Kale, Broccoli and Minted Pea Detox Soup

Photo 2014-06-25, 3 31 26 AMWith those cold wintery nights behind us, it is nice to finally steer clear or warm oatmeal, pastas and other comforting starchy dishes. Although most people would add hot soup to that list, I on the other hand love a soup in the summer. Of course I’m not making soups loaded with pastas, potatoes and other warming ingredients, rather I am making soups that can be eaten hot, room temperature or even cold. Minestrone loaded with tons of veggies is a great way to go (will be sharing that soon) but these days I have been eating up my kale and broccoli in my soup!

Yup. This kale, broccoli and minted pea soup is insanely detoxifying and loaded with good-for-you ingredients. We know how great those green veggies are, plus I have added apple cider vinegar, ginger, lemon, onion, cayenne, garlic, and turmeric for added anti-inflammatory, metabolism boosting, antioxidant and cancer prevention benefits.

I have eaten this soup at all temperatures and have been adding a light swig of tasty extra virgin olive oil and my turmeric crunchy chickpeas as croutons for added texture. This soup was so popular amongst friends and family that I have now made 3 batches of this soup and the croutons in this week alone! It is the perfect light summer lunch or appetizer for dinner. If you had a day where you didn’t eat your best, you will feel WONDERFUL about yourself if you make this for dinner! It is incredibly flavourful (a little kick of heat in there) and creamy with perfect crunch from the chickpeas. If chickpeas aren’t your favourite add some dried cranberries or pumpkin seeds on top! As always, this recipe is gluten, dairy and refined sugar free (this one is vegan too) and it is a perfect addition to any detox plan. Bon appetit!

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Photo 2014-06-25, 2 58 51 AM

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Ingredients:

• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil + more for drizzling
• 1 tsp salt (kosher, himalayan or sea)
• 1/2 tsp cayenne (optional)
• 1/2 tsp ground ginger
• 1 tsp turmeric
• 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
• 1 yellow onion (chopped)
• 3 garlic cloves (chopped)
• 2 cups raw broccoli (stems trimmed)
• 1 1/2 cups peas (fresh or frozen)
• 3 cups kale (packed)
• zest of 1 lemon
• juice of 1/2 lemon
• 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
• 6 cups or 1 quart vegetable stock (homemade or organic, low sodium)
• leaves from 3 sprigs of fresh mint (or to taste, more for garnish)
roasted chickpeas (for garnish)

Directions:

1. In a big stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.Add chopped onion and a pinch of salt and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Then, stir in garlic, ginger, turmeric, cayenne, freshly ground pepper and cook for 1 minute.

2. Add broccoli and vegetable stock. Then cover and allow to steam for 5-7 minutes or until the broccoli is soft.

3. Add kale and peas and allow to steam until wilted and peas turn bright green (about 2 minutes). Then add, the fresh mint, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice.

4.If you have a great blender, you can carefully (its hot!) ladle the soup into your blender in parts. If your blender would have trouble with the broccoli you can blend the soup in two parts. First, use a hand blender or food processor to start the blending process of soup and mint. Second, ladle into your blender and process until smooth and creamy. There should be no chunks in your soup!

5. Taste the soup and make sure to season with more salt or pepper if necessary. Ladle into bowls and serve with a drizzle of olive oil, crunchy chickpeas and some more fresh mint if desired. Soup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

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Photo 2014-06-25, 3 31 32 AM

Even Lucy likes it!

Even Lucy likes it!

Herbed Walnut Quinoa with Honey Balsamic Grilled Peaches

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Quinoa as we all know by now is super grain because of its unique characteristics. Quinoa is a complete protein and contains all eight essential amino acids. This makes it a great meal for vegans and vegetarians or as a substitute for rice or other grains and starches. I’ve seen this grain used in so many great ways. Like rice, it is versatile and can be used in savoury and sweet dishes. Plus, it is naturally gluten free! I like to cook my quinoa in vegetable or chicken stock to let the grain absorb all that flavour. This will reduce the amount of sauce, oil, dressing etc.. you will need to flavour the mild tasting grain. It is a must for this recipe! You can make your own veg stock or buy low sodium organic stock or broth in most grocery stores. The ingredients should only include vegetables, no funky chemicals or added salt.

