Baby it’s cold outside. And I just can’t seem to get warm. I’ve been stuck in my house for four days due to the recent ice storm that rolled through Dallas last Thursday night. At first, I was excited to have a few days to snuggle up with the kids and to have an excuse to take some time off and do pretty much nothing. But I found that in addition to doing pretty much nothing, I did a whole lot of eating. All I’ve wanted to do is curl up under a mountain of blankets with something warm to eat. When it’s cold and dreary outside, I could literally eat (or drink) soup for every meal.
Years ago, I asked a holistic nutritionist to give me a set of recommendations specific for me, and he listed having warm foods and drinks to balance my cold and high strung nature near the top of his list. Heat is a natural relaxer for muscles and the mind, which is why a hot bath and warm mug of something without caffeine does a great job calming you down and preparing your body for sleep. In fact, heat is the best natural muscle relaxer and one I use regularly for tight muscles in my back and shoulders.
Speaking of sleep, our bodies want more of it during winter months. More sleep and more calories. (Yep, that just about wraps up my cravings at the moment.) The cool thing about the human body is that it’s a lot smarter than we give it credit for – it innately knows exactly what it needs. When we have cravings, it’s important to listen and meet those needs with the healthiest choices possible.
Reasons we crave warm foods during winter:
- Warm foods heat up our body temperature from the inside out. When it’s freezing outside, our bodies need all the help they can get to maintain the optimal temperature.
- Warming our bodies takes a lot of energy! So we need some extra calories and nutrition in the form of hearty and nutritious root veggies, greens, meats, healthy fats, and probiotic foods during the winter.
- Our bodies specifically crave carbs not only to meet the extra calorie requirement but to also give us a boost of natural endorphins and the happy neurotransmitter serotonin to battle the winter blues.
- Warm foods are grounding for our bodies. They give us the support we need during the ups and downs of winter weather.
- Our immune systems need that extra boost from warm bone broths and cooked foods packed with vitamin C and zinc like garlic, onions, and leafy greens such as Brussels sprouts and cabbage.
Healthy winter foods to serve warm and satisfy your cravings:
- Starchy (carb) vegetables: pumpkin, acorn squash, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas, carrots, and beets
- Non-starchy vegetables: garlic, onion, celery, cauliflower, artichokes, and leeks
- Greens: Brussels sprouts, beet greens, broccoli, cabbage, kale, Belgian endive, fennel, radicchio, escarole, and frisee
- Healthy fats: olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, coconut milk and cream, coconut, nuts, seeds, avocados, eggs, and meats
- Protein: eggs, meats, nuts, and seeds
- Homemade bone broth
- Herbs and spices
- Creamy probiotic foods like kefir and yogurt or cultured vegetables like sauerkraut
A few tips for preparing healthy warm foods this winter:
- Spice it up! The temperature of food is not the only thing that warms your body. Warming spices like cayenne, chili pepper, chipotle chili, cumin, curry blend, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, fennel, mustard, and anise also heat your body form the inside out.
- Make your own bone broths for soups and stews to give your body an extra immune system boost and to benefit for your gut health. Place bones in a large stock pot and cover with water. Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and simmer over low heat for at least a day.
- Add a small amount of healthy fat in the form of olive, coconut, or sesame oil to your soups and stews, roasted and stir-fried veggies, sauces, and dressings. Or add an avocado or coconut milk or cream for a creamy texture. Fat is a slow-burning fuel for steady energy.
- Incorporate probiotics into your cooking in the form of kefir, yogurt, and cultured vegetables like sauerkraut to further promote a healthy intestine and immune system. A healthy gut is the first step to a healthy immune system and body. If you avoid dairy, try dairy free alternatives to kefir and yogurt made with coconut milk. I like to substitute kefir for cream or buttermilk and yogurt for sour cream in dips, spreads, sauces, and dressings. Just note that heating probiotic foods kills the good bacteria you’re seeking for your digestive health.
- Throw in something green with every meal for the added vitamin C and zinc, which are both immune system boosters.
- Drink warm beverages like warm lemon water or teas. Many decaffeinated tea varieties contain warming spices like cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. I have a tea kettle constantly warming on my stove. I also like the Cuisinart tea kettle for a convenient cup of tea.
- Essential oils are a wonderful and healthy winter warming tool also. Diffusing winter oils and adding them to baths and body creams can help with body chills, chapped lips, indoor germs, joint stiffness, and depressed moods. Try these winter essential oils: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, black pepper, citrus oils like tangerine, orange, lemon, and grapefruit, pine, cedarwood, spruce, rosemary, peppermint, spearmint, myrrh, sandalwood, rosewood, and frankincense.
