"Buttery", Beany, Brussie-Filled Soup

Butter-y Bean This soup is like a warm buttery hug. Can you feel it?!

Its many textures, rich broth, and filling ingredients, make it one of my favorite winter soups.

It’s buttery texture comes from the red palm oil (or you could use grass-fed, organic, butter) and the fact that the somewhat delicate white bean is cooked directly into the broth of the soup.

The red palm oil gives it a plant based buttery taste and an incredibly lovely golden color! If you want to try Red Palm Oil, be sure to get it from a company that is diligent about sustainable growing and harvesting practices. I like Nutiva brand.

"Buttery", Beany, Brussie-Filled Soup
Author: Denise
Ingredients
  • 1/2 large white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2T olive oil
  • 2T red palm oil (or butter, or ghee)
  • 3 cups navy beans (great northern white beans or cannellini beans would be tasty too), soaked over night. (Could also use canned beans)
  • 1 tsp oregano (dried)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • About 3 cups dried Egg Noodles (optional)
  • 12-15 brussel sprouts, halved
  • Two large handfuls fresh spinach
  • Lemon Juice (for garnish)
  • Parsley, finely chopped (for garnish)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Sauté onions , garlic, celery in a bit of olive oil until aromatic. Then add the red palm oil. Sauté a few minutes longer.
  2. Add soaked beans and 8 cups of water. Cook on medium - high for about 30 minutes. Add some salt, pepper, oregano and bay leaf. Cook an additional 30 minutes, until beans are tender.
  3. (If using canned beans use only 6 cups of water and include some of the liquid from the can of beans, cook for about 15 minutes before proceeding to step three.)
  4. If adding noodles Once beans are tender, add a couple of large handfuls of egg noodles (any noodle would be delicious!) Cook for about 8 minutes until noodles are al dente.
  5. Add halved brussels sprouts, and simmer until they turn a bright vibrant green. About two minutes.
  6. Add spinach, and remove the soup from heat.
Notes
Garnish each serving with a swirl of extra virgin olive oil, a slight squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a few sprigs of finely chopped parsley, and lots of black pepper!

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Enjoy!

Also tasty, but for the ears.

 

Cleansing, Detoxing, Eliminating--Oh My! Clean Foods and Simple Preparation Tips

As promised — here are a few fresh and clean foods to eat while following my cleansing, detoxing, elimination diet.

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The cleanse offers the opportunity to eat real, whole, ideally seasonal food, that tastes terrific, and leaves you satisfied. As a reminder, the cleanse eliminates: alcohol, caffeine, dairy, gluten, un-fermented soy, meat, sugar, and processed foods.

So what’s left to eat you ask?!?! Lot’s! While cleansing Oliver and I  were doing a lot of delicious smoothies, big hearty salads, warming and easy to digest soups and stews, and refreshing plant based snacks!

Here are a few tips for creating your own clean and wholesome versions of foods to thrive on while cleansing.

 

1)  Smoothies with leafy greens, hemp + chia seeds, and healthy fats

This picture is ridiculous.

Smoothies offer a great way to get a quick and delicious blast of vitamins and nutrients from raw fruits and vegetables, PLUS a bunch of healthy fiber which is imperative to a fruitful detoxing experience — if you know what I mean!

I like to add hemp to my smoothies because they contain a lot of fiber, some protein, and magnesium-which work to keep elimination strong- as well as B vitamins which aid in regulating your metabolism.

The chia seeds are packed with water soluble fiber so they absorb water which promotes good digestion and elimination as well.

Healthy oils, i.e. coconut, flax seed and sesame oil, make for a deliciously smooth and creamy smoothie. Additionally, adding oils to your smoothie is a great way to experience internal oleation, a traditional ayurvedic practice. Oleation is believed to assist in drawing toxins out of the organs, reducing acidity throughout the body, and lubricating the digestive tract. All good stuff!

