Sunday, September 1, 2013

A LOT has happened ... and a Southwestern Tofu Scramble

So much has happened in the last year.  I had some serious issues, my first foster dog had serious issues, but I made it through to the other side.  So, it's back to cooking.  Actually, I've been cooking all year, but it's back to blogging a bit.
I decided to use some of the tofu I bought a couple of weeks ago.  Both packages expire within days of each other and their time is about up.  One will be frozen and one was cooked today.  I haven't made a tofu scramble in a year or so and thought it would be a perfect "brunch" item for me.  
From my container garden ... yellow pear tomatoes, banana pepper, poblano pepper, red tomatoes, and jalapeno peppers.
I had some vegan breakfast sausage in my freezer that I had made.  Four little sausage patties was the perfect amount for the scramble.  The sweet white onion was from a farmer's market, and the poblano pepper and tomatoes (red and yellow pear) were from my container garden on my deck.  I have to say, I just LOVE walking out on my deck and picking peppers or tomatoes or snipping herbs!
My poblano pepper plant.
I wasn't sure what I was going to do because I didn't have all of the ingredients (or didn't want to put out the required effort) for some of the recipes I reviewed.  So, I kinda did my own thing. My inspiration came from Tamasin Noyes' American Vegan Kitchen.  If you don't have that cookbook, I swear, you must get it.  Every single recipe I've made from that cookbook has been fabulous!
I microwaved a couple of russet potatoes, peeled them, diced them, and then browned them in a couple of teaspoons of canola oil until they were crispy brown on a couple of sides.  I used some of the potatoes to make my son a couple of breakfast burritos. :)
While the potatoes were browning, I chopped up some red and yellow pear tomatoes, a poblano pepper, a sweet onion, and my vegan sausage.  My tofu had already been squeezed in my Tofu Xpress (love that thing) for about an hour, so all I had to do was crumble it. 
I sauteed the sausage, onion, pepper, and potatoes (again!) for a couple of minutes before I added a few spices (chile powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, and Kala Namak also called black salt). I stirred it all up, then added the tofu, some nooch, water, lime juice, and Cholula Chipolte hot sauce.  I let it cook for about 10 minutes.
To serve, I threw about a tablespoon of Follow Your Heart Mozzarella Shreds and some Herdez Salsa Verde.  It was quite tasty.  Probably cheddar or monterey jack shreds would have been better than mozzarella, but that's all I had.

Here are the ingredients and measurements I used.

1 medium potato (microwaved, peeled and diced)
1 teaspoon canola oil
Saute the potato until browned and crispy on a couple of sides in a big skillet.

4 small vegan breakfast sausages, diced (was about a cup total)
1 small sweet onion, diced
1 poblano pepper, seeded, veins removed, and diced
 Add diced sausages, onion, and pepper to skillet.  Saute a few more minutes (2 or 3).

1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chipolte chile powder
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon or so Kala Namak (black salt ... I found it locally and it was pretty cheap)
1/2 teaspoon regular salt
pepper to taste
Sprinkle spices over sausage mixture.  Then immediately add the following to the skillet:

crumbled tofu (14 oz. package firm tofu, pressed and crumbled)
1-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon Cholula Chipolte Sauce
Cook on low for about 10 minutes.  Add 1 cup diced tomato and cook for a few more minutes.

Serve with salsa, avocado, fresh chopped tomatoes, vegan cheese shreds ... whatever toppings you like on your southwestern dish.  This would be excellent as a breakfast burrito filling.

