Fifteen-Minute Blender Bean Soup

Unbelievably flavorful and satisfying for such a fast prep time!

⅛ the cube goat butter (or regular butter)

1 large onion, chopped

Fresh herbs (rosemary, oregano, thyme)

Garlic powder

Directions

Butter sauté onions and herbs till onion turns clear.

Add two cans of cooked beans including water.

Remove from heat. Remove herbs with stems. Blend till desired smoothness.

Add fish sauce until desired saltiness. (It doesn’t taste fishy.) Or just use regular salt.

Drizzle herb oil over top. (Chop two or more fresh, leafy herbs and cover them with your favorite olive oil. In this case, the olive oil was lemon flavored.)

*Watch the reference video below to learn about cooked capers.

Notes & Commentary

Blending time took longer than food prep time. I attempted to blend this soup as smooth as the soup in the reference video below. To do this, I used a hand blender in the pot and when that didn’t work, moved to a regular blender. Neither method – even with long blending times – accomplished my goal. Conclusion: A Vitamix might be the right tool for this blending job.

My household is more COVID-19 risk-averse than most. Since March 2020, we switched grocery shopping habits to online ordering with either home or curbside delivery. I never imagined I’d miss grocery shopping, but I do. I’ve come to understand how much of my new food exploration was driven by walking aisles and seeing something to try.

These days all food tastes better and is more appreciated. Because of when and how we are now living, the discovery of goatmilk butter was doubly exciting! Upon first opening the package, I tasted a slice. If you don’t mind the goaty undertaste that comes with all goat products, it’s GREAT, almost like eating a slice of cheese. The goatmilk butter in combination with the canned beans works well together.

Another appreciation is for all the wonderful things you can do with good olive oil. My local grocery store carries this brand in their deli area. Since they don’t offer curbside delivery, I’ve been buying it directly from the Modesto-based company. They’ve been easy to work with (we have rural delivery issues) and they’ve kept my kitchen stocked. My ‘go-to’ blend is the Mediterranean Medly, but I’ve tried most of the other flavors and you simply can’t go wrong with any of them.

If you don’t have fresh herbs on hand to add to your olive oil, you can use Le Grand Chimichurri sauce, a parsley, and cilantro pesto. It says it has jalapeno peppers in it, but it’s not hot. (I’ve bought it many times. It’s just fresh-tasting and good!)

With a recent renewed commitment to eating less meat and meat products, I was experimenting with this recipe to see if I could get away from using chicken broth….the reason for the fish sauce. (I know fish isn’t meatless. But it’s made with discarded fish parts.) Change is challenging. It’s a process.

While in bean soup zone, I came across the documentary, Kiss the Ground on Netflix.

Kiss the Ground & Regeneration Food Production

It’s the most uplifting and hopeful environmental film I’ve seen … maybe ever. I highly recommend watching and sharing it. With this regeneration model, farm animals are managed in a specific way to nourish the soil. It made me question if responsible (and limited) meat consumption might still be possible, as long as you buy it from farmers like those shown in the film.

Bean Soup Reference Video

Three-Meat Giant Meatball Soup

from above

STEP ONE: Make Meatballs

Three packs of ground meat

Turkey, beef, and Italian sausage were used in this batch, but it also works well with pork, elk & buffalo. (In the comments, send combinations you discover and love!)

Bread crumbs

I make mine from scratch. 

Cut bread in small squares, place flat on cooking in sheet in 200° oven till crisped to desired amount.  For his recipe, I used Kalamata Olive Sourdough bread.

Once you have tiny toast squares, blend them in the blender till they look like…bread crumbs.

Additional Items

Salt, pepper and any other spices you like.

½ bunch fresh Italian parsley, chopped

2-3 eggs

Mix ingredients to the consistency of meatloaf

Prepare Meatball Stuffing

Peel and chop fresh garlic cloves

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and hunks of parmesan cheese

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Roll ground meat mixture into palm-sized balls, pressing garlic cloves and cheese into the center, making sure they are completely covered.

Bake covered in a 350° oven for 50 minutes, uncover and bake for 10 more minutes.

 

STEP TWO: Cook pasta in chicken broth

Use any kind of pasta you have on hand.
Drain when cooked.

STEP THREE: Make Green Soup

Finely chop spinach, chard, and onions

Saute in olive oil till tender, add chicken broth to cover

 

*If a smooth soup is desired, let cool completely then blend in a blender.

Assemble Soup

Steam meatballs to reheat if you made them ahead.

assembled

Combine all. Enjoy!

 

This is one of those meals that tastes better after a day in the refrigerator.

Fresh (raw) Asparagus Salad

Asparagus SaladSnap, tingle, ahhhh…  With every crunch, the freshness of this salad explodes in your mouth.

