Potato and Kale Slow Cooker Soup

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Wintertime is an opportunity to slow down and being more receptive and being intentional about how you want to live the upcoming year. This all sounds great in theory but if you like me, you have a list that keeps growing of things that need to be handled. This is when we find ourselves eating heavier, fatty foods that won’t support our energy or help us keep our weight at a healthy number.

This is when I turn to my slow cooker for help. Yes, you do have to do some work to chop the vegetables and get them into the crockpot with the other ingredients, but this can all be done in about 10 to 15 minutes with roughly chopped of the veggies (the soup will be blended). This will allow you to have more time out of the kitchen so you can focus on completing to-do items and spending quality time with your family.

Now, just to be clear, I am not saying you should let a to-do list dictate your life. You know that I believe we all need to take time to take care of ourselves. A great way to do this on a busy day after work is to take 5-10 minutes and meditate be still, breathe, and be grateful for the delicious meal you are about to eat. Not only did you save time cooking and allow for some healing time for yourself, your body will be ready for a healthy meal.

Potato and kale soup is a perfect hearty soup that will leave you happy, satisfied and eating a home cooked meal that leaves you nourished. Enjoy!

Potato and Kale Soup

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

1-tablespoon coconut oil

1 onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 carrots chopped

2 celery sticks, chopped

1 cup shitake mushrooms, diced

3 medium russet or gold potatoes, diced (I used Russet)

6 cups vegetable broths

1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)_

2 tablespoons black pepper

1 bunch kale de-stemmed and chopped

Optional: Smoked paprika

DIRECTIONS

Sauté the onion garlic, carrots, celery and mushrooms in a pan with coconut oil to soften. Add all ingredients to a slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours, or until potatoes are cooked through. 15 minutes before the time is up, add the chopped kale to the slow cooker to wilt.

TO SERVE:

Option one: In a high-speed blender, blend until smooth. This version is very silky and delicious. This is where I added the smoked paprika. Serve in a bowl. Enjoy!

Option 2: Serve as a chunky soup (just makes sure you chopped vegetables bite size. Serve in a bowl. Enjoy!

Want to freeze the leftovers? Put the blended soup into Mason jars with an inch free at the top for expansion and freeze. Just take the Mason jar out of the freezer and put into the refrigerator the night before you want to eat it.

Did you like the soup? Leave a comment below and let me know if you made the soup and how often you’ve used your slow cooker this year so far.

Feel Grounded and Keep Weight Off Eating With These Autumn Foods

This is my favorite time of the year. The cooler weather, apple picking, leaves falling and the scent of roots veggies cooking bring great memories and happy time. But with autumns arrival, and the busy back-to-school season that's quickly met with the hustle and bustle of the holidays is among us. If you're anything like me, this last part of the year flies by in a blink of the eye. Because of this, it can feel like a time where your out of control schedule is controlling you. You're pulled in many different directions, and you just want to sit down for a second to catch a break.

Do you struggle with feeling grounded on most days? I know if I don’t eat healthy foods that are in season I feel unsettled in my mind, body, and spirit. Eating grounding foods, practicing yoga and meditating all help me keep calm and rooted.

There is a brilliance in nature. She knows the truth of the season. Mother Nature knows how insane this time of year gets and provides exactly what we need to bring us back to nature. So many grounding foods become available this season, and it's of our highest benefit to take advantage of them. These foods can ground us and help us to re-balance when we are feeling out of control.

Here are a few of my favorites…

 

Orange is the new healthy

These are two traditional autumn foods, but they’re also exactly what we should be eating to ground ourselves. When you want some sweetness in your meal, these are the ideal way to achieve that and a much better alternative to chemical-laden artificially sweetened items. So, the next time you’re at your local farmers market, look for pumpkins that are labeled “sugar Pumpkins” or “pie pumpkins”. They have a sweet flesh inside that is perfect for roasted and making soup to create a healthy meal. You’ll feel oh so healthy and grounded while enjoying a delicious pumpkin dish. Hint… roast the pumpkin seeds with a little sea salt for snacking during the day

 

Root vegetables

Vegetables that fall into this category are sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, turnips, garlic, and ginger. They add some great flavor to your meal and will make you feel rooted and grounded. Interesting how that works, right? Foods that grow as roots in the ground are naturally rooting and grounding to us. Nature is amazing.

 

Naturally Fermented Foods

Raw sauerkraut is perfect to add some sourness to your autumn meals, while also strengthening your gut health. Fermented foods don’t only make your meals taste great and assist with grounding you, but they also act as prebiotics and feed all the good bacteria in your gut. Some other naturally fermented food items include kimchi, kefir, Kombucha (be careful of the sugar content), and pickles, to name a few.

