Sunday, October 13, 2013

Parsnip Soup w/ Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Great news, followers! My blog is not dead. It was simply hibernating for a bit while I figured out some pretty monumental life decisions. I wasn't feeling as creative with my cooking (and time was limited), so I remade a ton of my old recipes to make things quicker and easier. In the midst of the craziness, I quit my job at McLagan and accepted a new position at PepsiCo! It is going to be a huge change, and I am thrilled to start this next chapter. I have this week off before I start to get things organized, so I am hoping to share some great new recipes with all of you.

I was feeling very jealous of Grace and my other Boston friends who visited the Sunday SOWA market today because the farmers market here in Stamford just doesn't even compare. I go and support them every week, but I am pretty convinced that a lot of the fruits and veggies are not local. There wasn't a parsnip to be found yesterday, so I went to the grocery store to pick some up so I could experiment with a new soup. I try to make a new soup every (or every other) week in the Fall/Winter to have ready-made meals handy. This recipe is incredibly flavorful with amazing fall tastes, and the spiced pumpkin seeds add the perfect crunch.

Try it out and let me know what you think!

Parsnip Soup w/ Spiced Pumpkin Seeds: Serves 4-5, Prep time: 20 min, Cook time: 75 min

- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large sweet onion, chopped,
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 bunch green onions/scallions, chopped
- 1 bunch celery, chopped
- 1 XL carrot, peeled & chopped
- 3 XL parsnips, peeled & chopped
- 4 cups organic chicken or veggie stock (no sugar added!)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup raw organic pumpkin seeds
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. paprika
- 1/2 tsp. cumin

1. Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium heat
2. Add onion, garlic, and scallions and saute about 10 minutes until fragrant
3. Add celery, carrots, and parsnips. Stir well to combine and cook another 5 minutes
4. Add stock and bring to a boil
5. Cover and reduce heat. Cook for 1 hour
6. Meanwhile, heat 1tsp. olive oil in a small pan over medium heat
7. Add pumpkin seeds and toss to combine
8. After 1-2 minutes, add cinnamon, paprika, and cumin
9. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until fragrant and then let cool
10. When soup is done, let cool slightly and blend with immersion blender or food processor
11. Season with salt and pepper to taste (I just added some pepper)
12. Serve piping hot with ~1Tbsp. of spiced pumpkin seeds on top! Happy Fall :)


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Vermont Balsamic Maple Turkey Meatloaf

Well hello there. Today was a big day with my blog hitting over 100,000 hits and my health coaching certificate and card coming in the mail. I am now officially a board certified health coach, and I am thrilled! It has been an interesting journey of self-reflection throughout my studies, and my life is completely different (in so many wonderful ways) than when I started. 

I have been a bit MIA from blogging over the past few weeks with some major things going on. Luckily in the midst of the craziness Ry came home from Dubai and we had an amazing getaway in Vermont. We celebrated Heather and Kenny's wedding and had tons of adventures along the way. I wanted a souvenir from the trip, and I ended up with some special Vermont-made food products to experiment with. One of the treasures was maple flakes which basically looks like brown rice krispies. The only ingredient is dried maple syrup, and they are crispy and sweet. I figured I could sprinkle a few of them on tonight's recipe instead of covering my meatloaf with the more traditional sugary ketchup concoction. It was just a hint of sweet mixed with the tangy balsamic, and it came out great. Enjoy!

Vermont Balsamic Maple Turkey Meatloaf: Serves 4-5, Prep time: 20 min, Cook time: 40 min

- 1.25lbs ground turkey
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup almond flour
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
- 3 medium carrots, peeled & chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1+ tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. basil
- 1/2 tsp. thyme
- 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. Vermont maple flakes

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Heat olive oil over medium heat
3. Add onions and cook for 5 minutes until soft
4. Add carrots, celery, salt, pepper, garlic powder (more is better!), basil, and thyme and cook for another 10-15 minutes until soft
5. Mix turkey, egg, almond flour, and veggie mixture in a bowl
6. Form into a loaf on a foil-lined pan
7. Brush with balsamic vinegar
8. Sprinkle meatloaf with Vermont maple flakes (if you don't have these you can use a mixture of balsamic and maple syrup for the topping)
9. Bake for 20 minutes
10. Brush the meatloaf with the leftover balsamic
11. Bake another 15 until cooked through (no pink in the turkey)
12. Cover the meatloaf and let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving


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


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Baked Sesame Nile Perch

After an amazing long weekend with my visitor from Dubai, the blog is back in action. I have so many great updates about life, love, work, and more, but I am going to have to pace myself! My old schedule of 4-5 posts per week is a bit unrealistic these days given my new routine in Stamford. We are officially in busy season at work, and I also am balancing a few health coaching clients. Things are going great, but I am excited to keep sharing new healthy recipes with all of my followers.

One of the stranger highlights of the past weekend was when Ry and I were watching Nik Wallenda walk across the Grand Canyon on a tight rope with no support, harness, or safety net. It was probably the most absurd thing I have ever seen. Besides the fact that it seemed impossible for something like that to be real, I could not get over how many times he praised Jesus, King of all Kings, his true savior. I can only imagine that he was deep in the meditative zone and using his spirituality to get across, but this was just hilarious. Thanks to Mal for sending me the recap... apparently I am not the only one who noticed:

Tonight's recipe is a new fish I tried from Fairway a few weeks back. The friendly fish man convinced me to switch up my typical order and try out the Nile perch. I then found out that Nile perch grows to be over 6 feet long and 400 pounds. This puts the average Biggest Loser contestant to shame, so I had to go for it. It also sounded hardcore (and was on sale of course), so I couldn't go wrong. The fish is mild and flaky but thicker than the average white fish (think cod, tilapia, etc.). It needs to cook longer than your typical fish, but it was well worth it. The flavor was fresh and rich, and it was a bit meatier than other fish. I served mine over a simple spinach and tomato salad, but you can serve it as is with a side of roasted veggies or a quiona salad. Give it a try next time you see it at your fish counter!

Baked Sesame Nile Perch: Serves 2-3, Prep time: 5 min, Cook time: 30 min

- 1 pound wild nile perch
- olive oil
- fine sea salt, pepper, and garlic powder
- sesame seeds

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Rinse perch and pat dry with paper towels
3. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and then season with sea sale, pepper, and garlic powder
4. Coat the fish with sesame seeds
5. Put the fish on a foil-lined pan
6. Bake for 30 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork