Simple Coconutty Mushroom Spinach Soup

This soup was inspired by a recipe from my friend Joan’s family. It comes together very quickly and is so rich in flavor! If you don’t have coconut oil, you could use olive oil or Earth Balance instead. 

2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped 
8oz mushrooms (I used portabello)
8-10 cloves garlic, minced
1-1 1/2 Tbsp ginger root, chopped
1/4 cup water or veg broth
10oz spinach leaves
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp black pepper
salt, soy sauce, or Braggs liquid aminos to taste (optional)

Melt the coconut oil in your soup pot. Stir in the onions and mushrooms, and let them cook on medium for a few minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, and water or veg broth. Cover the pot, turn the heat to low, and simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir in the spinach, then cover the pot again and give the spinach a few minutes to cook down, adding a little more water if necessary to keep stuff from sticking. Add the coconut milk and blend till smooth, using a food processor, standing blender, or immersion blender. (If you need to do this in batches, you can add the coconut milk 1/4 cup at a time.) Return it to the pot if you’ve taken it out, and add the nutmeg, pepper, and your choice of salty ingredient if you want it saltier.

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Peanut Butter Pecan Cookies with Chocolate Chips

yields: about 30 cookies

6 Tbsp soy butter
6 Tbsp peanut butter
1 cup + 1 Tbsp sugar
6 Tbsp applesauce
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 Tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
½ tsp allspice
pinch of cloves
1 ½ cups + 3 Tbsp flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ cup chocolate chips
½ cup crushed or chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350F. Soften the soy butter (either leave it sitting out, or microwave it for 15 seconds). Combine the soy butter, peanut butter, and sugar in a large bowl, then beat them together with a hand mixer. Add the applesauce and extracts, continuing to mix into a creamy paste. Add the spices and mix them in. Add the flour and baking soda together, then the chocolate chips and pecans. Combine thoroughly to form your dough. Spoon large tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheets, leaving room for the cookies to expand. Bake for 10-14 minutes (12 was perfect for me), then let cool for at least 5 minutes on the baking sheet.

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Banana Cocoa Gingersnaps

I managed to get these gingersnaps to be just the right combination of fluffy and snappy. I wasn’t actually planning for them to be as banana-y as they ended up being, but I think using the vanilla extract brought the banana flavor out quite a bit. I could smell that happening as they were baking and wasn’t sure how it would taste, but it turned out to be really delicious!

yields: about 1 1/2 dozen cookies

½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
½ a banana (I prefer an incredibly overripe banana)
¼ cup applesauce (or just use the whole banana, but I found it needed more moisture)
⅓ cup maple syrup (you could also use molasses, maybe add some sugar if you do that)
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
2 heaping tsp cinnamon
2-3 heaping tsp ginger (I used 2 but would probably use 3 next time)
1 tsp nutmeg
¼ cup cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350. In a large mixing bowl, mix the oil and sugars together until well-combined. Stir in the banana, applesauce, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and cocoa powder, stirring them in with the liquids to form your dough. Scoop out balls with a tablespoon (they can be a little larger than the spoon) and roll them between your palms and place them on your cookie sheet. Flatten each ball with your hand or a glass — I made mine pretty flat at this point, as they will rise, and this makes sure the middles get cooked evenly. Bake for 10-15 minutes (12 was perfect for me).

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Raspberry Lemonade Cookies

It’s been so cold the last few days! Time for some warm, fluffy, summery-flavored treats.

yields: about 2 dozen cookies

½ cup soy butter
1 cup sugar
¼ cup raspberries
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup plantmilk (I used “drinking” coconut – not the thick stuff from a can)
½ banana (about ¼ cup)
2 ½ cups flour
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350. Let the soy butter begin to soften while making the lemonade puree. Put the raspberries, vanilla, lemon juice, plant milk, and banana in a blender or food processor. Puree till smooth and set aside. Use a hand mixer to begin combining the soy butter and sugar, then add the puree and continue mixing till it’s nice and creamy. Add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir it all together to form your dough. If it’s too crumbly, add more plant milk. Using a tablespoon, scoop the dough into balls (they can be a little larger than the spoon) and roll them between your palms so they’ll be round. Set them on your cookie sheets, evenly spaced (they’ll spread a little) and pat them gently (don’t pancake them, just a little pat-pat). Bake for 10-15 minutes.

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New Year’s Eve Soup!

For New Year’s Eve, I made this tasty soup incorporating black-eyed peas (for good luck), greens (for prosperity), and assorted veggies that were hanging out in my fridge in quantities not quite large enough to make them into a whole dish (for rainbows!) I recently impulse-bought some filé powder at The Spice House in Chicago, having absolutely no idea what that even tasted like, and this was the perfect opportunity to try it out. Leave it out or use some other tasty herb that you like, if you can’t find it, but if you can, it really adds an interesting and complex flavor to this delicious soup.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped (I used a red onion)
1 sweet potato, diced into bite-sized pieces
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp filé powder
1 tsp black pepper
4 cups veg broth
3-4 cups water (to be added 1 cup at a time)
4 cups pre-cooked black-eyed peas (or 2 cans)
1/2 cup brown basmati rice
1/2 cup beluga lentils (or whatever lentils)
several handfuls of greens (I used kale since that’s what I had; collards or mustard greens would be commonly used in the Southern USA tradition, while spinach is more of a Jewish tradition, but any green leafy vegetables will work!)
any veggies you have in your fridge that you’d like to throw in (I had red cabbage and some broccoli stems)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
hot sauce

Heat the olive oil in the bottom of a soup pot. Saute the onion for 3 minutes or so, then add the potato and garlic and stir for a minute or two. Add the seasonings, broth, 1 cup of water, peas, rice, and lentils. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook covered for about 30 minutes. Add more water to thin, as needed. Add the greens and any other veggies you’re using, and the apple cider vinegar and nutritional yeast. Taste for seasoning. Serve with hot sauce.

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Holiday Special!

The time between Solstice and New Year’s is a great time to get a Tarot reading or an energy work session. I am now offering a new form of energy work session that I’ve been developing for several years — the Integrated Energy Work session! The first 10 people who sign up for a Tarot reading or Integrated Energy Work session before the end of 2013 will receive a $10 discount — that’s $25 for a Light Tarot reading, $60 for a Heavy Tarot reading, and $65 for an Integrated Energy Work session. Treat yourself or a friend or family member!

Check out the tabs above for more info, or contact me directly with any questions! Happy holidays!

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Where the Crochet Hooks Live

My crochet hooks live in my crochet hook case!

I made it using this pattern: http://web.archive.org/web/20010820230737/members.aol.com/lffunt/alhookcase.htm

rainbow crochet hook case, closed and viewed from outside
rainbow crochet hook case with my hand opening it
crochet hook case, viewed from inside, black on inside with rainbow edging, 10 hooks in the case
close-up showing that the case has a secret pocket with a pack of tapestry needles in it
close-up of the other secret pocket, with scissors poking out of it

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