Quick and Easy: stir fry and soup for the first week of classes

I got a sense of what the next two years are going to be like this week. Among other descriptors, like rewarding, exciting , and enriching, busy is in there somewhere. That means I will have less time to devote to shopping and meal prep. These new constraints should actually serve to bring me closer to the goal of my blog, which is to share tasty, healthy, doable recipes and help dissipate the sometimes intimidating prospect of creating nourishing meals for yourself and your family. So let’s see how I do!

Over the last weekend, I made this soup:

IMG_1273Those are mushrooms on top, in case you are wondering.

I’m not making any extravagant claims about this soup. It was simple, easy, and good. And it lasted for several days, including serving as my lunch on my first day of classes.


1 medium yellow or sweet onion, diced

1 large carrot, chopped

1-2 celery stalks, diced

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tbsp olive oil

~6 cups veggie stock

1 can diced tomatoes

1 Tbsp tomato paste

2 cups dried garbanzo beans, pre-soaked

1/2 cup quinoa, uncooked

fresh or dried thyme

salt and pepper

wild mushrooms (optional)


Sauté the first four ingredients in the oil. Remember, if you mince your garlic first, and then let it sit about 10 minutes while you chop the remaining veggies, you’ll allow the garlic to become more nutritious! (I’m still waiting for the book that this knowledge comes from, Eating on the Wild Side, from the library).

After several minutes, when the onions are softened and the scent emanating from your pot is lovely, add the garbanzo beans and and stock. Stir, turn heat to high, and bring to a boil.

Once you’re boiling, lower the heat to keep things at a simmer and partially cover the pot. Stir occasionally.

When the beans are getting soft, but not quite ready (this could take an hour), add the canned tomatoes and tomato paste and the herbs and seasoning. Stir to combine and let everything come back to a simmer.

When the beans are pretty much done, add the quinoa and bring the soup back to a boil.

Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer at least 12 minutes so quinoa cooks.

When the quinoa is cooked, you can eat!

If you want to top with sauteed mushrooms, stem the mushrooms and clean them by wiping them with a wet cloth. Then sauté them over med-high heat until brown and cooked through. Throw on top of soup.


You can only eat so much soup, however. So Thursday night I made a really random stir fry with random ingredients, and it turned out to be a really tasty meal. I can’t get over how much fresh herbs (especially basil, in my mind) can add to a dish. The addition of basil to this stir fry was key. Sadly, my basil plant is dying for lack of sun and cold temps. So I won’t have fresh basil until things warm up again. Let’s not talk about how long a wait that is going to be.

IMG_1278What you’re seeing here is: broccoli, sweet potato, and edamame on a bed of arugula and brown rice. Topped with fresh torn basil. Super easy and surprisingly good.


1 med. sweet potato, diced

1 small head broccoli, chopped into bite sized florets

2/3 cup frozen edamame

1/2 cup brown rice

1 cup arugula

generous squirt of braggs aminos

generous splash of rice vinegar

fresh basil

salt and pepper

1 tsp olive oil

sriracha (optional)


Mote: There are myriad ways to arrive at cooked broccoli and sweet potato. I randomly chose to roast my broccoli and boil/braise my diced potato. Not sure why– I was kind of on auto-pilot. I would have preferred to roast the sweet potato too, but I didn’t this time.

Preheat oven to 415 degrees.

Spread broccoli on baking sheet, drizzle with oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast for 15-20 minutes.

Cook brown rice using whatever method you use.

Meanwhile, put the sweet potato in a sauté pan with a little bit of water (1/4 inch?) and bring to a gentle boil until sweet potato is just tender.

Add edamame to sweet potato and let cook while sweet potato finishes softening up.

When broccoli is almost done, remove from oven. Combine broc, sweet potato and edamame mixture in a skillet and add the braggs and rice vinegar, stirring to mix well.

Serve by lining a bowl with arugula, topping with brown rice, and then broc/sweet potato mixture. Top that with fresh basil, and more braggs if you desire. (And sriracha, if you’re like me).


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