recipe: creamy (& vegan) roasted cauliflower soup

Who doesn’t love a hot bowl of creamy soup during the cooler months? There is something so comforting about having that little circle of warmth in front of your face, and inhaling the rich aromas that it gently gives off.

I personally have become a fan of serving soup for get-togethers. It is a nice alternative in having to come up with several appetizers for several people. The best part is that it can be made days or weeks in advance. Simply freeze it upon making it, removing it and heating it on the stove the day of the event!

Not everyone will grab a bowl, but those that do will appreciate its rich and smooth taste. Best of all, it is quick to make and incredibly healthy. I guarantee that no one will guess that it’s vegan.

Creamy (& Vegan) Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Ingredients:

2 tbsp oil
1/2 head of garlic, or at least 5 cloves
1 Spanish onion, chopped
1 medium head of cauliflower, chopped
5 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups coconut (or almond) milk
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground thyme

Steps:

1. Heat the oil in a large pot. Remove the skin from the garlic, chop it, then press down on it with a knife to release the juices. Throw it in the pot and leave it on medium heat. 

2. While the garlic is cooking, chop the onion and cauliflower and add it to the pot as well. Then add the vegetable broth, coconut (or almond) milk, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. Then remove it from the burner and set it aside.

3. Very carefully, transfer the soup into a blender. Don’t add too much when it’s still hot. Blend a little bit, pour it into a new bowl or container, then blend, pour, blend, pour, etc. until the entire soup is a nice puree. From there, you can either eat it on the spot, keep it in the fridge for a few days, or freeze it for a few weeks. It’s up to you! Enjoy!

Emory

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recipe: egg-free thyme rolls

Egg-Free Thyme Rolls

Makes 2 dozen

Ingredients:

2 cups warm water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup oil (any kind), plus more to grease
4 tbsp ground thyme leaves
6 cups all-purpose flour (or if adding whole wheat, make sure the two flours equal 6 cups)
Butter

Steps:

1. In a large bowl, combine the water, sugar, and yeast. Mix well, and cover with a damp tea towel for 10 minutes.

2. After mixture has bubbled, add the salt, oil, thyme, and flour. Knead in the bowl or on a floured surface until well-combined. Dough should not stick to your fingers. Grease another large bowl. Cover once again with a damp tea towel and let rise for 1 hour.

3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Punch down the dough and separate in two. Then cut each section into 12 equal pieces, totalling 24 eventual buns. Grease 2 12-cup muffin pans. Roll each piece into a ball and put in a muffin cup. Cover all 24 again with a damp tea towel and let rise for 30 minutes.

4. Once risen, put in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Remove when tops are golden brown. Brush with butter and serve warm! Store in an airtight, room-temperature container for up to 7 days. Can be frozen, thawed, and eaten as well.

Emory

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recipe: apple berry breakfast bars

This is a recipe that you can really make your own. I will list what I used for our breakfast bars, but the berries, seeds, and butter are completely your choice! It is also a wholly vegan recipe, unless you choose butter or margarine that has dairy in it. Really, it’s just a delicious and quick alternative to a more traditional breakfast- perfect for those busy mornings when you need to grab something on the go.

Apple Berry Breakfast Bars

Makes 12 squares

Ingredients:

(For the filling:)
2 cups apples, any kind, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Squeeze of lemon juice
1 cup berries, any kind (I used Saskatoon berries)

(For the bottom and topping:)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/4 cup large flake oats
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 tbsp seeds, any kind (I used Super Seeds by Blue Menu which included sunflower and pumpkin seeds)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter or margarine (I used vegan), more to grease
Pinch of salt

Steps:

1. In a medium saucepan, combine the apples, maple syrup, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until apples are soft and ingredients are well-combined, stirring often. Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium-sized bowl, add the brown sugar, oats, flour, seeds, remaining cinnamon, butter, and salt. Mix until it’s all blended together.

3. Pour half of the crumble into a well-greased, square baking dish. Press down until even and flat. Then add the filling, distributing evenly as well. Spread the berries on top. Finally, top evenly with the remaining crumble mixture. Place in oven and bake for approximately 45 minutes. Let cool, then refrigerate in an airtight container. 

Emory

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recipe: four ingredient peanut butter cups

These chocolate peanut butter cups are so easy to whip up in a matter of minutes. They require no baking time- just mix, freeze, and wait.

