Creamy Tuscan Cannellini and Kale Soup with Lemon – Gluten Free

It sounds weird, but trust me on this. Creamy Tuscan Cannelini and Kale Soup with Lemon Creamy Tuscan Cannelini and Kale Soup with Lemon Creamy Tuscan Cannelini and Kale Soup with Lemon

Since the moment I saw this recipe on Pinterest, I’ve been [absolutely] pining to do a remake.  To be honest, I looked at the recipe long enough to see that the creator used a cashew cream base, which she homemade using equal parts cashews and water.  And, I knew I needed some sundried tomatoes, kale, and white beans – from the first picture and the recipe’s title.  But, I wanted to switch things up a bit, lessen the cashew to water ratio, and give it a thinner base.  As a result, the flavor needed to be richer, in order to compensate for the richness lost in the thinning of the broth.  And so, instead of sautéing all the vegetables, I chose to roast the carrots and caramelize the onions – alongside the added bonus of using a flavor-intense oil like olive oil instead of a milder, avocado or coconut oil.  Bon appetit! Creamy Tuscan Cannelini and Kale Soup with Lemon

Creamy Tuscan Cannellini and Kale Soup with Lemon

1 large brown onion, chopped
3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 Tablespoons chopped sundried tomatoes (use the olive oil packed kind)
1 cup chopped kale stems
1 and 1/4 cup cooked cannellini beans (feel free to substitute with White Kidney Beans or Great Northern Beans here)
1 cup chopped roasted carrots
2 teaspoons italian seasoning
2 cloves fresh garlic, smashed and minced
3/4 cups raw cashew pieces
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 + 1 + 2 cups water
1 and 1/2 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions: In a large saucepan, add chopped onion and 1 Tablespoon oil.  Sprinkle with thyme leaves and season with salt.  Cook over lowest possible heat setting until onions are browned and caramelized.  Increase heat to medium.  Add 1 Tablespoon oil, kale stems, and sundried tomato pieces to saucepan and cook until kale stems are tender.  Next, add cannellini beans, carrots, italian seasoning, garlic, and one cup water to pan.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Continue cooking until all water has evaporated (or, more than 75% – if it absolutely makes you nervous to wait until all that water evaporates).  Decrease heat to low.  Add 2 cups water to pan and cook until heated through.

Meanwhile – add 2 cups water to a small saucepan, place it over medium high heat, and bring to a boil.  Get your *blender* (or Vitamix!).  In it, place the cashews, all of the boiling water, juice of 1/2 lemon, nutritional yeast, and a sprinkle of salt.  Blend until smooth and then, blend for 2 minutes longer – you want it to be REALLY smooth.

Last step: Stir the juice of 1 lemon and the cashew “cream” and season with salt and pepper.  And – eat!

Makes: 4-6 servings, depending on how hungry you are.


Gluten Free Lemon (Snack) Bars

Gluten Free Lemon Snack BarsMy husband and I are currently staying in San Francisco, California and have recently come from Sonoma County, California – land of wonderful, California wine and home to lemon trees.

With so much access, we decided to pick a few to bring to San Fran with us.

Lemons are an unusual beast.  They’re lovely and fragrant, excellent detoxifiers, and compliments to herbs like oregano and thyme.  And yet.  I rarely find them in recipes online, apart from those containing such edifiers as “pound cake” or “poppy seeds.”  It’s a shame.

And so.  My list of recipes to make with this fragrant fruit began with Limoncello.  Having had some (in-house made) at Pastavino, we quickly found a recipe online and gave it a go.  Currently, it is perched in a glass pitcher in the fridge.  When it finishes infusing, I’ll post the recipe and some pictures!

