Friday, December 30, 2011

Triple Berry Parfait

Festive and a snap to make, this was part of my Christmas dinner with my family.  I had forgotten that I had taken a photo of it until today when I was uploading photos for my other posts.   The combination of the antioxidents in the berries and the probiotics in the kefir make it a great immune-building dessert.  Who knew that dessert could be healthy?

1/2 cup frozen triple berry mixed fruit  (blackberries, raspberries, blueberries)
1 cup plain low-fat kefir

Partially thaw the frozen fruit mix.  Put the kefir into a blender and add the fruit, and puree to desired consistency.

Nutrition per serving:
Servings per recipe: 1
Serving Size: Approx 1.25 cups
Calories: 209
Total Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 10 mg
Sodium: 133 mg
Total Carbs: 34 g
Dietary Fiber: 5 g
Protein: 15 g

Kale, Cauliflower and Broccoli Soup

I am still all about "easy" today.  So I looked in the fridge, saw the left-over cauliflower and broccoli soup from yesterday and decided to add some chopped kale to it for extra potency and flavor, and cooked it in the microwave.  All hail kale! 

2 cups florets of cauliflower and broccoli, chopped
1 -2 cups water
onion powder, to desired taste
garlic powder, to desired taste
1/8 teaspoon Nature's Seasons
4 kale leaves, destemmed and chopped fine
(I prefer to use the Tuscany Kale.  It's lovely to behold!)

Place the chopped broccoli and cauliflower florets in a 4-cup glass measuring cup  Ad water to at least half the amount of vegetables, or more if a thinner soup is desired.  Ad onion powder, garlic powder, and Nature's Seasons.  Microwave at high power until the vegetables are tender.  Add the chopped kale and continue to cook at high power until the kale is tender.  Cool a bit, then puree with an immersion stick blender.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired. 

Servings per recipe: 2
Serving Size: Approx. 1.25  cups
Calories: 46
Total Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 131 mg
Total Carbs: 8 g
Dietary Fiber: 4 g
Protein: 3

Wild Wood High Protein Tofu

On my recent post for Quick Cauliflower and Broccoli Soup,  I mentioned adding tofu to it.  I know that tofu is repulsive to some people, but not to me!  I loved it even before it became an important element in my diet. Maybe my love for it is because I was first introduced to extraordinarily good quality tofu in Japan in the early 1980's when I was there to teach English as a Second Language.  I was consistently eager to try all the foods offered to me, including tofu.   My favorite recollection of how it was served was as a simple small block with an indentation in the top of it filled with a mighty hot wasabi paste.  My nostrils were on fire but I ate it again and again.  It was also frequently served as small cubes in a simple yet delicious miso soup, or with stir-fried vegetables.  Oh, I do miss stir fried vegetables. But I am grateful that I can still enjoy tofu and find that it fits my requirements for soft protein.   But the spicy wasabi has to go. 

At the Duluth Whole Foods Co-op, I recently discovered a new type of tofu by Wild Wood Organic Foods that is higher in protein than most other types. An 85 gram portion of this tofu contains 14 grams of protein, which is more than double what most tofu of similar size contains.  Other nutritional information for this serving portion is listed below.   This tofu is super-firm, and quite different from the smooth Japanese type of tofu I was initially introduced to, but it tastes similar and is more amenable to being sauteed than the softer types.   Yet it is soft enough for my digestive system to handle without a problem. 

My husband reminds me that when buying tofu, it is critical to buy organic, since customary practices for growing soybeans uses high levels of pesticides.

The wonder of tofu is that it easily absorbs the flavors used with it.  One of my favorite marinades for cubed tofu is soy sauce (or Bragg Liquid Aminos) with curry powder, garlic powder, and sometimes I throw in a little bit of rice vinegar.  Then I saute it in coconut oil.   The other cool thing about this new type of tofu is that it is not packed in water, so it doesn't need to be pressed or drained, thus I don't need any additional prep time (or advance planning) to make it. 

Experiment and enjoy!

Sauteeing tofu
Nutritional Information for Wild Wood Organic Tofu:
Serving Size: 85 grams per serving   (each package contains 3 servings)
Calories: 130
Total Fat: 7 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 15 mg
Total Carbs: 3 g
Dietary Fiber: 0 g
Protein: 14 g

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Quick Cauliflower and Broccoli Soup

When time, energy, and ingredients are at a minimum (like today when I am resting from Christmas festivities),  this is one of my easiest routes to a quick and healthy soup.

2 cups florets of cauliflower and broccoli, chopped
1 to 2 cups water, depending on desired consistency for the soup
onion powder
garlic powder
1/8 tsp Nature's Seasons

Place the chopped broccoli and cauliflower florets into a 4-cup glass measuring cup.  Add water to at least half the amount of vegetables, or more if a thinner soup is desired.  Add onion powder, garlic powder and Nature's Seasons, to desired taste.  Microwave on high power until the vegetables are tender, stirring a couple of times,  and the kitchen is stinky.   (Our 18 year old son, Sam, always knows when I cook this!)  Cool just a bit and then puree with an immersion blender stick.   Adjust seasonings to desired taste.  Serve immediately as a soup.  Sometimes I add a bit of Parmesan cheese and some turkey meatballs to it.  It's also very good with some high-protein sauteed tofu cubes in it, with a dash of soy sauce, giving it a Japanese flavor.  (These additions are not included in the nutritional analysis.)

