Garlic Barley Soup

Garlic Barley Soup garnished with a couple of fresh garlic cloves.

Flu Season Garlic Soup! I’ve been working on this for a couple of weeks and each week I become more concerned about boosting my immune system. I got the flavor right and then came the consistency. I wanted something thick and creamy (non-dairy creamy of course). Last weeks batch was spot on but I shared my bounty through a Heartie kitchen delivery and forgot to take any photos. Yes, my house has smelled of garlic for weeks, no vampires here! I would like to think this soup will make us immune to all viruses, but alas I know better.

A whole garlic bulb broken into cloves, peeled and chopped.

I posted about garlic and the health benefits a couple of weeks ago. Garlic contains compounds called allion and allicin, which have direct antiviral effects. It is excellent when eaten raw but even if it’s cooked it still has sulfur-containing compounds which have anti-microbial activity. Did you know during WW2 garlic was dubbed “Russian Penicillin”? After running out of antibiotics the Soviet government turned to this ancient treatment for their soldiers. Fresh crushed garlic is apparently the star of nature’s antibiotic, and the fresh part is important, that minced garlic in jars will not do. Let one clove of fresh minced or crushed garlic sit for 15 minutes or longer (up to an hour), this allows allinase enzyme to be released. Then mix the translucent garlic and the liquid released with warm tea, water, or honey. Do this 2-3 times a day for a day or two. I would contact a doctor if you have an infection but in these uncertain times if you can’t get ahold of someone you can begin this treatment while you wait to speak to your caregiver.
*disclaimer – I have no medical background, elementary school teacher and plant based nutrition consultant here*

“Russian Penicillin”

Like garlic, onions also contain the antimicrobial compounds allion and allicin. To get this superfood’s full flu-fighting action, it is recommended to consume a serving of raw onion every few hours! Not something I plan on doing anytime soon. If that seems unpalatable, add extra servings to your meals. This garlic soup contains a healthy dose of onions.

Trying to put these healthy vegetables into your food is much better, because then it’s part of your lifestyle. There is no better time than the present to get your immune system healthy and increase your bodies ability to fight off infection.

Garlic Barley Soup

Garlic Barley Soup

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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A hearty creamy garlic soup, ready to boost your immunity, comfort in a bowl.


Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk of celery, diced
  • 8 ounces of mushrooms, diced
  • 1 bulb of garlic, each clove peeled and diced
  • 8 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 cup pearled barley
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 bay leaf
  • pepper
  • salt (optional)

Directions

  1. Add onion, carrots, and celery to a large pot over medium heat, add water 1 Tbsp. at a time as needed to prevent sticking.
  2. Saute veggies until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Increase heat to medium-high; then add mushrooms and cook until lightly browned, stirring frequently.
  4. Stir in garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant.
  5. Add broth, barley, basil, oregano, turmeric and bay leaf.
  6. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  7. Cook soup until barley is tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
  8. Remove soup from heat and discard bay leaf.
  9. Remove 2 cups of soup and puree in a blender. Return pureed soup to pot and stir to incorporate.
  10. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


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Indian Spiced Cauliflower and Potato Casserole

Indian Spiced Cauliflower and Potato Casserole

This is a tasty nourishing vegan casserole, packed with potatoes, cauliflower and a delicious sauce teeming with spices. I found this recipe on the forks over knives app, if you do not currently use this app you need to stop right now and look it up. For a nominal fee you can have vegan/plant-based recipes right at your fingertips. I love using the app in the grocery store to look up recipes and make sure I’m purchasing the correct ingredients. They load new recipes all the time. Literally every time I open the app it has new recipes.

I usually make Vegan Garlic Naan/Flatbread while the casserole is baking. My family expects it as a side now. In the 30 minutes the casserole is in the oven you can whip up the bread from start to finish. My parents like to sprinkle plant-based Pepperjack shreds by Daiya Foods on this casserole. We are currently doing the Pandemic thing and are quarantined, so they have been getting Heartie Kitchen deliveries.

Indian Spiced Cauliflower and Potato Casserole

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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This is a tasty nourishing vegan casserole, packed with potatoes, cauliflower and a delicious sauce teeming with spices.


Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup brown rice (uncooked)
  • 3 1/2 cups diced yellow potatoes (~3 medium sized potatoes)
  • 1 head cauliflower broken into florets (~4 cups)
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 15oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1 15oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • vegan non-cheese shreds (optional)

Directions

  1. In a small bowl stir together cumin, salt, ginger, turmeric, pepper and cinnamon. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°. In a large pot, bring 10 cups of water to boiling. Stir in rice. Return to heat; reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in potatoes; simmer 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in cauliflower and carrots; simmer 2 minutes. (vegetables will be crisp.)
  5. Drain the water off and return to the large pot.
  6. Stir in chickpeas, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and peas. Stir in spice mix.
  7. Spread into a 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake, covered, 30 minutes or until heated through and vegetables are tender.
  8. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. If desired, top with cilantro and/or vegan shreds.
  9. Serve warm with vegan garlic naan/flatbread if desired.


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Vegan Garlic Naan/Flatbread

Vegan Garlic Naan served with Indian-Spiced Cauliflower and Potato Casserole

This recipe doesn’t use yeast which means no waiting for the dough to rise. When serving with a casserole like the one in the photo above, this bread can easily be prepared while the casserole is in the oven.

Dough divided into 4 portions

Once the dough has rested for around 15 minutes, divide it into 4 portions.

Dough rolled out of a floured surface

I prefer the dough rolled out fairly thin, it does puff up a bit in the skillet. You can brush the naan with butter, or sprinkle with additional garlic or cilantro if desired.

Vegan Garlic Naan/Flatbread

  • Servings: 4 Flatbreads
  • Difficulty: easy
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A quick and easy no yeast, no waiting, vegan flatbread/naan


Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour + more if needed
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. vegan butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic (optional)
  • addition melted butter, garlic, and cilantro if desired

Directions

  1. Mix flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl.
  2. Combine vegan butter, water and minced garlic. Add to the bowl, mixing until a soft dough forms.
  3. Add more flour and knead into the dough until the surface is non-sticky.
  4. Cover bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let dough rest for about 15 minutes.
  5. Divide dough into four portions and roll out on a floured surface.
  6. Heat a flat pan, or skillet and place one portion of dough in it.
  7. Flip when bubbles show on the surface and brown spots appear on the bottom, finish cooking.
  8. Repeat for other portions of dough.
  9. Brush flatbread/naan with melted butter and sprinkle with minced garlic and/or cilantro if desired.
  10. Serve warm.


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Vegan Seitan Log

Vegan Seitan Log

This has been a labor of making and tweaking and making and tweaking. I have pages of crossed out notes and things that I added and tried. Finally this is it! The finished product!

In our meat eating days, we enjoyed Hickory Farms turkey sticks. They were sold as a seasonal item and we waited with anticipation. Let me just say its been a long time since those days but this is a similar taste to what my family and I remember, albeit not as rich.

This recipe makes two medium sized logs. They are easy to slice for sandwiches and wraps. I recently added slices to a veggie stir-fry. We have served slices with crackers and vegan cheese as a game snack. I’ve put chunks into vegan Mac and cheese. The possibilities I am discovering are endless. Anywhere you would typically have used processed meat, this is a perfect plant-based alternative.

The recipe calls for a block of tofu drained. Drain the tofu, wrap it in paper towels to pull off the excess water, it doesn’t need to be pressed. There are two flavors of liquid smoke available I have used both, so you can use whichever you prefer. The more flavorful BBQ sauce you use the more flavorful your logs will be, so select based on your tastes.

I froze seitan log in slices and it thawed just fine. The pieces I thawed I used in a stir-fry so perhaps the best way to use seitan log that you have frozen is in something you are cooking.

Begin by placing a large pot of water on medium heat so its heating while you are preparing the seitan logs. In a food processor, add everything except for the vital wheat gluten. Once you have the tofu and the seasonings pureed add in the vital wheat gluten and just pulse until it’s incorporated. Take it out and knead it just a bit until it’s not crumbly and its more like dough.

