Maybe I’m Just Crazy?

Maybe I’m Just Crazy?

kamut_grains.jpg.838x0_q80Did you know that less than 1% of the population meets the diagnostic criteria to be labeled as a Celiac? But what about those individuals who don’t make the cut, yet still have most, if not all of the same symptoms? Well, for many years, doctors commonly referred patients who claimed to be having Celiac/gluten-like sensitivities to psychiatrists. It’s true. They were believed to be, and were often told they had an underlying mental illness. My mother became a perfect case study for me in my early 30’s, when I too began having health concerns. After suffering from many (and I mean many) recurrent chronic health issues, my mom finally went to see a gastroenterologist. It was to be her last stop in a long line of medical offices. But not for the reasons you’d think.

After listening to her litany of symptoms, the doctor looked at her and said, “I know you think you’re allergic to gluten. But you are not a Celiac, because people with Celiac’s Disease are skinny. However, I think you might benefit from seeing a Psychiatrist.” Nice. Even after she explained how much better she felt after staying away from gluten, the doctor still dismissed her as a hypochondriac, (as most of them had). Opting not to take it personally, she stayed away from gluten. And guess what? Most of her symptoms went away. Gluten is simply a protein found in wheat and many other grains such as barley and rye, and is only one of 27 different potential wheat allergens.

So what if it was a case of mistaken identity? What if the culprit wasn’t gluten, but it was actually the wheat itself? An English study in 1980 found that women suffering from chronic diarrhea were cured by a gluten free diet, yet none of those women had evidence of Celiac disease, a gastrointestinal autoimmune disorder. The notorious protein gluten is one potential allergen, but there are more than two-dozen others in the wheat plant itself that have either been implicated in allergic reactions, or have been identified as potential causes of allergic reactions.

When you have a true wheat allergy, you suffer near-immediate or slightly delayed (by no more than a few hours) symptoms following a meal that includes wheat products. Symptoms are often seen as respiratory in nature (stuffy nose, wheezing). However, people with wheat allergies and Celiac’s do suffer from many of the same things:

Celiac’s

  • Pain in the abdomen or joints
  • Burning in the chest
  • Belching, diarrhea, fat in stool, indigestion, nausea,vomiting, or flatulence
  • Bone loss, fatigue, or malnutrition
  • Delayed puberty, or slow growth
  • Cramping, lactose intolerance, itchy rash,hives, or weight loss

Wheat Allergy

  • Swelling, itching, or irritation of the mouth or throat
  • Hives,itchy rash, or swelling of the skin
  • Nasal congestion
  • Headache
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Cramping, nausea, or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

 

“How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?”

“How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?”

When my Grandma Francine died at 72 of cardiovascular disease (CVD) I was devastated. Like a second mom to me, she was one of my closest confidants, my comfort, and I loved her (and still do) like crazy.  My husband and I had just gotten married, and we were still processing the loss of his grandfather who had died of liver cancer the month before. Bedridden and unable to attend my wedding, her health had been failing for a few years. Several strokes had stripped her of a job she enjoyed, and the ability to drive a car.  In fact, the last time she drove she suffered a mini stroke and ended up parked in front of a random strip mall.  The only thing she could remember was the sound of horns honking and cars coming toward her.  By the grace of God, no one was injured.  Eventually, she was rendered speechless and robbed her of most prized possession, her mind.  So much so, she didn’t even realize she was playing in her own excrement when my aunt was driving her home from a doctor’s visit.  It’s like the old saying, “Once an adult, and twice a child.”

Her father had also died young, but from a massive heart attack.  He was 59 years old, a mere 13 years older than I am now.  My grandmother was heartbroken and sad, for many, many years after his death.  So what is the take away from all this?  Heart disease runs in my family, and takes away people who are dearly loved, far too early. Furthermore, it begs the question, since my grandma and great-grandpa died from cardiovascular disease, does that mean my children and grandchildren will lose me the same way?

“Your Bad Habits Are As Inherited As Your Bad Genes.”

