style dumplings drenched in brown butter, sausage patties, sauer kraut and hominy fried in bacon grease! These menu items were all lovingly made by my German-Bohemian-Irish grandma, Bette, whom I adored. Whenever I eat hominy, I think of her. And my mom still makes those awesomely buttery dumplings. I eat hominy now sans bacon, of course. This recipe is a nutritious alternative to the hominy-in-bacon-grease dish, but still has that same old down-homey-ness.

28-oz. can hominy
2 tsp. olive oil
1 small onion
1 small red pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic
2 carrots, sliced
14-oz. can garbanzo beans
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, diced
1/3 cup quinoa
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. chili powder (optional)
7 cups vegetable broth (or 7 cups of water and five tbsp. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos)
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Saute onion in olive oil for about five minutes on medium heat, till they are clear. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about two minutes.
  2. Add red peppers and carrots and continue to saute until they soften. You may need to add broth or Bragg’s to keep the veggies from over-browning and sticking to your pan.
  3. Add spices, hominy and garbanzo beans and saute for two more minutes.
  4. Add broth or water.
  5. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Add quinoa.
  6. Simmer for 10 minutes or until quinoa opens up.
  7. Add spinach and cilantro to your pot and serve after spinach has wilted.
  8. Serve with more cilantro and salt and pepper. Or, go crazy and add a big dollop of sour cream or guac and lots of tortilla chips.

Crock Pot Split Pea Soup


Posted by Mariah | Posted in 21-Day-Adventure Cleanse, Soups | Posted on 04-01-2011

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I originally made this Indian-inspired spicy soup to go with the split-pea-soup fog we had last week here in Iowa. It was the perfect warmer upper and super easy!

The “secret” ingredient in this soup is garam masala. As Wikipedia will tell you, this spice is pungent (intense) but not hot. So it makes for a unique flavor that kids (at least foodie-ish kids) and adults alike will savor. The other secret ingredient is Braggs liquid aminos. This gives the soup a very savory flavor that smacks of smoked ham, but luckily no little piggies were harmed in the process.

But best of all, it smells fantastic. I recommend making it on Saturday or Sunday while you’re at home, so you can enjoy the delightful aroma (and anticipation of the soup) all day long.


2 cups dried green split peas
5 1/2 cups water
2 carrots, sliced (no need to peel)
1 parsnip, sliced (no need to peel)
1 medium onion
6 to 8 tbsp. Braggs Liquid Aminos
2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. corriander
1 tsp. garam masala
3 small potatoes, cubed


  1. Saute onions, parsnips and carrots in the Braggs for about five minutes, or until onions are soft.
  2. Add garlic and spices (cumin, corriander and garam masala) and saute until fragrant.
  3. Throw remaining ingredients into the crock pot and cook for six hours on high. (Cooking times may vary.)
  4. Soup will be “mushy” and, well, split-pea like.
  5. Serve with sour cream or plain yogurt (non-vegan version, obviously) and cilantro.

Skinny Soup


Posted by Mariah | Posted in Meal Ideas, Soups | Posted on 18-12-2010

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I threw this soup together with some veggies I already had in my fridge because I wanted something simple, filling and low-fat. I called it skinny soup (at least in my head) and decided to include it on the blog. I then Googled “skinny soup” and realized that Dr. Oz had already made it up!

Dr. Oz’s skinny soup recipe is very similar to mine. However, mine is vegan and WAY easier to make. (The Dr. Oz recipe takes at least two hours. Mine takes about 30 minutes.)

So, whip this up and gobble it down — without any guilt!


1 small onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 large clove garlic
1 carrot, diced
2 cups cabbage, chopped
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. dried celery
1 pinch fennel seed
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
2 tbsp. red wine
4 tbsp. liquid aminos
1/2 tsp. dried red pepper (optional)
1 cup edamame


  1. Saute onions and celery with liquid aminos on medium-high heat until clear.
  2. Add garlic and red wine and saute until fragrant, about two minutes.
  3. Add carrots, spices and cabbage. Saute for five more minutes until veggies soften.
  4. Add tomato sauce. Add water to the rim of the un-rinsed can (so as not to waste tomato sauce) and pour into soup. Pour another can of water into soup.
  5. Add edamame.
  6. Bring soup to a simmer and simmer for around 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Pour into bowls and serve with croutons, freshly ground pepper and freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or vegan cheese).

