Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sweet Potato and Pinto Bean Chili

It's warming up down here. Which makes one very happy girl. Except for the fact that my soups and stews are starting to be too hot for 60-70 degree days. This one, however, was made on a little colder day and was perfect. This "stew" was a lot thicker than I expected it to be. It's practically chili. In fact, both co-workers who saw me in the break room eating it called it veggie chili. And it was gooood chili.

Sweet Potato and Pinto Bean Chili
from Peas and Thank You
serves 2-3
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 2 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped (about 10 oz)
  • 1 1/2 cups pinto beans (or 14 oz can, rinsed and drained)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 28 oz canned fire-roasted tomatoes*
  • 1 cup vegetable broth (or 1 cube vegetable bouillon and 1 cup hot water)
  • Cilantro, for garnish (optional)

*If at all possible, use the Muir Glen fire-roasted tomatoes. I don't use them all the time (normally I just the regular Muir Glen diced tomatoes) but they add the perfect flavor for this chili. They have them in 28oz cans and 14.5oz cans. If you can't find the large can, two of the smaller cans will work just fine. :) 

Chop veggies. Try to make sure the potatoes and celery are relatively the same size so they cook evenly.

In a large pot coated with cooking spray, add the veggies, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Cook for about 7 minutes, stirring frequently. I used a vegetable bouillon cube and added it at this point. I made sure it was broken up and blended with the other spices. 

Add tomatoes, pinto beans and vegetable broth (hot water, if used bouillon). Stir and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to a simmer. Cover

After 20 minutes, test potatoes to make sure they are done. Season with salt and pepper. I ate the chili with Food Should Taste Good blue corn chips, which is why it can serve 2 (without chips) or 3 (with chips). 

Nutritional information (for 1/2 chili): 443 calories, 2g fat (0.5g fat), 90g carbs, 21g fiber, 18g protein

Nutritional information (for 1/3 chili): 295 calories, 1.4g fat (0.3g fat), 60g carbs, 14g fiber, 12g protein

YUM-O. I loved this chili. It was spicy and slightly sweet. I think the sweet potatoes provided a "meaty" texture. But this is like 180 servings of vegetables. Not that many but it is a lot. And like I said, those tomatoes were the bomb. I hope it's still chilly where you are so you can make this asap

Monday, February 21, 2011

Chocolate Cake

Need I say more than the title? :) I have a treat for you. Namely one of the best chocolate cakes I've ever had. Despite my status as a chocoholic, I actually prefer chocolate cakes to be more subtle. While dense, fudgy, punch-your-mouth-with-sweetness chocolate cake is nice, I sometimes find the sweetness to be overpowering. Also, I think many people focus so much on chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, that they forget texture and moistness matters. Ina Garten is not one of those people. :)

Chocolate Cake
serves 16
based on Beatty's Chocolate Cake
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, unpacked
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken*
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 oz freshly brewed coffee

*To make buttermilk for recipes like this, I put 1 Tb. white vinegar in a measuring cup, fill it to 1 cup with milk  and stir. Never fails.

Hidden in the back there is this wonderful coffee. This lovely coffee comes with cocoa powder making it the perfect complement for this cake.

Sift the dry ingredients (flour, sugars, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, baking powder) together; combine with a wooden spoon.

Whisk together the wet ingredients (milk, oil, eggs, vanilla extract) minus the coffee.

Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring to incorporate completely. At this point, it will be  like a brownie batter, thick and lumpy.

"Drown" the batter in the coffee. This just means to pour the coffee directly onto the batter and let it sink in for about a minute.

Stir the coffee in completely. Because the batter was so thick before this may seem to thin. But it's not, it's perfect.

Pour into a prepared bundt pan (I just sprayed with cooking spray). I used a bundt pan instead of layers because a bundt pan lets me use a glaze or ganache instead of a ton of calorie-laden frosting like layers. Smart swaps like that let you enjoy things. Being healthy is not about deprivation; it's just about being smarter.

Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Quick Chocolate Glaze

  • 4 oz dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 Tb. coffee 

Do not start this glaze until the cake has cooled and ready to frost. Mine looks weird because I didn't think about that beforehand and had to doctor it to keep warm for half an hour! lol

Melt the chocolate on top of a double boiler. (Set a metal bowl inside a saucepan with an inch of boiling water. Make sure the bowl does not touch the water.)

Remove from heat and add the honey and coffee.

Stir until smooth and spread onto the top of the cake.

Nutritional Information (for 1/16 slice): 256 calories, 10.7g fat (2.7g sat), 39g carbs, 2.5g fiber, 4g protein

Delicious. And am I the only who thinks the color of this cake is gorgeous? I can't be. I just can't :) The coffee adds grrrreat flavor (try prying yourself away from the batter, I dare you) but it also adds moistness for minimal calories. This isn't a "diet" recipe. But it sure is a smart choice for a chocolate fix. :)

Lately, I've been reading In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. It's a completely different way of looking at food. Eating food for food purposes instead focusing on nutrients. I've always felt that being too obsessed with low-fat or low-carb or low-calorie was dangerous and I've said that many times on here. It's nice to find someone who agrees but does a much better job articulating it. Food should be looked at as a whole, not as a carrier of vitamin C or omega-3s. Carrots are healthy. Are they healthy because they have vitamin A and beta-carotene? Or are they healthy because they're healthy? It's a very interesting way to think about food that really does help you make smarter choices. By just eating healthy food. If I could, I would buy a copy of this book for everyone I know and love and force them to read it for their own good. :)

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Vegetable Cornbread Casserole

I have a thing for cornbread. Maybe it's a southern thing. We didn't have much of it growing up because I think my mother was resisting becoming southern. It's futile. :) Never-the-less, I now have an obsession with cornbread.

Vegetable Cornbread Casserole
based on recipe from Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook
serves 4

  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, chopped
  • 3 small zucchini, chopped
  • 3 small carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 box cornbread mix
  • 1 large egg*
  • 1 Tb. sugar*
  • 1/2 cup milk*
  • 1/2 oz cheddar cheese*

*The egg and milk are what my box needs to include. It's also less sweet than we like so I add the sugar and cheese. This can vary depending on your cornbread mix.

This casserole is also known as "I have a half a package of a ton of different vegetables in my fridge" casserole. The vegetables included are very flexible. They can be mixed and matched to whatever you have.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Saute onion and garlic in a skillet for 2-3 minutes, until soft.

Add tomatoes and water. Bring to a boil.

Add sweet potatoes and boil for 3 minutes.

Add the rest of the veggies and boil for 5-7 minutes. During this time, prepare cornbread mix and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes.

Place vegetables in the bottom of a prepared casserole dish.

Top with cornbread mix.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until cornbread is golden brown.

The vegetables looked liquidy to me but they tasted great and overall, this was a very good and filling meal. Comforting but not too heavy because of all the veggies.

Nutritional Information: 400 calories, 8.5g fat (3g sat), 40g carbs, 7g fiber, 11g protein

Monday, February 14, 2011

Soft Sugar Cookies

My mom always made the best sugar cookies. I was never a sugar cookie fan growing up because the only ones available, besides when my mom made them, were thin crunchy things covered in tasteless frosting. My mom's were soft cookies with a crunch on the outside but that cookie-like crumble on the inside. I'm made a few changes to her recipe over the years to make them my own but they still produce soft, sweet cookies.

Soft Sugar Cookies
makes about 3 dozen (depending on size and shape)

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract*
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest*
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt

*I like my cookies to have a slight lemony taste. This is not an overwhelming lemon taste by any means. However, if you don't want any lemon, just take out the zest and add 1/2 tsp vanilla instead.

Cream together the butter and shortening. I use a non-hydrogenated shortening called Earth Balance. I cream it with butter to give it a buttery taste because by itself it's not so tasty. But this cuts out the trans fats without sacrificing the texture of shortening. It's a win-win!

Am I the only one who thinks that looks GORGEOUS? I've been baking too long. :)

Add the sugar and cream until well blended.

