Cauliflower Soup (Whole 30)

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Hello soup season! This time of year, if it’s served in a bowl, I’m game. Some of my favorite soups include this one, this one and this one. This cauliflower soup is simple, but real good. It resembles potato soup, but a little healthier for you. Not to mention whole 30 compliant and vegan depending what type of broth you use!

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Ingredients:
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 heads of cauliflower, cut into florets
32 oz cups of chicken, veggie or brone broth (TJ’s is now selling this and I love it)
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
*½ cup coconut cream from coconut milk (the thick stuff from the top of the coconut milk can - do not shake!)
chopped green onions, cayenne and olive oil for garnish

Directions:
In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Sauté until the onions are cooked down and translucent. 

Add the cauliflower florets to the pot and pour in the broth. Turn the heat to medium and cover the pot. Let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. It’s done when the cauliflower is fork tender. Using an immersion blender or food processor, puree the soup until very smooth. An immersion blender is ideal, but if you are using a food processor, puree in 2 to 3 batches to avoid an extreme mess. (I know this because I do not have an immersion blender, and while the processor worked, it was messy).

After pureed, pour back into your soup pot unless you used an immersion blender. Whisk in the coconut cream. Add a pinch more of salt and pepper to taste. If the soup is too thick you can add a bit more broth. 

Serve with a garnish of chopped green onions, a pinch of cayenne and a fancy drizzle of olive oil. A little cheddar cheese or crispy bacon bits would be great too to resemble potato soup! Great by itself but would also be great with a piece of crusty bread or a kale salad on the side. 

*Grocery stores sell "coconut cream," DON'T buy that. Buy regular coconut milk in a can. Do not shake the can of coconut milk. Open with a can opener and scoop out the thick cream from the top. Discard the rest. 

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Annie

Creamy Vegan Lemon Bars

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These lemon bars are the brain child of craving lemon bars the second spring hit, being gifted a huge bag of Brandless Oats & Honey Granola while trying to avoid eating granola (due to my lack of self-control when it comes to this crack snack), and the response to an Instagram poll where lemon bars won in a landslide.

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These lemon bars are vegan. No, I don't follow a vegan diet, I tried and gained what felt like 5 lbs. in 5 days due to eating pasta and carbs in replacement for protein and dairy. However, I've found that cooking and baking while trying to modify for various diets is a challenge and a fun experiment. It also doesn't hurt to watch your intake of added sugar, animal products and excess dairy. Due to the granola, these bars are not gluten-free, but the are vegan, dairy-free, egg-free, and free of processed sugar. 

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Quick plug for Brandless before we move on. This recipe is not sponsored by Brandless, but I have to brag on them. The granola, the parchment paper and the knife (yes the knife) that I used in parts of this recipe are all from Brandless. It's my new obsession. They are a fair-trade, non-GMO, mostly organic, no added sugar food and household item company where everything is $3. And for each purchase made on Brandless, a meal is donated to Feeding America. 

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Creamy Vegan Lemon Bars
yields 16 bars

Ingredients:
1 cup raw cashews* soaked
1 cup coconut cream (the hardened portion at the top of a can of full-fat coconut milk)
zest of 2 lemons
juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup agave
2 cups plain granola, I used Brandless Oats & Honey, but any kind of honey, almond, or vanilla flavor will work. 
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1-2 Tbsp. powdered sugar (optional)

Directions:
Place your cashews in a bowl and cover with very hot water. Let soak for 1 hour. Line an 8x8 square pan with parchment paper, letting the edges hang over the sides and set aside. 

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a blender or food processor, pulse the granola until it is the texture of fine crumbs. In a small bowl, mix melted coconut oil and granola crumbs.  Press mixture into prepared pan. Using the bottom of a measuring cup or drinking glass, make sure crust is pressed firmly into pan. Bake for 10 minutes until edges are slightly golden. 

Reduce the oven to 350 degrees. 

In a high powdered blender, add soaked cashews, coconut cream, juice and zest of lemons and agave. Blend together until smooth and creamy. Taste and make sure flavor is where you want it. I added a bit more lemon zest after tasting. You want the lemon flavor to be bright and it to be slightly sweet.

Spread filling mixture over the baked crust. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes until the edges are firm and the center slightly jiggly (LOL jiggly). Let rest for 10 minutes. Chill for at least 4 hours in the fridge or overnight. 

