Cheesy Broccoli Mac Soup from the cookbook Vegan Mac & Cheese

Robin Robertson’s latest cookbook Vegan Mac & Cheese debuted on Sept 17, 2019, which is the perfect timing because we are all wanting comfort food as the weather gets colder. Robin’s book contains more than 50 delicious Plant-Based recipes for the ultimate comfort food. You read that number correctly.

Vegan Mac and Cheese Cover

I’m a fan of mac and cheese, but I think I’ve only made it a few different ways, and usually change up the veggies I mix in with it. When I saw the book available for pre-order a few months ago, I knew I needed to order it.

At the beginning of the book, there’s a story about the mac and cheese. Where you might find mac and cheese in restaurants (Montreal is listed), there’s a listing of various pasta, sauces, mix in’s and add in’s. I didn’t know there were so many options. She does say, think outside the box, and she shows us how.

The book has five chapters: Basic Vegan Mac & Cheese, Global Cheesy Macs, Mac and Veggies, Meaty Macs, and Fun with Mac & Cheese. Some of the names of the recipes are Mom’s Baked Mac Uncheese, Mac and Thai, Brussels and Bacon Cheesy Mac, Shepard’s Mac, Cheesy Mac Mug, Cheesy Mac Muffins and a recipe what I will be sharing called Cheesy Broccoli Mac soup.

The recipes are easy to make. Some will take longer than others to make, but I’m pretty sure all recipes take 30 minutes or less. I haven’t made all of them, but when looking through the book, that’s the feeling I get. The ingredients called for are real; I didn’t see anything that I couldn’t get from a regular grocery store. Now, if you are not familiar with Nutritional Yeast, vegan Worcestershire sauce, or tempeh, it might take you a little longer to find those items, but you can find them pretty much anywhere either online or at a large chain store.

Everyone loves food pictures, and in my opinion, there are lots of beautiful colourful photographs in the book. I counted at least 30. They will make you drool.

One last thought before I share a recipe with you is, you don’t need any fancy equipment. You will need a blender, but any blender will do because Robin created recipes that everyone can make and not be limited. I love my kitchen toys and playing around, but this is a straight forward, easy to make recipe cookbook. Don’t get me wrong the book is fun and creative; and the last chapter is entertaining because of the imagination that went into it.

Make sure to read to the end, because I am thrilled to be offering a giveaway of Robin Robertson’s book, Vegan Mac & Cheese. Thank you Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc.
The only thing better than mac and cheese with broccoli or a bowl of creamy broccoli soup, is Cheesy Broccoli Mac soup. That there is the ultimate cozy sweater comfort food. When I made it the other day, I complicated the recipe. I forgot the cashews, which added more time. I also made everything from scratch. I would make this again, but I would use leftover pasta to turn into a new dish. The kids or fussy partner who never eats leftovers will never know our little secret.

Recipe and images reprinted with permission by Vegan Mac & Cheese by Robin Robertson © 2019 Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc.

Cheesy Broccoli Mac Soup

Cheesy Broccoli Mac Soup

 

Cheesy broccoli soup is a cold weather favorite in our house, so it was a no-brainer to try it made with leftover mac uncheese. The results were so good, this is now our go-to way to make it. We especially like that the broth isn’t too thick (which it often is in cheesy soups). If you prefer a thicker broth, simply use less vegetable broth. To make this recipe without leftovers, I suggest using the quick and easy recipe for One-Pot Cheesy Mac (page 39).Vegan Mac & Cheese by Robin Robertson © 2019 Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc.

 

  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups (960 ml) vegetable broth
  • 3 cups (weight varies) leftover or homemade mac uncheese
  • 11/2 cups (340 g) Cheddary Sauce 
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) plain unsweetened nondairy milk 
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt, to taste 
  • Ground black pepper, to taste  
  • 2 cups (160 g) steamed small broccoli florets
  • 1/4 cup (32 g) Nut Parm 

 

  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the olive oil.
  2. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in the mac uncheese and then add the Cheddary Sauce, stirring until thoroughly combined.
  5. Add the milk and paprika and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until hot.
  6. Stir in the broccoli and serve hot, sprinkled with the Nut Parm.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

 

Cheddary Sauce

 

Use this flavorful sauce to make the Philly Cheesesteak Mac (opposite) or as the base for virtually any mac un-cheese you like. The sauce is also great drizzled over your favorite roasted vegetables, baked potatoes, or nachos. Vegan Mac & Cheese by Robin Robertson © 2019 Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc.

