10.27.2017

Red Kuri Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

It's fall, so you know, delicious fall soups are in order.  When I go grocery shopping, I have a general plan for my weekday meals.  A creamy fall squash soup was not on my mind at all until I saw this cute little organic red kuri squash.  At only $0.99 per pound (organic too!), this little squash was only $1.68 and makes an inexpensive starchy vegetable to base this lovely soup around.


I have been trying to move away from eating as many grains as I have been.  (Totally nothing wrong with whole grains!  But for me they often displace whole fruits and vegetables that pack more of a nutritional punch.) I feel like every fall my body says "all the rice and pasta!", so I have to consciously incorporate more starchy vegetables.  When I crack down and eat starchy vegetables like with sweet potatoes and this delicious red kuri squash, I am never disappointed.

Red Kuri Squash and Sweet Potato Soup 
Time: approx. 1 hour total
Servings: 4-6 servings
Ingredients:
    1 small to medium red kuri squash
    1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed (approximately 2 cups)
    1 large yellow onion, diced
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    2 cups vegetable broth
    1-16 oz can lite coconut milk (*see note below)
    1 Tbsp mild curry powder (**see note below)

Instructions:
1.)  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Wash the outside of the red kuri squash.  With a sharp chef's knife, carefully cut the quash in half.  Scoop out the seeds and stringy guts (these seeds can be saved and baked for a crunch snack).  Lay the squash halves face down on a baking sheet and place in preheated oven.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the outside of the squash halves are easily pierced with a fork.  Remove, turn over, and allow to cool.


2.)  While the squash halves are cooling, saute the onion and garlic in a medium saucepan (or in a pressure cooker), adding small amounts of vegetable broth to keep from sticking to the pan.  Once fragrant and soft add in the sweet potato and remaining vegetable broth.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. (Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes, quick release.)

3.)  Once the squash is relatively cool, scoop out the soft flesh and discard the outer shell (compost!).  Add in the onion sweet potato soup, lite coconut milk, and curry powder.  Blend on medium-high until smooth and creamy.  Serve hot by itself or topped with some fresh cilantro or thai basil.
Amy's Notes:
*I used lite coconut milk in a can, but if you want to reduce your fat and calorie content further, you can use coconut milk from a carton, or any other low calorie unsweetened plant milk.

**For the curry powder, I used an African Curry blend that I had in my pantry, but any powdered curry will do.  If you'd like to use a curry paste, start with 1/2 tsp and add to taste as you are blending.  In case you're curious, my African Curry blend includes yellow mustard, curry leaves, fenugreek (holla at all the other breastfeeding mamas out there), onion, ginger, oriander, tumeric, cayenne, cumin, cilantro, garlic, green cardamom, black pepper, and cinnamon.


Health and Happiness,

Amy

10.18.2017

Quick Feel Better Vegetable Soup

As a Nutritarian, I rarely get sick with a common cold or any other illnesses.  On the rare occasion, my immune takes a hit if I've been traveling and not eating as well as I do at home, or if I'm under more stress than usual.  When that rare cold sneaks in, I take extra time to rest, stay hydrated, and keep my meals small and simple.

This is the soup I make myself if I feel a cold coming on because it's light, easily digestible, and full of nutrients.  You can make this on the stovetop in about 20 minutes, or use a pressure cooker and set for 2 minutes at high pressure. 

Quick Feel Better Vegetable Soup
Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 1-2 servings
Ingredients:
        2 cups vegetable broth (homemade, or no salt added store bought)
        2-6 garlic cloves, minced
        1/4 yellow onion, diced
        1 carrot, peeled and diced
        1 celery stalk, diced
        1/2 cup broccoli, chopped
        1 tsp no-salt seasoning
        1 tsp dried herbs of your choice (see note below)
    After cooking:
        1/2 cup cooked brown rice (optional)
        1/2 cup frozen green peas
Instructions:
1.)  In a medium pot (or in a pressure cooker) add all of the ingredients except for the rice and green peas.
2.)  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.  (Set to cook on low pressure for 2 minutes, with a quick release following).
3.)  Add in the brown rice and frozen green peas.  Stir and heat on low until the peas are warmed through.  Serve hot!


Amy's Notes:

For the dried herbs, I like to sprinkle in dried oregano and dried basil.  Some other good options are dried parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, and dill.

Adding the cooked brown rice at the end is optional.  If you are having this soup when sick with a stomach bug, white rice in this case may sit better in the tummy.


Health and Happiness,

Amy


10.16.2017

Easy Apple ONOs (Overnight Oats) for the Work Week

I recently started a new part time day job.  It's actually at my husband's alternative high school managing their student data.  It is a bit monotonous, but I'm a huge spreadsheet nerd and actually LOVE the quiet time to listen to music and chug away at my work.  It's also REALLY nice that Kevin and I are on opposite schedules, so when he is leaving for the day, I get there and vice versa on other days.  That allows us to trade off Ben, but still get family time together in the evenings for at least an hour before Ben goes to bed.

With this new job comes a predictable schedule, which is the best part.  We started sleep training Ben back when he was 6 weeks old, and now at one year old, he has always done best on a set nap and sleep schedule.  (This is 100% because of MyBabyCanSleep.com... if you're a mama or dada with a babe and NEED to get naps and sleep under control, I would recommend them to the moon and back!)  Predicability in work and nap schedules also finally means predictability in meal times for me!

I find it easiest to stick to my health goals by prepping meals ahead of time.  Lately breakfast has been a hard meal for me to fit in, so I took control this Sunday and made my breakfasts for the week.  This overnight oat (ONO) recipe is one I've made in single servings many times before, but with this busy mama's schedule, I needed to bump it up to 5 weekday servings.  Hope you enjoy!

Easy Apple ONOs (Overnight Oats) for the Work Week
Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 5 servings (approximately 1 1/2 cups each)


Ingredients:
    2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
    2-3 large apples (or 5 small), cored and finely chopped
    1/4 cup pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds)
    5 Tbsp chia seeds
    2.5 Tbsp ground flaxseeds
    1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or bit of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg)
    5 cups plant-based milk (see my notes below)

Instructions:
1.)  In a large bowl mix together all of the ingredients except for the plant-based milk.
2.)  Pour in the plant-based milk and mix together until thoroughly coated.
3.)  Measure approximately 1.5 cups per serving into 5 air-tight containers.  Store in the fridge and eat them for breakfast during the week, but allow to sit at least overnight before serving.

Amy's Notes:
For the plant-based milk, I like to use my homemade cashew milk (basic recipe here) or an unsweetened 30 calorie store bought milk.

These ONOs can be eaten cold straight from the fridge or heated for a minute or two in the microwave.  You can also add some extra goodies when you eat them such as extra fruit, coconut shavings, bit of dried fruit, extra plant-milk, etc.


Health and Happiness,

Amy