Smoky Black Bean & Corn Soup
Recipe Difficulty: Easy
Smoky Black Bean & Corn Soup Recipe Notes
This is a simple black bean soup using basic ingredients. Black Beans & Corn are simmered with tomato, spices, bell peppers, onion, garlic, & jalapeno. It's vegan, gluten free, and incredibly flavourful. I really recommend making this the day before you plan to eat it. I find the flavours improve a lot just by sitting overnight in the fridge.
Adding Canned Black Beans with Their Liquid
Most of the time when I use canned beans, I strain and rinse them first. In this recipe, I find myself adding the whole can along with the liquid. I use black beans with no added salt, if I only had canned beans with salt, I don't think I would add the entire contents because I want to be able to control the salt factor. The liquid in canned beans is really starchy, and actually adds a thickness to the soup that I kind of like. You don't have to do it though. Or if you are on the fence, add the liquid from one of the cans.
Garnish for My Smoky Black Bean & Corn Soup
You can garnish with whatever you'd like, but I always want corn chips, pickled jalapeno peppers, cilantro, sour cream & green onion. I wouldn't be opposed to shredded cheese either, and if you had an avocado to use up I can see a bit of that diced on top too!
A note about the HEAT factor of this soup.
If you aren't adding the pickled jalapeno peppers as a garnish to this soup, I recommend adding some extra heat to the soup while you are cooking it. Pickled Jalapenos are quite spicy, but I find them delicious and flavourful also. Even though in the photograph I have them garnished on the soup as whole slices, that's just for the image. I ripped them up immediately after when I was about to dig in. You probably don't want to use your hands though, finely chop up one or two maximum per bowl and just sprinkle on top of the soup and stir in. Even though I also add fresh jalapenos to this soup, it doesn't add discernable heat, I just like the flavour of them.
If you want to add heat but not with pickled jalapeno peppers, another option is Sambal Oelek. I always have a jar of sambal in my fridge, it's a great choice for adding heat to practically anything. Start with a teaspoon in the soup while it simmers and taste it after it has had time to infuse.
Why black beans are a great ingredient to add to your diet
Pacifica Vegan Ceramide, Vegan Collagen Cream, Glow Booster Serum & Glow Lip Oil
Pacifica 100& Vegan & Cruelty Free
Pacifica has a huge array of products from make-up to skin care, fragrance & hair care. After trying a few of their products (pictured above) I definitely can see myself trying other things. I'm pretty minimalist, so some of what they offer wouldn't be of interest to me, but I look forward to seeing what else they carry that works for my routine. I'm 39, so I definitely am always on the hunt for a good cleanser, moisturizer and vitamin C serum. I've never really been too brand specific in a long term sense. Sometimes what I need is based on the time of year and changes to my skin. I purchased these in January, and they all feel super hydrating which is what I was hoping for. Canadian winters are harsh on the skin!
Pacifica Vegan Products Review
1. Pacifica Vegan Ceramide Extra Gentle Face Wash
This gentle facewash kind of reminds me of Spectro Jel. I'm not surprised it reminds me of spectro because they both mention not stripping away ones delicate skin barrier, and are both suitable for sensitive skin. Pacifica, like spectro jel, has a kind of gel like consistency that is moisturizing but still seems to pull off any makeup I'm wearing. (Really I only wear a bit of foundation to even out my skin tone, sometimes eye brow pencil.) Not sure how it would fare with mascara and heavier make-up. With all that being said I like Pacifica better, because I think it does a better job cleaning my skin. At least it feels cleaner than when I've used Spectro Jel.
Pacifica Extra Gentle Facewash is:
2. Pacifica Glow Serum
Vitamin C serums are something I always add to my skin care routine. I have no idea how much they help or improve skin, I figure it isn't something immediate and more about a long term habit that can probably help the look of skin. This glow serum feels nice when I put it on, I like the smell, and I like the packaging and bottle it comes in. Packaging might not seem important, but one of the reasons I'm digging this brand is because of their commitment to more environmentally friendly packaging. From the Pacifica website: "Our goal is zero virgin plastic. Today more than 85% of our PET bottles are made from at least 50% post-consumer recycled material. Our boxes are made from FSC certified paper."
