Sunday, March 29, 2020

Carrot-Lemon Soup

Lovely lemon-y Carrot-Lemon Soup

This recipe for Carrot-Lemon soup was inspired by a Greek soup recipe.  When I was a kid, almost every local upscale eatery-- what we labeled "fancy restaurant" --was operated by Greeks who had emigrated to my town or city from the Old Country.  

We all learned what was in a 'Greek salad' and were quite fond of the way seemingly all the Greek dishes were enrobed in melted mozzarella.  I realize now that the restaurateurs probably quickly tumbled to the fact that Canadian prairie people were dazzled by melted cheese, and they accommodated us.  And we-- or at least, I-- really loved the lemon rice soup that generally preceded a hearty meal of mozza-covered whatever.  

But try as I did, I could never quite achieve that tangy citrus flavour... until now.

The original vegan recipe I was looking at for a similar soup used tofu.  Well, I like tofu well enough but we are in the midst of our 'take' on the COVID-19 "crisis" and tofu, like t.p. and chicken breasts, has apparently been "discovered" as a coveted hoard item. Short story: the stores are out of tofu.

But no worries, vegans that we are, we have lots of dried beans.  I cooked up a mess of chick peas for our daily Best Hummus allowance.  I spun up the chick peas (garbanzo beans) with the garlic, tahini, salt, and lemon juice and scooped about a cup and and a half up for the soup.

And my second major innovation was to cook up some quinoa as a substitute for the orzo or rice in the more Mediterranean cluster of ingredients.  We did this because: (a) no orzo in the house, plus it is made from wheat and I was looking for a gluten-free ingredient and (b) I just thought that quinoa would be a good fit... soupy, nutritious, neutral flavoured quinoa.

The third thing I did involves the lemon flavouring.  I have recently purchased a bottle of Simply Organic brand of lemon flavour.  The ingredients are listed as "organic sunflower oil and organic lemon oil".  The scent of fresh zested lemons floods the senses when you remove the cap.  I had already had wonderful results in using it to make a small batch of vegan lemon curd (usually made with eggs, but in this recipe made with coconut cream and corn starch).  You will still get a nice lemony result by juicing two lemons, but this just gives that extra lemony high note to the soup.  Totally optional. (get it through HERE).

Sooo..... here are the ingredients:

  • 3  /450 grams leeks, chopped
  • 1  /490 grams onion, chopped
  • 5+  /490 grams carrots, sliced or diced
  • 3+   cloves garlic, minced (there is additional garlic in the hummus)
  • 3-4 bouillon cubes (I used mushroom)
  • 1 1/2 cups / 300 grams of Best Hummus (or other hummus)
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Simply Organic lemon flavour (optional)
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
  • fine sea salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • finely chopped fresh parsley or lemon balm (melissa officianalis)

  1. I made this soup in an Instant Pot-- you can also use a regular large soup pot (dutch oven).  If using the Instant Pot, you will only need to use the saute mode (no lid) for this recipe.  Start by adding a small layer of water to the pot (about 1-3") and add the chopped leeks, garlic and onions.  Cook until translucent, stirring with a wooden spoon or silicone stirrer.  If using the soup pot, add the leeks, garlic and onions, cover with water, and cook for a few minutes until softened, on medium-high, stirring as above.
  2. To the Instant Pot: add the carrots and cook for about five minutes. Add in some more water and the bouillon cubes, stirring to break them up.  While the veggies cook, you can cook the quinoa in a separate pot on the stove according the directions on the box.  Or you can use pre-cooked quinoa (saves time-- but don't add the quinoa yet!).  Cook until the carrots are tender.
  3. If using the soup pot, blend up the bouillon cubes in a blender, with 4 cups of water.  Stir into the pot, along with the carrots.  Cook stirring, until carrots are tender. You can stir in about a teaspoon of turmeric if you want a lemony color and some extra turmeric goodness.
  4. Stirring the soup in either pot (yeah, this is classic soup-making), stir in the hummus and the lemon juice/flavour and the quinoa, along with the extra water.  When heated through, add salt to taste and remove the soup pot from the heat and turn off/unplug the Instant Pot.  Stirring.
  5. Ladle the soup into bowls.  Crack some pepper over the bowls.  Add in sprinkles of parsley.  Serve with extra lemon wedges or slices if desired.
Harvest Recipes for vegan and gluten-free Mini-Carrot Cakes and Curry Carrot Soup
Got carrots?  Here are a couple of other wonderful recipes!  One for a lovely curry carrot soup and another recipe for mini-carrot cakes.  Both recipes are vegan.   Go HERE to get the recipes.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Rice Pasta with Cauliflower Sauce

