Mexican Veggie Soup

I bought my first package of “Veggie Ground”…um…meat? product?…fake hamburger. Yves Veggie Cuisine. I am not a fan of soy. I remember reading several papers about the dangers of soy years ago and I stopped using soy milk. Ask me what those papers were specifically warning against and I will give you a vague answer, possibly involving hormones. Anyway, I was scared enough to not buy another half-gallon of soy milk. But some things, like Tofutti cream cheese taste better to me than other brands I’ve tried. Moderation! Plus, I’m a bit stumped coming up with vegan protein. I can’t seem to eat enough nuts and seeds to get enough protein. And yes, I have read the blogs about people not needing as much protein as “guidelines” tell us we need, but when my hair starts falling out, I’m eating more protein.

I started making this soup a couple of years ago with ground beef. My sweetie loves it! Not sure how the no beef version will go over.  I love it! And if I’m cooking, that’s what matters. It is a great way to get my kids to eat veggies. For some reason I can put just about anything in soup and they will eat it. Unless they have decided that they no longer like soup. In which case, I just give up.

Mexican Veggie Soup

  • 1 package of veggie meat crumbles or 1 lb grass fed ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, any color, chopped
  • 2 cups carrots, sliced or shredded, what ever you prefer
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (or beef broth)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups green beans, fresh or frozen
  • 3 cups baby spinach

If you are using beef, brown it first then on to the next step. Saute “meat”, onion, celery and bell pepper in a little olive oil. When the onion is transparent add carrots, crushed tomatoes, broth and seasoning. Bring to a boil and simmer for at least 20 minutes. About 10 minutes before serving stir in the green beans. Right before serving stir in spinach. There have been times that I wanted the spinach just wilted so I filled my bowl with greens and then poured hot soup over the top. OR if my children are being picky I’ll chop the spinach and let it simmer for a couple of minutes in the soup. Greens can be a personal thing.

 

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Lunchbox “Cowboy” Cookies

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Gluten Free Peanut Butter Ranger Cookies

  • ½ cup margarine (dairy-free)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cups oats (gluten free)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 cups rice crispies (gluten free)
  • 1 ½ cups chocolate chips (optional)

Cream together margarine, sugars and peanut butter. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Mix soda, baking powder, salt, oats and coconut.  Gently stir in crispies and chocolate chips. Chill dough for at least 1 hour (overnight would be better). Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes. Cool 5 minutes on pan and then transfer to cooling rack. Makes 4 doz.

I am in so much trouble with these cookies. I would eat these until I am sick. I have to put them into a secure container as soon as they are cool. I’ve already eaten four, before they were actually cool. I must remember I made these to put in my daughter’s lunch, not eat (all of them) myself.

This recipe has been modified quite a bit. It started out as a recipe that my mom’s friend got from a bakery in Sun Valley. They were called ranger cookies. I halved the recipe and added peanut butter to them. Then I wanted to make them gluten free so I changed just about everything from the original recipe. Then I added chocolate chips, because my daughter wanted chocolate chip cookies. That is often the way recipes work at our house. Pretty sure my mom’s friend would not recognize these cookies as being the offspring of her recipe. I guess adding the chocolate chips makes these more like cowboy cookies. Whatever you want to call them, they are delicious!

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I had to put the cookies in bags inside the canister so that I don’t eat them all. These are reserved for school lunches only. Seriously, I can’t stop eating them!

GF DF Brownies

GF DF Brownies

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup DF chocolate chips
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup GF flour blend
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Melt coconut oil and chocolate chips in microwave safe bowl.  Stir in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well.  Add vanilla and cocoa powder. Mix well, until smooth. Add GF flour, salt and baking powder. Gently fold flour in, until just incorporated. Pour batter into greased 8×8 pan. Bake for 25- 30 minutes at 350°.

 

So, I made these for my little GF girl to have in her lunch. BUT, they smell so amazing! AND they are brownies. I really don’t know it I can resist them. She can’t eat the whole pan. They will be stale before she could eat all of them. Right?

These brownies are pretty fragile. I can’t seem to get the first one out of the pan without some damage. I have been sending them to school, but I prefer them in a dairy free brownie sundae!

Not a good photo. I’m working on it.

