Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Carrot & Apple Soup

I know it sounds crazy... apples in soup?! Trust me on this, it is good! The russet potato in this recipe lends itself to a more comforting taste, and the mix of crushed red pepper and thyme balance out the sweetness. An additional bonus is that it also happens to be a vegan recipe.  Now all I need to do is bake a loaf of homemade bread to enjoy with this amazing "soon to be Fall" treat!

1 large russet baking potato (peeled)
5 medium carrots (peeled)
1 small - medium gala apple (peeled)
1/4 of a medium sweet onion
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil (I use extra virgin, but whatever you have will do)
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves - divided (Important note here: use fresh, not dried. There's a definite taste difference. )
Salt & pepper to taste
2 cups filtered water
Paprika & thyme sprigs for garnish (optional)

Slice all veggies and apple into equal size pieces. I like to slice mine thin so that they cook faster, but the most important thing is that they're the same size. Heat oil in medium sauce pan over medium-high heat, add onion, potato, carrots and apple. Add in crushed red pepper and salt/pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally until everything is slightly tender, yet still has a bite to it. You should also get some browning in the bottom of the pan at this point. (If it seems like everything is cooking too quickly, lower the heat closer to medium.) Once you've reached this point, add in 1/2 the thyme and let cook for another minute or so. Add the water, cover and allow to boil over med-high heat until everything is very soft. It's important to cook until very soft versus fork tender to ensure a smooth consistency. Turn off the heat and allow to cool slightly in pan. 

Then purée either in your blender or with an emersion blender. 

 I have a Blendtec, and in that I pulsed a couple of times to combine, then blended at speed 1 for 15 seconds and then on speed 5 for another 15 seconds.  The main thing is to purée until it is super smooth. 

Stir in the rest of the thyme and add more salt/pepper if needed. Pour into 4 individual bowls and garnish with paprika and thyme sprigs. 

Serves 4
Per serving: 181 calories; 5 grams fat; 31 grams carbs; 4 grams protein

Monday, September 1, 2014

Almond "Joyous" Butter

Sometimes, you just really want a candy bar, but don't want all the processed junk that comes with it. Don't fear! I've come up with a great treat that satisfies those cravings while offering heart healthy ingredients! My Almond "Joyous" Butter really hits the spot, and can be enjoyed straight out of the jar! 

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup almonds
16 dark chocolate chips

If using a high powered blender such as a Blendtec or a Vitamix, simply add ingredients to your blender jar and process until smooth. This can usually be accomplished in a couple of minutes. If using a food processor, add all ingredients to the processor bowl, and process on high for 20 minutes. You can process for only 15 minutes, but going the full 20 will give you a smooth and creamy consistency. 

Seving size: 1 Tbsp
Serves 6
Per serving: 90 calories, 7 grams heart healthy fat, 5 grams carbs and 3 grams protein.