Yummy, Spinach and Cannellini Soup

With a few staples in the pantry you can create fresh and filling healthy meals by adding a seasonal ingredient or two.

Cannellini or white kidney beans, garlic, yellow onion and coconut oil are always on hand.

A bunch of fresh spinach added to a few simple staples puts this meal over the top.

Coconut oil, garlic and yellow onion sauté until soft and then add spicy and beans.

Add a few cups of water and allow the everything to simmer together.

I have been avoiding soup bases and bullion because they contain MSG…even the vegan brands, for the most part.

This dish doesn’t need it.

The richness of the coconut oil makes this soup tasty without any added chemicals.

This meal is very clean and filling.

Talk about cheap!

There is no excuse not to eat well when you can have a meal like this in minutes.

Enjoy and share!

Spicy Kale and Sweet Potato Stir Fry

This recipe is and anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory recipe that is hard to beat.

I really don’t know if you can eat any healthier than this.

Organic kale and sweet potatoes, garlic and coconut oil with crushed red pepper flakes.

This meal is fairly inexpensive, really.

Especially when you consider how much nutrition you get for the money and how filling this is.

Start with about 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and 3-4 cloves of garlic. ( I always use a lot of garlic! )

Saute in a pan and add 3-4 large sweet potatoes, washed, with skin on and diced into 1 inch cubes.

Cook these ingredients together until the sweet potatoes get soft.

The fat in the coconut oil helps your body to process the vitamin A in the sweet potatoes, which, by the way, has been found to be beneficial in protecting the body against skin cancer as seen on the Dr. Oz Show.

Mine became mushy but I didn’t care. This is soooooo good!

Massage the kale….yes. Massage it, wash it and chop it up and add to the pan and cook unit soft.

Add crushed red pepper flakes and salt to taste.

You will crave this dish. I promise.

You will feel satisfied but not heavy and you will have done yourself a favor.

I also added some turmeric, ginger and cumin.

These are my favorite spices and they are great for your health.

I have been going on about coconut oil lately so please don’t get bored with me.

Coconut oil is so incredibly beneficial to you health and especially to brain health and is showing promise mitigating the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

It tastes great, it’s good for you.

Use it every chance that you get.

Enjoy and share!

So Delicious! Black Bean and Avocado Spread!

I apologize that my photos are not more glamorous or that the spread itself is not prettier.

But there is no denying the fact that this little dish is one yummy and nutritious treat.

Coconut oil, black beans, garlic and avocado create a powerhouse of healthy oils, fiber and antioxidants in a tasty and convenient spread or dip; warm or chilled.

This recipe is an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant rich combination that is easy to incorporate into your diet.

Just sauté garlic in coconut oil for a minute add 2-3 cans of organic black beans and cook until soft.

I start mashing everything with a potato masher then add the avocado and blend in the food processor.

Avocado is my new favorite food these days and I use it as a meat/dairy substitute in sandwiches and as a base for creamy dips and spreads.

My diet is becoming increasingly vegan if for no other reason than I simply feel better; more energized, lighter, and sharper.

Coconut oil is another of my favorites and I find ways to squeeze it into everything that I eat.

In this recipe it adds tremendous richness, creaminess and depth of flavor.

I find that coconut oil lends a richness that meat and dairy add to foods.

Black beans are a major staple in my kitchen.
They are super cheap, incredibly nutritious and convenient.

I buy organic beans in BPA-free cans and I find that if I always have them on hand I always have a meal.

From a quick soup to a warm spread or quesadilla, black beans are a great source of protein.

I served these with organic corn chips.

Served warm as a spread for bread or in a corn tortilla with other veggies, this is a quick and convenient source of protein and nutrition.

Keep some in the fridge and serve with brown rice and sautéed red peppers and it makes a cheap and easy meal.

Lunch at Fred’s at the top of Barney’s in Chicago!

What a gorgeous sunny day in Chicago!

What better to do than lunch and shop on a crispy cool Spring day?!

Where better to go for both than Barney’s and Fred’s?!

A seat next to the window with a glorious view of the Gold Coast was the perfect way to enjoy this beet and goat cheese salad!

Fred’s is a cool upscale spot which features organic and local food as much as possible.

