Mommy Cafe

Vegetarian home cooking, kid tested and approved

Mashed Potato Soup

Okay, it’s not as weird as it sounds. Really. I’ve seen recipes for “Smashed Potato Soup,” so removing the s can’t make it more weird. Right?

Whatever. It is kind of weird. But in a very delicious way.

So the story is that I was craving soup. Badly. And what I had on hand was potatoes. I didn’t really want a cream soup, because I’m trying to cut back on dairy products (a more palatable way to say I’m leaning vegan — no pun intended). So why not make a potato puree and tell myself it was a creamy soup? It was settled. Mashed potato soup.

For a little extra sweetness, I added a sweet potato to the mix. It adds a great depth of flavor to an otherwise bland soup. And it makes it much prettier as well. If you’re the kind of person who likes to mix their mashed potatoes and peas (me, me, me!!), then by all means, throw in a cup or more of frozen peas a few minutes before serving. Will thought that was the best part of it, after giving the meal two ecstatic thumbs up.

Sorry for not posting a photo… again. Sometimes my taste buds get antsy.

Estimated prep and cook time: 30 minutes       Estimated cost: $5 (or less, using homemade vegetable broth)

Mashed Potato Soup

  • 1T olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 russet potatoes, scrubbed and diced (leave on the peel for extra fiber and flavor)
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2T dried parsley
  • 1T paprika

Saute onion and garlic in oil over medium heat until onion softens. Add russet potatoes and saute, stirring, for two minutes. Add broth. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and add sweet potatoes, salt and pepper, parsley, and paprika. Cook for 15 minutes or until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.

Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, blend soup to desired consistency. I like mine a little lumpy, just like my mashed potatoes! Or, use a food processor and blend in batches.

Taste and add additional seasoning as needed.

Serves 4.


January 9, 2013 Posted by | Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian | , , , | Leave a comment

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

Just the words “tortilla soup” send me to a blissful place. I love the tangyness, the hint of spice, the tender crunch of lightly sauteed peppers in a bath of tomatoey deliciousness. Mmm. Heaven.

Okay, head out of the clouds and feet firmly on the ground.

I have put off posting this recipe for almost a year now. Not because I’m selfish and don’t want to share. The problem is that I can never wait long enough to get a photo before diving in to a big bowlful. Tonight was no exception. My sincerest apologies. But I do believe you will forgive me once you try this dish for yourself.

This is a fantastic soup. It is full of vegetables and vitamin C, and you get to customize it to your particular taste at the table. Want more kick than the kids can handle? Throw in a few dashes of hot sauce. Love sour cream and cheese but your dinner guests don’t do dairy? Add it to your own bowl. Don’t want the same soup two days in a row? Doubtful with this tasty dish, but change it up and add avocados, fresh cilantro, black olives, bean sprouts, cooked noodles or rice, or whatever you find hiding in your fridge.

My favorite way to enjoy this soup is with homemade tortilla chips. Store-bought tortilla chips are good for a lot of things, but this soup isn’t one of them, in my humble opinion. I’ve posted the recipe for homemade chips here before, but for this soup I like to use lots and lots of dried cilantro instead of the coriander. And some salt. Ya gotta have salt.

By the way, this feeds approximately one army. So either halve it, freeze some for later, or invite the neighborhood. And be prepared to force yourself away from your bowl before thirds.

Prep and Cook time: 40 minutes           Estimated cost: $2 per serving

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, anaheim, or poblano pepper, diced finely
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 10-oz can diced tomatoes (or use fire-roasted and the jalapeno)
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 2 T cumin
  • 2 T cilantro
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 15-oz cans (or 4 cups) black or red beans (rinse canned beans well and drain)
  • 2 cups frozen corn

Tortilla Chips

  • 10-12 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T cilantro
  • 2 T cumin
  • 1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat 1 T oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, peppers, and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until just tender. Add crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, vegetable broth, spices, and salt. Stir well and bring to a soft boil. Add beans and corn. Turn heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Toss tortilla strips with 2 T oil, cilantro, and cumin. Spread evenly on a large baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until crisp.

Serve soup in bowls and top with grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, diced avocado, and tortilla chips. Or with whatever your happy heart desires!

Serves 8

August 27, 2012 Posted by | Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Homemade Applesauce

This weekend was damp and chilly.  It felt like the tail-end of fall, putting me in the mood for all sorts of comfort foods.  So when I was given a sack full of homegrown apples (thank you, Dad & Suzy!), I immediately set to work making applesauce.  I thought about just making a few servings for me and Will to snack on.  Then I saw just how many apples were threatening to break through my paper sack and decided that a winter’s worth of sauce was in order!Canned Homemade Applesauce

My first ever batch of sauce came out better than I imagined.  The tart apples mixed with sweet brown sugar made my mouth pucker just enough to make a perfect Mmmm.  Using the crock pot, I made enough to can 7 pints of the good stuff with just a quarter cup leftover to savor in the moment.  I would have licked the crock clean if it wouldn’t have burned my tongue.  I promised Will some fresh sauce for tomorrow  morning, so I can get another fix then!

