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Creamy Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

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Creamy Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

The crux of my entire food philosophy can be summarized in the simple ingredients of this soup - I believe in food that makes you feel good, meaning it doesn’t just taste good and it isn’t just good for you but its both - tasty and healthy, nourishing and delicious. I believe in food that incorporates a wide variety of micronutrients (which you get from eating a ton of different whole-plant-foods) while offering a balanced ratio of macronutrients (fats, carbs and proteins). I believe in food that is seasonal and (at least somewhat) locally sourced. I believe in food that is easy, accessible and quick to make. I believe in food that brings people joy and is happily shared. I could go on, but for now, let me just say - I BELIEVE in this soup! Is that a crazy thing to say? Why don’t you give it a try and see if I’ve made a believer out of you!

Creamy Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

If you couldn’t tell already this is the quintessential creamy fall soup - but my version is fortified with extra good for you ingredients to get you glowing in this season of change. Sweet, savory, creamy and smooth with a hint of spice and extra umami flavor - I think you’ll love the way traditional fall flavors of squash and apple pair with yellow curry and healing spices.

I don’t know about you, but I basically live off stuff like this during this time of year - warm, healing, gut-loving goodness that couldn’t be more delicious. I’ve added some extra special stuff to this particular recipe to give it a truly deep and complex flavor with a wide variety of health benefits (scroll below for the breakdown).

Creamy Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

The best part? This soup comes together in under 30 minutes with minimal prep. It’s also super affordable to make and a total crowd pleaser!

Creamy Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

Here’s a few of the stars in this recipe and a little insight into what they do for your body:

Butternut Squash - high in fiber and full of B vitamins, great for immunity and heart health

Apple - again, high in fiber and full of natural sweetness

Miso - a fermented food, just like sauerkraut and kombucha, which means its amazing for your gut. This soybean paste can be found in most regular grocery stores now and adds a level of umami not easily attained in plant-based cooking - it’s flavor is super savory, salty and almost cheesy

Ginger - ginger is an all star digestive aid but it’s tummy-taming benefits are matched by the wonderfully spicy and floral flavor it gives this soup

Turmeric - get glowy with turmeric! This deep yellow cousin to ginger is great for your skin, a powerful antioxidant, and it also happens to be an anti-inflammatory aid - the perfect thing to work into your dishes before the winter season (read: dull skin and colds all around).

Cinnamon - balances blood sugar


Serves: 4-6 people • Prep Time: 10 min • Cook Time: 20 min


  • Roughly 8 cups butternut squash or sweet potato (I used an even combo of the two), peeled and cubed

  • 1.5 16 oz. cans coconut milk (I used a “lite” variety but full fat will be even creamier)

  • 2-3 cups low sodium veggie stock

  • 1 small apple (any variety), peeled and cubed

  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • 1/4 cup dehydrated mushrooms *TOTALLY optional but so worth it

  • 2 tsp. good quality yellow curry powder

  • 2” knob peeled ginger

  • 1 tsp. fresh or ground turmeric

  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika, nutmeg, and cinnamon *optional

  • 2 tsp. white miso paste *optional

  • Salt and pepper to taste

TOPPINGS

  • raw or toasted pepitas a.k.a pumpkin seeds

  • a drizzle of reserved coconut milk OR plain/unsweetened cashew yogurt

  • chives or green onion


Peel and then chop your butternut squash into roughly even pieces (or can buy it pre-chopped in the store for ease). Peel and chop your onion.

Toss your squash and aromatics in a large pot with 1.5 cans coconut milk, vegetable stock, dried mushies, ginger, turmeric and all the spices and allow to come to a simmer. The liquids should cover the veg about half way - later on you can always add more if you like a thinner soup. Simmer on medium heat until the squash is quite tender - apx. 10-15 minutes.

Once cooked, turn off the stove and carefully transfer the contents of the pot to a high speed blender and blend until fully smooth and creamy -depending on the size of your blender, you may have to work in batches. Make sure to taste for flavor and consistency here - you can add more seasoning or more liquid if you wish.

NOTE: ALWAYS be very careful to remove your blenders top vent and cover with a kitchen towel when working with HOT liquids otherwise molten hot the contents may explode. If you use a nutri-bullet or other “top down” type of blender, wait until your soup has come to nearly room temp to do this step and then re-heat. Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender right in the pot, but I find I get the creamiest, smoothest result with my Vitamix.

Once blended, immediately transfer to serving bowls and garnish with the suggestions above or your own selections - croutons, vegan grilled cheese or a fresh autumn salad would be a delicious accompaniment.

Keeps well in the fridge for about a week, reheats wonderfully.

 

LOVE THROUGH FOOD, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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South West Vegan Zucchini Fritters with Spicy Cashew Avocado Creama

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Here's another recipe I've been meaning to share FOR-EV-ER. My zucchini fritters are spicy, savory, sweet, crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, oh, and they're really filling. Whole food, plant based, gluten free, oil free and FULL of fresh flavor. They take a little bit of work but are well worth it and honestly, I think you'll enjoy the whole process because making a bit of a mess in the kitchen is fun (okay, maybe that's just me). 

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The star here (other than zucchini, of course) is chic pea/garbanzo bean flour. It's cheap and pretty easy to come by these days in your regular grocery store (or here on Amazon). It's a really useful flour to keep on hand as it works not only as a bulking agent but as a binder as well. When cooked in a pan, this flour helps the fritter to become a golden brown and crispy masterpiece while keeping the inside moist and tender. It's loaded with protein and made of just one ingredient - all in all, it's my new favorite pantry staple.  Get your hands on some today!

The texture and flavor combination of this recipe is amazing to me. I love how crisp the outside gets while remaining tender on the inside. The combo of veggies and beans come together with the spices to be so authentically south west. But...just being honest...truthfully I don't feel I've had enough fritters in my life to officially call this a "fritter" rather than a pan-fried veggie burger but we are just gonna go with it because while "a cross between a patty and fritter" is maybe a better description, it's just no good for SEO. 

