Tag: Soup

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Yippee! The Holidays are here!  I get so excited about parties and dinners and spending time with friends and family. (and eggnog martinis!) But, I also want to continue to feel my best. An overindulgence here and there does not bother me but a month of them can leave us all feeling very bloated and sluggish. I want to share some of my favorite tips for making it through the holidays without feeling terrible and still having a BLAST!

WATER WATER WATER! Each morning, right after you wake up, drink a large glass of water before you have anything else. We are more likely to get dehydrated during the holidays so drink plenty of water all day as well. I drink a glass of warm or room temperature water with ½ lemon squeezed in and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper every morning. The lemon boosts your immune system, aids your digestion and the cayenne gets your metabolism going. Getting sick during the holidays is no fun!

BREAKFAST. Make sure that you begin each day with a healthy breakfast. This is super important during the holidays when you have temptations all around. If you have something with refined carbs and sugar like a donut, bagel or cereal, you are more likely to be cranky and tired, have a sugar crash late morning and experience more cravings for the rest of the day. Choose a breakfast that has some healthy carbs, high quality protein and a little healthy fat. It will keep you satisfied much longer and help you make better choices for the rest of the day. I love to start my day with a delicious green smoothie or oatmeal with fruit and nuts. My favorite way to have oatmeal is to make overnight soaked oats – no cooking, just make up a few jars and they are ready in the morning. Some of my other favorite breakfast options are gluten free or sprouted grain toast with avocado and a fried egg on top, sautéed veggies and eggs or a brown rice cake with almond butter and sliced banana.

SOUP. I love soup! Make a big batch of soup that is heavy on vegetables at the beginning of the week and eat it for lunch or dinner several more times that week. It is so easy to make, so delicious and can be extremely light and filling. If you eat healthy homemade soup 2 or 3 nights for dinner during the week and then drink eggnog martinis on Friday, you’ll feel much better about your choices. TRUST ME, I know from experience. Two of my favorites are Creamy Butternut Squash Soup and Quinoa Vegetable Soup. Did I mention how much I love soup?!!

EAT BEFORE THE PARTY. Eat something substantial before you go to a party. I know you’ve heard this advice before but have you ever really tried it? It is awesome! You are probably in the mindset of not wanting to eat to save the calories for the party but try looking at it a different way. Eat a big salad or veggie wrap or a bowl of soup before the party and then you will be much more content to have less party food because you are not starving. It really helps!

ALCOHOL. If you drink alcohol, try drinking one glass of water between each alcoholic drink. Talk about a dramatic difference in how much alcohol you drink AND how you feel the next morning. Remind yourself you are going to do it before you get to the party or you’ll get caught up in the moment and totally forget about it. Hmmmm I might have experienced that one too. Drinking only in moderation is very important to your health and I know it is harder during this festive season!

EXERCISE. Do not give up on your exercise routine just because you are busy and it is cold outside. A brisk 30 minute walk will do wonders for your mood and stress and it will motivate you to make better choices for the rest of the day. You will sleep better at night too.

SLEEP. Many people don’t get enough quality sleep all year round but especially during the holidays. Getting enough sleep is SO important to your overall health. More important than most people realize. Make it a priority to get 7-8 hours every night. There are many things that affect sleep – some of them are things on this list! It helps to get enough exercise, reduce stress and don’t drink too much alcohol. Also, keep your bedroom very cool, stay off electronics for an hour before bed and keep your cell phone out of your bedroom while sleeping. If you use it for an alarm, please put it on airplane mode. The alarm will still work and you won’t get radiation while you sleep.

SWEETS. You are probably going to eat more sweets during the holidays which will lead you to crave more. (remember sugar is more addictive than cocaine) Have a small amount of something delicious when you are at a party but on the nights when you are home, keep it healthy. Try a cup of hot herbal tea while you are sitting by the Christmas tree. Peppermint is yummy this time of year. It is so satisfying and good for you. Choose an organic brand because tea and coffee are heavily sprayed with pesticides. Having hot tea can help you wind down and sleep better. If you want a little sweet treat to go with it, try buying dates in the produce department, take the pit out of one and spread a little almond butter in it. Tastes like candy – soooo good!

