Posts archived in April 2012

I know tomorrow’s the first of May, but I am still feeling the need to curl up with a bowl of soup once in a while! April’s been pretty chilly here in Nova Scotia, and carrots, spuds, and onions are still the main event at my beautiful local Farmer’s Market.

Carrot ginger is like the little black dress of soup recipes, isn’t it? A fave on so many resto menus and food blogs, it’s pretty much always a safe bet! There are loads of variations out there, and I’m sure they’re all just dandy…but this one is better than dandy. It’s the best. It’s creamy, rich, decadent carrot soup. I deviated a wee bit from the original, I used some lovely NS-grown sweet potatoes from Keddy Farms instead of regular spuds, and topped it with cilantro instead of the called for green onions. It’s great both ways, folks!

It’s a recipe that I am borrowing from my boyfriend’s dad, who’s a fantastic cook and entertainer. Bob isn’t scared of a little butter and cream, as is evident here, but let me tell ya. It is worth it. A bowl of this soup, with a dollop of sour cream and a few sliced of green onion, paired with a slice of crusty bread? A full-on cure for those April showers chills.

Creamy Carrot Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 large carrots, sliced
  • 1.5 inch piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 medium white or sweet potatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 - 1 cup heavy cream (I used 1/2 cup, original called for a full cup)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • sour cream (optional, for garnish)
  • chopped green onion or fresh herbs (optional, for garnish)

Melt butter in large, heavy bottomed pot and add onions, carrots, ginger and garlic. Sautee for about 20-30 minutes, over medium/low heat. Stir around to ensure even cooking. Add broth and chopped potatoes bring to a simmer and cook for an additional 20 minutes, or until all veggies are cooked through. Once everything is cooked through, take off heat and allow to cool a bit. Puree the soup, in batches (be careful!) in your blender or food processor. Return to pot, add cream (I used 1/2 cup, the original recipe calls for a full cup), lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and chopped green onions or herbs! This will keep in the fridge for 3 days too. Perfect for lunches!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week has been bonkers busy. I work in the environmental field and the week leading into EarthDay is always pretty hectic with public engagement events and whatnot!

Work hasn’t been the only thing keeping me busy, though.

My friend Kathy and I have been busting our asses the past few months to make a brainchild of ours come to fruition; we’re starting a business making healthy, mega-delicious granola bars from as many locally-sourced ingredients as we can get our hands on. It’s exciting, and has been really well received by everyone we’ve involved at this point. Our business plan is almost done, I think we’ve done a really good job at dotting ‘I’s and crossing dem ‘T’s!

We’ve been given a huge opportunity to trial our products at an upcoming Yelp! event. All details about it are top secret until after it is said and done but we will have the chance to get some invaluable feedback and networking experience with a crowd of Elite Yelpers. I’m pretty stoked! I will fill you guys in on more details about our biz in posts to come. For now, if you want to check us out, we’ve got a twitter handle @madewithlocal and a Facebook page www.facebook.com/madewithlocal ! You can probably guess our name then, yep, Made with Local. Like, ‘made with love’ but with local. Ahhh?!?! Ya see what we did there? Our branding is rad, and I’m just tickled at how well things are going so far!

So we’ve been juggling prep for this event while working our full-time gov’t gigs, it makes for some exciting, yet stressful times. What is a good way to remedy that stress-case feeling? Wine. Lots of wine. Every-second-night-this-week-a-bottle-of-wine. To myself. Not consumed alone, mind you, but still. A lot more than I’m used to.

My workout routine has taken a bit of a blow in result of all this baking, brainstorming, organizing, and wine-drinking. But today’s a new day! The start of a new week, and this morning when I work up, my body was just dying for some fruits and veggies.

You’ve probably already looked at the picture of this cup o’nutrition and have drawn your own conclusions. Don’t fear the green. It’s a smoothie, with spinach, and it tastes fantastic. Now you know. You can’t taste the spinach, at all. Not even a little bit. But it adds a fantastic nutritional boost, and just makes you feel like you did a good thing for the ‘ol bod.  What you do need is a blender with some guts. It will pulverize the hell out of those little leaves and whip you up a concoction that’ll replenish all the nutrients and self-esteem lost after an evening of indulgence.