OK, now onto my foster pups.  I began volunteering for a rescue group, It's a Pittie Rescue (Chicago, IL area) on April 7, 2012, which was Easter weekend.  I started by going to their boarding facility and walking the dogs.  One dog I walked was Gumbo or Gumbino as he was known to our family.
Gumbo, Kobe, and Jordan in September 2012.
As you can see from the picture above, Gumbo was a natural in my girls' pack.  Gumbino had other issues and we had to keep him away from most visitors.  Gumbo had actually bit a visitor to our home.  We don't know what happened to him before he joined It's a Pittie Rescue, but I would venture to say it traumatized him and made him distrust people.  We fostered Gumbo from May 12, 2012 through September 23, 2012.  I had surgery on September 24, 2012 so Gumbo went back to boarding while I recovered.  Unfortunately, Gumbo had aggression issues towards strangers and he bit a walker on September 28, 2012 and the decision was made to put him to sleep. This was a very traumatic time for my sons and I.  Gumbo came to see us one last time that day before he was put down.  It still brings tears to my eyes because I blame myself, in part, for sending him back to boarding.  
Gumbo wore worry on his face sometimes.  It was a product of the hard life he had lived.  September 2012.
Gumbo may have had fear of strangers and aggression toward them, but he would have never hurt our family or my girls.  Gumbo would have protected us to his death.  I still love this handsome boy and I still miss him.  I do take some comfort in knowing that for the last months of his life, from May to September, he knew what it was like to be a beloved member of a family.  Rest in peace, Gumbo.  
Frost LOVES laying in the sun. He regularly sunned himself on the deck.  This was in June 2013.
It took us a month before we fostered again.  I saw a plea from Reach Out Rescue, NFP for a foster for Frost or Frosty Frost in our world.  I thought he was beautiful and I thought it would be a short foster, as he already had an application for adoption pending (it fell through).  I applied to foster, was approved and have been fostering for Reach Out Rescue, NFP ever since.  They are a great rescue group that rescues all dog breeds and a lot of kitties. 

Frost is an extremely handsome, make that beautiful American Bulldog mix.  I picked up Frost on Halloween 2012.  We fostered him until August 21, 2013, almost 10 months. Frost was starved to the point of being a skeleton dog.  He was kicked in boarding and his hip was broken and he had to have surgery.  This was in February 2012 way before I met him and even before he joined the rescue group.  The broken hip was when the rescue group stepped in and took Frost under its wings.

From February 2012 to Halloween 2012, he was fostered by a former official of his rescue group.  The woman was wretched to all of the foster dogs in her possession as she kept them all in cages that were too small.  She made them stay in the cages for 24 hours a day, only letting them out to go outside to potty, and I'm not even sure how much that happened.  She made them eat in their cages and gave them rawhides in the cages.  She quit the rescue group and dumped the dogs in her possession at the vet's office on Halloween 2012.  It was the absolute best thing she had ever done for the dogs.  They were finally free of her torture.


Frost during his first week with us ... skinny and stained from life in a cage.
Frost had urine stains on the back side of all of his legs.  In the picture above, you can see the stains on his front and back paws. His tendons had shortened from inactivity and being confined 24 hours a day, so he "high-stepped."  He didn't know what toys were for, he didn't know how to catch a treat, he couldn't walk on my kitchen floor (ceramic tile) without slipping and sliding.  He didn't know how to walk up or down stairs.  It was heartbreaking. The first time I scratched his back from his neck to his tail, he actually shivered because the act of giving him back scratches was completely foreign to him.  How sad.  Back, side, and belly scratches and rubs quickly became one of his favorite things.
August 17, 2013, a couple of days before Frost left ... no more stained paws for this boy!
Frost flourished with us. Frost is an extremely loving dog.  I don't think I've met a more loving dog who craves human attention and affection more than Frost. Frost was a reluctant pack member with my girls at first.  He had a little food aggression (which he got over) and was jealous of the attention we gave our girls.  Over the months I realized that while Frost became a good pack member with my girls, he really wanted to be an only dog who got all of the attention.  
August 21, 2013, Frost's last day with us, sunning himself on the deck.
It took a long time to find the perfect family, but Frost is finally home with them.  He is the only dog in a family of four, Mom, Dad, brother (age 10), and sister (age 4), plus a cat, who he is still trying to get to know.  It was so sad for us to lose Frost (I still miss him a lot), but he is being so pampered and loved that I can't help but be totally happy for him.
Sadora, now Keegan - June 29, 2013
We fostered Sadora only for a night.  I got her on a Saturday from the vet's office.  Someone else had been fostering her and boarded her when they went on vacation.  I offered to pick her up to do a house check and adoption contract for her, but her new family couldn't meet on Saturday, so we kept her overnight.  She was adopted on Sunday, June 30, 2013.  Her new family named her Keegan. She has a furry brother to keep her company and is doing well.
Nacho Libre - August 31, 2013
That brings me to our current foster dog.  Nacho is a pure bred Boston Terrier.  He is a trip.  He's about a year and a half old and weighs 16 pounds, but he acts like he is a big dog.  He chases Kobe Bean (my black lab) and Jordan (my rottie/shepherd) like he is their size.  He's a good boy.  His family didn't have enough time for him, so they surrendered him to Reach Out Rescue, NFP.  I picked him up on Friday, August 23, 2013.  Nacho has an approved adoption application and I will be doing a home check and taking him to his forever family this week on Wednesday, September 4, 2013.  Even though Nacho is a short-term foster, he has made a big impact on us. We'll miss his crazy, frantic energy!
I am already thinking ahead and have offered to foster a couple of puppies.  They were born on July 13, 2013 and are a rottie/shepherd/chow mix.  I think I'll be getting them on September 13, 2013.  I don't expect them to last long here, either.  Puppies go fast.  But, I'll keep fostering.  Fostering and adoption saves lives.  I'm giving back and I feel good about it.

