Where You “Been?” I”Bean” Making Soup

2 Apr

So it’s been a while but I’m back with some healthy black bean soup. I must say, this is a darn good soup. I added a bit more red pepper flakes than called for and it had enough of a kick that I didn’t even need to add hot sauce. Topped a beautiful bowl off with avocado and goad cheese. Hope you enjoy it!

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Ingredients:
1 spray(s) cooking spray
1 medium uncooked onion(s), finely chopped
4 clove(s) (medium) garlic clove(s), minced
45 oz canned black beans, undrained, divided (three 15 oz cans)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 tsp Durkee ground cumin, or other brand
14 1/2 oz fat-free chicken broth, or vegetable broth
10 oz canned tomatoes with green chilis, such as Rotel Tomatoes
11 oz canned yellow corn, drained

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Coat bottom of a large stockpot with cooking spray. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are soft but not brown, about 5 minutes.

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Place one can of beans in blender; add sautéed onion mixture, red pepper flakes and cumin. Cover and blend on high until smooth, about 30 seconds. Pour mixture back into stockpot.

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Place second can of beans and broth in blender and puree until smooth; add to stockpot.

Stir third can of beans (do not puree first), tomatoes and green chilies, and corn into stockpot. Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.

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Butternut Squash Apple Quinoa Salad

27 Jan

I saw this recipe on, you guessed it, Pinterest and had to try it. I eliminated a few things but stuck to the recipe for the most part. It turned out really well and would certainly be all the better if you add stuff you like on top of it. Dates might be good for an even sweeter twist. Avocado and goat cheese toppers might be good too… but I think those two gems are good on everything.

Butternut Squash + Apple Quinoa Salad [serves 4-6]

  • 5c butternut squash, cubed – 2 packets from Trader Joe’s
  • 1 medium apple, diced [1.5c]
  • 1c uncooked quinoa – I used tri color
  • 3/4c cipollini onions, chopped – Ditched this
  • 2c low sodium veggie stock – Used water
  • 2T + 1T sunflower oil – Used Olive Oil
  • 1/4c + 2T lemon juice
  • 1T honey – Probably used a little more 
  • 1.5t dried thyme – Ditched this
  • 3/4t garlic powder -Used Less
  • 1/4-1/2t salt [plus more to taste]
  1. Preheat the oven to 400*
  2. Place the cubed squash on a baking sheet.
  3. Toss with 1T oil and a sprinkling of salt – I like the pink rock salt from TJs
  4. Roast for 35-40min, stirring 1-2x, until golden brown.
  5. While roasting, heat a medium sized pot over medium heat.
  6. Rinse the quinoa and add to the pot.  Toast for 1-3min, stirring frequently.
  7. Add veggie stock, bring to a boil, cover + reduce heat to simmer for 15min. [do not remove cover or stir]
  8. Turn off heat, move the pot to another burner and let sit [covered] for 5-10min, then fluff with a fork.
  9. While the quinoa is cooking, in a small bowl, whisk together 1/4c lemon juice, honey, 2T oil, 1/4t salt, garlic + thyme.  Set aside.
  10. Chop the apples into small cubes + toss with 2T lemon juice.  Place in the fridge.
  11. In a large bowl lightly toss the quinoa, butternut squash + onions, and dressing until just combined.
  12. Top with the cold apple, and any other toppings you like.

Tortellini Vegetable Wonder Soup

26 Jan

And I’m at it again. This soup is pretty great- makes enough for a few meals if you’re cooking for one… and I was. Anyway- there’s not a lot to say about it other than I cut up a TON of vegetables a few days back when I was made  vegetable chips - and I just used those leftovers to throw this together after work. I had sweet potatoes in the mix too so… just threw em on in there as well. It’s fast, super healthy and really good too!

Without further delay…

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
  • 5 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (more if fresh)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 to 9 ounces fresh or frozen tortellini
  • (cheese or meat filled)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Black pepper, to taste

 Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium soup pot or large saucepan. Add the onion, zucchini, and carrot. Saute over moderate heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until the onion is soft and translucent.
  2. Add the stock, basil, bay leaf, tomatoes, and salt to the pot. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a low boil. Add the tortellini and bring the soup back to a low boil. Cook it for 2 minutes, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5 to 6 minutes longer. Gently stir in the parsley and pepper during the last minute or so. Makes about 5 servings.

