Thursday, September 20, 2018

Carrot Ginger Soup with Lime

cup of vegan carrot soup

Are you a ginger lover like me?
Carrot ginger soup is one of my favorites, and now that I can make it in minutes in the Instant Pot it is easier than ever- ( of course I included directions for the stove top as well)

The bright orange color, the tangy twist of lime and the subtle hint of ginger makes this delightful soup perfect for the beginning of fall. It's definitely a fall day. It's 62 degrees, cloudy, and the leaves are starting to fall.  Perfect time to make an easy soup for dinner.

carrots with tops

I have to admit that this soup is not for everyone- you gotta like carrot soup and you gotta like ginger. 

Personally, I love both- but my husband and my friend Laura were not fans! I was disappointed that they didn't love my soup and considered not posting the recipe, but I had another bowl and still loved it!! Then I served it to some ginger lovers and they raved!!


Because ginger and garlic both have antiviral and antibiotic properties, I almost feel like this soup is therapeutic for colds and flu. 

So it's up to you- it's an quick and easy soup that is loaded with antioxidants, beta carotene, vitamins and fiber.

In addition, carrots are one of the five vegetables that actually are easier to absorb their nutrients when they are cooked, not raw. Do you know the other four? ( see notes at bottom of page)

If you try this simple healthy soup, let me know what you think
.By the way- it is a zero point soup of weight watchers !!

vegan carrot soup
Zero point soup on Weight Watchers

6 large organic carrots, scrubbed and sliced
1 knob of ginger, peeled or 1 frozen ginger cube * see notes
3 cloves of garlic, sliced or 1 cube * see notes
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
1/8 teaspoon of cracked pepper
4 cups of vegetable broth
2 cups of water
Juice of one fresh lime
Optional: coconut or almond milk

Directions for Instant Pot: 
Place carrots, ginger, garlic , broth and water in IP. Secure lid, close steam gadget, and set manual to pressure cook for 4 minutes. When done, release steam manually according to manufacturer's directions. When all steam is released, remove lid and if you used fresh ginger, carefully remove from soup. Using an immersion blender, blend soup until creamy. Add fresh lime juice and serve.

Stove Top Directions:
Place carrots, ginger, garlic, broth and water in a soup pot. ( you may need additional liquid for this method as some will evaporate while cooking.  Bring to a boil and simmer until carrots are soft. Remove ginger ( if used fresh) and blend with an immersion blender until smooth and creamy. 

My Notes: 

1. What is a garlic or ginger cube? Trader Joe's and many supermarkets sell a brand of frozen cubes of herbs like basil, ginger, parsley, dill and garlic that are really convenient. I like to use fresh, but I keep some frozen cubes in the freezer for convenience if I am out of the product or just in a hurry. Their website shows their products Dorot Herbs.

3. I use #Tabatchnick vegetable broth or #Whole Foods 365 Organic vegetable broth

2. Five vegetables whose nutrients are absorbed better when cooked: 
carrots, tomatoes, asparagus, pumpkin, spinach.

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Saturday, September 15, 2018

Instant Pot or Not Cholent- Vegan and GF

cholent -

If you like beans, you will LOVE this amazing vegan cholent/chulent recipe that is made with a mixture of pinto beans, red kidney beans, and navy beans. The Instant Pot transforms an ancient recipe into modern times.

bean stew cholent

Chulent or cholent is a old traditional Sabbath day meal that has been made for centuries by observant Jews. (Cholent recipes can be traced back to 1180 in Vienna). 

Before the invention of electricity, the town baker had a big oven that he would keep burning through the Sabbath which started Friday at sundown and ended Saturday at sundown. Since it was forbidden to light a fire on the Sabbath, the townspeople would bring a crock of beans to the baker's oven before sundown on Friday and let it slow cook to eat as their Saturday hot Sabbath meal. 

The word cholent is thought to be derived from the Medieval French word "chaud" meaning hot and "lent" meaning slow. Thus a slow cooking hot meal.

cholent in the instant pot
Before cooking in the Instant Pot filled about 1/4 of the 6 quart pot

After the invention of electricity, people started using slow cookers to make their cholent or would leave their oven on a low flame all night to cook their chulent/cholent for the Sabbath day meal. 

bean stew cholent

Jews from different countries developed variations of the recipe using chickpeas or a variety of different beans, meat, eggs, dumplings, chicken etc. Almost every country has their variation of cholent. There are probably as many cholent recipes as there are cooks. 