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If I were you I'd make a double batch of this recipe because you are gonna want left overs, as I mention in the instructions, they freeze well and make a great packed lunch or snack. My favorite way to eat these fritters? Room temp over a salad with some quinoa and the spicy cashew avo creama I detail below! Give it a try and let me know what you think!!!

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Makes: 8 fritters (double the recipe if you want left overs) • Serves: 4 • Prep Time: 20 min • Cook Time: 20-25 min


SOUTH WEST ZUCCHINI FRITTERS

  • 3 cups zucchini, grated*
  • 1.5 cups fresh corn kernels cut from the cobb (you may also use frozen)
  • 1/2 medium red pepper, diced (roasted red pepper would also be nice)
  • 1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped small (optional)
  • 16 oz. can black beans, drained, rinsed and lightly mashed**
  • 1/4 cup green onion OR red onion, finely diced
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • the juice of one lime
  • 1 tbsp. pickled jalapeno liquid (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. ground flax seed
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika, garlic powder, cumin and chili powder***
  • 1 heaping cup chic pea/gabanzo bean flour (I use Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste

NOTES:

*Do not drain the liquid from your squash, you'll need it to help to bind the fritters

**Call me gross but I just squeezed the beans in my hands to lightly mash about 70% of the beans

***You could alternatively use taco seasoning instead of these spices

Grate and measure out your zucchini and add to a very large bowl, prep the rest of your fresh ingredients and add to the bowl, stir to combine. Then add in the dry - chic pea flour, flax seed, nutritional yeast, spices/seasonings. Mix the batter well using your hands until the dry ingredients are very well absorbed. Taste and adjust for seasoning. As your cast iron or non stick pan heats to medium, allow the batter to sit for a few minutes so the chic pea flour can soak up all of the liquid. 

Use a mason jar lid to ensure even fritter size - spoon 4-6 tablespoons of batter into a lid (sprayed with cooking oil) and smooth out the top. Flip the fritter out of the lid into a well oiled skillet and repeat a few more times to fill the pan (I fit 4 fritters in my skillet and then went in for a second round, just make sure you re-spray your pan with cooking oil in between each batch). Then, using a spatula, press the fritters out a bit to ensure they cook through to the middle. Cook on each side for 5-7 minutes, flipping as much as you need to in order to prevent burning (a little char is tasty though). 

Once cooked evenly on both sides, remove your fritters from the pan and allow to cool on a wire rack. You can serve them warm, cold or at room temperature. Top with spicy cashew avocado creama (recipe below) or salsa, serve over salad, on a bun or with a side of rice! These fritters store well for a few days in the fridge, make an amazing packed lunch and even freeze well for a few weeks in a zip lock bag/glass container with parchment paper in between each patty.


SPICY CASHEW AVOCADO CREAMA

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • the juice of one lime
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. pickled jalapeno liquid
  • 4-8 pickled jalapeno slices
  • 1/2 cup of cilantro (optional)
  • Garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste
  • ~1/2-3/4 cup water

Add all ingredients (go easy on the water to start) to a blender and blend until totally smooth - taste and adjust for seasoning. Store your left over creama in a mason jar in the fridge for 1-2 days! Makes a great dressing/sandwich spread as well!

 

LOVE THROUGH FOOD, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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The Ultimate Guacamole

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The Ultimate Guacamole

ultimateguacamole

Everyone loves it. Everyone craves it. Everyone wants it on everything. And yes, everyone knows its extra. When it comes to something I eat and enjoy so often I don't want it to just be mediocre, it's taken me a long time but I have recently come to perfect my ideal gauc. But, what makes guacamole the "ultimate" guacamole?!

ultimateguacamole

Well... I've learned that it's different for everyone - some like super chunky guac (like me) but others like it totally smooth (yuck, sorry). Some like tons of fresh herbs in and others like to keep it simple. Some like tons of spice but others want to keep it mild. But for me, a few things make this recipe my ultimate and I hope you love it too...

1. Its substantial. This gauc has it all - GARLIC, ONION, JALAPENO, TOMATO and....FRESH CORN. The sweetness from the somewhat uncommon addition of corn is the absolute holy grail for gauc and in my opinion it makes this more than just a dip - it is so well rounded, you can just eat it by the spoonful. 

2. The freshness. The addition of lime and cilantro combine to make the perfect fresh take. 

3. The creativity. The sneaky addition of smoked paprika. Such a nice touch.  

ultimateguacamole

Give this a go and let me know if you take away OR add anything else so that makes this gauc YOUR ultimate.


Serves: 4 • Prep Time: 15 min


  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 ear of fresh raw corn, cut off the cobb (yup, corn!) 
  • 1/4 large red onion *optional
  • the juice from 1 large, juicy lime (sub lemon)
  • 1/2 chopped jalapeno pepper, seeds removed
  • 1/4 cup chopped roma/cherry/grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic OR 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika OR cayenne 
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Prep all of your ingredients - remove your corn from the cobb, chop the garlic, pepper, onion, collect your spices and juice your lime. Pit and peel the avocados and add to a large bowl.

I like to keep my guac really chunky so I simply use a knife to roughly chop my avo but if you like a finer mash, use the back of a fork til you reach the consistency you like. Then, fold in the rest of your ingredients (holding back on a bit of each for decoration). Taste and re-season if needed.

For presentation, transfer your mix to a smaller bowl and top with paprika, cilantro, red onion, tomato and more fresh corn and enjoy immediately. 

Serve this dip up with chips, sweet potato fries, on top of a salad or rice bowl - or literally just eat it alone with a fork. 

As with all avocado based dishes, this dip generally doesn't keep super well but if you do want to make your left overs last - cover the gauc with cling wrap, allowing the plastic to touch the surface of the dip - that will reduce the oxidization overall. 

