Creamy Pumpkin Bisque


Creamy Pumpkin Bisque

Pumpkin Soup that's good for your soul

I don't know what it's like where you are, but where I live the mornings are cold and frosty, and even the sunny afternoons feel cold. I love a lot of things about fall - the boots and sweaters and scarves, the colours of the leaves against the bright blue skies, cups of cinnamon tea and the urge to bake everything. The thing I don't like about fall - other than it's the brief segue into a long winter - is that I'm cold. Every year at this time my hands are freezing and I'm constantly chilled, trying to acclimatize to the sudden sharpness in the air. 

All of which is to say that lately, I'm craving soup.

This pumpkin soup is perfect for those chilly fall days; it's thick and hearty and is a meal on its own. I love to serve this topped with pumpkin seeds or croutons, with a warm-from-the-oven slice of crusty bread. It's the edible equivalent to a cozy blanket and fuzzy slippers: warming, comforting, and good for the soul.


1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups pumpkin puree
4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup cashew cream (or heavy cream)


  In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium. Add chopped onion and minced garlic, and saute until browned and softened, about ten minutes.

  Stir in pumpkin puree, vegetable stock, salt, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and maple syrup, and cook until heated through.

  If you prefer a smooth bisque, use an immersion blender (or transfer to a regular blender) and blend until smooth.

  Stir in cashew cream (or heavy cream) and serve, topped with pumpkin seeds or croutons.

 Want more soups that are good for your soul? Try my Spicy Black Bean Soup, my Grandma's Creamy Tomato Soup, or my Butternut Squash Soup.


Noontime Nirvana Noodle Salad


Noontime Nirvana Noodle Salad

noodle salad, lunches for grownups

What is it about making lunch? To me, it feels like a chore of epic proportions. I like cooking dinner. I like baking things. I like busting out my waffle-and-tofu-scramble moves for weekend brunches. But making lunch can really get me down.

It's not even the thought of packing lunches for the kids - that, I find easier, maybe because they are perfectly satisfied with a combination of sandwiches, fruit, and baked goods, like some kind of throwback to the 1980s. It's lunch for me that I find difficult. Oftentimes noon rolls around and I find myself making myself a smoothie and grabbing some nuts, because it's quick and easy.

I just realized how inadvertently risque that sounds. Believe me, lunches aren't THAT exciting around here!

This noodle salad, though, can bring lunchtime excitement back into your life! The recipe yields two large servings, is chock-full of vegetables, and is topped with nuts for a nice protein boost. Feel free to use any vegetables you like - it's a great way to clean out your crisper!


1/2 package (250 grams) rice vermicelli noodles
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons hoi sin sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more, if you like it spicy)
2 small carrots, grated
1 red or orange pepper, chopped 
1/2 cucumber, chopped
1/4 cup cashews or peanuts


  Prepare noodles as per package directions, and rinse well with cold water.

  Whisk together sesame oil, hoi sin sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, garlic, and crushed red pepper.

  Toss noodles with dressing and the vegetables. 

  Just before serving, top with cashews or peanuts.

Yield: 2 large or 4 small servings

 Want more healthy and delicious lunchtime ideas? Try my Quinoa Salad-in-a-Jar, my Fiesta Confetti Mexican Salad, or my Bruschetta Quinoa Salad.



All Kale Caesar!


All Kale Caesar!

kale caesar salad with roasted chickpeas

It's no secret that I love kale. In fact, my husband took the kids camping without me, and my first thought - right after I can watch unlimited episodes of NYPD Blue and drink wine straight out of the bottle - was that I could have a giant kale salad for dinner and no one would protest. 

The truth is, my husband and kids are not huge kale fans. If kale was a sports team, I would be sitting in the bleachers waving a giant foam finger pronouncing "We're Number One!" and cheering, whereas my family would be sighing and checking their cell phones to see what's happening on Facebook. 

One of my favourite aspects of kale is that it doesn't wilt with the addition of dressing; you can dress the salad in advance, which is nice if you want to make a giant bowl of it and then eat it all day long while watching NYPD Blue and drinking wine. Or, if you want to take it to a potluck dinner, whichever works for you.

The addition of roasted chickpeas, in lieu of croutons, turns this kale Caesar salad into a protein-rich bowl of superfood. The roasted chickpeas should be added at the very last minute in order for them to maintain their crispness; they are addictive in themselves, so be sure to reserve some for the salad! 

Kale Caesar Salad 



1-355mL can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp tahini
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1 large head kale, destemmed and cut into bite-sized pieces



  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  In a medium bowl, toss chickpeas with 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon each garlic powder and sea salt. 

  Arrange chickpeas in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet, and roast in oven for 30 minutes, flipping and tossing chickpeas halfway through. Allow to cool.

  In a blender, mix together olive oil, red wine vinegar, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, garlic, tahini, salt, and pepper. Pour over kale pieces and, using your hands, massage the dressing into the kale. Allow kale to sit, refrigerated, for at least 30 minutes. 

  Top with roasted chickpeas when ready to serve.



ROASTED CHICKPEAS. I could eat these all day. And I did!

 Are you like me and you can't get enough kale? Try my Roasted Squash, Kale, and Quinoa Salad, or my favourite snack, Kale Chips Two Ways. Not convinced? Try the salad that got my kale-hating husband to say, "Huh, it's pretty good," my Kick-Ass Kale Salad.