Seitan log dough before kneading

Once you knead it a few times, it gets a smoother surface. Don’t knead it too much as it will make the meat log have a rubbery texture. Tear off two sheets of aluminum foil, and divide the dough into two equal portions.

Two equal portions of seitan log dough.

Roll the dough with your hands until you have two log shaped pieces.

Two log shaped pieces.

Wrap each log in aluminum foil, twisting the ends closed. If you don’t roll it up and seal by twisting the ends the cooked log looks more like a loaf than a meat log, so twisting the ends is an important step.

Seitan logs with the ends twisted and folded down.

Place the seitan logs in boiling water and allow to simmer on a low boil for 1 hour. Then just cool and enjoy. Store them in the refrigerator or freeze in an airtight container.

Boiling seitan logs.

Vegan Seitan Log

  • Servings: 2 logs
  • Difficulty: easy
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A substitute for processed meat in snacks, sandwiches, wraps, stir-fries, pastas, etc.


Ingredients


• 1 block of tofu, drained
• 1/2 c. BBQ sauce (the more flavorful the sauce, the more flavorful the seitan)
• 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
• 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
• 1 1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder
• 1 1/2 Tbsp. onion powder
• 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
• 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
• 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
• 1 Tbsp. mustard powder
• 1 Tbsp. cumin
• 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
• 1 Tbsp. liquid smoke
• 1 3/4 cup vital wheat gluten

Directions

  1. Fill a large pot with water and set to medium heat.
  2. In a food processor add all ingredients except for the vital wheat gluten. Mix until smooth, you may need to stop and scrape down the sides.
  3. Add in the vital wheat gluten and pulse a couple of times until it’s incorporated into the mixture.
  4. Remove from the food processor and knead a couple of times until it forms a dough and isn’t crumbly anymore.
  5. Divide dough into two equal portions and shape each into a log.
  6. Wrap each log up in foil, twisting the ends to seal.
  7. Place wrapped logs in boiling water and allow to simmer on a low boil for 1 hour.
  8. Remove from water and allow to cool. Refrigerate or freeze. Enjoy.


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Stir-Fry Sauce

Stir-fried veggies and seitan in my special stir-fry sauce

I love to just toss some veggies in a skillet, sauté them, add some pre cooked chunks of seitan and when the veggies are cooked add in my special stir-fry sauce.

I always start with garlic and onion, letting it cook until the onion is a bit translucent. I use minced garlic, probably 2 teaspoons worth, more or less depending on your taste for garlic. Typically I slice up one onion, I like for the slices to be long rather than diced, you can seem them in the photo. Add a bit of water by the tablespoon full if you need to, to keep things from sticking.

This particular stir-fry I added about 8 ounces, (1 small package) of mushrooms sliced, and 3 or 4 small colored peppers, also sliced in strips. I had a bag of asparagus I chopped into bite size pieces and added next. I just keep chopping up veggies and adding them, turning to stir what’s already sautéing as I go. I then added half of a bag of spring mix salad blend…yes it’s fine you can cook it too.

Once everything is coming along in the skillet, I start working on the sauce. I typically use the same sauce, you can vary the recipe with ginger or even orange juice, use your imagination and your favorite spices. I usually whisk the cornstarch and water together so it’s not clumpy and add it to the rest of the ingredients. I have used white wine vinegar as a substitute for rice vinegar. Tamari is a good low salt alternative to soy sauce. Enjoy!

Stir-Fry Sauce

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: super easy
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A quick and easy sauce you can whip up while your vegetables are cooking.


Ingredients


• 3 cloves garlic, minced or 3 tsp. minced garlic
• 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
• 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
• 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
• 1/2 cup warm water
• 1 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch

Directions

  1. Stir garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and maple syrup together.
  2. Mix warm water and cornstarch in a separate dish.
  3. Add cornstarch mix to the soy sauce mix and stir.
  4. Add to cooked veggies, and heat through, it should start to thicken as it heats.


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Hemp Burgers

Hemp Burger on a 100% whole wheat bun, fresh baby spinach, tomato and red onion.

