Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Green Leek Soup

This soup has a variety of textures.  Smooth, pureed base with chicken, carrots and onions.  If you'd like to make a vegetarian soup, simply leave the chicken out.  To make it vegan,  also substitute olive oil for the butter.  Only green items are blended together, creating a nice green color.  The carrots are left unblended to give a sweet bite but not dampen the nice green color.  


1 lb chicken breasts (optional)
2 medium onions
5 carrots
2 large leeks
4 stalks celery (with leaves, if available)
3 kale leaves
2 medium potatoes, peeled
5 cloves garlic
2 tsp italian seasoning, rosemary, or oregano
salt, to taste
crushed red pepper
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs butter (or olive oil)
4 cups water (or 2 cups broth and 2 cups water)


Cut the chicken up into small bite-sized pieces, peel and chop the carrots and 1 onion.  Stir fry the chicken, carrots, onion and crushed red pepper in olive oil.   If cooking in the same kettle as you will cook the rest, remove and place in large bowl until later.

Separately, chop the potato into little cubes and stir-fry in olive oil (or butter).  As it begins to cook add the leeks, celery, remaining onion, and herbs in olive oil.  Once you can prick the celery with a fork (and before it turns mushy!) chop the kale, mince the garlic and add both.  (In my photo below you do not see potato, as I had it precooked and added it later... But, this is about what the leeks and celery looked like when I added the kale...).

Give it a stir, remove from the heat and add 4 cups water (or water/broth combination).  

Blend the leek mixture in several batches in the blender.  

Place back in a large kettle, add the chicken/carrot mixture to it and slightly reheat together.  Stir completely and serve.  Store in fridge and eat within several days.  Reheat individual portions on stovetop.  

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Coconut Starfruit Upside-Down Cake with Blueberry Explosion!

I was given a couple of fresh starfruit (aka: carambola) and since I don't normally have an opportunity to work with them I wanted to make something fun.  So, here it is: Coconut Starfruit Upside-Down Cake with Blueberry Explosion (you can see), inspired by the beauty of starfruit and a recipe for Pineapple Upside-Down Cake in the book "Cooking with Coconut Flour" by Bruce Fife, N.D.  I just LOVE the star pattern along with the colorful blueberries.  The coconut batter gives a gluten-free and low-carb exotic twist on the classic cake and I have made several modifications such as making it sugar-free.  A beauty, that's for sure!


2 starfruit
handful blueberries
juice 1/2 lemon
2-3 tbs unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4 cup butter, melted
6 eggs
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
juice 1/2 lemon
stevia, to taste
1/2 cup sifted coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking powder


Grease a 8x8 or 9x9 round cake pan or spring form pan.  Trim the brownish edges from the 5 points of the starfruit.  Next, cut off the two sides, then slice the rest.

Arrange the starfruit on the  bottom of the pan.  Add blueberries evenly in between starfruit.  If you have more starfruit arrange a second layer or eat it and share it with your dog.

Sprinkle shredded coconut across fruit then drizzle lemon juice evenly across.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Whisk together the eggs, then add the melted butter, salt, vanilla, lemon juice, and stevia.  Mix thoroughly with wire whisk or electric beaters.  Mix together coconut flour and baking powder in a separate bowl then combine with the liquid-mix and mix thoroughly until there are no clumps left.

Use spatula to carefully scoop out batter onto fruit topping.  VERY carefully spread the batter evenly across the fruit, being careful not to move the fruit below (you can see in my photo one of the blueberries came through when I did this... do it carefully!).

Bake at 350 for 30-34 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when stuck through middle of cake.

Remove from oven and allow to cool  enough to handle.  While still warm, turn on to a plate.

Serve warm or place in the fridge to serve later.  You can let it warm to room temperature before serving if storing in the fridge.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cold/Flu Wellness Soup

This soup delivers nature's anti-virals with rosemary, lemongrass, garlic, onions and lemon.  Also, veggies and chicken to give your body strength to recover quicker and healthfully from a cold or flu.  Not to mention the benefits of consuming the warm broth to help with congestion and warm the body.  I've made different variations on this, some of which I added seaweed or celery.  You can always try adding other veggies.  I don't use broth when I make soup because I believe I'm making my own broth with the ingredients I'm using.  So, I find it important to have the herbs, onion and garlic to help flavor it... it just works out so well they are helping you feel better, too!


2-3 tbs olive oil
2 chicken breasts
3 stalks broccoli
4 carrots
1-2 large onions
5 cloves garlic
rosemary, 5 fresh sprigs
lemongrass, 1 stalk
salt (optional, to taste)
fresh lemon wedges
filtered water (enough to cover)


Note about prep:  Have veggies prepared and ready before starting as things cook quickly and if you're not prepared some ingredients can get overcooked.  To  prepare carrots, peel and chop.  For broccoli, cut "woody" parts off stalks (and throw them away) and chop the remainder.  Chop rosemary finely. Peel outer layer off lemongrass and chop into approximately 6" pieces, then cut those down the middle to expose insides.  For garlic, smash cloves with chef's knife to remove skins, then chop finely.  Remove skin from onions and chop.

Note about herbs:  I have the rosemary and lemongrass growing fresh but if you don't you can always use dried herbs or substitute other herbs instead.  

