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!


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!


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


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


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 : )


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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.

Citrus Honey Glazed Vegetables

So yesterday, I went to every grocery store in town and then a few in other towns.  I arrived home with a car full of food, to which the BOY replied.  ‘Why do we need all that food?  It’s Passover…won’t we just eat my mom’s leftovers?’


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Welcome to my world people!

Last night, I got started on my Passover baking with some Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies and Banana Bread.  The banana bread just might be how I survive the week!  I also made a batch of Date and Almond TrufflesAnd let’s not forget a large batch of Matzah Toffee.



That left the heartier foods for today.  I started with everyone’s favorite Fruit Compote and then got started on the veggies.  I was considering roasting a huge batch of asparagus, but instead decided to try something a little different.




I went with Citrus Honey Glazed Vegetables, a recipe I found online.  This recipe has a few of my favorite veggies (sweet potato, carrot, and parsnips) and a new (to me) veggie, orange beets.  I found these guys to be super dirty and challenging to transport (they made a huge mess in my shopping cart), but in the end I had a beautiful, yet fairly monochromatic, array of diced vegetables.




I followed the directions for my glaze and since I didn’t have a big enough bowl, I used a huge Dutch oven.




Unfortunately, I don’t think that I am a good tosser and did not get everything coated evenly.  This left a lot of citrusy honey on my second baking sheet, which not surprisingly burned, instead of glazed.




My other and luckily larger pan turned out well though and so there are more than enough veggies to share at tonight’s dinner.  I did toss the veggies with Kosher salt throughout as I felt they needed a little extra flavor.




I’m hoping that everyone likes this new Passover side!  If not, I also made a Matzah Kugel with addition of some of my Israel seasonings!




This is the kind of recipe that you can easily add into your rotation of sides year round and you certainly don’t have to be celebrating Passover to enjoy!



Citrus Honey Glazed Vegetables

From The Shiksa in the Kitchen


    2 large sweet potatoes – about 2 lbs total

    3 large yellow beets (about 1 1/2 lbs total)

    1 lb carrots

    1 lb parsnips

    1/2 cup honey

    2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

    1 tbsp orange juice

    2 tsp grated orange zest

    Salt and pepper

    Kosher salt



    Place racks in the upper third and lower third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with foil. Cut the vegetables into 1 1/2-inch chunks.

    In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the honey, olive oil, orange blossom water or orange juice, and grated orange zest.

    Place the cut vegetables into a large mixing bowl and toss them with the honey mixture till evenly coated.

    Spread the vegetables out evenly across the two cookie sheets, making sure to leave space between the vegetables. Don’t overcrowd the pans. Sprinkle the vegetables lightly with Kosher salt and black pepper.

    Cover both sheets with another layer of foil. Place the sheets into the oven. Let the vegetables cook for 35 minutes. Halfway through cooking, uncover and stir the vegetables, recover, then switch the baking sheets on their racks.

    After 35 minutes, uncover the baking sheets and stir the vegetables again gently. Allow the vegetables to roast another 10-15 minutes till they are glazed and caramelized.

    Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Serve warm. These vegetables can be made ahead early in the day, then reheated in the oven or microwave just before serving.

Yoga and Chicken Tagine

After 40 miles (running and biking) on Lake Shore Drive this weekend, I was surprised with how good I felt when I woke up this morning.  I am a little tight along the lower part of my right calf, but other than that, not sore at all!  This weekend in the city, I passed multiple yoga studios and kept thinking that it would be great to get to a yoga class.  I am always jealous of all of the studios in the city and sometimes forget how lucky I am to have an incredible local studio with high caliber teachers and friendly yogi’s.  Even better…they often have classes on holidays.  This morning, there were 3 classes.  I slept in and went to the 11:30am class, which is usually much less crowded than the 10am class.  I arrived early, which was good since the class was pretty busy.  The studio was hot and humid from the class before, and I was sweating almost immediately.  I had plenty of time to prep for the class before the teacher arrived.  My first priority after biking this weekend was laying on my back over a bolster to stretch out my pecs.  Then, it was on to my low back before quietly laying supine and setting my intentions for the class.  After the athletic high of the weekend, I dedicated today’s practice to taking care of body and having fun this summer.