The other day I was listening to Dr. Neal Barnard, MD on a podcast.  A very articulate and tremendously intelligent man, Dr. Barnard is a trailblazer in the areas of preventive medicine, good nutrition, and higher ethical standards in research.  In the segment, Rich Roll (one of the best interviewers, ever…) and Dr. Barnard were talking about something called epigenetics.  “Epi”-whaaa?  Yep.  Epigenetics.  Here is a quick analogy that might help understand epigenetics. “Think of the human life span as a very long movie. The cells would be the actors and actresses, essential units that make up the movie. DNA, in turn, would be the script —the DNA sequence would be the words of the script, and certain blocks of these words that instruct key actions or events to take place would be the genes(1)

We all have two types of genes.  Some genes are “Dictator” genes.  “You, Stephanie will have blonde hair and blue eyes.”  These genes give you orders and you can’t argue with them. But then there are the other guys, the “Committee” genes.  They make suggestions and if you don’t like them, you can refuse.  “Hey Steph, how about some clogged arteries?”  Nah, I think I’ll pass.  There are certain circumstances in life that can cause genes to either be “silenced” or “expressed” over time.  They can be turned off (becoming dormant) or turned on (becoming active).  What you eat, where you live, who you interact with, when you sleep, how you exercise, even aging – all of these can eventually cause chemical modifications around the genes that will turn those genes on or off over time. (2)

Still with me?

So this made me wonder if there was a relationship between epigenetics and cardiovascular disease.  Is CVD really a familial death sentence?  In his book “How Not To Die,” Dr. Michael Greger explains,  “For most of our leading killers (heart disease being number one), non-genetic factors like diet can account for 80-90% of cases.”   Migration studies and twin studies show us this is not just a case of bad genes.  When a person moves from a place where there is a high incidence of heart disease to a place where heart disease is virtually non-existent, their rates of disease decrease.  Conversely, when a person moves from a place where there is a low incidence of disease, their risk raises when they move to a place where there are higher incidents of disease.   In a twin study funded by the American Heart Association, 500 twin pairs were examined for CVD.  Some were non-identical (only share 50% of the same genes) and some were identical twins (they share the exact same genes).  The results of the identical twins showed that one twin can die early of a heart attack, and the other can live a long, healthy life with clean arteries depending on what they ate and how they lived.”

So even if I have the genetic predisposition to heart disease, it doesn’t mean that I have to die from it.

Whew.

“Your genes are the gun, but it’s your lifestyle that pulls the trigger.”

Bad habits also run in families.  Families that grow up together and eat together, end up “inheriting” bad eating habits from mom and dad.  That is what explains why entire families are obese; suffer from CVD, diabetes, and other chronic diseases.  Overeating, consuming foods high in fat and cholesterol, eating fast food for breakfast and dinner, and a sedentary lifestyle are all significant factors that lead to early death from Cardiovascular Disease.

Worse, the more behavioral risk factors people have—smoking and eating a high-fat diet and not exercising, for instance—the less likely they are to be interested in information about living healthier. (3)

So what do we do about it?

DIET:

Without question, diet is the single most important component of preventing, halting, and in many cases even reversing the effects of cardiovascular disease.  A high fiber diet made up of mostly whole, plant-based foods, similar to those diets followed by Asian and African populations (areas where heart disease is virtually non-existent) has been scientifically proven to lower cholesterol and dissolve plaque build-up in the arteries without the use of medications or surgery.   In fact, diet is so powerful that Dr. Barnard equates eating a plant-based diet as the nutritional equivalent to quitting smoking.   So does this mean a vegan or vegetarian diet?  According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman MD, by striving to eat at least 90% of your calories from the unrefined plant foods that comprise the base of the pyramid each day, you construct a health-promoting, disease-preventing diet. But what about the remaining 10%?  While I love the idea of every person eating a 100% whole food plant-based diet, I know it’s not a realistic option for everyone.

In a large scale study of the longest living people in the world, National Geographic researcher Dan Buettner examined five places in the world – dubbed “Blue Zones” – areas where people live the longest, and are healthiest.  The data showed the need to LIMIT MEAT.  “Think of meat as a celebratory food,” Buettner said.  “Portions should be no larger than a deck of cards, once or twice a week.  Avoid processed meats such as hot dogs, bacon and sausages.”  FISH IS FINE.  Enjoy fish up to three times weekly.  Wild-caught salmon or smaller fish like sardines, trout, snapper, cod, and anchovies are okay choices.  Limit portion sizes to 3 ounces (about the size of the palm of your hand.)” Although, you need to know there are other serious issues with fish, such as sustainability, and the health dangers of mercury consumption.