Last Thursday evening, on the night of the winter storm that covered Dallas with ice, my family enjoyed this creamy sun-dried tomato basil soup. It hit the spot. We all licked our bowls. I served the soup with a few rolled up slices of roast beef prepared fresh at Whole Foods.
To start, I soaked a 2-ounce package of sun-dried tomatoes in a half cup of water (or enough to cover the tomatoes) for at least 30 minutes. Sun-dried tomatoes provide tons of vitamins A, C, and K plus a healthy dose of potassium and iron.
Next, I chopped a small purple onion and three cloves of garlic. I added two tablespoons of olive oil to a medium saucepan, and cooked the diced onion and garlic in the oil for about five minutes or until translucent.
I added 2 ½ cups of chicken broth, the soaked sun-dried tomatoes with soaking water, sliced teardrop tomatoes, basil, salt, and pepper to the saucepan. After bringing all the ingredients to a boil, I reduced the heat to medium-low, covered the saucepan, and let it simmer for at least 30 minutes.
I poured one 5.4-ounce can of Native Forest coconut cream into the large Vitamix container. Then I added the contents of the saucepan into the Vitamix as well. I covered the Vitamix with the lid and then a towel to prevent injury before turning it on low and working up to high speed. I blended the soup in the Vitamix on high for about a minute. I served this creamy sun-dried tomato basil soup garnished with pine nuts.
- 2-ounce package of sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in ½ cup water
- 1 purple onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2½ cups chicken broth
- large handful of teardrop tomatoes, sliced
- 2 tablespoons basil or handful of fresh chopped basil leaves
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 5.4 ounce can coconut cream
- optional: garnish with pine nuts
- Soak sun-dried tomatoes in ½ cup water for at least 30 minutes.
- Chop the purple onion and cloves of garlic.
- In a medium saucepan, saute chopped onion and garlic in olive oil for five minutes.
- Add chicken broth, sun-dried tomatoes with the soaking water, teardrop tomatoes, basil, salt, and pepper to the saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for at least 30 minutes.
- Pour coconut cream into the large Vitamix container.
- Add contents of the saucepan, cover, and blend until smooth for at least a minute.
- Serve warm with optional pine nuts as a garnish.
Boy, October came and went before I had time to blink twice. I always think I am prepared for the frenzy that is fall, but looking back, I never am. The culmination of crazy for my family is always the first weekend of November, as both of my children’s birthdays fall at this time…one day apart.
- November 3rd, 3:42am – Kayley’s 14th birthday
- November 4th, 4:30am – Ben’s 12th birthday
Two years and one day separates them. Wow. I’m always excited but never ready for them to turn another year older. Kayley is frighteningly close to learning to drive – yikes! – and only one more year before we are officially the parents of two teenagers – yikes again!
We’ve tried every which way to celebrate their birthdays so that they each will feel special. And man, when they were small, I would break my back trying to do it. But in the last few years, we’ve settled into a nice tradition that both the birthday girl and birthday boy seem to be happy with. We pick one night for our family to celebrate together (with separate celebrations with friends for each plus a few extra little surprises on their actual days). Most years, our family consists of my parents, my brother, and his girlfriend. The kids pick a location for dinner or a meal for me to make, I bake 2 cakes of their choosing, we sing to them both, and they open their presents together. But this year is the first year we’ve celebrated with just the four of us – grandparents are enjoying two weeks in Italy, and my brother is getting MARRIED in Bora Bora! Congratulations Cam and Brandi! We love you!!
It’s a busy time for our family, and now that the weekend is over, I’m beat. Whenever I start feeling this way, it is time for me to cleanse. I try to detox once every season, and I find that after the whirlwind that is September and October, I have a couple of short down weeks at the beginning of November, after the kids’ birthdays and before Thanksgiving and Christmas festivities begin, when I can hunker down and focus on me. Here are a few of the indications that I need to detox…
- I don’t feel like myself
- I feel tired
- My temper is short for no reason
- I feel overwhelmed
- I’m not sleeping well
- I feel “puffy”
- A little too much sugar (even natural sugar) has seeped into my diet
- My self-control with food is slipping
- We are eating out at restaurants too much
- I just need a good re-boot or re-start to get me back on track
- I need a week to get my life back in order
Cleansing is so much more than just cleaning out my insides. It is a mental and spiritual detox too. After a week of cleansing, I feel like a new person. Not only does my energy bounce back, but I feel really good “in my skin”. I sleep better, and I have a better, more positive outlook on life. When I cleanse, I take time out from EVERYTHING because it is so much more than food; it’s like hitting the reset button on my life. I will fill you in next week on how my week of detoxing goes…
This carrot ginger soup is an example of a meal I will be eating this week. The inspiration came from the Vitamix carrot ginger tofu recipe. I don’t eat tofu, so I made some simple adjustments to the recipe to come up with a comforting winner. And it’s beyond easy to make. I don’t do hard while cleansing. Everything I will be preparing this week will be a breeze.
