Zesty ginger spice carrot soup

It’s Decembers and the days are short and the weather is cold. At this time of year I turn to warm comforting recipes that are quick to make but tasty. Hot soup is one of those recipes that is often on my table. It’s warm, filling and nutritious and most people love the smooth creamy texture.

zesty ginger spice carrot soup

The easiest soup recipe I make is zesty ginger spice carrot soup. The soup is a perfect blend of creamy carrot puree, spicy ginger and aromatic garlic. It’s great with bread or crackers and perfect with vegan sour cream.

The zesty ginger spice carrot soup recipe is an easy and adaptable way to use leftover carrots and stock. The puree can be made with vegetable or mushroom stock. I prefer mushroom as it adds an earthy flavour to the soup base. There are a number of commercially prepared stocks on the market or if you have extra time try making your own. Vegetable stock is just a mixture of carrots, celery, peppers and water boiled until the taste of the vegetables permeates the liquid.

I used fresh ginger in the soup but you can also use powdered ginger. Add 1 tbsp and then taste the mixture. If it’s not strong enough for you add a little more ginger until the flavour of the soup is enhanced to your liking. Don’t add too much at once though as ginger is strong.

If your short on time you can purchase minced garlic in jars but fresh garlic is even better. Just smash the garlic cloves and add to the soup base. In a pinch you can even use garlic salt but you’ll have to adjust the salt content. Too much garlic salt will make the mixture unpalatable.

chopped carrots

I like to pair the soup with buns or bread. My favourite pairing is with rosemary Parmesan bread machine bread.

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Patchwork Peppermint Cookies

When Christmas rolls around I like to have a cookie tray filled with different cookies for my guests to enjoy. Although there will be few holiday visits this year I still wanted to have a few special cookies in the house for the family.

patchwork peppermint cookie

The recipe for patchwork peppermint cookies is a new cookie that I modified from the patterned cookie recipe. The cookies are sweet with a hint of peppermint and are colourful on any tray.

The recipe is a bit fussy and the assembly of the cookies takes a little longer than usual but it is worth the work. The cookies can be made in two and a half hours. This includes the time the batter rests in the refrigerator.

The recipe can be modified for different holidays. Change the colour of the food colour and add a different extract to make your holiday cookie special. For example, for a summer birthday use yellow food colouring in half the dough and add lemon extract. Yummy! Orange and red can be used for fall with maple extract.

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Concorde Grape Salsa

When I was a child we lived in a house on the outskirts of the city. My father was from farm country and we always had fruits and vegetables growing throughout the summer and fall months. He loved concord grapes and had planted a hearty vine that entwined its way around our back porch. The plant seemed to like it there as we had baskets of the grapes every year and we made jam, jelly, grape juice and wine.

Concorde Grape Salsa

Concord grape salsa uses the sweetness of grapes and the heat of peppers or chilies to create a unique and tasty condiment.

Concord grape salsa is great in tacos with mushrooms, onions and vegetable protein. It’s also tasty with tortilla chips or on a vegan steak.

If concord grapes are out of season and you can’t find them at your local supermarket substitute the purple grape for seedless green ones. The grape taste is less prominent but is just as delicious.

Chilies are very spicy. If you don’t like spice omit the chili from the mixture and just use the red bell pepper. If you are using chilies be careful when cutting them. Don’t touch your eyes or other sensitive parts of your body before you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

Fresh Concorde grape salsa can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days. So make a big batch a couple of days before a dinner party and serve with your favourite vegan entry.

Enjoy!

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Walnut Ginger Cookies

Walnut ginger cookies are great for tea time. The cookies are sweet and crunchy with a subtle zip of crystallized ginger. They’re so easy to make you can whip them up in 1/2 hour, make a pot of herbal tea ,and be ready for entertaining.

walnut ginger cookies

My favourite spice is ginger and I like how the subtle heat of the spice comes through in baked goods. This recipe used dried ginger and crystallized ginger to flavour the dough. If you have fresh ginger you can grate it and substitute 1 tbsp for the dried spice.

I used walnuts in this recipe but if you don’t like them you could use chopped almonds. I’ve tried chopped cashews but find them too sweet combined with both types of sugar. If you have a sweet tooth though, you could add them, add some dried coconut and reduce the brown sugar by 1/4 cup.

If you want to serve these on a Christmas platter and need to jazz up the cookie appearance I’d use coloured sprinkles mixed into the batter. Icing on this cookie is too sweet for my taste.

Enjoy!

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