Daiya Pizza With Natural Selections Sliced Pepperoni, Ham, Bacon, Mushrooms and Onions

Out grocery shopping one day I happened to notice a new product…

A bag of Natural Selections Sliced Pepperoni

Natural Selections Sliced Pepperoni by Maple Leaf.

As my son, Michael, has yet to try Pepperoni (due to cross-contamination issues at the deli and products that may or may not include his allergens) I thought he might like to try this new, allergen free (for him) Pepperoni. It would be the perfect compliment on his Friday Night Pizza Night ‘Daiya Pizza’ along with all his other toppings…ham, bacon, mushrooms and onions.

Michael's Dairy Pizza with bacon, ham, mushrooms and Natural Selections Sliced Pepperoni

It was a hit…boy did it look and smell good!

A slice of Michael's Daiya Pizza with bacon, ham, mushrooms, onions and Natural Selections Sliced Pepperoni

Enjoy!

How do you top your Daiya Pizza?

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Our Allergy Friendly Picnic To Stratford To See The Three Musketeers

Sunday, the boys, Nana, my nephews and I piled into my mom’s friend’s Bill’s van for a day trip to Stratford, Ontario…an allergy friendly picnic. (Note the Festival Theatre where we saw the show in the background)

The boys enjoying an allergy friendly picnic at Stratford

And a show…The Three Musketeers.

The boys at the Three Musketeers at Stratford

“All for one, and one for all!”

This was the third Stratford play for my boys…their first was Oliver and then Peter Pan…they were fabulous!

For my nephews, this was their very first ‘taste’ of the theatre…a great introduction to the theatre for the boys.

Everyone made their own sandwiches…which were wrapped up individually. Michael chose to fill his Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Sub Bun with ham and romaine lettuce. (Note: the still wrapped cheese string was not his)

Michael's Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Sub Bun with ham and lettuce for his picnic lunch at Stratford

On the side were fresh veggies (carrot sticks, red pepper and cherry tomatoes) and fruit (cherries, grapes and cubed watermelon).

Containers of grapes, cherries and cubed watermelon for our picnic at Stratford

Slices of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Banana Chocolate Chunk Bread were a hit.

Sliced Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Banana Chocolate Chunk Loaf for our picnic at Stratford

I saved the Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Chip Cookies and Dairy, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Rice Krispie Squares for the ride home with any leftover fruit.

I think the highlight of the day could have been the ducks and swans down by the Avon River where we picnicked.

The boys checking out the ducks and swans on the Avon River in Stratford

The boys were enamoured…I think Michael took about 150 pictures and cut it down to 70!

Picnics are perfect for solving where to eat when you have food allergies…and busy boys that like to get up and run around to expend some energy and explore.

Do you try to incorporate a picnic lunch into your travels?

P.S.  The table was covered with a table cloth to avoid any food contamination from previous picnickers.  A fork was used to take pieces of cubed watermelon, the grapes were cut into small bunches and the cherries were carefully pulled out one by one in order to reduce any cross-contamination.

Two Recipes From The Toronto Star Cookbook by Jennifer Bain

Jennifer Bain, Food Editor of the Toronto Star, just launched her new cookbook…Toronto Star Cookbook.

Toronto Star Cookbook by Jennifer Bain

I had the pleasure of being one of the guests at the event. Click here for the post.

After reading the book from front to back…I was eager to try out some of the recipes. I thought I would start with a couple of recipes that were featured in the Toronto Star, March 30, 2013 Saturday edition, in anticipation of the big event.

The first…my ultimate favourite dish that can easily be adapted to a meal…a salad. Not just any salad, mind you…Jennifer titles this one, “Salad a magical creation”

Crawford Street Salad

Crawford Street Salad from Jennifer Bain's Toronto Star Cookbook

Jennifer’s description of the salad, “This creation, with its salty, lemon-lime-soaked onions, is loved by all who drop by for dinner.” She explains that it was “inspired by a Chilean dish served by Jumbo Empanadas restaurant in Toronto’s Kensington Market.”  Click here for the original recipe.

I decided to be adventurous with the recipe…something Jennifer encourages us all to be at the end of her introduction in the Toronto Star Cookbook…”Cooking is for all who try, too. Please be adventurous.”

I thought the lemon-lime-cilantro dressing, along with the rest of the ingredients, would pair well with the addition of some flaked tuna, quinoa and kidney beans. As I didn’t have a white onion…I replaced it with a red onion and used spinach and arugula in place of green leaf lettuce.

