Category Archives: recipes

Raw Veggie Tortilla Soup

Today I was at Costco, literally wandering the aisles aimlessly and stumbled upon not just a tasting booth, but a demonstration and tasting booth. The product was for some sort of blender (I think it is the Vitamix), and the girl doing the demonstration quickly made several smoothies and a batch of tortilla soup right before my eyes. It was amazing. What is more, she did it with all raw ingredients. For the soup, the blender heated up the soup automatically. It was a yummy, healthy, and extremely easy meal literally in a few minutes. In addition, the cleanup was a breeze. I thought only in a dream could I make and clean up a delicious meal in 5 minutes. I almost spent the $350, but I knew better than to buy something impulsively, so I decided I would think about it and put it on my Christmas list.

Even though my only purpose for entering Costco was to prepay for my gas, I couldn’t help but amble through the aisles. I just started meal planning last night and, even though I didn’t have time to make a grocery list, I tried to remember some ingredients I might need. By the time I arrived home, my mouth was watering for the Caanan-sized economical organic and amazing food I had found at Costco. I decided to do an experiement and see if I could make and easy and somewhat raw tortilla soup using my old, decrepit blender. The result was wonderful. It was a little messier than cooking with the fancy blender from Costco, but it was still a relatively quick meal.

Ingredients

  1. 1 gallon of quality chicken broth (I use Better Than Boullion)
  2. 6 handfuls of baby carrots
  3. 1/2 of a small onion
  4. Approximately 10 of those small sweet peppers, assorted yellow, orange, and red, stems on (you can also substitute regular larger bell peppers). No need to take the stem off!
  5. 3 Large sticks of celery
  6. 6 garlic cloves, with the paper-y skin on! I learned that it contains health benefits!*
  7. 5 Roma tomatoes
  8. 1 More Roma tomato
  9. 3-4 large handfuls of Spinach (I actually used a Spring Mix)
  10. Tortilla chips

Instructions

Boil carrots and onion in chicken broth until tender (approximately 25 minutes). Place the carrots and onion and some of the broth in a blender and puree. Dump this in to a different pot. Puree ingredients 4-7 (RAW!) in batches, using the remaining chicken broth to aid in the puree process. Dump each batch in to the pot with the pureed carrots/onion. Once finished pureeing ingredients 4-7, place ingredients 8-9 in the blender with some chicken broth (might have to do in batches) and use the “salsa” or “chop” setting. Dump contents with other pureed food.

And there is the base of the Raw Veggie Tortilla soup! I froze half of the soup. The last step is to place a quantity of the prepared soup base back in to the blender, throw in several handfuls of tortilla chips, and blend on a VERY low setting for just a few seconds (just enough to break up the chips.

Serve immediately!

I did not put tortilla chips in my frozen soup. When I am ready to use it, I will thaw it out, heat up the soup (not cook, just heat!), and then use the blender to integrate the tortilla chips just before serving.

It is soooooooooooo delicious and so many amazing raw veggies right there! If you have a better blender than I do, you might be able to throw the carrots (and onion) directly in the blender with hot chicken broth.

This is great served with tortilla chips crushed on top, as well. I’m sure it would be yummy topped with avocado, sour cream, and/or beans. I never knew eating whole foods (literally!) could be so easy and delicious! I am excited to try more blender cooking in the future!

*This article also supports what I just learned today during the super blender demonstration. Peels and skins of food contain lots of cancer fighting compounds! However, I would probably make sure your fruits and veggies come from a good source and possibly consider organic, since I am guessing certain peels and skins contain excess pesticides.

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Peter Piper

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked.
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
How many pickled peppers did Peter Piper Pick?

This tongue twister is a doosey, and I started wondering tonight if it is trying to teach alliteration, math, or something about food science.

As far as alliteration goes, this tongue twister gets an A+. There are lots of palpable P’s.

As far as math goes, it isn’t quite a brain buster. How many pickled peppers did Peter Piper pick? Well, according to the rhyme, he picked a PECK. Easy. I guess…unless you count the fact that a peck isn’t actually a number of items, then I guess the math problem gets a bit more complicated.

Or maybe the math problem is way trickier than originally thought…now that I have worked through the problem, my final answer is ZERO. Zero pecks. No pecks. Zippo.

Why? Because supposedly he picked pickled peppers. After this evening, I am pretty sure pickled peppers do not grow on trees (or bushes? I’m not a horticulture expert. Give me a break.). I am a math genius! And this tongue twister is either testing a child’s creative thought process or just flat out wrong.