This Pacifica glow serum:
3. Pacifica Vegan Collagen Overnight Recovery Cream
The fact that I bought 4 products and love them all is impressive to me. This vegan collagen overnight recovery cream I will definitely purchase again. It feels super hydrating, and in the morning my skin is definitely softer and healthier looking. It's helping my skin survive the dry winter weather here in Canada!
Pacifica Vegan Collagen Recovery Cream is:
4. Pacifica Glow Stick Lip Oil
This product I became instantly obsessed with. I stopped wearing lipstick when covid and mask wearing started. I guess I just kind of got out of the routine, then when I put it on again I wasn't digging it. I always find it settles into my fine lines, and I have no interest in figuring out how to make it work. I just want something easy. This lip oil is exactly that. It adds a lovely sheer yet rich tone to my lips, and it's super moisturizing. It feels like I'm nourishing my lips, but it also adds a nice colour to complete my minimalist make-up look.
This Pacifica Glow Stick Lip Oil :
Summary of Pacifica Skin Care:
I am impressed with this brand. It's 100% vegan, seems to be making an effort with its packaging to be more environmentally friendly, and even has a section on their site about supporting animal activism. The site doesn't dig deep and give more information, but I hope that the claims are legit. The quality seems great, and honestly I've been using their face wash and moisturizer and serum daily for a week, and my skin looks significantly better than it did prior. As I mentioned above I am 39 years old, I have sensitive skin, and I'm certain I will be purchasing again. If I try new things from this line I will add my thoughts here!
Hey friends! This page contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase after clicking a link, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Your support means a lot, and I thank you!
Recipe Difficulty: Easy
Making your own vegan cream to use in cooking is incredibly simple! You only need two ingredients. Raw Cashews & Water. The raw cashews are first soaked, and then blended together with the water until smooth and creamy. Soaking the cashews first allows them to become soft enough that when you blend them with water the mixture becomes smooth and creamy without any detectable cashew bits. The result is an incredibly rich and versatile vegan cream which can be used for a variety of cooking projects. it's a great dairy-free alternative, and you might be surprised how delicious it is in various recipes.
How to use Vegan Cream
Basically, use it anywhere you would use regular cream to cook with.
How to Store Vegan Cream
I store my vegan cream in a glass mason jar in the fridge. Generally I don't like to keep it past 5 days, but up to 7 days is possible. You can halve the recipe if you don't think you will use a lot.
Where Do You Get Raw Cashews?
Raw cashews are cashews that have not been roasted or otherwise processed. They are typically off-white in color and have a slightly softer texture than roasted cashews. They are often used in cooking and can be found in many health food & bulk stores and supermarkets. They can also be purchased online.
Vegan Cashew Cream Recipe
Yield: approx 3 1/2 cups
Recipe Difficutly: Easy
What is Delicata Squash?
Delicata squash is believed to have originated in North America and was first cultivated by the indigenous people of the region. It was later introduced to Europe and other parts of the world by early settlers and explorers. Today, delicata squash is grown in many parts of the world, including North America, Europe, and South America.
Delicata squash is a type of winter squash, which means it is typically harvested in the fall and can be stored for several months, making it a good option for using throughout the winter. It is a relatively small squash, usually around 6-8 inches long and 2-3 inches in diameter.
One of the unique features of delicata squash is its edible skin, which makes it easy to prepare and eliminates the need to peel the squash before cooking. The flesh is yellow or orange and the seeds are scooped out before cooking.
Delicata squash is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and dietary fiber. It can be prepared in a variety of ways, including roasting, sautéing, and baking. It can also be mashed or pureed for use in soups, casseroles, and pies. It is also quite versatile, it can be paired with sweet or savory ingredients, and can be used as a side dish or as an ingredient in main dishes.
How to Roast Delicata Squash
This is a simple roasted squash recipe using delicata squash. It is a lovely option for roasting. It's deliciously creamy and there is no need to peel the skin off. It's delicious (and pretty) left on. The delicata squash is first cut in half and deseeded, then sliced into 1/2 inch thick wedges. It gets tossed with maple syrup, extra virgin olive oil, cinnamon, chili powder & salt and pepper then roasted in the oven at 425F until the suqash has softened and the maple syrup has caramelized. About 20 minutes, flipping half way. To garnish, more toasted pumpkin seeds than you would think (such a delicious crunch), an extra drizzle of maple syrup if you wish, lots of pinches of one of my favourite vegan feta cheeses, (Greek Style Fresh Start Fauxmage), and a squeeze of fresh lemon.