Coconut Curry Soup (Vegan-friendly)


Posted by Mariah | Posted in 21-Day-Adventure Cleanse, Main Dishes, Soups | Posted on 08-12-2010

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This has got to be the absolute BEST soup to warm you up this time of year. First of all, it’s yummy. It’s kind of spicy, but not too spicy. Kind of creamy, but not too thick.

Second of all, it’s easy yet different. If you’re like me, and you’ve eaten nothing but starchy leftovers for the last week, you crave new tastes. The coconut and curry in this soup are the perfect combo because they’re comfort-food-esque but still ethnic — and require no more skill than chopping and boiling.

Third of all — and you knew I was going to say this — it’s healthy. Carrots, cabbage, garbanzo beans, broccoli and peas are the featured veggies. And I sauteed them all in liquid aminos, so there’s no oil. Even the coconut milk is low-fat, so it’s lower in calories and saturated fat than the regular. But still tastes every bit as indulgent.


1 onion, diced
1 small red pepper (or 1/2 large), chopped
1 cup cabbage, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 small head of broccoli, chopped
1 cup frozen green peas
1 14-oz. can of garbanzo beans
1/4 or 1/2 tsp. red curry paste
1/2 tsp. tumeric
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. minced ginger
2 large cloves of garlic
4 tbsp. liquid aminos
2 cups of water
1 14-oz. can light coconut milk
1 tbsp. brown sugar (optional)
1 to 2 tsp. fish sauce (optional for taste only)


  1. Saute onions and pepper with liquid aminos on medium-high heat until clear.
  2. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about two minutes.
  3. Add carrots, ginger, spices and cabbage. Saute for five more minutes until veggies soften.
  4. Add water and bring to a boil.
  5. Add brown sugar, coconut milk, broccoli and frozen peas and lower heat so that soup is just simmering.
  6. Simmer for five minutes, or until peas and broccoli are still tender-crisp and serve.
  7. Add fresh lime, fish sauce, cilantro, chopped peanuts and red chili sauce for even more flavor!

TIP: This soup, like many, is even better if you serve it the next day. This makes an 8-serving batch, so you should have plenty leftover to take for lunch.

Lady Bug Lentil Stew


Posted by Mariah | Posted in 21-Day-Adventure Cleanse, Soups | Posted on 29-06-2010

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Lady Bug Lentil Stew

No, no lady bugs were harmed in the making of this stew (though a few lentils and other veggies gave up the ghost for a good cause). My kids thought the green lentils looked like ladybugs and I thought it was a great name, so there you have it.

This soup was made using Bragg liquid aminos — my new favorite ingredient. You can use this to replace oil in many recipes that call for sauteing veggies without noticing any difference. In fact, when you use Bragg’s, there’s no need for high-sodium broths or bouillons.

So while there’s no oil and plenty of fiber and vitamins in the soup, what I like best about it is that it’s so hearty, filling and flavorful. It’s seriously one of the most satisfying soups we’ve tried in a while. I like to serve it with a crusty bread drizzled with olive oil.


1 medium onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves
1 red pepper, diced
3/4 cup green lentils
1 to 2 tbsp. Bragg liquid aminos (taste test after 1 tbsp. then add more to taste)
1 cup kale, chopped (optional)
6 cups water (add more if you want a soup, rather than a stew)


  1. Saute all of the veggies, except the kale, in 1 tbsp. liquid aminos for five minutes. (Add more aminos later to taste.)
  2. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about two minutes.
  3. Add water and bring everything to a boil.
  4. Add lentils and simmer for 30 minutes, or until lentils are cooked al dente.
  5. During the last five minutes of cooking, add kale.
  6. Serve hot with warm, crusty bread and plenty of olive oil.

Spicy Peanut Soup


Posted by Mariah | Posted in 21-Day-Adventure Cleanse, Main Dishes, Meal Ideas, Soups | Posted on 23-02-2010

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Spicy Peanut Soup

I absolutely LOVE peanut butter — peanut sauce, PB&J, peanut butter cookies, Peanut Butter Panic ice cream … you get the drift. I’ve been making an Indonesian dish that features a delicious peanut sauce called Gado Gado since I first started really cooking in my early 20s. So, when I saw this delicious soup in the Post Punk Kitchen, it reminded me of Gado Gado and I had to try it.

I knew the veggies in the original recipe wouldn’t fly with my family, so I added my own combination of zucchini, peppers, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower and broccoli. I also added edamame for a little extra protein. Without noodles or rice, this soup/stew is low carb and LOADED with veggies (don’t let that long list scare you). It’s seriously one of the yummiest soups I’ve ever made (and I’ve made A LOT of soups in my life). Plus, it’s the perfect winter warm-up comfort food!