Here’s my go to smoothie:

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 apple or pear (cored and quartered)
  • 2 celery stocks (chopped a bit)
  • 1/4 lemon wedge (peeled)
  • Big handful of leafy greens (spinach, chard, kale, lettuce)
  • Some chopped parsley leaves
  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 2 T hemp seeds ( I like Nutiva Brand)
  • 1 T chia seeds
  • 16 oz water

Blend those bad boys up and you will have two delicious 16oz smoothies on your hands!

Experimentation with different fruit and veggie combinations highly encouraged! Sometimes I throw some cucumber up in there. Sometimes it's fun to go wild with frozen berries or exotic fruits like pineapple or mango.

 

2)  Satisfying Salads

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I have a little system that ensures a winning salad every time.

It starts with the big variety of leafy greens: Take your pick from spinach, kale, lettuces, bok choy, arugula, microgreens, endive, radicchio, parsley, cilantro, spring onions, basil—get a big old mix going on. I tend to have about 4 - 5 different types of leafy’s in my salads. It tastes great  to have all that variety and it will really extend your produce purchases.

Sprouts: I add a bunch of sprouts to my salads—they are packed with protein and nutrients, plus a fresh crisp crunch that is intoxicating. Plus it’s so easy and inexpensive to sprout your own. All you really need are some sprouting seeds/legumes, a wide mouth jar, some cheese cloth, and a bit of patience. Get all the gear here!

Add a bit of Color: I lean toward purple cabbage, raw beets, carrots, cauliflower, bright green edamame (organic and GMO free). But you could add anything here! Peppers, corn, colorful tomatoes, etc. You can also add cooked vegetables. The Salad picture above consists of a leafy green blend and a few scoops of roasted vegetables from the night before. Cooked vegetables are a bit easier on the digestion for the winter, and make for a really satisfying mix!

Add a bit of Fat: I LOVE to add avocado, chopped kalamata olives, or a fatty seed like sunflower or sesame.

Some protein OR a grain: So maybe some garbanzos or lentils or black beans. Or perhaps a big scoop of quinoa or brown rice.

Dress it up: Then I toss all that good stuff with a simple dressing that consists of herbs and/or seasonings, an acid, and a fat. Popular in my house is some extra virgin olive oil, mustard, and apple cider vinegar all shaken up in a jam jar. Tahini, toasted sesame oil and lemon juice is really good too. As is some flax oil, lime juice, with lots of chopped basil and black pepper.

And Boom—a ridiculously tasty, elimination diet safe, hearty salad— guaranteed.

 

3)  Warming Soups

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Dilly Rutabaga and Broccoli Soup I’m a big soup person most the time, because they are so easy to put together and so delicious. So when it came time for cleansing, having some simple, clean, soups hanging around was a no brainer.

My go to for a detox is a creamy blended soup.The thing I love most about these is that they are so easy to whip up and so flexible! Plus—they are guaranteed to be a feast for the eyes and the stomach! I am always amazed at how pretty these end up being. A Recipe, of Sorts:

This is more of a “generally you could kind of do this”, than a recipe. Hopefully there’s enough guidance here!

I start by sautéing some onions and garlic in a deep pot until fragrant

Then adding a vegetable or two to be the bulk of the soup, plus whatever seasoning would compliment.

A few of my favorite winter blends:

  • 1 Butternut squash + 1 sweet potato+ 2T curry powder
  • 1 Rutabaga + 1 head Broccoli+ fresh dill
  • 1 Head Cauliflower + 3 Red Potatoes + Salt and pepper

But you could do whatever you want!! Carrots are great, parsnips are super creamy, beets are gorgeous and delicious, brussels sprouts make for a great flavor too. Go wild!

After sautéing the vegetables for  10 -15 minutes, add about 6 cups liquids. You could do a veggie broth, water, or coconut milk.

Let the vegetables and liquid simmer for about 20 minutes, until all vegetables are soft.

Remove from heat, and then blend or food process until smooth. Be careful not to fill your blender too full with the hot mix, the steam could blow the top off, which would be terribly shocking and a big old mess! Avoid it!