Quick Cauliflower and Broccoli Soup with Tofu
 Nutrition per serving:
Servings per recipe: 1
Serving Size: Approx 1 1/2 cup
Calories: 50
Total Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 240 mg
Total Carbs: 8 g
Dietary Fiber: 4 g
Protein: 4 g

Monday, December 12, 2011

Squash Soup with Nutmeg and Sage

Tom was the glad recipient of more squash from a friend.  The photo here shows the variety of squash he gave us, plus a couple I still had from our garden.  The soup I made this time is an adaptation of a recipe from a family cookbook from my friend, Julie.   The combination of sage and nutmeg with squash intrigued me when I read it and delighted me when I ate it!  I didn't have a butternut squash to use for this recipe, and I'm not sure what type I used, but the resulting soup was tasty.    

1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
6 cups cubed, peeled, seeded butternut squash
32 oz. low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon ground sage (or 2 T chopped fresh sage)
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup to 1 1/4 cup water
1/4 cup fat-free Fage Greek yogurt

Spray a large, nonstick saucepan with non-fat butter flavored cooking spray.  Then add the garlic and onion.  Saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the squash, broth, lemon juice, nutmeg, salt, pepper and sage; bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, adding the water 1/2 cup at a time, until the squash is very soft, about 20 minutes. (You may not need to add all of the water, depending on the density of the squash.)  Remove from the heat and puree with an immersion blender.  Add the Fage yogurt and reheat gently till the yogurt is heated, but do not allow it to boil. 

Servings per recipe: 6
Serving Size: Approx 1 1/2  cup            
Calories: 108
Total Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol:  0 mg
Sodium: 254 mg
Total Carbs: 25 g
Dietary Fiber: 7 g
Protein: 4 g

Monday, December 5, 2011

Kale-Collards-Broccoli Puree

After a medical appointment last week, my husband and I stopped at the Duluth Whole Foods
Co-op, which is only a few blocks from the medical complex. As I surveyed the hot deli bar, I spied a chafing pan filled with a mixture of sauteed kale, collards and broccoli.  The appeal of those dark, leafy greens and broccoli was tantalizing.  It's reassuring to know that at least sometimes I really crave incredibly healthy food.  I purchased a small portion of these green jewels and brought them home and simmered them in just a bit of vegetable broth, then pureed them with an immersion blender.  I hadn't used very much broth, so a thick consistency was the result, and I refrigerated it.  The next day for lunch,  I spread it on a slice of sourdough bread and topped it with feta cheese and a squeeze of tomato paste. The added benefit of sourdough bread is that it contains healthy probiotics, besides being soft and yummy. I decided the spread would also be great a substitute for lettuce on a sandwich sometime in the future.   

If you are wondering why I can eat bread, but not raw lettuce or even cooked kale or broccoli, it's because the bread will dissolve in my gastric juices, but the greens won't. My gastroenterologist's "rule of thumb" for me is if the food won't dissolve in my gastric juices, then it needs to be able to squeeze through a tube of toothpaste.  Otherwise, it will likely create an obstruction.   See my Food Challenges tab for more information about my dietary challenges, if you haven't already looked at it.  I use coconut oil frequently because, as a medium-chain triglyceride, it doesn't require as many pancreatic enzymes to digest as most fats, which makes it a great choice for people with pancreatic insufficiency. 

When I purchased the sauteed greens, I noted the listed ingredients and the next day I called the Co-op to ask about the proportions of the ingredients.  While the Whole Foods Co-op will not share their recipes, the kitchen chef I spoke with was extraordinarily gracious and friendly and told me that they used an equal portion of kale, collards, and broccoli and sauteed them in olive oil with garlic.  Based on what the cook told me, I made my own version of this today.   This time, I used it as a base for steamed flounder, and again used a garnish of a squeeze of tomato paste from the tube. The taste contrasts were splendid.  I think this greens mixture would also be a healthy sauce for pasta.  Move over pesto!

The convenience of purchasing the cooked greens at the Co-op  last week was most helpful after a long morning of medical appointments, and also provided inspiration for new creations for me.  Yes, I do love the Duluth Whole Foods Co-op!

Steamed Flounder on Kale-Collards-Broccoli Puree

1 cup chopped kale, thick stems removed
1 cup chopped collard greens
1 cup chopped broccoli florets
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup vegetable broth
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to desired taste            

Heat coconut oil in pan over medium heat.  Add minced garlic and saute until golden.  Add chopped vegetables and saute until tender, adding vegetable broth a bit at a time, being careful not to create a mixture that is too thin.   Puree with an immersion blender.  To use as a spread, refrigerate overnight.   To use as a base for something like fish, keep it warm. 

