December 12, 2017

Harvest Veggie Soup

Well, we are certainly into full-blown Fall around here!  (How about where you live?)  The brightly colored foliage is fading fast…and the leaves are falling almost faster!  Piles of leaves are on the curbs, our sweaters are unpacked, almost everyone is wearing socks (except me…i still am scooting around in my Birkenstocks! But not for long!)   And we are enjoying soup a few times each week.  One pot of soup that we have enjoyed a few times already is this  Harvest Veggie Soup, full of veggies and grated apples…very yummy.   It is a slightly sweet soup, very satisfying and filling.  I choose to make it vegan/vegetarian but it could easily be made with chicken broth, too.  This would make a great addition to your own menu when you have vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters ? sharing a meal together.

Here on our Monday installment of At Home w/ GCH, we have been featuring recipes which included Fall in-season fruits and veggies.  This week, our recipe features a few: apples, cauliflower, and (surprise!) butternut squash.  This week’s recipe fits into our healthy but-oh-so-yummy! category since it is really yummy (did I mention that before?), extremely low in fat, and full of delicious, nutritious vegetables.  Enjoy!

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Harvest Veggie Soup

ingredients:
2 butternut squash
1 large head of cauliflower
2 tablespoons coconut or olive oil
sea salt, freshly ground pepper
1 sweet onion, diced small
1 additional teaspoon olive oil
2-3 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 quarts of vegetable stock
2-3 peeled apples, grated
1 can coconut milk (shake well!)

optional toppings:
cooked, crumbled bacon
sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
shredded sharp cheese
chopped avocado
sprinkle of cinnamon (try it!)

directions:

  • preheat oven to 425; line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper
  • peel the butternut squash; scoop out the seeds and strings and cut up into 2″ chunks.  set aside in a very large bowl
  • cut up the cauliflower into smallish-size florets; add to bowl
  • pour in oil and season veggies with s&p.  stir together well, pour out onto a baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes
  • meanwhile, in a large stockpot, saute onion along with 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium high heat for 5 minutes or so; reduce heat to low and add in chopped garlic, stirring constantly for 1 minute
  • pour in the stock; add additional s&p to taste and allow to simmer gently
  • when the veggies in the oven are done roasting, remove from oven and immediately pour into the stockpot; stir well to combine.  allow to simmer for 20 minutes or so, adjusting heat if necessary
  • when done, scoop out about 1/2 of the veggies and use an immersion blender to puree what is left in the stockpot.  (This could also be mashed, or pureed, very carefully,  in a standard blender in batches.)  taste (be careful…it’s hot!) for additional seasoning, and add back in the reserved veggies
  • add the grated apple and pour in the coconut milk; stir well.  done!
  • optional toppings can be added to each individual bowl of soup

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

God loves you!    (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup (Tom Kha Gai)

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

I am convinced that every culture, every civilization, has a chicken soup recipe.  Nothing else satisfies, or feels so much like a hug to the tummy, like a big bowl of chicken soup made by someone you love.  If you are like me and are a frugal girl, you buy a whole chicken at least once a week.  I remove the breasts and legs and cook them one night, then cook the carcass for broth and about two cups of shredded chicken left on the body.  If you have a chicken body and the desire to try something new, read on – here comes Thai Coconut Chicken Soup, also known as Tom Kha Gai!

Now that you know how to make coconut milk from scratch, you’ll need about 2 cups of homemade coconut milk, or you can use one can of packaged coconut milk.  There are a few other unusual ingredients for this recipe:  ginger, cilantro, and fish sauce.  Ginger really isn’t that out of the ordinary, and goes great in smoothies and peach dishes; but if you aren’t going to use it soon, you can peel whatever is left and freeze it to use later.  Cilantro shows up in many different cuisines, so if you don’t want to waste half a bunch of cilantro, you have many options (like Mexican or Indian food), or try this  and  this.  Fish sauce is a savory liquid distillation of anchovies, sugar, and salt.  If you can’t find it, you can still make the soup, but fish sauce is the secret ingredient that really brings everything together.  It keeps in the fridge forever, and is a great flavor booster for clam chowder or a substitute for anchovy paste (think Caesar salad.)  The only other ingredients you need are a chicken, some limes, and mushrooms.  Thai restaurants use straw mushrooms (you can find them in a can), but I used dried shiitake mushrooms, and they’re delicious.  You could also use cremini mushrooms.

Try this with Jasmine rice and a green salad for a light but satisfying dinner!