Blend in the eggs completely. Then add vanilla extract and lemon zest.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly incorporate dry ingredients into wet, switching to a wooden spoon halfway through. I say to switch to a wooden spoon because it is just so much easier to make sure that everything is incorporated with a wooden spoon.

Depending on the humidity, the amount of liquid in your eggs, basically like a million different things, you may need to add more flour. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky but not too sticky or wet. I had to add another 1/4 cup flour to get it to the consistency it is in the picture.

Let chill in the fridge for about 20 minutes. This is becoming my favorite bowl quickly because of that awesome lid.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Flour a flat surface, a rolling pin and your desired cookie cutters. Before putting the dough down, form into a loose ball and lightly coat with flour.

Roll out the dough  into an even circle, alternating directions with the rolling pin. If the dough starts to stick to the rolling pin, lightly flour it again.

For soft cookies, roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness.

Dip your cookie cutters into flour before pressing into the dough. Try and get as many shapes into the circle as possible. While the excess cookie dough can be rolled out again, the more times it's rolled, the less soft it becomes. Peel up cookie dough between shapes.

If one of the shapes is stuck to the counter, take a cookie spatula and dip the tip into flour before wedging it under the shape. Place shapes evenly spaced on a prepared cookie sheet. They do not need a ton of room to expand, just about 1/2 inch. I found the best way is on a baking mat. This cooks them perfectly even.

Bake 10-12 minutes, depending on the shape and size. Mine were perfect after 11 minutes. Do not over-bake or the cookies will become crispy. If you're using shapes of different sizes, try to get the same sized ones on the same sheet.

After cooling on cookie sheet for 2 minutes, transfer to wire rack and cool completely before frosting.

I did not have time to frost mine yet. I will be frosting them tonight with this adorable idea. Need a royal icing recipe? Here's Annie's. I don't have meringue powder (I'm finding it impossible to find organic!), so I'll be taking the long route with this recipe. Until you're ready to decorate, place cookies in airtight containers.

(The pitcher made an EXCELLENT container, by the way. Kudos to my creative self.) However, these cookies are pretty sweet by themselves. Not to mention the dough is fantastic. Not that I ate any or anything.... ;)

Nutritional Information (for 1 cookie, out of three dozen, without frosting): 140 calories, 5.7g fat (2.6g sat), 20g carbs, 0.4g fiber, 2g protein


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Broccoli Rice Casserole

This my first vegetarian-culture meal. I know that sounds weird because I've been a vegetarian for over 8 months. But I haven't really dabbled into using "weird", vegetarian ingredients like nutritional yeast. However, I don't turn away from an ingredient just because it's weird. It's only weird because I've never used it before. I was worried about tofu the first time. I was worried about kale. I was worried about Brie.  I'm glad I took the plunge each and every time, including this one. This casserole rocks. I'm a nutritional yeast convert. So, don't be scared...ingredients are only weird until you use them. :)

Broccoli Rice Casserole
from Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook
serves 4

  • 1 medium potato, peeled and chopped coarsely
  • 1/2 medium carrot, peeled and sliced thickly
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped coarsely
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 lb. broccoli, frozen or fresh
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced white button mushrooms
  • 4 ounces firm tofu, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tb. fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch garlic powder
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, if desired

Preheat the oven to 350°rees;F. Chop vegetables. Cook rice according to package directions. Ever since my rice cooker bit the dust, I've been trying to find easy ways to make rice. My stovetop rice always comes out gummy. I tried using the microwave directions and WOW! They worked. It was easy and I had fluffy rice. Amazing. The original recipe puts the raw rice in the casserole with some water but this didn't work. At all. So pre-cooked rice is a must.

In a small saucepan, bring the potato, carrot, onion, 1 cup water, and salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium, cover and simmer until the potato and carrot are tender, about 10 minutes.

If using fresh broccoli, steam until tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. I was using my homemade steamer method so I had to do the broccoli in two batches. Let cool. If using frozen broccoli, thaw under warm running water in a colander.

Cook the mushrooms in 1/4-1/2 cup water, stirring until soft; drain.

Pour the potato mixture (including liquid) into a blender and add the tofu, yeast, lemon juice, and garlic.

Blend until very smooth and creamy.

