Thai Sweet Potato Soup

Hi lovelies! Happy Wednesday! I can’t believe it’s already April and am so excited about some events happening this month! Another Art Uncorked event, Easter (I’m cooking the whole dinner by myself!) and my Grandma’s big birthday surprise, just to name a few! I have a feeling it is going to be a great month and the perfect start to Spring.

But as eager as I am for Spring to arrive, the Bay Area cannot seem to make up its mind in terms of weather. So although I’ve been ditching my tights on occasion, I’m still favoring warm, hot meals. As I was browsing Pinterest, I knew I found a winning recipe when I found Whole Living’s Almond Chicken Soup with Sweet Potatoes. I immediately set off to start making the soup and it wasn’t until I started cooking that I realized I didn’t have some of the ingredients on hand. However, I wasn’t about to let that deter me so I started substituting and combining foods that sounded good that I had on hand. I’ve found that the more comfortable I become in the kitchen, the less I feel the need to adhere to recipes. It’s always a bit of a gamble, but hey, that’s what makes cooking (and life!) more fun. And it’s even better when it results in a great outcome like this soup did- it was met with rave reviews and comments to please make it again soon!

Thai Sweet Potato Soup

*Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free

Ingredients:

  • 2 Zucchini
  • 4 Carrots
  • 1 package butternut squash cubes (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 Small Sweet Potatoes (about 1 cup chopped)
  • 1 Russet Potato
  • 1/2 Yellow onion (3/4 cup chopped)
  • 8-10 oz. cooked chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 4 C. chicken stock
  • 2 T. ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 large handfuls baby spinach

Directions

  1. Chop all vegetables into 1-inch cubes, peeling the potatoes before chopping.
  2. Dice 1/2 yellow onion and mince garlic.
  3. Combine the chicken broth, onion, garlic, sweet potato and potato in a large pot and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat and add carrots, zucchini and butternut squash and simmer about 15 minutes.
  5. In a bowl, whisk almond butter and peanut butter together with 1/2 cup of soup broth and add to soup along with the cooked chicken.
  6. Add 3 cups baby spinach and ginger and simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Season with salt and pepper and serve with a lime wedge.

This soup is made with fresh, wholesome ingredients and packed with vegetables. It’s so simple and comes together in a flash– I used Trader Joe’s frozen chicken breast, thawed it and heated in a separate pan and added it to the soup. However, this recipe can easily be made vegetarian by substituting vegetable stock and leaving out the chicken. It already is full of protein from the nut butter!

Questions:

-What’s your attitude in the kitchen? Do you stick to recipes or play around?

-Tell me (or link!) to one of your favorite recipes that you’ve created!

Green Machine

Hi lovelies! I hope that you all had a fabulous weekend! Did any of you watch the Academy of Country music awards last night? I love country music and it was great to see some of my favorite artists perform… oh and check out their outfits. That’s one of my favorite parts of award shows!

As you know I’ve been excited about new kitchen gadgets lately and my parents recently bought a Breville juicer. I was going to show you a picture and tell you about it but then I saw this video that explains this awesome juicer and the story behind it.

When my parents first told me that they wanted to start making green juice, I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive. Although I love putting spinach in my smoothies since you don’t taste it, I was unsure how I would feel about the taste of the green juice since the idea of drinking straight celery and parsley didn’t sound too appealing. To be honest, it took a few tries and recipes to get the right combination but we finally created the most amazing recipe and all crave this juice every single day. So much so, that my brother bought the same juicer a week later! This drink is so healthy and packed full of vitamins and minerals. Celery is rich in Vitamin C and helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol, parsley promotes optimal health and is rich in antioxidants and spinach is one of the world’s healthiest vegetables! Needless to say, this drink not only tastes good but truly helps you feel good too!

Green Machine Recipe

Ingredients

(Makes 2-3 glasses)

  • 1 Cucumber
  • 2 Large handfuls spinach
  • 1/2 bushel parsley (stems removed)
  • 1/2 head celery
  • 3 apples
  • 1 lime
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 inch ginger

Directions

  1. Remove stems from parsley and about the 2 bottom inches of celery.
  2. Put each ingredient in the juicer.
  3. Stir juice and serve over crushed ice with a straw and enjoy!

Questions:

-Did you watch the ACM Awards?

-What’s your favorite way to get your daily dose of greens?

Zucchini Soup + Giveaway WINNER

Hi lovelies! Happy Friday! Has this week seemed extra long to any of you? I blame the rainy weather and grey skies! Luckily, I think the rain has left San Francisco for the time being, just in time for a beautiful sunny weekend. I’m hoping to have a relaxing weekend as I’m still recovering from my flu and then on Sunday I’m going to a very special event that I’ll be sure to report back on!

Are you familiar with the movie Best in Show? As I prepared to write about how much I love soup, this funny scene came to mind…

I too, could talk and not talk for hours. ;)

Now back to the soup. So despite my love of soup all year round, I especially crave it when it’s cold and rainy. And since I recently made chili, I wanted to try my hand at something else. I knew that I wanted something packed with veggies that would be relatively quick to make. (It’s hard for me to devote too much time to recipes when I get home around 7:30 pm, so I tend to look for quick recipes.) After seeing a tweet by Bethenny Frankel, I found myself browsing her website and stumbled on her recipe for Zucchini soup.

