Miso Shiitake Soup

I often make Miso Shiitake Soup on days when I'm busy and need something I can make quickly. It's a refreshing soup that can be eaten during any season. It's as warming on a cold, winter day as it is refreshing on a hot, summer day. It has a comfort food feel to it, so I often also make it when I'm feeling a bit under the weather, for example when a cold is coming on. 

Miso Mushroom Soup
8 cups vegetable stock 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds 1 pound shiitake mushrooms* 1 medium carrot 2 ounces soba noodles 10 ounces firm tofu** 2 nori sheets ½ cup miso***
If using frozen vegetable stock, thaw first.
Chop mushrooms into bite-size pieces. Grate carrot. Cut tofu into small pieces. Tear nori sheets into small pieces.
Add enough water to cover bottom of 6-quart pot. Add flaxseeds. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add stock. Bring to a boil.
Add mushrooms. Cook on medium-high heat for 4 minutes.
Add carrots.
Spoon miso into a 2-cup measuring cup or small bowl. Add ½ cup broth to miso careful not incl…

Marinara Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes

I rarely make Marinara Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes for several reasons. I used to convince myself it was too much work, but making it this week dispelled that excuse completely. Yes, it does add the step of cutting up the tomatoes, but that's not really that much work. Another reason I rarely make it is the expense. It is quite pricey to buy 10 pounds of tomatoes, particularly organic tomatoes. Years when I've had a garden and my tomatoes have done well, this recipe felt like it made more sense to make. All that said, in a side by side comparison, I'm not so sure this costs that much more than the version I make with canned tomatoes. Making marinara sauce with fresh tomatoes allows more control over the ingredients including the salt content, which makes me happy. Lastly, I will point out that making this in the winter when fresh tomatoes have almost no flavor really doesn't work out very well.
Marinara Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes
10 pounds fresh Roma tomatoes*
1 head garlic 1…

Black Bean Hazelnut Brownies

When I first discovered a black bean brownie recipe, I was incredibly skeptical. I couldn't imagine how beans could make a dessert, but I've now developed two black bean brownie recipes. Who knows I might even create some more as time goes on. It's not as sweet as a typical brownie and has more of a dark chocolate flavor. The hazelnut butters nods a bit toward Nutella, at least to me.

Black Bean Hazelnut Brownies
2 cups cooked and drained black beans (reserving ½ cup liquid)* 2 tablespoon ground flax seeds 2 tablespoons hot water
1 cup hazelnut butter ¼ cup date sugar 2-4 tablespoons molasses** ¼ cup cooking liquid from bean 2 teaspoons vanilla extract ½ cup cacao powder ½ teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon cinnamon*** ¼ teaspoon cardamom**** 1 teaspoon matcha powder, optional ¼ cup cacao nibs or vegan mini chocolate chips, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix flax seeds and water. Set aside to thicken slightly.
Place all ingredients except cacao nibs in a food processor. Process until…

Hazelnut Butter

I usually only make hazelnut butter when I need it for a specific recipe. I'm not sure why because it also tastes good spread on bread, drizzled over fruit, or with chocolate. I suppose I just don't think of it unless I have a specific recipe in mind. It is a bit more work than peanut butter or almond butter, but it has a distinct flavor.

Hazelnut Butter
4 cups hazelnuts
Spread hazelnuts on a large sheet pan or cookie sheet with a rim.

Roast hazelnuts at 350 degrees until skins begin to brown and fall off, about 10-15 minutes.*
Remove from oven.

Spread on a lint-free towel. Let cool until easily handled. Turn the sides of the towel over the nuts and begin to rub them together to remove as a much of the skin as possible.**

Place in a food processor and blend until smooth and buttery. The hazelnut butter might seem a bit too liquefied, but it will firm up some once placed in the refrigerator.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.***

* Roasting is necessary both to bring out…

Black Beans for Desserts

Black Beans for Desserts

2 cups dried black beans*
Water for soaking
Water for cooking
1 bay leaf

Place two cups of dried black beans in a large bowl. Cover with water and soak overnight.

Drain beans.

Place beans in a 3-quart sauce pan and cover with water, approximately 4-6 cups. Add bay leaf.

Bring to a boil. Skim off any foam that rises to the top.

Lower heat to a simmer. Cook until beans are soft but not mushy, approximately 60 minutes. Remove bay leaf and discard.

Cool completely. Store in the refrigerator.

* This will make more than you need for most dessert recipes, but I just use the leftovers in dinner or for lunch that day.

NOTE: I use organic ingredients whenever possible, so I rarely use the word in my ingredients list.

Buttery Potatoes and Cauliflower

I titled this recipe Buttery Potatoes and Cauliflower because it always reminds me of eating buttered boiled potatoes at my Grandma Stamm's house as a child. I really have no idea why because the two have very little in common beside the potatoes and the boiling. 
This recipe makes a wonderful side dish, but I often make it for my lunch. It's easy, quick, and contains an abundance of healthy ingredients. I make several different versions of it including a version that can serve as an entree. I will share those versions in coming months.

Buttery Potatoes and Cauliflower
4 medium potatoes*
1 medium carrot 1 small head cauliflower 2 cups vegetable stock 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds 1 teaspoon no salt seasoning ½ teaspoon paprika ½ teaspoon turmeric ½ teaspoon caraway seeds 2 teaspoons dill weed ¼ cup nutritional yeast
Cut potatoes, carrots and cauliflower into small pieces, bite size.
Add enough water to cover the bottom of a medium sauce pan. Add the flaxseeds and cook until mixture starts to…

Sweet Peanut Granola Bars

These granola bars work great for a breakfast on the run, a day hiking, or an afternoon golfing. They make an easy mid-afternoon snack or even a simple dessert. I might like them a bit too much. They never last very long around my house. This particular version is fairly sweet. As I mentioned in a previous recipe, maple syrup doesn't have the nutritional value molasses has; however, it enhances the flavor of these granola bars. Everything else in this recipe is included for its nutritional value as well as the flavor.

Sweet Peanut Granola Bars
½ cup peanut butter 1 banana, mashed
2 tablespoons molasses 4 tablespoons maple syrup 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon cinnamon* 1 teaspoon ground ginger ¼ teaspoon cardamom ¼ teaspoon nutmeg** Pinch of ground cloves 2 cups thick rolled oats 1 tablespoon goji berries 2 tablespoons dried blueberries 1 tablespoon cacao nibs 1 teaspoon hemp seeds 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a square baking pan (8x8 or 9x9) with parchment …