The atmosphere is pure Gold Coast; Comfortable luxury!

The salmon was wild caught, tender and juicy.

The spinach was perfectly cooked and flavorful.

This is a great combination.

I can eat salmon and spinach everyday!

The avocado and tomato salsa made this the absolutely perfect meal for me!

All my favorites on one plate with green onion, too!

Very fresh. Delicious!

My honey had the linguine with clams in a very light tomato sauce.

This dish was garlicky and spicy.

Absolutely fantastic!

We were both jockying between the two plates trying to decide which was better.

It was a tie.

We were so full!

But that did not stop us from completely cleaning our plates!

Of course, we walked around Michigan Avenue for a while.

I shopped, he tried to stop me from shopping, and so it went until we stumbled on Tavern on Rush……..

Spinach Fettuccine with Mushrooms and Basil Pesto!

015spinach fettucine with mushrooms and parmesan cheese

Spinach fettuccine with sauteed baby portobello mushrooms, pesto and shaved parmesan makes a great meatless, filling and nutritious meal.

012salad

Along with this beautiful salad of fresh yellow peppers and avocados our vegetarian meal satisfies everyone.

Annie’s Green Goddess dressing makes this salad heaven!

007green goddess dressing

Boil spinach fettuccine, al dente.

008spinach fettucine

Sautee the mushrooms with olive oil and garlic slices.

002mushrooms

And mix in your favorites. I love basil pesto which I make myself.

I make it vegan and fresh!

026spinach and mushroom fettucine

Shaved parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil make this fantastic!

Spinach Spirals with Goat Cheese and Roasted Red Pepper!

013spinach  pasta wit red pepper and goatcheese sauce

Super easy and so delicious!

Whole grain spinach spirals and red pepper are perfect paired with a creamy goat cheese sauce.

002spinach pasta

I roasted the pepper in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes then chopped them and threw them into the boiling pasta water for abot 10 minutes.

This infused the flavor a bit and softened the peppers.

005cheese sauce

I started with about 2 tbsp. of butter, 2 cloves crushed garlic, 1/2 cup of half and half, and 1 cup of sour cream.

Let this simmer for a few minutes then add a half a cup or more to taste of soft goat cheese.

010spinach pasta with goatcheese sauce

Drain the pasta and mix in the goat cheese with the red pepper and stir.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

015spinach pasta with red pepper and goatcheese sauce

This is a great meatless meal, nutritious and filling.
Enjoy!

Baby Lima Bean Soup with Kerrygold Cheddar Grilled Cheese Sandwich!

099kerrigold grilled cheese and baby lima bean and potato soup

Chilly outside and only soup and a sandwich will do!

073winter flowers

I picked up these flowers at a local market and they completely set the tone for the weekend.

Even the colors inspired this Sunday’s menu.

Creamy baby lima bean and yukon gold potato soup with Kerrygold cheddar grilled cheese.

Fragrant rosemary and roasted garlic add to the rich creaminess of this meal.

019soak the beans overnight

Start by soaking the beans overnight.

027second water add the onion

Pour out the water and add fresh water for quick boiling.

When you’ve brought these beans to a boil pour out this water, as well.

For the final cooking add enough water to cover plus about 4 cups.

Add a large sweet onion and allow to cook until the onion is soft and translucent.

Meanwhile, roast a head of garlic in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes

036garlic onion rosemary and olive oil

When the onion is done remove and place in the food processer with the roasted garlic, about 2 Tbspn of dried rosemary, 1/4 cup of olive oil and 2 Tbspn flour.

Blend until creamy.

Add this to the boiling beans.

Add 2 Tbspn of vegetarian boullion and salt and pepper to taste.

043yukon gold potato for bean soup

Chop 5-6 Yukon Gold potatoes and ad to the soup and allow to cook on medium heat for 2 hours.

071winter flowers

081Kerrigold cheddar cheese sandwich

Grilled cheese is perfect with this soup!

This is the perfect winter meal for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

099kerrigold grilled cheese and baby lima bean and potato soup

Enjoy!

Fried Red Skin Potatoes with Garlic Parmesan Cheese Sauce and fresh Scallions!

028baked and fried red skin potatoes

Fried potatoes and cheese sauce!

