Potato, Leek, Cannelini Bean Soup




I have been amazed at how easy it is to make soup and how delicious and satisfying they are as meal with a salad or bread. I added cannelini beans to the soup for extra nutrition and when mashed in the soup added extra body to the soup and creaminess. I plan for this soup to become a regular in my fall/winter repertoire.



3 large leeks cut in small slices (use white part only)

2 Tbs. butter

2 cups broth

2 cups water

5 small potatoes ( I used red potatoes)  peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces

1 15 oz can cannelini beans

2 Tbs. fresh parsley

3 Tablespoons sour cream

1 cup 1/2 and 1/2

Cook leeks in butter on low heat in a saucepan. Stir while cooking. Add broth and water. Add cannelini beans and mash with potato masher. Add potatoes. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. Use immersion blender to puree 1/2 of the soup or carefully transfer to blender and return to saucepan. (Careful, mixture will be hot). Stir in sour cream and half and half. Chop parsley and add to soup.




Easy Tomato, Basil, Bean and Pasta Soup

This is my slightly Tex-Mex version of Minestrone soup or Pasta Fagioli. It is easy, quick, wholesome and delicious. A perfect summer lunch for my family served with salad or warm bread. I love the “shells” because they are hearty and don’t disintegrate or get soggy as quickly as macaroni and I think they are fun too and remind me of childhood.


Hearty Soup


3 carrots, peeled and chopped

1/3 cup white onion, chopped

Olive Oil

1 26/48 pack Pomi Tomatoes (Strained)

1 15 oz can Eden Organic Black Beans, rinsed

16 oz vegetable broth

1/2 of a 12 oz bag of pasta shells

2 cloves of garlic

1 cup fresh basil, rinsed and chopped

1 cup half and half

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

cayenne pepper (optional)

chipotle powder (optional)

avocado slices for serving


In a dutch oven or saucepan, saute onion and carrot in olive oil on medium high heat for 3 minutes. Add broth, Pomi tomatoes, and black beans, garlic, salt, pepper and dried chipotle powder (optional) Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Bring back up to boil. Add pasta. Boil for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in half and half until heated through. Toss chopped basil into the soup. Serve with fresh avocado slices. Serve with warmed baguette or your favorite bread.



Tomato Basil White Bean Soup



I love tomato basil soup. I love to serve it with grilled cheese sandwiches or panini. Or it is delicious with warmed bread or salad. I decided to add mashed white beans to obtain a creamy texture and to add more protein and nutrition. I use an immersion blender which really makes it a snap to make homemade soup. Feel free to add more or less pepper or hot sauce to your taste. We like our food a little spicy in my family.

1 pack of Pomi tomatoes (26.46 oz) (strained)

2 cups vegetable broth

1 15 oz. can of cannelini beans (rinsed)

1 cup of half and half

2 cups chopped, fresh basil

Kosher Salt
(sprinkle to taste)

freshly ground black peper (1 teaspoon)

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

dash or dashes of hot sauce (Tapatio, Cholula, or Tabasco)

Place tomatoes and broth in a medium or large saucepan or dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Add cannelini beans. Mash beans with potato masher. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add basil and half and half. Remove from heat. Puree soup with immersion blender or transfer to a blender (be careful, because contents are hot).  Garnish with fresh basil.



Lentil Tostadas: A variation on tradition


Lentil Tostadas


I love traditional Mexican food. I grew up with it. Fajitas were always beef. Migas were never in a taco. (Migas tacos must be a Tex-Mex thing and am I ever glad those were invented! Yum.) As a vegetarian, I have to vary from the traditional methods sometimes in order to create vegetarian versions of my favorite foods. I feel this has made me a more creative cook.

Although tostadas or “chalupas” as they are also called, are absolutely perfect and delicious with mashed pinto beans or mashed black beans, I had all these leftover lentils from a soup/stew I had made that needed to get used up. See recipe:


So I drained as much of the liquid out of the soup, placed the lentils in a pan, mashed the mixture with a potato masher and they were perfect for lentil tostadas. I also love making a meal, having enough for two meals, but finding a way to vary the meal slightly from the day before. With this dish, I was able to accomplish that and it made for a perfect summer meal.