Garnish and serve.

***A note about garnish. The best part about a “creamy” soup is garnishing the heck out of it. Go crazy here—add some colorful finely chopped peppers, broccoli florets, parley, cilantro, hemp seeds, toasted pumpkin seeds, drizzle of olive oil, chopped spring onions, truffle oil, dill, fennel, squeeze of lemon…etc.

Make it yours.

Need something a little heartier? 

Serve over cooked quinoa or brown rice. Makes for a filling meal, and the added texture is very satisfying.

4)  Clean Snackin’

My favorite snacks consists of fruits and/or veggies with a spread of some sort. Could be a bean based spread with carrot, celery, and chopped radishes. Or some peanut butter on a banana. Or mix together some tahini and honey and eat with tart sliced apples. Or an avocado dip with daikon radish sprinkled with salt and pepper.

The sky’s the limit!

A final thought: Cleansing as a lifestyle

My hope is that these loosey-goosey recipes serve as a guide for you to come up with your own favorite clean eats. While taking some time to do a formal cleanse and to be intentional about the food you put into your body is a most excellent decision for you health and well being. It is even better to incorporate some clean, whole foods into your lifestyle on a daily basis. The best way to do that? Experiment! Make it fun!

Surprise yourself.

AND Look out for more fun tips for me as I recount some of the highlights from the Ayurvedic Cleanse and Elimination Diet coming this spring.

And if you made it this far:

Enjoy this!

Going Deep—With the Roots

rootcollage

 A weekly meal at my house in the colder months is roasted roots. I tend to make these on a Sunday night, to bring the weekend to a close. The grounding, warming energy of the roots is exactly how I like to wind down the weekend and prepare for the work week ahead. Additionally, making a big batch of roots sets us up with a few lunches for the week. I love to feel prepared with easy to assemble, nutritious lunches for my husband and I to bring into work. It leaves me feeling grounded and in charge!

But that’s not the only reason I love making roots.

These quiet, brooding, extra serious winter vegetables of the root variety have some really admirable characteristics.

culprits

beets

If you think about a root, and it’s function in the plant, the root is there to stabilize. It acts as the anchor, providing consistent nourishment, giving the plant the stamina and endurance needed to thrive.

Traditional Chinese Medicine considers the energetics of food when dealing with any sort of discomfort or dis-ease in the body. I find it fascinating to look at a food beyond it’s nutritional values (though those are super important too) and consider the energetic characteristics of the food we put in our mouths. Food for thought, right?

parsnips

An interesting read on the topic is the book Food Energetics by Steve Gagné.

Here’s a great quote from Gagné regarding roots:

“The private nature of the root, demonstrated by its work underground in darkness, is energetically manifested in us as stamina, confidence, grounding (physically and mentally), persistence, and strength…

Roots are fixed-goal-oriented: their goal is to dig deep and get to the point.”

Don’t you just love that? And doesn’t that energy satisfy the sort of inherent desire we have lurking around in the winter? I know I have been digging deep this winter, doing a lot of soul searching and feeling energized by creating and maintaining persistent habits. I figure I better do it now, before the freshness and the newness of spring encourages flightier endeavors! The flit and fancy of spring’s leafy greens are perfect for such moods!

But now, in the winter, the root reigns king, and I am all for it.

kings

This recipe is incredibly flexible, so please feel free to try whatever vegetables you want! Though, these are all real tasty…

Also good: A few varieties of potatoes, daikon radish, celery root, celery stalks, sunchokes—etc. Do what you want!

