Friday, December 28, 2018

Get Well Soon Veggie Bean & Quinoa Soup - Vegan. Gluten Free. No Oils.

So, you said you would watch how you ate over the holiday, but, well, you know, it WAS the holiday!  And now you feel kind of punky. Icky. Not 100%. Not great. (and the 6,000 other ways Canadians have to say "unwell"-- we are such a stoic breed).

Here is a flavour-full, very restorative and comforting soup that is maybe slightly reminiscent of the soup you ate as a child when your "Old Country" Auntie found you were malingering.  Maybe you didn't like the garlic so much then, but now that you are considering being a life-long healthy plant-strong soul, you kinda like the savoury tang and bite of cooked garlic.

And if you got an Instant Pot  for Christmas, here is the chance to see it do its pressure-cooking wizardry in a much shorter time than you would need if you were standing up over a stock pot.  However, if you don't have an Instant Pot, the stock pot-- or even a slow cooker-- will do the trick.  I will give you three versions to cook this: (1)Stock Pot (2)Instant Pot (3) Slow Cooker

For the stock/broth ingredient I highly recommend the recipe for the Best Golden Soup Bouillion that you may have frozen in cubes ready to go.  If you haven't made that yet, don't worry-- just go with whatever broth or bouillion you were going to use.  But if you want to upgrade to better flavour and more nutrients, you might want to "do some cooking for your freezer" as my friend Brigitte used to describe all the cook-ahead meals she made when her kids were young-- plan to do some of the bouillion cubes because they last quite a while and are really terrific (not to mention cheaper than the deluxe organic stuff you might buy elsewhere).

Two other notes:  The cooked beans that I use are from a huge batch I cook up from scratch in my Instant Pot .  They are the creamy consistency that we like in our house.  I also use white beans other than chick peas, which you can also use.  I find that chick peas don't always digest optimally for me-- don't know if that is an experience anyone else has.  The original recipe in my fave The Great Vegan Bean Book: More than 100 Delicious Plant-Based Dishes Packed with the Kindest Protein in Town! - Includes Soy-Free and Gluten-Free Recipes! (Great Vegan Book) does call for chick peas, so the choice is yours!  Of course, you can also use beans that come in a can, cooked, already to go.  

I recently changed the rice to quinoa in this recipe.  If you want to revert to the rice in the original recipe  please do.

  • 5 Medium-Large Organic Carrots, washed and sliced in 1/2 rounds (peel if not organic)
  • 2 Ribs, ends trimmed, of diced Celery
  • 7 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 Cubes Best Golden Soup Bouillion or 1/4 C. (24 g) Veggie Broth/Bouillion
  • 1 tsp.    Thyme, ground
  • 1/4 tsp. Rosemary, ground (or a fresh sprig if you have it)
  • 3 C. (492 g) cooked White Beans (I use Cannelini Beans)-- about 2 cans (15 oz each)
  • 10 C. (2.4 L) Water (only 8 - 9 C./4.25 L for the Instant Pot)
  • 1 C. Quinoa (uncooked)
  • 1/2 C.  Nutritional Yeast
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. In large stock pot, add all above ingredients, except for Nutritional Yeast, Salt and Pepper
  2. Bring the ingredients to a boil on high heat, and then turn heat to low.
  3. Cook about 20 -30 minutes until the quinoa is done.
  4. Stir in Nutritional Yeast and seasonings and taste to see if they suit.  Add more if needed.
  5. Remove any sprigs.
  6. Serve.
  7. Freeze any extra for another meal.  I use silicone muffin tins to freeze and then place the frozen cubes into a baggie in my freezer.   2-3 regular muffin cubes or 1-2 Texan size (see below) make a good size individual soup.  Great for other food portions for freezing too.
  8. If you like, add more minced raw garlic before freezing to boost yourself into wellness more.
Silicone Texas Muffin Pans and Cupcake Maker, 6 Cup Large, Professional Use, Plus Muffin Recipe Ebook

Instant Pot Directions for the Get Well Soon Veggie Bean & Rice Soup Recipe  
  1. Put the Instant Pot on to the Sauté setting, and add about an inch+ of water to the bottom of the pot.
  2. Add in the Carrots and Celery, stirring for about 3-4 minutes to soften
  3. Add in the Garlic, Thyme, Rosemary and Bouillion or Broth and continue to stir for another minute
  4. Add in the Quinoa and Beans and stir everything together as you add the 8- 9 Cups of Water.  
  5. Put the lid on the Instant Pot, and close the steam vent.
  6. With the MANUAL setting, set the cooking for HIGH Pressure and the time for about 22-25 minutes.  
  7. The pot will take about 15-20 minutes to build pressure before starting the cooking process.  
  8. When the time has run out, let it naturally vent for about 10 minutes, then give it a quick release until the lid releases.
  9. When you have removed the lid, add in the Nutritional Yeast and seasonings.  Taste and add more if desired.  Sometimes I just let the individuals add their own salt and pepper.
  10. Serve and Store the extra in the muffin tins in the freezer.  (As above recipe, you may choose to add extra minced garlic just to give you another boost tomorrow!.)

