Cold Season: Amped Up Chicken Soup To The Rescue
Cold and flu season is here full force, and of course one of the most popular remedies is good ol fashion chicken soup. While we all have our favorite variations, Clean Plates recently wrote about an amped up version full of nutrients and flavor.
Help for Soup (and Your Soul)
Amp up chicken soup with this umami-packed veggie of the sea.
Kelp, an edible seaweed (also called kombu) is a staple of Japanese cuisine, and for good reason. Not only is kelp chock-full of nutrients and vitamins, but it packs tons of umami flavor, says Hiroko Shimbo, chef and author of the IACP award-winning cookbook Hiroko’s American Kitchen.
In Japanese, the meaning of umami, that elusive fifth flavor, approximates to “delicious.” And kelp’s umami flavor “to me tastes the ‘cleanest,'” says Shimbo.
Shimbo recommends using kelp stock in place of chicken stock or water as the base for soups or as a braising liquid. The next time you make chicken soup, try this: simmer your leftover roast organic chicken in kelp stock instead of chicken stock or water, and you’ll have some of the richest, most nourishing, and most savory soups you’ve ever tasted.
Kelp stock is easy to make and keep on hand, as you’ll see in Shimbo’s recipe here. Best of all the chlorophyll-filled kelp is jam-packed with nutrients, including vitamins B, C, and E, soluble and insoluble fiber, plus iodine, calcium, and magnesium—a soulful spoonful for sure!
Clean Plates bonus: Kelp stock will give extra oomph to your vegetable soups, too. For a recent demo at the farmers’ market, Shimbo improvised a beet, miso, and kelp soup, recipe here. “Some people said ‘Oh, I don’t like miso,’ and some said, ‘I don’t like beets,’ but when they tasted this soup, they all said, ‘Wow-wow.’” We bet you will, too.
Top Photo: Clean Plates.
Whole Foods Winter Warm Up: Quinoa and Beef Meatballs
I recently came across this whole foods recipe for quinoa and beef meatballs and knew I had to try them. First of all, I love quinoa and all it’s healthy benefits, and secondly, my toddler seems to be addicted to pasta and meatballs, so any way that I can make them healthier helps. These contain chopped veggies (zucchini, carrots and onion) which sneakily kick up the nutrition even more. They turned out delicious, and it’s a recipe I will definitely go back to.
1 pound (95-percent) lean ground beef
3/4 cup cooked quinoa (use frozen 365 Everyday Value® Organic Quinoa, or cook it from scratch*)
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup grated carrot
1/4 cup grated zucchini
2 tablespoons ketchup (I didn’t have any so just threw in a few tablespoons of crushed tomato)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon soy sauce (some people substitute amino acids instead)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 egg, lightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients until well combined. Shape into 16 balls and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Roast until cooked through and golden brown, 15 to 17 minutes. Serve hot.
(*Note: To cook quinoa, bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small pot. Pour in ½ cup quinoa, cover and simmer until water is absorbed, 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside off of the heat for 10 minutes then fluff with a fork. Makes about 1 1/2 cups. Use 3/4 cup in this recipe, and reserve the remaining for another use.)
PER SERVING:150 calories (45 from fat), 5g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 75mg cholesterol, 470mg sodium, 8g carbohydrate (1g dietary fiber, 2g sugar), 17g protein
Top Photo: Whole Foods
Snow Day! Perfect Time For Baking & Hot Cocoa
Whole Wheat Lemon-Raspberry Scones with Raspberry Butter
makes about 18-20 scones
Hot Cocoa (with a kick!)
Summertime Staple: Peanut Sesame Soba Noodles
What happens when a lone gal joins a CSA farm share for the summer? Umm….her fridge is literally crammed with vegetables each week. We’re talking overflow action here. Which means I’ve been getting pretty creative about how to use veggies in a variety of ways, multiple per dish. I’ve also been having loads of friends over dinner…lukcy them. What better way to use up green AND red cabbage, scallions, carrots and a red bell pepper than with a massive batch of peanut sesame soba noodles. De-lish and great for an easy, vegetable-crammed lunch or a side dish. *FYi – soba noodles are a nice gluten-free option if you’re seeking to go low on the wheat given that it’s bikini/beach season.
