Thursday, February 20, 2014

Root Vegetable Soup

This recipe is from the Soup Bible (Penguin  Books, 2007).   The modifications I made were to use coconut oil rather than a combination of butter and olive oil, and to puree all of it, and to omit the cream. The original recipe, Chunky Root Vegetable Soup, pureed half of it and left half of it chunky and then stirred it together with cream.  When I made it for our son, Dan,  and Tom, I left all of it chunky and didn't bother to put in any cream and they both loved it. So the recipe is highly adaptable.  And I'm glad that my guys like soup as much as I do!

Parsnips, carrots, leeks, onions, potato, and sweet potato

    2 1/2 Tablespoons coconut oil 
    6 medium carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
    2 large onions, roughly chopped
    2 large leeks, thinly sliced (white and light green part)
    2 turnips, peeled and cut into small chunks
    2 parsnips, peeled and cut into small chunks
    1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into small chunks
    1 large potato, peeled and cut into small chunks
    6 cups chicken stock
    freshly ground black pepper
    chopped fresh chives for garnish

Cut vegetables

In a large soup pot, heat oil. Add carrots, onions, leeks, turnips and parsnips and cook, stirring occasionally, over gentle heat until lightly browned. Add sweet potato, potato and stock. Slowly bring to a boil and then reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and cool a bit. Puree to desired consistency. I used my VitaMix to puree it and this worked well.  
Garnish with chives.

Cooking the vegetables

Nutrition per serving:                     
Servings per recipe: 10
Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 143
Total Fat: 4 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 422 mg
Total Carbs: 25 g
Dietary Fiber: 5 g
Protein: 4 g

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Classic Butternut Squash Soup

I adapted this recipe from one on the site for the Whole Foods Co-Op to make a simple, classic butternut squash soup with mild seasoning. Yes, winter is just as good of a time for squash soup as fall.   I was debating what to put on it for a garnish for this photo and I tasted it again and thought, oh...the sage flavor is so delicious in this soup.  And then  I remembered I had some dried sage hanging in my window so decided to crumble that and put it on top of a dollop of goat yogurt.  Ah...beautiful. But OOPS. As I looked at the recipe again I realized there was no sage in this soup.  There was thyme, but no sage.   No thyme for sage? Or no sagely advice for thyme?  Or only sage and thymely advice?  I'm soooooo confused.  And delighted I made this wonderful soup.  

2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 onion, diced (about 1 cup)
4 cups cubed butternut squash
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp ground thyme
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
dash of freshly ground black pepper 

Heat oil in a large soup pot.  Add carrot, celery and onion.  Cook until vegetables have begun to soften and onion turns translucent, 3 - 4 minutes.  Stir in butternut squash, thyme, broth, and pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until squash is fork tender, about 30 minutes.  Puree to desired consistency, using an immersion blender or other device.  I used my VitaMix and it was velvet creamy.

Servings per recipe: 6          
Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 120
Total Fat: 5 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium:  66 mg
Total Carbs: 19 g
Dietary Fiber: 5 g
Protein: 3 g

Thursday, February 13, 2014


I don't know if those of you who subscribe to my blog will receive this by Valentine's Day or not, but I will send it out to CyberSpace in high hopes that it will. I had planned to do it earlier this week, but Tom and I decided to do a celebration get-away for a couple of days.  It was a combination of a Valentine's Day celebration, a belated anniversary celebration, and an improved health celebration since my surgery on February 15, 2013.  Yes, much to celebrate!  So this blog post was put on hold until we returned this afternoon.  

This Valentine's dessert may seem downright weird to you.  But I discovered there is more to make with an avocado than guacamole.  Combined with cocoa powder it is Cocomole!  I was first introduced to the idea of combining avocado with cacao powder by my son Dan, who works at the Wedge Co-Op in Mpls.  I asked him what was the difference between cacao powder and regular cocoa powder and he explained that cacao is the raw unprocessed form of chocolate and supposedly retains more of its nutrients. Cocoa is the more processed form because it has been dried and roasted and is what we typically find on the grocery shelves.  I used cacao powder that I purchased from the bulk bin at the Duluth Whole Foods Co-op so that I could buy just a small amount of it. You could certainly use cocoa powder for this recipe if that is what you have in your cupboard.

The original idea Dan gave me included only avocado, cacao powder and some natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup.  I tried that and thought it was ok, but decided to add a bit more Pzazz with a banana and coconut milk.  Definitely the Pzazz I was looking for!  Yes, the fat content looks high for this pudding, but remember that it comes from a healthy source of fat found in the avocado, and hopefully my digestive system will handle it well. 

May your Valentine's Day be filled with love and Pzazz!   

1 medium banana
1 avocado
6 Tablespoons lite coconut milk
(I used canned Taste of Thai coconut milk)
4 teaspoons raw cacao powder or coco powder

Blend all of it together in device of your choice.  (I used my Magic Bullet, but because it was quite thick, it didn't do quite as good of a job as I had hoped, so I mashed it more with a mortar/pestle.)  You can also put this into the freezer to make more of a frozen dessert.  Garnish with a dollop of pureed strawberries or raspberries.  I pureed the strawberries in the chopper attachment of my Cuisinart Smart Stick and it worked like a charm for a small amount.

Nutrition per serving:
Servings per recipe: 2
Serving Size: Scant 1/2 cup
Calories: 234
Total Fat: 13 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 15 mg
Total Carbs: 21 g
Dietary Fiber: 6 g
Protein: 3 g

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Potato and Cauliflower Soup

Yummy...more potatoes and more cauliflower, quickly combined into soup.  And you can vary it to meet your dietary needs in so many ways.   I made it one day with almond milk and another day I made it without the milk and simply increased the broth to 4 cups.  And your choice of milk is whatever fits your needs and tastes best....almond, soy, dairy, goat, or coconut....or whatever is available in your pantry.  Last week I made this for a friend using full-fat dairy milk, and I added some Parmesan cheese for her.  So think of this as a simple template for potato-cauliflower soup and then vary it with Pzazz!

Despite the bland white color of cauliflower, it is still a nutritional powerhouse, providing Vitamins C, K and B6, as well as folate, pantothenic acid, potassium and manganese.  What surprised me most as I looked at its nutritional profile was that cauliflower is also a source of protein. But if you want even more protein in this soup, try adding some silken tofu, whey powder, or egg white protein powder.  

    2 1/2 lb. russet potatoes (about 4 large), peeled and cut into 1" cubes 
    1 lb. cauliflower florets, cut into small pieces 
    3 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth 
      1 cup low-fat milk of your choice (I used almond milk so that is what I used in the nutritional analysis.)

        Optional:  Add 1/2 cup grated cheese of your choice (Parmesan, goat, vegan alternatives.  Not included in nutritional analysis.)  

Place potatoes and cauliflower florets into a large soup pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and simmer until the vegetables are tender when stabbed with a fork,around 10 - 15 minutes. Remove from heat and drain water. Add chicken stock and the milk to the pot.  Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth and creamy. If the soup is too thick for your preferences, add a bit more broth. Season with freshly ground black pepper.  A sprinkle of paprika on top is a great addition, too.   

Servings per recipe: 8
Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 130
Total Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 93 mg
Total Carbs: 27 g
Dietary Fiber: 5 g
Protein: 5 g