One Pot Potato Leek Soup {Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free}

IMG_0204It’s officially soup weather. The sweaters, boots and umbrella have been pulled out and are here to stay. The rain is here and it’s cozy time. Browsing in the market on Saturday, I was drawn to the gorgeous  leeks piled high in one of the bins at our local Whole Foods market. They were brilliantly colored, as big around as a hearty farm grown carrot and on sale. Check, check, check. There are two things I like to do with leeks; make a potato soup with them or sauté and eat them with olive oil and lemon for a snack. You can make soup with the stock sand sauté the leaves if you wish to have the best of both worlds. Sautéing leeks to eat as a snack would have NEVER crossed my mind, but I read it in a book I quite enjoy and have tried it a few times since. The book is something I picked up at a half-price book store a few years ago and find myself reading each year. It’s called “French Women Don’t Get Fat” by Mireille Guiliano. Now, let me pause here and say that I am not encouraging dieting behavior. The I love her healthy, holistic approach.

IMG_0205The focus of the book is teaching us how to eat for pleasure and nutrition versus eating, or not eating, as a diet choice.  She discourages dieting and is a fabulous writer. I agree with her encouragement for people  to view the relationships between food, weight and health within an over focus on a healthy happy lifestyle.  Okay, back to sautéed leeks. I had the best intention of using two boxes of chicken stock that I received from an amazing food conference I just attended (IFBC!). We’re really aware of how much salt goes into our food and opt for low salt whatever we can (broth, soy-sauce, chips, mixed nuts, etc). I have to give the disclaimer that I’m a broth snob. I love broth and have been known to make up a pot of broth in the winters to supplement my massive tea intake. My mother makes amazing soups and has always set the bar high. I’ve never found a boxed or canned broth that I find remotely decent. I’ve always used the same stock my mum uses the brand Better Than Bouillon and I always make sure to get the reduced sodium base. You’ll always find the chicken and beef base in my fridge but they have ham, turkey, lobster, mushroom, the list goes on! One caveat, not all of their flavors come in reduced sodium but the chicken and beef ones do and Costco carries them so I’m a happy camper! So, I grabbed a few leeks, potatoes and onions and was off to make the first soup of the season.

IMG_0201As I mentioned before, we go low salt so at first when I tasted this soup it really felt like it was missing an ingredient. After calling my mother the soup master (Just missed her, she had already gone to bed!) and googling what flavor should hit the center of your tongue, which was right where the soup was missing some seasoning flavor, the mister and I decided that it was salt. Simple salt. I took out a few spoonfuls of the soup and cracked some fresh pink salt on top and low and behold…that soup was PERFECT!

The fun part about this soup is that you can completely change the flavor of the soup with a few very simple cooking variations! Throw in a few carrots, or add some turnips with the potatoes. Not big on thyme myself, but you could add a tablespoon or two of dried thyme or 1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme and/or if you like dill, which I don’t, you can include ½ tsp dried dill, or 1 tsp chopped fresh dill. You can cook with truffle oil or use truffle salt, or any other amazingly flavored salt you have stumbled upon. You could cook bacon in the pan first and wipe half the oil out, and use the remaining half of bacon grease to cook up the veggies and potatoes.

How do you like your potato leek soup? Leave a comment!!

One Pot Potato Leek Soup {Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free} 

1 Tbsp rice bran oil
1 medium yellow onion
3 large leeks, without the leaves, sliced into rounds
4 medium russet potatoes, washed and chopped and loosely diced
pinch grey or pink salt
fresh cracked black pepper, and more to taste
chopped fresh or dried parsley
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp Better than Bouillon Reduced Sodium Chicken base + 7 cups hot water

Pull out your stock pot. Heat the rice bran oil over medium heat. Chop your onions and add them to the pot, stirring occasionally. To prep your leeks, wash the stocks and cut off the leaves right where the light green turns dark green and the leaves start. Cut off the roots.

Set the leaves aside (unless you want to wash them and include them which you totally can). Slice the stock in half, and cut 1/2 inch half moons until the stocks are all chopped. I do this so it’s easier to separate the leeks when I drop them into the pot.

