On Mondays, We Meal Plan!

This Meme has been cracking me up all week!  Even funnier was recently listening to my husband explain to someone how easy it is to meal plan each week.  Don’t get me wrong, he is a huge help in the planning and making of the food and even sometimes in the shopping.  But for a guy who used to live on pizza and Chinese take out to begin describing the benefits of a weekly meal plan…you gotta smile : )

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Monday was super quiet.  Actually, our whole weekend was pretty quiet (on purpose) and I reaped the benefits Monday.  After a trip to Costco and the grocery store, I had the afternoon to myself.  I watched a little TV and then started working on dinners.  My meal planning experts, crockpot and Dutch Oven, were both in use when I curled up on the couch to read in my snuggie.

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On the stove, Monday night’s dinner from the Everyday Food cookbook, an easy one pot Moroccan Chicken.  I’m always a little skeptical of one pot recipes, so I upped the spice a bit.  I will warn you that it looks like there are way more veggies than liquid, but it all works out.  I also subbed in cauliflower for the zucchini which was a success!

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Dinner was ready right as the hubs walked in the door.  We had some leftover Thai rice that went perfectly with our dinner.  Since I was too tired/lazy to make any.

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My honest opinion on this dinner is that I like some of my crockpot recipes better because the flavor is stronger and more infused throughout.  However, in a pinch, this recipe comes together quickly and tastes great!  I ended up with a slight headache so went to bed early on Monday and decided not to wake up and run this morning.  I am feeling better but back in my snuggie on the couch : )

 

Meal Planning 2/08/16

Monday: Moroccan Chicken

Tuesday: Easy Asian Sweet Chili Chicken (crockpot recipe coming soon!)

Wednesday: Tilapia and Veggies

Thursday: TBD

 

Moroccan Chicken

From Martha Stewart Everyday Food

Ingredients

  • 8 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 3 carrots, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 3 onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 can whole tomatoes (14 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 can chickpeas (15 1/2 ounces), drained and rinsed
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken stock, or reduced-sodium canned broth
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. In a Dutch oven, combine chicken, carrots, onions, tomatoes, chickpeas, (cauliflower if using), stock, water, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Break up the tomatoes with a spoon.

  2. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Add zucchini, and cook until chicken is cooked through, yet still tender, about 15 minutes more..

  3. Serve with rice or couscous.  Tastes great day two!

 

Do you meal plan?  Any tips or favorite recipes to share?

Bora Bora Blues

I have the most serious case of the Bora Bora blues…

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Sure, I miss the crystal clear water and the sunny skies but I truly miss the ability to unplug, unwind, and do whatever I want, spending almost 100% of my time with my best friend and love.  No, I don’t expect you feel sorry for me…I wouldn’t, but thought I should at least be honest about my current state of mind.

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Saturday morning, our alarm went off and I actually turned it off (on accident).  We arrived at the gym 10 minutes late, but the BOY’s trainer had a flat tire so we were all on the same page.  I was especially empathetic after my recent flat and dead battery last Monday after my car sat on the driveway for 2 weeks untouched.  My trainer worked us both out and totally took it easy on us.  Although our trip was extremely active, I haven’t worked out all week (sleep was a priority to get back into my routine and not fall asleep at work this week).  The goal for Saturday was to just get back into our routine and then maybe burn a few calories.

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Mission accomplished!  We had enough time to chillax back home before driving into the city for a fun catch up brunch with my fam.  We chose not to spend Saturday night in the city for a few reasons, mainly because I was too lazy to pack a bag and wanted to wake up at home and didn’t want to leave Cooper alone for the night.

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Oddly, almost all of my post vacation pictures on my phone are of this guy…do you think we missed him?!  Saturday night, the BOY and I stayed in to watch the Indiana basketball game, play with kitten, and drink some wine.