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup (Tom Kha Gai)

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken body, breasts and legs removed (or use two cooked chicken breasts, diced, plus 3 cups of chicken broth)
  • 1 large piece of ginger, 2 or 3 inches long, peeled and bashed with the handle of your knife
  • 1 can coconut milk, or about 2 cups homemade coconut milk
  • 1 ounce dried mushrooms, broken into little pieces, or 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon or so fish sauce (to taste – if you don’t have fish sauce, use salt)
  • 2 limes, juiced

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, cook the chicken carcass with 4 cups of water and the ginger, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken to a large bowl; shred meat from bones and set aside. Strain the broth into another bowl, discarding ginger. Wash the pot and return to stove. Over medium low heat, add the dried mushrooms to the chicken broth and cook ten minutes. (If using fresh mushrooms, add them in Step 2.)
  2. Add back the chicken to the broth, and pour in coconut milk (and fresh mushrooms, if using).  Cook until simmering.  Add chopped cilantro, fish sauce, and lime juice, and stir to combine.  Taste for seasoning – may need more salt, or you may like more lime (you can add the zest of the lime too, if you want a stronger citrus flavor.)  Serve hot with more chopped cilantro.  You can also stir in a little hot sauce or chili flakes if you like!

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Thai Tea with Coconut Cream Condensed Milk – Vegan

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Thai food fans…what beverage do you indulge in when you go out to enjoy a meal at your favorite Thai restaurant? For me, it is a tall Thai iced tea!  Yum!  But this truly is a decadent indulgence, for sure.  Now the ‘tea’ part is usually not the problem…it is the addition of the creamy, very sweet ‘milk-y’ portion that is of concern.

So, when my daughter, Kassia, and I were planning our Mother’s Day meal, we decided NOT to cook but to get Thai takeout… some sushi, some pineapple fried rice, a couple of (rice) noodle-based dishes, and some curry.  Delish!  But we thought that we would make the dessert, soup, and beverages to accompany the restaurant-prepared food.

She chose a recipe for a black rice (rice) pudding topped with toasted coconut flakes and homemade coconut milk whipped topping. I was given responsibility for the soup (I made Tom Kha Ga–a coconut milk-based soup with chicken and mushrooms fantastically flavored with lemongrass, lime, and ginger; Dana has a wonderful recipe here; check it out!) and the  beverages. We put out a selection of flavored seltzers, some mango 100% juice for the grandkids, a nice bottle of Reisling, and a big pitcher of Thai iced tea and (to keep to our choices to eat healthier) a small bowl of homemade condensed milk made with coconut milk and agave nectar. This fit right into our healthy but oh-so-yummy point of view so I thought that I would share it with you! Enjoy!

Coconut Condensed Milk

Ingredients:
(1) 14 ounce can full-fat coconut milk2014-05-12 02.26.01
1/4 cup coconut sugar (or sweetener* of your choice)

Directions:

  • Pour the coconut milk into a small, heavy-bottomed stainless saucepan, and heat over medium-high heat ‘til it comes to a boil, about 5 minutes
  • Whisk in the sweetener of your choice ‘til thoroughly blended
  • Bring back to a boil, and immediately reduce heat to medium-low maintaining a constant simmer; whisk every 5 minutes or so
  • Continue to simmer for 35-45 minutes, ‘til the content is reduced by about half

To serve, fill a tall glass with ice cubes. Fill almost up with Thai tea, and then add 1-2 tablespoons of your homemade, healthier condensed milk.

You can, of course, use whatever spicy tea that is your favorite. To replicate that delicious beverage served in most Thai restaurants, use traditional Thai tea which produces a vibrant orange-colored, full flavored tea.

* I prefer using coconut sugar or honey as my natural sweetener, but agave nectar, pure maple syrup, coconut nectar, or stevia should work just fine. Adjust sweetness to taste; enjoy!

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

God loves you!    (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Harvest Soup

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This past weekend some of my large family (I have 7 brothers and sisters, along with their spouses, children, and grandchildren and my own daughter, son-in-law, and their 4 children!) came to celebrate my 58th birthday; happy me!  One dish that we shared was a Harvest Soup, full of veggies and grated apples…very yummy.  This is a slightly sweet soup, very satisfying and filling.  Also, I chose to make it vegan since I was sharing it with my beautiful sister, Brigit.  (The dollop of sour cream in the above pic was in my own bowl of yummy soup!)  This would make a great addition to your own menu when you have vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters 😉 sharing a meal together.

Here on our Monday installment of At Home w/ GCH, we have been featuring recipes which included Fall in-season fruits and veggies.  This week, our recipe features a few: apples, cauliflower, and (surprise!) butternut squash.  This week’s recipe fits into our healthy but-oh-so-yummy! category since it is really yummy (did i mention that before?), extremely low in fat, and full of delicious, nutritious vegetables.  Enjoy!  <3

Harvest Soup

Ingredients:
2 butternut squash
1 large head of cauliflower
3 teaspoons olive oil
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 sweet onion
1 additional teaspoon olive oil
2-3 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 quarts of vegetable stock
2-3 apples, grated
1 can coconut milk (shake well!)

