Vegan Potato Leek Soup

Recently, I shared with my readers that I adopted a vegetarian lifestyle. It’s been about three weeks and I’ve had so much fun in the kitchen. I’ve had Tofu Piccata (while my hubby had Chicken Piccata), Cauli-fredo sauce with GF noodles, Sprouted Veggie Bean Burgers and so much more.

A few days ago, my husband made some sautéed scallops with leeks. He had a cup of leeks left over (which he was going to toss in the trash). Well, you know me ….. I can’t stand to throw food away so I grabbed it before it was tossed. I put on my creative cap and scanned the refrigerator for some ideas.  There was one lonesome potato, a large piece of onion and I found some veggie broth in my freezer.

I’ve also been experimenting with how to make creamy sauces without cream, milks or cheese. Did you know that a handful of soaked nuts mixed with a little avocado makes a SUPER creamy sauce?

I have to tell you, the first time I blended all these ingredients, I was so disappointed with myself for not taking photos to share. Who knew it would have turned out this DELICIOUS!

It was so good, I had to make it again so I could share with all of you!!

Vegan soup

Vegan Potato Leek Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Nutritional info: Calories: 204, Fat: 16.2g (saturated 2.2g), Carbohydrates: 11.2g, Dietary Fiber 3.3g, Sugars: 2.2g, Protein: 6g

Ingredients

  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 medium yellow potato (one cup chopped)
  • 1/2 cup soaked/skinned almonds (or cashews)
  • 1 cup sliced leeks
  • 1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Fresh Thyme for a garnish (I used Lemon-Thyme)

Directions

  1. In Vitamix (or high powered blender) blend vegetable broth, soaked nuts and avocado until smooth (high setting for about 2 minutes). Set aside.
  2. Peel and chop potato into small cubes. Add to a pot of boiling water. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain.
  3. Soak the leeks in water for about 5 minutes. Rinse and drain well.
  4. In a sauté pan, add olive oil, leeks, onion and garlic. Sautee for 8 minutes on a medium heat.
  5. Add potatoes, sea salt, thyme and onion powder to the leek mixture. Sauté for 3 minutes.
  6. Add half the potato mixture to the broth mixture. Blend on high until smooth (about 1 minute).
  7. Add the rest of the potato mixture to the Vitamix and blend on 3 (low if you’re using a different blender) for 15 seconds.
  8. Sprinkle with fresh lemon-thyme for a garnish.

Serve hot or cold!!

Step-By-Step

The first time I made this recipe, I used soaked cashews. When I decided to make it again, I didn’t have any cashews so I improvised with almonds. Both the cashews and the almonds made a terrific soup. The cashews were a little less work, but if all you have is almonds, here’s what to do:

  • Put a half a cup of almonds in a cup of warm water for two hours.
  • Rinse and drain.
  • Pull skins off the almonds. This is super easy. Just put the almond between your thumb and index finger and give a little squeeze. The almond will pop right out of the skin.
  • If you’re using cashews, all you need to do is soak them for 2 hours, then rinse and drain.

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Add soaked nuts, avocado and vegetable broth to Vitamix, blend on high for 2 minutes (until smooth).

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Just LOOK how creamy that is!!!

Peel and chop potato into small cubes. Add to a pot of  boiling water. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain.

Be sure and soak/rinse the sliced leeks. If you don’t, they will be gritty.

In a sauté pan, add olive oil, leeks, onions and garlic. Sautee for 8 minutes on a medium heat.

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Add boiled potatoes and spices to the sauté pan. Sautee for 3 minutes.

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Add half the potato mixture to the broth in the Vitamix. Blend for one minute, until smooth.

Add the other half of the potato mixture to the Vitamix. Blend on low (I used 3) for 15 seconds (just enough to break everything into smaller pieces but leave enough for texture.

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I scraped the left over leeks out of the skillet and added them as a garnish to my bowl (along with the lemon-thyme).

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Serve Hot or Cold!!

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Happy Eating!! Thanks for stopping by, Rene’

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Christians Are Like Vegetarians

Recently, my husband and I went into Cabela’s (a hunting/fishing/gaming store). When we walked in, I was shocked at all the taxidermy animals. Deer, beavers, bears, large birds and many other critters. All posed in life-like stances with a setting of trees and rocks. As we made it to the back of the store, I became fixated on a huge buffalo above my head. Frozen in my steps, I just looked into his eyes (well, the plastic ones) and imagined him out in nature living his life, minding his own business.

