Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Vita-mix Black Bean Soup

A Joelle Staley Recipe!

I was throwing this in the vita-mix this afternoon and the girls came in from school and said, "Yumm! Black bean soup!". That is why this is one of my favorites. How else could I get my family to eat so many raw vegetables? Also, this can be thrown together in about 10 minutes and frozen or put into the fridge until you need it. Great for a busy weeknight!

Just throw all these ingredients into the blender. Chop up the big stuff to make it fit. It will not all work in one batch so I divide it up ... just make sure you have enough liquid in each batch to puree it. It all comes together in the pot so it really doesn't matter how you divide it.
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
3 cans black beans (rinsed)
2 cans chicken broth
1 can tomatoes
2 Tbsp tomato paste
handful cilantro
juice from 1 lime
Pour it all into a soup pot and heat.
Garnish with sour cream and cilantro. The kids like it with corn chips broken on top.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sweet Salad for Lunch

I needed a quick healthy filling lunch/supper today after being out and about and missing meals

In a rare organized moment I had washed lettuce the day before and had it waiting crisply in the fridge

So I gave my husband a choice - Greek salad or sweet salad?

Sweet salad it was - so here is what I did

I threw a handful of walnuts into a pan with a generous sprinkling of sugar and cooked on medium heat a few minutes until the sugar melted and coated the nuts

Then I filled a salad bowl with:

baby spinach
torn romaine
sliced red cabbage
chopped cucumber
sliced red onion
grated carrot
grated white cheddar cheese
dried cranberries
the candied walnuts

Then I tossed it with a variation of my standard (learned many years ago from my Parisian friend Therese) French vinaigrette

(this is all approximate - you MUST taste as you go)

1 tsp dijon
1/2 tsp salt (about)
generous dose of fresh ground black pepper
1 or 2 tsp honey
1 Tbs cider vinegar

mix well with a whisk

whisk in 3 to 4 Tbs extra virgin olive oil until creamy

Toss with salad and enjoy an easy healthy tasty meal

Saturday, April 4, 2009

World's Best Granola

I have never met someone who didn't go NUTS over this heart healthy but delicious granola!

Yes - it's high in calories

However, if you eat a small bowl of this for breakfast (1/3 cup or so with milk or soy milk), I guarantee you won't want get hungry again for many many hours.

3 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup wheat germ
1/3 cup large seeds (sunflower, pumpkin...)
1/3 cup small seeds (sesame, flax...)
1/3 cup chopped almonds
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinamon
pinch salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl (oats through salt). Combine oil, honey and vanilla, then pour over dry ingredients. Mix well. Spread on oiled cooking sheet and back in preheated 350 degree oven until golden (10 to 15 minutes). Stir occasionally.

  • This version is fairly sweet - you can decrease the sugar
  • Whole almonds hand chopped are much better than purchased slivered almonds (it's something about the crunch of a sugar coated chunk of almond)
  • You can mix in dried fruits after the mixture cools

Chocolate Vita-Mix Pudding

This quick to make and satisfies that 'must have chocolate now' feeling without doing too much damage to the diet

This is a modified version of the Vita-Mix Cookbook pudding recipe

2 cups steaming milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
5 Tbs flour
1 egg (room temp)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp butter
2 Tbs good quality cocoa powder
1 "mix in" piece of chocolate (about 1 oz - any flavor you like - I prefer bittersweet but have fun and mix it up)

Place hot milk, salt and sugar in Vita-Mix container. Secure lid. Select Variable speed #1. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to #10, then to high. Allow machine to run for 2 minutes. Remover lid plug and add flour, cocoa powder, and chocolate through opening. Replace plug and allow machine to run until mixture settles down and appears to be thickening - about 30 seconds. Drop egg in and run for 1 minute longer. Add butter and vanilla. Stop machine and pour into large bowl or custard cups. Chill and serve.

Almond variation

Eliminate cocoa and chocolate - add 1 cup almonds with butter and vanilla (maybe add some almond extract too)

Banana variation
Eliminate cocoa and chocolate - add 1 ripe banana with first ingredients, or line serving dishes with banana slices.

Coconut variation
Eliminate chocolate - fold in 1/2 cup shredded coconut when finished (better yet - keep the cocoa powder, put in a mounds bar, and make it chocolate coconut!)

Renew Your Body Vegetable Soup


Plus it's flexible - use whatever vegetables you have on hand

Here's how I made this batch:

Saute onions (2 small or one lg) and pressed garlic (plenty - 3 or 4 cloves) for a few minutes. Add seasonings - a couple of large pinches of dried basil and oregano plus some hot pepper flakes. Saute a little more and throw in cubed pumpkin (or squash), sliced carrots and sliced cabbage. I would add green beans here but I didn't have any - stir fry a minute. Add a can of chopped tomatoes and enough chicken broth to cover the vegetables and give enough liquid. Cook until the veggies are tender then add a can of white beans (drained and rinsed) and a couple handfuls of chopped greens. I also added some leftover cooked chicken breast. Cook until greens wilt. Add more broth as needed.

Perfect sprinkled with Parmesan and served with crusty bread