Soup! Glorious soup!

It’s that time of year here in the northern hemisphere – fall! I love fall, the colours, the crisp air, relief from summer heat (I don’t like it too hot which is why I like Vancouver so much), pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice everything, cozy sweaters and soup! I definitely get cravings for those warm comforting foods like soup. I tend to like cream based soups the best and still have fond memories of coming home for lunch when I was in grade school and having tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich.

As I focus on researching and creating my next blogs with updates on where I am in my journey both professionally and personally I thought I’d post a quick blog with a few of my fave soup recipes.

Spicy Pumpkin Soup
Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 30 minutes Yield: Serves 4 to 6
Ingredients
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons minced, peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons yellow curry powderVal Meikle's photo.
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
Small pinch of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of kosher salt plus more to taste
4 cups low sodium chicken stock (or vegetable broth for vegetarian option)
2 bay leaves
2 (15 oz) cans 100 percent pumpkin or 3 1/2 cups of chopped roasted pumpkin purée*
1 cup water
3 Tbsp heavy whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Yogurt (for garnish)
Toasted pumpkin seeds (for garnish)
*To make pumpkin purée, cut a sugar pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff, lie face down on a tin-foil lined baking pan. Bake at 350°F until soft, about 45 min to an hour. Cool, scoop out the flesh. Purée in food processor. Freeze whatever you don’t use for future use.

Slow Cooker Potato Soup
PREP TIME: 10 MINS COOK TIME: 4 HOURS 10 MINS TOTAL TIME: 4 HOURS 20 MINS
INGREDIENTS:
6 slices cooked bacon*, diced
3-4 cups good-quality chicken or vegetable stock
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes**, peeled (if desired) and dicedVal Meikle's photo.
1 medium white or yellow onion, peeled and diced
4 tablespoons bacon grease* (or butter)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 (12-ounce) can 2% evaporated milk
1 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt or low-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon Kosher salt, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
optional toppings: thinly-sliced green onions or chives,
extra shredded cheese, extra bacon, sour cream
DIRECTIONS:

Add bacon, 3 cups chicken stock, potatoes and onion to the bowl of a large slow cooker, and stir to combine. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours, or until the potatoes are completely tender and cooked through.
Once the soup has slow cooked and is about ready to serve, cook the butter in a small saucepan on the stove over medium-high heat until it has melted. Whisk in the flour until it is completely combined, and then cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Gradually add in the evaporated milk while whisking it together with the flour mixture, and continue whisking until the mixture is completely smooth. Let the mixture continue cooking until it reaches a simmer, stirring occasionally, and then it should get really thick.
Immediately pour the milk mixture into the slow cooker with the potatoes, and stir until combined. Add in the cheddar cheese, Greek yogurt (or sour cream), salt and pepper, and stir until combined. If you would like the soup to be even thicker, you can use a potato masher or a large spoon to mash about half of the potatoes (while the soup is still in the slow cooker) to thicken the soup up. If you would like the soup to be thinner, add in an extra 1-2 cups of warmed chicken or vegetable stock. Stir to combine, then taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
Serve warm, garnished with desired toppings. Or transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. (This recipe will not freeze well.)

Aaaand one more: 
Chicken Corn Chowder
Ingredients:
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 tsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, dicedDawn Gump Wilson's photo.
1 stalk celery, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 tsp garlic, minced
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups almond milk
1/2 cup sharp shredded Cheddar cheese
Green onion, thinly sliced (for garnish)
Directions:
1) Heat olive oil in medium saucepan over medium heat.
2) Add onion, celery, red pepper and garlic and cook until the vegetables are beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.
3) Add chicken broth and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
4) Add corn and simmer for 3 minutes.
5) Place flour in a medium bowl and slowly whisk in the milk until mixture is smooth.
6) Slowly whisk the milk mixture into the soup, continue to whisk frequently, until the soup is thickened, about 15 minutes
7) Stir in salt and pepper.
8) Stir in the chicken and cheddar cheese,stirring until the cheese is melted
9) When ready to serve, ladle into soup bowls and garnish with green onions

Enjoy one of these soups (or any others that you like), maybe curled up close to a warm fire, wrapped in a cozy blanket, chatting with some friends or just reading a good book.

Summer Recipes!

Hello wonderful readers! Summer or at least late spring is here and my thoughts have recently turned to lighter healthy food and finding something different to eat. Do you ever go through those times where you are bored with everything you usually eat and want something different but can’t figure out what that different is? I do, quite regularly throughout the year. Hmm, maybe it’s a seasonal thing as I seem to go through it about 4-5 times a year. So with that thought in mind I’ve searched through my collection of recipes and pulled a couple of  summery light and delicious ones for your interest and enjoyment. Bon appetit!

Grilled Chicken & Strawberry Salad: I’d eat this as a meal salad rather than as a starter or appetizer.

Grilled-chicken-and-strawberry-salad-0-l Ingredients:

1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup sliced strawberries
2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp finely chopped chives
2 tsp honey
1/4 tsp salt

Salad:

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups packed baby arugula
1 cup fresh, coarsely torn basil leaves
454-g tub strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced
1 med sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
150 g feta, thickly sliced

Directions:

WHIRL 1/3 cup oil with 1/3 cup berries, vinegar, chives, honey and 1/4 tsp salt in a blender until smooth. Season with pepper.
PREHEAT barbecue to medium and brush chicken breasts with 1 tsp oil. Season with 1/4 tsp salt and pepper. Barbecue chicken for 6 min; turn and continue barbecuing, 8 to 10 more min. Remove and let rest 5 min, then slice.
TOSS arugula with basil in a bowl and divide among 4 plates. Top with strawberries, apple, onion, walnuts and chicken. Drizzle dressing and add feta.