Now that summer is here, everyone is craving those light refreshing flavours. Fresh herbs and citrus are always in my fridge for fresh teas and juices. They also add great light flavour to desserts and main dishes alike without adding unwanted oils, sauces etc… I really wanted to make a quinoa that was both sweet and savoury but really refreshing and light at the same time. By grilling the peaches with honey and balsamic they get a beautiful caramelization and smoky flavour that combines beautifully with the crunchy walnuts and savoury quinoa. Dressed in lightly acidic vinaigrette and fresh mint and parsley makes it a perfect merry of vibrant flavours! If you eat dairy it would go perfectly with some crumbled goat cheese or salty feta (yes, I do miss cheese sometimes). This is DELICIOUS with fish or a great light lunch on its own. I had on top of some raw kale for a protein packed lunch and it was so filling! Remember that for every cup of uncooked quinoa you will get about 3 cups cooked. So reduce or add more depending on how many this will serve! Make sure to adjust the seasonings if you change the amount of quinoa! Bon appetit!
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Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

• 2 cups quinoa
• 4 cups vegetable stock
• 1/2 tsp of salt (or to taste)
• 1 tsp of pepper
• 2 white peaches (or your favourite kind) (chopped 1/2 inch cubes)
• 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
• 1 tsp honey
• 1 tbsp coconut oil
• 1/2 cup walnuts
• 2 sprigs mint (chopped)
• 1/4 cup parsley (chopped)
• 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
• 1/4 cup good extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tsp red wine vinegar
• juice of 1 lemon

Directions:

1. Rinse quinoa well in a fine mesh sieve. Bring quinoa and vegetable stock to boil in saucepan; cover. Cook on medium-low heat 10 to 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork.

2. While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the peaches. In a medium bowl whisk the balsamic vinegar and honey until combined. Toss the chopped peaches in the mixture until well coated.

3. Melt the coconut oil in grill pan or brush BBQ. Cook the peaches on mediium-high heat until caramelized. (3-4 minutes… you still want them to have bite!)

4. In a large serving bowl whisky together the chopped mint and parsley, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar and juice of one lemon, salt and pepper.

5. Take the cool cooked quinoa and toss in the dressing until combined. Add walnuts and peaches. Enjoy!
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Mung Bean Pad Thai

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Who doesn’t like pad thai? Something about the  combination of sweet, sour and salty just gets me every single time. Something else also happens every. single. time. I feel AWFUL. I know I’m not the only one who feels bloated, tired and uncomfortable. Even though the base of rice noodles, veggies and meat sounds like a healthy trio it is loaded with copious amounts of fat and sodium.

Pad thai has been on my recipe list for a while now. I think most home cooks steer clear of asian flavours because they seem complicated. Once you build up your pantry with the basic sauces however, most asian dishes can be tackled with ease. Whats best is that you can control all the ingredients that go inside. You really dont need so much oil, salt and sugar to get the awesome flavours. Use fresh herbs and spices and you’ll see that you actually prefer your own cooking to what you get in restaurants!

My favourite thing to hear from friends, family and guests who eat my food or try one of my recipes is how surprised they are by how great it tastes while still being good for you. What’s best is that everyone feels so much better. People dont want heavy. Why eat a meal if you are going just feel awful and potentially guilty afterwords. You want to feel energized, light and satisfied. And that’s exactly what this Pad Thai will do! I will eventually tackle a raw version of this dish, but these mung bean noodles were an awesome addition.

Mung Beans are packed with protein, fibre and vitamins. If you are not in the mood for meat or tofu, you will get plenty of extra nourishment from the noodles itself. I found these noodles at a speciality grocery store. Check your asian markets or health food stores! If you cant get your hands on these, try using buckwheat soba or brown rice noodles! Also, the tofu can be replaced with chicken or beef. Bon appetit!
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Serves 4

Ingredients:

• 1 package mung bean noodles or noodle of choice
• 1 1/2 cup bean sprouts
• 2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
• 1 inch piece of ginger (finely chopped)
• 2-3 limes
• 2 tbsp fresh cilantro
• 1 jalapeño or chilli pepper (seeds removed, chopped)
• 1 package non GMO tofu (cubed) or meat of choice
• 1 red pepper (chopped)
• 1 cup broccoli
• 1 medium yellow onion (chopped)
• 2 eggs (lightly scrambled) (optional)
• 3 tbsp cup roasted peanuts (roughly chopped)
• 2 tbsp sprouted buckwheat
• 2 tsp coconut oil (divided)
• 1 tsp sesame oil

Sauce Ingredients:

• few dashes fish sauce (to taste)
• 1/4 cup all natural creamy peanut butter
• 2 tbsp gluten free tamari
• 8 drops stevia or 1 tsp honey
• 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
• juice of one lime

Directions:

1. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain, toss in sesame oil and set aside.

2. In a small bowl, whisk sauce ingredients until combined. Set aside.

3. Heat 1 tsp coconut oil in a wok or large pan, and cook onion until tender about minutes.

4. Add garlic, ginger, peppers, bean sprouts, broccoli and cilantro. Sautée for about 5 minutes. Place in a bowl and set aside.

5. Heat remaining coconut oil on medium-high heat and cook tofu until browned. Then re-add veggies and the eggs. Stir until the egg is cooked through. Then add the noodles and pad thai sauce. Stir until completely combined and thoroughly heated, about 3 to 4 more minutes.

6.Remove from heat and toss with peanuts before serving. Garnish with lime wedges, peanuts, buckwheat groats and additional cilantro.
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