Stir whatever you have in the pot a few times with each ingredient addition. Add the leeks to the pot and cover.

Cut your potatoes and add them to the pot to sauté for about 5-7 minutes. I cut my potatoes like I would for a breakfast hash: cut the potato in half, then half again and loosely dice.


Once you’ve sautéed the leeks, onions and potatoes for a bit, add a pinch of salt, pepper, chopped fresh or dried parsley and 2 bay leaves. I always add bay leaves to my soup and broths because my mother does and she makes the most amazing soups! Just remember to pull both of them out before blending or serving!

While this is sautéing heat up your tea pot to mix the bouillon base.  I always mix the broth in a glass pyrex because just when you think it’s all dissolved into the water and pour it into your soup pot,  you’ll see the huge chunk of bouillon that was hiding at the bottom plop into the pot! Not amazing. Mix the bouillon in your pyrex, assuring it’s dissolved, then add it to the pot and bring to a boil.

Let the soup boil for a few minutes then reduce to low heat, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes. Check the soup to assure that the potatoes are cooked through and turn off the heat. Go fishing for your two bay leaves and pull those guys out. If you have a stainless steel immersion blender, which I don’t, puree of the soup in the pot until you reach the desired level of smoothness. If, like me you don’t own a fantastic immersion blender, pardon me while I add that to my amazon which list which is 90% cooking tools and cook books! I use my trusty vita mix and blend it in batches.

Taste the soup as you blend it because this is your chance to add more herbs and spices since you’re blending the heck out of it and the flavors will be sure to mix well.

Garnish with whatever your heart desires:
cracked pepper
fresh chopped parsley
pumpkin seeds (roasted pumpkin seeds recipe) and sub paprika for the salt
shaved marinated carrots
chopped green onions
sour cream
chopped bacon
fried onions
a drizzle of some truffle oil
… your options are endless!

Potato, Carrot Leek Soup (Dairy Free, Soy Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan)

photo 1It has officially gotten cold in Seattle. Not “girl” cold where it’s 50 degrees and my tosies get a little chilly. I’m talking Midwest, you can see your breath, chill hits to your bones cold. We’ve had low 30’s for about a week now and even my poor parsley I forgot on the patio was frozen to the bone! With cold like this, a big bowl of warm homemade soup is just the ticket to help you thaw out! After being used to cooking an ENTIRE Thanksgiving feast, four pies seemed like a walk in the park! I opted for the my go-to holiday hits and baked four fresh crusts from scratch  for pumpkin pies and two pecan pies. Of course, I home-roasted the pumpkins using my recipe HERE.
we would up with all of the veggies that I had drug up my parents house with the best intentions of cooking up for my family. What do you do with bunches of leeks and a massive yellow onion?

Well, you buy potatoes and carrots and make soup of course! I wrote this recipe from looking at a few different ones, and deciding that I didn’t want dairy OR soy in my soup…and using this a little as a kitchen soup recipe to clean out the fridge. The recipe  is sweet because it’s relatively low maintenance and you can make it in your VitaMix or if you have a food processor. Super simple, SUPER delicious, and super healthy! No diary, no soy, gluten-free, and  can be made vegan if you substitute out the chicken bullion.

photo 3Potato, Carrot Leek Soup (Dairy Free, Soy Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan)
prep time: 10 min | cook time: 1 hr
5 leeks
2 ½ tsp minced garlic (or 5 fresh cloves)
5 stalks celery + the center lighter part with the leaves
dried Parsley (or fresh!)
5  medium russet potatoes
2-3 large carrots
½ large yellow onion
2 tbsp chicken bullion ( I swear by Better Than Bouillon Organic Chicken Base, Reduced Sodium)
8 cups water
1 tsp ground rosemary
1 tsp fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
fresh sea salt and pepper

Pre-heat oven to 400.

photo 2photo 1 copyWash, peel and chop all vegetables. To clean the leeks, cut just above the roots and just below where the dark green leaves start to branch off. Wash the body of the leek and peel the outside layer off. Cut into disks. For the dark leaves, cut the tips off and be sure you have washed them well. Then slice and set aside. For the potatoes, I usually cut the potato in half, then half again and cut into chunks.