Pour the mixture into a shallow, prepared 1 1/2- or 2-qt casserole. Add the broccoli, rice, and mushrooms. Stir well and smooth the top of the mixture.

Top with the cheese, if desired. Bake until golden and bubbling, about 40 minutes.

Nutritional Information (1/4 casserole without cheese): 279 calories, 3g fat, 46g carbs, 7g fiber, 16g protein

Nutritional Information (1/4 casserole with cheese): 302 calories, 4.5g fat, 46g carbs, 7g fiber, 18g protein

The verdict? Wow. I was impressed. The yeast gave the dish such a cheesy flavor that it didn't even need the cheese on top. The sauce was comforting and creamy without being unhealthy. The tofu and the yeast provided the protein and the sauce was packed with veggies too. I can't rave enough about the nutrition of this meal. It's already on next week's menu plan and I won't be topping it with cheese.

Want to know why nutritional yeast is so nutritional? Nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast and is the only vegan source of complete protein, which means that it provides 18 amino acids. It provides B12 as well as about 15 other minerals. It has also been known to help regulate blood sugar and help with low blood pressure.

Where can you find nutritional yeast? I was able to buy just the amount I needed at Earthfare in the bulk bins for under a buck. Whole Foods and other natural/health food stores have the same bins. It's also available online and possibly in grocery stores that carry larger amounts of natural/organic products.

I see an expansive future with me and nutritional yeast. Remember the broccoli cheddar soup that was missing something? Ohhh yeah. :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Mushroom and Brie Risotto

Need an idea for Valentine's Day? Elegant and while time consuming, pretty easy. Not to mention that the taste is out of this freakin' world. It's that good.

Mushroom & Brie Risotto
from Recipezine
serves 3
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 Tb. olive oil
  • 5 oz crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, stemmed
  • 5 oz white button mushrooms, stemmed
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2  extra-large garlic cloves (or 3 medium)
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup white wine*
  • 1 Tb. minced parsley (fresh)
  • 1 1/2 Tb. butter, divided and cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan
  • 3 oz Brie, rind removed and cut into chunks

*You can use vegetable broth here if you don't want wine but the flavor will suffer. I highly recommend that you use wine, if possible.

Chop mushrooms, onion, and mince garlic.

Warm 1 Tb. olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add mushrooms, garlic and a Tb. of butter. I tried to cut down the oil here but the mushrooms started sticking and weren't acting normal, so it was needed. 

Once the mushrooms start to wilt, add parsley and a generous amount of salt and pepper (about 1 tsp of each). Cook 3-5 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and their liquid and set aside.

Add 1 Tb. olive oil to the pan. When heated, cook onion for about a minute. Add rice, stirring to completely coat with oil. When the rice has turned golden and pale, add the wine, stirring constantly until it is all absorbed. 

Continue this process with the broth, adding about 1/2 cup at a time. Keep stirring until all broth is absorbed and then add another 1/2 cup until all broth is gone. Taste at intervals to make sure the rice isn't over cooking. It should be al dente

This part will take anywhere from 20-30 minutes. So, pull up a stool and pour yourself a glass of that wine. :)

When all the broth has been added and the rice is done, remove from heat. Immediately add mushrooms, chunks of butter, and Parmesan. Stir in until completely melted. Salt and pepper to taste.

Fold in chunks of Brie. Do not stir until completely melted. Those melty chunks of Brie are heaven. Garnish with parsley and Parmesan; serve. 

DELICIOUS. Seriously. Do you remember that Seinfeld episode where George is on a date and the woman who orders risotto puts on a show? This meal has those kinds of effects. Absolutely fabulous. 

Nutritional Information (for 1/3): 535 calories, 25g fat (11g sat), 60g carbs, 4g fiber, 17g protein

Feed this to your Valentine and they'll be yours forever. Until you have to decide who gets the leftovers. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Emotional Eating

I've been thinking a lot about emotional eating lately and how to deal with motivation slumps. I'm not a fan of the "emotional eating" concept. It seems like an excuse people use to say they have no control over what they ate.  I know this will be offensive to people who believe in the concept but this is just my opinion. I also want to help those who feel helpless because they cannot control the events that "make them" make bad choices.