 

Add on the proteins

Finding healthy, high-quality protein sources will be of benefit to you this time of year. Proteins that come from high-quality foods give you the nutrients you need to build strong muscle while also feeling more grounded. We tend to crave more substantial meals this time of year due to their grounding effect. Hearty stews and soups are among the most popular food items this season, and that’s exactly why. Are there any plant-based proteins you use in your meals such as beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, hemp seeds and milk, quinoa, nutritional yeast, spirulina (add in a smoothie) or greens and veggies? Now is a perfect time to be adventurous and try something new.

Don't pass up these delicious autumn foods that are not only enjoyable but beneficial to us in many ways. Aside from eating foods that naturally ground you, there are other ways you can enjoy feeling grounded. Being in nature has a natural grounding effect -- so take a walk outside as often as possible to breathe in the crisp air and enjoy the colorful scenery. Breathing exercises help with feeling more grounded, so focus on your breathing throughout the day and take note on if you're breathing freely or holding your breath often. When you notice you're holding your breath, take a moment to practice a short breathing exercise.

What practices do you implement to help you feel calm? Leave a comment below, I’d love to chat about it.

Roasted Cauliflower with Pesto and Quinoa

RFSpring17 Roasted Cauliflower with Pesto and Quinoa Move over kale! Cauliflower is the hot new veggie these days, although this amazing vegetable has been keeping people healthy for centuries. You can make a vegan cheese sauce with it, make soups creamier with it, and make pizza crust, mashed “potatoes,” and buffalo wings with cauliflower.

It’s so much fun to get into the kitchen and see what you can create, but sometimes you just want to cook something simple and quick that you know is going to be delicious. That’s when I turn to the good old standard of roasted vegetables—in this case, cauliflower.

In the recipe below, I layer this amazing white vegetable with an herb pesto that assists your body in its daily detox job and quinoa for protein.

Personally, I love pesto and any variation of this green sauce is always exciting to me. If you don’t prefer any of the herbs used in my recipe, just change it. That’s the beauty of pesto—it’s a playground of tasty creativity.

This recipe is a perfect summer dinner with not so much time in the kitchen and plenty of time for an after-dinner walk or play. Enjoy!

 

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH PESTO AND QUINOA

SERVES 2

1 large head of cauliflower, chopped

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons Detox Pesto (see below)

1 cup cooked quinoa

2 cups mixed greens

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Preheat your oven to 425 or 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Add chopped cauliflower to a large roasting pan. Massage with coconut oil, garlic powder, sea salt, and black pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes until tender. Remove from the oven and coat with Detox Pesto. Serve on top of quinoa and mixed greens.

 

QUINOA

SERVES 2

1 cup uncooked quinoa

2 cups water or vegetable broth

DIRECTIONS

Add quinoa and liquid to a pot over a medium flame. Bring to a boil, then lower the flame and cover. Simmer the quinoa for about 15 to 20 minutes. The quinoa should be tender.

 

DETOX PESTO

MAKES 2 CUPS

1 cup cilantro

½ cup parsley

½ cup mint

½ cup pumpkin seeds

1 garlic clove

1 lemon, juiced

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Combine the cilantro, parsley, mint, pumpkin seeds, and garlic in a food processor or high-speed blender. Blend until finely chopped. Add the lemon juice and slowly add extra virgin olive oil in a steady drizzle. Blend until the mixture becomes a smooth, light paste. Add enough olive oil to keep it moist and spreadable. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Cover tightly and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days.

Did you try the recipe? Leave a comment below, and let me know what you think!

 

5 Delicious Detoxing Foods For Spring

fruit-15408_1920 I’ve been talking a lot about detoxing lately. According to Chinese medicine spring is the best time of the year to detox your body and help your liver get rid of toxins so you can have a healthy summer and, fall and winter.

During this time of year, many people’s bodies are craving a cleanse so the body can function at it’s highest level. If you were eating not-so-healthy through the winter, then your body is ready for a reboot.

Lucky for us, the spring season gives us many mineral-rich vegetables to help us detox naturally. Most of these foods are high in water, fiber and easy to digest among other properties. And the best part is these foods are plentiful and readily available in your farmer’s market or grocery store.

Here is a list of great spring detox foods to assist your little liver in all the work it does (Trivia question: did you know your liver performs over 500 functions? Yep, and this is why eating the following foods will help your precious liver detox your body).

 

DETOX FOOD #1: CITRUS

Citrus like oranges. Lemons, limes and grapefruit are well known for their alkalizing effects on the body. These foods assist in cleansing through their powerful antioxidants and high concentration of vitamin C, which is needed to make an essential antioxidant that aids in optimal liver function.

