Monday, 11 March 2013

Vegetable Stock and Curry Sweet Potato Soup

We have now come out the other end of 'tag you're it' stomach flu.  I always think I have somehow managed to avoid what ever the kids have brought home but oh how the mighty do fall.

Auto-immune diseases and all I actually fared pretty well.  Everyone else in the family spent at least 12 hours actually tossing their cookies along with 5-6 days of iffy tummy, cramps and general aches and pains....I just stuck to the 'iffy' portion of the program....but it was very iffy.

Now that we are all back on track, all have our appetites back, I am back in the kitchen and cooking again. It was nice to sit down this week and make a meal plan and feel excited about food again.  This week also marked 2 months of being dairy free.  I will admit to small quantities of butter and twice I have had a small amount of cheese. Once accidentally and once because there was literally nothing on the menu at the hockey rink while we watched Big Daddy play that I could eat and I was starving - the only thing that had no gluten was a ceaser salad if I asked them to hold the croutons.  That being said, I am now at that tipping point where I should start to see/feel/notice the difference/change/improvement.  I will report back at another time.

I decided this week to make vegetable stock instead of chicken or beef.  I am big believer in healthy protein everyday but also a big believer of consuming as many vegetables as possible and make sure the kids understand that vegetables are part of every meal.  This is a nice way to get even more....and very quickly.  This is vegetable stock in just a few minutes.

Vegetable Stock

2 onions, grated or finely diced
3-4 large carrots, grated
3-4 celery stocks, grated
1/2 cup brown mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
2 tsp thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp peppercorns
2 tbsp olive oil

Put the kettle on.  While waiting for it to boil saute all the vegetables, garlic, herbs and peppercorns in the olive oil in a stock pot of medium heat. Stirring occasionally, let saute for about 5 minutes or until the veg have softened slightly.

Pour in the kettle of boiling water (approx 8 cups) in with the vegetables. Bring the whole thing to the boil and then turn it down to a simmer.  Let simmer, uncovered for about 10 minutes or 20-30 minutes if vegetables are cut in larger chunks, strain and use, or let cool. refrigerate or freeze.

I used my stock (or at least some of it) right away.  I have been trying to steer our diets more and more towards a Paleo menu but without being incredibly strict or making meal time a drag for the kids.  If there is anyone in the family that needs to eat this way it is me but I feel really strongly that I am teaching my kids with every mouthful what food is, portion control, nutrition, health and what should be on their plate.  We also talk about nutrition, whats healthy and whats not, regularly.  This will arm them, when they do start having their own spending money, to be better able to make smarter choices. With this knowledge I don't believe they will binge on junk as soon as they are out of my sight.

This recipe is adapted from a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe to be healthier and Paleo friendly

Curry Sweet Potato Soup

2 tbsp coconut oil
1 lg onion, diced
a knob of ginger, peeled and minced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp garam masala
2 tsp curry powder
3 lg sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tin of coconut milk
a handful of minced cilantro
the juice of one lime
salt and pepper
enough stock to cover, approx 6-8 cups

In a soup pot, saute the onion in the olive oil over medium low heat.  Once softened add the garlic, ginger and spices.  Stir to combine and heat through, about 1 minute.  Add the sweet potatoes and stock and bring to a boil.  Decrease heat to simmer and let cook until the potatoes are tender.

Now blend the soup until smooth.  If you need to use your blender wait until the soup is cooler but if you have a stick/hand blender you can do it right away.  Blend until it is very smooth. Add the can of coconut milk, cilantro and the lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.

You can serve it like this or top it with a bit of Vegan Sour Cream

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