Monday, September 10, 2012

It's been a long 7+ months since the last time I posted.  I had a major issue crop up in my life that took me completely away from the life I knew and led me on a new path.  I'm finally making my way back here.  :::smile:::

During the last 7 months, I have cooked occasionally.  Actually, I've cooked more than occasionally, but didn't take pictures or have the energy to blog about it.  I'll recap now, though.
In February, I made a Blueberry Streusel Cake with Lemon Icing.  While it was tasty, it wasn't a dessert that my sons appreciated, so only a couple of slices were eaten.  (I mean, really, how much could I eat?!?!?)
I would make it again, but before I did, I'd make sure that I was making it for a crowd that likes blueberries and lemons.  The combination is very refreshing.
In March, I made a chili that had a combination of veggies that I couldn't imagine would taste good together.  Why I made it, I'll never know, but I'm glad I did.  I LOVED IT!  I made Chipotle Chili with Sweet Potatoes & Brussels Sprouts from Appetite for Reduction (p. 238). Luckily, the recipe is on theppk.com, and I've included the link for you here.  I will be making this again this fall/winter.  It had such a great flavor and just enough zing for me.  I highly recommend this chili.  I know it sounds weird to put both Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes in chili, but it was excellent.  Sometimes it really pays off to walk outside of my food comfort zone and try something totally new.
In April, I made Creamy Avocado and Sweet Potato Soup.  It was pretty tasty.  I like a creamy soup now and again.  It was a good way to use up the avocado that was reaching the end.  In fact, I have an avocado and a sweet potato that I need to use.  This would be an excellent soup for his week.
In May, I made New York Times Veggie Burgers.  These were quite tasty.  My oldest son loved them.  I made 6 regular burgers and 1 baby burger.  I got to eat one of the regular burgers the day I made them and the baby burger a week or two later (I froze the leftover burgers), but my son ate the rest.  I need to make these again.
In May, I also made a Banana Crumble (recipe at the bottom of the webpage). I added sliced fresh strawberries to it.  It would have been good with half or even a third of the crust listed in the recipe.  There was WAY TOO MUCH crust on this and not enough fruit/filling. 
Finally in May, I made Ole-Fashioned Chili Beans (click on the 169 and it will take you to the recipe) from Quick and Easy Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Foods. The chili is a bit on the spicy side, but good.  I made it because I was going to make Chili Cheese Fries (page 165 of the cookbook), but I ended up just eating the chili.  I have some of the chili in the freezer and need to thaw it so I can make the Chili Cheese Fries.  All of the recipes in this book have less than 350 calories.  I still need to make the Seitan Cheesesteak that is pictured on the front of this cookbook.
This isn't something I cooked, but this dog is something I acquired.  This is Gumbo.  No, he is not my dog, but I have been fostering him since May 12, 2012, so just about 4 months now.  Fostering has been very rewarding and challenging.  Gumbo had been in a boarding facility for just about 6 months. At the time I brought him home, he had lived almost half of his life in a kennel.  (He was just over a year old.)  He's put on weight and is a loving dog to my family, but he has stranger issues.  He's good with my two girls (the black lab and rottie/shepherd).  Although we love Gumbo, he's not a forever dog for us. I'm really hoping that we can help him on his way to finding the perfect home for him.
These are two pictures of Gumbo in August.  He's relaxed a lot in the past four months.  I can tell he didn't know a lot of love early in his life because it took him a long time to connect with us.  Now, he has and he is an attention hound who thinks, at about 60 or 65 pounds, that he IS a lap dog.  :)
In July, I decided enough was enough with my appliances.  My oven stopped working.  The gas would come on, but the electronic ignition wouldn't light the oven burner, so I'd just smell natural gas.  That's not a good thing.  The oven did that once, but then lit up when I tried to light it again within a few minutes.  It worked for a week or two without problem, but then it started acting up again.  I couldn't mess around with natural gas. 