In perfect harmony with our bodies and the season, it’s simple to fit these foods into your day in many ways. I like to squeeze citrus in to my water in the morning and throughout the day, having grapefruit with breakfast or lunch and squeeze citrus juice on your salads for an alkalizing punch and a delicious pop of flavor.

 

DETOX FOOD #2: DANDELION

Dandelions, the weed and flower that grow in the yard? Yes, my dear. Perhaps you have not heard that those flowers in your yard actually have health benefits, but indeed, they do.

The roots and leaves of dandelions have powerful detoxifying properties to cleanse the liver. These roots also take hold of your digestive tract by stimulating juices to help digest fats. Get your dandelions earliest in the spring as you can when they have the best flavor; they tend to turn bitter during the summer.

You can even make it easier by purchasing dandelion tea at your local health food store or using dandelion leaves in your next green smoothie.

 

DETOX FOOD #3: BEETS

With the liver being the primary detoxification organ, it relies heavily on foods that have amazing cleansing and restoring properties. And beets are the perfect fit for the job and tasty!

Beets contain important bioactive agents that work to protect the liver by increasing enzymatic antioxidants. They also have high levels of Vitamin C and a slew of other beneficial nutrients and minerals.

Slice up some pickled beets for your salad, roast chopped beets drizzled with olive oil and fresh herbs, or, my personal favorite -- juice them into your fresh green juices.

Warning: Your pee and poop might be pinkish to red the following day.

 

DETOX FOOD #4: CRUCIFERIOUS VEGGIES

Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are high in fiber which helps stimulate the natural process of elimination. Healthy elimination is a crucial part of the cleansing process -- the toxins building up in your body must regularly be released. Cruciferous vegetables also help detox by boosting liver detoxifying enzymes.

Other cruciferous vegetables include Brussels sprouts (my fav), kale, bok choy, collard greens and arugula, to name a few. Although these foods are more for fall and winter, they can still be found in grocery stores year round (a rule of thumb is to always shop at your farmers market to know what is in season right now).

You have plenty to choose from, so it should be quite simple to find at least one that you enjoy and start adding it to your plate more often.

 

DETOX FOOD #5: CELERY

Celery is chock full of minerals like magnesium, potassium, sodium and iron, which are alkalizing and neutralizing to acidic foods. Celery also has a high fiber content, which can further assist with cleansing and healthy elimination.

Celery's another very simple food to find a place for on your plate. I love to juice my celery as well as eat it raw dipped in hummus or guacamole, chopped up on a salad, or in my favorite soup.

These are just a few of the foods that you can add to your daily meals to enjoy the detoxifying benefits. Including a few (or all of them) in your meals and drinks is sure to help you cleanse your body this spring.

Remember; as you add these 5 detox foods into your daily diet, let go of processed foods, sugar and caffeine to not cause any extra stress on your liver. It’s also a great time to go vegan for a 21 days or a month in order for deep cleansing of your body.

Bon appétit!

 

Rockstar Vegetable: Cauliflower Rice with Thyme

CauliflowerRicewithThyme Cauliflower is the hot new vegetable lately. There are so many things you can do with this white wonder of goodness. I’ve used cauliflower in a vegan Alfredo sauce, as a thickener in soups and roasted with other veggies.

Today, I want to share a wonderful, simple dinner recipe to help you with your weight loss goals and keep you slim and trim.

Cauliflower is an antioxidant powerhouse helping you look young and healthy. Its fiber acts as a digestive aid to keep thing flowing and has sulfur-containing nutrients that help your body detox.

This heart health- boosting vegetable is very versatile, filling and easy to make.

CAULIFLOWER RICE WITH THYME

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1 large head of cauliflower, grated

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 teaspoon thyme*

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

If you are preparing your cauliflower rice from scratch, simply chop the head into smaller florets. Use a box grater to grate the cauliflower into smaller granules of “rice.” Alternatively, you can chop the florets in a food processor or blender in batches until you get the consistency of rice. Many stores also sell raw cauliflower “rice” in a package in the produce aisle if you are looking for a shortcut.

Add the coconut oil to a large sauté pan on high heat. Once the oil is melted, add the cauliflower and sauté for about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the thyme, sea salt, and black pepper. Serve with your choice of salad or other sautéed vegetables.

* If you don’t like thyme, try another spice. Make it Italian with basil and oregano or add cumin for a Mexican flavor.

**Please add any side veggies or beans to make this a full meal.

Did you like this recipe? Leave a comment below and let me know what you served with the Cauliflower Rice.