I can’t give you an accurate cost on this, since I got the apples for free.  And since I couldn’t tell you how many pounds of apples I used, estimating won’t work either.  But I can tell you that it is worth every penny to make your own applesauce.  Nothing beats the full flavor of a homemade sauce, and knowing how much sugar is in it and that it’s made without preservatives.

This recipe contains the amounts I used for a large batch to can.  A pint jar is probably 4 good-sized servings, so for a 4-serving batch divide the ingredients by 7.  Or skip the math and just make a whole lotta the stuff and share it with your new best friends!Homemade Applesauce

Prep time: 20 minutes    Inactive cook time: 4-6 hours

Homemade Applesauce

  • 25-30 small- to medium-sized tart apples
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 T cinnamon
  • 1 T vanilla

Peel and core apples, and cut into bite-sized chunks.  Drop into the crock pot as you dice them, and drizzle with lemon juice as you go to prevent them from browning.  Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla.

Cook in crock pot on low for 4 to 6 hours, or until apples are soft.  Mash with a fork or potato


Yields 7 pint jars

September 19, 2011 Posted by | Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian | , , , , | Leave a comment



Continuing on my experiments with Indian cuisine, last night’s dinner was a delicious vegetable korma.  The name “korma” refers to the style in which the vegetables (or meat) are cooked.  Vegetables are braised in a small amount of liquid and, toward the end of the cooking time, cream.

This was the first time I’ve ever had korma, or at least knowingly.  So while I don’t have a basis for comparison to know if it tasted “right,” I do know that it tasted delKormaicious– which is right enough for me!

I followed a recipe that I found on  After doing a little internet research on the dish, I realized what changes needed to be made to make the recipe perfect.  This means that the following method has not been tested, I’m 99.9% positive that it can only make it better!  One change I made and implemented last night was using coconut milk instead of heavy cream.  This not only makes the dish vegan, but it also gives it a sweet creamy flavor without adding cream calories.

This recipe made 4 very generous servings… yay for leftovers!  Future adventures for korma include adding pan-fried paneer (a deliciously mild cheese), chickpeas, and spinach.  Those additions will qualify it as a navratan korma.  Navratan means nine gems, and signifies the nine vegetables (which, oddly, could include cashews, chickpeas, or paneer) used in the dish.  Really, it just makes it sound fancy!

Prep time: 10 minutes   Cook time: 30 minutes    Approximate cost: $6


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Yukon potatoes, cubed
  • 4 carrots, cubed
  • 1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 3 tablespoons ground unsalted cashews
  • 1 (4 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 T garam masala (optional)
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup coconut milk or heavy cream

In a large pan, saute onions over medium heat until tender.  Add ginger, garlic, and curry powder and saute for one minute, stirring frequently.  Mix in potatoes, carrots, jalapeno, cashews, tomato sauce and salt.  Cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender.

Stir in garam masala, green and red pepper, peas, and coconut milk.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for another 10 minutes.  Serve over rice or with warm naan.

Serves 4

February 23, 2011 Posted by | Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian | , , | Leave a comment

Chickpea Jalfrezi

I love curry.  Any kind really, just give me something curried!  So you can imagine my excitement when I discovered Indian food and its array of curry dishes.  I also discovered that the local grocery chain carries a variety of Indian sauces.  These jarred sauces are a little pricey for my budget, but my stomach insists on more, more, more!  So I did a little window shopping and wrote down the name of every sauce in the ethnic foods aisle, then rushed home to do a little research.  What do you know?  The sauces are so easy to make at home– and cost a fraction of the canned variety.  Sometimes the ingredient lists seem daunting, but you don’t get a complex flavor without just a few spices.  Don’t worry though; chances are you already have the majority of the spices you’ll need.  And if you don’t already have them, you should!

Here is the first of (hopefully) many Indian recipes to come.  The original recipe came from and was made with chicken.  Apparently jalfrezi was a way of using up leftover meat once upon a time.  I substituted chickpeas for the chicken and couldn’t have been happier with the outcome.  The leftover jalfrezi is even better as the spices get a chance to blend together overnight.

Make this meal even less costly by using your dried cooked chickpeas.  I used 2 cups of chickpeas thawed from the freezer.  The original recipe also called for ghee (clarified butter), but I didn’t have any and was too lazy to make it.  So I just stirred in a pat of butter toward the end to give it a hint of buttery flavor.  Leave out the ghee or butter for a vegan dish.

Approx prep and cook time: 30 minutes    Estimated cost: $3 to 4

Chickpea Jalfrezi

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 15 oz diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 T ghee
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • 3 tsp coriander
  • 2 T freshly grated ginger root

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat and add onions and garlic, cooking for about 2 minutes.  Add turmeric, chili powder, and salt, and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring frequently.  Stir in chickpeas and undrained tomatoes.  Cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes.  Uncover and let simmer another 10 minutes.  Add ghee, cumin, coriander,  and ginger, and simmer an additional 5 to 7 minutes.

Serve over rice or with naan or poori bread

Serves 4

February 5, 2011 Posted by | Learning to Love Chickpeas, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian | , , | 1 Comment