The next item on my list was a remake of Annapolis Ice Cream Company‘s Lemon-Chocolate Chip, but in a sort of (granola) snack bar form.  However, when it was time to add the chocolate chips, I couldn’t do it – the simplicity of tart and sweet was a beautiful balance, and chocolate seemed almost too heavy for it.  Using a previous posting I made for Chocolate and Oatmeal Raisin Granola Bars as a starting point, I simplified the recipe (took out the chocolate!) and added a Lemon-Coconut Oil and Agave Glaze.  Gluten Free Lemon Snack Bars

Gluten Free Lemon Snack BarsGluten Free Lemon Snack Bars

1 cup sunflower seeds, roasted and slightly sprinkled with salt
7 Tablespoons agave nectar, divided
1/4 cup coconut oil, divided
3 lemons, juiced + the zest of two lemons, divided (juice and zest as needed)
2 cups rolled oats

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Place sunflower seeds in a blender and pulse until finely ground into a flour.  (Be careful not to make sun butter!)

In a large mixing bowl, add 6 Tablespoons agave nectar and 2 Tablespoons coconut oil.  Microwave until oil has melted, then stir until smooth.  Add sunflower seed “Flour,” the juice of 2 lemons, and the zest of one lemon to oil and agave nectar mixture in bowl.  Stir until smooth.  Next, stir in rolled oats until coated and ingredients are combined.

Coat a baking sheet or small baking pan with coconut oil.  Transfer dough to pan and spread evenly until 3/4″-1″ thick.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until edges are lightly brown.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Next, place in freezer and allow to firm up for an hour.  (This helps for even slicing and prevents bars from breaking in the process!)  Final steps – cut into bars (8-12, depending on the size you’d like) and drizzle with two coats of Lemon-Coconut Oil and Agave Glaze (recipe below), refrigerating between coats to harden glaze.

To make Lemon-Coconut Oil and Agave Glaze:  In a small (cereal) bowl, add 2 Tablespoons coconut oil, the juice and zest of one lemon, and one Tablespoon agave.  Microwave one minute, or until oil melts.  Stir until smooth.  Drizzle over Lemon Snack Bars and refrigerate to harden glaze.

Makes: 8-12 bars, depending on size

Sweet Potato, Carrot, and Spinach Curry (Soup)

It’s been way too long, dear WordPress audience.

Sweet Potato, Carrot, and Spinach Curry Soup Sweet Potato, Carrot, and Spinach Curry Soup
Sweet Potato, Carrot, and Spinach Curry Soup

Despite any previous efforts I’ve made, being on the road and continuing daily updates of a food blog has proved –


Trying to make something beautiful with a crockpot, chef knife, small cutting board the size of my hand, and a wooden spoon should be easy.  It seems so simple.

But, it’s not when you’re missing a colander, a mixing bowl, and even – large dinner plates.  Stepping out from beneath the grabby hands of basement efficiencies, my husband and I are currently (and contently) residing in a full-on apartment; complete with wifi, bed, entirely private space, and fully-equipped kitchen.  It’s heaven.

And to celebrate, I made a curry.  Soup? Sweet Potato, Carrot, and Spinach Curry Soup Sweet Potato, Carrot, and Spinach Curry Soup Sweet Potato, Carrot, and Spinach Curry Soup

Sweet Potato, Carrot, and Spinach Curry (Soup)

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped kale stems
1/4 cup chopped onion
5 large carrots, chopped (or 4-5 cups)
1/2 large sweet potato, chopped (or 1 cup)
4 fresh garlic cloves, smashed and minced
2 inches fresh ginger, grated (or finely minced)
1 cup chopped tomato
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
large pinch of crushed red pepper
5 cups water
2 cups fresh julienned spinach
1 can full-fat coconut milk
1/4 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro leaves, julienned
and pepper, to taste

Directions: Set a large pot over medium heat on the stove.  Add: oil, kale stems, onion,  and carrots.  Sauté, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent.  Add sweet potato, garlic, ginger, tomato, curry powder, turmeric, and red pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomato is soft and starts to break down in the pan.  Add water; cover, and bring to a boil.  If necessary, decrease heat to allow water to come to a rolling boil – and, boil for ten minutes.  Turn heat to lowest possible setting and add: coconut milk, spinach, cilantro, and season with salt and pepper.  Cover and allow soup (curry?) to warm through for ten minutes; if possible, don’t allow it to simmer.

Remove from heat; allow to cool.  And – serve!

Makes: 4 servings.

