Thursday, November 14, 2013

Soup's on!

My Go-to Minestrone

Like many people (especially those of us from the Midwest), my natural inclination when a friend or family member has had a baby, operation, or death in the family is to bring food. My go-to recipe in such situations is a slow cooker minestrone recipe. Super easy to make and customize. So, when I finally had a moment to do some cooking this week, I decided to make Minestrone for my cousin who has 4 week old twins. Added bonus: cuddling with adorable 4 week old babies!  I also threw in a meat and cheese lasagna and turtle cheesecake (soon to be posted on for good measure. My favorite part about this recipe is the pesto - it adds a little richness but is not overpowering.


  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 medium-size yellow onion, minced
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen green beans trimmed and cut in 1 inch pieces (you can add canned at the end if you don't have frozen or fresh)
  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 small yellow squash or zucchini, diced
  • 5-6 cups vegetable stock, depending on how much broth you like
  • 1/2 cup small pasta (I like to use orecchiette just because my kids think the little ears are cute)
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  1. Heat oil on High in a 4 to 6 quart slow cooker.  Cook the onion, celery, carrot and garlic for about ten minutes before adding the remaining ingredients.
  2. While the vegetables are cooking, assemble the remaining ingredients and boil the pasta (you can wait and add the uncooked pasta about 1 hour before the end if your schedule permits).
  3. Turn the slow cooker down to low and add the green beans, chick peas, tomatoes, zucchini or squash, and stock.  Add salt and pepper.  Cover and cook for 7 to 8 hours.
  4. Just before serving, stir in the pesto and pre-cooked pasta (also add the green beans if using canned).

Slow Cooker Tomato Soup

And just in case you have a naysayer in your family (as I do), here's an easy tomato soup slow cooker recipe that you can't go wrong with. You can make it a creamy tomato soup by adding cream or milk at the end.


  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium-size yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 cups vegetable stock (reduce slightly if you will be adding milk or cream to make a creamy tomato soup)
  • 1 28 ounce can of diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried basil or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  1. Heat the oil on High in a 4 quart slow cooker. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, about ten minutes.
  2. Turn the slow cooker to low and add the stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and bay leaves.  Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 6-8 hours.
  3. Remove the bay leaves. Puree in a food processor or use an immersion blender to puree it in the slow cooker.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Baby food, Super Bowl cheese ball and Committing to the Blog

I had a list a mile long of all of the things I was going to do on my maternity leave. I am back to work now and the list remains. Sigh. But you must approach all such lists in the same way - one thing at a time. So, I really want to commit to recording recipes in this blog. The little bit I have done has been so useful to keep track of recipes we like and what went right and what went wrong to improve the recipe for next time. I have at least half a dozen draft posts I will finish but it seems only appropriate to just start today.  So, here's a quick recap of some recipes from this weekend.

First, how can this be a VeggieMommy blog without recipes for Veggiebaby? I just made the following two recipes for our little man. I tend to make several batches of food every couple of weeks. I freeze it in ice cube trays and then store the cubes in ziplock bags to be reheated as needed. First up, green beans and quinoa. I know, yum;) (Read:sarcasm.)

Green Beans and Quinoa
12 oz. green beans
1 cup quinoa

1.   Trim ends off green beans.  Steam for 10 minutes.
2.   Place 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until all of the water is absorbed.
3.  Combine the green beans and the cooked quinoa in the food processor and process to desired consistency.

Rice, Lentils and Carrots
1/2 cup lentils
1/2 cup brown rice
1 carrot diced
3 cups water

Place all ingredients in pan.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 1 hour.  Puree or mash to desired consistency.

I love lentils, so I also made myself some lentils while the baby mash was cooking.  This time, I just cooked the lentils with water, but I usually use a combination of vegetable broth and water.  Add some diced carrots, onion and garlic.  Add pepper to taste.  Serve with a salad or rice.
Now, onto the Super Bowl party.  We finished our basement over the holidays to add some home office space and a bar where VeggieDaddy can serve his Homebrew.  We decided that the Super Bowl would be a great time to unveil the new bar to our friends (and their 17 children!).  We just made chili, a football-shaped cheese ball, and threw in some frozen pizzas.  The guests brought appetizers and desserts, which included some tasty little cheese buns, baked brie, artichoke and spinach dip, king cake, cheesecake frosted brownies and cookies, among other tasty treats.  It was a great spread!