PEANUT SESAME SOBA NOODLES with Scallion and Summer Herbs
Serves :: 8 to 10
6 to 8 ounces of soba noodles
1 small red cabbage, halved and finely shredded
1/2 head of green cabbage, finely shredded
2 carrots, peeled, halved and thinly julienned
1 red or yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 small thai red chili, minced
1/2 cup each of mint, cilantro and thai basil roughly chopped
4 to 5 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup light coconut milk
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
2 to 3 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 small garlic cloves
toasted black or white sesame seeds
toasted peanuts, crushed
3 Superfood Smoothies For Summer
Here’s a cool, delicious post from our friends at Clean Plates.
Feeling thirsty? Juicing is all the rage, especially with temperatures rising. But there’s another exciting drink trend on the horizon: superfood smoothies. By blending instead of juicing, you can keep all the fiber and nutrients from your produce. Each recipe is simple to make. Bonus: these also make great ice pops.
Watermelon Slush Smoothie from Kimberly Snyder, owner of GLOW BIO
The owner of Clean Plates-approved smoothie shop GLOW BIO says, “Watermelon has great cooling and hydrating properties, as well as amazing cleansing and detoxifying effects. Always try to purchase organic watermelons with seeds, the way nature made them. But be sure to freeze the watermelon! It is not the same at all if you do not. Try it for yourself and enjoy this insanely satisfying treat.”
Approx. 3 c. watermelon (or one small watermelon)
2 ½ c. unsweetened almond milk
Cut the watermelon into small chunks and freeze 3 cups overnight. Simply blend the frozen watermelon and the almond milk in a blender. Says Snyder, “The two ingredients combine so magically that you won’t need any kind of sweetener.”
Go Man Go Smoothie from Creative Juice
Hot new juice café Creative Juice focuses on local, in-season, organic ingredients with no added sugars. The “Go Man Go” puts the spotlight on vitamin-rich mangoes and potassium-rich coconut water. Oatmeal adds fiber, while yogurt provides probiotics for good digestion.
1 c. mango
3/4 c. coconut water
2 Tbsp. oatmeal (rolled oats or cooked steel-cut oats)
1/2 c. yogurt (Clean Plates recommends organic, plain and unsweetened)
squeeze of lime
pinch of sea salt
Blend all ingredients together and enjoy.
Chocolaty Superfood Smoothie from The Clean Plates Cookbook
Get ready for antioxidant-rich berries and cacao, vitamin-packed greens, and heart-healthy coconut oil and seeds—the seemingly varied ingredients come together deliciously.
1 1/2 c. organic frozen strawberries (If your fruit isn’t frozen, just add some ice cubes)
1 c. coconut milk
2 large leaves collards, kale, or chard, ribs removed, leaves torn into large pieces
2 Tbsp. unsweetened raw cacao powder
2 Tbsp. coconut nectar, or more to taste
2 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil (optional)
1 Tbsp. chia or hemp seeds
In a blender, combine the strawberries, coconut milk, greens, cacao powder, coconut nectar, coconut oil, and seeds and purée until smooth. Add more coconut nectar to taste and serve.
Chocolaty Smoothie photo by Connoisseur 4 the Cure
Summer Brights & A Simple BBQ
There’s nothing better than spending a weekend or holiday with good friends and a laid-back dinner. Whether your spending this weekend in NYC or out in the burbs, this delicious recipe will add a little flavor to your get together. Enjoy the unofficial start of summer!