And please, don’t fear the knife here! I know some people can be a little shy to chopping up hard vegetables like roots—but having a sharp knife and watching your fingers ought to get you through unscathed. I find that having a nice rhythm on in the background helps too—get the old rock and chop going and you won’t want to stop! For your convenience I have added a few tunes at the end of this post—they accompanied my last round of roots!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2  onion
  • 2 medium sized beets
  • 2 parsnips
  • 2 medium sized carrots
  • 1 rutabaga
  • 1 turnip
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 15 or so Brussels Sprouts
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 inches of ginger, sliced thinly or grated
  • 1/2 olive oil
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • salt + pepper to taste (lot’s of pepper!)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degree

2. Chop all the vegetables into bite-sized pieces, or to your preference.

sweetpotato

3. Once chopped, add to a deep bowl.

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4. Toss vegetables with the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.

rootcollage

5. Spread coated vegetables onto a cookie sheet. Cover with foil.

onthesheet

6. Bake for 80 minutes or so—bake time will depend on the size of your veggies—test often!

7. Remove from the oven when vegetables are soft, yet still somewhat firm.

8. And voila! I like to serve with some cooked quinoa or brown rice (I cook mine in a little rice cooker while the vegetables are in the oven),  a bit of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and a lot of fresh ground black pepper.

roots!

I often add a few raw vegetables into the mix as well. There is some chopped kale and purple cabbage tossed in here.

Simple, nutritious, and designed to take your energy where it needs to go this time of year. Rock and roll.

Enjoy!

As promised, some tunes to chop it out to:

How could I resist this one?! The Seed 2.0 by The Roots

Beat those winter blues little Ikes: I’m Blue by The Ikettes

Pushovers don’t rock and chop—keep that in mind: Pushover by Etta James

Ok, I get it, ‘m talking about the personalities of parsnips: Superstition by Stevie Wonder

Bonus Shot—here is my lunch the next day at work! Yesssss!

RootLunch

 

Roasted Roots
Author: Denise
Ingredients
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 medium sized beets
  • 2 parsnips
  • 2 medium sized carrots
  • 1 rutabaga
  • 1 turnip
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 15 or so Brussels Sprouts
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 inches of ginger, sliced thinly or grated
  • 1/2 olive oil
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • salt + pepper to taste (lot’s of pepper!)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree
  2. Chop all the vegetables into bite-sized pieces, or to your preference.
  3. Once chopped, add to a deep bowl.
  4. Toss vegetables with the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
  5. Spread coated vegetables onto a cookie sheet. Cover with foil.
  6. Bake for 80 minutes or so—bake time will depend on the size of your veggies—test often!
  7. Remove from the oven when vegetables are soft, yet still somewhat firm.
  8. And voila! I like to serve with some cooked quinoa or brown rice (I cook mine in a little rice cooker while the vegetables are in the oven), a bit of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and a lot of fresh ground black pepper.
Notes
I often add a few raw vegetables into the mix as well. There is some chopped kale and purple cabbage tossed in here. But good old salt and pepper are about all you need!

Simply Sweet Cranberry Pear Tart

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Full disclosure, this recipe is highly inspired by this recipe, contributed by a reader of my  f-a-v-o-r-i-t-e  food blog My New Roots. It is a beautiful site with incredible recipes that are nutritious, clean, and delicious to boot! Much love to My New Roots.

I did take a few liberties with the recipe and I want to share it here now because it is an incredibly simple dish to make for the holidays that is:

  • Not loaded with sugar.
  • Packed a nutritional punch. (Thank you chia seeds and cranberries!)
  • Stunning to look at.
  • Really delicious—for days.

I first tried this recipe this Thanksgiving. Unable to make it back home for the holiday, my husband and I ventured to the mountains of Asheville, NC and stayed at a charming Airbnb that had an ample, light-filled kitchen. It was a pretty dreamy time, exploring Asheville and the charming mountain towns all around. It was crisp, clear and cold outside, and the light was divine. This little tart was a great ending to our simple Thanksgiving meal, and it held up quite nicely on our drives through the mountains. Yes, we ate it straight out of the pan in the car after a long hike—and it tasted better than ever! I think from now on a pie will accompany us on all road trips! Decadence!