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Sadly, I didn’t make it up that late and went to bed around 9:15pm to read.  The BOY followed shortly behind and we both slept for a glorious 10 hours.  Sunday morning, the BOY wanted to make breakfast and we enjoyed a delish mix of biscuits, eggs, and bacon.  After a quick weather check, I decided to skip yoga and head out for a run.  It was cold (because it’s not 75), but for February in Chicago, quite mild!  And my phone said it would be much colder (and possibly snowing) on Monday.  I ran just short of 5 miles enjoying the fresh air.  The BOY and I decided to spend Superbowl Sunday being lazy at home just the two of us. 

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@thefatjewish

Which means that I did some laundry, gave Cooper tons of love, and we watched the Entourage movie before the game even started.  We ordered Thai food for dinner.

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And I tried to channel my vacation vibe by enjoying my midday drink of choice…white wine.  Although I didn’t have a pool, I did threaten to change into my bathing suit : )  Day time wine always makes life better…right?!

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We watched the Superbowl with no real opinion on the winner but totally enjoying the half time show …

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And some Cooper love (while donning my brand new Snuggie)…

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Monday, I slept in and was moving slowly, arriving for Hot Yoga just as the class was starting.  I snuck in with an ‘I’m Sorry’ wave to the teacher and grabbed the largest open space which happened to be the front of the room.  We warmed up in supine and about 10 minutes later after my intention was set, I found my way into my first downward dog…discovering that the class was full of 3 rows of guys behind me.  I had to laugh to myself…after feeling a bit sad about doing yoga without my vacation views, a soccer team really isn’t a bad runner up.  Ha ha!

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Yoga definitely helped shake those Bora Bora blues as I worked through the asanas and breathing.  It didn’t give me enough patience to wait 4 hours at the social security office to change my name, but it did remind me of all that I love (and appreciate) in my non Bora Bora life : ) 

 

How do you shake the post vacation blues?

What did you do for Superbowl Sunday?

Mauruuru French Polynesia!!!

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I seriously think I have enough pictures and stories to share that I could spend the rest of the year blogging ONLY about our honeymoon to the French Polynesian Islands!!!  It was magical for soo many reasons.  Number 1 is obvious…spending almost 2 straight weeks with your newish husband who also happens to be your best friend is unreal!  And then together being able to be completely selfish with your time, doing only what makes the two of you happy…priceless!  Now throw in…beautiful beaches, friendly people, amazing weather, exciting culture, and mouth watering food…and you’ve got one happy couple!

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Here’s a quick overview of our trip.  We visited three islands…Moorea, Tahaa, and Bora Bora (in that order).  I know, your next question is which was our favorite?  We thought about this too and honestly can’t pick just one.  Each island had it’s own personality and charm and I would have hated to miss any one of them.

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What to do…

So, if like me you thought that the islands were all about relaxation and laying about, you were only half right.  The relaxation is guaranteed!  The staff is so incredible that our entire trip was effortless!  And you can lay around if you want to (trust me…I read 3 1/2 books!), but you can also kayak, SUP, snorkel, swim, paddleboat, and explore.

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We spent a huge amount of time in the water, by the water, and on the water!  There are also plenty of excursions to choose from (jet skiing, hiking, boating, ATVs, etc.) that you can do on your own or in groups.  We did a super cool jet ski tour along the north coast of Moorea, exploring the bays before stopping for a dip with the sting rays and sharks and then lemonade at the Motu.

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Eats and Drinks…

To rehydrate and refuel, there were plenty of options.  The French influence on cuisine was apparent from the start of the day with crepes, croissants, and jams.  Not to mention fresh eggs cooked how you like them and plenty of other options.  And always served with fresh juice…the pineapple was incredible!  Even the restaurant views were amazing!

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Lunch was a mix of options, usually delicious sandwiches and a glass of wine : )

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And sometimes a second…or a festive, local bevvie!

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For dinner, there was plenty of freshly caught fish and French specialties.

