Monday, September 23, 2019

Creamy Coconut Curry Sweet Potato Soup

It's that time of year to nestle in with some warm comforting fall soup and homemade bread. Yes, it is most definitely my favorite time of year! All summer it is the constant fun, travels, beach days and moving, moving, moving, to not loose the joy of the summer energy. But when end of September rolls around and the big fluffy fall clouds start to sweep in with cooler tempts and the crunchy leaves..... Oh, yes, that to me is just the best time of year. Inviting the rhythm and slowness amidst the grounding and nourishing routines, these are the days I long for after a summer of adventures. These are the days of soup and bread and the peace that comes with it.
This soup recipe nourishes by being full of anti-inflammatory properties to help the joints and muscles ease up on tension. Also full of antioxidants and warm cooked vitamins to help the digestion calm and find a sense of rhythm as well. The coconut milk makes it creamy and satisfying, but also adds a good dose of healthy nourishing fats for the brain to settle and feel strong. This combination of healthy fats and anti-inflammatory agents would be especially wonderful for the aging friend that needs a simple and nourishing soup.

But yes, this soup is helpful and delicious for the growing sprout to the aging soul. So much warm and nourishing spice along with the simplicity of a cup of veggies and broth. You could add in some protein of chickpeas or even roasted chicken, but it is satisfying just as it is with the richness of the thick broth and soft potatoes. Give this simple soup a try and enjoy for days or share it with you Grandma. Soup is special like that, it nourishes and also gives and shares love in the process.

My favorite homemade bread recipe to pair with this and any soup is my Soft and Chewy Oat Baguette Bread that I use for almost everything :) ENJOY!
Creamy Coconut Curry Sweet Potato Soup
{gluten, dairy, egg, soy, nut, seed, and sugar-free} 
Can be made vegan or add in meat if desired

1-2 TB of olive or avocado oil for sauteing
1 large sweet onion chopped
3-4 minced or grated garlic cloves
1-2 TB's of minced or grated fresh turmeric
1-2 TB's of minced or grated fresh ginger
2 cups of chopped celery
1-2 cups of chopped carrot slices
1-2 cups of chopped parsnips
2 cups of chopped sweet potato
sprinkle of sea salt/black pepper to taste

optional: add in a few fresh lemongrass stalks to soak in broth but then remove before serving
optional: 1 TB of Red Curry Paste
optional: add in a can of cooked chickpeas or pre-cooked roasted chicken for added protein

4 cups of vegetable broth (or use chicken/bone broth for non-vegan)
1 can of full-fat coconut milk 
1-2 cups of water if needed to water down broth

3 cups of pre-cooked or leftover jasmine or basmati rice

1/2 cup of finely chopped fresh cilantro

In a large soup pot (8-10 QT pot), sauce the onion, garlic, turmeric, and ginger in the oil until it starts to soften, then add the rest of the veggies and saute for another 5-10 minutes. Add a sprinkle of sea salt and a pinch of black pepper to help in the saute process. 

After 10 minutes of cooking veggies down, add the broth and coconut milk and paste if using. Let it come to boil and cook for 30-40 minutes until the potatoes and carrots are soft. Then add in the pre-cooked basmati or jasmine rice- I cook 1 1/2 cups of rice to get 3 cups cooked. Then add in the fresh cilantro last to cook and get wilty in the broth.  You made need to taste test the level of sea salt or pepper at the end. I usually cook with less salt and then add it in the end to draw out the flavors but make sure you don't add too much. 

Serve with fresh chopped cilantro, or fresh chopped scallions, or even a squeeze of some fresh lime before serving. And then, add some bread and you got yourself a hearty nourishing meal.

Hope you give it a try and ENJOY!

Much love and light to you as always xoxo


Thursday, August 8, 2019

School Snacks AND Easy Peasy Granola AND Blueberry Banana Whole Grain Muffins

School is starting in T-minus 2 weeks... AH! How exciting and wonderful, yet how many of us parents dread of the renewal of lunch/snack packing? Or the low-grade anxiety of getting back into the natural swing of things that takes a few weeks to get into a more normal groove. Yes, it will come. But, what ways can we prepare and make these transitions more peaceful and full of nourishing vibes?

One of the helpful puzzle pieces is finding and planning ways to nourish and feed our bodies good food and plants. This usually means for me making a big batch of GF muffins or bread or even cookies to have on hand and pack and enjoy for the week. It also involves having a few fun snack and after school foods ready and available. And then also having a few super easy, one-pot or pan type meals ready to go to help with all the craziness. Taking a few steps to plan can help all this go smoothly and of course gathering as much colorful foods from the local farmer's market or beloved garden is one of the best places to start. Can we teach our kids the joy of a piece of fresh fruit for their packed snacks? An apple or peach in all their wonderful beauty and crunch? Maybe a seed or nut butter dip to make fruit or veggies more interesting if need be?