As I slid into my first downward facing dog, this class popped into my head and I immediately dropped any tension in my body and adjusted my posture.  The class today was TOUGH!  And not just because I was tired.  I was dripping sweat from every pore in my body throughout the entire class.  After the challenging ab work, I sunk deep into my hip stretches.  Ahh…my hips definitely needed the length.  After the 75 minute class, I was supine in resting pose before Shavasana officially began.


After yoga, I ran out to Whole Foods to pick up a few groceries and some soup and chili for lunch.  Not your typical Memorial Day lunch, I know.  Although I am starting to feel better, the BOY is coming down with a sore throat (and possibly the summer cold I had), so we chose to take it easy today.  Despite being May, I was in the mood for some comfort food.  We had soup/chili for lunch, but I didn’t want to make more because it is supposed to be back up to 80 degrees by Wednesday.  But since it was a crockpot kind of day, I settled with another one of my cool weather favorites…tagine!




The BOY and I like meal planning and for a few weeks we were doing it consistently.  Unfortunately, with my crazy and unpredictable schedule, it has been harder to plan ahead these last few weeks.  I haven’t had the energy for the extra effort involved and haven’t been home early enough to make dinner.  With the BOY in between semester and summer school, it is much easier to let him prepare dinner on the grill.  This upcoming week will most likely be the same; however, I will have tagine for lunch/dinner throughout the week.  I guess that’s a plan!




I love the combination of flavors in this dish that includes sweet apricots, ginger, and cinnamon.  But, I really chose it because I could easily throw all of the ingredients into the crockpot and let it do all of the heavy lifting.




The recipe is supposed to be served with couscous, but could easily be poured over a baked sweet potato or brown rice.  As the tagine spent the afternoon cooking in the crockpot, I got prepped for the week ahead and watched a little TV (the Elementary season finally is AWESOME) before snuggling into my couch with a glass of red wine.




Meanwhile, the BOY was in charge of dinner on the grill.  After a rainy morning and a grey day, the weather was in our favor to make orange roughy with brussels sprouts.




It’s hard to believe after such a wordy post, but my eyelids are heavy and I am exhausted.  I’m going to try to stay up to cheer on the Blackhawks, but I’m not sure I’ll be awake through the second period.  My body can use the rest, and I’ve got big plans to go swimming tomorrow morning before work.


If you like this recipe, here are a few other Moroccan inspired meals!

Chickpea Tagine

Chickpea and Date Tagine

Root Vegetable Tagine


Chicken Tagine

From All



2 tablespoons olive oil

8 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes (I subbed in parsnip today since the BOY doesn’t like eggplant)

2 large onions, thinly sliced

4 large carrots, thinly sliced

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

2 cups low sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons garlic salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper



Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Place the chicken pieces and eggplant in the heated oil; stir and cook until the chicken is browned on all sides but not cooked through. Remove the skillet from the heat.

Place the browned chicken and eggplant on the bottom of a slow cooker. Layer the onion, carrots, (parsnips if using), dried cranberries, and apricots over the chicken.

Whisk together the chicken broth, tomato paste, lemon juice, flour, garlic salt, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, and ground black pepper in a bowl. Pour the broth mixture into the slow cooker with the chicken and vegetables.

Cook on High setting for 5 hours, or on Low setting for 8 hours.

Indian-Spiced Chicken Burgers

The BOY and I came back from our grocery shopping trip today with plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, lean meat, and healthy snacks.  As always, Monday is prep day for the week ahead.  For this week’s meal plan, I had to simplify things a bit.  Last week was way too busy and crazy for me to be making dinner each night, so I made things a little easier with some store bought stuff.  And I know that I can always eat leftovers for lunch.


Monday: Indian Spiced Chicken Burgers (recipe below)


Tuesday: Orange Ginger Salmon


Wednesday: Almond Butter Stirfry


Thursday: Store Bought Chicken Sausages with Roasted Mushrooms


Lunch: Leftovers and Carrot, Chickpea, and Barley Soup*

Snacks: Coconut Balls


*Do you ever make soup and it tastes great but doesn’t picture well???  Well that’s what happened with this orange creation.  I was planning on dedicating an entire post to this soup, but since my photos didn’t turn out, I scrapped that idea.




But you can find the recipe for this wonderful soup at Shape Magazine.  This is an old recipe that I have been making for years, and I just discovered that you can find fresh carrot juice at Mariano’s.  Enjoy!