Quick Side Note: Epigenetics and Cancer.

Dr. Dean Ornish and his colleagues took biopsies from men with prostate cancer before and after three months of intensive lifestyle changes, including a diet rich in whole plant-based foods.  Without any chemo or radiation a positive change was noted in 500 different genes.  The expression of disease –preventing genes were boosted and those that promoted the cancer were suppressed. (4)

YOGA:

Performing a variety of yoga postures gently stretches and exercises muscles.  This helps them become more sensitive to insulin, which is important for controlling blood sugar. Deep breathing can help lower blood pressure.  Mind-calming meditation, another key part of yoga, quiets the nervous system and eases stress.  All of these improvements may help prevent heart disease, and can definitely help people with cardiovascular problems. (5)

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY:

It can be as simple as taking a walk.  While walking 60 minutes per week can reduce your overall mortality by 3%, walking 300 minutes a week, or 40 minutes a day, can reduce your mortality rate by 14%!  So in this case, more really is better.  And physical activity doesn’t mean just going to the gym.  It can mean anything from cycling and playing Frisbee, to practicing yoga.

BE HAPPY:

In a 2007 study that followed more than 6,000 men and women aged 25 to 74 for 20 years, researchers found that emotional vitality—a sense of enthusiasm, of hopefulness, of engagement in life, and the ability to face life’s stresses with emotional balance—appears to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.  The protective effect was distinct and measurable, even when taking into account such wholesome behaviors as not smoking and regular exercise.   Optimism cuts the risk of coronary heart disease by half. (6)

**It has also been shown that being good at “self-regulation,” i.e. bouncing back from stressful challenges and knowing that things will eventually look up again; and choosing healthy behaviors can be a major factor in reducing heart disease.  The idea is that you are avoiding risky behaviors such as drinking alcohol to excess, and regular overeating.

How do you start a Plant-based diet?

How do I begin to make a change to a plant-based diet? What behaviors do I need to improve in order to stick with it? I am starting from scratch, and enjoy sugars, carbohydrates and meats. It is going to be a major life change for me, but I have arthritis, high blood pressure and high cholesterol (the latter two conditions are controlled with medications). The arthritis in my hands is painful and anti-inflammatory medications are not helping.

Think evolution rather than revolution.  Introduce one new, plant-based recipe per month, and in a year you have great ideas for eating for two weeks.  Identify one or two types of breakfast you can eat on most days.  I recommend a smoothie.  It’s a great way to get at least 3-4 servings of fruits and vegetables in one meal.  Replace all of the simple carbohydrates, breads and pastas with 100 percent whole grain product.  Add beans to your salads and eat more vegetables.

Any change requires some effort.  If you want a different result, i.e.  Better health, you have to be willing to introduce changes that may be uncomfortable at first.  Our taste buds do not like change.  So, essentially you have to educate your taste buds and do this with a mindfulness and a sense of purpose when you are changing your diet.  If you stay long enough, one month or two off of addictive sugars and fats (and salt as well), you will stop craving those altogether.  Just take the first step in your mind that you want to change to a plant-based diet if you have a sense that such changes will benefit you.

Top 10 List for Weight Loss

Start your day the right way.

My Top Ten List (in no particular order)

1. Our body needs a “balance” of healthy fats (Minimum of 10-20% of total calories), complex carbohydrates (55% of total calories), and complete proteins (less than <35% of total calories).  (Percentages from WHO and The Institute Of Medicine)

Examples:
a. Grapeseed Oil, Walnuts, Flax Seeds, and Avocados are examples of healthy fats.
b. Brown Rice, Quinoa, Sweet Potatoes, are examples of complex carbohydrates.
c. Quinoa, Soybeans, Hemp-seed, and Chia are examples of complete proteins (contain all 9 essential amino acids and must come from food).