Super Sweet Potato Chili
1 large onion, chopped
3 small or 1 large sweet potato, cubed
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans kidney beans
2 cans cannellini beans
2 cans pinto beans
5 cups water
2 1/2 cups beer (I used an IPA)
1T Garlic
2 t Cumin
1 t Seasoned salt
1T Pepper (I used ancho because I didn't want it to be too spicy for the crowd, but the combination of the sweet potatoes and spicy is really good when you do spice it up.)

I cooked this in the crockpot all day, but you can make it in a large pot on the stove as well.  This makes ALOT.

1.   Set crockpot on high and allow to heat.  Saute onions with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil until translucent.
2.  Add sweet potatoes and allow to cook while preparing the beans.
3.   Open all of the cans of beans and dump into a colander.  Rinse and drain well.
4.   Add the tomatoes, beans and all remaining ingredients and stir. If you use a crockpot with a timer, set it to 8 hours on low.  Since I was home, I cooked it on high for a few hours because there was so much to cook, it needed the high heat to get going.

Kickoff Cheese Ball
This is from the Parents Magazine February 2012 Issue, also reprinted here.  This is super cute and the girls had fun helping me make it.

4 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
4 oz. Colby-Jack cheese, cubed
1/2 cup canned chickpeas. drained and rinsed
1/4 cup finely chopped jarred roasted red pepper
1/2 cup small pretzel twists
Chives or green onions for decorating

1.   Combine cheeses and chickpeas in a food processor and blend until smoothe, stopping to scrape down the sides a few times.  Add the red peppers and pulse until just combined throughout.
2.   Spoon mixture into a shallow dish and spread.  Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
3.   Crush the pretzels into crumbs either in the food processor or by placing in a ziploc bags and crushing with a rolling pin.  Spread the crumbs on a piece of wax paper.
4.  Scoop the cheese out of the dish and form into a football shape with your hands.  Roll it around in the pretzel crumbs to coat.  Transfer to a serving plate and use the chives or green onions to make the laces.

 With the chickpeas, this is much healthier than your usual cheese ball, and it holds its shape much better!

And on tap we had VeggieDaddy's Mocha Stout, a friend's Scottish Pale Ale, and Green Flash West Coast IPA.

And, with that, I will sign off for now with the pledge to post at least a few more times this week.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Veggie Mommy is back with some yummy Pad Thai

Veggie Mommy is home on maternity leave with VeggieBaby (child #3, our first boy!), so now that VeggieBaby is taking longer naps, I am thinking now is the time to start posting to this blog again.  Plus, there have been a few days that I have been able to try out new recipes!  Last week I tried a new pad thai recipe and it was perfect.  I prepared everything during the baby's naps, so it didn't take much come dinner time.

Vegetarian Pad Thai

12 oz. dried flat rice noodles (1/4 inch wide)
1 1/4 Tbs. tamarind paste
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 Tbs. Sriracha sauce
1 bunch scallions - cut into 2-inch pieces, halve the pale green and white parts lengthwise
4 large shallots - thinly sliced
1 package firm tofu - cut into 1 inch cubes and patted dry
1 1/2 cups peanut oil
2-4 eggs (depending on taste)
4 garlic cloves
1 1/2 cups bean sprouts
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1 lime
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

  1. Soak noodles in a large bowl of warm water until softened, 25 to 30 minutes.  Drain well and cover with a dampened paper towel.
  2. Make sauce by mixing the tamarind paste with 2/3 cup hot water.  Add soy sauce, brown sugar, and Sriracha, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Heat the oil over medium heat, then fry half of the shallots until golden brown, about 10 minutes.  Remove the shallots and spread on paper towels.  The shallots get nice and crisp as they cool.
  4. Reheat the oil until hot and fry the tofu, turning occasionally, until golden.  Transfer tofu to paper towels. Pour off and save the frying oil, except for 2 tablespoons.
  5. Beat the eggs with a pinch of salt and cook over medium heat.  Transfer to a plate.
  6. Heat 5 Tbs of the shallot oil over high heat and stir-fry the scallions, garlic and remaining shallots until softened, about 1 minute.
  7. Add the noodles and stir-fry over medium heat for 3 minutes.  Add tofu, bean sprouts and sauce, and simmer, turning noodles over to absorb sauce evenly until noodles are tender, about 2 minutes.
  8. Stir in eggs.
  9. Serve with peanuts, fried shallots, lime wedges, cilantro and Sriracha. 
My girls are all about limes right now so they loved squeezing the lime juice on top.