How to serve Maple Roasted Delicata Squash
This would be a lovely side dish to serve over the holidays along side your favourite protein or other vegetable side dishes. I've actually even eaten half of the written recipe as a full meal just to myself. Either way, it is worth branching out and trying delicata squash if you haven't already. I love all squash varieties, but this one is definitely lovely and looks gorgeous on the dinner table.
Aésop Vegan Skincare Products
Aésop I hadn't heard of this brand until I was gifted a bunch of their products at Christmas time. It is definitely on the pricier side, but their products are beautiful and smell great. You can tell from the packaging and the products themselves that they are of exceptional quality. I have tried their Body Cleansers & Creams, Bar Soap & Facial Moisturizers. I love them all. I think Aésop products would make a lovely gift for anyone that appreciates natural vegan skin care, or for yourself if you need extra special pampering. They sell skin & hair care products, fragrance, and incense.
This company has been around since 1987, and its headquarters are located in Melbourne. They pride themselves on sourcing safe and effective ingredients that are plant-based and laboratory made. They have a team of researchers that test and formulate new products with the highest of standards. They are vegan, and do not test their products on animals. They are leaping bunny approved, and a Certified B corporation.
Shop Aésop Products
Vegan in Spain. Valencia
Vegan in Valencia, Spain
About My Trip to Spain
My first trip to Spain I spent most of my time in and around Valencia. I was in the city December 18th - 31st, 2022. I am in a long distance relationship and Jose and I hadn't seen each other for 10 months. We are hoping in 2023 I can make the move to Spain permanently. While I tend to do a bit of research before a trip, I find the most unforgettable experiences while traveling happen when you just let things happen. It's about being adaptable, spontaneous and following your instincts in the moment. I've seen the best sunsets and had the best meals in different parts of the world all by chance. This was my approach in Valencia. There are so many dining opportunities it would be impossible to try them all. I was pleasantly surprised that most places I stumbled upon had vegan options, and there were many 100% vegan restaurants that I didn't get a chance to check out during this trip.
Jose had to work some of the time during my stay, so sometimes that meant me venturing out on my own (directionally challenged, GPS in hand...it's an adventure!) One thing I ran into was that the hours of operation can differ greatly between restaurants. Some places are open all day and night, others open for lunch, then close for several hours, opening up again around 8:30 and even 9:00 pm. Jose and I both prefer not to go out late so that dictated a bit where I/we went.
Our air bnb had a small kitchen with two burners but no oven. We ate a few simple meals in the apartment but definitely ate out more often than not. I have written a bit about each restaurant I ate at during my two week stay in Valencia, and I am honestly surprised to report that I didn't have any "bad" food in the city. Some meals were better than others, but nothing completely off putting. Trust me when I tell you, I am a food critique at heart so I don't give great reviews lightly.
Restaurants I ate at in Valencia
(1-6) located in Old Town Valencia
(7) located in Ruzafa (an area in Valencia)
(8). located in Benimaclet (area in Valencia)
1. Mali Gastrobar
Mali Gastrobar was one of the first places I had dinner while Jose was working. They actually have multiple locations in Old Town, all really close together. I didn't notice until days after I first ate there while walking around aimlessly and realizing I walked passed it 3 times ha. The first meal I had was Paella. They had one vegan option. "Paella de Verduras" with Artichoke, Zucchini, Roasted Peppers & Broad Beans. It was incredibly delicious. This was the only Paella I had in Valencia, I would in theory be curious to try others, but this one was perfect. The oils coated my lips, it had deep rich tomato & roasted vegetable flavours with the perfect amount of acidity.
This Paella served two people. They list the price as "per person" meaning it is actually double what the printed cost was. (I think about 13 euros per person, so 23...I kinda forget). One thing to note is unless you are at a restaurant that advertises take out as an option, it isn't typically a thing here. Since I was alone I asked if there was anyway I could take half of the Paella to go. They were accommodating and gave me a piece of tinfoil and a paper bag to carry the rest home. In theory if you want to be able to bring leftovers, I would just have a bag or small container on your person.
I chatted with a server working at Gastrobar Mali a bit, asked what else he recommended in the area. He laughed and said "Gastrobar Mali." He mentioned the vegan burger being really good on their menu. I was intrigued, I don't necessarily *go* for vegan burgers often, but if they are good then it is a worth while experience. The idea stuck in my head anyhow, and I went back a couple of days later to try their vegan burger while Jose was at work.
