Cream of Broccoli Soup

January 3, 2011

It’s cleanse time! Yes, everyone’s jumping on the cleanse train, aren’t they? I did my first cleanse almost one year ago and it has changed my life. I’m much healthier today than I was a year ago, but I still have work to do. So it’s cleanse time again, baby.

I’m going for super simple this time around. I’ve had a year to learn, so I know what works for me. Unlike last year, there won’t be any complicated meals with tons of new recipes to learn. The breakdown:
Breakfast – high protein green smoothie
Lunch – big ass salad® with a healthy dose of protein
Dinner – pureed soup
gallons of green tea in between

I don’t know how long I’m going for this time. Three weeks? Four? We’ll play it by ear.

Soup of the Day – Cream of Broccoli

Adapted from The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen

This is a really great soup. It’s clean, super easy to make, and actually tastes very good. I eat this one all the time; no need to go on a cleanse! If you can have them, I bet this would taste amazing with some mushrooms.

1 – 2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 medium or 1/2 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped or pressed
1-1/2 t dried thyme
1 pound broccoli (if you’re a Costco shopper, that’s one of the small inner bags in the giant organic broccoli bag)
6 c chicken or vegetable stock
1 c almond flour
3/4 c coconut milk (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c shredded carrots
lemon juice

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot. Add onions and saute until soft and translucent. Add garlic, thyme, broccoli, stock, and almond flour. Bring to a boil; cover and simmer about 25 minutes.

Using an immersion blender (or a regular blender in batches) puree until mostly smooth. Add coconut milk, salt, and pepper.

Spoon into bowls; top with shredded carrots, a splash of lemon, and a swirl of coconut milk. Enjoy!

More Fake Pasta

September 25, 2010

Really…I don’t eat fake pasta all that often. It just worked out this way and so my first two recipe posts are “pasta”. With the door closed on summer, I figured I shouldn’t sit on this meal for too long. Very soon it will be soup, soup, and more soup around here with very little focus on loads of fresh veggies. Better get ‘em while you can.

Tonight’s dinner was comprised of two sets of leftovers combined into one meal. Love when things come together like that. I also love when I just wing it and something turns out. That was the case with both of these dishes. Does that mean I’m a “real” cook since I’m getting better at improvisation? It definitely makes things more fun. When I’m winging it I don’t really measure; these are approximate. Use your judgement, taste as you go, and adjust as needed.

Just look at this deliciousness:

Leftover #1: Zucchini “Pasta” Primavera

I made this with the veggies I happened to have on hand. Use what you like or whatever’s lying around the kitchen. As long as you use the sun-dried tomatoes as described, it will taste just as good.

1 medium zucchini, “noodled” and chopped (see below)
1 T olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, pressed or diced
1/2 c broccoli florets (mine were from a bag in the freezer)
1/3 c carrots, sliced or chopped
1 medium tomato, diced
italian seasoning to taste
1/2 c oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

“Noodle” the zucchini by slicing off noodles with a vegetable peeler. Of course, if you’re lucky enough to have a spiralizer use that. I just start “peeling” (including the skin) and turn the zucchini as I go. When you get to the core or you have enough noodles, chop up the remaining zucchini to use in the primavera. Set noodles aside and chop the rest of your veggies.

In a large skillet, heat the oil until it shimmers. Add onions and saute until soft. Add remaining veggies to the pan EXCEPT the sun-dried tomatoes. Add italian seasoning. Cook until all veggies are soft. Place the veggies into a bowl and toss with the sun-dried tomatoes. Add a bit of oil or vegetable broth to the same pan. Add the noodles and heat just until warm (about 2-3 minutes). Alternatively, you can steam the noodles or heat in the microwave. Toss noodles with veggies. Season and serve.

Leftover #2: Tomato Encrusted Tilapia

This may be the first time I’ve ever made tilapia “from scratch”. I’ve purchased the pre-seasoned packets and baked those up before, but that doesn’t count. I got a giant bag of tilapia on my last Costco trip and had to come up with something. This is really phenomenal. I can’t imagine making tilapia any other way. Made this when my “normal food” brother was in town and he liked it too (even had seconds!).

2 – 3 tilapia fillets
3 T tomato paste
1 T olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced (I LOVE garlic)
1 t Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

Mix the tomato paste, olive oil, garlic, seasoning, salt, and pepper together. Stir well so the oil becomes emulsified. Coat the bottom of a baking dish with olive oil. Place tilapia in baking dish. Smother tops with tomato mixture. Bake @ 400 degrees for 30 minutes (or as directed).

So easy and yummy. The tomato paste gets a nice crunchy crust on it while the tilapia stays flaky and moist.

“Okay, this is great Kim, but what do I do with the leftover tomato paste?” You’re asking yourself this right now, aren’t you? Admit it. Dig it out of the can and place in a glass jar. (You DO keep a stockpile of empty glass jars, don’t you? You should. They’re free since they came with some food you already ate and they’re very handy.)

