Simple and Delicious Potato Leek Soup

I’ve always loved potatoes.  Not sure how that love manifested, but I’ve loved them forever and in all of their many forms. From mashed, baked, broiled, pan fried, roasted, deep-fried, boiled, barbecued etc. (the list continues…). All that love, and yet, I’d never made them into a soup.  Now, I have always liked potato leek soup, and will order it frequently when out at restaurants, but still never sat down and figured it out for myself!  2015 is my year to figure out how to make things I’ve always wanted to, but never did.  So here goes!

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 3 leeks (the more white, the better)
  • 4 medium potatoes (any colour, I used red), peeled and sliced
  • 3 1/2 c. chicken broth (make your own, or cheat and use Campbell’s in the tetra pack)
  • 1 c. milk (I used 1%)
  • salt & pepper

Step-by-Step

  1. Place butter and chopped onion in a large pot over medium-low heat and slowly soften the onions (without burning them).
  2. Once soft, add your leeks. Using only the white part of the leek all the way up the stalk. Be sure to rinse them well once cut as I find they can be quite dirty sometimes. See photo for how much to cut into the leek. Continue stirring and cooking the leeks with the onions.
  3. After a few minutes add the sliced potatoes, broth, and a few quick shakes of salt and pepper.
  4. Bring to a boil, and let simmer for 25-30 minutes. Keep stirring occasionally.
  5. Once the potatoes are soft, take the pot off the heat and let sit for a few minutes.
  6. Using an immersion blender, delicately blend the ingredients while still in the pot.  How much you blend is up to you.  I like a few chunks of potato left in my soup, so I don’t blend it completely. But again, totally up to you. 🙂
  7. Add the milk and stir through.
  8. Add more salt and/or pepper to taste (I used a low salt broth, so I found mine needed a bit more salt when done).

You can serve right away, or put in containers for lunches etc.  I put a few freezer-safe containers in the freezer too.

ENJOY!!

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20 minute Nutella Gluten-Free Two Bite Brownies

Who doesn’t love two bite (I mean one-bite…) brownies?  Like really?  They are small, indulgent and oh so good!  So when we cut gluten from our diets I needed to find a little something to satisfy my notorious sweet tooth. One of my dear friends (who is celiac) sent me a link that I immediately knew was going to be perfect! I used a variation on the recipe from Gluten-Free Canteen (I tried to track down the original, but each page linked to another and another. haha).

So here’s my own:

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These seriously take less than 20 minutes to bring all together, which is perfect for those after dinner cravings…. This recipe makes between 12-16 two bite brownies.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. Nutella*
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp gluten-free flour**
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla

NOTE: * or use another hazelnut spread, I used a half & half tub recently that was part vanilla flavoured as well and it turned out divine!
** I switch this up between coconut flour and this great all-purpose gluten free flour from Red Mill

Step-by-Step

  1. Heat oven to 350F
  2. Put everything in a small bowl and mix away!
  3. Grease mini muffin pan, or use mini muffin liners
  4. Fill each tin about 2/3 full (make sure to put a bit of water at the bottom in the empty muffin tins to keep the pan from burning)
  5. Bake for about 10-12 minutes
  6. Let them cool a bit and then nom nom nom them all

For the really indulgent, you could sprinkle icing sugar on top, add mini chocolate chips, crushed nuts!  Be creative and enjoy!

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Healthy Carrot Muffins

Happy New Year!  Hard to believe its 2015 already…so of course I’m already baking. I’ve made these a few times now and everytime I add something or take away something else from the recipe, but I think I’ve got it down now.  So enjoy!IMG_0433

What you need to have in your kitchen:

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil
  • 3/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 3 c. shredded carrots (I needed about 9-10 small skinny carrots, but keep in mind that if you have larger carrots you won’t need to shred as many!)

And now the fun begins!

