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.

Thursday 2Go: Eating at the Salad Bar

Once a week I grab dinner at a salad bar because my schedule doesn’t leave me enough time to run home after work in the evenings. I consider myself extremely lucky to have class right next to a Whole Foods, the best place to feed myself lest I become a hangry monster my classmates have to deal with for three hours on a Monday night…

Given with the bounty of a Whole Foods salad bar, it can be tough to create a veg*n salad that will keep you satiated on the go.

This Thursday 2Go, I’ll share with you my tips on creating the perfect salad.

1. Start with a bed of greens: Whether you prefer spinach, lettuce or arugula, fill the base of your salad container with any combination of the leaves your salad bar offers. And don’t be shy–fill up! Leaves are an extremely light-weight ingredient so if you pay for your salad by weight, extra lettuce won’t do much damage. Greens are also one of the healthiest options so you want to get as much as you can eat.

2. Add in the protein: Most salad bars offer an array of beans or lentils. Add a few scoops of your favorite beans for protein that’ll keep you full. If you like tofu, add some cubes into your salad. If the tofu looks shiny and greasy though, it’s best to limit how many pieces you choose. Adding too much of the gravy it’s cooked in adds unnecessary weight to your box and might even ooze out of your container. I’m not sure my professor would appreciate a grease-soaked homework assignment…

3. Mix in some grains: Brown rice, farrow, or quinoa all go very well with lentils and greens. Choose your grain and mix it in. If you are gluten’-free, corn always goes well with this combo, too.

4. Top it off with some more veggies: I like to make salads as colorful as possible and love dressing them up with chopper bell pepper, peas, or olives, If you eat diary, you can sprinkle some cheese over your salad.

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My favorite salad to go

5. Leave the dressing on the side: By the salad dressings you may find little tubs with lids. Pour your favorite dressing in there rather than into your salad directly. That way, when you arrive at your destination, your salad hasn’t leaked into your bag. Pouring the dressing over only when you’re ready to eat helps keep your salad fresher for longer periods of time.

Do you have any tips for eating on the go? I’d love to hear!

Meatless Monday: Guacamole

You might remember from this post that I live for avocados. For today’s Meatless Monday, I want to share with you my favorite way to eat these alligator pears: guacamole.

Ingredients (Serves 4-6)

2 ripe avocados–I know an avocado is ripe when it’s skin is mostly black rather than green and feels slightly squishy
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 clove of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons salt
one stem of green onion, chopped
chili powder, to taste
chopped cilantro, to taste

Instructions

Peel avocados, remove pits, and place in bowl
Add lemon juice, salt, garlic, onion, and chili powder (if using) to bowl
Mash the mixture with a fork, or potato masher to your preferred consistency (I like mine slightly chunky, and tend to go easy with the mashing)
Sprinkle in cilantro, if using and mix gently

Serve with your favorite tortilla chips, black bean burritos, or tacos.

Guacamole is one of my favorite sides to bring to summer gatherings–it’s so easy to make, and it’s vegan/gluten-free.

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I brought this to my friend M’s house last night and it went well with the completely vegan and super tasty dinner he made.

Do you have a go-to guacamole recipe you love?

Thursday 2Go: Breakfast Ready When You Are

Eating healthy can be a challenge in today’s fast-moving world—trust me, I know. I’m studying for a graduate degree in the evenings while working a full-time job during the day. Between work and class, sometimes I barely have time to think about cooking a fresh and healthy meal.

Today’s Thursday 2Go features a breakfast dish you can make ahead and keep refrigerated for up to a week or frozen for a few weeks. Eating a healthy and nutritious breakfast ensures that you have a solid foundation to face the day. Beat the morning rush with this recipe.

Thursday 2Go: Wheat Berry Cereal

Wheat berries are used to produce whole wheat flour, but offer many more nutrients in their whole seed form. Because wheat berries are unrefined, they retain nutrients and fiber that processed wheat products do not have. My favorite type of wheat berry to use for this breakfast cereal is called Khorasan wheat, or commercially sold as Kamut

My recipe here uses Khorasan wheat, but you can use regular wheat berries in the same way.