My dishwasher was over 30 years old.  I believe my house was built in 1978, 1980 at the latest.  The dishwasher was the original one from when the house was built.  It hadn't been working well for a while, but I scrubbed the dishes before I put them into it.  It still left streaks.  I was just tired of it and knew I needed a new dishwasher.  Plus, it sounded like a jet engine when it ran.  It was extremely noisy.
I bought a stove and dishwasher in one sitting.  The stove crapped out for the last time on Saturday and I was using a small electric convection oven to bake.  Sunday night, I went online searching for a sale and found one at Sears plus 12 months no interest financing.  I bought a stainless steel stove with a black top and a black Bosch dishwasher that is so quiet, we can't hear it when it's running.  It has a red light that shows on the floor to tell us the dishwasher is running.  My fridge is black, so everything matches nicely now.  I swear the new appliances even make the 30+ year old cabinets look better.  :)  I love them both.
Of course I needed to try out my stove, so I made Curried Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Soup from the Fat Free Kitchen Vegan blog. This is one of my favorite soups.  It hits the spot no matter when it's made during the year.  I also made Smoky Refried Bean Soup from this website, but I have no pictures of it.  I made it during the summer (June), and I liked it very much.  It's a heavy soup though, and really best suited for the winter months.
I made Vegan Patties Like You've Never Had in late August.  These are made with nuts, refried beans, and oatmeal.  I made the burger mixture on one day, threw it into the refrigerator overnight, and then formed the burgers the next day.  The mixture was very sticky and soft the first day, so the overnight refrigeration was perfect.  I pan fried them for 5 minutes on each side, but they were still very soft burgers, so I ended up baking them at 350º for about 20 minutes.  That helped, but I ended up putting them back into the oven (it had been turned off for 15 or 20 minutes and had cooled down a lot) and just let them sit in there for another 20 minutes or so. 
They froze nicely.  I had one tonight and it was firmer, but I wouldn't call these really firm burgers.  They are very tasty, though.  This recipe made 12 burgers for me, 12 good-sized burgers.
Last week, I made Leek Mushroom Potato Stew.  OK, I didn't have any leeks, so I used more onion and a huge handful of chives (I have a huge plant on my deck).  I put in 24 oz. of button mushrooms because those were the only mushrooms I had.  I used Yukon Gold potatoes, because I didn't have purple potatoes.  AND, while I had chorizo sausage that I could have used, I decided to use two links of Field Roast Apple Sage Vegan Sausage, that actually seemed to go perfectly with the flavor of the stew.

I liked this stew, BUT, I hated the pasta in it.  I will make it again, but I will not put pasta in it.  It was mushy and did not reheat well.  Otherwise, it was a lovely stew. I will look for some Field Roast Chipolte Vegan Sausage to use in it. I might like the extra zing.
Tonight, I roasted broccoli, Yukon God potatoes, and baby bella mushrooms in a splash of olive oil, French gray sea salt, and pepper.  OMG!  I love roasted veggies and could have eaten the entire pan of them.  I tried to restrain myself and I saved a generous portion for tomorrow. 
I ate them with one of the Vegan Patties Like You've Never Had smothered in pickles and a generous squirt of mustard.  It was a lovely dinner for a Monday night after a dentist visit in the afternoon.  bah!  I'm not a fan of the dentist, but I go when I'm supposed to.  I never want to have any kind of serious periodontal disease.  My ex-husband had perio gum surgery and it looked absolutely torturous.  
OK, that's caught me up to today.  I'm leaving you with a picture of the three dogs together.  As you can see, Gumbo (the lightest dog) thinks he fits right in.  :::smile:::

