Soup’s On!

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When we think of making a big pot of soup, we think fall and winter – comfort food; “stuck in the house for hours so we might as well make something yummy” comfort food.  

Yes. I know. it’s summer.  Too hot to even think about soup.  But, just hear me out… it is a nice change of pace from grilling or eating cold salads each night.  And if you live in the part of the country where I do… we get rainy days – lots of them – and what better comfort when its thundering and lightening than a beautiful bowl of soup?   Ironically, this soup is called “Summer Bean Soup”… perfect for a summer day in the “Sunshine State” when it’s not so sunny!

RECIPE:

1# Navy Beans (quick soak or soak overnight)

1 chopped Onion

4 minced cloves of Garlic

3 diced carrots

2  Bay leaves

10 Cups Vegetable Broth

1 large piece of rind from a block of Parmesan Cheese

1# Chicken Sausage (casing removed, broken up and sauteed until cooked through/crisp)

1 large handful of Kale or Spinach

 

Soak beans until almost tender. (you can soak overnight or a quick soak of bringing beans and 6 cups of water to a rapid boil for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and keep covered for 1 1/2 hours)

In large pot saute onion, garlic and carrot in olive or coconut oil until softened.  Add bay leaves and broth.  Bring to a simmer and add the parmesan rind along with the soaked beans. Let simmer on medium to low heat – partially covered – so the beans can continue to soften.

In the meantime, cook the sausage in a separate pan.  

Once the beans have softened a bit, add a few dashes of himilayan sea salt to bring out the flavor.  Add the kale/spinach and cook until wilted.  Finally, add the cooked sausage.

Remove the bay leaves before serving!  

Enjoy!!

Kraving Kale!

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Kale is an absolute favorite of mine!  It’s a powerful food that’s packed with phytochemicals, fiber and chlorophyll…  all the goodness we need to stay and be healthy.   Definitely in the top 3 of my quick, go-to, yummy veggies to eat on a weekly basis!  It’s probably the most versatile one as well… from throwing a handful into a smoothie, to juicing, to roasting, to sauteing, to eating raw in a chopped salad.  To be perfectly honest, there have been weeks, if not months, that I have eaten kale on a daily basis.  I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve dwindled it down to weekly now.  Ever since being diagnosed with breast cancer, I just haven’t had it in me to juice or make smoothies on a daily basis…. or to chop a ton of vegetables into perfect bite-sized pieces to make a beautiful salad.  Until now, that is!  Being at the end of my treatment/surgeries I feel I can get back into the groove of planning, prepping, preparing and eating healthy once again.  I never really stopped – I just didn’t put in very much effort.  Which brings me to this recipe… this dish is an old standby for me.  It’s quick.  It’s effortless.  It’s delicious.  My kids are sick of it but my husband is sweet and claims its still one of his favorites.  (The man is a saint!)

Please bear with me… I don’t typically measure anything, so my recipes are really just a list of ingredients thrown together.  I just eyeball it and pray for the best!  About 99% of the time it works out perfectly!  If you’re willing to brave it out, test it – whatever you want to do with it – let me know how you like it!  Even if there is just one of my friends who normally wouldn’t touch the stuff ( you know who you are!) tries this semi-healthy meal, I will feel I’ve accomplished something good for your health… or at least the health of your loved ones! 🙂

Kale & Sausage:

Organic Chicken Sausage (mild or hot), casings removed – sauteed in some coconut oil – in bite sized pieces – until browned, crisp and cooked through.  Remove from pan.  If needed, add a tad more oil and saute 1/2 chopped vidalia onion and fresh minced garlic (2 cloves) until golden and onions softened.  Slice (the bulb only) of 1 Fennel thinly, throw it in with the cooked onion and garlic and saute until getting soft.  Chop 1 Cubanelle Pepper and add to the pan.  At this point you can add 1/2 cup vegetable broth or white wine if you’d like; but it’s not necessary.  Once the fennel and pepper cook down and soften, add chopped organic kale (about 2 large heads, stems removed) and stir.  You just want the kale to become wilted.  Remove from heat and add the sausage back to the pan.  If you’re anything like me, you will want to sprinkle it with pink himalayan sea salt, pepper and a great parmesan cheese.  Serve immediately and enjoy!!

Optional:  You can add a cup of cooked white northern beans or cooked brown rice or serve it over pasta.  As for me… I can barely contain myself from eating this right out of the pan – so once the parmesan hit, it’s done!

Crazy for Cauliflower!!

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Since my cancer was estrogen positive I’ve been eating foods that help block estrogen to  help stop the chance of recurrence.  Cruciferous vegetables have I3C (indole – 3 – carbinol) which doubles how quickly the liver can break down estrogen so it doesn’t remain in the body.  This is great news for me since I can live off cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale and bok choy … to name just a few!   With all the research I’ve done on these vegetables I’ve found it’s necessary to add them to my diet on a daily basis.  Yes. Daily! As in everyday.  No biggie, right??  Actually, it really isn’t that tough to do.  I’ve come up with some great recipes for each of these veggies – so great that my husband looks forward to eating them as much as I do!

I’ll start off slow… one recipe at a time.  I don’t want to overwhelm anyone 🙂  And if you have any additional creative and healthy ways of serving any of these foods, please let me know!  I’m always looking for variety!!

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH 4-HERB PESTO

Heat oven 400 degree’s.  Cut 1 head cauliflower into 4 large pieces (stem/greens removed from bottom).  Place pieces on baking sheet, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and himalayan pink sea salt and ground pepper and sprinkle with ground tumeric.  Roast about 15 minutes, turn over and roast another 15 minutes until golden.  Serve with 4-Herb pesto drizzled over the cauliflower.

4 HERB PESTO

You can make a traditional pesto using basil or arugula for this dish; but I prefer more of a parsley base.

1 large bunch fresh Italian parsley – chopped;  1 handful fresh cilantro – chopped;   1 handful fresh mint – chopped;   1 handful fresh basil – chopped.  Use a mortar and pestle and smash with 1 large clove of garlic, a sprinkle of himalayan pink sea salt & ground pepper and drizzle with coconut oil just until wet. 

I serve this as a side to anything from pan seared wild fish to my black bean burgers.  

Enjoy!

My favorite burgers!

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Everyone loves a good burger! It’s the perfect summertime meal! But most of us when we think of the ideal burger, we think juicy, lean beef piled high w cheese, bacon, onion, lettuce & tomato
on a great roll… With a side of fries, of course.
Why not think a little (OK, a lot) outside the box next time you’re wanting to try something different, something a bit healthier. Even if you’re far from being a vegetarian, and think “there’s no way a bean burger is going to compare to a regular burger” ; just give it a try. Even if it’s just out of curiosity…and then let me know your thoughts 🙂
RECIPE:
1 large can Organic Black Beans (rinsed, drained)
Large handful fresh cilantro (chopped)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp tumeric powder
Fresh lime juice (1 lime)
1/2 cup fresh salsa
Breadcrumbs (if mixture is wet)

Mash the beans w a fork or your hands until only a few beans are still intact. Add all ingredients. Mix well and form patties w your hands. Heat 1TBS coconut oil in saute pan and heat through on both sides (they will brown & crisp up) (see photo above)

I serve these burgers on a bed of baby Arugula drizzled w fresh lemon juice and homemade guacamole and salsa on the side.  Feel free to eat these on a bun w different healthy toppings.
Enjoy!!