NUTRITION: Calories 521, Protein 25 g, Carbohydrates 24 g, Fat 38 g, Fibre 5 g, Sodium 749 mg

Dessert: Since it’s often too hot in my apt in the summer to want to turn on the oven, I thought this no-bake recipe for Coconut Snowballs would be a great accompaniment to the above salad. These are sweet enough, but not too much and not heavy or too rich either. These are gluten free, nut free, and vegan!

 

coconut snowballs 2 Makes 12 balls
1 3/4 cups unsweetened shredded coconut, divided
2 teaspoons melted coconut oil
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Place 1 cup of shredded coconut in a food processor along with the coconut oil. Process on high speed, scraping down the sides periodically, until it reaches a paste-like consistency. (It does not have to be  completely smooth like butter; some coconut texture is good.)

Add the maple syrup, coconut milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt and process until well combined. Add 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of shredded coconut and pulse until just combined.

Shape the mixture into 12 (1-inch) balls and coat with the remaining shredded coconut. Refrigerate for at least an hour and up to 5 days. Bring to room temperature before eating.

NUTRITION: Per serving, based on 2 snowballs- Calories 623, Fat 53.5 g, Carbs 38.6 g, Fiber 12.5 g, Sugars 24 g, Protein 5.2 g, Sodium 179.6 mg. *Note, these are high in fat but it’s fat from Coconut oil (use organic)*

One last bit of deliciousness – Grilled Vegetables! Summer isn’t summer without some grilling going on, so here’s a How-to on grilling veggies!

How to grill small or skinny vegetables

While a perforated grill sheet or grill basket is nice, it’s by no means necessary. To grill scallions, green onions, asparagus, or green beans, trim them (for scallions and green onions, leave most of the greens attached) and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Lay a few of them side by side on a work surface. Run two skewers in the same direction horizontally through the vegetables, leaving about a quarter inch between them, to make a raft. (If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes beforehand so they don’t burn.) Grill over moderately hot coals, or medium heat with a gas bbq, until tender and browned on both sides.

How to grill corn

Pull back the corn husks but leave them attached at the base of each ear. Remove the corn silk, then put the husks back around the ears. Grill the corn in the husks over moderately hot coals or on medium on a gas grill, turning often, for 10 minutes. Transfer the corn to a rimmed baking sheet and let it cool for a few minutes; then, holding each ear with a kitchen towel, peel back husk and either tie back with a strip of husk or discard altogether. Put the corn back on the grill and grill until tender and browned, another 8 to 10 minutes. Grilled corn is delicious with chipotle mayonnaise (mince canned chipotles in adobo and blend with mayo to taste) or queso fresco and a squeeze of lime.

How to grill eggplants and peppers

To grill purple Italian eggplants, first cut them into 3/4-inch-thick rounds or long slices. Brush them on both sides with oil and grill, flipping every so often, until eggplant is tender and sides give slightly when pressed, about eight minutes. It’s best to grill bell peppers whole as well. It takes about 25 minutes for them to turn very tender, with charred skins. Transfer them to a bowl and top with a large plate; let them steam until cool enough to handle, then remove the skins, cut in half, and discard the seeds and stems; toss the peppers with vinaigrette or drizzle with olive oil.

Hope you enjoy these recipes and grilled veggie ideas and most of all enjoy the sunshine and share it all with good friends, family, or maybe even new friends! 

 

 

 

Time to catch up!

Hello everyone! Is it just me or is 2014 just flying by? Maybe because this has been such a year of growth and change for me it seems to be that way, but others have said the same thing. 🙂

So, let’s start to catch up. My last blog was over a month ago, cripes! I’m sorry about that. In that blog I announced that I am now a Board Certified Hypnotist and since then I have begun working with clients and it has been fantastic! I have several clients that I’m now working with and I can’t wait to help them achieve the goals they want. Some clients I will be doing combined nutrition and hypnosis work. It’s pretty exciting to be combining my two passions together!  You can reach me on my cell at 778-985-8807. That’s the best way to get me directly. One of my next blogs is going to be about hypnosis – what it is and isn’t, what it can and cannot do, some of the fears and misconceptions people have. Like being controlled, being asleep, not remembering, being made to cluck like a chicken! 😀 None of those are true by the way.

I also took my two week trip to Scotland with my bestie Jenn. She has been dreaming of going to Scotland since she was 5, so this was amazing for her. I was actually away from home for 19 days inclusive, and as wonderful and awe inspiring as the trip was, I was also very glad to get home, and back to work. 🙂 I borrowed a friends camera (and I’m so grateful that I did) and I took over 1800 photos, so it’s going to take me a while to go through and edit them. Once I do or as I’m doing it, I’ll post a blog or two with some of my faves. The history and feeling and energy of the places we visited was very emotional. My personal beliefs include reincarnation and past lives, so for me the feeling of having been there, lived there was huge!

Jenn has several food allergies, mainly gluten, corn and soy. Here in North America gluten free foods are often made with corn, corn flour or soy (and it’s all genetically modified!), which means she can’t eat them. We quickly discovered that in Scotland they don’t do that, and the corn they do use is maize. Research I did on the difference between maize and corn seems to still be under debate as to whether there is a difference. Whatever the difference, items with maize or maize flour in them were not an issue for Jenn. Corn, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup is considerably less used in food products in Scotland, if at all. Eating out in restaurants was great. There were no issues really in finding foods on the menus that were safe for Jenn to eat, and the various restaurants were very helpful and patient with our questions.

I could talk/type for pages about my trip but that’s not truly what I want to do. I do look forward to sharing some of my pics and the story around them with you all though.

In the meantime, enjoy your Sunday (or whichever day it may be where you are) and take care of you!