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

State Fair Caramel Apple Oatmeal

This morning, I made State Fair Caramel Apple Oatmeal from Kathy Hester's blog, Healthy Slow Cooking.  In actuality, I did not slow cook this oatmeal and I think it would have been better if I had.  I just didn't have an oatmeal "vision" for today's breakfast last night.  So, I cooked it in my rice cooker.
Here's a couple of interesting things about the rice cooker.  One, when cooking steel cut oats with almond milk (versus water), expect that the milk will "foam up" (and I do mean FOAM UP!!!) while cooking.  Two, don't close the lid of the rice cooker.  Rather, vent it with a wooden spoon laid across the top of the pot.  Three, when you don't think about items one and two, expect that the almond milk will boil over, come out of the top vent, and generally make a mess all over the kitchen counter.  (No, I did not take pictures of that!  ha!)  Trust me, next time I will be making this in my little 1½ quart slow cooker. Sheesh!
This is a very tasty morning oatmeal dish.  I really liked it.  I will say that next time, I'll cut down on the brown sugar as it was a bit sweet for me.  Yes, I did add a touch of brown sugar for the picture (at the top), but this picture is without the added brown sugar and it was still just a tad sweet (but my sons would have loved it).  Of course, that could have been because I didn't slow cook it, but rather fast cooked it in my rice cooker.  I'll still add less brown sugar and see how that is because I did love the flavoring.

If you haven't visited Kathy's blog to explore her 40 recipes for steel cut oats, you need to visit it and start exploring Love Your Oatmeal Celebration.  Kathy has non-oatmeal recipes on her blog, too!  I have her cookbook, The Vegan Slow Cooker, and love that, too!

And now, a request ... Gateway Pet Guardians in St. Louis has been feeding homeless dogs and cats that live on the streets of East St. Louis for years.  You can visit the blog here and read about the wonderful things they have done and see videos of Pj feeding the cats and dogs, something she has done daily for years.  Gateway is one of many competing for a cash award from Monsanto.  Monsanto may not be your favorite corporation, but please go to the competition website and vote for Gateway Pet Guardians.  It's the animals that will benefit from your vote.  Currently, GPG is in 3rd place, which could mean $5,000 to them.  If we can get them to first place, it would mean $15,000.  Please vote daily. The voting doesn't end until January 29.  The more votes GPG gets, the closer they will come to 1st place and the more good these animal angels can do for homeless dogs and cats.  Thank you! :)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Eggless Nog Pancakes

 
I bought Soy Nog for the first time this year.  I used to like drinking Egg Nog, within moderation. I wanted the coconut milk version, but didn't see it at Whole Foods.  (I'm sure it was there and I just missed it.)  So, I bought Soy Nog.  OK, not only did I buy one quart, I bought two quarts.  Never mind that I haven't had any in years.  I'm not sure why I thought I'd drink so much of it. Good thing for me, the Soy Nog doesn't expire until January 30, 2012.  
I wanted to make baked Soy Nog French toast, but I couldn't find a recipe I liked and I didn't want to botch one up.  So, I decided that I would alter a vegan pancake recipe.  I used the Vegan Pancake recipe by the Happy Herbivore as my base.  I've not made the basic pancake recipe, so I'm not sure how those turn out.  Perhaps that should have been my first step.
I don't "measure" my flour or other dry ingredients that are in "cup" measurements.  I weigh those as I feel it gives a better result because weighing ingredients is more consistent.  The pancakes were too dense for my liking.  Even given my weighing the ingredients, I think using the whole wheat pastry flour was much too heavy for these pancakes.  Could be that I didn't use any water, but used all Soy Nog.  I'll try these again sometime (read: this December), but make a few alterations to try to get a lighter, fluffier pancake. Below is my recipe.

Eggless Nog Pancakes

8.50 ounces whole wheat pastry flour (equivalent to 2 cups)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

1 3/4 cup Soy Nog (can use 1/2 cup water for part of the Soy Nog)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla 
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Combine wet ingredients in a small bowl.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients to mix.  Let batter rest for a few minutes.  Heat griddle pan (heat medium high).  Use 1/4 cup ladle to pour batter onto to skillet. Cook for a couple of minutes and then flip.
Because the batter was so dense, it didn't "bubble" like regular pancakes, so I had to watch the pancakes more closely so they wouldn't overcook.
The flavor was good.  I liked the subtle cinnamon/nutmeg flavor.  I do think a combination of a lighter flour and subbing some water for part of the Soy Nog would lighten up the density.  I much prefer a batter that is thinner and pours onto the griddle. This batter was so thick that I had to put it on the griddle and then spread it around.  If you like dense pancakes, this is definitely the recipe for you.
Jordan, January 20, 2012
On another note, here's a picture of Jordan playing in the snow on Friday evening.  We got SOCKED with snow on Friday, which meant a 2½ hour commute home for me.  I was so glad to be home.  I used my electric snow thrower shovel to make quick work of my driveway.  Gotta love the electric aspect of it!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Coconut Banana Pecan Coffee Cake Oatmeal