2. If you choose to eat meat, think of it as a condiment. Most people exceed their protein requirements by as much as 50%.

3. Do not eat after bedtime. Give yourself at least 12 hours of not eating. Your body needs time to do things other than digest food.

4. Begin everyday with at least 20 ounces of room temperature lemon water.  I add half a lemon and a pinch of sea salt.  You wake up dehydrated and water helps flush toxins, stimulates your metabolism, and increases blood flow to the brain.  The lemon helps keep your body alkaline and the sea salt helps you retain the water.

5. Stay far away from processed man-made foods. Processed foods are high in calories, fat, salt, and sugar. And are low in vital nutrients like vitamins and minerals.

6. Eat organic. This is one of my absolutes. Organic food is grown in nutrient rich soil, making the plants strong and disease resistant. In other words, they do not need pesticides, artificial fertilizers or fungicides.

7. Eat whole foods. While juicing can be a good way to get the vital nutrients, you lose the fiber that is necessary for regulating blood sugar and cleansing the digestive system.

8. Sometimes a simple change in perspective is all that is needed. Think of the word “diet” as a noun and not a verb. Dieting as a verb implies restriction. Instead, say, “These are the foods I have in my diet.” Do not say, “I can’t have that, I am dieting.”

9. As much as 80% of weight loss begins at the plate, not the gym. While exercise is vital to a healthy lifestyle it’s not necessarily vital for weight loss.

10. Healthy eating is a lifestyle, and it takes time to accomplish. Small changes lead to big changes. The key is to keep making those changes.

Mushroom Wellington

This recipe is an adaptation of two recipes that each had something that I needed!  “The New York Times version” had butternut squash, wine, and cheese, but it wasn’t vegan.   The “Delicious Everyday” recipe had the ONIONS!  But it didn’t have the butternut squash, white wine, or the cheese!  Trust me on this.  Also, it was her beautiful photograph that inspired me to make this amazing dish!  I have included the link to the cheese that I am making.  If you have a Whole Foods nearby, or are lucky enough to have access to Kite Hill or Miyoko’s Creamery cheeses at your local grocery, then by all means, go for it!

Mushroom Wellington

Vegan-Mushroom-Wellington-recipe
Photograph Via “Delicious Everyday”

SQUASH:

  • 1 small butternut squash (1 1/4 pounds or 18 oz), peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (You can buy fresh pre-cut in many groceries!)
  • 4 Tbsp Vegan Butter
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • ½ tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • ⅛ tsp smoked sweet paprika or regular paprika
  • ½ tsp kosher salt, or more to taste

ONIONS:

  • 3 large onions, peeled and chopped
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

MUSHROOMS & SPINACH:

  • ¾ pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 300 g baby spinach (10 1/2 Oz)
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ⅓ cup dry white wine
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 (14-to-16-ounce) package puff pastry
  • 1 cup crumbled vegan goat cheese (go here to make your own) http://www.landsandflavors.com/basic-almond-cheese/
  • Vegan egg wash (see below)
  1. Preheat a very large skillet over Medium-high heat; add 2 tablespoons butter (the other 2 Tbsp will be for the mushrooms). Add the squash in a single layer and cook, undisturbed, for 4 minutes. (If squash won’t fit in a single layer, cook it in batches). Stir and continue to cook until squash is golden, 7 to 10 minutes more. Stir in the syrup, thyme, paprika and 1/4 tsp salt; cook one minute. Scrape mixture into a bowl.
  2. Place a large frying pan over a low to medium-low heat. Add the ½ Tbsp of olive oil followed by onion and reduce heat to low. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the onions are golden brown. Keep an eye on the onions to make sure they don’t burn.
  3. Remove the onions from the pan and return the pan to the heat. Add the baby spinach and cook until wilted. Remove from the baby spinach from the pan and leave to cool.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium and melt the remaining butter in the skillet. Stir in garlic, cook 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and ½ tsp salt. Cook until mushrooms are soft and their juices evaporate, about 10 minutes. Stir in the wine and cook until the mixture is dry, about 5 minutes. Stir in the pepper and parsley. Taste and add more salt if needed.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, unwrap the puff pastry. Cut into 2 “5-by-15-inch” rectangles. Spread onions, mushrooms and spinach on each pastry rectangle, leaving 1/4-inch border. Spoon the cheese crumbles over the mushrooms. Spread the Dijon mustard over the mushrooms and season well with salt and pepper. Then spoon the squash over the cheese, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border (it will look like a stripe of squash lying on a bed of cheese and mushrooms).
  6. Brush the exposed borders of dough on each rectangle with wash. Fold the long sides up to meet in the middle and pinch together to seal; pinch the ends, too. Transfer the pastries to the baking sheet and turn them over so that the seam is face down. Brush the tops with more wash. Bake until they are puffed, golden, and firm to the touch, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, slice and serve.