(I am not a registered dietitian or a psychologist. This knowledge is just from my personal experience and the hours weekly I spend researching nutrition and exercise.)

It all started with a bag of cookies. I was driving home from a trip to Trader Joe's with a bag of double chocolate cookies in the passenger seat. Although the trip was purely for a can of beans, I saw a cake I wanted. It was $6 and so I was able to walk away. Except I justified buying the $3 bag of cookies. Because they were only $3. I ate two in the car on the way home.

A thought entered my mind about how much I had been baking brownies and buying treats at the grocery store. Followed by a thought of how stressed I have been lately. I have no idea where or when I'll be going to school after I get my associates degree in May. No idea where I'll be living. This makes me nervous, it scares me. Then another thought: "Maybe that's why I've been eating like crap."

Full stop. I literally laughed out loud in the car. I, the major proponent of choice in eating, was saying that shoving two cookies into my mouth within 5 minutes was an emotional compulsion...instead of a decision I made. I thought the rest of the way home about how I got to this point. Then, I came up with solid reasons for my bad eating choices lately.

Because, I honestly believe behind every "emotional eating" experience are solid reasons that can be changed. If you ever feel like you have been making bad choices because of stressful or emotional situations, take a minute and really evaluate the situation looking for solid reasons that have nothing to do with emotions or "looking for comfort".
  1. I have not been exercising regularly. 
  2. I have started shopping at stores that carry "healthier" sweets that I can buy for a decent price.
  3. I have been consuming large amounts of sugar which makes the cravings that much harder to say no to.
  4. I have been spending most of the nights on the couch instead of doing chores like I used to.
When I exercise on a regular basis, I just don't crave sweets as much. There's not much more to it than that. It doesn't always have an immediate effect but after a week or so, my body gets the picture and chills out. 

Before Trader Joe's came into the picture, I had two places that I could buy pre-made bakery sweets: Earthfare and Whole Foods. This was a great excuse to avoid the purchases. Other grocery stores fill their stuff with GMOs and trans fats. It was also helpful that Earthfare and Whole Foods like to charge like crazy for anything in the bakery section so I wasn't willing to do it. Enter Trader Joe's and their non-GMO policy and their use of no trans fats. Their bakery section is small, affordable, and ever changing with options. It was possible for me to buy these goodies again. 

It's a snowball effect with the sugar. It probably started innocently enough, a few Christmas truffles for dessert. Then, when I decided to get back to business on my diet and cut out the truffles, my body rebelled. It wanted the sugar. Enter brownie mixes. Enter cake balls. You get the picture. Each day had to provide more sugar than the last.

Winter is my least favorite season. I'm cold. So what do I do? I cuddle on the couch with a nice blanket. After already spending the day chained to a desk. Other than cooking, hygiene, and feeding the cats, some days I was spending the entire day sitting. Yikes.     

There. 4 solid reasons for why I have made bad eating choices lately. 4 solid reasons why I haven't lost any weight and that I'm looking a little bloated lately. After identifying the reasons, explore them further and think of you can change them.

I have created a new workout plan with the motivation of "bikini season". It's different and hopefully will entertain me. It's from Shape magazine's summer 5-month countdown so each month is a different plan. I feel that when I plan for months at a time, I get lost in the middle. This way, I have to reassess each month.

I have heard complaints about being starving after exercising. This could do with the types of food you are eating, the amount of water you are drinking, or not exercising regularly. Calories are not just calories. It does matter where you get them from. Fueling during the day with complex carbs, fruit and vegetables and lean proteins helps provide fuel for working out; the body doesn't burn through these things at warp speed like it does fats and simple carbs so the fuel lasts longer. Dehydration can sometimes disguise itself as hunger to get attention. If you're ever feeling hungry but feel that you have eaten enough food, drink up and wait 5 minutes. I bet you'll be fine. Also, occasional exercise is not the same as regular exercise. If you don't exercise for two weeks and then jump on the treadmill for an hour, your body is going to be confused about the dip in calories and crave more to replace them. The first couple weeks will probably be like this but your body will adapt. 

