There’s a Ninja in my Kitchen -3 Fall Soup recipes, that are easy, delicious, vegan and gluten free !!

September was one of those good busy months, a combination of family, work and local festivals.

Several times I’ve sat down to blog but there’s been so much to write about I didn’t know where to start.

September started with a trip to the Canadian National Exhibition on Labour Day. It was a fun time with Tom and his daughter Katrina. We arrived early and I scoped out the food building for vegan vendors and found this great booth called Wild Child’s Kitchen. I had a wrap and some fudge that were super. It was great to find that the CNE the bastion of deep-fried foods is now offering better foods.

Wild child's kitchen

cherly gordon 007
Harvest Festival Tom and Janet Cherly Gordon’s Outdoor Movie Night for Hunger (pushups) Tom and Janet, Brookin Harvest Festival

Some of the highlights of the month were Cheryl Gordon’s Outdoor Movie night for Hunger, I’ve donated prizes to support this event for several years, but this year I attended it and loved it. What a great community event, I had a booth there and handed out certificates and a goodie to the kids, only after they had done 25 jumping jacks or 15 push ups. I met so many children with great attitudes.

The next day, Live With Spirit had a booth at the Brooklin Harvest Festival, another fantastic community event. We held short running sprints for the kids and again handed out certificates and a goodie. I was working that weekend so was helped by friends, staff, and family. I felt blessed to have so many good people in my life. Espcially because it was a cold, wet, rainy day.

Another fun day was my mother’s 75th Birthday, Tom and I drove to Guelph to attend the Guelph Vegfest with my family.

Veg Fest Vendor sharing his enthusiasm
Veg Fest Vendor sharing his enthusiasm

We then went back to my sister and brother-in-law’s new home in Guelph for a great feast We had a Mediterranean type meal that was a mixture of vegan and non vegan dishes. It was fantastic, my 27-year-old niece who has been a vegetarian since she was little, made an amazing tzatzik and vegan falafels. Here are the recipes for her dishes. Tom barbecued souvlakia which I had marinated and brought with us, everyone contributed something and my sister bought these vegan cupcakes that were divine. I had a few..too many LOL. I love how we can all eat together vegan and non vegan and just be, not let our eating habits create separation but instead foster acceptance. One of the things I love about my family is how inclusive they are, I realised as I sat with them that day, that I have been married twice and now live with Tom, and they seem to just go with the flow of my life. They loved both my ex and late husband, and now warmly welcome Tom. My sister has been married for over 30 years to her husband Brent and there is strength too in that stability.

Mom's Birthday feast

This was followed by my birthday and a great weekend with Tom.  We got up early on my birthday and went to Vaughn for to do the yoga warm up for a fundraiser for Turner’s Syndrome. My mother’s step grandaaugher invited me and it was fun to connect with her.

turner syndrome

My first birthday with him was great; we did yoga, went for a walk, a run and spent quality time building our relationship. Friends first has always been my motto, I enjoy Tom’s company and can spend hours with him.

One of the fun things Tom and I have been doing is “the pose”, he puts his arms behind his head, I tease him that he is trying to flirt with me, he tells me it’s comfortable for his arms. So I have been taking pictures of Tom in the pose where ever we go, he is so fun and good natured to humour me this way. It’s catching on and some of my Facebook friends are waiting for “the pose” pictures. My grandson Colton caught on and now does “the pose” for his mother.

Tom in spin class doing
Tom in spin class doing “the pose”
My grandson Colton donig
My grandson Colton donig “the pose”

Friday Tom asked me to go to Canadian tire shopping, I was like shopping at Canadian tire ? Do they sell shoes? But what he had in mind was buying me Ninja, they were on sale and it was a surprise. There I stood in the Ninja aisle, thinking omg I am in bliss. I love to cook and great tools make it so much easier, I have been using a food processor that was not great, and an old blender that has seen better days. Now I have a Ninja Mega Kitchen System, which is a blender (similar to a Vitamix), food processor and Magic Bullet all in one. It sits proudly on a shelf in the kitchen and the old ones have been offered to my daughter.

So I’m happily “Ninjaing” in my kitchen (new word) and being grateful for Tom and his generosity and also his appreciation of how much I love to cook and having great tools makes it even better.

Ninja Mega Kitchen System
Ninja Mega Kitchen System

If I could theme my last 5 weeks it would be gratitude for the many great people in my life. I am loved, I love, and I continue to grow in love.

