Vegan Tapioca Pudding

I love tapioca pudding! My husband and most of my kids do not; they don’t like the consistency of the tapioca pearls/balls, but I do! Unfortunately, I have a dairy sensitivity and tapioca is generally made with a lot of cows milk, so I rarely get to have this, and when I do, I either have a very small bowl, or I pay for it later. Which, lets be honest, I sometimes do. While visiting my sister this past Summer(who is vegan), I tried a tapioca pudding she makes with almond and coconut milk, and sweetens with pure maple syrup. It was delicious and I was so happy to have found a dairy-free, and refined-sugar-free recipe!

You’ll need these ingredients. The only thing I didn’t have on hand was the Tapioca, and I found this on the baking aisle in our local grocery store. I’ve made this recipe several times and I still have a lot left, so they go a long way. Also, since the real vanilla is currently $35 for this size container, I have been using the imitation vanilla, and I’m totally okay with doing that until the prices aren’t exorbitant! 

Start off by soaking the tapioca pearls in almond milk for one hour. I just do this in the liquid glass measuring dish I used to measure my milk…I’m all about finding ways to use less dishes. 

Once finished soaking, transfer the tapioca and milk mixture to a medium saucepan and add the remaining ingredients. Over medium heat bring this mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Chill for at least two hours or overnight; it thickens as it chills. Or if you like it a little runnier, and warmer, dig in after it’s cooled enough that it won’t burn your tongue! 

Vegan Tapioca Pudding
*serves 6-8

1/3 c Tapioca pearls

1 c unsweetened almond milk

1 can full fat coconut milk (I like Thai kitchen brand)

1/3 c pure maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla

Pinch of sea salt

Soak tapioca pearls in almond milk for one hour. Transfer tapioca to a medium saucepan and add the remaining ingredients. Over medium heat bring this mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Chill for at least two hours or overnight.

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Vegan Gravy

I have this recipe posted at the bottom of a couple of other recipes that call for gravy, but I didn’t have it on it’s own…until now. This makes about 2 cups and is great in Chicken Broccoli Casserole, with Hawaiin Haystacks, and many other things.

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In a medium saucepan, warm the oil over medium heat(You can olive or avocado oil, or butter). Stir in garlic and saute one minute. Add the flour and whisk. Whisk in broth, milk, dried onion and salt. Stir over medium to medium-hi heat for about 5 minutes until thickened. img_5367This recipe makes a little over 2 cups of gravy.
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Gravy (vegan)
*makes 2 cups

4 Tbsp avocado oil (butter or olive oil work too)
2 tsp minced garlic
5 T whole white wheat flour
2 c vegetable broth
1/2 c unsweetened almond milk
2 tsp dried minced onion
1 1/2 tsp sea salt

In a saucepan, warm the oil over medium heat. Stir in garlic and saute one minute. Add the flour and whisk. Whisk in broth, milk, dried onion and salt. Stir over medium to medium-hi heat for about 5 minutes until thickened. Makes about 2 cups.

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Baked Scones

I love scones, though we tend to make these only a few times a year, for special occasions like birthdays and other holidays, not because they’re difficult, because they’re not, they’re quite simple to make. But more because they use all white flour and have a little sugar so they’re not on our regular menu. But they are delicious and if you’re going to have a scone, it’s better to make them as is true with anything you’re going to eat that maybe shouldn’t be eaten regularly…at least make yourself go through the work, mess and time of putting them all together so it feels like a special treat, rather than effortlessly buying a premade baked good from a bakery just because.

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I like to use an unbromated all purpose flour when I am using white flour. Potassium bromate helps with elasticity and rising, but it also has been found to cause cancer in mice and rats so it’s banned in places like China, the European Union, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, and more. Anyhow, it’s a small amount, but still, I figure, why not just use unbromated?  So here are all your ingredients. Very simple and basic ingredients you all should have on hand. The milk can be any milk, we have milk sensitivities around here so we usually use lactose free or unsweetened almond milk. And I use a dried cane sugar, but any granulated sugar will work. Only 2 teaspoons go into these 8 scones, plus a little sprinkled on top.

