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.
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Happy Father’s Day!

Since today is father’s day I thought I’d post something specifically for the men out there. I know though that the ladies will be reading this too and want to help the men in their lives to be healthier in whatever way they can. Hopefully no one will be offended by the openness of this topic.

for the men

 

 

The male species has it tough these days. Their collective hormone balance is constantly being assaulted by things like toxic off gassing from plastics, chemical contamination of food, estrogenic compounds in soy and other food additives, lack of proper nutrition, and a host of other negative factors, all of which have contributed to an epidemic of low testosterone. But if you are a man trying to preserve your masculinity in this hostile modern environment, adding pumpkin seeds to your diet is a great way to help raise your testosterone levels naturally.

Rich in vitamins E, C, D, K, and B, pumpkin seeds are a powerhouse of nutrition capable of supplying men with high doses of the substances they need to maintain optimal health. Pumpkin seeds are also loaded with calcium, potassium, copper, niacin, phosphorus, manganese, iron, and zinc, the latter of which is absolutely vital for healthy sperm production. Zinc is also crucial for healthy prostate maintenance, a lack of which can lead to an enlarged prostate and impotence.

Specifically, the zinc content in pumpkin seeds helps prevent the body from converting too much testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by aiding in the production of more testosterone. Though DHT is necessary at appropriate levels for good health, a lack of regular testosterone, which is often preempted by a lack of proper zinc intake, can lead to too much DHT being produced. The result is premature balding and an enlarged prostate, which can potentially lead to prostate cancer later in life.

Beyond this, pumpkin seeds are rich in both omega-3 fatty acids and tryptophan. The former is a precursor to prostaglandins, a hormone-like substance that plays a key role not only in sexual health but also in sexual desire. And tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin, a brain chemical that regulates mood and promotes feelings of calm and relaxation, both of which are necessary for maintaining a healthy sex drive.

“They’re rich in zinc, magnesium, and healthy fat, making them one of the best foods to naturally boost testosterone,” explains Matt Moore on his blog The Art of Manliness. “Preparing, roasting, and eating them is also a simple and fun activity enjoyed by couples and families alike,” he adds.

For pumpkin seed recipe and preparation ideas, visit:
http://www.artofmanliness.com

Pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed oil beneficial in virtually all areas of health

As far as their many other health benefits, pumpkin seeds have been shown scientifically to help improve bladder function, prevent the formation of kidney stones, protect cardiovascular health, guard against liver disease, detoxify the body and blood, relieve arthritis, target harmful parasites in the gut, relieve anxiety, and promote restful sleep.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/040769_pumpkin_seeds_testosterone_sources.html#ixzz2WOsKseLD

The Six Healthiest Foods You’re Probably Not Eating:

Good morning blog followers! Here’s some great info on some awesome healthy foods we should all be eating!

Face it – most people aren’t really eating the things they should, engorging themselves on food types that should be avoided at all costs. Considering the wide array of processed foods today, it is kind of hard to avoid eating any of these. For those who are currently planning to live a healthier lifestyle, following are six of the healthiest food types you’re probably not eating but should:

Guava

Guava is one of the healthiest fruits today that can be found in most stores. This particular fruit has a high concentration of vitamins and minerals that help boost the immune system against common types of colds. Not only that, the guava actually contains more potassium than the banana, specifically 63 percent more. It also contains the antioxidant lycopene which helps flush out toxins from the body. When eaten on a routine basis, guava is believed to help in preventing prostate cancer.

Frozen blueberries

It’s true that fresh blueberries provide the best vitamins and minerals, but getting them is really impractical. Instead, you can simply purchase frozen blueberries that are luckily available for the whole year. They can be served as a shake or yogurt, providing you with a healthy dose of antioxidants, and they are very high in dietary fiber too, which may prevent weight gain by providing calories that are not absorbed and displacing high-calorie refined foods.

Cabbage

Lots of people seem to forget cabbage in favor of other green and leafy vegetables such as lettuce. What most people don’t realize is that this vegetable is jam packed with nutrients that can fight cancer.

Beets

Another cancer-fighting vegetable is beets which look unappealing at first. This not so desirable food is laced with folic acid which provides excellent help to pregnant women. The color of the beets which most people do not like is actually the main attraction of the vegetable as the pigments are believed to help prevent the onset of cancer.

Sardines

Although they may seem like processed food, sardines actually come with various minerals that make them ideal for a weekly diet. Sardines are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids known for their positive effects with cholesterol levels and weight loss. There’s also a bunch of potassium, magnesium, zinc and B vitamins that can help boost a person’s immune system.

Canned pumpkin

Another product that most people steer clear of is pumpkin. Probably the only time it becomes popular is during the Halloween but after that, individuals rarely devise recipes with pumpkin in the ingredient. What is important to know is that pumpkin actually contains lots of fiber for digestion. It also has very few calories, ideal for weight watchers. Although fresh pumpkin is usually the best source, the canned ones are every bit as good and shouldn’t discourage anyone.

Of course, those aren’t the only healthy food items that may be lacking in your diet. Keep in mind that the hallmark of a healthy individual is balance. As long as a person eats a balanced meal combined with daily exercises, there’s a good chance that he will enjoy a long and happy life.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/040329_healthy_foods_omega-3_longevity.html#ixzz2TNInpmZL