Moving on to tonight’s dinner…

The Indian-Spiced Chicken Burgers were the BOY’s suggestion.




He found them in the Martha Stewart’s Great Food Fast cookbook.




I modified the recipe a bit to make it easier and quicker, and it turned out just as good!




The BOY tucked his burgers into a toasted pita with sour cream cumin sauce (sour cream, cumin, lemon juice, salt, and pepper).  As always, he rapidly began assembling his sandwich, so I had to snap my photos quickly to keep up with him.


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One bite into dinner and a big smile spread across his lips.  For those who know him, the BOY has a VERY picky palate, so his rave reviews of this dinner were great to hear!




Instead of a sandwich, I decided to eat my burgers with a huge salad and a side of roasted broccoli.


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I couldn’t agree with the BOY more!  These chicken burgers are full of flavor, and I can’t wait until this summer when we can cook them up on the grill!  Warning: you might see these at our next BBQ!


And with that…I’ve gotta run and catch the second half of the Biggest Loser Finale!



Indian-Spiced Chicken Burgers

From Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food



1 1/2 pounds ground chicken breast
4 scallions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger (or ground ginger)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cardamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste


For Sandwich:
4 pitas (6 inch)
1 cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro sprigs



Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium bowl, place the chicken, scallions, ginger, lemon juice, paprika, cumin, cardamon, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper; mix well with your hands to combine. Set aside to marinate for at least 10 and up to 30 minutes.

Gently form the mixture into sixteen 3/4 inch patties (about 3 tablespoons each).  Season the patties with salt and pepper (if desired) and place on a foil lined baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake for ~15 minutes, turning once mid way until chicken is fully cooked.

For sandwiches…halve the pitas crosswise (toast on the grill, if you like). Into each pocket, place 2 chicken patties, cucumber slices, and cilantro sprigs. Serve with cumin yogurt sauce (1/2 cup plain yogurt + 1/2 tsp cumin).


Note: I made some changes to the original recipe for ease and time.  Read the Recipe as Written

Run Down

Man, I am feeling run down this weekend. ( Note: my definition of weekend includes Monday since I don’t work today! )

And this is not just because I stayed up late to watch the fairly predictable Oscar’s last night.  It all started Saturday morning when I had a slow start to the day, followed by a nap, before actually putting in my contacts at 1pm. 




I did hit the neighborhood for a 30 minute run.  It was pretty slow and I felt like I was running with weights strapped to my ankles.  I have no idea why I felt so tired.  It’s possible that it had to due with a stressful week that lacked my usual hours of sleep or maybe I’m just coming down with something.




For whatever reason, I was running on empty, literally!  Sunday morning was Hot Yoga!  This is always a challenging class, but this week my legs were shaking like crazy 30 seconds into chair pose.  Although my balance poses were on, I was more than ready for child’s pose, stretching, and shavasana by the end.  The rest of the day was laid back and productive.  I had a lot to do around the house (yes, my pantry needed to be reorganized AGAIN) and a run down weekend is the prefect time for these types of activities.




It’s no surprise that I didn’t wake up until my alarm went off this morning after more than 9 hours of sleep.  I set it for 30 more minutes waking up a few minutes before I needed to get ready for CrossFit.  I was a little nervous to go to this morning’s workout, especially when I found out that it involved burpees.  I knew that I didn’t have 100% of my energy but I figured I would do the best that I could.  Thankfully, the people I workout with are super supportive and there is great energy in the gym.  I survived today’s WOD AMRAP 8 although at one point I thought I might fall over : )  I made it through the ~2 minute cash out (optional) workout too.




When I got done with my workout, I felt strong but tired.  I knew I needed some serious energy in the form of a refreshing smoothie.  I recently saw a carrot and orange smoothie on Herbivore Triathlete that intrigued me.  I didn’t have any fresh carrot juice, but thought that maybe my new blender could puree the carrots good enough to be a smoothie.




On a whim, I threw in some kale.




I had full intentions of adding ginger as well, but didn’t have time.




I took one quick sip before packing up my smoothie to go.




The BOY had an eye doctor appointment and I was going along to help him pick out new glasses.  Meanwhile, I found some glasses of my own to try on.