 

LOVE THROUGH FOOD, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta with Citrus-y Vegan 'Parmesan'

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Summery, fresh and FULL of flavor. I LOVE everything this simple, quick dinner has to offer - and to be honest, I've been making it a while but I am FINALLY getting around to sharing it with you. If I were to compare it to an old classic I'd say it reminds me a lot of penne a la vodka - the light pink-y sauce, the rich flavor and the penne shaped pasta of course (I used Ancient Harvest quinoa pasta).

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I love the hit of healthy fat we get from the addition of coconut cream, it makes the sauce coat the noodles perfectly (especially with the addition of a little starchy pasta water) and the color that it gives - oh, just you wait! We take things even further than your traditional pasta dish by mixing in sweet spring peas, loads of fresh basil and a sprinkle of my brand new citrus-y vegan 'parm' that is made with mineral rich Brazil nuts. 

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A few pantry staples plus a few fresh ingredients and you have a dinner to wow just about anyone who gathers around your table. This dish would also be great with zucchini noodles too, but lets be real, a girl needs some real-deal pasta every once in a while.

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It's as easy as this - we start with an creamy tomato sauce packed with sneaky veggies made right in your blender and we then heat it through so the flavors can meld. Next, we boil up some pasta, blanch some peas and chop some basil. We then pulse together the nuts, nooch and lemon zest based 'parm' in a processor for something truly special. Scroll below to see how it all comes together!


Serves: 4 • Prep Time: 30 min • Cook Time: 10 min


CREAMY TOMATO SAUCE

  • 16oz. can (or half a 32oz). can of whole, Roma tomatoes (look for an Italian brand)
  • 2 small cans of coconut cream (8oz.) OR the thick, creamy part from two 16oz. can of coconut milk 
  • 8oz. can of tomato paste
  • 2 medium sized carrots, peeled and roughly chopped (they add natural sweetness and thicken the sauce)
  • 2-3 tbsp. coconut sugar *optional
  • 1-3 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tbsp. dried basil, oregano and rosemary
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

PASTA

  • 1 box Ancient Harvest Quinoa penne  *sub whatever pasta you want
  • 1 cup frozen baby peas
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped and divided into two piles (one to add to the pasta and sauce and one for garnish)

Add all sauce ingredients to a blender and combine on high until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Add to a large pot and cook on low-medium heat til the sauce reduces a bit (apx. 5-7 min) - be careful and use a lid to prevent splattering. Stir occasionally.

In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to a roiling boil, salt and add in pasta. Cook according to package directions, minus one minute of cook time. Drain and reserve a 1/2-1 cup of the cooking liquid.

NOTE: If you're using zucchini noodles you can skip this step and cook them til tender right in the sauce itself.

When the pasta is just a minute under done, drain and add the pasta and frozen peas to the sauce - toss well to coat. Use some reserved pasta water to help to loosen the sauce if needed - I used about a 1/2 cup. 

Sprinkle in half of the chopped basil and plate it up - garnish with your homemade vegan 'parm' (recipe below) and more basil. 

This dish is best served fresh but you can store left over/extra sauce in the fridge for 4-5 days.


    LEMON-Y VEGAN 'PARMESAN' SPRINKLE (makes a mason jars worth of this addictive sprinkle)

    • 1/2 cup brazil nuts *you can sub walnuts, pecans or almonds
    • 1/2 cup cashews
    • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
    • the peel of one small lemon (I use a veggie peeler here)
    • 1 small clove of garlic 
    • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning *optional
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Add all of the ingredients to your food processor (or blender if it has a 'pulse' setting), pulse everything together until it is fully combined and resembles a Parmesan cheese texture. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Store leftovers in a mason jar - it keeps for about a month in the fridge.

     

    LOVE THROUGH FOOD, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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    Eating Seasonally: Raw Pad Thai Salad with *Peanut-Free* Dressing

    This salad is not just a salad. It's everything. Am I being dramatic? I am. But keep scrolling and you'll see what I mean.

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    This salad is something so special. With a soft-spot for Thai flavors, I've eaten my fair share of this traditionally heavy, salt-laden dish in the past and yea, its amazing. But I would argue that THIS is almost better. My take on raw Pad Thai has the same flavor profile as it's noodley-counterpart but it's fresh, crunchy and leaves me feeling light and energized. 

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    If you follow my blog, the sauce recipe should look familiar to you as I have shared it a few times. Usually I make it with powdered peanut butter or tahini but I really love this almond butter variation.

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    This is the perfect way to use up all the veggies in the back of your fridge, or your new CSA box or to try something new you see at the farmers market with minimal risk (it's covered in bomb-ass sauce after all). It is slightly labor intensive with all that julienne peeling and chopping but it is SOOO worth it. 

    P.S- Do not skip the addition of raw corn here! It's a summer staple that adds a really refreshing hint of sweetness!

    Give this nutrient-rich, full-flavor salad a try and let me know how you think it stacks up to the original Pad Thai!

    raw pad thai

    Serves: 2 'dinner' size portions • Prep Time: 30 minutes


    FOR THE SALAD

    • 1 medium zucchini/summer squash, julienned 
    • 2 large carrots, julienned
    • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
    • 1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
    • 1 cup thinly sliced green/Napa cabbage
    • 3/4 cup raw corn kernels 
    • 3/4 cup raw veggies of choice, julienned or thinly sliced (celery root, asparagus, beets, jicama, etc.) *optional
    • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
    • 2 tbsp. mint, chopped

    Julienne, spiralize and/or chop your clean veggies and herbs. Add them all to a large bowl suitable for tossing. A julienne peeler (linked about) makes light work of this task.The goal is the get a diverse range of textures just like in a traditional noodle-based Pad Thai so opt for a few different methods when it comes to slicing your veggies.


