1.19.2017

Coconut Quinoa Lentil Soup or Superfood Soup


I have a two fold mission with this post.  1) I want to share this soup that is filled with Superfoods and will make you feel fabulous on a cold, gray day.  2) I'm using an electric pressure cooker so show you how wonderful they are and the health benefits of using this wonder pot.

Bare with me.  I want to share just a fraction of the health benefits of the superfoods in this soup. (If your're not interested, then just scroll down)

Fennel:  heart health, excellent source of vitamin C, B6, fiber and potassium
Ginger:  anti-inflammatory, boosts immunity
Turmeric:  anti-inflammatory, greatly increases the anti-oxidant capacity of the body.
Coconut Milk:  Improves heart health, can help you lower cholesterol levels and improve blood                                     pressure.
Cauliflower:  1 serving contains 77% of recommended daily serving of vitamin C.  Anti-                                            inflammatory, fight cancer, boost heart health, helps body detox, anti-oxidants.
Garlic:  Can combat sickness, including common cold, anti-oxidant, detox body.
Kale:  1 cup = 36 calories and 0 fat, high in fiber, high in vitamins K, A, C, and calcium. Filled with              powerful anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory.
Curry Powder:  Ease pain and inflammation, boost bone health, protect immune system from bacterial inflammation.

BAM!!  That's pretty powerful soup.  


Lentils and quinoa are great sources of plant based protein.  Because I eat very little meat, I lean on these sources for protein in my diet.  

1 cup lentils, cooked, contains 18 grams protein.  Not to mention a great source of fiber.
1/2 cup quinoa, cooked, contains 7-9 grams of protein.


Here is a list of the abundance of superfoods found in this hearty soup:

1 medium onion, chopped
3 celery stalks and leaves, chopped
1 cup fennel, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder, such as Madras
1 teaspoon salt if using unsalted stock
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon fresh turmeric, grated  (can sub with 1 1/2 tsp. powdered)
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 14 oz can organic coconut milk
1/3 cup quinoa (any color)
1/3 cup green lentils
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 head cauliflower, broken apart
1 1/2 cups curly leaf kale, finely chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped 
salt and pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste


I'm going to use my electric pressure cooker to cook this soup.  This soup can be simmered in a large pot on a cook top easily.  If you haven't checked in a pressure cooker, maybe now you will be inspired to check it out and save your pennies for a purchase.  This is not a sponsored post at all.  I love this toy!  I can go on and on about how wonderful this is, but I won't.  Let me just say one of the greatest inventions I own.  This electric pressure cooker is so simple to use.  It's not at all like those old fashioned cookers that need to be monitored at all times to prevent them from blowing up.  No this.  Turn it on and walk away.  

Why have a pressure cooker?  So many reasons, but for now let me just say there are great health benefits of using a pressure cooker.  Basically food it uses "steam under pressure".  Foods stay moist.They are literally bathed in steam as they cook.  Less water comes in contact with your food to leach away vitamins and minerals.  

Let's get to the soup.


In the pan of an electric pressure cooker add, 1 medium onion, 3 stalks of celery, 1 cup fennel, and 1 tablespoon garlic.  All chopped.


Add 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger.  Sometimes I add more because I love ginger.


Add 1 tablespoon fresh grated turmeric.  If fresh isn't available use 1 teaspoon dried.

Note:  This stuff stains.  I think my fingers and fingernail polish are permanently stained gold.


Add 1/3 cup green lentils.


1/3 cup quinoa.  Any color.


1 teaspoon hot curry powder.  Mild may be used as well.


Add 6 cups vegetable stock.  You can use bone broth as well.  I am a firm believer in the healing powers of bone broth.  Chicken stock would work great.  I would only use homemade stock.  Just for health purposes.  I like to know what is in my stock and I can control the sodium amount.


Add 1 14-oz can of organic coconut milk.


Stir.


Lock on the lid of the pressure cooker.


Set the pressure to high and timer for 15 minutes.  Walk away.

Now, when the timer goes off there is still a lot of pressure built up in the cooker.  That pressure needs to release.  Follow the directions on your cooker to release the steam.  You can let it release on its own, but you have to take into account the food inside will still continue to cook.