NOTE: If cooking this dish for kids, omit the hot chili and spice it up on your own with Srirachi sauce.


1 cup shallots, sliced very thin
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp. peanut or dark sesame oil
1 hot chili, seeded and minced
2 cloves garlic
1” cube of ginger, peeled and minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/8-1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground tumeric
1 16 oz. can roasted diced tomatoes w/ juice
5 cups water or light veggie broth
1/2 cup creamy or chunky natural peanut butter

1 red pepper
1 cup cauliflower
1 small zucchini
1 large carrot, sliced on the diagonal
1 head broccoli
1 cup cabbage
1 cup frozen edammame
1 tbsp. honey (optional)
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup coarsely chopped cilantro, lightly packed
chopped roasted peanuts and cilantro leaves for garnish

Peanut Stir

1. Saute onions and shallots in peanut or sesame oil for five minutes, or until tender.

2. Add garlic and saute another two minutes, then add ginger and chile and fry for 30 seconds. Add ground cumin, coriander, tumeric and fry for another 30 seconds then add all the other veggies. Stir fry for a few minutes until just tender.

3. Pour diced tomatoes, water or broth into pot. Stir to combined and raise heat to medium high. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes, then reduce heat.

4. In a separate bowl stir peanut butter to combine any separated oils. Pour a ladleful of hot soup onto peanut butter. Stir peanut butter with soup till creamy and peanut butter is completely emulsified. Scrape peanut butter mixture into rest of simmering soup, stirring to combine.

5. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro and lemon juice. Add salt to taste.

Serve this with Citrus Salad, spring rolls or egg rolls!

Chunky Tomato Soup


Posted by Mariah | Posted in 21-Day-Adventure Cleanse, Soups | Posted on 18-12-2009

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This is not your mother’s  tomato soup, or rather, I should say this is not the tomato soup your mother used to pour from the can and heat up. Not even close.

I never liked canned tomato soup. In fact, I distinctly remember being sad on tomato soup/grilled cheese day at school, and swore I’d never put my kids through the same yucky torture. And with this soup, I never will.

I’m not even sure about how healthy the old-school tomato soup is, but I do know my version is better tasting and packed with nutrients. The fresh veggies provide plenty of fiber and vitamins, and the canned tomatoes and sauce are loaded with beta carotene, vitamin B and vitamin E, as well as carotenoid lycopene. Unlike other canned vegetables, can tomatoes retain all of their nutrients, and offer even more lycopene than raw tomatoes.

Even though it’s healthy, this hearty soup still manages to be creamy. The trick is to use pine nuts and Parmesan cheese instead of heavy whipping cream.  I serve this topped with garlic croutons and more grated Parmesan. Add a side salad and some fresh fruit, and you get an easy, healthy meal that will blow those school lunches — and even Mom’s soup — away.

NOTE: You can make this soup vegan simply by eliminating the Parmesan cheese and still have a nice creamy texture.


1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 small onion
1/2 green bell pepper
1/2 red bell pepper
2 celery stalks
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp. red pepper
1 carrot, chopped
1 tbsp. pine nuts
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
10 fresh sage leaves, cut in a chiffonade
1/2 cube vegetable bouillion
2 cups water


1. Sautee onions and celery in oil until soft and clear, about 5 minutes. (If you need to, add a little water to the mixture to keep it moist.)

2. Add peppers and cook until soft, about five minutes more.

3. Add garlic and continue to sautee until fragrant, about two minutes.

4. Add diced tomatoes and tomato juice, plus carrot, water, red pepper and bouillon. Bring soup to a boil.

5. Reduce heat to a simmer, then simmer for 10 minutes until carrot is tender.

6. Remove about 1/2 of the soup mixture and put into a blender. Add Parmesan cheese and pine nuts and puree until smooth.

7. Pour pureed mixture back into soup pot, mix together than serve with garlic croutons. Top with more grated Parmesan.

Garlic Croutons

1. Preheat oven to 300.

2. Cut sour dough or French bread loaf into cubes.

3. Throw cubes into a skillet with 1 tsp. olive oil and sprinkle with desired herbs — garlic powder, dried basil, rosemary, red pepper, ground black pepper and salt.

4. Sautee over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until crisp.

5. Spread onto a pan lined with parchment paper and toast bread for about 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.