As I tend to do, my thoughts started to get away from me and I began to imagine him with his family. I wondered if he had little ones that were left behind when a hunter came along and took his life.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this post is not an anti-hunting PETA kind of post. I am just giving a little background on where this story is going. Please read on …..

My husband came to me and asked, “why the tears?” snapping me out of my thoughts.

We left the store and I couldn’t get the image of that buffalo out of my mind. I was flooded with memories of cute animals. A video where this guy was playing a trombone and all the cows came to listen……. Cows drawn to music!! Then another video of a cow playing with a ball. I felt very convicted, like I just couldn’t eat meat anymore.

So I stopped……. Just like that, I became a vegetarian.

After two weeks, I noticed that I began to feel healthier and I had even lost a couple pounds. And what do we do (those of us on Social Media) when we have exciting news? I posted it on Facebook!!

My first response was from my uncle who said, “SO, what will you do with all those left-over Beef Enchilada Stuffed Zucchini HAHAHA”

I also received a few private messages. One asked me how I would continue with the recipe part of my blog – would it become only vegetarian? Another person asked me how I (as a vegetarian) and my husband (a “carnivore”) could comfortably co-exist?

Without even thinking, these words came out, “it’s simple, being a vegetarian is kind of like being a Christian.”

“Hahahaha, ok???”

“Well, I have my faith and my religious beliefs but I don’t force them upon anyone, right? My eating habits are the same thing. I’ve made changes for myself and (just like my faith), I will share with others that want to listen, but I wont judge anyone that doesn’t agree.”

As Christians, we walk through our days in the presence of non-believers. Just as vegetarians walk in the presence of meat eaters. We co-exist with people different than us. We walk through life setting examples, hoping someone will want what we have.

Maybe someone will see me and think, “wow, her skin looks great” or “she’s lost weight, how did she do it”.. Then I can share my new lifestyle change and maybe someone will want to change their lifestyle because of the example I set.

Isn’t our Christian faith the same?

By our example we can bring others to Christianity. I’ve had people say to me, “you seem so peaceful and happy, what’s your secret?” I’ve been able to share my faith and talk about God. Telling people how He changed my life and how He brings peace to every situation because I know HE is in control.

What kind of examples are you setting in your life? Do people want what you have?

I saw an episode of “Wife Swap” (where two polar opposite wife’s are swapped for two weeks – in the hopes that each wife can teach another family a different way of doing things). Now I don’t watch television very often, but this one I had to watch. A Christian wife was swapped with an Atheist wife. Each wife tried to teach the other family a new way of doing things. By the end, a few minor things changed for each family, but neither had adopted a new way of living.

During the final interview when each spouse was confronted by the other family, the Atheist father had tears in his eyes and said, “you wanna know the hardest part of my lifestyle? It’s being faced with judgmental Christians who look down on me for not being like them. It hurts because I am a good hearted, hard working man”.

That moment was burned into my memory. I thought, “how can we bring people to Christianity if we are judging them for the lives they currently live?” Why would an Atheist want to be a Judgmental Christian? It made me sad.

Imagine if all the Atheist of the world were confronted with Christians that just loved them, cared for them, prayed for them (without rubbing their noses in it). What kind of an impact could we have if we just spread joy, kindness, an unconditional love (like Jesus shares with us).

We can’t force people to adopt our way of life. All we can do is live by example, by our actions, by our unconditional love – God will do the rest 🙂

Thanks for stopping by. See you soon, Rene’

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*by the way, if you are following for the great recipes, stay tuned for some amazing vegetarian surprises (I will still be posting meaty deliciousness as well – hubby still has to eat 🙂

Christian Hypocrites

At the age of 27, I walked into a church looking for help. I wasn’t there to find a close relationship with Jesus Christ, nor was I there to make friends or seek Christian guidance. I walked in 4 days clean and sober from drugs and alcohol, looking for a narcotics anonymous meeting.

This incredibly sweet woman greeted me with a smile and no judgment. Instead of seeing a person who had made bad choices, she saw a young woman in pain, desperate, and in need of some good ole’ Christian love. Alice (that was her name – my angel sent from above) told me when I could come back for a meeting, and then invited my children and I to the Wednesday Worship service. She said they served dinner and I would be on the guest list.

