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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Vegan Carrot Cake

Hey Heart Healthy friends!

I found this awesome recipe for carrot cake on the forks over knives website https://www.forksoverknives.com/recipes/vegan-carrot-cake/#gs.5r131r They have a fabulous video with the recipe, which I should have watched before I made it.

I think the frosting would have been just a touch creamier with less water. It’s easy to add more water to thin it than it is to remove water to thicken it. I didn’t use the vanilla bean seeds and it was just fine. I simply didn’t have any in my kitchen.

I also did not include the optional walnuts in the cake but maybe next time I will. Yes! I said next time! I am definitely adding this one to my recipe book. I’ll let you go to the forks over knives website and print the recipes off. The cake and the frosting are two different recipes, so don’t forget to track down the frosting.

I don’t have a kitchen scale and usually just make guesstimates when necessary. On that note, I used 6 dates pitted and chopped in the cake, and 7 dates pitted and chopped in the frosting.

Enjoy! Remember you only have one ❤️. The same recipes that are good for your heart health are also good for your brain health.

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 ❤️

Collared Greens

Collared greens are rich in nutrients and come from the same family as their fellow cruciferous vegetables, cauliflower florets, turnip greens, mustard greens, broccoli florets, and kale. Among these collard greens are typically more affordable with the same nutrient power pack.

Collared greens are a loose leaf species, they don’t grow as a head but as individual dark colored edible leaves. They are typically found in small bundles in the refrigerated section of the produce department. Smaller leaves are more tender, larger leaves are tougher and you would want to cut the stem out and perhaps some of the center rib.

These plants have been eaten for at least 2000 years and evidence has shown that ancient Greeks cultivated several varieties of collards as well as kale.

When I purchased these two bundles at a farm market the vendor was kind enough to fill me in on her preparation method. First she said they cook up great with a little bacon, but if you want to eat healthy don’t do that.

First cut the stems off and then blanch the leaves for 5 minutes. Remove from the water and roll each leaf on the diagonal and then slice in strips on the diagonal the other direction. Sauté the strips with a little garlic, red onion, and balsamic vinegar. Keep a little cup of water handy to prevent your veggies from sticking to the skillet. Enjoy this healthy little side. I used this as a side one night and as a section of a Buddha bowl the next.

Be creative and try new foods! 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!

Plant Based Dye Free Easter

Easter has become a chocolate, sugar packed, food dye bomb on our children. Easter baskets filled with goodies are literally everywhere you look. Aisle upon aisle of chocolates and candies created especially for this holiday, are found in every grocery store. How did Easter become synonymous with plastic eggs and baskets filled with candy?

What’s a plant based family to do? First, remember you can offer items that aren’t edible. Second, you aren’t the only parent looking for healthier options..and there are some out there.

Smash Mallow

I found these Smash Mallows at my local Earth Fare and after a quick google search I found they are also offered at Fresh Market, Fresh Thyme, and many more stores, as well as online. They are free from HFCS, dairy and dye free. Their website is http://www.smashmallow.com

Love this healthy comparison!❤️
Enjoy Life candies

Enjoy Life has three different varieties of holiday packaged candies. I found this bag at Earth Fare. They do have options to order on line from their website (www.enjoylifefoods.com), although I noticed that the variety pack is already sold out. The back side of the bags states that their products are free from wheat, dairy, soy, sulfates, lupin, fish, crustaceans, peanuts, tree nuts, casein, egg, sesame and mustard. Wow!

Yum Earth

Yum Earth organic sour beans, also from Earth Fare. Their packages states they are vegan, No HFCS, and dye free. This big bag contains 10 snack packs. Their website is http://www.yumearth.com.

Unreal

I found three flavors of unreal chocolate cups, dark chocolate almond butter, dark chocolate peanut butter, and crisp dark chocolate peanut butter. They are certified vegan, nothing unreal included. Their website is http://www.getunreal.com

Keep your eyes open, new products are showing up on stores shelves all the time.

Protein…Protein…Protein

Our country is obsessed with protein!

This is a photo I snapped yesterday at Costco when I noticed these boxes screaming about how much protein they contain.

But, do you actually know how much protein your body needs, or if you are consuming too much?

We only need .8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. (The Recommended Daily Allowance) Thats all! I actually sat down and tallied mine up yesterday. You will be shocked to know with my plant based diet, I was slightly over the RDA.

