Carrot Ginger Soup

Have you ever made a blended soup? No? Why not? So easy. One of my favourite ways to get vegetables into me, freezer friendly, portable and delicious! I tend to just make up the recipe as I go, just as I did today.

Carrot Ginger Soup. Makes one large-ish pot. How many bowls? Depends on how big your bowls are. Ha!

  • 3lb bag of carrots
  • a large onion
  • a large chunk of ginger
  • a big spoon of ground coriander
  • 8c (or so) of broth – chicken or vegetable; homemade or from a box – doesn’t really matter.
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil

Peel your carrots, ginger and onion.

Toss onion and ginger into the food processor to chop.

Put onion and ginger mixture in a pan with olive oil over medium heat to soften.

Grate your carrot with the food processor

Add the carrots and your broth to the pot. Simmer for 30-40 minutes or until it’s all soft

Puree with an immersion blender. (or you could dump it all into the food processor or a real blender, but why?). Add a bit of water or broth to thin the consistency, if required.

And eat. You can top with chopped cilantro, a drizzle of sour cream, some salt and pepper. This soup has a real zing to it because of the enormous amount of ginger. It’s simple and delicious flavours at their best. Good food does not need to be complicated and difficult. I froze most of this soup for busy weeknight dinners once my next semester begins (I work full time and go to grad school full time….)

I also packaged a few servings of soup into mason jars for lunches to take to work. Mason jars make awesome packed lunch containers. Take off the lid, drape a paper towel or napkin over it to prevent splatter, and microwave. Glass won’t leach crap into your food, nor will it break down from the heat.

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Daily Foodie Eats: 20/04/12

Breakfast: Coffee and a stuffed mushroom cap

Lunch: Gyros meatballs on a salad of tomato, red onion and spinach with some chopped veggies on the side

Snack: a mason jar of carrot-ginger soup (recipe coming!).. then I ate a nice big chunk of brie cheese when I arrived home. I was having a bad day. I needed to eat my feelings, ok?

Dinner: Now this is what I call “Paleo junk food”… A giant chicken shawarma salad. Man, it was good. Crispy charred chicken bits, salad, garlic sauce. Sure it’s probably full of nasty canola oils, but a better choice than pizza, no?

Snack: “ice cream” aka banana, almond butter and cocoa in the food processor. yummy.

Gyros Meatballs and Tzatziki sauce

I love Greek food. How could you not? So full of freshness and flavours. Feta cheese, yogurt, tomato, cucumber, dill, garlic.. Oh baby. Sure, a paleo purist would balk at the mention of yogurt and feta, so good thing I’m not one of them! 😉 My mom and I mourned the loss of this wonderful Greek place near the airport here that we would always go to when I picked her up for visits. They had the most delicious gyros. I love gyros. And Shawarma too for that matter. Every time I see that delightful meat spinning around on a spit I exclaim that I really want a giant meat spit for my kitchen. Alas, they are probably expensive, impractical and not to mention dangerous with a wee one around. I did build a custom coffee bar into my home, but a meat roasting station might be a bit excessive. Not to mention not so great for resale, no?

Inspired by ground lamb on markdown sale at the grocery store tonight ($10/lb regular price, and even tonight I paid $8 OMG!) and from the delicious Deconstructed Gyros Salad from The Clothes Make the Girl (do we see a theme here? I may possibly have a foodie crush…), I set out to make some gyros flavours in my own kitchen.

Gyros Meatballs: Makes approximately 4 dozen

  • 1 lb extra lean ground beef
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 Tbsp dried mint leaves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano leaves
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 Tbsp coarse (granulated) garlic powder
  • 1 tsp tablespoon salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbsp coconut flour (could probably omit…)

Gather your spices. It seems like a lot, but once you stock your spice cupboard you’ll find so much use for it. Nothing here is overly exotic and should be found at your local grocery store

Add your lamb and beef to a big bowl. Crack your egg over it, toss in your coconut flour and spices.

And mix. Mix mix mix. Use your hands. Pound the crap out of it. Do not be afraid of the slimyness that is raw meat. You will wash your hands later! (sidenote, HOW do food bloggers take photos? I had to pause so many times to wash my hands so I could grab my camera, and I even recruited my husband to take a few of the shots. He thought I was nuts, bien sur).

Use a spoon (or a handy dandy scoop if you have one!) to portion out the meat. Roll gently with your hands to create a ball.