 

  • 1 cup (140 g) unsalted raw cashews
  • 1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 small carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 of a small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup (20 g) nutritional yeast, plus more as needed 
  • 2 tablespoons (28 g) vegan butter
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 11/2 teaspoons white miso paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 cup (240 ml) plain unsweetened nondairy milk, or water

 

  1. In a saucepan, combine the cashews, potato, carrot, onion, garlic, and salt with enough water to cover. Place the pan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the vegetables are soft, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked vegetables and cashews to a high-speed blender, reserving the cooking water.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides, as needed. Add as much of the reserved cooking water as needed to achieve the consistency you prefer for the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning, as needed. The sauce is now ready to use.

Makes about 4 cups (900 g)

Nut Parm

 

Keep a supply of this condiment on hand to shake on your favorite mac uncheese (or other pasta dishes) with abandon. Vegan Mac & Cheese by Robin Robertson © 2019 Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc.

 

  • 1 cup (145 g) unsalted blanched almonds, or (140 g) unsalted raw cashews 
  • 1/3 cup (20 g) nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder

 

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the mixture has a fine crumbly texture, stopping to scrape down the sides, as needed. Transfer to a shaker jar or other container with a tight lid. Store in the refrigerator.

Makes about 11/3 cups (about 170 g

Click here for contest. Must be 18 and older to enter and reside in the US or Canada. Contest ends at 12 midnight on Oct 30, 2019 Mountain time. We will be contacting the winner on Oct 31, 2019. The winner will have 24 hours to contact us back. If the winner does not contact us with in 24 hours, we will be drawing another name.
Good Luck!

 

 

 

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Last Days of Summer

It’s been a while since I’ve sat down and blogged. I’ve missed it, but life has been crazy busy yet amazing! I can’t wait to tell you about it, but today isn’t the day. Today I’m going to tell you about our last few days of Summer break.

We decided to stay home the last week of the summer because the weather forecast didn’t look favorable and who wants to pay to stay in a hotel room watching TV? We can do that at home. We didn’t get all the rain they called for, and if it did, it was pleasant most evenings.

Inspired by one of our visits to an Inn, I decided to do something we have never done before. Have a movie by the fire pit. If you ever did that, you know how awesome that is. We don’t have a screen and projector, just either a phone or computer and Netflix. It’s been a lot of fun, and I really don’t want our movies by the fire to end. So, fingers crossed, Friday and Saturday will be movie night firepit night with some campfire eats.

Everyone thinks about the typical hot dogs and roasting marshmallows, maybe some s’ mores when they are cooking on the campfire, but have you thought about taking it one step further? The options are endless. We live in the city, and if we can come up with some very yummy meals, so can you! In my mind, anything you can do in the kitchen, you can do on the campfire. It is riskier, because:

1. There will be hot spots that could burn your food.

2. Can’t have the flame too high, or you’ll burn your food.

3. You need to watch the food more closely or you will burn it.

4. You have less control over your food because it’s easier to burn the food.

I’m sure there are other things you need to consider, just use common sense.

You might be asking me, if it’s so difficult to cook meals on the firepit, then why bother? That’s a great question, and my answers are, but not limited to:

  1. It’s fun.
  2. I’m hanging out with my family and talking.
  3. I’m always up for a challenge. When people say it’s impossible, I’m like “hold my wine”, and show them differently.
  4. I live in Canada, and it’s cold and snowy here for 10-11 months out of the year. I need the fresh air.
  5.  The food tastes better, even if I do burn it a little.

I don’t have a proper grill on my firepit, so do you know what I’m using? A cooling rack that somewhat fits and is stable enough for me to put dishes on. We need to get more campfire friendly cookware, but for now, we have a few cast iron skillets, and aluminum foil and containers. It’s all about making it work NOT making work.

