creamy vegan carrot soup with coconut milk & quinoa greek salad with chick peas || my cooking journey

pick your jaw up off the floor.

it’s true. not only have i blogged twice inthe last week, but i have COOKED inthe last week, not once, but twice. it TRULY is a day to mark in the calendars folks.

the menu was easy - i had a bowl of carrots that something had to be done with them. so i went to pinterest, where i pin good recipes in my “gluten free yo” board, which i have for my journey, our family’s journey to get healthy.

creamy vegan carrot soup with coconut milk, it read. PERFECT. i had all the ingredients. it looked plenty easy enough for this novice in the kitchen.

so i decided i had not much to lose. :)

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CREAMY VEGAN CARROT SOUP WITH COCONUT MILK

Ingredients:

2-3 large carrots, chopped small
1 onion, chopped small
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 3/4 cup vegetable broth
1 14 ounce can coconut milk
sea salt, to taste

i doubled the recipe - cuz i had lotsa carrots and cuz i thought if it happened to be good, i could freeze some. :)

Preparation:

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Simmer the carrots, onions, ginger and curry powder in vegetable broth for 20-25 minutes, until carrots are soft.
Allow to cool slightly, and then puree in blender, working in batches if eneded.

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Return to heat and stir in coconut milk until well combined.

Season generously with sea salt, to taste.

Serve hot, or, chill until cold and serve as a gourmet vegetarian and vegan appetizer soup. This carrot soup will thicken as it cools, so if serving this vegan carrot soup cold, you may want to add a bit extra liquid.

and then i made some of my new best friend QUINOA (said keen-wa) and made a greek salad with some homemade dressing for it.

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a buncha ground oregano, dried basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and pepper to taste.

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DELISH. my KIDS even liked dinner tonight. #score. seriously..the soup is AMAZING.

and my lover said he was going to hold his breath when i told him i may turn into a someone who cooks…keep watching lover..keep watching.. ;)

xotracey

ps - iPhone photos again…can’t bring myself to picking up my DSLR yet..in time..maybe. :)

quinoa burgers and bbq sauce - my cooking journey begins

in the summer i decided that i was done with meat.

what?!?!?

ya..i had sooo much red meat this summer throughout our trekking thru BC/AB/MB that i felt so “heavy” inside.

it wasn’t a hard thing tho as i usually dont eat much meat. so the decision came easy.

my hubs, aka my personal chef as he is a trained chef out of the Art Institute in vancouver, has been gracious to make meatless things alongside his meatFULL things.. :)

last night  however, his birthday, he wanted burgers to grill on his new birthday gift given by a dear friend - a new charbroil bbq!

well. that was it. i had to find a recipe and thus begins this cooking journey of mine.

cooking journey? ya…i dont cook much and definitely don’t LIKE to cook. so hopefully this will be the beginning of new things in my culinary world. :)

QUINOA BURGERS

i found this recipe online. it’s really good! i shot the photos just with my iPhone 4. i may dig out my DSLR for succeeding posts :)

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Serves 8

Here’s a delicious veggie burger you can whip up from scratch. Any steak seasoning (which is just a combination of herbs and spices) will work to give the patties a rich, hearty flavor. Stash a few in the freezer for busy weeknight meals. For super-easy cookouts, bake the patties ahead, then reheat them on the grill. Serve with your favorite burger fixings.
  • ½ cup quinoa
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 6 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped (¼ cup)
  • 1 ½ cups cooked black beans, or 1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
  • 2 tsp. dried steak seasoning
  • 8 whole-grain hamburger buns

1. Stir together quinoa and 1 1/2 cups water in small saucepan, and season with salt, if desired. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. (You should have 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa.)

2. Meanwhile, place onion and sun-dried tomatoes in medium nonstick skillet, and cook over medium heat. (The oil left on the tomatoes should be enough to sauté the onion.) Cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until onion has softened. Stir in 3/4 cup black beans, garlic, steak seasoning, and 11/2 cups water. Simmer 9 to 11 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated.

3. Transfer bean-onion mixture to food processor, add 3/4 cup cooked quinoa, and process until smooth. Transfer to bowl, and stir in remaining 3/4 cup quinoa and remaining 3/4 cup black beans. Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and cool. Shape bean mixture into 8 patties (1/2 cup each), and place on prepared baking sheet.

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(the next part my hubs just did on the BBQ)

4. Preheat oven to 350°F, and generously coat baking sheet with cooking spray.Bake 20 minutes, or until patties are crisp on top. Flip patties with spatula, and bake 10 minutes more, or until both sides are crisp and brown. Serve on buns.

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well no sooner did i start making my burgers, i realized i didn’t have any bbq sauce! so i took out my good old iPhone and googled for a bbq sauce recipe. :)

BBQ SAUCE

Yield - approximately 4 cups

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Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups Dark Brown Sugar, packed

1-1/4 cups Ketchup

1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar

1/2 cup Water

1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

2-1/2 teaspoons Ground Mustard ( i used prepared mustard cuz we are out of ground mustard!)

2 teaspoons Paprika

1-1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt

1 teaspoon Black Pepper

Directions:

Measure and add all ingredients to a large bowl and whisk well until the sugar has dissolved and the spices are thoroughly distributed. Serve immediately or cover and store in fridge or freeze!