It also amazes me how if you chop up veggies in a special way and make a design with it my kids will more likely eat the veggies. Or if they help me with the chopping and peeling or with the putting together of a salad...then, they will definitely eat more veggies! So many times the easy route seems to be just buying all the packaged items at that stores, but if we could just give ourselves 15 minutes a day or even just 30 minutes at the start of the week we could chop up a TON of finger-picking veggies and fruit that is easy to pack and eat every day that week. These are my most go-to snacks for my kids...fresh fruit and veggies. Sometimes we make hummus or yogurt dips or bean dips to make the dipping more fun, but I bet you will be surprised how fun and colorful fruits in veggies in the snack bag can be. Get a fun reusable case and have them do the refilling each day to even get your kids involved with their own snack making. Making a big batch of homemade hummus or salsa always helps makes veggies look more interesting too ;) What are some tricks and quick recipes that you have? Please share in comments for all of us to enjoy...!

A new make ahead, easy to grab and pack, or after school snacks:

Granola Yogurt Fruit Parfaits Recipe
{gluten, dairy, nut, seed, egg, and soy-free and VEGAN}

2-3 cups of rolled certified gluten free oats
2-3 cups of rice puff cereal
1 cup of raw pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup of maple syrup
1/4 cup off molasses
1/3 cup of avocado oil
pinch of sea salt
and a sprinkle of cinnamon 

1/2-1 cup of dried fruit (combo of raisins, cherries, cranberries)

Mix all of the above ingredients in a large mixing bowl with your hands and then spread thin on a parchment covered 11x15 baking sheet and bake at 350 for 25 minutes until crispy golden brown. Pull from the oven and pour on the dried fruit and then let cool and dry for another few hours and then your granola is ready for crunchy, tasting, and packing up in a jar for the pantry and ready to pull out for quick breakfasts or snacks. 

When packing a jar parfait, drop the yogurt of choice on the bottom and then layer some fresh berries, banana or whatever fruit you desire and then layer with some granola on top. I especially lot this snack when you can get so many fresh berries and peaches and fruit at the local farmer's market. Lots of fresh flavor, crunch, fiber and beauty. This is an easy breakfast or snack to pack and grab to go out of the house!

Some other easy big batch recipes for packing for easy to-go snacks:

Homemade Hummus

Fresh Salsa

Zucchini Brownie Bite Muffins

Zucchini Mini Muffins

Maple Sunbutter Apple Dip

Millet Oat Breakfast Bars

and another full of fiber whole grain muffin recipe...

Blueberry Banana Whole Grain Muffins Recipe
gluten, dairy, egg, honey, nut, seed and soy-free

3 cups of  favorite whole grain gluten-free flour blend (or mix the following)*
   1/2 cup of quinoa flour
   1/2 cup of buckwheat flour
   1/2 cup of millet flour
   1/2 cup of brown rice flour
    1 cup of GF oat flour
* I put all dry grains of the above in my Vitamix dry blender and grind soft into flour*

1/3 cup of tapioca starch/flour
1/3 cup of coconut palm sugar
2 ts. of baking powder (I use Hain brand for corn-free)
1 ts. of baking soda
1 ts. of sea salt
3 mashed ripe bananas (about 1 cup of bananas)
1 lemon freshly juiced and zested (1/4 cup)
2 TB of apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1/3 cup of avocado oil
1/4 cup of applesauce

Plus 1 cup of fresh blueberries

Mix all the dry ingredients together first, then add in the wet ingredients and whip up together well. Lastly fold in a cup or as many blueberries you want. Then, use an oil covered scoop to scoop into muffin tins. Bake the muffins in a 350 degree oven for 25-28 minutes depending on your oven.
Pull from the oven and let cool for at least 20 minutes before biting into :)

Homemade muffins, with ingredients full of nutrients and that you can trust are such wonderful to-go breakfasts and snacks for kiddos. They see it as a treat and really you are treating them to baked good full of whole grains and minerals to feed their brains and energy. I like to make a batch in the beginning of the week and have them ready and available on the counter to quick pack up if need be.

What are some homemade or quick whole food school-ready snacks and foods you have ready in your kitchen? I would love to hear more great ideas! Another great plan is to have a few easy one-pot or crock pot meals ready for the first few weeks of school starting which may be helpful for parents with hungry kiddos right when you get home, or for teachers who are always putting in those long hours. Here is a link to browse some easy one-pot meals to look ahead and prep for those long days ahead. One of my favorites is Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Chickpea Curry!