    FOR THE SAUCE

    • 1/4 cup unsalted almond butter or tahini (for a nut-free option)
    • 1/4 cup  fresh lime juice
    • 2 tbsp. coconut aminos OR Bragg's liquid aminos
    • 2-4 tbsp. water (depending on how thin your almond butter is)
    • 2-3 tsp. maple syrup (or other sweetener)
    • 1/2" knob of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
    • 1" piece of lemon grass *optional 
    • 1-2 tsp. sriracha or other asian-style chili sauce *optional
    • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

    Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on high til well combined. Sample and adjust seasonings to taste. Stores well in a glass container in the fridge for well over a week.

    NOTE: This dressing will thicken slightly as it sits but you can always stir in more acid (lime juice) or water to thin in out.

    PRO-TIP: I like to make a double (or even triple) batch of this sauce. The recipe above makes just as much as you need for these two salads BUT it can be tricky to get that small of an amount blending in a conventional size blender. Making more than enough of this is great because you can always store it in the fridge to use on salads later in the week, or to add to a nourishing and warm rice bowl. Although, if you have a nutri-bullet or something similar, whipping up a small batch should be a breeze.


    FOR GARNISH

    • Sprinkle of cilantro and mint
    • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds
    • 1-2 tablespoon chopped dry roasted pumpkin, almonds, cashew or pistachio 
    • 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds

    PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

    Right before you're ready to serve toss the dressing through the veggies. You may want to reserve a bit of the dressing (for dipping) or if you don't like a lot of sauce. 

    Garnish with chopped nuts, seeds, herbs and black sesame for an authentic look.

    PRO-TIP: Be sure to toss just dressing into the veggies right before you serve. The acid in the sauce will break down the thinly sliced veggies over time and NO ONE likes a mushy raw pad thai. Make note of this if you are prepping salad for the week!

    *recepie inspired and informed by Oh She Glows!

     

    LOVE THROUGH FOOD, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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    Sage and White Bean Spring Detox Soup

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    Sage and White Bean Spring Detox Soup

    springdetoxsoup

    I am SO excited to share this soup recipe with you! Of course we can feel run down and sluggish in winter but people sometimes forget that spring, and all the change it brings, can require a little detox of its own. Primarily, I like to detox with whole-plant foods. They get me feeling on track and fully vibrant. This time of year I like to start eating more uncooked fruit and veg but I also still crave warm, nourishing dinners - if you are like me, then this soup is for you!

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     I took a lot of time researching and selecting each and every ingredient in here to make sure I was selecting ingredients that aid in detox, reduced inflammation and increased nutritional diversity. I also wanted to make sure the flavors and textures matched the energy of the season. This soup is light & bright but still creamy (due to a technique I mention below) and comforting. 

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    The recipe does take more time than my usual in-and-out style of cooking but it's worth it. Think of the process of making this soup as a devotion to yourself and the ones you love - or perhaps even the season itself. Take the time to move through this process slowly and make it from scratch (aka soak the beans) - as everyone knows, it makes all the difference when you put love into it. To make it worth your while, this recipe does yield a fairly large amount of soup - so be sure to share some with friends. Everyone I shared it with reported feeling full, nourished and light after eating. 

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    In my posts I love to take the time to fill your brains with a little nutritional factoids and I could go on forever with this one. I think every ingredient plays a role in the healing power of this recipe but here are my key players:

    White Beans: Aside from acting as a base and thickener for the soup, white beans are rich protein source (8g per 1/2 cup serving). Full of sustaining fiber. High in vitamins and minerals - magnesium, iron and B vitamins. 

    Sage: Contains a whole slew of essential nutrients - Aside from amazing flavor benefits, sage is high in vitamin A, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, and B vitamins, plus healthy amounts of vitamin C, vitamin E, thiamin, and copper!

    Dandelion Greens: I could go on and on with this one. Dandelion greens (aka literal weeds) are an awesome affordable spring-time alternative to your usual go-to greens - they are much more tender than kale and are slightly bitter like arugula ... these greens give the soup a dynamic flavor profile but beyond that they are are POWERFUL detoxifier and blood purifier. They are high in fiber and literally ever vitamin and mineral you can imagine.

    Lemon: The ultimate alkalizing, detoxifying citrus that gives the soup a really pleasant brightness.

    Onions + Garlic: How can you have soup without these two winners! Not to mention, they are both great anti-fungals! 

    Celery Root AKA Celeriac: Never heard of this veggie?! That's kind of the point - incorporating new and diverse veggies into the soup will not only aid in your exploration of new foods BUT it also really helps your gut microbiome. Celery root (literally the bulb of the celery plant) is actually fairly easy to find in most grocery stores. It's an affordable, low-calorie, slightly-sweet, starchy veg that makes a refreshing alternative to potatoes or parsnips. High in B6, vitamin C and lots of healthy fiber.

    As with all my recipes, I totally encourage you to customize! Can't find dandelion greens? Toss in some chard or kale. Don't like sage? Sub rosemary. Let me know if you make this soup and how you feel afterwards!


    Makes: 10-12 servings (freezes well) • Prep Time: Overnight + 30 min • Cook Time: 2 hours


    • 1 16 oz. bag white/canileni beans, soaked overnight or with the quick soak method of your choice (OR sub 2 16. oz cans cooked white beans for shortened prep)
    • 8 cups water
    • 2 veggie boulion cubes
    • 1/4-1/2 cup dried mushrooms, any kind will do *optional
    • 1 small celery root, peeled and diced (or sub parsnips)
    • 6 small carrots, peeled and diced
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 small bunch dandelion greens, finely chopped with tough ends removed (sub kale, chard, spinach, etc)
    • 2 small summer squash or zuchinni 
    • 20-30 cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 1 large bunch sage, finely chopped
    • 2 tsp. dried thyme
    • 1 tsp. dried rosemary
    • 1/2 tsp. red chili flake
    • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
    • 1/2 lemon, juiced
    • Salt + pepper to taste

    METHOD

    Soak your white beans according to the package instructions - overnight or quick soak method. Then, rinse and recover the beans in 8 cups of water and simmer for 1 hour in your largest pot until the beans are soft. 

