Thursday, October 20, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

With Fall in full swing it is important to take advantage of both the fruits and vegetables the season has to offer. Fall is all about grounding foods and what is more grounding then a Butternut Squash?

Butternut Squash Soup
- Total Prep time 25 minutes - Total Cook time 45 minutes - Serves 4 (large bowls) 

 - 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 piece (2 inches) fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 3/4 pounds small butternut squash, prepared and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- Coarse salt and ground pepper

1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, and squash; cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes.
2. Stir in 4 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer until squash is tender, 20 minutes.
 3. Puree soup in two batches.
*Note - When blending hot foods, allow the heat to escape to prevent splattering. Remove the cap from the hole of the blender's lid, and cover with a dish towel.*

3. Stir in juice and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Serve hot,

Optional to top with sour cream, pepper, and pumpkin seeds, if desired, or try some Greek yogurt to maintain this healthy meal.

Superfoods Part XIV

Time to appreciate the superfoods of the fall season, be sure not to miss these fabulous three foods.

Butternut Squash - Low in fat, butternut squash delivers an ample dose of dietary fiber, making it an exceptionally heart-friendly choice. It provides significant amounts of potassium, important for bone health, and vitamin B6, essential for the proper functioning of both the nervous and immune systems. The folate content adds yet another boost to its heart-healthy reputation and helps guard against brain and spinal-cord-related birth defects. The tangerine hue, of a squash indicates butternut's most noteworthy health perk. The color signals an abundance of powerhouse nutrients known as carotenoids, shown to protect against heart disease. In particular it boasts very high levels of beta-carotene (which your body automatically converts to vitamin A), identified as a deterrent against breast cancer and age-related macular degeneration, as well as a supporter of healthy lung development in fetuses and newborns. What's more, with only a 1-cup serving, you get nearly half the recommended daily dose of antioxidant-rich vitamin C. To top it off, butternut squash may have anti-inflammatory effects because of its high antioxidant content. Incorporating more of this hearty winter staple into your diet could help reduce risk of inflammation-related disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.

How to Prepare: Roast a butternut squash and use to make a sweet and creamy soup, boil and mash in combination with white or sweet potatoes, or even blend cooked squash with white beans, garlic and seasonings for a hearty dip.

Sweet Potato - This potato is rich in vitamins A, C, E, copper and fiber. This orange root vegetable is one of nature's candies. One cup cooked has 180 calories, 41 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams fiber and 4 grams of protein.

How to Prepare: Easy as 1,2,3… Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a sheet with tin foil. Wash and dry the potatoes. Poke holes with a fork, and you can rub with olive oil, or not. Bake for 45 minutes or until a fork inserted meets softness. Once they're done, let them cool. Then peel the skins off and enjoy. You can do almost anything with them. Eat them just as they are, or throw them in your food processor with some orange zest and a touch of cinnamon and clove, or make them into a healthy fry. 

Leeks – Like onions and garlic, Leeks belong to a vegetable family called the Allium vegetables. Since leeks are related to garlic and onions, they contain many of the same beneficial compounds found in these well-researched, health-promoting vegetables. They are a good source of dietary fiber, containing goodly amounts of folic acid, calcium, potassium, and vitamin C. Easier to digest than standard onions, leeks have laxative, antiseptic, diuretic, and anti-arthritic properties.

How to Prepare: Sauté leeks and fennel and garnish with fresh lemon juice and thyme. Add finely chopped leeks to salads or slice them into an omelet or frittata. Prepare a cold soup made from puréed cooked leeks and potatoes. Add leeks to broth and stews for extra flavoring. Or braise leeks sprinkled with fennel or mustard seeds make a wonderful side dish for fish, poultry or steak.

Be sure to check out my past Super Food Entries:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Quinoa Salad

In the past year, Quinoa has quickly become my favorite grains. I love the subtle crunch that it has when cooked and that it is so high in protein.

Quinoa is a grain-like crop grown for its edible seeds. It’s considered a “pseudocereal,” — not a true cereal, not a grain, since it’s not a grass. It’s related to species like beets, spinach and tumbleweeds and is 6,000 years old and is native to the Andean region of South America. 