Yep, this is my old well-used Instant Pot--
see the wide variety available through Amazon
  1. You need to use 3 C. of cooked Brown Rice for this recipe.  So, measure out about 1 1/2 C. - 2 C. of raw brown rice, and cook it up as per your usual recipe.  Hey, sorry!  But you use less water (only 8 C.) in the slow cooker, and it will look very pretty when done (not muddy).  Raw rice takes a significant time to break down as it cooks, so that is why the pressure-cooking and steam-pressure work so well in cooking it.
  2. So, if you are still gung ho to do this, go ahead and add everything EXCEPT the cooked rice (the stuff you just cooked-- put it in the fridge), the Nutritional Yeast and the salt and pepper.  
  3. Cook 6-8 hours on LOW.
  4. Add the cooked brown rice.
  5. Add the Nutritional Yeast and the salt and pepper.  Taste and adjust if needed.
  6. Add extra minced garlic if you think it needs the extra boost.
  7. Store extra as above recipe.
Please note:  the Instant Pot has its own SLOW COOK mode.... so..... 

                               Watch Above: How To Use Your Instant Pot as a Slow Cooker

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Boxing Day Vegan Stew in the Instant Pot

We had a pretty simple vegan Christmas dinner, basically the veganized ideal: Turkeyless cutlets (by Gardein), mashed potatoes, a stovetop dressing made of chickpeas, onions, some crumbs, mushrooms and the usual poultry seasoning, a home-made cranberry sauce (frozen cranberries, frozen cubes of Meyer Lemon juice, a sprinkle of sugar, and about 6 chopped dried apricots), and Brussel's Sprouts.

Boxing Day Veggie Stew:

Today there weren't many leftovers (which suits me fine). I put the following into the Instant Pot on sauté:

1/2 C. Water
2 Onions, sliced
4 Garlic cloves, roughly minced
2 crowns of Broccoli and stems, chopped
2 C. (about one 16 oz can) of Red Beans
3 C. Leftover cubed Potatoes (cooked)
1/2 C. Frozen Corn Kernels (organic)
1 tsp. Hungarian Smoked Paprika
1 Best Golden Bouillion cube
2 T. Hickory Liquid Smoke
1/2 tsp. Chipotlé Ground Pepper

After the sauté, I put on the lid, and pressed the Stew button, adjusting the time to about 20 minutes.

I added a bit of water, not quite to cover.

It was so delicious and comforting after all the usual overeating of richer foods yesterday.

And we are all about cleaning up ONE pot only.. yay!

Topped it with some Daiya Cheese shreds and a squirt of Tamari sauce.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Best Golden Soup Bouillion #vegan #soyfree #plantstrong #oilfree

I spend a lot of moolah on vegan soup bouillion... or have in the recent past.  I particularly got used to the little jar of dark brown bouillion from Costco that smelled very yeast-y and was quite salty and set me back $7 every time I bought it.  It was good for about a couple of weeks of soups and veggie stews.

And then, when looking for some delicious bean recipes in the never-fail The Great Vegan Bean Book: More than 100 Delicious Plant-Based Dishes Packed with the Kindest Protein in Town! - Includes Soy-Free and Gluten-Free Recipes! (Great Vegan Book) I came across a couple of delicious-sounding (-reading?) bouillion recipes in the front of the book.  The one called Savory Golden Bouillon is actually from her first recipe book, the only recipe she transferred from that first book The Vegan Slow Cooker.  In there it was called "Chickeny Bouillion".

Since I have become pretty much habituated to my Instant Pot, I bypassed the 'stove method' and the 'slow cooker directions' and did a quicky batch of this bouillion in the Instant Pot (directions below for all three methods of preparation).

My past forays into making my own bouillion have resulted in a lot of fuss and mess and time that I somewhat resented.  <-- I confess.  I usually ended up with a clear bouillion in a mason jar that was tasty, but that didn't go into many soups or veggie stews.  I also recall that those recipes recommended "throwing away" the veggies and herbs that were limp and depleted at the end of the process.. well, that waste really got up my nose.  I think I diced the overcooked carrots into a soup and probably did compost the mess of straw-tasting herbs.  This recipe of Kathy Hester's involves blending the entire pot of bouillion so NOTHING is lost-- it is a savoury, flavourful, fibreful blend, exactly what I look for in a homemade soup or veggie stew.  Read: I am not a 'broth' person.