My boys and I went to the dinner and felt so welcomed and loved that we kept going back. Today, 18 years later, my world revolves with Jesus as the center.

This brings me to the dilemma I am faced with today (and I’m sorry to say, but a little bit of a rant).

Someone very dear to me (a long distance friend) called me the other day and wept about how lonely she was. She said she had tried to make friends at her new home but no one had time for friendship. They were just too busy to do anything extra. I suggested that she attend a church group meeting and reach out to her fellow Christians (as she had lived a Christian life in the past). Her response broke my heart.

“There are too many hypocrites in church and I’m just not interested in going back.”

I found myself defending Christians, and encouraging her to go back to church because I knew (or prayed) that someone would reach out to her and her loneliness would subside. The truth is though, I knew the awful truth. Even Christians are too busy to add extras to their schedule. Many Christians speak words of faith, but then their actions contradict what their words are saying.

What my friend was saying was true. (now please don’t get me wrong. I am not passing judgment on Christians or saying that we are ALL guilty of this. I’m just saying, as a general rule, Christians don’t have a good reputation in the secular world).

Let me give two examples from my own life.

1. Tattoos

While I was out making bad choices as a young adult, I got a few tattoos. Thankfully they were nothing hideous, but they are there for the rest of my life. I made those choices before I became a born again Christian.

Some time into my walk with Jesus Christ, I was approached by a fellow Christian that was told me I was a sinner and what I did was wrong. He began quoting scripture from Leviticus 19:28 which says, “you must not put tattoo markings upon yourself”. This guy was passing judgment on past mistakes I had already been forgiven for. Thankfully, I was strong in my Christian faith and I was not offended by what this person was telling me. I KNEW the word of God and I knew that I was saved from all that I had done in my past.

But here is my dilemma.

What if THAT was the person who greeted me when I first walked into the church? What if, in my brokenness, I was greeted with condemnation and judgment instead of compassion and the love of Jesus? What if I was made to feel like I was tarnished forever because of a mistake I could never erase?

I would have walked out and thought just what my friend had said, “Christian hypocrites!

2. Music

As a teenager, my favorite bands were Judas Priest, Metallica and Megadeath!! Yes it’s true, I was a total rocker!!…

When I began attending church regularly, a new friend (who was strong in her faith) began to plant seeds that maybe my music was not pleasing to God. She introduced me to a few musicians in the church who shared their vast collection of Christian CD’s with me. I was amazed!!

Christian music that wasn’t hymn music??? It was straight up – Rock & Roll!! (DC Talk – Jesus Freak, Jars of Clay, Kutless, Thousand Foot Krutch). I traded in all my Secular Rock CD’s and began to worship with Christian Rock. I found a way to connect with God through music and it was so exciting.

Years later, a woman said to me, “that music does NOT glorify God and you should be ashamed of yourself!!”

Thankfully (again) I was strong in my faith and was able to discard what she said as judgment (that was not hers to make). I explained to her it was through music that “myself” and thousands of young teenage kids were coming to the church’s because they were able to connect with the sound. The message in the music glorified God – really, it did!!

She was solid in her convictions and continued to pass judgment on me.

Here is my point…

This last week has been heartbreaking for me as I watch loved ones avoiding church because of “Christian Hypocrites”. What does that say about the job the church is doing (as a whole)?

The scripture says that we are to wash the feet of others as Jesus washed our feet (John 13:14), we are to love one another as Jesus has loved us (John 13:34), we are to stop passing judgment on one another (Romans 14:13), we are to be completely humble and gentle and patient (Ephesians 4:2), we are to forgive grievances (Colossians 3:13), encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11), not slander anyone (James 4:11) and live in complete harmony (I Peter 3:8).

As a church, I am pleading that each of us walk through our days as a shining example of Christianity. A billboard for Jesus Christ.

I don’t mean with bumper stickers or jewelry or those little Jesus fish that people have on their cars. I mean with our actions, with our words, with our unconditional love for others. We can give correction without condemnation. We can plant seeds of love like my friend did with my music. We can greet someone with a smile like my sweet Alice did. We can share God’s word without making people who don’t know Christianity feel “less than”.

