Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Silky Tomato Soup

My daughter LOVES tomato soup.  It's rich, velvety texture is hard to resist.  However, many store bought brands, boxes or cans contain dairy - milk or cream based. Often she is disappointed not being able to have it due to her dairy allergy. 

I was so excited when I found this recipe from Weelicious Lunches.  Not a touch of dairy and the soup is silky just like it's name!

Silky Tomato Soup by Weelicious Lunches
makes 4 cups
2 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
2 large tomatos, diced (about 2 cups)
2 cup vegetable or chicken stock (I used organic, gluten free vegetable broth)
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1tsp paprika
1 tsp salt

1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Add the onions and sauté for 2 minutes, or until translucent.  Add the carrots and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes more.
2. Add the remaining ingredients to the pot and stir to combine
3. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes
4. Carefully move the soup to a blender and blend until smooth.  You can also use an immersion blender to blend the soup in the pot (this is what I did)

NOTE: If you don't have fresh tomatoes, you can use 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes and decrease the stock to 1 cup.

I think this soup will taste fabulous made with fresh tomatoes from the garden!
I know what you're thinking, "Soup in summer?"  I didn't think I'd be making hot soup for a frigid end of March day either!
This soup was so quick to make! Having the ingredients as staples in your pantry makes it easy!
Rich, velvety, beautiful and so good for you!
This would go excellent with a grilled cheese too!
Even a vegan grilled cheese! ;)
I plan on packing Sophia this soup in a thermos for school lunches.  It would also be great for a quick weekend lunch, dinner or even snack!
I hope you and your family enjoys this as much as we do.
Alyssa :)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Zucchini Bread

I'm a believer that positive thoughts bring positive results.  Whatever you say, feel or think and put out into the universe comes back to be true.  Well here it goes....I am positively over winter! I'm ready for warm sunshine and green grass.  Birds singing and the smell of spring in the breeze!  Come one Mother Nature I'm yelling Uncle!

With that said, I decided to bake a Zucchini bread with some left over zucchini I had in the fridge.  This squash reminds me of warmer times.  It's dark green skin, so beautiful.   Ugh, I think I'm going loopy.  Or maybe my brain has froze.  Along with my appendages....  If my husband hears me say "I'm cold" one more time, it may be the end!

1 1/2 cups of Gluten Free flour.( Again I used this blend. I really do like this.  Bob's Red Mills is a great brand to use as well.)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 tbsp. honey
1 cup shredded, unpeeled zucchini
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg ( I use, omega enriched organic)
2 tbsp. Flaxseed ( this is a wonderful source of omega 3 as well)

Grease the bottom and sides of a loaf pan, set aside.  In a medium bowl combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and flaxseed.  Set aside.

In another bowl, combine the syrup, zucchini, cooking oil and egg.  Add the dry mixture to the wet and stir until just combined. 

Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for 50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and let cool completely on the wire rack.


Although the bread didn't rise like wheat quick breads, it was still incredibly moist!

Packed and ready for the kids snack tomorrow!  I know I'll enjoy mine with a hot cup of coffee!
I know that Spring will soon be here.  I has to come!  Until then I will continue to be positive and think happy thoughts! :)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Corporate America Vs. Food

I recently read this article about Trader Joe's and "What are they hiding?"  I encourage you to read this before reading my take on it.  (I'll wait.....)

So to recap the article, it basically talks of how Trader Joe's claims to be a 'healthier' choice for food shopping compared to other stores.  However some of their processed foods contain non-GMO ingredients and they do not monitor the GMO content of their foods on a regular basis.  (GMO stands for genetically modified organisms. In other words "genetically manipulated, altered or engineered". Cloning anyone?!?)
After reading this I felt really annoyed.  Not so much about Trader Joe's but for the misconception that many people have regarding food and where they get it.  The idea that if the store, label or manufacturer claim their food is "healthy", "natural", or "good for you" it MUST be.
The act of leaving the education and knowledge to the companies and not doing the work ourselves.
Don't get me wrong, I think it stinks that Corporate America is driven by the dollar and not by health.  But really, this what it comes down to.  Money over health. 
 Whether it's TJ's or Whole Foods. Even manufacturers who claim they are healthy or all natural have 'sold themselves out' to Corporate America.  Companies such as Kashi, Barbara's and Morningstar Farms. They are all motivated by the mighty dollar.
  WE, the common people, are in charge of our own health.
And did any of you pick up on the fact that the article was primarily talking about processed foods?  What has happened to simple food?  Whole food? (and I don't mean the retailer).  Whole food by definition :
  • whole food
  • [ hṓl foòd ]
  1. unprocessed food: food that has undergone very little processing and has been grown or produced without the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers
Whole food doesn't come in a box or plastic package.  Really, it has it's own packaging such as a peel.  This may lead you to question the non-GMO growth of fruits and veggies.  True!  Again, we need to take control and educate ourselves.  How do we do this?  Here are a few of my suggestions:

1. Here's the list of the "Dirty Dozen".  Fruits and veggies that contain the highest level of pesticides.  When buying these foods, buy organic!

  • celery
  • peaches
  • strawberries
  • apples
  • domestic blueberries
  • nectarines
  • sweet bell peppers
  • spinach, kale and collard greens
  • cherries
  • potatoes
  • imported grapes
  • lettuce
2. Here's the list of the "Clean 15".  These foods have little to no traces of pesticides and are ok to purchase non organic.
  • avocados
  • sweet corn
  • pineapples
  • mango
  • sweet peas
  • asparagus
  • kiwi fruit
  • cabbage
  • eggplant
  • cantaloupe
  • watermelon
  • grapefruit
  • sweet potatoes
  • sweet onions.

  • READ LABLES!  Avoid food additives, as much as possible, such as: partially hydrogenated oils, aspartame, MSG (monosodium glutamate), hydrolyzed vegetable protein, BHA (butylated hydroxytoluene), Acesulfame potassium, BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), potassium bromate, sodium nitrate and nitrite, propyl gallate, sodium benzoate, artificial colors.
    (MSG is most commonly found in jarred spaghetti sauce, soy sauce, canned soups and teriyaki sauce, just to name a few. and Sodium nitrates/nitrites are found it curred meats such as bacon.  Purchase meats that are free of these.  It will contain natural nitrates/nitrites from celery root.)

    Holy moly that's quite the list isn't it.  Basically if you can't pronounce it, don't eat it!

    SHOP THE PERIMETER OF FOOD STORES. This is the produce, dairy, deli and seafood sections.  When you have to shop the middle, make sure you READ THE LABLES! ;)

    GROW YOUR OWN FOOD if you are able to.  You don't need a lot of space to grow some of your favorites, many can be grown in containers on a patio or deck!  However, if you feel the task is too daunting, consider supporting a CSA (community supported agriculture) or shop your local farmers market.

    I personally like shopping at TJ's! But I'm not naïve. You can buy or eat healthy anywhere.  You just need to be in charge of what you're eating and buying.  To do this is to educate yourself and never, ever settle mediocrity.  You're health and family deserve it!