    In the meantime, prep all your your veggies. Peel and chop carrots and celery root and set aside with the onion and garlic. Wash and chop summer squash, danellion greens, tomatoes and sage and place in a separate bowl.

    Once the beans are tender, add in the boullion, mushrooms, dried spices and root veggies - carrots, celery root, garlic, onion. Simmer until veggies are very tender - apx. 20 minutes

    At this point, transfer 1/4-1/2 of the soup (depending on how creamy you want the base) to a high speed blender and blend on a slow setting until smooth. Alternatively, you could use an immersion blender to puree some of the mixture or simply leave your soup unblended with a less creamy finished product. Add the pureed portion back into the pot and stir to combine. You may need to add more water or broth at this point depending on how thick you like your soup - use caution though, over time the soup will thicken due to the starch in the beans.

    Add the rest of the veggies into the pot and cook a few minutes more until they are tender. Finish with a garnish of freshly squeezed lemon and some green onion.

    Serve hot. Reheats well - may have to add additional water or broth.

     

    LOVE THROUGH FOOD, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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    Spring-time Mediterranean One-Dish Dinner

    Spring-time Mediterranean One-Dish Dinner

    If you are craving Spring but feel stuck in the never-ending winter-doldrums (yes, its snowing as I write this post) this simple, bright, flavorful one-dish meal is for YOU! It's packed with a wide array of different veggies that are totally customizable, herbs and spices which are sure to get you geared up for all the good to come!

    Spring-time Mediterranean One-Dish Dinner

    Mediterranean fare isn't really a go-to cuisine of mine but I do not know why ...it might be because I JUST started to be able to eat and enjoy olives this year (a big thank you to my dear vinegar-loving friends, Mimi and Peter for not giving up on me). But this dish transcends all boundaries for me with its truly unique combination of flavors and its seasonal ingredient list.

    Like most of my recipes, this meal is SUPER versatile, meaning you can literally add any veggie that catches your eye in the grocery store (I make some more springy suggestions below). It's also one of those set-it-and-forget-it one-dish-wonders that bakes in the oven making it perfect for these early days of Spring. Not to mention, the literal rainbow of vegetables pack both a visual and nutritional punch to be remembered (read: nutrients, vitamins, minerals, fiber).

    Spring-time Mediterranean One-Dish Dinner
    Spring-time Mediterranean One-Dish Dinner

    The base sweetness of gold potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and roasted onion cooks down with the salty, brine-y olives, capers and artichoke to make a truly unique and rich sauce. My goal was to make a perfectly balanced one-dish meal that everyone could enjoy and I think I hit the jackpot. You've got your base of veg, a hit of protein from the beans and some healthy fats from the olives. The flavors cook down together so nicely that all you can do to make it better is to add a grain (I used brown rice pasta) to aid in soaking up all the goodness. 

    I also must note that in testing this recipe I made it for my parents - any my dad, who needs to nickname everything, has coined this "hot hippy garbage" (aka he wishes there were chicken). I promise, if it got a nickname, that means he likes it...as in, he has eaten way more this his fair share!

    Spring-time Mediterranean One-Dish Dinner

    This would be the perfect thing to bring to a Spring pot-luck or shower as it tastes just as good room-temp on some crusty bread. As Spring takes root, let me know what you add or take away from the this full-on crowd pleaser below recipe below! 

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    Makes: 6-8 Servings • Prep Time; 15 minutes • Cook Time: 1 hr 15 min


    • 1 32 oz. can whole San Marzano tomatoes
    • 1 16 oz. can low-sodium chickpeas/white beans OR 1 block extra firm tofu 
    • 1 16 oz. can artichokes in water (rinsed and drained well)
    • 8-10 mini golden potatoes, quartered
    • 1 small red onion, roughly diced
    • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 small zucchini, roughly diced*
    • 1 small summer squash, roughly diced*
    • 1 small red pepper, roughly diced*
    • 1 small yellow pepper, roughly diced*
    • 1/2 cup mixed pitted olives, roughly diced
    • 1 small bunch asparagus, cut into 1" pieces*
    • 2 tsp. oregano
    • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
    • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

    *Other suggestions in lue of the veggies listed above:

    Portabello mushrooms, sweet or hot peppers, roasted red peppers, green beans, kale, chard, spinach, eggplant

    GARNISH

    • 1/4 capers, drained and rinsed
    • Parsley, minced
    • The zest of one lemon + the juice
    • Nutritional yeast or vegan mozzarella

    SERVED WITH

    • Trader Joe's Brown Rice Fusilli OR any other grain including wheat, rice or quinoa, even warm crusty bread would be amazing

    Preheat the oven to 400*F.

    In a large, deep casserole dish add in the can of whole tomatoes and their liquid (I like to slice the tomatoes up a bit) followed by the diced onions, garlic, potatoes, red/yellow peppers, olives as well as any other veggies that take a while to cook. Toss to coat with the herbs and spices. Cover tightly with tin foil and roast for 40 minutes.

    In the meantime, boil your pasta or grain if necessary. 

    After 40 minutes, remove the casserole dish from the oven and add in the artichoke hearts, chickpeas and all quick cooking veggies (asparagus, summer squash, zucchini) - toss to coat. Here you might want to adjust the seasoning; I find this dish to be flavorful enough as it is with all the olives, capers and artichoke hearts but of course season to your taste.

    Add the casserole dish back into the oven, uncovered and roast for another 20-30 minutes until all veggies are tender and the tomatoes have cooked down to make a nice, thick sauce. In the last 15 minutes of cooking, check the tenderness of the potatoes - if they still have a way to go, bump the heat up to 425*F - this will ensure doneness.  

    Garnish with fresh lemon zest and juice as well as capers and parsley. You can add nutritional yeast or vegan cheese if desired. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving with your grain of choice.

    Enjoy!

     

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    Braised Red Cabbage, Apple and Cranberry Slaw

    With St. Patty's day right around the corner I wanted to make something, well, uh, "festive" - last year I blogged my super healthy, vegan version of a shamrock shake which is seriously epic (go check it out) but this year I wanted to reinvent something a little more challenging. 