Chips Made Out of Vegetables…Get On This.

23 Jan

Hello again friends. You love chips right? Who doesn’t? A part of this 2012th year for me and for you is the whole balance thing. Here’s a way to eat the stuff you love but have it be healthy at the same time. Insert Vegetable Chips Here.

Here’s what you need:

1 medium uncooked zucchini, sliced crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices
1 medium yellow summer squash, sliced crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices
2 small uncooked sweet potato(es), peeled and sliced crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices
2 large uncooked carrot(s), peeled and sliced diagonally into 1/8-inch-thick slices
1 tsp kosher salt, or more to taste
1 tsp fresh oregano, or more to taste

Here’s what you do:

Preheat oven to 200ºF. Coat 2 large baking sheets with cooking spray.

Place zucchini and squash in a single layer on one baking sheet. Place potatoes and carrots in a single layer on other baking sheet. Coat vegetables with cooking spray and season tops of vegetables with salt and oregano.

Roast for 1 hour and then rotate trays. Roast until vegetables are crisp and dry, about 30 to 60 minutes more. Yields about 1/3 cup per serving.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza .. your new carb free best friend

22 Jan

If we’re being honest… I kind of have a love affair with pizza. We’re not talking Dominoes or Pizza Hut crap here… we’re talking whole wheat crust topped with fresh pesto, goat cheese, pineapple, chicken sausage and arugula or garlic and herb crust piled high with marinara, crisp bell peppers, sliced dates…. you get the idea. Anyway, I make it a lot and some might say I’m known throughout the land for my expertly crafted pies of wonder. Maybe that’s an exaggeration… here nor there, I found this Cauliflower Crust recipe and thought I’d give it a whirl as carbs are not always a girl’s best friend.

Before I get into the fun stuff and you stop reading my commentary, note that I used less than 1 cauliflower and had enough for more than 3 pizzas. The morning after I made this, I turned on the oven and had a fresh one for lunch in less than 15… contemplated making a breakfast one too… maybe next time.

Without further adieu…

Ingredients: 

1 cup cooked, riced cauliflower
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 tsp garlic salt
olive oil (optional)

pizza sauce, shredded cheese and your choice of toppings*

Directions: 

To “Rice” the Cauliflower:
Take 1 large head of fresh cauliflower, remove stems and leaves, and chop the florets into chunks. Add to food processor and pulse until it looks like grain. Do not over-do pulse or you will puree it. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can grate the whole head with a cheese grater). Place the riced cauliflower into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 8 minutes. There is no need to add water, as the natural moisture in the cauliflower is enough to cook itself.

One large head should produce approximately 3 cups of riced cauliflower. The remainder can be used to make additional pizza crusts immediately, or can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.

To Make the Pizza Crust:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup cauliflower, egg and mozzarella. Add oregano, crushed garlic and garlic salt, stir. Transfer to the cookie sheet, and using your hands, pat out into a 9″ round. Optional: Brush olive oil over top of mixture to help with browning.

Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Remove from oven. To the crust, add sauce, toppings and cheese. Place under a broiler at high heat just until cheese is melted (approximately 3-4 minutes).

*Note that toppings need to be precooked since you are only broiling for a few minutes.

There’s No Such Thing As A Perfect “Yoga Body”–And 8 Other Truths On And Off The Mat

12 Jan

As posted on Blisstree

Before I started practicing yoga, I thought it was just for a certain “type” of person: You know, the skinny, bendy, double-jointed, put-their-leg-behind-their-head type of person. (If I sound naive or just plain crazy, bear with me.) I also ignorantly thought it was only for the weird, devoid-of-personality (i.e., never get mad enough to tell someone to f*ck off or excited enough to spit their margarita out during an off-color joke) types who spent their days chanting, singing and living in a blissful, zen-like state.

What I discovered after my very first class is that I couldn’t have been more wrong. In addition to discovering yogis of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds, I found they were actually nice, real human beings! Which led me to jot down the top misconceptions and truths I’ve uncovered during my yogic path (did I really just say “path“?):

1. Not all yogis are tie-dyed wearing, patchouli-smelling, Grateful Dead-listening hippies. Actually I have yet to meet one. I used to associate yoga with this groovy crowd, but soon enough I learned yoga was equally loved by the non-hippie crowd: moms, dads, corporate professionals, entrepreneurs, teens, athletes, non-athletes–even Lady Gaga! That’s not to say I don’t now own a tie-dyed yogi tote and bar of patchouli soap, of course.

