basic vegetable stock (vegan, sodium free, soy free)

Besides creating healthy yummy recipes, there are two things I love to do that go along with creating healthy yummy recipes: finding ways to save money and reducing waste.

This basic vegetable stock manages all three.

How? Glad you asked.

The genius of this vegetable stock is it’s simplicity…just save your scraps of onion, garlic, carrot, celery and wilted bits of fresh herbs, freeze them, then turn them into a flavorful stock. No hard and fast recipe needed, but here are a few helpful tips:

  • A higher ratio of onions and garlic will produce a more savory stock; carrots and celery one with a sweeter overtone.
  • It’s possible to include members from the brassica family (e.g. kale stems, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, etc.) but I personally don’t recommend it since they carry strong, and sometimes, bitter, flavors.
  • To keep your sodium levels in check, I prefer leaving out the salt in the stock. However, I would add freshly ground pepper or a up to a teaspoon of whole peppercorns. A few pinches of turmeric also works.
  • When you’re first getting in the habit of doing this, leave a designated veggie scrap container on your counter or even write yourself a reminder…there have been countless times when I meant to save my scraps only to toss them in the garbage out of forgetfulness.
  • I store my scraps in a designated bag (I reuse cereal box liners for this!) in our freezer and pull them out when I have enough for a large pot.
  • I usually freeze my stock in mason jars, but if you like sauteing with veggie stock (a much better option than oil…although I just use plain water), use an ice cube tray to produce convenient small portions.

 

There you have it…in one large stock pot, you have a flavorful base for soups and stews, get a bigger bang for your buck by using food parts normally pitched directly in the garbage, save money on buying pre-made stock and spare the landfill more container garbage. It kind of feels like being a superhero. But with an apron instead of a cape.

Last thing…in case you’re wondering if I do this all the time? No. Right now I try for once a month because sometimes life is just too busy or I don’t have enough scraps saved to make the stock needed in a recipe. For me, it’s about doing the best that I can…and keeping an emergency container of store bought sodium-free stock in my pantry for all those other times,

Print
Penny-saving Basic Vegetable Stock
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 

A simple stock to flavor your recipes and get extra mileage out of your vegetable scraps.

Ingredients
  • onion scraps
  • garlic scraps
  • celery scraps
  • carrot scraps
  • wilted herbs
  • peppercorns or freshly ground pepper
  • 2-3 pinches turmeric (optional)
Instructions
  1. Collect enough vegetable scraps to fill at least one half of a large stock pot. Fill the pot with water up to about 2-3 inches below the pot rim. Add pepper corns and turmeric, if using. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 35-45 minutes or until all the vegetables are very tender.

  2. Place a vegetable colander over a second large pot or stock pot and carefully pour the cooked vegetable stock into the colander, making sure the stock is collecting in the pot below (and not running down the sides - it happens!).

  3. Either use immediately in a recipe or let cool completely before transferring into mason jars, ice cube trays or other storage containers.

  4. Freeze and use within 2-3 months.

 

 

 

essential ingredient: the scoop on stevia

If you’ve been here for more than a few posts, you’ll notice that the majority of my recipes are free from any form of added sugars. Instead, I love using whole fruits (mostly dates) and stevia to do the heavy lifting of adding the required sweetness because they don’t give you the spike and crash and are more immune system-friendly.

Stevia has continued to gain traction in the food marketplace, but with it, packaging that I believe is deceptive and misleading. You might think you’re getting stevia, when you’re actually getting stevia + other sweeteners and fillers.

That’s why I decided to go live over on the wildberry press Facebook page today.

Check out the video over there or view it below – let’s just ignore the weird close-eyed video still. #goodgrief If you want the online ordering info for 100% pure stevia, don’t forget to scroll past the video.

 

Here’s the order information I referenced for easy access:  NOW BetterStevia™ Organic Zero Calorie Powdered Sweetener — 1 oz brand here. Even though it appears pricey, a little goes a looong way, and my container lasted me for several years! This link will save you $5 on your order. (contains affiliate links @ no cost to you, but helps fund this blog)

If you plan on ordering from Vitacost and want to save on shipping then you’ll also want to download my top Vitacost buys tip sheet. In it, I share the products I most often buy from Vitacost to bulk up my order. As an added bonus, the products in the tip sheet are usually cheaper on Vitacost than other online or brick-and-mortar store options! Click here to get it delivered to your inbox.