My adaption of Jennifer Bain's Crawford Street Salad from the Toronto Star Cookbook

Now it is more of a meal…perfect!

The second recipe was more to the liking of the boys/men in my family…potatoes!

Garlic-Basil Smashed Potatoes

Garlic-Basil Smashed Potatoes from Jennifer Bain's Toronto Star Cookbook

This potato dish is in Jennifer’s words, “my favourite way to eat spuds.”  Click here for the original recipe.

The recipe is from 2005 when food writer Susan Sampson adapted the original recipe by Bob Blumer…Food Network star and cookbook author himself.

In Jennifer’s version…”I amp up the garlic and basil, slash the oil and make flaky salt key.”

Well…the garlic was definitely ‘ampted up’ in this recipe…a whole head of minced garlic…raw! Yes, you read that right…a whole head…raw!

Now, I must say I was concerned…so I cut back…twice. I refrained from mincing the whole head and then refrained again at mixing in all the minced garlic. Even still, it was a bit too much for my guys.

My husband’s reaction…”A whole head…she must have meant a clove.”

Matthew’s reaction…”Are they meant to look so beat up?” “Mmmm…I like them…the insides are yummy.”

Michael’s reaction…”The vampires won’t be coming around.”

I loved the concept of the recipe…roasted whole little potatoes with a bit of olive oil dusted in salt and them ‘smashed’ with a fork.

I felt they deserved a second chance…the next night I offered them again. The boys requested them without garlic…not even a clove! I think they were ‘garlic’d out’!

Roasted little potatoes with olive oil and salt

These were more my boys’ style.

This is what I love about the Toronto Star Cookbook…all the stories, personal accounts, the history of how a recipe transpired…Jennifer’s journey of discovering new and exciting flavours throughout Ontario is educational.

With a reference section at the back of the book where all of Jennifer’s favourite places to shop are listed…she calls them her “go-to stores for the best and most diverse ingredients”.

It makes me want to get out and explore all the great venues in and around Toronto…to be just as Jennifer intended us to all be…adventurous!

P.S. Did you notice? Both of these recipes happened to be allergy friendly for our family. Hopefully they will be for your family too.

Enjoy!

My Favourite Winter Soup…Roasted Vegetable Soup

I have to say…one of my favourite winter-time soups has to be a bowl of this thick’n rich, delicious soup.

Roasted Vegetable Soup

A bowl of Roasted Vegetable Soup

Full of the rich flavour of roasted carrots, sweet potatoes and onions…all I can say is ..”Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!”

Roasted Vegetable Soup paired with Hearty Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Wholewheat Irish Soda Bread is the perfect meal to bring when you have been invited away for the weekend.

A bowl of Roasted Vegetable Soup with a slice of Hearty Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Wholewheat Irish Soda Bread

The soup can easily be made ahead and frozen…only to be reheated upon arrival or when ready to feed a hungry crowd.

I like to prep the Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Wholewheat Irish Soda Bread ahead of time too…just package up all the dry ingredients and bring along the Natur-a Soy Beverage or Natur-a Rice Beverage, canola oil and white vinegar (hosts may have them on hand, but if concerned about any cross-contamination it is always safer to bring your own)…combine together, knead and bake.

So easy to put together…you will delight your hosts…surprise any other guests and amaze everyone with your delicious, nutritious, homecooked meal.

The original recipe comes from the February 2004 issue of Canadian Living Magazine. Click here for the original recipe.

Roasted Vegetable Soup

I have made a few adaptions for my own personal tastes…I replaced the baking potatoes with sweet potatoes, the shallots with white onions and I used vegetable broth.

I just recently enjoyed the above picutured bowl of Roasted Vegetable Soup and Hearty Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Wholewheat Irish Soda Bread in my rush to get out the door for 5:45 p.m.
 
I was in a hurry to pick up my two friends, Linda and Leslie, enroute to PENNY & CO.’s ‘meet and greet’ with Cobi Ladner. Click here to view Michael Penney’s post on the event.
 
I was soooo excited to attend the event! I have always loved perusing through my mother’s Canadian decorating magazinesHouse and HomeStyle At Home…just as much as I have loved pouring over my mother’s Canadian cooking magazinesCanadian LivingChatelaine. Like mother, like daughter…I come by my love of magazines quite honestly.  It was just too bad that my mother was unable to attend herself.
 
