Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bright Orange Soup

After years of trips to the windy city to visit the South Side Irish, I've learned to expect slumber-parties, leg wrestling, gregarious cousins, wise cracking grandpas and way too much pizza.  When you gather 50 relatives in one house, the easiest way to feed them all, is to order a slew of pizzas.   After years of visiting my in-laws, I thought pizza was just a part of the whole experience, until one Christmas Eve when we gathered at the Dillon's house.  As soon as I walked in their house, I recognized the smell of orange vegetables.

Having grown up the daughter of a sweet potato farmer, my mom was well versed in preparing them. Because my mom was concerned about her fair skinned children getting enough Vitamin A, we were sure to have an orange vegetable with each of our meals, especially in the wintertime.  Not only were we assuring adequate Vitamin A intake, we were also sure to not be too pale.  Did you know that if you eat enough orange vegetables, you can actually turn orange?  For a fair-skinned redhead, orange can pass as tan.

So, when I stepped into the Dillon's home, I walked straight to the kitchen to see what yam dish was cooking.   And there I found the most vibrant orange colored soup; such a refreshing change from the regular pizza dinner!  I've since made this soup countless times.  It's a great blended soup,  it can be made with just about any orange vegetable.  I've used sweet potatoes, delicata squash, acorn squash, carrots, and butternut.  My favorite combination is below.  Enjoy!

Bright Orange Soup

The best and most brilliantly colored soup. It’s best served with some fresh, warm pumpernickel bread.

Servings: (matters how well you like it) 2-8 servings

3 T butter
1 butternut squash, "peeled" and cubed
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1# carrots, cut evenly
*substitute orange vegetable that you have
3 cups broth
1/2 tsp chili flakes
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 375. 

Place all veggies and butter (cut throughout) in a casserole pan and bake until soft (usually about 30-40minutes). 

Put vegetables in a pot along with the chili flakes and vegetable (or chicken) broth.  Place all ingredients in a food processor/blender with broth.  I prefer to use an inversion blender to prevent an orange kitchen.  

Serve immediately!
for easy peeling, bake the entire squash at 350 for 15 minutes
beautiful mix of sweet potatoes, carrots, and butternut squash (and butter)
my favorite kitchen tool in use: the inversion blender


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Molly's Magnificent Muesli

a jar of fiber

It all started on Christmas morning 2003 when I opened a present from my sister.

"Wow, it's a jar of fiber, thanks!"

"Just soak it with rice milk or water, put a little honey on it, and you'll love it," she replied.

"Well, what is this?" I asked

"The recipe is attached. Trust me, you'll love it and make it over and over."

"Thanks, I can't wait. Merry Christmas." I remember thinking sarcastically.

What at first glance looked like wood shavings mixed with oatmeal is now an integral part of my daily ritual.  Let me just give it to you straight: THIS IS THE BEST RECIPE I OWN.  I have given this recipe to hundreds of my clients, several roommates and friends, and most of us agree that we feel so much better after eating it.  I typically eat this 5 days a week, and miss it the other two. It gives a great cleansing and satisfying feeling, and helps to control blood sugar for hours. It's also an incredibly adaptable recipe. Change it up by adding yogurt and fresh berries or homemade strawberry rhubarb jam.
perfect mix of nuts, fruits, and grains

Molly's Magnificent Muesli
This incredibly healthy recipe is a great way to start every day.  Making this recipe in bulk also saves time and money and can serve you for a couple of weeks. 

Serves 12

4 cups rolled oats
2 cups oat bran
½ cup dry fruit - raisins, dates, blueberries, etc
1 cup sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds
1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or almonds)
1 cup ground flax
1 cup milk thistle seeds, ground
½ cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup chia seeds (available at www.mountainroseherbs.com)

Grind flax and milk thistle in coffee grinder. Combine all ingredients, mix, and keep in refrigerator.

For each serving, take 1 cup and soak the mixture for a minute or longer. The longer the better, (even overnight works great). For soaking use your choice of milk (almond, rice, cow, etc) or water.

Oats: satisfy hunger, provide energy, endurance, calm nerves, promote regular bowel health, clean digestive tract, promote clear thinking
Oat bran: bran is the highest fiber part of the grain; helps to lower cholesterol & stabilize blood sugar
Almonds: good source of crunch, calcium and protein
Flax seeds: contain omega 3 fatty acids, works as a mild laxative, reduces inflammation, and helps lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and to prevent arthritis. They are also good for hair and nail health.
Milk thistle: prevents free radical damage, protects the liver, and helps the liver replenish new cells.
Raisins or blueberries: adds sweetness and texture, as well as iron, vitamin C, and antioxidants.
Sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds: great source of zinc and protein.  Zinc is a great immune booster and helps heal wounds. 
Chia seeds: second to flax they are the highest non-animal source of omega 3 fatty acids, also high in B vitamins, antioxidants and minerals (calcium, copper, and zinc).
bought in bulk