Optional add-ins:
Cooked, crumbled bacon
Sour cream
Shredded sharp Cheddar
Chopped avocado
Sprinkle of cinnamon (try it!)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425.
  • Peel the butternut squash; scoop out the seeds and strings; and cut up into 2″ pieces.  Set aside in a large bowl.
  • Cut up the cauliflower into smallish-size florets; add to bowl.  Pour in olive oil and season veggies with salt and pepper.  Stir well, pour onto a baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, dice onion fairly small and saute along with 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium high heat for 5 minutes or so; reduce heat to low and add in chopped garlic stirring constantly for 1 minute.
  • Pour in the vegetable stock; add salt and pepper to taste and simmer gently.
  • When the veggies in the oven are done roasting, remove from oven and immediately pour into your stockpot.  Stir well to combine.  Allow to simmer for 20 minutes or so,adjusting heat if necessary.
  • When done, scoop out about 1/3 of the veggies and use an immersion blender to puree what is left in the stockpot.  (This could also be mashed, or, very carefully, pureed in a standard blender in batches.)  Taste (be careful…it’s hot!) for additional seasoning, and add back in the reserved veggies.
  • Add the grated apple and pour in the coconut milk; stir well.  Done!
  • Optional add-ins can be put atop individual bowls of soup.

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Homemade Coconut Milk and Coconut Chia Pudding

Coconut Milk Jar
I think I speak for everyone who blogs for At Home with GCH when I say that we are not afraid of a little hard work.  Some things are worth the extra time, effort, or energy.  From Christi’s homemade laundry detergent, to Coleen’s gluten-free goodies, we all have tricks to share so you can give your family the safest, freshest, and healthiest choices possible.  I’d like to toss my hat into the ring and offer a recipe for Homemade Coconut Milk!

Coconut milk is a key ingredient in many Indian, Thai, and other Southeast Asian recipes.  It’s also a great staple to have on hand if you are lactose intolerant, or if you are allergic to soy or almond milk.  And while you can find it in a can in many supermarkets, it is quite easy to make at home!  All you need is dried or desiccated coconut flakes, a blender, a colander, and cheesecloth.  Now, this is not the coconut you make into a pie – that stuff is full of sugar and preservatives!  Make sure it is unsweetened, dried coconut.  You can use fresh coconut too, if you can find one. (I can get them at my local Thai market, but you may not have one of those nearby.)  The coconut milk is good for about a week in your refrigerator.  I keep mine in a Ball jar with a lid, but I can’t make it last more than 3 days – it’s that delicious!

What you do with it is up to you.  Pour it over your cereal (or Christi’s Granola), use it in coffee in place of creamer, or make this delicious Coconut Chia Pudding.  Chia seeds can be found online at Amazon, at nearly all health food stores or Whole Foods, and at Trader Joe’s.   Chia seeds are teeny, tiny, little health bombs!  Full of Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and other necessary things, chia seeds can add crunch to homemade crackers, or top sweet potatoes and salads.  Even better, when mixed with liquid, they create a gel, and make a delicious “pudding” that feels decadent, but is actually quite healthy.  Think tapioca or rice pudding, without all the diet-busting starch!

Coconut Chia Pudding

 

Next week I’ll have more recipes that use coconut milk, but for now, here are the basics.  Check it out!

Homemade Coconut Milk

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup shredded, dried coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water

Directions:

  1. Boil water.  (I know, but it has to be said.)  In the pitcher of a blender or a large food processor (I use a food processor and it works fine), pour in one cup of coconut flakes.  Measure out 1 1/2 cups of boiling water and pour over the coconut.  Let sit for about 20 minutes.  Then blend for 2 or 3 minutes if you have a really strong blender, or about 4 minutes in a food processor.  You want to see a foamy slurry.
  2. Line a sieve or colander with a large piece of cheesecloth, folded over on itself.  Place the colander over a large bowl.  Pour the coconut mixture into the cheesecloth and squeeze, squeeze, SQUEEZE!!!  Pour the coconut milk into a jar with a lid and keep refrigerated.
  3. Don’t throw away the coconut pulp!  This can be mixed into smoothies, or spread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and baked at 200*F for about 1 to 2 hours.  When it is completely dry, grind again in the food processor … and you just made coconut flour!  And now for the other recipe…

Coconut Chia Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey (optional, depending on how ripe and sweet your fruit is)
  • 1 cup chopped fruit – I like strawberries, blueberries, or peaches, but find what you like best

Directions:

  1. In a Tupperware container with a lid, pour in one cup of coconut milk and 1/4 cup chia seeds.  Put the lid on and shake to combine.  Put in the refrigerator.  Shake again in one hour.  
  2. The chia pudding should be ready in about 3 hours.  When ready, it should be very thick, like tapioca pudding.  To serve, divide chia pudding between two bowls, drizzle with a tiny bit of honey if desired, and stir in the chopped fruit.  This makes a great dessert, or a nice, light breakfast.

 

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!