This delectable garlicky cauliflower sauce over organic rice spaghetti was a most delightful supper one evening at the beginning of the COVID-19 dilemma. It has a lovely creamy mouth appeal but because it has no actual cheese or dairy fat of any kind (only fat would be in the almond milk) it settles lightly on the digestion. Perfect for an evening meal.


Large head of cauliflower, broken into florettes with leaves and stem end removed
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups almond milk (unsweetened)
2 tsp. lemon juice, fresh squeezed
1 tsp. fine sea salt
black pepper, fresh ground, as desired
4 T. chopped parsley as garnish
full box of rice spaghetti (28 oz) or quinoa, rice, etc.

Steam the cauliflower over a pot of boiling water, covered, for about 5 - 10 minutes, or in Instant Pot.
Set aside.

In a skillet, cook onion until translucent. Add garlic and cook for another couple of minutes.

Combine the cauliflower, garlic, onion, lemon juice, almond milk and sea salt in the blender and blend until smooth.

Ladle over hot pasta, rice, or quinoa. Top with parsley and pepper (or you can garnish with delicious walnut parm (recipe below):

Combine in the food processor:
*1 cup/100 g walnut pieces
*2/3 cup/40 g nutritional yeast
*1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Pulse until finely ground. Store in jar with lid in fridge.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Breakfast Oat-Carrot Cake

Breakfast Oat-Carrot Cake with Lemon Curd
I have had enough experiences with baked oatmeal to think that I could put together a really delicious carrot cake version-- and I believe I have nailed that with the following soft, pudding-y, yummy Breakfast oat-carrot cake.  Try it and see if you agree!

Place in large mixing bowl:
• 3 cups organic rolled oats

In blender carafe add:
• 2 apples cored and chopped
• 1 cup shelled walnuts
• 2 medium carrots, chopped
• 6 pitted Medjool dates
• 2-3 tablespoons chia seed gel
• 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
• 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

*Blend well until smooth.
*Pour over oats and mix well. Let sit for 2 hours or over night.
*Preheat oven to 350 F.
*Pour batter into baking pan lined with parchment paper.  Cover with aluminum foil. (Remove foil to brown during last 5+ minutes)
*Bake for 25-40 minutes.
*Let cool and serve in squares topped with fruit like pineapples, berries and banana slices

Do you have extra carrots?  Click here and: Try these delicious vegan recipes for a rich carrot soup and a tasty mini carrot cake

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Colcannon (Irish Mashed Potatoes) and Irish Soda Bread (Spelt)

Colcannon is a lovely Irish traditional mix of boiled cabbage or kale along with a root vegetable, usually mashed potatoes, but sometimes turnip, or carrots. Leaks and/or onions, and garlic, are pretty popular additions. Chopped green onions, chives and/or parsley are often used as a stirred-in garnish.

I am vegan, so this is a vegan colcannon-- no dairy butter or milk involved.

The following are ingredients in the colcannon I made (Missing from the picture are water, garlic, pepper, oil, and fine sea salt):

Lovely Colcannon: potatoes, cabbage, leaks, green onions, and parsley

INGREDIENTS (2-4 servings)

2 T. Olive Oil (or water, or coconut oil)
1/2 Cabbage, shredded
2    Leeks, finely sliced (or shredded)
4 cloves minced Garlic
4 C. peeled, diced Potatoes (I used yellow flesh Yukon Gold)
1/2 C. Water (if using Instant Pot-- enough to cover vegetables if using regular pot on stovetop).
1 tsp. Fine Sea Salt
Black Paper
Finely chopped Green Onions and Parsley


(Using Instant Pot)