Using the parchment paper to assist you, pull the lemon bars out of the pan. Cut evenly into 16 squares. Lightly sift powdered sugar over the top. Fine served at room temperature, but store in the fridge for optimal freshness!

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Annie

Bites of My Life

The whole fam damily was reunited this past weekend to celebrate Elle finally joining the party and oldest sis getting married! In Tucker fashion our weekend consisted of lot's of eating, with the addition of a family Cyclebar session and lot's of squeals and stares at the new kid in town (Elle). I love having the whole crew together! Before we are Brooklyn Bound for C & M's big day, a stop in Miami is on the horizon for a little bachelorette fiesta!

-Decided to go vegan, Monday through Friday morning. Why? For the pure reason to see if I could. Results. I ate so many carbs in replace for meat and dairy.  Will I do it again, probably not. Why until just Friday morning? Because like I said above, I knew our weekend would consist of some delicious eats I wasn't going to miss out on. 
-My oldest friend with my newest friend :) A special Monday indeed. 
-Had been on the hunt for the perfect modern but still vintage looking oriental rug. With the help of Libby's post, I scored this rug for my bedroom. Full room shot to come. 
-The strawberry almond milk from Wheeze 1. is delicious 2. is the prettiest shade of pink and 3. I'll by any healthy food that comes in the prettiest shade of pink.
-Exhibit A of all the carbs while going vegan. Will I go vegan again, no. Will I make this pasta again? 100% yes. Recipe can found here
-The best mornings are when I get a work out in early enough to still have time to enjoy a walk before work. Caffeine and company make it even better!
-Needing killer photos taken? Contact my girl Madi. Need a killer lunch or dinner spot? Visit us at The Jones Assembly
-If you haven't had the salmon ceviche at Barrios you are wasting your time. Whole 30 approved and the best dish eva. 
-Elle girl ready for some fun in the sun. 
-From Oklahoma to New York to Australia, it's time to get Claire and Mike married!
-Tucker Time in full affect.
-Today is sister's bday, but we celebrated yesterday while the whole fam was still in town with these waffles.

Annie

P.S. A big congrats to my girlie girl and blogging bestie Molly on she and William's engagement

Easy Butternut Squash Soup

I'd say I'm a soup person, but I've kind of taken it to the next level recently. Soup for dinner, soup for lunch, soup out to eat, making soup, buying soup, pinning soup recipes, give me ALL THE SOUP! Sausage Tortellini soup-duh, I just tried Trader Joe's veggie chili-highly recommend, and today I give you this butternut squash soup. 

I've made butternut squash soup before and I highly recommend the recipe. I called it velvet soup in my post, because it was just that. But this new recipe is the easiest darn thing to make and has about 4 main ingredients in it. It's also Whole30, vegan and dairy free for those who take note of those things. 

The most important part of the recipe in my opinion is the fresh rosemary. There are so few ingredients, I urge you to spring for the fresh rosemary. I roast the squash with it and garnish the finish product too. It give it serous flavor. Keep reading to get the recipe for this gem of a soup.

Pour yourself a bowl and top it with a hefty sprinkle of savory granola. The best accoutrement!! 

Butternut Squash Soup
yields about 4 cups, adapted from Emily Eats Real Food

Ingredients:
1 large butternut squash
2-2½ cups unsweetened almond milk
*½ cup coconut cream (the thick stuff from the top of the coconut milk can-do not shake!)
fresh rosemary, chopped
salt & pepper
olive oil
Savory Granola, optional

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 450ºF. *Refrigerate your coconut cream while your prep the squash. Peel your butternut squash and slice in half. Place on a roasting sheet. Generously drizzle with olive oil, season with lots of salt, pepper and chopped rosemary. Roast for 1 hour. 

Let the squash cool until you can handle it. Scoop out the seeds if you haven't already then cube into big chunks. Carefully add the cooked squash, almond milk and coconut cream to a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. 

Into a large soup pot add the blended mixture and heat over medium heat. If you have an immersion blender you can skip the previous step and add the squash and creams straight to the pot and blend over the heat. Salt and pepper to taste, don't be shy!

Serve with chopped rosemary, a drizzle of olive oil and a garnish of savory granola!

*Grocery stores sell "coconut cream," DON'T buy that. Buy regular coconut milk. Do not shake the can of coconut milk. Open with a can opener and scoop out the thick cream from the top. Discard the rest. 

Annie