Misto spray a cookie sheet then place carrots, potatoes and onion on cookie sheet. Dust with fresh cracked pepper and dried parsley (unless you have the fresh stuff- in that case add when you puree the soup).  Cook 40 minutes or until potatoes are soft in the center. Turn veggies once or twice so that all surfaces get browned.

While those veggies are in the oven, get out a large pan and sauté the garlic. Add the leeks, separating the layers of the disks, and the celery. Then add a little fresh cracked pepper and some salt. Sauté until all the veggies are cooked. As I turn the leeks and celery in the pan, I’ll do a light olive oil Misto spray just so everything gets a little charred in the pan and I’ll also coat with pepper. Also, any of the leek that is still held together in the little disk, separate the different layers as you cook.  I never measure pepper and I like the flavor so I usually just cook by sight and will add until I feel like it’s seasoned.

To make the broth, bring the water in a 10-cup stockpot then stir in the chicken bullion. Add the rosemary, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Once all veggies are cooked and the broth has simmered, remove the bay leaf and get your vita mix ready. Place 1/3 of each of the ingredients in the blender and blend on medium until thoroughly puréed.  Once puréed, place back in the stockpot and repeat until all of the ingredients are puréed. Simmer soup for 10-15 minutes and serve.

Can be frozen up to 4 months in a freezer Ziplocs bag or Tupperware. .

Potato Leek Soup (Vegan)

photo 2When the weather turns soggy, I start to practice my winter sport of “being in the kitchen”. From caramelizing and chopping to baking to broiling, when the weather turns to mush I turn to the kitchen. …and a glass of wine, but that’s a year round sport!

This year I’ve really tried to focus on cooking “in season” and challenging myself to prepare my “typical” foods in a different way. While leek’s are not something that we traditionally have on hand in our house, they made the headliner in today recipes. To be honest, the lack of consistent main stage placement in our cabinet is purely due to the fact that I only know two ways to cook them; sautéed or made into leek soup. While they are can be found year round, they are in season November to February and are more readily available.

The more I looked into the nutrition characteristics of leeks, the more I realized that I wasn’t the only one who usually passed up these shallot and garlic relatives in the grocery aisles; many people shy away from these cardio enriching veggies because they don’t know how to cook or prepare them. Leeks are high in folate, which is a key B complex vitamin for supporting and balancing our cardiovascular system (source) as well as being very high in potassium and very low in sodium, giving it naturally diuretic properties (source). Sharing the same family as garlic and onions, they boast immune, antioxidant, and heart-healthy benefits. 

Enjoyed in in salads with vinaigrette, in soups, sautés, risottos, sauces, pastas, frittatas, creamed, carmelized, Bruschettaed… there are SO many ways to prepare leeks it will blow your mind! Check out this Leek Pinterest Board for more inspiration!

When shopping for leeks, look for ones that are  firm and straight, with dark leaves and white bodies. Quality leeks should not be yellowing, wilting or cracking. To store, keep them unwashed and untrimmed,wrapped in a paper towel inside a plastic bag in the fridge up to a week. Cooked leaks should be kept for no more than two days, but you can freeze them up to three months once they’re blanched for three minutes and stored in an airtight bag.

I have to warn you, you’ll need a spoon readily accessible once this soup is cooked, is so good you’ll be eating it out of the pot!

photo 1Vegan Potato Leek Soup
Adapted from recipe posted on Serves 4 – 6

1 tbsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
3 large leeks, whites and greens, washed and sliced
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
½ tsp fresh cracked sea salt
3 cloves garlic, or 1 ½ tsp minced garlic
2 large white potatoes, washed and cubed
5 cups chicken stock (use vegetable stock if you’re making entirely vegan)
½ tsp crushed rosemary

