Vegan, Black Bean and Pumpkin Soup

New Soup?  No, just reinvented soup.  I’m taking a look at my soup recipes and seeing if they will be just as delicious with a vegan or vegetarian twist.  Why you ask?

My daughter is a vegetarian.

That fact scared me a little.  It seems she has been a vegetarian for a long time and I didn’t know it.  How can this be, I’m her mother?  I know she didn’t eat much meat, how could I have not seen that she didn’t eat ANY meat??  True, she’s in her twenties, has her own place and comes home only once and a while.  But come on, how could I have missed this fact last Thanksgiving?  I feel like such a neglectful mom.  So now I’m trying to make it up to her with good, healthy, meatless meals.

How does someone stay healthy if they don’t eat meat?  Uggh, kids today!  (jk)

So here we go.  I make an old favorite to take to my son’s house for dinner.  Before adding the ham, I reserve 3 cups of soup for my girl who will be coming home soon.  I take the soup to my son’s house and we all enjoy the Black Bean Pumpkin soup and the sour cream garnish.  Yum.

My girl comes home the next day and I’m proud to tell her I have some vegetarian soup for her.  Ummm, but it is made with chicken stock.  oops.  And I sauteed onions in butter.  That’s not allowed in vegan world.  But she is my very good girl and eats it all up and tells me it’s delicious.  We moms love it when our kids clean their plate… or bowl.

I love her.  This is why I want to make soup she will want to eat.

So, I’ve already ditched the ham.  My girl suggests I add corn in place of the ham.  I ditch the butter for olive oil and I make a batch of   Vegetable Broth that daughter-in-law #1 told me about.  Poof!  I have vegan soup.  Here is the recipe if you’d like to try. It won’t make you a vegan, it will make you veganish.  That’s a term I learned on the Oprah show.  It’s what you call a person that eats vegan once in a while.  But if you are a vegan, this soup’s for you.

And the best part is – my girl loves it.  And as you might have already guessed, I love my girl.

Black Bean and Pumpkin Soup

Recipe By: Rita Garvey
Serving Size: 12


3 cans black beans, drained and rinsed (~4 1/2 cups)
1 can tomato, chopped and drained (~15 oz) save juice, you may need it later
1 1/4 cups onions, chopped
1/2 cup shallot, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup buter 2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups broth, (beef, chicken or veg)
32 ounces pumpkin puree (make sure it’s puree and NOT pie mix – don’t ask me how I know this)
1/2 cup sherry, (or white wine) optional
1/2 pound cooked ham or turkey, diced 1 small bag of frozen corn (~2cups)
sour cream
pumpkin seeds — optional


In a food processor or using a potato masher, loosely puree tomatoes and most of the beans.  Keep some out the mashing stage.  I think it makes for a better soup with combination of whole and mashed beans.
In a 6-quart heavy pot cook onion, shallot, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper in butter olive oil over medium heat, stirring, until onion is softened and beginning to brown. Stir in bean mixture and whole beans.  Stir in broth, pumpkin, and Sherry until combined and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 10 – 15 minutes, or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Just before serving, add ham/turkey frozen corn and simmer soup, stirring until heated through.

Check soup for proper seasoning.  More salt and pepper and cumin can be added at this point.  If you have used canned stock, it should be fine.  If you have made your own stock, more seasoning might be needed.  Taste it for yourself. If it is too thick, you may want to add in your reserved tomato juice.

Serve soup garnished with sour cream and toasted pumpkin seeds.  (optional)

I have made soup with and without Sherry or wine.  Both are delicious.

I hope you all enjoy this and if anyone out there has any suggestions for great vegan meals, I’d love to hear from you!


So simple, why haven’t I made this before?

Vegetable broth that is!

I love to create soup.  I love the texture and flavors of great soup.  I love it even more when it comes from my kitchen.

If there was a chicken or turkey for dinner, you can be sure I was boiling up bones the next day.  Turkey vegetable is one of my family’s favorites.  My Mom taught me how to make soup right after I got married, and it’s a sweet memory for me every time I make some.  I have learned to make many of her soups and most of them, healthier than she did.  I think it’s because I use great kitchen tools that were not available then, and the nutrition of good eating is better now than back in 1975.  I often wish I could cook with her again.


The one stock I haven’t made, until now, is vegetable stock.  I really don’t know why.  I made some of this flavorful liquid the other day and was delighted with the outcome.

Here is the recipe, how easy does this look:

4 carrots, cut into chunks

2 medium or 1 large onion, unpeeled, quartered

2 potatoes, cut into chunks

3 celery stalks, roughly chopped

3 or 4 garlic cloves

20 or so stems parsley, with or without leaves

salt and pepper

Combine everything in a stockpot with 3 quarts water.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a nice simmer.  A rolling boil makes for cloudy stock.  A simmer produces a clearer stock.  Both are delicious and quite the same in flavor.  It’s up to you.  Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.  Cooking a little longer will improve the flavor, but if you’re in a hurry, 30 minutes is fine.  Strain, then taste and adjust the seasoning before using.  Cool before refrigerating or freezing.

