Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Green Soup

I guess I am on a green kick this week with all of the greens I found on sale the last time I went grocery shopping. I have had the following recipe/idea for about a year, and this is the first time I have tried it. It seems like I got the original idea from a magazine in a doctor's office, so it may have been in some type of health magazine. The version I am sharing is not the exact recipe I initially read, although it is close!

Ingredients - 4 - servings
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium size onion, chopped
½ t. salt, divided
1 garlic clove, smashed and chopped
2 T. whole-grain Arborio rice
1 bunch kale
about 7 c. baby spinach
2 c. vegetable broth
⅛ t. cayenne pepper
1½ t. lemon juice, optional

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and a pinch of salt; cook, stirring until onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add 2 T. water, and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are reduced and caramel colored, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine 1½ c. water, remaining salt, garlic, and rice in a soup pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Trim ribs and tough stems from the kale and spinach; discard, or puree and freeze for later use. Coarsely chop kale. After the rice has cooked for 15 minutes, stir in the kale. Cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

After the kale and onions have cooked, stir a little vegetable broth into the caramelized onions to get all of the flavor from the pan. Add the mixture to the rice with the spinach, remaining broth, and cayenne. Simmer, covered, until spinach is tender, about 5 minutes. 

Puree soup in batches in blender until smooth. Stir in lemon juice.

I forgot to add the lemon juice, so I had my first bowl without that ingredient, and it was good. After I had a bowl, I re-blended the remaining soup for about 5 minutes, because it was not as smooth as I thought it should be. I did not take another photo, because the soup did not look any different after I blended it again. The consistency was smoother, although this was not noticeable without tasting it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Green Smoothie

This is a variation of one of the recipes in my book on page 27 (available on Lulu--link in the sidebar, also). As I wrote in my book under this item: "I always start with the milk or yogurt, flaxseed, and the spinach, and then I use whatever ingredients I have on hand." For this beverage, I used the following ingredients. The end result was delicious and filling!

1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 T. flaxseed meal
1 to 2 handfuls of fresh spinach - I used one very large handful
2 handfuls of red seedless grapes
3 to 4 ice cubes

Place all ingredients in blender starting with the liquid ingredients. Blend until smooth. 

This will make 1 to 2 beverages, depending how big your handfuls of ingredients are. I used very large handfuls, which made 2 beverages. It was so good, I drank them both!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Natural Peanut Butter

I shared this idea in the book (page 43) before I had tried it. I made it this week, and I liked it just as much as I thought I would. I am writing this post to share that experience.

16 oz. dry roasted unsalted peanuts
1 T. olive oil - the picture here is with 2 T. olive oil, and I would not use that much next time

The directions are easy - just blend until smooth; blending for less time, if you like chunky peanut butter.

It took me about 5 to 7 minutes to make this peanut butter. Start with the blender on low, and stop the blender frequently to stir the peanuts down in. I thought it seemed too dry, which is why I added the second tablespoon of oil. I actually should have just stirred it more than I did, and patiently waited for the blending action to catch up. Once the peanuts start to liquify, increase the blender speed and continue blending until desired consistency is reached. We like smooth peanut butter, so I blended it until smooth.

The peanut butter flavor is excellent! The color of the peanut butter is much lighter than what I usually buy in the store (it looks darker in the photo than it is), because no artificial color or ingredients were added. The peanut butter worked very well in a "healthified" cookie recipe I made next.