  1. Using the saute setting, take about 5-10 minutes to stir the cabbage, leaks and garlic in olive oil until tender
  2. Turn off the Saute setting
  3. Add in potatoes and the water.  Put on the lid and set the pot for Steam and 10 minutes.
  4. Release steam.  Remove the lid.  Add salt and mix.  Mash in the cannister with potato masher if you wish, or remove to a large bowl and mash.  You may add non-dairy milk (rice, soy, oat) and a couple of tablespoons of vegan butter if desired.  If the potatoes are perfectly steamed through, and they often are, you may wish just to mash without adding in non-dairy milk and/or vegan butter.
  5. Stir in green onions and parsley.  Sprinkle pepper.
  6. Serve piping hot.
(Using on-stove pot)

  1. Put the potatoes in the pot and add water to cover the potatoes.  Bring the pot to a boil and let it cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. In another large pot, cover the cabbage with water and boil for about 15 minutes.  
  3. Drain the cabbage and set it aside.
  4. In a third pot, cook the leeks in about 1 cup of water (or 1 cup of soy (rice) non-dairy milk) for about 15 minutes.
  5. When the potatoes are cooked, combine them with the leeks, salt and and non-dairy milk if desired.  Mash well.
  6. Add in the cabbage and stir together.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve garnished with parsley and green onions.
You can eat these delicious "Irish mashed potatoes" on St. Paddy's Day or any day of the year!  Enjoy!  If you are having soup today (or tomorrow) you might want to bake up an easy-peasy loaf of vegan soda bread.  I use spelt flour in the recipe (because I like this ancient grain) but you can just use about half white and half whole wheat instead.

Vegan Soda Bread Recipe (made with spelt flour and NO buttermilk)

Here are the ingredients for the soda bread:

(Look up Metric measurements:)

  • 3 cups spelt flour (or 1 3/4 cup plain white flour, 1 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (NOT baking powder)
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds or currents (optional)
  • 1 1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond milk--oat, rice, soy are all good neutral-tasting choices)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (Look up Metric measurements:)
  2. In medium-large size bowl, mix dry ingredients well.
  3. Stir non-dairy milk and vinegar or lemon juice together and add to the dry ingredients, mixing to combine.  
  4. Make a ball and place on a piece of parchment paper on a pan, or on a pizza peel (paddle) if you plan to use a pizza stone already heated in the oven and waiting for the bread.  
  5. Cut a deep cross -- almost to the base of the ball-- in the dough-- this is what allows the inside of the bread to bake properly.
  6. Bake the dough for 30 minutes.
  7. Enjoy! (and if there are leftovers, enjoy it as toast later!)
The potatoes, cabbage and leeks in colcannon were the staples of Irish immigrants to North America.  Learn more about the potato (along with other recipes) by clicking on the fries below:

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Lazy Perogy Vegan Poutine with Mushroom and Onion Sauce

This perogy poutine is right out of my head, so please feel free to improve upon it, eliminate and add ingredients, do whatever you need to do to make it seem like a lazy perogy version of poutine for you.

That said, my husband raved about this particular vegan perogy-poutine recipe and said it was his fave of the three variations (the other two being: Poutine with Cheesy Smoky White Sauce and Poutine with Fat-Free Cheesy Nacho Sauce, also both vegan, of course).  So maybe the ingredients are just right for you as well.  You will have to try it and see what you think.


650 g/ 1 1/2 pounds  frozen potato fries

The Mushroom and Onion Sauce:

2 T.      cooking oil (I used olive oil)
1          organic mushroom bouillon cube ("Go Bio" brand) (optional)
1/2 lb.  crimini mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped
1          large onion, cut up (diced or in rings, your choice)
3          garlic cloves, minced
small quantity (about 1/2 C.) really cheesy cheese sauce OR 1/2 cup Corn Starch slurry*
2 C.     non-dairy milk (I used unflavored almond milk-- soy, oat or rice milk would be good too)
1 tsp.   fine sea salt
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
Black Pepper
Chopped Parsley
Chopped Green Onions
Tofutti Sour Cream (or this is a good scratch recipe if you have the ingredients)

*Prepare your fries by putting into pre-heated oven or air fryer or ?

I used the saute setting on my Instant Pot, but you can do the sauce in the traditional way in a skillet or wok on the stove.
Add in the oil and on medium heat, when heated, add in the onions, garlic, and mushrooms and stir-cook to brown for a few minutes.
Add in the non-dairy milk and the bouillon cube.  Stir and let it cook for a few (maybe 4) minutes, still on medium heat.
*Add in the real cheesy sauce or the slurry, stirring constantly to achieve smoothness (a slurry is a smooth mix of starch and liquid used to thicken the sauce).
Add in salt and stir for about a minute.  Squeeze on juice of a 1/2 lemon and stir through.
Turn off the sauce and remove it from burner (if using traditional method).  Plate up the fries and ladle the sauce over them.
Add on black pepper, chopped green onions, parsley, and tofutti.

