Summer Solstice Warming Vegetable Soup

"Summer Solstice" vegetable soup with garlic cheese bread

I’ve recently found out that onions are generally a bad idea for me.  If I don’t want to end up having certain health issues that I won’t discuss here, I need to generally avoid them like the plague.

To say the least, this has really put a cramp in my cooking-style.

Almost every recipe out there involves onions of some description or another. Sliced, diced, chopped, minced, pureed… somehow, it’s present in everything from soups and stews to burgers and meatloaf. What’s an onion-avoiding girl to do??

With the recent rainstorms and cooler summer weather, I’ve found myself craving a good, hearty, warming soup. Yes, soup in the summer — I’m not crazy, I promise! But again: soup = onions. Right? Well, not exactly. I’ve found  that I have no adverse effects from onion powder. There’s hope yet! Based on this and wanting to get something equally tasty and nutritious into me, I went out to buy some veggies I haven’t had in recent days: cabbage  and sweet potatoes.

Sure, I’ve got potatoes in my pantry but the  sweet potatoes are generally so much better for you and they just have a different taste. So, today, after I had gotten up from a short afternoon nap, I started chopping and slicing and  whipped up this yummy little number. I’ve dubbed it Summer Solstice Warming Vegetable Soup because I created it on the Summer Solstice and the flavours are warming without being “spicy”. Feel free to play with the seasonings to make it more to your taste, but  I have to say that this turned out better than I originally imaged!

This also makes a huuuuuuuuuge pot of soup/stew, so feel free  to cut these measurements in half to make a dutch oven’s worth of soup. This one took my large stewing pot, just as a warning.  (See the end of this posting to see the “leftovers” after hubby and I both had two full bowlfuls!) Also, this was an instant hit with my hubby, though there was no meat in the soup. Woo! Here’s what I did…

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Microwave as cooking tool, not just reheating tool

Tupperware SmartSteamerSo I’ve thought for quite some time now that my microwave was little more than a device to reheat leftovers, to thaw items from the freezer and to make popcorn. I’ve felt this way for many, many years. I’ve tried cooking in it and haven’t liked how certain foods have turned out (largely due to texture-based issues such as chicken seeming rubbery, etc.). However, a friend of mine has recently clued me into the fact that my microwave can be used for so much more and has likely been one of the lesser-used tools in my kitchen arsenal, going largely neglected for years.

I was complaining that whenever I cook rice to the instructions either on the stove-top or in my rice-cooker, I always end up with crispy, overcooked rice layering the bottom of my rice dish. It doesn’t seem to matter how much water or butter I add, nor does it seem to matter how long I cook the rice for or at what temperature. I mentioned I was almost ready to give up on rice altogether which would be such a loss, since it’s such a versatile food.

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