Nutrition: (does not include salt, pepper, feta cheese or tomato paste)
Servings per recipe: 3

Chopped greens and broccoli
Serving Size:  1/2 cup                              
Calories: 109
Total Fat: 9 g                                              
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 56 mg
Total Carbs: 6 g
Dietary Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 2 g

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tangy Fage-Cranberry Dessert

Before I knew that Caleb and Kiara were bringing a pureed cranberry relish that I could eat for Thanksgiving, I had already purchased a can of organic jellied cranberry sauce at the Whole Foods Coop.  So, now my creative juices started flowing once again as I thought about how I could use this jellied cranberry sauce.  Upon sampling it, I realized how sweet it was and my taste buds were confirmed in their suspicions as I looked at the nutritional information on the can.  A quarter cup contained 26 grams of carbohydrates.  So my challenge was to think what I could mix with it to lessen the sweet taste and carbohydrate content. My immediate idea was to combine it with Fage (pronounced FA-yeh)Yogurt, which I always have in the refrigerator. I learned about this type of yogurt a few years ago in a diabetes magazine, where it was promoted as a good choice for people with diabetes because it has a higher protein content than most Greek yogurts.  In fact, one cup of Fage Nonfat Yogurt contains 9 grams of carbohydrates and 23 grams of protein.  And it contains five strains of live active probiotic cultures, which are helpful for both digestion and immune function.  I often use this as a healthy substitute for sour cream and as a base for dips, spreads, or as a garnish for cold soups.   It proved to be a winner once again when combined with the
tangy-sweet cranberries.

Now, I'm dreaming of other ways to use the jellied cranberry sauce.  Maybe combined with a savory red lentil soup, or would it work with squash?  Stay tuned for my next culinary creation. 

4 Tablespoons  (1/4 cup) Fage Nonfat Yogurt
1 Tablespoon jellied cranberry sauce  (I used a brand called Organic Grown Right)

Stir together the yogurt and the cranberry sauce, reserving a small portion of the sauce for a garnish.

Servings per recipe: 1
Serving Size: 1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon
Calories: 58
Total Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 30 mg
Total Carbs: 9 g
Dietary Fiber: 0
Protein: 6 g

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cardamom-Ricotta Squash

I have more leftover food than leftover energy today.  So I made something really easy and yet tasty.  Cooked squash mixed with ricotta cheese spiced with cardamom created a delectable and healthy vegetable dish.  Our son, Caleb, who shares my love of cooking, is the one who told me that cardamom and ricotta are good companions.  A friend had given Tom several Sweet Dumpling winter squash, which was a new variety for both Tom and me.  We were delighted with its sweet, dry, nutty flavor, and glad to find the seed in the 2012 Pinetree Garden Seed catalog that arrived a couple of weeks ago so we can plant some next year.  I had cooked some of this squash for Thanksgiving and had a bit left.  I have mixed winter squash with ricotta and cardamom before, and used it as filling in egg-white crepes.  I didn't have the energy to make crepes today, so just scrambled some egg whites for protein and had a cracker to go with it.  Maybe another day I will make the crepes and post that for you to see.  It really looks lovely.   

3/4 cup mashed/pureed cooked winter squash
1/4 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
Sprinkle of freshly ground cardamom, to desired taste

Thoroughly mix the squash and ricotta cheese. Add freshly ground cardamom and stir.  Serve as a vegetable side dish, or use it as a filling in crepes. 

Servings per recipe: 1
Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 142
Total Fat: 5 g
Cholesterol: 19 mg
Sodium:  81 mg
Total Carbs: 18 g
Dietary Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 8 g

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sweet and Savory Vegetable Soup

Sometimes I just can't stop myself.  I was watching the Today show last Monday and watched Chef Giada DeLaurentiis make Sweet and Savory Vegetable Dressing.  As she was adding apples, leeks and allspice to the already sauteed squash, carrots, and parsnips, I could nearly smell it through the television screen.  Then I thought of the large bag of carrots and about 10 leeks and  a few squash we still had from what Tom had harvested from our garden.  Voila!  I could use her combination of vegetables and spices to make another soup for my Thanksgiving meal.   This is creative cooking at its best, in my mind.  The resulting soup had a brand new combination of sweet and savory tastes, and topped with crumbled goat cheese, it was out of this world!   With the loss of varied textures and appearance in my restricted diet, new flavor combinations are heralded!  Today, I warmed up this soup for lunch and reveled in its great flavor once again. 

 For Giada's orginal recipe: 

3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 14 - 16 oz. butternut squash, halved, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 1/2 cups)
12 ounces medium carrots (about 4), peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
8 ounces medium parsnips (about 3) peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
2 cups thinly sliced leeks, cleaned (white and green parts only) (about 2 medium size leeks)
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch cubes  (about 2 cups)
3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground allspice  (I grated fresh allspice, so I used about 1/4 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
Grated zest from 1 large lemon (about 2 teaspoons)
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
4 oz. fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbled, for garnish

Garden leeks

Heat olive oil in large non-stick skillet over medium high heat.  Add the squash, carrots and parsnips to the skillet and saute until the vegetables begin to soften, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes.  Add the apples and leeks to the same skillet and saute until the leeks are slightly softened, about 5 - 6 minutes.  Stir in lemon zest and allspice.  Add the vegetable broth and simmer till the vegetables are tender.  You may need to add a bit more broth to keep the vegetables covered with liquid while simmering.  Cool slightly and then puree with an immersion stick.  Season with salt and pepper.  Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with small bits of the goat cheese and a sprinkle of freshly grated allspice or nutmeg.  Be thankful!