Other ingredients that we can see using:

Sauerkraut or chopped cabbage
Fake baco-bits (you can make your own)
vegan sausage
Rice or quinoa in place of potatoes

What did you try?  Send me a picture to healthiacynthia on Instagram and I will feature your perogy poutine on here.

The Potato Alphabet:
26 Reasons to Respect the Humble Potato

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Vegan Poutine with Really Cheesy Fat-Free Vegan Nacho Sauce

The recipe for 'really cheesy fat-free vegan cheese' is based on a surprising recipe from a video by Jill McKeever, the guru over at Simple Daily Recipes. We love it in our family. The 'surprise ingredient' and the lack of any fats make it a real winner for our digestive systems, and I would imagine you will also find that... although, I am not a physician or a nutritionist, and would suggest you go by what those folks have advised you.

This is how the Really Cheesy Fat-Free Vegan Nacho Cheese recipe goes with my additions to Jill's base:

Makes about 3 cups

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup roasted red bell pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Smoked Sweet Paprika
1/4 teaspoon Chipotle pepper powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups water

Place all ingredients in a blender and process several
minutes until very smooth and well blended. Pour into a saucepan, cook and stir until thickened.  Do not turn your back.  It will often cook up quicker than you might think.  It will also thicken further as it it sets.

At the time that you are starting to cook the sauce, you might want to get your fries into the oven or the air fryer so that they come out just a little after the thickened sauce.

Build as desired.  The nacho poutine in the picture above includes a layer of salsa, some green onions, tuffuti sour cream and a few slices of avocado. Mmmm.

There are things you don't know about the potato...
                             Click above on image for more info and delish potato recipes

2020 Vegan Recipes on Instagram (healthiacynthia)

Here are the vegan mains, sides, soups, smoothies, desserts, pastries, and breakfasts as shown on Instagram. The following recipes appear on Instagram in 2020 (/healthiacynthia)

Just go ahead and click on the link below to go directly to the recipe! They are arranged in their categories from the most current Instagram recipe to the oldest-- to see them as they come out, join me at

Vegan Poutine with Smoky WhiteCheesy Sauce

Barley and Corn Casserole

Moroccan Bowl (random veggies using Berber Spice Combination at the article site)

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Vegan Poutine with Smoky White Cheesy Sauce

So, March forward I will with delicious potato recipes as a highlight of the pure joy and potato nutrition that abounds in our everyday world.

Poutine is truly French Fries drowned in melted cheese curds and fatty gravy. Delicious by all accounts. But not so much a thrill for vegans, of course (or the poor critters that go into the fatty gravy).

However, take a look! There are several vegan poutine recipes online. Most of them have replicated the fatty gravy and dense, gluey cheese curds with a scary closeness.

The vegan poutine sauce/gravy in this recipe is a little less fatty, but the nuts and seeds (cashews and tahini)have the reqired mouth appeal, and the liquid hickory smoke gives them a scrumptuous rustic je ne sais quoi.  

Try the recipe.  Doctor it up and let me know what you think.

Get your fries out of the freezer.  Read the instructions  package to bake your fries crispy,  Set the oven or prep your air fryer.


Ingredients for Smoky White Cheese Sauce:

1/2 C. raw unsalted cashews or cashew pieces
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes (NOT Brewer's yeast)
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 T. Tahini
1/2 - 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 cup water


1.  If you do not have a high speed blender, soak your cashews overnight or several hours in 2 cups of water.  Drain and go ahead with recipe.

2. Preheat oven as per instructions on fries package.

3. If you have a high speed blender, combine cashews, yeast, garlic, salt, tahini and liquid smoke.  Blend until silky smooth, consistency of fine cheese sauce with no lumpy bits.