This recipe was really easy to make and the only time-consuming portion was chopping up the above vegetables. Bethenny calls for frozen butternut squash but as I couldn’t find that, I used the fresh, pre-cut variety and just added it to the zucchini when cooking. Once all the vegetables were soft and chicken soup had been added it had time for my big moment- pureeing the soup!

A few weeks ago I won an awesome giveaway on Bran Appetit for a Kitchen Aid 3-Speed Hand Blender. This is one of those amazing all-in-one tools and to be honest, I’m not even sure what it’s capable of yet. For this soup I used the immersion blender attachment and was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to use and how quickly it pureed all the ingredients! I highly recommend this bad boy and get ready to see it pop up in many future recipes!

Then after adding the soy milk, lemon and of course- a little fresh Parmesan, it was time to eat! I loved this recipe! It was delicious and tastes so fresh- nothing is masking the veggies and it’s great without being overly rich or creamy. This recipe does make quite a bit, but I’m not complaining because I’ve had it for lunch the past 2 days with a salad and it was fantastic.

And now for the winner of the Luna Bar giveaway

Kelsey! Please email me your mailing address at glitzglamgranola at gmail dot com and I will pass along your info to LUNA!

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

Questions:

-What’s your favorite funny movie?

-What’s your favorite soup?

Chili For When It’s Chilly

Hi lovelies! Hope that you all had a wonderful Valentine’s day and were able to spend it with someone you love or doing something you love. I had a great day, indulged in a little too much chocolate and saw The Vow last night. I thought it was fantastic and have now decided that I need to read the book immediately! Expect a movie review/GGG book club post soon! In case you need an extra dose of love today, check out this little video someone made of how people say I love you in the movies:

So something pretty major has been going on around GGG and I’m not sure if you’ve noticed it yet. You see, to some it might be commonplace, but longtime readers know that it’s a bit unusual… I’m cooking. And here’s the best part, I’m loving it! Lately, I can’t seem to stay out of the kitchen and have had fun preparing different recipes. So much so that I’ve started to create my own and did just that this past weekend. I’ve been craving chili for weeks now and in the midst of this yucky winter weather, I knew that it was the perfect time to make it. I’m still a little too scared to cook meat (I’m nervous I won’t cook it fully!) so I knew something vegetarian would be on the menu but I wanted it to be hearty and full of flavor. So after seeing the idea of putting sweet potatoes in chili floating around the blog world, I decided to give it my own little spin.

Perfect sides for chili... gluten-free cornbread and chips!

Veggie Chili

(Inspired by CCK and With Style & Grace)

Ingredients

  • 1 White onion, chopped
  • 1 Large Zucchini
  • 2 Sweet Potatoes
  • 1 can Black Beans
  • 1 can Kidney Beans, drained
  • 1 can Fire Roasted tomatoes
  • 3/4 Cup Tri-Color Quinoa
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 T. Chili powder
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 T. Olive Oil

Directions

  1. Chop onion, sweet potato and zucchini and set aside
  2. Heat olive oil in large pan and saute onions until soft
  3. Next, add sweet potatoes and stir on high for about 5 minutes
  4. Stir in cumin, chili powder and garlic
  5. Next add black beans, kidney beans and tomatoes
  6. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil
  7. After chili comes to a complete boil, turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer
  8. When sweet potatoes are soft, add your cooked quinoa. I used the leftover tri-color quinoa I had on hand, but any will work! This really helps to thicken your chili.
  9. Salt and pepper to taste and stir.
  10. After about 10 minutes, your chili will be ready!

PS Have you entered my giveaway to enter a BOX of Luna bars and some other goodies yet??

Southwestern Quinoa Filled Zucchini

Hi lovelies! Happy Friday! Do you guys have any fun weekend plans? I’m finally feeling better so I have some fun plans in the city on Saturday with the girls and am going to try to keep it a little low-key today and Sunday just to ensure I’m fully healed. Not only does my body feel better but I did a huge room clean on Wednesday and am feeling much better about things!

And remember how much I wanted to get vegetables back in my diet? Well I’ve done just that and after having a salad for lunch I decided to up my game a little last night. In the past I’ve mentioned that I’m not really a cook, but I’m trying to change that in 2012 and tonight was another step in that direction. After my successful quinoa dinner last week, I decided to use my favorite grain again in tonight’s dinner!

Southwest Quinoa Filled Zucchini

Inspired by Daily Garnish Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Ingredients

  • 5 Small-Medium Zucchini
  • 1/2 Cup Tricolor Quinoa
  • 1 Can Black Beans
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes (Fresh could also be used)
  • 1 Small White Onion
  • Lite Mexican Blend Cheese
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions

1. Hollow out zucchini with a melon scooper (a spoon will also work) and save all the insides of the zucchini in a bowl.

2. Combine 1/2 cup quinoa with 1 cup water (or broth) and boil. Once it starts to boil, cover and let simmer. The tricolor actually got done quicker than most and only took about 10-15 minutes for the water to reduce and the quinoa to fluff up.