Once the pressure is released, remove the lid.  Perfectly cooked veggies, lentils and quinoa.


Because I like my carrots cooked less, I am adding them after the other veggies have cooked.


Same with the cauliflower.

I let the soup simmer another 5-10 minutes to slightly cook the carrots and cauliflower.



Squeeze in the juice of 1/2 a lime.


I want my soup to have a little more kick.  After processing I adjust heat and flavor.  Add a teaspoon of salt a few grinds of pepper and a pinch of cayenne.


This is how I get kale into my husband.  He hates it...for no reason other than it's healthy.  So I chop curly leaf kale very fine so it looks like parsley.  Bam!  He now has kale in his soup.  Because he's mental about foods, he generally eats it because he "thinks" its parsley.  "Let me put a little parsley on that for you, Dear".


Chop about 1/4 or so cilantro. He's good with cilantro, but I mix it with the kale so he thinks the kale could be cilantro.

Don't worry, my secret isn't out.  He never reads my blog.


Add chopped kale and cilantro to the soup then serve.

 

I LOVE this soup and all the health benefits that come with it. Perfect for a cold and snowy day.

 

I'm eating a lot of soups this winter to stay healthy.  I want to share a couple of recipes that I'm using daily to help guard against illness during the winter months.  

  • I love this tonic by Bondi Harvest it's called Turmeric Tonic Tea I drink this every morning before I eat.  It's got a kick.  Brace yourself.  I love it.
  • For immunity I take a spoonful of  Elderberry Syrup from The Kitchen McCabe.  Sometimes I add this syrup to my Turmeric Tonic.  
I hope you visit both of these wonderful blogs.  You will find many other wonderful healthy recipes on these two sites.  


Stay warm and healthy and take care of yourself this winter.  Eat well.
Let me know if you'd like more pressure cooker recipes.  I love playing with this toy.


Coconut Quinoa Lentil Soup

1 medium onion, chopped
3 celery stalks and leaves, chopped
1 cup fennel, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder, such as Madras
1 teaspoon salt if using unsalted stock
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon fresh turmeric, grated  (can sub with 1 1/2 tsp. powdered)
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 14 oz can organic coconut milk
1/3 cup quinoa (any color)
1/3 cup green lentils
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 head cauliflower, broken apart
1 1/2 cups curly leaf kale, finely chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped 
salt and pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste

Pressure cooker directions:
Place onion, celery, fennel, curry powder, salt (if desired), ginger, turmeric, quinoa, lentils and stock into the pressure cooker pot.  Process on high pressure for 15 minutes.  Allow pressure to release for 5 minutes or so then manually release.  Add carrots and cauliflower and continue to simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Add kale, cilantro and any seasonings you would like.  Kick up the heat.  I dare you!

Stove top directions:
Add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil to a pot.  Add onion, celery, fennel, and carrots.  Cook until onions are translucent.  Add stock, curry powder, ginger and turmeric.  Cover and simmer until veggies, lentils and quinoa are cooked.  Approx. 30 - 40 minutes.  Add cauliflower and simmer until a bit soft. Before serving add kale, cilantro and additional seasonings.














1.12.2017

Apple Pecan Bircher Muesli or Soaked Oats



Raise your hand if you love Bircher Muesli or soaked oats.  I do!  

Raise your hand if you ate like it was your job over the holidays.  Both of my hands are high in the air.  Thank heavens there is a January.  The month of new beginnings and resolutions. A chance to eat healthy once again and never binge on chocolates, cookies, steamed puddings, and other wonderful temptations of the season. Ha!

After Christmas I started making Bircher Muesli or Soaked Oats topped with any seasonal fruit I could find.  My options are the last remaining Honeycrisp apples, oranges from Arizona that my dear sister brought me, and pomegranates.  Can you believe I think I personally ate 10 pomegranates during the month of December.  I love them and don't mind picking the seeds from my teeth at all. Each pomegranate that I open is a new adventure as I pick out the little arils that just burst in my mouth.  I just can't think of anything I can't top with pomegranate arils.  


