Back In The Game (plus recipe for Kale and Bean Soup)

Well, I am FINALLY feeling like myself again. I can safely say my body is virus-free. Hallelujah.

Can’t say I was feeling much food inspiration over the last little while. Although I’m not of the lose-all-your-appetite-while-sick sort (and damn it I do envy the people who get blessed with this silver lining of illness), my food selection was completely lack luster and I don’t think I attempted much beside boiling water and toasting bread in the kitchen, oh and heating up soup from a carton.

I managed to stay on the vegan bandwagon for two weeks now, viral attack and all. I have to say though, while I certainly don’t feel deprived and I can’t say I’ve even toed the precipice of starvation at any point, I have had some niggling thoughts about sneaking a few bites of cheese. Or milk chocolate (which is strange as I prefer dark varieties typically). I even had a dream where I pigged out on a milk-laden chocolate bar and woke up with residual feelings of guilt that the dream embedded. But honestly, all this has been minor.

In fact, beyond the illness stage, I continue feeling inspired and excited by all the vegan foods and recipes I keep coming across. As my sickness waned towards the end of the week, I found myself enveloped by a plethora of food experiences this weekend.

First off, my brother bought a juicer. Super exciting! We juiced the second the beast came out of the box. So far a winning combo has been apples, kale and ginger  Delish. I came up with a concoction that echoed the flavours of carrot cake: tons of carrots, apples, a bit of ginger and a few shakes of cinnamon and cloves. Yum! And of course there’s been a few underwhelming, and perhaps down right awful, results too. Will keep you updated on our juicer developments!

On Saturday night I made the pilgrimage to downtown Toronto for some of my favourite Thai food at Salad King. I can’t comment on the authenticity of the grub but I have been eating here since my Ryerson University under-grad days. I even remember what my first dish was, and this was back in 2002! Emerald curry, by the way. The location has moved (a few meters from the original) but the crazy atmosphere, affordable prices and consistently amazing dishes have remained. Even the mild to 20 chilies heat scale has not changed a bit. I am a 5 chilies type of gal…hey, some like it hot 🙂

I dined on my beloved Bangkok Stir Fry (veganized by omitting the egg) and my dining partner-in-crime chose the Hot Thai Noodles with a very non-veg chicken and shrimp option. We stuffed ourselves silly and walked away wishing for a location closer to home. Sigh.

My good food fortune continued into Sunday as we gathered at my parents place for dinner. My mom obliged our veggie ways and cooked up an amazing vegan kale and bean soup. Sooooo good!

Kale and Bean Soup 1

 Kale and Bean Soup

This is a delicious soup to serve on a chilly day. Much goodness is to be found in this gem of a dish.

Adapted from: The Vegetarian Collection by Alison Key and The Canadian Living Kitchen

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste (1/2-1 tsp of each)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth, homemade or store bought
  • 4 cups of water
  • 4 small white potatoes, diced
  • 1 large sweet potato, diced
  • 1 can (395ml, 140z) cannelini beans, rinsed and drained, used Eden Garden brand
  • 2 cans (395ml, 14oz each) navy beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 bunches of kale, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 cup parsley, roughly chopped
  • juice of one lemon

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, coriander  cumin, salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes, until onion is soft and translucent.

Add broth, water, white and sweet potato and all the beans, bring to a boil then simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender (about 15-20 minutes).

Meanwhile put kale into a pot of boiling water and boil for about 10 minutes until softened. Drain and add to the soup along with the parsley. Simmer for another 5 minutes, then finish off with the lemon juice.

Serve as is or accompanied by whole grain bread, pita or a cooked grain (rice, buckwheat, quinoa or the like). Enjoy piping hot.

Kale and Bean Soup 2

Kale and bean soup 3

 My mom also surprised us by baking vegan chocolate chip cookies. No milk or eggs, and incidentally no wheat, but full of chocolatey goodness. Best served with beverage of choice for dunking. Recipe was from good old reliable Martha Stewart.

Vegan CC Cookies 2

Vegan CC Cookies 1

Way to go mama! First one to experiment with vegan baking. But that’s not shocking, baking is in her blood.

Vegan CC Cookies 3

I wrapped up my Sunday evening by prepping for the work week. Cooked up a one skillet meal using ingredients already in my fridge and pantry for lunches and dinners; will post the recipe this week. Main ingredients were fennel bulb, green peas, quinoa and Tofurky sausage. Don’t mock me, I love them.

And I whipped up a batch of hummus. I don’t really use a precise recipe, more so a guideline I suppose. But I will try to account for the proportions next time I make it so I can share the magic that a few simple kitchen staples can create: chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice and good-quality olive oil. That’s all.

Happy February everyone!

ilona

4 thoughts on “Back In The Game (plus recipe for Kale and Bean Soup)

  1. I’m so glad that you are over the nasty virus. And yes, the cookies were really good, not even one left!!! I have to tell you even I was surprised with the result. Go vegan!!

  2. The soup and cookies look delicious – your mom is the best baker 🙂 We went away for the weekend and ate out at restaurants so I was bad and had a bunch of meat and seafood dishes. But I’m home now and back on the semi-vegan track (I can’t give up my coconut coffee creamer, hence the semi!)
    ps – nice pics!!

    • Thanks Kate!
      Yeah, on occasion (like at this very moment) I crave a coffee with cream and sugar…When I’m at home I heat up some vanilla almond milk and add a shot of espresso (courtesy my Tassimo) and feel completely happy and satisfied with the results 🙂
      Good luck!

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