Category Archives: Comfort Foods

Squash Soup with Roasted Garlic – vegan option!

It’s taken me a while to get caught up but I wanted to finish my series of recipe posts with my friend good friend Julie of The Magic Fridge! This is part 2 of the 3 (see part 1 here) and today I am blogging Julie’s recipe for a delicious and easy squash soup. What’s great about this recipe (aside from the ease of making it!) is the fact that you can easily veganize it by using vegetable broth. A really simple recipe and perfect for warming up on a cold fall or winter day!

Squash Soup with Roasted Garlic recipe, vegan

Easy and Healthy Squash Soup with Roasted Garlic

– 2 small or 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks

– 1 head of garlic

– Olive oil

– Chicken or vegetable broth

– Thyme and/or sour cream to garnish

Cut the top off of the head of garlic and wrap it in two layers of foil, topping with a splash of olive oil before closing.

Toss the squash in a roasting pan with more oil and nestle the garlic foil bundle into the corner of the pan. Roast at 375F for approx. 1 hour or until garlic is brown and soft.

Squeeze garlic out of the cloves. Place squash, garlic and chicken into a blender or in a large pot if using an immersible stick blender. Puree, adding broth as necessary to blend smoothly and reach your desired consistency. Add fresh thyme and/or some sour cream before serving.

Squash Soup Recipe

Squash and Roasted Garlic Soup Recipe

Rustic Chorizo & Hearty Vegetable Soup

Happy New Year!

Ahh! It’s been a while since I’ve updated this space, hasn’t it? Fall sort of took off on me this year. Being busy in my portrait photography business often means other areas of my life end up neglected for a short time. This blog ended up being one of them!

I’m also sort of struggling with some things in my personal life. A bit of mild depression I think. I find it hard to get motivated to do much of anything lately and I’m sort of struggling emotionally. Days seem to just run into each other while time feels like it’s standing still. Part of it is seasonal I think. Part of it is also just feeling like I need to make some big changes in my life but I don’t know what yet. It’s times like this that I’m SO grateful to have such a fantastic husband. I can see that he often has no idea how to help or what to say, but the fact that he’s by my side unconditionally makes stuff much easier to deal with on the really tough days.


Being emo about winter.

In other news, my paleo/primal/clean eating is going well despite the holidays! I totally over-indulged this Christmas and New Years and as a result, felt a big jiggly and guilty for the days following. Getting on track proved to be a bit of a challenge the first day or two but I’m over it now. I know that my body feels best when I do away with the wheat and refined sugar so remembering how great that feels is usually enough to whip my butt back into shape. To be totally honest, I am actually really happy with how I’m looking these days. Could I stand to lose more? Definitely. And I plan to. The bigger frustration I have these days comes from the way society and the fashion industry perceives us ‘healthy-but-less-than-skinny’ girls and how we’re made to feel about ourselves. But that’s probably a post (rant?) for another day. 😉


photo (55)

One thing I do know for sure is that I’d like to make more time for this blog. So assuming I can get my emotional stuff together, I hope to spend a bit more time here in the weeks and months ahead 🙂 

If I had to choose one thing that gets me excited about winter (and besides Christmas, there really is only one thing!), it’s the food. Each year when the crisp weather hits I look forward to the various soups, casseroles and other comfort foods I can make. This soup is one that comes highly recommended by everyone I’ve made it for so far. It’s loosely based on this recipe that I initially found via Pinterest but I’ve modified it quite a bit to suit my own family’s taste. And just like with any recipe you’ll find here – it’s very adaptable. Go ahead and add some lentils or another type of veggie if you like. This soup is hearty, healthy and with just the right amount of spicy kick to it, it’s like a hug from the inside out. What’s also great about this soup is that it freezes well. I sometimes freeze the left overs into family or personal size portions and thaw them for lunch on days that I know we’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors. There is nothing like a warm bowl of this soup on a cold day. Trust me on this!

Chorizo Rustic Vegetable Soup

Rustic Chorizo and Hearty Vegetable Soup

– 2 tablespoon olive oil 
– 2 leeks, white parts only, washed thoroughly, thinly sliced
– 1 sweet onion, finely chopped
– 3 garlic cloves, minced 
– 5-6 large spicy Chorizo sausages (I buy mine from Farm Boy here in Ottawa – THE BEST!)
– 2 carrots, sliced indo discs
– 2 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
– 4 medium potatoes, sliced
– 3 cups shredded cabbage 
– 2 900ml cartons of vegetable broth
– 1 tsp thyme
– 1 tsp dried basil
– 1/2 tsp dried dill
– 2 bay leaves

In a large soup pot, heat olive oil and place the sausage in to cook, turning occasionally. Cook sausages at medium heat until no longer pink on the inside. Remove from pot and set aside. 

