Ginger Garlic Broccoli & Mushroom Ramen Soup, Plus Progress Over Perfection

bowl of noodles and vegetables in broth
Healthy, hearty, and delicious!

I’ve been eating a lot of soup lately, as part of my plan to lose the baby weight, and this Ginger Garlic Broccoli & Mushroom Ramen Soup hits the spot! There’s enough carbs, protein, fibre, and broth to keep me full, and lots of deliciously flavoured veggies because…deliciously flavoured veggies!

I actually started with a recipe for ginger garlic bok choy, but subbed in broccoli instead because that’s what I had. I added in mushrooms and a bit of an egg omelette, for a meaty bite. Once I quickly stir-fried the broccoli, pan-fried the mushrooms (and then fried up the omelette in the same frying pan), I spooned it all over the noodles and broth. Et voila, a hearty, healthy meal!

While I used (egad!) prepackaged noodles for the soup, I highly recommend just making up some broth and adding noodles. It’s pretty easy to do and fewer preservatives! But, I believe in progress not perfection, and I’m slowly cutting out almost all preservatives in my kitchen. It’s a trade-off — if I only have 15 minutes to make dinner, do I want to stick a frozen something (that is definitely full of preservatives) into the oven, or do I want a bowl of soup where only the noodles aren’t preservative-free, but the stir-fried vegetable topping is pure healthiness? For me, I’m happy to quickly whip up this easy veggie noodle soup; it only takes 15 minutes to make!

Want to make some too? Let’s!

Ginger Garlic Broccoli & Mushroom Ramen Soup

Ginger Garlic Broccoli & Mushroom Ramen Soup
This healthy, hearty noodle soup whips up in 15 minutes -- faster than take-out!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 package ramen noodles (packet w/ broth)
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. ginger, zested or finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. hot pepper flakes
  • 3 tbsp. water
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil

Instructions

  1. Prepare noodles according to package.
  2. Wash and cut florets off head of broccoli, chop garlic, and wash and slice mushrooms.
  3. Heat 1 tsp. oil in a frying or saute pan, and add garlic, hot pepper flakes, and ginger. Fry one minute or until fragrant.
  4. Add in broccoli and water and put a lid on the pan. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.
  5. While the broccoli is steam frying, fry the mushrooms in the remaining 1 tsp. of oil.
  6. Set mushrooms aside, and use the same frying pan to fry up the egg (either as a sunny-side up egg or as an omelette -- whichever you prefer).
  7. When broccoli is done, stir in sesame oil and mushrooms.
  8. Split the noodles and broth between two bowls, top with the broccoli and mushroom mixture, and put half of the egg on top.
  9. Enjoy!

Notes

Pro tip: I prefer to zest my ginger as opposed to chopping it finely, as it's soooo much easier. I pre-peel ginger and then freeze it, and zest it straight from the freezer.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 299 Total Fat: 17g Saturated Fat: 5g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 11g Cholesterol: 93mg Sodium: 861mg Carbohydrates: 29g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 1g Protein: 9g

The soup isn’t spicy, as I was also cooking for the spice-adverse DH, but you could easily add in some more hot pepper flakes for a bigger oomph per bite ratio. You could also easily switch out the veggies for other ones. Kale? Swiss chard? Ooh, I think Swiss chard would be really nice in this!

If you make this recipe, let us know which vegetables you used! And, if you’re so inclined, I’d appreciate a share on social media! This blogger has goals! (Very delicious chocolate-chip studded ones.)

Next Post: I’m in a soup kinda mood these days (see above), so I think I’ll share my Knock Your Socks Off Cream of Mushroom Soup recipe! Better than any preservative-laden canned soup you’ll ever have!

Chocolate Strawberry Trifle with Almond Sherry Whipped Cream, Plus a Blogging Breakthrough

Chocolate & Strawberry Trifle with Almond Sherry Whipped Cream, displayed with a chocolate bar and a bottle of Almond Sherry.
Creamily delicious!

