No-Cream Creamy Carrot Soup (vegan and vegetarian options)

Pumpkin, carrots, ginger cookies … I’m still living in the wrong season but it’s hard to believe summer is coming with this crazy weather! 

My cousin made this soup last Christmas and it tastes so. good. It is velvety. It is super orangey-autumny looking. And it has no cream or butter. And it matches my gerberas that I dried and pressed! 

So what’s the secret?!? 


High in fibre, cheap, and pretty much good for everything. You boil it with the soup and when you’re ready to puree everything, it acts as a natural thickener. 

No Cream Creamy Carrot Soup via The Dr. Oz Show (don’t laugh)


2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion diced

3-4 cloves garlic, diced

2 stalks celery

2 lbs carrots, peeled and cut into ½” rounds 

~5 cups no salt vegetable stock or no salt chicken stock

¼ cup rolled oats

1 tsp freshly grated ginger (optional)

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp curry powder

salt and pepper to taste 


1. In a medium-sized pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic until soft (about 5-8 minutes). Stir often to prevent browning.

2. Add the celery and carrots, stirring often for 5-6 minutes.

3. Add stock so that it just covers all the veggies and bring to a boil.

4. Add oatmeal. Reduce heat to low and simmer (slight rolling boil) for 30-45 minutes until carrots are tender.

5. Pour contents of the pot into a blender or food processor. Blend the soup until creamy. Add additional stock to desired consistency. Add lemon, fresh ginger, and curry powder. Season to taste. 

03:46 pm, by fiftyfiveessex 1

For those who don’t like birthday cake.

Apparently March is a great month to have kids. Four birthdays in two weeks. 

We all have those friends who are kinda picky. No icing, some chocolate but not too much, not too sweet, I don’t like cake… I feel ya (the picky people). I don’t think I can order a regular item on a menu without asking about changing it … 


And so I present to you, the ultimate birthday cookie. It is amazing. Half cake mix, half flour, sprinkles, oreo bits and even chocolate chips if you’re feelin’ it. It has the most incredible cookie texture and looks SO GOOD. 

The key is actually chilling to dough to get the right texture. Thank you Sally!

Ultimate Birthday Cookie via Sally’s Baking Addiction 

Yields 20 cookies


1 ¼ cups flour

1 ¼ cups yellow or vanilla boxed cake mix

½ tsp baking sosa

¾ cup unsalted butter, softened 

½ cup sugar

½ cup brown sugar

1 egg, room temperature

1 ½ tsp vanilla 

⅔ semi sweet chocolate chips

½ cup sprinkles

10 oreos, crushed into pieces


1. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cake mix, and baking soda. Set aside.

2. Using a mixer, cream the softened butter and both sugars together on medium speed until smooth. Add the egg and mix on high until combined, about 1 minute. Add the vanilla and beat on high until combined. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix on low-medium speed until just combined. Add the chocolate chips, sprinkles, and crushed Oreos. Mix on low until the add-ins are evenly disbursed.

3. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days. This step is mandatory. The dough is fairly sticky, so chilling the dough is required in order to avoid the cookies from spreading too much. If you chill longer than 2 hours, make sure you roll the cookie dough into balls after the 2 hour mark. Place dough balls on a plate, cover tightly, and store in the refrigerator until ready to bake.

4. Once chilled, preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

5. Scoop rounded balls of the cold dough onto an ungreased baking sheet. Use about 2 Tablespoons of cookie dough per cookie. Shape your cookie dough balls to be “taller” than they are wide. Press a few chocolate chips or crushed Oreo pieces into the tops of the cookie dough balls, if desired. That makes a pretty cookie. Make sure to keep dough chilled when working in batches.

6. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until edges are slightly browned. The centers will still appear very soft, but the cookies will set as they cool. You may also press a few more chips into the tops of the cookies at this point (the chips will melt down and stick from the warm cookies).

7. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 4 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 7 days. 

Aww yeah.