Lay out all your meatballs on a tray. I had initially planned to bake them, but as I was impatiently waiting the oven to heat up I turned on the cast iron pan. Put it on high to heat, but you’ll gradually turn down the heat as it warms up. You’ll want to cook these on medium-ish heat. Turns out, this was a perfect way to cook them and get those nice caramelish crispy bits all over, like a real gyros!

I had quite the little assembly line going to get these babies in and out of the pan. Wear an apron. Not only are they super cute and very underappreciated, they will save your hideously overpriced but oh so cute Lululemon tank top that you had to have clothes from getting splattered with grease. The meatballs will take about 8-10 minutes to cook. Use your trusty thermometer to test them out if you aren’t sure if they are done. Or sacrifice one and cut it open and eat it to find out!

I also made some tzatziki sauce to go on top. This was simple. Greek yogurt, grated cucumber, granulated garlic, and chopped dill. That’s it, that’s all.

Put your cooked meatballs on a slice of lettuce with tzatziki, tomato, and thinly sliced red onion. Or if you’re the gluten-eating type, these would be delicious on a warmed pita. These are delicious hot or cold. I froze most of them for weeknight meals, but there are some packed with a salad for my lunch tomorrow. Can’t wait!

Spinach and Sausage Stuffed Mushroom Caps

I first came across the concept of stuffing a mushroom with sausage at Nomnompaleo.com. Never read it? Go now and come back in five minutes. Great recipes, writing and amazing photography. I’m a big fan!

Due to my aforementioned inability to follow a recipe, I inevitably heavily modified the recipe. The first time I made it I followed it pretty closely but didn’t get around to the tomato sauce. I’ve made it 3-4 times since I’ve discovered the recipe with various modifications. Tonight, I really had to improvise as I was in a hurry and didn’t have all the ingredients (shame!). These reheat well and will be tomorrow’s lunch!

Spinach and Sausage Stuffed Mushroom Caps. Makes 5 servings

Ingredients

  • 5 portobello mushroom caps
  • 3 large italian sausages (I used hot), removed from casing
  • 1T coconut flour
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 1 egg
  • a handful of sundried tomatoes
  • Oil of your choice.

Preheat the oven to 375. Once it is warm – or heck even while it is preheating – brush your shrooms with oil and toss them in to cook a wee bit. I had just cooked bacon on a cookie sheet so I just smeared them with bacon grease. Mmmm. You can scrape out the gills and stem, but I didn’t bother this time. Take them out when your filling is ready.

Chop up your spinach. I cut it with scissors because I’m rebellious like that. Normally I would use the prechopped spinach, well drained, but I had fresh so I used it. I will never use it again because it lost so much water!

Add a handful of sundried tomatoes. For some reason I added these today. They called to me from their little mason jar in the pantry. And yes, I literally meant a handful.

Add in your egg, and your spoonful of coconut flour. I took this photo to prove that I do actually own measuring spoons, but really it was the first one in the drawer when I reached over, not an attempt to be precise with my measurements. You could also add in some more seasonings – garlic, peppers, onion or whatever. I opted not to because… I forgot. And I had hot sausage and sundried tomato to balance out the flavours.

Mix your filling and spread it on the mushroom caps. Yeah, these mushroom caps were mutant. Enormous. Normally the sausage mounds up much better, but I had to spread it thinner this time. You could also top with cheese if that floats your boat.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the sausage is cooked. I’m not good with precise times, people. You could also use a meat thermometer to be sure. And Voila! Stuffed mushroom caps. Serve immediately or chill and eat later. Add marinara if you like. Enjoy!

Daily Foodie Eats: 18/04/12

Breakfast: Same old… coffee and cream. Do you seriously want another picture of my mug? Didn’t think so.

Lunch: More mango/shrimp/avocado/salsa salad. See yesterday’s post for a pic. More veggies and babaganoush. Again, see yesterday’s post. I’m like that disappointment you feel when you realize your favourite sitcom is a rerun. Sorry. ha!

Dinner: Spinach salad with hard boiled egg, red onion, tomato and… no bacon. Funny thing about that bacon… I arrived home a few minutes early tonight so I stopped at home to pop the bacon in the oven before I walked around the corner to get the kiddo from daycare. As I was prepping dinner after we returned home he kept saying “bacon! bacon! bacon mommy!” Wait, how do you know I’m cooking bacon? Do you seriously recognize the smell? Dear god, you ARE my child! When I took the 8 slices of bacon out of the oven and crumbled them into bits to cool on the paper towel he kept asking for them. Then grabbing them off the counter and loading up his bowl…. Sigh. I give up. Just eat the bacon, child. He ate five entire slices (for those of you who are good at math… I ate the other three. ha!) So no bacon for this salad. We also had bowls of soup from the freezer (sausage, tomato, spinach, bone broth with some parmesan sprinkled on top). Good times.