Sure, they may not look store bought, but they are made with love and care and are much healthier. They really are so sweet and decadent, you would never guess that they were vegan. Try them yourself!

Four Ingredient Peanut Butter Cups

Makes 12

Ingredients:

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup maple syrup
1 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter

Steps:

1. Put cocoa powder, maple syrup, and coconut oil in a blender. Blend until well combined.

2. Lay out 12 muffin cups in a muffin pan. Evenly spread a teaspoon of blended chocolate on the bottom of each muffin cup. Grab a new teaspoon, and then place a dollop of peanut butter over the chocolate. Top off the peanut butter cup with one final teaspoon of chocolate, spreading evenly on top.

3. Put in the freezer for 30 minutes. Once they have set, you can either remove the paper from the peanut butter cups immediately or leave them until you are ready to eat them. Store in the freezer or fridge in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Emory

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zero waste (part three)

Initiatives to combat climate change, from large corporations to regular individuals seem to be everywhere these days. I don’t if it’s because I was living with my head in a hole (full of waste), or because I follow several social media accounts that are dedicated to low waste lifestyles, but I feel empowered more than ever to adopt these environmentally-conscious ways.

I have said this before, but moving to our acreage one year ago was really kickstarted our new lifestyle. Because we do not have garbage pickup, we have become so aware of what we put into our garbage. We used to throw away a small bag of garbage a day, and recycle n o t h i n g. I shudder at that thought. Now, as a family of four, we only throw out one small bag every few days, recycle everything that is paper, plastic, or glass, and compost all of our food scraps (that we can’t give to our dogs).

Additionally, we have also stopped buying paper towel and cleaning products. I do not regret cutting paper towel out of our lives. My mother-in-law was kind enough to give us a bag full of rags from old towels that she no longer used. This was something that I had never even considered doing- enlisting in family and friends to donate their old cloths to you. Really, it’s serving you both! They are able to downsize and you gain more rags. Plus, its keeping more out of the landfill. Even with a baby and toddler, I do not find using rags any more difficult. In fact, they are gentler on skin, furniture, and surfaces. Remy and Wilder both have learned that if they ever spill anything, to go into the drawer, pull out a rag, and clean it up! Wilder is only 15 months old and he does this on his own. It’s hilarious! Plus, we are saving a lot of money. Why would we ever go back?

As for cleaning supplies, I am actually grateful to be using vinegar as opposed to commercially-made ones that are filled with harmful chemicals. A few months ago I had a bowl of vinegar and water on the counter because I was cleaning our microwave. I turned my back and started making lunch for the kids, when suddenly I hear “Yuck, lemon juice is gross. My tongue hurts” from Remy. She was standing beside the bowl. I was confused at first, then realized that she must have picked it up and drank from it. I started panicking and asked her if she swallowed some. She saw the panic on my face and she looked like she was going to cry. I said, “it’s ok honey. Just tell mommy if you tried some.” She said that she did. Then I realized that it’s just vinegar, and although was probably really disgusting, could not harm her. It’s not like it was a bowl of Green Works, Mr. Clean, or any other harmful substance. Incredibly relieved, I hugged her and told her to not try anything without asking me first. That is one reason why I will not start buying cleaning products ever again. Natural is the safest way to go.

We have replaced plastic bags with reusable bags and only run the washing machine and dishwasher once a week. When we do, we put the washing machine on the fastest setting (express) and the dishwasher on the shortest cycle (1 hour). We still try to hang dry most of our clothes indoors during the winter months, and outdoors during the summer. All of this helps save on water and power.

Lastly, we have been putting our bottle recycling to good use. Only recently I have dedicated Fridays to doing something fun with the kids. We don’t have any activities that day, so we use the morning to go swimming, or to a museum, etc. Sometimes we do something free, like the library. However, if we do pay for admission somewhere, I aim to use the money that we get from SARCAN. It’s not like we can’t afford it. I prefer to do it because it’s more of an initiative to take our bottles into a recycling depot. In the end, it is like our activities are free, which to me make them more rewarding!

Now that we have the updates out of the way, here are more ways that we have been reducing our waste since my last post:

Thrifting

I have made a promise to myself that 2020 will be the year of thrifting. More specifically, I will buy no new clothing items for myself for an entire year! Everything that I do purchase must be secondhand. Why, you ask? Well new clothing creates a lot of waste. On average it takes 700 gallons of water to make one shirt, and 2000 gallons to make one pair of jeans. Furthermore, a staggering amount of textiles end up in the trash bin each year. In 2014, the fashion industry created over 16 million tons of waste, 10 million of which went into landfills. If we were all to give our clothes to consignment or donation stores, one person’s “trash” becomes another person’s treasure. What is no longer new to them is now new to someone else.