Baked Tortillas/Tostadas (I found baked ones at HEB)

mashed lentils or bean of your choice

shredded greens/lettuce

diced avocado

diced tomato

pickled jalapenos

shredded cheese (monterrey jack or cheddar)

fresh cilantro

lime juice

Spread mashed beans or lentils on tortilla. Top with favorite toppings. I like to let my family build their own tostada. Squeeze lime juice on top of tostada. Enjoy!


It’s fun to let everyone prepare their own!


I found these at HEB. They are baked, not fried.



Serve with lime wedges!


Garbanzo bean Salad with Pesto dressing



My husband and I recently returned from a fabulous trip to San Francisco! It was wonderful! We joked that our trip was all the of the fabulous meals that we ate with a little sightseeing in between. Every meal was wonderful! I will try to recreate some of the dishes we had during our trip and this is one of them. There is a great cafe called Brioche Bakery and Cafe that is located between North Beach, Chinatown and the Financial District. They served amazing pastries, salads, coffee, sandwiches and bread. We went there three times during our trip because we loved it so much!

We had salad that was similar to this one but had mint instead of basil and had couscous instead of quinoa. While this is not exactly what they served nor is it a recreation of what they served, it is inspired by what they served. I will be posting various dishes that were inspired by our dining experience at this wonderful place with friendly service, wooden tables, baskets or bread, delicious coffee, with Julio Iglesias or Gypsy Flamenco Rumba music in the background.

Ingredients for the Salad:

Chopped greens

Shredded carrots

1/4 cup Fresh parmigiano regiano cheese, grated

3-4 fresh basil leaves

Garbanzo beans/chick peas (2 cans)

1 cup of cooked quinoa (follow package directions)

Olive Oil

2 cloves of garlic


1. Place garbanzo beans on a jelly roll pan or pyrex dish, add olive oil to coat, roast at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Add crushed garlic coated in olive oil and roast an additional 5 minutes. (If you like your garbanzo beans crunch, roast for longer. I like them softer and crunchy).

2. Cook quinoa according to package directions. You will need about 1 cup of cooked quinoa for the salad.

3. Place chopped salad greens, carrots, cheese, basil and quinoa in a serving dish or large salad bowl.

4. Add roasted garbanzo beans. Add pesto dressing. Toss to coat and serve.

Ingredients for the Pesto:

Fresh basil leaves (4 cups)

1 cup of olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 cloves of garlic

1/2 cup of parmesan cheese

kosher salt and black pepper to taste

* My son is allergic to tree nuts so I did not add pine nuts to the pesto. I did roast the pine nuts on the stove on a saucepan on medium heat for 5 minutes and placed them in bowl for the rest of us to add on the salad.


Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree.



Black Beans “A La Veracruzana”



Growing up in South Texas, there was an abundance of seafood. Our dad was a really great cook and made a dish with fish (I am not sure which kind but it was white. I think it might have been trout) and a rich tomato sauce that he served with white rice as I remember. We called it “Pescado a la Veracruzana” from the Veracruz region in Mexico. I wanted to duplicate this dish using my favorite ingredient (black beans). It was a nice variation of the usual beans and rice that we eat often in our house. We enjoyed it and I hope that you do too!

Ready to serve


2 cans of Eden Organic Black Beans, rinsed

1 onion (white or yellow)

2 cloves of garlic

1 24 ounce can of tomato puree ( I used the Central Market Brand)

Olive oil or grapeseed oil

Cumin ( 1 teaspoon)



Fresh Cilantro

Dashes of your favorite hot sauce to taste ( I like Cholula or Tapatio)


1. Chop onion and place in saucepan with olive oil. Saute until onions are caramelized. Add kosher salt and pepper.

2. Add garlic and cumin and continue to saute for a minute or two but be careful not to overcook because garlic can scorch easily.

3. Add tomato sauce followed by the black beans.

4. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. Check  intermittently that there is enough liquid that mixture does not scorch. Add water or broth accordingly. Liquid will become thick and rich (and delicious).

5. Uncover. Stir and fold in fresh cilantro.

6. Serve with rice (brown or white), Greek yogurt (or sour cream if you prefer), and avocado slices.

Creamy Avocado Lime Cilantro Dressing

I was looking for a different type of dressing for our salads other than our usual balsamic vinaigrette. Don’t get me wrong, we love our vinaigrette but sometimes it is nice to add some variety. I love the salad dressings from Tacodeli, (a gourmet taco restaurant) in Austin, Texas. They offer a lime dressing and a creamy dressing which are so good we usually ask for both of them. While I do not have the recipe for either of them, I combined elements of both to create this version. I hope you enjoy!