Or make healthy hot chocolate. Just put one cup of organic whole milk or almond milk in a small saucepan. Whisk in 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon real maple syrup and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Keep whisking until well blended and hot.

Another favorite night time drink of mine is called Teeccino. It makes a tasty “Latte”. It is an herbal tea that tastes a little like coffee. I brew a cup and then put it in the blender with one teaspoon of coconut oil and one teaspoon of honey. Blend for about 30 seconds, pour into a mug and top with cinnamon. I know the oil sounds weird but it doesn’t make the coffee oily at all. It just makes it creamy and frothy. Yummy! Contrary to what you may have heard about coconut oil, it is a healthy fat that helps keep you satiated. Some other benefits include helping to balance blood sugar and hormones and helps burn fat.

Enjoy this precious time with friends and family. Cheers to Healthy Happy Holidays!
xoxo
~Krista

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Hi everyone! I am so excited to be able to share some of my favorite tips and recipes with you. My goal is to help busy people learn to nourish themselves and their families with clean, nutritious and delicious food that is easy to prepare. If you have a crazy schedule like most people these days, you are probably like me and love using the slow cooker, especially when it starts getting colder outside. It makes it so much easier to manage dinner on nights that kids have practices and games. Knowing that we are coming home to a healthy home cooked meal waiting for us, is an amazing feeling. I especially love making soups and stews because they are so easy, so versatile and the leftovers are awesome for lunches later in the week.

I am a very adventurous eater and I love to make some crazy (according to my kids) dishes like tempeh reubens or farro risotto at my house sometimes. I am lucky to have a family that will try almost anything I make and they usually like it. But, to keep my peeps really happy, I also make lots of kid, teenager and man friendly basics like pizza, spaghetti, tacos and burgers. I just make a healthier version. I want my kids to understand that it is not a burger itself that is bad, it is the quality of the ingredients that are in it at restaurants and grocery stores that is bad. Here are a few of my favorite tips on how to choose your ingredients to make your favorite recipes healthier and save money at the same time.

MEAT…At my house, we have significantly cut back on the amount of meat that we consume. I only buy organic and/or local meat and grass fed beef. It is a little more expensive so we just eat smaller portions and we eat it less often to offset the cost. We have meatless nights several times a week and I use less meat and more vegetables in recipes. I may use 1 chicken breast in a stir fry that feeds four. Or I will cook one steak and thinly slice it to serve 4. I usually avoid eating meat at restaurants because most of the time it is from factory farms. I don’t believe that factory farmed meat is healthy and I don’t want to support the mistreatment of animals. Factory farms are also contributing greatly to pollution of our soil, air and water. I love buying my meat at a local farmers’ market where I can meet the farmer and I know the animals were healthy, had access to the outdoors and were treated well.

DAIRY…I only buy organic dairy to avoid added artificial growth hormones. I buy grass fed dairy if it is available. Cows are meant to eat grass and when they are fed grains, they can get very sick which is part of the reason that they have to be administered so many antibiotics. Grass fed milk and cheese are becoming easier to find in my area. Just like with meat, we consume much less dairy than we used to. The benefits of dairy are controversial so we choose to cut back.

FRUITS and VEGETABLES… I refer to the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen Lists to know when it is most important to buy organic. This is very helpful to know if you are on a budget or certain organic items are not available in your store. For example, I never buy conventional strawberries but conventional avocados are fine.

AVOIDING BPA…I like to buy tomatoes in glass jars or cartons to avoid BPA. My favorite brands are Pomi and Jovial. For beans, I buy Eden Organic brand because they use BPA free cans. I also like to buy dried beans and cook them myself when I can. This is a huge money saver. I store the cooked beans in glass jars in the freezer so they are ready when I need them for a recipe. I do occasionally buy cans for something like chipotle peppers. I have not found them any other way and I just love the taste. I only use them on occasion.  BPA is a hormone disruptor and there are possible links to some serious illnesses such as heart disease, breast cancer and diabetes. I also recommend avoiding plastic water bottles and plastic storage containers as much as possible. If you do use plastic, never put it in the microwave or dishwasher as heat leaches chemicals out of the plastic even more.