To start, I soaked a third of a cup of raw cashews in a 5.4 ounce can of Native Forest Coconut Cream in my large Vitamix container. The healthy fat in cashews and coconut helps you absorb the fat soluble carotenoids in the carrots. Plus, fat makes everything taste better, bringing out the natural flavors in the veggies. Most of us grew up fearing the fat, but good fats are not only beneficial for your body, but they are also absolutely necessary for good health, especially brain health as the type of fat in coconuts has been shown to improve cognitive function and memory. In addition, coconuts are packed with vitamins C, E, Bs, and magnesium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, calcium, and selenium.
While the cashews were soaking in coconut cream, I steamed a one-pound bag of organic baby carrots, a small purple onion (peeled and cut up), and about 8 cloves of garlic (peeled) for about 30 minutes in my George Foreman electric steamer. I love this appliance. I can prepare freshly steamed veggies in minutes. Carrots are naturally sweet vegetables. I choose to steam them over roasting them for this recipe, so less of their natural sugar will caramelize and they won’t be as sweet. The high fiber and nutrient content of carrots makes them a good cleansing food, and the sulfur-rich onion and garlic provide a key component for liver detoxification plus lots of other valuable vitamins, minerals, and flavonoids.
I added 4 cups of chicken broth (either homemade or organic, free range from a box), sea salt, pepper, and about a 1 ½ to 2 inch piece of fresh ginger (peeled and chopped) to the Vitamix with the cashews and coconut cream.
I added the steamed carrots, onion, and garlic to the Vitamix and firmly secured the lid. I placed a towel over the top to avoid getting burned by any splatter and turned on the Vitamix on low first, and then moving to high. I blended the ingredients into a soup for about one minute and then transferred it to a medium saucepan to thoroughly heat the soup over medium heat. I plan to enjoy this carrot ginger soup with a simple green salad.
- 1 pound bag of organic baby carrots
- 1 small purple onion, peeled and cut up
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled
- ⅓ cup raw cashews
- 1 5.4 ounce can Native Forest coconut cream
- 4 cups homemade or organic chicken broth
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1½ to 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- Soak the cashews in the coconut cream in the large Vitamix container.
- Steam the carrots, onion, and garlic for at least 30 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth, salt, pepper, and ginger to the Vitamix container.
- Add the steamed carrots, onion, and garlic to the Vitamix container.
- Firmly secure the lid on the Vitamix, and cover with a towel to avoid injury.
- Turn on the Vitamix on low, then moving to high, and puree the ingredients into a soup for about one minute.
- Transfer to a medium saucepan and heat thoroughly over medium heat.
Have you noticed how heavy a watermelon is? Watermelons are filled with water making them the heaviest melon out there. 92% of a watermelon is water, so it’s not surprising that they are extremely good for hydrating. This Texas heat and humidity in August is brutal, and for a girl like me who likes to stay active despite the extreme temperature, watermelon is a favorite.
Gatorade and other sports drinks are loaded with sugar, artificial flavors and colors, and other fake stuff, so I’d much rather snack on hydrating foods and find natural ways to replenish fluid loss. One of my rules of thumb is to always stay ahead of the game when it comes to hydration. I’ve found that once I’m dehydrated, I’m done for – my energy is zapped. There’s just no catching up when it’s 102 degrees and humid. I have a 3-day tennis tournament this weekend, and even though it’s only Tuesday, I’m already working on building my hydration by drinking A LOT and preparing meals like this watermelon gazpacho.