Grilled Lime-Cilantro Shrimp & Scallops with Zucchini Ribbons & Harissa-Caper Potato Salad
Serves :: 4 to 6
Shrimp & Scallops
½ lb scallops, local if possible
1 ½ lbs large shrimp, wild or local if possible
juice of 3 limes
1/3 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
2 – 3 Tbsp pickled jalapenos
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
a dash of chili powder
½ tsp cumin
a dash of hot sauce for an extra kick
salt to taste
Zucchini & Summer Squash Ribbons with Ricotta Salata & Mint
1 medium zucchini
1 medium yellow summer squash
1 cup sugar snap peas
1/3 cup ricotta salata, crumbled
juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup fresh mint, roughly chopped
*I’ve made another version of this salad in the past skipping the snap peas and radishes and popping in toasted walnuts instead. Also delish.
Potato Salad with Capers, Spring Garlic & Harissa
*yup, get ready for a rocking potato salad with ZERO mayo – and you’ll never know the difference!
10 or so small red bliss potatoes
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/3 to ½ cup spring garlic, chopped (scallions or red onion would also work well)
¼ cup capers
1-2 Tbsp pickle juice (trust me, it makes the salad!)
juice of ½ lemon
1-2 Tbsp champagne vinegar
2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 5oz container of 2% Greek yogurt
1 tsp harissa (in spice powder form rather than sauce/condiment form) *I used a lovely harissa-rose petal spice blend by Steenbergs that I picked up in London a few weeks back
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Summer Linguine with Shrimp, Asparagus, & Lemon
STYLE IN THE KITCHEN: Here’s one of my favorite ‘go-to’ summertime recipes that incorporates the best the season has to offer.
Makes 3-4 servings
½ box whole wheat linguine
3/4 lb peeled shrimp
1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
zest of 1 lemon + juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp fresh cut chives
2 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp unsalted butter
2-3 small cloves fresh garlic, minced
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan reggiano (optional)
Boil water for pasta. Boil asparagus for about 2 minutes, run them under ice cold water to keep them crisp and set aside. Heat 2 tsp olive oil in large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Cook shrimp 3-4 minutes until just done. Set shrimp aside once cooked.
Once water boils, cook pasta 10 minutes or until al dente. While pasta is cooking, heat 1 tsp olive oil & garlic in pan. Add white wine to deglaze the pan. Add asparagus, chives, parsley, shrimp, lemon juice and lemon peel. Season with salt, black pepper & red pepper. Cook 2 minutes over medium-high heat.
Once pasta is cooked, add it to skillet and toss with shrimp-asparagus. Add in butter and parmesan if desired (some Italians would curse me suggesting parmesan with a seafood pasta!) Remove from heat. If desired, top pasta with additional parmesan and parsley and serve.
Homemade Granola: Insider Secrets From Someone Obsessed
OK, so lately I have been absolutely obsessed with making granola. I decided to start making my own since “crunch” it is my family’s go-to breakfast, and so many store bought brands are loaded with unnecessary sugar. I love granola that looks like granola (yes, you can see the oats and big pieces of nuts or dried fruit), and I’m not into spending $8.99 a bag for it (hello NYC).
So, I’ve been obsessed with mixing and matching ingredients and finding the perfect combo. Here’s what I’ve found out about mixing the perfect blend.
OATS: All granola has a base of oats. Most recipes will tell you to use old fashioned oats not the quick oats. I’ve tried all and actually found my best success with Trader Joe’s Organic Oats and also the surprising inexpensive organic oats from Mrs. Greens (in the bulk self serve bins).
CRUNCH: so my biggest hurdle in the first few blends was getting a little crunch out of it. In researching online I found a few secrets including switching to a quick oat and also adding some oat flour to get it all to bind. I used ground flax instead of oat flour and this also seemed to work. Also, I read about adding a little applesauce to the mix to get some more clumps which turn into crunchy oat clusters. However the biggest secret is adding an EGG white to the recipe. SCORE!