  1. Wash all veggies
  2. Heat EVOO in stock pan with the chopped leeks, onion, garlic and sea salt, sauté  stirring often until the onions begins to turn translucent
  3. Add the potatoes and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes
  4. Meanwhile, get your blender out and prepared to blend up the soup
  5. Once cooked, remove the soup from the heat and ladle  into your blender, 1 cup at a time (if you have an immersion/stick blender you can blend the soup right in the pot)
  6. Blend the soup  until smooth and free of chunks
  7. Pour smooth soup into a heat-proof bowl and continue until all of the soup has been blended
  8. Transfer the blended soup back to the original soup pot and warm over low heat until heated through
  9. Serve hot

Red Pepper Overload…Homemade Herbs De Province Ratatouille

Ratatouille Being sick sucks . Plain and simple. Truth fact. The End. Well… okay NOT “the end” but it feels like it! The problem with being sick is that I’m a “doer”. I like to “do” things, accomplish, check off my long to DO list. Now that we’ve established this. Guess what sickness resigns you to? Yep, you guessed it… BEING! I don’t “be”… I DO! When one is sick, they’re told to “just be” and rest. Yeah, go ahead. See how well THAT goes over. This time the stupid flu won this round and I was resigned to exploring what a “be”- er feels like. Two days on the couch with the only excursion to the gym where all I was allowed to do was steam. On day three, which is today, I’m feeling a little better and my stir crazy is kicking in!

Soooo… I decided to use up the 10 Red Peppers hanging out on my balcony. What!? They were on SALE! How can someone who LOVES peppers pass up 10/$10!? Well, thankfully it was cold enough outside to keep them fresh for four days because I completely forgot them! That is, until I was So completely dying for lack of DOING anything! So, I decided use up the veggies in the fridge to make some Ratatouille and make a jar of home Roasted Red Peppers. There are still three left over, so I’m thinking of trying some quinoa stuffed peppers tomorrow night! I’ll keep you posted!

I realized, as I was chopping my veggies and already elbow deep in delicious simmering goodness of Ratatouille, that I didn’t have the Herbs de Province that I needed for the flavor of the dish. Of COURSE I didn’t have herbs de province, why would I? I use it ALL the time and added it to my “next time I’m down at Pike Place list” which has been put on hold due to FREEZING temperatures. No one wants to walk in THAT weather. ANd of course, no fresh basil either. Well, what are you going to do? Give up the whole shabang? No chance, not when I’m THIS stir-crazy! Do you think that stopped me!? No way! There are plenty of spices in my cabinet and a half bottle of red wine within arms reach, something can be done! And if not, there’s the wine! 🙂

I have to say, this was lauded as THE BEST batch of Ratatouille I’ve made yet! It’s even better when you let it

Homemade Herbs De Province Ratatouille:

3/4 sliced red onion,
a good handfuls of fresh chopped garlic
EVOO for sautéing
2 Red Peppers
1 Eggplant
1/2   c Red Wine to simmer veggies in
4  Zucchini
Homemade Herbs de Province –Mix together and add more spices to taste 
1/2 tsp each of ground rosemary, ground thyme
1 tsp dried oregano, dried basil
1 tsp + some of dried parsley
1 14 oz Can fire roasted Tomatoes
(Follow the original Ratatouille recipe for cooking instructions) 

Simple Winter Soup- Butternut Squash, Yam, Carrot & Garlic

Photo from: “inspiring the everyday” post on butternut squash soup

Somehow the winter season always ages my hobbies by about ten years; knitting, roasting whole pumpkins, baking, canning and the strong desire to bake and make breads and pastas, winter meals, soups, stews… wanting to make everything really. I will admit I recently pins a recipe for homemade Wheat thins! (Stay tuned to see how THAT one goes!)

While chatting last night with my impossibly adorable new hairstylist who is also a foodie, she shared with me a new recipe! Cue ridiculous joy and excitement! We proceed to chat the entire time about her recently discovered hobby of making homemade pasta from scratch (a checkbox on my cooking bucket list), reviewing all of our favorite local restaurants and expounding on 15 uses for sage (It truly is an under appreciated herb)!



Cooking doesn’t have to be hard, we both agreed, you just have to have the ingredients in your pantry and a couple of minutes to make it.

