This soup is a melange of colorful garden vegetables and comfort food flavor with just a hint of hot cayenne pepper to spice it up. As healthy as it is beautiful, this recipe will make the most of summer’s bounty all in one pot — sure to be a keeper!
In a large pot:
Lightly saute 1/2 cup chopped onion in 1 Tbsp oil (or 1/4 cup water for low fat)
4 cups water and 1 (32 0z) container Imagine brand “No Chicken Broth,” and bring to a boil.
All at once add remaining ingredients:
3 stalks celery, chopped
4 carrots, cut into chunks
2 large orange bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium zucchini (10 – 12 inches), cut in half lengthwise then cut into 1/4″ slices
1 large bunch kale, stalks removed and leaves chopped
1 Tbsp. whole fennel seeds
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp. turmeric
1 – 2 tsp. gray Celtic sea salt (or to taste)
Simmer all ingredients together for 15 – 20 minutes. Add 1 package chopped Light Life brand “Chicken” Strips during the final 5 minutes of cooking (just to heat thoroughly).
Serve hot. (Makes about 8 generous servings)
This is a wonderful fall recipe; the color, aroma, and taste are all the best autumn has to offer. It’s the perfect way to warm up on a crisp cool evening. This soup can either be made on the stove or in a crockpot. I like to throw all the ingredients in the crockpot just before leaving for work — what a stress reliever to come home to the smell of dinner only minutes from serving!
1 c. celery, chopped
1/2 c. onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
32 oz. Imagine “No-Chicken Broth”
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. honey or maple syrup
Saute celery and onion in olive oil until tender. Put sautéed mixture in crockpot and add all other ingredients. Cook on High for 8 – 9 hours (until you return home).
Remove bay leaf. Puree cooked mixture with a submersible stick blender. (Or if you have extra time, cool cooked mixture and puree in batches in blender.)
Add: 16 oz. rice milk, 3 scoops rice “Better Than Milk,” 3/4 tsp. cinnamon and puree again until creamy. Add more rice milk if soup is too thick.
Serve hot topped with chopped walnuts, a sprinkle of cinnamon, croutons, or chopped scallions.
The inspiration for this recipe came from http://www.allrecipes.com where you can find several variations of zucchini “applesauce.” I wasn’t quite satisfied with the one I tried, so I added some spices and a few real apples for texture. (I just didn’t think the texture was authentic without the apples). I also think you could use stevia as a sweetener if you wanted to avoid the sugar. (1/2 tsp. stevia equals 1 cup sugar, so add gradually and adjust according to your taste). This recipe is a surprising way to use up those last few zucchini now that apple season is upon us.
2 large zucchini, peeled and chopped. (If the seeds are large and starting to get hard discard them and use only the fleshy parts)
3 lg. peeled apples (I used Granny Smith), cut into chunks
1/3 c. apple cider vinegar
1 – 2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. sugar
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. allspice
Put all ingredients into a large pot. There is no need to add water because there is a lot of water in the zucchini already. Heat to boiling, and then reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook for 30 – 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Cooking time depends on the zucchini.)
When the mixture has cooled then you want to blend it until mushy like applesauce. I used a Foley Mill to do this (the old fashioned way). You could also puree the cooled mixture in a blender or food processor.
*One of our favorite ways to eat any kind of applesauce is to pair it with a peanut butter sandwich for a very kid-friendly lunch 🙂
I grew up helping my mother can tomatoes the old fashioned way. We spent hours skinning the tomatoes in boiling water, sterilizing glass quart jars, and then processing the tomato-filled jars in a boiling water bath and waiting to hear the “pop” as each jar cooled and sealed. It was an all day project that most gardeners endured in order to enjoy the fruit of their labor during the long winter months.
Later, as a young wife, my mother-in-law taught me how to freeze fresh tomatoes. It still involved skinning the tomatoes in boiling water, and then slicing them into eighths. But, instead of the canning process, you just had to pack and freeze them in plastic quart containers. I thought this system was a real time saver, and did it that way for years.
Imagine my surprise when I learned just last year that there is a MUCH simpler way to freeze all the tomatoes we harvest from our garden, and now this is how I do it:
First, wash and core (cut out the stem end) your whole tomatoes.
Place the cored tomatoes on a tray with sides (leave a little space around each one — you don’t want them to touch) and place the tray in the freezer. (notice that you DO NOT have to peel the tomatoes).
When they are completely frozen (like the next day), put the whole frozen tomatoes in a gallon size plastic freezer bag, zip closed, and store in the freezer until needed.
When you are ready to use, simply remove however many tomatoes you need and hold each one under hot running water. The skin will easily slip off the frozen tomato. Then let them defrost just long enough to be able to slice or chop.
That’s it! You can easily fit this method of preserving your tomato harvest into even the busiest day and be satisfied with the results.
By mid July most home gardeners find themselves drowning in zucchini. We loved planting those seeds a couple of months ago and the almost instant gratification when we saw the sturdy green sprouts poke through the soil. But by now we are asking why we ever planted so much zucchini (face it, you really only need one plant and you’ll have all the zucchini you need for the summer). You know it’s bad when friends start to avoid you because they’re afraid you’ll try to “bless” them with more of your zucchini harvest!
Well, did you know that you can freeze fresh shredded zucchini , and it’s so easy to do? Simply wash the zucchini. Don’t peel it, but cut off the stem and the blossom end. Shred the whole zucchini. Zucchini is very moist, so you will want to get most of the water out. An easy way to do that is to put the shredded zucchini in a colander or large strainer; salt and toss it so that the salt is evenly distributed. Let it sit for about 15 minutes, then squeeze out the moisture — you will be surprised how much comes out. You can freeze the drained shredded zucchini in one cup portions, and then it will be ready to use it in your favorite recipes all winter.
Hiding this shredded zucchini in whatever you cook (soups, stews, “meat” loaves) is a great way to get more green veggies into your kids’ diets. Hint: to make it even more inconspicuous, peel the zucchini before shredding and they will never suspect a thing:)