Creating beautiful food and surrounding myself with the things I love are ‘two of my most favourite things’. After listening to Cobi speak about decorating one’s home…I think I am on the right track! Click here for more cobistyle.
 
I was ‘super excited’ to actually get to ‘meet and greet’ Cobi!
 
Cobi Ladner and me at  Penney & Co.
Very exciting!
 
I was thrilled to be able to ask Cobi about some of my family’s tartan wool…Ancient MacBeth…leftover from my wedding…my father brought it back from Scotland so it is very special to me.
 
Ancient MacBeth tartan
Pillows for my living room…tartan on the front with a soft velvet on the back surrounded with black trim. I just need to pick a colour for the velvet…Black? Cream/White? Emerald Green? Orange? Any suggestions?
 
How do you express your creative side?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Dairy, Egg, Soy, and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pretzel Knot Buns

I have another allergy friendly ‘bread like’ recipe to share…perfect for the weekend…perhaps, something to munch on during SuperBowl Sunday 2013!

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pretzel Knot Buns

A basket of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pretzel Knot Buns

Hot and fresh…right out of the oven!

I discovered the recipe in the March 2009 Bon Appetit Magazine awhile ago…it was in their readers’ favourite restaurant recipe section.

This recipe comes from the restaurant Cut in Las Vegas. The reader stated, “…when we sat down, we were served delicious pretzel rolls straight from the oven. Can we get the recipe?” Click here for the original recipe.

I have been waiting for just the right time to bake them…like the bagels, they take a bit of time management. Monday morning with the boys off due to exam week seemed like the perfect time to surprise them with fresh from the oven Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pretzel Knot Buns.

I only needed to adapt the buttermilk…replace the buttermilk with 1/4 cup Natur-a Soy Beverage or Natur-a Rice Beverage mixed with 3/4 tsp white vinegar and let sit to thicken.

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pretzel Knot Buns.

A Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pretzel Knot Bun ready to eat

The following are some pictures of the pretzel knot process:

Forming the dough into 8 balls, rolling into a log and tieing into a knot.

Forming a pretzel knot

I found it easier to roll without any flour on my marble slab.

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pretzel Knot Buns ready to be slipped into the simmering water.

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pretzel Knot Buns ready to be slipped into the simmering water

I found I just carefully picked them up and placed them in the simmering water…much easier.

Removing a Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pretzel Knot Bun from the simmering water to place on a greased baking sheet.

Removing Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pretzel Knot Bun from the simmering water

Poaching for 10 seconds a side goes by fast!

Brushed with canola oil and sprinkled with some coarse sea salt…they are ready for the oven.

Sprinkled with some coarse salt, Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pretzel Knots ready for the oven

My boys were not keen on all the salt…I would either replace with a less coarse salt or omit altogether…depends on one’s taste for salt.

Hot from the oven…ready to eat!

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pretzel Knot Buns cooling

Check out the golden brown colour…”How did you get it that colour?’, mused Michael.

The boys were eager to get their hands on one…Michael takes a bite…

Enjoying a Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pretzel Knot Bun

Yummy!

Enjoy!

P.S. My boys found, the next day, the salt had seeped into the dough…the added salt flavour was not to their liking…tasted better when warmed up a bit in the microwave. 

Victoria and William, on the other hand, loved them…salt and all!

P.P.S. Overall, William and my boys much preferred the Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free BagelsVictoria was not around to try them. Click here for the post.

Will you be one of the many watching the SuperBowl this Sunday? What is your favourite ‘munchy’ for the SuperBowl?

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Hearty Irish Soda Bread And Sweet Potato Leek Soup

I couldn’t resist baking up a loaf of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Hearty Irish Soda Bread.

A bowl of Sweet Potato and Leek Soup with a slice of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Irish Soda Bread

A favourite of mine to accompany a hot bowl of soup on a cold and blustery day.

The Irish Soda Bread recipe originates from the Canadian Living Step By Step Cookbookspying this recipe had me craving a slice…now I just needed a bowl of soup!

I came across a very simple recipe for Potato Leek Soup over at lucys friendly foods. Click here for the original recipe.

I just so happened to have most of the ingredients…a partly used carton of vegetable stock and leeks were already in my refrigerator, however, I switched up the potato with sweet potato.

Three simple ingredients = a quick, easy, nutritious soup!

With a soup recipe to try…I had the perfect excuse to bake a loaf of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Hearty Irish Soda Bread! Click here for Canadian Living’s original recipe.

Click here for the post I did on a plain version of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Irish Soda Bread.