Before I get into all the reasons you should add watermelon to your summer diet, I want to stop and brag on my daughter for a second. I am a happy mama because of so many of the choices she is making lately. Even though Rob and I are what many would call healthnut-exercise junkies, we do not push it on our kids. Neither of us were into food or fitness from birth, in fact we grew up to be sugar-loving non-gym goers. It wasn’t until we hit 30 and got a taste of just how good our bodies feel when we eat right and exercise that we became so passionate about it. We have definitely educated our kids about proper nutrition, and they see the way we choose to eat and take care of our bodies, but we don’t require them or force them to eat like we do. (Of course, we would love it if they did! But forcing them can backfire.) However, because we are the ones who buy the food, we don’t keep junk or sodas in the house, so that does cut down on the trash our kids consume. Many people ask me “Do you let your kids drink soda?” My answer is “Yes.” When they are somewhere that a soda is offered, yes, they are allowed to drink it. Do I cringe inside every time, yes, I do, but again, the decision to care about what they put into their bodies has to be theirs, we believe. We can only lead by example and show them just how rewarding it is to fuel your body properly.
With all that said, back to Kayley. This summer, she came home from camp, and after thinking about it and mulling it over with a good friend who happens to be a non-soda drinker, she decided she was done with sodas. She has not had even ONE soda all summer. And that’s not all. She has decided she cares about what she puts in her body and has drastically cut back any junk and has joined Rob and I at the gym. She has clearly made the connection that when she eats junk, she feels like junk and plays her sport like junk. Kayley, from birth, has been kind of like Rob and I were from birth, which is a sugar-holic. So, Rob and I are extremely happy for her that at the age of 13, she is making healthy choices for her body. And feeling good is influencing other areas of her life too. I about fell over after walking into her clean room and spotted her neatly made bed on a Sunday afternoon. Just had to take a break from watermelon to share.
Back to watermelons. Watermelons are not only hydrating, they are also energizing. The 92% water along with the high fiber, high electrolyte, and high natural sugar content serves as an excellent natural invigorator. Watermelons provide 20% of your vitamin C for the day plus plenty of vitamin A, potassium, and magnesium. And, that bright red color gives away the high amount of the powerful antioxidant lycopene found in this refreshing fruit.
I am instantly a fan of any recipe I can make in a blender, as like everyone else, I’m busy! I don’t typically have time for meals that require a long preparation when it comes to everyday lunches and dinners. I also don’t care to be in my kitchen cleaning a million dirty pots and pans, so a one pot or one blender recipe is my cup of tea. This watermelon gazpacho is a sweet twist on the traditional gazpacho, making it one that is also kid approved.
To start, I cut up about 8 cups of watermelon and added it to my large Vitamix blender. I then cut up several other phytonutrient packed veggies – tomato, purple onion, cucumber, red bell pepper, garlic, red chile pepper, and basil leaves – and added those to the Vitamix as well. Finally, I added a little red wine vinegar, olive oil, and sea salt for added flavor before blending. I saved about half a cup of cut up veggies to float on top as a garnish.
- 8 cups cubed watermelon
- 1 tomato
- 1 cucumber
- ½ purple onion
- ½ red bell pepper
- 1 red chile pepper
- 2 cloves garlic
- large handful basil leaves
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Cut watermelon, cucumber, tomato, red bell pepper, onion, and chile pepper into chunks.
- Reserve about ½ cup of the cut up veggies for a garnish, and add the rest to a large blender.
- Peel 2 cloves of garlic, and add to the blender.
- Add basil leaves, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and sea salt to the blender.
- Puree into a soup.
- Pour into soup bowls, and garnish with cut up veggies.
- Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator.
Hello! I’m back after a two-week hiatus from blogging, and I have to say I’ve missed it! Almost two weeks ago, I had an unexpected surgery to remove my infected appendix, so I’ve spent the last ten days focusing on recovery.
If you’ve been following my blog for long, you know that my passion is health, nutrition, and taking care of my body. Ever since I had a rough bout with my health about 10 years ago, it has been my quest to build my body up strong. I am a doer – I like to get stuff done. I also have countless interests to pursue, and my list of round-to-its keeps getting longer. So feeling good and healthy is a necessity for me! And one that has developed into a passion for healthy food, recipes, and practices that nourish my body.
Even though all of this sounds like a very positive thing – and I think it still is – I also realize now that it had led (without me being aware) to the feeling that I can control my life, my health, my body. When my body was sick years ago, I had no control, and it stunk. So the more effort I put into my diet and taking care of myself, the more control I felt I had.
Well, how wrong was I! On Tuesday, May 7th I did not feel good. I just lacked energy in general. When I think back, my energy level had been lagging for about 2 weeks. Those close to me remember me complaining about being tired. So what did I do? Assuming my seasonal allergies were causing inflammation, I focused on what I put into my body.