Let me know what you like to make on the grill (VEGAN only), share any tips you may have. If you have never watched a movie outside by the fire, do yourself a favour and DO IT!

Below are the links to the meals we have cooked. If it’s not my recipe, there will be another link back to the original post so you can see how they’ve made it (it’s delicious the way they make it as well, I’m just being little Extra).

 

Campfire Corn and Baked Potatoes with Roasted Garlic.

 

 

(this photo is of our grilled cheese and tofu sandwich)

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Baked 3.14

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Disclaimer* Baked 3.14 is NOT a vegan place; however, EVERY single pizza on the menu can be made Vegan. They make their vegan mozzarella, parm and feta in house from scratch. They also offer Gluten-Free crust. All food photos in this post, are of course, vegan.

Baked 3.14 is a take out/delivery pizza joint located in Calgary, Alberta. There’s no seating inside unless you count the two-person table that looks uncomfortable to spend any length of time sitting. With that said, make sure you order your pizza about 30 minutes in advance, and it is one of the best pizzas you will ever eat.

Their slogan “Love at first slice” is a pretty bold statement. I’m not sure if it was love or Lust we experienced last night, but as daring as it may seem, it’s pretty accurate.

They have about 11 pizzas on the menu including Aloha Canada (Hawaiian). Eat Your Veg, which has spinach, black olives, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, banana peppers and mozzarella topped with freshly sliced tomatoes. Some other flavours are House Guest; which changes, Italian Job, Pep in Your Step, Olive Zeus. They also have sides such as the typical salad, breadsticks and unique items like Ballerz.

We did not order before we went to Baked 3.14, so we had 35 minutes to waste. Not being from Calgary or having any desires to drive around, we waited in the parking lot. Thankfully I downloaded a few movies on Netflix from when we were in Ontario, and a few didn’t expire. So, we watched Angry Birds while we waited. The built-in Taco Holder, in my car, works excellent to hold your phone so that everyone can enjoy a movie.

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We ordered the Eat Your Veg pizza with modifications because, hello I need pineapple on the Pi, plus I’m not a fan of black olives. The person working there was great and offered to modify the pizza anyway I wanted. I think he was team pineapple, or just professional and knew how to roll his “employee” eyes.

The crust was on the thin side, but the handle of the pizza; the part that there are no toppings on was a little thicker, crispy and totally dip worthy. They did not skimp on the toppings, and their housemade Vegan cheese was melty and pretty good. It didn’t leave an aftertaste as some vegan cheeses will.

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Since we were a half-hour into the movie, we decided to eat the pizza in the car and continued watching the show. The heat from the piping hot pizza caused the windows to fog, but we did not mind, we were in Lust.

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Facts in this post are accurate (to my knowledge) at the time of writing it. Before you head to Baked 3.14, please call them and do your research at 430-242-4432, @baked314 (IG not twitter) or their site www.baked314.com.

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What do you like on your pizza? Vegan toppings only please.

Campfire Corn and Baked Potatoes with Roasted Garlic

Back in my BBQ days, there was nothing better than grilled corn on the cob and potatoes foil packets. Right? Who’s with me? The butter would melt from the perfectly grilled corn and land on your chin, slightly burning your skin a little. Noone would complain because there was something magical about the sweet and the salty taste of the corn. Those potato foil packs would contain uneven cubed potatoes mixed with oil and the most basic of basic seasoning which was usually salt, pepper, and garlic powder but it was pretty tasty nonetheless.

You didn’t read my title wrong. This post isn’t about perfecting an old love; this is doing something entirely new for me and having fun. My daughter wanted to have a movie by the fire, and I simply didn’t feel like putting much effort into dinner. So instead of either boiling or air-frying the corn, I wrapped it up in some tin foil and set it aside. Having baked potatoes was appealing to my lazy side. So, I washed a few, wrapped in tin foil, poked some holes in the snuggly foil-wrapped potatoes and outside we went (instead of, peeling, washing, chopping and then cooking). The whole roasted garlic idea came to light later, and it was a delicious idea that worked!