Sunday Detox Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cup unsweetened almond milk (or any milk, for that matter)
  • 1/3 cup greek yogurt, I used Liberte 0% with Honey
  • 1/2 cup frozen berries
  • 1 small frozen banana
  • 4 cups raw baby spinach
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds or ground flax seed (optional)

Put your liquids in the blender first, then frozen fruits and the spinach. Blend on high, stopping to push down spinach leaves until they are all mixed in. Blend really, really well. Drink. Feel instantly healthier!

Sometimes come supper I feel like I could eat myself out of house and home. Regardless of how much I ate that day, the odd evening I am so friggin ravenous I want nothing more than to just sit down to a big huge meal!

This dish is a perfect one to quash that kind of hanger. It makes an enormous pile of food, but is really just veggies, mixed with veggie sauce, served atop veggies. I love it, because it tastes amazing, is bursting with flavour and feels like a massive pig out. It’s not! Spaghetti squash is super low-cal and serves as an amazing foundation for whatever sauce, veggies, protein you want to fancy it up with.

If you’ve never had spaghetti squash before, I urge you to spend the $2 at the grocery store and try it. It doesn’t taste like any other squash, really. To be honest, it doesn’t have a ton of flavour on its own, but with spices and sauces it is wonderful. It’s super easy to prepare, too. I often make mine in the microwave because I have zero patience for baking them for 45+ minutes in the oven (it’s a great method, if you have the time).  But I cut mine in half, length-wise, and put one half ( which is about one big fat serving) cut side down in a microwave-safe dish with an inch or two of water. Microwave on high for about 10 minutes. When it’s done, you should be able to pierce through the rounded side’s skin pretty easily. Take it out of the microwave carefully! Turn over the squash, dry it out a bit inside, and scrape the flesh out with a fork. It should get all stringy and spaghetti-like! Success! It will weep a bit of water at first, I usually just take some paper towel and dab it off. No prob. Then it’s ready to be topped, or tossed with sauce!

Spaghetti Squash Pomodoro

Yield: 1

Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium spaghetti squash, cooked and scraped out
  • 1 cup tomato pasta sauce, I used store-bought, PC brand
  • 1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp italian spice mix
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Cut spaghetti squash in half. Put on half, cut-side down, in a shallow microwave/oven safe dish, and put about 1-2 inches of water in. I microwave mine for about 10 minutes (oven will be about 45) , or until you can pierce the rounded side\'s flesh with a fork. Remove from oven/microwave, and pay dry, as much as possible. Be sure to try and get as much water out of it as you can, watch your hands, it will be hot! Season it with salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar.

Sautee chopped veggies in a frying pan until tender-crisp, about 5 mins. Add pasta sauce and spice mix, until simmering. Pour it over your seasoned spaghetti squash and top with cheese or nutritional yeast. Enjoy a big-ass dinner with zero guilt!

I love my local bulk store. I can spend an embarrassing amount of time perusing the aisles, taking little baggies of this and that; it’s a great way to try out new spices, grains, flours etc in small quantities until you decide they’re not for you, or that you love them! In which case you can come back and fill your boots for a price that’s usually way better than at the grocery store. You guys know I am a shameless bargain hunter!

The hazard of shopping like this though, is that my very deep kitchen cupboards make it easy to unintentionally  hoard odds-and-ends baggies of nuts, seeds, and other baking supplies. I’ve had a pile building up for a couple of months now, it was time for these misfits to have their turn in my belly.

These little treats take zero time to whip up and have a fluffy yet hearty vibe. They’re completely sans grain, so eat your heart out GF and Paleo folks! Super yummy with tea in the evenings, or even as a pre-workout energy boost!

Trail Mix Cookies

Yield: 12

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp almond flour
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch sea salt (omit if using salted nut butter)
  • 1/4 cup natural nut butter, softened (I used PB)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or foil. If you have neither, be sure to grease your sheet well.

If you are making almond flour out of raw, whole almonds, toss about 3/4 cup into a food processor and let them process on high until they become flour-like in texture. Do not go too long, or you will end up with almond butter! Measure out a generous 1/2 cup of the flour, or about 1/2 cup +1 tbsp.

Mix together the rest of the dry ingredients with almond flour in one bowl. Combine PB, maple syrup, and beaten egg in another bowl until mixed then add to dry ingredients until totally combined.

Drop rounded tablespoonfuls on the lined baking sheet and bake for 9-11 minutes, until just starting to get golden. Be careful not to overcook!

Allow to cool and store in an airtight container.