Garden Carrots

Servings per recipe: 8
Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 181

Total Fat: 9 g
Cholesterol: 7 mg
Sodium:  217 mg 
Total Carbs:  25 g

Dietary Fiber: 6 g
Protein: 4 g

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Curried Pumpkin Ginger Soup

In addition to the soup recipe that I posted a couple of days ago for Thanksgiving, I also made this spicy pumpkin soup.  I have no idea where this recipe originated.  Last week, as I was cleaning out my 3-ring binder of "recipes to try", I discovered this recipe on a printed piece of paper, but without a source notation.   Anyway, I  couldn't resist adding it to my Thanksgiving menu.  Garnished with a dollop of yogurt and freshly grated nutmeg, it was a big hit with several family members at our Thanksgiving meal.  

My family does an outstanding job of making me feel as "normal" as possible by at least trying my pureed soups, and then exclaiming how delicious they taste.  Ah...I am truly thankful for my family.  My husband, Tom, did all of the preparation of the turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy and other family members brought the side dishes. My son, Caleb, and his wife, Kiara, brought a cranberry relish that they had pulverized very finely so I could tolerate it, in addition to scalloped corn, andoulle sausage dressing,  and homemade sourdough bread.  My son Dan works at the Wedge Whole Foods Co-op in Mpls and he brought maple glazed sweet potatoes and green beans almondine, and my friend Tahirih brought a vibrantly fresh green salad.  While I couldn't eat those side dishes, the lack was more than compensated for by the abundance of love surrounding me.   

Today, I warmed my soup for lunch and served it with a crisp cracker and some finely chopped/ground turkey.   Who doesn't love the leftovers just as much as....if not more than...Thanksgiving dinner!  

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cups finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small potato, peeled, boiled and cubed
1 1/2 Tablespoons peeled fresh ginger, minced
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 Tablespoon curry powder
3/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne), or to taste
  (I used about 1/2 teaspoon)
2 15-oz. cans solid-pack pumpkin
3 cups water
4 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth   
1 14-oz can unsweetened coconut milk
Juice of half a lemon
Salt to taste
Dollop of plain non-fat yogurt
Freshly grated nutmeg for garnish

In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over moderate heat and add onions.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, ginger and cooked potato cubes; continue cooking for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add spices and puree in a blender or food processor with a little of the broth and return to the soup pot.

Add pumpkin, water, broth and coconut milk, stirring to combine and simmer gently, uncovered, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Serve immediately, or refrigerate, covered, for up to 3 days.  Reheat when ready to serve.  Squeeze some lemon juice into the soup and ladle into bowls.  Garnish with a dollop of plain yogurt and freshly grated nutmeg.

Nutrition:  (Does not include the dollop of yogurt for garnish)
Servings per recipe: 12
Serving Size: Approx. 1 cup
Calories: 141
Total Fat: 10 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 62 mg
Total Carbs: 14 g
Dietary Fiber: 3
Protein: 1 g

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pumpkin-Sweet Potato Soup and Thankfulness

I remember my first Thanksgiving after my surgery in September 1998 to remove a 14cm pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor.  While I was incredibly thankful to be alive, I was daunted and discouraged by what I could no longer eat.  I tried to hide my tears as I stared at the bountiful feast set before me.   Now, 13 Thanksgiving feasts later, I can happily say that I have developed a bounty of recipes that meet my needs.  This is a soup that I have made for a few years now and I save it just for Thanksgiving so I have something special that I don't ordinarily have.  I still have moments ...ok..I'll be honest ....sometimes days.....when I lament my dietary restrictions.  Then, I remind myself of the millions of people throughout the world who daily subsist on meager amounts of food or who don't have clean water.  This "reality check" with the larger view of the world beacons me to focus on what I do have, rather than what I don't have, and calls me to share my bounty with others.  So, I share this recipe with you, and wish you a hearty helping of thankfulness.  