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While I was keeping myself busy reading a magazine, I saw a similar smoothie (minus the kale) in Clean Eating Magazine.   The best part is that it is supposed to boost energy.  That’s exactly what I needed this weekend!  When I’m feeling run down, it effects more than just my workouts.  I don’t make wise decisions about snacking and my memory stinks.  Looking to the week ahead,  I am committing to catching up on sleep, eating well, and working out hard.



Do you have weekends where you feel run down?

How do you get energized again?



Carrot, Orange, and Kale Smoothie



2 carrots, peeled and chopped (or carrot juice)

1 large orange, peeled (or 1 medium orange and 1 cutie)

1 handful of kale

1 cup of almond milk

1 handful of ice cubes

Ginger (optional)



-Chop carrots finely and then use your blender to puree.

-Add oranges and blend to combine.

-Add kale (and ginger if using) and blend well.  Stream in almond milk to preferred consistency.

-Add ice cubes and process until smooth.

-Sip Up!

Meatless Monday for All

Hooray for Meatless Monday!

Even more exciting…the BOY participated this week : )




For dinner, I decided on Curried Veggie Burgers from Pinch of Yum.  And to my surprise, I got no protests from my roommate.  Although we both eat meat, I love exploring vegetarian recipes that focus on quality ingredients and fragrant spices.  I picked up all of my ingredients at the grocery store today.  I was impressed with all of the nutrient-packed ingredients in these burgers, and couldn’t wait to see how it all came together.




My one hiccup came when I couldn’t find canned lentils at the grocery store.  Does anyone know where they are?  Instead, I boiled up a batch of my own lentils, which was a bit of a disaster.  I always use lentils in recipes, but have never made them plain.  What I got was a huge mushy mess.  I didn’t worry about that too much though because I knew they were heading into burgers.




I was surprised to see cashews in these burgers and excited to toast them up, take a taste, and then create the paste.


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Also into the mix…chickpeas, onions, carrots, spices, and brown rice.  Somehow, I didn’t have any TJ’s brown rice in the freezer, but this mix made the perfect substitute.


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NOTE:  This is important!  If you have a smaller food processor (like mine which is 7 cups), you might want to cut this recipe in half!  I had to do 2 batches in my food processor which made it difficult to evenly mix the spices.


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Ok, so once you have your doughy mixture, there is a decision to make.  To bake or to fry? 

Since I had an abundance of burger mix, I knew that I could try both.  So I threw one batch of burgers in the oven and pan fried the rest.  In the end, I think I finished with, like 20 burgers.  The fried ones were warm and soft (I liked the olive oil coating).


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But the baked ones were toasted and crunchy.  Both tasted great, but I think next time I would add some extra curry powder!  BTW, Lindsay suggests baking then frying the burgers!




The BOY made his burger into a wrap with a variety of toppings.






We both had roasted broccoli on the side, and I spread a layer of hummus over my flavorful burger.






I have plenty of leftovers, so it looks like I am all set for lunch this week.  Topped with hummus and avocado, I know this will make a filling midday meal!

Lindsay’s website has the full recipe and all of the tasty details, so definitely head her way before next Monday!



Did you go Meatless today?

What are your favorite meat free meals?  Links Welcome!



More Meatless Monday Ideas

Baked Barley Casserole with Mushrooms and Squash

Chickpea Tagine

Moroccan Couscous with Saffron

Spiced Quinoa Stuffed Squash

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry

Vegetable Quinoa Burgers

Waiting for the Storm

There has been talk since yesterday of a big, dangerous ice storm heading our way.  Yuck!  When I spoke with my parents last night, they both said that we should plan on laying low today.  When I woke up around 8am, the weather still looked fine, so I decided to head out to the grocery store for some staples before the expected 10am winter mix.




I don’t think I have ever been to the grocery store before 9am. The store was quiet, which was nice, but the pharmacy didn’t open until 10am (which stinks before I needed some allergy meds).




I was home before the BOY even emerged from the bedroom.  The weather outside was gray, but warm.  If a storm wasn’t heading our way, I might have bundled up for a run. Instead, I put some errands on hold to stay in my warm, comfortable home.   I made us some eggs for breakfast and sat down to watch last week’s Biggest Loser.  Meanwhile, I got started on moving some files form old computer to my new computer.  2 hours later, there was no wintery mix insight, and I was beginning to feel guilty about sitting on the couch in my jammies all day.  My mom called around noon and mentioned that some rain had started by their house.  She invited us over to brave the storm with some television and chili.  However, I had the same idea here!