These burgers have gotten easier and easier to make with each preparation. The first thing you need to do is cook the rice. You need a total of 3 cups of cooked rice. For some reason this small detail gives me the most problems. I’ve already sauteed my onion and peppers and have them in my food processor and low and behold I have no cooked rice….40 min. later after I pull out my rice cooker and make rice I can continue. These kinds of mistakes do not make me happy. I have also neglected to separate the rice and ended up tossing all 3 cups into the food processor instead of just two. In my infinite wisdom I am trying this novel idea of getting my ingredients prepared ahead of time, with the rice already in two bowls, one containing one cup of rice and one containing two cups of rice. So far it seems to be working well, it seems so elementary, why have I not been doing this all along??

The hemp seeds really make this burger so don’t try and substitute them with something else. Get out there and get a bag, yes they are a bit pricey but you are only using a cup. Keep them in your refrigerator, and you can toss them in salads, smoothies, or even plant based yogurts for a nutrition power punch. They are rich in protein, omega 3 and 6, fiber and iron. No, hemp seeds are not marijuana, and no, these burgers will not cause you to flunk a drug test.

The first time I made these it took forever, that was probably the rice issue time. When I finally got all the ingredients mixed up in the food processor, the consistency and something about the aroma reminded me of the ham salad my grandmother used to make. I have no idea why, because obviously there isn’t any ham in there, but if you used to be a grandma’s ham salad freak then you are in for a treat.

I always use a 1/2 cup measure to make my patties and I cook them in the oven using a silicone baking mat on a cookie sheet. I can usually fit 6 burgers on each tray and for some reason with this recipe sometimes I get 7 and then other times I get 8. Perhaps the difference in sizes of onions or red peppers? They always taste great! However, if you must have 8 patties, I would double the recipe. You will have to make two batches though, because it won’t all fit into a regular sized food processor if you double the ingredients. They freeze and thaw well so you can freeze the ones you don’t need and have a ready made meal for another day.

Hemp Burgers

  • Servings: 7-8 patties
  • Difficulty: easy
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A protein packed burger that's a nice switch from the typical bean burger


Ingredients


• water to sauté
• 1 medium onion, diced
• fresh ground black pepper to taste
• 1 red bell pepper, diced
• 2 cups cooked brown rice
• 1 cup shelled hemp seeds
• 2 tsp minced garlic
• 2 tsp. natural ketchup
• 1 Tbsp. tamari
• 1 tsp. dijon mustard
• 1 tsp. dried oregano
• 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
• 1/4 tsp. ground sage
• 1/4 tsp. sea salt
• 1 cup cooked brown rice

Directions

    *Cook Rice First*
  1. Preheat oven to 400°
  2. Sauté onion with black pepper until the onion is softened 3-4 minutes, adding water if necessary to prevent sticking.
  3. Add diced red pepper and sauté for another 5-6 minutes until the onions are translucent, adding water if necessary to prevent sticking.
  4. Add sautéed onion and red pepper to a food processor along with the 2 cups of rice, hemp seeds, garlic, ketchup, tamari, mustard, oregano, thyme, sage, and salt. Puree until fairly smooth, you may need to stop and scrape the container occasionally.
  5. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the remaining 1 cup of rice.
  6. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to firm up the mix. Form 1/2 cup patties with your hands and place on a silicone baking mat.
  7. Cook in a 400° oven for 10 minutes, flip burgers and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  8. Freeze left over burgers in a freezer ready container for a quick fix meal another day.


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Veggie Barley Soup

Veggie Barley Soup

This is a soup I have come to love. Before heading down this heart healthy path, I could count on one hand the number of times I had used barley. I think both of those times it was for a soup and I only purchased what I needed for that particular day. Today, barley has become a staple in my pantry. I buy it in bulk and then store it in my own Rubbermaid container.

Last Friday I spent the day making food to take to my college aged son. It makes me feel good to make up healthy little packages for him. I make things for him that are easily frozen and taste good after having been frozen. We discovered vegan macaroni and cheese doesn’t unfreeze well. Veggie Barley soup is perfect for freezing in small containers. I was able to get 4 small containers from this batch of soup. Each container has about 2 1/2 servings of soup.