Of course, I made a few adaptions:

Buttermilk replacement: 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk with Natur-a Soy Beverage (for a soy free version use Natur-a Rice Beverage) mixed with 1 1/2 tbsp white vinegar.
Flour replacement: I used 2 cups of whole wheat flour and 1 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour.
Flaxseed replacement:  I used and equal amount of flaxmeal and I sprinkled the top with flaxmeal instead of the unbleached all-purpose flour.

Tip: The dough is very sticky when you mix the wet with the dry ingredients…I mean very sticky

Kneading the very sticky Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Hearty Irish Soda Bread with lots of extra flour

I encourage you to make sure you really dust with flour the area that you will be kneading the dough, as well as, have a pile of flour at your finger tips to dust the top of the dough in between kneading to reduce the amount of stickiness. The picture above shows my completed kneading of the dough with the extra flour to the side.

Enjoy!

Toasted Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Hearty Irish Soda Bread spread with homemade strawberry jam

Delicious toasted with jam, honey or a spread of Vegan Becel Margarine.

P.S. Posting my favourite winter soup soon.

P.P.S. Carla @ My 1/2 Dozen Daily is having another giveaway of one of her beautiful handmade items. Click here to check it out!

What is your favourite winter soup…what do you like to accompany it?

Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Irish Soda Bread

By the middle of the week and still without a bread machine (it died on the weekend)…I decided I needed to try something new…

Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Irish Soda Bread

Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Irish Soda Bread

A quick and easy bread…crispy on the outside…soft and tender on the inside.

I found a nice simple recipe for Traditional Irish Soda Bread at Canadian Living…click here for the original recipe.

The only adaption needed was for the buttermilk…I replaced it with an equal amount of Natur-a Soy Beverage mixed with 2 tbsp of white vinegar. (for a soy free version use Natur-a Rice Beverage)

Now I have to say, Michael was a bit sceptical of the bread…”Is it going to taste like bread?”, he inquired.

Well, let’s be honest…Irish Soda Bread is not known for being ‘light’. It is a dense, chewy, hearty bread…suited well, paired with a hearty stew.  

But just as nice with a drizzle of honey.

A slice of Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Irish Soda Bread drizzled with honey

First bite in…”Mmmm, this is good!”, Micheal announced with a note of relief in his voice.

He ate the first piece so fast this is all that was left of it by the time I got the camera.

Michael's almost finished slice of Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Irish Soda Bread

Matthew tasted a slice of Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Irish Soda Bread when he arrived back from his first exam.

Matthew's slice of Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Irish Soda Bread spread with Vegan Becel Margarine

“It’s really good with the ‘butter’ (Vegan Becel Margarine)”, Matthew mumbled, while chewing on a mouthful.

Enjoy!

Tip:  This dough is very sticky…I mean very sticky. Make sure you really flour your surface and the top of the dough before kneading it approximately 10 times. Keep adding flour to create a smooth, round dough.

P.S. Luck was with me when I took a gander at the flyers yesterday…I noticed it was the last day for 50% off a Black & Decker All-in-One Automatic Breadmaker at Canadian Tire .

Phew…just in time for Friday Night Pizza Night!

Pulled Pork Sandwiches On Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Buns

This weekend was all about hockey, hockey, hockey!

International Silver Stick Tournament 2012

My boys were super excited that their cousin, Lukas’s hockey team was in town for the Silver Stick Tournament. My brother and nephew arrived Thursday night to be well rested for the first game on Friday.

As it is not every day that their cousin is in town for a hockey tournament…first one ever…the boys were picked up at school after their third period. They both scarfed down a quick-lunch before we headed over for the first game…Nana arrived just in time to head over along with us all.

Matthew, Andy, Michael and Nana at Lukas's hockey tournament

What a game…they won!

With two games per day…revolving around lunch and dinner…a little bit of planning out our allergy friendly meals was in order.

Friday night’s dinner was Spaghetti With Ground Turkey Sauce with Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free French Stick…crowd favourites! Both were made Friday morning to leave me free to head to the first game. (The other half of the dough was made into 4 sub buns… Michael made a quick ham and lettuce sub to bring along to the game.)

After filling our bellies full of spaghetti, we all headed to the evening game. Another great game and a win…although Nana felt there were again, too many penalties.

Saturday morning had me walking in our first snow of the season to the grocery store. I had pre-ordered a boneless pork shoulder for Pulled-Pork Sandwiches on Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Buns I had planned for Saturday night’s feast…another one of my boys’ favourites and a crowd pleaser!