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Bring two and a half cups of water to boil and add in one cup of your grain in a medium-sized sauce pan. I soak my Khorasan berries overnight to reduce cooking time, but it’s not necessary.

After two minutes, reduce heat to a simmer for around 30 to 40 minutes, or until berries are chewy but not tough. It’s important to be flexible with cooking times when cooking with whole berries, as it can vary depending on the type you use. After about 25 minutes of cooking, you can begin to taste a few pieces to taste for readiness while you leave it simmering on the stove. Because wheat berries take a while to cook, the most time-efficient way to cook these is by the batch. One dry cup of wheat berries creates four servings.

I store my cooked grains in the fridge. In a separate container, I store washed and chopped fruit for my mix-ins.

In the morning all you need to do is scoop your wheat berries and favorite fruit into a bowl, mix and enjoy!

My favorite combination is chopped pear and raspberries.

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Now that you’ve got a healthy and filling breakfast in your stomach, you’ll be ready to face the new day ahead.

What types of breakfasts do you eat to start your days?

This post contains my affiliate links to products I use and recommend to my readers. When you purchase through the above link, I might get paid a commission. Whether you use the link or buy the product is entirely up to you.

Meatless Monday: Using up the Scraps

Mondays seem to sneak up on me. Do you feel that way, too? Perhaps you had grand plans to stock up on fresh produce at the farmer’s market, or replenish the fridge with goodies from the specialty store during the weekend. Instead though, Monday somehow rolls around, you’re back to the grind, and all you have in the fridge are remnants of meals past.

If that’s what going on in your kitchen today, don’t despair. Here are a few tricks to spruce up those odds and ends and spare them from bottom of your trash bin:

1. Beans: Say you’ve got less than a full serving of these simple black beans. Heat up some corn you probably have in your freezer, sauté that zucchini or bell pepper hiding in your produce bin or breakout some fake meat crumbles and mix it in with the beans over the stove. Serve with chips or tortillas.

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Don’t throw them out just yet!

2. Pasta: Whenever we make pasta, we’re inevitably left with extra noodles. When I see that sad-looking container of plain, cooked noodles chillin’ in the fridge, I get creative. If we already at them fresh with a red marinara sauce the first time around, then I like to use them up the second time with some extra virgin olive oil or pesto sauce. Just heat up the noodles, drizzle in your EVOO or pesto, and perhaps throw in some wilted spinach you never got around to using.

3. Flat Bread: We love eating falafel in our house. Usually what happens is we have just the right amount of falafel balls for everyone to have enough, and we’re only left with extra flat bread. Instead of letting that flat bread get moldy, I love using it to make a quick pizza. Simply lay the flat bread on a piece of aluminum foil and spread your favorite jarred tomato sauce evenly on the bread. Sprinkle some fake or real cheese over, and top with whatever veggies you have at hand. Bake in your toaster oven until the cheese is melted.

What are your favorite hacks for giving new life to leftover odds and ends?

Meat-Free Week and Meatless Monday: Simple Black Beans

Since today is the beginning of Meat-Free Week and also Meatless Monday, I thought I would post an almost everyday staple of mine: an easy and healthy recipe that anyone can make! Black beans are filing, cheap, nutritious and pair nicely with a variety of vegetables and grains.

I like to use my black beans for burritos, tacos or salads. The best toppings for black beans include lettuce, spinach, avocado, tomato, olives, peppers, zucchini, basically any vegetable you love!

This recipe uses a crock pot or slow cooker and if you don’t have one, I highly recommend you invest in one. Mine cost me $10 and has seen almost daily use for the several years I’ve had it.

Ingredients

1 pound dried black beans

6 cups water

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon red chili powder

Salt and pepper to taste

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The possibilities are endless!

Instructions

Rinse the black beans.

Place beans, chopped onion, cumin, and chili powder into crockpot and pour in the 6 cups of water.

Cook on high for about 4 hours, or until beans are cooked. Check on the beans after a few hours by taking a few out on a spoon, cooling down and tasting to check readiness. When beans are done cooking, they should be soft to chew.

Sprinkle salt and pepper to your liking.