Monday, January 23, 2012

Spa Water

Life sustaining water does so much more than quench your thirst.  Your body uses that glass of water to regulate your body temperature, breakdown and absorb dietary minerals, and lubricate your joints.  When you are dehydrated, your blood becomes thicker which puts more stress on your heart.  Are you feeling sluggish today?  Refresh your body with water.  Are you someone who would rather drink soda or juice than plain water?  Here's a tip: try fruit infused water.  You can experiment by adding your favorite flavors, but this simple recipe is a good place to start.

1 juice orange
1/2 cucumber
6 mint leaves

1. Wash and thinly slice the orange and cucumbers, discarding ends.
2. Add fruit & mint to a large pitcher and fill with ice water.

You can refill the pitcher and reuse the fruit for a couple of days.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Winter 15 Bean Soup

Get the winter chill out of your bones with a bowl of satisfying soup and some crusty buttered bread.  This 15 bean soup recipe is perfect for winter meals, when you're stuck inside a bit more and have time for soup to be simmering in the background.  It may seem labor intensive, but it mostly time spent hands off.  The big pot lasts for a few meals, and it is so healthy and full of flavor!

You'll need:

1 bag 15 bean soup
1 box beef broth
3 cups cooked ham, cut into cubes
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 head of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
1 bunch kale, chopped in ribbons
1 can roasted crushed tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
3 Tablespoons stone-ground (or Dijon) mustard
4 Tablespoons brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste

1. Soak beans overnight according to package directions.
2. Drain beans, add broth, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 45 minutes.
3. In the meanwhile, prepare veggies.
4. Add in veggies, ham, tomatoes, tomato paste, mustard and sugar.
5. Let the soup simmer for about 2 more hours at least, or until the beans are nice and tender.

This soup makes great leftovers and is even better the next day!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Simple Roasted Squash

Sometimes simple is best.   One of my favorite side dishes is beautifully simple.  Start with an acorn squash, cut it in half and remove the seeds. Put the cut sides down on a cookie sheet and roast at 400° until it becomes tender, about 20-30 minutes depending on the size.  I'm sure that it could be improved with a bit of salt and pepper, but I usually don't bother.  It has so much flavor on it's own.  Tonight we did scatter a bit of parmigiano reggiano cheese on top.  Chèvre or even a sharp cheddar would be good as well.