In same soup pot (while leaving all fat and delicious juicy bits from sausage frying in the pot) add in the finely chopped onion, finely chopped leeks, minced garlic and thinly sliced celery. Fry over medium heat until translucent. Add all spices and bay leaves and cook for 2-3 minutes more.

Add both cartons of vegetable broth and all vegetables. On cutting board, cut Chorizo sausages into small, bite sized chunks and add to soup as well. Stir to combine all ingredients and simmer on medium/low for 20-30 minutes or until all veggies are soft. Feel free to add water a 1/2 cup at a time if you’d like it a bit more brothy. Season to taste.

Rustic Chorizo and Hearty Vegetable Soup


Soup Recipe - A Soulful Appetite

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

I’m not big into fad diets or anything but in recent months I guess you could say I’ve been watching what I eat. Upon discovering my husband had super high blood pressure and cholestrol issues late last year, he was advised by his doctor to cut out all refined sugar, dairy and wheat. Within 2-3 months of doing this, we noticed a rapid weight loss in him. He looked healthier, felt healthier and upon updating his blood work it was a massive improvement – the doctor was thrilled. He had gone from exhausted, slightly over-weight, low energy with high blood pressure and cholesterol to healthy, slimmer and energetic within a few short months. Everyone around us couldn’t believe it.
With me being a natural skeptic and wanting to hold onto my cake and pasta for dear life, I avoided it like the plague. Sure I knew I was overweight and felt tired during the day, but isn’t that how everyone feels? If there was an excuse I could make, I made it. On a total whim though, I decided at Christmas time last year that I was going to try this. I would rid my diet of refined sugar and wheat. Mostly just to prove to my hubby that I COULD 😉 But what I didn’t know was how this change in eating would literally change my life.
Shortly after cutting out refined sugar and wheat, I noticed it. I dropped a jean size almost immediately (wheat had unknowingly caused me to bloat), I had bounds of energy, my blood sugar levels evened out which caused me to feel less moody and my skin became completely clear and smooth. Probably one of the greatest benefits though was the anxiety that had been so debilitating to me early in in 2012, had improved in ways that were truly immeasurable. These changes, both physical and mental, started happening in less than 6 weeks. At almost 4 months in now, I feel better than I have…probably in my whole life.
Now before you think I am getting all preachy and infomercial on you, I have to say that I have absolutely zero to gain by telling anyone about this. I’m sharing this here because I feel like this made such a difference in my own life that I hope others can be inspired to make similar changes for themselves. I wish more people knew. I wish more people knew how refined sugar and wheat/gluten could potentially be effecting them in ways they don’t even know. I wish people knew what they could potentially be gaining by replacing some of those processed, sugary and carb filled foods with actual real vegetables, fruits and lean meats – even a bit of dairy now and then! These things all seem like such a no-brainer, but it’s shocking to think what we consume, thinking it’s healthy, and so often we don’t even know what’s in it. Do you KNOW how many forms/names for sugar are out there?! Neither did I.
I’m looking forward to sharing more recipes here that fit into this lifestyle of healthy but still decadent eating. Like I mentioned above, I don’t subscribe to any one type of diet. I don’t like to put labels on what I’m doing. I know it doesn’t quite fit into any one category and I like that…because I DO like to treat myself to the odd sandwich or bit of junk food every now and then 😉 and I don’t need to feel guilty for that!
This past weekend we experimented with one of my favorite foods – home made Macaroni and Cheese. Because I’ve never been satisfied by the taste of wheat-free pasta, I decided I would skip the pasta completely and replace it with something I love even more – cauliflower. Cauliflower is one of my favorite things EVER. I like it raw, with or without dip, roasted, mashed, boiled and now…baked into a bowl of warm, comforting, cheesy deliciousness. This recipe is adapted from a Dr. Oz recipe. I reduced some of the cheese and used a lower fat cream to make it slightly less fatty. Though I don’t have cholesterol or blood pressure issues, I do like to make things with hubby in mind since things like this are a total treat for him!

 cauliflower mac cheese

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 3/4 cup 10% (half and half) cream
  • 4 tablespoons of cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup of parmesan for topping
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  1.  Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Spray cast iron skillet with vegetable oil.
  2. Cook the cut cauliflower in the boiling water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well. Transfer the cauliflower to the skillet and set aside. 
  3. Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan and then whisk in the cream cheese and mustard, continuously whisking until smooth. Stir in the 1 1/2 cups of cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and whisk just until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes.  Remove the sauce from the heat, pour over the cauliflower, and stir all to combine. 

Top with parmesan cheese and bake until browned and bubbly hot, about 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

 Ottawa Food Photographer
Mac and cheese ottawa food photography
Do you have any recipes that you are loving right now? I’d love to hear about them in the comments – especially if they are wheat and refined sugar free! You never know – I may feature them here!