I first came across this salad in Chef Anne Burrell’s cookbook, Cook Like a Rock Star where she uses Pecorino cheese. Pecorino is a dry, salty, sheep’s milk cheese.

In this modified version, I substituted shaved Parmesan cheese (Pecorino was not available). I also used thicker stalked asparagus spears as the really skinny ones weren’t available either…  With the pencil thin asparagus, you can use more of it’s length.  If you make this with the fatter ones, you have to keep taste testing to make sure that you don’t start getting into the denser, unsavory part of the stalk that you wouldn’t want to eat.

For this batch of asparagus, I used – approximately – the top half of each spear. To make chopping efficient,  I rinse the bundle and chop with the lower-most rubber band kept in place.  This yields about 3 cups worth.

ingredients

3 bundles of fresh asparagus – rinsed and finely chopped into rounds
1/4 – 1/2 of a raw red onion – finely chopped
1 1/2 cups – 2 cups shaved dry, salty cheese (Pecorino or Parmesan)
4 tblsp. Olive Oil
6 tblsp. Red Wine Vinegar
Salt to taste

Mix all ingredients together and enjoy!

*The flavors of this salad improve over time.

Roasted Yellow Cherry Tomatoes – Terry Juhl

Your bush is loaded with them – yellow cherry tomatoes!

Here’s a simple and delicious way to keep enjoying them for a little longer.

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Place tomatoes on a roasting pan. Sprinkle salt and olive oil over them, then cook in a 400-degree oven for 20 minutes.

Let cool

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Add them to salads, freeze them, blend them, add them to spaghetti sauce or make appetizers out of them.

roasted tomatoes

Tangy Rosemary Butternut Squash Soup

tangy rosemary squash soup

When butternut squash is in season, I am constantly looking for ‘different’ ways to prepare it.  This recipe qualifies. The zingy flavor of the lime combined with the homeyness of rosemary makes this recipe one that will be repeated.

1 cooked butternut squash – deseeded, peeled and blended in the blender with as much
chicken broth as needed for desired thickness

1 palm-full (about 1 12/ tblsp.) of fresh rosemary leaves – crushed into the finest powder possible

juice from 3 limes

salt to taste

*Topping in the photograph is hemp seeds.

Hot Peaches with Nuts and Cheese

A surprising compliment for a variety of meats.

I first served this with chicken thighs cooked in the crockpot for several hours (on low) with BBQ sauce and a can of beer. The two together create a lovely combination of flavors.

Below are the ingredients that I used for this recipe, but I will also note that other combinations of cheeses and nuts will also work just equally as well.

3 or 4 large ripe peaches –  peeled. Remove the pit and slice in quarters.
2 tblsp. olive oil
2 tblsp. Tamari pumpkin seeds – crushed or chopped
about 1/8 cup Manchego cheese thinly sliced with a vegetable peeler
about 1 tsp. bee pollen (or sugar)
salt to taste

Heat olive oil in pan till hot. Add peach slices. Let them brown on one side, then flip to brown the other side.

Remove from heat and drain any excess oil.

While peaches are still hot, sprinkle them with the nuts, cheese and bee pollen.

Add salt if needed.

hot peaches

On-the-Go Protein Snacks

Tasty and healthy, these small little bites of superfood satisfy cravings and stop hunger pangs. I learned the basic recipe while on a cleanse. It has, for the most part, replaced bread, chips and other snacks at our house.IMG_0586

Once you have a feel for the basic ratio of wet to dry ingredients, you can add whatever you have on hand when you are in the mood to make these.

Wet Ingredients:
3 tblsp. Ghee
3 tblsp. Almond Butter (Peanut Butter, Sunflower Seed Butter…or any kind of ‘hard’ nut spread)
3 tblsp. Coconut Oil
1 tblsp. cold pack Honey
1 tsp. vanilla

* To make mixing easier, it is best to let these ingredients come to room temperature before starting.

Dry Ingredients:

4 cups ground Musli, granola or trail mix – ground to fine powder in blender
3 tblsp. Ground Flax Seed
1 scoop Terra Greensterra greens
1/4 cup hemp seeds
5 Mejool Dates – chopped
2 tblsp. raisins (or currants)
2 tblsp. dried cranberries
1/8 tsp. sea salt
4 shakes cardamom (2 drops food-grade cardamom essential oil)
1/8 tsp. cinnamon

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Hemp Seeds

Other alternatives
2 tblsp. aloe juice
2 drops food-grade fennel essential oil **
4 drops food-grade lemon essential oil **
1 or 2 drops food-grade ginger essential oil **
3-4 drops food-grade OnGuard essential oil (blend of wild orange, cinnamon & clove oils) **
Apple Cider Vinegar
Fire Cider
Chi Seeds
Goji Berries
Sunflower Seeds
Coconut Flakes
Protein Powder

Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl.  IMG_0841Massages everything until it sticks together (like cookie dough) – IMG_0847taste and make adjustments at this point. When satisfied with the flavor, begin rolling into balls.