Mini Donut Break

 

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It is fall break here and at our house any school break is a reason to make donuts. This time I had two requests from the children. The eldest asked for gluten free and the youngest asked for “no pumpkin”. But it is FALL! Fine, no pumpkin. I wanted to have spice donuts, but after I put hemp protein powder in these babies, I decided that chocolate would be better. My kids are pretty good at eating what I give them, but green donuts aren’t terribly appetizing. So a couple of tablespoons of cocoa and these donuts were perfectly chocolate. These are so good! I’m still so new to gluten free baking. I haven’t even begun to figure it out. These actually turned out. They were light and so tender. I was trying to find a substitute for rye flour and in a list I saw hemp flour. AND since gluten free products benefit from protein added to them I thought “hemp protein powder”. It worked. I am so happy.

GF DF Chocolate Donuts

  • ½ cup GF flour blend (Bob’s Red Mill)
  • ¼ cup hemp protein powder (Manitoba Harvest)
  • ¼ cup oat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup cane sugar
  • Pinch freshly ground nutmeg OR dash pumpkin pie spice
  •  ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder (or carob powder)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  •  1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk beverage
  •  ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar for dusting

Mix all the dry ingredients together. Stir egg, milk, and vanilla together. Add wet into dry ingredients. Stir in melted coconut oil. Preheat oven to 400° while the batter rests. Fill greased donut (or muffin) pan 1/3 full. Bake for 6-10 minutes (depending on pan size, 6 min. is perfect for mini donuts). Cool on wire rack and shake in*/sprinkle on powdered sugar. Makes about 18-24 mini donuts.

I have tried filling the donut pan using a spoon because I think it will be easier or less wasteful or something, but using a pastry bag or sandwich bag with the corner snipped is the best way to fill the pan.

*My girls love to cover the donuts in tons of sugar. Put 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar into a (food safe) paper bag. Gently toss 1-3 donuts in the bag at a time. These donuts are fragile and one or two have been lost to overzealous sugar shaking.

 

Raco? Taco Rice

I was thinking of calling this Mexican dirty rice or taco rice. The “raco” name was suggested by my eight year old. My DH went further to suggest that we open a raco truck. Hmm, yeah that isn’t happening. I was craving taco meat and rice and tortilla chips; raco was born. I guess this is like hamburger helper, although I can’t remember ever eating hamburger helper.  I have no idea how I got through college without eating hamburger helper, but as I was dealing with chronic headaches and food allergies at the time, I just never bought the stuff.

Raco

  • 1-1 1/2 lbs Grass-fed Ground Beef
  • 2 Tbsp, Taco Seasoning (Azure Market, GF and no weird stuff)
  • 1/2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes (Natural Value Organic)
  • Tortilla Chips
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves, rinsed, stems removed

Brown the ground beef, season with taco seasoning. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add cooked rice and pour tomatoes over all. Cook until bubbly. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Top with cilantro leaves and serve with tortilla chips.

Probably best to serve this with a green salad, this isn’t really the healthiest recipe, not veggie packed or anything. Still, it’s easy and yummy and probably not at all original. Oh, well. I mostly wanted to write down the recipe for the next time I make it.

Vegan Chili

I am on the Green Thickie 7 day diet. It isn’t too much of a stretch for me. I went from one thickie to two, cut out meat and alcohol and sweets. I don’t have alcohol or sweets regularly so that isn’t a big deal, (I might be lying) but I’ve had a little trouble with the no meat. The first night I made brown rice and stir-fry. I just left out the chicken, it was pretty good, but I was hungry an hour later. The next night I made chili. Now the recipe from the Thickie lady said it was chili, but she is in the U.K. and chili means something different there. So, I made red, American-style chili. Only I had no idea how to make vegan chili. I mean how do you make chili without meat? Some people don’t even put beans in their chili! Where does the flavor come from? How do you get the right texture? Most recipes I found on the internet used some kind of “veggie crumble” meat-like product. I don’t know about that. I had some left over stir-fry veggies so I popped those in the Vitamix and mixed it in. Luckily it turned out pretty good. My kids didn’t complain, one of then even asked for seconds! (I served theirs over macaroni)  I don’t know if I was just so hungry or if it really tasted that good! Anyway, I think I’ll make it again just for a healthy alternative. I served mine over left over brown rice, topped it with Tofutti sour cream, salsa and avocado. I thought it was delicious! And, I’m hungry again. More water.