3. While waiting for your quinoa, chop onion and saute. Once onion is soft, add the inside of the zucchini. You could chop up the zucchini scoops beforehand, but I just did it as they cooked with the end of my spatula in the pan.

4. Next, combine the zucchini and onion with the quinoa and add in the black beans and tomatoes. I drained the black beans prior to using but I combined some of the tomato juice with the mixture. Combine well and salt and pepper to taste. This would also be a great time to add corn or chilies!

5. Scoop heaping servings of your mixture into your hollowed out zucchinis. The only hard part about this step was stopping myself from just standing at the stove eating the mixture straight out of the pot… it’s that good.

6. Sprinkle with cheese and cover with a foil tent. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes and remove foil and bake for 10 additional minutes.

These are veggie and protein packed and so delicious! They would be great topped with avocado, salsa, Greek yogurt… the possibilities are endless! I kept mine basic because I’m kind of wimp when it comes to spicy stuff but for those who love the heat you could definitely add some spices to the mix. I packed some for lunch today and can’t wait to have them! (Oh and this does yield extra filling… I’m already imaging it on top of salads, in whole wheat tortillas, straight out of the container…)

Have a great weekend!

Questions:

-Do you like quinoa? What’s your favorite way to use it?

-Are you into spicy foods?

 

Quite the Contrast

Hi lovelies! Happy, happy Friday! I hope that you all have some great weekend plans in store. Are any of you watching the Superbowl on Sunday? Or better yet, making anything delicious for super bowl parties?

Last night as I started baking for a Girl’s night that I’m attending tonight, I got to thinking about the stark contrast between my two forays into cooking this week. I’ll let the photos (mostly) speak for themselves but tell you this– it’s all part of the healthy living balance and both were equally enjoyed!

I saw this recipe for Butternut Squash Quinoa on Pinterest and knew it would be the perfect one-dish meal. Healthy grains + veggies + cheese? Yes, please! This is gluten-free and could be dairy-free or vegan and was well received by all who tried it! I will definitely be making this again as it tasted decadent but was healthy!

And on the only decadent side, we come to what I took out of the oven at midnight last night… “Slutty Brownies” which were obviously another Pinterest find! I’ll post finished pictures on Monday but here’s a little preview…

Layer 1:

Layer 2:

Layer 3:

I hope everyone likes them! I’ll be sure to report back! Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Questions:

-What’s your favorite healthy thing to make?

-What’s your favorite decadent recipe to make?

-Any Superbowl Sunday plans?

Can’t Catch Me, I’m the Gingerbread (Wo)man

Hi lovelies! Happy New Year! Can you believe it’s already 2012? I hope that you all enjoyed some time off and a great time celebrating! I had a wonderful New Years Eve (recap to come) but unfortunately now I’m sick. After a trip to urgent care today and downing orange juice and water, I’m hoping to kick this bug soon, since I’m traveling to New York on Thursday! I’m so excited but need to feeling in tip-top shape asap!

But let’s flashback to Christmas one last time! As I mentioned, making a Gingerbread house with my Daddy Jeff is one of my favorite Christmas traditions! This years creation looked like this…

My favorite part this year is the train!

I feel like pumpkin is to Thanksgiving as gingerbread is to Christmas! So when it was my job to make breakfast on Christmas morning, I knew that I wanted to make something with gingerbread. But I had a unique challenge in front of me… find something gluten-free and dairy-free that everyone would enjoy! So when I discovered a recipe for Gluten-Free French Toast, I knew it was perfect!

This is my just woke-up, no make-up, still in my robe look.

Rudi’s Gluten-Free Gingerbread French Toast

Ingredients:

-1 Loaf Rudi’s Gluten-Free Multigrain bread (Any bread should work, but I’d go with a denser variety that won’t fall apart)

-8 Eggs

-1 Cup Almond Milk (Or your favorite milk/non-dairy milk)

-5 Tsp Cinnamon

-4 Tsp Allspice

-4 Tsp Powdered Ginger

Directions

1. Combine eggs, milk and spices together in a large bowl. Whisk well until blended.

2. Spray skillet with Pam/coconut oil/etc.

3. Coat bread in mixture and put into a very hot pan.

4. Heat bread on both sides until browned.

5. Garnish as desired– I did fresh strawberries, powdered sugar and hot maple syrup!

As you can see, my cup doesn’t actually match the Christmas china, but that Nutcracker mug is my favorite thing to use over the Holidays. My best friend gave it to me when we were in the Nutcracker together as kids!

Oh, and the French toast was a hit!! The only problem was that I didn’t make more! It’s a recipe that I will definitely be making again and one that everyone loved! I didn’t reveal that it was gluten and dairy-free until the end and no one suspected a thing!

Questions:

-What’s your favorite holiday flavor?

-What was the favorite thing you made over the holidays?