I am a huge fan of creamy things, like cheesecake and pesto mayonnaise and funeral potatoes.  All super tasty things, in my opinion.  Cooking such things is bred into my bones, my mother taught me from since I was as high as an apron's ties that adding cream of chicken soup and/or sour cream to a recipe made it instantly superb.  I like superb.  I adore superb, actually.  I crave funeral potatoes like nobody's business, but I really don't want them enough for anybody to die over them, despite the awful name they've gotten.

Anyway, back to creamy deliciousness--Cody becoming a vegan changed the way I had to look at recipes and it greatly changed the way certain dishes needed to be made.

Enter cashew cream!

This stuff is luscious.  Creamy, bodacious, and only slightly nutty (because factoid!  Cashews aren't nuts!), cashew cream makes an incredible alternative to dairy cream in vegan recipes, especially savory ones as coconut cream kinda tastes weird in certain contexts, like in a creamy vegetable soup, for instance.

Last week we had this fantastically easy to make, amaaaaaazing tasting cream of broccoli soup because we'd gotten more cruciferous vegetables than we needed in our Bountiful Basket, and so needed a way to use them up.  We gobbled it up in under 24 hours, even William had his share.  So if you have picky eaters that don't like veggies, try this!  It's got great fats in it too, and makes panini companions shine like the sun.

Because I rock at the photography thing, here's someone else's picture of cream of broccoli soup that looks surprisingly like ours:

Vegan Cream of Vegetable Soup
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, 11th Edition

Cooked vegetable (see amounts and variations below with herb combinations)
3 cups broth
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (omit if doing a strict Paleo version*)
1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup cashews
boiling water (about 1 1/2 cups-ish)

In a 2-cup glass measuring cup, measure out the 1 cup of cashews.  Pour the boiling water into the glass measure up to the 2 cup mark.  Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and let soak for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally if you want.  It doesn't NEED it need it, but sometimes stirring is fun.

Once the cashews are sorta bloated and softened to the tooth, dump the cashews and their water into a blender or food processor and blend those punks up like they deserve it, a.k.a. until the mixture is white and creamy and no little bits of nuts remain visible.

Set the cashew cream aside and blend up the cooked vegetable of your choice in 2 batches, with 2 cups of the broth (1 cup of the broth with each batch of vegetable.)

Heat a pot over medium heat.  Make the roux by melting the coconut oil then whisking in the flour, remaining salt, pepper, and chosen seasonings for your vegetable.  Cook until the mixture bubbles quite a bit.  It won't look like a traditional roux, but it will still work, don't worry!  Whisk in the remaining 1 cup of broth and cook until thickened and bubbly.  Add in all of the blended goodness, warm, and serve.

Vegetable Options:

6 cups cut asparagus/2-10 oz frozen package asparagus, 1 teaspoon lemon peel, 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

6 cups broccoli florets/2-10 oz package frozen cut broccoli, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

6 cups florets/2-10 oz package frozen, 1-1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder

10 cups sliced fresh mushrooms, 1/4 teaspoon thyme, 1 tablespoon sherry

6 potatoes, peeled and cubed, or 3 &1/2 cups mashed, cooked potatoes and 1/2 teaspoon dried dillweed

2 cups canned pumpkin and 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

2 1/2 pounds acorn squash, cooked and scraped from skin, and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger or nutmeg

Soup it up!

*The soup is certainly thick enough to not need the roux thickener; however, if you feel it needs thickening, consider using arrowroot instead.