SWEETNESS: It doesn’t take a lot to bring in a little sweetness. The popular sweeteners include maple syrup, honey, brown sugar and vanilla extract. I usually half whatever the recipe is calling for. I’ve found using a mixure of honey and brown sugar yields a best result.
COATING: You’ll need an oil or melted butter to coat the oats. I usually use coconut oil, but have also used a mild tasting safflower or olive oil. I stopped measuring and usually use enough to coat my batches. You may not need as much as some recipes call for, but it is important that there’s enough to coat and bind.
ADD IN’s: The best part!! Adding in coconut and dried fruit also kicks up the sweetness factor. I love these hence I cut down on the other sweeteners. Also, nuts and other add-in’s can add flavor and nutrition. My last batch I added some sprouted quinoa to the oat mixture before popping it in the oven (so good). I also am big into adding chia seed (packed with power) and flax seed which both give added flavor, texture and nutrition.
THE BAKING: I suggest baking a bit lower temp than the recipe suggests. Also, use a good cookie sheet. My first batch burned at the 350 temp on my not-so-great sheet. I’ve done the last few at around 250, and actually have had great success baking them in the toaster oven (on the small sheet that comes with it).
My perfect recipe to come!
DIY Chocolate Gifts: She’s Crafty.
Be the queen of DIY this year. All you’re going to need is a little chocolate, some crafty hands and a whole lot of soul. For Valentine’s day this year I shared my three favorite DIY chocolate recipes with SELF Magazine and here’s how the story goes… Enjoy.. and Valentine’s Day, is just another day.. You should lead with love everyday. Remember that! xx ♥♥♥ck
Chocolate Peanut Butter-Crunch Cups
Makes 20 peanut butter cups
One bag (11-12 ounces) semi or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3/4 cup creamy all-natural peanut butter
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup crispy rice cereal
20 mini cupcake liners
Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave it at 100 percent power in 10-second intervals, stirring between each, until the chocolate is melted. Set aside to cool slightly and then scrape it into a large bowl. (You can also melt the chocolate in a large bowl over a pan with 1 inch of barely simmering water, stirring the chocolate occasionally, until it is completely melted.)
Using a small paintbrush or pastry brush, coat the bottoms and 3/4 of the way up the sides of the liners with some of the chocolate (set aside the rest for later). You want the coating to be fairly thick, so that when the liners are peeled off, the chocolate shell doesn’t crack. Place the filled liners on a plate and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or up to several hours.
While the shells chill, make the peanut butter filling. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the peanut butter using a wooden spoon and then add the confectioners sugar and rice cereal. Mix until well combined and gooey looking (it should look like slightly melted chunky peanut butter). Allow the mixture to cool slightly; about 10-15 minutes should do it (if the mixture is too hot, it will melt the chocolate shells).
Remove the chocolate cups from the refrigerator. Use a teaspoon to fill each shell 3/4 full with peanut butter filling (you can use a wet finger or the back of a spoon to smooth out the top if you like). If the remaining chocolate in the bowl has hardened, re-melt it in the microwave in 5-second bursts. Spoon some chocolate over the peanut butter filling, spreading and turning the shell so the chocolate seals the cup. Return to the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes (or up to 2 weeks in an airtight plastic container) to harden. Serve chilled.
Dark Chocolate Lollipops
Makes 12 lollies
2 1/2 cups pure dark chocolate, finely chopped (Kumai recommends the brand Pure Dark chocolate)
1 package wooden craft or lollipop sticks (6 in. sticks recommended)
Toppings: crushed walnuts or almonds, sea salt, chopped dried cranberries, candied orange peel, crushed peppermint, lavender sugar or chocolate covered cocoa nibs.
Use a double boiler (or create one by placing a heat-proof bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water). Melt chopped dark chocolate, stirring slowly. Use a baking spatula to scrape melted chocolate into a large zipping plastic bag.
Line two or three baking sheets with parchment paper and arrange lollipop sticks on each.