Indian Cholent may contain turmeric, cardamom, lentils, and chicken. 
Italian Cholent may contain rosemary, brisket, potatoes, and cannelloni beans.
Polish Cholent may contain potatoes, flankin, a variety of beans, garlic, paprika, and dumplings
Eastern European Cholent may contain barley, potatoes, butter beans, brisket, and garlic
Vegetarian Cholent may contain sweet potatoes, potatoes, dumplings, a variety of beans

I make a vegan version that is absolutely delicious and because I am not " religious, " I make mine ahead of time in the Instant Pot!!!! Of course you could use the slow cooker and cook it for 8 hours. You might need to add more water for the slow cooker. 

3 cloves garlic, chopped
olive oil spray 
1 large onion sliced into 1/2 moons 
2 large organic carrots, sliced into thick slices 
10 whole baby portobello mushrooms , halved
1 teaspoon of ground ginger ( not fresh) 
1/2 teaspoon of Trader Joe's 21 Salute ( salt free seasoning mix) 
1 teaspoon of Himalayan salt 
1/2 teaspoon of cracked pepper
3 cups of vegetable broth ( I use Tabatchnicks or Whole Foods 365)
2 cups of water( or an extra cup if needed to cover the beans) 
1 pound total of dry bean mixture ( pinto beans, red kidney beans, navy beans) * see note below

Spray bottom of the Instant Pot with olive oil spray. Add onions and garlic and sautee until onions become soft. Add beans, carrots, mushrooms, ginger, 21 Salute, salt , pepper, vegetable broth, and water. Cancel the saute function and press pressure cook for 50 minutes. Make sure the steam knob is closed. When done cooking, allow steam to release naturally according to manufacturer's directions for about 30 minutes. When done, remove lid and serve.

chulent mix of beans

My Notes: 
1. Many supermarkets carry pre-made bags of cholent bean mixture in the kosher foods section. 
2. There is no need to soak the beans for the Instant Pot 
3. If you prefer to soak the beans overnight, pressure cook for 25 minutes 
4. This really tastes amazing if you like beans
5. You could make this in the Instant Pot before the Sabbath and keep it on warm until after sundown on saturday. 
6. ** Beware- some cholent mix packages contain barley which is not gluten free- read the ingredients

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Friday, September 14, 2018

Easy Banana Bread Loaf- GF

banana loaf pan bread

How many times have you had too many overly ripe bananas and had to do something with them quickly? Sometimes I slice and freeze them, and sometimes I make this delicious banana loaf.

It's an easy batter recipe that I simply mix with a fork. I've done more baking this past week than I've done in a long time.  Last week I made the easy bundt cake and the Jewish apple cake- both easy recipes and of course both gluten free.

Gluten free banana bread loaf
I sprinkled some coconut crystals and cinnamon on top 

This loaf can be made with any gluten free flour ( or any regular flour if you are not gluten free) but my gluten free blend of choice is the Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Baking Flour that I purchase in the gluten free section of the supermarket. It works great for me!

This is a dense cake with a rich banana flavor. It contains no oils and is gluten free and egg free.
Aside from the applesauce and banana, it has no added sugar.

slice of banana bread
There was a thick layer of banana on the bottom; it was a mistake but delicious- I needed to mash the banana better and mix it in better. Great taste but not uniform..

The banana tended to concentrate on the bottom because I mashed it on the coarse side.

If you like something sweeter, you can add a sweetener or add some chocolate chips. Walnuts would also taste great in this cake!

Personally, I love it just the way it is.
How many points on WW?
 I figure about 2  points per slice- ( total 12 slices)
Let's see- bananas - zero   vanilla = zero  nonfat Greek yogurt = zero
 flour is 24 points for the entire loaf - unsweetened applesauce=zero
I figure 12 slices at 2 points each

2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce
2 cups GF flour
2 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Optional: chocolate chips or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a large size bowl mix GF flour , baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon and set aside.
In a medium bowl mix bananas, vanilla extract, Greek Yogurt and applesauce.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon or a fork until smooth.
Pour into greased loaf pan. Place in preheated oven and bake for 30-40 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.