During the summer months I noticed that most of what I was eating was raw.  Who knew raw beets were so delicious? I love them raw!   I was feasting on the vegetables from my garden and the many wonderful locally grown fruits.  In fact, I believe for a week about 90% of everything I ate was raw.  I was amazed at how good I felt.  I felt fabulous!  I was loosing a bit of weight.  I was running better than the previous year.  I felt so great on the inside.    


Bircher Muesli are just rolled oats soaked in a liquid.  Most soaked oats are soaked in milk or plant based milk.  Almond milk is a wonderful milk to use.  I personally love soaking my oats in fresh squeezed orange juice.  I love the brightness of flavor that it brings to the Muesli. I should mention that I don't add a sweetener because I feel like the orange juice is sweet enough.  If I were going to use almond milk, I would stir in a little maple syrup or honey.  I love honey.

This is what I used to prepare my Bircher Muesli:

2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds
2 cups fresh Orange Juice
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt or plain Greek yogurt
and a pinch of Himalayan pink salt

In a medium size bowl, combine 2 cups of oats and 1 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds.  Pour 2 cups fresh orange juice over the mixture and stir.



Throw in a good pinch of salt.


And 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt or plain  Greek yogurt.

At this point you could add dried fruits, flax, coconut, nuts...anything healthy and delicious to you.

I like to wait until I'm ready to serve before adding fresh fruit or nuts.


Mix well.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.


The next morning, remove the soaked mixture and stir.


This is the best part.  I'm going to stir in the nuts and chopped apples then top with orange slices and pomegranate arils.




My perfect bowl of Bircher Muesli...well almost perfect.  Cocoa nibs would make it perfect. Everything could use a few cocoa nibs.  I love those things.  They are my favorite food group, if that's possible.



Make this year fresh, raw, and healthy. 

Apple Pecan Bircher Muesli 

2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds
2 cups fresh Orange Juice
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt or plain Greek yogurt
pinch of salt
1 cup chopped Honeycrisp apples, skins left on
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped

Fruit toppings:
oranges
pomegranate arils
Additional nuts, if desired

In a large mixing bowl, stir together rolled oats, chia seeds, orange juice and yogurt.  Cover and refrigerate over night.  To serve:  Mix in chopped apples, pecans, and almonds.  Serve in individual bowls and top with chopped oranges, pomegranate arils, and additional nuts, if desired. Makes about 4 servings.  Muesli will last in refrigerator 3-4 days.


Print recipe

12.23.2016

Gingerbread Hot Chocolate


For some odd reason the truffle shells that I use to make my Christmas chocolates never arrived. Which is just weird because I have been ordering them from the same source for years now.  I was extremely disappointed as I put my Gingerbread Truffle recipe away.  That's when I thought that gingerbread hot chocolate would be AMAZING!  

IT IS!



The recipe is simple and makes a very rich dark hot chocolate with great gingerbread flavor.  
You will need:

2 cups milk
1 cup cream
2 tablespoons molasses
10 whole cloves
10 allspice berries
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1-inch piece of ginger, chopped
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
Whipped cream
Marshmallows

You probably noticed that I'm not adding sugar to this recipe.  I personally like my hot chocolate more bitter than sweet so I don't feel the need for sugar.  The molasses adds enough sweet for me.  You may add sugar, if you feel the recipe needs to be sweeter.


In a small sauce pan, add milk, cream, molasses, and spices.


Bring to a simmer.


Once the mixture begins to simmer, remove from heat and cover with a lid.  Allow to steep for 20 minutes.


Strain milk mixture and discard solids.


Reheat the milk mixture and add cocoa and chocolate. I used raw cacao and callebaut bittersweet chocolate callets.


Whisk until the chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth.

Serve hot topped with whipped cream, marshmallows, or both!



Have a very Merry Christmas and a great new year.


Gingerbread Hot Chocolate
2 cups milk
1 cup cream
2 tablespoons molasses
10 whole cloves
10 allspice berries
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1-inch piece of ginger, chopped
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
Whipped Cream
Marshmallows

In a small saucepan add milk, cream, molasses and spices.  Over low heat barely bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and cover. Allow mixture to steep for 20 minutes.  Strain out the solids and disgard.  Reheat milk mixture then add cocoa and chopped chocolate.  Whisk until thick and smooth.
Serve with whipped cream or marshmallows or both!  Makes 3 cups