In Pictures: Plum Tomato Soup

As promised in my last post, today I’m excited to share my recipe for homemade, fresh tomato soup. This soup uses plum tomatoes that are easily found in the colder months. The best part about this recipe is that it doesn’t require exact measurements and can be easily adapted to use up however many pounds you’ve got on hand.

Ingredients

 

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  • Three to four pounds of plum tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter or ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. After washing tomatoes, slice into quarters longways IMG_1897 (1)
  2. Place quartered tomatoes into a large soup pot
  3. Fill pot with just enough water to cover the tomatoesIMG_1899
  4. Add cloves and cinnamon
  5. Bring to a boil
  6. Let boil for 5-7 minutes
  7. Reduce to a low simmer, cover pot with lid and let simmer for 20 minutes
  8. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutesIMG_1901
  9. Use an immersion blender or food processor to blend tomatoes into the consistency you preferIMG_1903
  10. In a small sauce pan, heat butter or ghee on medium-high for 1 minute and add in cumin and remove from heat.
  11. Add butter/ghee and cumin mixture to soup
  12. Bring soup to a low simmer and stir well
  13. Serve with black pepper to tasteIMG_1907

 

Enjoy! And let this soup keep you warm in the cooler days ahead.

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4 Items to Always Have in the Kitchen

Putting together a meal can be a struggle when you’re caught in the fast pace of our busy lives. To be sure I’m never without the the basics for a healthy meal no matter the time of day, here are four essentials I always have on hand:

oatmeal to the rescue

oatmeal to the rescue

1. Oatmeal: Instant or old-fashioned oats are perfect for breakfast, or even lunch and dinner when you’re really in a pinch. Oats are ideal for busy mornings because all you need to cook them in¬†is water. You can dress up your oatmeal with whatever you have on hand; berries, dried fruits, nuts, or seeds. Full of protein and fiber, oatmeal is your best bet when you’ve got just a minute to get out the door.
2. Frozen vegetables: Some days you come home and all you see in your vegetable compartment is a wilting bunch of green onions. Keep a bag of frozen spinach, broccoli or mixed vegetables in your freezer so that you always have a vegetable on hand.
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3. Beans: Beans combined with a frozen vegetable from above come together to create a healthy, filling meal when dinner is the last thing on your mind. I like to have both canned and dry on hand, but canned beans are especially nice to have when all you can think about is satisfying your growling tummy after 10 hours in the office.
4. Grains: My favorite grain is quinoa because it’s filling and tastes yummy all on its own. White or brown rice is an excellent substitute if you prefer. Grains are a blank slate to serve up with some spices, a can of soup, or a side of sweet potatoes.
A final bonus is that you can stock up on each of these items when they’re on sale.
There you have my four essentials for plant-based living. Which items are you sure to have in your kitchen each day?

Getting Classy with Pomegranate

Yesterday my Dad made my heart soar when he texted me a picture of his lunch. I imagined him, chest puffed with pride, at the beautiful meal he had created for himself. And I had to give him credit–it really was a work of art:

Wouldn’t you agree?
food imitates art

food imitates art

Look carefully at the picture. There’s something there that really just pulls the whole meal together and takes it to next level. Sure, the home made taco shell adds a fantastic touch, but I’d say it’s those ruby gems that just class it up even more.

Pomegranate seeds are so elegant. Do you think so, too? Not overly saccharine, but bursting with flavor, we should make more use of them. I love eating them by the spoonfuls after someone who loves me very much (hi Mom and Dad!) has done the hard work of freeing the little seeds from their shell.
But have you ever tossed them into a salad? Into a taco bowl? Sprinkled some over your oatmeal? These glass-like beauties really elevate your dish. They turn everyday meals into a sparkling celebration. Pomegranate seeds are Nature’s gift of confetti.
How do you dress up your meals? I’d love to know!

Meatless Monday: 4 Additions to a Heartier Salad

Salads sometimes get a bad rap for being nothing more than a sad serving of wilted iceberg lettuce topped with shreds of carrot–but they sure don’t have to be! Try one of these tips this Meatless Monday and you’ll surely change your mind about the potential of salads.

Here are four additions to build a heartier salad:

1. Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, peanuts, and sunflower seeds add a nice crunch to your favorite salad. The protein in nuts and seeds will help you stay full from your salad longer.

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Arranging my almonds in a neat way

2. Beans: My go to meal is always some sort of bean served on a bed of greens. For a Mexican style salad, try pinto or black beans with romaine lettuce and salsa. For Mediterranean flavors, try garbanzo beans with mixed greens and a touch of olive oil.

3. Tofu: Tofu is a perfect addition to virtually any dish that needs an extra boost. From blending it into smoothies to crumbling it into tacos–tofu always serves a plant-based eater very well. And that’s no different for salads. Simply chop up some extra-firm tofu and top over your favorite blend of leaves. You can even saute the pieces slightly to add a bit more flavor. Wait till the tofu is cool to add to your salad.

4. Cheese: If you eat dairy, a sprinkle of your favorite shredded cheese adds a nice flavor to your salad. Some say that the fat in dairy can help you digest leaves a bit better. Just a tiny sprinkle of cheese will go a long way.

What’s your favorite addition to salad? Do you eat them often?

Meatless Monday: 4 Easy Substitutes to Make Your Meals Greener

1. Hummus for Mayonnaise
I love hummus. My love for hummus requires a post of its own. Packed with protein and flavor–I think hummus makes a fabulous sub for mayo. Hummus is made with a tahini base rather than oil, which makes it a healthier (and in my opinion, tastier!) option for spreads and dips.

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Pile on the hummus!

2. Avocado for Cheese
Avocado’s richness makes it a fabulous substitute for cheese. It works especially well in dishes like sandwiches and tacos, when cheese doesn’t need to be melted. Instead of sliced cheese in your next sandwich, why not try some sliced avocado? Throw in some cubed avocado, or definitely guacamole, in Mexican dishes and you won’t even miss the shredded cheese.

3. Tofu for Steak
Tofu is a wonder food because of the infinite ways it can be transformed. You can bake, it fry it, blend it into a smoothie. You can even grill it just as you would a steak! The beauty of tofu is that its pretty much non-existent taste and variety of texture options ranging from soft to extra firm allows you to prepare it the same way you would prepare a meat dish. Substituting a plant-based meal for a meat-based dish gives you the chance to make a healthier choice for animals, the planet, and yourself.

4. Chickpeas for Tuna
This may not seem like a natural substitute but the other day I tried a really yummy mock tuna salad–and found out that the “tuna” was made out of chickpeas! Usually imitation dishes are made with fake meat products, but the chickpeas are really neat take on this dish. Simply mash up your cooked chickpeas with a little bit of seasoning (I love this recipe!) and you have a delicious “tuna” dish.

This Week’s Lunches

Does anyone else go through phases of weeks (or months!) where you find yourself eating the same thing over and over again? This happens to me all the time!

I try out a new recipe/experiment that I love and then become obsessed with it.

This week the main portion of daily work lunches consisted of my latest creation: kale avocado salad.

As you can tell from my last two posts…I love these two, but never tried them together. This all changed when I thought surely my two favorite green foods would taste even better together.

To make a salad, all you do is wash you kale and put it in a bowl. Then, mash half an avocado into the kale bed and sprinkle some corn on top. I’m not much of a dressing person. I usually either drizzle my veggies in olive oil, or with this salad, a few squirts of hot sauce.

I loved this kale avocado salad and though I may take a break from it next week, it’ll definitely be a staple in my lunch rotations.

How about you? What did you munch on at your desk this week? What have you been obsessed with lately?

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kale avocado mash salad