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It was some of the best food I’ve EVER had!!!

And to Relax…

We read, did yoga, swam in our plunge pool and the big pools, hit up happy hour (sometimes in the pool), napped in the sun, took boat rides, fed the fish, laid in the hammock, played cards, took a million selfies, met new friends, got a couples massage, and enjoyed all the Polynesian culture.  I told you there was a lot of relaxation options!

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And the views…

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…Were breathtaking!!!

Fingers crossed, we get to visit these incredible islands again one day!  We were lucky to have friends who helped us plan our trip, so if you are thinking of visiting the area or want to know any details from our trip, reach out and let me know!

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Our tans may be fading, but our memories are not…

Mauruuru! (Thank you!)

Ia Orana!!!

Ia Orana (pronounced yo-rah-nah)

Which must be said in an adorable sing songy voice!

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This post was supposed to be done and ready to go while we were gone, but I just wasn’t that pulled together and organized.  Now that we are back and working through some serious jet lag (3 flights in a 24 hours…or something like that), I have a few minutes to update the pictures and finish the post.  And tell you that our trip was absolutely incredible.  It exceeded all our expectations and we loved EVERY minute!

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Leaving our last island, Bora Bora…

January Goals

Exercise Often– Goal Met!  Prior to vacation, I hit the weights and got my runs in.  Best part was having the hubs by my side!

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And we had tons of opportunities to exercise in the Ocean!  I finally got to try stand up paddle boarding!

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Keep my Eating On Pointe– Once we got past the fry party on the first day of the year, I did a good job of keeping my meals clean!

Get Organized (for our trip and 2016)- So I was totes organized for our trip, or at least as organized as one can be when heading half way around the world to a place they’ve never been.  As for 2016…well, that’s another story.  2016 bucket list to come…

Create and Appreciate Expected and Unexpected Adventures- We made every day memorable and amazing on our trip!  We enjoyed the views and relaxation, the food, and all the cultural experiences.  Believe it or not, our trip went slowly, which was fantastic!

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February Goals

Change my name…Ugh!  I just have to change 2 letters and I know it will be a HUGE headache!

Cook some new recipes…we loved the Polynesian cuisine and can’t wait to try to replicate some recipes at home.

Create a budget and bucket list!

Maintain my vacation Zen!

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Honeymoon updates coming…if you want them (or haven’t seen my Insta pics). 

How was your first month of 2016?  What are you goals for this month?

Sips, Saturday, Sherlock

Before Saturday began, I celebrated FriYAY!

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It was an especially exciting day since it marked the start of my 2 plus weeks of vacation!  Sadly, the BOY had to work late, so I celebrated Friday night date night with Cooper.

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We caught up on my DVR and set the table for our Saturday lunch guests.

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Then curled up to cuddle and read.  I am trying to get my book finished before the trip and already have some new books and mags packed and ready to go.

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I slept fantastically and was sad to hear my alarm go off early this morning.  The BOY and I had one last training session before vaca.  I’m bummed that I didn’t get any pics of us in our matching boxing gloves, but here’s a recycled one.  I did this a bunch today so it seemed legit.

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The BOY and I came back home to pick up a bit and a little before 10am, my mom came by to drop off Cooper’s Hanukkah gift and pick me up for our nail appointment.

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Then my mom and some friends came back to our house for lunch.  We made two kinds of chili, a huge salad, and had fruit and dark chocolate for dessert followed by lattes from my Nespresso maker covered in whipped cream…Mmm!.  After lunch, I had to run out for a few errands.  On my way home, I swung by to pick up take out Coopers Hawk and a bottle of wine for dinner. 

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While we ate dinner, Cooper enjoyed/stalked his new toy.

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So the BOY called me at work this week to tell me that there is one episode of Sherlock available online.  The next season doesn’t come out until 2017, so we were super excited to spend Saturday night sipping through Sherlock.  I’m not planning to stay up too late tonight because I have a busy day of packing up my tropical clothes while it’s 1 degree outside tomorrow.  What can I say…

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LOL!