We need to take a stand and help the world see that Christianity is not full of hypocrites. I am not perfect and I fall short all the time (this message is for me too!!). My prayer is for all of us to reach out to that new person in church, make time to share with others, be kind to strangers for no other reason than your love for Jesus Christ.

Let’s take a stand Christians!!!  The world should look at us and be SO amazed that they want what we have 🙂

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Thanks for stopping by! Many blessings, Rene’

The Bank of Time: Time Is An Investment

Welcome back for Part Two of my series on Time. If you missed Part One (Time is a Treasure) click HERE. Read about how to treasure time as a valuable commodity, cherishing every moment.

Today we move on to discuss how time can be spent and invested, but it cannot be saved.

The I in TIME is for Investment.

In the early 1970’s Jim Croce wrote a song with these lyrics, “If I could save time in a bottle, the first thing that I’d like to do …… is to save every day ’til eternity passes away, just to spend them with you”

Wouldn’t it be SO cool if we could bottle up time for all the fun things like vacations or important things like family? Unfortunately, no matter how technologically advanced we become, this will never be possible. Each day only has 24 hours. We can’t purchase more hours, but we can spend them. We can’t save them, but we can waste them.

As I was writing Time is a Treasure, I thought about how people say, “I just don’t have enough time.”

Think about it …… There are 168 golden hours in each week. The average person will spend about 56 of those hours sleeping, about 24 of those hours on eating and personal hygiene, about 50 hours working (and commuting), and about 8 hours for chores (grocery shopping, laundry, etc.) That’s a total of 138 hours per week, leaving 30 hours of free time!!

That’s an average of 5 hours a day!!

How much of that time is invested into mental health, physical health, spiritual health, and quality time with family?

Quality Time Invested in Family

When my children were younger I was a single mother working two jobs. I was tormented with guilt because I didn’t get to spend enough quality time with my boys. One day I made a decision to prioritize my time a little better. I couldn’t get any extra time in the day, but I could choose how to spend that time.

Instead of spending time “bugging” my boys to clean their rooms, I chose to use the only hour I had with them to enjoy being in their presence. We enjoyed dinners as a family and we cleaned the dishes as a family. We would start a game of Monopoly and play for 30 minutes a day. One game could last 3 weeks!!!

My point is this. If there is only an hour in a day to spend with your loved ones, make sure you invest that time doing what they will remember. My boys don’t remember whether their rooms were clean or dirty, but they remember the Monopoly game which lasted a month (the one Mom lost!!).

*if you’re a mom who thinks having a clean room is a top priority, I’m not saying that is wrong. I’m only saying there needs to be a balance between all the chores and quality time. For me, I didn’t have time for both, so made a choice to let the rooms go until the weekends 🙂

Quality Time Invested in Spiritual and Physical Health

I’m not here to preach and tell you to do bible studies every day or go to church every Sunday. What I do want to tell you is there should be regular time invested for spiritual support.

Let me explain. My bible studies are usually pretty regular, but I am guilty of slacking at times because I get busy. It never fails that when I slack for too long, my husband will notice. I become a little shorter with my temper, I get agitated a little easier and I lose some of the peace that my studies fill my heart with. My husband will say, “I think you need to go to church” or “”maybe you need to do a bible study”. And he isn’t saying it spitefully, he is genuinely telling me that he see’s my heart is out of balance. Inevitably, when I listen to him and invest time with my bible, I begin to feel peace right away.

Balance is the key. If your schedule only allows for 5 minutes a day, or one study a week, that’s ok!!

The same goes for physical health. I have a bad back from a car accident 18 years ago. Sometimes I just want to sit around and do nothing. You know those Saturdays when you stay in your jammies and watch movies all day. The problem is, if I do that too long, my back seizes up and it takes me weeks to recover. So whether I feel like it or not, I need to invest a little time every day walking because it keeps my back loose.

Quality Time Invested in Mental Health

When I think about mental health, I think about taking time for myself to rejuvenate and relax. There was a time in my life when I didn’t know how to do this. My evenings were filled with swirling thoughts that gave me insomnia. When I finally did fall asleep, I dreamt about work. When I was a waitress so I would wake up in the middle of the night in a panic, “I forgot to take that guy his cup of coffee!!!” When I was a Care Aide serving seniors, I dreamt about how Betty needed help with her pantyhose and Charles needed his glasses fixed. On my days off, I wanted to go visit them to see if they needed anything!! I spent  way to much time thinking about others and not enough thinking about myself.