VEGAN EGG WASH

  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup

Cashew Béchamel | Basic White Sauce

This is one of the best béchamel sauces in the whole entire world. Who says you need dairy to make a good sauce?   Not me!  Besides, this is way better than ANY dairy based sauces I’ve had.  It’s easy and delicious, and makes enough to have leftovers to freeze! Yep, you can freeze this bad boy! What’s better than satisfying a craving for a Creamy Mushroom Alfredo (it’s a “thing” for me) and knowing that all you have to do is sauté some mushrooms while waiting for your pasta to boil! Grocery store Alfredo sauces be damned! This, my friends, is the real deal.

Basic_B_chamel_3_HD1280.jpgPhoto Courtesy of Rouxbe School of Cooking

Preparing the Cashews

• 2 cups raw cashews

• 4 to 6 cups warm water

Step 1:  In a medium bowl, soak the cashews in water for 3 to 4 hours to soften. Strain, reserving the cashews and discarding the liquid.

Step 2: Preparing the Sauce

• 1 cup onion, diced
• 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
• 1/2 cup dry white wine
• 2 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
• 2 cloves garlic
• 1 tbsp onion granules
• Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (literally, just a pinch… Too much can alter the flavor)
• Pinch of white pepper (Can use black pepper in a pinch) 😉
• 2 tbsp olive oil (optional if you choose to use oil in this dish)
• 1 tsp sea salt (optional, but I recommend)

Method

First, gather and prepare your mise en place.

If choosing to use oil:

Heat the pan to low to medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the onions and sweat for at least 5-8 minutes to bring out the flavor until translucent. Then continue by adding the garlic and sweat for an additional couple minutes.

*For no oil sauté:
(It is easier to sauté, rather than sweat with no oil, so this process may give the onions a bit of color.)

Heat the pan to medium to high heat. Be sure the pan is heated properly (water test). Add the onions to the dry pan and continue to stir well until the onions begin to turn translucent and stick. Try to keep the onions from browning, adding a little stock or water if needed. You can add the garlic to the onions or add directly into the blender as shown in the video. Remove from heat.

Transfer the cooked onions and garlic into the blender.

To finish the sauce, add the cashews, the remaining vegetable stock, white wine, garlic, nutritional yeast, onion granules, nutmeg, white pepper and salt (if using). Blend on high speed until smooth. Add more liquid if you choose to have a thinner consistency.

***Recipe: Courtesy of Rouxbe Cooking School

Tahini Free Roasted Garlic Hummus

Simple-Hummus-Without-Tahini-5
Adapted from The Wholesome Dish

I love hummus, and my husband has crowned himself the king of hummus.  He makes it all the time.   And his hummus is forever changing.  It’s usually a product of his current culinary whims. Sometimes he adds fresh dill from our garden. Sometimes he adds a nice smoked paprika that we found at our local Indian Grocer. But he is always upping the ante.  For me, I like a simple traditional hummus.  Its simplicity is what makes it good, and I feel like why mess with a good thing? But there are times when you HAVE to change it up.  Like the time I was out of tahini.  Or like the two months I decided to give up all cooking oils.