But by the evening of May 7th, I hurt. I had a constant pain in my right lower abdomen. Thinking it was a cyst on an ovary, which I’ve had before, I took an Advil and went to bed. I tossed and turned until about 12am. The pain was pretty terrible at this point, so after a couple of hours of gritting my teeth, I told Rob I needed to go to the ER. I had the feeling that something needed to come out of my body – a cyst, my appendix – who knows, but something.
After receiving pain and nausea medicines through an IV and having a CT scan of my entire abdomen and pelvis, I was sent home with the conclusion that I must have a terrible stomach virus coming on. I curled up in the fetal position on my couch until about 8:30 when the ER doctor called back. Apparently, when they double checked my CT scan, the second doctor found a little stone blocking the opening of my appendix. So back to the ER I went for more tests. By 4pm, the conclusion was I needed my appendix removed. I had a laproscopic operation (my first surgery ever!) to rid my body of my badly infected appendix.
Due to the nature of infection in an appendix, I was required to have IV antibiotics and follow up at home with 2000mg of two different strong antibiotics (8 pills a day!) for 10 days. Yuck. Have I mentioned how much I hate antibiotics? My body is allergic to 3 common groups of antibiotics – penicillin, sulfa, and quinolones – so it’s clear that I just don’t like them. I credit them (along with my gluten and sugar filled, nutritionally lacking diet) with sending my gut into a tailspin 10 years ago. I believe the gut is the foundation of good health, and I was currently completely wrecking mine and all the work I’d put into building it back up over the years.
Hospitals are a great place to pray. I prayed. The smart part of my brain knew just how life saving these antibiotics were to me. The controlling part of my brain was just plain ticked off. Why was my body sick again? I’m so good to my body!!
Back to my prayer. God, I know you have a plan in EVERYTHING. And I trust you. I sat next to a woman on a plane to Albuquerque for a girls getaway about a year ago. This was probably at the height of my “anti-medicine, I can control everything” moment. She struggled to have children because of a health condition, and she has to be on a strong medicine for the duration of all of her pregnancies. She was on her way to a conference where a holistic doctor was the featured speaker. At a previous event, she had the chance to personally talk to this holistic doctor, and she asked the one question she was troubled by – is it okay that I am taking this medicine while pregnant because I do not want to harm my baby. The doctor gave her this advice “Every day before you take that pill, hold it in your fingers and thank God for this medicine that has allowed you to live a healthy life and be the vessel that brings this new life into the world.”
I’ve never forgotten that story. So, I looked up at the two antibiotics dripping into my veins, and I thanked Him for those medicines.
As of yesterday, I am off the antibiotics and now I begin the quest to heal my gut. I actually began this project while taking the medicines. I took three maximum strength probiotics each day, two hours after each dose of antibiotics. I’m happy to say, by the grace of God (because I can’t control anything, remember?!), that I made it through without stomach upset, yeast infections, or diarrhea.
For my first recipe blog post back in the saddle, I chose to re-post. Creamy asparagus soup was the first thing I craved while recovering. My sweet mom (thank you Mom!) did what moms do – she got on a plane the day of my surgery – so she was here to help me, starting by making me this soup. I had so much fluid in my abdomen and all over (I felt like a football player!), so the asparagus helped take a little of that off. Plus, one of the antibiotics changed my taste buds and left me with a horrible taste in my mouth. The tangy taste of this soup was the only food that sounded good to me.
Good thing it is one of the simplest to make. Start by soaking raw cashews in a little almond or coconut milk in the large Vitamix container.
Second, zest a lemon and add the zest plus the juice to the Vitamix. Season with a little salt and pepper.
Next, cut the asparagus and the onion into one inch pieces, and peel two garlic cloves. Place the asparagus, onion, and garlic in a medium saucepan and add four cups of organic chicken broth (or vegetable broth for a vegan soup). Let it simmer for about an hour.
Last, add the broth with cooked veggies to the Vitamix, and blend on high for about a minute. Before turning on the Vitamix, cover the lid with a towel to avoid injury. Serve immediately or chill before serving for a cold option.
- ½ cup raw cashews
- ½ cup almond or coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- zest from 1 lemon
- juice from 1 lemon
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 small purple onion, cut into pieces
- 4 cups organic chicken broth (or vegetable broth for a vegan soup)
- 2 cloves garlic
- In the Vitamix or other blender, combine the cashews, almond or coconut milk, olive oil, zest and juice from a lemon, sea salt, and pepper. Do not blend, but instead let the cashews soak in the mixture.
- In a saucepan, combine the broth, asparagus, onion, and garlic cloves.