Sweets are an addiction. Just like any other addiction. I crave them because I give in. It's a vicious cycle that can only be stopped by simply stopping. This is easier to do with exercise but I am just going to monitor my sugar intake until it returns to a normal level. Dropping it immediately would only lead to more intense cravings that would be even harder to say no to. This would be setting myself up to fail. (I want to be clear that I do not think sugar is evil. I would never "cut out sugar" from my diet. I'm just referring to the unneeded sugar in the form of cakes, cookies, candy, etc.)

And, spending the nights on the couch is an easy one to fix. GET UP. :) Plus, I'm not really a TV girl. Unless there's something on, I just don't turn it on. So I'll just have to find active things for me to do at night. About an hour before bed, I'll slow down and get ready for bed so that I sleep soundly. 

What I love so much about this thinking is that it puts ME in control. I cannot control some things. And while some would argue that I could control how those events make me feel, I am not that far along in my chi. or whatever. I can control how much I exercise. I can control the amount of excess sugar I put in my body and the amount of sweets that takes up my already scrawny weekly budget. I can get off the couch after an entire day at a desk and do things so that my weekends can be filled with fun instead of chores!

As for what to do the rest of the cookies? (or brownies? or cake?) Don't eat them all because you already ate 2. It does matter. 4 is more than 2. 4 has a bigger effect than 2. FREEZE THEM! I know it seems insane but most things freeze well. I hate throwing things out. Thawing out at a normal temperature (just on the counter) is the best way to keep the goody in tact. Microwaving often cooks the item further and makes it gummy or overcooked. Freezing prevents me from overeating because I have to think about whether or not it's worth waiting for it to thaw out. I become more conscious of my choice. 

I hope this post has inspired you to take control of your choices. They are your choices, in fact. Don't let emotions be your fall back excuse. Once you accept your choices, you have the ability to change them.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup

I am feeling leaps and bounds better. I got a great night's sleep on Friday night and woke up Saturday with energy for the first time in a while. It helped that it was GORGEOUS outside. I went for a run in shorts and a tank top because it was in the high 60s! It was lovely. I also cleaned like a madman and now there are clean dishes! So I'm very excited to share with you a lovely soup that I made on a cold and rainy day. And I have a proclamation: I LOVE KALE.

Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup
from Whole Foods market recipe database
Serves 4

  • 2 Tb. olive oil
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion (about 1/2 medium)
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • Vegetable broth, 32oz carton
  • 4 cups chopped kale (about 1 large bunch)
  • Italian-style diced tomatoes, 14.5oz can, with juice*
  • Cannellini or Northern beans, 14.5oz can, drained and rinsed (or 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup shredded vegetarian Parmesan
  • Croutons or crusty bread, optional

*Trader Joe's didn't have diced tomatoes. They only had a giant can of plum tomatoes and I wasn't about to go anywhere else for them. So, I got it knowing that I had another meal that needed a can of diced tomatoes and I would just split it and dice them myself. Best. decision. ever. The plum tomatoes were so much juicier and more plump than diced tomatoes. I had to dice them myself but that took all of two minutes to do and the extras went in a tupperware container in the fridge to wait for the next meal. Plus, one big can was $1.49 when the individual cans are around the same price. I see a new habit in my future. :)

Heat oil in a large pan. Add onions and cook for about 3 minutes.

Add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.

I chopped the kale roughly and would go for smaller pieces next time. It was a little difficult to eat with giant pieces of kale on my spoon. :)

Add broth, kale, tomatoes, carrots and red pepper flakes; cover and cook about 5 minutes.

Add beans and heat thoroughly. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with crusty bread or croutons on the side. Putting them in the soup makes them soggy very quickly. But putting a crouton on each spoonful before eating adds a wonderful crunch.

Nutritional Information (1/4 soup): 284 calories, 8g fat (1g sat), 33g carbs, 8g fiber, 9g protein

I thought this soup was super yummy. And as I said before, I fell in LOVE with kale. It's excellent. I see kale galore in my future. The croutons helped make it more filling and more like a meal a la Seinfeld

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