The BOY turned on the Indiana basketball game, and I started chopping up veggies for Lentil Chili.




This is a vegetarian recipe from one of my new cookbooks.




I was super excited to try this chili.  It has a complex flavor profile, and I even picked up cayenne at the grocery store this morning.




This chili is jam packed with vegetables!




Before you even add in your lentils, beans, tomatoes, and veggie broth.  I used only 4 cups of broth due to space limitations in my pot.





If I was going to spend the day, hiding from the rain, I decided to make the most of it.  I kept plugging away at my computer getting to know Windows 8 and started a few loads of laundry.  I also sat with the BOY cheering on Indiana during a stressful conference game.  By the time Indiana secured a victory against Michigan State, my chili was ready for consumption.




And OMG…it is GOOD!


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So simple and rich, the chili tasted amazing covered in sweet avocado.




I recommend saving this recipe for your next rainy Sunday (or even Superbowl Sunday)! 


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The rain never came down as hard as I expected, but a few minutes ago, the BOY looked out the window.

And my car…is covered…in a sheet of ice.  Yikes!  I will definitely have to thaw it out in order to get to CrossFit tomorrow.



Did you get hit with a winter storm today?

How did you spend your Sunday?


Mine was much lazier than expected, but I am happy to be moved into my new computer!


If you are having a quiet day in (like me), here are three more veggie chili recipes that I love!

Crockpot Vegetarian Chili

Crockpot Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup

Ultimate Vegan Chili


And…dinner is already in the crockpot, which means that I will have another easy recipe coming your way.  Clue…this one involves homemade peanut butter!



Lentil Chili

From the Forks Over Knives Cookbook


3 yellow onions, chopped
1 1/2 cups celery, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
2 bell peppers (1 red and 1 green), chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups 4 cups vegetable broth
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground chipotle powder or smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 cups red lentils, rinsed
1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 (15-oz.) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
zest and juice of 1 lime



In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, sauté onion, celery, carrots, bell pepper, and garlic in 1 cup of the vegetable broth. Stir occasionally and cook until vegetables soften, approximately 5-7 minutes.

Add chili powder, cumin, paprika, ground chipotle powder, and cayenne pepper and cook for an additional minute, stirring well.

Add lentils, crushed tomatoes, kidney beans, and remaining vegetable broth into the soup pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer until lentils are soft, approximately 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.


*Note: this recipe made 12 cups of chili, which is more than enough to eat, share, and try freezing.

First Workout of the Year


I made it to Hot Yoga yesterday morning with my Mom!



recycled picture but we were just as bundled up!


I really haven’t done much activity the past few weeks, so I had to remind myself a few times during the intense class that it is okay to hold back and rest.  But I LOVED getting back into my weekly workout routine, and it was even more special to have my Mom yoga-ing right next to me.  After class, I tried to convince her to come to Whole Foods with me, but she was headed another direction in search of veggies for her own Healthy New Year Soup.


I love shopping at Whole Foods!




I picked up some fresh fruits and veggies to make one of Jenna’s hearty stews.



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And then came home to chop veggies and warm up the crockpot.  Right on cue, the BOY started to smell the Indian flavors from upstairs and hollered down ‘Honey, what are you making? Smells Good!’




I’m hoping that he will dig right into the stew and won’t even notice the butternut squash.




Without interesting (to me anyways) football today, I was a little bit lost with what to do with my Sunday.  After I got my stew into the crockpot, I baked up some Pumpkin Pear Bread.  Then did a little bit of cleaning and organizing before settling into some comfy clothes on my couch.  I was really excited to finish my book Eat & Run, and it did NOT disappoint!




This recipe requires about 10 hours to get a thick and hearty stew.  Perfect for a Sunday!  The only problem…I was exhausted last night and not going to be able to stay awake until 10pm.




So I put the BOY in charge of unplugging the crockpot and putting my stew into the fridge before he came up to bed.




I was eager to see (and taste) the results this morning!