P.S. If you wanted the Spicy Sweet Pumpkin Seed recipe I referenced in the video, you can get that here.

apple pumpkin granola fall parfait (vegan, no added sugar, gluten free option)

Last week, I shared one apple-based recipe and one with pumpkin – both bonus recipes in my Perk Up Your Pantry – Fall edition erecipebook. It’s free for a limited time, and you can get yours here.

Today, I’m ending the debate and bringing both flavors together with one snack-tastic recipe…the apple pumpkin granola fall parfait.

When I created the Perk Up Your Pantry erecipebook, my thought was to include recipes that could be enjoyed by themselves, but also easily combined in new ways so your meal plans feel fresh and fun. Which is exactly what I love about this pumpkin harvest granola which is one of the erecipebooks bonus recipes!

 

 

 

You could make this for breakfast or as a snack – even one on the go. To re-create your parfait as I did, you’ll need your favorite variety of fresh apple, my date caramel recipe and the pumpkin harvest granola which can only be found in the Perk Up Your Pantry erecipebook.

The other thing I love is that it shows how easily you can create an indulgent-looking snack (or breakfast!) without any added sugars or dairy products. It’s food that loves you back!

I will add, however, that it’s still wise to eat a well balanced diet – one filled with leafy greens especially. If you go crazy on the carbs – especially added sugars, plant-based fats, processed vegan foods and fruits and veggies with a high naturally-occurring sugar profile, you might not experience the health benefits you’re looking for.

 

That’s also what you’ll find in the Perk Up Your Pantry erecipebook – a good balance of recipes with sensible, but fun, vegan eating in mind. If you haven’t checked it out yet, the erecipebook includes:

  • 5 essential sauce recipes
  • 5 essential snack recipes
  • 5 easy main dish recipes
  • 3 fall-inspired bonus recipes
  • A shopping list of all ingredients

PLUS you’ll receive encouragement and tips for perking up your pantry, meal planning and prepping tips (including a suggested 5-day meal plan), my favorite ways of saving money at the grocery store and a behind the scenes peek at my own pantry with my top organization tips. Download your copy here.

pumpkin harvest granola (no added sugar, gluten free option)

Pumpkin lovers, this one’s for you!

If this big orange fall fruit-that-we-think-of-as-a-vegetable is your thang, than you’ll want to scoop up this recipe pronto.

The pumpkin harvest granola is seasonal twist on my simply saturday version and ushers the spicy scent of fall right into your kitchen. Eat it at breakfast if you want to stick with tradition, but I’ve found a few ways to work it into my snack-happy habits and I’ll be sharing one of those with you next week.

It’s recipes like these that are slowing winning me over to the ways of pumpkin…I don’t think it will ever edge out my love of apples, but it just might come close. If you want to share where you fall in the pumpkin vs. apple debate, enter your vote here on my FB page.

The pumpkin harvest granola recipe is one of the three bonus recipes included in the the Perk Up Your Pantry – Fall edition recipe book. If you haven’t claimed your copy yet, you can get it FREE (for now), here.

Not only does it include this recipe, but you’ll get these as well:

  • 5 essential sauce recipes
  • 5 essential snack recipes
  • 5 easy main dish recipes
  • 3 fall-inspired bonus recipes
  • A shopping list of all ingredients

PLUS you’ll receive encouragement and tips for perking up your pantry, meal planning and prepping tips (including a suggested 5-day meal plan), my favorite ways of saving money at the grocery store and a behind the scenes peek at my own pantry with my top organization tips. Download your copy here.

apple cabbage slaw with apple cinnamon dressing (vegan, raw, paleo, gluten free, no added sugar)

In the apple vs. pumpkin debate, I fall in with the apple crowd.

What about you?

It’s been a great year for apples here in Northeast Ohio…especially the organic red apples we’ve been enjoying from my parent’s neighbors. Which got me brainstorming ideas for a fresh fall apple-based salad…

Voila! Apple cabbage slaw with apple cinnamon dressing.

I can eat it like candy.

My favorite thing? I can’t decide. It’s a toss up its crunchy sweetness (but without any added sugar!) or being the perfect balance to the heavier comfort food dishes because the apple cinnamon dressing is free of heavier oils found in traditional coleslaw.

The apple cabbage slaw recipe is one of the three bonus recipes included in the the Perk Up Your Pantry – Fall edition recipe book. If you haven’t claimed your copy yet, you can get it FREE (for now), here.