05:26 pm, by fiftyfiveessex

Giant Salad Bowl for Dinner 

To boost your salad (and actually be full afterward), add some healthy fats (avocados, nuts, cheese, sunflower seeds), lean protein (chicken breast), and quinoa. Throw some other colourful veggies, add a vinaigrette, and it suddenly becomes restaurant worthy. 

  10:28 am, by fiftyfiveessex

The Vegetarian Post

I love meat. Michael loves meat. Believe it or not, there actually are some pretty solid vegetarian recipes that taste good! For my meat loving friends, I’m pretty sure these are some of the reasons why you stay away from anything that says “vegetarian” because this is what I used to think:

1) It will taste bland. The first time I tried quinoa I thought it tasted like cardboard. I have come a long way and so can you! 

 2) You will not be full. True, but not every vegetarian dish is salad. Don’t believe me? Keep reading.

3) You don’t know what to make. Fear not, I’ve got you covered ;) 


If you cave and decide you’ll try one of these (ha), there has to be some levelling of the playing ground: 

- meat-alternative dishes are not meant to taste like meat!! Honestly, you cannot expect black beans to taste like ground beef. That’s not fair…

- give it a chance if the first time doesn’t work out. Just like any other recipe, it requires tweaking to appeal to your tastes over time.


Best Vegetarian Recipes to Try 

I have bookmarked these and tried a handful of these vegetarian recipes. Point being, they actually look good, most ingredients should already be in your pantry, they are substantial and filling, and they are of course healthy and delicious. 

1. THE BEST Black Bean Burgers (fiancé approved). 


I’ve posted about black bean burgers way too many times, but doesn’t that prove my point? These are actually a keeper. I’ve made them so many times and they always turn out so well. Even my guy friends and fiancé approve!!! 

2. Lentil Walnut Apple Loaf

I have also made these at least four times and it is very, very good. Lentils is something new that I started cooking with and it is crazy how cheap and good it is for you! P.S The apple glaze is AMAZING. If you make the loaf, you can’t really cheap out and not make the sauce. Sorry :(


3.  Sweet Potato Burgers with Garlic Cream and Avocado 

I haven’t made this yet, but I have definitely seen this pinned, reblogged, and referenced by other bloggers! Roasted garlic and avocado? Who can refuse. 

4. The Big Veg Quinoa Burger

I also have not made these yet but it combines some of my favourite ingredients - quinoa, parsnip and corn on the cob! It mostly looks intriguing so I’d be curious to try. 

5. Grilled Sweet Potato Salad

Perhaps a keeper for the summer, but definitely one that will impress at the summer BBQs! I love this blog as well and they have the cutest boy ever :)  

Give it a try!! Go! 

09:04 pm, by fiftyfiveessex

The Redemption Cookie: Gingersnap Cookies

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I was going to make Earl Grey cookies (I realize this isn’t Valentinesy at all but it’s his favourite tea and hint hint for our wedding cake…!). I haven’t made shortbread cookies before but pretty sure this will be my last … 


It actually was the most disastrous thing I’ve ever made and even when I tried to re-work the dough, I killed the poor thing. It did not look like the picture at all with little cute, dainty specks of tea but this sickly, greyish colour that just looked seriously ill. I was not meant for butter cookies. 

Plan B: Two Peas and Their Pod Gingersnap Cookies

I have had this bookmarked for a long time and have been dying to make these cookies! Thankfully, they did not disappoint.


And yes, I intentionally wanted you all to see I am ENGAGEDD. woohooo.

I think it’s better to use light molasses (I only had dark which gave it a very strong flavour) so up to you. It was light, crispy, and a perfect winter cookie! 

Gingersnap Cookies via Two Peas and Their Pod

Yields ~3 dozen cookies 


1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar 
1/2 cup molasses
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 large eggs
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chunks (optional)

1 cup granulated sugar-for coating cookie dough balls



1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment papers or with a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until smooth and creamy.

3. Beat in the molasses, canola oil, vanilla, baking soda, salt, and spices. Mix until well combined.

4. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until smooth. Slowly add in the flour. Next, stir in the white chocolate chunks.