These pictures don’t even do it justice!  Not only is this the ideal stew texture, but the flavors are incredible.  Everything blends together marvelously, so you know what I will be eating for lunch today.  I love having a house full of healthy food options and fingers crossed, I will be getting in workout number 2 today!



Crock Pot Chickpea, Butternut Squash

and Red Lentil Stew

From Eat, Live, Run



1 yellow onion, chopped

1 tbsp olive or canola oil

2 large carrot, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

2-3 tsp garam masala

1 butternut squash (about 3 lbs–average sized), peeled and chopped

1 28-oz can diced tomatoes in tomato juice

1 quart vegetable broth

1 cup red lentils

2 15-oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1-2 tsp sea salt (to taste)



Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion, carrot and jalapeno and sauté for about six minutes. Add the minced garlic and sauté for 30 more seconds, and then add the garam masala, stirring well to coat. Take off heat.

Place the chickpeas, butternut squash, canned diced tomatoes, red lentils, vegetable broth and onion mixture in your slow cooker. Turn the heat on LOW and cook for 8-10 hours…the longer you cook, the thicker your stew will be.

Season with sea salt to taste and serve with minced cilantro on top (I didn’t do this). This stew freezes extremely well and will keep in the fridge for up to five days.

Turkey Meatball and Barley Soup


Winter, I know that you are on your way, but I must admit I’m not ready for you!




I felt you during this morning’s 6 mile run when my typically fluid stride was slowed by the wind and brisk temperatures.  And the fact that the only things keeping me company during my run were the sun and 2 baby deer. 




Let’s not forget the frost that I had to clear off of my car before heading into work.  Since your arrival is inevitable, I am making the best of it by making soup.  A tasty new one at that!




This recipe comes from a Weight Watchers cookbook, so you can guarantee that it is chock full of veggies.




I was actually checking out another recipe in the comfort food cookbook when I stumbled upon this soup.  The actual recipe called for meatballs, so I subbed in turkey meat for the red meat, which was a quick and easy fix.




There’s nothing better than a healthy and hearty homemade lunch.




Wouldn’t you agree???




I was thrilled to dig into a big bowl for lunch.




And the leftovers will make a filling weekday lunch.  According to the cookbook, this recipe freezes well too!




I am feeling warmer already!  Which is nice after a slow-ish morning run.




Are you admiring the bright orange side I had with my lunch?




It’s my first batch of homemade butternut squash fries and they are T-A-S-T-Y!


Winter, no rush in reaching Chicago this December but when you get here, I will be ready…with soup in the freezer and more recipes to try.



Turkey Meatball and Barley Soup

From the Weight Watchers Pure Comfort Cookbook

Serving size: 1 1/2 cup soup and 4 meatballs



1/2 pound lean ground turkey

1 tsp ground basil

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp table salt

2 large leeks cleaned and chopped (white and light green parts only)

2 carrots, chopped

5 garlic cloves, sliced

1 tsp ground thyme

1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced

29 oz low sodium chicken or veggie broth (I used a 32 ounce container)

1/4 cup canned tomato paste

1/3 cup uncooked barley*



To make the meatballs, combine the turkey, basil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2tsp pepper in a medium bowl. Form into 16 balls. Heat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook, turning, until browned, about 4 minutes. Set aside.

Reheat the skillet and spray with cooking spray set over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, carrots, garlic, and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, 3-4 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to release their liquid and the vegetables soften, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the broth, tomato paste, and the remaining salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the mushrooms are tender, about ten minutes.

Stir in the barley and cook, covered, until almost tender, about ten minutes (see note below). Add the meatballs and cook, covered, until heated through, about 5 minutes.


*The recipe calls for quick cooking barley.  I had the regular kind at home, so I let me soup simmer for 40 minutes instead of 10 minutes.  Then stirred in my meatballs and let them warm for about 10 minutes.

Pancake Palate

I woke up this morning after 10 glorious hours of sleep.  I wish I could say that it was uninterrupted sleep, but our neighbors apparently had an outdoor party at 3am which involved some screaming and singing.  I can’t really blame them for wanting to be outside, and 3am is probably the only time cool enough to enjoy yourself.  However, the thought of blasting some music or slamming some doors early this morning when I got up for my yoga did cross my mind.  Instead, I threw in some ear plugs (which I always have handy because the BOY snores) and fell right back asleep.