- Cover and simmer on low for 1 hour.
- Carefully pour the contents of the saucepan into the blender.
- After putting the top on the blender, place a towel over the top to avoid injury.
- Blend all the ingredients until creamy, at least 1 minute.
Ravens or 49ers? Who are you rooting for on Sunday? I was asking my kids that same question this week, as I don’t know much about either team this year. Kayley said – doesn’t Michael Oher (Blindside) play for the Ravens? We looked it up, and sure enough, he does. So, we’ve got ourselves a team to root for on Sunday. My family loves that movie.
Does your family have any traditions for Superbowl Sunday? Thinking back over the last few years, I think we’ve done something different to watch the game every year. This year we are watching the game with good friends. The only tradition I can think of is that we love to have chili in some form on game day. I make a baked chili dip we all look forward to, or I throw together some kind of chili stew in the slow cooker.
This year, I am making a new recipe that I tried out a couple of weeks ago. Rob insisted we have it again this weekend because he liked it, but also so he will have something healthy to bring to work for lunch next week. And, it’s also nice for our family to have a tradition to look forward to every year for the Superbowl.
Traditions are good for our family because they bond us together. Traditions are unique to each family, and having them is a great reminder that we belong to something special and are all part of the same team. Traditions are also like coins in the memory bank that stay with us as we grow older and move through different stages of life. My kids will grow up and have their own families one day, and those traditions will hopefully be fond and sometimes funny memories. I’m sure they will not like some of the traditions our family has and be happy to ditch them with their own families, but some they will treasure and want to continue.
I hope you enjoy our family’s Superbowl tradition with this game day chili recipe! And let me know how you like it!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 diced onion
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons chile powder
- 4 tablespoons raw cacao
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced fire roasted tomatoes, undrained
- 1 cup water
- 1 can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, diced
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- optional: ½ cup plain Greek yogurt for garnish
- Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.
- Add onion and turkey to pan, and sauté until the turkey is browned and onion is tender.
- Transfer to a slow cooker, and add all ingredients except sweet potato.
- Cook on low for 6 – 8 hours.
- About 2 hours before serving, add sweet potato.
- Optional: garnish with Greek yogurt.
Happy New Year! After traveling to be with family over the holidays and taking a couple weeks off from cooking and being in my kitchen, I am more than ready to get back in the groove! My brother gave me the most beautiful Le Creuset stock pot for Christmas, my first Le Creuset anything. It’s so pretty that I’ve decided to leave it out on my stove all the time.
Although slow to arrive, winter is definitely here in Texas, so it’s the perfect time to break in my new kitchen “toy”. Winter means flu season, and nothing feels better to a sore throat than warm soup.
This soup is not only hearty and comforting, but it is also seasoned with curry. Turmeric is one of the spices in Indian curry and one of the top medicinal spices for flues, viruses, and other chronic inflammatory conditions. Turmeric is responsible for giving Indian dishes and ballpark mustard their bright yellow color.
Hit with the flu this season? Systemic inflammation is an uncomfortable symptom of the flu, and turmeric’s active component curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Curcumin can be taken as a supplement if you’re not a fan of the taste of turmeric or curry.
Two teaspoons of turmeric contain almost 20 percent of your daily requirement for manganese, iron, vitamin B6, and potassium. Because of turmeric’s high antioxidant value and its antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, it benefits those with all kinds of chronic conditions:
- Heartburn and ulcers
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Eczema and skin conditions
Turmeric also helps promote:
- Weight loss
- Healthy liver
- Healthy cholesterol levels and arteries
- Healthy digestion
Some curry brands can contain gluten, so double check to make sure your curry is gluten free. Besides adding curry to soups and stews, incorporate turmeric into your diet by adding it to:
- Deviled eggs
- Sautéed green vegetables
- Chicken dishes and barbeque
- Turkey meatloaf and meatballs
- Butternut squash dishes
- Homemade salad dressings
Or drink homemade turmeric tea. To make the tea, add 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric to four cups of boiling water and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain the tea through a fine sieve into a cup and add honey and lemon to taste. Enjoy!
- 1 pound chicken breasts
- 4 cups organic chicken broth
- 3 sweet potatoes, cubed
- 1 onion, cut into wedges
- 1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets
- 2 – 3 teaspoons curry
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, and bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 20 – 25 minutes.
- Cut chicken into cubes and add it to a large stock pot with chicken broth, sweet potatoes, onion, and curry.
- Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low.
- Season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add broccoli, cook 5 more minutes, and then serve.