Monday, January 27, 2014

A Slightly Spicy Bean + Veggie Soup!

So I have good news and bad news. The bad news, today was one of those days where you know you should go grocery shopping but you don’t really feel like it – so you don’t kind of days. The good news, you can almost always find enough ingredients on-hand to make something tasty! Yup, this is the exact predicament I found myself in today.

I typically provide my health-coaching clients with a list of items to always have on hand. This way, if you ever find yourself in a pickle (like I did today) you can still make something quick, healthy and delicious! Some items I suggest are canned beans and tomatoes (BPA free of course), vegetable stock, onion, garlic and an array of fresh and frozen veggies. Today I used these items and created a somewhat spicy, hearty and delicious vegetable soup! In fact, it almost reminded me of Minestrone but without the pasta.

Now I realize I live in California so I will not complain about the weather (nor will I brag). I also realize that the rest of the country is experiencing extreme temperatures in the negatives and so I dedicate this warming soup recipe to YOU!

This soup is chock full of nutrient dense veggies, warming spices, protein and fat! Yes, I did it! I said the "f" word! Why? Because every healthy diet needs healthy fat. Fat gives us energy and is what allows our body to absorb the nutrients needed for health, vitality and most life-functions. Notice I said "healthy fat." Potato chips and fried foods do not count. Fats such as ghee (clarified butter), olive oil, coconut oil, grape seed oil, avocados and nuts are all excellent sources of fat! 

4 cups of vegetable stock
1 – 12 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 can of white kidney beans (garbanzo, cannellini, or any other beans would work)
2 cups of green beans, cut in bite sized pieces
2 cups of kale
1 cup of frozen corn
2 large carrots, thinly sliced
2-3 stalks of celery, diced
½ onion, diced
3 cloves of minced garlic
2 bay leaves
1-2 tablespoons of basil
1 tablespoon of ghee (butter or oil of your choice)
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (add more if you like it really spicy!)
Fresh parsley for garnish
Salt & pepper to taste

Warm the ghee in a large stockpot. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Next add the garlic, celery and red pepper flakes and continue to sauté for another 30-60 seconds. Be careful not to burn the garlic.

Add the vegetable stock, diced tomatoes, beans, bay leaves, basil, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, covered, for approximately 20 minutes.

Next, toss in the carrots, corn and kale and simmer on low heat for five minutes. Add the green beans and continue to cook for another 3-5 minutes (or until beans are tender). No one likes mushy green beans J.

Remove from heat. Transfer to serving bowls and garnish with fresh parsley. This soup is sure to warm your bones J.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Cacao Goji Berry Smoothie

Have you jumped on the juicing or blending bandwagon yet? Normally my husband and I whip up a power-packed green smoothie that, you know, tastes healthy. But who said you have to trade in kale for rich velvety deliciousness? With a couple of Superfood additions, raw cacao and goji berries, I have transformed a nutrient dense kale smoothie into a chocolate-berry treat!

If you’re new to goji berries – theses red little berries are loaded with nutrients! Packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and protein. In fact, just one single goji berry contains over 21 trace minerals, vitamins A, C, E, zinc, iron, copper, calcium and if that’s not enough – 18 different amino acids. These berries may be quite small but they contain BIG stuff! Ounce for ounce, they contain more beta-carotene than carrots, more vitamin C than oranges and more iron than spinach. Wowza!

1 ½ cups of unsweetened almond milk
2 large handfuls of kale
1/4 cup of raw cashews
1 frozen banana
1 medjool date, pit removed
2 tablespoons of raw cacao powder
2 tablespoons of goji berries
Large handful of ice

Toss all ingredients into a high-speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour the smoothie into a tall glass, sprinkle with goji berries and slurp down with a pretty straw.