Start the New Year healthier

I am addicted to cheese. I have, at several points, had only cheese and beer in my fridge. I love macaroni and cheese, I eat blue cheese on everything, and I figure I can add cheddar to most things.  So the fact that I’m somewhat lactose intolerant is not really a positive thing. I’m trying to eat less cheese, less dairy and more soy milk or soy cheese. Its not going well. I love cheese too much.

But in attempt to start 2012 right, I found a vegan version of one of my favorite soups – cream of broccoli. I got it from the website  Joy the Baker, but added some soy cheese to it, and some sea salt. The soup tasted realllllly good with pretzels instead of crackers. I didn’t have all the spices or lemon juice, but I added my own spices and like I said, about a 3/4 cup of soy cheddar as well.

Vegan Cream of Broccoli soup

1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for 1 hour then drained

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 heads of broccoli, chopped into bite-size florets

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground mustard seeds

fresh ground black pepper to taste

3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce

about 4 cups of water

Soak raw cashews in water for 1 hour.  They’ll soften slightly.  Drain.

Steam broccoli until tender.  A fork should be able to easily pierce the flesh.  Remove from steamer and set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium heat,  add olive oil, and onions.  Cook until onions are tender and translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for one minute more.  Add cumin, salt, mustard seed, and black pepper and cook for about 30 seconds.  Add cooked broccoli florets, and remove from heat.

In a blender, add half of the softened cashews, about 1/2 of the broccoli mixture, and 2 cups of water.  Blend until smooth.  Pour blended soup into a large soup pan.  Blend the remaining cashews, broccoli, and 2 more cups of water.  Blend until smooth.  Pour into pan.  Heat over low heat.  Add lemon and worcestershire sauce.  Taste and season as necessary.  Add more water for a thinner consistency.

Serve warm.  Soup will last, in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 days.

And for dessert, my aunt had sent me Harry & David pears, which are delicious. So I made a crumble/crisp. I didn’t want to use up all the pears, so I mixed three pears with three gala apples.  So good.  I got this one from Pioneer Women

Pear Crisp

  • FILLING INGREDIENTS:
  • 4 whole (to 5) Large Pears (Bosc Work Well)
  • 2/3 cups Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • _____
  • Topping Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 1/3 cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup Pecans, Very Finely Chopped
  • 1 stick Butter, Melted

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Peel, core, and dice pears. Place into a bowl and stir together with 2/3 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans. Stir together. Drizzle melted butter gradually, stirring with a fork as you go until all combined.

Pour pears into a baking dish; top with crumb topping.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Place pan on top rack of oven for an additional 10 minutes, or until topping is golden brown.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

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