You might notice that this recipe and post is a little different than our usual fare. Why? Well, this Orange You Sweet Carrot Soup was created specifically to be vegan. And this post? Well, it’s mostly about friendship and one of Mae’s friends in particular.
It’d been almost two decades since they had seen each other, yet from the moment they reconnected it was like a day hadn’t been missed. Of course, there was lots to catch up on, but the old familiar sense of friendship was still as strong as it had been w-a-a-y back in high school. That’s when Mae first met Janna.
There’s lots of things Mae would want to tell you about her friend, Janna. She’d tell you that Janna is a beautiful, witty, passionate, and hard-working woman. Mae once described her friend as “one of the grooviest people” she knows. Mae would also probably tell you about Janna’s amazing sense of style and tenacious spirit – both of which have enabled her to have a successful career as an independent fashion designer, and two fashion brands: the first, Astrosatchel. and her most recent endeavour, Winterluxe.
Of course, beautifully designed accessories aren’t the only thing Janna is passionate about. Mae would also tell you about how her friend cares deeply for the environment, particularly about mass consumption and consumer waste. In fact, in every facet of her life, Janna attempts to live mindfully of the ecological footprint she is leaving on the planet. This is true even of the products she creates. Now this statement may surprise some of our readers, particularly once you learn that some of the products in these lines use recycled animal materials, and that Janna self-identifies as vegan. As we’ve quickly come to learn, a vegan lifestyle can mean different things to different people. Janna explained for us her perspective on being vegan and her choice of materials:
“In everything I do, I try to consider the environment. I’m vegan because I love animals and believe eating lower on the food chain helps every form of life on the planet.
In my work, I think it’s really important to recycle animal based materials since the earth has already paid the cost of these animals. Cashmere is considered one of the most luxurious fabrics, but increased demand for it has created dustbowl conditions in some areas due to animal over grazing. I chose to work only in cashmere as it is super warm without being bulky or itchy, and using only one fibre makes things easier from a production standpoint.
We often have a disconnection between where our food and clothing fibre comes from, or don’t think one person can make a difference: I recycled over 200 lbs of cashmere last year, that’s a lot of sweaters which now live on as cozy toques, mittens and scarves. I hand pick all my sweaters, do all my own sewing and washing in my studio. I double check everything for quality.
Through buying recycled cashmere, people can still enjoy this luxury fibre without further damage to the environment or additional animal exploitation, which I feel good about.
My line also gives me an opportunity to talk to people who may not otherwise consider buying second-hand goods. I think if I were using synthetic fibres, such as acrylic, I wouldn’t be as successful in getting the message out.”
So in honour of Mae’s friend, she decided to make her very first vegan soup. There were challenges and a lot to learn. In fact, Mae almost inadvertently made this vegan soup vegetarian. You see, when she drafted the recipe, she intended to use honey as a sweetener. She decided to do a bit of research though and that was when she learned that honey is not considered vegan, and some vegans won’t touch the stuff. Thankfully, Mae caught this error before she made the soup and simply substituted agave syrup for honey. Of course, if you aren’t vegan, and you don’t have agave just sitting around in your pantry, then go ahead and sweeten this soup with bee’s nectar.
Mae says this was a really great recipe to develop. Not only did she learn a lot about vegan food, but she also came to appreciate such food, not just for its health benefits, but for its ecological benefits as well. In fact, there’s no reason why our meat-eating family can’t eat vegan and vegetarian food a couple times a week. It’d be good for us and good for the planet.
I’ll be the first to admit that I used to scoff at the idea of having a meal without animal protein. I’ve come to enjoy at least one vegetarian meal a week. The thing is, that vegetarian, and even vegan food can have wonderful depth of flavour. So, you can eat something tasty, and get enormous health benefits from it too. That’s what this Orange You Sweet Carrot Soup is: delicious and nutritious. It’s mildly sweet, with hints of cinnamon. What makes it so deliciously sweet? Apples, raisins, and sweet potatoes. Oh, and loads of carrots, of course.
Here’s what you’ll need to make my wife’s Orange You Sweet Carrot Soup:
- ¼ coconut oil
- 4 cups grated carrots, tightly packed
- 1 large sweet onion, chopped
- 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, chopped
- 7-8 cups vegetable stock
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 cups mashed sweet potato
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup cashew pieces (optional)
- 1-3 tablespoons agave nectar
- 1 400 ml can coconut milk
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- In a large stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 1 minute.
- Toss in carrots and continue to cook until onions are translucent and have an orange hue.
- Add garlic, apples, sweet potato, vegetable stock, salt, coconut milk, agave, and cinnamon sticks (remaining ingredients except raisins and cashews).
- Stir and bring to gentle boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer.
- Allow to simmer for 30 mins, stirring occasionally.
- Remove cinnamon sticks and blend ingredients into a smooth consistency, using either a hand immersion blender or by transferring in batches to a counter top blender.
- Return blended soup to pot, add raisins and return to gentle simmer for 5-10 minutes or until raisins have plumped up.
- Serve hot, garnish with roasted cashew pieces if desired.
Special thanks to Janna Hurtzig of Winterluxe for participating in this blog post. For more information on her line of products:
Want more soup recipes? Visit some of our fellow food blogging friends for more great ideas for #SoupSundays.
Gregg & Mae