Sunday, July 21, 2013

Butternut Squash Soup

There are pros and cons to every situation including being in a long-distance relationship. While certainly more cons than pros if you ask me, the one good thing is that I am able to continue my absurd love affair with garlic. I used to prefer food very bland without salt, pepper, garlic, or any herbs or spices. These days, my taste buds have adapted, and I can barely eat anything without garlic. I found some organic elephant garlic at the store recently, so I knew I had to try it. As you can see, three of the cloves took up my whole hand, but I still used the entire head. Sauteed sweet onions with loads of garlic makes the perfect base to almost any soup or meal, so you know this is going to be a good one. Aside from the wonderful taste, garlic has antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. These are more than enough reasons for me to eat garlic every day! 

Tonight's recipe was inspired by my Aunt Lauri's butternut squash soup. I took out the milk and tweaked it a bit. If you prefer a thicker/creamier soup, you can mix in 1 cup of coconut milk after blending the soup. This soup is perfect for the fall, but you can't go wrong any time of year with this recipe!

Butternut Squash Soup: Serves: 8-12, Prep time: 20 min, Cook time: 1 hour

- 6lbs. butternut squash, peeled & chopped
- 2-3 Tbsp. coconut oil
- 3-5 small vidalia onions, chopped
- 1 head elephant garlic, peeled & chopped
- 8 cups organic chicken stock
- salt & pepper to taste

1. Heat coconut oil over medium heat
2. Add onions and garlic and cook for 10-15 minutes until soft and fragrant
3. Add squash and broth to the pot, and bring to a boil
4. Lower heat to low, and cook 45-60 minutes until squash is soft
5. Puree with immersion blender or transfer in batches to a blender or food processor
6. Eat up!



Sunday, July 14, 2013

Summer Zucchini Succotash

Over the past few weeks I have been noticing that some of the greens on my carrot plants were turning reddish/brown. I know I am supposed to wait until August to pick my carrots, but I just couldn't resist! I had the most dramatic drumroll, and then I picked my first ever home-grown vegetable. From the picture, you will see that I wasn't exactly blown away by their growth :) I am fairly certain that I will not be winning any farmer-of-the-year awards this year, but for an apartment balcony, I am still chalking this up as a success. I served these carrots as an appetizer for my dinner guests (no, I am not joking), and we had a good laugh. Luckily they still had room for the main course, and we had a great time. I am now working on my patience, watering everything, and trying to wait until August to pick the rest of my goodies! 

Tonight's recipe is a simple summer succotash that I threw together with some beautiful farm-fresh ingredients Mal brought me from the farms in NJ. While I don't typically eat corn anymore, I threw it in in the spirit of eating locally and supporting our Jersey farmers. Try this out, feel free to add/switch some of the veggies, and enjoy it at your next BBQ! 

Summer Zucchini Succotash: Serves 3-4, Prep time: 10 min, Cook time, 15 min

- 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 zucchini, sliced
- 2 large tomatoes, chopped
- 2 ears of corn, kernels removed
- 2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
- Salt & pepper

1. Heat olive oil over medium heat
2. Add zucchini and corn and cook for 10-15 minutes
3. Add tomatoes, italian seasoning, salt, and pepper, and cook 2-3 minutes
4. Bring to a summer BBQ and enjoy!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Summer Steak Salad

Organization, preparation, and time management have always been part of my skill set, but lately I have been taking these things to the next level. I am a busy woman these days between work, my personal life, building a health coaching business, and focusing on my own health and wellness. I have been dabbling in the health coaching arena in a few areas, and one of my first experiments was running a corporate cleanse. I cooked 5 meals per day for 3 days for some clients that wanted to "cleanse" but didn't want juices. The five meals included:

  • Creamy broccoli soup with avocado
  • Fruit salad
  • Sweet potato & lentil curry stew
  • Roasted vegetables with olive oil and garlic
  • Carrot, string bean, and spinach soup

I have to admit that I spent about 8 hours shopping, prepping, cooking, and organizing these meals. I learned a ton, and I had a blast doing it. With a bigger kitchen and more free time, I could do some serious damage in the kitchen with future cleanses. My fridge ended up looking like a tetris game, and I was proud of my efforts. I was thrilled to show people how good it feels to eat clean and gain awareness of cravings and habits that may otherwise be hidden. Feel free to reach out if you ever have questions on how to do a cleanse and spend a few focused days (or weeks) on using food as medicine and treating yourself to health!

Summer Steak Salad: Serves 1, Prep time: 10 min, Cook time: 10 min

- 4-6oz. grass-fed flank steak at room temperature
- 1 tsp. grass-fed butter or coconut oil
- salt & pepper
- Handful of strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries
- 1/4-1/2 avocado, chopped
- 2-3 cups spinach

1. Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat until hot
2. Season both sides of the steak with salt and pepper
3. Cook the steak for 3-4 minutes on each side (do not move it while cooking!)
4. Let the steak sit for 5 minutes to rest
5. Chop the steak, and toss your salad with all of your ingredients 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Summer Chicken Salad

Happy 100th recipe to Sooo Paleo!  It has been a fantastic journey, and I am really just getting started. Over the past 9 months, I have shared my recipes with people in over 100 countries, and the feedback has been incredible. I have learned a lot about cooking (and myself) along the way, and I am excited for everything to come! Spreading the word about delicious food that is healthy, fresh, organic, and local is a mission that I'm proud to be a part of. I have cooked for family, friends, coworkers, and strangers, and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon. I have big dreams for my health coaching business and sizable goals for impacting my community with the tools and knowledge to use food as medicine and make choices every day that benefit their health, loved ones, and the environment we live in. 

I am loving that I live so close to the Stamford French Market. Every Saturday, I can walk outside my door and in less than a minute stroll around the market and pick up some fresh fruits, veggies, herbs, and flowers. I have to say that the market here doesn't even come close to comparing to SOWA in Boston, but it's a start. Sadly there are no rules about the food all being local, so much of it mirrors your standard grocery store options. That being said, I try to buy the fresh-picked local varieties, and it is still great to buy everything outside with neighbors and friends in my community. A new market opens down in the Stamford Harbor area this Sunday, so I will have to check it out and report back. 

Tonight's 100th recipe perfectly represents my cooking style: simple, delicious, fresh, and colorful! An amazing seasonal dish that can be brought to the beach, on a picnic, or served at your next brunch or luncheon. Enjoy!

Summer Chicken Salad: Serves 4, Prep time: 10 min, Cook time: None

- 1 lb. poached chicken, cooled and chopped or shredded
- 1-2 tsp. olive oil
- 4-6 fresh apricots, chopped
- 1-2 cups grapes, halved
- 1 handful of fresh basil, chopped
- 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- Salt and pepper (optional)
- 1 large tomato

1. Drizzle the olive oil on the poached chicken until lightly coated
2. Mix with apricots, grapes, basil, and coconut
3. Season with salt and pepper to taste
4. Serve on 1/2-inch tomato slices