I have not been feeling the best the last couple of days.  I drove to Springfield, Illinois, 3 hours from my home, so that my sons and I could have Thanksgiving dinner with my Mom.  On the way back, I had a coughing fit before I even got out of the Springfield area (which I attribute to the air freshener I got at the car wash the night before and was promptly thrown out), and once that was done, I had a scratchy throat for the rest of the drive. Yesterday, I woke up with a mild sore throat and a hoarse voice.  Today, I had a voice, but I had a moderate sore throat.  Needless to say, a green smoothie was not appealing in the least.
I remembered Kathy Hester's website, Healthy Slow Cooking, and that she had a TON of recipes for steel cut oats.  The only problem being, the recipes all call for a 1½ to 2 quart slow cooker, which I did not own.  That is ... until I ran out and bought one this morning at 9 AM.  :::smile:::

After looking at all of her oatmeal (steel cut oat) recipes, I finally settled on Coconut Banana Pecan Coffee Cake Oatmeal.  Yes, it does take a long time to cook (7 to 9 hours), and by the time I washed out the crock pot and put the ingredients in it, it was 10:20 AM.  I didn't care.  I decided I would eat the rest of the soup I had in the fridge early and eat the steel cut oats later.
I only did a few things differently than the recipe, and I'm sure they did not affect the taste.  First, I used unsweetened almond milk (not vanilla flavor) and upped the vanilla extract to 1 teaspoon.  I used agave instead of a low calorie sweetener and I used walnuts for my nuts instead of pecans.  I didn't have any pecans in the house and walnuts just seemed close enough.  I don't know if my slow cooker cooks at a warmer temperature than Kathy's does, but 6 hours was long enough for my steel cut oats.  To cook it overnight, I think I'll add a bit more liquid and put it on so it will only cook for 6½ hours at the longest.
This is an absolutely delightful steel cut oat dish.  It's extremely tasty.  It would be good with a splash of almond milk in it, too.  As a bonus, the vegan bowl I ordered from Etsy.com came today, so I got to eat the oatmeal in my new bowl.

I can't wait to try more of Kathy's oatmeal recipes.  These will be perfect for the upcoming winter months.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cabbage, Chickpea, & Sweet Potato Soup

I started out to make one soup, Chickpea Rice Soup with Cabbage on PPK, and ended up making an entirely different soup.  Part of the problem was I didn't have any carrots.  The other part of the equation was although that is a good soup, it was too bland for my palate.  I like soup with a little zing.

Here is what I did:

Cabbage, Chickpea, & Sweet Potato Soup

1 onion, sliced or diced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (I used Penzey's minced equivalent to 2 cloves)
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon dried jalapeno flakes
1/2 teaspoon of red cayenne pepper
sprinkle of salt and pepper
1/2 to 2/3 cup brown rice
1 squirt (about 3" long) of Thai spice blend (in the tube in the produce section)
1/2 head of cabbage, shredded or cut in 1/4" or less ribbons
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced in 1/2" squares
6 to 8 cups of water
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of Better than Bouillon, no-chicken flavor
2 cups cooked chickpeas (I use frozen that I've cooked at home)
1/2 teaspoon dill weed

1 teaspoon Tofutti Better than Sour Cream per bowl of soup

Saute onions in the olive oil until soft over medium heat; add garlic, thyme, jalapeno flakes, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper, and brown rice.  Saute another minute or two over medium heat.  Add cabbage, sweet potatoes, water, and Better than Bouillon.  Bring to a boil and let simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.  Add the chickpeas and let simmer another 20 minutes, until the rice and sweet potatoes are tender.  Add dill weed.  Let simmer another minute or two.

Ladle soup into bowls.  Add 1 teaspoon of Tofutti Better than Sour Cream per bowl (no more than 1 teaspoon - you only want a hint of richness to keep the soup on the lighter side versus it being a heavy soup).  Stir to mix in and enjoy.

This soup is not over-the-top spicy, but rather has a little zing, just enough to make the soup interesting and keep you coming back for another bowl.  YUM!  It's a keeper.