I found the Slow-Cooker Pulled-Pork recipe from the December 2006 issue of Martha Stewart Everyday Food Magazine. Click here for the original recipe.

For this meal, I used a 5 lb boneless pork shoulder and doubled the rest of the recipe. When the meat was finished, I removed all the excess fat, as well as any fat from the cooking liquid. Sometimes I add the extra ketchup at the end…this time I only added 1/2 of the recommended amount…perfect!

I adapted the recipe for Dinner Rolls from my original Black and Decker All-In-One Deluxe Breadmaker recipe booklet. Matthew’s favourite for the Pulled Pork. Michael prefers his Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Sub Buns.

Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Dinner Rolls

Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Dinner Rolls

1 2/3 cups Natura Enriched Rice Beverage
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp fine sea salt
4 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp yeast

Measure ingredients and add to bread maker in the order listed above.
Press for dough setting.
When complete, divide dough in to 12 balls.
Place in a 9 by 13 inch casserole dish which has been sprayed with canola oil.
Cover and let rise for at least 30 minutes.
Uncover and spray with canola oil.
Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.
Cool on cooling rack until ready to split open and fill with the Pulled Pork.

Enjoy!

Pulled Pork on a Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Dinner Roll

There was enough left over for sandwiches the next day for lunch!

Lukas’ team went on to win both games on Saturday! Semi-Finals here we come!

Everyone was up early Sunday morning for the big game…they won! Lukas’s Minor Atom Team made history…this is the first time since 1988 that their division had made it to the finals!

Team parents had hit the dollar store for all kinds of noise makers…the crowd was wild for this final game!

We were not disappointed…the team went on to win 6-1! Way to go Silver 7!

Lukas a Silver Stick champion

Congratulations Lukas! Bell Cup here we come!

Dairy Free Maple Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

I love Fall’s abundance of the many varieties of squash and apples, the crisp fresh weather, the layering of comfy clothing, snuggling up in blankets, the roar of a gas fireplace (on my wish list as we don’t build real fires in the house due to our asthma), and hearty, ‘stick to your ribs’ soups.

Dairy Free Maple Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup garnished with quinoa, chickpeas and roasted squash seeds

I have heard it said, “What grows together generally pairs well together”…therefore, I thought I would pair squash and apples in a soup for a heart warming fall supper.

I referred to a recipe I had tried last year from the Ina Garten Barefoot Contessa Parties! Cookbook. Click here for the original recipe.

I adapted her recipe by roasting the squash and apples tossed in olive oil, pure maple syrup and a crackling of sea salt. I think roasting brings out the best flavours in veggies. I omitted the butter, used a couple of Spartan apples, added in some extra spices and made sure to use pure apple cider. 

The final result…just what I was craving…it was amazing!

Even my husband, who was not so keen on the soup last year, enjoyed a bowl. Michael dipped in with some crackers and deemed it, “Not bad.” and Matthew, well, he steered clear of it…orange veggies never did appeal to him.

The soup is so versatile… simply garnish with a sprinkling of roasted butternut squash seeds…

Dairy Free Maple Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup garnished with roasted squash seeds

…or jazz it up with baby spinach leaves, quinoa, and chickpeas. Dairy Free Maple Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup garnished with quinoa, chickpeas, spinach and roasted squash seeds

The possibilities are endless…have fun switching up the flavour combinations!

Dairy Free Maple Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

1 large butternut Squash
2 spartan apples
2-3 tbsp of olive oil
2-3 tbsp of pure maple syrup
2 onions, chopped
1 tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup pure apple cider

Peel and cube butternut squash. (see tip below for roasting seeds)
Peel and slice spartan apples.
Toss butternut squash and apples with olive oil and maple syrup. Spread on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Roast at 450F, tossing every 10 min for 50-60 minutes or until tender and browned.

Maple roasted butternut squash and apple on baking sheetIn a large pot, saute the onion and spices in a tablespoon of olive oil until softened.
Stir in roasted squash and apples.
Add water, apple cider and salt and pepper.
Using a hand blender, puree the mixture until smooth…add more water if the consistency is too thick…adjust to your liking. (I love it thick)

Pureed Dairy Free Maple Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup in potBring to a boil and let simmer for 15 minutes.

Enjoy!

Enjoying a bowl of Dairy Free Maple Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup garnished with quinoa, spinach, chickpeas and roasted squash seeds

Tip 1: Save the seeds for roasting…rinse and dry on paper towel lined plate. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast on parchment lined baking sheet at 350 minutes tossing occasionally until browned.