4. Spread chips in pan and put in over as per instructions.

5. Pour the cheesy mix into a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium to medium-high heat, whisking continuously.  Lower the heat slightly to keep at a low simmer.  DO NOT ALLOW TO BOIL.  Keep whisking until it begins to thicken.  (about 10 minutes)

6. Remove from heat.  Thickening will continue.

7. Arrange fries (bakes?) on individual plates and ladle hot cheesy sauce over the fries.

There are things you don't know about the potato...
                             Click above on image for more info and delish potato recipes

Friday, March 6, 2020

Low Fat Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Vegan Buttermilk

You probably think I'm obsessed with potato recipes... and maybe you would be right.  I love spuds.  I reallly love garlic mashed spuds.

The potato has so much going for it and has been so misrepresented as a fattening, 'bad' junk food.  Wrong!

The potato is root vegetable which means that it has great accessible amounts of starchy energy, and lots of other wonderful nutrients: Vitamin C, fibre and potassium, being three.  The scare about the potato being fattening comes from the way some potatoes are prepared (deep-fried) and/or the smotherings we sometimes introduce: dairy cream, sour cream, butter, cheese, bacon, even mayonnaise.  There are the sources of your "fattening".  Good News: Potatoes are delicious with much less fattening accompaniment, and much healthier if you kick the fat down and take out the cholesterol (animal products).  Much kinder to the animals and the planet.

A 7-ounce serving of a side of these luscious garlicky potatoes is about 150 calories. 



Vegan Buttermilk:

Stir together 1 C. of soy milk (or other non-dairy milk) and 1 T. Apple Cider Vinegar or fresh-squeezed Lemon Juice.  Set aside.  You could also use a 1/4 of a block of organic tofu, blend with enough water to make a cupful, and add in the 1 T. vinegar or lemon juice. 

Garlic Potatoes:

8 C. peeled and diced potatoes
4-6 cloves garlic, chopped
8-10 C. water
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 C. warmed vegan buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
Chopped parsley or chives (optional, as garnish)


Instant Pot: Put potatoes, garlic, water and salt in IP and cover with water.  Set for about 20 minutes on Steam.

Covered Pot on stove: Bring potatoes, garlic, salt and water to boil on high heat.  Reduce the heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes until potatoes are tender.

Drain the potatoes and put in a bowl.  Mash with the cup of vegan buttermilk.  Stir in the pepper and add the garnish just before serving.  Piping hot is best!

There are things you don't know about the potato...
                    Click above to find many more delicious and surprising potato recipes 

Monday, March 2, 2020

Elderberries are Flu-Fighters (New Study)

One summer day a few years ago our younger son pointed out various exotic trees as we walked around our neighborhood.  One with clumps of  luscious blue-black berries caught my eye.  Black Elderberry.  I asked if the berries were edible, and he said they were.  And the black elderberry (Sambucus racermosa ssp pubens var melanocarpa) is native to our Vancouver Island.  As someone wanting to grow only native trees in my yard, I have the ethical go-ahead. (To read about why we should grow native trees if we grow trees, see this article about botanist Diana Beresford-Kroeger.)

And... did the berries not have some medicinal benefits? I wondered aloud.  He told me that indeed elderberries were noteworthy for staving off and remedying colds  coughs, sore throats and flu. 

Click to learn more...
A New Study from the University of Sydney, Australia, published in 2019 in the Journal of Functional Foods... shows that this amazing berry contains phytochemicals that can throw up barriers to the flu virus, preventing it from entering or glomming onto our healthy cells when you take elderberries as a preventative measure during the flu and cold season.

Even more amazing is the berries' phytochemical ability to avoid a present virus from taking hold and replicating, getting rid of all symptoms in about 48 hours.  

The researchers made a juice from commercially-grown berries, and from the juice they made a serum that they applied to cells (1)before, (2)during and (3)following infection with the influenza virus.  The lead researcher, Dr.Golinoosh Torabian, noted "a potent direct antiviral effect against the flu virus."  Torabian went on to explain: "I inhibits the early stages of an infection by blocking key viral proteins responsible for both the viral attachment and entry into the cells."

Even in the later stages of the viral infection, the serum appeared to be strong in overcoming the infection by the release of cytokines.  These immunologic chemical messengers were stimulated by the infection, and went about communicating between cells in the body so that there was an all-out effective campaign against the viral infection.

You can watch Anthony William, the Medical Medium,  show you a recipe for homemade Elderberry Syrup here:

Organic Granny's RECIPE INDEX

Organic Granny's RECIPE INDEX
Mostly Vegan & Gluten-Free Recipes