Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Power of Pumpkin

Pumpkin, The Secret Superfood

Image result for pumpkin 

When we think of pumpkins we think of  carving a spooky face into one.  The hassle of scooping out the slimy flesh and seeds and getting our hands sticky comes to mind.  Usually that all goes into the trash and we are left with hollowed out shell that shrinks and collapses before Halloween even arrives.  Good times.  Unless we enjoy a slice of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving or Christmas, its the only time most of us have ever eaten it.  
Pumpkins are more than just a "pretty face".  They are a nutritional powerhouse and moderately priced superfood.   They are full of vitamins and minerals like: 
Vitamin A and C, which promotes healthy vision and sustaining wellness.
Cancer fighting beta-carotene.
Potassium, which helps balances electrolytes (more than bananas).
Fiber, (3 grams per cup) which fills you up, slows digestion keeping blood sugar level and keeps you feeling fuller.
For a great bonus, SEEDS packed with nutrients and  phytosterols which help protect your heart and immune system.

Here's a easy way to prep a pumpkin. for roasting or mashing etc.  Don't forget to roast the seeds.  There are many ways to enjoy pumpkin, check out: How to cook with Orange Beauties.

You can even get a workout with your pumpkin before cooking it.

Kris made the best "Wild rice and 'chickin' Soup" yesterday.  I need to go enjoy a bowl right now.  Recipe coming next week.

Have a great week.
Be kind.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Butternut Squash Soup

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Soup

Autumn seems to be just around the corner here in Florida.  I know the further you go north its already arrived.  Personally, I love the heat but I am ready for some cool weather.  That's why its soup time!  Kris loves to make different types of soups and one of her favorites is Butternut Squash.  I am not sure of the origin of this recipe but it is delicious.

2 cups vegetable stock.
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced.
1-2 carrots, peeled and sliced.
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and cubed.
1 medium (uncooked) butternut squash,
peeled, seeded and cubed
1 sprig of fresh sage.
1 white onion, diced.
1/2 tsp salt.
1/4-1/2 tsp black pepper.
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper.
pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg.
1/2 cup (unsweetened) coconut milk.

Add all ingredients, except the coconut milk, to a large slow cooker/crock pot.
Toss to combine.
Cook for 6-8 on low or 3-4 hours on high until squash is completely tender and mashes easily with a fork.  Stir in coconut milk.  Transfer the soup into a high speed blender or Vitamix and puree until smooth, (or mix directly in the pot with an immersion blender).  BE CAREFUL WHEN WORKING WITH HOT LIQUIDS.

Top with homemade croutons:
1 French baguette, cubed.
1/4 cup olive oil.
1 tbs maple syrup.
Salt and pepper.
Stir together to coat evenly.
Bake at 325' for 25-35 minutes, flipping every 10 minutes


Here's the recipe for Beet Ketchup from last weeks post:

Three 2" to 2 1/2" diameter beets.
1/2 cup ketchup (organic).
2 tbs EVO (extra virgin olive oil).
2 tbs plus 2 tsp balsamic vinegar.
1- 1/2 piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced (or you can use powdered).
1/4 tsp sea salt.
1/8 tsp black pepper.

In a small saucepan boil the beets in water over high heat for 30-40 minutes.
Drain the water and rinse the beets in cold water.
Rub the outer layer off the beets.
Don't forget they will stain everything!
Cut into 1 inch chunks and transfer to food processor.
Add all other ingredients and process until smooth, 2-3 minutes.
Transfer to a small bowl, cover and refrigerate.

More soup recipes to come.

Have a great week.
Be kind.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Give me a cup of coffee!

Give me a cup of coffee!

Most people love their morning cup of coffee and I am no exception, but it has to be a good quality of bean.  Folgers or Maxwell House just doesn't cut it for me.  Most of our parents or grandparents grew up drinking "percolated" sludge and most don't like the flavor of Starbucks type of coffees.  WTF!  While traveling for work, I bring my own "cold brew" or a french press to brew a great cup of java.

Just a few short decades ago quitting coffee was a requisite for adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle.  I am sure glad that recent studies have shown that there are many healthy benefits from daily consumption of coffee.  Last year, the Harvard Gazette reviewed a number studies and found that coffee is "a potentially powerful elixir" against a range of ailments from cancer to cavities.


The benefits seem to be:
*Overall Longevity (prevents heart disease)
*Cancer Prevention (including prostate, skin, liver and colon)
*Alzheimer/Parkinson Prevention
*Diabetes Prevention (you have to drink a lot of it)
*Liver Health (helps to prevent cirrhosis-cut out the alcohol!)
*Fighting Depression
*Oral Health (kills bacteria, leave out the sugar/creams)
*DNA Protection (stronger white blood cells)
*MS Prevention
*Muscle Soreness (2 cups reduces soreness by 50%)

Fun facts:
*Dark roasted beans have slightly less caffeine than lighter roasts.
*Arabica beans have a richer flavor then Robusta beans(which are used in less expensive coffees).
*The heaviest coffee consumption is in areas that are overcast, dreary and drizzly,
 like the Pacific Northwest.  
*Finland is the #1 coffee consumer in the world  (2.6 cups per day).
*9 out of the top 10 coffee consuming countries are in Europe, with Brazil at #10.

Take this Quiz:  Do you know Joe?
For a great documentary on coffee check out: Modern Marvels; Coffee 

As usual Kris prepared a delicious dinner last night, which included veggie burgers from
 The Plantpower Way with sweet potato fries and "beet ketchup", followed with Chocolate Cream Pie from Chef Chloe's Vegan Desserts.  Kris puts her heart and soul into her cooking and I am blessed to be able to partake. We need to have a plant-powered food truck!

Have a great week.
Be kind.

Sunday, October 2, 2016



We spent the week in NYC for our 25th anniversary.  Blue skies,🌞 and 65', 30% humidity greeted us on Saturday morning.  You couldn't ask for nicer weather, considering the last few months at home it's been high 90's feeling like 100'.  Saturday morning began with breakfast at Bluestone Lane Cafe, with warm banana bread and chilled coconut quinoa porridge.

Next stop was the Union Square Farmers Market.   You could stock up on a whole weeks worth of fresh veggies and fruit, not to mention fresh cut flowers, herbs and breads.  Most were organically grown, non-GMO and there was a large selection of gluten-free items as well.

There are so many places and things to do, which can be overwhelming.  
  I would try to get a short run first thing in the morning while Kris got ready for the day.  You can pick a route, head west to the Hudson River or east to the East River.  Manhattan is only  approximately 3 miles across.  Early morning runs have less traffic and you get to experience the grittiness of NYC.
East River- Brooklyn Bridge                                                          FDR Drive morning traffic

West Side/ Hudson River/Battery Park                     Battery Park with New Jersey in background

After my run, I would head to Juice Press for a quick cold-pressed post run pick-up.

When we vacation, we don't go to the usual "tourist spots" like Times Square, etc.  We usually rent an AirBNB apartment in a residential area so as to get the real NYC feeling.  On this trip, we did spend one day as a tourist and rode the Staten Island Ferry with incredible views of the Financial District, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Governors Island.  Afterwards we had an emotional visit to the 911 Memorial and went to top of One World Observatory.  Words cannot express the feeling.

 911 Memorial                                                                                         One World Observatory

View from atop One World

I'm amazed and fascinated by this city and its diversity.  
 We ate at so many great restaurants while there but my favorite was by CHLOE.
Everything was incredibly delicious and I could eat there everyday! 
.There are so many things to do and places to visit, you just can't possibly do it all in one trip.

Have great week.
Be kind.