It does not go without saying that another huge benefit will be all of the money that I will be saving this year! In January alone I purchased three tops (one to sell on eBay) and one dress from secondhand stores- each averaging $7 an item. If I would have bought these items brand new, I would have easily spent closer to $200 rather than $28. And that was just in one month! Suffice it to say that this is one of the aspects of our new lifestyle that I am most excited about changing.

Gifts

I am normally a buyer and not maker of gifts. I think that I have preferred doing it this way mostly due to saving time. However, ever since Christmas I have been making an honest effort to make gifts for our neighbours and children’s friends rather than buying them. The same goes with cards. Not only are cards costly but roughly 2.5 million trees are cut down each year just for greeting cards alone! I think that it is better to create your own card, or even just skip out on a card.

So what exactly do we make? One thing that I have been doing more of is giving the gift of food. At Christmas we gave our neighbours baking. Normally I would have put together baskets of little toys and treats for Remy’s friends and preschool class for Valentine’s Day, but instead I made them cookies and other sweets. I realize that this can’t be done for every holiday and occasion, but once in awhile, it can easily replace purchasing something non-biodegradable that will eventually end up in the trash. Try it!

Home Cooked vs Bought

Now that we are discussing homemade foods, I must bring up one of the biggest changes we have made- I have been baking our bread, buns, and bagels rather than purchasing them at the grocery store. Now this might not seem like it would make that big of an impact, but just think about it. Each loaf of bread, package of bagels, or a dozen buns usually come in a plastic bag. My family goes through a loaf of bread or thing of bagels every few days. Say that is two plastic bags a week, that equals 104 bags a year. Or three plastic bags a week is then 156 excess bags a year. The answer? A bread box and tinfoil.

Now when I make bread from scratch I make two loaves at a time. One immediately goes into this beautiful bread box which gets stored in our pantry. The other gets wrapped in tinfoil and placed in the freezer. Once we take it out and unwrap the bread we then recycle the foil! No waste is being created in this process, and by making our bread we are cutting down the use of plastic bags dramatically. Plus, it is cheaper and tastes better than buying store-bought bread. (Here is my favourite recipe that yields two loaves in two hours and tastes delicious.) 

While I realize that it does take longer to bake bread than to buy it, it is a switch that is definitely worth the time. You don’t have to bake ever single loaf, even doing a few a year saves you money and plastic from ending up in the landfill.

Meatless Meals

I previously discussed in this post how Geoffrey and I have agreed to implement one meatless meal per week. I felt like that change deserved a spot here too. Now there is much controversy about cutting back on meat consumption in order to fight climate change. The livestock industry reportedly produces more greenhouse gases than all transportation worldwide. However, cutting down on meat would obviously hurt local cattle and dairy farmers. Some farmers argue that grass-fed cows actually improve their fields by making way for new grass to grow. Other reports state that in order to significantly cut down your carbon footprint, you will need to transition to a mostly or completely vegan diet. That said, one meatless meal for one family every week may not create a huge difference, but like all of our other efforts, we have to start somewhere.

Renovating Rooms

Even though our entire house needs to be renovated, I think it’s important to reuse and incorporate items that are neither not new nor new to us in these made-over rooms. For instance, everything you see on that shelf was from our old house. The picture frames range from 2-11 years old, the lamp has been in a multitude of rooms over the last few years (finally ending up here), and the hanging planter was in our previous bedroom. We reused our white bedding, and after wanting a pop of colour, I rediscovered those cute yellow pillowcases in our antique wardrobe after buying and storing them away 8 or so years ago. They haven’t seen the light of day until now! My Baba crocheted the grey blanket at the foot of our bed for her couch before passing away. That probably holds the most sentiment for me. Finally, the oversized wood bench is actually part of our kitchen table set. The only things that we purchased brand new in this frame were the ceiling fan and the yellow throw pillow, the latter of which we bought locally. By simply recycling objects from other rooms or from other people, it can make a room feel new again.

Emory

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  • Welcome, friends! My name is Emory. I am a wife and mother to three (two on earth and one in heaven). This is our life on the Canadian prairies.
    email: helloscarlettblog@outlook.com

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