5. Scoop the dough into balls and roll in granulated sugar. Place on lined baking sheets, about two inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes, the cookies will still be soft. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on the baking sheet for five minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Happy Valentine’s Day. 

12:20 pm, by fiftyfiveessex

(Source: dainty-daysies)

  09:56 am, reblogged  by fiftyfiveessex 23667




(Source: folkabout)

09:55 am, reblogged  by fiftyfiveessex 2652

Christmas Gift Guide (for the belly)

December Happenings  

I have been loving this Christmas playlist on Songza. No offence to Mariah’s Merry Christmas but her playlist let me down. Nothing beats singing All I Want for Christmas is You in the car though! 


My housies had our Secret Santa exchange and I got this awesome tea infuser and Forever Nuts tea from David’s Tea (thank you Joey!!) Highly recommend this one-cup tea infuser that comes with a sturdy lid and coaster and this tea is AMAZING. "…Within seconds, this tempting jumble of almond slices and chunks, apple bits and cinnamon bark starts turning a crazy shade of pink. Why? Because it contains a hint of beetroot. That’s what gives this rich almond tea its earthy depth and its all-natural signature colour." Need I say anymore? 


Much love. 

Now onto the Christmas Gift Guide (belly edition). 

December is always an expensive month, and one money-saver solution is to bake. Not a baker? You’re bound to attend at least one potluck this season so rather than buying frozen appetizers or volunteering to bring “water” to a potluck (…) I’ve included a brand new potluck pleaser recipe that’s simple, healthy, festive, and sure to impress! (Michael and I already made it twice and quite possibly onto our third time for the next potluck…).

The other Christmas recipes are tried and true and great gifts to give to your special someone! Seriously, put it in a Christmas looking tin box or a mason jar, tie some ribbon and you are good to go! $5. Bam.  

Quinoa, Butternut, Kale and Chicken Pilaf (an original 55 Essex recipe!)

Yields ~6 servings 



1 small butternut squash

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp olive oil

3 cups quinoa 

1 bunch kale, stems removed, chopped finely  

1 onion, diced

2 chicken breasts (or ground chicken) brined*

1/2 cup cranberries 

1/4 cup pinenuts or sunflower seeds 

salt and pepper

**How to brine chicken:Place chicken breasts (thawed or frozen is fine) in a Freezer ziploc. Fill with 2 cups water, 1 tbsp salt, 1 tbsp sugar). Give it a good shake! Leave in fridge overnight. This is an awesome trick to do with any meats that tend to get dry or tough when you cook it (i.e pork chops, chicken breast).   



1. Preheat oven 375 degrees F. 

2. Cut off the two ends of the butternut squash. Cut widthwise in half. Cut in half again but lengthwise. Place squash facing down so you have a sturdy base and slice 1” slices. 

3. On a foiled baking sheet, coat squash with olive oil and cinnamon (such a nice touch!). Bake for 20-30 minutes. Do not cook through! It should be soft enough to slice a knife through but firm enough where it’s difficult to take the knife out. 

4. Cook quinoa using my rice cooker technique! Feel free to substitute half the water for chicken broth. 

5. Slice chicken into strips and fry in a large frying pan. Once browned but not fully cooked, remove from pan. Add kale and onions until softened. You may need to add some water to deglaze the pan. Add chicken back in with cranberries and pinenuts and season with salt and pepper. 

6. Chop the squash into cubes, and add to pan. Add quinoa and mix well.  

Christmas Gift Goodies Guide: 

double chocolate candy cane cookies: my #1 christmas cookie!! 


- cookie dough bars with pretzel topping: for the cookie dough lover.


- pb & j thumbprint cookies: for every season. And it’s me in a cookie. 


- pumpkin ginger cookies: for those who can’t decide whether they’re a pumpkin spice latte or gingerbread latte kind of person.  


- healthy cranberry orange coffee cake: a great coffee cake for Christmas morning. 


There you have it! Lots of recipes to get you geared up for the Christmas season. Happy eating! 

06:33 pm, by fiftyfiveessex 2