Sweet Potato, Carrot, and Spinach Curry Soup

Chocolate and Oatmeal Raisin Granola Bars – Gluten Free

Chocolate and Raisin Granola Bars - Gluten Free Chocolate and Raisin Granola Bars - Gluten Free

My husband and I are regular get-up-at-9:30am attenders.  We’re late risers.  But – we also stay up late; usually around 1am or so.  Waking up at 9:30am and eventually getting up at 10am – to me, making breakfast can seem pointless; assuming our lunchtime is usually around 1pm.  And so, to add points to my morning, I’ve recently started making a few batches of these granola bars and storing in plastic bags in the refrigerator (or even the freezer) – to grab for a quick breakfast or snack. Chocolate and Oatmeal Raisin Granola Bars
Chocolate and Oatmeal Raisin Granola Bars

Chocolate and Oatmeal Raisin Granola Bars – Gluten Free

[Adapted from: Kathy’s recipe at Healthy Happy Life blog]

3 Tablespoons almond butter
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
6 Tablespoons agave (or other liquid sweetener, like honey)
1 Tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 Tablespoon molasses
1/2 Tablespoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons ground flax seeds
1 cup sprouted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raisins
1 and 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup rolled oats, ground to flour

Directions: Place almond butter and coconut oil in a large mixing bowl and microwave thirty seconds or so; until softened.  Stir in: agave, water, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, molasses, vanilla extract, and flax seeds and stir until combined.  Stir in ground flax seeds, sunflower seeds, and raisins until coated.  Stir in oats and oat flour until combined.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8″ x 8″ baking pan with parchment paper (or – aluminum foil then coat with nonstick cooking spray).  Transfer granola bar “dough” from mixing bowl to parchment paper.  With wet hands, press dough until it touches the edges of the pan and is even throughout.  Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until lightly browned on edges.  Allow to cool, then place in freezer for 20 minutes (or refrigerator for an hour) to firm up.  Cut into bars and drizzle with chocolate (recipe below).  Place back in fridge or freezer to harden.

Eat immediately or store in plastic storage bags in the refrigerator or freezer.

Makes: 8-10 bars.

Chocolate Drizzle: Place three tablespoons nondairy, grain-sweetened chocolate chips and 1 and 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil in a small bowl.  Microwave until chocolate and coconut oil are melted.  Stir until smooth and drizzle over bars.

*Note: pictures were taken about a week ago; without the luxury of natural lighting.

Dehydrating Mushrooms – With An Oven

Dehydrating Mushrooms in an OvenFor the remainder of the week, my husband and I are staying with family in northern Colorado, to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with those we love.  For Lifeatthecircle blog, this equates to better pictures due to a broader source of natural lighting and a wider variety of natural backdrops.  Beautiful pictures are here!

Dehydrating Mushrooms in an Oven Dehydrating Mushrooms in an OvenApart from carrying a full-size refrigerator with us on top of our car across the counry, dehydrating is an efficient way  to store items that will eventually perish; like fruit and vegetables, and especially – specialty produce.  And, if you have the time (do it while you sleep!) and an oven, then there is no reason not to.

Stopping at a place like Hazel Dell for mushroom stuffing ingredients was a no brainer.  And buying extra to take on the road with us?  Not even a question; of course we would.Dehydrating Mushrooms in an Oven

Dehydrating Mushrooms, Oven-Style


Something to Dehydrate (I used a one pound mix of Cinnamon Cap and Lion’s Mane mushrooms)

Baking sheet(s)

Clean kitchen towel

An oven

Directions: Clean produce (in this case: mushrooms) and lay on kitchen towel to dry.  Preheat oven to the lowest setting it will allow (mine was 170 degrees).  Lay produce (or, mushrooms!) in a single layer on baking sheet (if you need to use more than one, do so).  Place in oven and allow to “cook” around 8-10 hours, depending on the density of your produce.  Note: check after 1-2 hours of dehydrating, for liquid formation on pan.  If it’s there, pour it off.  Also, check to make sure that your produce isn’t sticking to the pan.  If it is, it should peel off.  Place back in oven to continue “cooking,” then check at least once more throughout process.

When produce is dry and brittle, it’s done.  Place in ziploc bag and seal tightly.

Note: one pound fresh mushrooms will produce one small sandwich bag of dehydrated goodness.