1 large (or 2 small) Onion, cut into quarters

2 medium Carrots, chopped-- if they are not organic, it's a good idea to peel them and cut ends off

1/2 C. Water (or more, depending on method used-- see the method you will use below)

1 teaspoon (15ml) dried Thyme (or 2 generous sprigs of fresh Thyme if you have it)
2 stocks, chopped, Celery

1 teaspoon of dried Parsley (or 2 generous sprigs of fresh-- I found some surviving the winter in my garden here on the We(s)t Coast of Canada-- yay)

1/2 teaspoon of Black Pepper, or to taste

1 teaspoon Salt, (optional-- I left it out)

1/2 C. (48g) Nutritional Yeast (NOT Brewer's Yeast or Bread-making Yeast.  Buy it bulk to save.  This does not go into the mix until it is in the blender.)


  1. Place all ingredients (except Nutritional Yeast) in the Instant Pot insert and cover with water.
  2. Lock lid in place and place lid to "sealing"
  3. Hit the Manual setting and adjust the time to 20 minutes
  4. Allow the pot to release steam at the end on its own (do not flip the steam release lock)
  5. Remove the lid and allow the bouillion to cool for a bit (or just allow it to do that via the pot timers if you have other things to do)
  6. Carefully blend the bouillion remembering that high heat can blow the lid off your blender.  Sometimes small batch blending is a wise choice.  Add in the Nutritional Yeast. If using an immersion blender, best to use a bowl other than the stainless steel insert-- my own opinion on preserving the stainless steel finish on the insert.
  7. Spoon the blended bouillion into an ice cube tray (I have a tray where each cube equals about 2 Tablespoons which is the amount of bouillion I would use in a small soup or veggie stew).
  8. Freeze.  Place in freezer baggies and pop the needed cube into your stews and soups! Voila!

  1. Put everything except the nutritional yeast into your saucepan and bring to a slow boil, add a lid and cook until the carrots are tender (20-30 minutes) on MEDIUM heat.
  2. Check to make sure there is enough water-- if not, add more so the vegetables don't stick and burn.
  3. Remove any thyme stems (if using sprigs) at the end of the cooking and transfer to the blender or food processor, or use an immersion blender.  Freeze and store in cubes as explained in #7 and #8 above re Instant Pot Method.
  1. Cut up your veggies and herbs in advance-- the evening before, if you are starting it in the morning-- and put in the fridge before heading to bed.
  2. The next morning if you are worried about the pot 'drying out' while you are away, you could spray it with oil before adding your stock. (suggestion by Kathy Hester)  It should generally be fine for 8-12 hours, but for your own peace of mind the above might be helpful.
  3. Proceed with #6-#8 of the directions for the Instant Pot method.  You might actually be using an Instant Pot (because it does have a Slow Cooker setting).
PROMISE:  You will be so proud of yourself for putting together these tasty little cubes that will go into all your tasty veggie soups and stews from now on, I bet. 

Check out The Great Vegan Bean Book: More than 100 Delicious Plant-Based Dishes Packed with the Kindest Protein in Town! - Includes Soy-Free and Gluten-Free Recipes! (Great Vegan Book)

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Granny Reads: Review of "Half-Broke Horses" by Jeannette Walsh

Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I motored through this well-written, tell-it-like-it-was memoirs ("true novel") of Jeannette Walls' maternal grandmother. I am not quite sure why I picked it up, except that I was in a compulsive reading state (allergies, fed up with FB), since my experience reading the memoir of Walls' own childhood, "Glass Castle" was the sort where I felt triggered and zoned-out after reading it.

Then I remembered how Walls had held her maternal grandmother up as the one safe and nurturing adult in her childhood. This was that story.

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Lily Casey grew up on a Texas ranch in the early 1900s-- she was her father's 'right hand' in many ways, and helped him with breaking horses for his carriage horse business. She was an all-round hard-working rancher as a child, and also had an active brilliant intelligence that helped her get ahead in the "3 Rs" and have a recognition early-on that she didn't have to be reliant upon an early marriage (as her mother said) to have a good life. She went about having an adventuresome, passionate, active, fun-loving time from the time she left home to be a school teacher in some far-off, remote place at age 15 through her eventual marriage to a man 20 years her senior until her years as the grandmother that Jeannette Walls looked up to.

One of the book cover reviewers suggested that this book was a Laura Ingall Wilders type of story, but for adults. I would agree with that, and how I loved that author's family adventure stories when I was a child.

I think you will enjoy this book as well if you were moved by The Glass Castle.

Jeanette Walls on Oprah:

View all my reviews


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