Freezer ready Veggie Barley soup

I use a homemade vegetable broth when I make this soup. I keep it written in the front of one of my cookbooks because I make it all the time. I usually make up a double batch and keep it in a large spice container in my spice cabinet. This is not my recipe and I cannot remember where it came from but this is a photo. You can always use a store bought vegetable broth if you prefer.

Veggie Broth recipe

Veggie Barley Soup

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
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A hearty barley soup packed with veggies.


Ingredients


• splash of water (to sauté)
• 1 medium onion, diced
• 2 carrots, thinly sliced
• 1 large stalk celery, thinly sliced
• 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
• 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp. minced garlic)
• 8 cups vegetable broth
• 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
• 1 can diced tomatoes (I use chili ready diced tomatoes)
• 2 cups frozen cut green beans
• 1 cup pearled barley
• 1 cup frozen corn
• 1 tsp. dried basil
• 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 cup frozen peas
• salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a non-stick large pot over medium heat, add water, onions, carrots, and celery. Sauté until veggies are softened, about 5 minutes. Add additional water to prevent sticking if necessary.
  2. Increase heat to medium-high and add mushrooms and cook until lightly browned, stirring frequently.
  3. Stir in garlic and cook, stirring constantly.
  4. Add broth, chickpeas, tomatoes, green beans, barley, corn, basil, oregano, and bay leaf.
  5. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover.
  6. Cook soup until barley is tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
  7. Mix in peas and cook until tender and hot, 1 to 2 minutes.
  8. Remove soup from heat and discard bay leaf. Season with pepper to taste.


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Buddha Bowl

I love Buddha Bowls and let me just say this is my own personal mash up. Sorry if this is so far from a Buddha bowl in your book that you are having to zoom in to see “what the heck did she put in there”. This is basically a Heartie kitchen left over Bowl, but humor me and let’s say it’s a Buddha bowl.

Quinoa a perfect base and I like it right in the center so I can easily mix it up. The quinoa was not left over. It’s the only thing I made fresh for this one.

Baked green beans (farmers market beans) with onion and mushrooms, they were a previous side.

Roasted potatoes with leftover Steff’s Mac and Cheese, cheese sauce poured over the top.

Grilled corn that I cut from the cobs from a previous meal.

Sautéed collared greens a previous side and a previous post.

Sautéed mini eggplants, also a previous side and a previous post.

When it looks like you only have a little of this and a little of that and really not enough of anything to make a meal for anyone…think Buddha bowl. Steam up some quinoa or if that’s not your thing some rice or lentils. Put all those veggies together under a fabulous sauce and presto…left over Buddha bowl!

My personal preference is for Hak’s BBQ sauce on the top, but you be you and figure out what you enjoy best. Plant Strong and Heart Healthy ❤️ur ❤️

Farmers Markets – Thai eggplant, or little purple Aubergines

Along with all the traditional American fruits and veggies found at the farmers market I recently found these little gems. The two women running the booth were Burmese. Burma as they referred to it, was renamed Myanmar in 1989. These women grow traditional fruits and vegetables from their home country. There are currently approximately 6,000 residents of Fort Wayne that were born in Burma.

I must admit I only recognized a few items on their table and decided to experiment with these “mini eggplants” as she called them. Through a translator I was told to sauté them.

I decided to start out by sautéing a handful of sliced button mushrooms and a small sliced onion in a bit of water along with 2 Tbsp of minced garlic. While these were cooking I cut off both small ends of these small round eggplants. I halved each one, left their skins on and tossed them in with my other veggies. I added a couple tsps (just a couple of shakes of the bottle) of balsamic vinegar. It seemed to need some greens for my tastes so I roughly chopped some baby kale and tossed it in toward the end of the sautéing process.

Once the mini eggplants were tender I decided the dish was done.

Success! The flavor of the eggplant was similar to the tender inner bites of large sized eggplant.

There are so many different varieties of fruits and vegetables! It is estimated that there are over 20,000 species of edible plants yet only 20 species represent 90% of our food. Get out there and look, don’t settle for just what your local grocery chooses to offer you. Stop in that Asian grocery store or that Indian market. Experiment and have fun!