I have amazing thanksgiving plans, Saturday Tom, myself our daughters and some family are gathering at our home for our first Thanksgiving as a couple. We are both excited for different reasons, me because I love family and I love to cook. Cooking is one of the ways I express my love for people, I like to plan meals keeping the likes of my guests in mind. We are going to do a traditional dinner with some vegan pumpkin chili made in the slow cooker, here’s the link to the recipe, which I have not made yet.…My4cCQ&_bta_c=4l9jlaohbd4v20854jqxjn0p2si19

Sunday I will be heading to Glenarm Ontario where Tom’s brother lives, it’s a small hamlet east of Beaverton. My family is from Glenarm, my Grandmother and several Aunts and Uncles still live there, so I look forward to also visiting with them at some point during the day. It was such a coincidence to discover that Tom’s brother lives in this small hamlet of maybe 80 people. My father was born in Glenarm as well.

Here’s a blurb on Glenarm from Wikipedia, our family name, Nicholson, is noted.

Glenarm is a community in the City of Kawartha Lakes of about 80 people. At one time the hamlet included a general store, restaurant, church, two taverns, a blacksmith shop, dance hall and a jail, although the general store has since closed. The church, Knox Presbytrian, used to have many people attend, and now has about 60 members in its congregation. A cemetery with graves reaching back to the 1870s sits just south of the church. Avid genealogists would find many names inscribed here, such as Nesbitt, Murchison, Mackenzie, Brown, Jamieson, Parrington, Telford, Mattinson, Nicholson, Webster and Gilchrist.
Very few people live in the actual hamlet itself, but the community spreads about 2 km in each direction.
Originally called Hardscrabble, the village was settled by Scottish immigrants, whose descendants still live there on many original ancestral farms. Notably, the Amish community has recently moved into the area, which now houses two Amish bakeries, and fresh food stands.

On Thanksgiving Monday I am running in the morning with a good friend, and then I am picking up my grandkids to go hiking. I am excited about this too. My late husband Frank and I used to hike with our kids every Thanksgiving, it was our tradition. He introduced me to the trails when we were dating, we spent many days hiking Seaton trail, hiking by our cottage in the Bancroft area, and later trail running in Durham forest. My daughter Margaux will join us as we share the legacy of Frank and his love for trails, with his grandchildren. We will visit the tree we planted in his honour, hike and end our hike with sandwiches and cupcakes.

I made this Tomato Squash soup just yesterday; it’s fast, easy and delicious. I didn’t add any olive oil, so it was fat-free too.


Tomato Squash Soup
Tomato Squash Soup

By: Rose Marie Jarry, Master Chef at Kronobar, 30 minutes, 4 servings, gluten-free, vegan.

3 medium sized tomatoes
1 large potato
1 cup precooked spaghetti squash
1 onion
2 tablespoons cold pressed olive oil
1 pinch sea salt
2¾ cups organic vegetable broth
Ground pepper
If you don’t have cooked squash you should take a whole squash, and cut it in half. Lay them on a cooking sheet face down, and bake in the oven at 400F for about 90 minutes. I suggest you bake a few and freeze them for later use in other recipes.
Dice all the vegetables and in a sauce pan cook them with the vegetable broth. Even if your squash is pre-cooked add it in with the other ingredients as they cook.
Cook for 20 minutes on medium/high heat, until the potatoes are soft.
Blend everything in a blender or food processor until you have a soft and creamy texture.
Pour in the olive oil and sea salt as you serve.

Fresh Tomato Soup – 30 minutes, 4 servings, gluten free, vegan

Rich and creamy vegan tomato soup.
Rich and creamy vegan tomato soup.

Fresh tomato  soup is easy to make with a hand-held blender. This version is bursting with flavor. If you don’t have an immersion blender, simply transfer the soup to blender or food processor instead.

1 Tbs. olive oil

¾ cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano or basil

1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme or ¼ tsp. dried

5 cups diced fresh tomatoes (2 lb.)

1 ½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth

2 ½ Tbs. tomato paste

2 tsp. sugar

Fresh herb sprigs for garnish

In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, oregano or basil and thyme and cook, stirring often, until onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in broth, tomato paste and sugar. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes. Using immersion blender, process until smooth.

Ladle into serving bowls and garnish with fresh herbs.

Carrot Ginger Soup, 55 minutes, 4 servings, vegan and gluten free.
Carrot Soup
Carrot Soup

Colorful and fragrant carrot and ginger soup is a light and soothing soup. Carrot soup with ginger is a nutritious and low fat soup recipe with just a touch of sweetness and a touch of spice. This carrot and ginger soup recipe is both vegetarian and vegan.

3 tbsp olive oil

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1/4 cup fresh ginger, minced

4 cups chopped and peeled carrots (about 1 1/2 pounds)

3 cups vegetable broth

1 1/2 cups orange juicedash nutmeg    salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:In a large pot, sautee onions and ginger in olive oil until soft, about 3-5 minutes.

Add carrots and vegetable broth and reduce heat to medium. Allow to simmer for about 40 minutes, or until carrots are soft.

Add orange juice and stir well.

Happy Thanksgiving, with Love, Sheree xo



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