At some point, I realized that I couldn’t be the best mother (or Care Aide) if I didn’t take care of myself first. I started giving myself permission to do nice things for myself. A 20 minute bubble bath. Walk in the park. Reading a book. Sitting on the deck in the sun, doing nothing at all.

Can I tell you something? As soon as I started doing this, a little voice in my head would tell me that I was being a bad mother, and I began to feel guilty!!!

“well, the kids need …..”

“the bathroom needs to be cleaned…”

“Joe at work needs me to ……”

Do you know that no matter how much you do, there will ALWAYS be something that needs to be done!??

Through time, I’ve learned that no matter what life throws at me or how busy I get, slowing down and investing time in me is at the top of my priority list. When I allot time for self-care, I am more relaxed, thoughtful and kind.

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In closing, I would like to challenge you to think of how are you investing your time? Does the time you invest bear good fruit? Will your loved ones remember you through the legacy of wonderful memories you shared with them?

John 15:8 (AMP) When you bear (produce) much fruit, My Father is honored and glorified, and you show and prove yourselves to be true followers of mine.

The Bank of Time: Treasure is a Treasure

Years ago, I listened to a bible sermon called The Bank of time. It was a message on how to utilize time as a precious commodity. I took extensive notes and recently stumbled across my book of notes! This message was so inspiring that I wanted to share it with you.

First, let me say that I tried to find the original Minister who gave this message but was unsuccessful. I have also looked online to try and give credit where credit is due. The original idea for this message came from the sermon and the rest of it is my own interpretation. If you have stumbled across this post and I have missed giving credit to the proper people, this was unintentional and I would love for you to send an email.

Now, with that out of the way………The Bank of Time (this is a 4 part series)

The T in TIME is a Treasure!!

There was a poem written (by an unknown writer) titled Realize the Value of Time. I have taken this poem and expanded on it just a bit.

To realize the value of one year, ask a student who failed a grade in school and was held back while all his friends moved forward.

To realize the value of one month, ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby.

To realize the value of one week, ask the grad student who missed out on grad week while all her friends participated in dances, photos and celebrations.

To realize the value of one hour, ask the business man who’s plane was delayed and he missed out on the deal of a lifetime because he didn’t make the meeting.

To realize the value of one minute, ask the man who just had a heart attack and there happened to be a paramedic nearby who did CPR and saved his life.

To realize the value of a second, ask the mother who missed being in a head on collision with an on-coming car (because of a split second turn of the wheel).

To realize the value of a second, ask the Olympic swimmer who missed qualifying because of one-sixth of a second.

Have you ever thought of time like this before, considering that every moment of time has significant value ……. every year, every day, every second?

A.W. Tozer wrote: “Time is a resource that is nonrenewable and nontransferable. You cannot store it, slow it up, hold it up, divide it or give it up. You can’t hoard it up or save it for a raiy day – when it’s lost it’s unrecoverable. When you kill time, remember that it has no resurrection.”

When Farrah Fawcett was in her last stages of terminal cancer, she was asked, if there was anything she could change, what would it be? Her response was that she would just “Live”. With all the money and financial security, with all the fame, with everything that she experienced as a star, she made it to the end of her life and felt as if she had never “lived”.

A while back, I attended a support group with a few other women. I commented that I wasn’t feeling very pretty and having a hard time with body image. One of the women said, “My daughter said the same thing to me before she passed away. I wish she would have seen how beautiful she was. Do you want to get to the end of your life and realize you never liked yourself?”

That really touched me!!

I have moments of insecurity, but I never really thought of it like that. For every day I was feeling insecure or in self-pity, I was wasting away this precious time God has given to me, this precious life I’ve been blessed with.

What are you experiencing today? Are you embracing each moment  as a gift or is time passing you by? Do you struggle to hold onto faith that tomorrow will be a better day?

I will tell you what my angel friend told me. Love yourself. Love your life. Cherish every moment as if its the only one that matters. Don’t let one moment pass you by and disappear into the past. You wont get it back. Treasure every moment you have breath!

Psalm 139 13:16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

Please share how you make the best of all your “moments” in the comment section below..

Thanks for stopping by, Rene’

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