Much love and light as always xoxo

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Red Bean Basmati Salad with Radish and Cilantro

Hello friends! I know...It's been a while since I posted a new recipe. I promise I have been pouring all of my recipe making and tasting time into my cookbook. It's alot of organizing, writing, and hopefully soon getting into some of the picture taking and testing stages too. All the recipes I want to include are some of my tried and true recipes that I make and share on a more regular basis. They are the ones that I swear by as bringing more hope for this healing journey and beyond that I am trying to share a piece of myself in a very raw and honest way. I am hoping to keep my energy up on this project, so stay tuned :)
So, I hope you are enjoying the first week of summer and finding ways to rest, play and have some enjoyment. Here is a little spring-summer-ish salad recipe I cooked up recently to share with a local community of health-loving friends and now I will share with you in hope to help add a little spice and pungent to your picnic food line-up. This recipe is as much medicine for the damp spring we've been having here in Michigan as much as it is just tasty and nourishing. It has a few pungent components of radish, cilantro, cardamon, cumin and even the red beans. They are all together almost like a summer-salad-version of a kitcheri dish in the Auyvedic food tradition. And, in the Chinese food tradition of eating to help balance your whole system by how each bite and flavor send nourishment to corresponding organs in the body. I am a very 'earthy' person so as this spring has been very wet, damp, swampy, moist, and what ever other words you can use to describe spongy wet weather that barely sees sunshine, then in a sense my body has been holding on to this wetness just like a sponge. I  am chronically a damp earthy person anyways and this means I have to work even more closely with eating foods to help expel the damp and not produce more damp in my digestion and body. I am learning, and like many of us, try and experiment with the plants and foods that might help us thrive and naturally nourish and detox our bodies as a whole.

This recipe is a bunch of those damp-expelling foods into one. It has been an easy helpful dish to pack for a picnic lunch or even share at the potluck. Yes it's flavor and colors may not be on the usual side but sometimes you must look to your food as a healing modality and perhaps an adventure to experience and try new things.
Red Bean Basmati Salad with Radish and Cilantro Recipe
{gluten, dairy, egg, nut, seed, soy and sugar-free}

2 cups of pre-cooked basmati rice, cook it, cool it and have it ready to mix together- I cooked 1 cup of dry basmati rice with a dash of sea salt and a ts. of coconut or avocado oil with the 2 cups of water

2 cups of pre-cooked small red beans (from dry beans or use 1- 15 ounce can of cooked red beans)
Pour the soft cooked beans from the can into a pot to warm with
1/2 ts. of ground cardamon
1/2 ts. of ground coriander
1/4 ts. of ground fennel
1 ts. of ground cumin
1 ts. fresh grated turmeric or 1/2 ts. of dry ground turmeric
1 ts. of fresh grated ginger or 1/2 ts. of dry ground ginger
1/4 ts. of pink sea salt
1/4 ts. of fresh ground black pepper

Cook the beans with all the spices and if needed a drizzle of water to soften them all together. Then let the beans slightly cool and get ready to mix with the rest of the salad

Chop up 3-4 fresh radishes into very tiny pieces and then save a few slices for garnish
Finely chop handful of green onion (1/3 cup chopped) 
Finely chop handful of fresh cilantro (1/3 cup chopped)

In a medium mixing bowl, dump in the cooked basmati, beans with spices and the fresh chopped veggies. Toss together and dress with some radish or cilantro garnish and serve up. It may need a sprinkle of more sea salt or back pepper, but let the flavors speak for themselves. I love how this is so simple and how the spices from the beans truly are the "dressing" of this salad. No need for more.

I hope you give it a try and ENJOY!

Much love and light as always, xoxo

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Chocolate Orange Mousse

Just in time for Valentines! I haven't been posting much because I have taken on some other work with my food creating. I am also working on putting together a cookbook. YES! FINALLY- it's happening. I will be putting together all of my loved and favorite recipes with a little extra writing and stories to the mix but I am hoping to get that into hands by next year. But this past weekend I found myself busy cooking and loving at another wellness retreat and served these beauties as a little after meal treat. They are just that- a little treat- a few bites of chocolate goodness to savor those last moments around the table and in laughter. I hope you surround yourself with LOVE this week and always and remember to love well you have to start with loving yourself xoxo

Chocolate Orange Mousse Cups Recipe
{gluten, dairy, egg, soy, and nut-free}

1 1/2 cup of dairy-free chocolate chips
2 cans of full-fat coconut milk
1 organic orange zested (1 TB) and squeezed (1/3 cup of juice)
1/4-1/3 cup of maple syrup
pinch of sea salt
drizzle of pure vanilla
1/4 cup of cocoa powder

In a sauce pan, melt all of the above ingredients until melted and smooth and whisked all together. You MUST make sure not to get too hot or to burn, so heat must be on low to melt the chocolate and coconut milk but when that happens, turn off the heat and whisk more together. 

In a small bowl whisk the following:

1 TB of pure plain gelatin (I use Great Lakes brand)
1/2 cup of coconut milk beverage or water works too

Then quickly pour into your blender or Vitamix and let it bloom and set at the bottom of the blender until you pour in the warmed melted chocolate mixture. Then slowly blend on low and work your way up too a high blend while the mixture is getting creamed and frothy. Then pour the mixture into little quarter-pint jars or little cups or dishes for serving. Let them stiffen in the fridge for 4 hours or over night. You can make a few days ahead of time and make them ready to serve as well. I serve up with some fresh fruit or some raspberries that have been crushed and combined with a little fresh orange or lime juice. I hope you LOVE and ENJOY! xoxo