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In a mixing bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or forks until it makes fine crumbs.

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Combine egg and 5 tablespoons milk. Slowly pour milk mixture into dry mix while mixing with a fork. If you need additional 1 tablespoon of milk to bring dough together, add it. On your prepared silicone baking mat and cookie sheet, gently pat dough into a circle about 1/2 inch thick. Brush the top with a little bit of milk or beaten egg and sprinkle with about 2 teaspoons of sugar.

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Cut into 6 to 8 wedges, img_5525

and separate on the cookie sheet.

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Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until the tops are set and the bottoms are golden brown. Do not overbake.img_2095

Baked Scones

Makes 6-8

1 3/4 c all purpose flour (I like Wheat Montana’s white unbromated flour)

2 tsp granulated Sugar (I use dried cane sugar)

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp Himalayan sea salt (or any sea salt)

1 egg, beaten

5-6 Tbsp milk

*will need a little extra milk and sugar to spread/sprinkle over top of scones just prior to baking.

Heat oven to 400°. Place a silicone baking mat (or parchment paper) on a cookie sheet and set aside.

In a mixing bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or forks until it makes fine crumbs. Combine egg and 5 tablespoons milk. Slowly pour milk mixture into dry mix while mixing with a fork. If you need additional 1 tablespoon of milk to bring dough together, add it. On your prepared silicone baking mat and cookie sheet, gently pat dough into a circle about 1/2 inch thick. Brush the top with a little bit of milk or beaten egg and sprinkle with about 2 teaspoons of sugar. Cut into 6 to 8 wedges and separate on the cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until the tops are set and the bottoms are golden brown. Do not overbake. You can eat these whole or you can split them in half and spread with butter or jam.

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Vegan and GF Banana Muffins

That’s right my friends! These deliciously soft banana muffins are gluten-free AND vegan! And they don’t crumble to pieces or cave in! But the trick is using the RIGHT gluten-free flour blend. (for those of you who do not care if they’re gluten-free or not, you can definitely use a whole white wheat flour in place, I’ve tried it both ways, always using the same amount of flour and it works perfectly). 

I’ve tried using almond flour with tapioca starch and they totally caved! If you have another flour blend you know works well with baked goods, please feel free to experiment! As for me, I’m sticking with my Costco flour blend, that or whole white wheat flour like I mentioned above.img_5842

 

You can also add some chocolate chips if you’d like. I threw some dark chocolate Stevia sweetened chips on the tops of half of this batch which my kids enjoyed. 

Vegan and GF Banana Muffins 
makes about 18 muffins

2 ripe bananas
*1/2 cup olive oil (or half coconut oil and half olive…but if do half coconut, warm the coconut oil first so it doesn’t get clumpy, and you’ll want to warm the milk as well)
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 c maple syrup
1/2 c raw honey
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups whole white wheat flour (or gluten-free flour blend)
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
optional: chocolate chips…I do half plain and half with chocolate

Preheat the oven to 400F.  In a large mixing bowl (I do this in my Bosch) add your bananas and beat until they’re mushy.  Add in the oil, milk, sweeteners and vanilla and mix together. Add in the dry ingredients and mix. Line muffin tins with  liners, or you can just put the batter right into the pan(I’ve greased and not greased and both turn out fine..liners are nice because you don’t have to wash the pans :)).  Using an ice cream scoop and  a spoon, scoop batter into each muffin cup; I like to use a scoop so they’re all even. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the muffins cool before serving. Store in an airtight container for 5 days, or freeze in freezer-ziploc bags or tupperware for a couple of weeks…I like to make extra to freeze and then kids can pull one out of the freezer in the morning, throw it in a baggie or lunch container and it’s all thawed out and ready to eat for lunch.