So, along with the recently added item “weather proof boots” on my winter weekend to do list, “roast” to appease the pumpkin on my counter, and “meal plan” to attempt an attack plan to actually COOK all of my recently pinned winter dishes, I shall also be making this soup!

I’ll post my own pictures once I cook it up but for now, enjoy a lovely picture from inspiring the everyday’s post on butternut squash soup.
So, stock up on winter goodness, snuggle into your favorite sweater, pour a glass of wine and and let the winter begin!!

What are your warming winter foods or your go to winter dishes?
Winter Warming Squash Soup

1 butternut squash
carrots, yams and fresh garlic (ratio to your preference)
1 large onion to caramelize
chicken stock/broth


  • Pre-heat the oven to 400 or 450 (depends on how quickly you want the veggies and how your oven  heats) and proceed with prepping the butternut squash as you prefer. Note: There are two methods for butternut squash you can either peel it and bake it or slice in half rub with olive oil and bake.
  • Slice the carrots and yams, and chop off the top of your garlic. (I just posted a recipe here on home-roasting your own garlic. You can roast and keep fresh for up to a week, frozen for a few months. It’s GREAT to have on hand for winter meals!)
  • Roast all veggies and garlic in pre-heated oven until golden brown.
  • In the meantime, sauté your onions.
  • Once the squash, veggies and garlic are roasted to your preferred “done-ness”, remove from the oven and blend/ puree in a food processer with some warmed chicken broth and serve warm.


Roasted Garlic

I’m sick. Anyone that know’s me know that’s I’m TERRIBLE at being sick. I mean… TERRIBLE!! I’m grumpy, irritable, independent and needy all at once and just a downright mess. The moment I feel even the slightest hint of energy, I’m off running a marathon. Well, I did it again. Somehow the bug got me something fierce! It just laid me FLAT and thanks to my prince charming with patience as fortified as Knox itself, I was well cared for and starting to feel the slightest bit better today. Which of course meant that I needed to jump into the kitchen and cook up 15 pots of something-or-rather and bake this-and-that.

Made myself soup...someday I'll learn to rest when I'm sick...
Made myself soup…someday I’ll learn to rest when I’m sick…

Oh, how very wrong I was! “Simply” whipping up some home roasted garlic turned into chopping two massive leeks, a head of celery, handful of mushrooms, a large onion, a few handfuls of frozen peas and adding a can of white beans to a home prepared chicken stock base with pepper, bay leaves, cayenne and dried parsley (darn not picking up a fresh head at the store!)… see what I mean! I can’t REST! Now, I have to say…the soup smells lovely simmering in the pot but I completely over exerted myself into a grumpy bear and now  I need to go sit in the corner and put myself into what I’m now referring to as an “adult timeout” and think about what I’ve done! New mantra… MUST rest… or at least try harder 🙂

Prep: 5 minutes | Cook 30 min
Original recipe from: Simply Recipes – Roasted Garlic
Home Roasted Garlic
Home Roasted Garlic

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Peel away the outer layers of the garlic bulb skin, leaving the skins of the individual cloves intact. Using a knife, cut off 1/4 to a 1/2 inch of the top of cloves, exposing the individual cloves of garlic.

 Place the garlic heads in a baking pan (you can use either muffin or small loaf pans as they both work equally well.) Use Misto spray (or you can free hand pour) olive oil on the open garlic tops.


4. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cloves feel soft when pressed.

5. Allow the garlic to cool 5-10 minutes so you can handle with bare hands. The garlic should simply slip out of the skins. If it doesn’t, simply use your fingers and peel back the skins and slide the garlic out .

Now you have some delicious home roasted garlic! Roasted garlic should last about a week in the fridge in an airtight container, but can also be frozen and used later in soups, pastas, spreads (especially with heirloom tomatoes basil and fresh potato or sourdough bread!) or any other cooking dish that might call for garlic. The only problem you might encounter, as with many other “make yourself” projects… you’ll be spoiled for the homemade and won’t want to use store bought! That’s what happened when I made Home roasted red peppers!

Garlic ready to be roasted!
Garlic ready to be roasted!


I LOVE collecting recipes and seeing how others use ingredients! How do you plan to use your home roasted garlic?