The greatest bit, was that the ingredients were so portable. So this little tart would be great to whip together if you have limited time or resources and you want to make something that will really stand out for an upcoming holiday get together. I packed all the crust ingredients together in a ziplock bag, brought along a pint of cranberries, two pears, a few satsumas, a baggy of chia seeds, and a jar of coconut oil. Not too shabby.

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Oh-and I have to give a little shout out to this crust. It is awesome. It is vegan, if that is important for you, and it tastes like the most delicious little shortening cookie, but whole pie sized.

Not to mention, it is so easy to make. Pies everyday!

And now, to the tart!

For crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour (can be white,  pastry, whole wheat or sprouted wheat or combination. I used 1 cup pastry flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 T Cane Sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil (or other vegetable oil)
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice (approximately juice from 1 satsuma orange)
  • 1/4 cup almonds, chopped (optional—but REALLY good)

For the filling:

  • 2 pears, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups cranberries, fresh
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 T chia seeds
  • 6 T orange juice (approximately juice from 2 larger satsuma oranges) or water
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla (I used ground vanilla bean—decadent!)
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1 inch grated fresh ginger
  • A bit of orange zest

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Combine the chia seeds with the water or orange juice and set aside until a gel forms.

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3. Combine all of the crust ingredients in a bowl and mix. Dough should be fairly thick, but moistened all the way through.

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4. Grease a 9” pie pan with a coconut oil and press crust evenly into the bottom of the pan and up the sides.

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5. Place slices of one pear in a layer on top of the crust.

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6. For the remainder of the filling,  mix the cranberries with remaining ingredients and stir until well combined. Add the chia seed gel and fold it into the mix. Pour filling on top of crust and pear layer and spread evenly.

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7. Slice the remaining pear to top the cranberry mix. (Note—if you use the whole pear, it will likely cover the tart—which is just lovely. I may have been snacking on pear while I was cooking~oops~ so mine is a bit skimpy on top. It was worth it! )

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8. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Allow tart to cool completely before removing from pan.

Beautiful right! Who knew that cranberries were so magical? I want to use them everywhere now.

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And, to get in the spirit, a little festive tune (or two or three!!)

I have to admit, I LOVE the She and Him Christmas album—inventive but not too far away from the Christmas songs I know and love. Here is a favorite from their album (I am digging the role reversal).

How about one more from those two,  Christmas Day.

And finally, my all time favorite, Pat a Pan.

Nothing is better than the sound of voices singing together. It always makes my heart sing.

A happy holiday to you and yours,

Enjoy!

Simply Sweet Cranberry Pear Tart
Recipe Type: Sweets
Author: Denise
A delicious, low-sugar, tart. A feast for the eyes!
Ingredients
  • For crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (can be white, pastry, whole wheat or sprouted wheat or combination. I used 1 cup pastry flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 T Cane Sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil (or other vegetable oil)
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice (approximately juice from 1 satsuma orange)
  • 1/4 cup almonds, chopped (optional—but REALLY good)
  • For the filling:
  • 2 pears, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups cranberries, fresh
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 T chia seeds
  • 6 T orange juice (approximately juice from 2 larger satsuma oranges) or water
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla (I used ground vanilla bean—decadent!)
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1 inch grated fresh ginger
  • A bit of orange zest
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine the chia seeds with the water or orange juice and set aside until a gel forms.
  3. Combine all of the crust ingredients in a bowl and mix. Dough should be fairly thick, but moistened all the way through.
  4. Grease a 9” pie pan with a coconut oil and press crust evenly into the bottom of the pan and up the sides.
  5. Place slices of one pear in a layer on top of the crust.
  6. For the remainder of the filling, mix the cranberries with remaining ingredients and stir until well combined. Add the chia seed gel and fold it into the mix. Pour filling on top of crust and pear layer and spread evenly.
  7. Slice the remaining pear to top the cranberry mix. (Note—if you use the whole pear, it will likely cover the tart—which is just lovely. I may have been snacking on pear while I was cooking~oops~ so mine is a bit skimpy on top. It was worth it!)
  8. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Allow tart to cool completely before removing from pan.