DON’T THROW ANYTHING AWAY…Because organic foods can be more expensive, I try not to ever waste any food. I save almost everything and either use it in another dish, freeze it, throw it into soup or make broth with it. See my tip below for how to save the rest of a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. If you haven’t tried cooking with them yet, they are are awesome – spicy and smoky!

DO THE BEST YOU CAN…Remember, it is not all or nothing. It is perfectly fine to make small changes gradually. Every little bit of progress is beneficial. I do not do all of these things all of the time either, but I feel better knowing that my family is exposed to less pesticides, BPA, hormones and antibiotics.

This is a simple slow cooker soup that is super easy to throw together and my family loves it! If you use some of my tips when shopping, you can feel really good about the quality of the ingredients. Hope you enjoy it!

Mexican Chicken and Black Bean Soup in the Slow Cooker
Serves 6-8

1 pound boneless skinless chicken* breasts or thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
1 large onion, diced
1 red pepper*, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth* (32 oz. carton)
approximately 30 oz. diced tomatoes from a carton or jar if possible
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce from a can, finely chopped (optional)
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained (or about 3 cups cooked beans from 1 cup dried)
2 teaspoons cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
dash of cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
pepper, to taste
1 bay leaf
2 cups frozen corn*

Optional toppings: sour cream*, cilantro, diced avocado, shredded cheddar*, tortilla chips*

1. Put all ingredients except toppings in slow cooker and cook on high 5-6 hours or on low 8-9 hours.
2. Remove bay leaf and add toppings of your choice. Serve with organic tortilla chips on the side or crushed on top.

*I recommend using as many organic ingredients as possible but these are the ones that I think are most important.

Notes:
-After you use one chipotle pepper out of the can, chop or puree the rest of the can and put into ice cube trays and freeze. After they freeze, pop them into a glass container or ziploc bag and store them in the freezer. Next time you make a soup or chili, just throw one in for smokiness and some heat!

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This soup thickens as it sits. If needed, add a little more water or broth.
Serves 6

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped*
1 large carrot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
salt and pepper, to taste
4 cups vegetable broth* (32 oz. carton)
2 cups water
2 cups diced tomatoes, preferably from a carton or glass jar, with juices
1 cup dry quinoa
1 cup frozen corn*
1 cup frozen peas
Optional Toppings: chopped cilantro, diced avocado, crumbled feta

1. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.
2. Cook onion, red pepper and carrot until crisp tender, stirring occasionally, about 8-10 minutes.
3. Add garlic and spices and cook another minute or so.
4. Add broth, water and tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes.
5. Add quinoa, stir and turn heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until quinoa is done.
6. Add corn and peas and cook another 5 minutes.
7. Check seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if needed.
8. Divide into 6 bowls and serve topped with toppings, if desired.

*I recommend using as many organic ingredients as possible but these are the ones that I think are most important.

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Happy Holidays! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. I know I did! It’s now officially time to get geared up for Christmas. I get so excited about parties and dinners and spending time with friends and family. But, I also have a tiny bit of dread along with it. An overindulgence here and there does not bother me but a month of them can leave us all feeling very bloated, sluggish and guilty! I want to share some of my favorite tips for making it through the holidays without feeling terrible and still having a BLAST!

Start your mornings out first thing with a large glass of water. We are more likely to get dehydrated during the holidays so drink plenty all day as well. I like to drink warm or room temperature water with ½ lemon squeezed in and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper. The lemon boosts your immune system, aids your digestion system and the cayenne gets your metabolism going. I recommend trying the lemon water but plain water is great too.

Make sure that you begin each day with a super healthy breakfast. This is important all of the time, but even more so during the holidays when you have temptations all around. If you have a donut or bagel or cereal, you are more likely to be cranky and tired and experience more cravings for the rest of the day. Try and choose a breakfast that has some healthy carbs (fruits and veggies count), high quality protein and a little healthy fat. It will keep you satisfied much longer. One great start is a delicious green smoothie or oatmeal with fruit and nuts. My favorite way to have oatmeal is to make overnight soaked oats because there is no cooking and you can make several at a time and they are ready for you in the morning. Some of my other favorite breakfasts are sprouted grain toast (which you can find in the freezer section of most grocery stores) with avocado and a fried egg on top or a brown rice cake with almond butter and sliced banana.