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    redcabbageslaw

    Cabbage isn't really anyone's favorite when it comes to traditional St. Patty's side dishes but this kicked up version is sure to change minds! First, I start with red (purple) cabbage instead of the regular green, I slice it thinly and combine it with sweet apples, onion and tart cranberries. I then braise the mixture for a long time in apple cider vinegar, asian five spice powder and maple syrup. This makes for a tender, vibrant hued, sweet, tart, tangy masterpiece that you will want to eat hot or cold with every single meal. I suggest making a lot because it's so versatile and well, addictive - I also find it super filling. 

    On top of it being so incredibly delicious, you could not make a dish any better for you if you tried. Red cabbage is not only gorgeous, it is a water-rich food that is loaded with essential vitamins and minerals. Apples are filled with good-for-the-gut fiber. Onions are antimicrobial, and as we know, cranberries are great for UT health. As festive as they are, caraway seeds are also literal magic when it comes to digestion - seriously look it up. Five spice powder (cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise, and Szechwan peppercorns) acts a powerful anti-inflammatory and it's sure to help Caraway make digestion a breeze. 

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    braisedredcabbage

    Serve this dish up alongside a nut-roast or over curried lentils. You can serve it cold on top of a salad or on it's own eaten straight out of the fridge.

    P.S - You can leave out the fresh cranberries if you can't find them at this time of year, sometimes you can get them in the freezer section but how much do you want to bet that you have your own bag left over from thanksgiving just sitting in your very own freezer just begging to be used?! Another great sub would be raisins!

    Ready to transform your cabbage connotations? Give this recipe a try and let me know how much you love it.

    *recipe adapted from Deliciously Ella


    Serves: 6-8 • Prep Time: 10 minutes • Cook Time: 1 hour


    • 1 small red cabbage 
    • 1 medium sweet onion
    • 2 small gala apples
    • 2 cups fresh or frozen whole cranberries 

    NOTE: you can use dried, naturally sweetened cranberries with a slightly different end result

    • the juice of one orange *optional
    • 1/2-1 tsp. caraway seeds *optional
    • 1 tsp. five spice powder ( or any combination of cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise, and Szechwan peppercorns)
    • 2-4 tbsp. maple syrup (depending on desired sweetness)
    • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
    • 1 tsp. sea salt (helps to draw the water out and tenderize the cabbage)
    • 2-4 tbsp. water* if nessesary

    Preheat your oven to 375*F. 

    Core and chop the cabbage in thin 1/2" slices. Chop the onion and apple (no need to peel) at similar widths. Add in the cranberries and toss together in a large, oven-safe baking dish with a lid (if you don't have a lid, you can over with aluminum foil)

    Add in the spices, orange juice, AVC, maple syrup and water - toss well. 

    Cover with the lid and add to a hot oven and bake for at least 1 hour or until the cabbage is very tender and the cranberries have all "popped" and released their juices. Check occasionally - giving the mixture a stir - if you notice it looking dry after halfway through the cooking time, add a little water.

    *Alternatively, you could give this a shot on the stovetop. I have not tried it myself but I imagine it would be quite a similar process - just keep an eye on it, you may need to add a bit more liquid and continue to stir frequently to prevent burning.

    Remove from the oven - serve hot, at room temperature or cold.

     

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    Ayurvedic Spring Cleanse - My Kitchiri Recipe (BONUS: Breakfast Kitchiri Recipe)

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    Ayurvedic Spring Cleanse - My Kitchiri Recipe (BONUS: Breakfast Kitchiri Recipe)

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    So, I am no ayurvedic expert but the ancient sister science to yoga is something that has been of deep interest to me for a long time. I first became aware of ayurveda through my mother by way of THE Deepak Chopra - I remember taking a dosha quiz and reading about my dominant constitution when I was still in middle school - it was so spot on and that had always stuck with me. When I began my yoga teacher training at Kripalu years later I had no idea we would spend so much time on ayurveda and the ideas around living a yogic lifestyle but again I was pleased to learn as much as I could (except for the part I watched my teacher scrape her own tongue in from of 50 people, that was kinda weird). Then again, while working at YogaWorks in Los Angeles I was exposed to other aspects of ayurveda as a good friend was going through an intensive training. It is one of those things that I soak up like a sponge  - I always tune in when it comes up because it is just fun for me to know about (kinda like the Revolutionary War and Ancient Aliens but those are topics for another day).

    Now, I do not by any means obey all the ayurvedic principles all the time - I don't eat much oil (recommended to dampen my constitutions' airy qualities), I seldom dry brush or practice self massage and I don't always rise before the sun (thanks a lot, daylight savings) BUT I when I do apply ayurvedic practices, I notice that the yogic high I experience on the mat begins to seep into my daily life - routine becomes ritual, self care becomes sacred and food becomes nourishment. I love how ayurveda lets me slow down and truly recognize all the mundane 'life stuff' for the gift that it is.  


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    PANCHAKARMA: CLEANSING THE AYURVEDIC WAY

    For the past few months the ayurvedic practice of panchakarma (a fivefold detoxification treatment involving massage, herbal therapy, and other procedures) has been popping up for me over and over again. "Panchakarma is a Sanskrit word that means “five actions” or “five treatments”. It is a process used to clean the body of toxic materials left by disease and poor nutrition". A true panchakarma is a serious (read: expensive) thing and involves a ton of highly involved treatments like, um, oil-enemas (which I'm not hating on at all, I'd totally do it, but ya know $$$). By very principal, panchakarma is to be performed away from the home over a week or more under the supervision and care of more than one ayurvedic practitioner, but, as they say "ain't nobody got time for that" so I decided to create my own toned-down ayurvedic cleanse inspired by some of the principles outlined in this ancient practice.

