Homemade Vegetable Bouillon and More!

I don’t know about you, but I go through a LOT of vegetable broth.  Those store bought boxes of stock have way too much sodium and cost an arm and a leg.  Bouillon is much more economical, but contain many less than desirable ingredients.

Let’s just look at a certain brand of bouillon that’s been in my pantry for awhile.  I used to like to keep these on hand for a broth emergency (when I found myself without a store bought box of broth).  Here is the ingredient list:  Salt, Palm Oil, Monosodium Glutamate, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Sugar, Onion Powder, Corn Starch, Water, Dehydrated Cabbage, Dehydrated Carrots, Celery Seed, Caramel Color, Disodium Inosinate, Dehydrated Parsley, Spices, Garlic Powder, Citric Acid, Turmeric, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, TBHQ.

Um, what??  There are TEN ingredients on that list that I wouldn’t want in my broth.  And, although, I would use salt, it certainly wouldn’t be the FIRST ingredient.  These are dry bouillon cubes.  I know you can get store bought bouillon that comes in a jar and is basically concentrated veggies (Better Than Bouillon is a good one).  I don’t have one right now, so I can’t vouch for the ingredients, but I think it is mostly just concentrated veggies., which is great. However, if you are buying a healthy brand, those aren’t cheap either!

I am so happy I came across this easy slow cooker recipe for vegetable bouillon.  I’ve adapted it from The Vegan Slow Cooker recipe for Chickeny Bouillon.  *If your recipe calls for 1-2 tbsp of store bought bouillon, use 2-4 tbsp of this recipe.

  • 1 large onion, quarted
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
  • 2 stalks celery, choped
  • 2 sprigs fresh parsley or 1 tsp dried
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast

Place all ingredients except nutritional yeast into your slow cooker.  Cook on low for 8-12 hours.  After cooking, remove thyme sprigs if using fresh.  Add the contents of the slow cooker and the nutritional yeast to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Use what you need, refrigerate the rest for up to a week or freeze.  I like to freeze this in baby food trays (ice cube trays work too) and then once frozen I pop them out and put them in a resealable freezer bag.  Each cube is about 2 tbsp and it’s easy to grab what you need and save the rest.  I also like to double this recipe…if you use a lot of broth, I suggest you do the same.  So easy, so yum and you just saved yourself a boatload of $$.

IMG_7458This is what it looked like before turning on the slow cooker.

IMG_7464This was after about 8 hours cooking.

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The bouillon cubes after being frozen.

Mixed Veggie Pasta

This is a recipe that is so easy, I actually didn’t expect to love it.  Somehow, though, it works.  I used peas, carrots, corn and celery.   I also added some diced avocado to the individual bowls just before serving.  It came together quickly and the kids happily ate it up…so did I.

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Pumpkin Red Lentil Stew

Wow, was this good!  And it all goes into the slow cooker so it’s super easy too!  A perfect quick meal on a chilly autumn or winter night. Yum!

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Veggie Dumplings

These were a little tedious to make…1 tbsp of filling onto each wonton wrapper, wetting the sides and then folding over and pressing to make sure it sticks.  However, they did turn out really good.  I would have never thought to put this mixture into a dumpling, but it was great.  One of my twins LOVED them and ate 5 or 6, I think.  Perfect little finger food for tiny hands.  It got a little messy once they bit into it as the filling started to fall out, but they are 1.5 yrs old and that pretty much happens with every food regardless.

IMG_7429This is the filling before being added to the wonton wrappers.

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Cheezy Rice and Lentil Bake

I have made this recipe before and it was a huge hit.  This time I added chopped kale in the last 10 minutes of cooking…the same time I added the cheeze sauce and tomatoes.  It was even better!  The kids didn’t even seem to notice there was kale in there.  M never once asked, “what is that green stuff?” as he normally would.  K didn’t pick it out and put it in the cup holder of her highchair tray as she normally would.  What???  They all just happily licked their bowls clean.  Wow!  We had 4 people eating this night (hubby wasn’t home) and we had no leftovers.  Next time I will be doubling the recipe for sure!!

I used brown basmati rice, but any brown rice will do (or white rice for that matter, but you wouldn’t do that, right?)…just make sure its not quick cook rice or it will probably get too mushy.

IMG_7459This is what it looked like right before going in the oven.  Tomatoes, kale and cheezy sauce not yet added.

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Lunchbox Love (*Not always vegan)

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Leftover Mixed Veggie Pasta, Red Pepper strips, Cantaloupe chunks, Wheat Thins

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Mini Whole Wheat Bagels with Almond Butter and Plum Jelly, Cantaloupe chunks, Pickle Spear (wrapped in parchment paper, Bat Cookie from the Pumpkin Patch Bakery

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Tortilla rollups with sunflower seed butter and strawberry jelly, cantaloupe chunks, pretzel sticks, carrot sticks and a few dark chocolate chips.

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Nature’s Bakery Fig Bag, Cantaloupe Chunks, Carrot and Red and Green Pepper sticks, Applesauce and an M&M Chocolate Chip cookie (from a neighbor’s fundraiser)

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Leftover Chocolate Chip pancakes from brunch the morning before, string cheese, red and green pepper sticks, and plum slices.

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Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin with Sunflower seed Butter and Plum Jelly, clementine slices, edamame and corn medley (from dinner the night before) and string cheese.

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