The burger was made from textured soy, and I have to say, it isn't a product I have worked with before (not sure why!), but it had great flavour and texture. I'm guessing they would have used beets to give it the colour, but I'm really not sure. It also had caramelized onions, mushrooms, pickles, guacamole, roasted peppers, greens. This burger was really delicious. I think the next time I attempt a vegan burger I am going to give textured soy a whirl! It came with a side of chips. I had a bag with me in my purse, and I took half home because for me it's a lot of food at lunch in one sitting, and I wanted Jose to be able to try it too. To be honest we shared it later haha, and it was even good cold. I also made an Instagram friend with the server who suggested I try it. I love making random connections.
2. Noble Cafe
Noble Cafe was the only coffee shop in Valencia I went to, and Jose and I went just once. This was mainly because there was a Nespresso Machine in my Air Bnb, and by the time I was strolling around the city most days I was going for a drink and a meal.
Noble Cafe is located in Old Town Valencia. They actually had soy milk as an option, so I was really happy about that. I am always disappointed when I'm going out for coffee and there is no dairy free alternative. Our breakfast was toasted baguette, with tomato puree and olive oil on the side. The pan con tomateI had in Morella was definitely better than the one here, but it was still tasty enough. The space was clean and in theory I would have enjoyed going back more than the one time. I am not sure how many vegan options there were on the menu, but I was happy enough with what we ordered. Somehow I rarely eat food when I'm at a coffee shop anyhow. I'm always there for the coffee and the wifi. I prefer to eat healthy so I rarely go for baked goods. (Though I had a vegan croissant in Switzerland on my little side trip to see family and that was delicious!)
3. Matiz Cantina
3. Matiz Cantina. I stumbled upon Matiz Cantina randomly one evening while Jose was at work. Took a glance at their menu and saw a few vegan options. This place is all about the wine. They had an extensive hand written list of reds and whites. I chose a glass of white, a locally made varietal, and it was delightful.
A dish of olives to nibble on while waiting for food.
I ordered the "Veggie Tartar" to start. The menu said toasted bread, but it was un-toasted. It was still good, toasted is always what I want for things like this though. It had broccoli, almonds, roasted peppers & lots of brightness. I ended up ordering the hummus because while this veggie tartar was delicious it wasn't a stand alone dish for me. I needed some richness beside it after some bites. So hummus and more bread rounded it all out. That isn't even a negative comment, I prepare dishes all the time where I want a 2nd or 3rd dish to balance the flavour profile of the entire meal. The owner was really sweet and friendly, she spoke some English to me and I really enjoyed my evening out. (Would have been better with Jose there heh.)
This is the wine list, and the wine I chose. I actually stopped drinking for 1 year and 8 months prior to this trip. I decided a while before that I wanted to enjoy wine while in Spain, so introduced it back in my life. Now that I am home, I am back to not drinking much. For me having the ability to cut it out of my life for extended periods of time is the difference between my 39 year old self and my 29 year old self. Anyhow, I think any wine lover would find something delicious at this restaurant.
My Veganuary Recipe Suggestions
This Taco Salad also has fresh salsa, black beans, corn, quinoa, avocado, fresh mint & cilantro. Then it all gets dressed with a simple cumin lime vinaigrette. I also like to garnish this with pickled jalapeno peppers, a drizzle of coconut yogurt and a sprinkle of smoked paprika.
Roasting Carrots before using them in a soup is a great way to intensify their flavour and bring out their natural sweetness. This roasted carrot soup is one that I make specifically when I want to feel great. It's incredibly delicious and made from predominately whole foods. This carrot soup is also perfectly spiced with a bit of cumin & coriander. I often add cashew cream or nut butters to my soups for added richness/creaminess but this one doesn't need it. This soup simply starts with carrots roasted in olive oil, then I also use a generous amount of olive oil for sweating the onions and garlic (a whole head of garlic in fact). The result, dare I say, is a luscious soup that I find to be addictively good. A touch of maple and a squeeze of lemon adds the right balance of sweet and acidity.
Hey! I'm Trisha
I'm a chef in Prince Edward Island, Canada
I create, photograph & share beautiful vegan recipes. For me plant based food is about nourishing the body, mind & soul. I hope to inspire your creative side & to demonstrate that a vegan diet can be fun, satisfying & delicious.