Get Off Packaged Foods (Pumpkin Cream Soup recipe)

CreamyPumpkinSoup Happy February! If you think about it, spring is just around the corner. I’ve spoke to many women in the past month who are still struggling with their weight. They’ve tried the packages and frozen food programs that are available promising wonderful results.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you already know that I DO NOT like boxed foods or boxed food weight loss programs.

I must admit, I went through a phase where I counted calories and fat grams. However, I always seemed to lose track and would get frustrated with my lack of note taking and worry that I would gain a pound that day. So, to take care of my less than stellar food records, I thought it was a great idea to eat protein bars as a meal because I knew the exact calories and fat grams were. It was easy and fit my on-the-go lifestyle in NYC. It was so easy to walk and eat a protein bar.

Here’s the thing y’all, your body knows how to use the nutrients in an apple, kale, or avocado. Your body gets stressed when you put man-made foods into your body that, to be honest, shouldn’t be ingested.

When you put a chemical laden protein bar or fill in the blank of your choice of packaged food (candy bars, processed frozen or boxed foods from weight loss companies), your body has to go into overdrive to figure out how to breakdown and assimilate the nutrients, if any. That’s’ a lot of work for your precious digestive system and it’s taking all of your needed energy to get through your day. Are you feeling lethargic, tired and have no energy? Drop the processed packaged foods

AND, when your body is spending all its’ time “trying” to digest the crappy and addictive foods, it has no time or power to remove toxins, which can lead to weight gain, illness or possibly disease.

Just to let you know, after studying more about nutrition and deep personal work through journaling, yoga, meditation and giving myself a big talkin’ to, I decided to let go of the wrapped tasteless bars covered in plastic chocolate and eat real food and that is what I’m suggesting you do to…EAT REAL FOODS!

So easy, right? I know, I know. It’s not always easy. We put everything else before our health. I’m guilty as charged.

With some preplanning and batch cooking (cooking many meals in one afternoon and freezing or packaging for weekly meals) you can be ultra prepared for a week of homemade foods that were form the earth full of everything your body needs to thrive.

I can’t tell you how much better I feel mentally and physically with this change in my lifestyle. You have to try it for yourself. I double dog dare you.

To help you on your journey off of food wrapped in plastic and cardboard, I’m offering you a pumpkin soup to get you started. It’s so easy to make and full of nutrients. Having fresh prepared meals is your tool to success in staying away form packaged foods, getting all your vitamins and minerals in and weight loss.

Pumpkin Cream Soup

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

2 cups chopped pumpkin

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 onion, chopped

2 cups vegetable broth

1 13.5-oz can of coconut milk

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Pumpkin seeds to garnish

DIRECTIONS

Add the chopped pumpkin, garlic, onion, vegetable broth, coconut milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt, and black pepper to a large pot over high heat. Cover and let it boil. When the soup begins to boil, turn down the heat to medium and allow the pot to simmer until the pumpkin is soft (about 20 minutes). You can serve the soup as is, or you can blend the soup using an immersion blender or high-speed blender. Serve topped with pumpkin seeds.

Leave a comment below and share how you’re treating yourself to amazing cuisine you cooked yourself.

 

Simple and Delicious Parsnip Chips

  parsnip-chips

What can you grab when you want a healthy snack that’s doesn’t contain chocolate or anything sweet?

What would be a delicious and healthy alternative to potato chips?

Parsnip chips!

This time of year Mother Earth gives us many root vegetables to play with.  If you were like me a few years ago the only root vegetables I would cook or eat were sweet potatoes. I had no idea how to prepare other root vegetables such as parsnips and I wasn’t quite sure how they tasted so I stayed away.

Not anymore. I’m diving into the babies with the desire to make root vegetables hip.

I also wanted to create a recipe for you to get you trying a new vegetable that was really easy, tasty and helped you with your weight loss goals.

These naturally healthy snacks are perfect to add on top of a salad to replace croutons if you want a crunch. I filled a bowl up if these chips and ate them for a late afternoon snack.  If you are a salty chip lover, replace you store bought chips that are mostly full of bad fats and salt, with these and let them be the side to your lunch sandwich.

Whichever way you decide to enjoy these I know you‘ll be super excited about the taste and a new vegetable to your cooking repertoire.

Enjoy!

PARSNIP CHIPS (Makes 2 servings)

6 parsnips

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

PREHEAT THE OVEN: Preheat oven to 425°F.

PREPARE THE PARSNIPS: Cut the parsnips into "chips" using a mandolin for best results. If you do not have a mandolin, you may also use a sharp chef’s knife. Add the parsnip slices, extra virgin olive oil, and spices to a bowl and toss to evenly coat. Lay “chips” on a non-stick baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes and flip. Bake on the second side for 15 additional minutes before serving.

Leave a comment below and let's chat about healthy snacks.