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Thanks for stopping by! I'm Zucchini Runner, which means I eat healthy, plant-based foods, live my life to its fullest and stay active through running and cross-training workouts. If you are looking for recipe inspiration, click the link below!

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Creamy Asparagus Soup

Ok, so asparagus might be a spring veggie, but the organic bundles at the store the other day looked SO GOOD, we just couldn’t pass them up! I’m very much a live in the moment person, especially when it comes to cooking or planning my meals. Sure, I go through periods where I pull out the cookbooks, get ideas, make lists and then shop that list… but it never lasts. Nearing age 40, I’ve really started to embrace the unchangeable aspects of my personality. In some areas, a plan is good, in other areas planning just makes me more stressed! It’s a hard balance to maintain, and as I said, it has taken me nearly 40 years to figure out which end is up — but hey at least I did! Life is SO much better when we embrace and accept certain aspects of ourselves that are just engrained in our cells. Wait, isn’t this supposed to be about asparagus soup?! Ah yes, well, here you go.

Some fun facts about asparagus:

  1. Antioxidant Rich: neutralizes cell-damaging free radicals
  2. Nutrient Rich: fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K
  3. It also contains high levels of the amino acid asparagine, which serves as a natural diuretic; not only releasing fluids, but also rids the body of excess salts. (Beneficial for people with high blood pressure or edema.)

So throw caution to the wind and eat out of season! Who cares if it’s November! Bring on the asparagus soup. LOL
But if you DO want to eat in season, here is the list for Arizona. 😀

asparagus_soup_final

Ingredients

2 lbs. asparagus, about 2 bundles
1/2 of one large zucchini, chopped (optional, this just adds a little more green!)
1 medium brown onion, chopped
2-3 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped
1-2 TBSP coconut oil
5 c. vegetable broth
1/2 c. raw macadamia nuts
1/4 tsp. real salt
Ground black pepper (optional, for taste)
Pumpkin seeds (optional, for topping)
Fresh squeezed lemon juice (optional, for a light zing!)

Instructions

  1. Wash asparagus and remove extra firm ends, by snapping off. Then chop the asparagus into 1″ pieces. Set aside.
  2. Heat a stock pot over medium-low heat with coconut oil. Once the oil melts, add the chopped onion. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes, or until the onions start to become translucent.
  3. Add chopped garlic, stir well to combine.
  4. Add the chopped asparagus and chopped zucchini, stir well and cook for about 10-15 minutes. Stirring often.
  5. Add vegetable broth and salt, increase heat to medium-high. Once it comes to a boil reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 10 minutes or until the asparagus is nice and soft.
  6. To turn it into a nice, creamy soup you can either use an emersion blender or a standing blender. (I used my Vitamix standing blender.)
  7. Standing blender method: Simply ladle the soup from the stockpot into the blender. Add the macadamia nuts to the blender too. Place the lid on tightly and loosen the center cap to allow SOME heat to escape. Use the soup setting and blend! Keep a close eye on it however, since the heat build up can cause the lid to pop-up, especially this full. (I have an 8+ cup blending container, so I could do this all in one batch. You may have to do half and then do the other half if you have a smaller blender.)
  8. Emersion blender method: add the nuts to the soup/stockpot and blend away until you’ve reached your desired consistency.
  9. Before serving, you can squeeze some fresh lemon juice into each bowl, and top your soup with ground black pepper and some pumpkin seeds if you like. Have fun with it, make it yours!

This soup makes ~8.5 cups. It’s great reheated the next day and can also be made and frozen ahead of time.

Below is a little slideshow of the steps, if you are a visual person like me! Enjoy!

What is your favorite creamy vegetable soup?

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Apple Pie with Cinnamon Swirl Crust

For Thanksgiving a few years ago, I offered to do the pies, and cranberry chutney. As part of my duties, I was determined to create an over-the-top, unique apple pie that was also vegan. I wanted to figure out a way to combine apple pie with cinnamon roll cookies.

I know, right!?

Not only did it sound fantastic, I thought it would look really cool too! I pulled it off and it’s so good, I wanted to share it again this holiday season. Sure, this pie crust takes a little more time, but you can make it ahead of time and just bake it the morning of Thanksgiving. Have fun with it!

apple_pie_applepie

Apple Pie Filling for 9″ pie:
1/3 c. organic sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
~ 10 cups of thinly sliced and peeled apples (pink lady or granny smith work best)
(Depending on size, the amount of apples varies. If they are small 9 apples, if they are large about 5.)

  1. Peel and thinly slice the apples. Toss in sugar and cinnamon and set aside.

Crust Ingredients for 9″ pie:
2 1/2 c. organic, sprouted spelt flour (can also use gluten-free)
pinch of salt (optional)
1 c. Earth Balance buttery sticks, frozen
1/2 c. very cold water
Cinnamon, as much or as little as you want
2-3 TBSP organic white sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F

Making the Dough

  1. Shave the frozen buttery sticks on a cheese grater, into a bowl
  2. Sprinkle the flour (and salt if using) over the grated buttery sticks. Toss with a fork to coat butter, with flour. Smash down with fork to combine.
  3. Add the 1/2 c. COLD water, and using your hands, smash and knead to combine into a buttery dough ball. (The goal is to still have chunks of butter, not to combine it all until mushy.)
  4. Flatten dough ball and coat with flour and place on a floured surface. Roll out dough until it is about 1/4″ thick.
  5. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
  6. Cut the rolled out dough in half, down the middle, to get the top and bottom crusts.
  7. Roll each half as tight as you can.
  8. Using a sharp knife, cut the cinnamon roll/crust slices about 1/4″ thick for each roll. Keep the two rolls separate to ensure you have enough for both the top and bottom of the pie.

Forming the Crust Bottom

  1. Starting in the center of a 9″ pie dish, place a single slice of cinnamon swirl dough. Forming a flower pattern almost, place up to 10 more swirls around the center slice, ensuring the edges are close and touching. Gently push down and flatten into dish. Continue adding slices until you cover the whole pie dish.
  2. Make sure there are no holes, or the pie filling will ooze through and cause sticking when you slice and remove after baking. Once the entire bottom and sides of the pie dish are covered, add sugar and cinnamon coated apples.

Forming the Crust Top

  1. For the top crust. Tape a pice of parchment paper to your counter, or hold it down with weights so it doesn’t curl. Lay all the slices in a flat, circular layer, with edges slightly overlapping — similar to the bottom crust.
  2. Again, using your hand flatten the pieces into one another. To really flatten and roll it out, place another piece of parchment paper on top of slices. Using a rolling pin, roll over the slices, until they start to meld together and make the crust large enough to cover the pie. The rolled out slices should be about 1/4″ thick or thinner.
  3. Once it is sized correctly. Use the parchment paper that is taped to the counter to help you lift the rolled slices off the counter and quickly flip onto the apple topping.
  4. Pinch the edges of the top layer together with the edges of the bottom layer.
  5. Cut holes in the top layer to vent for steam.
  6. Bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes. Be sure to watch the crust closely so it doesn’t get too brown. (NOTE: If you make this ahead of time, cover it with foil before refrigerating. Once you are ready to bake it, let it sit on the counter for about an hour to bake, OR place in the oven while you preheat it. This will allow it to warm up a little before baking.)
  7. Let cool for 30 minutes before serving, if you can. 🙂

Below is a slideshow, if you prefer visuals with your instructions. It was fun and easy, just takes a little time. 🙂

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