1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup (1/2 inch) cubed peeled sweet potato
4 cups fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
Drizzle of plain kefir as a garnish

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add onion, saute 3 minutes.  Stir in curry powder, cumin, nutmeg and garlic; saute 1 minute.  Add sweet potato, broth, and pumpkin; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, simmer, partially covered, 20 minutes or until potato is tender, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat, cool 10 minutes.  Puree soup in a blender in batches or with an immersion stick in the pot. Stir in the lime juice and ladle into bowls. Garnish with a drizzle of plain kefir.
Servings per recipe: 5                              
Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 113
Total Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: mg                                      
Sodium: 66 mg
Total Carbs: 19 g
Dietary Fiber:4
Protein: 4

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sweet Potato-Coconut Soup

This is another excellent recipe from Rebecca Katz's cookbook, One Bite At a Time.  I modified it slightly by using vegetable broth rather than using her recipe for Magic Mineral Broth.  I have made her Magic Mineral Broth in the past and it was fabulous, but my time and energy constraints led me to use vegetable broth instead for this recipe.   Also, I used lemongrass paste rather than a stalk of lemongrass, since it was what I had available.   I made just a half-batch, which is what is listed below.  What I liked most about the soup was the hint of ginger and lemongrass, and the creamy texture created by the use of coconut milk. 

4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 can (14.5 oz) light coconut milk
2 (1-inch) pieces fresh ginger
1 shallot bulb, halved and bruised
1/2 teaspoon zest of a lime
1 Tablespoon lemongrass paste
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
Squeeze of fresh lime juice
1 Tablespoon shredded unsweetened coconut, for garnish

In a large stock pot, bring the broth, coconut milk, ginger, shallots, lime zest, lemongrass and salt to a slow boil over medium heat.  Let the ingredients infuse their flavor into the liquid for about 20 minutes.  Decrease the heat to low and continue to let the broth develop for another 30 - 40 minutes. Remove the shallots with a slotted spoon.  Add the sweet potatoes and turn the heat  back up to medium.  Cook the sweet potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes.

Puree in a blender or with an immersion stick. Ladle the soup into bowls, drizzle with lime juice, and garnish with the coconut. 

Servings per recipe: 6                    
Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 102                                   
Total Fat: 1 g                            
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 171 mg
Total Carbs: 12 g
Dietary Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 1 g

Monday, November 14, 2011

Oops....for previous post

A friend just looked at my recipe for the Butternut Apple Soup with Ginger that I posted a couple of days ago and asked how many apples are used in the recipe.  Yikes..I looked at it and realized I had omitted to list the "1 large tart apple, seeded and cubed" in the list of ingredients.  I just finished correcting the recipe. 
Just for your information, I used a Granny Smith apple for my soup. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Potato Leek Soup

One Bite At A Time - Nourishing Recipes for Cancer Survivors and Their Friends by Rebecca Katz is one of my all-time favorite cookbooks!  All of her recipes are nourishing and immune boosting and oh ---those photographs of so many recipes makes me want to cook nonstop!  Unfortunately, I can't eat many of her tasty recipes, but the approach she uses for flavor combinations and her vast knowledge of nutrition has been inspiring for me.  Many of her soup recipes are pureed, so I have tried most of them and this one is definitely one of my favorites.  Using yukon gold potatoes and leeks from my husband's garden, this soup was voted a "keeper" by my husband, Tom, and my 18-year old son, Sam.  The recipe gave directions for roasting a head of garlic, which I had never done before, but was convinced of its merit as the aroma permeated the kitchen.  It was definitely worth the time.  One day I added some pureed kale that I had in the freezer to a portion of this soup and oooolala.  Yummy.  Nutritious.  Digestible! is full of Pzazz!

Yukon Golds and Russet Potatoes from Tom's garden

1 head garlic
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 pounds medium  Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary, or a pinch of dried rosemary
1 cup diced yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 leeks, white part only, chopped
8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Cut the top off the head of garlic and drizzle with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil.  Wrap the garlic in a square of parchment paper and then in a slightly larger piece of aluminum foil.  Bake for 45 minutes, or until soft and golden.  The aroma will tell you when it's ready.  Remove from the oven to cool.

Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees.

Toss the potatoes with 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, the pepper and rosemary.  Spread on a sheet pan and roast for 30 minutes, or until tender.  Transfer to a bowl and mash by hand.  Set aside.

While the potatoes are roasting, in a 6 - 8 quart pot, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and a pinch of salt and saute for 5 minutes.  Add the minced garlic and leeks, decrease the heat, and saute until both the leeks and the onions are golden.  Add the roasted garlic by squeezing it from its skin and saute for 30 seconds.  Deglaze the pot with 1 cup of the broth.  Once the liquid evaporates, add 7 cups of the stock and simmer for 25 minutes.

In a blender or using an immersion stick blender, puree the potatoes and broth until smooth.  Return the soup to the pot and taste; you may need to add a pinch of salt or a squeeze of lemon.  If you prefer a thinner consistency, add more broth or water.  To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with a pinch of nutmeg.

Servings per recipe: 10

Kale can be added to this soup too!

Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 137
Total Fat:  0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 275 mg
Total Carbs: 29 g
Dietary Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 5 g

Friday, November 11, 2011

Butternut Apple Soup with Ginger

The original recipe for this soup was one I found in a sale brochure from the Duluth Whole Foods Co-op.  I omitted the cream and it was still delicious.  The hint of apple taste combined with sage was delectable.  It was delightfully easy to make, as well.