Soup soup soup!!! I love soup! Make a big batch of soup that is heavy on vegetables on Sunday or at the beginning of the week and eat it for lunch or dinner several more times that week. It is so easy to make, so delicious and can be extremely light and filling. If you eat veggie soup 3 nights for dinner and then drink eggnog martinis on Friday, you’ll feel much better about your choices. TRUST ME, I know from experience. Two of my favorites are Creamy Butternut Squash Soup and Quinoa Vegetable Soup. Did I mention how much I love soup?!!

Eat something substantial before you go to a party. I know you’ve heard this advice before but have you ever really tried it? It is awesome! You are probably in the mindset of not wanting to eat to save the calories but try looking at it a different way. Eat a big salad or veggie wrap or a bowl of soup before the party and then you will be much more content to have less party food because you are not starving. It really helps!

If you drink alcohol, try drinking one glass of water between each alcoholic drink. Talk about a dramatic difference in how much alcohol you drink AND how you feel the next morning. Remind yourself you are going to do it before you get to the party or you’ll get caught up in the moment and totally forget about it. Hmmmm I might have experienced that one too. Drinking in moderation is very important to your health but I know it is harder during this festive season!

Do not give up on your exercise routine just because you are busy and it is cold outside. Even a brisk 30 minute walk will do wonders for your mood and stress and will motivate you to make better choices for the rest of the day.

If you are craving something sweet at night because visions of sugar plums are dancing in your head, try a cup of hot herbal tea (decaf) while you are sitting by the Christmas tree. It is so satisfying and good for you. Make sure you choose an organic brand because tea and coffee are often heavily sprayed with pesticides. Having hot tea can help you wind down and sleep better. If you want a little sweet treat to go with it, try buying dates in the produce department, take the pit out of one and spread a little almond butter in it. Tastes like candy – soooo good! You can also use the dates to sweeten smoothies.

Another favorite night time drink of mine is called Teecino. It is an herbal tea that tastes a little like coffee. I brew a cup and then put it in the blender with a tablespoon of coconut oil and one teaspoon of honey. Blend for about 30 seconds, pour into a mug and top with cinnamon. I know the oil sounds weird but it doesn’t make the coffee oily at all. It just makes it creamy and frothy. Yummy! Contrary to what you may have heard about coconut oil, it is a healthy fat that helps keep you satiated. Some other benefits include helping to balance blood sugar and hormones and helps burn fat. Don’t be afraid of healthy fats like coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds, nut butters and avocados.

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Don’t just give up and set yourself up for failure over the holidays. Plan ahead and you will feel amazing. If you eat or drink too much one day, just get up the next day and start fresh. I hope you all have a blessed holiday season. Enjoy and stay safe!

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Makes about 10 cups

This soup is so easy to make. The beans add some creaminess and also some protein. This is a very spicy (not hot spicy just lots of spices) version. I love to use spices because there are so many health benefits. Did you know that curcumin, which is found in turmeric, has natural anti-inflammatory properties and that cumin aids digestion and improves immunity? Feel free to use half the amounts of cumin, turmeric and paprika and add 1-2 tablespoons of honey if you want a sweeter version, especially if serving kids.

2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 medium onion, rough chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grated or finely minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
dash of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper, to taste
1 medium butternut squash, cut into cubes (about 6 cups if using precut)
1½ cups cooked cannellini beans, (or 1 can, rinsed and drained)
4 cups organic broth*
1 cup water
Optional toppings: sour cream*, raw pumpkin seeds (pepitos), cilantro

1. Melt coconut oil in large soup pot over medium heat.
2. Cook onion for about 6-8 minutes or until tender.
3. Add garlic, ginger and spices and cook for one minute.
4. Add butternut squash, beans, broth water and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer, cover and cook about 30 minutes or until squash is tender.
5. Puree soup with an immersion blender or carefully transfer to a blender and and blend until smooth. Check seasoning and enjoy!

*I recommend using as many organic ingredients as possible but these are the ones that I think are most important.

Notes:
-Please try and buy BPA free cans – I like Eden Organic brand

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Please feel free to contact me. Send me an email with the form below or at 704.575.4777

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