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 so i used this for my veggie kebabs..

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and here was my delicious supper!! veggie kebabs and homemade bbq sauce and quinoa burgers! i topped the burger with avocado, red onions, cheddar, mayo, horseradish mustard and lettuce with tomatoes!

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i DEFINITELY will be making these again. :)

what sort of quinoa recipes do you have that you’d like to share with me? :)

xotracey

tregonings - saskatchewan lifestyle session {FAMILY}

the love i have for these 4 is remarkable. they are friends who are family. and they are some of my most favorite people on the planet.

matt & kim also do a remarkable job balancing cultivating their relationship and parenting their littles. it’s such a joy to watch the little grow up to be amazing little people.

the last time i photographed them was…hmmm..i can’t even remember! but not since before the arrival of miss K. and miss K does NOT like getting her photos taken, or rather, she doesn’t much like to smile for the camera. so i knew i had my work cut out for me this session. but she shone..brilliantly. and mr nater mater - well he was a glorified, handsome ham! what a blast!

of course my dear kimmy doesn’t like getting her photo taken, but she’s so gorgeous, how can i not?? and her man, matty, LOVES getting his photo taken, so there were no issues there.

love you guys..to the moon and back. here’s to you - a wonderful little family.

xotrace

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steph & kent - regina lifestyle session {LOVE}

i think i first met steph back in 2001, right when we moved back from the manila, philippines to estevan, saskatchewan, canada. she was in our youth group. not only was she this gorgeous young lady who was quiet yet so fun, she played the bass guitar. she was my inspiration to leave the bass, which i did a few years later!

she came with us on a 3 week shortterm missions trip with the youth group in 2003. she loved it so much she decided to move there and stayed there and volunteered at several places for just under a year. it was awesome!

we have kept in contact over the years and when she contacted me in january of this year asking me if i could shoot her wedding, i was delighted!

i knew OF kent, but had never met him. we had our first consultation and my first impression was that he was quiet. i guess i didn’t know him really. :) because when we did their engagement session the week before their big day in july, steph brought kent, her cool fiance that loved getting his pictures taken and was a lot of fun!

here are some of my faves from their session. good times were had by all. :)

xotracey

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follow your heart tours || PUGLIA, ITALY - April 6-13, 2013

Mark your calendars for the italian tour of 2013!

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Puglia…also known as Italy’s “heel”. It has it all…all except the tourists! Puglia has some of the
most brilliant seas, the most diverse culture and architecture, the most delectable cuisine, and
some even say the most kindest people in Italy.

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Our authentic Italian hosts, Max & Cristiana Brunelli, will be our personal guides. Their love and passion for
their country, along with Max’s longevity in the tourism industry, will make our tour absolutely
memorable and very enjoyable.

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Puglia, Italy is calling you. Succomb to her.

Mark your calendars today - April 6-13, 2013.

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darlene & kirk || the wedding {calgary, alberta wedding}

such a lovely calgary day. the details were perfect. the couple so very much in love. it was such a joy to be a part of this day of love between darlene and kirk.

thank you again, you two, for allowing me to be a part of your history. much love and happiness, and BABIES to you! xoxox

love,

xotracey

some of my faves from their day-of slideshow…

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holmgren's || lifestyle session {FAMILY}

we met in 2001. our kids are basically the same age. we lived in rural saskatchewan. we’ve been friends ever since.

when i first photographed this fam, it was in the mid 2000s. i truly cannot remember when..maybe 2004/2005? anyhow, its been a while since our last session and so it was time! their kids are at least 2 heads taller…!

we found some lovely spots to shoot at…it was a perfect cloud filled blue sky day.

lets not wait another 7 years hey?

xotracey

darlene & kirk || lifestyle session {LOVE}

when darlene and kirk asked me to be a part of their wedding day, i was thrilled! they had heard about me and seen my work through shannon & omer’s wedding in vancouver.

i met up with them in calgary. the day we had scheduled our session, it was stormy - not condusive to lovely engagement photos!

we decided to stay an extra day in calgary so we could get these done - and they were absolutely worth it! what a beautiful love these two have.

here are some of my faves from their session.

xotracey

alissa & rosie || lifestyle session {COUSINS}

this summer we decided to do a bunch of roadtripping. one of the places on our list was southeast manitoba - where some of my husbands family is.

its a world of its own there…time stand stills in many ways. and the serenity…wow. definitely what the souls needs.

my daughter and my husbands cousin bonded very much in the short time we were there, even though there is 6 years between them. it felt as thought a big sister litte sister relationship was made. it was a beautiful thing. and they are absolutely beautiful young ladies.

beautiful manitoba + beautiful girls = beautiful photos. :)

xotracey

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kristal & scott || lifestyle session {LOVE}

my sister.

i have been taking photographs of her since forever. she has a way in front of the camera and we almost ALWAYS do a shoot when we are together.

so when she asked me if we could do one with her and her man scott, i was more than thrilled.

little did i know that a little under a month after i shot these, they got engaged. it would be safe for me to say that these were very timely. :)

love you guys. muchos. xoxo

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