Lentil Soup with Yam and Kale

Adapted from (Cocao and Coriander Nico’s Tiny Kitchen) where you will find many wonderful earthy/hearty recipes especially for the taste buds of the Northwest with a Mediterranean touch.

I absolutely LOVE Yams, especially in the fall.  They satisfy my sweet tooth.  Fortunately they are also filled with awesome nutrition so I try to use them in as many ways as I can.  If you are a fan of adding a touch of sweetness to your dishes you will like this soup.
Serves 6-8
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 stalk celery, thinly sliced
- 2 onions, 1/4" dice
- 2 large yams
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1  28 oz can diced tomatoes (or crushed)
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp basil
- pinch cinnamon
- pinch cayenne
- 3-4 sprigs thyme, tied together in kitchen twine so that they can be removed easily at the end of cooking
- 4 cups vegetable stock or water
- 2 cups green lentils
- 1 can cannelli or white beans (rinsed)
- 1 bunch kale, without stems, torn into bite sized pieces

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, sauté garlic and celery until soft, add onion and continue to sauté until translucent, add yam and continue to sauté until soft. Add tomatoes, paprika, turmeric, basil, cinnamon, cayenne and thyme. Combine and, after several minutes, add stock. Combine and, after several minutes, add lentils and cooked cannelli or white beans. Combine and, after several minutes, add kale. Bring to a boil, down to a simmer until lentils are tender but still slightly crisp, approximately 30-40 minutes. Add more liquid as needed.  Remove thyme, adjust seasoning and serve.

Try this on a cold evening!
1 Tablespoon extra virgin organic olive oil
2 large leeks finely sliced
2 large cloves of garlic minced
3 large stalks of celery
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes (pepper flakes are not quite as hot as cayenne)
3 medium carrots cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 large Yukon gold potato, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 cups diced daikon radish (a mild white root found in many Asian dishes)
1 large yam cubed
4 cups organic low sodium vegetable broth (or water)
12 Italian parsley sprigs
8 fresh thyme sprigs
10 oz fresh or organic frozen shelled peas
3 cups lightly packed kale, chopped

1. Heat oil in large pot over medium high heat.  Throw in leeks and garlic and sauté for around 5 minutes, or until the leeks have loosened and are soft.
2.  Add cayenne or flakes and simmer for 4 minutes
3.  Add carrots, potato, daikon and sauté for a few minutes.  Then add broth and 2 cups of water.  Liquid should just barely cover your vegetables if you like a thicker heartier soup.  Tie together the parsley springs and thyme with kitchen twine and add to the soup.  If you would rather add the herbs minced loosely to the soup, go ahead, just reduce the amount.  Use 2 tablespoons fresh parsley and 2 tsp. fresh thyme.
4.  Season with salt and pepper if needed and cover to bring to a boil.  Once done reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
5.  Stir in peas and kale and simmer for another 10 minutes.
6. Remove herb bundle and discard.  Ladle soup into bowls and drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle tarragon on top.

This soup freezes nicely to pull out on a cold night when you need to warm your belly.

This recipe serves 8.

I brought one of my favorite Quinoa salads to a ladies lunch this week and everyone said KEEN-WHAT?  Everyone loved the salad so I thought you might like it too. 

I stumbled onto Quinoa (keen-wa) a couple of years ago when I decided to go Gluten Free, and  it has become a staple in my diet. 

Quinoa is a seed.  It is considered a chenopod, and not a grain.   Quinoa is closely related to species such as beets, spinach, and tumbleweeds., it is gluten free, very high in protein and full of amino acids. It is considered a complete protein as it happens to be the only “grain” that possesses all nine essential amino acids (including lysine).  It has a very mild flavor and can be used in many dishes from breakfast meals, salads, stir fry's, pilaf's and soups.  I even sprout my quinoa and add it to salads.  I will share a few of my favorite recipes and I'm sure it will become a favorite of yours too.

Cooking Instructions:

RINSE, RINSE, RINSE  and then RINSE again.  Quinoa has an outer coating called saponins which is very bitter, rinsing removes the bitterness.
Quinoa cooks much like white rice.  Cooking time is about 15 minutes.   Use sauce pan or rice cooker.

1 cup quinoa to 1 cup water. 
If I want my quinoa a bit creamier, for a breakfast cereal, I will use 1 cup quinoa to 1 - 1/2 cups water. 

Let's start with breakfast

I use Quinoa much like I do oatmeal.  Quinoa can become very mushy and not very appetizing if cooked with too much water. 

For hot cereal, cook 1 cup Quinoa in 1-1/2 cup water until all the water is absorbed and Quinoa is tender (about 15 min).  You may add a bit of your favorite milk for a creamier cereal.  We LOVE coconut milk.   Top with chopped nuts, berries, a drizzle of honey or a dollop of yogurt.    Enjoy!

Mango and Black Bean Quinoa Salad

This is the salad I shared with friends at a luncheon, it was a hit.   Complete protein, loads of veggies, great flavor.

Prepare Quinoa.   Cook 2 cups of well rinsed Quinoa in 2 cups of water with a pinch of salt and cool.

I sauteed 1 small onion
1 clove garlic and
1 finely chopped red pepper in a tablespoon of coconut oil.
When tender  toss in 1 chopped ripe mango and 1/2 cup mango salsa into my saute pan.  If you cannot find 1 ripe mango slightly increase your mango salsa.  As the salsa was heating up toss in 1 chopped tomato, and 1 can rinsed and drained black beans.    Remove from heat.

In a large bowl fluff cooked Quinoa, and add all ingredients from the saute pan, tossing gently until all the ingredients were nicely mixed. 

Lastly, toss in chopped cilantro, and chopped green onions.  I love cilantro so I use quite a bit. 

Another option if you are not crazy about cilantro is chopped spinach.  Toss in a cup or two of baby spinach and ENJOY!

For more greens serve on a bed of chopped lettuce.

Let yourself be creative with the amounts of all of these ingredients.  Add more of what you like and remember that the more veggies you add the more anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals you get.


Chocolate Nut Balls
In food processor blend:
1 cup Medjool dates, pits removed

1   cup almonds

1   cup walnuts

1 tsp. vanilla extract

a pinch of Celtic sea salt

1/2 cup Dagoba dark chocolate pieces (or organic dark chocolate pieces)

Add 1 tsp of water at a time as needed 

Pulse, and blend until crumbly mixture stays together in the palm of your hand.  Roll into balls and roll into finely chopped and toasted almonds or coconut flakes.

                                              This is a quick pick me up or a sweet treat by even the pickiest eaters!

With an abundance of fresh local blueberries now is the time to take advantage of their potent natural cancer fighting properties!   Berries and other colorful fruits are abundant in the beneficial antioxidant compounds called polyphenols, many of which also function as bright pigments.  Blueberries are among the highest!   Most plant polyphenols demonstrate beneficial cardiovascular and anti-cancer effects in research studies.  These findings dovetail with population studies that link higher intake of colorful fruits and vegetables to lower rates of cancer and heart disease.
In other words, berries may offer natural chemotherapeutic benefits, without the adverse effects associated with most chemotherapy drugs.


Try this for breakfast in your blender!
8 oz purified water
1 small handful parsley
1 small handful lettuce
1 small handful of kale (stem removed)
nice chunk of fresh ginger
1 banana
1 apple
a squeeze of lime

    Add a bit of water if your smoothie is too thick