If you liked these muffins, try my sweet potato muffins, which follow this recipe, but we use a sweet potatoe in place of the bananas.

*I’ve also subbed half the oil with unsweetened applesauce and had great success!

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Biscuits

My husband grew up in the south which means he loves biscuits! I grew up in the Seattle area and I honestly don’t remember eating bisuits so when we were married, I never thought to make them. We’ve been married 15 years now and several years back Scott started making them occasionally, usually on a Sunday when he had a little extra time. And they were SO good! We loved them! We loved pairing them with eggs and cheese (they would’ve loved having ham with it too but we don’t ever have that on hand), or with some jam.

Father’s Day this year seemed to arrive suddenly and I had not planned a single thing for Father’s Day breakfast. Lame! I woke up at my normal weekday time, not normal Sunday time, because usually we’ll sleep in an extra 30-60 minutes on Sunday, so I was up around 530am and read for a bit like I always do, and then I went down to the kitchen and looked through our pantry and fridge, trying to figure out what in the heck I could make so that Scott would know I loved and appreciated him on this Father’s Day (couldn’t go to the store because it’s Sunday; we don’t shop on the Sabbath), because that’s how I show my love, through service and food and a little bit of thoughtfulness…sometimes…if I remember to make the time :). Anywho, as I was racking my brain for things he liked and ingredients we had on hand (which wasn’t much because I should’ve gone to the store Saturday but ran out of time…lame, again!), I realized that we always have ingredients for biscuits because they’re so basic! Yes! It was an inspired thought!  So I made biscuits, scrambled some eggs, sliced some cheese and set jam on the table and in 30 minutes or so, breakfast was hot and ready! He loved them, of course! In the picture below is Scott with Jane, our 8-year-old daughter, on Father’s Day morning. Don’t you just love home-made art projects from your kids?! I love them so much that I quickly snap a picture and then they go into the recycling :). And that’s not to be mean, I’ll have you know that I put some of those digital pictures on my family blog which I print yearly, and then we don’t have a million papers everywhere since we have 5 thoughtful children that regularly make us wonderful notes/pictures. Love them! 

Here are the ingredients….and you can use all white flour, but I like to add a little wheat whenever it will work out and still taste great for the added health benefits(I use all wheat in some recipes, but not this one because they won’t be as light and fluffy). And as for milk, I used this 2% lactose free milk because that’s what we had(my son and I have dairy sensitivities…we also keep unsweetened almond milk on hand)  and added a little lemon juice so that it is more like buttermilk…as it sits for a few minutes you’ll see it curdle. So fun! Oh, and don’t forget that cold butter, like I forgot in this picture! 

You’ll preheat your oven and then mix your ingredients together, dry ingredients, then add cold butter (that you’ve cut into small pieces) and your milk. You’ll pat this dough together into a ball and lay it out on a lightly floured counter. From here you’re going to gently pat it into a 1/2-inch thick circle, then fold it in half, and half again; then you’ll pat that out into a circle, and fold again like you did before and you’ll repeat this about 4 times. This, combined with the cold butter will help  you get flaky biscuits.

Notice when I put my biscuits on my cookie sheet, I have them very close together so they’re touching or nearly touching. I do this so that they’ll rise up, rather than out, creating a taller biscuit.

You’ll want to bake them until they turn golden brown on top. OH YUM!

Biscuits
*makes about a dozen

3 c flour (I use 2 white and 1 whole white wheat)

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 Tablespoons baking powder

1 tsp sea salt

9 Tbsp very cold butter, cut in slices

1 1/2 c buttermilk (you can make your own with milk and lemon juice…pour 1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice into your liquid measuring cup and then add enough milk til you get to 1 1/2 c.)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl or food processor. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resemebles coarse meal. If you’re doing this in the food processor, it’ll take a few short pulses; if by hand, use a pie pastry cutter or a couple of forks. Pour the buttermilk into the flour mixture and mix or pulse until just combined. Don’t overmix. If it’s too dry, you can add more buttermilk, about a tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together.

Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured counter. Gently pat the dough into a 1/2 inch thick circle. Fold the dough in half and then quarters , then repeat the patting into a circle and folding 4 more times. These folds, along with the cold butter, help create the flaky layers in the biscuits. Pat dough into a 1-inch thick circle and using a round cup or cookie cutter, cut the dough into circles; I use the top of a glass cup that’s about 3 1/4 inches across.

Line a large rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner, and place the biscuits on the pan, with the sides barely touhing each other, which will help the biscuits to rise up rather than out. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, until the biscuits are lightly golden on top. Serve immediately. We love to cut these in half and fill them with something sweet or savory. I love eggs, cheese, tomato and avocado. Many people like them with ham, cheese and eggs. Biscuits are also great with a little jam in the middle.

You can save leftovers in a tupperware container or ziploc bag for a few days, but they’re best warm and fresh like most baked goods. You could also freeze leftovers in freezer gallon bags for another day.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

Most of the recipes on this blog are pretty healthy and made from scratch rather than using cans and boxes and packages of things to put a meal together, and though these cookies aren’t healthy, they are made from scratch and I’d be lying if I said we never made cookies. We sometimes hold cookie socials at our home and invite neighbors over, and this summer my kids held two bake sales where they sold cookies, and these are one of our favorites! I love that we make them monster sized! They really are the size of an adults palm. This recipe came from the Lion House Cookbook recipe, and we didn’t really change much of anything besides increasing the size, using our evaporated cane juice which is a lot like granulated sugar, and our unbromated white flour rather than your typical all-purpose flour. And they use all butter which not only tastes better, but is better for you than the canned crisco and vegetable oils etc. Give it a try!

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Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Lion House Cookbook)
*makes 5-6 dozen, 3 1/2 inch cookies, or about 15 giant cookies

1 3/4 c (3 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 3/4 c packed brown sugar
1 1/4 c evaporated cane juice or any granulated sugar
4 eggs (cage free if possible)
5 1/2 Tbsp water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
6 c all-purpose flour (I like to use unbromated white flour)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3 c chocolate chips (or M&M’s, or whatever chip you like)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with silicone mat, parchment paper or lightly grease sheets and set aside.

Cream together butter and sugars in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs, water, and vanilla and mix until creamy. Add flour, salt, and baking soda and mix well. Gently fold in chocolate chips, mixing only until chips are evenly distributed. (overmixing results in broken chips and discolored dough). Drop by spoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. *If doing giant cookies, use about 3x the dough for individual cookies, and they will bake a couple of minutes longer; start watching around 10 minutes, but most likely they’ll go til 12 minutes, depending on your oven; they’re ready when they’re lightly golden around edges.

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Açaí Bowl

If you’re making a goal to eat healthy, and to keep eating healthy, It is helpful to choose a few foods you love, or a few favorite meals, and eat them daily or at least multiple times a week. And let me explain why. I think part of the problem with sticking to a new goal is all the thought processing and decision making you have to do constantly, especially when you’re trying to break old habits and start new ones.  This can be exhausting and can leave you feeling overwhelmed. So if you can figure out what healthy food items you love, and eat them every day, I think you’ll find you can be a lot more successful with sticking to your goal/plan. This summer, the Acai Bowl has turned into my daily, go-to, late afternoon snack and it’s the same for three of my daughters. I make this recipe every day, and it makes enough for the 4 of us to have an Acai Bowl(mines sometimes a little bigger than theirs, but not much). The granola is filling, the avocado and chia seeds provide great healthy fats and omega essential oils,  and the fruits are full of vitamins and minerals. The late afternoon is when I’m my hungriest, but when I have this bowl, I’m completely satisfied until dinner. Now, notice above, I said it’s been a favorite snack for the summer. Come winter, I may want to change up the snack and eat something that’s a little warmer, like toast with avocado spread on top, but typcially I have one or two snacks that I use almost daily over a season and that’s one less decision I need to make and I can use that brainpower elsewhere :).