Have I ever mentioned how shopping at the Duluth Whole Foods Co-op makes me feel nourished, healthy, wholesome, peaceful, zany, vivacious....ALIVE!   Those days when I have a bad case of the crankies....I try to get to the Co-op.  It cures me almost instantly....until I get home and long for the same aromas, the same "natural" feeling, the same sense of well-being.   Ah.....what else do I need to get at the Co-op?   When can I go again?  Here's the link:    Hope to see you there!  Did I tell you that my husband and I were one of the original "cooperative member/owners" of the Duluth Whole Foods Co-op, when the building was off the beaten path and remarkably small and contained primarily locally grown produce and we volunteered our time as part of our membership? My first exposure to a whole foods cooperative was while I worked in a small community in southern WI and traveled to Madison many weekends to explore the farmers market around the capital square, and the many alternative whole foods stores.   Great memories!  Now....back to the soup......I ate it with a slice of sourdough bread and some smoked whitefish that someone gave to my husband, Tom.  The fish was soft enough for me to digest easily and was a fine compliment to the soup. 

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 large tart apple, seeded and cubed
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
salt and pepper to taste (not included in nutritional analysis)

In a large stock pot, heat the oil and saute the onion, garlic and ginger until soft.  Add the squash, apple, sage and broth and bring it to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer the soup for about 20 minutes until the squash is very soft.   Remove from heat, and using a stick blender or regular blender, puree the soup.  Season with salt and pepper.

Simmering ingredients for the soup

Servings per recipe: 8
Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 106
Total Fat: 4 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 41 mg
Total Carbs: 18 g
Dietary Fiber: 4 g
Protein: 2 g

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Favorite Green Soup

I was looking at the recipes I have posted thus far and realized that I had omitted this very basic and favorite soup in my repertoire.  Use whatever types of greens you have available.   When I wasn't feeling well at the beginning of September, a gracious friend, Tracy, harvested  the Swiss chard, typhon greens and kale from my husband's abundant vegetable garden, then made large batches of this soup and froze it for me. What a gift to be able to go to the freezer and pull out this soup whenever I don't have the energy to make something nourishing for myself.  

1/2 cup chopped onion
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed           
2 cups water
2 cups chicken broth
7 cups chopped fresh spinach
(or other greens such as kale, Swiss chard, mustard greens, collards, etc)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Saute onion in oil.  Add potatoes and the water.  Cook until potatoes are tender.  Add greens and the chicken broth, salt and pepper and simmer until tender.  Puree.  

Servings per recipe: 6
Serving Size: Approx. 1 cup
Calories: 97
Total Fat: 3 g
Cholesterol: 2 mg
Sodium:  543 mg (this used regular chicken broth, not low-sodium)
Total Carbs:  16 g
Dietary Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 4 g

Friday, October 28, 2011

Roasted Tomato Sauce

Where have I been, you might ask, or at least I hope you are asking that.  Well, I have had shoulder/neck pain that is made worse by using the computer too much.  I needed to rest for awhile.  But I kept cooking and taking photos, so here is what I have been up to.  

Blessed tomatoes....they keep ripening out in the garage.  I love the bright yellow ones for their beauty as much as for their taste.   I hesitate to cut into each one because it will destroy the splendid sight. And.. I think I just don't want them to ever end this year.  Fortunately, I found a new recipe to override my reluctance.  I had saved this recipe for Roasted Tomato Sauce that I had cut from the July/August 2010 issue of Natural Home, and only needed to modify it a bit by reducing the amount of olive oil. I used fresh onions from the garden, as well as fresh basil and oregano from the herb garden.  Ah, it was delightful served over a bit of pasta and even tastier when served over spaghetti squash. 

Healthy bite info:   Tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant found to lower cancer risk and they are also an excellent source of vitamins C, A, and K, as well as magnesium and iron.

Heirloom tomatoes are ideal for making sauce, because they have a thin skin so there is no need to blanch and peel the tomatoes first.  Even though I love to cook, I also love quick and easy!


1/4 cup olive oil
3 1/4 pounds fresh heirloom tomatoes, seeded and chopped
8 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 cups (about 1 pound) yellow onion, chopped
3 Tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
3 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste

Use a little oil to coat a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Spread tomatoes evenly across dish.  Mix garlic, onion, oregano, basil and 2 Tablespoons olive oil and spread evenly over tomatoes.  Drizzle with remaining olive oil and toss.  Bake in a 375-degree oven for about an hour.  Let cool, then blend tomatoes to a rich puree in a food processor or blender.  Add salt and pepper.  

Servings per recipe: 8 
Serving Size: 1/2  cup
Calories: 107
Total Fat: 7 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 118 mg
Total Carbs: 10 g
Dietary Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 2 g

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup

Tom pulled more carrots from the garden, so I made this quick pureed carrot soup.  I have no recollection of where I obtained this recipe, as it is one that I have been making for several years.  The original recipe used cilantro for seasoning, but I substituted garam masala, an Indian spice, and liked it much better. This soup combines carrots with sweet potatoes, resulting in a megadose of potassium (295 mg per cup serving) and Vitamin A (316% of the recommended daily minimum).    Carrots are also an excellent source of the antioxidant beta-carotene.  Additionally,  the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes in carrots support liver, digestive, and kidney function, according to nutritionist Rebecca Katz, in her excellent cookbook, One Bite at a Time.  I'll make a separate post about this outstanding cookbook another time.   Until then, enjoy this soup simply for its superb taste and ease of preparation.

