Restorative Turmeric Soup

Happy New Year everyone!  A new year is always exciting as they are filled with endless possibilities but ironically January and February are some of the toughest months to get thru.  The cold weather and post Christmas blues are enough to put anyone in a bad mood. Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to help you successfully navigate these dreary few months with ease.  My favourite is indulging in good (but clean) food.

Soup is a common food staple especially during the colder months.  Growing up, I always considered soup food that you only eat when you are sick.  It was not something that I particularly enjoyed, with the exception of a piping hot bowl of hot and sour soup that I loved on the rare occasions that we went out for Chinese food.  Over the past few years I have started to incorporate more soup into my diet.  I frequently reach for a cup of comforting miso soup whenever I am feeling sick or in need of some comfort food.  And when I have more time I enjoy making my own grilled tomato soup or a clean green soup.  The fact is though is that I have always enjoyed the side dish that I would eat with the soup more then the soup itself – be it crackers, grilled vegetables, roast chicken or cheese on toast.  The moment that the side dish was finished, I would lose interest in finishing my soup.  The soup was never the star of the meal.

All of that changed when I made came across a recipe for turmeric soup on Pinterest. I decided to adapt it to suit my tastes and the results were nothing short of amazing (if I do say so myself).  I normally have two bowls and seriously contemplate a third when I make this soup.  It is hearty, satisfying and delicious – no side dish required.  I am finally a soup convert.

The base of this soup is coconut milk, filled with good fats and incredibly filling and satiating I cannot believe I hadn’t thought to use it earlier in any of my previous soups.  Turmeric is fabulous for lowering chronic inflammation within the body and adds a beautiful colour to this dish.  The original recipe calls for zucchini and I chose to channel my inner Popeye and include spinach as well.  I used frozen chopped spinach for this recipe but fresh works just as well.  Super simple to make, this soup doesn’t require any complicated ingredients, a lot of skill or effort.  It is easy on the digestive system so it won’t leave you feeling sluggish and bloated.  Overall this soup make me happy and leaves me feeling comforted and restored – a total winner in my book!

With a few tweaks this can easily become a vegan dish (omit the fish sauce and swap the chicken broth with vegetable broth) and you can always substitue in your favourite veggies to personalize this dish to suit your taste.

Ingredients

1 can of coconut milk

1 cup of chicken stock

1 cup of frozen spinach

2 -3 small to medium size zucchini

1/2 onion finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic (minced)

2 tsp olive oil

2 (heaping) tsp of ground turmeric

2 tsp fish sauce

sea salt

black pepper

chilli flakes (optional)

half of a lime

chopped coriander (optional)

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a medium size pot over medium to high heat.  When the oil is glistening add in the onions stirring occasionally  to release the flavours.   Cook  until the onions are translucent (about 5 minutes).  When the onions are almost cooked thru add in the garlic and stir until the onions and garlic are well combined.

Add in the spinach, zucchini, salt, pepper, chilli flakes and turmeric, mix well.  Stir fry the vegetables in the mixture for a couple of minutes.  The frozen spinach will not completely thaw at this point but don’t worry, it will continue to cook in the broth.

Add in the coconut milk and chicken stock, stir well and increase the heat so that the soup comes to just a boil.  Turn down the heat and let the soup simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in the fish sauce.  Pour into bowls and top with a squeeze of lime juice and coriander.

Enjoy!

I hope that you have a beautiful day! XXS

 

Nutty Dark Chocolate Fudge

I love fudge.  It has been a favourite of mine since I was a child, and to this day I still find it difficult to not indulge every chance that I get.  While I’ve heard that it is relatively easy to make, I have never bothered as the store bought versions are always delicious and I don’t have to clean up after.  Recently though, I came across a recipe for hazelnut fudge on Pinterest that piqued my interest as it used coconut milk and maple syrup instead of the usual (and in my opinion heaven sent) condensed milk.  It was super simple to make and the results were quite good.  I decided to adapt the recipe for the holidays and came up with this nutty dark chocolate fudge recipe.  If you are looking for a quick and easy sweet treat this fudge works perfectly.  While it does contain a fair amount of sugar from the chocolate and maple syrup, it is also rich and dense so you don’t need too much to satisfy your sweet tooth.  I chose to use antioxidant rich dark chocolate (70%), almonds and hazelnuts in this recipe but feel free to swap in your favourite nuts and chocolate to make a version that best suits you.  Depending on the chocolate you use, please be mindful of the amount of maple syrup that you add into the fudge – the sweeter the chocolate the less maple syrup required.

Ingredients:

2 cups dark chocolate (min 70%) chunks or chips

1/2 cup canned coconut milk

1/4 cup toasted almond hazelnut butter

5 tsp of maple syrup (if using milk chocolate use 3 – 4 tsp)

pinch of sea salt or pink Himalayan salt

1 cup of toasted and chopped hazelnuts and almonds

Here’s what you do:

  • To toast the hazelnuts and almonds place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake at 350 (F) for approximately 5 – 8 minutes, shake the pan half way through.  Let cool then rough chop in a blender
  • Line a loaf pan with parchment paper
  • In a large pot mix everything but the nuts together and melt over low heat, stirring frequently
  • When the mixture has completely melted and combined gently fold in 3/4 cup of the nuts
  • Pour the fudge into the prepared pan and let cool for approximately 30 minutes , then sprinkle the remainder of the nuts on top
  • Refrigerate the fudge until set (about 2 hours)
  • It’s best to remove the fudge from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cutting into pieces

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!  XXS

 

Wonderful Walnuts

Nuts have had a bad reputation for many years.  As the fat free craze took hold a few years ago, anything containing fat was demonized and nuts were no exception.  Thankfully, we now live in a different world – a world where healthy fat is embraced in many forms  and nuts have once again become a pantry staple in many households.

