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Guiltless Leek and Potato Soup (in only 4 ingredients!)

Leek season is upon us! It's a fleeting time of year - a brief period of time when it makes any kind of budgetary sense to buy leeks. Onions and I have a troubled relationship made complicated by my uncooperative digestive system. Leeks however, have never done me wrong. What's more, leeks, like other onions, are great for lowering cholesterol, which is all well and good as long as you don't slather them in cream and butter, which are the leeks most common pot-fellows. So, with that in mind, here is a super easy recipe for leek and potato soup sans cream (but with butter). I think this would be worth a shot with margarine, or even without butter at all, but I can't say I've tried it. Let me know how it works out if you do!

You'll need:
  • Soup pot
  • hand blender (other blenders are fine, just messier)
  • 3 large leeks, cleaned and sliced
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 2-3 tbsp butter (depending on how much leek you get...they tend to vary a lot in size)
  • two russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
 Let's do it!:
  •  To prepare your leeks:
    •  wash all visible dirt off the outsides to keep your cutting board clean
    • Chop off the dark green leaves, leaving light green ones (they're perfectly fine in a soup)
    • Slice off the root and about 1/2-1 inch of the bottom white section, leaving as much as possible.
    • cut in half the long way. It doesn't have to be perfect- remember you're going to puree these anyways
    • Wash out all the dirt you can (I like to give them a good scrub using a vegetable brush) from the outside and inside of the leaves
    • Slice width-wise to get nice, manageable half-rounds of leek. 
  • Melt butter in your soup pot.
  • Add the leeks, and stir to coat.
  • Cook down for anywhere from 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until your leeks look translucent. I set my burner to medium heat and it worked well.
  • Add potatoes, stir.
  • Add bay leaf, if you're using one.
  • Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until potatoes begin to soften.
  • Add stock.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for another ten minutes or so.
  • Let cool.
  • Remove bay leaf .
  • Once cooled, blend with the hand blender.
Serve hot, with freshly cracked black pepper if you like.

SlowCooked Peanut and Spinach Tofu

I've recently added a slow cooker to my kitchen, and it's completely changed the way M and I eat throughout the week. This is our current favourite thing to have on hand. It packs a serious amount of protein, and is a great way to eat spinach.

You'll need:
  • a slow cooker/crock pot
  • a skillet

  • 2 blocks of firm tofu, rinsed and cut into one-inch cubes
  • 1/2-1 cup of peanut satay sauce (I like President's Choice Memories of Szechuan)
  • 1 cup peanut butter (M likes crunchy best)
  • 1/4 cup terriyaki sauce
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger (mine are heaping)
  • 5-10 oz of baby spinach (I put about half a container into cook, and then add fresh spinach to the dish throughout the week, to liven it up without wilting)
  • 1/2 cup peanuts, crushed roughly (optional)
  • 1-2 tsp chili flakes (optional)

 To make this goodness:

Brown the tofu in the skillet by lightly frying it, using cooking spray or olive oil. Set aside.

In a bowl, stir together everything except the tofu and spinach. Move this sauce to the slow cooker.

Add the tofu, and stir. As the tofu cooks in the sauce, check on it every once in a while to evaluate its consistency. I like my sauce fairly thick, but if you like it thin, add a little more water until you reach your desired sauciness. Because you won't lose any water in the cooker, what you see is what you will pretty much get, though it will of course thicken a little through cooking, and will pull together nicely.

Cook on low for 3-4 hours.

At 3.5 hours (or half an hour before you turn it off), add your spinach, mixing it in gently. The goal is for the spinach to wilt, but not get too icky.

Serve hot, and don't be afraid to add more spinach ALWAYS MORE SPINACH!



Sweet and Spicy Squash Soup

Unfortunately, my photo makes the soup look a little blue. It's not.

Butternut squash is a great fall staple, and it's becoming a regular in my house. This soup makes excellent use of its nutty sweetness by balancing the squash with silky coconut and a bright kick of ginger.

You're gonna need:

  • a big soup pot
  • a blender or some kind (preferably immersion/hand)
  • 1-1.5 butternut squash, peeled and in big chunks
  • 1 onion, diced/chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp minced ginger (you can add this as you go along, tasting until you've added what's right for you and your buds)
  • 1-2 dried chillies (again, evaluate your own interest in spice)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can coconut milk (light if you can get it, but I used the regular cooking kind)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp curry powder (optional)
  • freshly cracked black pepper 

To peel and dice your squash:

Use a heavy kitchen knife (I used the biggest one I had) to slice the top and bottom "caps" off the squash, creating a flat bottom to make it stand safely.

Use a potato peeler to skim the skin off the squash - try to take the layer of tough skin off without removing too much of the flesh.

Cut the squash lengthwise and widthwise, into four pieces. Scoop out the guts with a spoon. Cut the now cleaned and naked squash into large chunks.

To make the soup:

Sautée the onion, chillies, and ginger in the olive oil over medium heat until the mixture is fragrant and the onion becomes translucent.
Stir in the butternut squash and cook for about 5 minutes.

Add stock, curry, and coconut milk, mixing well. 
Cook until the squash has become tender.
Once the squash is softened, blend right in the pot if you are fortunate enough to own a hand blender.
Serve hot, seasoned with fresh black pepper.

Variation: if you like your soup thicker than thinner, try including a cauliflower as a thickener. Add cauliflower florets to the first mixture so it can absorb all the soup's great flavours.

Yogurt-Dill Salmon

Wowzers has it been a long time since we posted anything! We would like to apologize for this long delay. Amanda and I have both been very busy in the last few months and finally got around to cooking again! We both got great new kitchen appliances that we are just dying to try out! :)

As we are supposed to be eating fish twice a week, I try to make a conscious effort to include it in my diet. I usually end up eating a can of sardines (I know, probably not the best...) or salmon to bake. Salmon is probably my favourite fish and it's great for my cholesterol!

In light of this, I decided to thaw my salmon in the fridge yesterday while I was at work. I knew I only had about a half hour to prepare supper since I had an evening appointment and salmon recipes are usually quite quick to make.

Thanks to the wonderful Martha Stewart, I was able to adapt her simple, delicious and quick roasted salmon recipe with ingredients in my pantry.

  • 1/2 cup 2% natural yogurt
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dry dill
  • Salmon filet
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees F
  2. Mix the yogurt, mustard, parsley and dill in a bowl
  3. Place your salmon filet, skin down, on a lined cookie sheet
  4. Spread your yogurt mixture on top of your salmon
  5. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked (it will be flaky)
That's it! I served it with boiled potatoes which take approximately the same time. Perfect and healthy dinner! :)