So what happens to all that excess protein the average American consumes? No worries, it’s usually stored as fat. Is there a difference between plant protein and animal protein? Yes, of course and heart disease is just one of the risks associated with animal protein.

Don’t follow the latest marketing hype, don’t worry about your protein! Where are you getting your fiber? Here’s a hint….no animal products contain fiber.

Vegan Minced Mushroom Burger

This is our latest burger. We are always trying new recipes, tweaking, and then trying again. My freezer is sometimes full of things I’ve tried and then I can’t wait to make it again and change one thing. So into the freezer all the tests go. Thankfully I have lots of people who enjoy eating all the attempts. I have one son who says he basically eats experiments every time he’s home.

The first thing you want to do when making these burgers is to cook your rice in the rice cooker. I usually prepare 3 cups of uncooked rice which gives me more than enough. The mushrooms need to be pulsed in small batches through a food processor, you don’t want them to be paste, just minced. The onions need to be finely diced. This was my third attempt with this particular burger and I couldn’t bring myself to make another batch just to dice the onions finer. So in my photo you can see the onion…the burger will hold together better if they are finer.

Summer Savory seems to be a difficult spice to find, so be aware. The light sweet miso is sometimes found on the shelf and I have also found it in the refrigerator section, so just poke around or ask. I use a 1/2 cup measure to form my burgers so they all have the same amount of “meat”. Using the 1/2 cup measure this recipe makes 18-20 burgers. Freeze those leftovers to make for an easy dinner another day.

We eat burgers with 100% whole grain buns, usually some lettuce, tomato, onion, mustard, some homemade hummus is always nice as well.

Vegan Minced Mushroom Burger

  • Servings: makes 18 burgers
  • Difficulty: medium.
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Ingredients

  • 2 pounds mushrooms, pulsed
  • 2 large onions, finely diced
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 16 ounce can tomato paste
  • 3 Tbsp. dried parsley
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 4 Tbsp. light sweet miso
  • 3 Tbsp. dried basil
  • 2 tsp. thyme
  • 2 tsp. summer savory
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 4 tsp. minced garlic
  • 3 cups vital wheat gluten
  • no salt seasoning (for sprinkling on burgers before baking, if desired)

Directions

  1. Pulse mushrooms in batches and put in a large bowl.
  2. Finely chop onions and add to the mushrooms
  3. Add rice to the mushroom mixture
  4. Mix in tomato paste
  5. Blend in parsley, soy sauce, miso, basil, thyme, summer savory, allspice and garlic. Mix well so that the spices are evenly distributed.
  6. Add in the vital wheat gluten.
  7. Form burgers and place on prepared baking sheet. (line the sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper) Sprinkle with no salt seasoning.
  8. Bake at 350° for 30 min.
  9. Enjoy!

theheartie.kitchen

Balsamic Tomatoes

I like to shop at Costco and I usually make a stop there every other Thursday.  One of the items on my repeat list is the 2 pound package of what I call cherry tomatoes.  I don’t think thats what the name is on the outside of the package, but they are the small ones the shape of a cherry…you get what I mean.    I like to roast them in my oven, with a bit of garlic, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and a dash of pepper.  I use a jelly roll pan, thats the one that looks like a cookie sheet with edges.  I put a silicone mat in the bottom to prevent anything from sticking to the pan, since I don’t use any oil when cooking.  The silicone mat makes it easy to just lift the sides and pour them out without any mess.  Once they are finished roasting I like to put some in my food processor and puree them into a tasty, healthy, plant based salad dressing.  I store my balsamic tomato dressing in the refrigerator.  The rest of them I usually pop into a refrigerator container and use them whole on salads, in pastas, as a pizza topping, and in veggie bowls, the possibilities are probably endless.  Let me know what your favorite uses are.

IMG_6768

Balsamic Tomatoes

  • Servings: 2lbs
  • Difficulty: easy
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A tasty addition to salads, pastas, pizzas, and veggie bowls, as well as a delightful pureed salad dressing.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs cherry tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
  • pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350°
  2. Clean and rinse tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise and place in a container
  3. Mix together garlic, vinegar, maple syrup and pepper.
  4. Pour mixture over tomatoes
  5. Pour tomato mixture into jelly roll pan (lined with silicone mat if desired) and spread them out.
  6. Cook for 15 minutes and then rotate the pan and cook for another 15 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!

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