Ball rolling tip. Since these are so filling, they are best in small, bite-sized portions. Half the size of a meatball is about right. (Note – Ball rolling takes the most time with this recipe. I’ve tried making bars, but there’s

Make the balls then lay them out on a cookie sheet. Put them in the freezer to harden. Once hardened, you can keep them in any type of container in the refrigerator.

When taking them on hikes or picnics, keep them cool.

** I have a specific brand of food-grade essential oils that use in my recipes.  DO NOT consume any random brand of essential oil as many of them contain toxic filler ingredients. If you’d like to know more about that brand that I use, contact me via e-mail.

Additional Recipes & Resources

Yoga International – Almond Date Ojas Balls

Fitfluential – 30 Energy Ball Recipes

 

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five minute ficitonRecipe Related Five Minute Fiction

Treasure Hunting in Peru

Clarence snapped his book shut. He’d been reading Indiana Jones: The Search for Buried Treasure. His parents made him pack the series to bring along on vacation to enhance his South American experience. His eyes twinkled with inspiration. After quietly sneaking out of his families hut, he’d run to the kitchen in the vacation complex to ask the cooks to fill his backpack with adventure fortifications.In the jungle (5486800597).jpg

Tuney was not enthused with his plan to become jungle explorers. “No!” she whispered vehemently, “We can’t go anywhere without our parents knowing. We are in a foreign country, don’t you know that?”

Their families were vacationing together in Peru. After a vigorous morning of canopy touring followed by a robust and flavorful mid-day meal consisting of Ceviche and Causa, the adults were napping.  The ten and eleven year olds, who refused to behave like ‘babies,’ were left with books and iPads to occupy them during the down time.

“We’ll be back before they wake up. Besides, won’t they be impressed if we discover some hidden treasure?”

Together they ran through the jungle believing that they were being silent. The commotion and racket that they made sent animals scurrying into hiding. Birds cried out warning calls.

“Come on!” whispered Clarence as he turned back to encourage Tuney to move faster. Her full name was Petunia, but nobody ever called her that.

“I think I see something!” he pointed to a dark area down in a gully. Like Indiana Jones and his side kick, the children swung on and hacked at the thick spidery vines that hung from branches of the rainforest trees.  Jumping on a fallen log, Clarence declared, “This’ll be a good spot for a snack before we go spelunking.”

Tuney glanced nervously into the gaping blackness that was rimmed by the sunlight and greenery of the jungle. She accepted a cold, yellow Inca Kola and the three protein balls that Clarence handed her. They had been on trays in the lobby earlier that day. Tuney popped one in her mouth savoring the coconut, pineapple and mango flavors as they blended in her mouth.  “I’ll hold the flashlight and I’ll go run for help if something happens to you in there, but I’m not going in!” She stated while her mouth was still full.

Tuney wore a frown as she watched the mouth of the cave gobble Clarence up. She was just beginning to imagine what she was going to tell his parents when she heard him shout from inside.

“I found something!”  He reappeared, as if by magic, into the sunlight, dirty and carrying something.

“It looks like a weird face mask,” she marveled as she inspected the artifact. “Is it some kind of bird?”

“I don’t’ care what it is!” Clarence shouted in triumph. “We did it! We found treasure, Tuney!”

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National Geographic – Top 10 Things to Eat in Peru

Yellow Cauliflower & French Green Lentil Soup

In my house there are some who think that they do not like cauliflower (they shall remain nameless). When a nose was crinkled at the cauliflower answer to, “What are we having.”

My response was, “Just wait.”

We sat down for dinner, the first bites went in….a pause…

And then the phrase that always brings out my cook’s Cheshire cat smile, “This is good!”

Another win for Mom.

Yellow Cauliflower and green lentil soup

 

4-6 tblsp. olive oil
6 oz. Applegate Genoa Salami (or other nitrate free salami)  [6 oz is a pack and a half] – chopped
1 medium onion – chopped
2 large carrots – chopped
4-6 cups chicken broth or chicken stock
1 tbslp. Celtic sea salt [or to taste]
2 tblsp. thyme
1 medium to large head yellow cauliflower
3/4  – 1 1/2 cups French Green Lentils

Place olive oil and salami into a soup pot.

Saute over medium heat until you can smell the salami (about 5 minutes), add onions & carrots, saute until they are tender.

Add the chicken broth / stock, salt & thyme.

Cut out and finely chop the thick stem parts of the cauliflower and break floweretes into small pieces.

Add cauliflower and lentils to pot and cover.

Let it cook at a rolling bowl – make sure to check that liquid doesn’t evaporate – for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until lentils are soft.

 

*The bold salami and chicken broth flavors dominate this dish making the cauliflower more of a texture rather than a central feature.