Not only does it include the apple cabbage slaw recipe, but it includes these as well:

  • 5 essential sauce recipes
  • 5 essential snack recipes
  • 5 easy main dish recipes
  • 3 fall-inspired bonus recipes
  • A shopping list of all ingredients

PLUS you’ll receive encouragement and tips for perking up your pantry, meal planning and prepping tips (including a suggested 5-day meal plan), my favorite ways of saving money at the grocery store and a behind the scenes peek at my own pantry with my top organization tips. Download your copy here.

 

And in case you fall on the pumpkin-side of things, I’ll have a pumpkin-inspired recipe for you later this week.

roasted carrot coconut ginger soup (vegan, dairy free, gluten free, soy free)

This roasted carrot coconut ginger soup absolutely hollers “fall” doesn’t it?

The bright orange color. The roasted root vegetables. The richness of the coconut milk and comforting heat of the ginger. Then add a sprinkle of spicy sweet pumpkin seeds and this is a meal and the sings. The inspiration for this soup came from similar versions I’ve seen in stores. But my version comes without the added oils that most store-bought varieties include and cutting back on added oils = a healthier you.

There are two extremely important lessons I learned when making the soup: 1) peel the carrots before roasting them. I merely scrubbed them to leave the nutrient-rich skin in tact, but found it gave a bitter overtone to the soup.

 

 

2) Be extremely careful if you puree hot soup in a blender. I overfilled mine to “speed up” the blending step which resulted in a big mess and a couple burns on my skin. Yep. Big time blender fail.

 

 

Also, when I made this soup, I pureed the roasted carrots, onions and ginger with the coconut milk and then put in my stock pot along with the water, seasonings and lentils.

 

However, you could try adding everything to the stock pot, bringing it to a boil, then simmering for at least 30 minutes before blending it. Doing it this way would save you an extra step.

If you want to serve your soup with the spicy sweet pumpkin seeds – something I highly recommend! – you can get that recipe when you sign up for a free (for now) copy of my brand new, Perk Up Your Pantry – Fall edition, recipe book. Not only does it included the spicy sweet pumpkin seeds, but you’ll get:

  • 5 essential sauce recipes
  • 5 essential snack recipes
  • 5 easy main dish recipes
  • 3 fall-inspired bonus recipes
  • A shopping list of all ingredients

PLUS you’ll receive encouragement and tips for perking up your pantry, meal planning and prepping tips (including a suggested 5-day meal plan), my favorite ways of saving money at the grocery store and a behind the scenes peek at my own pantry with my top organization tips. Download your copy here.

 

Print
roasted carrot coconut ginger soup
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hrs 15 mins
Total Time
1 hrs 30 mins
 

A soup that absolutely hollers, "fall." From it's bright orange color, warming heat and rich creaminess, it a perfect recipe to celebrate the season.

Course: Main Course, Soup
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 8-10 medium carrots, peeled, cut in half
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 14-oz can full fall coconut milk
  • 1/5-2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup red lentils, well rinsed
  • 4 cups water
Instructions
  1. Place carrots cut side down on a lightly greased baking sheet (avocado oil recommended) or one lined with parchment paper along with onions and garlic. Roast in a 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes or until carrots get a slight char on their cut sides.

  2. Remove from oven and add all ingredients to a stock pot, bring water to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until lentils are cooked and carrots are very soft.

  3. Using a blender stick or traditional blender, carefully puree soup until very thick and smooth. Serve immediately or store in fridge for a day or two to let flavors further develop.

Recipe Notes

RECIPE NOTES:  Serve with spicy sweet pumpkin seeds for a fun twist and added crunch (in place of crackers)

 

 

 

(contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

  • You should be able to find canned full-fat coconut milk in most grocery stores. I buy either the Thai Kitchen brand or Whole Foods 365 coconut milk (which is better since their cans are BPA free!). However, if you can’t find it, try here.
  • I get my red lentils in bulk from Whole Foods, but you also can find them here.

german chocolate cake (vegan, no added sugar, soy free)

 

Happy Birthday…to me!

Yep, it’s my birthday today and I’m celebrating by sharing this german chocolate cake recipe with you.