I didn’t grow up eating trifles. In fact, I don’t think I even knew what they were until I read about them in British novels as a young adult. Are you familiar with them? They’re usually elaborate looking concoctions of whipped cream and alcohol-soaked cake, sometimes with fruit, sometimes with chocolate, and always very rich. But when I was rummaging through my freezer recently, and came across some chocolate cake rounds from a few months ago, I knew just what to make: Chocolate Strawberry Trifle with Almond Sherry Whipped Cream! Trifle always looks fancy, but it’s really just a mish-mash of ingredients layered together! Looks fancy, easy to put together, no preservatives, and yummy? Bring it on!

I had some whipping cream in my fridge, so I whipped that up with some icing sugar, and poked around in my bar stand and pulled out a bottle of almond sherry that I use for baking. I decided to put the alcohol in the whipped cream as opposed to soaking the cake in it, simply because I’d need to use more sherry if I wanted to soak the cake, and I can’t have alcohol since I’m a nursing mum. But a tablespoon or two just to flavour the whipped cream? Totally doable!

So now I had the cake rounds, I had the almond sherry whipped cream, but…I felt it needed a bit more oomph. I looked around my kitchen and came across a jar of strawberry preserves that the DH had bought for his mum when she visited us last month. Perfect! I melted it in the microwave and spread it on the cake layers. The preserves served a double duty — it moistened the cake layers, plus it added a bit of strawberry flavour.

Now, I have quite a few kitchen gadgets in the condo, but I simply don’t have space for All The Baking Things. One of those things is a trifle glass. Hmm, what to do, what to do…I pulled out a vase and layered it up all purdy like! (Don’t have a trifle glass? Eh, use any old glass container! I won’t tell if you don’t!)

Want a bit more of the specifics so you can make your own? Read on!

Yield: 10 servings

Chocolate & Strawberry Trifle with Almond Sherry Whipped Cream

Chocolate & Strawberry Trifle with Almond Sherry Whipped Cream
This lusciously layered Chocolate & Strawberry Trifle looks fancy but is super-easy to put together! Almond Sherry Whipped Cream? Yes, please!

Ingredients

  • 2 chocolate cake rounds
  • 1 c. whipping cream
  • 1/3 c. strawberry jam
  • 1/3 c. icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp. almond sherry
  • chocolate chunks or cocoa powder for dusting

Instructions

  1. 1.Bake the cake rounds. I suggest using this recipe, as it creates perfectly fluffy and delicious chocolate cake. Cool, then slice the layers in half lengthwise.
  2. 2. While the cake is cooling, make the whipping cream. In a cold bowl (put the bowl and whisk in the freezer for 20 minutes prior to using), mix the whipping cream, icing sugar, and almond sherry. Whip until stiff peaks form.
  3. 3. Heat the jam in the microwave for 30 seconds until completely melted.
  4. 4. Now, the fun part: layering the trifle! In a see-through glass container, place a few scoops of the flavoured whipped cream. Place a cake layer on top and press down until the whipped cream is flattened. Brush some strawberry jam on top of the cake layer.
  5. 5. Repeat until the last cake layer is used. Then top with the remaining whipped cream. If there is any strawberry jam left, drizzle that on top.
  6. 6. Dust with cocoa powder, or chocolate shavings. Chill, spoon out big scoops for each servings, and enjoy!

Notes

This recipe is easily adaptable! Prefer vanilla cake over chocolate? Go right ahead! And while you're at it, why not switch up jam flavours? Or toss in some macerated strawberries too? This trifle is as customizeable as you want it to be!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1/10

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 228 Total Fat: 14g Saturated Fat: 7g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 6g Cholesterol: 32mg Sodium: 113mg Carbohydrates: 25g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 19g Protein: 2g

By the way, I wrote in the title of this post about blogging breakthroughs. Well, I’m taking an online blogging course, and as part of that, I’m a member in several fb blogging groups. One of those had a super-successful blogger pop in to help out, and she was able to give me some critiques on how to up my blogging game. One of those things was to be more specific about what exactly I write recipes about. In other words, I need to niche down on my avatar.

This is something I’ve been thinking about and puzzling about for a while now. But I’ve decided! I’m big on encouraging people to get in the kitchen make good food and not to worry about being all perfect, so I’ve decided to focus on preservative-free recipes plus kitchen encouragement. Because, when it comes to healthy, delicious, homemade food, we all start somewhere! To that end, I’ve changed my tagline (click on the title of the blog to see it) and have added a page to my blog called Kitchen Encouragement. Let me know what you think; I’m all about the feedback!