Today’s stop on the journey was pickling peppers! I was quite confounded by this P-word, but thought it would be beneficial to investigate. My husband absolutely loves all kinds of chiles. A friend told me last week she bought 25 lbs of New Mexico Hatch chiles. We like spicy at our house, but a pound of chiles seems like enough for us for a week. I offered to take some off her hands, and picked them up today (we got 5lbs, which may or may not be a peck).

I stared at my five pounds of chiles, calculating strategic ways to use them:

1. Grill them and stuff them with cheese (yum!)
2. Salsa
3. Soup
4. Can them

We grilled several at lunch and I discovered I cannot eat them because they are so spicy! So it is up to my husband to eat 5lbs of chiles.

Canning jalapeños has been on my radar in the past few days, so I decided, “why not can the hatch chiles instead?” It was a satisfying substitute. However, for me to can them, I had to learn what to do and get big mason jars. A lot of mason jars. Then, I realized that canned jalapeños are just pickled jalapeños and I don’t have to lock them in an airtight jar!

After my realization, I found a recipe and made these bad boys (below). It was so easy. It took about two minutes of effort. In addition, I estimate it cost me about $0.50 maybe to make (it was probably more like $0.25, actually, but I’m too lazy to count how many peppers are in 5lbs right now.), and the same quantity at the store costs about $2.00. I can’t remember the exact supermarket price, but it is significantly higher. I wish I would have known how easy this was several years ago when I married my husband. Since he consumes probably about 50 cans of jalapeños a year, I could have saved some major cash!

If it weren’t for his obsessive love of chiles, I probably would never care if I knew how to pickle jalapeños or not, but if you have a chile-addict like I do, this is worth doing!

This is where I got my recipe. I’m not sure if my husband will like the sugar, but I also didn’t know if it was necessary. I might be using a different recipe and/or experimenting in the future.

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You say, “Tahini,” I say… “I beg your pardon?”

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A sea of toasted sesame seeds

The word of the day is tahini.  I had no knowledge of the word up until about a week and a half ago.  Several weeks ago, I was mulling over the definition of “health” and was feeling very dissatisfied with my grasp on the concept.  Ten years ago, I was a health nut and a diet professional, but I finally realized my concept of health was messed up.  What is healthy?  What is unhealthy?  Here is a list I used to have of “Healthy Foods”:

Low fat
Low carb
Meatless recipes

What was I eating during my professional healthy days?  Is low fat really healthy?  I was eating margarine (similar in chemical structure to plastic).  Is low carb really all that great?  I was eating artificial sweeteners, which are linked to cancer.  Is ditching the carnivore lifestyle the way to go?  I was eating soy based foods (increases estrogen levels and can lead to cancer).

At my most boastful “healthy” pinnacle, I realize in hinds sight I had no idea what “healthy” really means.  In all honesty, I still am feeling pretty clueless, and my search for answers of making informed food choices is what lead me to tahini.

A few weeks ago I was reflecting on my “healthy” past (of which this blog is a result – read more here).   A branch of my scattered thoughts lead me to reflect on the famous Hebrew, Daniel, who dictated his own royal diet and appeared to be the healthiest young man in all the royal court.  I believe his food choice was divinely inspired, and very well might be a reflection of basic biology.  Many Hebrew laws that I have come across have sound reasoning, even though it did not seem explainable several thousand years ago.  For example, pork can be contaminated by a yucky pathogen, and the Israelites avoided eating pork.  I could list and cite and investigate more examples, but that is moving away from the purpose of my blog, which is to find better ways to do things and to become a self sufficient member of society.

Since I knew that Daniel’s diet was a success in history, I decided to investigate.  In short, there are whole blogs and books dedicated to Daniel’s diet.  I poked around at the how-to’s and decided to try a few recipes.  One recipe was for hummus, I thought is sounded delicious and pretty easy, so I included it on the menu.

One obstacle for making the hummus was an unknown ingredient, tahini.  I looked it up and figured I would be wandering the aisles of the grocery store or running all over health-food-store-creation looking for this mystery ingredient, and I might as well buy some hummus.  However, in my tahini investigation (yep, I googled “where is tahini in my grocery store”), I came across “how to make your own tahini.”  Tahini is roasted sesame seeds and olive oil.  Easy.

I figured it would be much faster for me to make my own tahini than look for it in the store, so that is what I am doing.  Right now my roasted sesame seeds have cooled, and I am going to finish the process.