But first…if you’ve been checking regularly with me, you might have noticed it was awfully silent here last week. It’s for a good reason, I promise you, and I’ll be revealing more later this week (eek! excited!). My newsletter tribe already got a bit of sneak peek. If you also want to be among the first to hear exciting news and never miss a recipe, sign up for the newsletter here. I also share a little more content and personal stories there too!

Right. Back to the cake.

Before I made the switch to a vegan, low/no added sugar diet, german chocolate cake topped my list as a favorite birthday cake. It was one I thought was crossed off my list forever since the traditional frosting uses evaporated milk and eggs and is packed with sugar.

Then I discovered that if I combined dates with three basic ingredients. it produced a frosting that closely approximates the original but far surpasses it nutritionally. Insert celebration with confetti here.

photo @pixabay.com

 

The german chocolate cake itself is a modification of my chocolate zucchini muffin recipe…which means these also work perfectly as cupcakes!

And here’s an interesting bit of trivia…when I first heard of this cake, I thought “german” meant it was a cake that originated in Germany by some inspired baker. However, it actually refers to the last name of an English-American chocolatier, Samuel German, who invented a certain kind of dark baking chocolate. So, really, the cake should be German’s chocolate cake.

Print
German Chocolate Cake
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hrs 10 mins
 

This classic cake gets a healthy makeover by eliminating both the added sugar and dairy. Instead, dates, pecans and coconut form the decadent frosting and the cake itself gets a nutritional boost from shredded zucchini.

Course: Dessert
Ingredients
Dry Ingredients
  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 scoops 100% pure stevia*
Wet Ingredients
  • 2 small ripe/slightly underripe banana
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond coconut milk
  • 2 flax eggs 2 T ground flax seed + 4 T water
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup date paste*
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
Frosting
  • 15-20 Medjool dates with pits (remove pits before mixing)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
Instructions
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9" cake pans well (coconut oil is recommended). On a piece of parchment paper, use one of the cake pans to trace two circles in pencil. Cut out the circles and place one (pencil-mark down) in each cake pan. 

  2. Mix up your flax egg and set aside. In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients and mix to thoroughly combine.

  3. In a food processor or high speed blender, add all wet ingredients EXCEPT the zucchini and apple cider vinegar. Blend until well-combined and very smooth then add to the dry ingredients. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet until combined.
  4. Gently stir the batter as you sprinkle in the zucchini a little at a time and then add the apple cider vinegar and gently mix again. Spoon into prepared batter into the pans and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  5. When finished baking, leave in the cake pans for 10-15 minutes, then loosen with a knife and remove from the pans and place on a cooling rack. Store cake in a covered container for 1-2 days or refrigerated for 3-4 days.

Recipe Notes

*Recipe Notes Be sure to use 100% pure stevia If you can't find date paste, you can make your own by soaking 3/4 cup of Medjool dates in warm water for 1-2 hours and then blending until smooth. In this case, it's best to buy Medjool dates with the pits still in them and simply remove the pits just before using. I recommend using spelt flour and unsweetened almond coconut milk as it's why I used and results may vary with other flours or dairy-free milks although feel free to experiment Unless you don't mind a slight banana flavor to the cake, I recommend using a small perfectly ripe or just under-ripe banana.

 

 

 

  •  Click here for my favorite food processor
  • I got my organic spelt flour (GMO free!) from the bulk section at Whole Foods, or you can find it here.
  • Target and many other grocery stores carry the unsweetened almond coconut milk, but you also can get it here.
  • Pure stevia: It’s critical to use 100% pure stevia with no additives or fillers. I get mine at Trader Joe’s, but try the NOW BetterStevia™ Organic Zero Calorie Powdered Sweetener — 1 oz brand here. Even though it appears pricey, a little goes a looong way, and my container lasted me for several years! This link will save you $5 on your order…comment or message me if you want to know which products I stock up on to get the free shipping
  • I usually buy my almond butter from Trader Joe’s, but click here for another option.
  • Date paste: I usually buy mine at a local Mediterranean/middle eastern store. If you don’t have one near by, you can make your own using Medjool dates (see Recipe Notes) Happily, Aldi has been carrying Medjool dates lately, but you can also find them here.
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut: If you have a Whole Foods or natural foods store near by, check the bulk section! Or get it here.
  • Pecans: I buy mine at BJs (a wholesale club) or you can find them here. If you aren’t a member of BJs and want to check it out, use this link to sign up for a BJs membership and we’ll both get $25!