Preheat oven to 350F. (this recipe comes together pretty quick – unless you forget to shred your carrots ahead of time – like I always do)

In a large bowl sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and flax

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THEN, use another small bowl (or in my case a large glass measuring cup), combine eggs, oil, applesauce and brown sugar.  Give it a good stir to make sure all the wet ingredients are well mixed

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Pour the wet into the dry and mix. Making sure not to over mix as it can make the batter a little tough, mix just enough to moisten the batter.  Add in your mountain of shredded carrots

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Spoon into muffin liners and they’re good to go in the oven! (you could also lightly oil the pans with oil/butter, but I don’t like the extra oil it adds to muffin recipes. AND I somehow had Ariel muffin liners on the shelf! Special treat for me indeed!)  Fill the muffin tin about 3/4 full.  I got a full two pans out of this recipe so 24 muffins altogether.  Bake for 20-25 minutes in a 350 F oven.  Keep an eye on them to prevent burning as everyone’s oven is a little different.  I chose to freeze half of them so they’d keep longer too 🙂

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Easy Mushroom Beef Stew

While I did say I would keep up with the blogging I’ve somehow already fallen behind! To remedy the situation here is a super easy recipe for beef tomato mushroom stew in a crock pot. Yum!!

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Well that looks good right?!! I know you’re thinking that there is no way that anything that delicious looking could be easy right? Wrong! Follow along and you’ll see.

You’ll need:

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Large package of stewing beef (like Costco big, or two of the smaller ones from the grocery store)
5-6 medium potatoes
3 big carrots
3 stalks of celery
2 big packages of mushrooms (I LOVE mushrooms!)
1 medium onion
1 garlic bulb
1 can of tomato paste
Worcestershire sauce
Olive oil (for browning the beef)
Spices!
1 carton of beef stock/broth (any will do, I had the Campbell’s less salt in my cupboard)

Super easy, cut the bigger pieces of beef into smaller pieces, you want the pieces to be big enough so they don’t dry out and get tough, but you also don’t want them so big that it’s unmanageable to eat!
Put some olive oil in a frying pan and heat up. Drop some of the beef chunks into the pan and just sear the outside of each piece. I did mine in about four batches to even out the heat distribution. Be sure to not let the beef cook too much or it won’t be tender and yummy later.

20120306-212102.jpg Once browned put the beef in the crock pot. While I wait for that stuff to brown I cut me some veggies!
Potatoes- cut into bite sized pieces
Mushrooms- cut into quarters
Carrots- slices, good sizes (vague I realize)
Celery- slices, but not to thin
Onion- teeny (I don’t like seeing onion in my cooked food….but I like the flavour)
Garlic- I cut up the whole bulb. Yum Garlic!

 

 

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Once all the beef is browned and in your crockpot, dump all the veggies (potatoes, carrots, celery, garlic, onion and HALF of the quarter mushrooms) in the crock pot and gently stir it up. Add the tomato paste and lots of worcestershire sauce. Gently stir again. Add spices- basil, parsley, red pepper flakes, basically anything you want! Remember its your stew, do what you want! I usually stick a bay leaf or two in as well. Pour a little more than half the carton of beef broth and gently fold again. I have a big crock pot, but I still only start with half the mushrooms cause I can never get them to all fit, but I love mushrooms so much and because they get so much smaller as they cook I dump more in later.

 

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Depending on what kind of time you have you can cook on high for about 3 or 4 hours (or until all your potatoes and carrots are soft), or you can leave the crock pot on low for 6-7 hours. Just remember if you’re a mushroom lover, put the other half of the mushrooms in about half way through.
Remember that it’s not always a good idea to lift the lid and the stew…it lets heat escape which you want to avoid. So be strong and leave it alone (except to add those extra mushrooms!!)
After all your patient waiting. Take the bay leaves out (you don’t want to eat those, ick) You’ll know everything is done when the potatoes and carrots are easy to poke with a fork, and the beef pieces can be easily pulled apart. Eat and enjoy!!

Speedy note: if strapped for time put everything in a really big pot with more of the broth being to a boil on the stove and everything could be ready in about 35-45 minutes. I find the slow cooking works better but I’ve done it the cheater way as well with great results.

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