MOAR BACON, MOMMY!!!!!!! (His expression is hilarious)

Snack: I taste tested a sausage stuffed portobello mushroom… Recipe to come!

Daily Foodie Eats: 17/04/12

Breakfast: Coffee and cream. The usual, you know.

Lunch: Homemade turkey meatballs (ground turkey, coconut flour, egg, pesto, chopped spinach, and sundried tomato… and yes I did eat them cold. YUM). I took a photo with my blackberry but it was too terrible to share. Embarrassing!  Egg salad in a curry Pure Wrap. These are amazing raw coconut wraps that are a great sandwich wrapper and bread replacement. I first saw these on nomnompaleo.com and went on a mission for a Canadian distributor and found UpayaNaturals.com. Now these puppies don’t come cheap at $5.59 for a four pack (and that’s on sale!), but tell me this – have you ever dropped way too much coin for a fresh bakery croissant? Yes, that’s what I thought… Too rich for lunch every day, but a nice treat. I forgot to take a photo of it until I got to the very last bite. Whoops. I sincerely apologize for this horrible photo!

Also had some chopped cucumbers, red pepper and Smoky Babaganoush, and some Sunshine Sauce. I’m undecided on the sunshine sauce, although I altered the recipe to use almond butter instead of sunbutter because it’s all I had. I think I will play with it some more the next time I make it.

Snack: Piece of cold chicken from the fridge and a Larabar. I needed to get some damned food into me before we went to Costco. Costco on an empty stomach = bad.

Dinner: Shrimp, mango, avocado and salsa. Yummy.

Daily Foodie Eats: 16/04/12

So, I’m a bad bad girl. I forgot to take pictures of my food today until dinner time! So to make it up to you my devoted readers lonely, singular reader, I busted out the good camera to take some pics!

Breakfast: Coffee and cream. Yum. Some call it intermittent fasting, I call it laziness and a busy morning at work.

Lunch: Two hardboiled eggs (breakfast!), cucumber slices, another taco salad (just like yesterday’s breakfast, go look at the pic and it will be like deja-vu. I promise). I also had a mini chorizo meatloaf. I’m going to include the pic from the author because mine are decidedly less photogenic, but incredibly flavourful. This recipe is a winner! Yes Virgina, there really is a meatloaf that doesn’t taste like cat food. This is it.

Dinner: Cocoa toasted cauliflower and pork tenderloin. For the pork, I used the rest of the delicious rub I had remaining from the other day when I made The Best Chicken You Will Ever Eat. Seared it up in the cast iron pan and finished in the oven. A tip about pork. Pork tastes nasty when it is overcooked. Invest in a good instant read meat thermometer. I cook a pork tenderloin to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. It is okay if your pork is still a wee bit pink in the middle. Once you take it out of the oven, let it rest under some foil for 5-10 minutes. The temp will creep up to about 145. Trust me on this. And if you don’t want to trust me, trust the FDA. While I can be “anti establishment” when it comes to public policy – especially food policy (we’ll save that rant for another post, perhaps on a rainy day when I’ve had enough of procrasti-cooking), go with this recommendation for cooking the pork!

Yummy. I added some sliced tomatoes because I felt my plate was too brown. Kiddo happily scarfed the tomatoes down along with his leftover lemon parmesan risotto from the other night. The best part about this dinner is that it is all very simple ingredients that were turned into a flavourful and delicious meal just by adding spices. Spices are your friend. They can turn something mundane into something magical. This dinner took me about 30 minutes to prepare. 20 of that was spent sitting on the couch…

Snack: I dunno. But I’m sure I will munch on something later. ETA: I had an ataulfo mango. So good.

Kitchen gripe of the day: So I have this reasonably fancy-ish Venmar hoodfan. It’s great and all, but the stupid electronic control panel keeps falling into the fan housing! After a trip to my friendly Venmar dealer (read: some hole in the wall appliance repair centre in a basement of a building in backwoods Hull where I made a colleague come with me in case I got murdered and/or I was too chicken shit to speak french) the nice guy there showed me the piece and I figured out that all I had to do was open it up and slide a little lever. Great, but now I seemingly have to do it every 2 months or so. The last time I did it I didn’t turn the breaker off. Momentary lapse of reason. Whoopsie. Yes, my hand was vibrating for an hour. ha!