Tip 2: I love to freeze any leftover soup in batches for easy go-to meals in a pinch.

Cooler Weather Calls For…Pasta/Quinoa/Rice Figioli

Seems like every day, Fall is creeping ever so much closer…one day it is gloriously warm, the next there is a bitter chill to the air! Time to start thinking about some heartier fare for these cooler days…first dish I can think of is a nice bowl of steaming, stick to your ribs soup…

Pasta Figioli!

A bowl of Pasta Figioli

Add some fresh Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free French Stick for dunking…perfect!

I have been making my version of Pasta Figioli for years now…not quite sure of the original recipe’s origin. I remember watching a program on television and then quickly writing down what I could remember of it…over the years, I have fiddled with the measurements to create a ‘classic’ recipe for our family.

All the veggies in the Pasta Figioli has been a bit off-putting for the boys. However, the smell of the soup simmering on the stove top has always been very alluring! Just a few years ago, Michael decided he had had enough of smelling the soup…he was ready for a bowl of his very own!

As I was not completely sure of his safety with legumes…specifically the white and red kidney beans in the Pasta Figioli…I simmered a separate pot of Pasta Figioli without the beans in it for him to try. He loved it!

Just this week, I felt it was time for our first batch of Pasta Figioli of the season. Upon hearing that Pasta Figioli was on the menu, Michael inquired, “Do you think I could try the soup with the beans?”

As he tested negative at the allergists for kidney beans, followed by a taste with no reaction…I decided it was the perfect time for Michael sample kidney beans in the Pasta Figioli.

What better way to try them? I think kidney beans are the best part of Pasta Figioli!Unfortunately, Michael did not agree…”They’re gritty!”, he grumbled, as he proceeded to pick out the few beans that were in his Pasta Figioli. “I like it better without the beans.” Texture can still be an issue with Michael…his limited diet growing up was very bland with little exposure to different textures.

Oh, well…at least he isn’t allergic to kidney beans. I offered to puree them into a dip…he just looked at me with that…‘ya, that is just what I would love to try next’…look in his eyes! Whenever  I suggest trying beans or tofu or sunflower seeds, his reply is always, “That is not what I want to be eating! I want to try eggs, cheese, shrimp!  All the stuff I can’t eat is what I want to try…it all looks so good!”

The teenage years are a whole new ballgame! I think I should write a post on that topic…although, being a teenager, Michael may not approve of such an idea!

Pasta Figioli

A bowl of Pasta Figioli topped with quinoa

1 head of garlic
3 tbsp canola oil
a few shakes of hot pepper flakes or more to your liking
3 cups of diced carrots (approx. 5-6)
2 cups of diced celery (approx. 4-5)
1 onion diced
2 1/2 cups of homemade chicken stock or 1 carton (1L) of vegetable broth/chicken broth
1 can (796 mL) of diced tomatoes
1 can (540 mL) of red kidney beans, drained and thoroughly rinsed
1 can (540 mL) of white kidney beans, drained and thoroughly rinsed

In a small pot, cover the head of garlic with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Drain water and let cool. Peel off outer skin on each garlic clove and set aside.
In a large pot, heat oil on medium heat. Saute garlic and red pepper flakes, tossing until garlic is starting to brown.
Add onions, saute until softened.
Add carrots and celery, saute until softened.
Pour in tomatoes with juices, chicken/vegetable broth and both kinds of kidney beans.
Bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer at least an hour, stirring occasionally.
Ladle soup in soup bowls and top with our favourite short pasta, rice or quinoa.

Enjoy!

Enjoying a bowl of Pasta Figioli

I love mixing my Pasta Figioli with quinoa, (see picture under heading) while all the boys in my family prefer Tubetti pasta by De Cecco (seen in picture above).

Tip 1: The longer the Pasta Figioli simmers, the longer the flavours have to mingle. I will sometimes make my Pasta Figioli in the morning and let it simmer throughout the day.

Tip 2: Pasta Figioli is one of those dishes that tastes better the next day reheated to take to work for lunch, dinner a second night or frozen for a quick go-to meal on those days when you need some comfort food!

Tip: 3: As the pasta tends to soak up all the liquid if left in the soup, I tend to let everyone dish their own amount of pasta/quinoa/rice with their soup.

Question: Do you have a favourite soup for the cooler days of Fall?