    Albeit intensive, I love the idea that I can make my own ayurvedic cleanse not about full-on withdrawal from daily life. Believe me, I am all for a good juice detox every now and again (heck I even wrote a book on it, which you can find here) but this type of mono-food cleansing sounded do-able and heck, even enjoyable to me this time around. It's approachable and because you can do a lot of meal prep it's easy to do without full on retreat from life. I love that when performing the practices I outline below, I am integrating them into my day-to-day life which hopefully will transform into a deeper awareness around self care. 

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    ayurvedicspringcleanse

    I was inspired to this at-home mini panchakarma as a counterweight against the uprootedness I have felt over the past few months - packing up, moving and traveling across the country, then relocating back to my hometown with a 'way-to-flexible-for-my-liking type of plan'. To be honest, it has not been an easy transition leaving remote Northern California and trying to integrate back into busy tri-state life and I really did not expect the ...ahem, feelings I'd be having. Not to mention, I have a strange uneasiness about spring - most people welcome the change but for me it has always brought on a little bit of anxiety (similar to the feeling others get around winter equinox). Anyway, it's safe to say I am so ready for a detoxifying, nourishing, grounding, cleansing pause from all of the emotional and physical stress I've taken on. 

    Here's what I am hoping to get out of it:

    • A sense of groundedness 
    • A handle on my digestion (which has been, ahem, all over the place lately)
    • A daily routine that fell by the wayside with all the moving
    • A better read on my feelings and a means to translate them into action (or inaction)
    • The ability to S-L-O-W-the-F-D-O-W-N and process, consider and plan before I react

    AYURVEDIC CLEANSE + KITCHIRI

    In a panchakarma there are a few days of cleansing/detoxifying where, among other things, the participant is to solely consume kitchiri - a porridge of jasmine rice, split mung beans and traditional indian spices (I got my kitchiri spice blend from Banyan Botanicals on Amazon). A friend of mine who lived in Tibet refers to kitchiri as the 'chicken soup' for that part of the world and I can see why - it is SO damn comforting. A few great things about kitchiri:

    • It's cheap
    • It's tri-doshic, meaning it will suit you no matter your ayurvedic constitution or the time of year
    • It digests super easily -rice and mung beans are easy on the intestines
    • It's a complete protein (all those amino acids do a body good)
    • It's satisfying and sustainable (unlike other cleanses where you're starving)
    • It's totally customizable - this goes along with kitchiri being tri-doshic, you can customize each serving with different fruits, vegetables, chutneys or nut butters to make it savory, sweet, light or filling.

    The spice mixture featured in most kitchiri includes brown mustard seed, turmeric, mineral salt, cumin seed, ginger, asafoetida and fenugreek which are all great at aiding in digestion thus helping to get the body back in a balanced rhythm. You can go as light or as heavy with the spices as you wish but  don't worry, it isn't spicy but rather full of flavor and actually slightly bitter. But be warned - due to the golden glow of turmeric (which is great for fighting inflammation) you need to be careful that you don't wind up with yellow-stained everything like me (sorry wooden spoon, sorry fingers). You can of course buy these spices separately, toast them and grind them but I like to take the shortcut with the package from Banyan - it's 97% organic and really tasty. 

    Spring, ayurvedicly speaking, is kapha season (think heavy, cool, dense and wet) and winter is vata (think airy, cool and dry) so balancing those two energies -especially with three NorEasters to deal with - will be a challenge - that's where your kitchiri additions come in. As an ideal, all three doshas (vata, kapha and pita) are somewhat balanced in the body - in a state of flux just like the seasons, but equal overall. In order bring our equalize our doshas we can focus on certain practices to bring out one quality or another and eat certain foods to suppress others. First you need to center in and listen - see what types of ailments or discomforts are coming up for you before you do your research to see what your body may need.

    I think ayurveda has hit the nail on the head in that it considers elimination (poop, yes, poop) to be the ultimate testament to health - if we are not eliminating properly, how can we expect anything else to ...ahem, flow? 

    Here's a short little breakdown of additions you can make to increase your personal agne (or inner fike aka digestion) and pacify any dominant dosha. If you want to dive deeper, check out this link.

    VATA:

    • Cooked root vegetables or winter squashes
    • Brown rice in lue of white jasmine rice
    • Garnish with cilantro and green onion

    KAPHA:

    • Millet or quinoa in lue of rice (grains often don't sit well with kaphas)
    • Bitter greens like broccoli rabe
    • Garnish with cilantro and lemon juice

    PITTA:

    • Use coconut oil instead of ghee to encourage cooling
    • Add summer squash and celery
    • Garnish with cilantro and lime
    kitchiricleanse

    ENOUGH ALREADY...WHERE'S THE RECIPE?

    A FEW THINGS TO NOTE: I am vegan - which means I do not use animal products of any kind. Traditionally, kitchiri can be started with ghee (or clarified butter) OR oil. Now, while ghee is recommended for balancing my vata energy, I choose coconut oil in lue of the animal based product. If you know me, you know I avoid oil all together but I do think its important add it in this particular instance. The ghee thing however is just a principal of mine that I will not compromise so the recipe below reflects that. Also note, Vata's should use a 'warmer' oil such as sesame but I can't stand the taste of the stuff so....coconut it is. 

    I wanted to keep this cleanse very simple, I essentially used the basic recipe on the back of Banyan Botanicals Kitchiri Spice Blend - adding only a few additional ingredients as this is meant to be a break for your digestion. 


    Serves: 3 meals for 3 days, divide according to amount desired (apx. 1.5 cups/meal) • Prep Time: 15 min • Cook Time: 45 minutes


    FOR THE BASE RECIPE


    METHOD:

    1. Soak the brown rice and mung beans for 15 minutes in a large bowl, rinse well.

    2. In a large pot, melt the coconut oil on medium heat and add in the kitichiri spices - toasting them gently for a minute or two.

    3. Then add in the rice and beans - gently toast for a minute more before adding the water and seaweed. Stir well.

    4. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes or until the rice is tender and the mung beans have all but disappeared.