The popcorn idea was brilliant! (well until I burnt it).

Guys, this isn’t much of a recipe. I don’t know if you would even call it a how-to. I do know I will be making this again and paying more attention to times so I can let you know, well actually mainly just for me. *winky face*

The Corn:
Take the corn out of the husk and wash it. Wrap in tin foil. No need to add anything to it.

The Potatoes:
Scrub the dirt off your baking potatoes, wrap in tin foil, pierce with a fork a few times. (let go of the anger that is building up because summer is coming to an end).

The Garlic:
Cut off the top part of the garlic, get rid of loose garlic skins, drizzle some olive oil or veggie broth on top, wrap in foil. FYI, in case you have never roasted garlic before, make sure you place the garlic on the tin foil before drizzling with the oil or broth to save making a mess. (ok, the mess will happen no matter what, but you don’t want to be cleaning up an oil spill.)

Make sure you have a well-established campfire. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to build another fire after you have placed your food on the grill.

Make sure you bring out propper tools such as tongs, or silicon oven mitts, or at least a towel so you can turn the corn and potatoes around, and lift them off the grill, so you don’t burn your fingers. Using the sleeves of your hoodie isn’t recommended, but I guess optional.

You, yes YOU, need to keep the men away from the fire while you’re cooking. You want beautiful low happy flames, not over the top need to burn the house down angry flames. If you like the high flames, find someone else to cook for you. Your supper is doomed. Try to find the neighborhood Wilson or Al and stay away from the Tim the fireman FlameGuy (or girl).

Don’t be afraid to rotate the food around every so often, and check on it open up the foil see what’s going on with the corn. Poke those potatoes, insides still firm? Depending on the heat and the type of flames you have, I would check it about 15 mins into cooking.

The garlic cooked too fast for me, so next time, I would move it to an area where it doesn’t get as much heat.

Once your dinner has cooked, scoop out the potatoes into a bowl. Squeeze the roasted garlic into the bowl with the potatoes, mix using a fork, add some vegan butter to make it blend easier. Scoop back into the skins; leave as is or top with your favorite toppings.
Now, that dinner is ready to eat; this is the ideal time to watch a movie. Or better yet, save the movie until the popcorn has popped. Or the very least, pause the show while popping the corn.

The popcorn:
Get a container that you can use on the fire. I just put enough kernels in to cover the bottom of the pot I use, plus a little more. I wrapped the top in loose tinfoil. I was pulling all kinds of MacGyver moves, that the ’80s would’ve been so proud of me.

I would love to hear your campfire stories where you needed to find something that would work because you were not about to give up.

I Have a Confession

Hi! My name is Brandie, and I’m a DIY junkie. Not in the way of traditional Pinterest DIY junkie, but as in store-bought kits. My daughter loves to make things. All of the things. Does it not make sense to buy kits with everything you need, in one nice little package instead of searching  for everything you need? I keep thinking that’s the best way to go.. LIES!!!! They all lie. The slime is more like a pile of unplayable dough, the volcano doesn’t explode, the bath bombs? Well they’re bombs, expired, lifeless bombs.. I know better, yet I keep buying kits, hoping that maybe just MAYBE “this kit will be THE one!”

The other day I was surfing Amazon, (that seems to be my favourite hobby these days, because Amazon Prime you know what I mean?) and came across this Canadian company that has fun looking kits. I know what you’re thinking,  “Brandie, are you really going to waste your money on another kit that will most likely fail you again? Do you want your daughter to be disappointed? Will your daughter even want to try one more kit that will most likely frustrate both of you?” Don’t worry, I asked myself all of those question plus more. I’m harder on myself then you ever could be. I’m a seasoned professional at being hard on myself.