When I woke up again, I had a wicked craving for pancakes, but ran into a few speed bumps when I saw that we were out of milk, almost out of baking powder, and had no overripe bananas (for OMG. pancakes!).  My tummy was rumbling, and I just knew that eggs or cereal weren’t going to hit the spot this morning.


I decided to use RECIpage to find some good breakfast options.  If you’ve never used this website, it is a free place where bloggers can compile their recipes for easy searching.  You can get everyone’s recipes all at one site and have tons of options to choose from.  For example, there are over 300 pancakes recipes!!!


All of the pancake pictures were making my mouth water, but I had a few ingredient restrictions and I wanted something on the healthy side.  It occurred to me that vegan pancakes might be a good way to go with the lack of milk in our house and all.  I kept finding attractive recipes that were created at the same blog called Peachy Palate which was new to me.  Before looking any further, I decided on her Vegan Carrot Cake Spelt Pancakes.  Not the most summery of options, but I didn’t care!




Initially, I started following the recipe, but that didn’t last long.  My spelt flour expired a few months ago (oops!) and had to be thrown away.  Instead I subbed in some sprouted whole wheat flour (and acknowledged from what I know about the sprouted whole wheat bread that I eat that my pancake texture would be a lot denser).  But it sounded more exciting than plain whole wheat flour.




Due to the baking powder situation, I cut the recipe in half and continued along.  Xantham Gum?  I definitely don’t have that in the house…wonder if it is important?!  I can leave it out.  When I was finished and ready to stir in my raisins and walnuts, I didn’t have anything resembling a batter.  It was way too dry!  As I looked back through the recipe, I was trying to figure out what other wet ingredients (besides applesauce) there were.  Is Xantham Gum a liquid?  That would explain a lot!




I didn’t have a lot of options, so I added in a bit more applesauce and then added in one egg white, which means that these pancakes were no longer vegan, but it did make them pancake-like enough to go on the stove.




When I pulled them off, it was obvious that they were not the fluffy stack of pancakes pictured on the website, but they definitely looked edible.




These pancakes don’t look like pancakes, but then again, mine never really do!




I think they are a mixture between a pancake and a muffin top or maybe a scone. Hmm…there could be a new hearty breakfast in here somewhere.




Because of their dry consistency (from the spouted flour no less), I topped my stack with some agave and applesauce, which were the perfect accompaniments. I could have also added some more shredded carrot, but I ate the rest of my carrot while I was cooking this morning because I was so hungry.




I wouldn’t serve this batch to company and call them pancakes, and they definitely needed some more spice (bring on the ginger!), but I really did like my dense pancake/muffin/scone breakfast.  And it was filling enough to get me through 90 minutes of challenging HOT YOGA!




Even though my breakfast did not turn out up to pancake par (this was totally user error on my part), I am sharing with you the original recipe from Peachy Palate because these carrot cake pancakes look amazing.  They took a few attempts for the author to get them right which makes me feel a little better about my edible failure.  I just might make sure you have Xantham Gum in the house before attempting!





Vegan Carrot Cake Spelt Pancakes

From Peachy Palate





60g (1/2 cup) wholegrain spelt flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

Pinch of nutmeg

Pinch of ginger

125ml (1/2 cup) spelt flour

1 small carrot finely grated (about 2 tbsp)

1 tbsp walnuts chopped

1 tbsp raisins

1/4 tsp xanthan gum

1 tbsp applesauce



1 tbsp chopped walnuts

1 tbsp raisins

1 tbsp finely grated carrot

1 heaped tsp desiccated coconut

Maple Syrup to drizzle

1 tbsp finely grated carrot mixed with 1/2 tbsp maple syrup (optional)



Mix together all pancake batter ingredients with the exception of the walnuts and raisins.

Blend until smooth. Stir in raisins and walnuts and set to one side.

Heat a non stick pan over a medium heat and place 1/4 cup (1/5) measures of the batter in to the pan (I made three in one go, and followed with the remaining two). Cook for 2-3 minutes on either side, flipping when the edge become solid and bubbles form in the soon to be pancake.

Serve stacked one on top of the other, soy yoghurt on top, raisins, walnuts and coconut sprinkled and maple syrup drizzled. The sweet carrot on top or the side is a nice little extra.



What is your favorite pancake recipe?