soupIn the winter, my body naturally craves hearty and many times, meaty soups that warm you from the inside out.  This soup is one of my absolute favorites to make when it’s cold outside, and even the pickiest, non-healthy eaters will love this.  I actually made this for my family last Sunday night, and my brother astonishingly went back for seconds.  (His diet primarily consists of Mountain Dews and McDonald’s, so I took the meal as a small victory to a step in the right direction!)

My secret to this soup is the sausage.  I use Vito’s Italian Sausage, which has no preservatives or nitrates, and incredible flavor.  If you don’t use an authentic Italian, high-quality sausage, I would definitely suggest adding more spice than what this recipe calls for.

And as a side note, I always suggest that when eating meat, use the highest quality meat you can find.  It may cost a little more, but it’s well worth it in the health benefits and the flavor.  Plus, rather than making meat the star of the dish, I prefer it to be a side kick to veggies and grains.  Most of us eat far more meat than our body actually needs!

 Although I think it’s a little bit dated, I do suggest Dr. Steven Pratt’s book for learning foundational foods that are nutrition powerhouses – among these are salmon, blueberries, pumpkin, spinach, green tea and walnuts. However, today I wanted to introduce a few “fancier” – if you will – foods that offer some major benefits to your overall well-being.

Kale, Sausage and White Bean Soup

1/2 of an onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)

1 T olive oil

3-4 Italian sausages (Vito’s brand is highly recommended!)

1 can of Canellini beans, drained and rinsed (preferably organic and BPA free can)

1 can of chopped tomatoes (preferably organic and BPA free can)

3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

2-3 cups of vegetable broth

3-4 stems of kale, roughly chopped

Freshly grated Parmesan, to top

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot and add onion.  Cook until translucent and then add in sausage.  Allow sausage to brown, and then add 2 cups broth, tomatoes, beans and sweet potatoes. 

Bring all ingredients to a boil and then cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, until sweet potatoes are soft.  Add more broth as needed. 

At end, add in kale and allow to wilt.  Top with parmesan cheese to serve. 

Enjoy and stay warm!

 

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 9.32.41 PM copyThis dish is sweet, rich and 100% unprocessed!  It’s perfect for fall and the cooling temperatures.

I’ll be cooking with butternut squash a lot this season, so look out for a few more recipes :)  It’s high in fiber, vitamin A, potassium and many other vitamins, minerals & antioxidants.  So not only is it absolutely delicious, but it’s nutrient dense and super healthy.

This recipe is SO easy – hands on time is 15 minutes tops.  

TIP: Pre-make a few organic chicken breasts at the beginning of the week!  They are great to throw in salads, sandwiches and heat up for dinner for recipes like this.

Butternut Squash Alfredo 

Active time: 15 minutes Total Time: 50 minutes Serves 2-3

1 butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise

1/2 can full fat coconut milk

1/2 cup broth, to thin

1 garlic clove, peeled

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

2 small cooked chicken breasts, shredded (optional)

1 spaghetti squash, halved

shaved parmesan to top

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Place both squash, seed sides down, in a baking dish, and fill with 1/4 inch of water. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the skin can easily be poked with a fork.

When the spaghetti squash is done, flip it, scoop out the seeds, and use a fork to remove the “noodles.” Toss these in a bowl and set aside.

Scoop out and discard the seeds of the butternut squash. Scrape out all of the meat and put it in a food processor or blender with the garlic clove. Pulse until it’s all broken down. Slowly add the coconut milk and broth, and continue to blend until the sauce reaches the thinness you like. Add salt and pepper and blend in.

Serve sauce atop the “noodles”, and top with parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!

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how to like a veggie

If you follow my blog or on social media, you probably know that I don’t subscribe to one particular way of eating. However, I DO believe that most people can benefit from adding more vegetables into their diet.  I sometimes come across the statement “But I don’t like vegetables”.  

Welp, my response is basically – “let’s figure out how to fix that!”

In this video blog, I’m showing a tried and true method to making about any vegetable taste delicious!  All it takes is some olive oil, sea salt and about 15 minutes of roasting in the oven on 400.  I LOVE preparing veggies this way because it brings out the natural sweetness to the veggie and it’s super simple.  

Click below to watch the video.

 

Lots of veggie love!

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Nothing signals fall’s arrival like the yearly seasonal debut of Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte, right? :) 

But this year, much of the drink’s attention has fallen prey to Food Babe for containing some pretty nasty ingredients.  (and just a side note – I love Food Babe and commend her for taking steps to move the needle in the right direction to rid our food of unsafe ingredients.  The world needs people like her.  However, I get that she can sound a little extreme – when it comes to even my own health, I don’t adhere to an all or nothing approach.  Do the best you can as often as you can, and don’t sweat the rest.)

So in the spirit of finding healthier ways to enjoy our favorite foods, here is an easy, delicious homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte.  And unlike it’s Starbuck’s counterpart, this one is made with REAL pumpkin, so you’re getting a good dose of vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants that help protect your skin, your eyes, and your heart.  

Here is the link to Food Babe’s post on Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte (she has a great recipe too!)  And with a Starbuck’s latte running around $5 and containing 50g of sugar (the recommended daily dose is 24g), you’re saving your health,  your waistline, AND your wallet!

pumpkin spice

 

The Perfect Pumpkin Spice Latte

2 tablespoons of pumpkin (canned is fine, BPA free cans are best)

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 -2 tablespoons Grade B Maple Syrup (I prefer mine with less sweetness, but adjust to taste – honey would work nice too)

Splash of vanilla extract (optional)

A few dashes of black pepper (optional)

2 shots of espresso or 1 cup strong coffee

2 cups almond milk (or organic 2% milk/other milk of choice)

Top with fresh coconut whipped cream

Instructions

1.  In a small saucepan over medium heat cook the pumpkin with the pumpkin pie spice and  black pepper for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  

pumpkin spice stove

2.  Add maple syrup, stir and then whisk in milk and vanilla extract.  Warm gently over medium heat.  

3.  Blend the pumpkin mixture in a blender (or with a hand blender).

4.  Make the espresso or coffee and divide between two mugs and add the frothed milk/pumpkin mixture. Top with whipped coconut cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, or nutmeg.  Add a cinnamon stick to be extra fancy!

*To make coconut whipped cream: Freeze a can of full fat coconut milk for at least one hour.  Remove cream part from can (save liquid to put in a smoothie).  Place in a mixing bowl and whip until texture resembles whipped cream.  

*To save on time, make a big batch of the pumpkin spice mix-in and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.  

Cheers!

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