The main reason its star is on the rise here is because of its incredible nutritional value, as well as it's ability to take on so many other flavor. 

Quinoa and Vegetable Salad
- 1 Cup Quinoa
- 2 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
- 2 Handfuls of Kale
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Yellow and Orange Bell Peppers
- Japanese Eggplant
- Sea Salt

1. Instead of cooking the Quinoa in water I choose to use Chicken Broth in order to give a little added flavor.

2. While the Quinoa is in the pot cooking I diced up all of the vegetables.
3. Next I took all of the vegetables and tossed them in a pan with some EVOO and sea salt. 

4. Once the Qunoia was finished cooked I added into the pan of vegetables and let it sit covered for a few minutes. 

This recipe is easy as can be and can be done with any vegetables you have sitting around. Quinoa is also a great addition to salads as well. 

I decided to pair the Qunioa Vegetable salad with 3ox of Rotisserie Chicken Breast to make for a filling balanced lunch.

Farmer's Market - Part VII

My first stop at the Farmer's Market is always at Lani’s Farm Inc. Each week I find such unique items including unique squashes, okra, shishito peppers, long beans, melons, and tatsoi.

This week was no different, I walked over to Lani's and was greeted by a man cooking up some Japanese Eggplant and as soon as I tasted it I knew I would be incorporating this item into my week. I walked over to pick up some eggplant and also took note of Neon Eggplant which had a similar look to Fairytale Eggplant

Japanese Eggplant - Is dark purple almost brown looking skin similar to a traditional eggplant. This eggplant has a very sweet, creamy, and non-bitter flavor without seeds. To cook simply slice in half and brush with a bit of EVOO and simply roast or grill. If you prefer to mix them into a dish they are also great diced up and sauteed with a bit of EVOO and sea salt. 

Neon Eggplant - Similar to the fairytale eggplant is a dark pink fruit with a tender bitter-free taste which has a creamy white flesh. 
Anyway you eat it eggplant is a great BRAIN FOOD to add into your diet. 

Past Entries:

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Farmer's Market - Part VI

When you think of beans you may only think string beans, and assume BORING, but today I am going to show you three other types of beans. So step outside of the String Bean Casserole recipe get some Extra Virgin Olive Oil some Sea Salt and taste your way to a new favorite Green Bean. 

Dutch-Wax - With a string-less pod, this extremely crisp bean is a great choice to eat alone as a healthy snack or to compliment any dish. While uncooked these beans take on a lavender color once cooked the color fades as well. So don't get to excited to eat a purple vegetable, get excited to eat a delicious vegetable.
Wax Beans - Unlike Dutch-Wax Beans which are lavender in color these pods are yellow. They make a great addition when diced up into a salad, they also are delicious steamed or sauteed as a side dish to any meal. 
Romano Beans - Green in color you may think this is an ordinary string bean, that is until you notice this bean is flat, which explains why they are also known as Flat beans. These beans have a sweeter flavor then string beans, they are also cherished among many cultures as the best eating beans.
Past Entries:

Monday, October 3, 2011

Meatless Monday

Through the Health Coach program at IIN I am learning a great deal about nutrition, dietary theories and the best part is applying them to not only the life of clients but to my life as well. After learning a great deal about raw foods I made the decision that I would go raw 1 day a week as well as incorporate a day of no meat to my diet to better allow my body to digest, heal and work to its full potential. 

After a weekend that included red meat, fresh fries and more I decided today would be a good day to go meatless and incorporate mainly raw foods. 

I started the morning with Tons of Greens Juice - Spinach, Cucumber, Apple, Parsley, Ginger, Lemon (I substituted Kale for Spinach since I had it on hand) 
After an hour workout it was off to the farmer's market to pick up some fresh vegetables. I then headed home and made myself a Meatless Monday sandwich.

- Whole foods hummus
- Shredded Carrots
- Sprouts
- Cucumber
- Heirloom Tomato
- 2 slices of Bread Alone Organic 9-Grain Bread

Now, what to make for Meatless dinner? Perhaps some tomato soup with quinoa and broccoli rabe... stay tuned