I love nuts in all forms but one of my favourites is walnuts.  Rich in healthy fats, vitamins and minerals walnuts boost incredible health, brain and beauty benefits.  As a rich plant source of Omega 3 fatty acids  walnuts are known to help to decrease LDL cholesterol levels in the body and may help to reduce the risk of prostrate and breast cancer.  With a high concentration of the Omega-3 fatty acid DHA , walnuts can help to improve cognitive brain function in adults and help to prevent cognitive decline.  Research has also shown that walnuts help to increase inferential reasoning in young adults. Filled with stress fighting properties, these powerhouse nuts are packed with fibre, antioxidants and unsaturated fatty acids.

Anti-inflammatory in nature, walnuts are a great source of selenium which helps to treat existing skin damage as well as protecting the skin from UV exposure.  Helpful in treating inflamed skin conditions by oxygenating the blood and boosting circulation so nutrients are circulated well.  By combating free radicals in the body, walnuts can also help to control how fast you age.

Walnuts are a great addition to your diet as there are benefits for everyone.  Just be mindful of your serving size – a handful a day is more then enough to considerably boost your antioxidant intake.  What is your favourite way to include walnuts in your diet – let me know in the comments below.

I hope that you have a great day!

XXS

6 Reasons Why You Should Include Ghee In Your Diet

Ghee has been used for centuries in certain parts of the world but it has only recently become popular in western culture.  Commonly used in Ayurveda it is believed to help purify and cleanse the body.  For those who aren’t familiar with ghee it is clarified butter traditionally made from cows milk that has had the water and milk fats removed.  Nutritionally rich like coconut oil, ghee is a great fat to cook with.  Here are my top six reasons why you should consider adding ghee into your diet:

  1. Ghee has a high smoke point and is very stable to cook with.
  2. Ghee is lactose and casein free which makes is a great fat for people who struggle with digesting lactose.
  3. Ghee helps to support weight loss.  The medium chain fatty acids in ghee help to burn other fats that are in our system, and it is believed that ghee helps to jumpstart our digestive system.
  4. Ghee contains butyric acid which is helpful in maintaining a healthy colon.  Butyric acid has been shown to help people suffering from IBS and Crohn’s disease.
  5. Ghee is rich in fat soluble vitamins A, D and E.  Fat soluble vitamins are vitamins that require fat to be present in order for the body to absorb them.  They help to support various biochemical functions within the body and maintain a healthy metabolism.
  6. Ghee helps to create a more alkalizing environment within the body, which in turn helps to reduce inflammation particularly in the digestive tract.  Chronic inflammation has been linked to many diseases including cancer, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease so it is important to try to reduce the level of inflammation within the body.

Ghee has a buttery taste that adds great flavour to many dishes.  Remember though- moderation is key. Just because something is good for doesn’t mean that you need to overdo it.

What is your favourite oil to cook with?

I hope that you have a great day!  XXS

Beautiful Black Rice

There is something about black rice that makes me happy.  I think that it is the rich purple-black colour and how it makes any dish that it is a part of a gorgeous work of art.  For thousands of years black rice was reserved for Chinese royalty and was often referred to as “forbidden rice”.

Rich in powerful disease fighting antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties and dietary fibre some studies have shown that black rice can potentially to stop the development of heart disease, diabetes and cancer in the body.

The deep purple-black colour is an indication of black rice’s high antioxidant properties similar to those found in blueberries.  Black rice is the only grain that contains the antioxidant Anthocyanin.  This particular antioxidant has been shown to help reduce inflammation, improve brain function and prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer caused by free radical damage.  Nutrients are generally lost from grains when the outer layers including the hull and the bran are removed.  Only whole grains that include all of their naturally occurring parts are able to retain their vitamin, minerals, fibre and antioxidants.  Therefore, black rice is a a wholegrain nutritional superpower.

Black rice is high in Vitamin E which is often promoted to slow aging, reduce scarring, protect against air pollution and assist with infertility issues.  Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin though so ensure to include some healthy fats when using black rice in a dish to help with absorption.

So what does all of this mean for you?

Black rice is a superpower in the world of whole grains and deserves a place on your plate. It is a beautiful and tasty addition to many meals. Black rice is filled with both health and beauty benefits that will help you to look and feel your best and keep you on the road to good health.

One Serving of black rice contains (1/2 cup cooked)

160 Calories                      2g of Fibre

1.5g of Fat                          5g of Protein

34g of Carbohydrates     4% DV of Iron

Prior to cooking, I recommend soaking black rice for a minimum of 8 hours to help to release any phytic acid within the rice (grains, rice and legumes are all high phytic foods which raise the risk of zinc and iron deficiency.  Soaking helps to resolve this issue by releasing the phytic acid within the food).

Do you regularly include black rice in your diet?  What is your favourite meal to include it in?  Let me know in the comments below

I hope that you have a great day!

XXS