 

What are you up to this Saturday night?

Do you watch Sherlock?  Any good book suggestions?

Random Wordy Wednesday and a Recipe

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1. THE BLOG

So although I have blogged a bit less this year, I am still blogging.  Why does this matter?  It came time to renew my domain and despite the fact that blogging does not play as big of a role in my day to day life, I seem to like it enough to sign back up without thinking twice about it.  Speaking of blogging…I do need to update a few pages.  Perhaps that will be part of my 2016 goals.

 

2. RECIPES

Speaking of the year ahead…I took the easy way out last week with 2 Ingredient Chicken, but between the BOY and I and all our new kitchen toys, I think we will have more new and unique recipes on LWYD this year.  I am already loving this Cleansing Carrot Ginger Soup (topped with raisins…Mmm!).  This week, I also made turkey meatballs.  Believe it or not I didn’t use my crockpot (it was busy), so I used my other favorite kitchen tool.

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I should admit that there are people who were made to make meatballs and then there is me.  Have you ever seen meatballs so not round?!  Thankfully, they tasted amazing (even though I left out the bread crumbs).

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3. WORKOUTS

Tuesday morning, I was running circles around the track again watching the cold, miserable snow through the windows.  Thank goodness for Serial to keep me company!  I am all caught up and already downloaded a bunch of podcasts for our trip.

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4. WEATHER

Brrr!  Baby…it’s cold outside!

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5. TRAVEL

Thankfully, it’s getting REALLY close to honeymoon time…

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Sunshine, here we come!!!  I’ve ordered us TONS of sunscreen, water shoes, snorkels, and more in prep for the big trip which is less than a week away.

 

6. COOPER

He is just so darn cute!  Except when he lays on your face in the middle of the night : )

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What’s on your mind today?

Crockpot Turkey Meatballs

From Sally’s Baking Addiction

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 pound 97-98% lean ground turkey1
  • 1 pound 92-93% lean ground turkey1
  • 2/3 cup (40g) Panko (I omitted this)
  • 3 Tablespoons (45ml) olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (22g) grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion sweet onion, sliced
  • two 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes

Directions

  1. Beat the egg in a large mixing bowl. Add the ground turkey, Panko, 2 Tablespoons olive oil, parmesan, garlic, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Mix everything up just so the ingredients are combined – avoid overmixing. Roll into desired size balls – mine were slightly larger than a golfball. Place all rolled meatballs on a large baking sheet.
  2. Place onion slices in the bottom of the crockpot, topped with 1 can of crushed tomatoes.
  3. Coat a large skillet with remaining Tablespoon of olive oil and bring to medium-high heat. Lightly brown the meatballs (only 6-8 meatballs at a time) for about 1 minute on each side. Do not skip this step – read above for why. Layer the meatballs into the crockpot as you’re browning each batch. Once all browned meatballs have been added to the crockpot, pour remaining can of tomatoes on top.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 6-6.5 hours. Serve with pasta, as meatball subs, plain, etc. No matter how I serve them, I always top with a little chopped fresh basil. Store leftovers covered tightly in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Sally has a ton of notes, including how to make this without the crockpot like I did, so check them out!

Multitasking Monday

One week into the new year…can you believe it?  Where does the week go?  Seems like just yesterday, I was hosting a fry party and now I’m running around my house making food for the week, searching for my lost marriage licenses, and listening to some new podcasts.  I am multitasking like crazy, trying to make the most of this Monday after a fun and busy weekend!

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Saturday morning, the BOY and I were back at the gym after the last two holiday weekends, training together with free weights and dumbbells.  We left with some serious sore arms and made our weekly trip to the Target before running a few other errands.  I refueled with a ginormo latte!

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We spent the afternoon cleaning our garage to fit in a car and then napping before getting dressed up for sushi date night.