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The recipe is pretty straightfoward: Place almond milk in blender, add chia seeds first so they can soak for a few minutes while you get out the remaining ingredients. Next take out the frozen Acai which is pictured below, and let that sit out while get your other ingredients ready. Add 1/2 an avocado into the blender, cut your banana in half, (you can eat the other half or use it for something else) and first cut a few slices which you can use to throw on top of your acai bowl, and then put the rest of that banana half into the blender. Add half cup of frozen blueberries or any frozen fruit works and if you’re wanting to add a protein powder or powdered peanut butter, you can do so. Now take a sharp knife and cut your acai packet in half and empty the entire packet into your blender.

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Blend until smooth. Pour about 1/4th of this mixture over 1/2 cup granola and top with sliced fruit and unsweetened coconut flakes.

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Açaí Bowl
*Serves 2-4 (depending on how big your bowl)

1/2 – 3/4 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk (1/2 if you like it thicker…I usually do 3/4c because it’s easier for me to blend and we like it)

1 tsp chia seeds (or 1 Tbsp chia gel:chia seeds soaked in water)

1 açaí frozen packet

1/2 c frozen blueberries

1/2 of a medium avocado

1/2 banana (divided…cut several slices to use for topping and then put the rest of the 1/2 banana in the blender)

1/2 cup Granola (I love THIS GRANOLA RECIPE)

*Optional: vanilla protein powder(amount 1/2 – 1 scoop), 1/2 Tbsp peanut butter protein powder. I prefer to have mine without any powders, but many people like them in.

Combine in blender(adding milk with chia seeds first so the chia seeds can soak for a minute) and blend until smooth. Pour about 1/4th of this mixture over 1/2 cup granola and top with sliced fruit; and you can add a little more granola on top if you like, which I do :). I love to use sliced strawberries, bananas, whole blueberries, granola and unsweetened coconut flakes on top of my Acai Bowl. Enjoy!

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Broccoli Rice Casserole (w/vegan option)

I’ve made this casserole a few times for my family, and though they are hesitant at first, because of the orange-colored sauce and the green broccoli, once they bite into it, they remember that they like it. This was an old favorite that used cream of chicken soup that I modified and now we use our own, homemade gravy, and I make ours without any dairy as I have a sensitivity to dairy. This meal is particularly simple if you already have some cooked rice in the fridge, and some leftover gravy or chicken. Then it’s just a matter of layering.

These are the ingredients:

First thing I did was cut up my broccoli and then you can get that steaming while you cut and cook your chicken. My oil and grease of choice is coconut oil as it is much less susceptible to heat-induced damage and will stay stable at higher temperatures.

Once that’s all ready I start my layers. First spread out the rice in the bottom of your 9×13 pan. Next add the broccoli. On top of the broccoli goes the chicken (I save a section of the pan without any chicken as I’m vegetarian. And it’s still so yummy even without the chicken!) You could also layer in some grated cheese right here if you like, or Daiya if you don’t want dairy, but the cheese is optional.

Next I mix the remaining ingredients together (mayo, gravy, curry powder and lemon juice)in a bowl and then spread it out evenly over the top.

Pop this into the oven and bake at 350 degrees for about half hour or until warmed through. I generally put this entire thing together in the morning or afternoon when I have a minute, and then stick it in the oven when we want to eat, as our house gets really busy after school and the kids are needing mom to help with homework and piano etc.

Direct quote from our 10-year-old Annabelle talking to her sister, just after she ate a few bites, “Huh?! This is actually pretty good!” I love that sort of response. It’s funny how quick they forget ever trying something as I’ve made this multiple times…but it’d probably been a few months. I hope you enjoy it!