Have your veggies/herbs prepared and ready then heat olive oil in large soup pot on medium-heat.  Using kitchen shears, cut chicken into strips, then cut those strips into small pieces.  Cook the chicken on the heat, stirring for a few minutes until most of the outside looks white.  Now, add the broccoli, carrots, onions, rosemary, and lemongrass.  Stir, then cover and cook for a few minutes.  Add water to cover then bring just to a boil over high-heat.  At once, reduce to a simmer and cook until the veggies are done to your liking.  Take soup off burner, keep cover off (or it will continue cooking) and stir in garlic and salt (if using) .  I add garlic at the end of cooking so as to preserve its beneficial properties.  The lemongrass is not to be eaten, it instead "brews" in the soup like a tea.  Leave the lemongrass stalks in the soup until right before eating as it will continue to steep.  For each bowl of soup squeeze a wedge of fresh lemon into it right before eating.

Cheers to Good Health!

You might also like to try this soup recipe by Feel Divine Food: Bunnicula's Carrot-Top Soup Medley.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Vanilla-Cinnamon Pecan Butter

I'm nuts about nuts, nut butter, and sweets!  So, here's a nut butter recipe that give a nice sweet-tinge to cure that sweet tooth and give you a nutritious bite.  The pecans grind up so much easier than using so many other nuts, especially raw almonds.  I LOVE using raw almonds for so many things (including eating by the handful) but it's treat to try grinding pecans vs. raw almonds.  They smooth out so nicely...


3 cups pecans
1/2 tbs cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract
stevia, to taste
pinch of salt


In your food processor or high-speed blender (such as Vita-Mix) place the pecans and blend until you have a nice nut-butter consistency, using your tamper tool if using the blender.  Add the other ingredients and continue to blend until thoroughly mixed together (and smooth!).  Scrape nut butter from container and store in an airtight glass container (such a a reused nut butter jar!) in your fridge.

Spread on your favorite crackers, bread, muffins, etc... Yum-Yum!  I have a thing for these organic "corn thins" (pictured below) that are made of just organic corn and are very thin to help deliver that yummy nut butter into my tummy without the heaviness of bread or other carb-filled food.  This would also surely be divine on some Pumpkin Protein Muffins!

Also, check out this week's Wellness Weekend and Raw Foods Thursdays!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Super Moist Carob Cacao Sweet Potato Goldies

Here is an easy recipe that produces VERY moist "brownies" (or cake!) with quite a delicate taste.  They are very lightly flavored with carob so as to not cover up the sweet potato flavor and the cacao nibs add a flavor BITE to the mix, separate from the moistness (you could even choose to leave the nibs out).  This one doesn't require any electric  devices such as food processors, either.  To mash the sweet potato you can use a fork or a potato masher utensil.  Since this recipe is naturally sweet from the sweet potato and carob you might choose to leave the stevia out (I add it, because I have QUITE a sweet-tooth!).  


3 eggs
2 cups steamed or baked mashed sweet potato
1/4 cup sesame tahini
1/4 cup almond meal (simply grind almonds in food processor or blender)
2 tbs carob powder
2 tbs cacao nibs (plus more for optional garnish)
dash of salt
stevia powder, to taste (optional)


Begin by whisking together the eggs in a medium-large bowl.

Add the other ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Pour batter in a greased 9x9 baking pan and sprinkle on additional cacao nibs, if desired.  Alternatively, you could also bake in a circular pan and turn this into a cake!

Bake at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

Allow to cool, then cut, serve, and enjoy!

You could try adding vanilla extract and spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg to the recipe.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Lime Papaya with Mint (and how-to prepare papaya)

"Cheers!" to wellness and PAPAYA!  I've been giving away "New Year's Good Luck Papayas" to friends and family as they begin to ripen on the tree.  Full of natural healthful enzymes, fresh papaya is also so refreshing and delicious!  It was only somewhat recently that I found out it's not uncommon to squeeze lemon on the papaya.  While papaya is wonderful without anything added, the lime really compliments the flavor.  For extra pizzaz, I added some finely chopped mint.


Fresh papaya
lime wedges
mint sprigs


Allow papaya to ripen on the kitchen counter.  I eat mine when they look something like the ones in this photo.  They may have just a tinge of green left in some area(s).  I'd call this "medium ripe."  It really depends on your preference.  One thing I like about not letting the papaya ripen too much is that it can get quite mushy.  The less ripe, the more firm it will be.  Yet, allowing it to ripen "just enough" allows for the flavor to liven up.

First, wash papaya.  Then, cut off the very top just below the stem.

Using a veggie peeler, peel the skin off the papaya (BEFORE cutting in half).  Rinse briefly.

Now, cut papaya in half length-wise.  Isn't it so beautiful: the color and seeds?

Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.  You may either throw them away or save to grow more papaya plants!

Cut wedges of lime.  Depending upon how much papaya you have prepared, I use approximately one wedge per small bowl of papaya.  Finely chop sprigs of mint.

Slice papaya into strips, then cut those strips into smaller, bite-sized pieces.  Place in a bowl, then squeeze lime over it and sprinkle mint to complete this refreshing snack, dessert, or side-dish.  Enjoy!!

Stay tuned for a blog post about growing your own papaya plants!

Visit this week's Wellness Weekend for more wondeful recipes.
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