Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Thoughts...and Carrot Soup

(Warning: this post is just a few of my innermost thoughts. It has very little to do with carrot soup. But the soup is good. And if you'd rather not read my ramblings, you can just skip ahead to the recipe below. I don't mind one bit. Okay. We're all good now.)

It's amazing where my mind wanders to when I'm left alone. Thoughts range from what I'm making for dinner tonight (seriously...I'm drawing a blank) to whether or not I should cloth diaper my unborn child kicking around in my belly. I find myself thinking about food often, since that's what my job revolves around, but I've also been thinking about bigger things. Far bigger than what to put in my kale salad or what to do with that bowl of black beans I made yesterday. I think a lot about what the world will look like when my baby grows up and how I can prepare this little one to be the best person that they can possibly be.
I suppose all of this thinking has been good for me during these gloomy days of winter in the Pacific Northwest. It helps keep my mind off the grayness and fog, which can become quite suffocating if I really let it get to me. But really, I've never felt so much hope in my life. Hope that with each day that passes, I'm getting closer and closer to sunshine, cherry blossoms, and  meeting my baby. Of course, I'm terrified at the same time. But I've never done anything this amazing in my life. Creating a life. Nurturing a life. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. I can only hope to be the best mother that I can possibly be.

Carrot Soup (serves 4-6)
2 tbs ghee, coconut oil, or olive oil
2 onions, diced
1/2 tsp each of whole cumin seeds, whole coriander seeds, and whole mustard seeds
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 pounds of carrots, or 2 bunches, cut into 1"chunks
4-5 cups of water or stock
pinch of cayenne pepper, or to taste
sea salt, to taste
1-2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey (depending on the sweetness of your carrots)
Juice of one small lime
plain yogurt, sour cream, or creme fraiche for garnish
fresh cilantro, for garnish

1. In a large pot over medium heat, saute the onions in the ghee with the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and mustard seeds until the onions soften a bit, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped garlic, chopped carrots, and water or stock to the pot.

2. Raise the heat to high. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes or until the carrots are tender. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until it's very smooth and creamy. Add more water or stock if it's too thick.

3. Add the cayenne pepper, sea salt, maple syrup or honey, and lime juice. Taste and add more salt and cayenne, if necessary. Salting this soup enough is key to provide the right balance of flavors, so don't be afraid to salt!

4. Ladle into bowls and garnish with yogurt, sour cream, or creme fraiche and cilantro.

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Five-Minute Miso Soup

Let me just put it out there. I hardly ever get sick. The last time I had a really bad cold or fever was maybe my freshman year of college. Chalk it up to good nutrition, I guess, but I've been pretty blessed over the years. So you can imagine my surprise when I came down with a really nasty sickness about a week ago. Granted, I had just come off of a whirlwind trip across the country to the New York to visit family for Christmas, which means germy airplane air, lack of control of my meals, and not the best sleep. Coupled with what apparently is a weakened immune system during pregnancy (I read somewhere that a pregnant mama's immune system is lower than average), it became pretty clear that my body couldn't take it all.

So of course, I've been doing everything that I possibly can to fight this bug naturally. Ginger tea, leafy greens, boat loads of citrus fruits, lots of water, raw honey, garlic...you name it. I've been resting as much as I can (when I'm not busy coughing up a lung...) and slowly but surely, it seems to be helping. I'm not out of the woods yet, but getting closer.

Miso soup is perfect when you're sick. It's incredibly healing and it only takes minutes to make. I kept mine super simple, but made sure to include a few superfoods. I added four types of seaweeds, including wakame, arame, dulse, and nori. And I grated lots of ginger into the broth for an extra immune system booster. And, I added a bit of fresh cilantro, even though it's not traditionally seen in miso soup. So whether you're sick or you're just in the mood for a quick little miso soup, I've got you covered with this five-minute recipe.

Miso Soup (serves 1)
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons (or more to taste) miso of your choice
small knob of fresh ginger, freshly grated
2 tablespoons seaweed of your choice
1 scallion, thinly sliced
a few cilantro leaves

1. Add water to a tea pot. Bring to almost a full boil and then turn off the heat. While the water is heating, add the miso paste, grated ginger, seaweed, chopped scallions, and cilantro leaves to a bowl.

2. Pour a few tablespoons of the hot water over the content of the bowl and mix until the miso becomes a thin paste without clumps. Add the rest of the water to the bowl, stir, and enjoy.

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Friday, January 3, 2014

Cauliflower and Kale Pasta

I've been really into simple meals lately. Meals that come together really quickly, but still cover all my nutritional bases. My favorites are those meals that dirty very few dishes...one-pot meals, I like to call them. Maybe I'm subconsciously preparing myself for when I have a baby on my hip and I need to make quick, easy, healthy meals? I don't know. So I've decided that for the next few weeks, I'm going to showcase some simple, one-pot meals that can be made in a jiffy, whether you have a baby on your hip or not.

This was a dish that I whipped up before the holidays that somehow I forgot to share with you. It uses cauliflower, which is one of my favorite wintertime vegetables, and one that I believe is seriously underrated. I mean, the possibilities are endless with this cruciferous superfood!

I know it's a short post today. Please forgive me, because I feel like I'm still recovering from a whirlwind holiday season and currently have a pretty nasty cold, but that's a different story for a different day. What matters is that I'm here and ready to start what I know will be my most exciting year on this earth so far. And I can't wait for you to join me along the way.

Click Here for Recipe: Cauliflower and Kale Pasta

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