And, if you like this or any other recipe, can you share it on social media? Much appreciated! As I’ve said before, I might be aiming at the moon, but one of these days I’ll hit the stars!

Next Post: Likely a super-delish ramen soup dish I came up with. Not entiiiiirely preservative-free if you use store-bought ramen, but like I wrote above, isn’t it all about progress, not perfection?

Preservative-Free Garden Veggie Spread, and My Childhood Dream

Garden veggie spread in a container, next to two slices of bread being spread with the cream cheese mixture. Next to those items is a mason jar that is spilling out dehydrated peppers, and a garlic bulb in the corner.
I can’t even tell you how yummy this healthy cream cheese spread is! So yum. All the yums!

When I was a child, I used to loooooove eating raw red peppers. My mother would cut them into sticks and give them to us for lunches and snacks and I would gobble them up. I always said that when I was grown up, I would eat nothing but red peppers for a whole day. Fast forward a few years (*cough* decades *cough*) and my sweet husband, who knows that I still love red peppers, comes home from a shopping trip with several BAGS of them. Now, I love red peppers but there’s only so many even I can eat. What to do? Well, I sliced and froze some, and then I dehydrated the rest. I used the dehydrated peppers in soups and stews and tossed them in my Best Ever Macaroni Salad, but I still had a ton left. That is, until I started making Preservative-Free Garden Veggie Spread!

This cream cheese spread is chock-full of veggies and is tastes absolutely incredible for something that only has four ingredients. It’s slightly sweet and totally savoury and is perfect to spread on fresh bread, toasted bagels, or even crackers.

I plan to add it to the next cheese and cracker platter that I make; that is, if any is left after the DH and I finish taste-testing it! I can not overstate how delicious this spread is. And bonus, there are no nasty preservatives in it, only healthy ingredients.

This spread is so good, it will have you looking forward to meal times, just so you can eat more of it! (True story, just replace ‘meal time’ with ‘late-night snack’ and you’ll be living my life!)

Want to make some yourself? Let’s!

Preservative-Free Garden Veggie Spread

This healthy cream cheese spread is chock-full of veggies, but tastes like your favourite coffee shop bagel spread. 

Servings 5 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. dehydrated red and green peppers
  • 1 tbsp. dried chives
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 pkg. cream cheese (227 g)

Instructions

  1. Using a mortar and pestle, grind the dehydrated red and green peppers to a powder. You can leave a few larger chunks in, but most of it should be a finely ground powder. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can use a spice grinder, or even (IF you’re making a large quantity) a blender. 

  2. Soften cream cheese in a microwave for 15 seconds. This makes it easier to mix everything together. 

  3. Stir all ingredients together. 

  4. And…you’re done! Enjoy your super-delicious and healthy spread!

Dried chives, ground dehydrated peppers, and garlic powder are in a bowl. Dried peppers are spilling out of a mason jar on its side.
Three simple ingredients bring a whack-ton of flavour!

This Preservative-Free Garden Veggie Spread deepens in flavour the longer you let it sit, but you can also eat it right away. Personally, I like to heat it in the microwave for a few seconds after pulling it out of the fridge, so that the cream cheese spreads more easily, but if you’re serving it on a cheese platter, room temperature would be perfect.

Next Post: Easy Chocolate & Strawberry Trifle with Almond Sherry Whipped Cream. Yes, it IS as delicious as it sounds! (Also way easier than it sounds!)

Dairy-Free Brownie Madeleines

Shell-shaped brownie cookies on a cooling tray.

A childhood friend and his father visited us this weekend, and I wanted to make a special dish for them, so I played around with a few recipes. And I came up with (Dairy-Free) Brownie Madeleines! Shell-shaped brownies that puff up splendidly and look extra good if you sprinkle them with icing sugar.

As it happens, I wasn’t able to make the recipe for my friend as the baby decided to have a growth spurt and wanted to eat and be with mummy all the time, so their loss is my waistline’s gain, as I made the recipe the day after they left. You can make the recipe too – it’s delish! While I use a madeleine tray that I borrowed from my mother (I live in a condo. I don’t have room to buy and store All The Baking Things.), you could easily use a well-greased muffin tray to make two-bite brownies instead of madeleines. Actually, that’s a great idea – someone do that and then let us know in the comments how it was!

Want to make the Brownie Madeleines yourself? Let’s!

Dairy-Free Brownie Madeleines

These cookies are more like a brookie: a brownie-cookie mashup! But they’re 100% delicious!

Servings 12 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/3 c. cocoa (plus 1 tbsp.)
  • 1 tsp. instant coffee
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • pinch salt
  • 1/3 c. soft plant-based margarine
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. sugar

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients together. 

  2. Spoon into a well-greased madeleine pan, and bake in a 400 degree oven for 12 minutes or until the top of the brownie madeleines are springy.

  3. Let cool, sprinkle with icing sugar if you desire, and eat!

I used plant-based margarine in the recipe (a soft version) to make these dairy-free, but you could use melted butter if that’s all you have. And I used 1 tsp. of instant coffee powder to add a richness to the chocolatey taste, but I’ve also made them with 2 tsp. of regular coffee and they’re just as good.

Interested in some other variations? Why not dip them in melted white or dark chocolate? Or perhaps drizzle them with a little icing sugar icing? Mmm…want!

Next Post: An AMAZING recipe for preservative-free Vegetable Cream Cheese Spread! Seriously amazing! (Also amazingly easy.)

Easy Classic Bruschetta & Why I’m an Olive Oil Snob

A fresh and garlicky tomato topping on a toasted baguette slice!
A fresh and garlicky tomato topping on a crisply toasted baguette slice!

I think I’ve mentioned before that I grew up eating a wide range of cuisines, but one of my favourites is Italian. (Actually, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like Italian food. So yummy!) My mother made a wide variety of Italian dishes, but one of my favourites was the bruschetta that she made. I had a random craving for it this week, so I got the recipe from her, tweaked it a bit, and have already eaten it twice. So that’s the recipe I’m sharing with you today: Easy Classic Bruschetta!

I’ve eaten bruschetta as a meal, but it’s usually eaten as an appetizer. You really want to use good quality ingredients in this recipe, since each ingredient really plays a starring role. Really nicely ripe tomatoes, some good quality olive oil, and some fresh garlic. And then any old baguette will do. A stale baguette is probably best, but if you don’t have one, just toast the sliced baguette as I do. And as I’ve said before, I don’t usually recommend salting food, but in this dish, don’t skip the salt and pepper. The dish will be flat without it!

I don’t bother adding parmesan cheese to bruschetta, the way a lot of people are used to eating it, but you could definitely add some in. Again, a good quality parmesan would be best since this dish is so simple, but if the refrigerated stuff is all you have, eh, you do you, boo!

Oh, and one last piece of advice: don’t skimp on the garlic! This is such a nicely fresh, crunchy, and garlicky dish, whether you serve it with a hot pasta dish in the winter, or with a cold pasta dish in the summer, or just as a snack!

Easy Classic Bruschetta

This simple dish is as classic and as comforting as Italian food gets, but thrown together in minutes.

Servings 6 people

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 c. olive oil good quality
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Roughly chop tomatoes and garlic. 

  2. Toss with remaining ingredients and set aside for 15 minutes to let the flavour mingle.

  3. In the meantime, slice a baguette on the diagonal and toast in the oven until lightly brown and slightly crispy. 

  4. Just before serving, top the toasted baguette slices with the fresh tomato mixture. And chow down!

As I said in earlier in this post, I recommend using really good olive oil in this recipe, since it’s such a key ingredient. And as I wrote in the title of this post, I’m a bit of an olive oil snob. Why? Well, I have some relatives in the Middle East and they send me the really pure first press olive oil from time to time and my goodness, is there ever a difference in flavour! I tend to cook with store-bought because why not, but for a dish like bruschetta, a high end olive oil can make a big difference! To be honest though, I’m not really a foodie snob — I just like good food! And this dish is some good eatin’! If you try out the recipe, come back and post in the comments what you thought of it!

Next Post: Hmm…perhaps an Easy Yet Decadent Chocolate Trifle flavoured with some almond sherry? With pillowy mountains of cream, and lightly dusted with chocolate shavings? Does that sound good?