For the Dressing

1/2 cup Oikos nonfat Greek Yogurt

1/3 cup Sour Cream

1/2 avocado

juice of 2 limes

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

2 cloves of garlic, crushed


Splash of Tapatio Sauce

handful of fresh cilantro


Place ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. If mixture is not liquid enough, add extra lime juice or 1 tablespoon of water.


For the salad I used, chopped greens, diced fresh mangoes, chopped cucumbers, rinsed canned black beans, avocado slices, chopped carrots, and fresh cilantro. Enjoy!


Mango, Avocado, Black Bean Salad


Good! Good! Good!

This is my new favorite salad! I got the inspiration from a recipe on pinterest and from small herb garden in the backyard. (https://twostatesoneplate.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/herb-garden/).

Here is the link to the original recipe: http://naturalnoshing.wordpress.com/2011/08/19/mango-bean-salad/. I adapted the recipe slightly, based on what ingredients I had.

This is a great spring and summer salad! Sometimes when it gets extremely hot (and in Central Texas it can get really hot, especially the summer of 2011) you want to cook something that is refreshing and cool and that doesn’t involve turning on your oven or stove. This salad includes my favorite foods of all time: Mango, Avocados, and Black Beans. Next time I make this I plan to add red onions. It also would be good with chopped jicama.

This is my version of this salad.


Your favorite greens (I used an arugula, chard, spinach mix and romaine mix), chopped. I used about 1/2 of a 5 oz box of pre-washed greens)

2 small avocados, chopped

1 and 1/2 medium sized mangoes, chopped

2 teaspoons, pickled jalapenos, chopped

1 can black beans drained ( I use Eden Organic)

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped. I got this from my garden.

1 clove garlic, pressed,

juice of two medium sized-limes

3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Dash of Cholula Hot Sauce (or your favorite hot sauce)

Salt and Pepper

Walnuts (optional)


In a large mixing bowl, mix olive oil, lime juice, crushed garlic, chopped cilantro, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Toss in black beans, avocados, mangoes, and jalapenos and stir with two large salad spoons to coat. Add walnuts if desired (this is optional). Serve and enjoy.


Easy Flatbread Pizza


When you are a busy mom, there are days when you don’t have much time for elaborate meals. This one takes less time to prepare then going through a drive-through, I promise. Plus, it’s loaded with vegetables. And, it’s delicous! Adjust toppings according to your tastes. This combination is perfect for us!


Kangaroo Whole Wheat Flatbread or Tandoori Naan bread
Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade (I use HEB brand
Tomato basil feta or plain feta, crumbled
Chopped artichoke
Chopped sundried tomatoes
Chopped kalamata olives

Fresh Roma tomatoes sliced in half
Parmesan cheese
Pickled jalapeños (optional)


Spread tapenade on flatbread. Top with remaining ingredients. Bake 10 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Tortilla Soup

This soup is a crowd-pleaser. I made my version vegetarian but you could add boiled chicken and chicken broth if you like.


1 medium yellow onion chopped

3 large carrots, chopped

1-2 Tablespoons olive oil or grapeseed oil

2 cans Eden Organic Black beans (rinsed)

1 container of Pomi chopped tomatoes (26.46 oz)

1 container of Pomi strained tomatoes (26.46 oz)

1 container vegetable broth (4 cups or 32 ounces- I use the Pacific brand)

2 cups water

3-4 cloves of garlic chopped

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon ancho chili pepper (dried spice)

and/or 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust accordingly to your preference for spiciness)


1 cup shredded monterrey jack cheese

warmed corn tortillas or tortilla chips

2 avocados, diced

fresh sprigs of cilantro

(cooked chicken* optional)

lime wedges


Saute onion and carrots in olive or grape seed oil for 2-3 minutes or until onions become soft and translucent. Add black beans, strained tomatoes, chopped tomatoes, broth, water, garlic, and spices. Bring to boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.  Add additional water if soup becomes too thick.

To serve, place desired condiments in bowl, pour soup over condiments. Squeeze lime juice from wedges into soup. Enjoy!