2. Being fit doesn’t equate an easy yoga practice. No amount of running, swimming, biking or anything can prepare you for the mental and physical challenge of yoga–especially power yoga. As a marathon runner, I started out with an ego that said: “Of course you can do this. It’s just yoga, after all.” It didn’t take long for that thinking–and me–to get wiped out. Now, when someone new walks into the studio all pumped up and boasting about their Crossfit, I just chuckle.

3. Likewise, being unfit doesn’t mean you can’t do yoga. If you can breathe, you can do yoga. After the first class I thought, “Good heavens, I loved that, but I s-u-c-k-e-d.” Then I realized it’s more important to be challenged with something than good at it. Besides, who doesn’t like attempting a good tadasana, trikonasana and garudasana–let alone figuring out what they mean.

4. You don’t have to be a vegetarian or a vegan to be a yogi. Respect your body and the planet, but eat what you want and what feels right to you. On the same note, enjoy some red wine and an occasional cocktail. There’s no judgment amongst true yogis.

5. There is no perfect yoga body type. I have seen some of the thinnest and most toned women struggle with many poses, while someone shorter with a curvier physique pops up into handstand like it’s how she spends half her day.

6. You can take it at your own pace. There is no comparing or competing in yoga class. It took months to finally give myself permission to take child’s pose when I was overcome with exhaustion or distraction during a class. “What will people think if I drop out of this pose?” “Does this mean I am a quitter?” Who cares, and no. It’s all ego really, and it’s unnecessary in and out of yoga.

7. Yoga is not a religion. Having said that, it can be as spiritual as you want by allowing you to connect with your true inner self, reflect on thoughts and feelings and learn how to view yourself as part of a larger, global community. But if you want to just get a good sweat and some stretching, that’s cool too.

8. Namaste is a super cool word. There was a time when I had no idea what it meant–even though I would chime in at the end of each class with a hearty “Namaste”. I now know the basic translation is “I bow to your true self” or a number of other similar definitions. Your true self. How awesome is that? It’s like saying I honor, respect and love the authentic person you are.

9. We each have the potential to be a badass in life and not settle for mediocrity. Being a yogi doesn’t mean you have to be a doormat. It doesn’t mean we don’t like to succeed, compete (off the mat) and say an occasional “f*ck yeah” when we kick some butt. We are all put here to break some rules, make a difference, stand up for what we believe in and color outside the mat.

What have been some of your yoga truths?

Healthy Cookie Dough…get amped

11 Jan

Hi gluten frees, stevia freaks and friends,

I made something tonight I think you’ll be interested in… it’s raw, it’s sugar free, it’s gluten free, it’s a sweet eaters’ dream and I’m here to share. This healthy cookie dough is made with garbanzo beans and dates…imagine that… and it’s not half bad if I do say so myself.

How do I craft this health lovers dream, you ask? Here’s the recipe I tried to use.

  • 1 1/2 cups chickpeas (1 can, drained) (250g)
  • heaping 1/8 tsp salt
  • tiny bit over 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1 T plus 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup nut butter (You can get away with using only 3 T. If you use peanut butter, some people say it has a slight “pb cookie dough” taste, so you can sub oil if you don’t want that.)
  • 1 and 1/4 cup pitted dates (I used SunMaid, from a regular grocery store)
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips (see link below, for sugar-free option)
  • 2 T oats (You can omit)
  • nondairy milk as needed (depending on the consistency you want. I used a few T.)

In a bowl, cover the dates with 1/2 cup water. Let this sit for at least 8 hours. Then add all ingredients (including the dates’ soaking liquid), except chocolate chips, to a food processor and blend until very smooth.

Here’s how I messed up:

First off, in stealing vanilla and milk from someone who normally has aforementioned items, I mixed them together for the sake of tupperware efficiency. You’re not supposed to do that. I also added the chocolate chips to the food processor. You’re also not supposed to do that. All’s well that ends well though and I think it turned out pretty well It could be a little sweeter..one more date or a lil splenda would do the trick I think. Finally, the texture would be better chilled I think so I’d put your concoction in the fridge for a while before indulging.

Hope you all enjoy this totally strange sounding chickpea/date cookie dough creation – but hey, if it hits the spot and it’s a healthier choice… eat well and prosper.

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