Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

It's December 24th, or Christmas Eve for those celebrating the holiday. Frequently, this can be a holiday of indulgences and unhealthy foods, but it doesn't have to be. This year we're doing a pot-luck style dinner with some family members, and I'm bringing some healthy options. Those of you who read my blog regularly might recognize the my contributions, as the links are below. I'm very much looking forward to dinner tonight!

Christmas Eve Dinner Menu:
To start, we'll be having Sugar Pie Pumpkin Soup. Going back in time to my very first blog post!

The next course will consist of "Everyone Loves It" Kale Salad, fresh Dungeness crab from the California coast, and whole wheat sourdough.

And for dessert...homemade shortbread cookies. Yum!

Wishing you and yours a healthy and happy holiday season!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Garlic Mushroom Miso Soup

Fresh, hot miso soup - yum!
The cold weather means that I eat a lot of warm soups for lunch and dinner, and on a recent night my stomach was also feeling a bit queasy (perhaps from the bagel I ate for brunch - ugh!). I still wanted something for my evening meal, however, and decided that a light soup would be just perfect.

I recently bought a container of Brown Rice Miso, and decided that a Miso Soup was just what the doctor ordered! As fresh shitake mushrooms can be pricey, especially when organic, look for dehydrated mushrooms. They're much less expensive, take only 10 minutes to rehydrate, and the leftover water makes a delicious broth base you can use in your soup instead of plain water! While I added garlic, seaweed and mushrooms, those things are all optional, as are green onions or tofu. Like many recipes I love, it's all about what you have on hand in the kitchen! The garlic will be strong, but it's also a great immune system strengthener - great for cold and flu season!

This is a super simple and quick recipe that can be made as a light meal, a hearty meal (with lots of additions), or as a side dish to a meal. Use the base recipe and make it your own!

Miso Soup (serves 2 as a meal, 4 as a side)
Base Broth Ingredients:
5C of Water (use water from the mushrooms if you re-hydrated some)
1/4C of Miso Paste (any variety)
1T Tamari

Optional Additions:
1T Toasted Sesame Oil
1/2 Block of Organic Tofu, cubed
3 Green Onions, sliced thin
3 Cloves of Garlic, pressed
1/2C Shitake Mushrooms, sliced
Anything else you desire!

- Heat water (or mushroom broth) in a pot over low/medium heat. You want the water to get hot, but not boil. Boiling destroys the beneficial microorganisms and probiotics in the miso, which your body needs!
- Stir in the miso paste until it is well dispersed.
- Add the garlic, seaweed, and any other optional ingredients. Continue to stir occasionally, and do not allow the mixture to boil!
- Heat through, and serve immediately.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Chanukah Post: Lotsa Latkes

Zucchini, Sweet Potato, and Potato Latkes
In case you missed it on my Facebook page or in my December newsletter, I recently wrote a guest post for the Full Circle CSA blog. Full Circle is an organic CSA service based out of Seattle, Washington and serves Washington state, Idaho, Alaska and the San Francisco Bay Area with delicious produce. If you live in any of those areas and are looking for a CSA service, check them out!

My post, LOTSA LATKES, contains my recipe for traditional Potato as well as Zucchini Latkes, as well as a Chive-Yogurt Dip, and Laura's Applesauce. It's one time of the year when eating healthy is not an option!

Click on over and read it HERE!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Kale and Sweet Potato Soup

A steaming bowl of deliciousness!
Despite my best efforts, a few weeks ago I came down with a cold. It was going around, a few of my friends had it, and I thought my healthy diet and lifestyle would protect me from the virus, but it happened. It started with the tickle in the back of my throat, and within a couple of days I had the stuffed sinuses and runny nose as well. It wasn't horrible, nothing to keep me from doing most of my daily tasks, but it was still obnoxious and I wanted to get rid of it and get back to being healthy!

I met a friend for a cup of tea one afternoon, and she told me about the soup she loves to make when she or her husband have a cold. She got the recipe from a friend who also has a blog, and she sent me the recipe. As I read through it, I realized I had all the ingredients at home! No shopping required. So after our tea, I came straight home and started cooking dinner. I had a big bowl of the soup that night (see the above photo), and ate it again for lunch and dinner the next couple of days. I swear I felt better the morning after that first bowl! Besides all the healthy vegetables in the soup, it also has curry which is known for it's immune strengthening qualities, and miso has probiotics that help the immune system as well, so who knows what it was that helped me. I think it was the whole combination.

I know that the next time I feel a cold coming on, this is what I'll be having!

Kale and Sweet Potato Soup (makes 6-8 good sized bowls)
2T Olive Oil
1 Onion, finely chopped
3 Garlic Cloves, chopped
2 Carrots, peeled and chopped
3 Sweet Potatoes, rinsed and chopped
2T Tomato Paste
8C Filtered Water
2T Miso Paste
1t Ground Cumin
1t Curry Powder
4C Kale, rinsed and finely chopped
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Note: The original recipe has you add the miso much earlier, but heating will destroy the miso's healing probiotics and living organisms. Add miso toward the end of any recipe, after you've turned off the heat, to ensure you're getting the benefits!
- In a large pot, over medium heat, pour in the oil.
- Saute the onion, garlic and carrot until soft and fragrant.
- Add the spices, sweet potatoes, and tomato paste. Saute a few minutes.
- Add the water.
- Bring to a boil and simmer 30-60 minutes.
- Add the kale during the last 20 minutes.
- Just before serving, after heat is off, add the miso paste and stir to combine.
- Pour into bowls and serve. Pour leftovers into glass containers to refrigerate or freeze.