I garnished the soup with a sprinkle of finely ground hazelnuts

2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" cubes (about 3 cups)
2 lbs. carrots, scrubbed and cut into 1" chunks (about 3 cups)
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
4 cups Pacific Organic Low-Sodium Vegetable Broth
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 1/2 Tablespoon lemon juice
2/3 cup water
1 small piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped (about 3 tsp)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon garam masala seasoning

Simmer sweet potatoes, carrots, onion, garlic and lemon zest in broth till tender (about 15 - 20 minutes).  Remove from heat.  Add lemon juice, water, ginger and garam masala and cook another 5 minutes.  Puree in a blender or with an immersion stick.  Season with salt and pepper if desired. 


Simmering Soup
Servings per recipe: 8                                           
Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 89
Total Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 75 mg
Total Carbs: 20 g
Dietary Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 3 g

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Moroccan Carrot Spread

I tasted a Moroccan Carrot Spread at the Duluth Whole Foods Co-op and loved the creamy texture and sweet carrot taste with spices.  So I looked for a similar recipe on-line and found this one from Paulette Mitchell, a culinary instructor, and author of 10 cookbooks, including her 15-Minute Gourmet cookbook series.  The list of ingredients was nearly identical to the one at the Co-op, but her recipe did not include parsley, so I added it to this recipe.   The key to the creamy texture is cooking the carrots until they are very tender.  I had never tried cooking carrots in the microwave before, and I have to admit that it was much quicker than my usual stove-top method. 

1 pound carrots (about 8), cut into 1" chunks              
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Put the carrots in a medium microwave-proof dish; add about 1/4 cup water.  Cover tightly and microwave on high for about 8 minutes, or until very tender.  (Or cook the carrots in a stovetop steamer.)  Drain well.

Transfer the carrots to a food processor; process until mashed.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Process until the mixture is smooth and creamy.  Taste and adjust the seasonings.  Bring to room temperature for serving.

Servings per recipe: 5

Food processing  the ingredients
Serving Size: 1/4 cup cup
Calories: 89
Total Fat: 6 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 64 mg
Total Carbs: 9 g
Dietary Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 1 g

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Gingered Carrot Soup Again

I posted the recipe for this soup in May, but I made it again today and used carrots from my husband's vegetable garden.  Oh, I love this soup!  Here is a photo of the finished soup to inspire you to try it.  I added the photos I took while I made it today to the original post with the recipe, too. 
Here is the link for the recipe:

Gingered Carrot Soup!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pureed White Beans-Tomatoes with Halibut

Before I had the need to puree my food, one of my favorite recipes was Halibut with White Beans in Tomato-Rosemary Broth.   So I experimented with this recipe and pureed the tomatoes and beans after they were cooked, and was delighted with the taste, the texture, and the vibrant color!  (Nice to have a change from my usual green soups.)  The tomatoes were a mix of golden and plum heirloom tomatoes from Tom's vegetable garden. The golden tomatoes are lower in acidity than usual tomatoes and are YUMMY!  


Tomatoes, beans, broth and rosemary

1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 (6 oz) halibut fillets
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper                                                 

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped plum tomatoes 
1 cup chopped golden tomatoes        
1 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 (16 oz.) can cannelini  beans, or other white beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary


Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.   Sprinkle fish evenly with salt and pepper.  Add fish to the pan; cook 5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. 

Remove fish from pan; keep warm in a large casserole dish.  Add garlic to pan; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly.  Stir in tomato, broth, beans, and rosemary.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Puree to desired consistency.  Ladle into bowls and add halibut.  Serve immediately.

Beautiful finished soup!
Servings per recipe: 6
Serving Size: 1 halibut fillet plus approx. 1 1/4 cup puree
Calories: 293                                                                             
Total Fat: 6 g
Cholesterol: 46 mg
Sodium: 203 mg
Total Carbs: 21 g
Dietary Fiber: 5 g
Protein: 37 g

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Curried Zucchini Soup

I previously posted a recipe for Chilled Curried Zucchini Soup, that I had adapted from the Soup Bible (2007, Penguin Books).   Two nights ago, I modified it again by omitting the buttermilk and serving it warm.  I liked it even better this way, though that might have been partly because the cold weather influenced my desire for a warm soup.  If you like curry and other Indian spices, this soup is for you.  It  was incredibly simple and quick to make. 

Ingredients for the Curried Zucchini Soup
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 teaspoon shredded fresh ginger root               
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups shredded zucchini
2 cups Pacific Natural Foods Organic Low-Sodium Chicken Broth

Heat oil in a large saucepan, add onion, garlic, ginger, curry powder, coriander, and cumin and cook over gently heat for 3 - 4 minutes.  Add zucchini and cook for 5 minutes, covered, until zucchini begins to soften.  Pour in chicken broth, and simmer for another 10 minutes or so, until zucchini is cooked.  Remove from heat and cool a little.