This is a more grown-up version of a comfort food favorite.

005Garlic Parmasean cheese sauce

The scallions and garlic parmesan sauce make these sophisticated and pleasing on many levels.

Creamy sauce, crunchy potaoes, and the fresh burst of flavor from the scallions.

015red skin potatoes

Start by chopping small red skin potatoes in quarters.

Wrap in aluminum foil loosely.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for an hour or until soft.

013red skin potatoes baked then fried

Remove from oven and fry potatoes in a hot skillet with about 1/4 inch of oil and a large chunk of butter for flavor.

I added crushed red pepper flakes for a little heat!

Fry until crispy.

These came out a little lite. I would’ve like to cook them some more but my crowd was hungry!
010Parmasean cheese sauce

While the potatoes are baking I made the cheese sauce.

I combined 1/2 cup shredded parmesan to about 1 1/2 cups half and half and about 5 cloves of crushed garlic.

Allow everything to come to a boil and remove from heat and pour over the potatoes and garnish with fresh scallions!

009fresh green onion garnish

This is a new family favorite and a great side dish for any meal.
023baked and fried red skin potatoes

Beautiful Kale Soup with Olive Oil and Yogurt!

Kale soup with feta and green onion

This kale soup is so simple, so delicious, so nutritious and so inexpensive that it would be just wrong not to share it!

021Cooking pal PD

This recipe comes from the Aunt of this guy; my “Cooking Buddy”.

The family comes from Albania and learning about a new cuisine has broadened my own cooking repetoire, especially when it comes to vegetables.

I have gained a new perspective on preparing and serving food and learned how to create complete meals from very simple ingredients.

The ingredients for this soup are: Kale, potato, onion, garlic and celery, olive oil and yogurt . With salt and pepper to taste.

We garnished with sheep milk feta cheese and fresh green onion.

A hearty wheat bread truly rounds out this meal.

I will make this a part of my regular rotation of dishes around here, to be sure.

And I would like to experiment with vegetable stock, which we didn’t use.

I had my doubts about the lack of broth but I was pleasantly surprised by how flavorful the soup was without the added boullion.

And considering that most boullions contain MSG, sugar, sodium and other unnatural and unneccesary processed ingredients, it is nice to know that I don’t need to have homemade stock handy or run out to pick up something at the store when I want to make this soup.

The other thing that I like about this soup is that the olive oil and yogurt are added at the end of cooking.

From a nutrition perspective this helps to maintain the health benefits and maximum flavor of the yogurt and the olive oil.

001Kale soup onions

Method

The process begins by boiling 1 large yellow onion and about 5-6 cloves of garlic.

We’re garlic lovers around here so I tend to use twice what I recommend at times!

I had 2 large baking potatoes which I chopped and added to the boil.

I then cleaned and chopped 2 large heads of kale and added them to the boil. Curly Kale worked well but I would have preferred Lacinto Kale.

I then chopped 4-5 large celery stalks and added these to the boil, as well.

I cooked this mixture until everything became soft and wilted.

Now, I was supposed to drain the water and pour the veggies into the food processor but I didn’t know that, so I just pureed everything together.

The cooking water was included and amounted to about 2-3 cups.

I put the pureed mixture into a large pot and continued to cook at medium heat for about 15 minutes.

We then added about 1 cup of olive oil and about 1 to 2 cups of yogurt.

We served this with some crumbled sheep milk feta and freshly cut green onion.

Salt and pepper to taste.

009Kale soup celery and Kale

013Kale soup pureed

2kale soup olive oil

Kale soup olive oil

Baked Acorn Squash with Olive Oil and Crushed Garlic!

011acorn squash

This is so simple.

But don’t don’t be fooled.

This makes for an elegant, filling, nutritious, tasty, side dish or meal!

009acorn squash

You can add nuts, dried fruits, mushrooms, wild rice, cheese, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg; go sweet or savory for an outstanding, economical dish!

012acorn squash

I like to mix cinnamon and garlic and even butter.

Simply cut into halves, pour on about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, crush 3-4 cloves of garlic and bake in a 400 degree oven for about an hour and a half or until tender.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

I wrap these completely in foil.
Serve this chopped in chunks or “smashed potato” style.

015acorn squash

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