Place the glass jar in the fridge up front where you won’t forget about it. Usage ideas: a dollop on the side of a mexican themed salad is yummy; blended with some hummus for a tangy dip; mixed in with some scrambled eggs. There are lots of options. Just think about it the next time you’re hungry; it’s easy.

I promise that’s the end of the pasta for quite some time if you promise to come back. See you soon.

Fun with Spaghetti Squash

September 20, 2010

Last week’s CSA pickup included the first spaghetti squash of the season. Yeah! I’ve been waiting for this. I’ve done the spaghetti-squash-as-pasta trick once before and it was delicious. That time I made a dish with ingredients that looked something like:

spaghetti squash
olive oil
mini portabella mushrooms
basil
garlic
homemade vegan parmesan
salt and pepper

It was sooo good, but I can’t have mushrooms anymore. (Explanation of my weirdo diet forthcoming. Promise!) I decided to go back to the “classic” spaghetti ideal that I ate nearly every week as a kid. It was delicious as ever. I know this is nothing “new”, but it was new to me and I know there’s at least one reader out there who needs a little push to try this.

Classic Spaghetti-less Spaghetti

1 spaghetti squash (there’s a lot inside there; you don’t need a very large one)
1 lb. ground meat
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced or pressed
1/2 c peppers, diced (I always have a bag of frozen peppers on hand)
italian seasoning, to taste
1 can tomatoes (diced is ideal, but all I had was stewed so I used that and chopped them up in the pan)
~ 3 T tomato paste
~ 1/2 can tomato sauce
salt, pepper, and vegan parmesan

Quickie Instructions: Roast squash at 375 for about 50 minutes. Brown ground meat (I used turkey) with onion. When the meat is starting to brown, add garlic, peppers, and seasoning. Cook until soft (about 3 minutes). Add tomatoes, paste, and sauce, adjusting amounts to your taste. Lower heat and allow to simmer while the squash cooks.

After allowing squash to cool slightly, split and scoop out seeds. Using a fork, scrape the rest of the meat from the squash. Place in a colander with a bit of salt and allow to drain. Toss with olive oil before topping with sauce, salt, pepper, and parmesan to taste. Note: Leftover squash does NOT freeze well. Store in refrigerator and eat within a few days.

Detailed Instructions: Place the whole squash in a baking pan or on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven at 375 for about 50 minutes. It’s done when you can easily pierce with a knife.

While the squash is roasting, make the sauce. Brown ground meat (I used turkey) with onion. When the meat is starting to brown, add garlic, peppers, and seasoning.

sauce building

Cook until soft (about 3 minutes). Add tomatoes, paste, and sauce, adjusting amounts to your taste. Lower heat and allow to simmer while your squash cooks.

sauce is ready

When the squash is done, let it cool for a few minutes so it’s easier to handle.

squash roasted

Like my crazy vintage plate? I have a couple of these in the mix and they’re very handy at times.

Cut squash down the middle. It should be easy since it’s cooked, right? There’s nothing scarier than trying to split an uncooked squash.

split squash

This one was a bit overdone, so there was some browning around the edges and it was more difficult to work with.

Scoop out the seeds and goop to feed your compost pile.

cleaned squash

Using a fork, scrape out the rest of the squash until you’re left with empty shells. You will use every bit of it.

ravaged squash

Now you have a plate full of spaghetti! It’s hard to tell from this pic, but the squash is piled up pretty high. I eat a LOT and this plate of squash yielded two large and two small servings for me.

squash bounty

See all the liquid there on the bottom? You don’t want that. When you make yours, do what I forgot to do — place in a colander with a bit of salt and allow to drain. Then toss with olive oil before topping with sauce, salt, pepper, and parmesan to taste.

I know the authentic way is to mix everything together, but that’s just not how I was raised! :)

dinnertime

My yummy sgetti was accompanied by two slices of garlic toast made with Basic Coconut Flour Bread from Kim @ Affairs of Living. (It’s surprisingly versatile.)

Since this recipe included meat, I feel I need to step back into serious mode for a sec for a word about animal protein. Philosophically and emotionally (and in many cases, texturally) I’m opposed to eating meat. I’ve been semi-vegetarian since my late teens.

When I initially stopped meat it was mostly because I didn’t like the taste and texture. As I’ve become more educated (Food, Inc. anyone?) more reasons to not eat meat have arrived. But here’s the thing — my body wants meat.

According to one nutrition plan my Naturopath gave me, my diet should include a lot of meat. A random food plan wasn’t enough to convince me though. What did convince me was listening to my body. After I’d started eating in a way to heal, I found myself craving meat. It’s ridiculous and weird to me to feel this way. But it is what it is.

I still have no interest in gnawing down on a giant steak, but man….. some days. Some days I just really want a big juicy burger. So, I do the best I can to satisfy my philosophical/emotional needs. I buy “happy” meat from Whole Foods or the farmer’s market and prepare it thoughtfully, gratefully enjoying each bite.

Anyway, enough of that. Go get some spaghetti squash everyone!

And don’t forget to drain it! ((sigh))

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.