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Sunday morning was another early wake up.  I drove into the city to meet my mom and some friends for a yoga class. 

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I forgot my phone so here is a recycled picture from the same studio.  Ironically, it was take exactly 1 year ago and the day looked quite similar : )

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After yoga, I met some of my old coworkers for a fun brunch, catching up over coffee and omelets.  Then, I was back home to scoop up the BOY for dinner with his parents.  On the way, we stopped by my parents house quickly to say goodbye to my dad who leaves for Florida today and have a quick pre dinner glass of wine with my mom’s new wine glasses.  When I woke up this morning, it occurred to me that I did not get close to what I wanted to get done this weekend…hence the busy day today. 

Cooper’s view on Mondays…ha ha!

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It was tough for all of us to get up and moving today!  And then it took me extra time to get myself pulled together and out the door.  My first stop was the gym for an intense training session.  My biceps were still sore from Saturday and the resisted burpees were brutal, but it was a GREAT workout.  Afterwards,  I hung around for a yoga class.

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I don’t typically double up on workouts, but I have been wanting to take the Monday morning teacher’s class for awhile.  With a busy week ahead, today was the perfect day to get there.  The class was tough, not just because I was tired, but absolutely incredible and inspiring.  I left the yoga studio feeling invigorated for the week ahead and at peace with the week behind.  I ran a few more errands, including the grocery store where I stocked up on fresh produce and meat for this week’s meal plan.

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I made lunch and then began the serious multitasking with laundry, meal planning, and initial packing piles.  And continued to look for our marriage licenses which now appear to be totally gone.  Ugh!  In the kitchen, I put tomorrow’s dinner in the crockpot and began pealing carrots.

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For lunch this week, I decided to try Candice Kumai’s cleansing soup.  I love starting the year with a warm and hearty clean soup!

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The soup was fairly easy to make until the end.  My food processor isn’t big enough to hold everything, so I did it in batches.  However, they turned out inconsistent, so I ended up taking my immersion blender to the entire bowl in the end.

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Which made a HUGE mess, but worked like a charm.

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I spent the rest of the afternoon working away on a variety of things including making a batch of Fig and Date Energy Balls and trying on my bathing suits before going back to the kitchen to make dinner.

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Since my crockpot was in use, I washed my Dutch Oven for it’s next job.  For the second week in a row, Cooper kept me company while he begged for his dinner.

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I accomplished a whole bunch of stuff today, so as always on Monday nights, I happily collapsed onto my couch for a bit of down time before bed.  After packing up tomorrow’s lunch, of course.

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Do you multitask?  I do it ALL the time…even right now : )

Meal Planning 1/11/15

Monday: Turkey Meatballs (recipe to come)

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Island Pulled Chicken

Wednesday: Feta and Spinach Chicken Burgers and Broccoli

Thursday: Pork and Veggies

 

Cleansing Carrot Ginger Soup

From Candice Kumai

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1  yellow onion, finely diced

2  pounds organic carrots (2 bags) scrubbed, peeled, rough chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 bay leaf, dried

2-3 tablespoons ginger, freshly grated

6-8 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock (*depending on desired consistency)

1⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg

1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt, to taste

Directions

In a large stockpot, over medium heat, add the olive oil and sauté the onions just until soft and fragrant, approximately 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add carrots, garlic, bay leaf, ginger and sauté for an- other 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add in the stock and turn the heat up to medium (a mild simmer). Cook carrots and onion until soft, approximately 20 additional minutes. Remove the bay leaf, discard.

Carefully add the soup to a food processor or blender (an immersion/handheld blender works, as well). Pulse until well combined and a pureed soup forms. Season nutmeg and sea salt. Ladle into soup bowls and serve hot. If desired add a bit of extra ginger, or orange zest to top off soup.

*For a thick soup opt for 6 cups of stock; for a thinner soup go for 8 cups.