Blend contents of pan until smooth.  Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with a dollop of plain yogurt.  (Yogurt is not included in nutritional analysis.)

Servings per recipe: 4
Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories:  68
Total Fat: 4 g                                                              
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 40  mg
Total Carbs: 8 g
Dietary Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 2 g

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Chili Chickpea Mash

I have been having more intestinal tract blockages recently and an abdominal ct scan last week showed the reason for this is because the pancreatic tumor has shifted position is now pressing on my duodenum, though it hasn't grown in size. But it requires that I eat more soluble fiber and less insoluble fiber.  This recipe for chickpea mash is a good example of the type of soluble fiber that works well for me.  Most importantly, it is delicious!  Hummus is another good example of a dip that has the type of soluble fiber that works well for me, but variety in my diet is important for taste, fun and nutrition. 

1 15.5 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 small fresh red chili pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup boiling water                                                                             
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper, if desired

Put the chickpeas in a food processor with the chili pepper slices, parsley, lemon juice and olive oil.  Puree to preferred consistency, adding just enough of the boiling water to make a smooth, creamy texture.  Season with salt and pepper, and cayenne pepper, if desired. 

Servings per recipe: 6
Serving Size: 3.3 Tablespoons
Calories: 110
Total Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 240 mg
Total Carbs: 19 g
Dietary Fiber:  4 g
Protein: 4 g

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"Tomatoland" by Barry Estabrook

More tomatoes from Tom's vegetable garden in our yard

In a previous post for a tomato soup recipe, I commented on an interview with Barry Estabrook I heard on National Public Radio a few weeks ago.  Here is a link to that interview.

Tomatoland: How Modern Industrialized Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit is the title of the book by Barry Estabrook that exposes the agricultural practices used in Florida to produce tomatoes.  He documents the use of nearly 110 pesticides, fungicides and insecticides to produce the tomatoes, and how the durability of a tomato for cross-country transport is the top priority rather than taste.  He also exposes the abject slavery of workers used in the tomato industry in Florida.   

I look at the tomatoes my husband lovingly grew from heirloom seeds and admire their lack of uniformity, along with their lack of pesticides and insecticides and chemicals.  I will savor each one as I puree them into delicious soup!  We have several more ripening in paper bags that will soon be ready to use. 

Heirloom tomatoes and an onion

Monday, September 26, 2011

Spinach and Yogurt Soup

This recipe is from the Joslin Diabetes Healthy Carbohydrate Cookbook, with slight modifications.  I made it for the first time in March, 2011, and loved it. Swiss chard can easily be substituted for the spinach. 

Olive oil cooking spray
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 10-oz. package frozen leaf spinach, thawed and well drained
1 cup water
3/4 cup canned low-fat, low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth             
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon crushed dried
2 cups plain non-fat yogurt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Thyme sprigs for garnish

Lightly coat a nonstick pot with cooking spray and add the onion.  Cook over medium heat until soft, about 4 minutes.  Add the spinach and water.  Raise the heat to high and cook until the water has evaporated.  Remove from the heat  Puree the mixture to desired consistency.  Stir in the yogurt, and heat gently but do not allow the soup to boil. (Boiling would cause the yogurt to curdle.)  Season the soup with pepper.  Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with thyme sprigs. 

Servings per recipe: 4
Serving Size: 1 1/4 cup                                                            
Calories: 93
Total Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 3 mg
Sodium: 152 mg
Total Carbs: 16 g
Dietary Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 9 g

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dilled Carrot Tomato Soup

Tom grew heirloom tomatoes this year and they are gorgeous!  They aren't uniform in size or shape, which is the way "real" tomatoes grow as opposed to ones that are mass produced with slave labor in Florida.  (Ugh..I recently heard a report on Minnesota Public Radio about tomato growing operations in Florida and their abuse of migrant workers and other horticultural practices that convinced me to never buy a commerically produced tomato again!)  Anyway, this soup is an exquisite way to enjoy those tomatoes from the garden.  We had a hard freeze a couple of weeks ago, so Tom had to pull all of the green tomatoes off  the vines.  But tomatoes quickly ripen if placed in a brown paper bag with an apple. 

Golden and red heirloom tomatoes

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup water
3/4 lb. carrots, peeled and finely diced         
1 large ripe tomato, chopped
1 bay leaf
5 sprigs fresh dill, to taste

Heat the oil in a soup pot.  Add the onions and saute over medium-low heat until golden.
Add the broth, water, carrots and tomatoes.  Stir in the bay leaves.  Bring to a rapid simmer, and then lower the heat.  Cover and simmer gently until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.  Add the fresh dill.  Puree to desired consistency.  Add salt as desired (not included in nutritional analysis).  Garnish with a drizzle of kefir.

Servings per recipe: 4
Serving Size: 1 cup                                           
Calories: 94
Total Fat: 4 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 134 mg
Total Carbs: 15 g
Dietary Fiber: 4 g
Protein: 2 g