The RECIPE:

Chicken Curry, Broccoli Rice Casserole
*serves 6-8

3-4 Cups cooked brown rice or quinoa (I often do a mix)
2 heads broccoli, cup up and steamed (I sometimes don’t steam it if I’m short on time; broccoli just won’t be as soft, but it does soften some while it cooks in the oven with the dressing on top)
1-2 c chicken, cooked and cubed (can leave out chicken if vegetarian or vegan; still delicious)
3/4 c Mayo (can use veganeise)
2 c gravy (see recipe below for a good gravy recipe)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp curry powder
optional: 1/2 c grated cheddar cheese

Put cooked rice in the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Next layer the broccoli, chicken(can optionally layer some cheese here, or vegan cheese like Daiya) and then mix up the remaining ingredients and pour them over top. Cook at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until warm.

Gravy

4 Tbsp avocado oil (butter or olive oil work too)
2 tsp minced garlic
5 T whole white wheat flour
2 c vegetable broth
1/2 c unsweetened almond milk
2 tsp dried minced onion
1 1/2 tsp sea salt

In a saucepan, warm the oil over medium heat. Stir in garlic and saute one minute. Add the flour and whisk. Whisk in broth, milk, dried onion and salt. Stir over medium to medium-hi heat for about 5 minutes until thickened. Makes about 2 cups.

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Chia Seed Pudding

This is a cool and sweet snack that you can feel good about. And as chia seeds expand, they help you to feel fuller, so if you’re trying to eat less, this is a great little snack to have around. Chia seeds are high in Omega 3 fatty acids which is something people will try to get from fish oil supplements, but I prefer throwing chia seeds (or flax seeds) in my foods instead. Try this out, it’s a great summer snack. 

THE RECIPE

Chia Seed Pudding (lightly adapted from Kimberly Snyder)
*4-6 servings

1/4 chia seeds
1 1/2- 1 3/4 c unsweetened almond milk
2 tsp cacao powder (can sub carob powder)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup or coconut nectar

Place chia seeds in a quart jar. Add the remaining ingredients and put lid on tight. Shake vigorously until all combined (a few seconds). Let stand at least 15 minutes before mixing again and serving. Store in fridge.

*the amount of almond milk depends on how thick/runny you’d like it. I like mine runny, so I use 1 3/4 cup, but use less if you want it a little thicker.

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Lentil Vegetable Soup

Lentils are high in protein, iron, fiber, folate and magnesium(read heart healthy), and they improve digestion so they are something I always have on hand and I try to cook them for the familiy here in there, usually in the form of soups. This is a recipe most of the family likes; like 5/7 of us which is good in my opinion…we have a couple picky eaters who will only eat the allotted 3 bites we ask them to try, but honestly they do that with anything besides burritos or pizza.

Start off with chopping up your veggies: onion, carrot and celery. You don’t need much, just a half cup of each. Then warm your olive oil in a large pot (I use a soup stock pot), and once it’s warm, add your veggies and cook them til they’re tender, about 5 minutes. Add in your garlic, and Italian seasoning, stir for a minute, then add in the lentils, vegetable stock, water and tomatoes. Bring this to a boil and then turn the heat down to low and allow it to simmer, uncovered for about an hour. No need to stand right next to it and stir, I just grabbed a book and sat and read, and helped kids with homework til the buzzer rang. Once done, add in the salt, pepper and spinach and stir to combine; the spinach will wilt which is perfect. And that’s it! Easy, healthy and so yummy and warming! Enjoy!

Lentil Vegetable Soup
*serves 8

1 Tbsp olive or coconut oil
1/2 c yellow onion, chopped
1/2 c carrot, chopped
1/2 c celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (1 tsp)
2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
2 c dry lentils, rinsed (I used red but any will work)
4 c vegetable stock
4 c cool, filtered water
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 c baby spinach, rinsed
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Pour oil into a large soup pot, over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook for about 5 minutes, until tender but not burned. Add garlic, Italian seasoning and cook another minute. Add lentils, vegetable stock, water and tomatoes. Bring pot to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 1 hour. Add spinach, salt and pepper. Stir until spinach is wilted and serve.

 

 

 

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