This recipe does it all.  It is sesame free and oil free.  The creaminess of this recipe comes from the aquafaba.  What is aquafaba you ask?  It is the water that you normally drain from the can of beans, and it’s amazing!  We vegans use it all the time as a sub for eggs in vegan baking. The starchy liquid is a great binder directly from the can, but what really makes it magical is that it whips and creates foam. Aquafaba is therefore able to trap air; giving items structure at the same time it delivers a fluffy crumb and lift.  You can even make meringues!  In hummus, it adds a flavor and a creaminess that can’t be beat!  It’s the perfect sub for both the oil and the tahini!

Feel free to add whatever spices, or beans you want!  That’s the beauty of hummus, it can be as simple as whatever you have on hand, or as complex as you want it to be!   You can use it as a dip for veggies, or thin it out with a little bit of water and use as a dressing.  We love it on top of our Buddha bowls!

This is a keeper.


“Tahini Free Roasted Garlic Hummus”

  • 2 15 ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans, drained but save aquafaba)
  • 2 cloves roasted garlic (buy it pre-roasted at Fresh Thyme)
  • ¼ cup aquafaba from chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice (freshly squeezed is best)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp of ground coriander
  • ½ tsp of crushed red pepper
  • 1 tbsp parsley (dried)
  • 1 ½ tsp of salt
  • ½ tsp pepper (or to taste)
  • Mix all ingredients in blender, and blend until smooth. Add more aquafaba if you find that it’s too dry. Season to taste. Chill for a few hours, taste again, and adjust seasonings if necessary.  You can use olive oil in place of the aquafaba, but it won’t be as creamy, and you’ll save yourself about 240 calories!

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    Vegan Lobster Bisque

    There are some things that a girl can’t live without.  I have decided that one of them is this recipe.  I love all things bisque, chowder and seafood.  However, since seafood isn’t on the table anymore, (all puns intended)…I had some work to do.  This is the result of that work. And I have to say, this recipe has truly been a labor of love.

    There are some options for the Kelp Powder since it’s not likely in your pantry.  You can use pulse Nori Seaweed Sheets in food processor or blender (you can find them everywhere, even Wal-Mart), Dulse flakes (at most high end groceries, or amazon)  or you can also just buy kelp powder.  Kelp can add a powerful nutrient boost to smoothies, and it also goes well mixed in salad dressings, or sprinkled on top of vegetables.

    Cosmopolitan magazine even loves Sea Kelp!  “Sea kelp is a natural source of vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D and E, as well as minerals including zinc, iodine, magnesium, iron, potassium, copper and calcium. In fact, it contains the highest natural concentration of calcium of any food – 10 times more than milk.”

    If you try it, leave me a comment below!

    VEGAN LOBSTER BISQUE

    IMG_0318

    • 1 cup raw cashews (soaked overnight, or boiled for 10 minutes)
    • 1 cup vegetable broth
    • 1 tablespoon kelp powder
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    • 2 cups of onion, minced
    • 2 medium carrots, diced
    • 4 large celery ribs, diced
    • 4 medium garlic cloves, crushed
    • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
    • 5 cups vegetable broth
    • 1 cup dry white wine
    • 2 cups dried Lobster mushrooms (soaked and diced)
    • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
    • 1 teaspoon thyme
    • Pinch of cayenne
    • 1 bay leaf
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 3 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, plus minced leaves and tender stems for garnish
    1. Soak cashews overnight, or boil for 10 minutes. Add to blender with 1 cup of vegetable broth, kelp powder, and cornstarch. Blend until smooth, this will take a few minutes. Set aside. Soak the Lobster mushrooms, according to package directions.  (Reserve ¼ cup of the rehydrated mushrooms for garnish).
    2. Add olive oil to a large stockpot, and heat on medium. Add onion, garlic, celery, and carrots to the pot and cook for about 3 or 4 minutes, until softened.
    3. Stir tomato paste into vegetables and cook for 2 minutes. Add white wine and deglaze the pan. Simmer for 2 minutes. Add broth, cashew cream mixture, and seasonings. Bring to a simmer, reduce to low heat and cook for about 10 minutes.
    4. Remove bay leaf. Purée the soup with an immersion blender, or purée in batches in a blender until smooth, returning soup to the pot. Add diced mushrooms and simmer for 3-5 minutes until mushrooms are thoroughly heated through.
    5. Add salt & pepper to taste. Garnish and serve immediately.

     

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