Sunday, September 28, 2014

Creamy Mushroom Soup Recipe

It is full-on Autumn here in the North. Which has made for some stunning days...

... and breathtaking nights

Credit: James MacKenzie Photography

I live in the most stunning place in the entire world, bar none.

On the cooler Autumn days I have been craving some warm comfort foods. My former favorite was canned cream of mushroom soup with a grilled cheese sandwich. As much as I reminisce of this comfort meal that I'd have as a young'un, living out in the outskirts of the city, it is not an ideal meal for me anymore. 
It's full of gluten, dairy, and processed yuck.

The ingredients in the soup is chicken broth, mushrooms, butter, dried potatoes, white wine, modified corn starch, onion powder, salt, flavour (barley), modified milk ingredients, dried chives, dried garlic, sugar, spices.

I decided to make an alternative to cream of mushroom soup that was free of dairy and sugar. If I can make a version of my former favorite that is palatable and easy on my gut, it will makes for a cozier Autumn for my belly.

A few failed versions and bland soups later, I finally hit the mark. Creamy, flavourful, and easy to make. Even my Dad was a fan! The secret? A nut based "cream" and lots of delicious herbs!

Creamy Mushroom Soup

  • 1 Tbsp Earth Balance
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Sweet Onion
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1.5 Celery Stalk
  • 1 Portobello Mushroom
  • 8-10 Brown Mushrooms
  • 2 Oyster Mushrooms
  • 1 Tsp Fresh Parsley
  • 1 Tsp Dried Sage
  • 1 Tsp Dried Thyme 
  • 3/4 cup Dry White Wine (I used Chardonnay)
  • 2 Cups Chicken Broth 
  • 1 Cup Walnuts
  • Hot water
  • Himalayan Sea Salt
  • Pepper
  1. Melt Earth Balance in large soup pot. Add olive oil and chopped onion, carrot, celery. Cook on medium heat until onion is transparent. 
  2. Add chopped mushrooms, cook and stir occasionally for 8-10 minutes.
  3. Add chopped herbs, stir.
  4. Add white wine and cook on medium-high heat until alcohol is mostly cooked off ... will have less of a alcohol smell.
  5. Add chicken broth. Put on low heat and cover for 15 minutes.
  6. Add walnuts to a high-powered blender (like my beloved Vitamix) and enough hot water to cover. Blend until smooth. 
  7. Add soup mixture to blender one ladle at a time, blending until smooth (or leave it chunkier if that's your preference). 
  8. Salt and pepper to taste. 
  9. Enjoy!
I like my soup thick and smooth, so if you prefer a more watery texture, add more broth!

I am very happy with the outcome of this recipe. Although I still have to forgo grilled cheese sandwiches, this is a very delicious alternative to the store-bought soup.I look forward to chowing down on the leftovers for lunch tomorrow, and I am not a fan of leftovers!

Monday, September 1, 2014

"How do you get your protein" / Chocolate Avocado Smoothie

I love love LOVE long weekends! I've been sleeping in like it's my job.

See the rainbow?

Even better, the crisp nip of autumn air has crept in overnight. I love it. I am more apt to enjoy the outdoors in cooler weather than during sweltering summer days. I love bundling up in a cozy sweater and toque - then going for a walk or a bike ride. Or, just getting cozy with a cup of tea and a warm blanket when it's rainy.

Boy oh boy... has it been raining!

Yesterday on Facebook I posted a photo of a smoothie I had made as a late lunch, and there was a request to share the recipe. I picked up the habit of having smoothies as meals when I was in the worst flare I've had with my UC - I was seeing a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, whom had put me on low-residue and high-nutrient "diet" for several months. Smoothies were a staple, as I could not tolerate raw vegetables and was nauseated at the thought of most solid foods. I was also only eating plant-based foods at that time - for the purpose of eating a significant amount of anti-inflammatory foods and personal choice. I found that, while avoiding animal products AND being chronically ill, I never had any difficulty with getting nutrients into myself. Protein seemed to be of biggest concern to my GI, but with the assistance of my RHN - this was never a problem!
Since the question of plant-based protein is brought to my attention fairly frequently (aka "How do you get your protein"), here is a cute infographic from

While I do eat some animal products now (No eggs or dairy - and I opt for organic), I still eat a significant amount of legumes, hemp seeds, tofu, nuts (soaked or milk), seeds (especially chia!), and dark green veggies.

With my smoothies, I also opt for delicious protein powders. I usually use Vega, but my preference for chocolate flavor is Sunwarrior.

As you can see on the package, it is gluten/soy/dairy/GMO free. I also like that it contains all essential amino acids and is easy to digest (at least for my delicate gut)!

There is also 15 grams of protein per scoop - two scoops is HALF of my daily requirements for protein!

Along with the protein powder, I add a scoop of a "super green" to my smoothies. Extra nutrition!

I like this protein powder as it has several super foods: hemp, botanical nutrients, and maca. I am a huge fan of maca, as it is a root that is found to be helpful in hormonal balance, decreasing the stress hormone cortisol, and has many vitamins (A, B, C, D, E) and plant sterols. There are even some studies that are looking into the use of maca for hot flashes in menopausal women!

Check out the nutrition label:

Another 14 gram of protein. And the manganese!!

This all led up to a very filling smoothie, some of which I had to save for a snack today!

Chocolate Avocado Smoothie

  • Half frozen banana
  • 4-5 frozen strawberries
  • Half avocado
  • 1 cup homemade macadamia nut milk
  • 2 scoops Sunwarrior chocolate protein powder
  • 1 scoop Ruth's Goodness hemp, E3 live, and maca powder
  • 1-2 tbsp agave nectar
  • Cacao nibs (for garnish)
So simple: Add all ingredients except for cacao nibs to blender. Blend. Put in a cute glass and garnish with cacao nibs. Enjoy.