So, I reached out to the company and asked them some questions. A few days later a package from Amazon Prime showed up in the mail. I got excited. My daughter was with me and wanted to open up the box to see what was inside. She got excited and asked if we could make the soap once we got home. Forgetting everything I knew about our experiences with past failures, I smiled and quickly said yes. When we returned home, we went to the craft room, carefully open the package then panic sets in. I’m talking real life anxiety. The kind where, your heart beats a little faster, your hands get a little shaky and sweaty, your breathing is more sharp yet shallow. All of the negative feels one can have when one has been deeply disappointed in the past. What IF this doesn’t work? When my daughter gets upset, I get upset. I slowly moved my glaze from the box and looked at Em, who was beaming with excitement. I smiled, and decided, experimenting was going to be fun. I decided, that I’m not going to give my power away to some ingredients that may or may not work. With a refreshed point of view, we got to play.

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The above photo is from Kiss Naturals website. The picture I took is missing in action somewhere.

I have to tell you, I’m glad we received this Clear glycerine soap all natural soap making kit from Kiss Naturals. Kiss Naturals is a Canadian company located in Montreal, Quebec. We can thank their daughters for taking in interest in skin care and their parents for caring what goes into products aimed at kids. They didn’t want all the chemicals and crap that traditional skin care companies load into their products.  Kiss Naturals has created lip blam (contains bees-wax), bubble bath, soap, lip gloss and bath fizzes (to name a few) that are safe, natural and Canadian made.

O.k, back to the soap. We took it out of the package, daughter’s eyes were devouring the contents. We read the instructions, put the glycerine in the container, microwaved it, put into molds after adding some fragrance, and waited for 15 mins. GUESS WHAT GUYS??? IT WORKED!!!! Sorry for yelling, but I’m sure you feel our pain when it comes it most kits. The final product felt like soap, bubbled up like soap, kept their shape, even after a couple of times using them. Yes, they are a little small, but with that being said WORTH IT!!

Take a look at some photo’s.

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Have you used this soap making kit before? I want to hear about it. If you haven’t, tell me your experiences with kits.

 

January Eats

January is the month for soups, slow cooking and fat free living. Who doesn’t love a good creamy potato soup? Or a cream of broccoli soup? And the slow cooker is the perfect way to make soups thats hands off. For a comprehensive list of recipes please visit Kathy over at Heathy Slow Cooking and Susan over at Fat Free Vegan.

Here’s a sampling of yummy, easy recipes to help start your January.

  1. Creamy Potato Soup will hit the spot. It’s made on the stove top, but it takes less than 30 mins to make, so you can have a healthful satisfying, effortless meal on your table before you know it, even on a night where you don’t have a lot of time to cook. Photo credit goes to Sam from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken.

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2. Easy Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup. Another soup that will be on your table from prep to cooked in 30 minutes or less. She has a vegan beef soup recipe link on her chicken noodle soup page that I’m wanting to try. Photo credit goes to Marly from Namely Marly.

3. Creamy Vegan Broccoli Soup. Depending on how long it takes you to chop broccoli this soup can be on your table within 40-45 mins. It will be worth the wait. Photo credit goes to Shannon from Yep it’s Vegan.

4. Slow Cooker Whole Wheat Spelt Potato Rolls. Oh you read that right! Plus you need a good bun for your soup. Best part is it’s cooked in the slow cooker- brilliant. Photo credit goes to Kathy from Healthy Slow Cooking.

5. With only 144 calories per muffin- these Banana Date Walnut Muffins will hit the spot. Freeze some for a quick healthful grab and go breakfast. Photo credit goes to Susan from Fat Free Vegan.

If you are still wanting more recipes check out the following books:

Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons Paperback  by Nava Atlas.

Awesome Vegan Soups: 80 Easy, Affordable Whole Food Stews, Chilis and Chowders for Good Health Paperback  by Vanessa Croessmann.

Vegan Slow Cooking for Two or Just for You: More than 100 Delicious One-Pot Meals for Your 1.5-Quart/Litre Slow Cooker by Kathy Hester.

Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker: 200 Ultra-Convenient, Super-Tasty, Completely Animal-Free Recipes Paperback by Robin Robertson .

Forks Over Knives – The Cookbook: Over 300 Recipes for Plant-Based Eating All Through the Year  by  Del Sroufe.

If you would like any more recommendations or would like to recommend a book, contact me or leave a comment.

Hope you enjoy New Year’s resolution friendly January!!

xx