Once chocolate has cooled in bag for approximately one minute, snip off one of the bag’s bottom corners with scissors. Gently squeeze chocolate onto stick, starting at the center of the top of the stick and moving outward in concentric circles.
Lightly sprinkle or dust desired toppings on each lollipop.
Set baking sheets in refrigerator until completely cooled.
Dark Chocolate Cocoa Nib Granola Bars
Makes approximately 12 large bars or 24 small bars
2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup almonds or cashews
1/2 cup unsweetened dry coconut
1/4 cup sesame seeds
2 cups chopped dried fruit (cranberries, chopped apricots, blueberries, currants, cherries, your choice!)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup Pure Dark Caramelized Cocoa Nibs
1 cup of unsalted crunchy peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Spray a 9 by 9-inch baking dish with non-stock cooking spray and line it with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Spread the oats, almonds/nuts onto a sheet pan. Place in the oven and toast lightly for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in coconut and sesame seeds and toast it for another 2 minutes.
In the meantime, combine the honey, peanut butter, vanilla and salt in a saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook until everything is combined.
Once the oat mixture is toasted, remove it from the oven and immediately add it into the peanut butter mixture. Add the dried fruit and cocoa nibs, mix it all in to coat evenly.
Turn mixture out into the prepared baking dish and press down, firmly and evenly distributing the mixture in the pan.
Let the tray cool off and cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week.
For more tips and tricks on chocolate visit SELF’s blurb here. xx
In The Kitchen: Pear, Ginger and Cardamom Muffins
Taking some time off to relax by mode of baking always brings back fond memories on a cozy winter afternoon. Peering over the countertop as I teeter on my tippy-toes in my mother’s kitchen, helping to stir the batter and of course taking a good lick or two of the spatula.A mix of sugar and spice that fills a room with love and warmth…it certainly takes you back to childhood and makes you appreciate the little things in life. And thus, the “little” mini muffins above came to be late last week when I was in need of a little comfort and some down time. One base batter recipe, two variations bursting with fall fruit and lots flavor.
And I will happily report that these muffins are a) made entirely with whole wheat flour – and are still light and moist (a notable feat in baking), b) are lower in sugar with a swap of agave nectar and c) are the perfect portion, mini but satisfying — one or two and you’ll be just fine. Serve ‘em warm with a dab of maple butter or cooled with plain yogurt for a great breakfast and you’ll be whisked away to your own blissful autumn moment.
Whole Wheat Muffins with Pear, Ginger & Cardamom
makes 22 – 24 muffins
6 ounces plain yogurt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup agave nectar1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour *I use King Arthur brand
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 pears, peeled, cored and diced
2 tablespoons candied ginger, minced
turbinado sugar for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a mini-muffin pan.
Whisk yogurt, egg, melted butter, agave nectar and vanilla together in a mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk flours, baking powder and soda, salt, cardamom and brown sugar
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the wet ingredients. Mix in the pears and ginger.
Spoon batter into the muffin cups and sprinkle with turbinado. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes. To ensure doneness, stick a toothpick in the center of a muffin, it should come out clean.
Whole Wheat Apple-Cinnamon Muffins
makes 22 – 24 muffins
6 ounces plain yogurt1 egg 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted1/2 cup agave nectar1 cup whole wheat flour1 cup whole wheat pastry flour *I use King Arthur brand2 teaspoons baking powder3/4 teaspoon baking soda1/2 teaspoon salt1/4 teaspoon nutmeg1 teaspoon cinnamon1/4 cup dark brown sugar2 apples, peeled, cored and dicedturbinado sugar for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a mini-muffin pan. Whisk yogurt, egg, melted butter and agave nectar together in a mixing bowl.In a separate bowl, whisk flours, baking powder and soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and brown sugar. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the wet ingredients. Mix in the apples. Spoon batter into the muffin cups and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes. To ensure doneness, stick a toothpick in the center of a muffin, it should come out clean.