    NOTE: Depending on your desired consistency, and taking into account that the mixture will continue to thicken, you may wish to add more liquid once you have removed the pot from the heat. I added apx. 2 cups more water as I like a consistency that is similar to a thin stew.

    5. Store in an airtight container in the fridge and scoop out your desired portion to reheat at all of your meals - adding toppings as desired.


    MY FAVORITE SAVORY TOPPINGS:

    • Steamed kale, chard, asparagus or broccoli 
    • Roasted sweet potato, carrot and parsnips
    • Roasted butternut or kabocha squash
    • Cilanto
    • Lime/lemon juice
    • Tahini
    • Sea salt/pepper
    • Nutritional yeast (for that B12, yo)
    • Hot sauce

    I enjoy sweet breakfasts to savory so kitchari doused in green onion and cilantro in the morning doesn't sound super appetizing to me so I will be making a 'sweet' version for breakfast, read below for more...

    sweetkitchiri

    MY FAVORITE SWEET/BREAKFAST TOPPINGS:

    • Coconut milk
    • Maple Syrup
    • Sweet potato or yams
    • Raisins or dates
    • Blueberries
    • Cinnamon + Cardamom
    • Sea salt

    IN CASE YOU'RE WONDERING...

    Kitchiri is just a part of my at home ayruvedic cleanse. Here's what a week of cleansing will look like for me: 

    NOTE: If you are planning on doing your own cleanse, do your research and make it your own. This is all about filling your well so you can show up better for others and it's important that you choose the aspects that best serve you.

    DAY ONE -

    • Morning meditation + journal
    • Eat lightly
    • Drink 3L + of water
    • Warm dandilion tea before bed
    • No caffeine
    • At least 1 hour of exercise
    • Morning and night self care routine - dry brushing, self massage, tongue scraping, stretching 

    DAY TWO, THREE AND FOUR -

    • Morning Meditation + journal
    • Kichiri for breakfast, lunch and dinner (3 square meals)
    • Drink 3L + of water
    • Self massage x2
    • Warm dandilion tea before bed
    • No caffeine
    • At least 1 hour of exercise
    • Morning and night self care routine - dry brushing, self massage, tongue scraping, stretching

    DAY FIVE -

    • Eat lightly + journal
    • Drink 3L + of water
    • Self massage x2
    • Warm dandilion tea before bed
    • No caffeine
    • At least 1 hour of exercise
    • Morning and night self care routine - dry brushing, self massage, tongue scraping, stretching

    THINGS TO REMEMBER:

    • Thoroughly chew my food, be present when eating and focus only on eating
    • Stay present, don't reach for the phone each time an uncomfortable emotion comes up
    • Confront problems head on
    • Rest when I need to
    • Be selective with my energy

    Are you interested in ayurvedic cleansing? Will you do this on your own? Would you want to do one as a group together over the spring equinox complete with recipe guide and facebook group? Let me know in the comments below!


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    Golden Roasted Squash Soup

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    I know, I know. It's been a while! Between the holidays and working on a lot of 'behind the scenes' LCK projects, the blog has taken a bit of a back seat. Bare with me for the next month or so as I am moving back home to the east coast - more on that super exciting news soon! But I am back for now with a super simple, healing, delicious soup perfect for a winters night!

    This soup isn't a revolutionary concept but it is just plain good if you're feeling a little 'dull' this time of year. It is the perfect thing to ignite your tastebuds, get your skin glowing and your digestion, ahem, flowing. Turmeric, coconut, ginger and garlic round out the sweetness of roasted butternut squash in all the best ways - you will want bowl after bowl of this creamy, comforting concoction which is fine because all of the ingredients are full-on superfoods.

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    Here's a little breakdown:

    - Butternut squash is packed with nutrient dense healthy fiber that keeps your digestion moving in the sluggish winter months (and, heck, in the spring, summer and fall too)

    - Coconut milk is a healthy fat that provides long lasting energy 

    - Turmeric contains powerful anti-inflamitory compounds and leaves your skin glowing (make sure to crack some fresh black pepper into your soup as it aids in the absorption of curcumin in the body)

    - Ginger is wonderful at healing any disease within your stomach

    - Garlic is an anti-microbial and is great, natural way to keep the sniffles (or the flu) at bay

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    Okay, are you convinced you need to make this soup yet? If none of the benefits win you over, I promise the simple method and the flavor will - and I mean, just look at that golden color! 


    Serves: 2-4 • Duration: 1 hr, 15 min 


    • 1 small butternut squash, seeds removed + roasted
    • 2-4 cups low sodium vegetable broth - adjust according to your desired thickness
    • 1-2 cloves garlic, to taste
    • 1 16 oz. can 'lite' coconut milk
    • 1" fresh garlic cloves, peeled and grated
    • 1/2"-1" fresh turmeric, peeled and grated
    • 1/2"-1" fresh garlic, peeled and grated
    • Salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

    Preheat your oven to 400*F. Slice your butternut squash in half length wise and remove the seeds. Lay a piece of parchment down on a sheet pan and spray with a little bit of coconut oil spray and place the butternut squash skin side up on the tray. Place in the oven and roast for 40-1 hr - depending on how large your squash is - you want a knife to puncture the thickest part of the squash with little resistance before removing it from the oven. 

    Remove the squash from the oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes (you can of course roast your squash ahead of time and store in the fridge until you're ready to blend). 

    Once cool enough to handle, carefully remove the skin and add the flesh to a blender along with the rest of the ingredients, starting with 2 cups of vegetable stock and increasing as you pulse the mixture until fully smooth.

    NOTE: If you are using a high-powered blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec, you'll want to pulse instead of blend this soup - full on blending over airates the texture - leaving it a little too 'light-and-fluffy' 

    Once you've reached the desired thickness, transfer the soup to a large pot and simmer on medium-low heat, covered for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. You may have to add a little more stock or water as the soup will begin to reduce as it warms. 

    Adjust seasonings to taste before serving. 

     

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