This recipe comes from THE FOOD MATTERS COOK BOOK by Mark Bittman.  My daughter-in-law had this book on her “Wish List”.  After looking at it contents, I picked up one for myself too…. and one for my other daughter-in-law…. and one for my daughter.  This might give you an idea of how much I like this book — And I have a lot of cook books.  Mr. Bittman goes on to talk about adding other vegetables to the stock and which one you shouldn’t because they are bitter or overpowering.  He goes on to talk about making a “Roasted Vegetable Stock”. Sounds so good, doesn’t it?  I can’t wait to work my way through this cookbook.

Chipotle Black Beans

This was the other dish I made for Mexican Buffet at Ben and Jeanne’s house.

Chipotle Black Beans:

1 cup onion  , diced

1 tablespoon vegatable oil

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

salt to taste


Saute onion in oil in a large skillet over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic; cook about another minute.  Deglaze skillet with vinegar and bring to a boil.  Add beans, maple syrup, ketchup, chiles, mustard and Worcestershire; simmer 10 minutes.  Season with salt.


Chipotle chiles in adobo sauce comes in a can.  You only need a little.  I dump out the entire can and mince it all up.  Then I flash freeze 1 tablespoon portions on a wax paper lined cookie sheet.  When they freeze, I put all the tablespoon portions in a baggie and keep in the freezer for later use.

These black beans taste great with “Lime Sour Cream.”

Lime Sour Cream

This is a great condiment.  I use it to garnish soups, chili, tacos, or any where you like sour cream.

Lime Sour Cream:

1 cup Sour Cream

2 tablespoons lime juice, fresh

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoons ground cumin

1 whole lime, zested

Directions:  Just mix it all up!

Stuffed Mini Peppers

It’s only been a short while that our grocery store has carried these mini colorful peppers. Boy are they cute.  In keeping with the Mexican theme at Ben and Jeanne’s house warming party, I tried to come up with an appropriate stuffing for the peppers.  They were actually very easy to make.


Mini Peppers

A package of Mexican shredded cheese

A package of frozen corn

Spanish rice, prepared according to package directions.

Wash peppers , trim off tops and core out seeds. Set aside.  Toss cheese, corn and spanish rice together.  Stuff mixture in peppers and place on a baking sheet coated with cooking  spray.  Bake peppers for 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Arrange peppers on tray garnished with chopped cilantro.

Lime Rice

Ben and Jeanne had a nice House Warming last Saturday.  It was a lovely day with lots of neighbors, family and friends to help celebrate their new home.

Since the menu of the day was a Mexican Buffet, I brought a couple of dishes to compliment the meal.  The first was, Lime Rice.  It’s a favorite of mine.


1 1/2 cups rice

1 2/3 cups  water

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 handful cilantro, chopped

1 large lime, juice and zest


Cook rice and water in a rice steamer.  If you don’t have a rice steamer, cook rice the way you usually do with the amount of water you usually use.

While your rice is cooking, zest and juice your lime in a bowl.  Add garlic and onion powder.

Yes, you can use fresh onion and garlic.  You’ll need to saute them first with a little olive oil.  For this dish, I prefer the powdered spices.

When rice is finished, toss rice with butter and lime mixture.  When fully mixed, add chopped cilantro and toss again.

I like to use brown rice.  White rice is pretty much void of nutrition.

If you are serving this for a crowd, this recipe doubles easily.

The other dishes I brought will be posted shortly.

Kitchen gadgets

I’m addicted to kitchen gadgets — ask any of my kids.  It’s true, they’ll tell you.  I just can’t help myself.

Mark wanted to have a kitchen gadget party once.  There was to be no buying of anything  -no- money exchanged.  People would just bring kitchen gadgets they never used and swap with somebody else at the party.  Other people’s stuff always looks better and more interesting than our own.  There was even going to be a special event where you would bring a gadget/utensil and if no one could guess what it was, you would win a prize.  Your prize was being able to steal someone else’s gadget.  All a fun excuse to get together with friends for the evening.  Mark, you had the best ideas!

There is one gadget that I would never swap.  NEVER!  Actually there are more but I’ll talk about this one today.  Feast your eyes on the “One Touch Jar Opener” by one touch.  This jar opener has saved me more times than I can count.  And I can count pretty high if I put my mind to it.  I don’t consider myself weak, but I don’t even think of opening my own jars when this guy is around.

Click here:

You put this on top of your jar and push that black button.
Stand back and watch the magic happen.  It moves the little grippers in and grabs the lid.  It then moves the big grippers in and grabs the jar.  Then presto, they go in different directions and your jar is open.  It has opened pickle jars, opened resealed karo syrup bottles, opened tiny metal sterno containers with screw on lids, it has never failed to do what I’ve asked.  I’ve named him Boris, and I’m keeping him.